Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

December 19, 2010

Very funny

The brilliant Ross Noble was a guest on Have I Got News For You and that also seemed to bring out the best in Paul Merton and Ian Hislop... as a public service I draw attention to these - you won't regret watching these...

December 15, 2010

Dean's JAM rankings for 2010

My fourth annual ranking for all the players this year - 26 players over 26 shows this year, compared with 29 over 22 shows last year.

They won't be back next year

Kevin Eldon- He did have some moments but went very quiet after a bit. He did seem jolly but he probably didn't do enough to get a recall.
Dave Gorman - Has been on the show a few times now but to me, he's not really producing enough comedy to keep getting a recall.
Fred MacAulay - Fred's been an occasional guest for a very long time now, but to me, he rarely says something that produces a big laugh. He does have an interesting voice but I think it's time for others to be given his slot.
Liza Tarbuck - Oh well I've talked about her before. I just think she's a nice jolly person who has now appeared far more often than she is worth.
John Sergeant - In one of the more bizarre appearances in the show's history, John came on and tried to meet all the rules with some success but without much humour. For this he got derided, even by Nicholas, and he surely will not be asked back again.

They had some good moments

Stephen K. Amos - A unique style, Stephen had some fun on his appearance and it would be well worth trying him again.
Alun Cochrane - Better than on his prevoious appearances, Alun came out with some good lines but doesn't appeal as a future star.
Shappi Khorsandi - Better than on some previous appearances, Shappi seems to be developing a Peter Jones type style where she takes no interest in the game but comes in with some witty remarks.
Ian McMillan - In his first show, Ian seemed to go to sleep in the latter part of the show. But he is quite good at the between-points banter and has a distinctive style which makes him interesting to listen to.
David Mitchell - I was very impressed last year but this year there were fewer good moments. Still more than capable of the witty remark.

About average

Pam Ayres - Pam has an interesting style where she gets sort of poetic and that certainly makes her an amusing guest. But she never hits the heights.
John Bishop - Certainly the best of the newcomers this year, I would have liked to have had him in the next group. He fitted into the show like a glove, and was very funny. But the competition was tough and it was just one show. Still we need him back very soon.
Charles Collingwood - His funny complaints make him amusing in the banter.
Kit Hesketh-Harvey - As always Kit is a great contributor with his painting of word pictures.
Justin Moorhouse - A funny man Justin could develop into a regular contributor as has the wit and the competitive edge.
Chris Neill - Chris's camp routines enliven the shows he appears in. I could easily have had him in the next group.

Let's hear more of them

Sheila Hancock - I would have liked to have had Sheila in my top group as I thought she was very good on her four shows. She provides a competive edge and a sort of gravitas which makes her very welcome.
Tony Hawks - It was a good year for Tony who is not as consistently funny as some but is always a great contributor. Is one of those who seems to be producing more in the post-Clement era.
Josie Lawrence - She gets better every time she is on and it's by no means impossible she could develop into a regular. She's competitive enough, witty enough and distinctive enough.
Graham Norton - Graham's a star performer who I would have loved to have fitted into the top group.
Sue Perkins - Sue's one of those knocking on the door of regular status. She's very fluent, very competitive and witty. Could easily have been in my top group.

Stars of the year

5th best - Julian Clary - Julian just seems like a natural with his comedy and competitiveness. He works so well with both Paul and Nicholas.

4th best - Jenny Eclair - She had a very good year, her fighting with Paul works so well and she's someone full of great lines. It'll be interesting to see if her appearances on reality TV make her someone the producers are trying to get on more often.

Bronze medal - Gyles Brandreth - Surely someone who will be doing many more JAMs, perhaps hundreds more. His competitive style, his voice, his literary allusions - they all give us something that is a real contrast to Paul. Paul seems to love fighting with him, and that makes for great fun.

Silver medal - Ross Noble - Ross can't do the show very often but gee he's great when he can.

Champion of the year - Paul Merton - obvious I guess, but Paul does hold things together. He's a deserved champion.

So a very good year - lots of wonderful, funny performances.

For those interested, here are my previous rankings... (note I was right about all the ones who won't be back last year)
Here's my previous rankings.

They won't be back next year - Jack Dee, Janey Godley, Josie Long, Pauline McLynn, Mike McShane, Paul Sinha.
They had some good moments - Richard Herring, Josie Lawrence, Helen Lederer, Tim Rice, Liza Tarbuck, Suki Webster.
About average - Pam Ayres, Charles Collingwood, Sheila Hancock, Tony Hawks, Shappi Khorsandi, Chris Neill.
Let's hear more of them - Julian Clary, Jenny Eclair, Stephen Fry, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, David Mitchell, Justin Moorhouse.
5th best - Graham Norton.
4th best - Gyles Brandreth.
Bronze medal - Sue Perkins.
Silver medal - Paul Merton.
Champion of the year - Clement Freud.

