starring PETER JONES, TONY HAWKS, GYLES BRANDRETH and JO BRAND, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 23 April 1999)


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Oh thank you, thank you yes, hello and welcome to Just A Minute, this delightful and utterly impossible game in which I ask my four guests to show off their verbal dexterity and ingenuity as they try to keep going on the subject I give them. And we have today four fine wordsmiths. Somebody who has excelled himself as a stand-up comedian on improvisation, that is Tony Hawks. And beside Tony a comedian who's excelled herself in every sense of the word, the original and popular Jo Brand. And on my left another man whose comedy performances and after dinner speeches are par excellence, Gyles Brandreth. And another comedy performer, writer and a much loved comedian, that is Peter Jones. Please welcome all four of them! The rules of Just A Minute are ridiculously simple until you start trying to play the game. They have to speak for Just A Minute if they can on a subject I give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Let's see how well they do today as we start the show with Tony Hawks. Oh Tony, I've just realised something. The subject is so apt for today because it is St George's Day. So please talk about St George's Day starting now.

TONY HAWKS: I had no idea that today is St George's Day but nonetheless I'm happy to talk on that subject Nicholas. I don't know very much about Saint George. I believe he had a bit of a fight with a dragon and did quite well. And that's obviously a big qualification for life. It's always good to be able to fight these kinds of animals and win. Twenty-third of April, I think it is today and what it is I mentioned, I imagine...


NP: Gyles Brandreth you challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: Well there was a bit of hesitation and a repetition of today.

NP: You always rub it in, don't you Gyles? One challenge is quite sufficient, you don't have to have two faults! Right, he did hesitate so that means Gyles Brandreth has the subject, he gets a point for a correct challenge. He takes over St George's Day and there are 39 seconds available starting now.

GB: I say that George has had his day! Let's hear it for Alban or even better given today's date, let us hear it for William Shakespeare, the bard of Avon!


NP: Peter you challenged.

PETER JONES: Yes he was deviating.

NP: No he wasn't, he repeated himself, let's hear it for.

PJ: Oh he did? Well I thought you were deviating talking about William Shakespeare and St Albans and...

GB: But you see... let him have it, but the point is St George's Day is also the birthday...

NP: What do you mean let him have it! Don't be so condescending!

PJ: He's patronising you!

GB: I'm patronising you!


NP: Yes, yes...

GB: I'm showing respect to him!


PJ: Oh that's all right!

TH: Sometimes saying "let him have it" can get you into trouble!

GB: Ah!

NP: Yes I think a lot of people don't know that some people want to drop Saint George as our patron saint and bring in this other character. What's his name, Saint Alban's?

GB: Alban or indeed William Shakespeare whose birthday it is today.

NP: Absolutely, there's, there's been that, are you part of that pressure group?

GB: No I'm not.

NP: Well why are you talking about it?

GB: Well if you'll allow me a few extra seconds, I'll explain.

NP: No I won't! I'm going to give it to Peter Jones who has had a correct challenge. Peter you get a point for a correct challenge and you have 28 seconds to tell us something about St George's Day starting now.

PJ: Well he was called just George, before he had this skirmish with the dragon. There's a statue of him and the dragon and the horse er just at the end of our road. And er the horse is obviously terrified as is er this er animal that he encountered. And kept er the er ah um...


NP: Jo you challenged.

PJ: Oh dear oh dear oh dear!

JO BRAND: A very lovely extended hesitation.

NP: Oh charmingly put Jo!

PJ: Very nice yes!

NP: It's so...

PJ: It was worth doing really to get that!

NP: So Jo, a correct challenge, a point for that of course, and it's still St George's Day and there are seven seconds available starting now.

JB: I think there should...


NP: Who challenged? Peter Jones.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: You're becoming very keen!

PJ: She did take a long time starting.

NP: I know, I know.

GB: She does, you know, she does!


JB: Oi! Hold it, you!

NP: Peter yes I'm going to give it to you, you have a correct challenge. Five seconds on St George's Day starting now.

PJ: Well I've enjoyed it so far! And I think I might enjoy...


