WHO'S WHO IN JUST A MINUTE!
Some info and comments on the cast of Just A Minute..... Click here to return to the main cast page

Millie Small

JAM Appearances:
One as a panellist on Radio in 1968.
How she did:
I haven't heard her only appearance.
Who is she:
Appearing just as Millie, she had one of the biggest pop hits of the late 60s with her song My Boy Lollipop ("you make my heart go giddy-up"). Sadly she wasn't able to repeat her success with this song. The first black person to appear on JAM.
Links to transcripts:
I haven't transcribed this show yet.

Sarah Smart

JAM Appearances:
One as a panellist on Junior Just A Minute in 2015.
Who is she:
A junior contestant in the second season of Junior Just A Minute.
Link to transcripts:
Not yet done.

Arthur Smith

JAM Appearances:
Nine including six as a panellist on Television in 1994-1995 and three on Radio in 1994-1997-1998.
How he did:
Arthur had an interesting style which seemed to involve semi-rebellion against the rules and the other panellists. But he was often funny and his swift wit would make him a welcome return panellist at some time.
Who is he:
Arthur is a hugely respected broadcaster, playwright and stand-up comic. As a broadcaster he presents a travel show on the radio, Excess Baggage and also appears on Loose Ends. His plays include An Evening With Gary Lineker. He was a regular compere at the Comedy Store and still performs live, especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is possibly best known today for his frequent appearances on Grumpy Old Men.
Links to transcripts:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Linda Smith

JAM Appearances:
43 including 34 as a panellist on Radio in 1999-2000-2001-2002-2003-2004-2005, eight on Television in 1999, and one in the 40th anniversary special in 2007.
How she did:
Linda had an interesting style for playing the game. You didn't hear her arguing over a challenge or trying to shout down the others. And yet she quickly became a familiar voice on the show.
Linda is low-key and often came third or fourth in the scoring, though occasionally she won and proved she could play the game as well as anyone. But she could also be hillariously funny. She had a genuine wit which enabled her to poke fun at any subject, inmcluding the show itself. In a Peter Jones-ish way she would joke about the show, its rules and always herself in a way that reminded us that it really doesn't matter who wins. After a series of unsuccessful challenges of Clement Freud, she once said she was only making them because she had a bet on him. On another occasion she suggested the outcome of the show was decided by a far east betting syndicate. All this delivered in a light almost deadpan voice.
Linda's humour mixed the surreal with the observational. She often talked about her own life, if in a comic way - we don't know how much if any is true, but it is great fun to hear her joking about herself.
Linda appeared frequently without quite becoming a regular but she was a favourite of the show's producers because Linda was always on form, always funny, always a delightful counterbalance to the agression of Paul, and the mock solemnity of Clement.

Who is she:
Linda was a stand-up comedian who developed a successful sideline in game shows. As well as Just A Minute, she appeared regularly on The News Quiz and occasionally on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue and Have I Got News For You. She wrote her own radio comedy show, A Brief History of Time Wasting, and was voted one of the 50 funniest people in Britain in 2003. She died in 2006, far too early.
Links to transcripts:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

Sophie ?

JAM Appearances:
One as a panellist on Junior Just A Minute in 2015.
Who is she:
A junior contestant in the second season of Junior Just A Minute.
Link to transcripts:
Not yet done.

Victor Spinetti

JAM Appearances:
Four as a panellist on radio in 2004-2005.
How he did:
Victor's chatty style and warmth made him a natural for the show in the sort of "slightly daft favourite uncle" style perfected by people like Peter Jones and Richard Murdoch. He seemed to enjoy himself and his different style would make him a welcome occasional visitor to the show.
Who is he:
Victor has a long acting career behind him with the highlights probably being his roles in the Beatles movies, A Hard Days Night and Help. These days he is a popular comedian and raconteur, with a wealth of theatrical stories and jokes to amuse his audiences.
Links to transcripts:
1 2 3 4

Richard Stilgoe

JAM Appearances:
Two as a panellist on Radio in 1991.
How he did:
I have a special affection for Richard on the basis of his two shows where he hit exactly the right notes in a Peter Jones-ish sort of way. Funny, competitive enough and quick on his feet. Shame he didn't appear more often.
Who is he:
Richard is best known for his ability to write humorous lyrics, whether improvised on TV game shows, or for huge stage hits such as Phantom Of The Opera and Cats. He also does music and drama courses for children with disabilities. But his gnomish figure is often seen on TV in shows such as Countdown, Stilgoe's Around, Nationwide and That's Life.
Links to transcripts:
1 2

