Nicholas Parsons

ALISON CROOSE Princess Theatre, Hunstanton


The smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd are a potent cocktail, providing the heady mix which deters troupers such as Nicholas Parsons from retirement.

Not that there was too big a roar of the crowd at Hunstanton for a disappointingly small, but appreciative, audience heard Mr Parsons talk about his life in comedy.

It is a fascinating story, not least because his middle class parents did their best to dissuade him from entering showbusiness, which they deemed totally unsuitable.

But the young Nicholas was determined, and even as a schoolboy amused his friends by impersonating their teachers. He confessed that part of acting was striving for acclaim and mused that, maybe, he was still seeking his parents' approval.

He continues to enjoy a live audience and never confessed to nerves in any of the rigorous challenges he has faced, not least the live television shows.

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Nicholas Parsons proved himself a talented actor and impersonator who has chaired Radio 4's Just a Minute for 25 years and compered Anglia TV's long-running Sale of the Century. Showbusiness is his life - clearly retirement is not an option.