NOTE: Chris Neill's first appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure not only to welcome our many listeners throughout the world. But also to welcome the four highly talented and humorous performers who this week are going to play Just A Minute. It is with tremendous pleasure that we welcome back one of this country's finest comedians, that is Paul Merton. We welcome back a humorous lirimiist, lyricist I should say and also another fine comedy performer, Kit Hesketh-Harvey. We welcome also, back after a long absence, that charming and clever comedienne Linda Smith. And we welcome also someone who's never played the game before, so he's shaking at the present moment. But he is a talented comedy performer, that is Chris Neill. Would you please welcome all four of them! Thank you! 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 recently refurbished Theatre Royal in the Cathedral city of Winchester. And we have, yes...


NP: And you can hear that we have a fine warm receptive Hampshire audience ready to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show this week with Paul Merton. And Paul the subject is poetic licence. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: The early 19th century is often considered the golden age of poetry. There were so many poets around at the time they had to be licensed by the Government. Coleridge himself was only allowed four stanzas a month, whereas Wordsworth was luckier. He was allowed to dash off the odd limerick between August and October. It is the most extraordinary concept now, and people won't believe you if you tell them that there was a time when poetry was considered so... enriching...


NP: Chris Neill has challenged.

CHRIS NEILL: I don't know, I think it's rather reckless of me first time!


CN: It seems...

NP: Oh yes, well done!

CN: Was there a hesitation?

NP: There was a hesitation, Chris yes. Yes you're quite right, you shouldn't have hesitated in your first challenge. You're in...

CN: Well I wish I hadn't because I haven't got anything to say!

NP: Right, well you've got your first point in Just A Minute, you've got the subject, it's poetic licence, there are 29 seconds available and you start now.

CN: Ah I think...


CN: Oh yes!


NP: Yes Paul?

PM: I don't know, I feel bad about it really! We did start with er.

NP: We did start with er. I think on this occasion as it is the very first time you've ever played...

CN: No, no, that's fine!

NP: No, no, it's the first time you've ever actually spoken on Just A Minute. So we do allow a newcomer one er right at the beginning. From now on there's no mercy. Right, so we won't charge any points on that...

CN: Right.

NP: Twenty-eight seconds now on poetic licence starting now.

CN: To call Ainsley Howter... oh!


NP: Linda?

LINDA SMITH: Ah a bit of deviation.

NP: Yes, deviation from English, right, yes...

LS: Yes.

PM: But normally we allow people who've never played the game before...


PM: ... at least half a dozen chances to get a sentence out!

NP: I know! What we'll have to do is give Paul a bonus point because it was a correct challenge. Yes that's right, are you all right, Paul?

PM: Yes. Right, I'm happy now.

NP: Yes you're happy now. He gets a point because of a correct challenge, and er Linda gets a point for a correct challenge. And she now takes the subject with 26 seconds, poetic licence starting now.

LS: I think that it's unfair that you should have to have a poetic licence if you don't actually use poetry. I was dismayed to open the door the other night to a poetic licence detector van! Who said "have you got a poetic licence?" I said "well, I don't really use the substance you refer to..."


NP: Kit challenged.

KIT HESKETH-HARVEY: I thought you said use twice, didn't you?

LS: Oh!


KHH: Oh I'm sorry, was it forcing?

LS: Kit, you've depressed them all now!

NP: Isn't it funny? You've got a correct challenge which is a clever one and they are depressed! They're resentful, they get, they do take sides Kit.

KHH: They do, they're bitter.

LS: Yes but take heart because they turn!

KHH: They turn!

NP: They can be very fickle, a Just A Minute audience. Kit you've got a correct challenge, a point for that and you have eight seconds on poetic licence starting now.

KHH: I believe that every time the Poet Laureate passes a motion as it were he has to forfeit his hog's head of marnsey or his...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Kit Hesketh-Harvey and you won't be surprised to discover that he's in the lead at the end of the round. They've all got one point, Kit's got two. So we carry on. Chris Neill...

