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Just a Minute

Mark Damazer Mark Damazer 10:02, Thursday, 26 February 2009

The original 'Just a Minute' crew in 1967. Inventor Ian Messiter is at bottom left

Having just made the announcement on Clue/ISIHAC (and I see from the blog that purists would prefer if I abbreviated to ISIHAC) I thought I'd briefly point out that the other great long-lasting series, Just a Minute has won a special 'Outstanding Achievement' award from Chortle - the leading comedy website. For which I say thanks. And quite right too.

JAM, produced by Claire Jones, is a supreme example of re-invention. It worked many decades ago with Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo et al... but when they died there was real risk of the programme becoming moribund.

But the arrival of Paul Merton - and then the likes of Graham Norton - gave it a very different feel - and it worked. Nicholas Parsons himself was all in favour of the change in tone - and with Clement Freud staying on it has worked beautifully over many years.


  • Comment number 1.

    Nicholas is just a superb host. May he live on forever.

    Well done JAM.

  • Comment number 2.

    JAM never, never fails to entertain.

    A well deserved award.

  • Comment number 3.

    I hope there are plans to ensure ISIHAC survives the inevitable ravages of time on its current team ... no more fitting an epitaph for those geniuses of mirth than "The Best of Last Century's ISIHAC" on 3d-Holovision at the beach, half way up Snowdon on Xmas Day 2109.

  • Comment number 4.

    Just A Minute is easily one of the best things in life. Guaranteed laughs, incredible repartee and admirable genius. Long may it go on!

  • Comment number 5.

    Great show yes, but Paul Merton weakens it. When he goes off on a flight of fancy it is called surrealism. When anyone else does it it is called deviation. One of the great joys of the show is when someone has the skill to be able to speak unchallenged for an entire minute on a given subject. That can NEVER happen when Paul Merton is a contestant. His constant interuptions in search of bonus points invariably lie outside of the rules of hesitation, repetition, or deviation, yet he is rewarded every time. Wonderful show, but please, get rid of Merton, or at least get rid of the cheaply earned bonus points.

  • Comment number 6.

    I have listened to JAM for years, and its a great show! It never fails to make me laugh - especially Paul Merton, except when Julian Clary is on it. I find find him crude and unfunny, and totally self-obsessed. Eddie Izzard was on the show recently, and he was hilarious - bring him back please!

  • Comment number 7.

    If ISIHAC is one of the best things on radio, JAM has to be the other. Mertonmustgo - is there a chance of a sense of humour bypass operation reversal? It's Paul that makes the show. His and Clement's interruptions are what brings the comedy, and the pace of the show. A sprinkling of Julian Clary each series is very funny - yes he is totally obsessed - but that's his tradmark. Without Kenneth Williams you've got to have a camp attack sometimes......

  • Comment number 8.

    So it's personal remarks now. I just think the show is of a better quality when the contestants confine themselves to the rules. It is no coincidence that the editions I most enjoyed from the last series did not include Paul Merton. I wonder what Ian Messiter would make of the fact that contestants can earn more points from interjected asides than from his three cleverly crafted rules. We all enjoy the program because we enjoy wordplay. Wordplay needs development, not constant interuption. I am only sorry that my opinion exercised Just_listen_here to such an extent he was moved to employ an insult.

  • Comment number 9.

    mertonmustgo - I kinda get the point that you are making, but I think you are wrong.

    If Merton was taken out, and nobody on the show really 'cared' who won or lost, then the game would be slightly the poorer.

    Of course, the way the scores are announced makes it clear that not everyone on the panel should REALLY care who wins 'and that it is the taking part that counts'.

    But without one, or occasionally two, who are very competitive, I think the show would soon become a duller place as it loses some of its edge.

    The studio audience are usually the best guard against too much gamesmanship or someone appearing to be just a bit too, er, competitive..

  • Comment number 10.

    We all have our favourites and the opposite.

    My personal major irritation is newbies who try too hard and are a bit irritating, but one has to recognise that one man's meat is another man's GM Soya.

    I personally think Paul Merton is a comic genius, but yes, sometimes genius is tiresome. Ask my wife.


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