NOTE: Neil Mullarkey's first radio appearance.

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 the four exciting performers who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back one of our regular players that is Paul Merton. We welcome back two of the original players of the game, that is Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones. And someone who has never played the game before, that is Neil Mullarkey. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Jolanta Zbucki who's going to keep the score and blow a whistle when 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute comes from the delightful Swan Theatre in the ancient city of Worcester. And we have before us a very animated and exciting Worcester audience who have come from their homes in order to cheer us on our way. And I ask our four players to speak if they can on the subject I will give them. And they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And let us begin the show this week with Paul Merton. Paul, a very apt subject on which to begin, swan. Would you tell us something about swan in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: It is a little known fact that the Queen is pers... oh...


PM: I said it was little known! Turned out I didn't know it myself!

NP: I think, well, it is difficult when you've suddenly been waiting to go and suddenly something happens. And you went then for three seconds Paul!

PM: And I'll do it again tomorrow!

NP: Derek you challenged.

DEREK NIMMO: Well hesitation, he stopped.

NP: Of course it was, yes. And there are 57 seconds left, swan starting now.

DN: In Western Australia they have black swans. And south of the river that has the same name they produce some of the finest Chardonnay, in vineyards like Hortons and Sandifords. But everywhere you can see these swan noire which I have to say like that because I don't want to repeat myself. But the Queen actually is head of the swans in England for some reason...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NEIL MULLARKEY: Did you say Queen?

DN: Yes.

NM: Didn't Paul say Queen as well?

DN: No but he did repeat swans.

NM: Well far be it... aren't you allowed to say the name on the card?

NP: No, no, you can repeat the word on the card which is in the singular and he repeated it in the plural. And as you've never played the game before, I've helped you a little! So Neil you have 32 seconds, you take over the subject, you get a point for a correct challenge and you start now.

NM: Swan is my favourite method of perambulation. I like to swan about Tesco's looking at the butter counter. I like to walk around the little place where you find the Vesta meals, where you can find all sorts of...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of find.

NP: You were finding far too much there, I'm afraid.

NM: That's Tesco's for you!

NP: Seventeen seconds are available for you Paul, you have the subject of swan back again and you start now.

PM: Many people think of them as a rather elegant bird, those huge white wings, the yellow beak. They also have a rather nasty temperament. If you've ever seen a swan after 15 pints of lager, it is a sight to behold. It'll take on anybody, taxi drivers, Members of the Royal...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton and he is in the lead at the end of the round which is not surprising. And Peter it's your turn to begin, another excellent subject though nobody took up swan into the Swan Theatre here which does such a wonderful work presenting repertory theatre.

PM: Are you plugging your one-man show Nicholas?

NP: I've done my one-man show here actually at the Swan Theatre and it was well received. But... I'm not looking for a return engagement but I am free if they want to ask me. The...

PETER JONES: They... they didn't mention the famous book by Marcel Proust either did they? Swans Way. I thought I'd mention that because it gives the whole thing a different tone, doesn't it?

NP: It shows the intellectual quality that you possess Peter.

PJ: Yes, exactly! Yes! I only know the name of it, I've never read it!

NP: Peter, would you like to take another Worcester subject, cavaliers. Talk on the subject if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

PJ: Well I come from a small town in Shropshire where they supported Oliver Cromwell. And one of the first...


PJ: One of the first... they don't forget things in a hurry, do they!


PJ: One of the first verses I ever heard was
The women of Wem and a few volunteers
Beat Lord Cavell and all his Cavaliers.
And there was a river that was allegedly running with blood for a while quite near the contributory of the Severn which goes, as you know, from Shrewsbury and then comes here. So you may have had a rather ink er river by that time...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of river.

NP: Yes you did repeat the river Peter I'm afraid.

PJ: Yes.

NP: So Derek you have the subject of Cavaliers, 21 seconds area available starting now.

DN: I suppose for me the most dashing of all the Cavaliers was the gallant Prince Rupert who rode at the head of the Cavalry and charged the Ironsides with such fervour and set them mostly to flight. Although sadly in the end the King had to flee and hid himself in an oak tree where...

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Are you mixing up Charles the First with Charles the Second? Because it was Charles the Second that hid in an oak tree.

DN: Yes but...

PJ: He hid in about 14,000 oak trees!


NP: Paul has the benefit of the doubt, he has Cavaliers, two seconds to go starting now.

PM: A lot of Cavaliers come from Boxhall!


