starring TONY HAWKS, GRAHAM NORTON, JENNY ECLAIR and TIM RICE, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 12 February 2001)

NOTE: Thanks to Vicki Walker who transcribed this show! :-)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just a Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you! Hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away, once more it is my pleasure to welcome our many listeners, not only in this country but throughout the world, but also to welcome to the show four highly talented, extremely humorous and witty players of this game. So will you please welcome in no order of seniority Graham Norton, Jenny Éclair, Tim Rice and Tony Hawks. All four of them! And as usual, I'm going to ask them to speak on a subject that I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from that subject. Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst, who's going to help me keep the score and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just a Minute is coming from the Turner Sims Concert Hall in the University of Southampton. And we have before us a highly literate, intelligent university audience mingling with some of the fine burghers of Southampton and places further afield, like Portsmouth. And we're going to start the show this week with Tony Hawks. Tony, the subject, oh! What a lovely one to start with, bananas. Tell us something about bananas in just a minute starting now.

TONY HAWKS: Do you know, I have never seen a straight banana. But this may be because I mainly hang around in gay banana clubs. In my opinion, though, it is fair to say the banana is possibly the funniest of all fruits. It's...


NP: Tim Rice has challenged.

TIM RICE: Deviation. I think pineapples are hilarious.

NP: I like your comment, but do you have a challenge within the rules of Just a Minute, Tim?

TR: Deviation.

NP: No, no, no, no, no. Listen, I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll be generous. I give you a bonus point because the audience enjoyed your remark, but I don't think it was devious within the rules of Just a Minute. So Tony, you have a point for an incorrect challenge. You keep the subject and there are 43 seconds left. Bananas, starting now.

TH: If I say pineapple now, it'll be interesting to watch how funny Tim Rice...


NP: Ah, Jenny Eclair, you challenged.

JENNY ÉCLAIR: I got it wrong. He said funny and funniest. So actually, Tony, you're right. I'm so sorry.

TH: I get a point!

JE: Keep going. You're doing ever so well.

NP: It's just lovely to hear from you, Jenny.

JE: Good luck!

NP: Yes. All that happens is he gets another point for an incorrect challenge and he keeps the subject. There are 33 seconds. Bananas, Tony, starting now.

TH: If you remove a banana skin and toss it onto the floor, what hilarious consequences may follow if you hide...


NP: Ah, Jenny challenged again.

JE: Hilarious. He did say hilarious twice.

NP: He did say hilarious before.

JE: Hmm-mm-mm, yes.

NP: So well listened, Jenny. You have the subject. Of course you have a point for a correct challenge as well. You have 30 seconds to tell us something about bananas, starting now.

JE: Full of potassium. I like them long and firm with a greenish tinge, perhaps with a splash of Carnation milk because I have a very sophisticated palate. As the others have said, a very amusing...


NP: Ah, Tim Rice challenged.

TR: Two verys.

NP: Yes, you said very before. Tim, a correct challenge. You take over the subject. It's bananas. Seventeen seconds available, starting now.

TR: Even funnier than the banana or the pineapple is the kumquat, which is an extremely obscure fruit which I have on many occasions dipped...


NP: Ah, Graham Norton's challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: Well, that is deviation now, isn’t it?

NP: Why?

GN: Because he's talking about kumquats.

NP: Kumquats. So he's deviated. Graham, you got in with eight seconds to go, having got a point of course, correct challenge. Bananas is with you, starting now.

GN: In the bird world, a canary was kicked out of the feathered police force for corruption. And I thought, how like a banana! Yellow and bent.


NP: So everybody scored points in that round and whoever speaks when the whistle goes gets an extra point. It was Graham Norton so he has two, Tim has two, Tony has two and Jenny has one. Tim, will you take the next round? The subject is a small world. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TR: It is indeed a small world, this tiny globe on which we live. But there are some even smaller, viz Mercury, Venus, the moon or Mars. But let's go back to our own little place here because if you ever plan to motor west, just take my way. It's the highway. It's the best. Get your kicks on Route 66. It winds from Chicago to L.A., more than 2,000 miles all the way. Get...


