NOTE: Dara O'Briain's last appearance, Trudi Stevens' first appearance blowing the whistle.

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 exciting, talented players of this game who once more are going to show off their verbal dexterity, their humorous ingenuity as they try and speak on the subject that I give them, and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four people are, sated on my right, Paul Merton and Maureen Lipman. And seated on my left, Pam Ayres and Dara O'Briain. Please welcome all four of them! Seated beside me is Trudi Stevens, who is going to help me with the score, and she will also blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Hay Festival at Hay-on-Wye, in the beautiful part of Wales which is now absolutely drenched in rain and mud. And we have a wonderful enthusiastic audience who have braved the elements to come and cheer us on our way. As we start the show with Paul Merton. Paul, the first subject here in front of me is every trick in the book. Would you speak on that subject starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Every trick in the book, I suppose, refers to the idea there is a book somewhere for each profession. And if you learn each one of these tricks, you will be able to find your way around any job. Magicians are very keen on their magic books. Budding conjurers would sometimes practice these routines in their bedrooms. You can imagine a lonely boy manipulating coins in his hand, and thinking to himself, if only I could make one of these things disappear...


NP: Pam challenged.

PAM AYRES: I thought it was a slight hesitation.

NP: It was a slight...

PM: Yes. Yeah.

NP: I don't think it was enough to actually say it was a real hesitation, within the rules of Just A Minute.

PA: Oh, oh, all right then.

NP: He was going at quite a pace, you know.

PA: Oh.


NP: Listen...

PM: They want to get a rope.

NP: I want to get one thing clear. Who's running this show? No I don't think it was a strong enough hesitation to be penalised. So Paul, another incorrect challenge, keep the subject, 34 seconds starting now.

PM: If you buy a pop-up book, a three-D version of one of those things that we get in libraries, you will be amazed at the... fantastic...


NP: Maureen.

MAUREEN LIPMAN: That is more of a hesitation.

NP: Yes that was a hesitation.

ML: And there was another book, but I didn't dare...

NP: You keep going long enough, trying to find a different word to say what you just said...

PM: Yeah.

NP: It's a great challenge, Maureen you have a correct challenge, you have a point, you have 26 seconds, every trick in the book starting now.

ML: Every trick in the book means every guile, every ruse, every bit of bribery, every bit of seduction that you can use...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: I think there was repetition of every bit of.

ML: Hundreds of repetitions!

PA: In fact...

NP: Every is on the card so she can repeat that. But bit, you're quite right, she shouldn't have repeated.

PA: That's what I meant.

NP: That's what you meant.

PA: That's what I meant.

ML: What did I repeat?

NP: Bit.

ML: Oh, bit.

PA: There were two bits, Maureen.

NP: Two bits and you can't have two.

ML: Two bit Maureen, you're right.

NP: The bit between... you got the bit between your teeth and unfortunately it didn't work on this occasion. Right, Pam, a correct challenge, a point to you, 19 seconds available, every trick in the book starting now.

PA: This is something that is said in a derogatory fashion about women. We all know about her, she knows every trick in the book, they say in a disparaging fashion. Meaning that the woman is perhaps not as...


NP: Dara challenged.

DARA O'BRIAIN: I might be wrong, it was a woman and women.

NP: Yes it is, no, it was women before.

DO: It was women the first time.

NP: Yes.

DO: Yeah I jumped in.

NP: Women, yes, and so it was an incorrect challenge, I'm afraid Dara, but lovely to hear from you. And four seconds, back with you Pam, another point of course, every trick in the book starting now.

PA: Another nasty thing people say about females is...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of about.

NP: Yes.

PA: Oh!

NP: About women...

PA: I'm going to have success plucked out of my hands!

NP: You're quite right because he has got in with one second to go.

PA: Oh that's not fair!

NP: I know but it is the rules of the game unfortunately. Paul you have a correct challenge, yes, every trick in the book and one second to go starting now.

PM: One second to go, that's every trick in the book...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gets an extra point, it was Paul Merton and he's got a lead at the end of that first round. Maureen would you take the second round, the subject here we have is flirting with disaster Maureen, 60 seconds starting now.

