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 huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners, in this country, throughout the world, on the Internet, wherever you're tuned in. And also to welcome to the show four talented, exciting, experienced and resourceful players of the game. We have on my right, Paul Merton and Kit Hesketh-Harvey. And on my left I've got Ross Noble and Steve Frost. Who once more are going to pit their wits, their verbal ingenuity and dexterity, as they try and speak on the subject I will give them, and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject.


NP: And that first laugh and a round of applause we got was not for me! It was for two members of our audience who couldn't decide to wait and stand at the side. They had to work their way in the middle of the centre row so that my concentration lapsed! And er however successful they are, they will gain points or lose points accordingly when they challenge. Beside me sits Claire Bartlett who is going to help me keep the score, and she will blow a whistle when 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Picture Playhouse Cinema in Beverley in that delightful Yorkshire town. And we have in front of us a lovely Yorkshire audience who are part of the Beverley Comedy Festival.


NP: And they are going to cheer us on our way and enjoy the show. As we begin this week with Ross Noble. Ross, the subject is what goes on backstage. That's the subject, tell us something about it in this game starting now.

ROSS NOBLE: People backstage have many different rituals. I personally like to sacrifice a goat. This can cause quite a lot of problems as blood squirts everywhere. Nicholas prefers a game of cards, and it really can spoil things, as I stand there at my altar dressed in my robes, my big chicken's claws hanging from the side of my ears as I spin round, summoning up the dark Lord himself. Who would have thought as Satan looms across this cinema, people trying to watch movies, stop, stop, go away...


NP: Oh yes! If you go for dramatic emphasis, it overplays it and you can't do it in Just A Minute. So Paul you challenged yes?

PAUL MERTON: A repetition of stop.

NP: Stop, yes, unfortunately because they were enjoying it so much! But it was a correct challenge and you have a point for that Paul. And it also means you not only have the point but you take over the subject which is what goes on backstage and there are 26 seconds available starting now.

PM: Well as Ross says, it's not very interesting. You tend to, sort of, sit around playing cards or maybe often backstage isn't very nice at all. Because the management of theatres reckon that if the public can't see it, there's no point in spending money on it! Even at the London Palladium, the mecca of light entertainment, you would imagine that perhaps backstage would be lavish. It isn't! Although Yul Brynner in 1976 did have a red carpet installed so he could walk from the stage...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton, so at the end of that round he has got two points. In fact he's the only one to have any points at all. So Kit Hesketh-Harvey will you take the next round. Oh a topical one, the Humber Bridge. Tell us something about the Humber Bridge in this game starting now.

KIT HESKETH-HARVEY: I came across the Humber Bridge on my way here tonight, and what a fabulous erection it is! Standing as it does, the two major connurbations of Bartleby-le-wold and Kirkella, combined population possibly 16. But why does it have to be so inordinately historically extortionately expensive. Five pounds, there and back? You can practically get to Fuerteventura for that! Or even nicer, have a night of lust with Nicholas Parsons, giving you every kind of pleasure. Still it's marvellous because it leads to this gorgeous town of Beverley with its super Minister, terribly undersung and otherwise neglected. Because I believe the Humber Bridge was supposed to be part of a motorway that went all the way up the east coast. It was never built with the result that nobody comes here at all! Until now, these people have been the forgotten folk of the east riding. Now Nicholas Parsons has come... oh no!


NP: Oh it just serves you right for trying to have a go at Nicholas Parsons all the time! There we are, so who challenged? It was Paul wasn't it?

PM: Yeah, you can't believe it but it's a repetition of Nicholas Parsons! The subject being the Humber Bridge, but Nicholas Parsons was mentioned twice.

NP: I know it was mentioned twice. I mean some people say you can't mention it too often but...

PM: They do! They do!

NP: But in this game of course you can and that was repetition. And so Paul you have a correct challenge, and after he went so magnificently for 53 seconds!

PM: Ohhhh!


