Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

January 07, 2018

50 years of Just A Minute

I've been slow to post on the 50th anniversary special programmes, apologies for that, because the two programmes are both well worth commenting on.

The first, 50 Years in 28 Minutes, was amazing and hugely enjoyable featuring all that is best about Just A Minute and the magic of radio. For those that didn't hear it, the show was expertly edited so it featured panellists from different era talking on the same subjects so it sounded like Peter Cook and Kenneth Williams were on the same shows as Linda Smith and Sue Perkins. Including Nicholas, 34 different people featured - Nicholas Parsons, Paul Merton, Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo, Tony Hawks, Sheila Hancock, Gyles Brandreth, Graham Norton, Jenny Éclair, Sue Perkins, Andree Melly, Linda Smith, Ross Noble, Wendy Richard, Liza Tarbuck, Aimi Macdonald, Stephen Fry, Chris Neill, Fred MacAulay, Shappi Khorsandi, Patrick Moore, Janey Godley, Richard Murdoch, Lance Percival, Maureen Lipman, Susan Calman, Peter Cook, Betty Marsden, Ian McMillan, David Mitchell, Annabel Giles, Sandi Toksvig and Barbara Castle.

Of course the obvious omission was Clement Freud, but Julian Clary and Tim Rice have also featured in more than 50 shows each and didn't make the cut either. I was particularly pleased to hear Aimi Macdonald on the show. She has never featured in any of the specials or on any of the CDs/cassettes before, and yet her shows really are very special and she was a part of the show's early successes.

I speak as a radio producer who does a fair bit of sound editing, when I tips me metaphorical hat to Gareth Gwynn who edited it all together so seamlessly. I thought it did show how the game had changed within the same rules. It was also interesting to hear how little Nicholas's voice has changed over the years, except for the clip of him as a panellist, from 1968. Although certainly some of Nicholas's comments had been recorded for the special, rather than taken from original shows.

And then there was the 50 Years of Just A Minute: Nicholas Parsons in Conversation with Paul Merton. I didn't have such high hopes for this because it feels like we have heard so much from Nicholas about the programme that he couldn't possibly have anything new to say. But the show worked far better than I expected. The involvement of Sheila Hancock, Gyles Brandreth, Tony Hawks and former producer John Lloyd with their own early memories worked very very well - John Lloyd's contribution, brief though it was, was especially good. How I would love to spend an hour talking to John about his thoughts on JAM and working with the old gang of four. This whole programme struck just the right note.

Graham Norton also contributed a brief taped tribute to Nicholas and the show, so all of the living centenarians were involved.

The other contributor was me. I recorded two questions and thought the other had been picked. It was played right at the end, and I rather thought I had been dropped! Anyway it was very nice to be asked and included in such select company. It is a nice nod to the importance of the fans, and it was especially nice to have my contribution to setting down the show's history so very publically acknowledged and thanked.

Two very fine programmes indeed.


Blogger dagi said...

I've heard the first programme which I thought worked was clever and surprisingly good.

I will listen to the second programme very soon, I'm looking forward to hearing the king of JAM history and trivia!!!!!

12:10 pm  

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