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, not only to welcome our listeners from around the world but also to introduce the four exciting and diverse personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. Drawn from the great world of comedy we have some outstanding performers. Somebody whoís played the game before many times with great success that great individual comedy performer Paul Merton. And somebody whoís from a slightly older generation with his own individual witty approach to comedy, Peter Jones. And two people whoíve not played the game quite so often before but outstanding comedy performers in their own right, Maria McErlane and Stephen Frost. But will you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Helen Williams whoís going to help me keep the score, sheís going to handle my stopwatch and also she will blow her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Town Hall of Loughborough of the lovely theatre they have here and it is part of the Leicester Comedy Festival. And we are delighted to have in front of us a really hyped up comedy festival audience who are going to cheer us on our way in pure red Leicester style. So as usual Iím going to ask our four players of the game to speak on the subject I give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. We begin the show with Paul Merton. Paul the subject weíve got, oh a lovely one to start with, what the actress said to the bishop. Sixty seconds, starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Well itís one of those phrases you donít hear often these days. It was one of those things where people could say...


NP: Oh Stephen has challenged immediately.

STEVE FROST: Well deviation, I say it every day! I hear it every day! You said you donít often hear it. I hear it every day! My mother is an actress and my father is a bishop!

NP: Stephen you are keen and we love it! He wasnít actually deviating within the rules of Just A Minute...

SF: True!

NP: But we loved your challenge so what we do there, what do I do, I give a bonus point to Stephen for a delightful challenge and an interjection. But as Paul was interrupted he gets a point for being interrupted and he keeps the subject. There are 55 seconds left, Paul, what the actress said to the bishop, starting now.

PM: If you say something thatís capable of a double meaning, you then say as the actress said to the bishop...


NP: And Maria McErlane challenged.

MARIA McERLANE: I think that was just a bit of gobbledigook.

NP: Yes a hesitation, a stumble like that we interpret as hesitation. So Maria a correct challenge, you gain a point for a correct challenge, you take the subject, 49 seconds are available, what the actress said to the bishop starting now.

MM: As an actress I can honestly say I have never ever said...


NP: Stephen yes?

SF: That was a er, I thought there was too nevers but it was a never and an ever wasnít it?

NP: Yes!

SF: I was assuming sheíd do another never! Iím sorry!

NP: No, donít apologise...

PM: Youíre allowed to rhyme words!

SF: So you can rhyme words?

NP: Thatís all right, yes! No, no, no, as you havenít played so often Stephen, we enjoy your keenness. Itís to be applauded. But unfortunately Maria was interrupted. That was a point for an interruption and she keeps the subject with 43 seconds left on the subject Maria, starting now.

MM: Said anything at all to a bishop. Ah, the er...

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes an er is a definite hesitation Paul so letís hear more from you on the actress and the bishop starting now.

PM: Give it a twist and it comes off in your hand, said the actress to the bishop! Thatís the sort of thing you do! I do know actually that Steveís er mother and father as he mentioned...


NP: Maria challenged.

MM: There was an er. He just got me on an er...

NP: He got you on an er, you got him on an er. So this is a lot of points scored in this round, correct challenge, a point for a correct challenge, Maria, and there are 30 seconds left, what the actress said to the bishop starting now.

MM: Possibly something to do with actresses having loose morals, or bishops having things under their cassocks that might need some attending to by the ladies of the night or the ladies... ooooohh!


NP: Peter Jones has challenged! Nice to hear from you Peter! Yes! Yes! I see you brought your fan club with you Peter!

PETER JONES: Yes, yes! But she did hesitate and in my opinion, not a moment too soon!

NP: I quite agree Peter! And you have 17 seconds for you to tell us something about what the actress said to the bishop starting now.

PJ: It depends which actress weíre talking about. Helen Mirren perhaps. Or it could be Barbara Windsor. They would have very different things to say to a bishop. It could be Bishop Tutu for instance, or...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of tu!

NP: Tu! I, I...

PJ: Itís one word!

NP: I know itís one word, but we have got this problem in Just A Minute and the way Iíve always interpreted it over 33 years is that as itís sound radio weíre dealing in, if the word is repetitious and itís tutu than that is repetition. I mean you have to avoid peopleís names... Iíve given it in the past on BBC...

PJ: Youíve always been wrong!

NP: But Iím still in the job Peter! Iím going to give it to you on three, I think it was a, I think it was an amusing challenge. So Paul you have a correct challenge, another point of course, three seconds on what the bis... actress said to the bishop starting now.

