starring TONY HAWKS, GRAHAM NORTON, JENNY ECLAIR and TIM RICE, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 26 February 2001)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Right, thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome our many listeners throughout the world, and of course particularly in this country of Great Britain. And also it is a great pleasure to welcome four exciting and experienced players of the game. We welcome back the outrageous leprechaun of television comedy, Graham Norton. The flamboyant mistress of stand-up comedy, Jenny Eclair. The irrepressible exponent of improvised comedy, Tony Hawks. And the master of the lyric phrase in West End musicals, Tim Rice. Would you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak if they can on a subject I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst who's going to help me keep the score and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Turner Sims Concert Hall which is part of the University of Southampton. And we have a delightful audience of Southon people and further afield and of course students who are going to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show with Graham Norton. Graham the subject, very aptly, is my philosophy of life. Tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

GRAHAM NORTON: My philosophy of life is a simple one. Whenever you're feeling down and depressed, just remember that a problem shared is gossip! Yes whenever something bad happens to you, you're bringing joy to literally hundreds of people. You break a leg, 15 people laugh heartily! You...


NP: Oh Jenny Eclair you pressed your buzzer.

JENNY ECLAIR: I did, only because he said people twice.

NP: He did say people twice.

JE: Yes.

GN: Yes, very good, very good.

NP: And it's a correct challenge Jenny.

JE: I'm so glad!

NP: Yes! And you get a point for a correct challenge and you take over the subject and there are 38 seconds available, tell us something about my philosophy of life starting now.

JE: My philosophy of life is to whistle, even if it doesn't cheer you up, it'll irritate everybody else! Hahahaha! Eat, drink and be merry!


NP: Tim Rice has challenged.

TIM RICE: Repetition of haha. Hahahahaha.

NP: No she didn't say haha...

JE: I said haaaaaaaaaa.

NP: No, no, it was a single, it was a single monosyllabic type laugh.

JE: I'm good at monosyllabic!

NP: So Jenny an incorrect challenge, you keep the subject, another point for an incorrect challenge, 30 seconds still available, my philosophy of life starting now.

JE: And if you're feeling a little low, get a lager out of the fridge, nice and chilled. Or three. Or if you like to shop, go shopping. Oh isn't it marvellous, the shops...


NP: Tim er Rice.

TR: I thought there was a hesitation there.

NP: No, she said shop and then go shopping.

JE: There was a stutter actually.

TR: A stutter.

JE: Just because I have a stutter...

TR: A slight ohhhhh... I withdraw it completely.

NP: No, no, Tim, we love, we like people who are keen, we like keenness. But Jenny didn't deviate, she didn't hesitate. She has 22 seconds still...

JE: (hums triumphantly)

NP: ...with another point of course, my philosophy of life starting now.

JE: Retail therapy is a lot more effective than chucking huge sums of money at the shrink. There's not much in life that can't be put right by a new pair of kitten heels, especially if you're a woman!


NP: Graham Norton you challenged.

GN: Did hesitate a bit after it.

NP: You did hesitate.

GN: After the woman.

JE: I ran out of steam, love! I ran out of personality, that's me done!

GN: Oh yes!

NP: Graham a correct challenge, a point to you, you've got the subject back, my philosophy of life, 10 seconds starting now.

GN: My philosophy of life is I think, therefore I must still be sober. I must do something about that...


NP: Tony challenged.

TONY HAWKS: Did he have a different philosophy of life when he first spoke?

NP: He did have a different philosophy of life.

TH: I'm wondering whether you...

NP: But he could have a multi, er, facetted philosophy of life, so...

TH: Yeah but it's not my philosophies of life, it's my...

GN: I changed my philosophy of life! Listening to Jenny, I was musing!

NP: I think...

GN: I'll tell you what, I'm changing my philosophy of life!

TH: You've got a full minute to do it in, why not?

GN: Exactly!

