starring PAUL MERTON, DEREK NIMMO, TONY HAWKS and BLYTHE DUFF, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 10 August 1998)

NOTE: Blythe Duff's last appearance, Linda Cobley's last appearance blowing the whistle.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute.


NP: Hello my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome not only our listeners throughout the world but also the four exciting and distinctive personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back with great pleasure that distinctive anarchist humourist Paul Merton, that distinctive individual entertaining humourist Tony Hawks, that golden oldie humourist Derek Nimmo, and a charming delightful humourist actress Blythe Duff. Would you please welcome all four of them. As usual Iím going to ask them to speak on the subject I give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Beside me sits Linda Cobley, sheís going to help me keep the score, sheíll hold the stopwatch, sheíll blow her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Students Union, the debating chamber at Glasgow University, where we are delighted after the pleasure and joy we had a number of weeks back, to be invited back again! And we have before us an entirely different but vociferous audience! Oh thank you for the warmth of your reception, itís a joy to be here. And let us begin the show with Tony Hawks. Tony, a university life. Tell us something about that subject in Just A Minute starting now.

TONY HAWKS: A university life. Get up at 11am, watch the Teletubbies, go back to bed, pack your briefcase...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged already.

PAUL MERTON: Deviation.

NP: Why?

PM: The Teletubbies are on at 10.00!

NP: Itís very, itís very interesting. Everybody applauded because you all know itís on at 10.00, so you must listen to it!

TH: No, no, theyíre not idiots! They video it from the day before and they can see it then!

NP: Paul that was deviation, so you have a correct challenge, you have a point for a correct challenge and you take over the subject, there are 54 seconds left, a university life, starting now.

PM: When I left school, I didnít really fancy going to university, so I didnít. But I suppose now looking back at it, I rather wish that I had. It seems like very good fun. You get drunk basically, donít you, and have a good time! And there are a lot of people who make solid friends for the rest of their lives when they meet them at university. I mean thereís lots of people in show business for example who went to Oxford and Cambridge, known as... yes, absolutely, absolutely dreadful people. And er they, they made friends where a lot of them repeated themselves..


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Well a repetition of friends.

NP: Yes you did repeat friends before.

PM: Yes I did.

NP: I know that we associate that with university life, but that was repetition. So Tonyís got the subject back, he has 27 seconds, a university life Tony starting now.

TH: I believe that there is tradition of university life here at the University of Glasgow called Dark Friday where... The audience here donít know anything about it, so Iíll explain. Where they go out, drink an awful lot, and if someone is standing at breakfast time they get a free one of those morning meals. And this seems a tremendously good idea, such good incentive to make it...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DEREK NIMMO: Repetition of good.

NP: Yes there was two.

DN: Well people have challenged on on before.

NP: Thatís right. Derek, correct challenge, a point for that of course, four seconds, a university life starting now.

DN: Nicholas Parsonsís time at the University of Glasgow...


DN: ...seems to be absolutely shrouded in mystery. When did he leave?

NP: Oi!

DN: Why? Thatís what I want to know!

NP: You were challenged, you were challenged long before you got there. What was your challenge Tony Hawks?

TH: I thought there was a hesitation there.

NP: Yes! Right, indeed! You got in Tony with two seconds to go on university life starting now.

TH: I went to the...


NP: Er Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation!

NP: He hadnít even been going for a third of a second! Um no there wasnít hesitation Paul. So Tony another point for incorrect challenge, a university life is still with you, one and a half seconds starting now.

TH: Always look on the bright side of life!


NP: In Just A Minute whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Tony Hawks who at the end of that round has got more points than anybody else and naturally he is in the lead. So we go into the next round. Blythe Duff it is your turn to begin, the subject is how the other half lives. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

BLYTHE DUFF: My other half lives like a pig! Iíve been married for four weeks and itís been a rude awakening, I can tell you! If cleanliness is next to godliness then heís dishing up with the devil! Iím not being unfair, itís just a state of fact. Iím amazed that he seems to think his attractiveness becomes more when he drinks 13 pints of lager, a chicken tikka masala and a portion of spicy onions! Perhaps he should think of a toothbrush which hangs perched on the side of the bathroom. I am willing him to lift it up, raise it to his mouth. But no, he decides heís going to come to bed and reek of some kind of curried delight! Not my idea of a good evening, I can tell you, here and now! Perhaps I should comment about his socks, we could continue. I would like to say that his trainers good probably walk...