Elaine Stritch

JAM Appearances:
Two including one as a panellist on radio in 1982, and one on the Silver Minutes 25th anniversary special.
How she did:
Elaine's one appearance was one of the funniest ever and was recently included in a special 35th anniversary edition release. It's hard to describe her performance. She seemed ignorant of the rules, yet deadly serious about trying to play within them, funny yet playing as if her life depended on it, compliant yet strident. A tour de force, a unique style - even Kenneth Williams seemed astounded - and we can only wish they would ask her back.
Who is she:
Elaine has spent a long time on stage in both Britain and the US, recently winning a Tony award. She's done it all from serious drama to musical, stand-up comedy to a long-running sitcom. Elaine tells it like it is, even if it's to scold the producer of the Tony awards for cutting her acceptance speech, but she's real and a real talent. Her bets known TV appearances are on the British sitcom Two's Company and the US sitcome 30 Rock.
Links to transcripts:
1 2

Una Stubbs

JAM Appearances:
One as a panellist on Radio in 1968.
How she did:
Not all that great, Una seemed to be so intimated by Derek and Clement, that she wasn't able to do very much that was to her credit.
Who is she:
Una first came to the attention of the public in the movie Summer Holiday. She then spent the best part of the next 20 years regularly on TV, first alongside Warren Mitchell in Till Death Us Do Part, then with Jon Pertwee on Worzel Gummidge and as a regular on the charades game show Give Us A Clue. Una is still seen occasionally on TV.
Links to transcripts:
1

Eleanor Summerfield

JAM Appearances:
Two as a panellist on radio in 1968-1987.
How she did:
About average, she sounded jolly and fun, but didn't really get anywhere near throwing the big mouths around her off their stride. She got a bit tied up with words with dual meanings.
Who is she:
Eleanor was a stalwart of British movies for 40 years, making 50 movies in that time including The Running Man and Isn't Life Wonderful. She appeared regularly in TV shows such as The World Of Wooster, Casualty and Lovejoy. But possibly she will be best remembered as one of the queens of panel games, as a regular on Many A Slip for 16 years. She died in 2001 aged 80.
Links to transcripts:
1

Jim Sweeney

JAM Appearances:
Five including four as a panellist on Television in 1994-1995, and one as a panellist on radio in 1993.
How he did:
Jim had a nice self-deprecating way about him but perhaps, to paraphrase Churchill, he had much to be self-deprecating about. He wasn't too competitive, nor too funny when it was his turn to speak, except to insult his own lack of ability.
Who is he:
Jim was a stalwart of the Comedy Store Players improv troupe over many years, and appeared at almost every performance until his recent retirement from the stage. He for a while had a regular comedy gig going with partner Steve Steen, and has also written plays. He appeared in the cult radio series The Masterton Inheritance. He suffered from MS for many years, and eventually performed improv from a wheelchair. Last year he retired from stage work because of poor health, but continues to be included as a member of the Comedy Store Players, although he no longer performs with them.
Links to transcripts:
1 2 3 4 5

Liza Tarbuck

JAM Appearances:
36, including 34 as a panellist on Radio in 2001-2002-2003-2004-2006-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013-2014-2015 and two as a panellist on television in 2012.
How she did:
Liza has a jolly, matey and certainly funny style, which she combines with regular resort to a throaty chuckle. She is one of those people who you can tell has a great time doing the show, and it would be no bad thing to hear more from her, though perhaps she doesn't create enough laughs to appear too frequently.
Who is she:
Liza is both a terrifically talented actress and a great natural comedic broadcaster. Her starring role in the series Linda Green has been a big hit for her, and she has also appeared in the show The League of Gentlemen and Bonkers. But Liza also has a long list of TV presenting roles to her credit including the Big Breakfast, She's Gotta Have It, and Without Prejudice. She has also branched out into radio presenting.
Links to transcripts:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

David Tennant

JAM Appearances:
Two as a panellist on Radio in 2015.
Who is he:
David is known for his five year stint as Doctor Who, and is possibly the most popular of the actors who have played the famed Time Lord. But he also has a solid career acting on screen and stage.
How he did:
Well spokem and quick on his feet, David had the thrill of completing the full minute on his first time staking the subject. He lost little in comparison with experienced players like Paul Merton, Julian Clary and Stephen Fry.
Links to transcripts:
I haven't transcribed this show yet.

