starring PAUL MERTON, DEREK NIMMO, PETER JONES and NEIL MULLARKEY, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 15 February 1997)

NOTE: Paul Merton's 50th appearance, Jolanta Zbucki's last appearance blowing the whistle.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome the four talented players who are going to perform in Just A Minute this week. We welcome back two players of the younger generation. One of our regulars, Paul Merton, and with him someone who's only played the game once before, that is Neil Mullarkey. We also welcome back two of the original players of the game, right from the very first time 29 years ago, that is Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones. Will you please welcome all four of them! And beside me sits Jolanta Zbucki who's going to keep the score and blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the lovely Swan Theatre on the beautiful river severn in the historic city of Worcester. As usual I'm going to ask our four players to speak on a subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating. And we begin the show this week with Derek Nimmo. Oh the subject for you, very apt, sauce. Will you tell us something about sauce in this game starting now.

DEREK NIMMO: Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. But what better sauce is there in the whole wide world than Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce!


DN: Absolutely essential if you're going to make a really good Bloody Mary to have that together with vodka, tabascoes and horse radish, lemon juice, put it all together and mix it round. And you will have a drink fit for James Bond himself. Much better than those dry martinis. Other kinds of sauce that one can think of of course are the ones, people being rather saucy, rather naughty. I remember when I was here...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Repetition of rather.

NP: Yeah, rather saucy and rather naughty. So Paul you got in, you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that and there are 23 seconds left to tell us something about sauce starting now.

PM: I like all kinds of sauce really. Tomato ketchup I think is er extremely nice...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PETER JONES: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was a little hesitation before he got out with the ketchup there. So Peter you've got in on sauce with 19 seconds available starting now.

PJ: I've always believed that hunger is the best sauce. It's an old saying from the Middle East. And white sauce is the most popular, or was until nouveau cuisine...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NEIL MULLARKEY: Ah that was a mistake! Ah I just want to say how marvellous it is to be working with you Peter!


PJ: Ah! Very nice!

NP: Right Neil, an incorrect challenge so Peter you get a point for that...

PJ: Ah!

NP: You keep the subject, you have eight seconds on sauce starting now.

PJ: You make it...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I'd just like to second what Neil said!


PJ: I see! Very sweet! What are they up to?

NP: They... they're all remarking on the privilege it gives them to work with you Peter. You know, you're one of the doyens of show business, one of the cult figures you might almost say. So...

PJ: What was that again?

NP: Cult!

PJ: Thank you very much! Yes!

NP: It was an incorrect challenge you'll be surprised to hear Paul. So Peter you have another point and you have sauce still, six seconds starting now.

PJ: You heat a knob of butter the size of a pigeon's egg or a walnut, whichever you happen to have handy to measure it by. And add some flour...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point and on this occasion it was Peter Jones. And you won't be surprised to hear that at the end of that round Peter has got a commanding lead over all the others?

PJ: Oh?

NP: Yes! Yes! Don't let it go to your head Peter, keep it up!

PJ: Well...

NP: Paul Merton will you take the next round, the subject is painting the town red. Will you tell us something about that idea, that subject in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: You would need an awful lot of paint, I suppose, because you'd have to consider first there is the undercoat, and then eventually you put the top... thing on...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Well he did er hesitate again.

NP: Yes he did. Fifty-one seconds Peter, painting the town red starting now.

PJ: Apart from going mad and having a wonderful time with a lot of lager louts, I think it must really mean painting it red on the map, so that you know where it is, this particular place. And if ah...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: I believe there was a hesitation there.

NP: There was, a definite hesitation yes.

NM: Much as it hurts me to buzz such a doyen of the theatre! I would have said doy-on!

NP: Well of course you're better educated than I am, I assume. Painting the town red is with you Neil starting now.

NM: Painting the...


NP: Oh gosh, what was that? Peter?

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes right Peter! You have the subject back...

NM: I was waiting for you to say how many seconds I had!

NP: Oh I did say actually.

NM: Okay!

NP: Well... but you have such respect for Peter Jones, I'm sure you don't mind the fact that you hesitated. Painting the town red is with you Peter and there are 37 seconds starting now.

PJ: Well I suppose the part of the town that is normally red doesn't exist in this particular city... I wouldn't...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Well he stopped!

NP: He did! He tried to think if it might be right or not.

PJ: Well I was trying to make it pleasant!

NP: Yes! Twenty-eight seconds Derek, tell us something about painting the town red starting now.

DN: I first came to Worcester, the Theatre Royal, in 1953. And gosh, did I paint the town red! It was my first big break...


