Entertainment

Radio 4 to mark Nicholas Parsons' 97th birthday with night of programming

The tribute will mark the late broadcaster's storied career.

BBC Radio 4 will pay tribute to Nicholas Parsons with an evening of programmes on what would have been his 97th birthday.

The veteran broadcaster, who hosted Just A Minute for 52 years and was awarded a CBE for his charitable work, died in January following a short illness.

On Saturday October 10, Radio 4 will broadcast a new documentary as well as archive shows from Parsons’ seven-decade career.

Comedian Paul Merton, who appeared alongside Parson on Just A Minute for more than 30 years, will join Clive Anderson on Loose Ends from 6.15pm to introduce the evening.

TV director and producer Paul Jackson will celebrate Parsons’ life in showbusiness with a programme titled A Man Of Many Parts from 7pm.

Merton, Jean Diamond, John Antrobus, Laura Beaumont, Gyles Brandreth, Jill Sinclair and Adrian Edmondson will feature among the contributors.

The 800th episode of Just A Minute, from December 13 2010, will air from 7.30pm, with Merton, Sheila Hancock, Brandreth and Ian MacMillan.

Alan Simpson funeral
Paul Merton worked with Nicholas Parsons for more than 30 years (Victoria Jones/PA)

A 2005 documentary, The Straight Man, will air from 8pm, exploring the history of the “stooge” in comedy and Parsons’ relationship with comic Arthur Haynes.

Doon The Watta, from 8.30pm, was originally broadcast in 2010 and sees Parsons return to Glasgow and the River Clyde, where he worked as an apprentice in the 1940s.

Parsons’ appearance on Desert Island Discs, in which he chose a portable radio with an endless supply of batteries as his luxury item, will air at 9pm.

His widow Annie, speaking on behalf of his family, said: “Nicholas loved the BBC and he would consider this evening an unbelievable honour and be immensely flattered.”

Radio 4’s commissioning editor for comedy, Sioned Wilia, said: “There is so much love and respect amongst us all at Radio 4 and our listeners for Nicholas, we miss him so much.

“He leaves behind one of the finest comedy and broadcasting legacies spanning over 50 years.

“We’re delighted to be able to remember him through a selection of that brilliance on this evening.”

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