Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

January 30, 2007

JAM - this week's buzz by buzz account

This week's team is Paul Merton, Neil Mullarkey, Sue Perkins and Tony Hawks. It's the first tiem this year we've heard from Tony and Sue. Tony is a very experienced hand now and Sue is arguably the best of the current women panellists. Neil hasn't done the show in 10 years - will be interesting to hear him again. For those who don't know, Paul and Neil have been working together with The Comedy Store Players for 21 years.

And the show is coming from Brighton - I think it's the third time they've been to Brighton.

Paul starts off with "all things bright and beautiful" - he mentions James Herriot, the famous vet-writer. He's off on an un-Paulian rant about Brighton which sounds very poetic and then mentions "walking along dressed as a woman". That creates the laughs and the first challenge from Neil:"I'm sorry but we're talking about things bright and beautiful, and you dressed as a woman is not bright or beautiful!" Sue: "I beg to differ!" But Nicholas thinks it would be! So Paul keeps the subject. Sue takes on the subject and the theme of Paul in drag. She always gets a real speed on and is very funny. She reaches the whistle.

Neil starts with "the fountain of youth". Neil says "youth is over-rated, with age comes experience, nostalgia...". He's buzzed and says "I'm 67 you know..." Paul's off now, "Nicholas washes his underpants in the fountain of youth..." Tony gets a word in, challenging for repetition of "pants", but Paul says "didn't I say underpants the first time?" The crowd cheers and Paul says "It's like I've played this game before, isn't it!" He then teases Nicholas for getting the decision wrong initially. Sue has the subject now and again gets the whistle. She's in the lead.

Tony starts with "there's nothing like a Dame". He hasn't had any subject yet. He trips over the names of the authors of the musical to everyone's amusement. Gyles Brandreth gets a mention from Paul - there should be a bonus point for mentioning another JAMmer. Tony beginning to sound a little hysterical as he keeps going, and Neil challenges "he looks as if he's about to expire!" He gets a bonus point, his first point. Tony now doing a funereal voiceover of a vaguely Clement-like voice. Tony challenged for repetition of "of course" so Sue must be channelling Clement even in his absence. Again Sue is speaking as the whistle goes, three rounds and three times that has happened.

Paul starts with "the end of my tether". They're bickering over a challenge and Tony tells Nicholas that the panellists will sort it out. Sue again picks up on Paul's theme, when she first came on the show she clearly pre-prepared a lot of material, but these days she is a great improviser. The subject really becomes long tethers rather than ends of tethers, but who cares...

Neil begins on "all mod cons". He gets the benefit of the doubt, dubiously, as the inexperienced players often do. Tony takes the subject off him, thankfully! We haven't heard much from him so far. Sue takes it up and is the best so far, but Paul now has it for the last 10 seconds, and he's trying to imitate Neil's rather unique voice. Very nice!

Tony to begin with "hot potato"- we haven't had Sue start a round yet and this is the sixth. Paul comes up with the good line "you're more likely to have a heart attack in a hospital than in a snack bar!" It makes you think... Tony talking about potatoes being a bit sexy to brussel sprouts. Paul challenges - he likes to be the only one doing the surreal stuff! Nicholas defends Tony's tangent and reveals he liks brussel sprouts. Tony says he was brought up in Brighton - he always seems to have a connection with whatever town he is visiting.

As we go into the final round, Neil is in fourth and then one point separates each of Paul in third, Tony in second and Sue in the lead. I hope Sue wins - it will be the first time she has won if she does. But if I had to bet on someone at this stage it would be Paul.

Paul begins with "the icing on the cake". So Sue didn't start a round on the show. I think the last time that happened was 2002. Anyway Paul's off and says for him the icing on the cake of doing the show is being able to sit and chat with the others afterwards. Tony gets in and says the icing is when you get interrupted and Nicholas gives you the bonus point. Paul says "the bonus point goes to the person who was interrupted..." and gets a point and the subject for that. The audience jeer and Nicholas says "he is correct and you're not running the show!" Paul takes it up again and says the show has been going for 40 years. Neil picks up the repetition of "show", but doesn't think he challenged. Nicholas assures him his buzzer came on. Neil: "calm down, it's all right, we'll have a lie-down later. Nicholas: "Not with you, if you don't mind." Paul: "you've changed your tune!"

