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Nicholas Parsons

Nicholas Parsons

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 04 Nov 2007

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]

Choices

Louis Armstrong

1.

Louis Armstrong

What a Wonderful World

Performer: Louis Armstrong

Others who chose this artist

The Oscar Peterson Trio

2.

The Oscar Peterson Trio

Night Train

Performer: The Oscar Peterson Trio

Others who chose this artist

Nat King Cole

3.

Nat King Cole

Unforgettable

Performer: Nat King Cole

Others who chose this artist

Ella Fitzgerald

4.

Ella Fitzgerald

Just One of Those Things

Performer: Ella Fitzgerald

Others who chose this artist

Fifth Dimension

5.

Fifth Dimension

Age of Aquarius from the musical Hair

Performer: Fifth Dimension

Frédéric Chopin

6.

Frédéric Chopin

Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64/1 'Minute Waltz'

Composer: Frédéric Chopin

Others who chose this artist

Barbra Streisand

7.

Castaway's favourite

Barbra Streisand

Children Will Listen (from Sondheim's Into the Woods)

Performer: Barbra Streisand

Others who chose this artist

Dmitri Shostakovich

8.

Dmitri Shostakovich

Piano Concerto No.1 in C minor (Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings)

Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich

Others who chose this artist

Book

Oxford Anthology of English Poetry by John Wain

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

Portable radio with an endless supply of batteries

Others who chose a similar luxury

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