Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

August 25, 2012

Paul and Nicholas do Q and A

this week at the Edinburgh Festival, Paul Merton and Nicholas Parsons did a qanda around the theme of 45 years of Just A Minute Master Class.

Inevitably they covered many topics that they have covered in interviews and on the Classic CDs in the past. But perhaps because they took questions from the audience, they covered many subjects that I hadn't heard discussed before.

A reader, Leslie, sent me a copy of a recording of the show.

Some points of interest.

* Nicholas was asked his favourite current panellist apart from Paul, and wouldn't answer directly but mentioned Sue Perkins, Ross Noble and Graham Norton. (I always feel Nicholas has a soft spot for Graham.) Paul also mentioned that he admired how fluent Sue was. Both also expressed considerable appreciation of Stephen Fry and Pam Ayres.

* Paul confirmed that he had made a conscious decision not to dominate the show as much as he used to and was trying not to win all the time. He said the reason was that for 20 years he'd been sitting beside Sir Clement Freud who was very competitive and he felt he had needed to be just as competitive. But now with Clement's passing, he felt the show sounded better if there was more variety and that it was better if there were others getting a good run. He said his favourite player was Peter Jones and that he was trying to ease into a Peter Jones-type role, of not talking all the time but chiming in with the funniest remarks.

* On the TV series, both felt it had been a success in large part because they had the right, experienced panellists, and the format wasn't changed. Nicholas said the programmes had had a very very high satisfaction rate (broadcasters poll on whether people like the programmes they watch) but seemed to imply that the audience wasn't as high as had been hoped, without saying it quite as clearly as I just have. Paul said that he expected there would be discussions between BBC Radio and Television about the future of the programme - he seemed to feel the BBC wouldn't want it to run on both media. Both Nicholas and Paul felt there was no reason it couldn't continue on both TV and Radio. Both seemed optimistic but by no means confident that there would be another TV series.

* Asked about the future of the programme after Nicholas's retirement, both felt sure it would continue. Asked about a future chairman, both evaded the question. Paul said he wouldn't want to chair the programme himself, but was sure someone would be found to do it. But he said whoever would do it would have to be very much in Nicholas's style and that he believed Nicholas's time in the chair would be remembered as the show's golden years.

* Paul made the interesting comment that it would be hard for the show to fail because the panellists involved are all so good at the game. He felt that made it difficult for a show to be a disaster.

It's a nice listen and they also played a few clips. It came through in bucketloads how much affection there is between the two. Nicholas delighted in recalling some of Paul's best barbs against him. Paul made an amusing comment when  he said he sometimes doesn't remember his comments on the show and then finds himself at home helpless with laughter listening to his own jokes!


Blogger dagi said...

Excellent summary - thanks.

Also, Paul was on Richard Bacon's 5 Live programme yesterday which was from Edinburgh.


8:48 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance someone will share the recording of this?

6:25 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home