They won't be back next year - Lynn Ferguson, Janey Godley, Shappi Khorsandi, Josie Lawrence, Liza Tarbuck.
They had some good moments - Chris Addison, Rhod Gilbert, Robin Ince, Ian McMillan,
Mike McShane, Owen O'Neill.
About average - Jack Dee, Dave Gorman, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Phill Jupitus, Fred MacAulay, Chris Neill.
Let's hear more of them - Gyles Brandreth, Marcus Brigstocke, Jenny Eclair, Clement Freud, Tony Hawks.
5th best - Ross Noble.
4th best - Julian Clary.
Bronze medal - Graham Norton.
Silver medal - Sue Perkins.
Champion of the year - Paul Merton.

They won't be back next year - Jo Caulfield, Alun Cochrane, Maria McErlane, Pauline McLynn, Greg Proops.
They had some good moments - Jenny Eclair, Dave Gorman, Phill Jupitus, Maureen Lipman, Neil Mullarkey.
They're about average - Clement Freud, Tony Hawks, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Fred MacAulay, Dara O'Briain, Tim Rice.
Let's see more of them - Chris Addison, Pam Ayres, Janey Godley, Graham Norton, Sue Perkins.
5th best - Chris Neill.
4th best - Julian Clary.
Bronze medal - Gyles Brandreth
Silver medal - Marcus Brigstocke.
Champion of the year - Paul Merton.


Well Í think it's a safe assumption that this week's show was the last this season. And what a good one it was. Sheila Hancock, Gyles Brandreth and Ian McMillan all have fun individual styles which are different from Paul. It was a good competitive show and the usual Nick-baiting had a different tone to it as well. I thought it was a very good season.

I must write about Claire Jones who has now produced 167 shows - one more than David Hatch, making her the most prolific producer in the show's history. I can't claim she's been more influential than Hatch who is the show's founder. But she has had to take the helm of the show in the seasons following the death of Peter Jones (which was just a year after the death of Derek Nimmo) and the seasons following the death of Clement Freud. The list of people introduced to the show by her is a strong one - Ross Noble, Sue Perkins, Marcus Brigstocke, Charles Collingwood, Liza Tarbuck. She also brought back to the show two of the current semi-regulars, Sheila Hancock and Gyles Brandreth. The show as it is today is largely her creation and it's arguably as successful as ever.

The other milestone is to note Nicholas's 800th show. Noted.

Here's the revised list of panellist appearances this year over 26 shows.

Paul Merton 24
Gyles Brandreth 9
Tony Hawks, Sue Perkins 8
Graham Norton 6
Jenny Eclair 5
Julian Clary, Sheila Hancock, Josie Lawrence, Liza Tarbuck 4
Pam Ayres, Alun Cochrane, Charles Collingwood, Kevin Eldon, Dave Gorman, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Ian McMillan, David Mitchell, Justin Moorhouse, Chris Neill, Ross Noble, John Sergeant 2
Stephen K. Amos, John Bishop, Shappi Khorsandi, Fred MacAulay 1

December 13, 2010

the end....

In my previous post I mentioned the at times incorrect information the BBC publishes about JAM. At the time of writing the last ep of the current season is being promoted on the BBC website, both on the Radio Four schedule and on the Just A Minute page as being the sixth of eight shows.

Next week, there is a one-off play but I did wonder if it was possible they would bring JAM back for two further shows on Dec 27 and Jan 3. It seemed unlikely but that sort of thing has happened.

But the Radio Times listing has this as the last of the season and I am told the Radio Times listing - in the magazine, not yet on the website - lists I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue as resuming on December 27. Thnaks to poster Sebastian for that information.

It's been my suspicion all along that there are only six shows this season as you can see if you look back through the blog. I haven't heard about a fourth recording and the BBC is now advertising four more recordings on Friday 7th January , Saturday 22nd January, Saturday 29th January, and Friday 18th February, all at Broadcasting House.

In a list of the problems affecting the world, this isn't in the top million. But it is frustrating. Why put up these numbers at all if you can't get these things right.

Anyway I will wait to hear this week's show and the back announce before declaring the show to be definitively the last for the year.

December 06, 2010

Lovely pic of Sheila Hancock

picking up her award - with Julie Walters