|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
JAM Appearances: One as a panellist on radio in 2008.
How she did: She was nice and strangely competitive, but perhaps not enough laughs to deserve regular call-backs.
Who is she: Lynn is a Scottish stand-up comedian and playwright, with a wonderful accent.
Links to transcripts: 1
JAM Appearances: One as a panellist on radio in 1969.
How she did: Bizarrely. Fenella was perhaps the most hesitant, repetitious and deviant person ever to appear on JAM but laughed her way through the show with great success. Truly a unique personality who was a hell of a lot of fun.
Who is she: Referred to occasionally as the female Kenneth Williams, Fenella was Britain's leading exponent of female camp in the 50s and 60s. Her main career was on the stage where she used her unmistakeable voice and fluttering eyelashes to good effect. She worked with Kenneth on revue and also in a Carry On movie, Carry On Screaming. Her most recent acting was in a 2007 stage tour of The Vagina Monologues.
Links to transcripts: 1
JAM Appearances: Two as a panellist on television in 1994.
How he did: Urbane, he was terribly patronised by Nicholas for his general incompetence of the game but mildly amusing in a Peter Jones-esque way.
Who is he: John is a well known TV impressionist, part of a long partnership with John Bird and Rory Bremner. Has a background in British comedy going back to the 60s as one of Peter Cook's collaborators. His most recent week is in the radio series Ed Reardon's Week.
Links to transcripts: 1 2
JAM Appearances: Four as a panellist on radio in 1984-1985-1986.
How he did: One of the mid 80s guests who did okay without being a stand-out. William or Bill as he was often called was fluent enough and stood up okay in the repartee stakes, but was not outstanding enough to warrant more than a couple of visits.
Who is he: An actor perhaps best known for his countless ads and voiceovers, Bill is the perennial bit-part player on heaps of films and TV shows. But he was also a regular in game shows down the years, most notably on Quote Unquote. He died in 2006.
Links to transcripts: 1 2 3 4
JAM Appearances: Three as a panellist on radio in 1970-1975-1976.
How she did: Liz appeared on a special Christmas edition and then got a recall a few years later. She did okay against the resident motor mouths without being an exceptional guest. But certainly enjoyed it all.
Who is she: Liz was the "dumb blonde" in countless British comedy movies, particularly the Carry Ons in the 60s. Moved into the Confessions movies, in the 70s, Liz had a distinctive look and voice.
Links to transcripts: 1 2 3
JAM Appearances: 548 including 538 as a panellist on radio in 1967-1968-1969-1970-1971-1972-1973-1974-1975-1976-1977-1978-1979-1980-1981-1982-1983-1984-1985-1986-1987-1988-1989- 1990-1991-1992-1993-1994-1995-1996-1997-1998-1999-2000-2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009, four as a panellist on television in 1994-1995, three as chairman on radio in 1968-1970-1983, one on the radio compilation programme, Silver Minutes in 1992, one on the 40th anniversary special in 2007, and one special appearance as a tribute following his death in 2009.
How he did: Clement has played Just A Minute more than anyone else, and would surely have by a long distance the most wins if such a statistic was calculated. He took part in the first show and was an ever-present part of the team for its first six years. Since then he has been a regular player, appearing in most but not all shows.
Clement has a style which is unique to him. He has a voice which is dull and he speaks at a steady slow pace without inflexion. He enjoys the competitive side of the game and likes to win or at least to be gaining points.
Clement has said he was asked to be the competitive member of the team and he has certainly achieved that. He is most likely to use points-winning ploys like making lists to fill time, or challenging just as the whistle is to be blown. He denies it is a ploy, it's just his luck. He has other ploys, like bits of poems and songs that he can pull out of the memory. But Clement is also quite capable of making the funniest remarks. He has a dry droll wit and has a retentive mind for one-liners such as this on records: "the interesting thing about Virgin Records is they have no holes in them." Clement loves to shock. In the shows early days, he mostly kept within the confines of double entendre and puns, but nowadays, with so few taboo subjects on which to make jokes, he can go pretty near the knuckle with his humour.
