starring TONY SLATTERY, JIM SWEENEY, LEE SIMPSON and TONY BLACKBURN, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 10 February 1994)

NOTE: Tony Blackburn's first appearance, Jim Sweeney's first television appearance, Lee Simpson's first television appearance.


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Hello and welcome to Just A Minute, the game of oral proficiency in which who dares doesn't always win and virtue is not necessarily its own reward. But first my guests. Tonight I have with me my regular accomplice, the Dolly Cray of alternative comedy, Tony Slattery. Next to Tony, a man who started out as a pirate DJ on Radio Caroline, whose voice was the first ever to be heard on Radio One. His name is synonymous with pop music, as well as a town on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal with a population of 88,000 and whose chief industries are engineering, textiles, electronics and paper manufacturing. It could only be Tony Blackburn! On my right, a Comedy Store Player, one of the masters of improvised comedy, though he's not above learning a script. He co-starred with Julian Clary in Terry and Julian, and performed in the film Nuns On The Run. The highly original and very funny Lee Simpson! Lastly, another member of the Comedy Store Players. He's appeared on Whose Line Is It Anyway, one of the godfathers of unscripted comedy since before that programme was invented. He's also appeared in other television shows including Black Adder and One Foot In the Grave, it is Jim Sweeney! They are going to try and play Just A Minute, the rules of which are very easy, until you try to play the game. I ask them to speak on a subject and they try and do that without hesitation, repeating anything or deviating from the subject. They can repeat the subject on the card, that's all they can do. They can challenge when they wish. If I uphold the challenge, they gain a point, and if not the one who is speaking gains a point. Let us begin the show this week with Tony Slattery. Tony, ah, a good subject, a try at Twickenham. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TONY SLATTERY: When I was a schoolboy, I used to be reasonably proficient at rugby. Not because of my speed or skill, it was just that I was so heavy. Also I played the game when I was 24 and my opponents were all 13! But i often used to dream...


NP: Yes Tony?

TONY BLACKBURN: How do you know all your opponents were 13? I think deviation.

TS: Oooohhh!

TB: Well not all of them would have been 13, not necessarily. I mean there might have been somebody who was 13....

NP: All right, I think you made your point Tony, yes. You haven't played the game before and you've been pretty sharp.

TB: Well I just really wanted to say good evening anyway!

NP: A sharp challenge, but for a first time player we grant you that. So you get a point for a correct challenge, you take over the subject, there are 45 seconds left, a try at Twickenham starting now.

TB: I quite like Twickenham, or I...


NP: Yes...

LEE SIMPSON: How do we know he likes Twickenham? He might not like Twickenham at all.

TB: No...

LS: How do we know?

TB: I've been to Twickenham, I liked it very much.

LS: How do we know he likes Twickenham?

NP: If we're going to proceed like this, we won't get anywhere, will we. No, he can say what he likes, he can go on any flight of fantasy if he wishes. He quite likes Twickenham, whether you know it doesn't really matter. We don't care whether he likes Twickenham or not...

TB: Between you and I, I'm not mad about it.

NP: Try and keep talking, you've got a point by the way for an incorrect challenge.

TB: Oh good.

NP: Forty-three seconds are left, a try at Twickenham starting now.

TB: The only problem with tries at Twickenham is when you're trying to get on the M3 Motorway which I quite often have to do on Saturdays because I quite often go down to the...


NP: Tony Slattery challenged.

TS: Repetition of quite often.

NP: Yes you were quite often.

TB: But I do quite often go down the M3 motorway.

TS: Yes.

NP: He quite often said it. Right, 33 seconds are left with Tony Slattery, a try at Twickenham starting now.

TS: Anyway back to the try at Twickenham. Often afterwards in the shower, we'd flick each others bottoms with towels, and coat hangers, and run up and down the backs of opposing players in cricket...


NP: Jim Sweeney.

JIM SWEENEY: I'm very sorry, I was carried away with it! Sorry! Lost control of my hand!

NP: I know! Jim, as the audience applause showed how much they enjoyed the challenge, though it was incorrect, we will give you a bonus point for your comment.

JS: Thank you.

NP: But of course Tony gets a point for being interrupted, keeps the subject, 23 seconds for a try at Twickenham starting now.

TS: It's weird you say that, Jim, because I often used... to lose control of my hand...


TB: Hesitation.

NP: That was hesitation.

TS: Oh he's so aggressive!

NP: He is so aggressive.

TS: Hesitation!

TB: Well I've listened to you for so many years on the radio...

TS: Oh stop sucking up!

TB: It might get me a point.

