Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Think I Should Clarify Two Things...

• The show that premiered Monday on BBC2 is NOT the first Just A Minute TV show. There was a short-lived version on ITV in 1994 and an even shorter-lived version on BBC1 in 1999.
• Nicholas Parsons has NOT hosted every version of Just A Minute since 1967. He has missed several. If is anything to go by, there was even an episode in 1977 where Clement Freud couldn’t make it, forcing Nicholas to play the game and Ian Messiter to host.

OK, the new Just A Minute TV show on BBC2…

89-year-old Nicholas Parsons, wearing ridiculous brightly colored suits that really only serve to make him look like a stereotypical career game show host (not that he isn’t one – this is, lest we forget, the man who hosted the original British version of Sale Of The Century for eleven years), plays host to four panelists…no, I’m not explaining Just A Minute this time either. It’s not worth it. I would explain the differences between the TV show and the radio show, but that’s not worth it either…because there aren’t any. As with Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, the Just A Minute TV show really just amounts to “point a camera at a taping of the radio show”.

It’s funny, of course – Nicholas is in his usual fine form, and admittedly (unlike Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me) there aren’t many ways Just A Minute could be made into a visual game – but they could at least have displayed the panelists’ scores on their podiums. It really makes no sense that Nicholas is shown pushing a button on his podium at the start of each round to start the clock, and yet at the same time, there is no on-screen clock. I was half expecting a giant clock display in the vein of Countdown, but you’d think they’d at least have a little timer in the corner of the screen.

You’d think after this and the BBC America version of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, I’d be tired of half-hearted attempts to make TV versions of radio shows. You’d think after the India-taped episodes of Just A Minute and the supposed American pilot for The News Quiz, I’d be tired of half-hearted attempts of transferring radio shows to other countries. You are apparently wrong, as I’m still desperately trying to figure out the premiere date of the upcoming Australian television version of The Unbelievable Truth.



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