Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

February 17, 2013

the prime of Graham Norton

On last week's show Graham Norton talked about never having won a game of Just A Minute. Of course he has won - 16 times. On being told he had won, Graham claimed, plausibly perhaps, that it had made no impact on him. He has mentioned never winning before though, which suggests it is at least somewhere in mind.

I suspect Graham knows he has won before but exaggerates his ability at the game for comic effect. He is the least successful - in terms of percentage of wins - of any of the current semi-regulars, and of those who have played at least 50 times, only Peter Jones and Andree Melly rate below him. In his first few years his manic rants and camp comedy bore comparison with Kenneth Williams, but as time goes on, he seems more in the Peter Jones tradition to me.

Like Peter, he can go long periods without speaking, and he will sometimes poke fun at the game if it is danger  of getting too competitive. Like Peter, he can come up with the best one-liners despite a smaller contribution. And like Peter, he is a real fan favourite.

He is possibly at the peak of his career with his BBC chat show being a huge success. The chat show on Channel Four which broke new ground in its concentration of sexual banter and dirty stories has morphed into more traditional chat show content but Norton seems to be able to charm interesting information out of his guests. There's still a comedy undertone though - one of his guests is almost always a comedian. the show is popular, not just in the UK, but in Australia and New Zealand.

It's always interesting to hear him on the show and he gives the impression of enjoying it very much. He doesn't often resort to filling in time though he does sometimes take a long time to assure us he has plenty to say on a topic when he clearly doesn't, a ploy that always wins a belly-laugh from Paul Merton.
He has a different perspective on things and often looks at the subjects in an unexpected way.

The popularity of Graham - and Peter Jones - suggests you don't have to be competitive at the game to be a success at it.


Blogger Andy said...

Having 'gone back' and listened to vast amounts of old JAM (i.e. before I was born etc), I was surprised to find that, as much as I loved Kenneth, Clement and Derek, the person I laughed at most and felt most warmth towards was Peter Jones, what a lovely man he must have been to know. It interested me that Paul Merton said in an interview not so long ago that who he aspired to be in JAM was Peter rather than any of the others. That's some compliment :)

10:18 am  

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