starring TONY HAWKS, LINDA SMITH, CHRIS NEILL and BILL BAILEY, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 17 February 2003)

NOTE: Bill Bailey's first appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: 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 not only in this country but also throughout the world. But also to welcome to the show this week four exciting, talented, and individual performers from the great world of show business. We welcome back with tremendous pleasure that delightful actress and comedy performer Linda Smith. We also have back again with us, which is a joy always, that very talented comedian and improviser and also musician, that is Tony Hawks. We also have back again the lovely Chris Neill, the comedian as well. And we welcome for the first time to the show, a musician, singer and a comedy performer and it's lovely to have with us Bill Bailey. Will you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject, and they will try and do that for Just A Minute if they can without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And beside me sits Claire Bartlett, who will help me keep the score, and she'll blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Mortings Concert Hall in Snape, near Saxmunden and near Alborough in the lovely county of Suffolk. And we have a really hyped-up Suffolk audience in front of us here ...


NP: And you can hear from the noise there's two or three people from Essex as well! Who have come here to cheer us on our way. As we start the show with Tony Hawks. Tony, what a lovely subject, growing old gracefully. Tell us something about that subject in this game, starting now.

TONY HAWKS: I consider myself to be growing old gracefully. I look rather sprightly for my 87 years of age. Nicholas however for his 34, looks rubbish! What he's been doing with his life, I do not know! Peter Stringfellow would be somebody who doesn't seem to grasp how to grow old gracefully with his 1970s hair and his string of young girlfriends. What he needs to do is buy a house in Alborough and get himself a nice reliable Saloon car, put a blanket in the back, maybe some boiled sweets by the dashboard, that kind of thing, watch Songs Of Praise a lot, perhaps even tape it and watch it over again. Because this is what you do when you are growing old gracefully. Um I think I've...


NP: So Chris Neill you challenged.

CHRIS NEILL: A hesitation, um.

NP: There was an um which we call hesitation, yes. And er Tony you went for 48 seconds there, well done! And of course the irony of this show, he goes for 48 seconds and he'll probably finish up with no points at all! Chris has got in with 12 seconds to go, he gets a point for a correct challenge, he takes over the subject of growing old gracefully starting now.

CN: As I look out on this lovely audience here in the Mortings Concert Hall in Snape...


NP: Bill Bailey challenged.

BILL BAILEY: No, no, you're not doing that!

NP: So Bill what is your...

BB: They're not that lovely! I can see! The light's up on them!

NP: They are lit, but I've already told them when I came out before the show how lovely they were actually so...

BB: Really? Oh sorry.

NP: Yes so I think they feel lovely even if they're not. But Bill it was good to hear from you and as the audience reacted so well to your comment, we'll give you a bonus point for that. But of course Chris was interrupted, it was an incorrect challenge, he gets a point for an incorrect challenge...

CN: Thank you very much.

NP: He keeps the subject, eight seconds available starting now.

CN: They are growing old gracefully indeed, although I notice there's some people about four rows from the back whose hair I suspect wasn't that colour last week...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point in this game, and that occasion it was Chris Neill and with other points of course he's taken a strong lead at the end of the round. And Chris we'd like you to take the next round...

CN: Lovely.

NP: ... which is customer service, customer service, 60 seconds starting now.

CN: I should imagine it's very good in some parts of Suffolk. Although when I walked through Alborough High Street earlier on today, no shops were open to prove that fact! In London however these very same stores, not the very same ones, I've just repeated very same...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah yeah, repetition of very same.

NP: Very same yes, Tony you have a point, a correct challenge, 46 seconds are available, customer service starting now.

TH: America is renowned for offering very good customer service. Over there very often you go into a place and they will say "have a nice day" and treat you very well. But at least in a British shop they mean it when they say "find it yourself"! And that's important, there's none of this faking it. They really are intending to say that to you. Now I would like to make a short talk on customer service...


NP: Ah Bill Bailey challenged.

BB: Ah, make a short talk? What, what's that?

TH: Well it's a string of words.

