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 to welcome our many listeners, in this country and of course abroad. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented, individual players of the game who have come together to show off their wit and their humour, display their verbal ingenuity and expertise as they try and speak on the subject that I give them, and they do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four people are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Gyles Brandreth. And seated on my left, Graham Norton and Sue Perkins. Will you please welcome all four of them! Thank you! And seated beside me is Janet Staplehurst, she is going to help me keep the score, and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the delightful Mermaid Theatre near the city of London. And we have a wonderful cosmopolitan audience. As we begin this week with Graham Norton. And Graham, the subject I have in front of me is how I prepare for bed. They're full of anticipation of what you may say, Graham! But you have 60 seconds only starting now.

GRAHAM NORTON: My preparation for bed involves a lot of lubrication and quite a bit of friction! Yes my bathroom is a veritable apothecary of creams, balms, lotions and things in bottles that cost a...


NP: Gyles you challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: I felt there was a bit of hesitation.

NP: No, not enough for it to be a real hesitation.

GB: I saw him standing by the cabinet choosing.

NP: No no no, if we get too sharp Gyles, we damage the quality of the show.

PAUL MERTON: There was a very loud, balms was very loud.

NP: I know it was.

PM: Because I wondered if volume could be an issue in this show. For example...

NP: Obviously balm means a great deal. I did it then myself, listen, balms means a great deal.

PM: Is it one of those words you automatically say it louder than other words?

NP: Yes that's right yes.

PM: Right, what do you call that?

NP: Um...

PM: You know that thing where you suddenly say "excuse me when is this... (shouts) Bus! (normal voice) Getting into London?" You know that sort of thing.

GN: I think it's called Tourettes!

PM: Tourettes!

NP: I'll tell you what it's called, it's called vocal ejaculation.

PM: Really?

GN: And he's the chairman!

SUE PERKINS: Nicholas, don't look to me, don't look at me, turn away, turn away!

NP: I'm looking in disgust at Graham, because it's only Graham...

GN: Why?

NP: Because you read something into that word that was not intended, that's a perfectly normal...

SP: What the word, ejaculation?

NP: It's in the dictionary, it means something which comes out with a... (starts to laugh)

PM: Like the end of that sentence! Like the end of that sentence!

SP: Yes! Yes!

PM: Let's just hope the ejaculation stopped there!

SP: He’s finished now! Martha, can you bring a towel? He needs to go back to bed!

GB: A little earlier this evening I interrupted Graham, can you remind me what that was about?

NP: Yes I will remind you. It was you who interrupted him because his ejaculation of balm was so explosive that you thought it wasn't natural. It was perfectly natural. Graham you have an incorrect challenge, you keep the subject, how I prepare for bed, 47 seconds starting now.

GN: My usual preparation for bed involves me walking to the bedroom and saying "Nicholas, not tonight" and ushering him downstairs to a taxi I've pre-ordered...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Nicholas, is this true?

NP: No.

PM: Is this true? It's a hell of a way to find out!

NP: I can categorically say no, as much as I have met Graham socially, I have never been in his bedroom!

GN: He's not lying, he's not lying!

NP: So...

GN: I've stopped him.

NP: ...deviation.

GN: And it's up four flights, I can catch him!

NP: So Paul you have a correct challenge, you have 39 seconds on how I prepare for bed starting now.

PM: What I do is I get into the coffin consisting of earth from my own country. And I walk around the town late at night. It's only when the morning comes up, I find myself retreating into my own holy box. It's true, I am a vampire, I live on the dead! Look at Nicholas Parsons! What a wonderful cover act it is. Here we are on Just A Minute, being able to make these jokes and have this fun. When you look at him now you can't help but think, there's the man who used to know Caruso. And what a fantastic...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Much as I love hearing about Nicholas, we have now deviated quite a way from the subject of how I prepare for bed. In fact he's telling us how he prepares for his coffin, not how he prepares for bed.

NP: I think he's going into the realm of the surreal...