NP: And Jo you challenged.

JB: I think there was an even lovelier hesitation then.

PJ: No, I just paused for a moment.

NP: No I think he was trying to ride...

JB: I just paused for a moment at the beginning of my one! Oh all right, let it... he's got a nice cardigan on there.

NP: He's only got half a second to go and whoever speaks on, as the whistle goes gets an extra point. Peter Jones keep going for half a second starting now.

PJ: Well...


NP: So that extra point was won by Peter Jones and you won&'t be surprised to hear that he's got a commanding lead at the end of the round. Jo Brand take the next round please, the subject is families. Tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

JB: Philip Larkin wrote a very concise poem about what your parents do to you. I can't repeat it now obviously because it has a rude word in it. I actually prefer Billy Bragg's version which goes "they tuck you up, your Mum and Dad". It's quite sweet, isn't it, really...


NP: And Gyles you challenged.

GB: Charming, repetition of Mum and Dad. They were introduced earlier on, in the reference to Philip Larkin. And then came again when in the tuck you up.

JB: I actually said par, par...

NP: She said parents didn't she?

GB: Aren't parents a Mum and Dad?

NP: Yeah they are but you know so well Gyles, you can't repeat the words, but you can use different words, and that's the whole art of playing Just A Minute.

GB: I've lost a point.

NP: No, you haven't lost a point, you've just given a point...

GB: Oh I like to give a point to a lovely lady!

NP: Yes right, so...

JB: Where's she then? Where is that lovely lady?

NP: That was an incorrect challenge and er therefore it means whoever is speaking then gets an extra point. It was, not an extra point, you get a point for a wrong challenge. Jo and you keep the subject, it's families and there are 44 seconds available starting now.

JB: I come from a family, most of us do, I think you'll find. I have two brothers, and rather than my parents tucking me up, and I just said parents again...


JB: And my life is over!

NP: Too much tucking up there! So you got in...

JB: And tucking up as well!

TH: No, too many parents.

NP: A point to you Tony, a point to you, families is with you, 35 seconds starting now.

TH: Christmas is a wonderful opportunity for parents to get together and families of course, ah, they should already be together among...


NP: Ah yes, yes?

TH: Nurse!

NP: Right Gyles, your challenge?

GB: Yes, every single word was a repetition!

NP: Oh don't be so ridiculous!

GB: There were a few repetitions.

NP: There were yes, you have families which you want desperately, I know that. So go on the subject and there are 28 seconds starting now.


NP: And you challenged Peter.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Absolutely right! You, you got your buzzing finger back again, it's working wonderfully Peter.

PJ: Thank you very much.

NP: Tell us something about families in 26 seconds starting now.

PJ: Happy families are all very similar in a number of respects. Unhappy families differ and they have a number of ways in which they do. Some are argumentative, selfish and they won't do any housework, as well I know from personal experience. And they will not wash up, that's what I object to! They use the plates, as soon as they come through the front door they go to the fridge and tear everything out of it...


NP: So it was Peter Jones speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so and has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Gyles Brandreth, your turn to begin. Will you tell us something about this subject, jobs for the boys. I must remind some viewers who maybe haven't heard of it before, that they can repeat not only the word, but if it's a number of words, they can repeat them together or separately if they wish. Gyles, carry on, 60 seconds as usual, jobs for the boys starting now.

GB: When I was a child, and I told my father that I intended to make a career out of wearing ridiculous jumpers on television and collecting teddy bears, he said "these are not jobs for the boys. This is something silly that you want to do". And consequently when I reached the age of 40, to please him I became a Member of Parliament. And then I discovered that jobs for the boys meant something quite different. More to do with snouts in the trough and I'm all right Jack. And I've now become something of a connoisseur of the concept of jobs for the boys, which means looking after your own, your chums, people who are around you. It is I suppose an indictment of the world in which we live that there is so much corruption, iniquity, decrepitude, and all these terrible things which go along with jobs for the boys. It's a horrible world but as the philosopher said...


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: I think he's insulting the country!


