starring DEREK NIMMO, PETER JONES, TONY HAWKS and GRAHAM NORTON, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 3 February 1996)

NOTE: Graham Norton's first appearance on radio.

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 our audience to the show and introduce the four talented performers who are going to play the game this week. We welcome back two long-standing players of the game, that is Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones. And on the other side we welcome two more recent players of the game, somebody who's played it with great success a few times, that is Tony Hawks, and someone who's never actually played it on the radio before, that's Graham Norton. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Jolanta Zbucki who is going to blow her whistle when 60 seconds are up and also keep the score. And as usual I'm going to ask our four panellists to speak without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the delightful Playhouse Theatre in the beautiful little town of Ainwick in Northumberland. We actually have come up on the train today, and thanks to British Rail, three of us got here.... and the fourth one, Tony Hawks, missed the train stop on the train. But thanks to the courtesy of British Rail, they opened a back door of a station that has never been opened before and let him off just in time for the recording. Let us begin the show this week with Derek Nimmo. Derek, the subject, castles. Will you tell us something about castles in Just A Minute starting now.

DEREK NIMMO: Well it could hardly be more appropriate in this part of the world, because there are so many beautiful castles near to where we are at present in Ainwick. Arbuttle Castle, Razeby Castle, and of course the huge Percy Castle which dominates the borough. I hadn't been here for 40 years and unfortunately when I arrived tonight, it was rather dark so I couldn't see it again! But I long to see that... lion with the great stiff tail that sticks out. It was a (unintelligible) you know Nicholas by the grateful tenants. A thousand of them paid because the Duke had reduced their tenants, their... oh...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: A sort of hesitation.

DN: Yes.

NP: Ah yes, absolutely yes, it was definitely hesitation then. So Peter gets a point for a correct challenge, he takes over the subject and there are 31 seconds left to tell us something about castles starting now.

PJ: My wife who is an American believed that the phrase "an Englishman's home is his castle". She thought it meant that people, men of this island race, were so proud of their... castles...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I think there was hesitation...

PJ: There was, very like his!

NP: Yes!


DN: Repetition.

NP: Repetition! Derek will you take back the subject of castles with 16 seconds to go starting now.

DN: I greatly enjoy making sandcastles, chateau d'somme on the beach, anywhere you can find them. As I now have grandchildren, it is a huge excitement for me to have a little bucket and a spade! And I bang them out and I stick flags on the top and I wait for the tide coming in...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And it was Derek Nimmo and at that end of that round he not only has the most points, but he's naturally in the lead. And Tony Hawks, will you take the second subject and talk about squash in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

TONY HAWKS: Things you don't want to hear if you're hoping to have a good time. One, we're having a party, bring some squash! Two, I'm really at a loose end this evening Tony, let's get together, go up the club and play some squash. Or three, feel free to go to the toilet in here, but don't mind all of us, it might be a bit of a squash. Now these are examples of how squash is a pejorative term. But of course, I love the game squash, was a brilliant player, beat...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of game.

NP: You talked about the game of squash before, and there are 32 seconds left for you Derek, having got another point to take over squash starting now.

DN: What I really like to do is to squash some fresh limes and then sip them at the bottom of the...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: I think so too Peter, yes. Another point to you, Peter, 25 seconds on squash starting now.

PJ: I'm reminded of those bottles of squash which ornament the centre court of Wimbledon during the tennis fortnight. And I'm amazed that nobody ever seems to drink it. They always go for the Coca-Cola and I feel this is not only...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: This is unfair, he's sponsored by Coca-Cola!

NP: Tony it wasn't committing any of the sins of Just A Minute, but as we enjoyed the challenge and the audience endorsed that, we give you a bonus point for that. But Peter gets a point for being interrupted and he keeps the subject and there are eight seconds left Peter on squash starting now.

PJ: Now there was some rival on sale in America when I was last there which on the label it said "all the... caffeine..."




NP: No, no, no, just before the whistle went, Graham Norton challenged.


NP: How nice to hear from you!


GN: Oh no!

NP: You may not have played the game before Graham but you've got on to one of the clever arts of it! Graham what is your challenge?

GN: What was it again? Oh it was hesitation wasn't it?

NP: I think it was hesitation.

GN: Yes it was hesitation.

NP: Yes definitely hesitation. You have half a second Graham on squash starting now.

GN: Squash is...