CN: Mmmm?

NP: Will you take the next round?

CN: Yes.

NP: Right. You said mmmm as if you shut your lips before you could speak again! Right, the subject is dating agencies. Chris can you tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

CN: We are told, these days, that dating agencies are not just for the sad and lonely in our society. But to be honest, it does help! I was invited many years ago when I'd been unceremoniously dumped, to join a dating agency. And I looked around and I thought the one I'd really like, what am I keen on in life? And it's food. So I thought one way, I'll set up for dinner with somebody else of a similar bent. And you go out and enjoy each other's company and dine...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Sorry, it does seem like shooting baby seals, I must admit! There were several ands.

NP: Yeah there were four or five ands.

CN: Oh yes.

NP: Yes.

CN: I was hoping that wouldn't be included, the word and.

NP: Well they, they're often generous about one and...

LS: It is normally, but when you haven't played the game before...

NP: Right, you see, they often let one or two ands go...

CN: Yes.

NP: But half a dozen...

CN: Yes.

NP: ... is stretching a bit. So you've got the subject Linda, you have another point of course for a correct challenge. Thirty seconds are available, dating agencies starting now.

LS: Dating agencies. The phrases that I find a little alarming on a dating agency advert are when...


NP: Chris challenged.

CN: Was that a slight sort of deviation on the word agency?

NP: No! No, no she was putting her... She was trying to get an apostrophe on to agencies's. And it sounds a bit like that. I thought that she did rather well actually.

CN: No, I did like it.

NP: No, no, a bit too keen I think.

CN: Okay.

LS: Yes, very keen, first time out!

NP: So an incorrect challenge, another point to Linda, 24 seconds, dating agencies starting now.

LS: The initials GSOH. Possibly they mean good sense of humour. But I suspect they mean going slowly off head. Which isn't that reassuring if you're going to meet someone with a view to friendship, possibly romance, possibly the idea...


LS: ... that you've just said possibly about 20 times!

PM: Two possiblys.

NP: Two possiblys, Paul. So you got in and you're going to tell us something about dating agencies and there are 10 seconds available starting now.

PM: I remember many years ago I was travelling on the tube. And I looked up and I saw this advert in front of me. And it said "are you sitting next to the new love in your life?" And I turned round and there was this Chinaman smoking a cigar! We lived together for about four or five years but it didn't really work...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point. He's now equal with Linda Smith in the lead, just ahead of Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Chris Neill. And Linda your turn to begin, the subject is multitasking. Can you tell us something about multitasking, 60 seconds to go starting now.

LS: Multitasking is a term used to describe the ability to perform several tasks at the same time. I am very adept at multitasking. For example I can watch tennis whilst drinking a cup of tea at the same time! If only I smoked...


NP: Chris challenged.

CN: I don't know why I'm being so keen! Um was that a repetition of same time?

NP: No!

KHH: I'd like to challenge the chairman actually! Deviation, I'm sorry!

NP: Well listened Chris, that's right! Yes same time...

CN: Kit can have it! I don't mind that!

NP: No, no, no, no, 44 seconds, you tell us something about multitasking starting now.

CN: I was at a dinner party last week, with a doctor who works in a North London hospital. And he was telling me about various elements of his job. And one thing really, he doubles up as a lost property officer! You would not believe the things people lose inside their bodies! I can't speak any more...


NP: Linda, you got in first.

LS: Yeah, I, I wish I hadn't really because I was intrigued to know how that was going to end up! But um...

NP: Yes so hesitation, 23 seconds Linda, multitasking starting now.

LS: Another multitasking gift I have is to listen to Money Box Live and slip into a light coma at the same time! An ability that I believe I probably share with the vast mador, majority of other listeners...


NP: Paul.

PM: Sadly a slip on majority.

NP: That's right yes.

PM: Madority.

NP: Madority is not a word that we understand and so we think that it's deviation from English as we understand it.

LS: One day you may, Nicholas!

NP: Right, Paul you have nine seconds once again, it was 10 before, nine this time, multitasking starting now.

