Veteran presenter, Nicholas Parsons, has stunned the world of broadcasting by refusing to give up the chairman’s role on the popular Radio 4 panel show, Just a Minute, despite calls on all sides for him to step down.
He dropped the bombshell at a press conference in Broadcasting House where he was widely expected to announce his retirement. But the assembled show production staff, regular panelists and press alike where left open-mouthed when the ninety four-year old said: ‘You know I have really enjoyed my fifty years in the chair and I’d just like to confirm I intend to go on for another fifty…’
He was cut short at this point when Paul Merton ‘buzzed in’ and challenged for ‘repetition of fifty’ causing a huge laugh around the room. However the good-natured banter quickly turned to incredulity as Parson’s ignored the challenge and ploughed on with an incoherent and rambling address which ended in confusion and without any resignation announcement.
The move has thrown The BBC into turmoil and media strategists are waiting to see what their next move will be, as it’s widely believed the corporation has already served Mr Parsons with a notice to terminate his contract earlier this year.
Noel Armstrong, a broadcasting analyst told reporters: ‘We’re in uncharted waters here and it could end up in widespread civil disobedience if it’s not handled properly. The closest we’ve come to anything similar is when Brucie was doing Strictly, but luckily he saw sense and stepped down when still at the top of his game.’
Meanwhile Parsons was not taking calls but his agent said: ‘Nicholas reached his decision without hesitation, there will be no repetition of his statement or any deviation from is intention to carry on.’