NP: Paul Merton you challenged. Yes? Blythe, you havenít played it very much but you kept going for 59 seconds! Oh! But you did hesitate just as you got to the wire so Paul got in first. Paul one second on how the other half lives starting now.

PM: In Tokyo they admire...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking when the whistle went. And as I think Blythe has only played the game once before and went for 59 seconds, letís give her a bonus point! Which means sheís actually now in second place, just behind Tony Hawks and one ahead of Paul Merton and Derek Nimmo. And Paul your turn to begin. The subject, overheard remarks. Tell us something about those in this game starting now.

PM: Just before I came into this room I heard two people talking about Nicholas Parsons. They didnít see me there but I was listening to what they were saying. And one said to the other "do you know he was condemned before the Second World War and is actually still standing. Itís really amazing!" And the other person said "if you look closely heís wearing a bag, you can see it there". He said "no, surely not". He says "oh, itís quite true, he does, and heís proud of it as well! If he gets drunk at parties, heíll take it out! Heís been known, heís been known to pour it into the punchbowl. Oh heís a terrible individual!" But itís interesting the way the British public have taken to Nicholas Parsons...


PM: ...in the same way they used to take to typhoid!

NP: Ah Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of Nicholas Parsons!

NP: You canít have too much of that! I mean! Do you want Paul Merton to continue on the subject?


NP: Derek Iíll give you a point for a correct challenge but Paul gets a point for being interrupted and he continues on overheard remarks, 28 seconds starting now.

PM: Is it me?


NP: And you got, yes, another point for a correct challenge Derek and the subject still with Paul Merton, 27 seconds, starting now.

PM: I was visiting this place called Port Marian the other week. I donít know if anyoneís ever been there but I thoroughly recommend it, itís where The Prisoner was shot, somebody you might know from that wonderful show. And I overheard one person saying to another...


PM: ... he was talking about... whatís wrong now?

NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Ah actually repetition of person there.

NP: Yes there was.

TH: Quite a few persons and you...

NP: You did talk about a person before, yes.

PM: Whatís happened to you?

NP: Sixteen seconds available Tony, overheard remarks starting now.

TH: I overheard some remarks before I came in this recording, well...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition thatís exactly what I said!

NP: I know! But you can say the exact same words that somebody else said because youíre not actually repeating them in that particular round before. So is that your definitive challenge?

PM: Yes it is.

NP: In that case youíre wrong. If youíd got him for hesitation you could have had it, but you didnít. So unfortunately Tony you werenít had for hesitation, youíve got 11 seconds to continue on overheard remarks starting now.

TH: Sometimes you can overhear things youíd rather not hear. Like people saying that Nicholas Parsons is the finest man to walk this earth! Well Iím only doing this because I know if you talk about him you donít get challenged...


NP: Well Tony Hawks was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, heís gone into a strong lead. And Derek your turn to begin, the subject, objects of desire. Tell us something about that passionate subject in this game starting now.

DN: I know through knowing Nicholas for a long time, that he would eventually give us a George Michael question! I think itís very disappointing because the object of my desire is an actress called Elizabeth Hurley. When she was just out of drama school, she came to audition me for the first job that she ever had in British theatre. I sat there with Leslie Phillips who was directing the play and she came into the room. And there was this creature of such extraordinary loveliness. She read her little piece and two old gentlemen got very hot and very bothered. And when she left the room...


DN: ...I said how good was she. And he said...

NP: Tony Hawks challenged you when you got hot and bothered.

TH: Ah well I think you said very hot and very bothered so two verys.

NP: You did repeat very. So Tony a correct challenge, 28 seconds, objects of desire starting now.

TH: With my immense charm and staggering good looks, I have become...


NP: Derek you challenged.

DN: Deviation, heís got neither!

NP: Iím not going to judge on other peopleís looks in front of this audience and in front of all the many listeners we have throughout the world! To some Tony Hawks is galmorously good looking, to others he is, well they prefer Derek Nimmo! So 26 seconds with you Tony, objects of desire starting now.

TH: Now the fact of the matter is that objects of desire are normally picked by students. They may take a former President as their particular object of desire. Or they may go for the...


NP: Derek Nimmo you challenged.

DN: Repetition of may.

NP: Yes, they may go, they may this, they may that. And one second, Derek, you got in with objects of desire starting now.

DN: English warm at...


