Nicholas Parsons, Sale Of The Century And Just A Minute Host, Dies Aged 96

Daniel Welsh

Broadcasting legend Nicholas Parsons has died at the age of 96.

The presenter – known for hosting the Radio 4 comedy Just A Minute and the TV series Sale Of The Century – died after what was described by his agent as a “short illness”.

In a statement, issued on behalf of Nicholas’ family, his agent said: “Nicholas passed away in the early hours of the 28th of January after a short illness at the age of 96.

“He was with his beloved family who will miss him enormously and who wish to thank the wonderful staff at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital.”

Nicholas Parsons (Photo: Ian West - PA Images via Getty Images)
Nicholas Parsons (Photo: Ian West - PA Images via Getty Images)

Nicholas began his career in radio as an impersonator, after being discovered by the Canadian radio personality Carroll Levis.

He then branched into acting, in the 1950s and 60s, before landing the role as presenter of the comedy panel show Just A Minute in 1967.

From then on, he never missed an episode of the show until 2018, when he briefly missed two recordings due to an illness.

Nicholas was also known for hosting the ITV series Sale Of The Century, which ran for 12 years until its final episode aired in 1983.

During his tenure as host, viewing figures peaked at 21 million, which was a record for an ITV game show.

Nicholas hosted Sale Of The Century for 12 years (Photo: ITV/Shutterstock)
Nicholas hosted Sale Of The Century for 12 years (Photo: ITV/Shutterstock)

Paying tribute, the BBC’s director-general Tony Hall said: “Very few people have done so much to entertain audiences over the decades, and no one deserves to be called a broadcasting legend more than Nicholas Parsons.

“His charm, inventive intellect and ability to create laughs were unsurpassed. Our thoughts are with his family and all who knew him.”

Nicholas is survived by his wife, Ann Reynolds, and his two children from his previous marriage to the actress Denise Bryer.

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