A break from the norm as Just A Minute goes to India

Just A Minute is to record its first editions overseas – with a taping of two shows in Mumbai tomorrow night.

Regular host Nicholas Parsons, Paul Merton and Marcus Brigstocke have flown over for the recordings, which mark the 45th anniversary of the Radio 4 panel show

They will be joined in the Comedy Store by Indian playwright and screenwriter Anuvab Pal and stand-up and television prank show star Cyrus Broacha.

Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams has perviously said the show is hugely popular in India with ‘clubs there who play the game with a fantastic passion’.

And speaking to the Indian website DNA, Parsons noted that Just A Minute ‘used to be transmitted to India via the World Service and became popular’.

He added: ‘We thought it would be a wonderful and original idea in the next series of Just A Minute to include two editions that had been recorded in Mumbai. The natural place to record them seemed to be The Comedy Store as the audience there is familiar with improvised comedy.’

The 300-seater Mumbai branch of The Comedy Store opened in July 2010 and is India’s first dedicated comedy venue. It regularly hosts UK and Irish comics alongside Indian acts, and is part of the English language comedy boom among the country’s educated, increasingly affluent middle-classes.

Reflecting on performing at the Mumbai Store recently, Imran Yusuf enthused that ‘they’ve got the most English speaking graduates anywhere and they’re totally hot on English speaking comedy, they totally understand a lot of our references that we use in this country and they absolutely love it. They really want to have fun, there’s no heavy drinking and the energy in the room is fantastic, it’s just such a joy to play.’

Parsons,88, has recorded more than 800 episodes of Just A Minute since 1967, and will be appearing alongside Merton when the show moves to BBC Two in March.

The show was invented by BBC producer Ian Messiter, whose Latin teacher used to punish pupils by making them talk on a given subject for 60 seconds. It’s thought this is the first time Just A Minute has been recorded overseas, although it has previously visited the Channel Islands.

Published: 31 Jan 2012

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