Left, in the 1954 revue "First Edition", with Beryl Reed. Right, Nicholas with Benny Hill in his sketch sending up the film "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, 1971.
Left, with Arthur Haynes, Maria Pavlou and producer George Black during "Get Happy," 1956. Right, playing it straight as a policeman outside Number 10 with Arthur Haynes and Dermot Kelly as dustmen, 1960.
With Arthur Haynes as his famous tramp character.
With Dermot Kelly and Arthur Haynes.
With Kenneth Connor in "Four Feather Falls".
Clement Freud, "Just A Minute" creator Ian Messiter, Derek Nimmo, Nicholas and Kenneth Williams.
Left, playing another Vicar in Dr Who with Sylvester McCoy.
Right, with Benny Hill in one of his period romps.
NICHOLAS PARSONS: THE EARLY YEARS
After distinguishing himself at St Paul's School both in Latin, Greek and Rugby, he tried to become an engineer to please his family. He always wanted to act, but found himself beginning an apprenticeship for a firm that made pumps and turbines where his first pay packet for a 48 hour week was 49p! He started doing impersonations, joined an amateur concert party, survived the rigours of Clydebank where he endeared himself to his workmates by taking off his various foremen. He also went to Glasgow University where he excelled at rugger and even played in an East - v - West Scottish trial game.
His first professional engagement, whilst still an engineering apprentice, was as a Carroll Levis discovery on his radio shows, doing impersonations.
He served his acting apprenticeship in Repertory at Bromley in Kent. After two years playing a different part in a different play each week, he proved that comedy and character roles were his particular strength. Failing to obtain work in the West End, he moved to the legendary London cabaret circuit in the 1950s. He starred at Quaglino's, The Allegro, The Colony, the famous Cafe de Paris and many other venues.
In 1952 he became resident comedian at the famous Windmill Theatre for six months, which was followed by a lot of radio variety. Even now, he is still doing a lot of solo work, after dinners, one man shows, and more recently his show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe - solos comedy and guests - now in its eighth year.
PARSONS & POLITICS
Nicholas Parsons' father was a doctor in a country practice in Grantham. Among his patients were the Robert's family which included young Margaret who became Margaret Thatcher. Nicholas went to the same school as her, Grantham & Kesteven High School for Girls! In the kindergarden they took boys … not what you might think. He moved to London with his family when he was 8 years old.
In 1976, Nicholas was asked to stand as Liberal Party candidate for the Yeovil constituency. He refused with regret, and some newcomer called Paddy Ashdown was adopted and won the seat. Nicholas preferred to concentrate on his chosen profession.
After a hard-fought, student-run campaign in 1988, he was elected to the prestigious position of Rector of St. Andrews University, thrashing a popular politician named Glenda Jackson. At the end of his three year term of office he was honoured with a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.). You can address him as Doctor Parsons if you wish, especially as he has since received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree (D.A.) from Lincoln University in 2007.
CULT PERFORMANCES 1960s-1990s
FOUR FEATHER FALLS,
as the sheriff in Gerry Anderson's iconic TV puppet series, 1959. A magical children's Western.
THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW,
6 appearances in the 1960s in the cult American TV entertainment programme, with Arthur Haynes.
the vicar in The Curse Of Fenric series.
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW,
as the Narrator, including the outrageous cross-dressing gag, 1998, 1999 London, 2000 and 2001 on tour.
THE COMIC STRIP,
with Rick Mayall and Adrian Edmundson, in Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door.
THIS IS YOUR LIFE,
as the unsuspecting subject, of course.
the subject of Noel Edmunds "Gotcha!"
in 2007, to raise money for the Cancerbackup charity.
TV & RADIO COMEDY
Every one a classic:
LISTEN TO THIS SPACE
1965 award-winning radio satire show, for which he received the Radio Personality of the Year Award from the Variety Club.
THE ARTHUR HAYNES SHOW
10 year comedy partnership finishing in 1966. Top ITV show, Palladium Theatre 1963 and summer seasons.
THE BENNY HILL SHOW
1968-1971, as part of his comedy team.
JUST A MINUTE
since 1967, and still presenting the show without hesitation, repetition or deviation for over 40 years.
Nick has guested in so many other radio and tv shows, we don't have room to feature them!