Clement obviously hugely enjoys JAM, despite having little respect for the chairman. Clement had three trials as chairman but was altogether too schoolmasterly to be a success. He regards Nicholas as his inferior intellectually and would obviously prefer he strictly abided by the rules rather than be flexible. Still he says Nicholas is "a skilful performer" which is something.
Clement is a major part of the success of JAM. While he is there, the show can never go to far in the direction of being silly, Clement is a vital ballast. When he dies or retires, the show will find him hard to replace but it will need to: he provides a balance to the essential triviality of the show.
Clement has a good knowledge, is an excellent user of the English language, although it was not his first language, and despite his monotone has excellent timing. The show is not quite the same when he is absent.
Who is he: Clement has had the most varied career of any of the JAM regulars. He has a famous family... his grandfather Sigmund was the creator of psychoanalysis, his aunt Anna also a famed psychotherapist. His daughter Emma is a comedian and broadcaster while son Matthew is Britain's best known public relations practitioner. Clement is an immigrant from Germany before World War Two and learnt English relatively late. After school, he went to work in restaurants, eventually owning his own famous English club. It was there he started to perform, delivering his one-liner jokes in his idiosyncratic manner. That led to TV work, on chat shows and then as a TV chef. This led to a famous ad for dog-food. Clement asked for the same pay-packet earned by the Prime Minister and got it.
That meant he had enough money to live the life he pleased and for a while he did just that. He moved into journalism, writing sports reports, columns and features, and wrote a popular series of children's books, Grimble. This period also featured the birth of Just A Minute where Clement appeared on every show until he entered Parliament. That happened in 1973, when he won a by-election to take a seat in Parliament as a Liberal MP while continuing to appear regularly, if not every week, on JAM.
For those not in Britain, the Liberal Party has been a distant third in British politics for the past 80 years and Clement's party meant he was never likely to become a politician of the first rank. Politically he is probably best known for his advocacy of freedom of official information legislation and for his vehement opposition to smoking. He was an entertaining speaker though. His most lasting political achievement may be his vote to dismiss the Callaghan Labour Government in 1979. The Government was facing a "no confidence" motion and negotiated with Clement, offering time for his information legislation, if he was "late" to the no confidence vote. Clement declined, voted against the Government, and the vote was lost by just one vote. Had Clement missed the vote, the vote would have been tied and the Government would have retained office. As it was an election was forced and the Conservatives won the election, beginning 18 years of power, 11 of them under Margaret Thatcher. Clement was no fan of Mrs Thatcher though, coining one of the better remembered insults of her: "Atilla the Hen".
Clement lost his always marginal seat in the 1987 election, and since then seems to enjoyed doing just what he likes. He has returned to writing, does a great deal of public speaking, and enjoys his Just a Minute appearances. He follows horse racing closely, he has owned several horses over the years. At 78, he could be forgiven for beginning to wind down, but recently took on the rectorship of St Andrew's University. He is beginning to look a bit old, and perhaps is not quite as quick on the buzzer as he once was, but the voice and the style are just the same as ever.
Links to transcripts as panellist: 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 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490 491 492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533
Links to transcripts as chairman: 1 2 3
JAM Appearances: One as a panellist on television in 1990.
How she did: Amusingly appeared with Daddy Clement, and this provoked most of the entertainment around her appearance, with Derek teasing them both. Still was capable of the cutting remark although she wasn't as quick as Pop. Perhaps the only person Clement never challenged.
Who is she: Apart from being Clement's daughter, Emma is a busy television presenter and writer. Married to film writer Richard Curtis, she helped him with the writing of the hit movie Four Weddings and a Funeral. She also presents documentaries and quiz shows and does comedy work.
Links to transcripts: 1
JAM Appearances: 23, including 18 as a panellist on radio in 1995-1998-1999-2000-2001-2003-2004, four as a panellist on television in 1999, and one as a guest subject setter on radio in 2003.
How he did: Stephen or Steve is without doubt a funny man, and can ramble to good effect. He is quickish on the buzzer, but seldom manages to go too long without being buzzed. He has a nice comfortable homely style though that usually fits well on the show.
Who is he: Steve is a busy comedian and improviser, regularly working with the Comedy Store Players and his own improv troupe. He was first known for his work with Mark Arden on Saturday Live. He was a regular on Whose Line is it Anyway in the last few years of its time in Britain. He has also done straight acting roles, including a stage production of Twelve Angry Men.