NP: Well you've got a point, you have a point for a correct challenge, you have 20 seconds to talk about a try at Twickenham starting now.

TB: When I used to play at Twickenham myself, many many years ago... oh...


NP: Tony Slattery.

TS: Repetition of many.

NP: Yes.

TB: Yes. I'm glad you spotted that!

NP: So Tony Slattery got in first, 16 seconds are left, a try at Twickenham starting now.

TS: Often the soap used to be lost in the communal bath. And it used to take me back to the days when (starts to laugh)....


NP: Yes...

LS: Used to.

NP: Used, yes, well listened Lee, repetition.

LS: I don't know how I knew that. It just came to me in a flash.

NP: I know.

LS: It was dressed in a red jacket.

NP: Right so Lee, you got in very cleverly with 10 seconds on a try at Twickenham starting now.

LS: The most important thing is the slide, of course. The last 10 yards as you dive forward on to the grass and you just rub your belly faster as you go down towards the line. The ball is in your hands and you feel the roar of the crowd...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Lee Simpson, but he's still in second place. Tony Slattery, no it isn't. Tony Blackburn, a first time player of the game, he's the Tony in the lead...

TS: Did you go into Welsh? (in Welsh high pitched accent) Tony Black-burn! In the lead!

NP: (in Liverpool accent) Well it should have been like that because it's Tony Blackburn, it's Tony Blackburn in the lead, you know, he comes from the north...

TB: What do you call, what do you call a Welshman with a biscuit on his head? Dai Gestive.

TS: You're fired!

NP: Right, I can take points away for bad jokes, you do know that.

TB: Oh I'm sorry.

NP: Tony Blackburn, we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is going to the dogs. As he should do with that last joke of his, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

TB: I've been going to the dogs for many years. Wembley is a great place to see the dogs because while you're watching them, you can also have a great meal. The last time I went there, I started off with minestrone soup. Then I remember I followed with a wonderful... er...


TS: Ah a bit of hesitation after wonderful.

TB: I was going to go through the whole menu though as well.

NP: You'd already repeated most of it. I don't mean literally... it doesn't matter. Forty-three seconds for you Tony Slattery, having got another point for a correct challenge, on going to the dogs starting now.

TS: Ah I suppose the phrase going to the dogs is often used a sort of linguistic synonym for something which is being corrupted or in fact generally dismantling itself in terms of good operations. Like a civilisation can often be filled...


NP: Tony Blackburn.

TB: I don't understand what he's talking about! Deviation!

NP: No...

TS: You're a DJ! You can only understand words of one syllable!

NP: Tony Blackburn, you can speak in any way you wish as long as you don't deviate from the subject. You can say whatever rubbish or whatever flights of surreal fantasy that you wish to indulge in. And Slattery was doing exactly that and he therefore gets another point for your challenge. Right, 29 seconds, Tony Slattery, going to the dogs starting now.

TS: So the Greco-Roman Empire which could have been said to have gone to the dogs with luxury, blasphemy and the use of lead piping which made them all impotent so they couldn't procreate properly. But eventually they went to the dogs because they indulged themselves, of course they had some beautiful architecture as well. But all the time their appetites were being sated continually by sex and lust and all the other things I mentioned before. But the point about it was that when the aforesaid civilisations decided to not really follow their own...


TB: What's all this got to do with dogs? I mean it's...

NP: I didn't actually signal you to challenge, I wanted to see how long he could keep going! He's been going for over a minute already!


NP: Right! Tony Slattery should, or he was speaking when the whistle should have gone, so he gets an extra point for that and he's now in the lead. Now Jim Sweeney will you take...

JS: Hello!

NP: Hello Jim.

JS: I'm still here!

NP: Still here...

JS: I hailed a cab.

NP: That's right, so the cab's waiting Jim, don't worry. Jim the subject is Sloan Rangers. I'm sure you have a lot of personal experience of that so will you tell us something about them in this game starting now.

JS: Sloan Rangers are I suppose a phenomenon of the late 70s and the early 80s. People going around dressed in barbers with their hair swished back under an expensive band, riding around on bicycles up and down the Kings Road wearing expensive pearls...


NP: Tony...

JS: I said expensive, didn't I.

TS: There was a repetition of wearing as well, I think.

NP: Yes...

TS: Wearing at barbers and wearing...

JS: Oooohhh!

TS: But you see, if I don't buzz, then it seems patronising.

NP: I know.

TS: I mean obviously I don't buzz Tony, but...

NP: And I explain I get letters and say why didn't I tell them. Anyway 49 seconds for you Slattery on Sloan Rangers starting now.

