Nicholas Parsons (1923 – 2020)

Someone asked me this week if I would be writing about Nicholas Parsons, or Kobe Bryant, as obituaries of the week.  I really couldn’t decide.  So I have decided to write about both: one a nonagenarian, and one taken in his prime.

Birth Chart

We do not have a birth time for Nicholas, which limits the information we can glean from his birth chart.  The Sun and New Moon in Libra at his birth describes his charming nature, accentuated by a loose conjunction with Venus.  At Noon, the Moon would have been conjunct Venus, which seems likely, giving him qualities of gentleness and gentlemanliness.

Mercury was conjunct Mars in his chart, a quick wit – just a minute, in fact – a good conjunction for a quiz master.  He also had Jupiter trine Uranus – The Entrepreneur Archetype – and he certainly made use of opportunities in his life.

Jupiter in his chart was square exactly Neptune, which means he may have been confused about religion.  We have a family joke about his show “Sale of the Century”, which ran between 1971 and 1983.  My late father was such a fan of the show that he would always desert the table at Passover, so as not to miss the programme!  When we looked to him to read his portion of the Hebrew text, he had suddenly vanished!  We always found it funny, and still laugh about it.

Nicholas had Pluto sextile North Node – could that be a secret of longevity?


Nicholas trained as an engineer originally, but always wanted to be an actor.  He found success as the stooge to funny man Arthur Haynes. [anyone remember Arthur Haynes?]  Arthur’s persona was that of an unruly tramp, and Nicholas was the straight man trying to sort him out.  The partnership lasted for ten years, after which he teamed up with Benny Hill, also as a straight man.

Nicholas was though most remembered for his long running radio series Just a Minute (1967 – 2019) in which contestants tried to convey a given subject in a minute “without hesitation, repetition or deviation”

The show began on 22nd December 1967 (with Uranus on his natal Mercury in Virgo – a good vehicle for his quick mind).  It finished on 23rd September 2019, with Uranus opposite his natal Mars (a bit of a wrench) and Saturn on his natal Mars in Virgo (a curtailment), but Jupiter sextile his natal Chiron (probably merciful, as he was almost 96 at the time).

Other quirky things you should know about Nicholas Parsons: For a time, he held the record for the longest after-dinner speech (11 hours), and he had a lifelong fascination for clocks (North Node, Mercury/Mars in Virgo).

According to the Guardian obituary by Stephen Dixon, as quiz master, “the persona he chose to project, honed to perfection during a career that began in the 1940s, was that of a pedant from the professional classes who felt he had to treat his unruly panellists with lofty asperity”.  Again, pedantry being very much a Virgo trait, that’s very apt!

So, another “national treasure” has left us, and I could not leave him out of my Sunday blogs this week.