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Dame Esther Rantzen: Why wasn’t Nicholas Parsons knighted?

Nicholas Parsons with his CBE (Steve Parsons/PA)
Nicholas Parsons with his CBE (Steve Parsons/PA)

Dame Esther Rantzen has criticised the honours committee for not making Nicholas Parsons a knight before he died.

The veteran broadcaster, who hosted Just A Minute for 52 years, was awarded a CBE for his charitable work in 2013.

He said at the time that he was “flattered and delighted” with the honour.

Dame Esther, 79, told Good Morning Britain: “Why was Nicholas Parsons not knighted? And not to be a misogynist, what about Victoria Wood?

Dame Esther Rantzen
Dame Esther Rantzen (Lauren Hurley/PA)

“She should have been a dame. So, I think the honours committee don’t laugh.”

Wood, who was made a CBE in 2008, died at the age of 62 in 2016 after suffering from cancer.

Parsons fronted Radio 4 show Just A Minute since its inception in 1967 and only missed two recordings of the programme.

He was hailed as a “broadcasting giant” following the announcement of his death.

Gyles Brandreth said he thought Parsons “was immortal because he was always so alive” while Paul Merton, also a Just A Minute regular, said he “was the embodiment” of the show.

Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood (Ian West/PA)

Piers Morgan also criticised the lack of a knighthood, saying: “How could you not give a knighthood to a man” who “made us laugh” for so many years?

Citing Ronnie Corbett, who died in 2016, he said: “None of these comedic legends ever seem to get knighthoods.”

Officials were considering honouring Corbett with a knighthood when he died, according to reports at the time.

Tony Slattery also paid tribute to “utterly charming” Parsons.

“He had a sense of humour which was devoid of spite and malice,” he told the ITV show.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said they do not comment on honours that have not been awarded.

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