Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

May 25, 2011

Radio 4 Extra Promo

The promo that was done using Just A Minute to promote the Radio Four Extra Station has surfaeced. It features Nicholas Parsons with Paul Merton, Sheila Hancock, Gyles Brandreth, Marcus Brigstocke and Clive Anderson. And Sarah Sharpe!

Here's the link that takes you to the promo.

Reader Ewen Moore has written this description of what happened...

I was at the recording of the TV promo at the Radio Theatre last Saturday. It was only advertised to the public on the Thursday beforehand and a friend of mine who works for BBC studio audience services said they’d only been contacted to work on it provisionally on that day too – and the producers weren’t definitely sure it was going to go ahead. Although the auditorium was full, there wasn’t the usual queue round the block and no-one was turned away – unusual for JAM but I guess that’s the result of the last minute advertising.
It was great fun but very odd. It began like a normal episode, except with TV cameras there too, and the Radio Theatre all on display, rather than hidden behind the usual panels. They had fancy tables too, rather than the cheap ones they have for radio recordings. Paul quipped that it was the first time a tv budget had entered radio-land.
Marcus was in the 4th chair (I have a feeling the panellists were those they could get at the last minute, too). A couple of rounds in, the round was ‘Radio 4 Extra’ and then everything stopped, Marcus stepped down into the audience, and Clive Andersson came on to replace him. And a new round began, but with the same subject – ‘Radio 4 Extra’. Whenever Clive buzzed Nicholas accidently called him Marcus, because it said ‘Marcus’ above Clive’s light. This became something of a running joke.
The idea was evidently to get the panellists to talk as much as possible about what Radio 4 Extra is and what can be found on it. I think Clive was there because he does other shows that will be repeated on the channel. However, it appeared that no-one had really briefed the panellists (or indeed Nicholas Parsons) so everything kept going round in circles, being stopped, re-starting etc. They said that the show was entirely improvised so I guess they’d not been briefed about subjects etc. At one point Nicholas said something like ‘ the audience will be very confused’ at which Sheila said ‘no more than we are!’ Sheila also kept saying, in the rounds, how much she’d loved Radio 7 and why did they need to change it, which is obviously not what the producers wanted to hear!
Marcus was brought back, and then Clive was brought back and Marcus hid behind Clive and Sheila, and popped up to interject funny comments. It was all a total shambles but very funny. Nicholas, however, kept worrying about continuity and keeping the scores on track, and conferring in a worried way with Sarah Sharpe. I got the feeling he was finding it difficult to have the format of the show played around with so much.
Interestingly the producer was John Lloyd, which took me by surprise, making a JAM return (of sorts) after more than 30 years. The round kept reverting to Radio 4 Extra and at one point, when they needed more material and they’d run out of subject cards, someone from the audience suggested The Radio Theatre as a subject. Eventually, when it became clear that John Lloyd wasn’t getting the material he needed, he asked the panellists just to challenge at anything, and when asked what their challenge was, call out ‘documentaries!’ or ‘comedies!’ or other things to be found on the station.
Apparently they are going to make a short TV promo, and interject film of various celebs like Colin Firth and Imelda Staunton ‘challenging’ and saying what can be found on the channel. Not quite sure how that’s going to work! In total they filmed/recorded over an hour of material, but I doubt they’ll use more than a minute or two of it.
All in all, an extremely unusual afternoon and one in which a lot of the comedy derived from the confusion on stage. Paul and Gyles largely held the show together and made for an extremely funny paring and, as ever, it was lovely to see how much Paul looked out for and looked after Nicholas, who is obviously not getting any younger!


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