TS: The Gulf DTI was often considered to be a (gets tongue tied) of the Sloan Ranger along with tasselled loafers, as Jim Sweeney has been saying. Trop!


JS: He said trop!

LS: Trop!

JS: Well that was all three of them wasn't it! That's the lot.

NP: I think so yes, hesitation, repetition and deviation. But I can't give you three points Jim. You came in with 35 seconds to go, Sloan Rangers starting now.

JS: I strongly suspect that we can blame Sloan Rangers for the creation of an appalling drink called the spritzer. People often buy this in pubs. I can't understand why when there are perfectly adequate amounts of beer available from any of them to drink in vast amounts...


NP: Lee Simpson.

LS: Drink, repetition of drink.

NP: Yes, yes, repetition of drink, and also deviating from Sloan Rangers because you were on to spritzers now. You see.

LS: Oh right.

NP: Anyway you have the subject.

JS: But you get a point.

LS: Oh yeah, thanks. Is that all right with you? Is that right with you.

NP: All right with you?

LS: It's all right, we'll handle it.

NP: I thought you'd said he moved you, I wondered where you wanted to go. Right, 25 seconds for you Lee on Sloan Rangers starting now.

LS: During the 80s I was living in a very small bedsit in South Kent. We watched them go up and down the road on their bikes. And I got my blood to boiling point. I hated them all because they had houses and I didn't. It was working class prejudices of the highest order. I once went out on the streets and tried to start a revolution against the Sloan Rangers. I decided pearls should be banned in single streams around a crew neck jumper there. And the turned-up shirts with the stripy bits on the end. And as I said the bands that fall with the patterns around the blonde hair that is swept back from the face. The skin was so good, well scrubbed, I felt...


NP: Well done! Well done! Lee Simpson...

LS: I felt very passionately about it!

NP: I know, and you kept going magnificently on the subject without hesitating, repeating yourself or deviating. And when the whistle went, he gained an extra point. He's now in second place behind Tony Slattery. And I think it's your turn to begin Lee. Yes, Lee Simpson, oh yes a lovely subject, Cleopatra's needle, will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

LS: There it stands on the banks of the Thames, tall, proud, erect. A tribute to the man who was one of the greatest ancient Romans of all time, Mark Antony. He joined the House of Tolomy in his wars against lepers and Octavius, in his battle for domination of the Roman Empire. The Battle of Actar was the precise battle. Done...


NP: Jim Sweeney.

JS: Too many battles.

LS: Yes.

NP: Yes too many battles. I was enjoying it actually.

JS: I bet you were.

NP: Yes.

JS: It's my go!

NP: Right! Jim Sweeney, yes you have a correct challenge, another point, 44 seconds, Cleopatra's needle, starting now.

JS: It does stand tall, proud and erect beside the Thames. As I have often done on many nights when I've had too much coming back from the pub that doesn't serve spritzers but only serves beer. Cleopatra's needle, what does it mean and why is it there? I don't know because I didn't pay attention in school. If I had I could perhaps tell you all now why that very thing is standing eegegegegee...


NP: Oh yes there comes a point where you can't continue. Right...

TS: A bit of hesitation there.

NP: Right, 26 seconds for Cleopatra's needle with Tony Slattery, starting now.

TS: Cleopatra's needle in fact refers to one single spasm of ironic cruel cynicism from that great Queen. When Mark Antony came into the room wearing her peek-a-boo bra, and she said "oh get you! You can't go around like that!" And she got the needle and said "you're meant to be butch with your short skirt and your funny littler toga hanging...


NP: So Tony Slattery kept going until the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so and has increased his lead at the end of the round. And now instead of giving our panellists a subject, I'm going to offer them an object.


NP: And it's coming up now through the black hole there and it's spinning round. There's an object, I know none of you have seen it before. You may have it seen before, but we want you to talk about it. Jim Sweeney will you begin, there's the object, 60 seconds starting now.

JS: It would be a great pleasure for me to have an object such as this in my house. I feel that it is empty and vacant without such a thing as this in my house...


NP: Tony Slattery.

TS: Repetition I'm afraid.

NP: Yes. There's the object Tony, 52 seconds are left, tell us something about it starting now.

TS: This award doesn't really belong to me. There's a vast army of people behind the scenes who contributed to my winning this, the Namibian Palmdoor for best actress, 1932, supporting name. It was a performance I gave in the remake of the African Prince in which I starred opposite Keith Chegwin...

NP: Tony, challenge! Challenge!


NP: No, someone else has challenged. Jim Sweeney, yes?