PM: Yes.

NP: And providing he's...

GB: But it's a coffin! Not a bed! That's the point! How I prepare for bed, not how I prepare for my night in the coffin, how I prepare for bed.

SP: But he can't go to bed, he's a vampire! He can't sleep, he's tortured! He has to walk the streets looking for human blood!

GB: But that's not the subject, this is not appropriate...

SP: Do you know nothing of the dark art...

NP: Right, I have made the decision...

PM: Nicholas, when the bed shops are open, I can't go out in daylight!

NP: You have a very dubious benefit of the doubt because you were... because...

GB: He just so much loves to hear himself being talked about, it really is heartbreaking!

PM: I might possibly sleep in a coffin! (laughs)

NP: No you were, you were talking in the surreal terms...

PM: I was.

NP: So I'll allow you to keep in that surreal fantasy world of yours...

PM: Okay!

NP: ... and keep going in that vein. If you get out of it, then you will be deviating. So therefore 13 seconds on how I prepare for bed starting now.

PM: First of all I put four pickled onions inside the mattress because you know what they say. If a goat can eat...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Now he's deviating from his own thing. There was no mattress a minute ago, it was just lined with earth.

NP: That's right, it was earth before.

PM: You told me I could be surreal. I'm sticking onions in a mattress! Is that realistic where you come from?

NP: Oh I've stitched myself up completely on this one, haven't I? Right...

PM: You said I could be surreal.

GB: Of course they're spring onions, it's that kind of mattress!

NP: A bonus point to Gyles, a bonus point to Graham, Paul keeps the subject, and there are nine seconds left, how I prepare for bed starting now.

PM: Nylon sheets are absolutely dreadful on the bed. So what I prefer to do is get some beautiful 100 percent cotton. I hold them up to the light, what beautiful crisp...


NP: Oh, Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of beautiful.

NP: Yes beautiful.

PM: Yes.

NP: You had it just before.

PM: Yes.

NP: Well listened and you, you've got in...

GN: He speaks, he scores!

SP: Does it work for me?

NP: You got in with half a second to go Gyles...

SP: Oh!

NP: So you got that point for that and half a second, how I prepare for bed starting now.

GB: Bed socks please, I'm British...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point, on this occasion it was Gyles Brandreth. He's now equal in the lead with Paul Merton, they've both got three points at the end of that round. Sue it's your turn to begin, the subject is bow ties. Will you tell us something about bow ties in this game starting now.

SP: I've always been frightened of bow ties, since I believed as a child, that it was actually pronounced boat eyes. Therefore every time I stepped in a vessel, I was convinced these huge ocular orbs were following, possibly looking up my skirt in a Nicholas Parsons-type ejaculatory fashion...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: There was hesitation after the ejaculatory fashion.

SP: I was pausing...

NP: No no there wasn't, no it was a bit...

PM: There should have been!

NP: No no, she, she rode the whole thing smoothly!

GN: Oh!

SP: Is this E4 suddenly?

PM: It's shocking Graham!

NP: I know, we've gone beyond you Graham, haven't we?

GN: I know, I'm ashen!

NP: Yes so it was an incorrect challenge Sue, you have the subject still, you have 42 seconds, bow ties starting now.

SP: Similarly with Dickie Bow, I thought it was Bow (pronounced to rhyme with cow), and every time I met someone called Richard, I would immediately jack-knife to the floor, my head scraping the pavement, and move as if I was witnessing the Queen herself gliding towards me. I believe now they're a little type of necktie...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: A little bit of stumbly hesitation there.

NP: No she's going with fluency. I don't think there was any stumbling there, she does go at a pace.

GN: What about the er necktie?

NP: No no no, she got it out, at the pace, at the pace she goes, it would be very unfair to penalise her.

GB: Let's face it, he's got the hots for her!

GN: Mo-one can win now! It's Sue's game, let's sit back!

SP: Hey let me ride this baby smoothly home!

