Nicholas Parsons, the veteran British TV and radio host - best known for hosting Sale of the Century and radio game show Just a Minute - has died aged 96 after a short illness.

A statement issued by his agent, Jean Diamond, on behalf of his family, said: "Nicholas passed away in the early hours of 28 January after a short illness at the age of 96.

"He was with his beloved family who will miss him enormously and who wish to thank the wonderful staff at the Stoke Mandeville hospital."

Parsons had hosted the BBC Radio 4 comedy radio game show Just a Minute since its inception in 1967. He also hosted Sale of the Century throughout its initial incarnation from 1971 to 1983.

Nicholas Parsons

The show was notable for its often impressive prizes, and probably best-remembered for the introduction: "And now, from Norwich - it's the quiz of the week!"

During Parsons' tenure on Sale of the Century, the UK audience peaked at over 21 million viewers, a record for an ITV game show.

His showbiz career began in acting. In the 1950s and 1960s he appeared in many supporting roles in British films, before becoming a regular on ITV's The Benny Hill Show from 1968 to 1971.

In more recent times he was the guest presenter in 2005 on the BBC topical quiz show Have I Got News for You, appeared on Celebrity Mastermind in December 2007 and played Father Gorman in Agatha Christie's Marple.

Tributes have been paid to the late broadcaster on Twitter.