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Nicholas Parsons: My Life in Comedy, By Nicholas Parsons

Few surprises from our genial host

It's hard to imagine the suave Nicholas Parsons as an apprentice engineer in a Clydebank shipyard, but that's what he did before taking to the stage in the late 1940s.

He's been a stand-up comedian, Arthur Haynes's straight man, a screen actor, a vicar in Doctor Who, the host of Sale of the Century, a genial chairman of Just a Minute, and a regular with his Edinburgh fringe chat show for the past 10 years. Parsons is a consummate professional who has good words to say about almost everyone he's known (except for Terry Scott, with whom he couldn't get on). One feels there's an untold story beneath the bland style, but it comes as a surprise to learn in the final chapter that Parsons sought psychiatric help in the Fifties.