Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

February 27, 2007

this week's show

Second run for Clement Freud, Gyles Brandreth, Marcus Brigstocke and Pauline McLynn, coming from the Mermaid Theatre - I'm alays curious to see this - maybe next time I am in London.

Gyles starts on "white elephants", and he's going into something about their history. Clement challenges and now Gyles argues whether Thailand and Siam are the same place - Gyles gloating he almost got away with it, he says Nicholas has fear on his face.

Now Gyles on about his brightly coloured jerseys - Marcus getting in for the first time, now Pauline wins a challenge. And another challenge and a bonus point and - she's in the lead! Pauline: "I think everybody's house is full of white elephants..." Marcus: "You'd have to have an enormous house..."

And she goes further in the lead at points are dished out like confetti.

Marcus starts with "holiday snaps". Taking up from the previous round where they doubted he had ridden a white elephant, he says he wished he kept his holiday snaps with him. It's always great to get a running joke going! Gyles stopped soonish - he's not quite as fluent as usual. Marcus becoming a great challenger - he really seems to enjoy the pedantic side of the game as well as being very very funny. "More Marcus" shouts the crowd! Clement challenges after a long silence - "I just wanted to say hello". And Marcus gets the whistle and is back in the lead.

Pauline kicks off on "last man standing". She is quite fluent though there aren't many good lines so far. Oh now she's getting rude, ooohh errr! Gyles now talkinga bout standing on the tube, I keep waiting for some good lines but there aren't that many.

Clement begins with "three of a kind", mentions it's a poker term. Gyles has it now taking about Ophelia Balls - a laugh goes through the auditorium. Clement back on to cards. Marcus challenges and is physically attacked by Clement! That would be a sight to see. Clement says "triplets, one of which could be identical..." Marcus questions whether one person can be identical... Nicholas says "one could be identical to one of the other two.." Oh dear, sounds like another "herbaceous border" incident. Marcus gets more and more incredulous. Paul Merton will be splitting his sides if he is listening. Nicholas asks the audience to decide - it's been a while since he's done that. They side with Marcus.

If Marcus wins he will be second only to Paul as the winningest player of the game. He certainly knows how to argue his case.

Gyles starts with "my greatest extravagance" - does his hair routine which we've heard a few times but is very clever.

And it's into the last round - as we start it's close, Pauline fourth, one point behind Clement, and two behind Marcus and Gyles together.

Marcus starts on "dear diary", says 40 quid is quite dear. He suggests someone like Clement would be more interesting in the diary - Clement agrees. Pauline says she writes hers while she is very very drunk - oh dear. Gyles flattering Pauline, says there is an erotic charge between them - Marcus suggests they get a room! Gyles reaches the whistle, he's dome quite well.

Pauline finishes in fourth place, Clement in third, and Marcus and Gyles are equal winners again!

That had its moments. Marcus was good. The others not quite so good. But all okay.

February 25, 2007

this week's show

I've been away so I won't get time to do a detailed report. But I thought it was very funny. The round about separating men from boys is a classic round. I thought Clement was particularly good. It was a show with lots of interaction among the cast - that to me is key as I've said before.

Well done!

February 13, 2007

Fascinating interview

With the great man Nicholas Parsons.

More JAM

Return eppy for the Paul, Clement, Greg Proops and Chris Neill team.

Greg is described by Nicholas as "America's gift to comedy!" :-)

Clement opens with "the end of the world". He gives the others a chance by pointing out his own repetition! Chris picks up on repetition of when, could he maybe win his first game? He starts on a leather sale - ooohh errr says the audience. Paul reaches the whistle and takes an early lead.

Chris starts on "office politics". He advises you to let Barbara take the stapler - Paul intervenes to say she's already got five of his staplers. Then a classic JAM bit of banter which proves how good Nicholas is at getting the repartee going. Paul asks him if Barbara has anything of his, to which he replies that he's in a higher office. Paul asks if he has the key to the executive washroom. and Nicholas says he does and sometimes takes other people in with him. Paul: "They're nurses, aren't they?" Clement has a good pun about John Prescott being "off-his politics"!

Greg starts on "the bee's knees" and seems to lose steam quite soon. Clement gets the subject and uses the "nit's knackers" line.

Paul now on "St Swithin's Day". He's going into a rave about Nicholas's age now. Bonus points being given out like confetti in a funny running joke.

Chris now on "the sound of music". Clement claiming he auditioned for the lead role - a thought that amuses all the others.

