starring GRAHAM NORTON, TONY SLATTERY, ARTHUR SMITH and ANN BRYSON, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 20 January 1994)

NOTE: Graham Norton's first appearance, Ann Bryson's only appearance.


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Hello and welcome to Just A Minute, the orally challenging game for those who are obviously orally challenged. First, I'll introduce my guests. And my regular guest is as usual the effervescently witty, the incandescently convivial, the consistently cheerful Tony Slattery! What a masterful performance! Sitting next to Tony, a startlingly original actor, writer, comedian who has written and performed such shows as Mother Teresa's Farewell Tour, and the Karen Carpenter Bar and Grill, and all in the best possible taste, it's Graham Norton! On my right, a wonderful comedienne, actress and intergalactic space vet and ex-training hamster. She's also very well known as the dark haired one in the cream cheese adverts, the captivating Ann Bryson! And finally, a man once described by Janet Street Porter as a thoroughly irritating man neither young, attractive nor witty, so I think we can take it the wedding is off! Someone who is doing very well without Janet actually, Arthur Smith! Those are the four panellists who this week are going to try and play Just A Minute. The rules are simply ridiculous, no, I'm sorry they are ridiculously simple. But it depends on the way that you play the game. The rules such as they are is that they have to speak for Just A Minute on the subject I give them. They have to do that without hesitating, repeating anything or deviating from the subject. They can challenge at any moment. If I uphold the challenge they gain a point, and if not the one speaking gains a point. It will all become clear as we play the game, and we're starting this week with Tony Slattery. And who better, you may say? Tony Slattery, the House of Lords. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

TONY SLATTERY: Many of the peers sitting in the House of Lords have been clinically dead for 10 years. It doesn't stop them voting. Why? Because they take a peculiar form of stimulant. It's known as disgusting cream cheese, I think you know what I mean! And then they smear themselves in it. It gets all mixed up with their ermine, all their robes, and they trample...


NP: Arthur Smith's challenged.

ARTHUR SMITH: Well it's a load of rubbish, isn't it! I've never heard such a load of old tosh in my life!

NP: Well they...

AS: I'm actually about to talk it.

NP: Well it certainly was devious from the House of Lords. Because though it was a lovely idea, it was not, I don't think, very factual. Arthur you have a correct challenge, you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that, he has gained the subject, the House of Lords, starting, 40 seconds by the way, now.

AS: Do you remember that old advert? This is luxury you can afford, by Cyril Lord! Well, Cyril lives in a house in the borough of Hampstead...


NP: Ann yes?

ANN BRYSON: Two Cyrils.

NP: There were too Cyrils yes. You can't have two Cyrils in this game. Ann Bryson...

AB: Yes?

AS: You wanted that anyway.

NP: What was that?

AB: No I don't actually.

AS: Oh.

NP: Stop having a chat yourselves. We're playing Just A Minute.

AB: (mumbling to herself) The House of Lords, the House of Lords...

NP: Ann you have the subject, you've gained your first point. You have 34 seconds to tell us something about the House of Lords starting now.

AB: The House of Lords is a very large building next to the House of Commons in Westminster, which is quite near the Thames which runs along there in... oh dear!


NP: Tony Slattery.

TS: A big hesitation, I'm afraid.

NP: A big hesitation, yes.

AB: It was a big pause.

NP: I must remind our viewers that you can repeat the subject on the card, so it was all right to say House a second time. Tony you have another point, you have 25 seconds, the House of Lords starting now.

TS: The House of Lords of course is useful in terms of bringing in new legislation. For instance, should there be a bill which bans the type of shirt which Arthur Smith is wearing? I say yes and if that were put to the vote, I have no doubt that the distinguished gentlemen in their capes and leather booties, because they're hiding quite a lot of things underneath, let me tell you! Would...


NP: Who... Arthur you challenged?

AS: I want to defend this shirt. It was borrowed from Nicholas earlier this afternoon!


NP: That was the most devious thing that you've ever said Arthur! Tony you have another point for an incorrect challenge and you've every luckily got one second to go starting now.

TS: The House of Lords is one of the most...


TS: One second!

NP: That whistle tells us that 60 seconds are up and when that whistle goes...

TS: Can I just say...

NP: No, let me just tell the viewers first...

TS: Oh he's not ready now!

NP: When the whistle goes whoever is speaking gains an extra point and it was Tony Slattery. Tony what do you wish to say?

TS: Oh shut your face! I'm not going on now!

NP: Don't be so horrid! I'm trying to do a difficult job here, keep the show moving, give them the rules, and you know have a bit of fun, give him...

