Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

May 20, 2013

bits and bobs

In a few hours time JAM will be back for a six show season.

As previously announced here, the first show features Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Pam Ayres and Kevin Eldon.

The other recordings feature Paul, Gyles Brandreth, Richard Herring and Russell Kane, and a recording at Derry features Gyles, Tony Hawks, Fred MacAulay and Roy Walker.

Richard was called in at short notice and has again blogged about the experience. As noted in the past, he clearly loves doing the show.
But I got a call at about 2pm asking if I would fill in for a last minute drop out on Just a Minute. That's not a show that you need to be mentally sharp on, right? Having a hangover would almost certainly make me better at it. I do love this programme and am always thrilled to be asked to do it, so I couldn't really turn it down. I'd have to chance it and hope that the adrenaline would get me through. As a side note I am almost certain that I got this offer because I was in people's minds after the Sony awards and if so that means that I clawed back a bit more of the money that I'd spent to be there. My biggest failing in my career is my inability to and embarrassment at networking. But possibly by being affable and happy last night (due to being pissed) or even just by being present and reminding people I existed I had done myself a favour. Rebecca Front got cast in Time Gentlemen Please after we'd been struggling to think of someone to be Ms Jackson when I bumped into her in a bakers and realised that she'd be perfect. I don't know if she hangs around bakers deliberately, knowing that writers love eating pastry. By the amount she is on TV I am guessing that she must.

So within a matter of hours I was heading into town to compete against Paul Merton, Gyles Brandreth and Russell Kane. I didn't have time to get nervous or really to practice the game. I was just going to throw myself into it and hope for the best. And maybe the lack of nerves was a good thing. I had a terrific time tonight. I still made plenty of unforced errors (but the game would be rubbish if everyone was as good at this as Paul) but managed a few impressive flurries and more importantly got a few laughs. As intimidating as it always is to be sitting next to Paul Merton (I really wanted to ask him if he'd do a RHLSTP but I was too shy), it is also a wonderful thrill to be riffing with him and he was in a skittish and fun mood. And as competitive as he can be (or appear to be, it's all part of the game) he is also very generous on this programme, giving other people the space and time to do things. I almost totally forgot about the hangover and just enjoyed being a part of what is the funniest radio programme in the history of radio programmes. It's only Tuesday and it's already been a brilliant week!
And I managed to get a wanking joke in, so I am happy. The two programmes we recorded tonight will be broadcast in June.
Does anyone else find it kinda funny that he would be so intimidated by Paul that he wouldn't ask him if he'd appear on his podcast?

Anyway I'm enjoying hearing Richard on the show.

I know the producers booked Russell Kane last series but he pulled out so I am very pleased they didn't give up on him. His only previous appearance was in the Edinburgh Festival at 2011 when I was in the audience , when amazingly enough, he won on debut beating the not inconsiderable pairing of Paul and Gyles. But he wasn't just naturally fluent and competitive, he wads also very funny. I've watched out for him since and find him hillarious. I suspect he doesn't want to do too much in the way of panel shows as he doesn't seem to do many.

Roy Walker is a newcomer - he's a game show host and comedian in Ireland. Will be nice to have another Irish voice on the programme. Anyone else think Graham Norton should have gone over for the recording?

Fred MacAulay returns after a three year absence. He's been appearing on the show since 1996, but has only done 14 shows. I always feel like he's promising without ever showing us the promise. He's quick witted and funny, but maybe this isn't the game for him? Tony and Gyles will have to be at their best if the shows are to work.

In other news I see Paul is writing an autobiography. That promises to be worth reading.

And JAM has a new producer - Katie Tyrrell. She seems to be working with Tilusha Ghelani. Katie's worked on many other BBC radio comedy programmes, and has now moved to the best of them.

Í guess this means we are saying good-bye to Claire Jones, who produced the show from 2000 to 2006 and has shared the reins with Tilusha for the past few years. Claire has returned before and she has her own place in JAM history with more shows produced by her than any other producer. I think she has done an outstanding show moving the show on after the losses of Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones and Clement Freud. Still tis always good to have a new perspective. I wish Katie all the very best.

I'm a bit behind on the website but am going to make an effort to update it over the next few weeks. I have 22 shows to transcribe - soon it will be 28. So I'll try and get on with it. Truth is I have been seriously thinking of pulling down the website. Have been feeling as if maybe the site's time has come and gone.

The site is 14 this month. That's old for a fansite as they're called. And I'm a bit over the rude and sometimes offensive nature of much of the email traffic I get.

But traffic has been big by the website standards - bigger than ever before. And last series anyway, the show itself also seemed better then ever. So I'll keep going and hope I get a renewed burst of enthusiasm.

An updated list of appearances since the death of Clement... there have now been 104 shows recorded. (including the 10 TV shows) Newcomers are bolded.

Paul Merton 90
Gyles Brandreth 35
Sue Perkins 28
Tony Hawks 26
Graham Norton 24
Julian Clary 18
Jenny Éclair 17
Josie Lawrence 13
Liza Tarbuck 12
Sheila Hancock, Pam Ayres 10
Alun Cochrane 9
Charles Collingwood, Marcus Brigstocke, Shappi Khorsandi 8
Richard Herring 7
Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Ross Noble, Stephen Fry, Kevin Eldon 6
Miles Jupp 5
Jason Manford, Rick Wakeman 4
Fred MacAulay, Phill Jupitus, John Sergeant, Russell Kane, Stephen Mangan, Paul Sinha 3
Tim Rice, Chris Neill, Greg Proops, Janey Godley, Dave Gorman, Ian McMillan, David Mitchell, Justin Moorhouse, Cyrus Broacha, Jason Byrne, Fi Glover, Anuvab Pal, Roy Walker, Terry Wogan 2
Pauline McLynn, Mike McShane, Stephen K Amos, John Bishop, Hugh Bonneville, Hannibal Buress, Ruth Jones, Russell Tovey, Tim Vine, Suki Webster 1