PM: If you rub them the other way round it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck!


NP: So a lot of interruptions, a lot of points scored in the round, and at the end of that round Paul Merton is in the lead ahead of Maria McErlane. And Steve weíd like you to take the next round. Itís a very apt subject for this particular area weíre in, the Leicester Comedy Festival. But let us here something about Leicester city, 60 seconds as usual, starting now.

SF: Well the last time that I saw Leicester City play football was when they were beaten by a ...


NP: I donít know whether that was an intuitive pause there, because you didnít want to remind this Leicester audience of that occasion. But Peter got in first and it was obviously hesitation. So Peter, 52 seconds, tell us something about Leicester city starting now.

PJ: Well itís most famous for red Leicester, which is a part of Leicester which Iíve never actually been to! But I believe the people are very friendly, girls, girls speak to you on the street and have been known to invite people back home to where they work! In the other parts of Leicester they play football, I understand, and Iíve never followed that game particularly myself. But it is a fact that if they have a festival, then they celebrate football and comedy. Not so here in Loughborough, which is the fringe er element of er Leicester...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes Iím afraid there was a hesitation yes. We got to the fringe and he hesitated. Ten seconds only available Paul on Leicester city with you starting now.

PM: Theyíre doing quite well I believe in the premier division. Only a few weeks ago they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, a 1-0 victory which I thought could be quite popular with some of the people here. I wonder...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. It was of course Paul Merton who has increased his lead at the end of the round. Peter your turn to begin, the subject is handyman. Sixty seconds as usual Peter starting now.

PJ: Well I used to be a bit of a handyman when we were first married because I couldnít afford to pay people to mend the chairs or the electric light and things like that. So I turned my hand to it and put up shelves and repaired the floor, put boards in where they were missing, or creaky. And now I find that it er...


NP: Maria challenged.

MM: Ah hesitation.

NP: There was an er yes. And now you find er and thatís hesitation, and 39 seconds starting now.

MM: Handyman is surely something of a contradiction in terms! In my experience Iíve never found a man to be handy whenever I needed one! Also not very good at doing things with their hands if you get my meaning!


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes!

MM: Pause for laughter!

NP: No it wasnít...

PM: Shall we carry on waiting then?

NP: I think she was also pausing for emotional effect! And it worked! Twenty-one seconds, handyman with you Paul starting now.

PM: So a man goes for a job on a building site. And the bloke says "what do you do?" "Iím a handyman," he said. "Can you build brick walls?" He said "no". "Can you mend plumbing?" He said "I canít do that". He said "in what sense are you a handyman?" He says "well I only live around the corner!" This was a joke that I remember hearing when I was about eight years old at school and I thought it was tremendously funny! I didnít think it would go as well as that! In fact I might bring it back into the act if...


NP: Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point as well as others in the round. And he has increased his lead ahead of Maria McErlane followed by Peter Jones and Stephen Frost. Paul your turn to begin. The subject, opposites. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: I believe thereís stuff called anti-matter which is the opposite of matter and if these two substances ever come into collision there is an all-mighty explosion. Is it the same with pasta and anti-pasta, I wonder, when I see it listed in a restaurant. Perhaps if you get these two particular pieces of stuff, I canít say substance again because Iíve already said that, thatís why Iím trying to avoid it...


NP: Stephen you challenged.

SF: He said the substance...

NP: He said the substance, yes. And he also said pasta twice but nobody picked him up, that was very generous of you. Stephen you have 39 seconds to tell us something about opposites starting now.

SF: If you put the opposite ends of two magnets together they will fly apart, because the poles, North and South, reject the other one which they donít like. Therefore causing the movement of the two bits of metal...


NP: Paul?

PM: I donít think itís a question of these two bits of metal not liking each other! I think magnetism isnít about personal likes or dislikes!

NP: He didnít say they were personal likes...

PM: No he said these two bits of metals donít like each other!

NP: Listen, I agree with Stephen...

PM: You agree with Stephen? Oh okay!

NP: Yes, I, Iím agreeing with Stephen, yes. They er, they antagonise each other Stephen, 28 seconds, opposites starting now.

SF: They say opposites attract and this is true...


NP: Paul?

PM: I donít know!

NP: Stephen you have 26 seconds on opposites starting now.

SF: There is an old Zen question which asks what is the opposite of inner happiness. The answer being fish. Now most people donít understand this because fish isnít the...


