Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

January 11, 2015

2014 player rankings

The eighth annual JAM player rankings.

I am late with the annual rankings and there is a reason. I feel like this year there are a lot of relatively new players all at a similar level - not exactly bad, mildly amusing yes, but not exactly stand-outs either. I found it really hard to rank people this year and to be honest, there were many people who could have easily been put in a lower group.

Still there were a lot of funny shows this year and as I have been flooded with requests that I do so again, (well, I have three messages) here is the ranking list.

This year, there were 22 shows and 28 performers, four more than last year. Among those who got a gig last year but not this year were Pam Ayres and Marcus Brigstocke, though I am sure Pam will be back, and Marcus has already recorded shows for the next season.

The stats on appearances this year look like this

Paul Merton 18
Gyles Brandreth 8
Sheila Hancock 6
Tony Hawks, Alun Cochrane, Russell Kane, Holly Walsh 4
Graham Norton, Jenny Eclair, Sue Perkins, Julian Clary, Liza Tarbuck, Josie Lawrence, Shappi Khorsandi, Richard Herring, Kevin Eldon, Stephen Mangan, Paul Sinha, Fi Glover, Miles Jupp, Patrick Kielty, Joe Lycett, Vanessa Feltz, Rebecca Front, Kerry Godliman, Jonathan Ross 2
Josie Long, Frank Skinner 1

For those interested in how I've ranked people in the past and checking out how good my picks were...

click here for 2013 rankings

click here for 2012 rankings

click here for 2011 rankings

click here for 2010 rankings

click here for 2009 rankings

click here for 2008 rankings

click here for 2007 rankings

For those who want to know how good I was at picking who wouldn't be back - last year I picked five players who wouldn't be back, and only one returned, Kevin Eldon.

Rebecca Front- Rebecca seemed to be amused by her appearance and she had a good time, but didn't really contribute very much to proceedings.
Fi Glover- (2011: won't be back) Fi was a bit like Rebecca, it sounded like she enjoyed itself and she has had the bad luck to have been on with five real titans of the game in Paul Merton, Tony Hawks, Gyles Brandreth, and Sue Perkins and Stephen Fry in 2011. But if it wasn't proven in 2011, it certainly was this year, Just A Minute is not the show for her talents. 
Kerry Godliman - It's been a while since someone debuted in quite such a quiet way. I would have ranked her as weakest performer of the year
Josie Long - (2009: won't be back) In 2009, I said of her: I liked her up personality but she just seemed a bit out of place and out of her league. Ï wouldn't change a word.
Paul Sinha - (2012: about average; 2009: won't be back) It'll be a while before he gets asked again on this year's showing.

Alun Cochrane - (2013: had some moments, 2012: had some moments; 2011: had some moments; 2010: had some moments; 2007: won't be back) Alun seems to be settling in as a semi-regular, and he has some witty moments, moments that make you smile. But seldom more than that.
Vanessa Feltz - A lively and interesting debut, but perhaps not a natural comedienne.

Richard Herring - (2013: had some moments, 2012: average; 2009: had some moments) Certianly can have his moments where he produces a really good laugh..
Shappi Khorsandi - (2012: about average, 2011: had some moments; 2010: had some moments; 2009: average; 2008: won't be back) Can't remember much of what she did. She's a pleasant performer, but not an especially memorable one.
Patrick Kielty - (2013: had some moments) Another run, and he had a few good spots there.
Stephen Mangan - (2013: let's hear more, 2012: average) He has his moments but I felt he was a bit quieter than on his previous visits.

Kevin Eldon - (2013: won't be back, 2012: had some moments; 2010: won't be back) It's very hard to rank Kevin, because when he does get the subject he is very very good,. often going all or most of the full minute with very funny, inventive and original material. But often in between being given the subject, it's as if he has whipped out to the loo. So this year, I decided to rank him in the middle! Russell Kane - (2013: had his moments; 2011: average) I like Russell and always look forward to him being on the show - and then just feel slightly disappointed.
Joe Lycett
- (2013: average) He's got some talent and could develop further.
Jonathan Ross - A big name to make his debut, he didn't disappoint and would be even better if he gets another go.
Frank Skinner - Enjoyable and witty.
Liza Tarbuck
- (2013: average, 2012: average; 2011: average; 2010: won't be back; 2009: had some moments; 2008: won't be back) I pretty much always say she is a jolly person to have on the show. She's now had 34 shows, is she that good, I wonder?.