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
JAM Appearances: Three as a panellist on television in 1994-1995.
How she did: Mariella is among the panellists who were assertive, arguing the point in acerbic style. But she wasn't very funny.
Who is she: Mariella is a popular TV and radio broadcaster and presenter, and a newspaper columnist and reviewer.
Links to transcripts: 1 2 3
JAM Appearances: 27 including 23 as a panellist on radio in 1992-1994-1999-2000-2002-2004-2006-2009-2011, two as a panellist on TV in 2012, one on the compliation radio programme Silver Minutes in 1992, and one on the 40th anniversary special in 2007.
How he did: Stephen is surely one of the best guests ever to appear on the show, and a show with him in it is likely to be well above average. Surely only his exceptionally busy schedule prevents him for appearing more often. He is up in the Clement/Derek/Paul class as a challenger, exceptionally quick on the buzzer, often winning his shows. He is very capable of speaking fluently without repetition and what he does say is often bitingly funny. His start on "body language": "my bottom speaks fluent German..." must be one of the funnier and least expected remarks to be made in the first two seconds of a round. And on repartee, he is first class. On his first show he did an excellent impression of Derek Nimmo, and teased Wendy Richard for a rather unfunny anecdote. Since then Nicholas has drawn his fire, at one point Stephen declaring he would hunt him down and kill him! On the other hand he seemed to have a real affection for Peter Jones, a real respect for Clement Freud and a real camaraderie with Paul Merton. How good it would be if he did the show more often, and if anyone could replace Clement long-term as the competitive one, it should be Stephen Fry.
Who is he: Stephen is hard to sum up in a paragraph. His work is certainly varied. He acts on the stage, in movies and in the theatre, and directs. His performance as Oscar Wilde in the movie Wilde was memorable. He is also a novellist, with several books to his credit, and he has also written an autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot. He also writes plays and makes appearances on chat and game shows, where he is usually hugely funny. Stephen has an exceptional intelligence which by his own admission, means that he is bored easily, and is always wanting to do something different from whatever it is he is currently doing. He directed the film Bright Young Things and was judged one of the 50 funniest people in Britain. He has recently moved more into no-fiction work as a TV documentary maker, and as host of the TV panel game QI. His blog site is also one of the more popular celeb blogs in the UK.
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
JAM Appearances: Seven as a panellist on radio in 1975-1976-1977-1981-1982.
How he did: Graeme wasn't quick on the buzzer but could certainly coin a phrase and was capable of turning words round on the others in best Paul Merton style.
Who is he: Graeme is still probably best known for his long-running TV show, The Goodies, a sort of live anarchic cartoon. A doctor, Graeme is a busy comedy writer and is a mainstay of the panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. His most recent radio work is in The Unbelievable Truth.
Links to transcripts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
JAM Appearances: Two as a panellist on radio in 2005-2008.
How he did: Great fun at Edinburgh. Despite not being much good at the game, he kept trying and talking and making jokes. Someone who would probably get better each time he returned.
Who is he: A Welsh stand-up comic best known for a surreal approach to comedy, Rhod has done a little TV and radio, but is mainly a live act.
Links to transcripts: 1 2
JAM Appearances: Two as a panellist on radio in 2000.
How she did: Annabel caused some amusement by challenging Clement early on repetition of a very small word. After that she seemed to fade into the ether.
Who is she: A former model, Annabel is forging a career as an actor and TV weather presenter. She has also written three novels.
Links to transcripts: 1 2
JAM Appearances: Two as a panellist on radio in 2011.
How she did: Fi was plucky but especially competitive or humorous so didn't make a big impression.
Who is she: Fiona Glover is a journalist and broadcaster, best known as the former host of Radio Four's Saturday Live.
Links to transcripts: 1 2
JAM Appearances: Seven including six as a panellist on television in 1995-1999 and one as a panellist on radio in 1983.
How she did: Bright as a button, Liza was perky and occasionally funny, and quickish on the buzzer. She works better on TV where you can enjoy her exceptional good looks as well as her pleasant voice.