NP: They're all evil! Right Sue you still have the subject, 29 seconds, bow ties starting now.

SP: Are black stringy things round somebody's neck, and often times I've been called upon to wrap one around a man's neck, and sometimes...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of neck.

NP: Yes you've had too many necks.

GN: Oh I think it was neek the second time!

SP: Ne-heck!

GN: It was n-n-n-nick!

NP: The audience enjoyed it, give Graham another bonus point! Gyles you had a correct challenge...

GN: Give him another point, it won't matter!

SP: No! Sue and him will still be in joint third place at the end!

NP: No you have won before now Graham, when you've been back in the past. Anyway 22 seconds are available for you Gyles on bow ties starting now.

GB: Never trust a woman who wears ankle socks, nor a man who wears bow ties, he may well be a murderer...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well there was two wears.

NP: That's right.

PM: One after the other.

NP: Wears socks, wears bow ties, yes.

SP: He may be a murderer? It's people like you who run the criminal justice system in this country! Oh he looks a bit odd, we'll have him!

GB: The whole point, it wasn't a repetition you see, the women was wearing ankle socks, W-E-A-R, and the man was waring, W-A-R-E.

NP: I think the phrase is don't trust a man who wears a bow tie, not he's a murderer!

GB: Our experience has been different, I see!

NP: In fact I was quoted in the newspapers as an example of wearing red socks, and somebody says you shouldn't trust people with red socks.

GN: Mmmm, how true that is! N-n-neck!

NP: Anyway let's get on with the show which is more important. Paul had a correct challenge, you have 17 seconds, bow ties starting now.

PM: Don't trust a man who is a murderer, he may secretly wear bow ties. This of course is the famous slogan that we were told in the 1960s. I remember at my comprehensive school Tufty coming out and explaining all the intricacies of this rather mad business. As I picture it now, that frightened...


NP: So bow ties, Paul kept going till the whistle went and gained the extra point, and he's increased his lead slightly. And Paul it's also your turn to begin, the subject, youth clubs. Can you tell us something about youth clubs in this game starting now.

PM: I don't have too much experience of youth clubs. I popped into one when I was about 14 years old, very shyly stood against the wall when there were other girls and boys...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: I did feel there was a touch of hesitation.

NP: There was a touch of hesitation.

PM: Well I was revisiting a very painful memory. For the entertainment of the audience! But if that's not good enough, then I quit show business!

NP: Oh dear! Oh they're throwing them out all the time for their bonus points! I'm tempted but I will resist on that occasion. Gyles you had a correct challenge, you have 52 seconds, youth clubs starting now.

GB: At my youth club we always had a fancy dress party at Christmas, to which I went dressed as a handbag, in the hope that the girls would dance around me. We also took wonderful theatre outings and the first time I ventured to this particular palace of pleasure, it was to see Sir Bernard Miles in a production of Treasure Island in which he essayed the role of Long John Silver. The youth clubs of my particular genus dore very much consisted of coming out and dancing in a spring-like way. We would hold hands in a circle and of course it combined...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of dancing.

SP: It sounds like some sort of cult, what you were doing!

NP: No I don't think he said dancing before.

GN: Wasn't it dancing around the handbag?

NP: Yes you're right!

SP: Yes!

GN: My God, he's got it! Yes!

NP: Well listened Graham, he danced round the handbag and then they were dancing again. So you've got in Graham, with 23 seconds to go, on youth clubs starting now.

GN: I prefer youth clubs to youth guns or youth knives! Because you're less likely to die! Youth clubs are...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Slight hesitation?

NP: I think so Sue, yes. Seventeen seconds Sue, youth clubs starting now.

SP: Youth clubs always smell of you...


SP: There was a slight ball of something, possibly...

GN: And we know who put it there!

SP: Yes!

NP: So Graham your challenge?

GN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes you did hesitate on the first word, that's right yes.

SP: I'm consumptive!

NP: I gave you the benefit of the doubt last time...