JS: Well there was a big pause when you were going "challenge"! I saw that little window and I leapt in there! My go!

NP: Right! You were a bit slow there Tony.

TB: I don't know what it is!

NP: Well you could have had him for deviation because it was wrong. Right, Jim Sweeney you got in first on the hesitation, 30 seconds, tell us more about this object starting now.

JS: It would indeed be wonderful to receive an award such as this for your acting ability, though it is very unlikely that I will ever do so, because I don't really have much of the skill in the direction of performing...


NP: Tony Blackburn.

TB: Well sorry, he just really messed the whole thing up really. I don't know what you call that.

NP: Deviation.

TB: Deviation.

NP: Because it's got nothing to do with what this thing really is.

TB: No, not really.

NP: I'm glad you spotted that. Right Tony, you've got 21 seconds, tell us something about this object starting now.

TB: This object is something I would be very proud to have at home. I wouldn't quite know what to do with it but I'd put it on the mantelpiece and look at it for a long time. And when I...


NP: Lee Simpson.

LS: Was that hesitation or not?

NP: That was hesitation Lee yes, so 11 seconds left, so we're going to hear from you about this object and you start now.

LS: This is obviously a competition lemon squeezer. You stand it on the side of a river and you throw a half a lemon very hard...


NP: Ah yes...

TS: Repetition of lemon.

LS: Really.

NP: Two lemons, yes, yes, yes. Six seconds, Tony Slattery, tell us more about this object starting now.

TS: Do you remember the Clangers? This was one of the things that was up in space along with the soup dragon. The noise it made was wheep like that, not terribly frightening but...


NP: So Tony Slattery was then speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point for doing so and has increased his lead at the end of the round. If anybody has any idea or can get approximately close to what this object actually is, I'll give them a bonus point. Have you any idea? With what do you think it's particularly associated, I'll give you a point for that.

TS: Is it electricity and aerodynamics?

NP: You are right, it's a electrostatic-collector.

JS: Oh yes!

NP: Yes!

LS: I've got one at the back of the cupboard at home! I've got one!

NP: It collects electrostatic.

TS: Ah!

NP: So anyway you said electricity.

TS: Yes.

NP: I'll give you a bonus point for that.

TS: Thank you.

JS: For just saying electricity?

NP: Well, electrostatic-collector, it's connected with electricity, so ah...

TB: Have many people bought this?

NP: No, it's used in the science department.

TB: Oh is it?

NP: At London School, it's used in the science department at London School, oh a London school, it's come from the science department at... it's terribly boring, isn't it! Some of the audience are beginning to...

TS: Can I just say...

NP: Yes?

TS: Has it come from the science department at a London school?

NP: I can't give you a bonus point for spotting that. I'm very sorry Tony. Right...

JS: Electricity!

NP: Electricity, well done Jim! You worked it out! Yes! And have you got something to add Tony? No? Thank God for that! Right! Some of the audience are beginning to form a queue by the ice cream ladies so there must be an interval coming up. Don't go away, we'll see you after this.




NP: Welcome back to Just A Minute. And we're going to go right into the next subject which is for Tony Blackburn. Tony, ah, I see why they've chosen this subject for you. It's pirate radio. Tell us something about pirate radio in 60 seconds starting now.

TB: I can remember my first experience of being on a pirate radio ship when we we were anchored on this ship...


NP: Lee Simpson.

LS: Repetition of ship.

NP: Yes that's right Lee, the subject is pirate radio, not pirate radio ship. So a point to you Lee Simpson, and you have 52 seconds for pirate radio starting now.

LS: I went to see a musical called The Pirates of Penzance full of merry pirates strutting around the stage...


NP: Tony Blackburn.

TB: It's nothing about pirate radio, deviation from the subject.

NP: Deviation, I think we'll give you the benefit of the doubt as you probably know more about radio. Forty-five seconds, pirate radio, with you Tony starting now.

TB: I was also on the pirate ship Radio London which was anchored two and a half miles...


NP: Yes?

TS: Repetition of anchored, you said that in the first place.

NP: Anchored, yes, 40 seconds, pirate radio starting now.

TS: Tony Blackburn's career on private (bursts into laughter)


NP: Yes?

JS: He said private instead of pirate.

NP: Thirty-seven seconds for you, Jim Sweeney, on pirate radio starting now.

JS: I remember we used to both Radio London and Caroline. Drifting between the two, they both seemed to be very exciting stations at the time and offered a very good alternative...


TS: Sorry, a bit harsh, but two verys quite close together.

NP: Yes, two verys.

TS: Very exciting.

NP: Yes.

JS: It's all right Tony. Enjoy the point!

