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. Nicolas has been involved in the theatre ever since. 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 also appeared in many pantomimes over the years playing different roles, making his biggest success playing the Dame.
Away from the West End, Nicolas was voted Radio Personality of the year in 1968, 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 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 alongside Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmundson for the comic strip in Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, shown in the cinema and on television.
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 guest starred on innumerable television and radio shows.
He also = created and starred in a One Man Comedy Show based on the life and work of the great nonsense poet, Edward Lear.
Nicolas is a popular performer on the University circuit and has appeared in comedy clubs, and many theatre venues as a solo act. He has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival on 15 different occasions in 3 different shows. In 2016 he returned to The Pleasance Theatre with his comedy chat show The One Man Comedy Hour which has run for over fifteen successful years.
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'.
Nicolas is an engaging corporate speaker and entertainer. 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.