PJ: I'm not going to stand, sit here and listen to that diatribe against the people that are doing their level best in the House of Commons and the House of Lords to er do keep us, you know, surviving in this hostile world.

NP: So what's your challenge Peter?

PJ: Ah deviation! And er well...

NP: Deviation from what though?

PJ: Treason!


NP: Peter we love your idea! I'm going to give you a bonus point for the idea of the treason as everybody enjoyed it. But strictly speaking he wasn't deviating from the subject on the card. So Gyles gets a point for being interrupted, he keeps jobs for the boys, 14 seconds starting now.

GB: As the philosopher said no matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor but honest. Which is my way of saying jobs for the boys is something that one should avoid getting involved with because it leads to a pernicious and indeed reprehensible...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth began with the subject and actually finished with the subject. He was interrupted once. He got one point for the interruption and one point for speaking as the whistle went. And what has happened? Well he's in second place. And Peter Jones is still in a strong lead. And Peter Jones, it's your turn to begin, the subject, saints and sinners. Tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Saints as Saint Augustine said, are to be praised. But the sinners are to be condemned. He was a great man for quotes! As for instance when he said "Lord, give me chastity, but not yet!" And everybody enjoys that!


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: Deviation, I don't enjoy chastity!

NP: What about hesitation?

TH: Yeah hesitation.

NP: Right! So saints and sinners are with you and 37 seconds, 38, starting now.

TH: What an apt day to be talking about saints with it being St George's Day. One of my favourite nights of the year is to enjoy celebrating this saint but I'm not a sinner...


NP: Jo Brand challenged.

JB: He's talking rubbish!

NP: So he's...

JB: But I'm not claiming I could do any better when I start off again! But he was bumbling.

NP: He was bumbling, yes.

JB: You were Tony.

NP: I think he was deviating from saints and sinners...

TH: I, the thing was I nearly said day again, you see. And I got...

NP: I know, it's so difficult, isn't it. It doesn't matter how much you think about it as you're going along, you get tripped up. Twenty-nine seconds...

JB: Oh is it that much? Twenty-nine?

NP: I've never met anybody come on the show and get absolutely turned off at the idea of having so many seconds to go.

JB: Well I do!

NP: Twenty-nine seconds, do your best, saints and sinners Jo, starting now.

JB: Saints is another name for Southampton football team. And they're doing very badly at the moment. They're bottom of the league and I don't know any more about them. So I'm going to keep talking rubbish until someone can...


NP: Gyles has challenged.

GB: I felt there was a woman in distress! Sending out signals!

NP: And you picked up the signal, hesitation or deviation, saints and sinners is with you, 17 seconds Gyles starting now.

GB: Saints and sinners is the name of a charitable luncheon club which exists in London, which I once addressed most unsuccessfully. Indeed the audience threw buns at me! I went on speaking and consequently they dipped the bread into the wine to make it more solid and slung some more! As I continued they ten put ten-penny coins...


NP: Well very few people come on the show and tell us about their difficult shows they did. They usually talk about the successful ones. But Gyles did that, kept going until the whistle went, gained an extra point. And he's creeping up on Peter Jones who is still in the lead. And Peter, that was saints and sinners. Tony Hawks it's your turn to begin, oh here's a nice subject. Chicken vindaloo, there's a hot subject for you Tony, go on it if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

TH: Last night I went out in Birmingham and had a curry with Barry Cryer and I ate a chicken vindaloo. And I think Jo Brand can bear witness to that fact as she sits alongside me now! Quite a meal it was! Magnificent in every respect and I enjoyed it very much! Not...

NP: Jo you challenged.

JB: I can bear witness to that! Could I be moved over to the other side?


JB: Peter can I come and sit next to you?

PJ: Yes sure, yes!

NP: Jo what I like to do on these occasions, when we get a lovely challenge, not a lovely challenge, a lovely introduction, lovely interjection like that, is to give a bonus point for that. But as Tony was interrupted, he gets a point for being interrupted, he keeps the subject, chicken vindaloo and you have 42 seconds starting now.