AS: (sings) This is a luxury you can afford, by Cyril Lord! (speaks) And then there was the carpets! (sings) Give them the treatment, the family treatment!

NP: Tony Slattery...


AB: Two treatments.

AS: Oh right.

NP: Repetition right. At the end of that round, Tony Slattery has a lead. And er who's going to go next? Graham Norton will you take the next round. The subject is tipping taxi drivers. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

GRAHAM NORTON: Tipping taxi drivers can be very dangerous because if you tip them too far out of the window, they can't see what they are doing! Or change gears or anything! They might crash the taxi into a frozen volauvent case, or something like that! Tipping taxi drivers is...


NP: Yes?

AS: The syllables are getting really elongated! Tippiiiiiiiiiiiing taxeeeeee drivaaaaaaaaaaaas!

GN: They're there, you've got to use them!

NP: I think you must have heard Kenneth Williams playing this game on the radio and are trying to emulate him! No, I think we were getting close to hesitation. Arthur I give you the benefit of the doubt, 38 seconds are left for you to tell us something about tipping taxi drivers starting now.

AS: Tipping taxeee drivaaaaaaas....


NP: Ah?

GN: Hesitation! Elongated vowels!

NP: Yes, yes, hoisted on his own petard...

AS: That was parody!

NP: I know it was, but it was also hesitation.

AS: You wouldn't recognise that, would you?

NP: A man who wears a shirt like that cannot say a thing like that.

AS: Oh, not the old shirt gag again!

NP: Right, 35 seconds, with you Graham, tipping taxi drivers starting now.

GN: Tipping taxi drivers can cost you a bomb if you give them a lot of money. I don't give them very much myself because they never know the way to my house because I live in a rather obscure suburb. But it's tree-lined and the taxi drivers do like that because it's nice and shady...


NP: Ann...

AB: Becauses, quite a few.

NP: Yes you said because more than once.

GN: Oh!

NP: Well listened Ann, yes, you've got in on the subject of tipping taxi drivers, there are 20 seconds left...

AB: Twenty?

NP: ..starting now.

AB: Tipping taxi drivers can be very good because they don't often earn very much money and they're also say things like "can't take you south of the river"...


TS: That's bloody deviation, they earn a bomb!


NP: Have we got any taxi drivers in the audience? No we haven't.

AB: Yes there's one over there, he says he doesn't earn very much at all.

AS: Yeah, can you take Nicholas Parsons home?


NP: I don't think we can judge on whether they earn a bomb. Some probably earn a lot, some don't, so I don't think technically she was deviating. So Ann you have the benefit of the doubt, you have a point, 14 seconds on the subject starting now.

AB: Tipping taxi drivers is very good if you want to get a receipt. Because then they say (in Cockney accent) "oh love, would you like a couple more for the tax man..."


NP: Oh!

AS: She's patronising the working classes!

AB: Why?

AS: (in even broader Cockney accent) Well you were talking like that...

AB: I was being a cheeky chirpy chappie!

AS: My Dad used to be a taxi driver!

AB: No he didn't!

AS: No he didn't, you're right! He might have been!

NP: You had rather devious thoughts there. Ann I disagree with the challenge, you have another point and six seconds on the subject starting now.

AB: There's a man who lives across the road from me called Paul and he's a taxi driver and I like to phone him up and ask him if he will take me to lots of...


NP: Right! Ann Bryson was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so and she has taken the lead at the end of that round, she's now two ahead of Tony Slattery. Arthur Smith will you take the next round, the subject is the Chamber of Horrors. Good subject Arthur, will you tell us something about it in 60 seconds... I see you're girding yourself up! What is coming forward from this icon of the comedy scene? Sixty seconds starting now.

AS: In my Chamber of Horrors there are these enormous teeth! These great gnashers bite into my legs, quite frequently. And I find that quite disconcerting! Another thing about what happens in the Chamber of Horrors in my bedroom is this enormous woman in...


NP: Tony yes?

TS: There were two enormouses.

NP: I know Tony, so you had a correct challenge and you have 22 seconds to take over the Chamber of Horrors starting now.

TS: Weirdly I know the person to whom Arthur refers. And yes, she comes from Switzerland. She's not married. In this country she is a fair Swiss maid. And she also appears in pantomime...


AB: I'm sorry, Switzerland and Swiss, sorry, I was wrong, sorry.

NP: It doesn't matter, don't apologise.

AB: Okay.

NP: You're keen, that's what we like.

