Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

November 26, 2011

You should have more women on the show!

My dear friend Keith Matthews told me when I was in the UK earlier this year that he'd try to persuade one of the radio producers to have an all-woman panel, without success.

I have a bit of sympathy for him because there are a lot of very taalented women on the show at the moment.

In the two and half a years since Clement's death, here's the list of female panellists.

Sue Perkins 18
Jenny Éclair 11
Josie Lawrence 10
Sheila Hancock, Liza Tarbuck 8
Pam Ayres, Shappi Khorsandi 6
Fi Glover 2
Janey Godley, Pauline McLynn, Suki Webster 1

So what do you think? Would a panel of say Sheila Hancock, Sue Perkins, Jenny Eclair and Josie Lawrence be entertaining? I think it would. They all have distinctive styles and they're all in different ways competitive. I think it would be a good show. Or if you wish add in one or more of Liza Tarbuck, Pam Ayres and Shappi Khorsandi - all again very different.

Maybe we should have Sheila, Sue, Jenny and Josie, with Liza as chairperson??? Now that would be interesting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Dean, Nicholas said that he and Paul had to work hard with the John Sargeant show. He said that Josie Lawrence was very good.The BBC higher-ups were in the audience of the last tv recording.
Still I saw 4 of the 10 recorded and the audience loved all of them.
Questions for Mr Brereton.
1.It is important to get the balance between talkers and skillful players at the game and gag-a-minute funsters.When casting his players for the tv show how important was this David Hatch/Ian Messiter production guideline (found in their notes in BBC Caversham.)

2.Besides Paul -Who does he regard as the front line players of Just A Minute ?

3.If Paul were suddenly unavailable who would he regard a lively enough entertainer to replace him temporarily?

4.What was the weakest recording out of the ten tv ones recorded and why?

5.How important is the new guideline of 'they never have the same panel on a show' to the tv series?

6.Besides the comedy genius Paul Merton who were the big hits of the series?

Paul and Nicholas and one other Brit (TBC) will be recording 2 JAM's in the last week of January/first week of February with 2 new Indian guest players.Shappi is organising this.Bangalore and then Mumbai.

Bangalore University was where Stalin Vaiginath (volunteer in my Oxfam shop) first played the game.
No news of the recording venue yet.
Hope the Beeb are going to give it a nudge in the publicity department because all us old time JAMsters want it to be a success for everyone.

8:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I put my blog of the tv show on the wrong blog-I'm getting the hang of it now.ABOUT THIS ALL WOMEN SHOW.JAM has the strongest team of comediennes of any comedy show around.Still no comedy show wants to take a chance on even a one-off all women show.Sue and Jenny would be the driving forces- their comic energies are so frantic and you never know what they will say.THey would have to be definites on an all woman panel because comic sparks would literally fly offf them. Sheila would have to be a definite too - she has taken on and beaten all the regular men at the game and will kow-tow to no-one. Once when the Beeb gave her her own comedy show, she didn't like the higher-ups attitudes to women in comedy and she gave them a right bollocking. As to the fourth woman .For a talker rather than a gameswoman I would have to choose Pam Ayres. If she would have had her JAM apprenticeship up against the old old guard she would have been more established by now - they would have let her spout her colourful stories without worrying whether she had repeated a three letter word.Then we have Josie and Liza who to me are developing into Sheilas. Their personalities are so warm and they give so much to the overall fun spirit of the show.Josie probably would be the better choice as she has been winning a lot.Or you could have Jo Brand- her couldn't give a toss laid back attitude would be the total antithesis of the way the others play the game.Nicholas told me that she was up for one of the radio recordings a couple of years back but she pulled out at the 11th hour. Then you have Sandi Toksvig and Victoria Wood- both of whom sparkled on the brief times they were on the panel.But the main thing is to get the balance between amusing talkers and point-grabbers.My reason for this is not because I am an ardent feminist but because when I see a comic gold-mine going to waste under the noses of those who make the decisions it really gets my back up.Ian Messiter always wanted a good team of women on the show,they had Sheila, Aimi and Andree for one year but subsequent producers put the kibosh on his panel-building. Just A Minute has such a rich variety of players that it wouldn't hurt to acknowledge their existance by doing one-off specials.The Sveriges Radio producer of JAM's Swedish relation PA MINUTEN stuck her neck out twice when Sweden had General Elections and produced two specials consisting of panels made up of one politician from each main party - none of their regular players were used - and the result was two very funny shows that were satirized by cartoonists and mentions in the press.I have mentioned before to you of my other ideas for an all gay panel - Stephen, Graham, Julian and either Sue, Russell Kane or Alan Carr or Paul O'Grady.Now that would be a real hoot!! Then there's a panel of 4 of the brightest sparks on JAM - Stephen, Kit,Gyles and any one of David Mitchell, Charles Collingwood or Claire Balding.It is not that impossible that any of these three suggestions of mine should be a reality - it is the 21st Century after all. There's been a few dodgy teams in the past where we wondered who in the hell thought up those guests.Possibly last minute replacements but it doesn't show much imagination. Chris Neil didn't mince words in Linda Smith's biography of what he thought about JAM's usual panel line-up consisting of two straight comedians, a token woman and a token gay man.That might be why he doesn't get asked back any more. But I can see his point.At least there are a few JAM panels now where there are 2 women and a few less where there are two gay men.
I can't wait to see the TV JAM that had Paul, Stephen, Julian and Russell Tovey.So things are moving in good direction. That's my lot for now. LOVE KEITH XXXX

8:43 am  

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