Nicholas Parsons began his working life as an engineering apprentice in the tough and harsh world of the Clydeside shipyards, where he worked for five years.  He went for a time to Glasgow University but gave up engineering to become an Actor.


His first job was as a Carroll Levis Discovery doing impersonations. He worked for two years in repertory, playing every conceivable role. Later he worked in the West End doing sophisticated cabaret, and then in variety, including six months as resident comedian at the famous Windmill theatre. He did a lot of revues, was in Much Binding in the Marsh, the Eric Barker shows, and then met up with Arthur Haynes and the partnership was formed that ran for 10 years and they became the top rated comedy show on ITV in the 60’s. They also appeared in an amazing season at the London Palladium called Swing Along. When the partnership broke up Nicholas worked for 3 years with Benny Hill in his television series.


In 1968 he was voted Radio Personality of the year for his satirical comedy show LISTEN TO THIS SPACE. At the same time Just A Minute began on Radio 4 and he is still hosting this comedy game show after 48 years. A 10 part series of the show ran on BBC2 in 2012.


He has worked consistently in the West End of London in various plays. He starred for over a year in the comedy Boeing Boeing, Uproar In the House, Say Who You Are and latterly in a number of musicals Charlie Girl, Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, and more recently in two London seasons and a national tour of the cult musical The Rocky Horror Show.


He has starred in an American comedy series The Ugliest Girl in Town. He has appeared regularly in pantomime, making a speciality in the role of dame. He probably is best remembered by most people for the highly successful quiz show he hosted for a record 14 years, Sale of the Century.


He also featured with Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmundson for the comic strip in Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, shown in the cinema and on television. He has appeared in many pantomimes over the years playing different roles, making his biggest success playing the Dame.


In 1989 he featured on one of the stories of the Dr Who series - The Curse of Fenric. In 1990 he was seen five days a week hosting the game show Laughlines on BSB TV. He has appeared in a series of Cluedo as the Rev Green, and guested on innumerable television and radio shows. He has a One Man Comedy Show, and another based on the life and work of the great nonsense poet, Edward Lear. His Lear show also transmitted on Radio 2. He is a popular performer on the University circuit, and has appeared in comedy clubs, and many theatre venues as a solo act.


In December 2010, the Radio 4 play Chequebook and Pen (written by Johnny Vegas) took full artistic license in imagining how the BBC might have engaged the iconic Les Dawson to become a game show host of Blankety Blank. Nicholas played the part of Farson, a resplendent foil for Dawson who embraces and embodies the hammiest forces of the 'traditional BBC'.


He has performed his one man comedy show in many venues in this country, as well as comedy festivals abroad.  He has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival on 15 different occasions in 3 different shows. In 2016 he will return to The Pleasance Theatre with his comedy chat show The One Man Comedy Hour which has run for over fifteen successful years.


His book ‘Welcome to Just a Minute’ was published in August 2014.


His most recent autobiography ‘With Just a Touch of Hesitation, Repetition and Deviation: My Life in Comedy’  was published in September 2010 and follows on from ‘The Straight Man - My Life in Comedy’ which was published in 1994. He works actively for a number of children’s charities and is ex-President of The Lord’s Taverners. He is an Ambassador for Childline and a Barker of the Variety Club. He is a member of the Grand Order of Water Rats. He has been honoured by St Andrews University with a Doctor of Laws in recognition of his work as Rector there for three years. In 2003 he was given an OBE for services to the theatre and broadcasting and received a CBE in the 2014 New Years’ Honours List.