NP: So at the end of the second round Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones are equal in the lead. Peter the subject is cheerfulness, something that you create if you don't always exude it. And um will you talk on the subject starting now.

PJ: Well it's a wonderful quality and I always admire it in other people. Some of them have it all their lives, and you never meet them when they aren't... exuding...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: I think so Derek. You have cheerfulness with you, 51 seconds starting now.

DN: Actually Nicholas, you are a perpetually cheerful person. And if I was going to wander through the slough of despond or trudge through the valley of the shadow of death, or even to visit Cold Comfort Farm, you're the very person, old Nick himself...


NP: Peter Jones why...

PJ: I didn't know who he was talking about!


PJ: What? Old Nick?

NP: Old Nick, it's not the devil, he was talking about me.

PJ: Oh he was? Oh yes.

NP: That's right.

PJ: Well that's obviously why I couldn't ever guess!

NP: Peter I'll show you how sporting I am, in spite of that I'll give you a bonus point because the audience enjoyed the challenge. But Derek keeps the subject and a point for being interrupted and there are 37 seconds for him to continue telling them about cheerfulness starting now.

DN: In spite of his advanced age, he remains terribly cheerful. And we admire him for it. On the train today he was sitting there beaming, signing autographs, being pleasant to everyone. When a passing guard came by, he gave a cheery wave. And his blessing because he's that sort of fellow. He's a downright jolly good egg! And you don't see many of those around today. I'm very pleased to have been associated with him for all of these 28 years. And I'd like you now to show your appreciation...


NP: Tony Hawks.

TH: I can't stand any more of this crawling!


NP: So what is your challenge?

TH: Deviation, he wasn't talking about cheerfulness, he was, he was, I don't know what he was trying to do to you!

NP: What...

TH: I think he was trying to get in your hotel room tonight!

NP: Well considering he normally takes the mickey out of me, I fully appreciate it, and it's lovely to hear it coming from Derek of all people! And also he absolutely for my mind made it quite clear that he was talking about cheerfulness. And for some reason, he thinks I epitomise it. So I disagree with the challenge...

PJ: Well I don't...

TH: Well, there's a turn-up for the books!

PJ: I think he was just trying to be charitable and help you to make a comeback!


NP: I've been here for 29 years on this show Peter, sorry!

DN: It's only been going for 28!

NP: No, Derek, I know you're getting a little bit old as well, but actually this is the 29th series we're doing.

PJ: Is it really?

NP: It is indeed, yes.

PJ: Amazing!

TH: Has that turned you against Derek then now?

NP: No! No, no, he still has the subject...

TH: Ah!

NP: Ten seconds, cheerfulness Derek starting now.

DN: I think if one wanders through the streets of London which one seldom...


DN: What's the matter?

NP: Tony Hawks has challenged.

TH: I think you wandered through earlier on in the first...

NP: You were wandering a bit before, yes.

DN: I was not wandering at all!

TH: You wandered through...

DN: I have not said the word wander all night!

TH: You've said it three times now anyway!

NP: Tony I was a bit harsh before so I think I'll be generous and say, yes you have a correct challenge, you have six seconds on cheerfulness starting now.

TH: Cheerfulness often results in laughter which comes from jokes. Like what's red and sits in the corner? A naughty strawberry!


NP: Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And at the end of that round, Derek Nimmo's just in the lead ahead of Peter Jones followed by Tony Hawks and Graham Norton in that order. Graham it's your turn to begin, and the subject is dreams. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

GN: Freud is often associated with dreams! He placed great importance on them though I feel myself that he just pretended they were important. Because psychotherapy is so boring, most of his clients would just nod off on his leather couchette and he felt a bit guilty charging them for nothing more than a kip. So when they woke up, he pretended that what they were saying had some sort of importance or meaning. Now a lot of adolescent boys, healthy young bursting souls that they are, though this never happened to me myself, have what are known in psychotherapy parlance as wet dreams! This is...


NP: As that was Graham Norton's first attempt at speaking without hesitation, repetition or deviation in Just A Minute, the others let him go. And he really went magnificently! In fact I think, I think he went too far on occasions! By the way, if anybody does go for a full minute without being interrupted, they not only got the point for speaking when the whistle went, but they also gain a bonus point for not being interrupted. So Graham you have two points for that round.

GN: Oh happy...