BB: Is it? It doesn't seem to make any sense. Prepare a short talk. Or produce a short talk.

NP: I think er...

BB: Talk a short talk!

NP: Bill, Bill, it's lovely you know, first time on and you're desperately keen, it's lovely! I mean really in this game, it's so tough. I mean I think we all knew what he meant by short talk.

CN: I can't say I did!

NP: Well Chris you live ina different world from some of us. But Bill, I don't think I can allow it.

BB: Oh okay.

NP: I think we understood within our knowledge of language what he was trying to say.

BB: Yes, fair point.

NP: So he gets another point, 19 seconds, customer service Tony starting now.

TH: I was rather hoping that Bill would win that challenge because I've run out of things possibly to say although I may become suddenly inspired. For instance, I went into a shop in Alborough earlier this century...


NP: Yes Bill you've challenged.

BB: Yes.

NP: Shop.

BB: Yes, indeed! Yeah! Yeah! Yes! Repetition! Repetition of shop!

NP: Bill, you picked that one up very rapidly, I'm delighted about that! So you haven't played the game before, so you got in, yes, repetition of shop, and there are seven seconds on customer service...

BB: Seven seconds?

NP: Yes, with you Bill starting now.

BB: My idea of customer service is a nice cup of tea when you buy a car, or a doughnut for example...


NP: So Bill Bailey was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so and with the other point he gained earlier, he's now equal with Chris Neill and Tony Hawks is one behind them, and Linda hasn't got anything yet. Bill, Bill Bailey will you take the next round.

BB: Yes.

NP: The subject here is insects. Will you tell us something about insects in this game starting now.



BB: Well hold on! Hold on!

NP: Bill I have to explain to you, and particularly and also for the sake of the listeners, you don't have to react to the audience and play to them with facial er expressions before you start.

BB: When does it actually start? When you say "now"?

NP: When I say "now".

BB: But you didn't say "now".

NP: I did say "now" and you played to the audience!

BB: But they were laughing! I hadn't said anything and they were laughing!

NP: I know, they were laughing, they're a very responsive audience. And this is a strange game where you have to ride your laughs, you have to go through them.

BB: Right! Okay can we do that again then? Sorry I won't ride the laughs! Don't laugh, all right! Stop!

NP: I think, I think to be fair to the first-time player of the game we'll start that one again and say the subject is insects...

BB: Insects are...

NP: No, no, wait a minute! No! You wait for the all important "now".

BB: Now...

NP: No! No I haven't said it yet! Bill the subject is insects, 60 seconds starting now.

BB: According...


BB: What?

NP: Linda you challenged.

LINDA SMITH: Hesitation!

NP: No, of course not! Another point to Bill Bailey and he's been interrupted, and you have 59 and a half seconds, insects Bill, starting now.

BB: According to top scientists, there are literally millions of insects throughout every corner of the world. England, France, Italy, Portugal...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: They're not in corners!

BB: Yes they are. No, insects are in corners of the world...

TH: He said...

BB: ... in England and France.

TH: I withdraw my er challenge.

NP: So Bill Bailey, our first-time player of the game is running away with it at the moment, he's got another point, he's still got the subject, 51 seconds, insects starting now.

BB: There are many different kinds of insects. For instance, the builder wasp, er so-called because it started...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: A bit of an er.

BB: Was there?

NP: There was a bit of a hesitation.

BB: In builder? You have to say er in builder! Oh that! That is a bit pedantic surely!

NP: Well they do get a bit pedantic on occasions, and you've had a bit of generosity from them up to now. So we take it away now Bill, and say yes, er hesitation, you've got it Linda, 46 seconds, insects starting now.

LS: Insects are the gardener's friend. I have trained a little troop of daddy longlegs to turn off the radio when the Archers come on...


NP: Bill challenged.

BB: You said er, er in turn!

NP: It, it wasn't a sufficient hesitation to be penalised.

BB: Ah okay.

NP: So she has an incorrect challenge, she still has insects, 39 seconds starting now.

LS: However their weedy girl arms aren't very strong, so I sometimes hear a little bit of said programme which means I know a bit of the plot.


