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Nicholas Parsons was born in Grantham in 1923. He first came to prominence in the late 50s in the comedy partnership with Arthur Haynes. As well as presenting Just a Minute, he is known for hosting Sale of the Century and for his chat show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which has run for the past thirteen years. He was awarded an OBE for his services to Drama and Broadcasting in 2003 and an CBE for his charitable work in 2014.
As its nine hundredth episode approaches, Just a Minute has consistently entertained BBC Radio 4 listeners, and many others around the world, since its first broadcast in December 1967. Inspired by a punishment handed out at school, the show's creator Ian Messiter devised a deceptively simple and versatile set of rules that has allowed the game to adapt and thrive as each new era of comedy entertainers emerges. Over forty-seven consecutive years, fans have laughed along with Kenneth Williams' outrageously funny 'battles' with Sheila Hancock, Paul Merton's imaginative flights of fancy, Clement Freud's acerbic wit, Julian Clary's flagrant innuendos, Graham Norton's celebrity 'gossip', Jenny Eclair's brutal honesty, Gyles Brandreth's extravagant monologues and Sue Perkins' infectious enthusiasm to name only a handful of the more than two hundred star entertainers who have braved the Just a Minute panel. In this official celebration, chairman Nicholas Parsons, the only person to have appeared in every programme, recalls the very best, occasionally awkward and often hilarious, moments that have lit up the comedy airwaves over six decades. Magical minutes, verbal dexterity, sharp one-liners and witty challenges can all be marvelled at once again as Nicholas tells the Just a Minute story from its inauspicious pilot episode, through television and stage versions, and on to the present day, without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Well, not too much deviation...