This is the third attempt to put JAM on the box, the BBC having done it previously in 1994 and 1999. Parsons and Merton appear in each episode, with guests appearing being Sue Perkins, Gyles Brandreth, Stephen Fry, Liza Tarbuck, Graham Norton, Josie Lawrence and Julian Clary. There are also a fair number of new contestants: Jason Manford, Miles Jupp, Ruth Jones, Phill Jupitus, John Sergeant and Russell Tovey.
The format is the same, but there are some obvious changes; for a start, there's no scorer sitting next to Parsons. Instead he just has the scores on a screen, and the clock is started by a large button next to him. There's also a little bell rang to indicate they are moving into the final round.
Some things do remain the same, though. The studio is designed to look like the art deco BBC Radio Theatre, where the radio series is normally recorded. For some reason, however, the studio lights change from blue to purple when the subjects start. Why they need to do this I have no idea. I find the camerawork even more irritating. There's no need to cut from here to there every three seconds.
However, there's still much to enjoy from this show. I for one enjoy the little amusing asides that go through out each episodes. My personal favourite was in the fourth episode when the panel kept making jokes about Miles Jupp being the supposed love child of Gyles Brandreth. The jokes just kept snowballing throughout.
With regards to the TV adaptation, I know that there will always be people who will insist that it's not as good as the one on radio, but there are always people who complain about TV adaptations of radio shows. If we rejected every TV adaptation of a radio adaptation out of hand we wouldn't have had the TV successes of shows like Whose Line is it Anyway? or Little Britain.
I'd love to see more episodes of the TV version of Just a Minute; but I doubt they'll produce them. Unless they want to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary, that is, and given that Parsons is 88 years old that might be a bit dangerous.Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 3rd April 2012
The notional rationalisation for putting Just a Minute on television is to celebrate the cult programme's 45th anniversary. But having watched one episode, I can't really think of any good reason other than that of adding vision to what is a quintessentially radio experience. It's true that tickets for recordings of the show are always wildly over-subscribed, so someone may have thought there's an appetite to be fed. But that misses the point that a radio recording offers devotees added value in terms of off-mic remarks and general larking about. Here, that's all been tidied away, and the only advance is that Nicholas Parsons doesn't have to explain the audience laughter when one of the panelists pulls a face. A mystifying commission.Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 27th March 2012
Just A Minute returned to our TV screens this evening for another attempt at taking radio gold and making it into TV coltan. We made some notes! Here they are!Such Small Portions, 26th March 2012
It's been a Radio 4 article of faith for 45 years. So the Beeb is celebrating the birthday of Just A Minute by sticking it on TV. Call it a midlife crisis if you like, because it's hard to see the point. The strengths and weaknesses of the radio version remain. Nicholas Parsons - who looks surprisingly nervous for such a trouper - still warms the main chair. Paul Merton, Sue Perkins, Phill Jupitus and Graham Norton make up a textbook panel. And everything's exactly the same. So why not just stick to the special anniversary versions of the radio show? Could it be that Just A Minute is really easy to transfer, has a guaranteed audience and can be passed off as 'new comedy'? We hope not. Still, on the plus side, you could ignore the pictures and still listen to it while doing the ironing.Phil Harrison, Time Out, 26th March 2012
Eddie Mair talks to the panel show host about 45 years of radio success, and the new TV version of the programme.Eddie Mair, Radio Times, 26th March 2012