TH: Vindaloo of course was one of the pop songs used for the World Cup in France. I never quite followed the lyrics. It didn't have chicken vindaloo in it, but I think if they had had done, it might have been a bigger hit. It might have made number one as opposed to the one by Bedelah Newman which reached that slot. I will often go and have a chicken vindaloo with my nephews Derek and Clive who are...


GB: I sense a deviation here. Not only do I know that he eats chicken vindaloo, but I know his family quite well. And there is no, there is no Derek and Whatsit in his family. It's a deviation.

NP: Well I don't know whether...

GB: Am I right? Challenge him! Ask him! Has he got a nephew and a niece and a cousin?

TH: I have their birth certificates with me!


GB: He has not! Well that's a deviation in itself! To go around with your own nephew and niece's birth certificates! The man should be arrested!

TH: Neither of them are my nieces! Derek and Clive are both boys!

GB: It's getting, it's getting worse!

NP: I think, I think we can move into the world of fantasy in Just A Minute as long as we keep going and don't hesitate or repeat. So you may know that it is devious, I don't know that he hasn't got these two nephews. So I'm going to be generous and say that you have the benefit of the doubt on this occasion Tony, keep going on chicken vindaloo, 23 seconds starting now.

TH: My brother has over 300 children. It's difficult to keep track of all the names! Now I once ate a doh! Ah cho...


NP: Yes you've got in this time.

GB: I think there was a touch of hesitation.

NP: I think it was a guilty conscience after the 300 children! That was devious! Right...


NP: And who challenged then?

JB: I did. No, he said I once ate a doh tow choo and that's a Chinese dish!

NP: Fourteen seconds Gyles, with you, chicken vindaloo starting now.

GB: Chicken vindaloo is a game played by children in the streets of Delhi where the little lads line up on one side of the room and attempt to run across before being actually hit by a passing camel. I have seen this dangerous game being...


NP: Peter, camel! Challenge!

PJ: Mmmm?

NP: Peter, challenge!

PJ: I have, yes!

NP: Right! Camel...

PJ: It's a slow. a very long wire between this and the bell! It takes a long time to get through, you know!

NP: Yes, elephants, tigers...

GB: There are camels on the road from Delhi to Agra. But I mean, obviously you're in charge!

NP: But they're not, camels are not rushing down the road every single day!

GB: Have you ever seen, have you ever been spat at by a camel?

PJ: Yes!

NP: Yes!

TH: Yes, my nephews have anyway!

NP: Peter...

PJ: Yes?

NP: You were very quick on your challenge, so ah, you got in actually with half a second to go on chicken vindaloo starting now.

PJ: The camels are very infrequent!


NP: Peter Jones was attempting to speak as the whistle went and oh he's increased his lead at the end of the round. Gyles Brandreth in second place, and equal in third place, Jo Brand and Tony Hawks. And Jo Brand, your turn to begin. The subject, counselling. I think you know something about this. Can you talk on the subject in 60 seconds starting now.

JB: As an ex psychiatric nurse I do indeed know about counselling. But different types of people need different types of counselling. And I said types twice...


JB: What is the matter with me?

NP: Well you mustn't draw attention to it, you know, because sometimes they can be generous and let you continue.

JB: Ah okay, can you be generous and let me continue?

NP: It's too late now!

TH: Of course I, of course I can! So I'll tell you what. I'll make a mistake after about six seconds...

JB: All right.

TH: And you pick up on it.

JB: Okay.

NP: Fifty-one seconds Tony, counselling starting now.

TH: I often require counselling myself, I know that you will find this difficult to believe! I seem such...


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: Well I believe it!


PJ: I should go tomorrow if I were you!

NP: Peter...

PJ: Yes?

NP: You get a bonus point for that interjection.

PJ: Oh thank you!

NP: I gave him an opportunity to...

PJ: I don't often get a point for an interjection.

NP: An interruption then.

PJ: All right.

NP: You get a bonus point for what you said because the audience enjoyed it so much. You have a point because you were interrupted, Tony, and you have 45 seconds to keep going on counselling starting now.

