Nicholas Parsons: The best quotes from a broadcasting legend | Ents & Arts News

Nicholas Parsons: The best quotes from a broadcasting legend | Ents & Arts News


On Just A Minute, the comedy radio show which Nicholas Parsons hosted for more than 50 years, guests were invited to speak “without hesitation, deviation or repetition” on a given subject for 60 seconds.

Given the outpouring of tributes and stories of his quick wit, professionalism and kindness which have emerged following his death at 96, it seems many would have found the show’s host himself an easy topic.

A veteran broadcaster truly worthy of national treasure status, Parsons charmed audiences and celebrities alike.

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Parsons received a CBE in 2013

Born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, Parsons initially found TV fame appearing with comic Arthur Haynes in his ITV show in the early 1960s, and was also a regular on The Benny Hill Show.

He went on to become an institution of British comedy and broadcasting, hosting from the very start of Just A Minute in 1967 and fronting the show up the present day, only missing two recordings during his time at the helm.

Parsons was also known for his role as question master on TV quiz show Sale Of The Century from 1971 to 1983.

As the UK says goodbye to a broadcasting legend, here are some of his best quotes.

Nicholas Parsons with hostesses Carole Ashby and Karen Loughlin in 1981
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Nicholas Parsons with Sale of The Century hostesses Carole Ashby and Karen Loughlin in 1981

“To be in show business you need to be a bit of a show-off. Literally. Why’s it called show business? Because it’s about showing off” – December 2017

“I believe I would have got more work if I had been more rugged-looking” – August 2015

“The saddest thing about getting old is seeing my cricket bat in the corner and wondering if I will ever play again” – June 2015

Woodley park, CA. Game Show host Nicholas Parsons during the celebrity cricket match held in aid of the "Lord Taverners Trust" which helps young people with special needs. Picture Dan Callister Online USA Inc.
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Parsons played a celebrity cricket match in aid of the Lord Taverners Trust in 1999

“I was originally supposed to be on the panel, but the only thing the BBC liked about the pilot was my chairmanship. I said, ‘But I was awful!’ But they said everyone else was worse – and from that disaster has grown one of the biggest successes of BBC radio” – June 2015

“I have a very weak stomach. I am not sure how it would handle kangaroos’ testicles” – December 2014

“I see a lot of the young comedians think it is clever to use foul language and they think it is funny. It isn’t” – November 2014

Gyles Brandreth and Nicholas Parsons in 2014. Pic: David Parker/ANL/Shutterstock
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Pictured with his good friend Gyles Brandreth and in 2014. Pic: David Parker/ANL/Shutterstock

“The open-necked shirt is really rather ugly. I have seen people with beautifully-tailored jackets on with an open shirt with an awful Adam’s apple there” – August 2014

“Why do people use the word ‘kids’? It makes children sound like small goats” – January 2014

“I can take a grandfather clock to pieces and put it back together again” – September 2013

Nicholas Parsons is made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle
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Meeting the Queen at Windsor Castle

“I get quite resentful when people ask if I am going to retire. I am in a profession that retires you. If you are no longer hacking it, you won’t be asked back, or the public won’t come and see you. They will let me know soon enough if I am not doing what I should: I’d be out on the rubbish dump” – August 2011

“People ask how I’ve survived so long. Well, I was in the Blitz and there was stoicism in adversity. And humour. Humour has sustained me” – December 2010

“I don’t know if men go bonkers in middle age. I’m bonkers half the time anyway, so I didn’t notice much” – August 2009

“We are rogues and vagabonds waiting by the phone, there to hire for our talents. A bit like prostitutes” – March 2009



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