Greg starts in stumbly fashion on "the Battle of Hastings". Chris being funny in a camp way on the subject. Greg has got it back!

Clement goes on "making small talk". Now doing one of his music hall bits to the amusement of the others. He seems in good form, Clement.

The last round and Chris kicks off with "a secret I will never tell". Chris explaining he can't tell it. Nicholas calls him Claire and Paul wonders if that is the secret?

Chris comes fourth, Greg third, Clement second and Paul wins.

Average - some good banter but no really funny bits.

February 11, 2007

Sheila Hancock, Queen of Just A Minute

In the 35th anniversary special, Paul Merton, speaking about JAM in the year 2050, suggested Sheila would become Queen, adding "and everyone's so happy because she looks so regal on the stamps!" It's certainly true that there is something regal about Sheila, and I've never met a JAM fan who disliked her.

Sheila appeared on the second ep and although she's never been a regular she is still doing the show every now and then. The producers would like her to do the show more often, but the problem is that, even in her mid-70s, Sheila is heavily in demand for acting work and it's difficult to find a JAM date that suits her.

The affection for Sheila is surely deserved - she's a genuinely nice person, but it's worth remembering that in her younger days she was hardly everyone's cup of tea. A partisan socialist, she could be stroppy and independent.

Famously she was one of few who stood up to Kenneth Williams and he loved her for it. He often told the story of his playing the prank where she opened a wardrobe and he fell out of it, as if a dead body. Sheila's response: "Oh get up you silly sod!" Kenneth and Sheila were friends for the rest of his life.

But Sheila appeared on JAM before Kenneth. She appeared regualrly for 20 years. When Kenneth died, she was asked to appear again - she said it would be too emotional for her and she couldn't. But in 2001, when appearing with Paul Merton on Have I Got News For You, he mentioned a return to her. She agreed and next year she was back. She worried she wouldn't be able to do it again - but in typical Sheila fashion she picked up where she left off and actually won her first game back.

What does she bring to JAM? Firstly a competitive spirit - she is the best of our eight Queens of the game at winning. She is fluent, she can pick up someone else's error, and she can argue the point with anyone. Sheila is not a comedian but she is quite capable of the barbed remark. She's got a good memory for anecdotes. And she has a great laugh - which she does often.

And she's nice, on a show where no many of them are nice.

Sheila did the 35th anniversary show almost as a representative of the old days. But she can foot it with the new generation too. Still it's her relationships with Kenneth in particular, but also Peter and Derek that are highlights of her shows.

We'd love to have Sheila on more often. Perhaps she will take up fewer acting gigs and be able to do the show more often. Her recent book about her marriage to John Thaw and her grieving his death was a best-seller - can we hope for more autobiographical work from her? The book is emotional and beautifully written. It seems unfair someone should be such a great writer and actor - and JAM panellist. Hail Sheila, Queen of JAM.

Jammy facts about Sheila

Appeared on the show in 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1081, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1987, 2002, 2003 and 2005.

Has won 23 of her 78 games, a 31 percent success rate, making her the most successful of our eight queens.

Has appeared most often with Kenneth Williams (64 times), Clement Freud (52 times ) and Derek Nimmo (45 times).

In the next few hours

The GRAMMY awards get announced in the next 24 hours.

Let's all cross our fingers for Kit Hesketh-Harvey. I mentioned this in a post a few weeks ago. Kit is one of those nominated for best opera recording for “Smetana: the Bartered Bride.” Kit translated the whole opera into English from German, and also performs in the recording.

Go Kit!

February 10, 2007

Sir Clement Freud on slang

I've found it a bit late but it's very amusing - the great man on the BBC's Today programme last October. He's talking about why people in public life shouldn't use slang. Scroll down to 0740.

An example

JOHN HUMPHRYS: You can hardly imagine some of our great former Foreign Secretaries for instance using that kind of language, can you?

CLEMENT FREUD: Remind me of our great Foreign Secretaries...

Among the phrases you can hear Sir Clement utter in his unique deadpan style are "cool", "sucks" and "my arse!" And he ends up deviating on to how to cook eggs.

You gotta love 'im!

Michael Palin on JAM

The Michael Palin Diaries 1969-1979 include a lengthy and very interesting account of his appearance as a guest on JAM. Strictly speaking it's a breach of copyright, but I thought it worthwhile offering it to the JAM fans as it is quite revealing.