TH: You don't get a car or anything like that? Because really, frankly, a car would be more useful than an extra point!

NP: Especially for you, we know your experiences with trains! All right, so at the end of that round Derek is still in the lead but followed by Graham Norton and Peter Jones who are equal. And Tony Hawks your turn to begin, the subject, brainwaves. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

TH: One of the best brainwaves I ever had was went into the store Next, and take one of their badges off the assistant and then put it on the next time I was in a Post Office queue. Another brilliant brainwave I had was to go into one of those restaurants where they say "eat as much as you can for a tenner"...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He said go into the Post Office...

NP: Yes you went, go into, and repeated the phrase. Peter a point, the subject, 42 seconds to tell us something about brainwaves starting now.

PJ: Well they used to be called ideas. And there haven't been many good ones lately in the last 20 or so years. The poll tax was a bad one. Um nouveau cuisine was another...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged you.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: There was an er definitely before nouveau cuisine Peter.

PJ: Yes so there was yes.

NP: Derek you have the subject, you have 32 seconds...


NP: Oh I love the sporting way you handle it Peter! Right, 32 seconds, brainwaves with you Derek starting now.

DN: I think it was an absolute brainwave for the chairman of this theatre to write to the National Lottery and ask them for a sum of money so that they could put in a lift. And apparently that aforesaid body has awarded them no less than 275,000 pounds to refurbish this splendid place...


DN: And that is appreciated by all. I think it's wonderful good news and an absolute and complete and total brainwave. I had a brainwave myself...


NP: Graham Norton has challenged.

GN: Well now, isn't it brainwaves?

NP: That is right!

GN: That was a repetition of brainwave.

DN: It's part of brainwaves.

NP: I know, but the subject, the subject on the card which you can repeat, on this occasion is brainwaves. And you said about the chairman of this theatre having a brainwave, and you now repeated the word brainwave. So Graham well listened, you have a correct challenge, ah, there are only five seconds for you on brainwaves starting now Graham.

GN: I once lived next door to some intelligent people and their brainwaves caused havoc with my television set...


NP: Peter Jones your turn to begin, the subject is rackets. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PJ: Well there are quite a lot of rackets. Some of them are to do with the National Lottery, I'm afraid to say, but not in the case of this particular theatre. It would have been nice to have had a lift in time for my arrival. Or certainly my departure, when I shall, I hope, call in at the hospitality room on my way. Now a lot of rackets...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: No I don't think so.

PJ: No, I don't think so either!

NP: Rackets is still with you Peter, having got another point for an incorrect challenge and you continue with 40 seconds to go starting now.

PJ: This town has one of the highest crime rates in the world!


PJ: Including Chicago, where they have an awful lot of rackets...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Well of course you're including Chicago, it's in the world!

PJ: Yes.

TH: You said one of the biggest crime rates in the world, including Chicago. I mean you've already said in the world, we know Chicago's in the world.

PJ: Yes I know, but we don't know that it's in the list of er crime rates, you know, on which I've done a...

TH: It has to be...

PJ: ...lot of research! I don't come here unprepared, you know!

TH: My, my argument is that (laughs)...

PJ: After I'd observed you through the train window senseless, you know, absolutely blotto, and tried to get you to get yourself together and come here, and try and malign me in this way, I think, is very unfortunate!

NP: Yes I think you are being a little bit pedantic, actually, Tony, I must say so...

DN: Where are we?

NP: Where are we?

PJ: We're...

NP: We're talking about rackets.

PJ: And whether Chicago is in the world or not! (laughs)

NP: And I don't think Tony's quite recovered from the experience of going through Almerton and not getting off the train in time! Rackets is still with you Peter, another point, 27 seconds, starting now.

PJ: Well I've seen a lot of rackets over...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of well.

NP: Oh! Ohhh!

DN: He started with well, he came, I always write his wells down! He always starts with well. I write it down.

NP: I know he starts with well. That's what I call a mean challenge. But it is a correct challenge and so I have to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute, 26 seconds for you Derek on rackets starting now.

DN: One of the more unpleasant rackets, I think, is on a restaurant bill where they include service, often at 17 and a half percent, and you don't get any choice about it. And also something called a cover charge. Well Lord Bradford in the House of Lords at this very moment...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: I think he said charge 17 and a half percent and then cover charge, repetition of charge.

DN: No, charged and charge.