LS: Blimey, that Elizabeth Archer's a grassing cow!

NP: Chris has challenged.

CN: Repetition of bit.

NP: Yes there was...

LS: You see, I didn't notice that.

CN: I was listening, you weren't!

NP: Yeah you did say it before so Chris another point to you and you have the subject of insects, 31 seconds starting now.

CN: Come the summer, I love insects! I fling open the window and say "enter my buzzing little friends into my home. Alight where you feel free, on the sofa, on the... oooh, on the!


NP: Tony you challenged first, 21 seconds, tell us something about insects, Tony starting now.

TH: A lot of people find themselves in sects, religious sects in fact. There was one, the cult of the solar temple, I remember everyone who went to this meeting was killed, and they never found out whether it was mass murder or suicide. But I remember thinking to myself...


NP: Bill challenged.

BB: Repetition of remember.

NP: That's right.

TH: Ah!

NP: He did, well listened Bill. So Bill you've got in with another point and of course six seconds only available, tell us more about insects starting now.

BB: Er the bees knees...


NP: (laughs) It's a tough game, isn't it.

BB: You're not saying repetition of ees, are you?

NP: No, it's er, you said er...

TH: You started with er.

NP: You started with er!

BB: That's how I, that's how I talk!

NP: I know!

TH: I tell you it's going to be a long evening!

BB: A terribly long evening!

NP: But you're in a strong lead Bill...

BB: All right.

NP: So Tony got another point, insects, and there are five seconds starting now.

TH: Arachnophobics are people who tend not to be keen on spiders...


NP: So at the end of that round, Bill Bailey with all the points he got ah and all the laughs has gone into a strong lead. He's two ahead of Tony and he's three ahead of Chris, and he's four ahead of Linda. And that's the situation as Linda takes the next subject which is beach huts. A lot, a lot of them up here on the Suffolk coast, aren't there? Tell us something about beach huts Linda, in this game starting now.

LS: Beach huts are a charming and delightful way of spending 500,000 pounds. Because I think you'll find that in Southwold, now known as Islington Surmere, the beach huts there come in at slightly more expensive than a villa on the Cote D'Azur. But of course it's worth it if you can make a cup of tea whenever you want one! Which is basically what English people want from the seaside...


NP: Ah Chris challenged.

CN: Oh there was a repetition of basically.

NP: Basically?

CN: I'll say it more confidently. There was a repetition of basically! I'm convinced!

LS: I'd suggest there wasn't.

NP: No, no...

CN: No, no, there was something...

NP: She never said basically.

CN: There was a word beginning with B! Oh!

LS: Oh we've narrowed it down then!

CN: I know!

NP: But I'm not going to help you because it wouldn't be fair to the others.

CN: You know what I'm talking about though, between you and me though. Don't you?

NP: Yes I do! Right...

CN: Oh well!

NP: So she's, she was interrupted and she gets a point for that and she keeps beach huts and there are 36 seconds available starting now.

LS: Beach huts, you can sit outside at that little place I mentioned earlier, and enjoy basking in that freezing Siberian wind, straight off the Stets. Definitely worth the money! However many people now find their beach huts are in negative equity, so they're having to sell up their homes and live there all the time, which doesn't seem quite as appealing. It's quite nice of a summertime to sit around, making pineapple upside-down cake, and thinking that you're Nigella Bloody Lawson. But when you have to be there in the middle of the winter, the er appeal oh...


NP: Chris you've got in and there's only two seconds are left!

CN: Well there was a sort of hesitation stumble thing.

NP: I know, but a correct correct challenge. But er two seconds to go, beach huts starting now.

CN: Are some of my finest places I could possibly visit of a summertime...


NP: Ah right at the end of that round, it's all very even there. Bill Bailey still just ahead of Chris Neill who is just ahead of Tony who is just ahead of Linda. Right, Tony Hawks, your turn to begin, the subject is the weather forecast. Tell us something about the weather forecast in this game starting now.

