starring TONY SLATTERY, JIM SWEENEY, LEE SIMPSON and JO BRAND, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 9 August 1994)

NOTE: Jo Brand's first appearance, Lee Simpson's last television appearance.


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Hello and welcome to Just A Minute, the friendly game of linguistic mastery and submission between four consenting adults, with me trying to keep a little control and muscling in whenever someone makes a mess. And it can get very messy on occasions. And as is usual on television, this show does have a Tony Slattery. And our Tony Slattery tonight is Tony Slattery! Next to Tony is a great performer who since leaving her day job as a psychiatric nurse has steadily emerged as a highly original and acerbic comedienne. Her increasingly frequent television credits include Absolutely Fabulous and a regular guest on The Brain Drain, the wonderful Jo Brand! On my right, another actor and Comedy Store Player. Insiders say he's Comedy Improviser Par Excellence. He's not above learning lines from time to time, he co-starred in Terry and Julian with Julian Clary, the very talented and funny Lee Simpson! And lastly, a man who some say actually invented improvised comedy, when he accidentally stumbled into a matinee performance of The Mouse Trap and took one hour and a half to talk his way off. A regular with the Comedy Store Players and Whose Line Is It Anyway, he still hasn't got a clue what he's going to say, yes, it's Jim Sweeney! Those are the panellists who this week are going to try and play Just A Minute, a very simple game, until you try and play it. The rules are simple. I ask them to and speak on a subject I give them. They try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. They challenge when they wish. If I uphold the challenge, they gain a point, and if not, the one who's speaking gains a point. By the way, they can repeat the subject that is in front of me. And the subject in front of me for the first one is the London Marathon. Tony Slattery, would you begin the show, and talk on that starting now.

TONY SLATTERY: Well I feel the London Marathon should now be adequately renamed the London Snickers. Bit of a joke, but we'll pass on from that! It's a test of human endurance and lung capacity. It's immensely unfunny, I think, when people dress up as nuns, or dress as Goofy, or other characters like that...


NP: Yes Lee?

LEE SIMPSON: Repetition of dress.

NP: That's right. Dress up as nuns and dress like Goofy. Lee, well listened, yes, 44 seconds are available, Lee gets a point for a correct challenge, he takes over the subject, it is the London Marathon starting now.

LS: I entered the London Marathon a little bit while ago bleurgh...


TS: Bleurgh!

LS: I went very well there! Very well indeed.

NP: Tony Slattery, you had a correct challenge, you have a point for that of course, 42 seconds are left, the London Marathon starting now.

TS: It's true what Lee Simpson says. He in fact did go into that competition, and came I believe one thousand and seventh. As there were only 500 entrants it was a bit of a shame. But then the time keeping wasn't terribly good on that particular day. It was over Suffolk Bridge and then...


NP: Yes, Jo Brand?

JO BRAND: He said over twice.

NP: That's right.


JB: Oooooohh!

LS: Hot!

NP: So Jo Brand, first time playing the game has got in with a correct challenge. She gets a point for that and she takes over the subject which is the London Marathon and there are 21 seconds left starting now.

JB: I did consider er entering the London Ma... London Ma?


JB: Hurrah! Do I give it up already?


JB: I buzzed myself!

NP: I know you did but I'm afraid Jim buzzed you before that.

JS: I second that buzz. There was another London there.

NP: You have a correct challenge and you get a point for that and you take over London Marathon, 17 seconds starting now.

JS: The idea of entering the London Marathon is a complete and utter mystery to me. The thought of running 26 miles without a break, or stopping off anywhere for a pint of lager, or maybe a pint of Guinness...


NP: Ah...

TS: Repetition of pint.

NP: Too many pints.

JS: Too many pints give me a hangover.

NP: Right, Tony Slattery, you've got in with eight seconds on this subject starting now.

TS: Jim's idea is a much better one. To have a marathon consisting entirely of visiting every pub in London in the space of five minutes and drinking yourself into...