PM: I remember I was sitting on the Tube and I suddenly saw this sign opposite...


NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: He's still sitting on the Tube!

NP: I know, but that was in a different round.

KHH: A different round, I'm sorry! Carry on! It's the Circle Line obviously!

NP: You can recycle thoughts, material so from one round to another. But you can't in the same round so...

KHH: Thank you Nicholas.

NP: Incorrect challenge, Paul, another point, seven seconds, multitasking starting now.

PM: One of the great things that I love doing in life is performing on Just A Minute while consequently and also at the same time crushing grapes with...


NP: And so Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And with others in the round he is now just ahead of Linda Smith. And Kit Hesketh-Harvey it is your turn to begin, the subject is pride and prejudice. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

KHH: It was written by somebody who came from Hampshire actually, Jane Austen. And the story goes thus. It's five girls living in a house which has been entailed to a boring clergyman, until Elizabeth meets Mister Fitzwilliam Darcy who leaves William and goes off with her. And they rapidly (giggles)...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: This is going to, this is a very long book, isn't it!

NP: It's a very long, it's taken a devious turn already, I think. It's not the book...

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation because he realised he'd deviated from what Jane Austen had written! Right so Paul, a correct challenge, pride and prejudice, 41 seconds starting now.

PM: It's one of those books that I've never read. But I often watch the television adaptations. There's been many versions over the years. Who can forget the one with Charles Hawtrie, Will Hay...


NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey challenged.

KHH: Hesitation but he was very funny.

NP: No, he didn't hesitate. You could have had him for something else but I won't say it now. No, no, he didn't actually hesitate...

KHH: Okay.

NP: He kept going.

KHH: Fine.

NP: Through the laughter yes. Twenty-nine seconds still with you Paul, on pride and prejudice starting now.

PM: I breed poodles for a living. And though my favourite animals are Pride and Prejudice. I named them after the Jane Austen novel because they are beautiful creatures. I go out into the morning, I shout through my window "Pride! Prejudice!" And those little faces come running up towards me, followed by their bodies, some way behind, as they lap at the back door, eager for their dog food. And I say to them "ah my charming creatures, I..."


NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: Two creatures.

NP: Yes.

PM: No! Dogs.

NP: They were dogs first, not creatures.

PM: Dogs first time.

KHH: No.

LS: Yes.

CN: Linda thinks there were two creatures.

NP: Right. What does the audience think? Do you think there was more than one...


KHH: Sorry!

PM: I'm surprised anyone was listening, to be honest!

NP: So Kit you've got in with creatures and three seconds on pride and prejudice starting now.

KHH: Till she sees him in...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well there was a bit of a hesitation there!

NP: A good laugh but er no, no hesitation. Two and a half seconds on pride and prejudice Kit starting now.

KHH: In wet trousers and admired his magnificent feet...


NP: So Kit Hesketh-Harvey's moving forward there. He's in second place now behind Paul Merton. Linda Smith one point behind him and Chris Neill's two points behind them. And Paul back to you to begin, the subject is what your name says about you. Have a think about that one, slightly involved. So talk on it for 60 seconds if you can starting now.

PM: Well it can say a great many times. It can place you in time, class, age, sex. For example Albert as a name is no longer popular but it was at the turn of the last century. Nicholas Parsons's real name is Gladys Parsons. And what a wonderful creature he is once he gets home, takes off this makeup that we see, and puts on a big sparkly dress! For many years he's been wandering round the streets of London. "Hello dearie, want to be naughty with an old girl?" And earns a fair amount of brass because unfortunately the B Beeb C does not pay...


NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: Repetition of Beeb.

PM: I said B Beeb C.

NP: No, he was very clever, he said Beeb B C.

KHH: Oh I'm sorry. Well done, yes!

NP: I mean actually, after what he said I'd be very happy to give it away! But he didn't actually, no, he very cleverly said Beeb BC.

PM: B Beeb C.

NP: Yeah.


NP: Yes?