TH: When weather forecasters are in bed at night, I often wonder whether they feel a warm front moving in. Lucky them, I say, if that does happen! I do feel there are too much weather forecasting...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: I think deviation there. There are too much? He was very quick to criticise Bill.

NP: Yeah that's right, it's a, sort of deviation from language and grammar as we normally understand it.

LS: I'm afraid so.

NP: Yes Linda, a correct challenge...

LS: Oh that's okay.

NP: The weather forecast is with you and there's 46 seconds available starting now.

LS: The weather forecast is something that you get more interested in the older you get you become.

CN: Not true!

LS: At one time I was quite oblivious to the weather forecast. Now I'm quite interested. Oooh is it going to rain...


NP: Chris challenged.

CN: Repetition of quite.

NP: There were two quites.

CN: Yes!

NP: Quite interested and... right, 35 seconds, the weather forecast starting now.

CN: The weather forecast is on the television and on the radio and also...


CN: Oh!

NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Hesitation.

NP: No.

CN: No, I don't think so!

NP: Chris you have another point and you have 30 seconds on the weather forecast starting now.

CN: The weather forecast involves people, sometimes men and other times women...


NP: And Tony challenged.

TH: Was there a repetition of times in there?

CN: No sometimes and times.

TH: Oh quite right.

NP: Sometimes and other times.

TH: Yes, I'm a fool to myself and my family! He got me!

NP: Yes very clever Chris. I don't know whether you did it deliberately or not but anyway...

CN: Oh yes!

NP: ... another point...

CN: Yes!

NP: You got another point anyway, 26 seconds, the weather forecast starting now.

CN: How glad I am that I managed to keep hold of this subject because I have so much to say on it! Um there are these people...


NP: Ah Bill challenged.

BB: Ah um.

CN: Um.

NP: Yes definitely.

BB: Hurrah!

NP: The first-time players of the game always have the audience 100 percent with them. They picked you out, you got the um there...

BB: And that all changes, does it, over the years?

NP: And you've got, no, no, they're all rooting for you out there, you're in the lead, keep it there going, 21 seconds, the weather forecast Bill starting now.

BB: In the olden days before TV and radio, weather forecasters would travel from village to village...


BB: Oh!

NP: It's a tough game isn't it!

BB: I should have seen that one coming!

NP: No...

TH: You managed to tack one word in between repeating. It's actually true, I came, the first time I came on this, I actually said I was watching Surprise Surprise!

NP: So you watch out for those things now! So Tony you got in first, with the weather forecast still going and 16 seconds available starting now.

TH: They are so obsessed by the weather forecast in America there is actually a weather channel and I was over there recently and started to watch this. And it's extraordinary. Different good-looking hair... hair...


NP: Bill yes?

BB: Repetition of hair hair.

NP: Yes! So you've cleverly got in Bill with only three seconds to go on the weather forecast, don't start with um, starting now.

BB: Weather forecasters would travel from village to hamlet...


NP: Tony you've challenged before the whistle.

TH: Repetition, repetition of village. You said it, if you say anything in the first lot, you can't say it again in your second one.

BB: Oh right!

NP: So Tony's got in with one second to go on the weather forecast starting now.

TH: Neil Armstrong...


NP: So it's a very close contest! Bill Bailey, Chris Neill and Tony Hawks, well they're almost equal. Bill Bailey and Chris Neill are equal in the lead, one ahead of Tony Hawks, and two or three ahead of Linda Smith. And Chris it's your turn to begin...

CN: Thank you.

NP: The subject now is punch. Tell us something about punch in Just A Minute starting now.

CN: Punch is a very dull magazine which apparently started in 1841. I think that for a short while in the 80s or 90s of the last century it did go out of print which was a very good thing, but sadly it's come back! It implies in the title, there is something humorous to be found within its pages, but rather Dante's The Divine Comedy, there's not a single joke to be found! However a more enjoyable kind of punch is one that can be served in a bowl. My very favourite at the moment involves soup, er... sooooop...


NP: Linda you've challenged.

LS: Invention of the word soooooo.

NP: Linda a correct challenge, you have punch, 30 seconds available starting now.