NP: Jenny, you challenged.

JE: Well, he's gone mad! I saw him drinking in the green room! Wasn't that a slight deviation? Wasn't he just going on about roads?

TR: I was illustrating how small a world it was by the fact that one road can take you anywhere, man.

NP: Actually, I don't think he was, Jenny, I don't think he was deviating...

JE: Give it him back...

NP: ...from the subject.

JE: Give him back the ball!

NP: Well, he's still got the ball. He hasn't lost it. It's still a small world with Tim. And Tim, there are 32 seconds available, starting now.

TR: It is indeed a small world.


NP: Ah, Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Ah, repetition of indeed.

NP: You said indeed before.

TH: It's how you started the first time.

NP: Tony, you've got a correct challenge and another point and 30 seconds and a small world, starting now.

TH: I always liked the line by the U.S. comedian Steven Wright who said, "It's a small world but I wouldn't want to paint it." And how true that is. If one considers the amount of labour that would be required for said task, it could take two or three weeks depending on how industrious a worker you were. Of course, most people say "it's a small world" when they bump into someone at the airport or somewhere like that.


NP: Ah, Tim Rice.

TR: I thought he was going to do someone twice but he didn't, did he?

NP: Yes.

TH: I love the way people cave in when they challenge me.

NP: It's these anticipatory challenges which are fascinating. Uh, Tim, an incorrect challenge. But Tony, another point and three seconds still, a small world, starting now.

TH: Hello, Bob. I didn't expect to see you here. I thought...


NP: So Tony Hawks is on a roll there, kept going till the whistle went and gained that extra point and gained other points in the round so he's taken the lead at the end of the round. Graham Norton, your turn to begin. The subject is commercials. Tell us something about commercials in Just A Minute starting now.

GN: Watching a commercial recently, I was attracted to a product that promised me that my toilet could smell like a forest glade. I purchased said thing and sure enough, it did smell like a wooded...


NP: Uh, Jenny challenged.

JE: Smell.

NP: There were too many smells. Forty-five seconds, Jenny. You had a correct challenge. Commercials, starting now.

JE: You do loads of commercials, Graham Norton. You do Windy's...


NP: Uh, Tim challenged.

TR: Two you dos.

NP: You dos.

JE: Yeah.

NP: Ah, 42 seconds for you, Tim, on commercials, starting now.

TR: I've been approached many times to advertise or plug something but have always refused because I regard this as a degra-dation.


NP: Uh, Jenny challenged.

JE: Oh, he stuttered and spluttered and dribble came out of his mouth. Hesitation.

NP: Not quite, darling. He, he...

JE: Do you not think?

TR: It was in the middle of a word.

JE: He's speaking gaga, like that!

NP: It's tough enough to keep going. He was teetering on the verge of stuttering but no, degradation just about came out without a hesitation.

JE: Okay.

NP: So we give him the benefit of the doubt. Thirty-three seconds, commercials, starting now.

TR: I saw a programme the other night called The 100 Best Commercials of All Time. It went on and continued all through the evening.


NP: Tony, you challenged.

TH: Well actually, I buzzed over him saying on for the second time.

NP: No, he didn't repeat on.

TR: No. I was extremely clever.

NP: No, no.

TH: What did you say? On and?

NP: He set you up for that one.

TR: On and continued, I think.

NP: He did not repeat on, and it's 24 seconds still with you on commercials, Tim, starting now.

TR: The commercial that I thought was the best of the lot and should have been number one was the one where the dog and the cat and the mouse all walk up to the fire to the strains of the Shirelles singing, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Let us go back to 1961 and relive that wonderful song. Tonight you're mine completely. You give your love so sweetly. I see the magic of your eyes, but! And then the title comes in again.


NP: Tim Rice was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so and also others in the round and has leapt forward. He's now equal in the lead with Tony Hawks. And Tony, it's your turn to begin. A stitch in time. That's the subject. Talk on it. Sixty seconds are available, starting now.

