Nicholas Parsons attacks ageism in the media

Just a Minute's 88-year-old host bemoans the fixation with the cult of youth


Just a Minute host Nicholas Parsons has endured more than his fair share of jokes about his age over the years, but isn’t quite as easy-going about ageist humour as you might think.


In an interview published in this week’s Radio Times, Parsons said: “Nowadays if you’re making jokes, you don’t make jokes which are sexist, racist or about disability… but you can make as many jokes about age as you want.”

He also said that age should not be a barrier keeping someone from doing a job that they can do well. 

“I feel very strongly it should be based on talent. Sometimes people get older and they age more rapidly than other people. If you’ve got the talent for the job they should go on employing you,” said Parsons.

“And you don’t bring in someone new because they’re younger. You bring in someone different because they’ve got a different talent or a different perspective.”

Parsons, who has never missed a single episode of Just a Minute, admitted that he feels a certain “sensitivity” about his age these days, and doesn’t like to contemplate the radio programme continuing without him.

Read Eddie Mair’s full interview with Parsons, who discusses his life, career and disputes with Clement Freud, in this week’s Radio Times.


Just a Minute starts a ten-episode run on BBC2 this Monday at 6:00pm.