NP: So Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, having cleverly got in with only two seconds to go. And has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Derek Nimmo your turn to begin, the subject is fiestas. Will you tell us something about...


NP: Is it some... the way I pronounced it or something?

DN: It's a little joke you see. We talked about Cavaliers and fiestas, that's why they're laughing. They're both names for motor cars.

PJ: I thought Cavaliers was a group of stripping men who cavorted about with oiled bodies!

DN: That's the Chippendales!


NM: That's also Nicholas Parsons' one man show as well, isn't it?

PJ: Ah yes!

DN: No wonder he hasn't been asked to come back again!

NP: I actually followed a gay beauty competition in a show I was doing the other day. Which was quite an experience...

PJ: How far did you have to follow them?


NP: I think we should get on with Just A Minute! Fiestas, Derek, 60 seconds starting now.

DN: Feast days are fiestas and we don't really have very many of them in this country. Sadly! The Spanish go for them quite a lot and jolly good fun they are! Carnivale, farewell to meat. I suppose they're always saying that now. That is the beginning of Lent, Shrove Tuesday. If you go to the Mardi Gras in Rio, I've got a very good friend who is actually a carnival queen. But she's a real big Junoesque woman who gets on top of a lorry and she has a samba troop behind her. And when the fiesta starts you hear the maracas banging around and she bangs around too! There's two bangs...


DN: I buzz myself, I said bangs twice.

NP: I'm sorry, Neil, Neil got you on the banging, I'm so sorry, yes. You challenged Neil?

NM: Well he said bangs and banging.

DN: They're not the same word.

NM: They're not the same word, are they? Sorry.

NP: So it's a wrong challenge, you get a point for that Derek and keep the subject. And you've got 22 seconds left, fiestas starting now.

DN: Nicholas Parsons likes going to gay fiestas. He's so jolly and forthright that they all welcome him with open arms and say "come on Nick, get your knees up!" or words to that effect. And he'll put on this little dress and skip around handing out pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, anything at all...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged again.

NM: You had said magazines before.

NP: There were magazines before, yes. Anything to get away from this! Anyway Neil you've cleverly got in with only two seconds to go, a point for that of course and the subject fiestas starting now.

NM: I used to drive a Ford Fiesta...


NP: Neil you are in second place, only one point behind our leaders who are Paul Merton and Derek Nimmo together. Neil it's about time you started a round and the subject we have for you now is improvising. Would you talk on the subject starting now.

NM: Improvising is that art form also known as extemporising where you enter the stage without the slightest idea of what you might recount to the audience. They have paid good money to see this alleged performance and yet they know not the quality that will ensue. But it is happily an event that makes so many of us pleased. And rewards us with so many financial incentives...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of many.

NP: You kept saying many I'm afraid Neil.

NM: Yeah I know that. But I was spelling it differently each time!

DN: Thirty-two seconds are available for you, improvising Derek starting now.

DN: I think a jolly good idea for a game would be to get people to improvise and speak for a minute on a subject without repetition, hesitation or deviation...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: It'll never catch on!


NP: Give Paul a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge, but he actually er wasn't deviating from Just A Minute, the rules. So Derek you keep the subject, improvising and there are, you got a point of course for being interrupted, 24 seconds starting now.

DN: And you could have blowing the buzzer or the bell someone called...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: You don't blow a buzzer!

DN: No you don't!

NP: Of course you don't!

DN: You're absolutely right there!

NP: Definite deviation. Peter tell us something about improvising, 20 seconds starting now.

PJ: Well we British have a reputation for being marvellous at improvisation. Wonderful example of that was a man who did an operation on an aeroplane and, with a coat hanger and a rubber band or something. And he was able to avoid this woman dying of an appendectomy, is that what it is? Yes, something like that...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: I don't think you die of an appendectomy!

PJ: You do if you do it with a coat hanger!


NP: And so Peter you have another point and you still have the subject, and only one second left, improvising starting now.

PJ: Make it up, that's what...


NP: So Peter Jones speaking as the whistle went got that point, and he's now moved into second place with Neil Mullarkey and they're just behind Paul Merton and Derek Nimmo who is our leader. And Paul Merton, now show your talent at improvisation as you take the next subject, dropping a clanger starting now.

PM: Well I believe this phrase emanates from the realms of campanology, bell ringing. If you drop a clanger it's because you haven't come in at the right point of the particular instrument that you're playing. For example if you hear a bong bing byarng like that, then that other noise I just made might well be in the wrong place. The other thing about...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: Did you say wrong twice?

