Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

March 29, 2009

Just A Classic Minute Vol 6

is due out on July 21 - no info yet on shows to be included.

March 24, 2009

Clement's secret pain

from The Daily Mail

Former Liberal MP-turned-panel-game-host Sir Clement Freud found the Freud legacy was a 'hard mantle to carry', according to his daughter Emma.
Says TV presenter Emma - partner of scriptwriter Richard Curtis: 'He made a decision that he was not interested in being known as Sigmund Freud's grandson and worked hard to be someone in his own right. That meant Sigmund Freud was never mentioned or discussed in any way.
'My sister - like me - was educated at school by nuns and they asked her about him. She asked my father, who said he was the inventor of the flushed toilet.'

March 23, 2009


It is just wonderful what you can find on YouTube these days.

But who would have thought you'd find a video clip of Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo, Sir Clement Freud and Gyles Brandreth performing an orchestral version of Every Breath You Take.

Okay it's just a bit of fun - but I really like it. The Derek and Clement figures in particular are very good.

And does anyone else think one of the Wii people in the background looks a bit like Linda Smith????

Well done to my friend who created this. It makes me think - wouldn't it be nice if Kenneth and Derek (and Linda) really were performing together somewhere...

March 21, 2009

interesting article

on Tommy Cooper by the great man Sir Clement Freud

March 14, 2009

New tribute to Kenneth Williams

The continuing interest in Kenneth Williams says something. It would surely have surprised the man himself!

West End tribute to Williams
New comedy about Carry On star

A new tribute show to Kenneth Williams is to open in London's West End next month.
Stop Messing About has been created by the same team that created the previous nostalgia show Round The Horne… Revisited.
Writers Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke have again set the show as if it was a recording for a BBC rado revue show, hosted by Williams with Jules and Sandy collaborator Hugh Paddick, Carry On co-star Joan Sims and announcer Douglas Smith.
Robin Sebastian, Nigel Harrison and Charles Armstrong reprise their roles as Williams, Paddick and Smith from Round The Horne Revisited, wile Emma Atkins – best known as Charity Dingle in Emmerdale – will play Sims.
Between them, Mortimer and Cooke wrote such sitcoms as Man Abut The House, George and Mildred and Robin’s Nest as well as writing for the likes of Bernard Cribbins, Marty Feldman, Frankie Howerd, Bruce Forsyth, Ronnie Barker and Tommy Cooper.
Stop Messing About opens at the Leicester Square Theatre on Wednesday April 15 and runs until Sunday May 24.

March 07, 2009

Ross Noble's farm burned down in bushfires

JAM guest Ross Noble has been hit by Victoria's bushfires

Noble loses home in bush fires
But he escapes unharmed
Ross Noble's Australian home has been destroyed by the bush fires that have claimed more than 180 lives.
The Geordie comic spends six months of his year in St Andrews, Victoria, About An Hour drive north of Melbourne, where he lives with his wife Fran.
His farm was one of about 1,000 destroyed by fires that have swep through the country, claiming another 500 injuries. However, both Noble and his wife have escaped without injury.
In an interview with a local radio station, the 32-year-old described how his neighbours recently held a meeting about plans with how to deal with bush fire - but in the event the blaze spread so quickly they could not implement them. Many of the people at that meeting are now dead.
One listener said Noble sounded 'cut up' and 'still in shock' over the incident, and was struggling for words.
So far, four people have been confirmed killed in St Andrews, with another 21 in the wider area.
Town resident Ken Rogers, 70, told the local paper: 'It came through so fast,. We just sat in the driveway and watched the house burn down.'
Noble once described his Australian home: ‘It’s surrounded by fields. And animals... cows, horses, possums,giant wombats. And kangaroos. A lot of kangaroos. I counted 23 from the bedroom window. The giant wombats dig giant holes. That can make riding a bike a bit hazardous. There are deadly snakes and spiders, too.’
A statement issued by Noble's agents, PBJ Management, said: 'Ross Noble has confirmed that his home has been destroyed by the bush fires in Victoria, Australia.
'However he and his family are safe and well, and plans for his forthcoming tour remain unchanged.'

Paul's website

JAM star Paul Merton now has his own website - not a lot there but it is a start.

March 04, 2009

RIP Joan Turner

Joan Turner, who appeared on JAM once in 1970, has died at the age of 86.

She had an interesting life. The obituary from the Guardian is here,

and the Wikipedia entry is here

I've always thought her laugh possibly the best and heartiest ever heard on the show. Memorable for that reason!

I think the Guardian piece is worth copying...

