'Broadcasting legend': Just a Minute host Nicholas Parsons dies aged 96

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By Alastair Jamieson
Nicholas Parsons at the premiere of The Cirque du Soleil in 2014
Nicholas Parsons at the premiere of The Cirque du Soleil in 2014   -   Copyright  (Photo by Jon Furniss Photography/Invision/AP Images)

Tributes were paid on Tuesday to Nicholas Parsons, the entertainer and host of BBC Radio 4 quiz Just a Minute for more than half a century, who has died at the age of 96.

The popular showbiz stalwart was “one of the greats, a first class broadcaster and an icon in the world of British comedy,” said the station’s controller, Mohit Bakaya.

Parsons enjoyed a very long career and continued to work until very recently.

He presented what became a radio sensation 'Just a Minute' from its inception in 1967. The show hears contestants attempt to speak for 60 seconds without repeating themselves or hesitating. Julian Clary, a regular guest on the show tweeted his reaction soon after the announcement.

Parsons’ television credits ranged from a guest role on Doctor Who to a stint fronting Anglia Television's brash 1970s game show, Sale Of The Century.

He was awarded a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014.

Julia McKenzie, Creative Director at BBC Studios Audio, which produces Just a Minute, said: “Nicholas was such a smart and passionate man who cared deeply about his radio show and Radio 4 and its devoted listeners. He was utterly charming and faultlessly professional.

“He was funny and kind in person and wonderful company. I can’t really believe he is gone today, he seemed indestructible. His legacy will live on with over 50 years of laughter-filled shows and the lasting friendships he made through his extraordinary career in show business.”