Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

February 08, 2006


The writer has to admit to not being the greatest fan of Gyles Brandreth as a player on JAM. When he first appeared in the 80s, he was clearly helped by being a close personal friend of both Kenneth Williams and Derek Nimmo. In those intimidating times, not being in awe to those two was a huge plus for him. And of course he was able to keep going and compete at the game much better than most.

But to me he was too prone to recycling the same material again and again, particular rhymes and anecdotes always seemed to come out whether or not there was much relevance to the subject at hand.

But in his two appearances this year Gyles has been particularly good. He's had new material and confidence, he's been funny and able to compete well with the powerful personalities of Paul and Graham.

There's an argument for having Gyles on the programme more regularly. His style is reminiscent of Derek Nimmo's, and that puts him in contrast with everyone else currently playing the game. A fun combination of a memory for anecedote, and personal recollection, makes him good fun to listen to.

There is another reason for promoting Gyles at least to the position of semi-regular. In a couple of months, Nicholas Parsons will turn 83. Clement Freud will turn 82. Both belie their age and seem if anything more energetic and busy than ever. At least one can say with certainty they show no signs of wanting to start taking life more quietly.

Nevertheless when you're in your mid-80s, there must at least be questions about whether they will still both be attending most or all recordings in five years' time. For either gentleman Gyles would be a good replacement. You could see him in a Clementine role, the older head who likes to see the game played properly, with an element of gravitas.

He is also the most likely replacement for Nicholas if the person is picked from among the current players - not a certainty of course. Gyles has experience as a presenter, he understands comic timing, he is a powerful enough personality to impose himself on the other big mouths, and, not unimportantly, he would be a good target for the barbs and jokes that Nicholas is currently the recipient of. And although he has a mix of work, none of it seems so pressing that he wouldn't be prepared to commit to 10 Sundays a year and the occasional promotional appearance.

It will be interesting to see if Gyles is used again in the winter season. Maybe he will even do one of the remaining recordings this season.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicholas Parsons is not 83.

12:12 pm  

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