NP: And I think if you have a philosophy of life, it can embrace a number of different attitudes.

GN: Yeah!

NP: So you have another point Graham, you have five seconds, my philosophy of life starting now.

GN: My philosophy of life is a constantly evolving thing! I can't...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Graham Norton who has a strong lead at the end of the first round, closely followed by Jenny Eclair. And Jenny you take the next round, the subject is sushi. Tell us something about sushi in Just A Minute starting now.

JE: Oh how fashionable! You eat it with chopsticks, the only cutlery, I feel, you can wear in your hair successfully! It's raw fish wrapped up in seaweed, or as the Japanese call it, norry. Apparently it's an art form constructing sushi, a bit like making savoury liquorice all-sorts. You need rice, um...


NP: Tim you've challenged.

TR: Hesitated on rice.

NP: Yes, you thought of the rice... So Tim, a correct challenge, a point and 39 seconds available, tell us something about sushi starting now.

TR: I went into a Japanese restaurant recently. I was greeted "ah so" said the man at the door. And I was extremely impressed by his friendliness as he directed me towards a delicious bowl of sushi. I had not eaten this wonderful Japanese dish...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Oh there were two Japanese.

NP: Yes, the Japanese restaurant...

TR: I wasn't the only person in the restaurant!

GN: Mmmm!

NP: Graham a correct challenge, a point, and sushi's with you, 23 seconds starting now.

GN: Sushi is a sort of anti-food. Yes they killed it, but then felt so guilty, they didn't want to cook it! Leave the poor fish alone, it's suffered enough! And then you have to sit there with it. Oh it's revolting! I'll go further, it's wrong! There's something deeply disturbing about food that has unprepared...



NP: Just a minute! Before the whistle went Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of food.

NP: Yes I'm afraid you mentioned food before.


GN: Fair enough Tony!

TH: Oh hang on! It's not easy, I've got to keep going for a full second now!

NP: I know. It's half a second actually.

TH: Oh.

NP: Your challenge did come in before the whistle went. Half a second, sushi, with you Tony starting now.

TH: My philosophy of life...


NP: So Tony Hawks got the point for speaking as the whistle went and he's now equal with Jenny Eclair in second place behind Graham Norton. Tim Rice, your turn to begin, the subject, skating on thin ice. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

TR: Skating on thin ice, that is my philosophy. I believe in living close to the cutting edge, and also I'm extremely bold. A gambler, a man who will risk anything which is meant by the phrase, skating on thin ice. How important it is to zoom and flow gracefully across the frozen water...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: He's overestimating how important it is! It's not important at all to zoom or flow across the water! In fact, it's silly to zoom across the water!

NP: So are you saying it's deviation because skating on thin ice is a very delicate...

TH: Well frankly, he was skating on thin ice all the way through that! Was it deviation then, I'm a, I don't know...

NP: Well it's a, it's a...

TR: If you move fast, you won't go in!

NP: It's a very difficult one on which to judge but I will give the benefit of the doubt to Tim and say he did illustrate that he was skating on thin ice, even though he was going with some style and panache. So don't go too far Tim, benefit of the doubt to you, 34 seconds, skating on thin ice starting now.

TR: Coupled with my skating on thin ice is my style and panache which is...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: That's two panaches. You can have too much panache.

NP: No, I had panache before.

JE: You said panache?

NP: Yes.

JE: You started it off!

NP: Jenny I mean you listen very well, but you weren't listening to who was talking.

JE: I got the wrong bloke!

NP: You got the wrong bloke and...

JE: You're both old! I know that!


NP: Ohhhhh! You've lost an awful lot of brownie points there! You gained some friends in the audience. God knows why they clapped, I don't know!

GN: I wonder if Jenny will win now?

NP: So incorrect challenge, 29 seconds with you now Tim still, skating on thin ice starting now.

TR: Women sometimes skate on thin ice when they accuse a man of being older than he really is. This is disgraceful and rude, but it's not really worth the risk because things can turn viciously against the female in question...


