Gyles Brandreth steps in for Just a Minute without hesitation
It was nice to see that our esteemed friend and sometime Clive Conway Production’s speaker Gyles Brandreth was on hand to step into breach again when 95-year-old Nicholas Parsons had to pull out of a broadcast of Radio 4’s Just a Minute last week.
It is only the second time in more than 50 years that the apparently indestructible Parsons has had to put his presenting duties on hold. Last time he had flu and his latest absence was due to a bad back.
The show which famously asks its celebrity panelists to talk on a subject for 60 seconds with hesitation, repetition or deviation is now in its 85th series and has been running since 1967 - an extraordinary record.
Even more extraordinary is the fact that Nicholas Parsons has been at the helm since day one.
In his absence his long time friend and regular panellist Gyles was an obvious choice to chair the recording of two episodes featuring Paul Merton, Lucy Porter, Ed Byrne and Fred MacAuley.
But it’s unlikely to be a long-term arrangement. Even though he will be celebrating his 100th birthday in little over four years time, Mr Parsons is still firing on all cylinders and has no plans to retire.