NP: This is the irony of this game! He gives you that pleasure, he goes so consistently well with great style and aplomb. He gets absolutely nothing for it! I was about to use a much more explicitly crude word than that but er I, thank goodness I didn't because it's Radio Four. And um seven seconds are available for Paul on the Humber Bridge starting now.

PM: Many years ago when the Humber Bridge was first being discussed, a prominent councillor stood on his hind legs and said at a meeting...


NP: You were about to be challenged for him standing on his hind legs!

PM: I know!

NP: But you got going, you weren't interrupted, you get very... In fact at the end of that round, you not only got a point in the round but another one for speaking as the whistle went. Paul, in this particular show you are the only one to have scored so far! Steve Frost will you take the next round and the subject is the snood. I think it's been chosen specially for you, hasn't it Steve? Tell us something about the snood starting now.

STEVE FROST: If you are looking for cheap Christmas gifts for your nieces or maybe your daughters, or perhaps your aunties and daughters and grand...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Repetition of daughters.

NP: Yes there were too many daughters.

SF: Yes yes.

NP: I don't know whether if it's part of your life, I don't know but... Ross you had a correct challenge, you have 52 seconds, you tell us something about the snood starting now.

RN: I am a very lazy man. And because of that I only ever see super noodles. But so I can't actually be bothered to say the words the, of that particular product, so I've shortened them to snood. That's a new hybrid thing, hello there, I'd like snood please and I'll pour some hot water on top of them and enjoy them in a large bowl...


NP: Steve Frost challenged.

SF: Repetition, two thems.

NP: Yes.

SF: I enjoy them, I pour hot water on them.

NP: I know, I know. It's...


NP: Oh you haven't won many friends with that challenge.

SF: I know. You'll not get me any snoods for Christmas!

NP: It's what we call a tough challenge but a correct one so Steve you have 30 seconds on the snood starting now.

SF: There is a legend that on Beverley Westwood the creature called the snood lives. He crosses the racecourse and trips over horses as they come up the final furlong. That will be the snood what tripped over that one...


NP: Oh Kit challenged.

KHH: Repetition of over.

NP: That's right yes.

KHH: Sorry.

NP: No, what do you mean, you're sorry? It was a correct challenge, why are you apologising?

KHH: Oh I was about to do him on trips, and then for some reason, it was, it was, no, no, sorry...

NP: You've got a point for a correct challenge Kit and you have the snood and you have 17 seconds starting now.

KHH: The lassie lost her silken snood is a Scottish euphemism for... mislaying one's maidenhead...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Yeah hesitation.

KHH: I shouldn't have started!

NP: It was hesitation, because he didn't know quite how to put it into delicate terms! Paul another correct challenge and another point and 10 seconds, the snood starting now.

PM: Has there ever been a time when the snood was in fashion? Well the answer is yes. If we go back to the 19th century, and I'm thinking of 1878, Disraeli wore a snood...


NP: Paul Merton was again speaking when the whistle went, gained that extra point and for those interested in the points system, Paul at the end of that round has got six points, and the other three have all got one each.

KHH: Ah!

NP: So they're all equal in second place. But it's early days. Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject is going to the cinema. How apt when we're doing the show from this beautiful cinema in Beverley, the oldest... the oldest working cinema in the country for those interested in their history of the cinema. I should just throw that in because the people of Beverley asked me to do it! You have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: Going to the cinema is a marvellous experience. Some of my earliest memories in life involve going to the cinema. I remember seeing Carry On Jack round about 1963, one of the lesser films in that canon. But I also saw a Tony Hancock movie called The Punch And Judy Man which was a bit of a morose... film...


NP: Steve Frost challenged.

SF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I agree with the hesitation Steve so you have a point, you have the subject, 43 seconds available, going to the cinema, starting now.

SF: The lights go down, the chocolates come out, the screen lights... up...



PM: Dramatic pause! Dramatic pause!

SF: Thank you! Thank you for understanding that Paul!

