NOTE: Maureen Lipman's last appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome our many listeners all around the world. But also to welcome to the programme four distinctive and diverse personalities who are going to play Just A Minute. Seated on my right, we are delighted to welcome back that outstanding player of the game, Paul Merton. And seated beside him someone who hasn't played the game for quite a while, it's lovely to have Maureen Lipman with us. And seated on my left, is Pam Ayres, that lovely poetess or poet, I don't know which you like, either the masculine or the feminine. And beside him that...

PAM AYRES: I am a woman Nicholas.

NP: I know, but actors whether make or female like to be called actors.

PA: I know, but I'm not at all militant about these things.

NP: I'm delighted, because I know you've got a strong right arm as well, my love! And seated also beside Pam, escaping from The Now Show, it's Marcus Brigstocke. Please welcome all four of them! And as usual I'm going to ask them to speak on the subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Trudi Stevens, who is going to help me with the score, and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye. And we have a delightful and very wet audience in front of us here who have come to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show with Paul Merton. Paul, the subject here in front of me is Timbuktu. Tell us something about Timbuktu in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: I understand that Timbuktu is twinned with Hay-on-Wye. In that case it must be a very wet place indeed. I've not been here before and I understand it's not always like this. But as we look...


NP: Marcus you've challenged.

MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE: Ah repetition of I understand.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yes.


MB: What? This is what you're supposed to do! Paul I'm very very sorry!

PM: You weren't to know!

MB: Right!

NP: Marcus a correct challenge, yes, so you get a point for a correct challenge and you take over the subject of Timbuktu and there are 49 seconds available starting now.

MB: Interestingly I was at school with a boy called Tim Buck. And whenever we used to go somewhere, people would say "bring Tim Buck too" and we did. But we never had the opportunity to visit...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of Tim Buck.

PA: Ah!

MB: Oh yes! Damn!

NP: Yes well listened Paul.

MAUREEN LIPMAN: You weren't to know!

NP: You know how to play the game. So you got the subject back Paul, you've got a correct challenge there, a point for that. Timbuktu is back with you and 38 seconds available starting now.

PM: I remember the last time I was in Timbuktu. As I walked along the High Street, I noticed the mountains in the distance, and I thought to myself, one day I will climb those edifices. And I did...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: It's very flat!

PM: Is it? What was I looking at then?

NP: Pam is right, it's all desert.

PM: Is it?

NP: Yes!

PM: I might be mixing it up with Reigate!

NP: There aren't many mountains there either! Just the South Downs.

ML: It means belly button, doesn't it.

NP: Does it?

PM: Does it?

PA: What does?

ML: Timbuktu, it's French for belly button.

NP: Pam I agree with you, Marly is a very flat desert in a nation, and 26 seconds starting now.

PA: I always used to hate the expression Timbuktu. Because if I had lost something and asked my mother where it was, she would say, somewhat impatiently, "for all I know it's gone to Timbuktu". And then you'd feel somewhat crestfallen because you were assured that...


NP: Maureen challenged.

ML: Repetition of because.

NP: Yes.

PA: Okay.

NP: She said because twice.

NP: So we've all spoken on this round, that's great. Maureen you're in on the subject of Timbuktu...

ML: Well I'm not to know, am I!

NP: ... eight seconds available starting now.

ML: Timbuktu is a place in the world, and it's, it's, it's, it's...


ML: What? What?

NP: Maureen I think they enjoyed that so much I'm going to give you a bonus point. But Marcus you challenged first.

MB: Yes a sort of mixture of hesitation and repetition.

NP: Well I think just be generous and give her one, hesitation.

MB: Okay yes.

NP: Right Marcus, you got in with four seconds to go, Timbuktu starting now.

MB: Timbuktu has become euphemistic for things and places...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Marcus Brigstocke. So Marcus and Maureen have got two points and er Pam and Paul have just got one point. So you can work out what the situation is. Maureen will you start the next round, the subject is a war of words, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

ML: A war of words is generally a battle between two protagonists like of the literary variety, often with people like say AA Gill...


ML: ... so they say their name twice.

NP: Pam challenged.

PA: I'm afraid it was a repetition of like.

NP: Yes of like, you did say like twice.

ML: Well I haven't played it for a long time.

NP: I know.

ML: Give us a point Nicholas!

NP: Right. I've given you one bonus, I'll find another one later on, darling, don't worry! I think you're lovely anyway. And so are you Pam, I've said that before.

PA: Thank you Nicholas.

ML: You've finally got two women on the panel of the right age for Nicholas!