NP: Ah Jenny challenged.

JE: He hesitated.

NP: Yes he did hesitate, 15 seconds, skating on thin ice Jenny starting now.

JE: I prefer to skate on thick ice. At Streatham Ice Rink where it's thermostatically controlled. Around the rink I zoom...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Deviation, we want to hear about her skating on thin ice!

NP: Yes that was deviation Tony. You have the subject, you have nine seconds, skating on thin ice starting now.

TH: I'm not remotely interested in skating on thin ice. However...


NP: Tim Rice challenged.

TR: Well I think he's given himself away! He's obviously...

NP: He may not remotely interested, but he'll still talk on the subject, you see.

TR: I doubt it! He spent eight of nine seconds saying he was not interested!

NP: No, he didn't! He spent three and a half seconds...

TR: He had a lot to cram into that last two or three seconds, if he was going to retrieve himself.

NP: Yes good point but I don't agree with it.

TR: Very good point!

NP: So Tony you have an incorrect challenge and you have five seconds still, skating on thin ice starting now.

TH: I was at Streatham Ice Rink not long ago and saw Tim Rice zooming...


NP: Tony Hawks speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point, and with other points in the round has moved forward. He's taken the lead now just ahead of Graham Norton and then Jenny Eclair and Tim Rice in that order. And Tony your turn to begin and we are Southampton, that illustrious city here with its famous docks, but not far away is the New Forest. Tell us something about it in Just A Minute starting now.

TH: I think that the New Forest is so much more preferable to the old one which used to be there, which didn't have self-raking leaves or computerised wild horses, as the present forest has. I believe historically, that William the Conqueror...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: I think we had two I believes.

NP: Yes, we did, yes.

TH: Could well have.

NP: Well listened Tim, you have 43 seconds, you tell us something about the New Forest starting now.

TR: I'm very interested to know exactly when the New Forest got going, and the lads at the time said "let's call this the New Forest". Not thinking that it would still be around in the year 2001 when it ought really now to be called at least the Fairly Middle Aged Forest. Something that Jenny Eclair would get rather worked up about! It's still called the New Forest and I think we should respect it for that nomenclature...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: He did say called twice. Called and called, he might have said it three times. He kept saying it, every other word! Called, called, called!

NP: He repeated called...

JE: He did!

NP: Yes, 19 seconds, the New Forest starting now.

JE: They do have ponies that look like Jon Bon Jovi with long fringes dangling into their little brown heights. How I would like to take one of them little horses home with me, feed them strawberries and apples and other equine treats! I don't know much about the Green... the Green Forest?


JE: it is green! It is green!

NP: Yes it is very green, yes, Tim got in first. Tim the challenge?

TR: Total collapse!

NP: Yes!

JE: Yes!

NP: Hesitation, that's called. Five seconds, Tim, the New Forest starting now.

TR: The New Forest is home to so many wonderful examples of wildlife...


NP: Tim was speaking as the whistle went and with other points in the round he's now equal in the lead with Tony Hawks. Graham Norton, your turn to begin, the subject, the problem page. Tell us something about the problem page... they're already laughing! You talk on that subject in this game starting now.

GN: When I was a teenager, problems were so much worse than they are today. Now you just write to dear Deirdre or some such lone person...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Well deviation, if you write to dear Deirdre, you'd have to write "Dear dear Deirdre"!

NP: No...

GN: No...

NP: He could have been using it as a form of endearment and saying you could write to dear Deirdre. You know, people do talk about people in that sense, in that way, don't they. Forty-eight seconds, the problem page, with with you Graham starting now.

GN: The problem page in any book is one that is stuck to the next one. Ooooh, you think I...


NP: Oh sorry, Tim has challenged. Tim...

TR: Two ones.

NP: There were two ones there, yes.

GN: Oh that's such a small word Tim!

NP: I know! But in Just A Minute...

