Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

May 23, 2016


Two milestones in a week - and the same milestone!

Last Monday Gyles Brandreth made his 100th JAM appearance (radio and TV shows combined) and this week Graham Norton also makes a 100th appearance.

After today there will be 10 JAM centurions - Nicholas Parsons, Clement Freud, Paul Merton, Kenneth Williams, Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo, Tony Hawks, Sheila Hancock, Gyles and Graham.

It's interesting that two such contrasting personalities cam have appeared so frequently in the show, but both are in the traditions of the show.

Graham is in the high camp tradition pioneered by Kenneth Williams. He doesn't have Kenneth's erudution or the need to show off and put others down - but then no-one will ever be a copy of Kenneth. But the campness and slow delivery style is there. Graham is a famous man in the UK with his TV chat show attracting the world's top celebrities. He's adorable, quick-witted and a bit naughty. Although there are others who are camp on JAM such as Julian Clary, Graham's style is unique and memorable. I always look forward to his appearances.

Gyles is more in the traditions of Derek Nimmo - competitive, literate, erudite and just as Derek was an inveterate place-dropper, Gyles is a great name-dropper. He's plummy and a little pompous, but is also one of the best on JAM at laughing at himself, perhaps the best ever on JAM. The criticism of him on JAM used to be that he relied on old rhymes and jokes which were brought out regularly, but to my ears anyway, he has cur back on that a lot and these days he is much more original. He usually does eight to 10 shows a year, and is on the show far more regularly than anyone else after Nicholas amd Paul. In a way, he has also taken over Clement Freud's role of being curmudgeonly about the rules, although he challenges Nicholas in a more light-hearted way than the great Clement did.

So we now have five living highly experienced panellists - Paul, Tony, Sheila, Gyles and Graham. Contrasting styles which demonstrate how varied the pleasures of JAM can be.


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