Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

April 22, 2011


Some questions from a reader...

1) Appeal of JAM outside Britain
At the start of each programme, Nicolas still welcomes listeners ".....not only in this country, but around the world". But isn't it the case that JAM hasn't been broadcast on the BBC World Service for several years? If so, presumably the foreign listening numbers for the programme must be lower than before. Does the Beeb rely solely on the Internet for its overseas audience and if so is there any evidence on the number of downloads which JAM attracts? Your own NZ location may help to inform your answer.

2) Radio 4 Extra
As you may have heard, next month the BBC is to rename and relaunch Radio 7 as Radio 4 Extra. We're promised that the channel will air extended versions of shows broadcast on Radio 4 (e.g. the Now Show and the News Quiz). Do you think there is scope for JAM to receive similar treatment and could this happen?

On the overseas broadcasts - there are still overseas broadcasters playing JAM, totally separate from the World Service. Indeed someone wrote to me this week to advise that the ABC in Australia is re-running the show from the first episode again. I gather also from my correspondents that the show still plays in India. I've never been entirely sure if the World Service has entirely dropped the show or if it still runs on some of its networks.
But the Internet is I am sure in part what Nicholas is referring to. As to evidence of its popularity, JAM usually appears on the list of Radio Four's top downloads while it's on air, but I can't say how many of them are overseas. I've always been interested that only about half the people who write to me or join the group, perhaps even a little less than that, are from the UK.

As to whether unedited programmes could air, of course it is always possible. They usually record 40 to 45 minutes for every 28 minute show that makes me to air. But I used to debate this with the Whose Line fans who used to pray for unedited clips to be found. My argument was - presumably they edited out the dud games - why do we want to see those? I think the argument also applies to JAM and I suspect people might be disappointed that a 45 minute show might not be as much fun as a well edited 28 minute version.
But and I think I've related this before. At the Edinburgh recording I saw back in 2002, Paul Merton was being very funny and had gone about 50 seconds on a subject when he used the word "shit". He immediately stopped and hung his head. Ross Noble buzzed and said Ï don't think you can say shit on the radio". The whole round was edited out.
So could there be some funny rounds edited out just because of bad language? It has to be possible, doesn't it, and if so, there could be good material aired on Radio 4 Extra if they had a higher threshold for matters of taste.


Anonymous Sebastian X said...

The BBC do an extended repeat of "Have I Got News For You" (topical comedy quiz TV show featuring Paul Merton), with some being worth the bonus 15 minutes, but more often coming across as needing the extra pruning such that I now only bother with the half-hour versions. I expect the same would be true of JAM. It would be a better policy every couple of series to have an extra programme comprising a compilation of the better stuff they had to edit out.

I wish Radio Four Extra would repeat JAM from the start. When they repeat from old series, they usually miss about half of them (as you probably know).

6:43 am  
Blogger Harry Speakup said...

I agree about the language issue, I know that I can listen with confidence with my children, unlike Clue... They enjoy, but also leads to interesting car journey conversationa bout things they do not know, much better than losing them to ipods... (UK based!)

7:14 pm  

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