Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

August 25, 2016

JAM's future

As we all know JAM is approaching the major milestone of its 50th anniversary. In the past the BBC has marked these anniversaries at the beginning of the year so maybe we are just a few months from the anniversary being marked at the beginning og 2017.

I think though that the controversy over Clement Freud's past as a sexual predator is going to make marking the anniversary very difficult. I will be surprised if there are many more clip shows or classic CD releases simply because the BBC will not be able to rerun shows featuring Clement. I think the most likely thing is a show where the anniversary is mentioned in a low-key sort of way, probably without mentioning the show's most frequent panellist.

I am wondering too if once the show is marked, if we might well find the show will be retired. I have no inside information at all, but to me anyway, the show is not as good as it once was, and with Nicholas in his mid 90s it just seems like the 50th year might be a good time to call it to an end.

What do you think?


A largely unremarked feature of the current season was that Katherine Ryan completed an uninterripted minute in her first show, indeed in her first time speaking.

Last year when David Tennant did this it was big news and indeed Nicholas mentioned it in his behind the scenes interview with Gyles Brandreth just last week. It was very widely reported as a first.

It was a great achievement but not a first. I wrote about this here and again here. At the time I wrote to some of the reporters who had reported this feat, but no-one responded or corrected their stories. So no doubt it is now firmly established as a fact!

Katherine Ryan did this in the first show of the current season, but it seems to have passed most people by. Congrats to her - she joins a small group, even if she is not the second.

In the very next show, Zoe Lyons also went the whole minute on debut, but not on her first time speaking.


Have been behind on panel news  - the recording for season 76 is now complete.

The panels are

*Paul Merton, Gyles Brandreth, Josie Lawrence and Katherine Ryan - two shows
*Paul, Tony Hawks, Julian Clary and Zoe Lyons - two shows
* Paul, Marcus Brigstocke, Janey Godley and Nish Kumar - one show
* Paul, Marcus, Fred MacAulay and Pippa Evans.

So three newcomers this season - the Canadian panel show regular Katherine - the former reality TV star turned comedian Zoe - and the improviser Pippa Evans.

There have been three six show seasons this year - which makes me wonder if we will get a fourth season in November/December this year.

The current season also has a new producer in Matt Stronge, the first male producer since Chris Neill in the late 90s. He started out as a sound editor which makes him very interesting. welcome to the team, Matt.

If this is all the JAM we get this year, here are the appearances (18 shows) -  newcomers are bolded

Paul Merton 16
Gyles Brandreth, Josie Lawrence 6
Graham Norton, Marcus Brigstocke 4
Nish Kumar 3
Tony Hawks, Sheila Hancock,, Jenny Eclair, Julian Clary, Tim Rice, Stephen Fry, Pam Ayres, Holly Walsh, Josh Widdicombe, John Finnemore, Rufus Hound, Zoe Lyons, Esther Rantzen, Katherine Ryan, Alexei Sayle 2
Fred MacAulay, Janey Godley, Pippa Evans 1 

Thimgs to note are the high number of newcomers, only three shows didn't have a newcomer. Also the absence of many who you might well have expected to hear - Sue Perkins, Liza Tarbuck, Susan Calman, Alun Cochrane, Shappi Khorsandi - and after all the fuss about his appearance last year, where was David Tennant? Perhaps some of these will be in a November-December season...