Just a MinuteJust 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. The first broadcast of Just a Minute
occurred in 1968
The long-suffering but good-natured emcee of Just a Minute was (and still is, as of 2004) 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 performers was:
- Clement Freud (politician, food writer and grandson of Sigmund) whose favourite 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, who once said that in all his years of playing the game, he never quite got the hang of it; and
- Kenneth Williams, the indisputable star of the show, whose flamboyant tantrums, arch putdowns and mock-sycophancy made him the audience favourite.
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
The show's theme music is a very fast rendition of Frédéric Chopin's Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64, No. 1, nicknamed the "Minute Waltz".