TH: Despite turning the music up very loud and listening to the rhythm and tapping with my feet, I still find it very difficult to stitch in time. And this is important if you want to sew rhythmically, which has always been my ambition, sad though I am. A stitch in time saves nine, but what? We don't know. It could be golden eagles, whales, beavers, fish. I could go on for hopefully a minute on this, but I won't, because we all know the real meaning of this expression. If one.... trah, hello!


NP: Graham Norton challenged. Yes, Graham.

GN: Well, the poor customer's interrupted, wasn't it? Interference on the line.

NP: Right. Hesitation, fine. You have the subject. A stitch in time, Graham. You have 20 seconds starting now.

GN: Some words should never be seen together, such as fun and run. I find nothing amusing about that sport and so I always hope that I will find it too difficult to...


NP: Ah, Jenny challenged.

GN: Where is that going?

JE: Well, I had to stop you or shoot you!

NP: Why? What's your challenge within the rules of Just a Minute, Jenny?

JE: Well, he was going on about, oh, I don't know! What were you talking about, Graham?

NP: Um...

JE: Did it have anything to do with a stitch in time?

GN: Yeah, yeah. Actually I was about to get to that.

JE: He was deviating around the houses.

NP: He hadn't gone on long enough to get to the subject. He was deviating from the subject, Jenny. You do have a correct challenge and you've cleverly got in with three seconds to go, and you start now.

JE: A stitch in time saves nine. Well, what's that all about?


NP: So Jenny Éclair, speaking as the whistle went, gains an extra point and has moved forward. She's only two points behind our joint leaders, Tim Rice and Tony Hawks, and Graham Norton follows, one point behind. Tim Rice, your turn to begin. The subject is Mars. Tell us something about that subject in this game, starting now.

TR: I'd like to divide my talk on Mars into five parts. First, I would deal with the atmosphere, which is pretty slim. If you're out there on the surface of the Red Planet, you won't get a lot of heavy breathers because there isn't much air to breathe. Mars is tiny, 4,125 miles in diameter and two little moons or satellites nip around it daily. The inner one is called Phobos. The outer...


NP: Graham has challenged.

GN: I still don't want to know this. I mean, I could be learning a second language, but there won't be room! Because in my brain will be that there's something called Phobos running around Mars.

NP: It is a little bit, it is a bit like The Sky at Night on Just a Minute, isn't it? From that distinguished astronomer Sir Tim Rice. Ah, but he wasn't deviating in any way from Mars, and you're absolutely right about his Phobos and others, those little satellites up there. So Tim, an incorrect challenge. Another point to you and Mars, 34 seconds, starting now.

TR: Not many people know that the Mars Bar was actually named after a bloke from America called Mars. You might have thought that it was just a brilliant name thought up as...


NP: Ah, Tony challenged.

TH: Ah, I'm being very pedantic here but he said not many people know that and I think millions of people know that!

NP: First of all, I don't think millions do know it and secondly, I think he was using that as a sort of, um, figure of speech. So I don't think he was really deviating from the subject.

TH: Can you prove that millions of people don't know it?

NP: No I can't, but I don't think it matters in this game whether I have to or not! So Tim, benefit of the doubt. You have Mars, 24 seconds still, starting now.

TR: I'd like to say what terrific chairmanship we have tonight. We're giving...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: That has to be some sort of deviation. That's rotten!

NP: I will give you a bonus point because the audience enjoyed the challenge, but he wasn't deviating from the subject of Mars. Twenty-one...

GN: Yes he was! He was rabbiting on about you! What, are you suddenly a red planet floating above the earth? I, you're a man in a chair!

TR: Well, you're in a chair!

NP: No, it's... it was a figure of speech! He wasn't making that I had anything to do with Mars. He just...

GN: Exactly! But we're supposed to be talking about Mars!

NP: Occasionally I do bow to the superior wisdom and judgment of the audience. And seeing what a, what a, what an aggressive audience they are, I'm going to give Graham the benefit of the doubt on this occasion. So Graham, you have 21 seconds on Mars, starting now.