PA: How's that?

MB: Combined perhaps!

NP: Oh you mean Marcus and... you mean Marcus is too young for me, is he? Right! You're seeing a different side to me, are you Paul?

PM: Yes!

MB: One I remember with some bitterness!

NP: Fifty-two seconds Pam, a war of words starting now.

PA: The quotation which I just enunciated must be a great consolation to the likes of AA Gill...


NP: Paul yes we know the challenge.

PM: Repetition of A.

NP: A yes.

PA: Oh you rotter! That's not fair!

NP: Yes it is, it's part of the rules of Just A Minute, and it always gets a laugh. Right so Paul you have the subject, there's 40 seconds available, a war of words starting now.

PM: So named because his real names are Automobile Association. I was recently walking down the street in Timbuktu when I suddenly thought to myself, where have all the mountains gone? This used to be a place where you could climb great peaks, but now it is flat as anything. If you look...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: Ah deviation, he's talking about Timbuktu and we've moved on.

PM: Some of us have moved on, some of us are still seeking closure!

NP: I think Paul deserves a bonus point for that last remark...

PA: Yeah it was very good.

NP: But Pam you had a correct challenge so you get a point for that and you have 25 seconds, back with you, a war of words starting now.

PA: A war of words never hurts anyone, because words can be soft and gentle and caress people. I'm really floundering here as you can tell...


NP: Maureen challenged.

ML: People, people.

PA: Oh yeah, yeah.

NP: Yes people people.

PA: Yes I was floundering there.

NP: Take a deep breath Maureen, a war of words and you have 17 seconds starting now.

ML: Between people like A which is followed by another alphabetical... um...


ML: I just can't get by about AA Gill, I so want it!

NP: Marcus you challenged first, what was it?

MB: Ah it was hesitation.

NP: Yes indeed, 12 seconds...

ML: Senility, darling, never mind that!

NP: Twelve seconds, a war of words with you Marcus starting now.

MB: A war of words is all that Prince Harry has left since they decided that he's not allowed to go to Iraq and fight an actual war on account of he might...


NP: So at the end of that round with Marcus getting the extra point for speaking as the whistle went, he has moved forward, oh it's incredible, they're all equal with three points. And Marcus it's your turn to begin, the subject now is the aristocracy. Will you tell us something about that in this game, the aristocracy, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

MB: I think that many of us mistake the aristocracy for people who are mentally ill. And that's not strictly their fault. It's just because they are inclined to say things like (in posh accent) "ewwwww helleeeeew". (normal voice) And that is very baffling if you've never met them before. Now the aristocracy has always owned huge tracks of land. In fact many of them are in possession of so much...


NP: Maureen's challenged.

ML: Was there a repetition of in fact?

NP: No I don't think so.

MB: Don't look at me, I've no idea! I was thinking so hard I've given myself a nose bleed!

NP: Sorry Maureen no...

ML: I take it back.

NP: Incorrect, so Marcus you still have the aristocracy and 38 seconds starting now.

MB: Not all of the aristocracy have webbed feet but many of them do. And that is something that they are ferociously proud of, and it does make them tremendous swimmers. Now when they are in the lakes that they have in their overly large gardens, they tend to propel themselves with their bizarre flipper-like feet, ah, from years of...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a hesitation there, there was an ah.

NP: Definitely yes.

MB: There was a big ah.

PM: Sadly.

NP: Paul you've got in with 16 seconds to go, tell us something about the aristocracy starting now.

PM: I remember when I first came into contact with the aristocracy, I was with Nicholas Parsons. And he said "come with me to this marvellous castle that I know, somewhere deep in the heart of Scotland". And you know, I was rogerred senselessly...


PM: By the old Duke himself! I had a souvenir tea-towel as well!

NP: Maureen you were, you challenged in the middle of the rogerring!

ML: It's let me down all my life!

NP: Um Maureen...

ML: I had a repetition of you know.

NP: Yes he did say you know. His impersonation of the aristocracy. So three seconds available for you Maureen on the aristocracy starting now.

ML: Well of course I played Joyce Grenfell for quite a long time...


NP: So Maureen Lipman was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. She's moved forward, and she's now in second place actually, one behind Marcus Brigstocke, and only one ahead of Paul Merton and Pam Ayres. And Maureen will you start the next round, the subject, a beginner's guide, tell us something about that in this game starting now.

ML: Well you can get a beginner's guide to almost anything. You can get a beginner's guide to car maintenance...


NP: Um Marcus challenged.