AB: Sorry, I won't apologise, sorry.

NP: You look so protective. Don't...

AS: It's all right. He'll hit you! Leave her alone!

NP: If someone's interrupted they do gain a point so Tony has another point for that, 11 seconds on the Chamber of Horrors starting now.

TS: A lot of people mistake the House of Lords for a Chamber of Horrors. Because it's full of corpses frankly! Let's not beat about the bush! Many of them, their hearts have stopped! But nevertheless, inside along the acid bath murderers of Nicholas...


NP: I've just stopped him saying something... Anyway Tony Slattery was again speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so and he's gone back into the lead. Arthur the subject is alternative uses for Buckingham Palace. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

AS: An immense toilet is the obvious gag that comes to mind...


AS: ...and appears to get a laugh so I'm glad I said it! Another alternative use for Buckingham Palace or Buck House as some of us know it is to palm off a load of cheap trips which are worth nothing for foreign tourists to go around fondling corgis, having a miserable time, paying more money in to the bloody Queen's coffer while avoiding taxes to pay for the likes of this. So therefore I propose that Buckingham Palace be turned into an enormous outhouse in which the nation's homeless can defile themselves in political disgust at the system...


AS: Oh, thank God for that!

NP: Yes?

TS: Oh I'm sorry, that was so brilliant that I let it go. But there were two enormouses right at the beginning.

NP: I know, I know, it was enormous, wasn't it. Yes he did say it.

AB: Immense, wasn't it?

AS: It was an immense, it was immense.

AB: It was immense.

TS: Oh I withdraw my challenge! You'll have to start again!

AS: And furthermore I'd like to say that...

NP: No, therefore Arthur you'll have to carry on...

TS: Yes!

AS: Oh God!

NP: You get a point for an incorrect challenge. It was alternative uses for Buckingham Palace and there are 15 seconds left starting now.

AS: Another alternative use for Buckingham Palace would be to shave yourself and make all the little hairs that have come off your face into a tiny little doll's house. That would be very exciting indeed for no-one at all, except possibly me who is wittering on endlessly. Just as the Royal family has done for centuries now. The Russians, they know how to treat a Royal family! That's what I say and so does Jack Dee, because I stole that joke from him in the first place! It's funny how long minutes can last sometimes! As Marcel Proust wrote in his memorable book, Alance Ce Chef Tepon Pardeux which goes (launches into a stream of French gibberish)


NP: Well you stretched that 15 seconds to another 45 seconds! And so you went for actually another whole minute after that. So Arthur the audience enjoyed it. He gains another point because we were very wicked and let him go on and on. So we give him two points for all that, well done Arthur. The next round is slightly different. I don't give them a subject, we present them with an object.


NP: We present them with an object! Funny looking object, my goodness, what is that? What they have to do now is to talk about that object, describe it if they can. They might know what it is, they might not. Let's find out. Graham Norton, would you start. You have 60 seconds as usual, tell us something about the object starting now.

GN: This object is a jaunty handbag made from ostrich egg. The owner can retrieve it if they'd like to come down afterwards, because I see there's a little name written on it there which I can't see from this distance. In this handbag you could carry such...


NP: Arthur you challenged.

AS: A bit of the Lady Bracknell, two handbags!

GN: That's true. I'm a fool!

NP: Yes he repeated handbag, and he was completely devious because he did not tell us what it was. Arthur there are 43 seconds for you to tell us something about this object starting now.

AS: It is indisputably true that this object is a love egg... What you use it for...


NP: Ann you challenged.

AB: There was a bit of a pause after...

AS: Thank God really!

AB: I wish I hadn't challenged actually because I don't really know what it is.

TS: It's a bit big for a love egg really! It's no-one I know!

AS: It's from Switzerland!

NP: Ann you still have to talk about it...

AB: Eating it for tea might be a bit tricky too!

NP: And you still have to speak even if you don't know what it is.

AB: All right then.

NP: And there are 37 seconds, the object is there starting now.

AB: The object looks like a hand grenade which is a bit odd. And I wish somebody would interrupt me because that's about all I have to say on this subject...


AB: Thank you.

NP: Graham has challenged.

GN: I'm just challenging to please Ann!

AB: Bless you, bless you!

NP: And you have a point for that, a correct challenge because she paused. And deviated and the subject is with you, the object is with you, 31 seconds starting now.

GN: This is the sort of Easter egg you produce every year which is very handy for hunts. In the back garden which can be sponsored for charity work or you could just have a for hey-coo-la, the fun of it, with the kids looking under shrubs...