SP: Don't touch me now Nicholas! How dare you! I will set the Janet on you!

NP: How quickly can you lose and win friends in this game when you're chairman. Right Graham, the subject's back with you, 15 seconds, youth clubs starting now.

GN: My youth club was in the basement of the Methodist Church in Bandon which could have doubled as a mushroom farm, such was the level of dampness in that building. We would do beetle drives. Do you know what they are? I can't remember. But they were very dull...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: I'm sorry, beagle drives?

GN: I said beetle drives.

NP: He said beetle.

SP: Oh, you said beetle?

NP: Definitely.

SP: I thought you said beagle, and as a point of information really, I just wanted to know how you drive a pack of beagles through a small damp basement?

GN: We were country folk, we made our own fun!

SP: I wanted to sign up!

PM: Was it like taking cattle to Montana?

NP: They couldn't afford beagles so they had beetles instead. So it was an incorrect challenge Graham, still with you, oh and you've only got three seconds to go, youth clubs starting now.

GN: We would play ping pong along during the night and go crazy...


NP: Graham Norton was speaking as the whistle went and he has moved forward, he's got out of his third place, he's now in second place, only one behind our leader Paul Merton. And he's just two ahead of our equal third which are now Gyles Brandreth...

SP: What does that mean?

NP: ... and Sue Perkins.

GN: We're losing up here!

NP: They're all very close, only two points separating any of you. Gyles Brandreth it's your turn to begin and I'm sure this subject has been chosen especially for you, it is jumpers. A man who has been associated in the past a lot with jumpers but talk on the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

GB: Michelangelo is remembered for many things but not for his jumpers. In my case that is the big difference between the pair of us. Unfortunately when I walk down the street even though I've not worn colourful knitwear since the late 1980s, people say "oh aren't you that idiot who wore those ridiculous jumpers?" I say "possibly I could be the person you have in mind, it is my tragedy". Bear in mind that the late Princess Diana also wore...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Two minds.

NP: Yes, bear in mind yes.

PM: Yeah.

GN: Princess Diana wore your jumpers?

GB: They just looked better on her!

NP: So Paul you got in with 33 seconds to go on jumpers starting now.

PM: I remember seeing a Tom Stoppard play called Jumpers at the National Theatre, round about 1982. The actor, Julian Glover was in it, it was a very enjoyable show all round. Jumpers, how are they different from pullovers? Well there's a simple understanding thing that you must realise here. A jumper is indeed derived from something that you would see as perhaps a jumper-like material that it could come from, whereas a pullover is the exact opposite. That's two pullovers, that's three...


PM: Three pullovers!

NP: So Gyles you challenged first.

GB: A complete wardrobe!

NP: But just me tell me your challenge so I know you're correct.

GB: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

GB: Of pullover.

NP: That's right. Yes all right.

GB: He pointed me in the right direction.

NP: I wanted to make sure that you did have a correct one, right, and you have the subject again, you have seven seconds, jumpers starting now.

GB: Mothballs is what my house smells of, nothing but that awful stench. Because in the cupboard where my jumpers are kept...


NP: So at the end of that round, Gyles speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point, he's still in third place with Sue Perkins, only one behind Graham, and Graham is four behind Paul who is in the lead still. And Sue it's your turn to begin, and the subject now is making millions. Tell us something about that, we're not far from the city, from the square mile, millions have been made there. Talk on it if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

SP: Making millions is apparently easy. You simply need green ink, some tracing paper, and more sums, many sums, an underground lair...


NP: Gyles you challenged first.

GB: Sums, repetition.

SP: I pointed you in the right direction.

NP: Yes too many sums.

SP: Yes.

NP: Making millions Gyles, with you, 52 seconds starting now.

GB: My great-grandfather was a confectioner specialising in cake decoration. He made millions out of hundreds and thousands. Another of my forebears was Dr Benjamin Brandreth who made pills that cured everything...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of made.

NP: Yes he made, too many mades.

GB: Mmmm.