MB: Sorry yes, repetition of you can get.

NP: You can get, I'm afraid, you can get a beginner�s guide...

ML: I'm really really crap at this!


MB: Now look here!

NP: I know!

ML: Nicholas you're supposed to say "no, you're not, you're not"!

NP: Just the look on Maureen's face...

ML: Yes!

NP: ... that has now got that big laugh! As we're waiting for her to pounce as Marcus begins with the subject with 56 seconds on a beginner's guide starting now.

MB: When I was in the cub scouts, there was a particularly game guide in the... guide's movement...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: I thought that was a hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation Pam.

MB: No it was an extended "in the", I don't know if that counts.

PA: Oh you deserved it!

NP: Pam you have 51 seconds, tell us something about a beginner's guide starting now.

PA: I like beginner's guides because no-one ever says that is a really stupid infantile question and makes you feel like a heel. Beginner's guides are really nice if you are starting out on something which you�ve never done before and which... no I've blown it!


NP: Maureen yes?

ML: Yes just a general kind of all purpose garble!

PA: How dare you!

ML: Of the kind I'm about to do!

NP: So you've got in Maureen on a beginner's guide and 31 seconds starting now.

ML: I'd like to have a...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well it just saves time really, doesn't it!

NP: Well Maureen gets a point because she was interrupted, you get a point because the audience enjoyed it, and Maureen you still have 30 seconds to tell us something about a beginner's guide starting now.

ML: I like a beginner's guide to tango because I'm absolutely obsessed with that dance. And I'd also like a beginner's guide to how to learn a language without ever... stopping to hesitate...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Ah that was a hesitation.

NP: That was a hesitation Paul. So you tell us something about a beginner's guide, 21 seconds available starting now.

PM: For those of you who have got a head like a sieve, could I recommend a beginner's guide which is now available in the bookshop just outside this tent. It's a magnificent work. It's written by the man who I mentioned earlier who I can't say him again because that would be repetition. But it's a magnificent approach...


NP: Maureen challenged.

ML: That was a magnificent repetition Paul.

NP: Yes of magnificent, couldn't resist it. Right so Maureen you've got in with eight seconds, tell us more about a beginner's guide starting now.

ML: A beginner's guide to understanding your fellow human being and the environment of the world would be something worth happening, would it not. In fact I think that particular book...


NP: So Maureen Lipman was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And with others in the round she has leapt forward. She's now in second place, one behind Paul Merton, and just ahead of Marcus Brigstocke and Pam Ayres. And Marcus it's your turn to begin. The subject, oh gosh, this is rather... a brush with death.

MB: Crikey!

NP: We've never had sort of sombre subjects like that before. So anyway do your best Marcus, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

MB: When I was at school, a certain matron used to use a sharp and infected nit-comb. And we used to refer to it as a brush with death. of course it wasn't, and that's not what a brush with death really means. What it... er really... oh damn!


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: What it! Repetition of what it.

NP: Yes hesitation right. Pam you have the subject, a brush with death, 46 seconds starting now.

PA: I own an enormous Cotswold ram called Gabriel Oakes. And if anybody is foolish enough to venture into his field, you are risking a very real and authentic brush with death. Because he has got a foul temper particularly in the mating season when ewes are in insufficient supply.


PA: That is all I can think of to say!

NP: And Marcus challenged first.

MB: Yes...

NP: Hesitation.

MB: Hesitation.

NP: A brush with death Marcus and 21 seconds starting now.

MB: I wonder if anyone here ever saw the children�s programme, Basil Brush With Death, in which every time that fox told a joke, he said "boom" just the once...

PA: Oh!

MB: ... and people exploded because of the force of his humour. He would then spin round and whip them to his pieces with... a karate chop...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a slight hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation Paul and you have two seconds....

PM: Oh!

NP Ohhhh! A brush with death... four people didn't want you to have it. Two seconds, a brush with death Paul starting now.

PM: I've got a very interesting story about a brush with death but...


NP: Right so Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went and he gained an extra point for doing so. And he has leapt forward, I think he's got another point there, yes. And he's now in the lead, one ahead of Maureen Lipman, and two or three ahead of Pam Ayres and Marcus Brigstocke. Paul we are back with you to begin and the subject is my favourite sin. This is going to be fun, tell us something about it in this game starting now.

PM: My favourite sin, well, there are so many to choose from, aren't there. If we just catalogue and list them now, maybe I can get to the end of the minute without particularly addressing the subject! Yes my favourite sin is undoubtedly gluttony! I can't stop eating! I love it!