GN: It hardly seems worth worrying about, does it?

NP: But it's correct in Just A Minute so Tim you have a correct challenge and 40 seconds, the problem page starting now.

TR: You've all heard of good King Wenceslas and his brave, sweet, young page that trod in the footsteps, every sod that the saint had printed. What is not so well-known is that the previous occupant of this post was a real rotter of a page. He was a real problem page...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of real.

NP: Yes...

TH: Real rotter of a page, real problem page.

GN: There was quite long vowels in that one and everything, wasn't there!

NP: Yes!

TR: Very very good challenge Tony!

GN: Real's a proper word!

NP: Oh the dagger is setting in! Right here we go! A correct challenge to Tony, 24 seconds, the problem page, Tony starting now.

TH: I used to write a problem page in a magazine in which I outlined all my problems and people wrote in and suggested what I could do about getting them right! And I had some wonderful letters, I have to say! There was a woman from Colchester who suggested that I got out more, and this is what I did. And I went to the town where she lived and pulled the flowers out of her front...


NP: So Tony Hawks speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, and has er gone into the lead ahead of Tim Rice and then Graham Norton and Jenny Eclair in that order. And Jenny your turn to begin, another phrase for you this time, flying off the handle starting now.

JE: I'm good at this, I like to do it every day. The only form of exercise I ever get! Oh it's a very good aerobic workout. Stomping up and down the stairs, slamming doors, biting carpets. I'm very easily wound up. All anyone needs to say to me is "have you put on weight?" and then watch me go like a mad exocet missile on heat!


NP: Tim you challenged first, hesitation.

TR: It was a bit.

NP: Forty seconds, flying off the handle starting now.

TR: Flying off the handle is something I hardly ever do. If somebody insults me by saying i look old or tired, I accept it very very... ah!


NP: It's a tough game! Tony you got in first, very very, 31 seconds, flying off the handle starting now.

TH: I saw a wasp on a teapot once. And it was on the spout but I thought it's only a matter of time before it moves round and flies off the handle. And I watched it for about two hours and this didn't happen and I was a little upset because I like... brea...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Oh he did sort of stop.

NP: He hesitated, 16 seconds, a correct challenge to you Graham, flying off the handle starting now.

GN: My career as an air steward was a happy but brief one. It didn't go that well in the cockpit when I discovered there was an amusing switch to play with and I got frightened and did adjourn with the thing and...


NP: So Graham Norton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point and others. He's now equal with Tim Rice, they're just two behind Tony Hawks. Tim Rice, metaphors, a man who has written many words, and many lyrics. Talk about metaphors in this game starting now.

TR: I never use metaphors. I would... eschew...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: What was that?

NP: He eschews metaphors to the extent that he couldn't talk about it! So you came in first Graham, hesitation. Metaphors with you and 56 seconds starting now.

GN: "You have nice hair" is a metaphor for "sweet God in heaven, you're really ugly!"


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: No, it's a euphemism!

JE: Yeah!


NP: I'm afraid he's right there...

GN: Can I just say to the audience, stop pretending to be clever now! You'd no idea, you were going along with it till he told you! Now you go "oh yes, stupid Irishman, of course, he got it wrong"!

NP: Tony, 51 seconds, metaphors starting now.

TH: I see that what lies ahead of me in this minute is a long stretch of road with bandits by the side of it, waiting to pounce with their buzzers! We'll get Hawks! That would be an example of a metaphor, but I can continue many more, and probably will, if I can think of any, which I shall! For instance, ships in the night, two of us meeting, oh yes, with steam coming...


NP: Ah Tim Rice challenged.

TR: Well I thought he needed rescue frankly! But they weren't metaphors, that was a string of clichés.

NP: Ah I think he was flowing into the world of clichés so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt Tim, 25 seconds, metaphors starting now.