CN: Can I ask, just because I'm new to this, um, but does it matter if the B Beeb C isn't anything?

LS: Oh!

CN: As such?

LS: Deviation!

CN: Is that a deviation?

NP: It's a bit late now, isn't it?

CN: No, no, no, it's just that it's quite cold in here, my mind's working slowly!

NP: Um yes if you'd challenged for deviation, I would have given it.

CN: Oh right. Okay.

NP: Too late now!

CN: Okay! No, no, no, this buzzer's defective, I know.

NP: No, but you were clearing up an interesting point.

CN: Thanks!

NP: But the audience... lulled the audience into a slight sense of shock or coma, I don't know which. So Paul, it's still with you on what your name says about you starting now.

PM: Kit Hesketh-Harvey could be the halfback line of West Ham United! Or it could be the name of the gentleman sitting next to me! By those various words we conjure up perhaps, a man who didn't go to a comprehensive school! Nothing wrong with that, we can't all have the right start in life. But somehow he struggled to make it all the way to here, Winchester to play Just A Minute...


NP: So Paul Merton started with the subject and finished with it, in spite of being interrupted at one particular point. And um he gained an extra point of course for speaking as the whistle went. He's got a stronger lead. Why nobody challenged him for deviation when he was talking about me being Gladys Parsons on the streets, I don't know!

KHH: How could we? How could we?

NP: Oh you believe it, do you?

PM: There are people out in the audience just nodding to each other!

NP: Right so we move on. Chris Neill your turn to begin, the subject is sulking. Tell us something about that boring subject in this game starting now.

CN: To be honest I'm quite upset that I have been given that subject. It is not in my emotional range or repertoire to be a sulker. In fact I'm so upset I might not speak for a minute...


NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: Two upsets I'm afraid.

NP: Two upsets.

CN: Yeah that shows how much I am.

NP: Right so Kit you get a point, you've got 48 seconds, you get the subject of sulking starting now.

KHH: The big sulker at the moment is Peter Mandelson who's sitting there like Achilles in his tent, refusing to come out. And all because Blair said to him "we don't want you any more. Mandy you came and you gave without taking, but I sent you away when you said to me." But he's sitting there in Hartlepool saying "the bitch is back and the lady's not for turning" on television in the middle of the night and frightening us all...


NP: Linda's challenged.

LS: Ah hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation. He got it off his chest and that was it! Right so Linda, you've got the subject of sulking, there are 27 seconds starting now.

LS: Sulking is something many of us do particularly when you're teenagers. You've got a lot to sulk about. Suddenly you put on a lot of weight or a bit on your lower lip, it seems. You just walk around pouting the whole time. And you manage to put about five syllables into the word no, if anyone asks you a question. You sort of go, I won't say it because that would then be repetition and I'm not falling into that trap! Oh no! I...



NP: Oh no! Kit you challenged! Right.

KHH: Repetition of no, I'm afraid.

NP: Oh yes yes, it's a tough game, isn't it. But isn't it fun! Kit you got in cleverly with two seconds to go on sulking starting now.

KHH: Paul Merton, Ade Edmondson, Victoria Wood...


NP: So Kit Hesketh-Harvey got the point for speaking as the whistle went and he's moved forward. He's two points behind our leader Paul Merton and he's three points ahead of Linda Smith and he's four or five points ahead of Chris Neill. And Kit Hesketh-Harvey your turn to begin, the subject is makeovers. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

KHH: Somebody who's had a marvellous makeover recently is the Shadow Home Secretary. She used to be so like the back end of a horse, didn't she? But now she's Widdecombe Fair with her lustrous, peroxide, teasel-haired glox...


NP: Yes, Linda you challenged first.

LS: I think he just choked on his own lies!

NP: So we call that hesitation. Linda you have makeovers, you have 47 seconds starting now.

LS: Makeovers are a modern scourge to my way of thinking. I'm utterly sick of them on the television all the time. I bet somewhere in a cave in Afghanistan one of Bin Laden's many wives is nagging him, saying "never mind international terror! When are you going to get that back bedroom in the cave made over? It's just be..."


