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 huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners, in this country and of course throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented players of this game who have come together purely to show their talent, pit their wits, display their verbal dexterity, their humorous invention, as they try and speak on a subject I will give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four bright intelligent people are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And seated on my left, Graham Norton and Chris Addison. Will you please welcome all four of them! Beside me is Charlotte Davies, who is going to help me with the score, and blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Mermaid Theatre, that lovely little gem of a theatre on the banks of the Thames. And we have an audience who have come here just to enjoy themselves. And we are going to enjoy ourselves. As we begin the show, Graham Norton, will you take the first subject. The subject is, oh how apt for the Mermaid Theatre, how to be a thespian. Sixty seconds starting now.

GRAHAM NORTON: How to be a thespian is very simple. Throw away your lipstick and your high-heeled shoes, invest in some sensible slacks and a stout sweater. Begin listening to KD Lang albums. Take up an interest in golf and ladies tennis...


NP: Chris Addison, you've challenged, why?

CHRIS ADDISON: My challenge was deviation.

NP: From what?

CA: The subject.

NP: Of what?

CA: He was talking about lesbians, not thespians!

GN: I should, I do, I do feel a silly! I must have misheard our chairman! May I start again?

NP: No because I don't think my diction is so bad! That you could have mistaken a T-H for an L! We enjoyed what you said actually! And if you were going off on the subject you thought it was, I'm glad that Chris actually challenged you and got you off it! So I have to say to you Chris you have a correct challenge, and you have 49 seconds, you take over the subject, you've got a point for a correct challenge of course. How to be a thespian, 60 seconds starting now.

CA: Of course there's nothing wrong with girls liking girls, it's perfectly natural...


NP: Chris, you've challenged.

CA: I didn't challenge.

NP: Well your light came...

PAUL MERTON: I challenged.

NP: Yes?

PM: Yeah I pressed.

NP: No, your, Chris, Chris's light came on first.

CA: Well...

NP: Repetition.

CA: If I have to have a challenge, it would be deviation from the subject. I deviated from the subject.

NP: Right, all right...

CA: I didn't challenge, because I was talking! In the spirit of fairness, I feel that Clement or Paul, one of my senior colleagues, challenged. And due to some unlucky happenstance with the wiring...

PM: I did have a challenge.

NP: I know, and so did Clement have a challenge. You all had a challenge. But the trouble is Chris Addison's light came on, I go by whatever light comes on here. Chris you challenged...

PM: Nicholas...

NP: Yes?

PM: Nicholas, when does your light come on?


NP: Oh you are wicked to clap for that, aren't you! But I'll show you how fair I am. Give Paul a bonus point for his particular remark. And the benefit of the doubt to Chris Addison, 47 seconds available, how to be a thespian starting now.

CA: When I was a little child, I very much wanted to be a...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: All children are little. That's the point of them.

CA: But some of them, no, not some of the 15-year-olds are quite big. I was a little...

NP: No I think...

PM: I don't think he was indicating that he was unique.

NP: So incorrect challenge and you have another point Chris and 44 seconds, how to be a thespian starting now.

CA: I wanted very...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well there was a hesitation, you could have made a ham sandwich there. You could have bought the bread, you could have sliced it, you could have chosen the ham, you could have chosen butter, margarine, you could have cut the crusts off, you could have handed it round, hesitation! A real hesitation!

NP: Um...

CA: To be fair...

NP: I will give you hesitation but you've no need to rub it in like that!

CA: To be fair Nicholas, it was me who pressed the button!

NP: Paul's light came on! It was Paul Merton, hesitation is correct Paul, 43 seconds, how to be a thespian starting now.

PM: I auditioned for RADA when I was 19 years old, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. I wasn't particularly fulfilling an ambition to appear in that school for two or three years, I just wanted to get up on the stage and be judged professionally. I wasn't particularly good.


NP: Graham's challenged.

GN: Repetition of particularly.

NP: Yes.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Yes, well listened Graham.

GN: Was it really? (laughs)

PM: Yeah.

NP: I wasn't as well. Right, 28 seconds, Graham the subject is back with you, how to, listen Graham! How to be a thespian!

GN: I wouldn't make the same mistake twice!

NP: Well it's a thespian and you start now.

GN: Large bunches of keys would be meaning that you're in stage management. To be a thespian however, you would probably wear nice makeup and skip across the stage. Learn lines because you can't say what you want if you are a thespian. You have to play a role. It's another word meaning actor or actress, isn't that right everybody. Now I think the best...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well a bit slowing down, it's hesitation now I think.

