Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

August 21, 2008

Keith Matthews at London recording

Keith posted this in the comments section but it's interesting enough to deserve a post of its own!

I was late for the Kingston recording and just missed Tilusha's reminder to switch off our mobiles. I was not going to miss this 700th radio recording of the game of Just A Minute for anything and was well puffed out as I took my seat next to fellow long time J.A.M. fan Steph Tickner.

Half way though the first show my infernal mobile let out its ice-cream van like jingle and Paul was about to locate the stupid arse who had forgotten to switch their mobile off. In seconds I pressed on a button which failed to eliminate my friend Richard's cheery voice calling out luxuriatingly " Hel-l-l-o-o-o Kei--i-i-t-t-h! " I reacted in the only way I could - I stuffed the mobile between my bountiful arsecheeks and voila !!!It was silenced - This wasn't such a bad idea because I'd done this when it had happened once before at a celebration of the Life of Linda Smith at the Victoria.

I had told Nicholas three weeks before that the 6th show would be their 700th show but he was embarrassed because in interviews he'd been stating that the figure was between 750 and 800. Chris was certainly the eye candy with the ladies and indeed some of the men in the audience who aaahhhed vociferousy when their favourite lost a challenge. But he opened a can of words by challenging on two letter words for repetition. The others pounced on him like a pack of wolves. Julian was good in the first show and a popular winner. I find it hard to believe that Sue has been in so many shows and not won a single game. She is bloody good at the game and with Jenny and Sheila would head my list of favourites should my dream of a first one off all woman team of Just A Minute ever happen. I hope Tilusha reads these blogs. Drop a hint in an email if you can Dean. The JAM women that we have a strong and with Pam and Wendy and ever Aimi would make a change from the all male line-up.

Paul was unbelievable in the closing stages of the 700th show. Word perfect and with whiplash wit he easily demonstrated why he is the Just A Minute superstar of the New Age of the game.

On my tickets was marked "After Show Drinks" and so Steph and I were taken through the warren like backstage area and there they were - Julian , Chris and Sue like three conspirators having a glass of vino in one corner, Paul was having a breath of fresh air on this most utterly humid of nights, recovering like an explorer on his first visit to the Sahara and there timeless, ageless and completely calm and looking up for another 700 shows was Nicholas - holding court amongst about 20 or so enrapt listeners backstage. Nicholas' wife invited us to join the group and on seeing us Nicholas invited me and Steph over to chat. Nicholas invited Paul over and the four of us chatted about the games 700th. No-one knew about it until I told Paul. Julian was surprised and made a jokey comment and Sue was amazed. Paul agreed to announce the fact at the first of the Edinburgh recordings. Paul spoke about how privileged he felt at working with Richard Murdoch on his first few J.A.M.'s. "Here I am working with this marvelous broadcasting legend!" He went on to praise Richard and I agreed with him that he was certainly much more than Arthur Askey's stooge and still possessed even into his eighties a brilliant quick comic mind. We reminisced about the Cheeky Chappie Max Miller- another hero of Paul's. Paul started quoting from Max's Blue Book of risque jokes and had us all in fits of laughter. Nicholas topped it by quoting one of Max's cheekiest jokes, not listed in his Blue Book but told to Nicholas by the man himself, and even Paul fell about with tears in his eyes. I remembered how Steve Frost had once described Paul Merton when he was just starting out on his career when Steve and I were working on the Wow Show up in Edinburgh ages ago.... "He's like Max Miller on speed!!" Paul was sincerely touched.

It's true I had never seen Paul so consistently brilliant before dominating what must have been nearly the whole last ten minutes of a show. Steph praised Nicholas' ability to chair the show for so long with his ever-sharpening comic mind and professional abilities and the man who was announced once as "The Man of the Minute" actually blushed!!! It was a lovely end to a beautiful evening.


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