Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

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Location: Wellington, New Zealand

September 22, 2014

JAM book launch

has been almost three weeks since the book launch, so well over due to write it up. First a coupke of pics, the first is me on the right with a couple of JAM friends, Susie and Steph, the second is me with Nicholas.


 
So to what happened.
 
The launch was held at the Ivy Club, a famous old club in the Theatre district of London. Having looked it up on the Internet, I noticed it had a dress code so dressed up a bit.
 
I thought it was within walking distance of the hotel, so I set off on foot, but I got lost so I had to double back and get a cab. But it was a very hot day and I arrived more than a little late, and a bit hot.
 
As I walked in, Josie Lawrence and Christopher Biggins were coming out of the room so I felt like I was already in good company. It was a smallish room where it was held and a bit stuffy so it got a bit sweaty. I'm not very good in this sort of sitaution anyway being crap at small talk and slightly deaf which makes it hard to hear people in a noisy room.
 
There were several JAM stars there - Julian Clary, Paul Merton, Gyles Brandreth, Tony Blackburn, Suki Webster, June Whitfield. Derek Nimmo's widow, Pat was there. Annie Parsons was there, she had been very nice to me when I went to Stratford-on-Avon and said "Hello" as if she remembered me. Malcolm Messiter was there.
 
My old friend, Keith Matthews, who helped with the book, was there, and was in top form, getting everyone's autographs and chatting them up.
 
And of course Nicholas was there. At first he looked a bit frail and a bit worried, and I honestly wondered if he was a bit unwell. But it came time for speeches and it was like a light turned on. Suddenly Nicholas the performer emerged, and he looked younger and on top of things. He gave a brilliant very funny speech, full of anecdotes and reminscences. Keith and I got a mention, but it was mainly, as you'd expect, about the show and the book, with a bit of history, some memories of Kenneth, Derek, Peter and Paul, as well as Ian Messiter and David Hatch. He also quoted some of Julian's double entrendre lines. Of Clement Freud he said "he always used to womnder why everyone else got a laugh and he didn't" as a way of explaining how the show became more entertainment and less competition, against Clement's wishes. It's a good line and was meant as a joke, of course.
 
Nicholas was very kind to me. Keith told him I had been up at Edinburgh for the JAM recording - though I wasn't actually this year - and he thanked me for being such a devoted fan.
 
I didn't stay all that long as I felt like I was swimming in sweat, and as I say, these things aren't all that natural for me. Still it was a great occasion and it was clear what genuine affection the entertainment community has for Nicholas.

September 03, 2014

900 and other figures

I'm in London, and with a little time on my hands, a few thoughts.

Firstly, the matter of the 900th show. The BBC have been promoting this a little in the lead-up to the show which is to play next week. It does make you wonder how much more fuss there will be for the 1000th show which will preumably play in about 2019.

It is a grand total but it is a figure that is open to argument. To say it is the 900th edition of Just A Minute is perhaps an over simplification. Here's how the figure is made up (up to today)...

BBC Radio Four Just A Minute "ordinary" shows - 834
BBC Television Just A Minute shows - 30
ITV Television Just A Minute shows - 28
BBC Junior Just A Minute shows - 5
BBC Silver Minutes 25th anniversary compilation show - 1
BBC 40th anniversary compilation show - 1

TOTAL - 899.

Now there is room for argument. Do you combine both TV and radio? Do we include the Junior Just A Minute shows which are slightly shorter and have a  slightly different format? Do we count the two compilation shows or not?

It's perhaps the last question that I get asked about most. If you look at how other shows treat this sort of programme, in general, they do seem to regard these as broadcast shows to be included in the total. Both shows were played in the usual JAM timeslot and included some fresh material. The 40th special was attached to a season and advertised as the first show of that season. I think they should count in a total, but understand that others will disagree and my website does separate these out.

Should the Junior shows count? After all those shows even have a different name! I think they should count in a total, but should be separated from the other shows.

├Źn some ways the adding together of TV shows into the total should be the most controversial. You don't usually combine mediums in that way. And as you can see above some of the shows were not even produced by the BBC.

So whether the figure of 900 is a correct one is a talking point. Still - if you do add EVERYTHING together, we do reach 900 next week. And that should count for something.

A couple of other stats points.

Paul Merton has now passed Peter Jones as the third most frequent appearing panellist. Paul is now creeping up on Kenneth Williams who he should pass next year. Then only Clement Freud will be ahead of him, but he will have to keep playing for another 10 years or so to pass the great man.

Did everyone notice the return of Claire Jones to produce the Edinburgh shows. I am not sure if this was a brief return or not though I gather Katie Tyrrell is moving on. Claire has been producing the show on and off since 2000 - the first season without both Peter Jones and Derek Nimmo. She has now produced more shows than anyone else, so no-one can doubt her genuine commitment and passion to the show. I do hope she is back for a while as she and Tilusha Ghelani will be a formidable team.