Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

December 25, 2013

a very JAMmy Christmas

A very merry Christmas to all my readers.

I have been very lax with keeping this blog up to date lately so will try and be a bit better in the next while. In particular I now have 35 transcripts to add to the website, so will try and get into these over the coming months. I haven't had as many to do in a long, long time so I will really try to make a dent on that list.

to some bits of news.

JAM has recorded the first two shows of the new season. The panel featured Paul Merton, Alun Cochrane, Russell Kane and Rebecca Front. It's interesting how much Alun Cochrane is being pushed - these are his 14th and 15th appearances. I think he's okay and fun, but I wonder if he is quite as good as that. Marcus Brigstocke has just 19 appearances. I'd be interested to know how people feel about him - are there people who feel pleased to see him on the list. Good to see Russell again, he hasn't been quite as good as he was on his first appearance since then, but he still seems to me to have loads of potential.

The first Christmas-themed show since 1994 has appeared. Again Pam Ayres and Stephen Mangan were very good. Gyles's win brought him to third on the winners list by percentage - he has now won just under 52 percent of his games, behind only Paul Merton and Stephen Fry. He did 10 out of 22 shows in 2013, more than twice anyone else, apart from Nicholas and Paul, and I think he is getting better and better at it.

A point of interest - the huge publisher Random House has won the rights to the commercial sales of Just A Minute. Maybe this will mean more recordings coming out for purchase.

There are two more recordings scheduled for January and I expect another will take place to bring us eight shows in February and March.


Anonymous troubleshooter47421 said...

I too am a bit curious as to how often Alun has been used, but in all honesty I prefer seeing him as opposed to many of the other newcomers on the panel in the last few years. I would have preferred an additional long time regular for these recordings, but I've had that opinion most of 2013 when I felt there weren't enough well known players in the mix. Thanks for posting Dean, you are much appreciated!

3:16 pm  
Blogger dagi said...

What's happened to Charles Collingwood Dean?

Which other regulars (anyone who has had 10 or more appearances in the last few years) have dropped off the JAM invite list?

1:03 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Dean & Dagi(the previous twitter writer),
Each producer has their own ideas about new panelists for the show. They like the show to be fresh and although it takes newcomers at least 3 or 4 shows to establish their own way of playing the game, some chances have to be taken with guests. Some of the established guests like Charles Collingwood, Ross Noble and Kit Hesketh-Harvey for example may have been laid off temporarily to bring more newbies into the ever-growing JAM repertory. While others like Sheila and Sue have been busy in filming tv series or doing 8 shows a week in the theatre.Four of the new series to be broadcast on the second Monday of February have had a nice mix of regulars and newbies and returning newbies.
The two shows recorded on 18th December had Paul, Russell Kane, Alun Cochrane and first-timer Rebecca Front. The two shows recorded on Sunday 12th January had Paul, Gyles, Tony and returning newbie the broadcaster Fi Glover. Fi was overawed for a second time because Paul, Gyles and Tony are so good at listening for errors. Fi was so entertained by the comic horse-play of the three guys that she forgot to listen for her opponents mistakes. Subsequently it is no wonder that she got only a few points - most of them bonus points from Nicholas and others when the others let her take over the subject for the last few seconds even though Fi had not challenged. I am hoping that the next recording scheduled for 18th Jan has Graham, Sheila and Sue in it. The run of the play that Sheila was in 'Barking in Essex' has just finished so fingers crossed.
Ther have been times in JAM's past when guests who have been good at the game have been 'forgotten'. Maybe new directors feel that those guests can't contribute any more to the show. The show does reach a higher level of comedy though when you have 4 players who work well together. The trend for not having a quartet that has been together before seems sometimes to prevent the comedy excelling. But the audiences in the Radio Theatre do appreciate someone who tries and if a newbie has managed over 50 seconds on a subject (as did Fi),and is challenged for repetition of a small word, the audience vocalise their disapproval. Graham has been busy wit his tv commitments but I know he'll be back. So will Sue and Sheila. But if anyone misses guests they have enjoyed on the show I suggest they contact Tilusha Ghelani or Katie Tyrrell c/o the BBC. They like to hear the show's fans suggestions. I'm still holding on to my wish for JAM's first all women panel with Sheila, Sue, Jenny and Pam. We've had loads of two women/ two men panels and on tv there were a few 3 women/ one man panels. All we need now is a director to be brave enough to say 'Yes we will have a 4 women panel on JAM'. JAM is the only comedy panel game on the BBC that regularly flies the flag for women. I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue is still a grown up boys club. I dearly loved the JAM legend Kenneth Williams who used to regularly proclaim 'We shouldn't have women on the show !' Well I wonder how he'd have taken to Linda Smith, Sue Perkins, Liza Tarbuck, Pam Ayres, Jenny Eclair and Josie Lawrence - all of whom have proved they are equally as good as the men. On one occassion when Kenneth uttered this anti-women catchphrase to Sheila Hancock she hit back instantly with 'However it is my ambition to beat Kenneth Williams hollow !' And she did - many times. Sheila and Ken were good friends despite Ken's eccentricities. On another show she teased him - 'All you do is trail ! Trail ! Trail ! Trail !' Kenneth answered camply in his Snide voice ' Yes-s-s it's all because of the marking system!!'
Wishing you all the best Keith X

7:39 am  

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