Nicholas Parsons takes Just A Minute to BBC Two

As reported last October, game show Just A Minute is returning to television to mark its 45th anniversary.

To mark over four and a half decades of avoiding “Repetition, Hesitation and Deviation”, Just A Minute will deviate its way to television on BBC Two for ten very special episodes,

The format of the show is a “Simple but skilful panel game where celebrities have to talk on a given topic without hesitation, repetition or deviation. It is heavily based on the 1951 BBC radio format One Minute Please.

“Breaking any one of these rules allows one of your three opponents to challenge and, if a correct challenge is made, you get the topic for the remainder of the minute. You pick up one point for each correct challenge, and a bonus point if you’re the person still speaking when the whistle blows at the end of the minute.” Says

Nicholas Parsons will chair the show just as he did on its very first broadcast way back in 1967 – he’s never missed a recording and he’s not about to start now. Sticking faithfully to the well-loved BBC Radio format, each episode will see a selection of comics and well known performers attempt to talk for one minute on a given subject. Expect to see a selection of the shows stalwarts including Paul Merton, Stephen Fry, Graham Norton, Sue Perkins and Julian Clary as well as some new players like Russell Tovey, Ruth Jones, Hugh Bonneville and Jason Manford attempt to catch each other out. The series was recorded in November of last year.

Whereas in radio land BBC Radio 4 Extra kicks off the festivities with Just A Minute Without Hesitation on Saturday 17 March, in which Nicholas Parsons celebrates 45 years of wit and wonder from Just A Minute including classic performances from Clement Freud, Paul Merton, Linda Smith, Shelia Hancock and Kenneth Williams.

And back home on BBC Radio 4 there are two Just A Minute in India specials on Monday 19 and 26 March at 6.30pm. Usually Nicholas welcomes ‘our many listeners around the world’ but this time he’s decided to let some of the listeners welcome him! Nicholas and the regular Just A Minute panellists Paul Merton and Marcus Brigstocke travelled to Mumbai in India to celebrate and highlight Just A Minute’s unique and continuing popularity across the globe – and particularly in India. Nicholas received his most passionate fanmail from there.

Nicholas Parsons, famous for Anglia Television’s game show, Sale Of The Century, has presented the radio series since its launch and also two never-transmitted pilots for television made in 1969 and 1981. Excerpts from these have however seen clips broadcast within documentaries.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that television actually finally got round to airing the format, first in 1994 when Carlton Television and Mike Mansfield TV co-produced two series for the ITV London region. It returned once more on the BBC in 1999 for a series of 20 episodes, but none of the visual versions have proved to be as successful as the radio production.

Just A Minute airs weekdays at 6pm from Monday 26th March to Friday 6th April 2012 on BBC Two.