Joan Turner, who has died at the age of 86, was an outstandingly versatile performer who was called "the women's answer to Harry Secombe". She could sing a pop or operatic song with her four-and-a-half-octave soprano voice, do an almost eerily convincing impersonation of Bette Davis, and then switch to a stand-up comic routine. The London Evening News once said that she had "the voice of an angel and the wit of a devil". Her agent, Janet Glass, thought that she never had an equal before her peak time or after it - and was apt to challenge any doubters to think of one.
Joan could hold her own with the unpredictable Crazy Gang at the Victoria Palace, and was perhaps the only female popular singer, impressionist and comedian of the last 50 years with a voice capable of conquering concert halls. It was a cruel reverse when alcohol and gambling reduced her, for several years in the 1990s, to the status of a bag lady walking the streets of Los Angeles and Las Vegas looking for work - an experience she ebulliently strove to present to friends as no more than an adventure.
Joan, a practising Catholic, was born in Belfast, the daughter of Leonard Turner, who became a London bus driver and subsequently taxi driver after serving with the British Army in Ireland, where he met Ellen Charlesson, the woman who would become his wife and the mother of Joan. Their bright daughter won a scholarship to the Sacred Heart convent in Victoria, and travelled there every day from their home miles away in Peckham. When, at 14, Joan told her teachers she wanted to leave for a theatrical career, the Mother Superior begged Ellen to persuade her to stay.
Persuasion was fruitless, and the girl appeared at a London music hall when still 14, the following year appearing in revue and after that featuring, in 1954, with the nihilistic Crazy Gang. Even against such opposition, she imposed herself sufficiently to appear that year at the Royal Command Performance, a forerunner of the one in 1963 when she topped a bill that also included the Beatles. Joan was to star at many royal events. She appeared at the Queen's Silver Jubilee performance in 1977 and was guest of honour at the Queen Mother's 90th birthday in 1990.
For many years it was as if she trod a golden road, becoming the highest-earning female singer in Britain, and the disc jockey of her own radio show. She was a recording artist for Decca and Pye, made a religious programme for radio about the saints, was chairman of the Catholic Stage Guild Ball for nine years, raising thousands for charities, and won the Manchester Evening News best supporting actress award for her role of Dolly in The Belle of Belfast City at the Contact Theatre. As a result of this, she got the role of Aunty Lou in Brookside for Channel 4 in 1991. In the West End she was in Call Me Madam and was Mrs Bumble in Oliver! In the 1970s, apart from being the star at the Talk of the Town in London, she took her own show, Joan Turner Unlimited, all over the country and then, in 1980, to the US - an experience that may well have inflamed her liking for champagne and vodka.
Two years previously, she had been fired from Oliver! after throwing empty wine bottles from the dressing-room window. She was later declared bankrupt, sacked from Brookside, and, in 1992, was the subject of a television documentary, The Comeback, showing an alcoholic and quarrelsome former star living squalidly in a Surrey flat. She probably saw the seven-year move to the US as her last throw in the game of success, but she returned to Britain virtually empty-handed. Her daughter Susanna Page always believed that "the best way to describe Mum is that she thought every day was Christmas". She was to discover painfully that it was not.
Called by one critic "the greatest of the old-time funny ladies", discretion was rarely her watchword. In her autobiography I Thought It Grew on Trees, due to appear in August, she recalls sleeping with Peter Sellers while he was engaged to Anne Howe, his first wife. It was on a sunny day in the 1960s when she and Sellers took a walk in some gardens. "Before I knew what was happening," she recalled, "he grabbed me and I found myself in the hedge with him." On the other hand a number of stars with whom she also allegedly dallied, including Tony Hancock and Terry-Thomas, all pleaded, when it came to the point, that they were too drunk to consummate. In the case of Hancock, she wrote that: "Tony and I began an affair together yet we never had full sex as he was always too inebriated to do it."
The tabloid press was restrained from presenting such tidings when the male parties were still alive (any suggestion of sexual incapacity being one of the best ways of increasing the business of lawyers), but her unpredictable behaviour was a different matter. In 2003 it did not cause absolute surprise when she arrived two hours late at her own annual Joan Turner Lunch at the Club for Acts and Actors, lurched into the room and barracked the speakers. Some of her colleagues walked out, but a crowd of elderly fans were waiting outside for her autograph and were overjoyed when they were allowed in. She still had good friends, including the writer Lynda La Plante, who, in 2004, offered to her what was intended as the comeback role of Mrs Sunnelly in The Commander, which ITV screened the following year.
Television had helped make Joan's reputation, and she appeared on it virtually to the last. She had made some of her first appearances on The Frankie Howerd Show in 1953, and featured in The Roy Hudd Show in 1969. A number of one-off appearances included The Bill in 1988 and Grange Hill in 1990, and, in 1995, she was Gran in the children's series I Hate This House, with Helen Lederer.
Joan married first Christopher Page, a Lincoln solicitor, in the 1940s, and then Leslie Cocks, a Pye record producer; both marriages ended in divorce. She is survived by three daughters, Susanna, Joanna and Amanda.

JAM on Wikipedia

I've been on Wikipedia for a while, mainly lurking. This was because on arrival I essentially rewrote a page and then found the crowds gathered to assure me what a shit job I'd done. Looking back, I can understand why, but at the time it hurt.

Anyway I've gradually grown in confidence and I really do appreciate Wikipedia these days. I like the culture of "assume good faith" and the attempts to stop incivility. I still think some people fire from the hip, but people are people and things seems to work out in the end.

Anyway I've avoided the JAM page because a quick look at it once found it full of nonsense. But I'm now using the Wikipedia to update the cast biographical sections on my own website (I'm just adding things to my section, not copying Wikipedia) so thought in return I'd tidy up all the cast pages and the main page.

I think the JAM page there is now looking a bit better. I added in a cast list which seems encyclopeadic. It's different to my site but I think still useful. I also tidied up what was there while keeping most of it. After all any Wikipedia venture is a joint one. Anyway I think it's not a bad summary of the show now.

I'd like to add in a short quotes section though. Any great quotes you can remember from JAM over the years, let me know and I'll add them in. (Or maybe add them yourself - anyone can edit it.)

March 03, 2009

I enjoyed it

Am I being too kind on this season's shows. Perhaps but I really did enjoy today's show... again. Josie Lawrence had her best show yet. I really think she has the inventiveness that could make her a very good player, and she's not shy of challenging. Jack Dee on the other hand seems to get quieter every time he plays. Paul was again very good without dominating. All in all, another top show.