Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

September 22, 2007

Stratford-upon-Avon (part four: after the show)

Okay the show finishes and everyone stays on stage. Nicholas announces that Tilusha is on her way from the van to do some pick-ups. You do sometimes see that at recorded shows where the cast say some words again so they can get a good recording of them. At Edinburgh they didn't do any. Anyway I got the impression that maybe Tilusha liked to have these things done really well.

She wanted Nicholas to redo his introduction to the show because he hadn't mentioned the rules. He did and then remembered he hadn't introduced Trudi. So he did his introduction for the fourth time that night.

She then wanted Clement to say "hesitation". Clement looked a bit annoyed at this and said something like "can't you just cut it from somewhere else?" When you think of the number of times Clement must have said "hesitation" over the years, you can perhaps understand his annoyance. But eventually with a worldweary look on his face he leaned into the mike and said "hesitation" and of course the audience laughed at the look on his face, which was not what Tilusha wanted. So she asked Roger in the van if he needed to do it again, and fortunately for Clement, his voice came booming in to say he was happy.

Phill Jupitus also had to repeat his first words at the beginning of a round and he then did it in four different silly voices which I'm guessing wasn't what Tilusha wanted either, but he wasn't asked to repeat it.

Then Nicholas said "before we say goodbye, I want to say there's someone special in the audience who has come all the way from New Zealand to see us tonight. Dean Bedford runs the Just A Minute website and club which does such a great job in supporting the show and documenting its history. I think we should all give him a round of applause." For a moment I thought he was going to ask me to stand up or come up on the stage, but he didn't. That suited me as I would have died of embarrassment. But there they were, the panel, Tilusha and about 1100 people applauding me. He then asked me to come backstage and say hello after the show. They then walked off, Graham taking a moment to thank the crowd, and giving them a wave.

Now I had been told to come backstage, but I hadn't actually planned to do that. As those of you who know me know, I am actually very shy and just didn't feel it was my place to intrude on the performers' private space. And at 41, I'm a bit old to be "starstruck".

But after what Nicholas had said from the stage, I really felt it would be grossly rude for me not to respond. So I waited a little after the audience had gone out to see if I could spot the way to get backstage. I couldn't so I walked out into the lobby where the attendant that had helped me ealier was waiting. She introduced me to Annie Parsons who was there with some friends. She was charming and very kind. We then went backstage.

It was not much of a backstage area. A kitchen with some fairly dodgy-looking club sandwiches, some orange juice and some cheap wine. You wouldn't have fitted a dozen people in the area comfortably - it was standing room only.

Nicholas was there holding court. Phill had two young women with him. He was talking a little to Gyles and Clement and the women. Phill was saying something like that he'd listened to the show for years, had always enjoyed it, had been asked before to do the show but always felt he wouldn't be able to do it. But he seemed to have enjoyed the show.

Clement was there but he was standing alone nursing his drink, he seemed very shy and out of place - which was how I felt too! Graham wasn't there, he had already left.

Annie Parsons introduced me to Nicholas who was very complimentary about the website. I don't believe he had actually seen it, but he knew about it and how we'd transcribed all the shows. I told him how I used to listen to Kenneth on the air when I was a kid and loved the show. He was concerned about Keith - he'd actually tried to come to the show and had another turn and had to be taken back to the B&B by ambulance. Nicholas was nice and I told him I'd never been applauded by 1000 people before. I thanked him for the kind things he said on stage. I told him he'd dome a great job.

He then introduced me to Gyles who was if anything even more complimentary. He told me Nicholas had rung him a few days before to tell him he had to be especially good because I was going to be there. I honestly thought he was joking and I made a sort of joking remark, but Gyles's expression told me he was completely serious and hadn't made that up. He was very nice and he asked about me a little. He poured me a wine. I said to him about the Derek Nimmo technique of going back to previous subjects and he smiled.

Clement looked over at me and smiled and nodded. I did the same and said "hello" but he gave the impression he didn't really want me to speak to him. He didn't seem to speak to anyone too much apart from Phill.

Gyles said he had to go and Nicholas and he had a conversation about playing Just A Minute. Nicholas was saying Gyles was very very good at the game. They were then reminiscing a little about Peter Jones. Nicholas was saying how good he was at making the witty remark and then letting it lie, talking really about his timing. I got the feeling they both felt a lot of affection for Peter. I liked the fact that within five minutes of being backstage at a JAM, we had mentioned Kenneth, Derek and Peter. It was like they were still part of it all.

Anyway I still felt a little out-of-place so I decided to go. As I left Clement's woman friend from the train was coming in. She recognised me, I don't think Clement did. I bumped into Tilusha who hadn't been backstage (neither was Trudi). She was so pleased to see me and thanked me and all of you for the work on the site. She said Graham had had to leave to go back to London. She wanted me to go backstage again - she asked me twice - but I felt it would be better for me to leave - I was a bit worried about Keith.

She asked me if I was disappointed about Paul Merton not being on the show. Now this was something that hadn't even occurred to me before. I said no I wasn't, and I meant it. Of course it would have been nice if Paul had been there - he is the best performer on the show at the moment. But I was very very happy with the panel I had seen. I told her she was doing a great job. She had said on stage it was a great privilege to be the producer of Just A Minute and you could see she meant it.

She said she must say good-bye and thank you to Clement so she excused herself. And I went off, walking on air as you can imagine.

What a night - one of the best experiences of my life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for transcribing your reflections - a really nice personal account. I entirely agree with your comments about Nicholas - at a recording you can really see his talent for knowing when to enjoy the gag and when to move the show along. Very decent of you to keep Clement's private conversation private also, and it's interesting to hear what 'backstage' is really like.

1:52 am  
Blogger Dean said...

Thanks for your kind comments

11:27 pm  

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