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of cave.

NP: Yes.

LS: Oh yes.

NP: Yes, yes, yes, well, well listened. Twenty-eight seconds for you Paul on makeovers starting now.

PM: I remember seeing the first makeover, about 15 years ago, on television. I thought that was fairly dull, I don't suppose I'll ever see that again. And sure enough, they've been doing it ever since! It is the most amazingly dull thing. They get somebody...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Two dulls.

NP: There were two dulls, I'm afraid, yes, 17 seconds, Linda, makeovers starting now.

LS: They always get in that big ponce from Changing Rooms, the one who looks like Margaret Lockwood in The Wicked Lady. And they...


NP: Chris challenged.

CN: Was that a hesitation?

NP: That was a bit of hesitation Chris, yes. She was...


LS: Well that was...

NP: You're such a fickle audience! I don't know whether you're clapping Linda's last remark which was very funny, or Chris for the fact that he's got in! So Chris, you've got makeovers and seven seconds starting now.

CN: I cannot think of anything finer than being given a voucher to go to a top London West End department store, and a lady clamber over me...


NP: So Chris Neill gained points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went. And he has leapt forward and he's still in fourth place! But um, no, he's not very far behind Kit Hesketh-Harvey, who's a few points behind Linda Smith and even more behind Paul Merton who's in the lead. And Chris it is your turn to begin and the subject is Keats. Tell us something about Keats in Just A Minute starting now.

CN: I know why I've been asked this. It's because Keats was inspired to write his lovely Ode To Autumn, I've forgotten the words, ah, when he was... oh I've hesitated!


NP: Don't tell them! They might let, ignore it! I certainly would ignore it...

CN: A pre-emptive strike!

NP: A pre-emptive strike! Unfortunately you hesitated, we know that, as he did what he did. And Linda you've got in first...

LS: Well I think it's what he wanted, you know! It was a cry for help really!

NP: Forty-five seconds, Keats, starting now.

LS: The railway stations sometimes put up po, poems by...


LS: Oh!

NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: Po-poems.

NP: Po-poems, yes. Deviation from English and probably...

LS: Would they be like little dried poems?


NP: They sound like lavatorial poems to me! The um, anyway you got in Kit with 45 seconds on Keats starting now.

KHH: He was, along with Coleridge and Shelley and Wordsworth and Byron, one of the new romantics like Simon Le Bon and Adam Ant. And he wrote all sorts of...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well there were quite a lot of ands.

NP: There were quite a lot of ands, I'm afraid, yes.

KHH: Yes.

NP: So Paul, you got in, 36 seconds, Keats starting now.

PM: I don't know anything about him!


NP: Kit you challenged first.

KHH: Deviation, he's learnt a lot on this programme already, hasn't he.

NP: Oh what a clever challenge! You could have had him for hesitation, we can have him for that as well. But only one point, I'm afraid. Thirty-five seconds, Keats starting now.

KHH: His death was very uncertain. They weren't quite sure whether it was...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well, is he dead, or not?


PM: I mean, if he isn't, it's a scandal because they buried the poor devil!

NP: So what is your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: I wanted to know! I have admitted I know nothing about Keats! I don't know if he's alive or dead! Deviation!

NP: Deviation? Um no I think he was using it grammatically, his death was a little uncertain. I think it means the circumstances of his death. So...

PM: Well that sort of thing could confuse a stupid person!

NP: Paul, what I will do, to be fair and generous, they loved your interruption so we give you a bonus point for that. But Kit gets a point because there was an incorrect challenge and he continues on Keats with 32 seconds starting now.

KHH: Whether it was going to be consumption or not. TB or not TB, that is the...



NP: Paul you, this time you have got in Paul.

PM: Repetition of TB.

NP: Yes! How on earth did you spot it? Twenty-eight seconds Paul on Keats starting now.