NP: Sue's listening well, creeping up there, 40 seconds available, making millions Sue, starting now.

SP: A basement is useful where you can begin your counterfeiting activity. Darkness is as usual the cover of the criminal mind. You must make sure you bend and have one of those...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Surely counterfeiting money cannot be a pursuit you do in darkness.

SP: If you're making braille money, yes!

PM: You need, you need to look and see what it's like, don't you?

NP: I don't think...

SP: That's why I've not made millions!

NP: You can't do it in darkness. Paul you have a correct challenge, you have the subject of making millions, 31 seconds starting now.

PM: How to make five million? Start off with 10, that's how you invest in a show biz... oh!


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Hesitation.

NP: Yes indeed, making millions is back with you Gyles, 26 seconds starting now.

GB: I would love to make millions but it is not likely to be a prospect for me now because of the taxation that has been imposed upon us by...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Please, we must keep it balanced and fair!

NP: Okay what's the challenge?

GN: Ah deviation from ah BBC guidelines!

NP: Graham that certainly deserves a bonus point but it wasn't a correct challenge.

GN: No?

NP: No, not within Just A Minute. Making millions is still with you Gyles, and 15 seconds to go, no, 19 starting now.

GB: Every political party is guilty of denying us the opportunity to make millions. I don't look at any particular person, I know that they are all as bad as each other. They want to sap us of our desire to gather the filthy lucre together and to make...


NP: Wait a minute, Graham has challenged.

SP: This is frightening!

GN: Yes I'm finding it frightening! There's a level of self-loathing here that I think must be stopped.

SP: One thing is we're in a large hall, there's a man ranting, spit is rife, his hands are gesticulating, he's talking about how he pays too much taxes, it's very familiar!

GN: There's a fine line between light entertainment and a rally, and I think we've... I think we’ve crossed it.

NP: So, so you've both got bonus points, but have you got a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute Graham, because you pressed your buzzer first?

GN: He deviated from how to make millions, he was talking about how not to make millions.

NP: Yes that's a good challenge, yes.

GN: Thought I'd try it! Seems to be working!

SP: That was an excellent response from the audience, because it was a bit, a bit equivocal, it was ahhhhhhh! Oh!

NP: No I thought...

GN: The fool had a point! The idiot speaks truth!

NP: No to be fair, to be fair to Gyles, he was still on the subject of making millions, even though he was saying that they don't want us to make millions or some of us do make too many millions. He was on that so Gyles, benefit of the doubt to you on the subject, four seconds to go, you've both got bonus points and you start now.

GB: Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by those who made millions...


NP: So at the end of that round, Gyles Brandreth, speaking as the whistle went, other points in that round, has leapt forward. Now equal with Graham Norton in second place, just two points ahead of Sue Perkins, and two points behind Paul Merton. We're going into the final round, it's Paul Merton's turn to begin. I'm a bit nervous of this subject, especially in Paul's hands. Because the subject is the chairman's best features. I'm laying myself on the line here, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Mmmm...


NP: I must explain to our listeners that that round of applause and constant laughter was because Paul just looked at me and shook his head and put on a face of disgust. He could not think of one of them! He gets a bonus point for his reaction and his behaviour and the laugh that he got for it. But Sue challenged first, and Sue your challenge was of course?

SP: Oh I've forgotten!

NP: Hesitation.

SP: Yeah hesitation.

NP: Correct challenge Sue. Sue you have the subject now with 58 seconds to go, the chairman's best features starting now.

SP: Chairman Mao was a very beautiful man and despite that piggy complexion and rather sallow cheeks and the beady-beady eyes, that's two beadys...


SP: Just giving myself up like a lamb to the slaughter!

PM: Repetition of beady.

NP: The beady-beady yes. Right Paul, there are 50 seconds available still, the chairman's best, you're anticipating something aren't you! The chairman's best features starting now.