NP: Yes! That's the trouble with Just A Minute, you can't make dramatic pauses or dramatic references...

SF: Oh now you tell me? I'm an actor, you know!

NP: Yes! You have played the game before Steve, with panache. But Ross, you challenged, what is your challenge?

RN: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, right Ross, tell us something about going to the cinema, 39 seconds starting now.

RN: In the old days you could walk in and watch Pearl and Dean appear on the screen with their lovely music. Pearl and Dean were...


NP: Paul challenged, yes?

PM: Repetition of Pearl and Dean.

NP: Yes you...

RN: And rubbish!

NP: Thirty-two seconds with you paul, going to the cinema starting now.

PM: Undoubtedly the greatest moment of my professional career so far happened about two years ago when I went to a cinema in Soho. I had directed a film called The Suicidal Dog, which Steve Frost was in playing the part of Philippe the strong man. And he was very good. And as I...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Sorry, you said Steve was very good and...


RN: I panicked and pressed! I'm sorry!

PM: (laughs) It didn't sound right!

NP: You can see the love that exists between them all! But it is, it's the keenness. So it was an incorrect challenge Paul, you have another point and you have 16 seconds, going to the cinema now.

PM: And for me, working in comedy, I think it's the ultimate thrill. A movie, television is great, radio...


NP: Ah Kit challenged.

KHH: Have we had movie before?

NP: No, cinema before. He didn't mention the word movies before.

KHH: I thought two...

PM: I said films.

KHH: Sorry.

NP: Films, he didn't mention the word movie. Right, 11 seconds Paul, still with you, going to the cinema starting now.

PM: There's something about...


NP: Steve Frost challenged.

SF: I've just realised, I've not been paid for that film!


PM: Nobody's been paid!

SF: No, I know that! (laughs) Sorry I just thought I'd bring that in.

PM: I had to fork up 3000 quid to get it finished!

NP: Do you want, do you want a bonus point for the reaction you got from that remark?

SF: Oh if you've got more, I'll have 'em!

NP: Oh we'll give him one, come on.

SF: Thank you.

NP: He loves getting his bonus points. So, but Paul gets a point for being interrupted and he has the subject still, and 10 seconds available, going to the cinema starting now.

PM: If you ever get the chance to see Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush with a live orchestra, it is the most extraordinary experience, because it is a silent...


NP: Ah Steve Frost challenged.

SF: I'm going to go for repetition of experience.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yes.

NP: We had experience before, well listened Steve, a point for that. And you've got in cleverly with three seconds to go, which is about your limit I think...


PM: We'll test him now! It could well be! Well be!

NP: I couldn't resist that.

SF: You got me! You got through! You got through that one Nicholas!

NP: Right, three seconds, take a deep breath Steve, going to the cinema starting now.

SF: Going to the cinema is probably one of the most exciting things one can possibly...


NP: So Steve Frost was then speaking as the whistle went and gained an extra point for doing so. And with the others in the round, he's now in a strong second place...

SF: Oh?

NP: Not far behind our leader...

PM: Did you really not get paid for that?

SF: Ah...

PM: Really?

SF: Um...

PM: Did you not get paid?

SF: No, nothing.

NP: I imagine he did get paid but it was a very good line at that particular moment. The audience laughed...

PM: No, I don't think anybody got paid. I'm just wondering, I'm just wondering who got all the money!

NP: I mean that man will, Frost will say anything to get a laugh. You know that! Anyway...

SF: That's not true!



RN: (laughing) He's actually, you can't see from where you are, but he's actually wearing clown shoes! Oh no, they're his real shoes!

NP: So let's leave our private lives out of this and get back to Just A Minute. And Kit your turn to begin, oh what a pun this is, the subject in front of me is kit-cars. Yes it's a bit of a bad joke isn't it, but someone's thought of it for Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

KHH: Oh dear!

NP: Speak on it if you can Kit, 60 seconds starting now.