TS: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, you sounded really good. But hey-hoo-la? Anyone could say that!

GN: I did!

TS: I could say lookity-boo-doo-wah-loo! And it would still be gibberish!

GN: But I wouldn't challenge you!

NP: So what is your challenge?

TS: It was deviation from the English language because they were just nonsense syllables strung together.

NP: It was also deviation from the subject.

TS: Yeah.

GN: What? The object?

AB: What object?

NP: The object is the subject.

GN: Yeah but I'm talking about it.

AB: What is it?

NP: Ah you can get a bonus point if you get it right. Tony, correct challenge, 12 seconds, the object's there, starting now.

TS: This comes from a very early and naff episode of Doctor Who, entitled Terror of the Unfrightening Ceramic Thing! Yes with Jon Pertwee. The world was threatened by these dreadful artefacts as they...


NP: Tony Slattery was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so, and he's now equal in the lead with Ann Bryson. Anyone of you can gain a bonus point if you can actually tell me what the object is. Anyone want to have a quick guess, gain a bonus point?

AB: Has it got rum inside it?

NP: No, no, it's something...

TS: It's something to do with St Bernard dogs.

NP: No, it's something to do with royalty.

TS: It's a hand warmer!

NP: Yes! Yes it's Queen Victoria's muff warmer!


TS: No... I swear... No wonder she was always sitting down.


NP: They may well take it away, yes! Actually that's what it said on the card in front of me. It would have been more delicate if they'd said Queen Victoria's... (laughs) hand warmer... hand muff warmer!

GN: No it wouldn't!

TS: She didn't have her hands in there as well, did she? My God!

GN: That's capacious!

NP: And with any luck, I might still be working on television next week! But I may have blown it completely with that last remark of mine. The audience enjoyed it anyway. So with that last point that Tony Slattery got it, it put him one point in the lead ahead of Ann Bryson. And we now move to the commercial break. And after that seriously disturbing display of man's inhumanity to man, and woman, we take a breather and patch our differences. Stay tuned and we'll see you, or more likely you will see us after this.




NP: Welcome back to Just A Minute, the game that we literally make up as we go along, except the rules of course that I make up. So what should we do next? I'll tell you what we'll do next, we'll take a subject from our audience. They will suggest a subject on which they would like one of our panellists to speak. Have we got any ideas, any thoughts? Yes, the gentleman at the back there, what is your subject sir?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Not tonight Josephine.

NP: That's quite a good one, yes. Is that from memory? What about the lady with the long hair, yes? Stand up please.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What the Thames Barrier reminds me of.

NP: Yes not bad. Bit intellectual. The lady behind you, yes?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What I caught on holiday.

NP: Oh yes, oh yes. On this side on the audience, yes?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Favourite ball games.

NP: Ball games. My goodness me, right. Well Ann we're going to ask you... Do any of those subjects appeal to you because I think we;re going to ask you to start.

AB: Thanks, probably what I caught on holiday.

NP: Yes I think so, right.

AB: Fresh in my mind.

NP: Fresh in your mind. All right Ann, will you take, begin the subject, what I caught on holiday, 60 seconds starting now.

AB: What I caught on holiday was a very large fish, when I went out on a boat with the Italian waiter from the hotel where I was staying. He asked me if I would like to go out on the thing on the sea, and I said "that would be very pleasant, thank you very much". He then decided...


AB: Yes it was rubbish!

NP: Arthur Smith.

AS: She's just ripped off the plot from Shirley Valentine!

NP: What is your challenge?

AS: It's deviation and rubbish generally!

NP: No I think it's quite true. She did repeat a couple of things but um nobody challenged her for that. So therefore she keeps the subject...


AS: Repetition!

NP: Too late now Arthur, your first challenge is the only one I can accept. There are 44 seconds left Ann, you have another point...

AB: Oh, I carry on?

NP: Yes you carry on because I don't accept the challenge.

AB: Do I have to keep on the same, can I change...

AS: Well she meets, er what's her name, Paula...

AB: Yes!

AS: ... and then they get together...

NP: What I caught on holiday, 44 seconds starting now.

AB: What I caught on holiday was an Italian count. I caught him...


NP: Tony Slattery.

TS: Two Italians.

NP: You had too many Italians on your holiday.

AB: Oh of course...

TS: An Italian waiter and an Italian count.

NP: An Italian waiter yes.

TS: What a holiday that was!

NP: All those Italians! Right, 41 seconds, what I caught on holiday Tony starting now.

TS: Curiously and depressingly, what I caught on holiday...


