Just a Minute
The Best of 2007

Starring: Nicholas Parsons, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Graham Norton and Julian Clary
BBC Audio
RRP: 12.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 67750 9
Available 01 October 2007

Four of the finest episodes from 2007 of the much-loved panel game hosted by Nicholas Parsons: "Welcome to Just a Minute. And as The Minute Waltz fades away... please talk for 60 seconds on a random subject without repetition, hesitation or deviation..."

First broadcast in 1968, Just a Minute is one of the longest-running radio comedy shows. A national institution, it is also loved and listened to all around the world.

In these four episodes, attempting to talk non-stop for sixty seconds are regulars Paul Merton and Clement Freud, with a host of special guests including Jenny Eclair, Maria McErlane, Chris Addison, Marcus Brigstocke, Maureen Lipman, Pam Ayres, Julian Clary, Gyles Brandreth and Graham Norton.

Long-suffering host Nicholas Parsons controls the proceedings (and the unruly panellists) while among the subjects tackled are 1066, Welsh rarebit, Timbuktu, the aristocracy, my favourite sin, how to be a thespian, public relations, forbidden fruit, taking the waters and Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

While all these episodes were recorded and broadcast between 16 July - 24 September 2007, there are no specific dates listed on the CD's sleeve (which will no doubt have die-hard fans up in arms. In fact, for some odd reason the sleeve notes list these episodes as: "1, 4, 3 and 4" and they also manage to get the running order wrong. Episode 2 (unhelpfully listed as the first episode 4) should be episode 3, while episode 3 should be episode 2. Not that it's overly important, just a little shoddy on the part of whoever writes the sleeve notes.

The first episode stars Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Kim Hesketh-Harvey and Maria McErlane. Highlights include a story about being dressed as Humpty Dumpty at a kid's party, and Nicholas Parsons not understanding that TV also stands for transvestite.

The next episode includes Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Graham Norton and Chris Addison. Highlights include Graham Norton talking about meeting Judith Chalmers while on holiday.

Next up we have Paul Merton, Jenny Eclair, Julian Clary and Gyles Brandreth. This episode is made all the more hilarious by the fact that Brandreth is incredibly eager to win - to the point of whinging all the time about why other people are given bonus points.

Finally we have Paul Merton, Maureen Lipman, Pam Ayres and Marcus Bigstocke. Highlights include Merton's explanation on why you should never take up the offer of an invite from Parsons to spend some time at a castle for the weekend; and the idea of driving crisp packets into hedges.

This collection is a joy from start to finish, and it's good to see that the format is as fresh today as it was way back in 1968.

Pete Boomer

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