TH: Having imaginary nephews is a severe problem, and I talked this...


NP: Yes?

GB: Having imaginary nephews? Now they're imaginary? A moment ago he had this... this man is deviant!

NP: Yes that is deviation.

TH: That's why I need counselling!

PJ: Yes!

NP: That is deviation because he did establish before they were real. Now he's established that they are imaginary. So that is definitely deviation. So one or the other, it doesn't matter which way, you have got the subject, 41 seconds, counselling with you Gyles starting now.

GB: When I was a Member of Parliament, I found that my Friday evening surgeries in the constituency turned into counselling sessions. I was a kind of unpaid relate, adviser, housing associate and doormat. People used to enjoy coming in and walking all over me and then telling me all their problems about which...


NP: Why have you challenged?

TH: His life's too sad! They were throwing buns at him last minute! Has he ever had a nice day?


NP: He does come out about the sad part of his life in the show, doesn't he. That's the thing about Just A Minute, so much of our life is revealed here! Tony let's hear something more about your life, counselling, and there are 24 seconds starting now.

TH: You sit down on the sofa, sometimes you lie there, and the man runs through your childhood with you, telling you...


NP: Jo why have you challenged?

JB: Sexism!

GB: Yup!

JB: The man runs through your childhood!

TH: No, a good point!

NP: A good point, yes.

TH: He happened to be a man though.

JB: Does that fit into deviation?

NP: Well it's good enough because he said he wanted to give it back to you...

TH: Yes!

NP: Because we want to hear from you on the subject that you know more about than any of us. And 17 seconds available, counselling Jo, starting now.

JB: For example, if I was counselling Gyles, I'd say "it's very simple, don't be a Tory any more!"


JB: That wonderful clap from the audience! Thank you very much! There are...

GB: It's not a landslide is it!


NP: It's the first time somebody in this show has kept going with interjections from the audience! So...

JB: It was sort of applause by rote! It was like...

NP: It was nothing to do, it was nothing to do with counselling though! But nobody challenged you so she kept going, got that point for speaking when the whistle went. And it's pretty even stevens. Only one point separates all of them. Six, seven, eight, oh 10, two points ahead. And Peter I think it's your turn to begin, isn't it? No, it's not, it's Gyles Brandreth's turn. Oh bangers, what a lovely subject, I love my bangers...

GB: Bangers.

NP: Bangers, yes, sausages. Bangers and mash, what a lovely... But it's just bangers, 60 seconds starting now.

GB: I've had a few bangers in my time! Including, well, a motor car, a Volkswagen that was collapsing. A...


NP: Tony?

TH: His life's too sad! I mean... when's something good going to happen in it?

GB: Wait! Wait till you hear about the third banger!

NP: Oh right!

TH: Carry on! Carry on!

NP: For a man with all your happy family and married life, and all these disasters! It's amazing! Tony you got in with a correct challenge...

TH: No, no, no, I mean, no, no, I was being silly! I think he should carry on! I want to hear about his banger!

NP: Right, third banger, 51 seconds starting now.

GB: Well I also had a hot salty sausage and met a girl called Flossy Mossop, who was, in her own way, something of a banger! She worked in a factory where she made the doors for the aforementioned vehicle. And consinquently her role was to be a banger, attaching...


NP: Tony what was your challenge?

TH: I think he's made a word up there. Consewinaquintly!

NP: Deviation from English as we understand it, and it was...

TH: I think there was a hesitation or a stumble or something.

NP: No, no, no, I think deviation from the English language as we understand it. So Tony correct challenge, you've now got in with 33 seconds on bangers starting now.

TH: Sunday lunchtime I like to eat bangers and mash. I know that's not necessarily the traditional dish eaten at that time, but I do it nonetheless. And who's going to stop me? It's a free country! If you want to put bangers on your plate, and some spuds there, go ahead and do it, I say. Don't let people dictate to you what you put on...


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: Yes well I'm very pleased to know that he's going to see a counsellor! Because he's... obviously hyper-aggressive and er a worry to all his family, nephews and all!


NP: Have you got a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

GB: Yes.

