Just A Minute

A new series of this comedy is in production.

Long running radio panel game in which host Nicholas Parsons asks contestants to talk for one minute without repetition, hesitation or deviation

Panel Show
1967 - 2014  (BBC Radio 4)
68 series
Nicholas Parsons, Clement Freud, Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones, Paul Merton
Ian Messiter
British Broadcasting Corporation

Just A Minute is one of the longest running comedies on BBC Radio 4, having started the same year the station launched. Hosted by Nicholas Parsons (who has been in every episode since the beginning), it is a show in which the panel must attempt to talk about a subject for a minute without repetition, hesitation or deviation.

Our Review: Now distinctly old-fashioned, this comedy series plods on towards the 1000th episode with bumbling luvvie Nicholas Parsons still at the helm trotting out the same interlinking phrases every time ("Welcome to the programme four talented, witty, amusing players...", "The audience so enjoyed your interruption", "We are indebted to the creator of this game...").

To give JAM better respect: it is possibly one of the most important British radio comedies ever made. It's one of Radio 4's 'Big Three' (alongside I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue and The News Quiz) and, thanks to some witty guests, does deliver a number of laughs. Part of the success is probably due to the simplicity of game - three simple rules, that everyone can understand, but which are very difficult to obey.

The series contains contributions from great performers, most famously Clement Freud, Paul Merton, Kenneth Williams, Peter Jones and Derek Nimmo.

A couple of years ago there were some complaints that contestants were interrupting too much and being too competitive, which resulted in some proposed changes to the rules. Although the rules have not changed, it seems the latest series are indeed slightly 'lighter' on the buzzers and the focus has moved away from playing the game properly and, once again, it's more about trying to make the audience laugh.

The show has failed on three attempts now to successfully crossover to television, but with Junior Just A Minute coming soon as an additional variation, the show certainly has a solid future on the wireless.