KHH: Yes I get an awful lot of this. Strange nerd-like people shuffle up to me and say "I am a kit-car enthusiast. Would you like to recycle the clapped-out Mondeo and the Layby in the A164 and turn it into a Maserati, simply with sticky-back plastic and a kidney from a Turkish organ donor?" The result much more resembles the heaps of junk that Craig Charles shouts at until they're interesting on Robot Wars! But I cannot be doing with them. What happens if you have a crash, the whole thing collapses like the bog rolls it's probably entirely fashioned from. I've stopped!


KHH: It sort of conked out!

NP: And Ross you were the first to challenge.

RN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes.

KHH: I'm sorry yeah.

NP: I have to hear it just in case...

KHH: That's the trouble with kit-cars, they just sort of conk out!

NP: That's right so we call that hesitation, 24 seconds with you Ross on kit-cars starting now.

RN: Imagine the nightmare of getting your kit-car home and assembling it, only to find out it's a wardrobe. Oh the embarrassment of turning up at the local raceway with your fantastic Ikea purchase. You would have to move aside all the coats and old bits of bric-a-brac which you have put in there. Or possibly you could convert them into a fashionable spoiler as you race...


NP: So Ross Noble kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's now equal in the lead with Paul Merton, followed by Steve Frost and Kit Hesketh-Harvey. And Steve it's your turn to begin, the subject now, oh an erudite one, calculus. Tell us something about calculus...


NP: I'm sure Steve...


RN: I just thought I'd buzz now!


SF: (laughing) Thanks! Oh!

NP: I thought it had been specially chosen for him because he's a latent mathematician or something. But anyway Steve, this is the subject in front of me, it's your turn to begin so you have to take it, and you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

SF: Captain Haddock runs into the room, Tintin's asleep...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of tin!

SF: Oh!


SF: Oh blast! I didn't see that!

NP: Yeah! You play the game...

SF: That's the only card I had on that one!

NP: Right he had to play the game and there you are, you're caught! But 58 seconds...


NP: Perhaps you're pleased to have lost it, I don't know Steve, anyway! But...

KHH: Shall we let Paul run with this one?

NP: Let's hear from you Paul, on calculus starting now.

PM: There are many different forms of calculus. The one that I'm familiar with may be unfamiliar to some of you out there. First of all it's an algebraic equation. If A equals X, then Y must be similar to W. What this means in real life is a tractor which is coming towards you at 14 miles an hour, to an Eskimo, will be seen to be coming at you... oh no!


NP: Ross...

RN: It's ah...

NP: You challenged yes?

RN: Repetition.

NP: Repetition, yes... of what?

RN: Coming at you.

NP: That's right, yes. That's correct yes, I have to be sure you know. Right there we are so 34 seconds coming at you, calculus starting now.

RN: Calculus was the most rubbish gladiator that ever lived! The people of Rome would stand up and shout "don't put Calculus into the ring! He doesn't draw his sword and bring blood out of people. He is just counting all the time and sometimes he will lay out a big piece of checkered paper on the floor, which to help him with that." And... he didn't have...


RN: I'm still going!

NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey challenged.

KHH: Well hesitation.

NP: Yes I agree, I agree, hesitation yes. Let's hear from you, so everybody's spoken on calculus and it's now Kit's turn, 10 seconds available Kit starting now.

KHH: I'm extremely reluctant to take up this subject because I was terribly bad at calculus at school. I remember something about an anti-derivative function...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well give it to somebody who knows what they're talking about!


PM: I'll have it!

NP: I think you demonstrated you don't know what you're talking about!

PM: I made a mistake on coming towards!

NP: (laughs) Right! Ah...

PM: I rubbed it out and I carried on!

NP: No, there, he hasn't deviated so he has four seconds to continue on calculus Kit starting now.

KHH: The farm machinery is heading towards the centurion but it depends on the integrated integer...