NP: So Tony Hawks is still in the lead. Derek Nimmo got a point for speaking when the whistle went, and other points. Let us go Scottish! Auld Lang Syne! That is the subject, Tony your turn to begin, Auld Lang Syne, 60 seconds starting now.

TH: Auld Lang Syne actually means for old times sakes. And given that the writer, Robbie Burns, who created these words had 12 illegitimate children, I think it may have been a line he used as part of his pickup procedure. I personally want to have a New Years Eve party, 1999, where everyone comes around my house and then at 11.30 I say "would you mind going, Iíve got to get up very early tomorrow!" They will have to see that year singing the beautiful words Auld Lang Syne. (singing) Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind. (normal voice) And I donít know the rest of it! And I donít need to, and they were getting too... It wouldnít be fair if I did my minute with other people singing, Iím sure...


NP: Blythe, just a minute, Blythe Duff has challenged you.

TH: Yes?

BD: Sorry I thought he was hesitating after the first verse of Auld Lang Syne, because nobody else knows it!

NP: He did! He definitely hesitated and he didnít get it quite right as well. So thatís deviation. Blythe you have the subject of Auld Lang Syne, 20 seconds starting now.

BD: Itís an incredible song. Itís sung all over the world. In Times Square in New York on Hogmanay you find everybody singing it. Isnít that an incredible experience? Does it not build, your heart pounds with Scottish tradition and fervour. I can hear you, yes, itís all being whipped up as we speak here! And obviously, a right good willy wok, I bet not one person knows what a willy wok is...


NP: Blythe Duff was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, and she repeated willy wok just after the whistle.

DN: What is a willy wok, Iíve always wondered!

NP: Just I was going to say would you explain to all our listeners, not the Scots, they all know what it is here, but to all those Sassenachs who listen to our show and...

BD: A right good willy wok is a toast and a cheer, and will you take it with me?

NP: Right! Paul your turn to begin. Now hereís a subject thatís never come up before, character witness. I donít know how youíre going to take it but talk on the subject if you can starting now.

PM: About five years I was asked by the Metropolitan Police to give Nicholas Parsons a character witness. Apparently heíd been arrested in the Bullspond Road at about 3.00 in the morning with his trousers around his ankles, shouting out at windows above him "if you want it lady, Iím ready and willing!" This incident was rather nasty and was reported in the local press at the time. I went along to the court and I stood there in front of the judge and I was called into the witness box. And he said to me "could you give me your appreciation of this manís character?" I said "I have known the individual in question for some 10 years. I have always found him to be honest, upright, and one of the finest..." I said "I canít er I canít keep it up! I really canít!"


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged. I noticed you kept up the embarrassing bit at the start very well! When you, but once you had to talk er about giving me a good character, then you faltered, Tony.

PM: I couldnít do it!

NP: I know Paul, right! Derek you got in first. There are 12 seconds left on character witness starting now.

DN: I was asked to be a character w... wer...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: I donít know what he was asked to be but I think there was a hesitation there.

NP: We call that hesitation yes Tony, 10 seconds, character witness starting now.

TH: I was asked to be a character witness at the trial of Paul Merton after heíd been down the Bullspond Road shortly after Nicholas Parsons...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Two afters.

NP: Yeah you were going after him too much, Iím afraid.

PM: After.

TH: Iím traveling home with him as well.

NP: I know you are. Yes that came up last time you were in Glasgow, you mentioned about that.

PM: It was such a success, weíre traveling home together again!

NP: And to think this romance first saw the light of day on Just A Minute! Oh what a lot we have to answer for! There are two seconds left for character witness with you Paul starting now.

PM: So I said to Tony Hawks "give us a kiss before we get to Carlisle!"


NP: Right, we have an interesting situation here. Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point for doing so. Heís gone ahead, heís one ahead of Blythe Duff and Derek Nimmo in third place, and heís only just behind Tony Hawks whoís still in the lead. Derek Nimmo your turn to begin, the subject, the golden age of steam. Talk on that if you can on Just A Minute starting now.

DN: Well maybe the golden age of steam will happen tonight when Paul Merton and Tony Hawks go back on that road. I donít know. However I lived through the original golden age of steam which I suppose was in the 1930s and 40s. And how exciting the railway trains were at that time. The London, Midland and Scottish, the Great Western. All these marvelous rails with their own livery. And they... I used to go down to Crewe Station on a Thursday, with my little book, published by Allen, as a train spotter. Is that right? Well done sir! Iíd pick off the numbers as they came past, goodness knows why! It was the most pointless exercise I could ever think of! At this particular junction you saw the best of these wonderful machines in the prime of their steam life. Nowadays you have to go to India, perhaps to China, to see the golden age of steam. But when I saw them here, all those years ago, it was a time of tremendous excitement for me...