NP: Maria challenged.

MM: No I think I misheard him!

NP: No you didnít...

MM: No fish but I wanted to hear the rest of the story!

NP: All right! Well give Maria... sheís being very generous! Give Maria a point for a correct challenge. Stephen there are 14 seconds left, opposites with you starting now.

SF: Thereís nothing worse than standing on the opposite platform when you should...


NP: Maria challenged again.

MM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation. You see you get it back eventually! Right Maria, 10 seconds, opposites starting now.

MM: They say opposites attract, which is possibly why Iím very much attracted to Nicholas Parsons. Because weíre completely different...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Sheís gone to pieces!

NP: Maria you were interrupted so you get a point for being interrupted and you have three seconds to continue on opposites starting now.

MM: I meant to say Peter Jones of course, rather than Nicholas Parsons...


NP: It doesnít matter how confused you get as long as you keep going. Maria did until the whistle went, gained that extra point, and with the other points in the round she has now leapt into the lead! Letting your hair down is the next subject, we have been doing this very successfully on this programme so far! Stephen Frost is going to take the subject to begin with...


NP: I must explain to our listeners throughout the world the reason that laughter came was that of all the members of the panel Stephen has least hair. And heís going to talk on letting your hair down, 60 seconds starting now.

SF: When I was in Singapore, I went to a gambling den where you place your money in a basket and lower it on to the floor where the bets are being taken. If you havnít got any money you can use animals. And the most expensive annnnnnnnnnnnnnnn......


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Coronary thrombosis!

NP: He couldnít find in time another word for animal! Paul you got in first, 49 seconds, letting your hair down starting now.

PM: Well I have this pet electric hare that I used to look after. And it used to run at Wimbledon, in front of the dogs. It was quite a nice friendly creature. But after a while I said "look, youíve been doing this now for over 30 years, itís time to retire." I told it very gently. I said "look, I donít want to upset...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: A couple of looks.

NP: There were too many looks Iím afraid.

PM: Was there?

NP: Yes. Yes there really were yes. You kept saying look to the hare. Thirty-two seconds Stephen letting your hair down starting now.

SF: If you havenít got enough hair on your head to let down you can always use, use your armpits!


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Well he er...

NP: He hesitated.

PJ: Yes!

NP: He did hesitate!

PJ: He did, yes!

NP: Yes I noticed that look on your face with his mention of armpits, it was something that turned you on...

SF: I hesitated because I didnít want to say armpits at first, I wanted to say something else...

NP: But most of us have hair there, itís nothing to be embarrassed about. Letting your hair down Peter, 28 seconds, starting now.

PJ: Itís very important to do this if you ever have a shampoo while youíre showering. Because a lot of the hair falls down and gets stuck in the plug. And you can either try to pull it up which is a very tedious business and thereís always a lot of grey gunge mixed up in it. So if you can let it down by running the water and prodding it with the end of a toothbrush or whatever you have handy, then er you let it down and er release...


NP: Oh the image you paint Peter of you in the bathroom in the mornings is delightful! You got some points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went. The choice Peter, the choice. An interesting subject. Talk on it if you can starting now.

PJ: Well I donít think it is a very interesting subject, but still! Theyíre running short of people to think up these subjects you know at the BBC! Theyíre trying to economise, theyíve got children of eight in Taiwan thinking up some of these subjects! Now you have to have alternatives if you have a choice. And er the alternative to going on talking this...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of alternatives.

PJ: Oh quite right, yes.

NP: Right, yes. Yes, 35 seconds, the choice with you Paul starting now.

PM: Well I suppose if you were born in Manchester and you like football, youíve got a choice between supporting Manchester United or...


PM: Thatís Manchester twice!

NP: Maria came in right, Manchester. Right, 29 seconds Maria, the choice starting now.

MM: It was a bad choice I made this evening to put on pants with no elastic. It will be a good choice however when I go back to the hotel... and throw them away (starts to laugh)...


NP: I should explain to our listeners the, the... most of the fellows were having a very close look at Mariaís nickers up, to see if we could see anything...

PM: I thought it was a dishcloth!

NP: Right! But Stephen you challenged?

SF: Iím challenging Paul for sexual deviation!

NP: Oh!

PM: You werenít even there! What are you talking about?

NP: So um was there any other challenge because it doesnít...

SF: Yeah hesitation.

