G&TV logoFollowing the sad news that the brilliant Nicholas Parsons has passed away at the grand old age of 96, I saw a tweet summarising the various short-lived attempts to bring his seminal Just A Minute to television. Despite it obviously being a BBC show, there were two series produced by Carlton for ITV in the mid-90s, and just one glimpse of that garish, neon-adorned set triggered a vivid childhood memory of watching an episode starring none other than Craig Charles. I looked it up and it turns out that memory is indeed accurate; he appeared once, alongside team captain and fellow Dwarf alumnus Tony Slattery, on 21st July 1995.

And that episode is… seemingly not online anywhere. Bah. Still, a handful of editions are on YouTube, including one from the first series that features not only the aforementioned Slattery, but also one time pub manager Arthur Smith, alongside a very young Graham Norton and Ann Bryson. Sod it, two guest stars is enough of a Red Dwarf connection to justify us featuring this, in tribute to its wonderful chairman.

That’s the first part, here’s the second and the third.

Incidentally, while searching for the Craig Charles episode, I found this beautiful relic of a bygone internet age: a lovingly put together and wonderfully detailed Just A Minute fansite. Its owner, identified only as Dean, presumably in the style of Madonna or Prince, has gone and above and beyond the call of duty to fully transcribe hundreds of editions of the programme, including Craig’s. How brilliant that there’s still some way to enjoy his appearance; without this transcript, we wouldn’t have known how Tony Slattery chose to introduce his teammate:

Hello, and tonight I have with me a poet, comedian and television presenter, best known as Dave Lister in the wildly successful situation comedy Red Dwarf. He turned down a part in Porridge especially to be with us today. Would you please welcome back into the community: Craig Charles.

Bearing in mind this was 1995, and a light-hearted panel game on daytime ITV, that’s admirably ballsy.

12 comments on “G&TV: Just A Minute (20/01/94)

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  • Lovely stuff, thanks Ian. I was very sad to hear he’d passed away, I know his advanced age was a constant (and often hilarious) running gag on Just A Minute, but part of me expected him to just keep rolling along forever.

  • Ooh nice. I remember it being on late night, but I am easily confused.
    Also, I spent a large part of my childhood enjoying Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door, and have often watched it and mourned the loss of Peter Cook. It isn’t until his death that I realise NP is one of the best things about it. What a fantastic straight man.

  • Think Mr. Jolly has a lot of glimpses of brilliance, like when Rik and Ade are making the Japanese guy pay for their beer tabs at every pub, but also has too much of a “loud for the shake of it” feel and some jokes which should’ve worked some how don’t (i.e. the harmless weapons of the mobsters being showcased).

    However, I will say the best moment is when Rik is awkwardly looking at Parsons and you think he’s being sexually suggestive torward him only to get up and instantly fall over drunk. That was hilarious.

  • I believe this particular series was only ever seen in the London region, incidentally (hence why it’s “with the Evening Standard”).

  • Interesting – the second series (with Craig) was definitely shown in the Central region, as that’s where I was.

  • Just checked the unbelievably thorough history of the series Nicholas wrote a few years ago (“Welcome to Just a Minute!”, which I attended an event for at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and got to see Nicholas go mental at a guy who asked him who he’d like to take over the series when he died) and he says it was broadcast after the ITV News at Ten. I wonder if he’s referring to a later networked repeat or something…

  • Hooray! I was right! I needn’t purchase my tartan blanket and flight to Dignitas just yet.
    Is Just A Minute over now, then? What about Nish Kumar chairing it? He could do with the exposure.

  • Slight tangent but does anyone recall Craig and his house being on Through the Keyhole in the early ’90s?

    I remember very little aside from the “for the people at home” reveal of Craig Charles. I also seem to remember one of Grossman’s “let’s look at the evidence” clues being a selection of baseball caps. If so, why? Was CC ever known for wearing baseball caps?

  • A red herring, perhaps.
    I didn’t see it but I did see Craig on a show called Funny Business, and his house was in that, too. I think I remember him having a pool table.

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