Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

July 22, 2011

web videos

The BBc put these out a couple of years ago - you might be interested to have a look and listen

Nicholas being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame

Nicholas Parsons inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame from Siddharth Khajuria on Vimeo.

July 17, 2011


David Gill writes with this question

For some reason I've always assumed that the players are given advanced notice of each programme's subjects. I've had this mental picture of the players gathering together pre-show in the green room during which the JAM producer has told them individually of the subjects which they'll be asked to talk about, thus giving them a few valuable minutes to think of their approach (which would be particularly useful for difficult or obscure subject).

But during series 60 (episode 3), I heard Stephen Fry give a reaction almost of surprise when Nicholas told him of his subject. This has made me question my previously held assumption.

Any thoughts?

A while ago now - in 1999 I think - the British daily paper The Telegraph decided to make an issue of this with the revelation that the show was not totally spontaneous. The producer at the time Chris Neill gave as comprehensive an answer as we are ever likely to get.

I've looked to see if the story is still on the web but it seems the Telegraph's archives don't go back that far.

But anyway - as I recall it - the answer was that the panellists can choose whether they wish to see the subjects or not. Most do see them. But some didn't - Clement Freud was named as one of those who refused to see the list.

In the Kenneth Williams Diaries there are a couple of references to Kenneth getting the historical subjects at least a couple of days beforehand so that he could research them!

So I'm guessing most do see the subjects before the show. Perhaps Stephen Fry doesn't, or perhaps he was just playing along.

The show is more spontaneous though than say I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue which is all but scripted. As Chris Neill said at the time, the show is really about the way the players interact with each other and how they carry on with running jokes that couldn't be thought up beforehand.

Anyway I hope that answers your question David.

Kenneth Williams as Darth Vader

July 15, 2011

Lichfield panel

was Tony Hawks, Gyles Brandreth, Pam Ayres and Miles Jupp - Miles's first programme.

July 09, 2011

team for second recording of new season

if I read Twitter correctly was a very strong one – the most experienced living panel!

Paul Merton, Tony Hawks, Sheila Hancock and Graham Norton.

Those will certainly be two shows worth hearing!

July 01, 2011

more thoughts on the poll

Someone on the blog has grumbled that the voting was very conservative which it was. I didn’t vote, but had I done so, I would have voted for Paul, Ross, Graham and Stephen Fry. Now in 2006 on the blog and again in 2009 I ranked my all-time favourite players and on both occasions, of those still alive, those four were my favourites.

I would very much like to have included Julian and Jenny in particular – Julian just gets better every time he plays and Jenny’s unique style always makes me laugh hard. But I couldn’t find one of my top four to drop out.

So I’d be ecstatic if I turned up for a recording and found Paul Merton, Ross Noble, Stephen Fry and Graham Norton on the stage.

But I’d be almost as ecstatic to see Gyles Brandreth, Marcus Brigstocke, Jenny Eclair and Julian Clary up there with Nicholas.

And I’d be more than delighted to walk in to Tony Hawks, Sheila Hancock, Sue Perkins and Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

It would be a great evening in the company of Tim Rice, Pam Ayres, Josie Lawrence and Chris Neill too.

And I’m sure I’d get some laughs from Charles Collingwood, Liza Tarbuck, Shappi Khorsandi and Fred MacAulay. But I would probably be a little disappointed at first!

That’s the thing – the standards really are very high.

Perhaps a better way to have done the poll would be in a Big Brother/American Idol style and let everyone pick as many as they liked and have the bottom ranked fall off each time until we got a winner. It might get a bit tedious to be voting continuously though.

Or we could take away four players – or add another 12 – and put them in a series of one-on-one showdown polls till we ended up with a winner.

Anyway I’m glad you seem to have found it a bit of fun.

poll over!

Seeing as we didn't look like getting near the 100 voters total, I thought I'd close the poll, which ran on the yahoo group as well as here.

Votes were as follows:

Paul Merton 23
Ross Noble 15
Stephen Fry 13
Gyles Brandreth, Julian Clary, Tony Hawks 12
Graham Norton 11
Sue Perkins 10
Sheila Hancock 7
Marcus Brigstocke, Charles Collingwood, Jenny Eclair, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Josie Lawrence 5
Pam Ayres, Shappi Khoprsandi 4
Liza Tarbuck 3
Fred MacAulay, Tim Rice 2
Chris Neill 0

The final results are about where the producers would be, I'd suggest. Apart from Ross and Stephen, the top raters are those that appear most frequently - and one imagines the producers would be delighted to have Ross and Stephen on more often.

Women didn't rate very well... Sue Perkins was best at eighth.

I feel a bit sorry for Chris Neill - I suppose I can't honestly say he would have received one of my four votes - but he's always been very funny on the programme, and is tops at banter and repartee. I think I'd have had him in my top 10.

The other interesting point to me is how well Gyles Brandreth did. You get a few people who say they dislike him but he adds something different. I think he deserves the rating he got.