Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

April 29, 2006

Nicholas the cook

Nicholas's favourite recipe from The Independent

I'm much more of a gardener than a cook. When I go into the garden I become inspired to create something, but my wife looks after meals. One is so lucky these days that supermarkets have such wonderful prepared foods. If I'm on my own, doing my Edinburgh show for example, these are what I eat. I can't see any point in cooking something if you're on your own.
So when I was in the studio to appear on Ready Steady Cook, I was fascinated by the amazing skill of the chefs. I tasted all the dishes afterwards and they were all wonderful.
The one thing I am good at in the kitchen is experimenting with the fruits and vegetables that I grow. I'll give you my stewed apple recipe here, without hesitation, though perhaps with a little repetition and deviation.
Stewed apples
12 apples that you have grown yourself Some zest and all the juice of 2 lemons 2 cloves A little cinnamon A scattering of raisins A touch of pickled ginger, from a jar
Peel the apples and chop them into chunks. Put them in a pan. The key thing here is not to leave it. Watch your apples - you don't want them to turn into slush. Well, a few of them will, but the idea is that you end up with chunks of apple that have taken on all the flavours of the other ingredients. Don't let them come to the boil.
Cut some of the zest from the lemons and add it along with everything else. Keep the heat low and when it's softened, you can either ask your wife if she would be kind enough to make a crumble, and put that on top, or you can put it in cereal. I like one that's crunchy. I think it's called Jordan's Crunchy. Otherwise, you can just have it with good ice-cream.

April 22, 2006

Tribute gigs for Linda Smith

The Just A Minute panellists are set to pay tribute to their recently passed colleague Linda Smith at two special concerts.

One is in Sheffield on May 14, and one at Victoria Palace in London on June 4.

The JAM regulars will join News Quiz regulars and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue regulars in performing mini-versions of their shows. Linda was a regular on all three shows.

Linda's friends will also perform stand-up at the concerts - including JAM guests Jo Brand, Arthur Smith, Richard Morton and Jeremy Hardy as well as Mark Steel and Mark Thomas.

The concerts are being called Tippy Top.

Proceeds from the concert will go to the Macmillan Cancer Relief, Marie Curie Cancer Care and the British Humanist Association, of which Linda was president.

If anyone goes to these, please let me know how they went!

April 21, 2006

JAM and Broadcasting House

The Just A Minute regulars are taking part in a special ceremony at Broadcasting House today to mark the Queen's 80th birthday.

It's also Broadcasting House's 80th anniversary and on the Queen's visit she is being introduced to the stars of a small number of radio programmes.

Representing radio comedy is Just A Minute and Nicholas Parsons, Sir Clement Freud and Paul Merton are part of a group of only about a dozen radio stars who are being introduced to the Queen.

An honour for Just a Minute, but well deserved!

April 20, 2006

JAM recorded next week

The first Just A Minute of next season is being recorded next week at the Greenwich Theatre in London.

It's already a sell-out for next Tuesday night - but uncollected tickets will be available from 6.30pm.

Panellists are Clement, Paul, Julian Clary and Juan Moore.


April 16, 2006

Clement on cricket

This is from this year's Wisden

Love is all around, and come to the front if you don't want chips
Sir Clement Freud heads off to find out what the Twenty20 fuss is all about in our Wisden exclusive

THERE was so much I did not know: that it was called Twenty20, not 20-20 like my eyesight used to be; that they played in differing coloured pyjamas; that there were rules about who could field where for however many overs; nor that it happened at Old Dear Park.

I had thought this would be a location peopled by elderly, cardiganed Newberry Fruit-eating pensioners. Turned out to be Old Deer Park; I resent ageism of all kinds.

The occasion — where they were kind and welcoming and let me drive almost into the pavilion because of my lameness — was an evening fixture: Middlesex v Hampshire, but for the fact that each county has an added name like Crusaders and Hedgeclippers (I might have got that one wrong) and they start when you rather expect cricket matches to finish.

The evening was fine and, as the pavilion is situated on the east side of the park and the sun has this habit of setting in the west, you don’t see a lot, unless you have brought dark glasses.

