Nicholas Parsons

Nicholas Parsons began as a serious actor, who worked for two years in weekly repertory, concentrating on comedy.

He moved to solo cabaret work in the 1950s, and became a stand-up comedian at the Windmill Theatre and worked in a lot of variety shows.

His first major success on television was as the straight man to Arthur Haynes in the famous partnership which flourished in the 1960s, which included Swing Along, a season in 1963 at the London Palladium.

He also worked as a straight man with Benny Hill for three years and starred in West End comedies Boeing Boeing, and Say Who You Are, as well as musicals and revues.

He has been Chairman of BBC Radio 4's Just a Minute for over 40 years, and hosted of Sale of the Century on television for a record 14 years.

In 1990 he starred in London's West End in Stephen Sondheim's musical Into the Woods. In 1994, 1995 and 1996 he starred in the West End in The Rocky Horror Show, and toured in this show in 1996 and 1998.

He has played his one-man shows in Edinburgh and other festivals and on cruise ships.

His autobiography The Straight Man - My Life in Comedy was published in 1994.

He regularly guests in television and radio comedy shows. In 1999 he took his comedy chat show The Nicholas Parsons Happy Hour to the Edinburgh Festival and he is returning for his eighth successive season.

He works regularly for a number of children's charities and is ex-President of The Lord's Taverners. In 2004 he was awarded an OBE in recognition of his services to drama and broadcasting.