Christopher Timothy

JAM Appearances:
Four as a panellist on Radio in 1988-1989.
How he did:
Christopher has with Peter Jones, the record of having gonme through a show without scoring a point! This is a hard feat to achieve as Nicholas usually tries to help anyone who is a guest and doing poorly with some gift points so Christopher can feel especially proud. As this record suggests, he was not especially competitive, nor very fluent when it was his turn to speak. Nor was he all that funny. But he was a really nice guy, and he sounded the sort of bloke I'd be delighted to have round for dinner some time!
Who is he:
Christopher will forever be associated with the classic vet drama series All Creatures Great And Small which seems to run almost continuously in English speaking countries around the world. Without doubt he was great in his role as the shy but caring vet. Before and since he has been involved in other acting work, most notably in the TV series Doctors.
Links to transcripts:
1 2 3 4

Sandi Toksvig

JAM Appearances:
Two, one as a panellist on Radio in 1991, and on the Silver Minutes anniversary special the following year.
How she did:
Supremely funny, great at the repartee, competitive without over-doing it, and fluent. Sandi's appearance was part of the first JAM cassette. It can surely be only her choice that she has not appeared since.
Who is she:
Sandi first came to public notice as a children's TV presenter. She quickly moved into improvised comedy as a regular member of the Comedy Store Players and with appearances on Whose Line Is It Anyway. After a few years of that she left the Players improv troupe, and now divides her time between panel games, book writing and politics. She has been a regular of the TV panel game Call My Bluff, and also appears frequently on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue and Loose Ends. She has recently taken over the chair of The News Quiz after many years as a panellist. She has written several books, both children's stories and humorous novels. Politically she campaigns on behalf of the Liberal Democrats and for gay rights, she is in a long-term lesbian relationship. She presents The Big Read series on radio, and Excess Baggage. She is a columnist for The Sunday Telegraph.
Links to transcripts:
1 2

Barry Took

JAM Appearances:
Seven including six as a panellist on Radio in 1973-1979-1981, and one in the 40th anniversary special in 2007.
How he did:
Barry did quite well the more often he appeared in terms of the competitive side. He was one of those guests who seems to get right into the spirit of the game, but overall I would call him about average. His routines sometimes seemed a bit laboured. But he was good enough to appear a few more times than he did.
Who is he:
Barry had a long career as a comedy writer and occasional presenter. He was most notable as the creator of that great radio show Round The Horne which he co-wrote with Marty Feldman. This sketch show was a great hit for among others, Kenneth Williams. He was also involved in the development of the classic TV show Monty Python's Flying Circus. He them moved into presenting, notably with Points Of View on TV, and The News Quiz on radio. He was genuinely mourned when he died in 2002.
Links to transcripts:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Russell Tovey

JAM Appearances:
One as a panellist on television in 2012.
How he did:
Up against three of JAM's biggest mouths, Russell wasn't very competitive or very funny when he did have the subject. But he seemed to enjoy it all and might well do better at second appearance.
Who is he:
Russell is a stage and TV actor best known for his parts in the TV series Being Human and Him And Her.
Links to transcripts:
1.

Tommy Trinder

JAM Appearances:
Three including two as a panellist on Radio in 1978, and one in the 40th anniversary special in 2007.
How he did:
I have a special affection for Tommy's appearances, as he was totally hopeless at the game, yet so aggressive about it. And very funny! In an old fashioned music hall type way. He may not have worn well with more frequent appearances, but the two he did were marvellous. And the only person to wear a hat throughout his recording.
Who is he:
One of the greats of the British music hall both pre and post war, Tommy was the traditional music hall comic with a thousand stories and a quick wit allowing him to cope with just about anything. It wasn't just on stage as his Palladium shows also played each week on TV. A great of his day.
Links to transcripts:
1 2 3.

Joan Turner

JAM Appearances:
One as a panellist on Radio in 1970.
How she did:
I think she must have giggled and laughed more than anyone else in the history of the show which lent her appearance a comic air even if she wasn't especially funny herself.
Who is she:
Joan was a regular on TV and stage in the 60s, combining singing ability with comedy roles. Sadly her career faded away, though she acted in the TV soapie Brookside.
Links to transcripts:
1

William Tyrell

JAM Appearances:
One as a panellist on Junior Just A Minute in 2013.
Who is he:
A junior contestant in the first season of Junior Just A Minute.
Link to transcripts:
Not yet done.

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