ML: That wasn't a pause, that was a cavern!

PM: Why talk when you can eat?

ML: Sitting next to a Jewish mother and says a word like that, I'm going to have to marry him!

NP: Forty-six seconds on my favourite sin starting now.

ML: I think my favourite sin is covetousness because I don't understand what it means. I understand envy, I understand jealousy...


ML: I always do that!

NP: Marcus challenged.

ML: I've got this way of orating...

NP: I know.

ML: I've got to stop.

NP: It's a very literary style which is apt for... by the way, if you can hear occasional squeaking or groaning noises, it's not my aged bones, it is because we are in this tent here at Hay-on-Wye and occasionally the wind makes an eewwwwwww like that, you see.

PM: Yeah it sounds just like booing! We tell him that every time, it's the building! It's a booing building! The last show here went so badly you can still hear the boos echoing!

NP: So Marcus I think you challenged first.

MB: Yes.

NP: Right and you have 42 seconds on my favourite sin starting now.

MB: Undoubtedly my favourite sin is driving crisp packets into people's hedges. I take a massive amount of enjoyment...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Driving?

MB: Mmmm.

PM: Driving crisp packets?

MB: Yes you can't fling them.

PM: Do you install a little motor?

MB: No no no, the packet is too light to fling it into a hedge, you have to drive it in! Otherwise the crisp packet won't stay in someone�s hedge, they'll find it immediately and remove it.

PM: Oh I see.

MB: It takes all the fun out of it.

PM: It's a lot more complicated than I imagined!

NP: I mean if you had said push it might have been.... everybody thought you were getting your motor car...

MB: No, pushing won�t work, you'll uproot the hedge Nicholas. You have to drive it in!

PA: Can I, can I...

MB: You can't use a car.

NP: No I know.

PA: Can I ask what is the purpose of the exercise?

MB: Well I don't know. Have I still got the subject?

NP: Yes you have.

PM: Yes, let's find, let's find out why he does it Nicholas.

NP: No, he has still got the subject, we give him the benefit of the doubt on his description...

PM: Yes.

NP: And he's environmentally so unfriendly, I'd rather he didn't have it. But um there are 34 seconds, my favourite sin, Marcus starting now.

MB: When I finish eating my slices of fried salty vinegary potato matter, it really does give me a tremendous amount of pleasure to take the packet... oh damn, packet!


NP: Paul.

PM: Repetition of packet, oh damn packet!

NP: Paul... this show gets quite Shakespearian on occasion! Right, 23 seconds, my favourite sin starting now.

PM: My favourite sin is removing crisp bags from hedges. I find them driven right in, there's no way you can get them out! If they had been pushed, I would have accepted that, but the amount of driving involved is intense. Somebody has obviously got it in their head to go around Britain and despoil our wonderful green countryside with these cellophone wrapped bits of...


NP: Maureen's challenged.

ML: What is a cellophone? Is it something out of...

PM: It's like a mobile phone...

ML: Okay.

PM: ... that sounds like cellophane.

NP: I think that's deviation from language as we understand it, yes.

PM: Is it?

NP: Yes it was because I mean, cellophane yes, but cellophone... lovely thought...

ML: (in Italian accent) I feel like I'm Italian, I got on my cellophone!

NP: Maureen...

ML: Yes?

NP: You've got four seconds to tell us something about my favourite sin starting now.

ML: Well on the subject of the adultery sin, let's talk about that for a while, for 40...


NP: So Maureen Lipman speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point and she is now equal in the lead with Paul Merton and they're only just ahead of Marcus Brigstocke and Pam Ayres in that order. And Maureen we'd like you to take the next round, the subject is now playing to the crowd. Something we never do in this show, do we, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

ML: Playing to the crowd means that you get up there and you show off. And I've been doing it since birth. I've been doing this... ah, doing!


NP: Yes Pam?

PA: I've been, repetition of I've been.

NP: Yes.

ML: Doing as well.

PA: I'm sorry Maureen.

ML: I know.

NP: No it's her literary style...

ML: It is.

NP: It trips her up here, 54 seconds Pam, with you, another point of course, playing to the crowd starting now.

PA: When I hear the expression playing to the crowd, I see a mental image of somebody like Wayne Rooney having been just done something magnificent and triumphant in a football match, doing what appears to me to be a pelvic thrust...


NP: Maureen's challenged.

ML: Doing, doing, doing.

NP: There were two doings.

PA: Oh blow! It was the thought of the pelvic thrust that got me excited!