NP: When that whistle goes, it tells us that 60 seconds are up and whoever is speaking at that moment gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Tony Slattery, who at the end of the first round is in a strong lead. Jo Brand will you take the second round. The subject we've got here, Whipsnade Zoo. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

JB: Whipsnade Zoo is outside London, so it's not that place there. And I'm talking absolute, but I'm carrying on, so it's all right. I haven't hesitated just yet. At Whipsnade Zoo, you find animals. Giraffes are not very good to get off with because it's so difficult to climb up that high and give them a bit of a tickle. Lions on the other hand are good value for money, I've always believed. You can steal their dinner as well, which is always a bit of a bonus, I think. Pandas on the other hand are very boring, because they don't do anything. They go on...


NP: Lee you challenged.

LS: Yeah!

NP: On the other hand.

LS: On the other hand, yeah, you repeated.

NP: She did repeat on the other hand.

JB: On the other hand, I might not have done.

NP: Lee Simpson had a correct challenge, he gets a point for that and the subject is Whipsnade Zoo and there are 30 seconds left starting now.

LS: Mummy, why has the monkey got a red bottom? That's what I used to ask and my Mummy would never tell me...


NP: Ah Jo.

JB: Mummy.

LS: Mummy. Two Mummies, it was...

NP: Yes. Jo you've got the subject back, there are 26 seconds left starting now.


NP: Jo you've challenged.

JB: I can't think of a single thing to say! Sorry!

NP: Jo you challenged yourself. What was your challenge, hesitation?

JB: Hesitation.

NP: Well that's a correct challenge Jo.

JB: Do I get a point?

NP: You get a point for the hesitation. Well done, so it's a new way to play the game isn't it. So all right, Jo Brand has challenged herself, for hesitation. Don't do it too often though. There are 25 seconds left on Whipsnade Zoo starting now.

JB: In Whipsnade Zoo...


JS: There was a hesitation at the start.

NP: There was a long hesitation, she didn't go for one and a half seconds. And so Jim you got in on 23 and a half seconds on Whipsnade Zoo starting now.

JS: Whipsnade Zoo is a little zoo in Whipsnade which I've never been to. But I'd like to go along there one day just to have a look at all the glorious animals in their natural habitat which is of course not at Whipsnade Zoo but in the countries where they came from. But they might have tried to disguise the...


NP: Ah...

JB: He's talking absolute cobblers! It's deviation.

NP: So it is deviation because if he er, he went there to see them in their natural habitat, he would fail. So Jo you got in there with um, I'm having to subtract here, because they got this thing wrong here. Right, um, er...

TS: The pressure's on, ladies and gentlemen!

NP: You have 12 seconds...

TS: Whew!

NP: On Whipsnade Zoo starting now.

JB: I saw a gorilla in Whipsnade Zoo once, and sadly mistook him for my fiancee Derek. Who is not a very attractive man and is very hairy...


TS: Oh repetition of very. Sorry Jo.

NP: Yes.

TS: There were two verys. Oh don't cry!

NP: And you got in with one second to go as well.

JB: You bastard!

NP: So you have one second to go, tell us something about Whipsnade Zoo, Tony Slattery, starting now.

TS: Zebras on top...


NP: Yes?

JB: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I quite agree!


NP: Jo, half a second on Whipsnade Zoo starting now.

JB: Giraffes as I said already...


NP: But nobody buzzed until after the whistle, so she gets away with her repetition of giraffes. And therefore speaking as the whistle went, she gains an extra point. And you will be surprised to discover that Jo Brand, first time playing the game, is now in the lead. And Jim it's your turn to begin, the subject, Ealing Studios. Will you tell us something about those wonderful studios in this game starting now.

JS: The very mention of the words Ealing Studios conjures up memories of all those wonderful films made...


NP: Yes Tony you challenged.

TS: Ah repetition of wonderful.

NP: You're right, yes, 56 seconds for you on Ealing Studios, Tony starting now.

