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Audio Comedy Review


Just a Minute
The Classic Collection


Starring: Nicholas Parsons, Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud, Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones, and Paul Merton
RRP: £25.50
ISBN: 978 1 408 46999 6
Available 06 October 2011

Twenty-two episodes of the ever-popular BBC Radio 4 panel game chaired by Nicholas Parsons, showcasing five key players from the past five decades - Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud, Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones and Paul Merton - and including two very special editions of the show...

Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud, Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones and Paul Merton are the 'famous five' of Just a Minute: sparkling raconteurs whose sharp wit and skill made them consistently a pleasure to listen to. Each brings their own unique quality to the show, and this box set showcases their highlights - the moments which reveal these talented players at the very top of their game.

This 11-disc set is split so that two discs represent the highlights of one of the five featured panellists (although they all also appear elsewhere on the other discs). However for some reason two of the four Derek Nimmo episodes don't feature Nimmo and one of the four Clement Freud episodes doesn't feature Freud. The final disc contains two special episodes: the 1977 episode where Freud is late to the studio and so Nicholas Parsons steps in to play the game; and the 1992 25th anniversary episode.

Highlights in this collection include Parsons cruelly letting Merton go on for 90 seconds because he was doing so well; Kenneth Williams talking Stanley Unwin's Unwinese in an episode featuring Unwin; Merton's psychic challenge (which he digs out in a few games) and Peter Jones "looking at Parsons with contempt" which is mentioned in a couple of games.

It was also interesting to hear Merton's early episodes - he speaks a lot slower and it's obvious he's really concentrating as hard as he can, whereas in later episodes he's quick and smooth at the game.

While this collection is supposed to represent the highlights of these five panellists, in truth very rarely did that particular panellist shine through on their episode. The only exception being Williams, who really milks the crowd for laughs.

At the ridiculously low retail price you'd be mad not to pick this up.


Darren Rea

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