NP: Oh if only this was television! Another look, another round of applause, another big laugh! I've never known people get so much reaction on silent radio before! We should indulge in more silent radio, I think, after this. But Sue challenged, Paul gets a bonus for what he did.

SP: Yes I'm hoping we can just keep this up until... until I can get into second place or something!

NP: The chairman's best features with you Sue starting now.

SP: Look at Nicholas Parsons, but that's not the best of him. If you could smell the man, the feral scent that comes like a huge tornado from his armpits, it's something I can't describe. Best described as Lady Astor's knickers...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: I'm wrong, I'm wrong, I was going down the describey route but she's covered herself well!

NP: Lady Astor's knickers?

GN: No no no, well, possibly them. No, she said describe and then described.

NP: Ah!

GN: I listened badly.

NP: An incorrect challenge, Sue you still have the subject, 38 seconds still available, the chairman's best features starting now.

SP: A pelt of silvery hair, not his own but purchased by the square metre from a local warehouse that absolutely specialises in such bry nylon white surfaces. You can see him a mile off, that incredible face...


NP: Gyles has challenged.

GB: There was just a tinge of hesitation.

NP: More than a tinge!

GB: It was, it was...

GN: You don't like her so much now, do you Nicholas? No!

NP: She was running out of steam there because she had a guilty conscience! You can tug my tuft any time, it won't come off!


NP: This is the audience with the most obscene minds that... I've ever come across! Most disturbing! I don't know where they've come from. Twenty-four seconds for you Gyles on the chairman's best features starting now.

GB: The chairman's best feature is his tattoo. An hilariously placed dragon rampant, poised for action somewhere that I have only seen it once and then I had to use a torch. But it was worth getting new batteries and...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation?

NP: No!

GB: Well there was a slight hesitation because I wasn't sure of the...

NP: Was it all?

GB: It was all, it was all.

NP: You admit you paused, do you?

GB: No I didn't pause at all.

NP: No I don't think you paused either. So Sue, he still has the subject.

SP: Why did you see it only once lit, and the rest of the times with the torch? That's what I want to know.

NP: We'll maybe find out if he carries on.

PM: Yeah.

NP: The chairman's best feature starting now.

GN: Nicholas doesn't seem to care if his big secrets emerge.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

GB: No no!

NP: Hesitation yes.

PM: Hesitation.

GB: He didn't...

PM: And I'd like the chance to pay proper tribute!

NP: It wouldn't make any difference to the final result Gyles.

GB: I'm simply trying to steal Paul's material, that's all.

NP: That's right, and Paul you have six seconds on the chairman's best features starting now.


NP: Ah! You're working your passage hard! Three times he plays that trick, three times it gets a laugh, three times it gets a round of applause, three times the chairman so generously gives him a bonus point. And three times he goes to Sue, you challenged first.

SP: Hesitation yes.

NP: You're back, five seconds, the chairman's best features starting now.

SP: You could see his eyes, hooded, sheets of glass protecting him from the real world out there...


NP: Well this instant rounds of applause there, what an amazing final round and an amazing final score, they're all very very close together, just shows you how all, how talented, how equal in talent aren't they. But only one point was separating first and fourth place, working up the scale. Graham Norton, then Gyles Brandreth, and then Sue Perkins who says she never comes anywhere. But just two or three points behind the man with all the humorous looks, who plays silent radio as no-one's ever done it before, he's out in the lead so we say you are the winner this week Paul, Paul Merton! Right it only remains for me to say thank again to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Sue Perkins and Gyles Brandreth. I also thank Janet Staplehurst, who has helped me with the scorekeeping and has blown her whistle when the 60 seconds elapsed. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. We are deeply indebted to our producer Claire Jones. And we are also indebted to this lovely audience here at the Mermaid Theatre in Puddledock near Blackfriars Bridge who have been a lovely warm audience, cheering us on our way. We have enjoyed being home, I hope that you have enjoyed being here, I hope all the listeners have enjoyed listening. Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Until then from me, Nicholas Parsons, good-bye!