TS: Yes of course they are wonderful as Jim said. They make so many brilliant movies there. They escape me for the time being, but I'm sure they were...


LS: Three theys.

NP: Yes, three theys. Two you might get away with, but three, no. Jeah, Lee you were...

LS: Jeah! Yeah! Jeah!

JS: Jeah! Jeah!

LS: Jeah! Oh Lee!

NP: Getting sharp on the game, right. Forty-eight seconds...

TS: A character from The Jungle Book, Jeah-Lee!

NP: Forty-eight seconds for you Lee starting now.

LS: The Man In The White Suit was perhaps my favourite Ealing film. It starred Ale Guinness as a man who made a fabric...


NP: Yes?

TS: Repetition of man.

NP: Yes there were too many men.

LS: That's true, yes.

NP: Forty-eight seconds are left for Ealing Studios, back with you Tony Slattery now.

TS: One of the lesser known works that came from that estimable studio was I Was A Teenage Bulb Snatcher. It starred Bela Lugosi and Dame Joan Sutherland! (giggles) It...


JB: Laughing and hesitation.

NP: No, deviation though because that never happened.

JB: Well he is, yes, he is a deviant all right.

NP: All right, yes, deviation I'd go for Jo, and then I will give it to you, 37 seconds for you to tell us something about Ealing Studios starting now.

JB: One film which was made in the Ealing Studios was Passport To Pimlico. And this is an absolutely ridiculous title for that thing that I can't say...


NP: Jim?

JS: No, sorry, I stumbled in for no apparent reason.

NP: Well it doesn't really matter, all that happens is that as you were interrupted...

LS: As you so often do.

NP: You've done it often in your life I'm sure. But on this occasion you interrupted Jo, so she gets a point for that...

JS: Sorry about that.

JB: Thank you, so sweet.

NP: And the subject, Ealing Studios, 28 seconds Jo starting now.

JB: This particular movie which reflers... reflers?


TS: Ah hesitation, stumble, reflers.

NP: Yes it's a tough game.

JB: Reflers is a word that I've just made up!

NP: Mmmmm.

JB: And actually it means...

TS: Yes?

JB: Bong.

TS: This is a movie which bong!

JB: Yes haven't you heard that before?

TS: I'm afraid not, no.

JB: Barry Norman says it all the time! Oh all right then!

NP: I think you're struggling a bit Jo, I think you're struggling.

JB: Nicholas, I'm not struggling in the slightest.

NP: Oh all right then.

JB: I've just had a few too many!

NP: I think you're doing very well in the game, but you were struggling just then, that's what I thought. Right, 25 seconds for Tony Slattery, Ealing Studios starting now.

TS: The reason (starts to laugh)...


NP: Lee Simpson.

LS: He's very attractive but I had to do it!

NP: I know.

TS: That was terrible. Sorry.

NP: Ealing Studios, 23 seconds, Lee starting now.

LS: They've knocked it down now. They've sold it and knocked it down, I've said knocked it down twice now.


NP: Jim Sweeney.

JS: Repetition of knocked it down.

NP: Of course, 20 seconds, Ealing Studios, Jim starting now.

JS: Oh The Lady Killers, The Lavender Hill. All these fabulous pieces of celluloid magic which used to really thrill me on Sunday afternoons which is when I normally used to see them. I think I said used to...


NP: Yes you have.

JB: I was just going to say you said used to.

NP: You were right.

JB: And then you said used to yourself.

NP: That's right, but...

JS: Pardon me!

TS: They're giving it to everyone else. It's like a kibbutz!

NP: I know, right.

TS: At least we know, kibbutzing...

NP: They all give it to each other, do they?

TS: Yes, well, they help out, you know.

NP: I must go and stay there for a time.

TS: I think you'd have a very lonely time!

NP: Oh you rotten thing! I do stick my neck out, don't I, but that's what I'm here for. Right, Jo Brand, 10 seconds for you to tell us something about Ealing Studios starting now.