PM: No!

NM: I accept that!

NP: Sorry Neil...

PM: (laughs) I can make my own decisions, can I?

NP: Well you did say it, you mean?

PM: No I didn't, no!

NP: That's right. Paul you have another point and 40 seconds, dropping a clanger starting now.

PM: I worked on the first series of The Clangers but clearly there was too many, and one of them had to go. So I had them all in my office and the Soup Dragon was there as well. And they said "look, there's seven clangers but we only have room for six". And I didn't know how to pick out which one would the one that had to go down to the...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of one.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yes.

NP: That's right, so Peter you're in there...

PM: And I did say wrong twice earlier!


NP: So I have dropped a clanger! Well you've got to give two points to Neil for that. Peter there are 25 seconds for you on dropping a clanger starting now.

PJ: John Gielgud was, and still is famous for his clangers. When he saw George Ralph and Miles Allison coming towards him in the pavement, he said "ah my favourite Pelonius!" And each of the two actors had played it with him. And so they didn't know and quarrelled for the rest of the time it took them to get home. Ah that obviously wouldn't have been recognised as a...


NP: Derek challenged you.

DN: Hesitation.

PJ: Ah.

NP: You did hesitate. Yes you waited for the laugh...

PJ: They hesitated actually!

NP: Derek you got in with four seconds to go on dropping a clanger starting now.

DN: Well I dropped a clanger a few moments ago when I said...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Well! He said well again!

DN: I didn't say well.

PJ: Didn't he?

NP: He did say well actually.

PJ: Yes.

NP: You did start off with well, yes, definitely.

DN: But, but I haven't talked about a clanger before!

NP: Peter he hasn't spoken in this round yet.

PJ: Well if he had he would have said well!


NP: Give Peter a bonus point, Derek you have one for being interrupted, you keep the subject, three seconds, dropping a clanger...

DN: Saint Peter and Saint Paul, I have to get in quick...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of Saint.

NP: Yes! It's a tough game, you got in with one second to go Paul on dropping a clanger starting now.

PM: I think it was John Gielgud...


NP: Right, so Paul Merton got that extra point. What's the score? Very close actually. Paul Merton is now in the lead, just one point ahead of Derek Nimmo and then equal in third place are Peter Jones and Neil Mullarkey, not far behind. Peter Jones this subject is worrying me before we start! It's old Nick! I don't know what they're going to say. But so Peter you begin anyway, starting now.

PJ: Well old Nick is actually older than you would think. Of course I knew him first when I was a boy. He was already growing up and going out with girls, Lillian Braithwaite, Edith Evans, a number of women come to mind. But I was taken by my er parents...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: A lot of hesitation.

PJ: Well yes.

NP: Not a lot, a little hesitation.

PJ: Yes.

NP: Derek you've got in on old Nick and 40 seconds are available starting now.

DN: I certainly wouldn't like to get in with old Nick! He is the chairman of this game. He's much older than you think. He is in fact over 70, but gosh, isn't he wonderfully preserved. His dear present wife, Anne, who is in the audience this evening, she knows that he has a figure that many younger men by 50 years would die for! And when you've seen him on the Swan Theatre covered in black leaf, doing his one man show, you will realise how splendid old Nick is! It can of course be used as a word for the Devil, Nicodemus. Sometimes one might almost think that our old Nick is a bit of one of those too. But actually, he's a charming....


NP: Just when Derek started paying me a compliment, they blew the whistle which is... But Derek you were speaking as that whistle went, gained the extra point, and you've got into the lead just ahead of Paul Merton, you've changed positions. And Derek it's your turn to begin, the subject is clubs. Can you tell us something about that subject in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: The Literary Club was founded by David Garrick, Doctor Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Oliver Glowsmith, and that wonderful parson from eastern Mordid Doctor Percy who...


DN: I said Doctor twice, quite right!

NP: Paul Merton, yes Doctor twice Paul, 46 seconds for clubs with you starting now.

PM: I don't belong to any clubs but I often...


NP: Neil Mullarkey.

NM: Well he did hesitate, but I want to know what you often do!

PM: No! The reason why I hesitated is I have no idea!

NM: Well you don't do it often enough then!

PM: No, no! I do but I quickly forget about it!

NP: I thought you thought about what you often do and it made you hesitate! Because you couldn't mention it on radio!