LS: I dislike the drink punch. It's usually served at parties and people bung everything in it they can find, bits of old fruit, drinks they brought back from holiday that have a plastic flower in them and look and taste like bubble bath. And then a few terrapins and goldfish and some generic...


NP: Tony you ... yes?

TH: What kind of parties does she go to?

NP: Yes well with the goldfish...

LS: I noticed this lot seems to find it quite normal!

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

TH: I haven't thought of one yet!

NP: No you haven't got one yet. But what actually happened is you interrupted Linda so she gets a point for that. You got a lovely reaction from the audience so I'll give you a bonus point, Linda you've got 12 seconds, the subject is punch starting now.

LS: Punch does have the advantage of getting you really out of it very quickly, so you have no idea where you are. Rather like driving in East Anglia actually. I always think a bowl of punch can break the ice at the scene of an accident...


NP: So Linda Smith was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so and she's leapt forward, and she's now almost equal with the other three, who are in the lead just two points ahead of her. It's your turn Linda, oh fortune tellers.

LS: Oooh!

NP: Tell us something about fortune tellers in this game starting now.

LS: Fortune tellers are all around us. For example, my colleague, Chris here, is a well-known palmist. And if anybody here would like to give him a hand after the show...


NP: Tony challenged yes?

TH: I haven't really got a challenge. I just predicted that I'd challenge 12 seconds in in that round.

NP: Oh I don't know whether we'll give him a bonus on that or not. Anyway oh yes, give him a bonus. But you were interrupted Linda, so you get a point for that, fortune tellers is still with you, 51 seconds available starting now.

LS: I would love to see a fortune tellers' edition of The Weakest Link. Anne would say something like "Gypsy Rose Lee, when was the Panama Canal built?" And they'd say "I don't know Anne, but I predict that tomorrow you will have some more botox, and continue to look like a frozen chicken in a ginger wig." So that would be very enticing. Fortune tellers very rarely tell you anything you don't know. Like they'll say something like...


NP: Chris challenged.

CN: Has there been a repetition of tell?

NP: Yes.

LS: Oh.

NP: You did, well done Chris you got in there with...

CN: Thank you very much! Thank you!

NP: ... 27 seconds, fortune tellers starting now.

CN: I went to a tarot card reader at the end of the last year. And he presented me with one card, oh have I said card...


NP: That's right yes.

CN: I can't stop doing that!

NP: Yeah, Bill Bailey yes?

BB: Is it me?

NP: Yes you!

BB: Oh!

NP: No, you got in first but what's your challenge?

BB: Well the card, repetition of card.

NP: That's right yes. I have to hear it because you might have come up with a different challenge which I disagreed with, you see.

BB: Right but it's in the future.

NP: I know it'n the future. So you step forward into fortune tellers with 21 seconds starting now.

BB: When I go to see fortune tellers I often ask them "what will the thing be, er, on my head in four seconds..."


NP: Linda challenged you.

LS: Er.

NP: I know, what will the er thing be on my head.

BB: Yeah the er thing, the er! Meaning the ah the Babylonian er! The ancient city of Er!

NP: Oh you mean you were referring to Er of the Caldives?

BB: Exactly, er thing! I have a Babylonian device, the er thing I call it.

NP: Yes.

TH: I hope you've got, I hope you've got a very long list of different definitions for er! You may need it you know!

BB: Yeah! Just that one really!

NP: To be fair within the rules of Just A Minute you did hesitate. So Linda you have the subject, you have 14 seconds, fortune tellers starting now.

LS: Fortune tellers often hang out at the seaside in little booths, usually with photos of long-dead celebrities adorning their walls, usually packed...


NP: Bill challenged.

BB: What, long celebrities that are dead?

NP: No, usually she said.

BB: Oh sorry, I just wondered what long-dead celebrities meant?

NP: So you want a clarification? You're not making an actual challenge?

BB: No, no, just a general clarification.

NP: What's a long-dead celebrity?

LS: Well that would be someone like er Jimmy Stewart, he was very tall!

