Just a minute

Episode 122,   Sep 11, 2011, 01:37 PM

It's simply inspired. A format which affords the truly great a pithy platform to show off. 'Just a Minute' has been cast brilliantly over the years: from the irascible Clement Freud to the whining Kenneth Williams or the hoity-toity Derek Nimmo. From the surprising Wendy Richard to the man who was born to do the show, Paul Merton.

The programme began on 22nd December 1967 on a young Radio 4. The format sprang, it's said, from an idea Ian Messiter had whilst sitting on a bus. He recalled a similar device used by his masters at school when a lad's attention wandered in a lesson. 

The programme was hosted for decades by the impeccable Nicholas Parsons CBE, apart from the nine occasions when he's appeared on the panel instead - or had a rare week unavoidably off-duty.

No hesitation, deviation nor repetition in this paragraph. Well, not much.