PM: How dare you!

NP: I will dare anything with you Paul, after some of the things you've said about me!

PM: Oh thanks very much!

NP: Right, 42 seconds for you Neil, clubs starting now.

PM: You're the one with the large gay following! Whoever he may be!

NP: Right Neil, clubs, 42 seconds starting now.

NM: I am a member of a club. The requirement to join is the ability to say (makes throat clearing noise)


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Well Neil's just made a silly noise! Just speaking rubbish!

NP: Do you know this club? It could be...

NM: In this club...

NP: It could be that in this particular club that Neil's in they have to make a (throaty noise) in order...

PM: You're a founder member, are you?

NP: I don't know, this...

PM: You don't know anything, do you! You don't know if you're in this club! You don't know where you are! You've got a large gay following!

NP: I do know one thing, I give you very good clues in order to come back, cues, I'm sorry! Clues!

PM: So you're giving this to Neil, for the silly noise club!

NP: I'm giving it against you for your challenge. I don't know, they might have to in this club make that silly noise, I don't know. The benefit of the doubt goes to Neil...

PM: Benefit of the doubt! All right, go on!

NP: Thirty-four seconds, clubs Neil starting now.

NM: They...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation!

NP: No! Oh you are bitter, aren't you! Right, 33 seconds...

NM: Just because they wouldn't let him in! He couldn't say it!

NP: Thirty-three seconds Neil with you starting now.

NM: They...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Well definite hesitation that time!

NP: No it wasn't hesitation!

PJ: Very slow! Very slow!

NP: Get off the mark a bit quicker! Don't overdo it again! Thirty-two seconds clubs starting now.

NM: Barbara Cartland is a member as indeed is Antony...


NP: Somebody... Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of member.

NM: Yip.

NP: Yes a member. He did repeat member and you can't have too many members Paul...


PM: Unless you've got a large gay following!

NP: They're a very quick audience in Worcester! And I think I'm going to say no more except that Paul Merton has 29 seconds to tell us something about clubs starting noise.

PM: I belong to this club where you have to make a very silly noise if you want to be a member. The sound is something like a (makes a sort of Tarzan scream partly cut off by someone holding your neck)


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of (imitates noise)

PM: It's hyphenated!

NP: Is it! I know but it came out without the hyphen! Derek a correct challenge, 20 seconds clubs starting now.

DN: Club land is that part of Pall Mall which starts at the Athenaeum and moves on to the Reform, Travellers, on to the Royal Automobile Club known as...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of on to.

NP: On to, yes, they moved on to and moved on to again.

DN: Yes all right!

NP: Twelve seconds, clubs, back with you Paul starting now.

PM: There is a Nicholas Parsons Fan Club which consists...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: I don't believe it!


NP: (laughing) I'll show you how genuine and fair and how... just I am. I will give you a bonus point because the audience enjoyed it even though it was a rotten joke! Paul you were interrupted so you get a point and you have nine seconds left on clubs starting now.

PM: Some clubs have a club tie where the members can show...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of members.

PM: Mmmm!

NP: Yes, five seconds for you Derek, clubs starting now.

DN: The oldest club in London was founded in 1693 and it is...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged you before.

NM: Didn't you say London before?

NP: Yes you talked about the London clubs.

DN: No, club land I said.

NP: But you did mention...

DN: Pall Mall!

NP: Yes, I think you mentioned London.

DN: No! No I didn't!

NM: I'm prepared to accept it because Derek's got an honest face!

NP: Derek, three seconds, clubs starting now.

DN: I think perhaps the best club of all was the Playboy...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of best.

NP: Yes you did say the best, Pall Mall, and when you were talking about that.

DN: I didn't say the best! I said where they started was in club land and they go along, I didn't say it was the best!

NP: I think...

DN: I think I said one club was better than another.

NP: I think you did say they were the best. Paul you have another point, you have one second, clubs, starting now.

PM: The Athenaeum...


NP: So Paul Merton has increased his lead at the end of that round, but he's only two ahead of Derek Nimmo, and only um three or four ahead of Neil Mullarkey and then Peter Jones in that order. And Neil your turn to begin and the subject, guides. Will you tell us something about those or them starting now.

NM: I encountered guides on a holiday to Morocco. We were warned against foe geed or false guides as they are known by people who speak English or fragmented French! But I know nothing of these bad guides for we avoid them like the plague. They would lead you to their uncle, you would be forced to buy slippers of dubious quality and spices of very nefarious afterthoughts and consequences...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: What are spices of nefarious afterthoughts?