NP: Yes I think when you addressed the audience, you didn't get any reaction and you paused.

GN: It was a dramatic pause. It was a dramatic pause.

NP: It's a dramatic thespian's pause but you can't do it in Just A Minute. So Paul, hesitation, five seconds, how to be a thespian starting now.

PM: I stood on that... platform...


PM: I couldn't remember if I had said stage before.

NP: I know, I could see what was going on in your mind, it all reeled across the face listeners, that's why...

PM: I was about to say to be or not to be as well!

NP: So Chris you challenged first, and you've got in with three seconds to go on how to be a thespian starting now.

CA: When Paul stood on that stage...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: I haven't said anything!

PM: Not for a while! Clement's not said anything for a while!

CF: Not at all!

NP: Well Clement...

CF: Hello! Good evening!

NP: Give Clement a bonus point for his hello, good evening. Because we...

CF: I'd like the subject!

NP: No no! No you can't, you can, you can have a bonus point.

CF: I'll be quite brief!

PM: Yeah he'll be quite brief!

NP: Give him two bonus points then, all right? But no I've got to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute, Chris you were interrupted so you get a point for that, you keep the subject, two seconds to go, how to be a thespian starting now.

CA: At the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts as...


NP: So at the end of that round Chris Addison was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and others in the round, he's taken a strong lead. And Chris we are going to ask you to take the next round and the subject is the tip of the iceberg, that's the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

CA: The tip of the iceberg is a phrase which alludes to the fact that icebergs have only a small amount above the waterline. Most of it is below that er level. And that is true of most lettuces so why the iceberg would be singled out amongst them is beyond me. It is also coincidentally the case with its namesake, the iceberg. A large amount of ice floating around in the Arctic on which are to be found polar bears and Arctic foxes...


CA: Aaaahhhhhh!

NP: Paul you...

CA: Silly boy!

PM: Do you really get polar bears and Arctic foxes on icebergs?

CA: Have you not seen the front of a Foxes glassy mint?

PM: Yeah!

NP: I think...

CA: The fox is round the back.

PM: That's not an iceberg though, is it?

NP: I think he established it was in the Arctic where you get the polar bears and icebergs were around there. I don't think he was definitely saying polar bears only appear on icebergs. Were you Chris?

CA: No, no, heaven forfend!

PM: So when he said "on an iceberg you get polar bears and Arctic foxes" he meant...

GN: Slugs!

NP: Well it is possible because it could have been a piece of ice that has separated from the polar cap.

PM: Oh?

NP: Yes.

PM: Okay.

NP: Right, benefit of the doubt to Chris Addison...

CA: Have you been watching Planet Earth again, have you Nicholas?

NP: Yes that's right. So the tip of the iceberg is with you still Chris, 35 seconds starting now.

CA: The polar bears and...


NP: (laughs) This is what happens in this game, you lose it, you come straight back with the words you shouldn't use. Paul yes correct challenge...

PM: Repetition of polar.

NP: Polar bears, right, 34 seconds, the tip of the iceberg with you Paul starting now.

PM: In 1912 the Titanic left Southampton. Which was a bit of a funny thing because it sunk in 1911. Meanwhile...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of 19.

NP: Repetition of 19, yes. So you got the tip of the iceberg Clement, and you have 28 seconds starting now.

CF: An iceberg is probably the most boring, tasteless, unamusing cabbage, lettuce there have ever been. No taste is as...


NP: Chris challenged.

CA: I rescind the challenge.

NP: Why?

CA: Because I was going to er challenge on taste.

NP: And you'd be correct, wouldn�t you.

CA: That's what I was going to say... no...

PM: No it was tasteless and taste.

CA: Yes tasteless and taste.

NP: Right, well listened Chris. Clement gets a point because he was interrupted.

CA: Yes. I do apologise.

NP: And 18 seconds, the tip of the iceberg with you Clement starting now.

CF: And the tip of an iceberg is quite particularly uninteresting. Let me explain about oil and vinegar, which fuses with salt and pepper...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Let's not!

NP: Oh we did enjoy the interruption.

GN: No but it's deviation from the subject, well it's not about tip of the iceberg.

NP: No he's talking about iceberg lettuces.

GN: No he was talking about salad dressing.

NP: I know, but that, you put that on an iceberg lettuce.

PM: Yeah.

GN: Not just the tip.

CA: But including the tip.

NP: Well it would go all over it so it would include the tip.

GN: All right.

NP: A bonus point though because we enjoyed the interruption.

GN: Yeah thanks!

NP: Clement you have a point...

CF: I didn't enjoy the interruption!

CA: I think, I think you should give Clement...