NP: Derek you have the subject back, 13 seconds, rackets starting now.

DN: My goodness me! We heard a terrible racket in Ainwick on Friday night. All the town was out drinking, carousing. Young girls fleeing through the town in a state of absolute panic! Men imploring them from all sides! Deer strapped on their face because they're terribly...


NP: My goodness, this audience obviously recognised the... recognised their own town of Ainwick. There we are. Derek you were speaking when the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. You're equal in the lead with Peter Jones, and it's Graham Norton's turn to begin. Graham, the subject blarney. A thing that you need a great deal of in Just A Minute, but can you talk on the subject for Just A Minute starting now.

GN: Begorrah is a lovely example of blarney. Though to my mind, first and foremost, Blarney is a lovely town in North Cork, not far from where my parents live, thanks for asking! And also in that place, Blarney is Blarney Woollen Mills. And my mother bought more than one attractive travel rug...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: You repeated your mother, didn't you?

NP: Yes you did actually, you mentioned mother twice. Forty-one seconds Derek, on blarney starting now.

DN: Well of course at Blarney Castle...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Ah repetition of of course.


NP: Yes but...

PJ: He says it quite a lot! I always write it down! I've got several here!

NP: But unfortunately Peter, he hasn't said it in this particular round. You can repeat...

PJ: No, but he's going to! You can see it!


NP: Well I don't think we can have psychic challenges actually Peter.

PJ: Oh well!

NP: So it's incorrect challenge, we'll give you a bonus point because the audience enjoyed the challenge. A bonus point to Peter, a point to Derek for being interrupted, 38 seconds left on blarney starting now.

DN: On the wall of Blarney Castle is a triangular stone, some 20 feet from the top. So in a typical Irish way, they reproduce it at the bottom, so people come along and kiss it, and therefore have the gift of the blarney. Something which so many Irishmen do have...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Was there a repetition of Irish?

DN: Irishmen.

GN: All right, fair enough.

NP: Yes yeah, I think you're right. Twenty-one seconds, blarney, still with you Derek starting now.

DN: Eamonn Andrews had it of blessed memory. Dave Allen of course. Gloria Hunniford...


NP: Tony Hawks.

TH: Repetition of of course!


NP: But unfortunately Peter, Tony got in. You gave them the information...

PJ: There's something wrong with this! I, I think I've been nobbled!

NP: Oh so Tony, 16 seconds on blarney starting now.

TH: I kissed the blarney stone once but I promise it wasn't me...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Then obviously it doesn't hold true to what they claim!

NP: Meaning that he's deviating because he has been touched by the blarney stone?

PJ: He says he's been touched by it, but he hasn't got the gift of the er gab, or whatever it is!

TH: I didn't get much of a chance, did I?

NP: No, Peter it was a good try but I disagree. I don't even know what the challenge was actually, but there we are. So 13 seconds Tony, still with you, blarney starting now.

TH: That I didn't get it pregnant! Cajoling tongue is what it gives you! And the ability to talk for one minute uninterrupted would be an example of having blarney. Also to pay unnecessary compliments to Nicholas...


NP: Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. Peter Jones is er in second place, just behind Derek Nimmo, and just ahead of Tony Hawks and then is Graham Norton in that order. Derek it's your turn to begin, the subject, pottering. Will you tell us something about that subject in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: How nice it is that the end of the season in the garden, when the autumn arrives, and you've done all the work, putting together the various trees that need staking back, and cutting the raspberries perhaps... and the flowers...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: He seems to be hesitating a bit.

NP: He did hesitate, yes. He thought about the raspberries and then he hesitated. He wondered whether he'd done them I think. Forty-seven seconds are available for you to tell us something about pottering Peter starting now.

PJ: Well pottering is what people who don't like you much say you are doing, when you are actually working at something comparatively useful. They kind of, seem to deride, er, any attempt at....


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: A sort of hesitation.

NP: I thought he was running down completely actually! He was really pottering along! (laughs) With very few words. Thirty-three seconds, pottering, back with you Derek starting now.

DN: Down a lane in Devon, perhaps walking across a beach in Bali, up the Malaysian peninsula wherever you night go, there is nothing more pleasing than just to potter. Not have any object in sight, just be able to relax, commune with nature, look at old snapshots, read books and just go...


NP: Tony Hawks has challenged.

TH: Repetition of just.

