Nicholas Parsons to be honoured by TV and radio writers at this year’s Broadcasting Press Guild Awards

Radio and TV presenter, Nicholas Parsons CBE, who has entertained audiences for more than 70 years, is to be honoured later this week at the 45th annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards, sponsored by Virgin Media. The actor and gameshow host has presented Radio 4’s Just A Minute for over 50 years and hosted ITV’s Sale of the Century for 12 years.

On Friday 15 March, Parsons will receive the Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting.

Nicholas Parsons began his career on radio in the 1940s, as an impersonator on the Carroll Levis Discoveries talent show. As an actor, he appeared on the West End stage, in repertory and in films. One of his first television appearances was in an episode of ITV’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, playing Sir Walter of the Glen. In the 1960s, he became known to millions of viewers as the straight man to comedian Arthur Haynes, a partnership which ran for ten years, including appearances at the London Palladium and on The Ed Sullivan Show. He later appeared regularly on The Benny Hill Show.

On December 22nd 1967, Nicholas Parsons hosted the first edition of Just A Minute on BBC Radio 4, a role he has carried out ever since, missing just one recording (when he had flu). In 1971, he also became host of the ITV gameshow Sale of the Century, which he presented for 12 years. Other broadcasting highlights have included appearances in The Comic Strip Presents (Channel 4), Doctor Who (BBC One) and hosting Have I Got News For You (BBC One).

The BPG’s chairman, Jake Kanter, said: “Our Harvey Lee award winner is being recognised for seven decades of TV and radio entertainment, and in particular his contribution to one of the BBC’s longest-running programmes. Panelists have come and gone, the gamesmanship and gags have evolved, but Nicholas Parsons remains in the hot seat at the centre of it all. His warmth, sharp wit, and clear-headed determinations in rooms full of fast-talking show offs have kept him at the top of his game.”

The BPG Awards are highly prized by programme-makers because they are selected independently by journalists who write about TV and radio – correspondents, critics and previewers. The awards lunch, at Banking Hall in the City of London on Friday, will be attended by the winners, BPG members and leading broadcasting executives.

For more information about the Broadcasting Press Guild, including a full list of winners over the past 45 years, and see pictures and videos from previous BPG awards ceremonies at:


Notes to editors:

  1. The other award winners will be announced at the 45th BPG Awards lunch at Banking Hall in the City on Friday March 15th 2019. Winners have been informed in advance and places at the lunch are by invitation only. A full news release about the winners, embargoed till 12 noon on Friday, will be available.
  2. The Broadcasting Press Guild was founded in 1974 and has more than a hundred members. They are journalists who specialise in covering television, radio and the media, and include critics, previewers, media correspondents and feature writers from national newspapers, broadcasters and leading trade journals and websites.
  3. Harvey Lee (1950-1991) was the media correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and a leading light in the BPG throughout the 1980s. Previous winners of the BPG’s Harvey Lee Award, for an outstanding contribution to broadcasting, include Sir Lenny Henry, John Humphrys, John Lloyd, Sir Terry Wogan, Cilla Black, Melvyn Bragg, Andrew Davies, Sir David Frost, Michael Grade, Norma Percy, Biddy Baxter & Edward Barnes, Phil Redmond, Beryl Vertue, Tony Warren, Anne Wood and Charles Wheeler. See more details at
  4. The 2019 BPG Awards are sponsored by Virgin Media, which offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline. Its interactive TV service brings live programmes, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps and games in a set-top box, as well as on-the-go for tablets and smartphones. It launched the world’s first virtual mobile network and is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland. Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company, with operations in more than 30 countries.


Further information from Torin Douglas, BPG: or 07860 422992