Just A Minute - In The Press

If ever a programme needed no introduction it's this venerable panel game, which has been on air for nearly 47 years and here begins a 69th series.

The secret of its success? A deceptively simple concept that requires razor-sharp skill to execute. Debutante Vanessa Feltz does well enough to suggest she'll be back. She's up against Julian Clary. "It is the most difficult game in the world", the stalwart confirms. "To play it makes your brain hurt."

David McGilivray, Radio Times, 19th May 2014

Just a Minute's long-time host explains what keeps him so alert and healthy in his nineties.

Written by Nicholas Parsons. The Daily Telegraph, 21st March 2014

The magazine show includes a special week of broadcasts of Junior Just a Minute. Nicholas Parsons is a kindly, paternal host, but please don't expect the same heights of humour as Paul Merton and Graham Norton.

Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 11th November 2013

No hesitation, repetition or deviation. It's a simple formula that has worked for Just a Minute since 1967. But now the Radio 4 show chaired by Nicholas Parsons is asking children to take up the challenge for a special version on The 4 O'Clock Show, a strand on Radio 4 Extra.

Written by Carla Parks. BBC Ariel, 11th November 2013

A campaign is afoot to have Nicholas Parsons knighted. Sir Nicholas? Is it really such a ridiculous notion? He's a unique performer - pompous, infuriating, the butt of all jokes. What many people fail to realise, including fellow actors, is that this is a deliberate persona, a comic front.

Written by Christopher Stevens. The Daily Mail, 11th October 2013

There is a growing demand for the Queen to confer a 'K' on gentleman quiz show host Nicholas Parsons, who is now 90.

Written by Richard Kay. The Daily Mail, 10th October 2013

The 90-year-old actor and presenter of Radio 4's Just a Minute shows no sign of slowing up.

Written by Cristina Odone. The Daily Telegraph, 24th September 2013

Every day, in a stairwell at Broadcasting House, I pass by a photograph of Nicholas Parsons. If you haven't seen that photo, you've seen one like it. Down the years, Nicholas must have been photographed thousands of times with timepieces of all descriptions. He is invariably pointing at them, and beaming as if the clock in question is the most wonderful object ever conceived.

And well he might. Since the earliest days of Radio 4 in 1967, Nicholas has presided over Just a Minute with the same glee exhibited in every publicity shot. His cry of "Welcome to Just a Minute!" at the start of each programme is as enthusiastic a greeting as you'll hear on the radio... an enthusiasm that the passing decades have not dimmed.

His cheery and wily chairmanship are the backbone of it all, with the game's players giving the show new form every week. For a programme obsessed with the passing seconds, time has robbed it of some of its most accomplished participants. Paul Merton is now the mainstay, though he's not here for this first edition of a new series: here it's Gyles Brandreth who picks up and runs with his topics, full of clever word play, boisterous energy and mischief.

As always, anarchy is never far away. In round one, panellist Patrick Kielty accuses Parsons of behaving like a contestant and awards him a point. Never a wasted minute.

Eddie Mair, Radio Times, 12th August 2013

Radio 4 panel games come and go. In some cases they come, then stick around for decades after you wish they'd disappeared. But not this one, which might still be the best of the bunch. Nicholas Parsons, Paul Merton and other regulars are back for the show's 66th series - and in the first episode, fans will be holding their breath for 60 full seconds as Graham Norton achieves the rare feat of speaking for a minute without hesitating, deviating or repeating himself. Pam Ayres and new BBC2 sketch-comedy star Kevin Eldon round out a great panel.

Jack Seale, The Radio Times, 21st May 2013

As any JAM fan will tell you, it's not often that a panellist speaks for the whole minute, uninterrupted, without deviation, hesitation or repetition, but that's exactly what Graham Norton does here. Admittedly, he does have a distinct advantage with his subject matter - it's the Eurovision Song Contest - but even so, it's a rare enough event to inspire a warm and spontaneous round of applause from the audience.

And Nicholas Parsons takes some gentle ribbing from Paul Merton when he manages to work his forename into a round entitled "Fur coat and no knickers" - "You've been waiting 45 series to use that gag," says Merton.

Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 20th May 2013

Richard Herring has a close encounter with entertainment legend Nicholas Parsons as he makes his second appearance on Radio 4 show Just A Minute.

Written by Richard Herring. Metro, 12th June 2012

As a producer of Just a Minute I went with Nicholas Parsons to India to make a documentary about a game played in student tournaments there that resembles Just a Minute.

Written by Tilusha Ghelani. BBC Radio 4 Blog, 3rd April 2012

This week there was the last of two special episodes on BBC Radio 4 that were recorded in India (a documentary about the India episodes is on Radio 4 at 11.30 on Monday 2nd April), featuring regulars Nicholas Parsons and Paul Merton, English comedian Marcus Brigstocke, and Indian comedians Cyrus Broacha and Anuvab Pal. Topics for discussion included "It's just not cricket" and "Mumbai traffic".

The main difference between this and the normal British edition is that the Indians appear to be much more competitive. Although there are those who will like the faster-paced action, there are those, including myself, that feel it disturbs the flow too much with so many challenges. Still, it makes for an interesting change...

Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 3rd April 2012

For 45 years, Just a Minute has been challenging contestants to talk for one minute on a subject without hesitation, deviation or repetition - a feat seldom achieved. To celebrate its milestone birthday, the host of the BBC Radio 4 panel game - Nicholas Parsons - travelled to India to meet some of the game's fans, and to record special editions of the programme. On his journey, he found fast-paced hybrid versions of Just a Minute - so-called 'jamming' - being played in clubs across the country.

Written by Nicholas Parsons. BBC News, 2nd April 2012

Forty-five years after its invention, Just a Minute is taking its singular mix of the clever and the silly to India for two shows. The location, the Mumbai Comedy Store, changed the whole feel of the programme. Over here, it tends to take place in halls, where the laughter echoes; in the Comedy Store, the audience sounded like it was almost on top of the performers (Paul Merton and Marcus Brigstocke plus domestic talent Anuvab Pal and Cyrus Broacha), in what felt like a bearpit.

The Indians, in a sense, are ahead of us. Just a Minute took off there when it was on the BBC World Service, and it's played by young Indian professionals at "JaM sessions". This gave Pal and Broacha a leg-up as far as the rules were concerned, though neither could quite get the hang of the "repetition" bit.

The subjects were well chosen - they included "cultural exchanges" and "colonial India" - which elicited the following from Pal: "General Malcolm Muggeridge of the 1st Jaipur Infantry liked to wear his breeches and go for deep swims." There followed a long, smutty riff from the assembled cast about what "deep swims" might be a euphemism for - suggesting that the cultural divide between ourselves and our former subjects isn't very wide at all.

Chris Maume, The Independent, 25th March 2012

On a cold winter's evening I made my way to London's BBC Television Centre. Something rather special was taking place. To celebrate 45 years of a classic radio comedy show, those rich cousins in TV were recording a special series of Just a Minute, featuring its ever present chairman, Nicholas Parsons, joined by regular player Paul Merton and a host of favourite all-star panellists.

Written by Peter McHugh. BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra Blog, 15th March 2012

A special edition of the show as it hits its 45th birthday. "Am I really that old?" asks 88-year-old host Nicholas Parsons, thinking back to when the series started in 1967, and has to answer himself with an honest "Yes".

Well, old it might be but it's lost none of its wit and edge. Ross Noble is particularly hilarious here - although not very good at scoring actual points.

Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 6th February 2012

If I may say this without repetition, hesitation or deviation, a radio institution celebrates an anniversary on Monday as the splendid Nicholas Parsons introduces the panel show he has chaired since its inception in just a minute.

Doubtless the shades of such esteemed departed panellists as Clement Freud and Kenneth Williams will be issuing some hollow challenges from the wings as panellists Ross Noble, Jenny Eclair, Gyles Brandreth and Paul Merton are asked to pontificate on subjects given out in the original series back in 1967, from "Why I Wear a Top Hat" to "Knitting a Cablestitch Jumper".

Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman, 5th February 2012

The brilliant Radio 4 panel show is to get a run of 10 episodes on BBC2 to celebrate its 45th birthday. Will you be watching?

Written by Vicky Frost. The Guardian, 20th October 2011

The true story behind what prompted Ian Messiter to come up with the idea for radio classic Just A Minute, which is being turned into a major BBC Television series.

Written by Martin Chilton. The Daily Telegraph, 20th October 2011

The brilliantly simple format and a host of incredible players are the reasons for its longevity - long may it continue.

Written by Johnny Dee. The Guardian, 17th May 2011

Just a Minute, the Methuselah of panel games, has been going since 1967 with plenty of hesitation and repetition, but still no sight of the final whistle. Preserved like an intact fossil in the sedimentary layer of radio history, its formula remains perfect, its host Nicholas Parsons unchanged, despite 60 years on radio, and new talent accretes like barnacles on its venerable frame. The latest guests who are likely to stay the distance are Terry Wogan, who should be fabulous if he can cope with the hesitation rule, and Rick Wakeman, rock star and anarchic thinker who turns out to be an amusing and quick-witted addition to the ranks of Radio 4 comedians.

Jane Thynne, The Independent, 24th February 2011

Sir Terry Wogan is to become a panellist on long-running BBC Radio 4 gameshow Just A Minute.

BBC News, 18th January 2011

Invented by Ian Messiter in 1967, now starting its 57th season, still brilliantly chaired by resourceful Nicholas Parsons (who got the gig when Jimmy Edwards, the original choice for chairman, said he'd rather play polo than turn up on a Sunday to record the pilot episode). Messiter, who also invented Many a Slip and other fondly remembered amusements, used to wear red socks at recordings, for luck. Perhaps "red socks" could be a subject for tonight's panel, Graham Norton, Paul Merton, Gyles Brandreth and Jenny Eclair, as they strive to fill their 60 seconds.

Gillian Reynolds, The Daily Telegraph, 31st July 2010

After 43 years at the helm of 'Just a Minute', nothing can keep the all-round entertainer down. Andrew Johnson meets Nicholas Parsons.

Written by Andrew Johnson. The Independent on Sunday, 18th April 2010

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