ML: Flirting with disaster is not dissimilar from the category that we had earlier which was asking for trouble in some way. And again it seems to be related to women. Flirting has always been something that is associated with the female species...


NP: Dara challenged.

DO: That's repetition of associated.

NP: Yes that's right, well done Dara.

DO: And it's nice to hear from me. Is that what you were going to say?

PA: It is nice!

ML: But not that nice!

DO: You'd think I'd drifted off or something!

NP: It's nice to hear from you again, you came in very rapidly last time. You've got 49 seconds Dara on flirting with disaster starting now.

DO: It depends how you put this in order grammatically. Flirting comma with disaster, that is something I could tell you some stories about. I've chatted up women and it's all gone hideously wrong later. I've done the flirting part perfectly, and then they've turned out to be bunny-boilers of the highest order. It starts all very well, charming glances, maybe a touch on the arm, ultimately we're all apes at heart when it comes to this stuff. You can brush your hair past your ear. I can't obviously, not a point that comes through on radio particularly, but I do the gesture anyway. Then it just looks like I'm stroking my own ear for some sort of perverse form of sexual...


NP: Maureen challenged.

ML: Did we have a double ear?

NP: Yes.

DO: Yes.

ML: Oh, ear ear!

NP: Ear ear, you had the ears. So Maureen has a correct challenge and a point for that and 17 seconds on flirting with disaster starting now.

ML: Well again, flirting is such a difficult art. It seems to have gone out of fashion. It used to be very good in Jane Austen's day and people would lower their eye. One thinks of Princess Diana really, looking down and then looking up from under her eyelashes...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: Two looking.

NP: Yeah, looking down and then looking up. Well listened Pam, you have the subject, you have five seconds still available...

DO: She'll never make it!

PA: Oh, don't be so nasty!

NP: Flirting with disaster starting now.

PA: Another expression for flirting with disaster would be giving in...


NP: So Pam had that extra point for speaking as the whistle went and she is equal with Paul. And the other two are just behind them. Pam Ayres will you take the next round, on a wing and a prayer, that's the subject, can you talk on it, 60 seconds starting now.

PA: When I hear the expression, a wing and a prayer, I envisage a young pilot in his shattered craft, limping home, his fuselage in tatters, coming in over the wash and calling out on his crackling radio, "I can't hold her, skipper, my rudder's shot!"


NP: Maureen you challenged.

ML: I'm not entirely sure about this, but do we say skipper in the Air Force?

PA: Yes, oh yes.

NP: Well you might say anything, I mean he might under the stress of the moment...

PA: Yeah that's right, he was stressed, he was stressed.

NP: He was stressed.

DO: What, and he thought he was in a boat?

PA: No, it's an Air Force expression.

NP: No he might well say to his, to his chief pilot there, um, what was it that you say?

PA: Skipper.

NP: I know you said skipper but...

PA: I can't hold her skipper, my rudder's shot!

NP: Yes that's right.

ML: Only if there was a cartload of sardines in the back of the plane, I think.

PM: Oh you're thinking of kippers.

NP: And she was coming over the wash, you know.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Down at Great Yarmouth where you get the best kippers in the country. That's a plug if you want to send me a box. The, the...

DO: What, do you think they're going to post them to you?

NP: They do, they do.

PA: They do.

NP: They cure them there on the beach at Yarmouth and... right! Who's... um, there was an incorrect challenge to you Pam...

PA: Thank you.

NP: You have another point, 39 seconds on a wing and a prayer starting now.

PA: Clad in his leather bomber jacket with cream sheerling collar, goggles and close fitting helmet, he descends through the cloud canopy and sees to his inestimable relief the flickering, blinking lights of the runway, stretched out across the Fenns, guiding him home. Breathless with emotion, he calls down the intercom, "we're coming home, by God, on a wing and a prayer..."


PA: I don't know what happens...

NP: Oh, and you almost got him home to the end of the round. But they loved it Pam, but Paul you challenged first.

PM: Yes, lost radio contact!

NP: Yeah, hesitation in other words, 11 seconds are still available Paul, tell us something about on a wing and a prayer starting now.

PM: I remember when I first put on a pair of football boots. I was seven years old and the teacher said to me, "I want you to play on the wing." This was for a...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: This is nothing like as exciting as my story!

