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SYFY WIRE Good Omens

Broadcast vet Nicholas Parsons, who appeared in Good Omens and Doctor Who, dies at 96

By James Comtois
Nicholas Parsons

Nicholas Parsons, host of BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute who had appeared in Good Omens and Doctor Who, has died after a short illness, the BBC reports. He was 96.

"Nicholas passed away in the early hours of the 28th of January," his agent Jean Diamond said a statement released by the BBC. "He was with his beloved family who will miss him enormously and who wish to thank the wonderful staff at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital."

Parsons had been the host of Just a Minute since its inception in 1967. The popular and long-running game show had contestants speak for a full minute on a single subject without hesitation, deviation, or repetition. His final appearance on the show was on Sept. 23. He also hosted ITV's Sale of the Century from 1971 to 1983.

Parsons played Reverend Wainwright in the 1989 Doctor Who serial The Curse of Fenric, with Sylvester McCoy playing the Seventh Doctor (check out the clip below). Most recently, he served as the voice of the demon Dagon in the Neil Gaiman-scripted miniseries Good Omens.

Gaiman was one of many to pay tribute to the veteran broadcaster. 

“Heartbroken,” Gaiman wrote on Twitter. “I was thrilled to have been able to work with Nicholas Parsons on Good Omens. I sort of directed him, but the direction was basically ‘You're Nicholas Parsons so do that.’ Kind and professional and a pleasure to work with. So sad.”

“Oh no. Nicholas Parsons gone? He ruled Just a Minute for Just a Lifetime,” wrote actor, comedian and author Stephen Fry. “A stunning achievement: never scripted, always immaculate. From comedian's sidekick to great institution, via Sale of the Century & much more. Unrivalled continuity, professionalism & commitment. Farewell x”


Comedian and talk-show host Graham Norton also paid tribute to his friend:

“The sound of the final whistle. Nicholas Parsons was truly the kindest and most generous person I’ve ever worked with. His continued delight at being a part of show business should be an inspiration to us all! Huge love to his wife Annie and his whole family. #ripnicholasparsons”

Radio 4 will broadcast a tribute to Parsons on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. GMT (1:30 p.m. EST).