JB: Ealing Studios is in Ealing which is fairly obvious I suppose, for very intelligent people. But some people aren't intelligent and...


TS: Repetition of people.

NP: Repetition of people I'm afraid Jo, yes.

JB: Please, 10 seconds and I knew...

NP: I know and Tony Slattery's got in with two seconds to go on Ealing Studios starting now.

TS: Arnold Schwarzenegger never made a movie at Ealing Studios...


NP: Tony Slattery was then speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point, he's now equal in the lead with Jo Brand at the end of that round. Jo it's your turn to begin, the subject we've got here is Chinatown. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

JB: Chinatown is a film starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. And he is a good actor and she isn't, so the first half of the movie is brilliant and...


JS: Deviation, it's er, it's Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway.

NP: Yes, I'm afraid you're right.

TS: Yes.

JB: No, but I was drunk when I saw it!

JS: Oh, that's all right then!

JB: I thought deviation was going off the subject, not getting something wrong.

NP: Yes but that was deviating from fact, wasn't it. So I mean I think...

JB: So we're not even allowed to tell a lie?

NP: Well you have to test me, I have to make the decisions. I mean that was a, something that everybody knows...

JB: So no lying at all? So...

NP: You can go into a realm of fantasy or surrealism but I think er from facts that we all know about...

JB: I have sexual fantasies about Meryl Streep and I put her in every film. And they're...

NP: But you didn't say that to qualify. If you'd said that...

JB: Oh I see! Oh If I'd qualified...

NP: If you'd qualified it before you'd...

JB: ... my sexual deviancy...

NP: ...that would have been all right. What are you looking at?

TS: Nothing, it's impressive! It's like being at the UN!

JB: Not quite!

NP: Jim Sweeney, correct challenge of deviation, you get a point for that, 50 seconds, Chinatown starting now.

JS: Personally I have a recurring sexual fantasy of having dinner at a Chinese restaurant with Meryl Streep. It all goes horribly wrong and she...


JB: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah I think there was Jo, right.

JB: (splutters in impression of JS)

JS: It was the thought of Meryl Streep in a Chinese restaurant.

NP: Forty-four seconds for you to take back Chinatown Jo, starting now.

JB: Chinatown is also an area in London, in Soho, which I like very much very much indeed, because you can get a very big dinner there. And the sort of dinner you can get...


TS: Repetition of dinner, I'm sorry.

NP: You've had too many...

JB: Dinner!

NP: Dinner, yes. Thirty-two seconds for you to tell us something about Chinatown, Tony Slattery, starting now.

TS: Curiously enough I do know the version of Chinatown the film to which Jo refers. It also starred Reg Varney! But I...


NP: Yes?

JB: It didn't star Reg Varney! (laughs)

NP: It didn't star Reg Varney so...

JB: Deviation!

NP: Yes you can have it on the same reason, um, 25 seconds, Chinatown with you Jo starting now.

JB: Chinatown offers delicious meals such as egg foo yung and squiggly things that I don't know the name of. But they might be bamboo shoots, I could be wrong. I like to pop down there on a Friday night and stuff my face for 14 and a half hours. And I also have lots of beer because I like to get very drunk indeed. In Chinatown it is a bit worrying because there are gangs...


NP: So Jo Brand was then speaking when the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. And she's gone back into the lead, she's two ahead of Tony Slattery. Now I don't offer them a subject to talk on, I present them with an object. Through that black hole...


NP: ... comes the object on this week's show. Doesn't that look disgusting! Tony Slattery, would you try and talk on that object for 60 seconds if you can starting now.

TS: When I was a choirboy...

LS: (laughs)


LS: Hesitation induced by my laugh so perhaps that's not fair.

TS: No, it is.

NP: It is, yes, that was hesitation. He thought of him as a choirboy and he completely came to a halt. I'm not surprised. Right, Lee Simpson you got in with 54 seconds to go, you get another point of course. There's the object, speak on it please starting now.

