Actor and broadcaster Nicholas Parsons has died at the age of 96 after a brief illness.
Parsons was perhaps best known as the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s comedy panel show Just A Minute, which he hosted from December 1967 until June 2018 without missing a single episode.
He also appeared as an actor in numerous films and TV shows including The Comic Strip, Doctor Who and most recently Good Omens.
“Nicholas passed away in the early hours of the 28th of January,” said his agent, Jean Diamond, in a statement on behalf of his family.
“He was with his beloved family who will miss him enormously and who wish to thank the wonderful staff at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital.”
The news of his passing has prompted a wave of tributes on social media, with celebrities and fans expressing their admiration for his work.
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, 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.”
Author Neil Gaiman, who worked with him on Good Omens, said he was “heartbroken” by the news, while comedian Stephen Fry described his lengthy run on Just A Minute as a “stunning achievement.”
Other prominent media personalities, including Piers Morgan, Graham Norton and Andrew Neil, have also offered their respects.
Heartbroken. I was thrilled to have been able to work with Nicholas Parsons on Good Omens. I sort of directed him, but the direction was basically "You're Nicholas Parsons so do that." Kind and professional and a pleasure to work with. So sad. https://t.co/gR5IFtnbak
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 28, 2020
Without hesitation, deviation or repetition I’d like to say that Nicholas Parsons was a broadcasting giant who proved that the straight man could be the real star of comedy. Will be hugely missed by all who work at & love @BBCRadio4 https://t.co/8r2hyMMXRY
— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) January 28, 2020
Oh no. Nicholas Parsons gone? He ruled Just a Minute for Just a Lifetime. A stunning achievement: never scripted, always immaculate. From comedian's sidekick to great institution, via Sale of the Century & much more. Unrivalled continuity, professionalism & commitment. Farewell x
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) January 28, 2020
RIP Nicholas Parsons, 96.
A wonderful man who brought so much fun, charm, wit & pleasure to so many millions of people over so many decades. What a life. pic.twitter.com/3ZoRKQDOqQ
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 28, 2020
So sad to learn of the death of Nicholas Parsons, though at 96 it was a pretty impressive innings. I last saw him a year ago and he was in great form. A more friendly, generous, polite and solicitous person you could not hope to meet.
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) January 28, 2020
The sound of the final whistle. Nicholas Parsons was truly the kindest and most generous person I’ve ever worked with. His continued delight at being a part of show business should be an inspiration to us all! Huge love to his wife Annie and his whole family. #ripnicholasparsons
— graham norton (@grahnort) January 28, 2020
The end of an era. Nicholas Parsons was such a lovely man – and so versatile: actor, entertainer, writer, TV star & radio host without equal, but for me, most of all, friend. I knew him for more than 50 years: he was simply the best. Thinking of his wonderful wife Annie & family. pic.twitter.com/p1Dl1rWqfJ
— Gyles Brandreth (@GylesB1) January 28, 2020