BB: Quite right! That does it for me!

NP: You actually could have had her for usually. But you didn't. I was trying to help you there but you didn't spot it.

BB: Oh God!

NP: I know, she said that twice but it's too late now! Fortune tellers is still with you Linda starting now.

LS: Fortune tellers never have anything very interesting to tell you. They'll say something like "very soon..."


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of tell.

CN: Oh yes!

NP: Yes! Yes, Tony's got in, ah, and two, oh you got in with two seconds to go Tony on fortune tellers starting now.

TH: I have a crystal ball which makes train journeys...


NP: Right we're moving into the last round. Let me tell you that Tony Hawks is now just in the lead, and the other three, Chris Neill, Bill Bailey and Linda Smith are equal in second place. Yes! I like to see all the points evenly distributed like that and somebody often finishes up and we say is the winner. But who it's going to be, we don't know, as Tony begins the last round which is pop. Tell us something about pop in this game starting now.

TH: I'm so pleased I've been given this subject because I had a hit pop record in 1988 with a group, called Morris Minor And The Majors. And it was called Start A Rap, and amazingly there's somebody here that went out and bought it! I imagined it was in certain areas where I was popular. But anyway pop music has moved on since then, deteriorated I would say. But nevertheless there are a string of different artists which I may list shortly, who get regularly into the charts...


NP: Bill you challenged.

BB: Ah er hesitation.

NP: Where?

BB: He said "into the charts" in a weird way!

NP: Did he, audience? He was speaking rather quietly, I missed it!


NP: The audience is the final judge, I'm sorry Bill.

BB: Sorry.

NP: I love your keenness...

BB: Thank you very much.

NP: .... but we've got to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute. Thirty-one seconds Tony, still on pop starting now.

TH: When I was at school...


NP: Chris challenged.

CN: Was there a repetition of when?

NP: Yes, because...


NP: Yes...

CN: Fussy!

NP: Yes er when you were younger and you made this pop record.

TH: I may well have repeated it.

NP: Yes that's right, so Chris, that's a correct challenge, 29 seconds, pop starting now.

CN: We all know that Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears moved to Alborough, the or... ooooohh!


NP: Chris they didn't move here to throw up! Really! It's very embarrassing! But Linda you challenged on what purpose? What was your challenge?

LS: Well... choose them really!

NP: Yes right.

LS: It could be hesitation or deviation.

NP: Hesitation hesitation yes yes yes, that's enough!

LS: You think I'm doing...

NP: Pop is with you Linda, 24 seconds starting now.

LS: Pop music is a wonderful thing. I myself enjoy many forms of this popular kind of entertainment, such as I love a bit of reggae music. I particularly like...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of music.

NP: Yes.

CN: Oh yes!

LS: Oh! Yes but it's like that with reggae! It goes over and over!

TH: Oh it does!

NP: Yes right Tony you've got a correct challenge, 13 seconds on pop starting now.

TH: Cans of fizzy drink can be called pop, by a group of small children, say, if they chose to do it in that way. You never know, they may decide to call it soda as they do in America. But that's another...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking when the whistle went. I'm sorry we didn't hear from you, Bill Bailey on that subject because you could have told us all about your time in the Buzzcocks, couldn't you?

BB: Yes, I was going down the weasel road, you know.

NP: The weasel road?

BB: Well as at the weasel went with all the treacle and rice business, isn't it.

NP: Oh that's right. I don't know what you're talking about but I'm sure... So I said that was to be the last round and I'm afraid it is. Well a very fair situation in the sense that Chris Neill, Bill Bailey and Linda Smith all finished up still equal in second place. But a few points ahead of them was Tony Hawks, so we say Tony you are the winner this week! Thank you very much indeed, thank you. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Bill Bailey, Tony Hawks, Linda Smith and Chris Neill. I also thank Claire Bartlett for helping me keep the score, and blowing her whistle for me so delicately. We also thank our producer which is Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here in the Mortings at Snape who have cheered us on our way magnificently. From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, from our panel, thank you for tuning in and be with us the next time we play Just A Minute!