Isn't that a thought, Neil and Nicholas as lovers....?!!

Sue hasn't got in yet, she will need to if she is to win. Tony has it now, saying it's very cruel for a child to eat only the icing on the cake. A typical wrangle about whether it's cruel to eat only part of a cake, but Nicholas sides with Tony. Looks like he is going to win. He gets the whistle.

And the result is Neil in fourth, Paul third, Sue second, and Tony wins.

That was a good show. Sue was best in my book but Paul was also in top form. Neil okay and Tony his typical self. Nicholas was very good too. I enjoyed him immensely.

Well done all!

NOTE: That was episode number 666.... (plays spooky music)


Anonymous Chelsey said...

Noshtalgia was brilliant! I really enjoyed this episode. I'm interested in knowing if anyone here has sprouts in their salads...

11:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll have to give it another listen, but I think Neil was a lot better with people he knew, because the last time he appeared, it was alongside the more experienced people like Clement Freud, Derek Nimmo, and Peter Jones, I think having his contemporaries at his side made the difference.

but also, it just seemed like another example of Nicholas taking the credit for the comedy generated by other people in the fact that he states quite categorically that if 'he wasn't there none of them would get any laughs' which is just plain wrong.

and again it seems that Nicholas can't get passed a show without insulting the audience's intelligence. I mean the man more and more doesn't realize the wrong decisions he makes, but this isn't surprising because his track record for correct and accurate decision making has been rather on the negative side of the column since the show first began.

and surely the fact that Sue wasn't given a subject to start with is a blatantly sexist motive, either that or Nicholas is pulling away three cards at a time again and not paying attention, which again isn't all that surprising.

and for the love of God, it's bad enough that Nicholas wouldn't shut up about the joys of 'Bubble & Squeak' as well as ostrich eggs and steaks and all that rubbish, now we have to hear how much he enjoys brussel sprouts? I think if this keeps up any longer I'm gonna hang myself.

for once I wish he'd just keep his pie hole shut and just get on with it and not try to steal the other performers' thunder.

6:18 pm  
Blogger fluteflute said...

I would guess the only reason Sue wasn't given a subject was that it was edited out. She may even start lots in another episode.

5:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually it’s 616 that’s the number of the beast/devil.

5:49 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

with regards to Sue, that much is true, I seem to recall back in the episode when Tommy Trinder first appeared, he did so much talking inbetween the actual subjects, he really only started with one subject in that particular episode, but then when he appeared a second time, they gave him I think three subjects to start off with.

the funny thing, with this particular notion that the show was actually edited, it does also once again prove Nicholas wrong in that he has stated categorically several times that 'they never cut anything out in Just a Minute' then again, it could just be how it works when they record two shows back to back or something. I don't know.

10:10 am  
Blogger Dean said...

Bobby, I think you could take a break from bashing Nicholas for a bit. How about we take it as read that you found him awful for the next two or three shows? Maybe save up your further criticisms of him for the last show?

It's well-known that the show is edited. Have a count-up of the points in any show and you'll see they never add up. The recording I went to in Edinburgh actually lasted 45 minutes and was cut back to the usual 27.

Still, I thought it unusual enough to mention that Sue didn't start a round in the edited version. That hasn't happened in five years which to me makes it interesting.

10:21 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul was again on form, as he usually is, Tony is always a joy to hear that cheeky chap whenever he is on, and of course Sue Perkins, a sheer delight. I loved how she managed to challenge someone on repetition of 'of course', because that is normally a Freudian tactic. And I think in the length and breadth of the series itself, I don't seem to recall any other female challenging someone on 'of course', which I find rather interesting, as well as highly amusing.

5:50 pm  
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