NP: It happened last time we were in Glasgow. Someone started with the subject and finished with the subject. It doesnít often happen! You inspire the panellists up here! Fantastic yes! Derek Nimmo kept the subject right the way through without hesitation, repetition or deviation and he gets a point for speaking when the whistle went, he gets a bonus point for not being interrupted, he has leapt forward, heís only one behind our leader Tony Hawks, and Tony your turn to begin. Winning friends and influencing people, that is the subject, talk on it starting now.

TH: I have never had a problem with winning friends and influencing people, largely because of my immense charm and staggering good looks. A good way of influencing people would be maybe to hold a New Years Eve party, perhaps sing Auld Lang Syne, perhaps try that line "how about it, for old times sake?" It might work for you, it worked for many people in the past. But of course money is undoubtedly the most significant and effective way of influencing people and winning friends also. I use it, I have plenty of it. Iím not only the other things I said earlier, Iím a multi-millionaire! And Iím going to a bar here after...


NP: Yes Paul?

PM: If he was a multi-millionaire he wouldnít be doing Just A Minute!

NP: He might because he enjoys it so much! But on the other hand Paul I agree, that is deviation because I happen to know heís not a multi-millionaire!

TH: Ewwwwwwww!

NP: Well youíve never stood me a drink!

TH: Thereís another reason for that!

NP: Right Paul, deviation, 16 seconds, winning friends and influencing people starting now.

PM: There was a man called Norman Peale who wrote this book called Winning Friends and Influencing People, some time in the 1940s in America. He died about five years ago at the age of 95. I met him once, I found him very very odd. When I hit him...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Very very odd.

PM: He was!

NP: Very very.

PM: I had to emphasise how horrible he was!

NP: Yes! But if you emphasise it in Just A Minute it becomes repetition. Derek got in first, five seconds Derek, winning friends and influencing people...

DN: Nicholas Parsons is the President of the Lords Taverners and he wins friends and influences people. He gave a party this very week for a hundred people...


NP: So Derek Nimmo speaking as the whistle went has moved forward, and heís now in the lead one ahead of Tony Hawks but itís very close, only one point separates the other two following in descending order of course. Blythe Duff weíd like you to take the next round, the subject is junk. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

BD: Itís a Chinese sailing vessel normally of wooden clinker built construction and gas rigging. They frequent the contribitraries of the Yangtse River. Modern boats in this genre are of diesel parts. Theyíre closely associated to the Indian dow providing trade along land locked waterways of Asia major and minor. Oh please somebody please buzz me!


NP: You learn a lt when you listen to Just A Minute, donít you. Paul you challenged. What was your challenge?

PM: Well I answered a call of nature!

NP: What was that?

PM: Well she wanted someone to challenge so I did!

NP: Oh I see, Iím sorry. A call of nature, I thought you wanted to go somewhere for a minute! Paul a correct challenge, 34 seconds available, junk, starting now.

PM: One manís junk is another individualís antiques. It all depends what youíre looking for really. I recently bought a table that some people would say thatís fairly ugly, itís only got one leg. But I felt sorry for it, so I gave it a home. I rested it against the corner, an occasional surface to put cups on, or saucers, or perhaps you can combine the two. Mugs maybe could be a good idea, or plates, anything at all could be put on to this wooden surface. One day I decided...


NP: Blythe you challenged.

PM: No she didnít!

NP: Yes she did! You challenged because he had three ors didnít he!

BD: I heard them distinctly, I think everybody else did quite frankly!

NP: There are eight seconds on junk starting now.

BD: I probably took it from my mother in Scotland. We called it hoarding. I hoard all the time. I have just repeated myself, they havenít even noticed because theyíre all asleep quite frankly!


BD: So if anybody wants to buzz me, feel free to start now. Hello?


BD: Yes, thank you!

NP: Youíve been challenged twice actually. But what was your challenge Paul?

PM: Repetition.

NP: Yes thatís right. What of?

PM: What of? Of English words. Words.

BD: Words! Words!

PM: Words!

NP: She was going so fast I didnít get most of them actually.

BD: That was what I was hoping for!

