The Prince of Wales marks 50 years of Just A Minute

Friday 16th December 2016, 12:00am

HRH The Prince of Wales recording a message at Clarence House to mark Just A Minute entering its 50th year. Charles Windsor. Copyright: BBC.

HRH The Prince of Wales has recorded a special message to mark Radio 4's iconic comedy panel show Just A Minute entering its 50th anniversary year.

The BBC confirms: "The Prince of Wales recorded a message about Just A Minute in which he talks about what he calls 'one of this country's great institutions', whilst trying to avoid challenge from Paul Merton."

Just A Minute turns 50 in December 2017, having been first broadcast on Radio 4 on the 22nd December 1967, three months after the station's launch.

Remarkably, host Nicholas Parsons has been part of the show's story for the full fifty years. The BBC originally planned for Jimmy Edwards to host the pilot episode, but as he was unavailable, Parsons, who was booked to be one of the panel members, took to the host's chair instead.

Just A Minute. Nicholas Parsons. Copyright: BBC.Nicholas Parsons will introduce the message from Prince Charles at the start of the Just A Minute festive special - Just A Minute Does Panto! - which is scheduled to be broadcast on Christmas Day.

The Prince recorded his contribution at Clarence House, ahead of the main show, which is due to be recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre this Saturday.

Nicholas Parsons says: "It was a pleasure to hear The Prince of Wales recount years of listening to Just A Minute with such fondness. But when he delivers his message will he make it to the end without hesitation, repetition or deviation? You'll find out on Christmas Day."

Gwyneth Williams, Controller of BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra, says: "We know the Prince of Wales has enjoyed BBC radio comedy over many years so how fitting that he should join Just A Minute for this special Christmas episode. Radio 4 is the home of radio comedy and as Controller I am delighted to welcome him to the team, but Nicholas Parsons and Paul Merton take no hostages so I can only wish him luck!"

Launching the milestone year, this year's Christmas Day festive special - which will be broadcast at 1:15pm - combines a traditional game of Just A Minute with a pantomime story.

In Just A Minute Does Panto!; Parsons, Paul Merton, Gyles Brandreth and Sheila Hancock will journey through Panto-land in search of the missing Golden Whistle, joined along the way by a number of comedians. Guide

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