Nicholas Parsons presents four more specially-selected
archive episodes of the ever-popular comedy panel game from
its early days. Just as uproariously funny - and terrifically
popular - today as when it first began on BBC Radio 4 in 1968,
Just a Minute challenges contestants to speak for one
minute on a given subject without repetition, hesitation or
deviation. Its mix of irreverent fun and ferocious competition
has always attracted stellar names from the world of comedy
and theatre, and in this case Sheila Hancock, Lance Percival,
Wendy Richard, Tommy Trinder, Stephen Fry and Jan Ravens pit
their wits - and their wit - against regular players Kenneth
Williams, Derek Nimmo, Clement Freud, Peter Jones and Paul
Just a Minute was devised by the late Ian Messiter
who came up with the idea on the top of a number 13 bus. He
suddenly remembered being given the horrible task of speaking
for one minute without hesitation or deviation by one of his
Producer David Hatch put the pilot show before a BBC development
board who were sceptical that the series would run for more
than six programmes. Nearly 40 years later, chairman Nicholas
Parsons continues to attempt - and mostly succeed - in keeping
control over a roll-call of celebrity contenders attempting
to talk on a subject for sixty seconds without hesitation,
repetition or deviation.
This is the fourth volume in the Just a Classic Minute
series of comedy CD releases from the BBC. How they choose
the episodes to be included is anyone's guess - although I
suppose to be fair I've never heard a bad episode of the show
in all the years I've been listening to Radio 4. You could
probably pick four episodes at random from the '70s, '80s
and '90s and it would still be as entertaining as this collection.
first episode, from 1969, stars Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo,
Clement Freud and Sheila Hancock. Highlights of this episode
include Sheila Hancock revealing that she pretended to be
twins with her first crush (although sadly we never get to
hear the whole story), as well as the slip that Hancock makes
- where she says "flat" instead of "flab"
- but comes back with a witty reply.
up is an episode from 1978 that sees Tommy Trinder joining
regulars Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud and Peter Jones.
Trinder is very funny, especially when he's pretending he
hasn't got a clue what is going on and Williams's hysterical
reaction when he realises he is in the lead is almost worth
the price of the CD alone.
third instalment dates from 1989 and features Clement Freud,
Richard Murdoch, Lance Percival and Wendy Richards. There
are plenty of comedy moments including Wendy Richards snapping
whenever anyone interrupts her flow, and Richard Murdoch is
very funny as he stumbles through his talk on "tea time".
finally we have an episode from 1994 that stars Peter Jones,
Paul Merton, Stephen Fry and Jan Ravens. Paul Merton and Stephen
Fry's insistence that their Achilles heel is the fact that
they find Nicholas Parson's so attractive is made even more
hilarious by Jan Raven's insistence that she is not of the
with the previous volumes in this series, Nicholas Parson
gives an interesting introduction to each episode, giving
us a little background information on how familiar the guests
were with the format of the show as well as a few behind the
scene secrets - like the fact that some of the topics were
deliberately chosen as the producer knew that Kenneth Williams
knew a lot on that subject, and would make for a more enjoyable
show for the listeners.
only real complaint I had is that two episodes per disc is
a bit of a cheat really when three episodes would easily fit
on each CD - and I could certainly listened to an extra two
shows without any difficulty. A classic release that should
be in everyone's collection.