Nicholas Parsons talks to Al Senter
Welcome to Just a Minute!: A Celebration of Britain’s Best-Loved Radio
Thursday 25 September 2014
Blenheim Palace: The OrangeryVenue
Broadcaster and entertainer Nicholas Parsons celebrates the best and most hilarious moments from six decades and 900 episodes of Radio 4’s hugely popular Just a Minute show, in which panel members are challenged to speak for one minute without repetition or deviation on any subject that comes up. Parsons, presenter of Just a Minute, and the only person never to have missed a show has written the very first Just a Minute Book. He tells the story of the show from its inauspicious first pilot, through television and stage versions, to today’s version, which pulls in 2.51 million listeners every week.
Highlights of the show have included Kenneth Williams’ funny battles with Sheila Hancock, Paul Merton’s flights of fancy, Clement Freud’s acerbic wit, Julian Clary’s innuendo, Jenny Eclair’s brutal honesty, Gyles Brandreth’s monologues, Graham Norton’s celebrity gossip and Sue Perkins’ infectious enthusiasm. Parsons explains how the show has welcomed more than 200 entertainers to its panel and how it has adapted over the years as each new generation of entertainers has joined.
Parsons first came to the fore in the late 50s in a comedy partnership with Arthur Haynes. Alongside Just a Minute, he is well known for presenting Sale of the Century and for his chat show at the Edinburgh Fringe, which has run for 13 years.
Here he talks to writer and theatre journalist Al Senter.