PM: Well you haven't hear the punchline!

PA: That's true!

NP: No Pam, you're quite right about that, it isn't very exciting. But as we enjoyed your interruption, we give you a bonus point.

PA: Oh thanks. Thank you very much.

NP: But Paul you were interrupted so you get a point and you still have on a wing and a prayer, four seconds starting now.

PM: I was about to take this penalty when this plane came out of nowhere, straight towards me...


NP: Right so on this occasion Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went and he gained that extra point for doing so. He's one point ahead of Pam Ayres and two or three points ahead of Maureen Lipman and Dara O'Briain. The next subject is a dirty laugh. And we'd like you to take the subject Dara, and you start now.

DO: It seems like such a welcoming concept to have a sort of bawdy giggle or a coruscating snorter of... oh yeah!


DO: (bangs the table) I hate it just so much! I hate this damn game so much! It's designed in my own personal hell, this game!

PA: Don't say that!

NP: Dara, I'm afraid I have to ask you, if you bang the table like that, I'm afraid the engineers will go bezonkers!

DO: Tell them I was trying to communicate to the nation just how irritating I find...

PM: Tell them it's an unexpected seance!

NP: Yes. So Maureen you challenged first.

ML: I was challenging the word carcasing.

NP: Well you can guess...

DO: It wasn't the word I had intended to start with, and midway through I felt, if I stop now, they'll get me for hesitation, better to create an entirely new language!

NP: So you got him for deviation from the English language as we understand it, as opposed to hesitation. And Maureen you have the subject and 53 seconds for a dirty laugh starting now.

ML: A dirty laugh...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: A bit of a hesitation.

NP: There was a definite hesitation.

PM: You could have made a ham sandwich in that hesitation.

ML: Not for me, you couldn't.

PM: Not for you. Cottage cheese?

ML: All I did was just breathe in.

NP: You were only breathing in but...

ML: And you rang the bell. I call that...

NP: Maureen I'll tell you what I'm going to do there, as you haven't played the game quite as much as the rest...

ML: I have to breathe Nicholas.

NP: Yes, it's best to take a breath as I'm saying you start now, and then you can go...

ML: All right, I'll try again, I'll try...

NP: No to be fair, we give...

ML: Try me! Go on! Go on!

NP: Within the rules of Just... oh she's acting her head off now, if you could only see it. The audience love it so we'll let her...

ML: No I'm waiting to breathe when you say it. Go on.

NP: No I'm going to say, within the rules of Just A Minute, Paul was correct so we give him a point for his correct challenge. But we're being generous to you and saying you were interrupted. So you keep the subject and you don't get a point...

ML: I've forgotten what the bloody subject is now!

NP: Which is a dirty laugh.

ML: Oh yes.

NP: And you have 52 seconds and your time starts now.

ML: Some people have a dirty laugh. I don't. I have a snigger or a giggle or a smirk. And you can't really...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Quite a lot of ors.

NP: Oh gosh yes!

PM: Or a giggle or a smirk.

NP: Or a giggle or a smirk.


PM: I'm sorry if you're disappointed in the way this game is played!

NP: He is...

PM: Perhaps you'd be happier with Quote Unquote? Is it Shakespeare? It's always bloody Shakespeare, isn't it!

NP: So Maureen Lipman has still got the subject and there are 48 seconds, a dirty laugh starting now.

ML: The dirtiest laugh I've heard is Graham Norton's. It's a snigger combined with some sort of really mean kind of sound. I like Graham Norton, don't get me wrong, but that is a dirty laugh...


ML: Oh I said...

NP: Paul challenged, yes.

ML: Yeah.

PM: Well I daren't say this really! But I know the subtext of the subject is Graham Norton! But repetition of Graham Norton.

NP: Graham, yes, the audience were with you this time Paul, don't worry.

PM: Yes.

NP: You have Graham Norton, 39 seconds, a dirty laugh starting now.

PM: A dirty laugh is generally attributed to Sid James in the Carry On films. I think Nicholas probably worked with him once or twice. And it was an extraordinary sound. You used to hear it coming across the loudspeakers in your local cinemas. I can't really impersonate it, but I can, but it would be repetition, because it was a kind of repetitious sort of laugh. Also if you think of a dirty laugh, one tends to think of something like a blue postcard or something like a seaside thing...