PJ: Yes!

NP: What is it?

PJ: It's repetition.

NP: Repetition of what?

GB: (whispers) Putting on the plate.

PJ: Putting on the plate.

NP: Putting on the plate.

TH: I don't mind! At least it wasn't treason!


NP: Well listened Peter! You jumped in there like a dose of salts. And you've got 16 seconds to tell us something about bangers starting now.

PJ: Yes they are very nice! I eat vegetarian sausages because I don't like pork, since I once was on vacation on a farm where they bred pigs. And they had such a ghastly life that I thought I would never be part of this ghastly organisation again...


GB: Well done!

NP: So in spite of the ghastly that came up one second ago, they let it go so Peter was still speaking when the whistle went. And you have increased your lead at the end of the round Peter. And who is going to speak next? Peter Jones you actually begin the next round. It is, well, I don't mean he actually begins it, what I mean to say is it's his turn to begin. So and er I think this is also going to be the last round. It's very close still, Peter's just in the lead, anything could still happen. Let's see how we go on red tape. Yes that's a good subject Peter, red tape starting now.

PJ: Red tape is the kind of material that people used to wrap round, if they were... Members of Parliament, the papers and scrolls and things that they carried from one place to another. And it was er usually identified with bureaucracy and a very tedious business it was. It's used now to describe a lot of er performances that have to be gone through in order to get anywhere in Parliament. And I'm sure Gyles...


NP: Yes Gyles has challenged.

GB: Repetition of Parliament.

NP: Of Parliament, yes.

PJ: Oh yes that's right, yes.

NP: So yes and there are 33 seconds for you to tell us something about red tape. You must know quite a bit about that Gyles. Tell us, 60, er 33 seconds starting now.

GB: Peter is indeed correct that in the House of Commons there is much red tape. Most of interesting enough hanging from the coat hangers. As you enter the Members Cloakroom you will find a something to hang your er clothes...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: I think there was a hesitation.

NP: There was because he was still searching for an alternative word...

GB: I was!

NP: I know!

GB: I was!

NP: I know you were! Nineteen seconds for you to tell us something about red tape Tony starting now.

TH: Every time you fill out the insurance form you have to go through reams of paper and it's all red tape. Is it really necessary, I ask myself? I tell my counsellor this during my sessions! Why must we do all of this writing on bits of paper...


NP: And Peter you challenged.

PJ: What does your counsellor do while you're talking to yourself?


TH: He takes 75 pound an hour!

NP: It's amazing! Have you got any challenge within the rules of Just A Minute, Peter?

PJ: No, not within the rules of Just A Minute.

NP: Well we enjoyed the interruption.

PJ: Oh well good! I'm glad!

NP: You do get a point for being interrupted Tony and you keep going, there are three seconds available, red tape starting now.

TH: I had a Kate Bush tape and I coloured in...


NP: Ah Jo Brand has challenged.

JB: I think that shows how disturbed he is!


NP: I know once before Jo, you said all your ambition on the show was to get in with two seconds, or one second to go.

JB: I know!

NP: You've achieved it, and you've achieved it, there's only one second left.

JB: Oh really?

NP: Yes! I'm sure Tony will be generous and give it to you, won't you?

TH: I am disturbed! You should have it!

JB: I am coming last! It's all right, I'm not going to catch up!

NP: No, no, no, there's no-one last in this show. You're just coming...

JB: Yeah there is! Me!

TH: Jo, we're all winners!

NP: You have one second to tell us something about red tape Jo starting now.

JB: Bureaucracy is another...


NP: So Jo Brand with that last minute flourish brought that round to an end, and also brought the show to a close. And as I said before, yes, they're all winners in this show, but some get one or two more points than others. And today it has been this man over there who has got most points. So we say Peter Jones, you're the winner! So it only remains for me to thank our four exciting and intrepid players of the game, Tony Hawks, Jo Brand, Gyles Brandreth, Peter Jones. From them and from me, Nicholas Parsons, hope you've enjoyed it. Be with us the next time we play Just A Minute. Till then good-bye!