NP: So Kit Harvey, Kit Hesketh-Harvey was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He has leapt forward, he's still in fourth place but he's only one point behind Steve Frost, a few points behind our equal leaders Ross Noble and Paul Merton. And you needn't look at me Kit, as if I didn't know, because I did mathematics at university, and I know about the integral calculus and the differential calculus...

KHH: Do you?

NP: ... and the difference between them.

KHH: Perhaps you could explain it to the good folk of Beverley?

PM: See if, see, Nicholas, why not, as a one-off, as it's 35 years of Just A Minute, why not take the subject of calculus and see if you can speak for a minute without hesitating, repetition or deviation?


NP: Calculus er differentiates into two different things. There's the differential calculus and the integral calculus. And they are mathematical terms which will give you a great insight into this great mystical world of maths. And also calculus can be the kidney stones that you have, the remains that get into your kidneys and so forth. It is because it's a residue. Now mathematically speaking there are different terms that you can use in terms of the allusions that I'm speaking of, for...


NP: So I went for 33 seconds and nobody challenged me but I...

KHH: I have to hand it to you, nobody can touch you Nicholas!

NP: No, I'm glad you don't...

KHH: You're one of a kind!

RN: Imagine if you'd done 35 seconds for the 35 years? How amazing would that have been?

NP: Thirty-five years, right, anyway. It was thrown at me and my mind was tuned into being a chairman and not to being a, a competitor so...

PM: It was excellent, I thought.

KHH: We thought it was marvellous!

NP: Right...

PM: In fact we'd like to hear it again, wouldn't we!


NP: Let me give you the score at the end of that round. Well I'm told I've given the score once, right. Paul Merton it's your turn to begin and the subject is second-hand car salesmen. Second-hand... it's been written rather funny, it's been written as three different words. Second-hand car salesmen. Second-hand car salesmen, right! That's the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Never buy a second-hand car salesman, you don't know where they've been! A lot of them have been welded together, in fact there's two of them. You'll find one second-hand car salesman at the top, and the arse belongs to somebody completely different. I had a second-hand car salesman at home and you couldn't trust him at all because he would fall to bits. He'd be sitting there watching the television and suddenly the back end would fall off. You'd pick it up, shove it...


NP: Ross Noble challenged.

RN: Was it er repetition of back?

PM: No, we had arse and back.

RN: Okay.

NP: That's right yes, sorry Ross, an incorrect challenge, Paul's taken another point, and gone into the lead and 39 seconds, second-hand car salesmen starting now.

PM: Well they don't rank very highly in the public perception, do they? They're around about journalists and estate agents. Second-hand car salesmen can be rather dodgy characters because if you bo into a showroom.... bo into a showroom?


PM: I thought I'd better chuck a bit of Icelandic in there!

NP: Yes, right Kit you challenged.

KHH: I challenged because of deviation from sense.

NP: From...

KHH: Bo into.

NP: Yes, bo into a show.

KHH: And a bit of hesitation too.

NP: From language and words as we understand them. Right you have another point Kit and you have 27 seconds, tell us something about second-hand car salesmen starting now.

KHH: We kit-car owners assume that the class went out of motoring when the dashboard started to incorporate digital clocks. What you must look for is a second-hand car salesman who will put those little windy things on a proper dial clock that will tell you...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of clock.

NP: You had the clock before, yes, Paul you have 11 seconds, a correct challenge, second -hand car salesmen is back with you starting now.

PM: One of the worst experiences of my life happened in Birmingham in 1978. I'd recently passed my driving test and I went into this garage and I said to the second-hand car salesman, "I..."


NP: We'll never know what he said to the second-hand car salesman. Do you remember what you said?

PM: No, I made it up!

NP: Oh!

PM: Everything I say is rubbish! I shouldn't really say that as a tactic.

NP: Paul Merton is in the lead as we go into the final round. So um er Paul Merton's just in the lead, just ahead of Ross Noble, and in third place equal are Steve Frost and Kit Hesketh-Harvey. And Ross it's your turn to begin and the subject is raining cats and dogs. A fascinating expression, tell us about it in this game starting now.