GN: It must be very difficult to live on Mars, the Red Planet. One would awake in the morning and think: what to wear that doesn't clash with the place? That pink shirt's out for a start! And I wore the black thing yesterday and I haven't had time to wash it. And also no water...


NP: Ah, Tim has challenged again.

TR: Well, you would have had time to wash it because a day on Mars is considerably longer.

JE: And I would like to add that there is water on Mars.

NP: There is water, yes. He could wash it. He said he wouldn't have the time to wash it.

GN: Yes. I was busy!

NP: Listen, actually...

GN: As long as the day was, I was busier than that!

NP: You had the benefit of the doubt last time, Graham. Tim has the benefit of the doubt this time. So three seconds with you, Tim, on Mars, starting now.

TR: Your chairmanship gets even better because...


GN: I think we've discussed that before! And also, repetition of chairmanship.

NP: Graham, another point and one second on Mars, starting now.

GN: Mars is...


NP: So Graham Norton, with his erudite comments about Mars, has leapt forward in that round, including getting one when the whistle went. He's now just ahead of Tony Hawks, he's two behind Tim Rice, and Jenny Éclair is in fourth place and she begins the next round. Jenny, the subject is crying over spilt milk. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JE: I wouldn't bother crying over spilt milk. Spilt vodka, oooh I'd weep over that! If it fell out of my shopping bag and smashed all over my front step, I'd be down there licking it up (three slurps). Ah, the last time I cried over...


NP: Graham, you challenged.

GN: Was there a repetition of (slurp)?

NP: Yes, it was. Graham, 50 seconds on crying over spilt milk, starting now.

GN: The last time I cried over spilt milk was in 1974. Oh, I remember it well and hope to tell you about it now if I can just pick out the precise details of the incident! I think I was living in a small cottage outside of Cork. Milk was scarce in those days. There was only one cow for the entire community. I got a thimbleful for my breakfast that morning, I recall. My mother looked at it enviously but I said, "Back off, old woman! It's mine!" Then, it must have been karma. I reached to turn off the radio and knocked over the small thimble. It crashed to the floor...


NP: Aw. Tony, you challenged.

TH: Well, I thought he repeated thimble.

NP: He did repeat thimble.

TH: And you know, I...

NP: He kept going for 46 seconds, too. And you got in with four seconds to go with a correct challenge. Crying over spilt milk with Tony starting now.

TH: It's no use in crying over spilt milk unless you're being paid by the hour. Because I can't see where...


NP: So Tony Hawks at the whistle then and got the extra point and he's moved forward. He's one behind our leader, Tim Rice and he's equal with Graham Norton. Jenny Éclair is only just behind them. And Tony, your turn to begin. The subject: daytime TV. So tell us something about it, Tony. Sixty seconds as usual, starting now.

TH: A few years ago, they attempted to do a daytime TV version of Just a Minute. And it wasn't a complete success. This was largely put down to the fact that Nicholas Parsons is far too handsome for television. Fortunately...


NP: Ah, Jenny Éclair challenged.

JE: I've made a horrible mistake. I'm so sorry.

NP: You don't think I am handsome enough for television?

JE: No, I think you're gorgeous. But I thought, I thought he said television twice but he's allowed. Because it's in the thing, isn't it? Television.

NP: No, TV is in the...

JE: Aha! And so I win!

NP: That's right. Yes, you do win, Jenny.

TH: Can I just say you would win if I'd said it twice, but I said daytime TV the first time.

NP: He did, I'm afraid. Yes.

JE: Did he? So close! Okay.

NP: Right, so close. So Jenny, well tried. Ah, but Tony, you still got daytime TV. Forty-six seconds, starting now.

TH: I quite like...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Hesitation. Tim told me to do that! He did! He whispered in my ear, get him on hesitation!

TR: I meant last time.

TH: You gotta wait until I hesitate, then do it.