PM: Well one of the controversial aspects of Keats' life is whether it ended or not. People aren't so sure. They know he was born in 1774 but is he actually still breathing and walking around? Some people say he's got a hot dog stand outside Stanford Bridge! And you go there, Chelsea home games on a Saturday, and there he is, selling these hard bits of meat, stuck with batter, saying "I'm Keats, I used to write poems, you know!" And people are amazed at the...


NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: There were lots of people in all that.

NP: There were lots of people in all that.

PM: Was there?

NP: Yes.

KHH: It was, it was a great great wing of lyric, lyric invention.

NP: Great yes. Anyway they still might have challenged you for deviation but, but you got in cleverly with three seconds to go.

KHH: Oh have I? Oh great.

NP: On a repetition, of Keats starting... not a repetition of Keats. On repetition. The subject is Keats starting now.

KHH: La Belle don songer as he bloody well...


NP: Paul challenged first.

PM: I don't know what he's saying!

NP: You may not know what he was saying. I mean, with great confidence you said when Keats was born in 1774...

PM: I made that up!

NP: I know you did, but nobody challenged you, did they?

PM: No, because they didn't know either! They thought it sounds right, might have been!

NP: That's the game of bluff in Just A Minute. So what was your challenge?

PM: I can't remember.

NP: No! Kit, another point, two seconds, Keats starting now.

KHH: Loving Fanny as he did, which is extraordinary when you look at his portrait...


NP: So Kit Hesketh-Harvey gaining a number of points in that round, including one for speaking as the whistle went. So we're moving into the last round, sad to say. And it is Linda's turn to begin. Linda the subject now is my second language. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

LS: My second language is non-existent. Because like most English people I know that if I speak loudly and clearly and fix Johnny Foreigner with an authoritative gaze, he'll understand all right! And if he doesn't, well, I think he's probably bluffing...


NP: Chris challenged.

CN: Were there quite a lot of hes?

LS: There were.

NP: Yes, a lot of hes. Well listened Chris so you got in on 45 seconds to go on my second language starting now.

CN: My second language is that of romance. I have often been compared to Bepe from East Enders! It's, it's what with me, my Mediterranean look and my growly voice! I wanted to say but um...



NP: I've got to say Chris, the trouble is you come up with these bon mots, and you, you love them so much yourself, you dry yourself up!

CN: (laughs) I know!

NP: You can't keep going!

CN: I know!

NP: You shouldn't be such a good audience for your own jokes! But Linda challenged first. And you've got in on the hesitation. My second language is back with you Linda, 32 seconds to go starting now.

LS: My second language would probably have come along a lot better if I didn't go to such a rubbish school. The Quick Fit Comprehensive in south east London where our French teacher was a bit of a dozy old bat, to be frank, who sued to make us colour in endless maps of France and little pictures of French markets with...


NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: French twice.

NP: Yes.

LS: I said France, I said France and French.

NP: No she said France and French.

KHH: French teacher and French markets.

NP: French teacher you had.

LS: Right.

NP: Kit, correct challenge, my second language, 12 seconds starting now.

KHH: I happen to be completely bilingual, and not in a public school sense as Paul Merton would have it, but gifted with tongues! And I would like now to tell you a joke which is of the not repeat that word variety. It is the French...


NP: So as I said that was to be the last subject. We have no more time to play this delightful game. And just to let you know the final situation. Chris Neill finished up in fourth place but only just, just marginally behind Linda Smith who was in third place. But out in the lead together equal which seems a very fair situation we have Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Paul Merton, our joint winners, congratulations! Thank you! We do hope you enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. And my thanks to our wonderful players of the game, Paul Merton, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Linda Smith and Chris Neill. And I thank Janet Staplehurst for helping me with the score and blowing her whistle so beautifully and elegantly. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created the game that we enjoy playing. And also we thank our producer Claire Jones for keeping us in order as best she can, and making sure it all goes out so smoothly. And we are very very indebted to this delightful very lovely exciting sexy audience here in the Theatre Royal of Winchester! From our audience, from our panel, from me Nicholas Parsons, good-bye until the next time we play Just A Minute!