NM: Well you know you said earlier you do something often.

PM: Yes.

NM: You take those spices of nefarious afterthoughts!

PM: Deviation from the English language I claim!

NP: Twenty-nine seconds are available for guides with you Paul starting now.

PM: You see them walking around various parts of London. They usually are holding up some newspaper and they've got surrounded, loads of Japanese tourists around them and they...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: I think he said they've got surrounded or something!

NP: They get around them, he did repeat around, yes. Neil you've got back in, listened well, 18 seconds, guides still with you starting now.

NM: I applied to join the Guides because I like blue, not green as worn by the Cubs. But...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: I didn't hear the last bit!


NP: You play your own version of Just A Minute! Are you all right now Peter, you...?

PJ: Yeah I was all right before, there's nothing wrong with me. Of course I'm all right.

NP: Yeah I know but the thing is it's not part of the normal way of playing Just A Minute. So what happens is Neil was interrupted, he gets a point for that, he has 12 seconds to continue, guides starting now.

NM: My application was turned down on the grounds of gender! I was not female. Male being my sex. "Oh" I cried at the board of...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Deviation.

NP: Why?

DN: Well I don't think it is his sex!


NP: Well I'm not going to ask him to prove it! Neil you have another point, you're doing extraordinarily well first time, three seconds available guides starting now.

NM: I took the case to the High Court, the Queen asked...


NP: So Neil Mullarkey who's not played this game on the radio before, in that round started with the subject and actually finished with it. And he's moved into second place, only two points behind our leader who is still Paul Merton. Peter the last round we'd like you to take it. It's what pleases me most, a good subject after all the discussion we've had here. But will you you tell us something about it in this game starting now.

PJ: Well I hate first nights. So I don't go any more, either as an actor or a member...


PJ: ...of the audience! I don't have anything to do with it! I stay at home. And when I read in the paper that one is taking place that evening I just raise a glass of red wine, very good Italian stuff, 3.99, an absolute sniff, I'll give you the name afterwards... and give my best regards...


PJ: ... to the people who are taking part in it.

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: No! No, no. Peter there are 37 seconds to continue on what pleases me most starting now.

PJ: Because I feel I'm so happy that I'm not participating in this dreadful bloodbath that is probably occurring on the stage and in the audience...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: He said stage earlier.

PJ: Yes I did.

NP: Yes you did.

PJ: Yes, yes.

NP: You're very honest Peter. Not like the rest of them!

PJ: Oh! Come, come!

NP: Neil you got in with 28 seconds on what pleases me most starting now.

NM: What pleases me most is eating sushi. I love the taste of raw salmon enveloped by white rice and a piece of seaweed. Yummy I say, as I pop it into my little bucal cavity, swallowing it with some Osaki beer or Kirrin lager or Sofurro...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I think I speak for a lot of people....


PM: ...when I enquire what a bucal cavity is! But I expect you know because you've got a large gay following!


NP: Paul you have a correct challenge because it was deviation from English and also anatomy as we understand it. And you have 10 seconds to tell us something about what pleases... oh dear I can't even say it now! What pleases me most starting now.

PM: What pleases me most is to go home and polish up me bucal cavity! I get a load of silver...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: I said bucal cavity!

NP: I know you did. But he used the phrase...

PM: I can repeat what you said.

NM: I'll leave now!

NP: So he's polishing up...

NM: What is a bucal cavity?

PM: I've no idea! But I've been polishing it for years!

NP: Four seconds Paul, what pleases me most starting now.

PM: I suppose what pleases me most amongst all the experiences that life's rich tapestry...


NP: So we have no more time to play Just A Minute. And Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, got that extra point for doing so. Let me give you the final score. Peter was only just in fourth place, no, third place only. Because in second place equal was our first time player of the game, Neil Mullarkey and Derek Nimmo. So let's give a round of applause to Neil right away. But only a few points ahead was Paul Merton so we say Paul you're the winner this week, congratulations! We do hope you have enjoyed this particular edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to thank Paul Merton, Neil Mullarkey, Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo. And also Jolanta Zbucki for keeping the score and blowing the whistle so magnificently. Also we must thank Ian Messiter who created the game and thought of the subjects for us and also our producer Anne Jobson. And also from me, Nicholas Parsons, from all of us here good-bye, thank you for tuning in, be with us the next time we play Just A Minute.