Julian Clary - (2013: 4th, 2012: silver; 2011: bronze; 2010: 5th; 2009: let's hear more; 2008:4th; 2007: 4th) Old Reliable should be Julian's nickname these days. He's a sure bet for a good show.
Jenny Eclair - (2013: bronze, 2012: 4th; 2011: let's hear more; 2010: 4th; 2009: let's hear more; 2008: let's hear more; 2007: had some moments) A burst of energy is injected into the show every time she grans the microphone.
Miles Jupp - (2012: had some moments; 2011: won't be back) Was listening back to his shows the otehr day and thought he was really getting into the style of JAM. We could must have him back soon.
Josie Lawrence
- (2013: let's hear more, 2012: let's hear more; 2011: 4th; 2010: let's hear more; 2009: had some moments; 2008: won't be back) Inventive and amusing, Josie is a great support act for Merton and co.
Sue Perkins - (2013: let's hear more. 2012: champion; 2011: let's hear more; 2010: let's hear more; 2009: bronze; 2008: silver; 2007: let's hear more) She's been away from the show for a year but juist picked up on things like she always does. I do hope she does more than two shows this year.
Holly Walsh- She won first time out and was consistently amusing throughout her four shows. I had never heard of here before, but right now, I'm a fan.

5th best
Tony Hawks - (2013: let's hear more, 2012: let's hear more; 2011: average; 2010: let's hear more; 2009: average; 2008: let's hear more; 2007: average) It's the first time I've had Tony among the stars and I have felt that he hasn't been as good as he was in the past. But this year I thought he was much sharper and funnier, back to his form of 10 to 15 years ago.
4th best

Gyles Brandreth - (2013: champion, 2012: 5th; 2011: let's hear more; 2010: bronze; 2009: 4th; 2008: let's hear more; 2007: bronze) These days a realy solid performer who amuses every time he opens his mouth. And as a real competitor, he adds something to the game.
Bronze medal

Paul Merton - (2013: silver. 2012: bronze; 2011: champion; 2010: champion; 2009: silver; 2008: champion; 2007: champion) You do sometimes feel like Paul is in third gear on the show these days. But even at less than his best, he still dominates most shows and he's the one person JAM cannot do without.
Silver medal

Graham Norton - (2013: had some moments, 2012: had some moments, 2011: 5th; 2010: let's hear more; 2009: 5th; 2008: bronze; 2007: let's hear more) There's nothing much funnier in this world than Graham at his best, and this year he was at or near his best.
Champion of the year
Sheila Hancock - (2013: about average, 2011: silver; 2010: let's hear more; 2009: average) Called up for every season last year, Sheila adds a touch of class to the show. Competitive and witty, she injects something different among all the stand-up comics, in a vaguely Clement-ish way. The shiw needs that touch of gravitas and competetiveness and I think, and she has something C;ement certainly didn't have, a nice touch of self-deprecation which always goes down well. Long live Sheila and I hope she continues ti appear more frequently.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the way that Pam Ayres plays and hope she comes back regularly this year. She is just different from other players and JAM needs people who play it differently (it doesn't quite work when you have 4 comedians as they all fall over each other).

More and more, I think Paul plays the balancing role on the show. If it needs some life, he provides it. If not, he knows he can sit back and let others shine.

10:33 am  
Anonymous Paul said...

The list this year is fair enough (I think I've seen 4 of them now, Im surprised I've been reading your blog that long!) except Holly Walsh. I found her arrogant and rude, especially to Nicholas, who I know gets slagged off a bit, but she took it too far particularly as a newer player. I also find that she's part of a brand of newer comedian who like to take over. If I know she is on a show now it would take 3 other strong players, like Sheila, Paul and Graham for me to listen in, I love JAM and the only other player Ive felt this strongly about was John Sergent. I hope she won't be back.

Glad Sheila was no 1, she was great this year.

10:55 am  

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