NP: Yes, he did hesitate the previous time, but you can't have retrospective challenges.

JE: Oh.

NP: So another point to Tony and 45 seconds, daytime TV, starting now.

TH: I feel Jenny Éclair wants to get in so much that I'm going to repeat Jenny Éclair and give her a chance.


NP: And Graham Norton's got in!

GN: Was there a repetition of Jenny Éclair?

TH: You're so smart!

GN: I thought you'd said it the first time, yes.

NP: So Graham, you got in first, even though Jenny's name got repeated. Thirty-eight seconds, starting now.

GN: Daytime TV is so educational. Without it, I wouldn't have learned how to stencil! I'd look at a cushion and not known how to scatter it. Looked at a rug and...oh, I've said looked at twice now, but there you go...


NP: Yes, and Jenny pressed her, challenged. He repeated I would not know.

JE: Yes he did!

NP: Of course he did. So well listened, Jenny! You got in there like a flash. Right, you have 28 seconds on daytime TV, starting now.

JE: My mother doesn't approve of daytime television. She thinks it's morally wrong, which is why my father, even though he's 70, has to watch Hannah Gordon's... owl telepath...


JE: ...in secret.

NP: When you do get in, you don't have to go quite so fast.

JE: I'm so excited.

NP: Yes. Graham, you got back in again, yes.

GN: Yes, a bit of gobbledygook.

NP: Gobbledygook, yes.

GN: Gobbledygook and overexcitement over Hannah.

NP: We call that hesitation. Daytime TV is back with you and 22 seconds, Graham, starting now.

GN: Thanks to daytime TV, we understand that Americans are fat, angry people. They really don't get on, do they? I'm very nervous about traveling to that great country now that I've seen them on daytime TV. Daytime TV features many daytime TV programmes that deal with sort of a...


NP: So Graham Norton, with a number of round points in the round as well as one for speaking when the whistle went, has lept forward, and he’s now taken the lead. He's one ahead of Tim Rice, who's one ahead of Tony Hawks, who's three or four ahead of Jenny Éclair. And it's anybody's contest, if you're interested in the contest.

JE: It's not, is it? I've lost!

NP: But your contribution has been invaluable and that's what we're here for, my love. Your contribution.

JE: It's my fault.

NP: The next subject is the Minute Waltz. And Tim, it's your turn to begin, so will you tell us something about that in this game, starting now?

TR: The Minute Waltz is a wonderful piece of music written by Chopin, who was very famous for starring in novels about sex and shopping. He was an extremely talented pianist. Not only was he a great composer, he could tickle the ivories like no man. He was...


NP: Ah, Tony challenged.

TH: Aren't you supposed to tinkle them?

TR: No, he tickled them.

TH: He tickled? What's what's the point of tickling a piano? Everyone knows pianos aren't ticklish.

NP: It's up to you to interpret it as you wish.

TH: Well, Chopin never tickled a piano.

NP: You can tinkle the ivories or you can tickle the ivories, or whatever you want to do with it.

TH: All right.

NP: No Tim, he's a master of the spoken word, with his great abilities with lyrics and so forth. So he's tinkled and tickled.

GN: Do you guys live together or something? It's a bit creepy over there, isn't it? "Oh Tim, you're marvelous." "No, you, Nicholas, you."

NP: I've seen some of the musicals which he's written and I'm deeply impressed. But I just like his phraseology. So an incorrect challenge. Tim, you've still got it. Well, you've always had it, but you've still got the subject.

GN: They're in love!

NP: But in this show, you have 44 seconds to tell us more about the Minute Waltz, starting now.

TR: Every time this programme, chaired so wonderfully by Nicholas Parsons, is launched on Radio Four, you hear the strains of the Minute Waltz. A superb piece of...


NP: Ah, Tony challenged.

TH: I think he's said a piece of music before.

NP: That's right, you did. Tony...

TR: I, I didn't get as far as music.

GN: I would say you had.

NP: Excuse me. So Tony, you have... So Tony, you've got in with a correct challenge. Thirty-five seconds, the Minute Waltz, starting now.