PM: I started to enjoy it, but then I went off it a bit! I'd heard it before!

NP: Clement has a point for being interrupted, eight seconds, the tip of the iceberg starting now.

CF: The tip of the iceberg is actually what you can see above the water, on the assumption that most of the iceberg is beneath... the...



NP: No, wait a minute! Paul challenged before the whistle went.

PM: Right towards the end there was a hesitation there.

NP: I think there was a full stop.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Paul you've got in with half a second to go on the tip of the iceberg starting now.

PM: The tip of the iceberg is...


NP: At the end of that round Paul Merton, speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now equal with Chris Addison in the lead, ahead of Clement Freud and Graham Norton in that order. And Clement it's your turn to begin so will you take the subject of public relations, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: It's quite interesting to be given the subject of public relations. Because public relations is the profession which my youngest son pursues. And private relations are because he gave birth to my 16th grandchild...


NP: Paul challenged.

CF: Well all right!

PM: He just strikes me as ideally placed to spread the news that he's given birth to a...

NP: That would be a first, wouldn�t it!

PM: It's deviation.

NP: Deviation yes.

PM: He hasn't given birth.

NP: Well his wife has given birth, we hope.

PM: Really? That's a coincidence, the two of them! I suppose that's probably planned, was it?

NP: Paul a correct challenge, because it was deviation. He didn't, his wife did, 45 seconds available, public relations starting now.

PM: Public relations is explaining to people why things have gone wrong in a huge way that makes them think that perhaps they're not going to get their money back. Look at the people on the Titanic. You say "look, I'm sorry about that, but here's his luggage, a bit wet, but what can you do?" It was a shame those people left Southampton...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes there were too many people Paul.

PM: Were there?

NP: Yes and Clement you've got the subject back, 31 seconds, public relations starting now.

CF: The son of my...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of son. My youngest son.

CF: I have two sons.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So he did repeat son, 29 seconds, back with you Paul, public relations starting now.

PM: There was an episode of Some Mothers...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: What word was that? I'm going with hesitation or deviation from the er lang ling...

NP: I didn't think...

PM: You're a fine one to talk...

GN: I know, it's very hard to make that challenge when you can't say the word English.

NP: I didn't catch what the word was either.

CF: I did!

NP: What was it?

CF: Episode.

GN: It could have been!

PM: Actually...

NP: It could have been but...

CF: We on this side heard it.

NP: I'll tell you what I'm going to do Paul, I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to...

CF: To me?

NP: No! To Graham because we haven't heard from him for a time, 27 seconds with you Graham, public relations starting now.

GN: Mark something-or-other is a presenter of many ITV2 shows. His mother is Judith Chalmers. Does that make her a public relation? I'm interested because she is a public figure and related to that man whose name I can't remember. I met them once on holiday. It was bizarre, it was at the airport. I was waiting...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Meeting Judith Chalmers on holiday isn't bizarre!

GN: You should see Judith with a tan!

PM: The chances of her not being there are extremely remote!

NP: Exactly! She's been to nearly every country in the world.

PM: Yeah.

NP: But Paul we give you the benefit of the doubt because we don't think in the strict sense of the word it was bizarre of him to meet Judith Chalmers when he was on holiday. So you have seven seconds, ah what was that again. You have seven... I speak faster than my words will come out.

PM: How can you do that? Is Charlotte working you with her foot? Is she?

NP: Charlotte please, don't pull the strings so tight next time!

PM: Make sure which string you pull and all!

NP: But there are seven seconds still available for Paul, because you have a correct challenge, public relations starting now.

PM: One day I decided that I was going to meet my great-uncle in the middle of Trafalgar Square. I phoned him up and I said, "be there at midnight..."


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's taken a strong lead, ahead of Chris Addison and Clement Freud and Graham Norton in that order. Paul will you take the next round, when you weren't looking. That's the subject in front of me, can you talk on that subject, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: When you weren�t looking, we played a practical joke on you, Nicholas. When you were talking to the audience before the recording tonight, myself, Clement Freud, Chris Addison and Graham Norton stripped naked and danced the dance of a thousand dreams. And the audience laughed and you thought it was because of your jokes. We've been doing that for 17 years. It's a shame! You haven't had a laugh in public since 1968 and that was only when you fell off the stage, when you were commemorating the death of the old Queen. I'm referring to Victoria, of course, not the present incumbent on the throne. When I take my mind back to all those Royal Variety performances when our astute chairman used to walk on to the stage and say "ladies and gentlemen, Chopin!"


NP: Chris Addison, you've challenged.

CA: Repetition of stage.