LS: This piece is entitled Chrome Fat Swan With Plastic Head. It was designed by Lindsay And Son, a company in the middle of Birmingham. They didn't sell many of them, and it's one of the pair, I understand. If you look on the bottom you see the markings which say it was made in 1842 by Jeff Lindsay, who's got the same name as...


NP: Tony Slattery.

TS: Repetition of Lindsay.

LS: Yes.

NP: I know, and what a pity, because I can tell you it was actually made by Lindsay. Did you know that?

LS: No, I just read it off the, off the thing...

NP: Oh I see! But unfortunately you repeated it so Tony Slattery got in on repetition, 39 seconds, there's the object Tony, talk about it please starting now.

TS: One of Arthur Conan Doyle's little known Sherlock Holmes stories was The Case Of The Pewter Thing With The Wibbly Bits On The End! And he didn't solve it, though what nerve. Because you can imagine the scene as through a fogbound London, Moriarty produced this particular artefact and blew it and it went "whap" like that and scared all the other villains away. And thus was the aforesaid villain king of...


NP: Yes Jo?

JB: Repetition of villains.

NP: Well done Jo, yes, yes, repetition of villain. So there's 17 seconds left, there's the object Jo, can you tell us something about it in this game starting now.

JB: When I was a nurse and patients were very unwell, and in bed and moaning quite a lot about how ill they felt, this object would be used to stuff into their mouths to shut them up! And it was very effective because you stuck the pipe into...


NP: Well Jo Brand was again speaking when the whistle went, got another point for doing so. It's a Victorian ear trumpet. They must have...

JS: Is it an ear trumpet?

NP: Well done Jim, I can't give you a point for it. Right, we're about halfway through this little experiment...


LS: Frightens the life out!

NP: I know, it does. I said we're about... we're about halfway through this little experiment of free associative stream of consciousness. So my four guinea pigs now have to undergo a medical examination. We'll see you after this.




NP: Welcome back to Just A Minute, the show that probes the minds of its guests, digs out the juicy bits and then spreads them out across the screen! Ah dear me! I try very hard sometimes! Right, now I don't give our panellists a subject now, I'm going to ask our audience to suggest a subject which they would like anyone of them, or all of them hopefully to talk. Any suggestions for subjects from our audience? Right, yes there's a lady. Quick, that was quick as a flash. Yes?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Marks and Spencers underwear.

NP: Marks and Spencers underwear, we assume that you're talking from the heart. Right, fine, and maybe from the bodice as well. Yes there's a lady up there.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Aylesbury duck.

NP: Aylesbury duck, that's a nice one, yeah I like the sound of that. Yes there's a gentleman down here.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Game show hosts.

NP: Yes! A bit nervous of that one with Tony Slattery beside me. Yes, what about the gentleman back there, yes?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: London transport.

NP: London transport, yes well there's a lot to be said about that, isn't there? Any other ones? Well Jim Sweeney I'm going to ask you to start. is there any one of those that particularly appeals to you?

JS: Yes! I ... I particularly like London transport was the one I quite like. But I'll leave it up to you Nicky baby!

NP: Well I'll tell you, I'll show you how sporting I am. I stick my neck out on this show. And I'm going to allow them to talk about game show hosts. I'm dreading this! But er Jim we would like you to start this, so there's the subject, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

JS: Game show hosts are often treated very badly, despite the fact they do a very difficult job indeed...


TS: I'm sorry, repetition of very quite early on.

JS: I bet you were!

NP: Yes, 55 seconds for you Tony Slattery, game show hosts starting now.

TS: Nicholas Parsons has been a game show host on many different programmes. Some of them in this century! One of them was called, my favourite in fact. It was named Stick Your Neck Out with the aforementioned person. It (splutters)


LS: I can tell you, no there wasn't, ah yes hesitation as well as a bit of deviation.

NP: Yes having deviated to that extent he hesitated quite rightly. Lee you got in with 38 seconds on the subject, another point of course, starting now.

