Nicholas Parsons CBE (Doctor of Letters)

Tuesday 12 July, 3pm

Nicholas Parsons is a radio and television presenter and actor. He was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and after attending Colet Court School and St Paul's School in London, he was employed as an engineering apprentice at a maker of marine pumps. He started his career in entertainment while still an apprentice and he became a full professional actor at the end of the war.  He made his film debut in Master of Bankdam in 1947, and in 1952 he became a resident comedian at the Windmill Theatre.  He played many supporting roles in British films of the 1950s and 1960s and also became well known to TV audiences as the straight man to comedian Arthur Haynes.  He appeared frequently on the West End stage, including a leading role in the long-running Boeing Boeing. He made regular appearances on The Benny Hill Show from 1969 to 1974. He also appeared as a personality in his own right on television, including in the long-running Anglia Television quiz show Sale of the Century, broadcast weekly from 1971 to 1984.  He has been the host of the BBC Radio 4 comedy panel game Just a Minute since it was first broadcast on 22 December 1967, and has appeared as presenter or participant on numerous other television and radio panel games and quizzes. For the past fifteen years he has also appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  From 1988 to 1991, he served as Rector of the University of St Andrews.  He was the President of the charity the Lord's Taverners from 1998 to 1999 and is a leading member of the Grand Order of Water Rats charity.  He was appointed OBE for services to drama and broadcasting in 2004, and CBE for charitable services in 2014.

Press comment

“I am very flattered to be honoured.  I know Leicester from working there in the theatre on many occasions.  Recently I performed at the Comedy Festival in February this year.”

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