Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

February 25, 2006

Audience - get less involved!

The audience has always been a player in Just A Minute. Nicholas used to appeal to them a lot to make up his mind for him and still does sometimes - to be fair today's generation is less likely to challenge him than those of 20-30 years ago. Kenneth Williams in particular played to the audience shamelessly both on and off air as it were. At the one recording I went to we were told to be noisy and vigorous.

At the recording a couple of weeks ago, priducer Claire Jones passed on an instruction to the audience not to boo challenges and decisions. She told the audience this was at the request of JAM superstar Paul Merton.

Listeners will have noticed that Paul has been booed a few times recently over various decisions. Paul likes to win, or perhaps more accurately stay in the game, and there's no doubt that he is very good at being first to the buzzer.

Is Paul being too sensitive? I think so. The audience booing is always good-natured and is just them signalling their support for the person who is the underdog or in the middle of a good story. Generally Paul seems to me not to challenge someone in the middle of a good story - he has better comic timing than that. So usually the booing simply recognises the fact that Paul is a considerably more experienced player than anyone else, and that he usually dominates a show both in terms of speaking time and points. That makes an audience prepared to listen to someone else.

Paul despite his somewhat gloomy facade has always been a popular performer with the audiences. Perhaps he's not used to being booed. But I'd be asking him to be realistic. A bit of audience interaction adds considerably to the show - if you don't think so, perhaps the show could be recorded in a studio without them!

And there's always been something of the pantomime about JAM. And everyone likes to boo a villain. Paul shouldn't mind this - after all the truth is everyone knows he's the best. They probably wouldn't boo him if that wasn't the case.


Blogger nirvana_rocksmysocks said...

I completely agree with you! When I have been at recordings, looking at Paul's face, you can see that he is sometimes upset and surprised at boos, even when the audience is laughing at the same time! I don't understand it. He is clearly the funniest, and always wins, and probably gets the most cheers as well. Clement Froyd also gets boos a lot because of his unmerciful tactics, and he loves it. Paul, stop being so sensitive! Love the site btw. ;)

10:01 pm  
Blogger rachel_hitchhiker said...

Sorry if this seems a bit off topic, but how do you get to go on the recordings and be in the audience? I've looked around but to no avail, any assistance here would be much appreciated

9:21 am  
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