What a Wonderful World
Performer: Louis Armstrong
Just a Minute presenter
Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Nicholas Parsons. Actor, quizmaster, cabaret performer, straight man, panel show host and fully-qualified marine mechanical engineer to boot; spanning more than 60 years his professional credits defy classification and flout convention. Yet it's not just the duration of his showbiz career that's exceptional but the fact that he made it on stage at all. From well-to-do parents, his family had a "neurotic dread of the dissolute thespian life" and did their utmost to thwart his budding ambition.
Sickly, dyslexic and with an intermittent stutter he wasn't an obvious star in the making, but as he himself puts it - "The joy of performing is that you overcome the insecurity of your nature and are reassured by the reaction of the audience". Nicholas Parsons reflects on his role as the comic straight man over the years, firstly for Arthur Haynes in the 1950s and 1960s, and then as the consummate host of the long-running radio quiz Just a Minute.
[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
Age of Aquarius from the musical Hair
Performer: Fifth Dimension
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