Friday October 3rd 1975

At 5.15 arrived at the BBC's Paris Studio, which is not in Paris of course, but in Lower Regent Street, for recording of Just A Minute. A few people from the queue came up and asked me for an autograph, and there was my face on a display board outside. Inside the peculiarly non-festive air which the BBC (nad radio especially) has made its own. Everything from the colour of the walls and the design of the furniture to the doorman's uniform and the coffee-serving hatch seems designed to quell any lightness of spirit that you may have.
Then I met Clement Freud. He stared at me with those saucer-shaped, heavy-liffed eyes with an expression of just starightforward distaste that for a moment I thought he had just taken cyanide. The producer, John Lloyd, a ray of light in the darkness that was rapidly closing in on me, hurriedly took my arm and led me aside as if to explain something about Clement. It was that he had a "thing" about smoking, and for some inexplicable reason I had just taken one of John's cigarettes. Still this blew over.
A depressingly half-full house filed quietly in, and at 5.45 the contestants - three regulars, Freud, Kenneth Williams, the rather forbiddingly authoritative Peter Jones, myself not exactly in my element any more - and quizmaster Nicholas Parsons were introduced to friendly applause and took our places at our desks. The three regulars have been playing the game together for five years, Williams and Freud for eight, and it shows. They are smooth and polished, they know when to ad-lib, when to bend the rules a little, and when to be cross with each other. I buzzed Clement when he was at full tilt, and when asked why, I apologised and said I was testing my buzzer. That's the only time I saw him smile in my direction.
The game became easier but I never mastered the technique of microphone-hogging which they have all perfected.
Before I knew it, two shows and about an hour and a half had passed and it was all over. I signed autographs. Peter was very kind to me, and complimentary, Freud I never saw again, and Nicholas was the only one to come round to the pub and drink with us. Us being myself, Douglas Adams, (who had recommended me to his friend the producer) and John Lloyd. They seemed to be quite pleased with me and Peter, as he left, said he would see me again on the show. I gather some guests manage it (Barry Took, Katharine Whitehorn) and some don't (Barry Cryer, Willy Rushton) and at least I wasn't considered among the don'ts.

I thought that was very interesting. Amd of course Michael Palin has not yet been asked to return, despite this indication he would have been keen. Maybe a suggestion for the next series, Ms Ghelani?

February 09, 2007

Jenny Eclair, Queen of Just A Minute

Jenny Eclair has appeared on JAM 26 times over 13 years - enough to make her a familiar voice to the fans. Since her first appearance she has been just a little different to the other women of JAM, and a very welcome breath of fresh air.

On a show where how you speak and present yourself is so important, Jenny's style is unique. She speaks almost in a confessional way, up-front, open and revealing about herself. But if that sounds almost as if she is an Oprah Winfrey type figure, it should be noted that she can hardly utter a sentence without being funny.

She has a delicious deepish voice which sounds fun. She is competitive, she argues vehemently over the points, she is playful and she is very very witty.

Jenny is a stand-up comic and novellist and in the past few years has become better known on the telly in the series Grumpy Old Women. This is a very funny show where vaguely well-known women grumble about modern life. Jenny's comments are usually among the funniest and the show has become so popular that she now tours the show as a stage act, with a few of the other women involved. It's perfect for Jenny's style as her schtick is to poke fun at herself for getting old.

As I said she can talk on any subject very well because of her comic gifts, but she is also highly competitive. She has said that although she enjoys doing JAM she doesn't like the fact that it brings out the competitive side of her nature. She can argue, or indeed whine about a decision that goes against her. This tends to annoy Paul Merton in particular - ironically as who is more competitive than he? But she is just sensationally funny and even Paul can admire that.

It would be wonderful to have Jenny on the programme more often. Her wonderful wit and story-telling abilities make her a deserved Queen of Just A Minute.

Jammy facts about Jenny

Appeared on the show in 1994, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2006.

Has won 3 of her 25 games, a 12 percent success rate, making her the fifth most successful of our eight queens.

Has appeared most often with Clement Freud (15 times), Paul Merton (10 times ) and Peter Jones (eight times).

February 07, 2007

A lovely piece about JAM guest Maureen Lipman

Can be found here.

What a letter

I get quite a bit of email traffic about the site - a lot of people demanding I immediately send my entire collection to them or something like that.