Who is she: Liza seems to have been on countless TV shows over the years, none of which seem to have lasted too long. She has also been a regular on game shows including a lengthy stint on Give Us A Clue. She's still busy as an actress on stage and screen. Perhaps her best-known role is in Skippy The Bush Kangaroo.
Links to transcripts: 1 2 3 4 5 6
JAM Appearances: Six as a panellist on radio in 2006-2007-2008-2009-2012.
How she did: Warm, funny, and bolshie, she did a good job without doing a great one.
Who is she: Janey describes herself as a writer and stand-up comedian, but she is also an actress. Most of her work is comedy related though and includes TV and radio as well as stand-up. She has published an autobiography, Handstands In The Dark, and also keeps a blog.
Links to transcripts: 1 2 3 4 5
JAM Appearances: Five as a panellist on radio in 2007-2008-2010.
How he did: Funny and clever but had trouble beating a very experienced team on the buzzer.
Who is he: Dave has been performing stand-up since 1990. In the past few years his show has been focussed on a search for others of the same name. He hosts a radio chat show called Genius on Radio Four, and also appears in the TV panel game Annually Retentive. He was a co-writer of The Mrs Merton Show. He also writes newspaper columns.
Links to transcripts: 1 2 3 4 5
JAM Appearances: 92 including 90 as a panellist on radio in 1967-1969-1970-1971-1972-1973-1974-1975-1976-1977-1978-1980-1981-1982-1983-1985-1987-2002-2003-2005-2009-2010-2011-2013, one on the 1992 compilation show Silver Minutes, and one on the 40th anniversary special in 2007.
How she did: No woman has appeared more often on JAM than Sheila. She first appeared on the second ever show, and was recalled almost two years later. But she then struck exactly the right notes and became JAM's most regular guest for a good part of the following 20 years.
It's hard to sum up Sheila's success. She isn't a joke-a-minute comedian. But she does have a natural ready good-natured wit, and an ear for an anecdote. She has a cheery voice, one feels cheered up just listening to her.
Sheila probably got her regular recalls for her total refusal to be cowed by the male panellists. Some women in the early days were clearly scared by the intimidating personalities of Clement Freud and Kenneth Williams in particular. Sheila not only refused to be shouted down, she shouted back. She was quite capable of telling Kenneth Williams he was the "great fool" if the situation demanded it.
Sheila was a competitor at the game, occasionally she mentioned how the game got her competitive spirit going. She was quick on the buzzer and often ended up the winner. She was feisty and demanded respect. She was the closest friend of Kenneth Williams on the show and this occasionally showed, and she also had long-lasting personal friendships with Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones.
After Kenneth's death, Sheila declined to appear in the series following his death, fearing she would be too saddened by the absence of her long-time friend. After that the producers seemed to forget about her, but she was recalled in 2002, and subsequently appeared in the 25th anniversary show. Her return after a long absence was very much welcomed by the fans, and she had certainly earned a place in the special edition. Her wit and competitive spirit has not been dimmed by the years.
Who is she: References to Sheila these days describe her as a "veteran actress" and while this doesn't seem entirely complimentary, it is accurate. She has been a regular in the British theatre for 40 years. She was famously a revue partner for Kenneth Williams, the start of her long friendship with him, and since then has done literally hundreds of films, plays and TV shows. Among her TV work are a flow of sitcoms, most notably The Rag Trade where she appeared with Peter Jones. She also appeared in the soapie East Enders. Sheila continues to work regularly although she did take a break after the death of her husband, John Thaw. She does a variety of work, both comedy and drama. She has also won fame for her strong political views. She once refused to be introduced to then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who wanted to congratulate her on a performance, because she disagreed with Thatcher's policies. Also well-known as a feminist, but time seems to have mellowed her.
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 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90
JAM Appearances: Seven including four as a panellist on radio in 1995-2000 and three as a panellist on television in 1994-1995.
How he did: Jeremy has a sardonic dry wit which is always amusing but perhaps doesn't quite fit the fast pace of a game show like this.
Who is he: Jeremy is best known for his regular appearances on radio panel games, especially The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. He also does his own radio series, Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation. He is also a newspaper columnist and publicly supports the far left Socialist Alliance.
Links to transcripts: 1 2 3 4 5 6
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