DN: ...in this magnificent city... what's the matter?

NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: I think he said first twice.

NP: It was your first, first time you came here, your first big break.

DN: Absolutely!

NP: Nineteen seconds Neil on painting the town red starting now.

NM: Painting the town red is exactly what I did with Nicholas Parsons so many years ago at St Andrew's. He let me wear his slacks to play on the old course. He was the rector of the university. My, what a...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: That's not my definition of painting the town red!


PM: Wearing a pair of Nicholas Parsons' slacks!

NP: All I can tell you is that you were not there! Right, eight seconds, you've got another point for that Neil, painting the town red, continue starting now.

NM: He treated us to a meal of chicken in the basket and a half bottle of Lee Prown Melch watered down with old man's spritzer. Yes I like the sound...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: What's old man's spritzer?

NP: That's what I....


PM: What's that?

NM: It's er...

DN: Whatever it is, it's very likely he's got it!


NP: It's a very spirited way for an elderly man to behave. Right Paul you've got in with one second on painting the town red starting now.

PM: I would start with a...


NP: Paul was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point er, Peter Jones still in the lead, equal in second place are Paul Merton and Neil Mullarkey then Derek Nimmo. And Neil Mullarkey your turn to begin, the subject is marbles.

NM: Marbles.

NP: Marbles, tell us something about marbles in this game starting now.

NM: The other day I picked up the Elgin Marble in the Portobello Market. The marbles currently residing in the British Museum are a fake. I bought these particular marbles for five quid. "Yummy!" I said as I took delivery...


NP: Derek Nimmo's challenged.

DN: Deviation, he couldn't have possibly lifted them up, they're too heavy.

NP: Well it was obviously a complete flight of fantasy. So you continue with 46 seconds, marbles starting now Neil.

NM: I had a forklift truck! And took them to my house and displayed them on the mantle as they covered the beautiful ornate woodwork, I decided that I indeed should be King of Greece! Such was my dignity...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.


NP: The audience say yes, all right, 31 seconds Peter on marbles starting now.

PJ: Well he put them on the mantelpiece, did he say? I can't understand that! Although I don't really believe he had a forklift truck either!


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I'm afraid there was Peter.

PJ: Yes there was.

NP: You hadn't even got on to marbles either!

PJ: No, no.

NP: Twenty-three seconds on marbles with you Paul starting now.

PM: I remember it as a game that we used to play when I was about seven years old at school. I can't really exactly remember what were...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: Remember.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes. He was remembering too little. Sixteen seconds starting now.

NM: The police came round. "Have you got the Elgin marbles?" "Yes I have..."


NP: And Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of Elgin.

NP: Elgin marbles, you mentioned it before, sorry.

NM: Shucks!

NP: Derek, 12 seconds on marbles starting now.

DN: I always think we were frightfully lucky that Lord Elgin brought them back to this country because those silly old Greeks, they would have all turned to dust by now. And we have them beautifully preserved in the British Museum, not only for the Greek tourists coming in, I said Greek twice, where's the thing?


NP: Peter Jones.

PJ: Yes, repetition of Greeks.

NP: Yes well done Peter. You've got in cleverly with one second to go on marbles starting now.

PJ: Oh I think several...


NP: Well at the moment this is a runaway thing for Peter Jones. He's way out in the lead and has increased his lead at the end of that round. And he also begins the next round, the subject is composers. Peter tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Well apart from the obvious ones like Mozart and Bach and Beethoven, my mind goes to those wonderful Americans of the first part of this century like Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin, Vincent Youmans and dozens of others. And I think how impoverished they must have left the eastern part of Europe, Russia in particular. Why did they let all those wonderful people with their...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of wonderful.

NP: Yes they were wonderful.

PJ: They were.

NP: But you did repeat it.

PJ: I did yes.

NP: Yes so Derek you've got in with 35 seconds to go, tell us something about composers starting now.

DN: I suppose being in Worcester one thinks automatically of Elgar and that fine statue by Kenneth Potts outside the cathedral here. But it was actually created by the son-in-law of Mimi Hewitt who lived in Britannia Square when I was here in the theatre. And she's in the audience tonight, I do think we ought to give her a very special round of applause because she's 78 years old. But Elgar when he used to walk around the hills...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: I think you said Elgar.

NP: He did, you did repeat Elgar yes.

PJ: We're not going to have applause for everybody who's 78 on this panel, are we? We'll be here all night!

NP: Composers is with you Neil, 12 seconds are available starting now.