TH: I tried to play the Minute Waltz on the piano after initially tickling the keys for a while and realising that this was futile. But I'm not a really good pianist and so it took me 45 minutes to play it, which was disappointing because after 10 or so of these... periods of time...


NP: Yes, Jenny, you challenged.

JE: A definite hesitation.

NP: You've no need to emphasise it, it was hesitation.

JE: He completely ran out...

NP: Yes, and you have the subject, Jenny.

JE: ...of what he was trying to say. He couldn't say anything else, could he? He just completely lost it, didn't he? Do you remember?

NP: Yes.

JE: He just kind of, ran out of steam and it was really embarrassing, wasn't it! Ha! God I loved it!

NP: You loved it most of all because you got in with a correct challenge.

JE: What's the subject?

NP: It is the Minute Waltz, take a breath and don't go in with too much of a rush. You've only got 15 seconds, and I think you can do it.

JE: How many seconds have I got?

NP: The Minute Waltz, 15 seconds, starting now.

JE: The Minute Waltz, not to be confused with the Minute (pronounced my NOOT) Waltz, a dance for very small people under 5-foot-2. I can't dance with anyone for longer than a minute because I do untold damage then...


JE: Yes!

NP: Well, Jenny Éclair was speaking, and I don't know why someone didn't have her for deviation speaking from her new mode of speech. But, but anyway, they didn't Jenny, you kept going. You obviously got the audience entirely behind you. They'd love you to win, and we're entering the last round, I don't think it's possible. But ah and Jenny, it's your turn to begin and the subject is Jane Austen. So tell us something about Jane Austen in Just A Minute starting now.

JE: There was a girl at my school called Jane Austin. Huge beast of a woman, fat of calf, massive of thigh, great hockey player...


JE: I can see her now.

NP: Um, Tim Rice challenged.

TR: Have you got her phone number?

NP: Unusual taste you have, Tim. Uh, we enjoyed Tim's, um, interjection so we give him a bonus point for that. But Jenny was interrupted.

JE: Yes, I was.

NP: So she gets a point for being interrupted and keeps the subject with 51 seconds available. Jane Austen, Jenny, starting now.

JE: Ginger plaits, and you should have seen her bully off! Down she'd fly, pigtails streaming behind her in the breeze, until she got to the net, the goal, where I was. Goalie. Fat girl passes... ha ha!


NP: Um, Graham challenged.

GN: We've had fat and girl and...

JE: Pigtails, yes. I was getting quite upset thinking about it.

NP: So you've got another correct challenge and you have 41 seconds left to tell us something about Jane Austen, starting now.

GN: I get a warm glow when I remember how much I enjoyed Jane Austen's Fanny in Mansfield Park. It was so entertaining. I picked it up, not knowing how much I'd like it, but it really was terrific. If only I'd been able to let Jane know. But some time had elapsed twixt the typing and the reading. Jane Austen was quite dirty in that she lived in a bath, apparently. I didn't know till I read the study notes...


NP: So Graham Norton kept going until the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, and now I will give you the final situation. Jenny Éclair, who gave us such lovely contribution, such warm, vibrant contribution, she finished just in fourth place. Not very far behind Tony Hawks, who was just in third place. He was two points behind Tim Rice, but two points ahead of Tim was Graham Norton, so we say, Graham, you are our winner this week! So it only remains for me to say thank you to our four delightful players of the game, Graham Norton, Jenny Éclair, Tim Rice and Tony Hawks. Also thank Janet Staplehurst for helping me keep the score and for blowing her whistle so elegantly. We're also indebted to the creator of this game, Ian Messiter, and also we thank our producer, Claire Jones, who keeps us all in order whenever she can. And we're indebted to this delightful audience here at the Turner Sims Concert Hall in Southampton who've cheered us on our way! Thank you very much for being such a warm and lovely audience. From you, from the panel, from me, Nicholas Parsons, goodbye! Tune in the next time we play Just a Minute! Hey!