NP: Maureen another point to you and 40 seconds on playing to the crowd starting now.

ML: Playing to the crowd as I was saying earlier is getting up and showing off in front of a whole bunch of people...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well unfortunately as you said earlier, that makes it repetition! You did say getting up and showing off...

PA: Oh!

PM: You did say the whole thing.

NP: You did say. But I don't think she actually said any of those words earlier.

PM: Showing off?

NP: Oh showing off, you're quite right yes.

ML: I said every word twice.

NP: Yes so Paul, 36 seconds on playing to the crowd starting now.

PM: It's an expression which means that sometimes you ignore...


NP: Maureen challenged.

ML: There was a stumble there. A hesitation, an expression er. No?

NP: No?


ML: There's that noise again Nicholas!

PM: They must have hated that last show so much!

NP: Maureen a moment ago you had this audience in the palm of your hand...

ML: And now they're booing me, I know Nicholas.

NP: You certainly push them Maureen. So Paul was interrupted and he has 33 seconds, another point of course, playing to the crowd starting now.

PM: The first time I was on stage at the Hackney Empire, Mister Roland Muldoon who was running that venue at the time, said "when you stand here on this platform, look very high up, because the balconies right at the top are extremely steep". And it was a good way of knowing that you have to look at very parts of...


NP: Maureen challenged.

ML: Look? Look twice?

PM: Yes yes yes.

NP: Look right up.

PM: Look right up.

ML: (sings) Walk right in, sit right...

NP: And Maureen we are in the last round and the two of you are battling out for the lead, you've got 18 seconds, playing to the crowd starting now.

ML: Somebody like Tom Jones plays to the crowd. And that's why women throw 400 pairs of knickers at him a night. Now do they get gathered up afterwards...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Is that really an accurate figure?

ML: I don't know if he's got an accurate figure now, he used to be quite chunky! It was certainly, it was certainly at the Regal in Hull that 400 pairs of knickers were found, but it was a big concert.

NP: I don't think they counted them actually, Maureen. So Paul has a legitimate point, so in one sense you were deviating. So you get a point for that, but you.... no...


NP: But Maureen also gets a point because she was interrupted. And also her comeback was rather lovely so that reinforces my decision...

MB: Oh! Now who's playing to the crowd? And you can all have cake to take home!

NP: As I said we are, we are...

PM: Whatever you do, don't let Nicholas invite you to a castle for a weekend!

NP: Otherwise I might bring my friend Roger with me!

PM: That's how it was explained to me!

ML: Officer!

NP: Ten seconds Maureen, playing to the crowd starting now.


ML: Because you gave it to him!

NP: No, my darling!

ML: You said that my numbers were wrong, 400?

NP: No I gave him a point because we enjoyed his interruption...

ML: Okay.

NP: But you got a point for being interrupted...

ML: Okay I�m ready now.

NP: You're ready now. Legitimately I should take it away because you mou... but it doesn't matter.

ML: I know.

NP: Right, go back to 10 seconds Maureen, playing to the crowd starting now.

ML: Playing to the crowd is something that we are all doing this afternoon, sitting in this tent in a very wet place. You don't know it�s wet...


ML: ... and I don't know it�s wet...

NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Yes I'm afraid that's deviation. Those of us on the panel are playing to the crowd. You said everyone in the tent and they are the crowd. So... I...

NP: Yes a subtle challenge but correct, and four seconds for you Marcus, playing to the crowd starting now.

MB: George W Gump plays to the crowd in...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I thought you were going to say George W Bush and you got it wrong! But after all buzzed I thought of the likelihood, you wouldn't get that wrong. So it's a bad challenge I'm afraid, but there we are.

NP: It was a bad challenge, he gets a point for it.

PM: Yes he does.

NP: But he's got another point and he has three seconds on playing to the crowd starting now.

MB: His crowd being gun-toting Republican Americans and they like...


NP: Right! Let me now give you the final score. Pam Ayres who hasn't played the game for quite a while came from nowhere and finished in a magnificent fourth place. Marcus, with all his verve and tenacity finished in a brilliant third place. But we have a very fair and interesting and delightful finish because we have two people equal in the lead which is Paul Merton with Maureen Lipman our joint winners! Well that is all we have time for. So it only remains to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Maureen Lipman, Pam Ayres and Marcus Brigstocke. I thank Trudi Stevens, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle with great aplomb. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. We are very grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And we are more than grateful to this lovely audience in this very wet tent here at the Guardian Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye who have cheered us on our way magnificently. From that audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, and the panel, thank you, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!