Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Birthday Boy

Today is the 95th birthday of broadcasting legend and model of old-fashioned English charm and good manners, Nicholas Parsons. Born on this day – fittingly at the height of the cravat season – in 1923, Parsons has been celebrated on this blog more than once. On the first occasion, launching an occasional series (long defunct) of Cravat Heroes, I briefly outlined his remarkable career., or some of it. Since then, he has achieved the distinction of becoming the oldest 'intermittent broadcaster' on the BBC,  just ahead of David Attenborough. When Parsons recently took a couple of weeks off (his first ever) from Just A Minute, it seemed an ominous event and the listening world held its breath – but no, back he came in fine fettle, and he remains firmly in the chair.
  Parsons once snaffled the world record for the longest after-dinner speech from Gyles Brandreth, but he held it only briefly before Brandreth, typically, snatched it back, managing twelve and a half hours against Parsons' mere eleven. To spare us further pain, Parsons graciously conceded.
 I saw Nicholas Parsons on stage at least once, playing the straight man to Arthur Haynes, at the time (the early Sixties) the most famous and popular comedian in Britain. I remember little about it, but I'm sure he performed impeccably, as always.
 Happy birthday, Mr Parsons.

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