Anyway I today received such a nice email I feel compelled to share it. I hope you will forgive me patting myself on the back. But after the day at work I had today I need it..... And given the number of thieves who have stolen my work without asking me in the past year or two, how nice to see someone acknowledge there was some work involved.

Hi Dean,

Just happened upon your Just a Minute site this evening. I live in Canada so have not had the opportunity to hear the show very much (they used to air repeats of it on a local station here some years ago and I was introduced to it by my grandma). I discovered a copy of the Silver Minutes tape at the library the other day and remembered how much I had enjoyed the show. In searching for more information on the internet, I came across your site. What an amazing amount of work you've put into putting it together. It's a phenomenal resource, and I'm looking forward to taking some time to go through it and enjoy the transcripts and excellent background information you have collected there. I'm sure your efforts are greatly appreciated by other Just a Minute fans as well. If you could add me to your mailing list for transcripts, etc., that would be excellent. Thanks so much again for putting together such a fantastic resource on the show.

February 06, 2007

In praise of gravitas

The Independent's media columnist Matthew Norman mentions JAM this week. He says

Very good to hear Sir Tim Rice pop up on Just a Minute. For years this show has been far too dependent on guests with some capacity to amuse. The odd appearance in what's known within BBC radio as "the Stilgoe Slot" for a portly stalwart of the Lord's Taverners, with a range of cricketing anecdotes that could stun a charging rhino into a stupor, lends balance and gravitas.

Putting aside the sarcastic note on Tim's ability, I strongly agree that it's good to have someone on the show who isn't a comedian. Clement in particular, but also Tim Rice, does add some balance and gravitas. When Clement retires from the show, they are going to miss that element, and it may well be that at that point Tim appears a lot more often.

Of course though, whoever is on has to have "some capacity to amuse" and both Tim and Clement can be very witty. I am trying to think of whether there has been anyone on JAM who didn't even try to be amusing. The only one I can think of is Dr Magnus Pyke who took all of his subjects and challenges very seriously, but was amusing to listen to because of his eccentricities. Yet his shows are real favourites among JAM fans and rightly so. Patrick Moore did try and be funny at times, I think.

My friend Keith reckons JAM would be better with more people like these on the show, but I'm not so sure. Could whoever is today's version of Magnus Pyke in any way compete with Paul and Graham? Wouldn't they just be humiliated?

this week's show

It seems so nice - waking up on a public holiday here in New Zealand (Waitangi Day), and knowing that there is fresh JAM to listen to. And that one of your all-time faves is on the show in Graham Norton. It's a very very pleasant feeling, I can tell you. I'm also looking forward to the newcomer Chris Addison. It's been a while since a newcomer made a big imapct on their first show - will Chris do this today?

And off we go, the theme music, and today the team in seating order is Paul Merton, Sir Clement Freud, Chris Addison and Graham Norton, and the venue is the Mermaid Theatre at Puddledock in London.

The first subject is Paul's, "the streets of London". He's already on to Nicholas, calling him a third-rate actor from the 19th century. Clement now describing his journey down various streets and after a wrangle over points, Paul says "it's good to hear Clement is doing the Knowledge!" (That's the test for taxi drivers.) Chris's first challenge is a clever one, repetition of "street'. I think Chris has listened before! Graham's in now, they've all had a go. Chris again talking about interpretation of the rules - maybe he's a big fan of the show!

Anyway Graham's off and is in good form, berating amateur shoppers: "I have money to spend and quickly!" He sounds tough which Nicholas picks up on, "I've never heard you speak so violently", and Graham responds "it's the new me!" And Graham is in an early lead.

Clement has the next subject, "monkey business". Starts off very slowly and even a bit stumbly, coming into the middle of a joke about a nun and a taxi driver. Clement awards Nicholas a point who replies "I can't do anything with my points, you can". Graham interjects "is that age", and Clement chimes in "we've noticed!" Is there a game show host anywhere in the world that gets as much abuse as poor Nicholas? Paul now talking about a Marx Brothers film. Chris is in now, going well on a monkey newspaper. Sounding strong and fluent - Clement picks him up on repetition of "monkeys". Clement starts and Paul picks him up on grammar, so he's in with two seconds to go. "Catherine Grant and Katharine Hepburn.... " and Clement has it back with half a second to go and he is now in the lead.

