Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

April 09, 2011

nice article about Nicholas

from The Daily Mail

Nicholas Parsons has never been more active.
At the age of 87, he is celebrating his 44th year as host of the BBC Radio 4 comedy quiz show Just A Minute, on which he has enjoyed verbally sparring with Paul Merton, Kenneth Williams and Clement Freud over the decades.
'There is no doubt the show sharpens me up,' he says. 'You need a good memory - with contestants being challenged on hesitation, repetition or deviation as they try to speak on a subject for up to a minute. I think the memory keeps you feeling young.'
And he may have a point. Dementia is on the rise in the UK with the 700,000 already diagnosed cases expected to swell to one million by 2020.
About 20 per cent of people who are Nicholas's age have dementia and thousands far younger suffer age-related memory loss, often seen as a precursor.
Research has shown the key to staving off mental decline is keeping active in older age, and Nicholas is a shining example of this.
He also writes - he has just completed an autobiography - and has a one-man comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival each summer.
He typically rises at 8am for a day that might not end until 1am the following day.
'Sometimes I power-nap in the recording studio between takes and when I get the opportunity I also take siestas - between 3pm and 4.30pm. It keeps me lively and I often get a second wind at about 10pm - perhaps it comes from when I was young and was a late night comedian.'
So how does he do it?
'I see the brain as just another muscle - it needs exercising in the same way as the rest of your body,' he explains.
Nicholas, who lives in rural Buckinghamshire with his second wife, Annie, with whom he shares nine grandchildren, admits to being fortunate that his job provides a regular workout for the mind.
But he also keeps lively in other, even more surprising ways. Nicholas is a keen horologist - he is a member of the British Watch and Clock Makers' Guild.
'If you are mechanically minded you can take great pleasure in the intriguing mechanisms of an old clock - different wheels that work off each other to keep time. They can be beautifully creative,' he says.
His favourite is a 1640 'Cromwell' lantern clock that belonged to his father - a physician who was once a doctor to Margaret Thatcher's family in Grantham, Lincolnshire.
'He purchased it in 1913 for seven shillings and sixpence when he went off to Cambridge to study medicine.
It stopped working about 50 years ago so I took the whole thing apart, cleaned it and put everything back together again. It has kept perfect time ever since.'
Nicholas is surrounded by three grandfather clocks and half-a-dozen smaller clocks.
'The sound can drive guests crazy in the night so I have to turn the chimes off, but I find them therapeutic.'
He recognises that as people get older they can get crabbier - something he fights with a positive attitude and a self-deprecating manner.
'Just A Minute is perfect for keeping your humour,' he says. ' Comedians like Merton have such a gift for taking the mickey without malice.'


Anonymous Perra Dox Esq. said...

The man is an inspiration to all of us :)

*Looks down at the verification word*

...Spogisea was of course the much lesser known sister of Boadicea who when the Romans tried...aqqq! *Bzzzt*

8:27 am  

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