NP: Yes you did say just before, more than once actually.

DN: Oh.

NP: The idea of you wandering down a lane and reading a book and looking at your snapshots, all at the same time! Did create an amazing picture in my mind! But Tony correct challenge, 13 seconds on pottering starting now.

TH: When a potter gets married he or she has to be given a ring, and this would be a potter-ring. Myself I don't hold truck with that theory. Really pottering is going about the house, dithering around...


NP: Tony Hawks was again speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point. He's moving forward rapidly, he's only one behind Peter Jones and only three behind our leader Derek Nimmo. And Tony it's your turn to begin, the subject, heather. Will you tell us something about her, it, or that in this game starting now.

TH: Heather is a small shrub-like life-form who I went out with for two years! Just before we split up, I wrote a love song for her called Hey If You Happen To See The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, You Won't Be Looking In The Mirror! I cannot understand why she was not happy with me after that occasion. How I love to walk in the heather just near Ainwick! I walk past the Playhouse Theatre, up Bonn Gate, over the River Allen. And then I find myself in this wonderful heather and I look out and think "oh how beautiful this world is..."


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of beautiful.

NP: Beautiful heather and beautiful girl in the world, yes.

TH: Oh you're right.

NP: A repetition of beautiful and you can't say that too often about Ainwick! So um 25 seconds, heather is the subject Derek starting now.

DN: Heather is a small bell-like flower, erica is the Latin name for it. And indeed there are tremendous quantities of them in Scotland and in various parts of the world. When I'm going pottering through my garden, I particularly like to look at the heather and poke at it. At this time of the year it should be clipped from the top. And then if it's a winter variety, it'll be at its absolute peak...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: He thinks he's on Gardener's Question Time!

NP: I think he was doing an audition for Gardener's Question Time actually! But so give me a quick challenge other than your remark.

TH: No, I didn't have one, I was trying to be humorous, I apologise!

NP: We'll give you a bonus for trying to be humorous. And, and six seconds are left with Derek on heather starting now.

DN: I have a friend called Heather Hardy. When she was married, she was called Wall which wasn't a very good idea at all because I thought the first name was so much nicer...


NP: Well we're moving into the last round and as we do so let me tell you that er Derek Nimmo's in a strong lead. But Tony Hawks is still there fighting, and so is Peter Jones. And Graham Norton is um not without hope! But with only one round to go I think he... (laughs) is hard pressed to win! Unless the others help him. But Graham it is your turn to begin, and the subject is my favourite soap. And I'm sure you can go on that for 60 seconds with eclan starting now.

GN: My favourite soap is mildly medicated! And that prevents me having skin fungi which can be, you know, irritating and itchy. In televisual terms, my favourite soap is probably an American one called Ryan's Hope which combined two favourite soap worlds, that of the hospital and the pub. So you had this bar opposite a big building with sick people in it, and the doctors and nurses would go into the lounge and have pints and half-things of beer. And then they would go back into that thing across the road where you might hear coughing, and they would operate on people. And that's probably...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He is deviating and quite a lot of other things as well!

NP: Indeed he is Peter! But as you haven't much chance of winning this show and it's the last round, and Graham hasn't spoken as much as the rest of you, I think we'll let him continue, shall we?

GN: No!


GN: Is this being punished with kindness?

NP: No! You've got 17 seconds Graham to continue on my favourite soap starting now.

GN: My favourite soap sits in a little rack by the side of my bath. It's sort of duck-shaped and metal. And was given to me by a very jolly good chum once a Christmas many years ago. And I clean it sometimes, but not too often because it's quite country and rustic the way the lime scaly water drips on it and collects there..


NP: So as I said before that was to be the last round. So let me give you the final score. Graham Norton who was keeping going till the whistle went, and then gained an extra point. And for a first time player of the game, I thought he did magnificently and finished in fourth place. Contributed well. He was just behind Peter Jones who was just behind Tony Hawks. But a little way out in the lead was Derek Nimmo, so we say that Derek, you are the winner this week! It only remains for me to thank our four outstanding players of the game, Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones, Tony Hawks and Graham Norton. Also to thank Jolanta Zbucki who's been keeping the score so well, and blowing the whistle with some effect. And also Ian Messiter who created the game and keeps us all in work, our producer Anne Jobson. And let me say from all of us here, good-bye, and hope you'll be with us next time we play Just A Minute!