Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

January 24, 2008

Greenwich show

The Bexley Times published this account of the Greenwich show

ONE of Britain's longest running radio comedy shows, Just a Minute, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and is as popular as ever with two million listeners tuning in to every episode, writes Simon Hildrew.

The show stopped off at the Greenwich Theatre last week to record two shows back-to-back in front of a lively sell-out crowd. The line-up for these shows included 'long-suffering' host Nicholas Parsons, who has held this position since the shows inception, show regular Paul Merton, comedy actress Liza Tarbuck, Clement Freud, who has appeared as a contestant since the show began and Jack Dee, making his debut on the show.

The object of the game is to talk 'for just a minute' on a given subject, 'without repetition, hesitation or deviation'. Humour ensues when the panellists attempt to gain points by challenging their rivals from departing from the rules or by being the person still speaking at the end of the 60 seconds. To speak for the full minute without being challenged is extremely difficult but glorious when achieved.

Parsons gave us a friendly pre-show warm-up, telling a few jokes before introducing the celebrity contenders.

For the first show Merton and Freud dominated the opening subject, 'killing time,' as they constantly interjected each other trying to gain points with the round finally going to Freud.

Chairman Parsons continues to attempt to control the proceedings and the sometimes unruly panellists as they all try to gain an advantage over one another by buzzing in whenever they hear the slightest hesitation or even a stumble over words.

Some of the subjects were so closely fought that on two occasions the time went right down to half-a- second!

Among the other subjects hilariously tackled were: loitering, prima donna, leap year and prehistoric woman.

After a short break it was straight into the second recording with the topical subject of the 2012 Olympics.

Freud made a joke that he would be eligible for the over 80s pole vault!

As the quick-witted jokes and verbal barbs flowed back and forth, Parsons is the butt of the occasional friendly jibe from all the panel, including an on going joke about him sharing a bubble bath with Liza Tarbuck backstage.

The first show from Greenwich will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday, February 4 at 6.30pm with the other show to be aired in March.


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