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Just a Minute host Nicholas Parsons has died aged 96

Regular Fringe performer: Nicholas Parsons

Nicholas Parsons, host of BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute, has died aged 96 after a short illness.

He has hosted more than 900 episodes of the show, in which guests must speak for 60 seconds without hesitation, repetition or deviation.

Parsons defied his ageing years to continue working and missed a recording for the first time in April last year because of flu, prompting speculation about his health, and then another in August due to a back problem.

He was also a regular performer at the Edinburgh Fringe, appearing last August for the 17th consecutive season.

He began hosting Just a Minute in 1967 and also presented Sale of the Century for Anglia Television.

BBC director-general Tony Hall said: “Very few people have done so much to entertain audiences over the decades, and no one deserves to be called a broadcasting legend more than Nicholas Parsons.

“His charm, inventive intellect and ability to create laughs were unsurpassed. Our thoughts are with his family and all who knew him.”

Mohit Bakaya, controller of BBC Radio 4, said: “Nicholas Parsons was one of the greats, a first class broadcaster and an icon in the world of British comedy.

“Nicholas always brought his sharp wit, brilliant poise and warmth to everything he did – but particularly as host of Just a Minute where his excellence shone in each episode without hesitation, deviation or repetition.”

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