NM: My favourite composers are Noel Gallagher of Oasis, REM, Mick Jones and Joe Strummer of the Clash. I know nothing of these European fellows with their strange sounding surnames. I like the composers of today...


NP: Neil Mullarkey was speaking then as the whistle went and gained that extra point for doing so. And he has moved forward, he's now in second place only just behind our leader who is still Peter Jones. Derek will you take the next round, the subject is Brussels. Will you tell us something about Brussels in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: I think to have been at the Duchess of Richmond's ball on the eve of Waterloo in Brussels must have been an extraordinary occasion...


NP: Paul Merton's challenged.

PM: It was boring!


PM: The band didn't turn up! And we had peanuts till midnight!

NP: Give Paul a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge but as Derek was interrupted, he keeps the subject. Fifty-three seconds for you Derek, Brussels, starting now.

DN: Why are we governed by Brussels? If it was put to a referendum, would we not opt to join something else in the Common Market? I cannot imagine how they even tell us not to send smoked salmon by post. London buses, last week, they want to put on doors at the back so you can't stay, stand on the foot plate anymore...


NP: Neil Mullarkey and Paul Merton, both lights came on together. So I'm going to have to ask who wants to be generous and give way? Right Neil, Paul's given way to you...

NM: Paul's given way to me and er I'll give him some money later! But I think Derek, Derek might have hesitated.

NP: I think he did actually yes and er...

DN: He's awfully polite, isn't he, really! Charming young fellow, I think.

NM: I want to be invited back again! I'd love to come back to Worcester again!


NM: Just trying the Derek Nimmo tack!

NP: Yes!

NM: I know some people who are very old and ...


NM: Worcester's great!

NP: It's working well but I think you're overplaying your hand at the moment!

NM: Yes...

NP: Right, 33 seconds for you on Brussels starting now.

NM: Brussels the place where Karl Marx wrote the Communist manifesto by a fire in a cafe, Ala Grand Plaice! Charlotte Bronte renamed it Villette, a place where the palaice d'justice...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of place.

NP: There were too many places I'm afraid.

NM: Well they were chips!

NP: Yes! Twenty-two seconds Paul with you, Brussels starting now.

PM: I've never really liked sprouts. I think it's down to the fact that I don't cook them very well. I was living in a bed sit in the early 1980s and these particular vegetables were quite cheap. And I don't think you're actually meant to boil them for 24 hours before you consume them. So I would like to now give you my recipe for the perfect Brussel er...


PM: (laughs) I suddenly thought I couldn't say Brussels again!

NP: I know, I know! It's, it's a tough game and Derek you've got in, two seconds to go on Brussels starting now.

DN: The Duke of Wellington left early in the evening...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: Sorry! But didn't you say Duke earlier?

NP: No...

NM: The Duke of Richmond.

DN: No, Duchess of Richmond's ball, I said.

NM: Yeah, oh, yeah...

DN: I'm just giving the cast list now!

NM: (laughs) Okay! I apologise!

NP: You don't have to apologise...

NM: Can I come back again? I love this game!

NP: Because all that happens... Never apologise in Just A Minute because what happens is he gets another point because he was interrupted and he has one second on Brussels starting now.

DN: Lord Uxbury...


NP: So Derek Nimmo gained a number of points in that round, including one for speaking as the whistle went and has moved forward and they're all almost equal but just one point ahead is Peter Jones still. Paul Merton your turn to begin, the subject the supernatural. Can you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PM: I would like to take this minute to think about something in my mind. A household object and if you the audience can pick up what that particular thing is, that would be indeed some kind of psychic phenomena. So here we go! (silence)



PM: You've just ruined an experiment!

NM: Ah repetition!

NP: Repetition?

NM: Yes he was thinking the same thought twice!


PM: It was one continuous thought!

NP: Neil you have a correct challenge, you have the supernatural, 42 seconds starting now.

NM: The supernatural can be blamed for many things. The rise of The Shane Ritchie Experience is another. The demise of the Nolans. The success...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: An awful lot of thes in there, the Nolans, the demise, the Shane Ritchie Experience...

NP: Yes we...

PM: The paranormal...

NP: We let it go once, maybe twice but if it's consistent we say repetition. Thirty-three seconds, back with you Paul on the supernatural starting now.

PM: Allow me to pick up from where we left off! (silence)



PM: Did anyone see a house then? A house? Petunias?

NP: It's a new way of playing Just A Minute but er Derek you challenged that time first.

DN: I wasn't allowing him.

NP: What?

DN: When he said "allow me to pick up where I left off", so I buzzed. I wasn't allowing him, I stopped him. It doesn't really matter Nicholas!