LS: Perhaps the most fantastic game show host ever was Ted Rogers, with the legendary Three Two One and the hilarious Dusty Bin. Oh how we chuckled. We split our sides, we did, watching that marvellous TV programme. Weurgh bleurgh...


NP: Jim Sweeney you got in.

JS: He went bleurgh bleurgh.

NP: Yes he hesitated. Game show hosts is the subject Jim, 24 seconds are left starting now.

JS: I'm not sure if it counts as a game show, but I always thought that Derek Batie was very good at hosting There's My Dog which is possibly the most wonderful programme ever put on the television for years. It involved bringing on a celebrity, animal at one point of the er canine variety and you had to guess who's that that er...


NP: Jo yes you challenged?

JB: (does impression of JS's stumble)

NP: Yes and I also think it was deviation. I don't think it was Derek Batie who actually introduced that programme.

JS: You're right, who was it?

NP: I've forgotten but I know it came from down in the west as well...

JS: Derek something.

TS: You must have worked with him though. You've worked with everyone. Who was it? Benjamin Disraeli?

NP: No! Jo Brand you have a correct challenge, you have eight seconds on game show hosts starting now.

JB: My favourite game show host is Les Dennis who does something called Family Fortunes which is a game show in which people come together who are related by birth...


NP: Jo Brand was speaking as the whistle went and has increased her lead at the end of the round. Lee Simpson, will you take the next round...

LS: Yes.

NP: It is the sewers of London. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

LS: It is a little known fact that the final scenes of The Third Man, Carol Reeves' atmospheric thriller, were in fact shot in the sewers of London, not Vienna as it seemed in the film. This caused a great many problems for cast and crew, because when the filming started they had to stop all the sewage coming through. So there was somebody called a crapper boy whose job it was to stop all poohse from entering shot. One of the people who started off in this particular role were Alec Guinness, little known who started off stopping the...


TS: Repetition of started off.

LS: Yes.

NP: Started off stopping, yes. And Alec Guinness stopping the poohse running through!

LS: It's a very important job!

TS: It sounds as though the poohse had a mind of their own! Keep back, no, you can't come on set! Oh but we want to!

NP: Tony Slattery...

TS: Sorry.

NP: We won't go down any further this particular sewer. Thirty seconds for you to tell us something about the sewers of London starting now.

TS: Not many people know that Ralph McTowel's hit was originally titled "let me take you by the hand and lead you through the sewers of London". The record company bosses said this was not a good idea (starts to laugh)


NP: Yes Jim Sweeney.

JS: Yes he sort of sneezed or something!

NP: Yes he sneezed...

TS: I do parrot face...

JS: Yes indeed.

NP: Jim Sweeney, you had a correct challenge then, 19 seconds are left, you tell us something about the sewers of London starting now.

JS: I imagine it must be fascinating to walk through the sewers of London which cover such a vast area. But then again it probably isn't (starts to laugh)


NP: Jo Brand.

JB: Sort of hesitation laughing.

JS: Well it's just I thought I don't really want to walk through the sewers of London!

NP: Twelve seconds Jo, you got in once again with only a few seconds to go, the sewers of London starting now.

JB: If you go down into the sewers of London, you will find that they smell very much like a perfume I recently got for Christmas from my grandmother. My grandfather on the other hand...


TS: Oh!


NP: That was a clever ploy, she lured our regular player of the game into there. So Jo you get another point for that, you keep the subject and you have three seconds on the sewers of London starting now.

JB: On the other hand has got quite good taste in scent because...


NP: So Jo Brand taking us down the sewers of London until the whistle went gained an extra point for doing so. She came and has triumphed over the three fellows, Jo Brand! Once more our 10 minutes of time are up so it only remains for me to say goo night. It's good night from Tony Slattery, Jo Brand, Lee Simpson, Jim Sweeney, and myself Nicholas Parsons, until the next time we pop up on your screens with more Just A Minute to desecrate your homes. Until then from us all good night.