NP: Unfortunately it was, yes. I'm going to let him go on that because it was so bizarre.

CA: You're not playing, you're not playing the game, now.

NP: I don't know why the audience were laughing at that outrageous depiction. Because this audience were there listening to me before you came on.

PM: Yeah.

NP: You said you were stripping naked backstage.

PM: We were.

NP: Right. I don't believe you because no-one, no-one would laugh at that.

PM: We got a round of applause!

NP: Not having seen you... right, you did go for 40 seconds which was pretty good. And, but you can't get any points for it, can you, because that's not the way Just A Minute goes. Chris you get a point for a correct challenge and you have 20 seconds on when you weren�t looking starting now.

CA: When you weren't looking is the time when everything changes. When you weren't looking it became acceptable to listen to tunes incredibly loud on your mobile phone in public. When you weren't looking Natasha Kiplinsky became taken seriously. When you weren't looking they put the prices up on railway fares. And it was at exactly this time when you are not looking...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well there is a limit to how many times you can say the subject on the card.

NP: I think there should be a limit yes.

CA: But there isn't?

NP: No.

PM: Do you, do you think we've reached that point?

NP: Well I don't know because you see, Chris has only just started playing the game, hasn't he.

CA: Yes!

NP: I usually give it against people who repeat it ad nauseam.

CA: Okay.

NP: And you were...

CA: I was using it as a rhetorical device.

NP: I know, and you used it very well. So we give you a bonus point for your inventiveness, Paul had a point because it was a correct challenge, and there is one second left...

CA: Ohhhh!

NP: And when you weren't looking is with you Paul starting now.

PM: The Crystal Palace burned down!


NP: So Paul got more points in that round, has taken a strong lead ahead of Chris Addison in second place, then Clement Freud and Graham Norton. And Graham we'd like you to take the next round. Here's a lovely subject, happily ever after. Will you talk on happily ever after, 60 seconds starting now.

GN: Happily ever after is a phrase usually associated with fairy tales. They all lived happily ever after. And even as a child, I thought not everyone did. The seven dwarves can't have been thrilled to see your one leaving the house. Who is going to cook the dinner now, while we're in the mine, working all day and whistling. The ugly sisters didn't jump for joy when Cinderella, their slave, married the Prince, did they? No, I say, good people of the Mermaid Theatre, Puddledock, near the Thames in London, very historic. Now happily ever after is a repetitious phrase which occurs near the end of those stories which I mentioned earlier involving witches and wizards, goblins, giants, ogres, beanstalks, poisoned apples proved surprisingly popular in the pages as well, I've noticed. Happily ever after, if only that could be...


NP: You've interrupted.

CA: Yeah, how many times is he allowed to repeat the subject?

NP: No no, no, you're quite right, because you lost it on repeating that phrase, and you couldn't resist challenging because he kept repeating the phrase. All right I give you the benefit of the doubt, I give you a point for a correct challenge. But that man sitting beside you, Graham Norton, gets a point because you went for 56 seconds!

GN: Fifty-six? That's nearly a minute!

NP: And you have four seconds Chris on happily ever after starting now.

CA: Happily ever after...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: No!

PM: Well he starts with a (tongue click).

CA: That's just an unfortunate thing in my teeth.

PM: Yeah.

NP: It doesn't matter, no you didn't...

PM: It's not very good in this game, is it.

CF: You haven't made, you could have made a tongue sandwich!

PM: Have you just woken up?

NP: So Chris you got an incorrect challenge and you keep the subject, because you'd been going for only a second. You have three more seconds to go, happily ever after starting now.

CA: The ogres, fairies...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: He did it again!

NP: You wicked so-and-so, he didn't! No you didn't.

CA: Can you count me in?

CF: Yes he did.



CA: You've turned!

NP: He got, he got words out and he was only going for half a second.

PM: Yes and that half a second consisted of a (tongue click).

NP: It's just a vocal idiosyncrasy of his! It isn't a hesitation.

PM: Shall we, shall we ignore it as a matter of policy?

NP: No.

CA: Why don't you just count me in?

NP: See if he does it a third time, because you've got three...

PM: All right, let's see if he does it a third time.

NP: You've got three and a half seconds to go, happily ever after starting now.

CA: The ogres, goblins and fairies...


PM: Deviation, he didn't go (tongue click)! It's either a speech problem, or it isn't!

NP: A bonus point to Paul Merton for his remark there, because his light came on, Paul. You can have a bonus point as well because we love giving them to you.

GN: Can I have one?

NP: Yes you can have one as well...

CA: If I've got it right, that's three incorrect challenges?

