Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

April 17, 2011

last season

I used to write a post on each show as soon as I heard it. I'm not as good these days and here I am, almost three weeks since the last show and I haven't as yet written on the last season. So here goes.

1. Clearly recording all the shows in London makes it easier for the producer to fashion the panels she wants. There is a pattern to the panels of the seasons in the past year. Tony Hawks, Gyles Brandreth and Sue Perkins do one recording each season as a sort of number two to Paul. Each are very competitive, and funny, without being a major threat to Paul in the starring role. Only exceptions in the 22 shows recorded in the past 12 months were one show in Edinburgh where Jenny Eclair was the number two, and the last recording where Graham Norton was in that role. Then there is a group of highly experienced players in the third slot - Graham, Jenny, Sheila Hancock, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Liza Tarbuck, Julian Clary, Ross Noble and so on. The fourth slot goes usually to a fresh or reasonably fresh player, or occasionally someone else from the third ranked group.

2. The season had two newcomers, neither of whom are from the ranks of stand-up comics that make up most of the panels these days. Rick Wakeman and Terry Wogan were both interesting, but somehow I doubt they will be appearing too often in the future. They were certainly contrasts. Rick Wakeman quickly proved to be adept at the game, and indeed won the second show of his recording. That was a pretty good achievement as he was up against the two best players of the game of the current era, Paul Merton and Gyles Brandreth. So Rick was good at picking up the mistakes of the others, and pretty good at keeping going without repeating or hesitating. But he wasn't very funny. I think the two shows he was on were the weakest of the season, in part because the person in the third role, Shappi Khorsandi, just can't get in enough. She is charming and can get a good line out, but as she usually stumbles early when speaking, and seldom successfully challenges, she just doesn't make a strong contribution.

3. Terry Wogan had the opposite problem - he wasn't fluent when speaking and wasn't good on challenging. But he was amusing and had some good jokes. Still the folk who make fun of their own lack of ability at the game are usually not called back - think Elaine Stritch, Lorraine Chase, Thora Hird, Tommy Trinder. It'll be interesting to see if he is asked on the programme in, and if he is, if he is a bit better at the competitive aspects.

4. The other shows were really very very funny. It was great to hear Marcus Brigstocke and Ross Noble again. We wish they were on more often. Sheila Hancock was again very good and pairing up Graham Norton and Julian Clary worked very well. I thought Liza Tarbuck was also in good form.

So a very very good season. One to be enjoyed again and again, I'm sure.


Post a Comment

<< Home