RN: When it's raining very heavily, people say "it's raining cats and dogs". Just a mild drizzle, they like to say "it's raining gerbils and hamsters..."


NP: Right!


NP: They like to say what? I didn't quite hear it.

RN: It's raining gerbils and hamsters.

NP: That was rather sweet, but Steve challenged you before.

SF: A repetition of say. People say and...

NP: I know, I know, it was repetition yes. But I wanted to hear the joke.

PM: When it goes out on the radio Nicholas, you can hear it then!


NP: I was trying to think of a response to say, but I'd like to use it before that. But I don't think it's very funny so I won't say it. Ah...

RN: This goes out on the radio?

NP: Did you think we were on the television?

RN: I thought we were auditioning for a job as ushers!

NP: I'm surprised you thought it was television wearing the sweater that you've got on! Steve you challenged and it was a repetition and you have a correct challenge and you have 53 seconds, raining cats and dogs starting now.

SF: The expression "raining cats and dogs" comes from Cornwall and the old tin mine workers. When the rain came down...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: He said tin earlier.

NP: I know.

RN: Tintin!

NP: That was in another round!

SF: Now give us a break guys!


NP: Don't worry, you've got a break. You get a point for that, an incorrect challenge. He said "Tintin" in another round.

RN: Sorry I was, I was being mischievous.

NP: I know you were and we enjoyed it. And you gave, the result of your mischievous ways you gave er Steve another point and he has 47 seconds to tell us more about raining cats and dogs starting now.

SF: In 1947 in Scarborough it did actually rain, literally, cats and dogs. The local kennel and cattery got blown up into the sky by a fierce wind coming off the sea, and it all landed down on the castle and made such weird noises such as woof, meow!



SF: It made me laugh!

NP: Ross you challenged.

RN: If I'm not having the noises no-one is!

NP: So your challenge is?

RN: There was a slight hesitation.

NP: There was a slight hesitation yes. Anyway if it was a cattery, what were the dogs doing there?

SF: It's only pretend, Nicholas!

RN: Could have been on holiday!

SF: Visiting friends!

NP: Yes.

RN: At lunch?

SF: There are many reasons!

RN: Because the cats weren't there because they were at the mousery!

NP: Right! So Ross you had a correct challenge, you have 30 seconds, tell us something about raining cats and dogs starting now.

RN: If somebody runs into a pub and says "it's raining cats and dogs", Rolf Harris belts for the door! Because he feels that his services are required down at the Animal Hospital. He gathers up the splints, he gathers up cushions...



NP: I know, but it is part of the game! Kit you challenged.

KHH: Ah repetition of gathers up.

NP: Gathers up, correct Kit, and you have 16 seconds, tell us something about raining cats and dogs starting now.

KHH: In the midwest of America, it rains Judy Garland and munchkins and when the tornadoes come down. I suppose the reigning dogs at the moment must be corgis although Princess Anne's bull terrier is giving them a very good run for their money. The expression is a bizarre one. I was sitting watching Lord Of The Rings and getting DDT...


NP: So Kit Hesketh-Harvey was speaking as the whistle went and brought that round to an end, and also the show to a close, and he did it with a delightful climax. And I'll just give you the final situation for those interested in the points situation. Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Steve Frost finished equal in third place. But they were only a point or two behind Ross Noble. And Ross was only two points behind Paul Merton, so Paul we say within the rules of this game, you are our winner, congratulations! So it only remains for me to say thank you to our four delightful and talented players of the game, Paul Merton, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Ross Noble and Steve Frost. Also I thank Claire Bartlett who has helped me keep the score, she has blown her whistle with supreme delicacy whenever the 60 seconds was up. We thank our producer and director, Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who thought of this game which we enjoy playing. And we are very grateful to this lovely Yorkshire audience here in the Picture Playhouse Cinema who have been so delightful as they have cheered us on our way. From our lovely audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, and the panel, good-bye until the next time you tune in and you listen to Just A Minute!