NP: Twenty-eight seconds, the supernatural with you Derek starting now.

DN: Nicholas is the living proof that there is life after death! When you see him sitting...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: You call that life?


NP: Oh! Ohhhhhh! Oh! Oh really! And this audience applauds!

PM: It's only a 12 volt battery that keeps him going!

NP: You weren't like this when I did my one man show up here?

PM: Well they didn't, nobody laughed then!

NP: Really! Maybe this is the reason I have the job, I'm the only person in show business who'll take these particular insults and come back again. Right...

PM: For the money you get, yes!

NP: Any more cues you want for gags Paul? Right, 21 seconds Paul, I'll show you how generous and genuine I am, for you to take over the subject of the supernatural starting now.

PM: In 1972 Uri Geller appeared for the first time on British television with his spoon bending trick. I describe it as such because I don't think there's anything paranormal going on there at all. Conjurors can imitate most of the stunts that the aforementioned Israeli...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: I think it was Peter, yes. You have five seconds, you've got in when there's only five seconds to go and the supernatural is the subject and you start now.

PJ: In my lifelong quest for knowledge I attended a seance at the Wigmore Hall. And...


NP: You were speaking as the whistle went Peter, gained an extra point for doing so and you are now two points ahead of all the others who are equal in second place. Neil Mullarkey will you take the next round, what makes me blush. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

NM: What makes me blush is the fact that I am frequently mistaken for Will Carling. The former captain of the English rugby team. It is embarrassing when I go to the Chelsea Harbour Club and there is Princess Diana trying...


NP: Peter you challenged yes.

PJ: He's not captain, he's ex...

NP: Ex-captain.

PJ: Ex-captain.

NP: He was captain, he's now the ex-captain I'm afraid.

DN: That's what he said.

NM: I think, I think I said former.

PM: He did say former.

DN: Former means he was!

NP: I never heard you say former.

PM: Well you are deaf! We've already established that!

NP: You said the former captain? Oh well, let's take all that back and start again.

NM: Well Paul heard it didn't you.

PM: Yes you did say former, yes!

NP: You continue with 46 seconds on what makes me blush starting now.

NM: What makes me blush most is people coming up and asking for my autograph. Your autograph please, Mr Brad...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of autograph.

NP: I know, once he thought of his autograph, he couldn't stop repeating it. Right, 41 seconds Paul, what makes me blush starting now.

PM: I have this terrible habit of imagining news readers in the nude. I first started performing this particular...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I would agree with that one Peter. Thirty...

NM: I, I'd like to hear more!

PJ: Yes!

NP: But the trouble is I have to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute. And there was a hesitation and Peter's got in with 33 seconds on what makes me blush starting now.

PJ: Well certainly sitting in front of a roaring fire tends to make my face red. But nothing I ever hear on Just A Minute would make me blush. I'm trying to think of something on television that I may have seen. One or two programmes very late at night, if one can stay awake long enough! They do tend to bring blood to the cheeks. But otherwise I don't think there is anything. After a certain number of years when you've lived, you've seen a lot of excitement and non-events...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: This is deviation, the subject is what makes me blush and Peter said there's nothing that makes him blush.

NP: Yes.

PM: So it must be a deviation.

NP: Well that is a difficult decision isn't it? What...

PJ: No...

NP: ...makes him blush and he says there's nothing that makes me blush. I think I should give you the benefit of the doubt Paul and say you have five seconds on what makes me blush starting now.

PM: Trevor McDonald in a two piece swim suit! If such a picture can be conjured to the mind, then you'll have some idea...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and other points in the round. He's one point behind our leader Peter Jones and in third place equal are Derek Nimmo and Neil Mullarkey. And Peter it's your turn to begin again, the subject, a big hit. Will you tell us something about that, you can talk about one of your personal ones if you like, 60 seconds starting now.

PJ: No I won't talk about my personal ones because I've got to keep going for a whole minute! And if you hit the cricket ball in the Worcestershire county ground and it landed near the cathedral that would be a big hit! And probably get you into the papers. I don't know how far it is. But a big hit in the theatre of course is a difficult matter to discuss because you can run for a year and still the management lose money. Of course it's all terribly dishonest and crooked and you don't get any prizes for guessing who the villains are. Well they're certainly not the actors! Now... if I can...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: I think he hesitated.

NP: I think he did as well Neil. So you have the subject, 22 seconds are available, a big hit starting now.