Chris now has the subject, "a false economy". "The economy of Vulgaria is a false economy on the grounds that that place does not in fact exist..." Paul buzzes: "I've just bought a house there! What have I done?" Paul is a master of picking up on others lines. Chris keeps the subject to the audience's delight. Chris picks up, "the Vulgarian economy exists largely on selling imaginary houses to comedians..." Wow he's doing a Paul back at Paul, that doesn't happen often. (I have tears in my eyes now from laughing.) Paul assures us he's seen the home. Nicholas assures us that listening to Chris is his job and Graham pipes up, "he doesn't want to, you understand..."

Clement going on about the Chancellor moving in to a new property, and Chris buzzes, "deviation, it's nothing about a false economy." Nicholas doesn't agree and Clement puts down the youngster, "you're not that new, any more..." I think Clement also thinks Chris is doing rather well. Paul talking about his false teeth! Graham gets in with three seconds to go and gets the buzzer. Graham and Clement now equal in the lead.

Graham's subject is "when I was in prison". He says everybody has lovely nicknames - now how is that for an unexpected start. Chris has the subject now: "when I was in prison, I was struck by two things, one was a metal pail being used for slops, by Big Danny, my cellmate." He runs out of steam. Clement now to talk about his prison-life and he buzzes himself for deviation from the truth. It's not often Clement buzzes himself! Chris and Graham now chiming in to give Clement some points - I've heard this happen with Peter Jones, but there's usually not much generosity towards Clement.

Paul now has the subject again and it is "12 angry men". He remembers the play, and the film with Henry Fonda - certainly a classic. Clement takes it in a football direction, now listing countries. He says they fight for the referee, and Graham quips "is it like a bouquet at a wedding?" Clement says "I wasn't listening" and Paul replies "well you're in the majority there." Paul now listing men in the audience. Nicholas says some were women, and then suggests they could have been transvestities. Paul apologises to the ladies in the audience who Nicholas can't distinguish from transvestites!

Graham's subject is "in the year 2525". Graham says Just A Minute will be difficult then because of the repetitiousness of the date. "There will be many mysteries, like how is Kim Cattrall still 40?" He's wickedly funny, just a brilliant comic mind. Chris having a good argument with Clement now - he is doing very well. I'm enjoying him a lot, indeed I'm enjoying the whole show. Chris: "In the year 2525, I will be 554 years old..." Clement buzzes, "he won't be..." Chris replies "Prove it! I'm on a very strict regime, you know!"

The final round is Chris to start with "body langauge" but he hesitates in his second second. Graham has 58 seconds, he's repeating gestures and the audience is loving it! Nicholas assures us the gestures were quite obscene and Chris challenges for repetition of the gesture. He's going to get a bonus point and now they're all making gestures at Nicholas in the hope of a bonus point. Nicholas says he will give a bonus point to everyone except Graham and he squeaks "but it was my idea!" Hillarious! I'm just imagining the scene! The pictures are better on radio!

Now Paul finishes off on a funny note and that was a top-class show. Chris came fourth, Clement third, Graham second and Paul first.

They were all in top form. That was delightful!

February 04, 2007

The women of Just A Minute

This month marks a very sad anniversary - a year since the untimely, far too early passing of Linda Smith. She died on February 27, 2006.

Those interested can find lots of tributes at the time in the blog - look at early March 2006, and also the blog has frequent mentions of the concerts and book on Linda that have been published since. It's been a year where she has been very much missed from JAM and her other shows. How unfair that such a comedic talent should have died so young.

Obviously JAM wasn't the most important part of Linda's life, but JAM hasn't been an easy programme for the female of the species, and no-one has yet stood up to claim Linda's title of the regular woman panellist on the show.

One of my favourite writers is Christopher Hitchens - a couple of months ago he wrote this article for Vanity Fair, arguing that women aren't funny. (You can see it debated here on the BBC current affairs programme Newsnight with Christopher, Jeremy Paxman and Ruby Wax.) I think if Christopher was a JAM fan, he might change his mind.

Anyway - I was thinking about how I could pay tribute to Linda and have decided to devote this month to the women of Just A Minute. Every few days I'll post an essay on one of the Queens of the programme, ending, hopefully on February 27th, with my tribute to Linda.

So any fans of Sheila Hancock, Andree Melly, Wendy Richard, Aimi Macdonald, Jenny Eclair, Geraldine Jones, Sue Perkins and of course Linda - feel free to post in the comments or email me with your thoughts on any of these great women - favourite moments, tributes, anything you like - and I'll try to incorporate them into the essays.

A threesome of note!