NP: Twenty-nine seconds, pirate radio starting now.

TS: Self-neglect (bursts into laughter)


NP: Yes...

JS: Ah hesitation, grumbly bumbly!

NP: This is obviously the way they're going to get this fine player of the game. If they keep challenging him, and then he stumbles, doesn't it. Yes. Twenty-six seconds, pirate radio, Jim Sweeney, starting now.

JS: It did offer an alternative to Luxembourg which also used to be listened to late at night with. It was very difficult to tune into...


TS: Repetition of very.

NP: You said very last...

JS: It's my favourite word! I'm being sponsored by the Very Society. the money's going to charity I can tell you, Slattery.

NP: Right, but you said it before so it is repetition within this game. Twenty-one seconds, Tony Slattery, back with you, pirate radio starting now.

TS: In the 17th century, many pirates used to call themselves understandable things like Bluebeard and Captain Blood. There was however a very nancy pirate called Pirate Radio who used to swing about with his sycmeter and abduct...


NP: Yes, Tony Blackburn?

TB: I don't believe it! It's deviation from the subject.

NP: no, but he did hesitate, didn't he.

TB: He did hesitate.

NP: Yes that's right.

TB: I'm glad you spotted that.

NP: Yes, well you can have it, Tony Blackburn, eight seconds, tell us more about pirate radio starting now.

TB: We used to be out on the North Sea with 15 Dutch seamen for at least...


NP: That is deviation.

TS: That is deviation! Dutch Seamen!

TB: Yes we were.

NP: Right, Tony Slattery, we give you a point because we enjoyed the challenge, but we don't take it away from you Tony Blackburn. You get a point for being interrupted, you have four seconds to keep going on pirate radio starting now.

TB: The amazing thing is that we had to go through Customs, because officially...


NP: Yes Tony Slattery?

TS: It's not amazing!

TB: Well it amazed us.

TS: Did it?

TB: It's one of the most amazing things that's ever happened to me.

TS: What a sad life!

NP: So Tony Blackburn, another point to you, one second to continue on the subject starting now.

TB: When we went on board the ship...


NP: So Tony Blackburn started with the subject of pirate radio and somehow in spite of interruptions still finished with it. And we're moving into the final round and I think Lee it's your turn to begin. Oh yes, a good subject to finish on, breaking into Buckingham Palace. Lee will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

LS: Her Majesty the Queen is well-known for her strict ideas on the bringing up of young people. And when the Princes and Princesses were teenagers, what were they to do? Now their escapades were recorded in fact in a song by the Smiths. The song was in an album called The Queen Is Dead. An album which was bought by the Queen...


NP: Ah yes?

TS: Repetition of album then.

LS: Was it?

NP: And Queen, I'm afraid, yes. Twenty-seven seconds for you Tony Slattery, breaking into Buckingham Palace starting now.

TS: Breaking into Buckingham Palace is so easy. All you have to do is go up to one of the guards, and...


NP: Ah...

TB: I don't think you can go up to the guards, because I think they're on the inside now. Well you know, call me Mister Picky if you like, but I think that's, that's true.

JS: Mister Picky!

LS: Mister Picky!

NP: No, that to some extent is what the game is about. So Tony you have a correct challenge, 18 seconds, tell us something about breaking into Buckingham Palace starting now.

TB: I don't really think there's any point in breaking into Buckingham Palace. Because certainly in August you can go there officially. You can pay to go in and...


NP: Jim Sweeney.

JS: I was going to say he said you twice, but that's not really fair, is it.

NP: It is if he said it twice. Anyway...

TB: I don't think I did say it twice.

JS: Right! Outside!

NP: You did say it twice. Anyway whether you said it or not, we're going to have the last 11 seconds from Jim Sweeney on breaking into Buckingham Palace starting now.

JS: Breaking into Buckingham Palace was first really carried out by Michael Fagan, many years ago when he broke into the Queen's bedroom and sat down, apparently at the end of the bed whilst opening a bottle of wine and chatting to the said person who I mentioned earlier on...


NP: So Jim Sweeney did keep going until the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so, and as I said before, we have no more time to play Just A Minute. Lee Simpson and Jim Sweeney, our two Comedy Store Players finished equal together in third place. Tony Blackburn, who's never played the game before, was in a very good second place. But just ahead was Tony Slattery, he is our winner this week Tony Slattery! Well the elastic band that drives the propeller of our little show is getting rather slack so it's time to say good night. So it's good night from Tony Slattery, Tony Blackburn, Lee Simpson, Jim Sweeney, and myself Nicholas Parsons, good night!