Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

December 23, 2007

Dean's JAM rankings for 2007

It's the time of year when everyone is doing lists for 2007.

So this blog joins in on the act with this rating of the JAMsters - solely on their performance in JAM this year. There are five categories and then we'll count 'em down to the star of the year...

They won't be back next year

Jo Caulfield - Just a one-off for Jo and she seemed a bit overwhelmed, and didn't have the funny material when called on to make her someone the producers will be trying again.
Alun Cochrane - Perhaps the weakest performer of the year, Alun didn't get into his shows at all. Unlikely to be tried again.
Maria McErlane - Has been in 14 shows now and yet she seldom seems to have good material when she starts a subject and that was the case again this year. She has a beguiling giggle though.
Pauline McLynn - I love the accent and voice and she tries hard. But somehow she just doesn't seem to get much into her appearances. Her five shows may be it for her.
Greg Proops - I've a soft spot for Greg as he was one of my favourites on Whose Line Is It Anyway. And with nine shows spaced over 14 years, he doesn't get much chance to refine his JAM skills. But he is usually disappointing when he does get on the show, and he was again this year. Perhaps intimidated by the requirements of the game.

They had some good moments

Jenny Eclair - I start off by saying I'm a big fan of Jenny. But this year she wasn't at her best. Jenny can be a star and there would have been plenty of times I would have had her near the top of my list. I thought she wasn't in great form this year.
Dave Gorman - He found it a bit tough to get a word in against mega-mouths Paul, Clement and Tony, but still had some funny things to say when he got the chance.
Phill Jupitus - Warmed up during hius shows, and seemed to be hitting his straps as he went on. Could be a star for the future.
Maureen Lipman - A great actor, and someone who loves JAM by the sound of her, but she didn't have much of great wit to say when she had the chance. Still someone I like to hear though.
Neil Mullarkey - Neil is a solid performer and hasn't much experience in JAM but seemed to enter into the spirit of things.

They're about average

Clement Freud - There was a time when you would have struggled to imagine JAM without the great man. I think a JAM post-Clemeht is no longer unimagineable and he seems to be contributing less. Still though comes out with a few good lines every time he's on though.
Tony Hawks - I felt Tony wasn't at his cheeky best this year, but he's still dependable and reliable when it comes to JAM.
Kit Hesketh-Harvey - Almost got into the next category up. Kit's shows weren't his best JAM work, but he's still witty, literate and jolly. I wish he was on more often.
Fred MacAulay - I liked him on his only appearance this year, where he had some funny bits and pieces. JAM"s format doesn't totally suit him, but he's still good fun to hear.
Dara O'Briain - Like Fred, the JAM format isn't the best for him, but his one show this year saw him come out with some good lines. He's enjoyable to listen to.
Tim Rice - Tim's a wit rather than a comic, and I like him when he is on the show where he does and Clement-like performance. I think though he used to be better playing off people like Kenneth Williams and Peter Jones though.

Let's see more of them

Chris Addison - The best of the newcomers this year, Chris seemed to just fall into the JAM style naturally, even into teasing Nicholas. Surely will be back soon.
Pam Ayres - Pam is warm and funny and even just a tad competitive. Would get better if she could be asked back more often than once a year.
Janey Godley - Strong and funny, she deserves a go more often than just getting one of the Edinburgh shows. I like the way she demands her share of the time, it's reminiscent of Sheila Hancock.
Graham Norton - Graham's camp humour and dirty laugh always makes him a welcome contributor on the show. He wasn't at his top form this year though.
Sue Perkins - Clearly the best of the current woemn panellists and someoen who should be doing the show more often. She always has something funny to say when she is on the show.

Stars of the year

5th best: Chris Neill - Chris is one of those guys who seems to get better every time he is on the show. He's a bit Kenneth Williams-like in the way he can throw a tanty and he always has something funny to say. I wish he could talk for more than 10 seconds at a time though.

4th best: Julian Clary - Julian's shows this years were top-class. He's a real wit these days and very competitive too.

Bronze medal: Gyles Brandreth - Not everyone likes Gyles but he provides a different style which is good variety. He's also well prepared and always witty and relevant. Surely will be doing the show a lot more in the future.

Silver medal: Marcus Brigstocke - Another certainty to make more and more frequent appearances, Marcus has it all in JAM terms - very funny, very sharp, very quick, very coherent and very competitive. The only player who it seems is likey to compete with Paul in the points stakes.

Champion of the year: Paul Merton - Well it's no surprise that Paul is the winner - if I'd been doing these ratings for years it would probably be something like his 17th consecutive win or something like that. But Paul is still the key to the show. He can't open his mouth without being witty, and over the years he has developed the Kenneth Williams gift of being able to lift the whole show when it's getting a bit off-track. Paul's the reason the show is still on the air after 40 years.


Blogger Andrew Sherman said...

I've been listening to some old shows lately and I think this series is as good or better than it's ever been. I think you should have mentioned Nicholas as one of your stars. He makes his job seem so effortless that it is easy to forget his contribution.

2:19 pm  
Blogger Dean said...

hey there Andrew - yes I agree Nicholkas has been and still is a star at his job. He's a master at keeping things going. Let's hope he's around for the 50th!

3:11 pm  

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