Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

October 13, 2006

happy birthday

Nicholas Parsons turned 83 this week.

October 08, 2006

Sheila still grieving

from The Sun

Sheila still grieves for Thaw


SHEILA HANCOCK says it’s still too painful to watch her late husband John Thaw’s TV shows four years after his death.

Sheila, 73, said: “I can’t quite face seeing him walking and talking, not yet.

“I should as it’s four years, so come on pull yourself together. There have been trailers and I’ve gone ‘Oh no, I don’t want to look.’

“I’m a great one for putting my head in the sand.”

The actress was married to Thaw for nearly 30 years before his death from cancer of the oesophagus in 2002 aged 59.

Speaking on ITV1’s Parkinson on Saturday at 10.35pm, she added: “One of the things you miss when you’re a widow is sensuality, you miss flesh, you miss skin, you miss cuddles.”

She also revealed how she has visited a hypnotist to get rid of stage fright and first night nerves as she prepares for her role as Fraulein Schneider in West End musical Cabaret.

Graham Norton in the news

The JAM star has admitted to taking drugs - and that has got him offside with various politicians and various others... And he says he envies George Michael...

from ITV.com

Graham Norton: 'drugs are fantastic'

TV presenter Graham Norton has sparked outrage after revealing that he has taken "loads of drugs" and that ecstasy is "just fantastic".

He made the comments in an interview with Marie Claire magazine.

The 43-year-old said: "The only time I took ecstasy was years and years ago. It was absolutely amazing. It was just fantastic - really, really fun.

"I've tried loads of drugs, but it would really bug me if I got busted in the tabloids because I take them so rarely."

The BBC comedian, who also said that cocaine was a "middle-class choice of drug", has been severely criticised by MPs and anti-drug organisations over his comments.

Tory MP John Whittingdale - chairman of the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee - said: "To boast about the extent of your drug abuse and enjoyment, as he seems to have done, sends a message which is extremely dangerous and against everything which everyone, including the BBC, is trying to do."

Labour MP Gwyn Prosser also said that Norton's comments were "grossly irresponsible" while Peter Stoker, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, added: "Perhaps he'd like to ask the parents of those who died from ecstasy if they think it's fun.

From UPI

LONDON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The British Broadcasting Corp. is sticking with Graham Norton after the newly signed TV host's frank remarks about ecstasy and other recreational drugs.

The BBC said in a statement Saturday that Norton's comments in an interview with the fashion magazine Marie Claire were aimed at "an adult audience and reflect the frank and open nature of his personality."

Norton told the magazine he had extensive experience in sampling various drugs, including ecstasy, which he described as "fantastic" and "really, really fun."

Although he dismissed the appeal of cocaine, Sky News said, his remarks were sharply criticized by British anti-drug organizations that maintained celebrities should be telling people about the downside of narcotics.

From The Mirror

By Fiona Cummins

GRAHAM Norton has confessed he hankers after the wild gay lifestyle of George Michael - but lacks the courage.

The TV star admitted the singer is "probably living the life I'd like to live, but I don't have the nerve".

George Michael was recently caught cruising for sex on London's Hampstead Heath and was this week found slumped in his car for the second time.

Norton, 43, told Marie Claire magazine: "The thing about him is that he's very eloquent.

"He'll sit in a chair talking about going cruising and even my mother probably goes, 'Oh I kind of get it. You know, no one's been hurt here, it's not my cup of tea, but he seems alright with it'. And he humanises that behaviour."

Norton confessed he once ventured on to Hampstead Heath but hated it.

He said: "It was terrifying. I didn't enjoy it."

But he added: "I can imagine going to saunas."

Norton also said he had "tried lots of drugs" but rarely touches them now.

October 04, 2006

Paul to count down?

Paul Merton is among the early favourites to be the new host of Countdown. For those outside Britain, Countdown runs every weekday in the early afternoons. It's a game show based around making words from letters and mathematical calculations.

According to the various newspaper reports, Paul was seriously interested the last time the job was open, about 18 months ago. And it seems he is a serious contender again.

I do find it hard to believe though. Why?

* Paul is seriously choosy about what he commits himself to as a regular gig. His "Have I Got News For You" gig, for which he is well rewarded, pays most of the bills, allowing him to pick other jobs that don't pay well but that he enjoys. I include in this Just A Minute and the Comedy Store Players. But I also include his interest in silent films for example. Doing a daily TV game show would make a big impact on what other work he could do.

* It's filmed in Leeds. Would Paul, want to travel that much - or shift up north?

* It doesn't seem a very good vehicle for his humour. Paul's an improiviser whose specialities are riffing off the comments of others, and taking us into the surreal. Countdown is a standard game show - it has comedy in it, but generally through the guests rather than the host.

* Paul always looks so uncomfortable as a TV presenter.

Still who knows - Paul is a hard man to read.

Othr JAMsters in the running for the gig are Gyles Brandreth, Jo Brand and Tom O'Connor.