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Just a Minute

Just a Minute is a BBC radio comedy panel game. The premise of the game came to Ian Messiter[?] as he rode on the top of a number 13 bus, recalling a particularly cruel headmaster from his school days, who punished him with the task of speaking for sixty seconds without hesitating or repeating himself. To this, he added a rule preventing players deviating from the subject presented by the show's chairman, as well as a scoring system based on panelists' correct and incorrect challenges. Just a Minutes first broadcast occurred in 1968.

The long-suffering but good-natured emcee of Just a Minute was (and still is, as of 2003) Nicholas Parsons[?]. Ian Messiter sat quietly on the stage with a stopwatch and blew a whistle when the speaker's minute was up.

The classic lineup of of performers was:

  • Clement Freud (politician, food writer and grandson of Sigmund) whose favorite strategies were to slowly rattle off lists, and to wait until the last possible moment to present a challenge;
  • Derek Nimmo, who improvised new and contradictory descriptions of his home life nearly every week;
  • Peter Jones; and
  • Kenneth Williams.

Nimmo, Jones and Williams are all now dead, and those who participate regularly in the programme in their places include Paul Merton and Graham Norton.

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