Nicholas Parsons is 90 years old today and we wish him a very, very happy birthday. The game show host is celebrating his birthday knowing he has made a huge impact on game shows in the United Kingdom, having been broadcast on both ITV and the BBC. Happy birthday Nicholas!
Just A Minute, 1967
The BBC Radio panel game that just keeps running. By 2013 the show has ran for an amazing sixty six series and counting. We are running our post in tribute to host Nicholas Parsons who will be ninety this week (yes there are veteran entertainers older than Brucie).
The idea behind the show was first used in a show One Minute Please, chaired by Roy Plomley. Whilst the fundamental rules were the same, the game was played in two teams of three rather than with four individual contestants. This show was broadcast between 1951 and 1957. There had been previous incarnations of the show in other countries, these included a 1952 version in South Africa, as well as a television version on the DuMont network in the United States.
However it was in 1967 that a pilot show for Just A minute was recorded. It featured: Clement Freud, Derek Nimmo, Beryl Reid and Wilma Ewart as panellists. The chairman was originally planned to be Jimmy Edwards, but as he was unavailable on the proposed recording dates Nicholas Parsons took up chairmanship duties, a role he still holds today. The show was very nearly not commissioned as BBC Executives disliked the pilot. It was producer David Hatch that saved the day by threatening to resign if he could not oversee a full series. As the BBC wished to hang on to him they commissioned a full series, the rest is history as it still runs today.
After two false starts in 1969 and 1981 with two pilot episodes being recorded for television, but never broadcast, except in documentaries about Kenneth Williams, several series have made it to TV, in 1994 Carlton Television made 14 shows with a further 14 in 1995, these were broadcast on ITV. In 1999 the BBC televised the show recording 20 episodes. The last TV outing was 2012 to mark 45 years of the show the BBC broadcast 10 episodes over two weeks.
Happy birthday to Nicholas Parsons, 90 years old today. There are some great game show hosts, and Nicholas Parsons is among them. We hope there are many more birthdays to come Nicholas, thank you for your contribution to British television.