The sometime Footlights stalwart, professional friend of John Cleese, creator of Week Ending, producer of Just A Minute and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, and latterday special advisor to John Birt has died at the age of 68.
Among his many justifiable achievements must surely count the dual honour of serving as, sequentially, Controller of both Radio 2 and 4, something that would never, and could never, happen nowadays, the former stint guided by his fondness for “sweet music”.
He was also, along with Bill Cotton and Michael Grade, part of a triumvirate of programme-makers with light entertainment backgrounds to sit on the Beeb’s Board of Management, the only time such a preponderance of variety-rooted personnel has ever been achieved.
After a life in the Corporation he quit in protest at Radio 5 being turned into Radio Five Live. “Everything one builds, one’s successors tear down,” he rued.
As ever, Kenneth Williams had plenty to say about the man in his diaries. An entry from July 1968 reads: “Had David Hatch on the phone asking me to do six programmes in his radio series Just A Minute – unfortunately it means working with that Parsons fellow, but I said yes, cos it will be a nice fill-in.”