The crowd was around 3,000, mostly men arriving from work, with a few marauding gangs of teenage girls whose movements from one side of the ground to the other had less to do with the cricket than the male spectators. Middlesex batted first; one could not see a great deal, but whenever there was a boundary or a wicket, a disc jockey-ette played a snatch of loud music: a couple of bars from Oklahoma, a burst of the Trumpet Voluntary, a roll of drums accompanying a band I did not know . . . but then there are not too many bands I do know. Lew Stone was one I remember fondly.

I lived as a child in St John’s Wood, northwest London, spent my summer Saturdays at Lord’s with a bottle of Tizer and applauded good shots, quite often shouting “Good shot, sir!” as my hands met. Middlesex were my team in as much as Surrey were not. Nothing south of the Thames had much going for it — though Middlesex seem to be playing there now — and brown caps were sartorially poor.

I collected cigarette cards and wished my parents smoked. Price kept wicket for Middlesex; I was a wicketkeeper at school and very much admired the fact that Price kept without a long stop. My long stop won the fielding cup.

I digress. At Old Deer Park the crowd chatted and queued for beer; when there were significant bursts of music they came out to see whether it was a boundary or wicket. But what surprised me was the fact that there was little in the way of partisanship. No breathless hush in the close tonight, let alone ten to make and a match to win.

Middlesex lost wickets at a rate of knots. When the requisite 20 overs had been bowled in the prescribed hour and a quarter, there came a blast of Love is All Around and I went and queued in the bar where they served light meals: burgers and chips, sausages and chips, pizza and chips. When I was still 15 people back, the woman behind the counter called: “Anyone who doesn’t want chips come to the front.”

So I did. “No chips?” I was going to ask for “a lobster cocktail, easy on the tabasco” but my courage failed and I had pasta. It was all right, though I wouldn’t have gone to Richmond for it.

We had friendly announcements such as one doesn’t get at Lord’s.

“Please help the stewards by using the large red bins for your rubbish.”

“Please watch out for flying balls, especially if you have children.”

I chatted to a nice woman behind the Middlesex shop counter, seriously considered buying a picture of Mr Shah and talked to a man who explained what a “free hit” was.

Hampshire (the Hawks, I have just remembered) batted competently, kept the music flowing and were always going to win . . . which they did almost in time for there to be a beer match. Hardly anyone applauded, everyone looked content and there was still time to do all sorts of other things before it got dark, like have another beer and thank the stewards for their kindness and hospitality and mutter “bad luck” to people wearing the MCC tie.

“Where have you been?” asked my wife when I came home just after 9pm. I told her I had been watching cricket and listening to music.

She said don’t be silly.

* Past his 81st birthday, Sir Clement Freud has just ended his term as rector of the University of St Andrews. He is a columnist on the Racing Post, having begun sports writing, for The Observer, 50 years ago. His varied career as a writer and broadcaster was lightened by 14 years as a Liberal MP.

April 04, 2006

Paul - the next Michael Palin?

Merton heads east for Five

John Plunkett
Monday April 3, 2006

Paul Merton has been signed up by Channel Five to present a travel documentary series about China, his first major TV role outside of the BBC for a decade.

Merton will cast a "wryly observant eye" on China's new cultural revolution in the four-part series, Paul Merton on China.

The programme, made by Tiger Aspect, is his first travel series and the first time he has appeared on Five.

"China is a fascinating, lively place, changing at a rate that makes your head spin," said Merton.

"I love to travel and the chance for me to experience the curiosities and beauty of this huge and unbelievably interesting country was an opportunity I couldn't resist."

Merton is best known for his role on BBC1's Have I Got News for You and also presents Room 101 on BBC2.

Apart from regular roles in ITV's Christmas Pantomime, he last appeared outside of BBC1 in ITV's 1996 Hancock revival, Paul Merton in Galton and Simpson's...

Five said Merton would look at all aspects of China, including the "ancient and modern, comic and shocking, copycat western and vibrantly oriental".

He will visit the Forbidden City, tour China's version of Disneyland and see how Beijing is preparing for the 2008 Olympic games. He will also visit Sock Town, where two-thirds of the world's socks are manufactured.

Chris Shaw, the Five senior programme controller of news and current affairs, said: "Paul is the perfect person to entertain and inform us about this mysterious, weird and important country and we're thrilled to have him do it for Five."

April 03, 2006

Another stat

I've now transcribed 678 of 698 shows - that is 97 percent.

I'd be interested if anyone else has a similar number of transcripts up on the web of another TV or radio show.