NP: That's right, no no, but you got a point because you were incorrectly challenged.

CA: Super.

NP: And you have now two seconds on... will we ever finish this round, I ask myself? Happily ever after starting now.

CA: In these fairy...


NP: Clement yes?

CF: Repetition of not hesitating.

NP: Incorrect challenge, you have another point Chris and you have happily ever after and one and a half seconds starting now.

CA: Beanstalks in particular are not particularly noted for...


NP: So Chris Addison with one for speaking as the whistle went, and other points in the round, and with the help of the chairman and the indulgence of the other players, has leapt forward. He's only one point behind our leader Paul Merton, ahead of Clement Freud and Graham Norton in that order, as we move into the final round. And Chris it's also your turn to begin.

CA: Oh my God! Let me get my voice ready!

NP: And the subject now is forbidden fruit. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CA: When I was a child, next door to us lived a man called Mister Wilson who had a large patch of brambles at the end of his garden. And come the autumn, these er plants...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

CA: Speech impediment! Speech impediment!

NP: Right Paul, correct challenge, 51 seconds available, forbidden fruit starting now.

PM: (in formal, drawn-out voice) In the Biblical story of course, we are told about Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: I just want to know if he is going to do the whole minute like this?

PM: I'm impersonating you! You've spent a lifetime doing it! I've done it for 15 seconds!

GN: I was going to say because I'm really enjoying it!

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

GN: Ahhh, none really.

NP: Well we'll give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the interruption.

GN: I'm loving this!

NP: And Paul you have a point of course, you were interrupted, 46 seconds, forbidden fruit starting now.

PM: In the 1960s and 70s, we were forbidden from eating South African fruit, because of the terrible apartheid situation in that wonderful country. Graham, I believe, has property in Cape Town. That's why he is such a lovely colour at the moment. Either that or his shirt is especially white to show off the beautiful tan which may have come from the Tottenham Court Road or perhaps...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Now, unless I am the forbidden fruit, I believe he is deviating!

NP: Graham I would hardly describe you as fruity!

GN: And certainly not forbidden!

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

GN: Deviation from the subject.

NP: No!

GN: He is talking about my shirt!

NP: Oh yes, benefit of the doubt to Graham.

GN: That really was deviation from the subject!

NP: Yes it was, it was.

GN: Thank you.

NP: Forbidden fruit is with you Graham, 26 seconds starting now.

GN: The forbidden fruit was originally the apple. How dull! Why would you need to forbid anyone from eating that? Stand back from the mango, I say...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: There were no bananas at that time.

PM: Deuteronomy four, chapter five, yes we have no bananas!

GN: Yes!

NP: Deuteronomy is the fourth book of the Bible, and Genesis...

PM: Do you think I know anything about the Bible?

NP: And this was in the first book of the Bible, where the forbidden fruit came. So incorrect challenge, you�ve still got the subject Graham, forbidden fruit, and there are 19 seconds starting now.

GN: Perhaps the snake liked the apple... oh I've said apple before, haven�t I?


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Apple three times, he pointed out that he'd said it before, so repetition yeah.

NP: Yes repetition, 16 seconds, Paul with you, forbidden fruit starting now.

PM: I remember my grandfather looked me in the eye and said there is a pomegranate that I have upstairs, in my bedroom, underneath the bed, which your granny doesn't know I possess. And with that he took me towards his destination, reached underneath the springs...



NP: Wait a minute, Clement challenged just before.

CF: He said underneath before.

NP: That's right, underneath the bed and now underneath...

PM: Oh yes!

NP: ... the springs. So I brought in my sharp ears I hope and Clement you did challenge. And Paul got in on you just a while ago with only half a second to go, and you have returned the compliment. Correct challenge, half a second, forbidden fruit, starting now.

CF: Underneath...


NP: Let me give you the final score, so they all got lots of points, so they all achieved greatness in this particular edition of Just A Minute. Graham Norton coming back with glory and panache finished just in fourth place with a lot of points. Clement Freud, with his usual style and panache finished up in third place with a quite a lot of points. Chris Addison who has only played the game very briefly, he finished with a lot of points. He didn't quite get as many points as Paul Merton so Paul you are in the lead and we say you are our winner this week! Thank you. It only remains to say thank you to our four fine players of the game, that is Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Chris Addison and Clement Freud. I thank Charlotte Davies, who has helped me with the score, and blown her whistle with such elegance. We are grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are also indebted to this lovely audience here at the Mermaid Theatre in Puddledock in London. Thank you audience, from you, from me Nicholas Parsons, and from our panel, to our listeners, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!