Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

January 26, 2007

Chris Neill and Tim Rice

Chris will be the only person this season to appear more than twice - apart from Paul and Clement. Chris of course produced the show for two and a half years from 1998 to 2000, and then again for a few months when Claire Jones was pregnant in 2004. He left the BBC to pursue a comedy career, and has been combining radio work with stand-up gigs.

He has been funny on the show since he first appeared as a panellist in 2002, but I feel he has really come into his own in the past year or so. He's become more competitive, more involved, and is funny every time he speaks. He would probably have won a game or two by now, because he's a very regular challenger, but he tends to run out of steam while speaking and then make it clear by saying "oh I've said that..." or something like that.

The advantage he has in the show is he knows the others so well. I may be biased, given I'm a producer too, but a good producer has to know their performers well, and the reality is that most of the current panellists were around when Chris was producer. He knows how to rile the others, how to get Nicholas going and so on.

And of course he sounds a lot like Kenneth Williams, which makes him very good fun to listen to. A tantrum he had this week sounded so much like a Kenneth paddy. He had a good line against Tim in particular. Yet his style too has something of Peter Jones - a realisation that he's not very good and a sort of poking of fun at himself and the others and the whole game.

I think he's very good. I expect we'll be hearing lots more of him.

Tim Rice was also awfully good this week. He has now done 43 shows over 27 years! He's very quick, funny, and sharp on the buzzer. I'd like to hear him more often. He could be a long-term successor to Clement as the elderly pedant.


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