TR: Metaphors is an extremely difficult subject and I want the audience to concentrate and follow very carefully. I'm going to divide my talk this evening into at least five or six parts. And we'll start with meta-twos, go on to meta-threes, and finally get to meta-fours. This is an extremely important...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of meta.

JE: Yes!

NP: It's part of the word on the card.

TH: No, it's not! Meta-twos and meta-threes.

NP: And meta, meta, they are....

TH: Are they?

JE: They might be hyphenated.

NP: And meta, some are...

TH: What is a meta-two then, by the way?

NP: I don't know, ask Tim Rice, he created it. Tim I give you the benefit of the doubt again and you have nine seconds, metaphors starting now.

TR: This is such a gripping topic, I don't know where to begin to address it...


NP: Ah Graham challenged.

GN: I just stopped him!

NP: What is this anti-Rice campaign? I mean it's a ...

GN: No, he said he didn't know where to begin! It seemed pointless to let him flaff on, didn't it!

NP: Well in Just A Minute everybody flaffs on as best they can.

TH: No, no, it was deviation because he'd already begun quite some time ago! And he knew how to!

NP: Listen, I think both of you flaff at different times and we call that... six seconds, Tim, metaphors starting now.

TR: My... oh!


NP: Tony you got in first.

TR: I don't want it at all!

TH: Well there's a hesitation, clearly because he never wanted to talk on this subject in the first place!

NP: But you've got in on a correct challenge...

TH: Thank you.

NP: ...and have five seconds, metaphors starting now.

TH: My favourite metaphor is never walk towards a...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: That's not a metaphor!

TH: No, you're right!

JE: He's making it up! He's got no clue! I've got one! I've been thinking it! For the whole minute!

NP: It's hesitation, it's all right.

JE: Hesitation. That's what he did!

NP: Yes! Jenny you've got half a second, do you want to actually give us a metaphor?

JE: Yes! I just thought I'd tell you. The ants...

NP: Well just a minute, keep going for half a second first till the whistle goes, half a second starting now. And you didn't start, you've forgotten it!


JE: No! I was bored... can I just say I don't care about points...

NP: Right, right...

JE: I've thought of a metaphor!

NP: Right Graham came in first with a challenge so...

JE: Please can I give my metaphor?

NP: He gets a point for speaking when the whistle should have gone! And Jenny's going to give us her metaphor starting now.

JE: The ants are black pepper on the pavement!


TH: What's it mean?

GN: It's kind of you to indulge the ramblings of an old woman, isn't it!

NP: It would have been better if you'd said there were so many specks on the pavement, they looked like ants on black paper.

JE: That's a simile, because you used the word like.

GN: Even I knew that!

NP: Not according to the Oxford English Dictionary! Right, so Jenny we give you a bonus point for your metaphor which some of us don't think actually was a metaphor! And um Graham you got a point for speaking when the whistle should have gone! And we move on to the next subject! And Tony Hawks it's your turn to begin and the subject is stage fright. Give us your opinion on stage fright starting now.

TH: Picture the scene! A man stooped over a toilet bowl, retching to such a degree because he is terrified of the Southampton audience. "Nicholas," I said, "do not fear them! They will love you! Don't panic..."


NP: Tim you challenged.

TR: I thought there was a pretty big gap.

NP: Well...

TR: You could have driven a truck through it!

NP: It was so devious I would have given it to you anyway!

TR: And deviation, very very unfair to you Mister Chairman as well.

NP: Well it was utterly devious.

TR: Yes.

GN: Dry retching more than vomiting!

NP: Anyway Tim you have a correct challenge, 44 seconds, stage fright starting now.

TR: I remember a tale which is a very long and boring...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: We've only got a minute!

NP: A bonus point to Tony because the audience enjoyed the interruption, but it was an incorrect challenge. So Tim you have another point for being interrupted and you keep the subject, 41 seconds, stage fright starting now.