NP: Yeah all right she did hesitate Stephen. Thirteen seconds, the choice starting now.

SF: If there was no choice, life would be very boring. There must be different things to do from other types of objects because if there wasnít, then surely weíd all go around with long looks on our faces being very unhappy...


NP: Right! Stephen Frost was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point, and with others in the round he has moved forward. But heís only in third place still, but heís catching up on Maria McErlane, a thing a lot of us would love to do! And sheís just one point behind our leader still Paul Merton. Peter Jones is still in there with a fighting chance. And Paul your turn to begin, superstitions, oh yes. Tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: Never walk under a black cat is a superstition that you find in most parts of Europe. Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Romania. All these locations that Iíve just listed have this very same superstition. It also apparently is bad luck to drop a ladder. If you do, you must pick it up and throw it over your shoulder! This could be considered rather unfortunate for the people walking behind you. But that is, thatís the... ohhh!


NP: Stephen you challenged first.

SF: Hesitation there.

NP: Yes! You were going so wonderfully and adapting and twisting all the superstitions so well. But Paul you were interrupted alas after 30 seconds and itís now with you Stephen starting now.

SF: Thereís an old superstition in my household that if thereís a knock at the door on a Tuesday, you must always go out the back entrance and surprise the visitor by shouting "Yehakaheehoo!" Now this is an old eastern...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I donít think thatís very appropriate behaviour for an actress or a bishop!

NP: Oh, clever reference back to where we started! Paul a bonus point for that remark. But he wasnít actually deviating from the rules of JustA Minute. So Stephen still with you, and a point for being interrupted, 18 seconds available, superstitions starting now.

SF: Of course in the darkest continent of Africa, deep in Zambeebia...


NP: Peter challenged, yes?

SF: Zambeebia!

PJ: You canít be deep in a place that doesnít exist!

NP: Say it louder Peter so everybody hears. You canít be deep in a place that doesnít exist, thatís what you said.

PJ: Yes.

NP: Absolutely, yes! Zambia perhaps but Zambeebia, no. Superstitions Peter with you and there are 12 seconds starting now.

PJ: Well I donít really believe in superstitions, and Iím not...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Thatís very unlucky to say that!

NP: Give Paul another bonus point, you were interrupted Peter, a point to you. Eight seconds on superstitions and you start now.

PJ: Ah yes, start now? Er well...


PJ: ...if I were superstitious...

NP: Stephen challenged you. There was a lttle hiatus there listeners because Peter prepared to have nodded off for a second! I indicated he should get a little closer to his microphone and during that pause Stephen Frost challenged which seemed very unfair so we wonít allow anything and say Peter you have seven seconds left on superstition starting now.

PJ: Well eating oranges after youíve been ah eating...


NP: You obviously didnít want the subject Peter! Stephen Frost got in first, yes, I think it was a definite hesitation...

SF: Yes hesitation, yeah!

NP: Back in Zanbeebia with you, two seconds to go starting now.

SF: Crossing your fingers, standing on one leg, and closing your arms...


NP: So Stephen Frost again speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point. And with others in that round, heís crept up on Maria McErlane. And Steve itís your turn to begin, the digital age. Tell us something about that if you can in Just A Minute, Steve, starting now.

SF: Well we are now obviously very present in the digital age. There are more TV programmes that can be received if you have the right equipment to collect the digital... things...


NP: Maria challenged, yes?

MM: Um itís the er...

NP: Hesitation!

MM: Yes! Sorry hesitation yes. I just realised I knew nothing about the digital age!

NP: Oh I see! So you got in for pausing for hesitating but now you paused because well, thatís the challenge isnít it!

MM: Yeah!

NP: But youíll do very well on it, 51 seconds, the digital age starting now.

MM: The digi... digital age...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Ah education, she needs a bell on!

NP: Weíll interpret that as hesitation and give it back to you Stephen, 49 seconds, the digital age starting now.

SF: I have bought a digital JVC camera which puts the computer image on the screen for you without actually having to send it away to a chemist. And can be reproduced at the flick of a button, any time...


NP: Peter challenged.

PJ: No good sending anything like that to a chemist! Would it? No!

NP: Thirty-six seconds, for you to tell us something about the digital age starting now.

PJ: Well itís all to do with your fingers, and counting on them and everything. And when youíve er reached an age when you can no longer count your own age with your fingers which...


NP: Stephen?

SF: Two fingers.

NP: Two fingers. Stephen a correct challenge, 25 seconds, the digital age starting now.