AS: I don't know if it is that curious! Given interestingly wasn't good enough for you. Adverbs are clearly a bit dangerous!

NP: I know! But ...

AS: I don't think it's curious! Whatever it is, I'm not at all curious about it.

NP: You've made your point, Arthur you've made your point. But as I said when it happened to you, he's not deviating from the rules of the game. So he gets a point for being interrupted and continues for 39 seconds, what I caught on holiday starting now.

TS: In my lonely hotel room, I was unlucky enough to catch the reruns of Sale of the Century! Naturally enough I was tempted to take my own life! And so I fled from the balcony and soared into the air like Icarus and to may amazement I found that I could fly and I was not made of wax. And so I...


NP: Ann Bryson.

AB: It's not what he caught on holiday really, is it?

NP: Yes, he's now deviated, flying...

AB: Little bit of deviation

NP: Off the balcony into a world of fantasy, dream, surrealism. Right, 22 seconds for you Ann, take over the subject starting now.

AB: When I went on holiday to Greece, I also went out with another man who served at table. And he was very pleasant too and offered me taramasalata and hummus and sasaki...


NP: Ah Graham?

GN: When are we getting to the caught bit?

TS: Yes! Thank you missus!

AB: All right.

NP: Yes, what I caught on holiday yes.

AB: All right, I was coming to that.

NP: Eleven seconds for you Graham to tell us something about what I caught on holiday starting now.

GN: What I caught on holiday was a nasty disease which seemed not to have a name. Certainly none that the foreign doctor, wouldn't you know it on holiday, could tell me about...


NP: Graham Norton was then speaking as the whistle went, gaining an extra point for doing so. But he's still in fourth place. As we move into the final round, Ann Bryson, our first time player of the game, is only one point behind our leader who is still Tony Slattery. Graham Norton it is your turn to begin, the subject, the old lady of Threadneedle Street. Will you tell us something about her in this game starting now.

GN: The old lady of Threadneedle Street needs a good wash. Her personal hygiene leaves a lot to be desired. I don't believe she possesses a deodorant, not even an average, over the counter roll-on...


AS: I think this is deviation. I used to go out with the old lady of Threadneedle Street and her personal hygiene was very very good, in fact.

GN: That's relative Arthur!

AS: Relative to me, true, she's filthy!

NP: It could have been a different old lady you were thinking of Arthur. I disagree with the challenge so Graham you have another point...

AS: Oh!

NP: You have the subject, the old lady of Threadneedle Street, 48 seconds starting now.

GN: The old lady of Threadneedle Street loves to jaunt around up the capitale on her mobilette, a sort of French moped. Yeehah, look at her get her leg over it, and jet down, ignoring bus lanes and taxi ranks, one way systems, what have you! The old lady of Threadneedle Street is a favourite at the House of Fraser where she adores wandering willy-nilly, hey hoo-rah, towards the lingerie department...


TS: I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!

GN: It was worth a try!

TS: It was just back to this middle European foreign language again. Hey-hoobadoo doopaleedoodoodo bom!

NP: Hey-hoopa-rah?

GN: See! He says it!

TS: It's hardly a measure of normality, is it?

NP: Oh come on, I was just about to give you the benefit of the doubt there. So what was your challenge Tony?

TS: It was um deviation because there was some sort of nonsense syllables.

NP: Yes I think he was getting away from the old lady of Threadneedle Street. Fifteen seconds for you Tony on the subject starting now.

TS: The old lady of Threadneedle Street is in fact me. I now admit that I dress like the...


NP: Ann Bryson.

AB: It's rubbish! He's not.

NP: I think it is rubbish.

AB: He's not.

NP: I don't think he looks a bit like the old lady of Threadneedle Street, the real one or the fictitious one.

AS: I used to go out with him as well!

NP: Ann you have a correct challenge, there are nine seconds and you could win the game if you keep going for those nine seconds, because it's very close, starting now.

AB: The old lady of Threadneedle Street is not Tony Slattery as he mentioned earlier. It is in fact a fictitious character from historical times...


NP: Ann Bryson speaking when the whistle went gained an extra point for doing so and we have come to the end of the contest such as it was. Equal in the lead were Ann Bryson and Tony Slattery, so we say they are our joint winners this week! So it only remains to say good-bye. So from Tony Slattery, from Graham Norton, from Ann Bryson and Arthur Smith and me Nicholas Parsons, we hope you enjoyed the show. And we hope you'll join us next time we launch ourselves into your living rooms to play Just A Minute. Until then from all of us here good-bye.