TR: There was this actor who was so scared that he would get his line wrong. All he had to say was "it is", after the John Gielgud playing Henry the Second, or possibly Richard the Third, said "is that my Lord Worcester over yon hill?" And he just had to say that one line which I gave you...


NP: And Jenny challenged.

JE: He said line twice.

NP: He did say line twice.

JE: It was only one line.

TR: We'll never get to the end of the joke now. Never get to the end of it.

NP: I think a lot of us know it actually!

GN: Is that the one you advertised as long and boring?

NP: Jenny got in first, 22 seconds, stage fright Jenny starting now.

JE: Pre show nerves and stage fright are different, the difference being...


JE: Different and difference!

NP: Yes, different...

JE: I think you'll find it isn't the same!

NP: Yes you're right Jenny! Eighteen seconds on stage fright Jenny starting now.

JE: Stephen Fry had a West End wobbly, didn't he, when he was meant to be doing Simon Gray's Cellmate. Went running off to Brusserrrrr...


NP: Graham challenged first.

GN: No! Well he didn't run off to Brougherrrrrrrr, did he?

NP: Graham you have 10 seconds on stage fright starting now.

GN: My career as a highwayman was a brief one, because I suffered from stage fright! A lovely coach would come down the hill, I'd think "get back..."


NP: So Graham Norton speaking as the whistle, gained that extra point. And he's now in the lead but only one ahead of Tim Rice and Tony Hawks equal in second place. And they're not many points in front of Jenny Eclair. Tony it's your turn to begin, and it is, the subject is off the cuff. Something that happens in this game an awful lot. Talk about it starting now.

TH: Speaking off the cuff is a vital ingredient if you are going to do well on this programme. As Nicholas said when he introduced this round, and may I say what a fine chairman he is. I don't think people have said this enough! We may have to talk on any subject that is thrown at us! It may be visiting the doctor, it could be limericks...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Could be.

NP: Could be, repetition of could be. So Jenny coming in, last round, great flourish. Thirty-nine... 39 seconds available, off the cuff starting now.

JE: I have realised while playing this game, Just A Minute, I am no good at off the cuff. I need pen, paper and a decent scriptwriter! I'm not sure where the phrase came from. Was it when in the olden days, music hall comics forgot their jokes and wrote them on their cuffs? This is a trick I used to great effect when I was a teenager doing my A-levels at school. I scribbled the dates of the Boa War up and down my forearm...


NP: And Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Is this some sort of fashion war we haven't heard of? The Boa War?


NP: I know her pronunciation was a bit strange but under the pressure of keeping going and ruining her cuffs, I think we did know what she meant and she did mean the Boer War.

GN: Oh I'm a fool!

NP: No, no, we enjoyed the interjection but er there er Jenny you still have, you have a point of course too for an incorrect challenge, and you're surging forward and um, and you have 11 seconds, off the cuff starting now.

JE: Or maybe it came from, you know when...


NP: Tim Rice challenged.

TR: Two came froms.

NP: It came from before, yes.

TR: Yes.

NP: And so Tim, you got in with eight seconds on off the cuff starting now.

TR: I find that as one gets older you get much better at being off the cuff. These young things just haven't got a clue! And...


NP: So as I said it was to be the last round, let me give you the final situation. Jenny got a nice lot of points in that round, but she still finished up just in fourth place. But no, no, no... Tony was just ahead of her with 18 points. And then Tim Rice was just a couple ahead of him. But two points ahead again was Graham Norton so Graham Norton's the winner this week! Thank you very much indeed! It only remains for me to say a deep thank you to these wonderful players of the game, in the sequence I see them now, Tony Hawks, Graham Norton, Jenny Eclair and Tim Rice. I thank Janet Staplehurst for helping with the score and blowing her whistle so delicately. And of course we thank our producer Claire Jones for her contribution and making sure that we all come together. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game originally. And we are deeply indebted to this audience in Southampton who've cheered us on our way magnificently. From you, from the panel, from me Nicholas Parsons, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Hooray!