NM: Imagine the scene, 1972, Chase Stadium. There am I, a little boy, watching a baseball game, a big hit is required. It is achieved...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: No it wasn't 1972. He got the idea from Paul Merton who said Geller appeared first on television in 1972. It wasn't a very eventful year altogether!

NP: What's your challenge Peter?

NM: He seems to know more about my life than I do!

NP: Yes! Have you had one of these supernatural experiences before Peter?

PJ: Not lately, no, I haven't. No, I do know Trevor McDonald rather well!


NP: That was, (laughs) that was one of his supernatural blushes he experiences. Neil I'm with you, 13 seconds available, a big hit starting now.

NM: Jim Beacham hit a home run although his name should have been pronounced Beauchamp. The Americans insisted on this rather...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of Americans.

NP: Yes you mentioned American before.

NM: Yeah.

NP: And Derek you've got in with six seconds on a big hit starting now.

DN: When Nicholas Parsons played the Swan Theatre in Worcester, he was...


NP: Ah Paul Merton...

DN: ...the most enormous hit! People cheered and formed a way from the stage door into a great limousine! And he went driving back to the metropolis throbbing with excitement, the applause still sounding in his ears, because there'd never been a bigger hit in Worcester than...


NP: Derek actually you were challenged but I let you go on, because I thought the audience were enjoying it. But Peter did actually challenge you, Peter what was your challenge?

PJ: It's so long ago!

NP: But I know it was correct.

PJ: I thought it was for his own good! I thought he'd... burst a blood vessel or something, you know.

NP: So you have two seconds on a big hit Peter starting now.

PJ: Well I think Nicholas is ...


NP: So Peter Jones managed to speak just before, just as the whistle went and gained the extra point. He has got just a little bit further ahead now of Paul Merton and Neil Mullarkey in second place, and only one point behind them is Derek Nimmo. Paul and it's your turn to begin, a good sport, will you tell us something about a good sport or a good sport or someone you know who might be a good sport, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Bowls is a good sport. Because unlike grand prix racing, you're unlikely to crash at 125 miles an hour. It seems to me that the luxurious grass that you can often play this game on is perfectly suited to that fine delicate balance where you have to judge whether your particular bowl is closer to somebody else's or whether they're going to nip in behind you. I've never played it but I'm thoroughly looking forward to the day when I first take up this remarkably good game...


NP: Neil Mullarkey challenged.

NM: I think he said game twice.

PM: Did I?

NP: You said game right at the beginning I'm afraid um Paul.

PM: Didn't I say sport at the beginning?

NP: No I think you did mention game twice. I think you did.

PM: I'm quite prepared to mention it twice if it helps the edit!

NM: You said game later and then...

PM: I probably did!

NP: Yes you did.

NM: Well I'm prepared to have bareback wrestling if you want!

PM: Well let's get this out of the way first!


NP: So I'll put it to the audience if you like?

PM: What? Me and Neil...?

NP: Not back to that subject again!

PM: They can't all come! I mean...

NP: Neil, 30 seconds on a good sport starting now.

NM: A good sport is a phrase for somebody who's prepared to take a joke. Now frankly I find that this is sometimes an excuse to allow people who do not have any time for debauchery and immoral behaviour to be shunned from polite society. I find it reprehensible...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of I find.

NP: I find, you did say that, yes yes. A good sport is back with you Paul, 13 seconds starting now.

PM: I used to like playing badminton, knocking the old shuttlecock across the net. Because the great thing about that particular sport is that you don't have to be that good at it, unlike...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of that.

NP: Yes. (laughs) He did say that a lot, that sport, that game, that thing, that thing. So Peter you got in with three seconds to go, a good sport starting now.

PJ: I know one but I'm not going to tell you who she is!


NP: You were speaking as the whistle went Peter, gained an extra point for doing so. And it now remains for me to give the final score. Well Derek Nimmo who has won many times in the 29 years that we've been playing this game didn't do so well this week. But again as I've said before, it is the contribution and not the points. Would you not agree?


NP: Yes. So Derek gave his usual fine contribution. Neil Mullarkey who has only played once before then came in with his outstanding contribution. Paul Merton who's played it quite a bit before came out with his eccentric and delightful and original contribution. And Peter Jones who has played it before but doesn't often come out with the most points. But he's achieved it this week, one point ahead of all the others, Peter Jones!

PJ: Very good!

NP: It only remains for me to thank all four of them for the wonderful contribution they give. And we also thank Jolanta Zbucki for keeping the score so well and blowing her whistle. Also Ian Messiter who created the game, Anne Jobson who produces and directs the show. And from me Nicholas Parsons, good-bye, tune in the next time we take to the air and play Just A Minute!