NP: So I donít know that there was any word actually in that gibberish that was repeated! So Iím going to give her the benefit of the doubt as sheís fairly new to the show and have one second left on junk with you Blythe starting now.

BD: Last year I was...


NP: So Blythe began with the subject, finished with the subject and got an extra point for speaking when the whistle went. And sheís now actually equal with Paul Merton in second place just behind Tony Hawks whoís in the lead, and then itís Derek Nimmo. Paul your turn to begin, the subject, the Scottish side of my family. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: I donít have a Scottish side to my family so itís quite difficult to talk about it really. My motherís Irish and if you mention the distance between Ireland and Scotland at their nearest point, it come out to be something like 27 miles which most people didnít realise. I didnít know that until I looked it up in an atlas. They are remarkably close those two countries. But then if you think of the cross culture between those particular nations, for example bagpipes, I think ah originally er an invention of the Emerald Isles that were then brought over here. What a charming wonderful... itís no good hissing them, that was centuries ago! You canít do anything about it! You canít reverse the trend of history as they used to say before the war. And another thing they used to say as well. They used to say things like you canít get powdered eggs...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged you.

DN: He was doing a lot of says in there.

NP: Yes you say, you say. Right Derek...

PM: I canít help it!

NP: No!

PM: Itís a nervous affliction! And I think itís rather rude to point it out!

NP: But if it occurs in Just A Minute it becomes repetitious so Derek got in first and there are 22 seconds left, the Scottish side of my family Derek starting now.

DN: Well Iím Scottish on both sides of my family. My mother was a Hardy. And my name can only be pronounced correctly by people in the low countries of ah Scotland or... Nimmo is...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Hesitation.

NP: Yes because he realised he said in the low countries which is in the Netherlands or Belgium! And not the lowlands! So deviation as well, 12 seconds for you Tony on the scottish side of my family starting now.

TH: The McHawks were a wonderful family with immense charm and staggering good looks! And if you were to bring them in here before you, there would be no doubt if you put it to the vote, everyone here would agree with that sentiment.


NP: Right. So Tony Hawks again got that point for speaking as the whistle went and heís moved forward but Derek Nimmo is keeping up with me, heís still only one point behind Paul Merton and Blythe Duff in that order. And weíre moving into the final round. Itís still anybodyís competition if youíre interested in the score. But if youíre interested in the fun, keep tuned. Derek Nimmo itís your turn to begin. The subject, relaxation techniques. Not listening to Just A Minute I can tell you, 60 seconds starting now.

DN: Relaxation techniques. I have a son called Piers James Alexander Nimmo, the Scottish name that I was talking about a minute ago. And he is very much involved with Buddhism and he meditates every day, twice in fact. Sits on the floor, goes away for an hour at a time and then comes back. And I donít know quite what he does. But he seems to be singularly relaxed and totally charming because of it. I myself go into a pub and I find that just as relaxing. And after two or three glasses of Guinness and maybe the odd Margarita, Iím totally happy with the world. Because I do think that an awful lot of time can be spent meditating when one should not really be doing that. I think if you relax too much, perhaps at university...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes right, ah Paul 11 seconds on relaxation techniques starting now.

PM: One of the finest relaxation techniques is a flotation tank. What you do is you fill it up with water and then you drink the contents! And by the time youíve had all that liquid inside your body you just feel like lying down for a good half hour...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And er the situation as we come to the end of this particular edition of Just A Minute is as follows. Blythe Duff who has not played the game very much, only played it twice as a matter of fact, she finished in fourth place but did extremely well. And it were lovely having her back, charming us all here. And then we had Paul Merton who always charms us with his humour and he finished in third place on this particular occasion. He was only just behind Derek Nimmo who was of course extremely charming to some people but not to the chairman and he finished in second place. But just one point ahead was Tony Hawks so we say Tony youíre the winner this week. So it only remains for me to say once more thank you to these four delightful and talented players of the game, Paul Merton, Tony Hawks, Derek Nimmo and Blythe Duff. Thank you very much indeed. We must also thank Linda Cobley whoís kept the score for me, sheís been blowing her whistle magnificently and holding the stopwatch. Our producer Chris Neill who looks after the show and mother hens us all sufficiently well to make sure we are all here on time and finish on time. And also the creator of the game Ian Messiter. From me Nicholas Parsons, from our magnificent and talented panel, from everybody concerned with Just A Minute, thank you, I hope that you will be tuned in at the same time when we take to the air and once more play this delightful game. Till then from all of us here goodbye!