When this week's show begins, it will be the 28th occasion that Sir Clement Freud, Paul Merton and Graham Norton have appeared on the same show together - that's almost half of the total shows Graham has done.

They're far and away the most frequent trio of those still alive. Well behind are Clement, Paul and Tony Hawks on 17, Clement, Paul and Julian Clary on 13, Clement, Paul and Stephen Fry on 10, and Clement, Paul and Liza Tarbuck on 10.

They're always interesting together - Clement said once in an interview that the reason he kept doing the show was that he always enjoying competing with Paul and Graham - they were the two he singled out.

I think I'm right in saying that Paul and Graham - for a time the two biggest TV comics in Britain - have never appeared together except on JAM. Graham has never done any of Paul's other shows, Paul has never appeared on any of Graham's other shows. Their styles are completely different - I think both might realise the other is capable of comedic feats the other just couldn't achieve...

Here's a list of the shows which have had Clement, Paul and Graham together - they have been together at least once in every year since 1997.

1997 - two shows with Peter Jones
1999 - three shows with Fred MacAulay, one show with Richard Morton, two shows with Linda Smith
2000 - one show with Ross Noble, one show with Greg Proops.
2001 - two shows with Sue Perkins, two shows with Barry Cryer, two shows with Linda.
2002 - two shows with Sheila Hancock, one show with Liza Tarbuck.
2003 - one show with Sheila Hancock (35th anniversary special), one show with Liza, one show with Linda.
2004 - one show with Linda.
2005 - two shows with Linda.
2006 - two shows with Jenny Eclair.

For those interested the top 10 trios in JAM history are...

Clement, Peter and Kenneth Williams 140
Clement, Kenneth and Derek Nimmo 139
Kenneth, Peter and Derek 88
Clement, Peter and Derek 82
Kenneth, Derek and Sheila 40
Clement, Kenneth and Andree Melly 39
Clement, Kenneth and Sheila 38
Kenneth, Peter and Sheila 37
Clement, Peter and Paul 36
Clement, Derek and Andree 30

February 03, 2007

The secret pleasure of Just A Minute

I was driving along and was thinking about a bit of JAM from 1975. It's the show where Aimi Macdonald has the subject of "roulette" and starts counting "one, two, three, four..." There's a wrangle over whether saying "fourteen, fifteen" is a repetition of teen and then one about repeating 20 (as in 21, 22...). And Peter Jones says "I think we should move on, I'm very anxious to get into the 30s!"

Now I was just thinking about this, it wasn't even playing on the tape player. And suddenly I'm crying with laughter. And I'm stopped at the traffic lights with the windows down and there's people looking at me funny. I'm alone with no tape playing and laughing fit to die. I must have heard that show about 50 times - it was one of the first I had - and yet here I am laughing hard at just the thought of it.

And the thing is, if I had had to explain to someone, other than another JAM fan, why I was laughing, I'd have a hard time. That's the thing about JAM, it's not as in-jokey as I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue - but you do have to understand the personalities involved and the "rules" and format to like it.

There are so many bits of the show that you would only get if you're a fan. Perhaps my favourite one-liner is when Elaine Stritch said of Kenneth "he makes one word into a three-act play". Kenneth's diction is such a feature of his performances and any JAM fan relates immediately.

And someone on the Yahoo group mentioned the "herbaceous border" thing and said, rightly, everyone would know what she meant. That relates to an incident a couple of years ago where Paul and Nicholas debated whether Clement's comment, "we now have herbaceous borders that would outwit", was deviation or not. This is now a classic moment on JAM. Yet it only works because you know how the show works. A non-JAM fan would think you were nuts for even listening to someone debating whether you could be outwitted by a herbaceous border, let alone laughing at it.

Obviously there's a zillion examples - maybe you guys have better ones. If so, put them in the comments.

But hey, who can I share my love of this silly show with, but with you?

QI and John Lloyd

There is a Just A Minute connection as the TV quiz-game show is chaired by JAM guest Stephen Fry and has featured other JAM guests such as Linda Smith, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Gyles Brandreth, Barry Cryer, Julian Clary, Liza Tarbuck, Fred MacAulay, Arthur Smith, Graeme Garden, Jeremy Hardy, Neil Mullarkey, Dara O’Briain, Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Rob Brydon, Eddie Izzard and Sean Lock.

And the programme is the brain-child of John Lloyd, who produced Just A Minute between 1974 and 1976.

And it's just... well... interesting.