Curator's Blog

Series J, Episode 16

Just The Job

Panellists:
  • Alan Davies,
  • Jeremy Clarkson,
  • Jason Manford,
  • Sandi Toksvig
Aired: Sunday 25th August 2010 at 10pm, BBC Two
Curated by Piers Fletcher

Gooood evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, and welcome to the Just the Job curator’s blog, where tonight I’ll be claiming the credit for the efforts of Stephen Fry, Alan Davies, Jeremy Clarkson, Sandi Toksvig and Jason Manford.

I can’t actually remember who came up with any of the material except that I don’t think it was me.

Quidsworth, the Chief Archive Elf, maintains meticulous records of everything we do and is never, ever, wrong about anything. I mean, never. So, when he tells me that I was responsible for the material on this show, I take his word for it - even though I don’t recall that any actual work was involved on my part. It was more of a sui generis kind of a deal – throw together a few assorted notions, some nice fresh musings, a pinch of whimsy, and set the whole lot to simmer in a tub of rich fruity sauciness, and a show just springs into life spontaneously and emerges from the primordial soup.

Oh, and a garnish of mixed metaphors never goes amiss.

I watched Just the Job and found that I can't actually remember who came up with any of the material except that I don't think it was me. Part of the problem is that this show is a holdover from Series J (the clue’s in the title). It was taped way back in the spring of 2012 and kept in the BBC’s archives for nearly 18 months so that it could, in the fullness of time, be screened as part of BBC Two’s Inventions season. Society has changed in that time, and you’ll be struck by how quaint the show seems: the fashions, the hairstyles, and (especially) many of Jeremy’s attitudes may well appear completely outdated to a modern audience. You just have to remember that, back in 2012, they were all mainstream.

A show just springs into life spontaneously and emerges from the primordial soup.

So stand by for a good old-fashioned look at chainsaws (invented for midwives, apparently), electric jockstraps, why left-handed people shouldn’t wear their underpants inside-out, why Victorian mums disguised themselves as furniture, how jerrycans won the War, things that were invented in jail, and various useless inventions, including a system which allowed you to record sound but not to play it back. You’ll get a guest appearance by Radio 4’s Charlotte Green, and a clever system of pendulums which synchronise themselves into beautiful patterns using only the power of maths.

Best moment? Probably the bit with the Slinky. Don’t miss that.

And it’s good night from Sandi, Jason, Jeremy, Alan, Stephen and me. Good night!
 
*Roll closing credits*