SF: We are in the digital age but of course, was it called the analog age before that? No it wasnít, which why make bread begs the difference bleurgh bleurgh...


NP: Itís an impossible game isnít it! Maria you got in first, you have 17 seconds on the digital age starting now.

MM: I just wanted to have another attempt at saying the word digital age, which I seem to have managed. Now that was the name of my dance troupe back in the 1970s when I had very very... ahhhh!


NP: Paul you got in yes?

PM: Repetition of very.

NP: Very, very, yes. Paul you got in with six seconds on the digital age starting now.

PM: Well computers basically understand a simple language. Itís known as the binary code. You have one or nought...


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. He has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Maria your turn to begin. And weíre moving into the final round alas, because it has been fun, hasnít it. The subject, mottoes. So moving from superstitions, the digital age, letís finish on mottoes starting now.

MM: Mottoes are what groupies used to be known as, who followed around popular 1960s stroke 70s group, Mottuhoupon. And I have to say some of my happiest moments were spent hanging around outside backstage doors, getting off with halitosis ridden roadies! Now the band have no longer played their songs. I canít even remember any of the songs at all...


NP: Ah Stephen challenged first.

SF: Two songs.

PM: Two songs.

NP: There were too many songs Maria...

SF: There were only two songs!

MM: How many songs were there?

SF: Roll Away This Town and All The Young Goods.

NP: What a fascinating piece of memorabilia! Well somebody liked it anyway in the audience! Thirty-three seconds Stephen on mottoes starting now.

SF: My family motto is eptum spetata qururum est. Which of course means itís got to be butter! Because as we all know, being a bishop, my father was also a farmer. Because in the old days they had to do (starts laughing)


NP: It gets you that way in Just A Minute! He completely corpsed himself, he broke up! Maria you buzzed first!

SF: I was going to say my Dad had to go milking a cow!

NP: Right, 17 seconds for you on mottoes starting now.

MM: Who dares wins is the motto of the SAS, the psycho...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Repetition of S!

NP: So S, correct challenge, 14 seconds Stephen starting now.

SF: My Latin teacher at school taught us a very...


NP: Maria challenged.

MM: Weíve had Latin before.

SF: Yes!

NP: He spoke in Latin but he didnít mention the word Latin.

MM: Didnít you?

NP: No I donít think so, no! Eleven seconds, still with you...

MM: Spool back the tape!

NP: Well weíll get letters about...

SF: We canít, itís digital! You wonít spool it back if itís digital!

NP: No he thought that such an erudite audience as we have here at the Loughborough Town Hall, once he started speaking Latin, theyíd no immediately what it, the language was. So mottoes is still with you Stephen, 11 seconds starting now.

SF: The motto of Leicester City as everyone knows... well I donít need to say it because itís ... oh...


NP: Peter challenged.

PJ: I donít know it! You have to say what it is!

NP: But he also hesitated Peter so youíve got in with five seconds to go on mottoes starting now.


NP: Peter!

PJ: Oh I thought you!

NP: Peter...

PJ: Yes! Do it now for instance is a..

NP: I was giving it to you Peter!

PJ: I thought you were passing it on to him!

NP: I know! So you get a bonus point for that because it was a big laugh you got and you still have mottoes Peter, five seconds starting now.

PJ: Do it now! If at first you donít succeed, give up!


NP: If at first you donít succeed, give up, said Peter. Spoke as the whistle went, got an extra point for doing so, and that phrase brings us to the end of this edition of Just A Minute. I think all four of them have succeeded magnificently! Peter Jones finished just in fourth place, only two or three points behind Stephen Frost who hasnít played the game very much before. Maria McErlane whoís only played it twice before finished in a very strong place. But just out in the lead, two points ahead was Paul Merton so we say Paul youíre the winner this week! It only remains for me to say thank you to our four gifted players of the game, Paul Merton, Peter Jones, Maria McErlane and Stephen Frost. Also wish to thank Helen Williams for keeping the score and also running the stopwatch and the whistle so elegantly. I must of course thank our producer Chris Neill who has directed with such aplomb, and Ian Messiter who created the game for whom we are extreme;y grateful. And this delightful audience here at the Town Hall in Loughborough who have cheered us on our way so magnificently. from them, from our panel, from our producer and from me Nicholas Parsons, thank you for tuning in. Tune in again when once more we take to the air and play Just A Minute. Till then from all of us here goodbye.