Saturday 10 October 2009

Cravat Heroes, No 1: Nicholas Parsons

As the cravat season is upon us, Nigeness is proud to launch an occasional (probably very occasional) series on great cravat men - and who better to begin with than cravat icon Nicholas Parsons, whose birthday falls today. Amazingly, the ageless Parsons is 86. He was born in Grantham (a town with a very fine church, if little else), where his father was a GP, who may well have been the man who brought Margaret Roberts, later Thatcher, kicking and screaming into the world. Nicholas was born left-handed in times when the educational fashion was for enforcing righthandedness, with predictably damaging results. He spent five years as an engineer working in the shipyards of Clydeside before making his elegant way into the business we call show. The rest is history - not least his tireless chairmanship of Radio 4's Just A Minute: since the first broadcast in December 1967, he hasn't missed a single show. Hail Parsons - truly a cravat hero!


  1. A fine tribute Nige, to a fully paid up member of the Clan Cravat and one who personifies that certain flavour of Englishness, Double Two shirts, Daks jackets, MGBs, all of those things that have Johnny foreigner cocking a snook.
    I eagerly await similar posts highlighting the delights of Terry-Thomas, Johhny Mills, Richard Todd Et Al.

    I always thought that Grantham was just a signpost on the A1

  2. Indeed. May I suggest that the perfect accompaniment to an evening of vintage Nicholas Parsons videos might be some of the remarkable recipes contained in this book - though alas it appears only to be available rather a long way away.

  3. Nige, I figure you to look a bit like Parsons -- maybe a bit darker with bushier eyebrows, but still!

    Malty, I'm glad you mentioned Terry Thomas. He was a hoot. Made the gapped-front-tooth look attractive!

  4. My wife - who was then my girlfriend - threw all my cravats out, remarking perspicaciously "You are not one of The Few".

  5. The problem with cravats was the lack of matching ensemble, what does, what does not, match.
    I can vouch for the fact that a Tootal cravat clashes significantly with..

    A dark blue, Italian cut, Mohair suit.

    A pale blue Beatles jacket.

    An ex commando white anorak.

    Any Maillot Jaune

    A M&S business suit.

    A black Speedo.

    A Gul wetsuit

    Doc Martins.

    The list is endless.

  6. Now wait a minute, Malty -- Doc Martins go with everything. Even my blue ones. Well, okay, they don't look great with little black dresses, but they GO.

  7. My brother went to a wedding where Nicholas Parsons was the guest of honour. He was pleased to note that the real life NP was as courteous and witty as the radio version. Being nice to the little people - the true sign of a cravat star, I would say.

  8. Parsons should be awarded the title 'cravat hero of the century'. I gather he had a penchant for rather more curious clothing in his younger days.