NP: Um two lights came on together so what do I do?

PA: Dara.

DO: You give it to me! You give it to me! Yes! Even though neither were my light!

ML: Dara on the subject.

NP: I think we agree with you, that light did come on a fraction earlier. Right, Dara it was your challenge.

DO: It was repetition of something.

NP: That's right, of the word something.

DO: No of the word something.

NP: That's right yes.

DO: Sorry, repetition of quotation mark something close quotation mark.

PM: Oh we are playing Quote Unquote! Is it Dorothy Parker? It's always Dorothy Parker on Quote Unquote.

NP: Anybody could challenge for repetition of something yes, but he did, he did repeat the word something.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Right Dara, I'm being pedantic. But I want to be accurate within the words of Just A Minute in case people write in and they do write in. Anyway 16 seconds are still available...

PM: They don't write in. It's me, I write all the letters.

NP: A dirty laugh is back with you Dara, 16 seconds starting now.

DO: There are many fields of life in which a dirty laugh is quite the handicap. Working for the Samaritans, for example, it doesn't...


NP: Maureen challenged.

ML: For the-the-the-the Samaritans?

NP: No no, he was going, no, no, no...


PM: Wait a minute! Only a moment ago I was being booed for or, and Maureen was your favourite. And now you've just turned! What's up? This is Rent A Mob!

NP: You will find, in Just A Minute the audiences are extraordinarily fickle. And they're turning out to be one of the most fickle we've had. Ten seconds still available Dara, a dirty laugh starting now.

DO: The other great problem of course is that when you have a dirty laugh and people hear it, they have a propensity to track backwards and wonder what was the double entendre they�ve just missed. So perfectly innocent comments like ooh, hey...


NP: So Dara O'Briain was speaking then when the whistle went, he gained an extra point for doing so. He has leapt forward, he's still in third place but he's moved. Paul's in the lead, then Pam Ayres and then Dara and Maureen in that order. And Paul we're back with you, would you take the next subject which is poetic licence. Well we're at a literary festival and it's quite apt I suppose. But talk about the subject in this game starting now.

PM: Poetic licence, I've never been able to write poetry. I admire Pam, she's been very good at it for many years. I always have that thing in the back of my head where I try for some sublime moment where you put the right word next to another and suddenly bring out the inner beauty which you thought neither words were capable of that but then they are. And then you just think you've just written a limerick which starts out,
There was an old man from Bombay
Who caught a bus to China one day
It said on the floor
Don't spit on the floor
So he climbed up and spat on the ceiling.


NP: Maureen you challenged.

PM: Did I get the muse?

PA: Oh yeah definitely.

ML: There were two floors.

NP: There were two, there had...

ML: There were two flaws in a perfect Persian carpet.

PM: Yes yes.

NP: For the sake of the limerick, there had to be and he started so he was going to finish. Maureen a point to you and 34 seconds to take up poetic licence starting now.

ML: The poetic licence that allows me to say another limerick after Paul's already said one which is
There was a young man from Dundee
Who sat down with a bump and a wasp
When asked if it hurt
He said no, not a bit
You can do it again if you like.
Ah that's...


ML: That's the kind of words...

NP: Dara has challenged you, Dara...

ML: Oh has he, I was just, go on.

DO: I was just saying it was hesitation in order to enjoy the laughter she...

ML: I know.

DO: ... created. So I admire her for doing it, nonetheless.

ML: Too long on stage, Dara.

DO: You were working the room beautifully at that point!

NP: Yes, unfortunately you cannot ride your laughs, as we say professionally, in this game because it's hesitation. Dara you got in there first, 19 seconds available, poetic licence starting now.

DO: There are many writers whose poetic licences should have been revoked at birth. I had to study some poets in Ireland who you never had the pleasure of in your educational system, whose entire opus was about TB. Nothing appeals to a crowd of 15-year-olds like a rasping old man discussing his pulmonary and breath-based illnesses...


NP: So Dara O'Briain was again speaking as the whistle went, has moved forward. He's now in second place just behind Paul Merton and then Pam Ayres and Maureen Lipman in that order. And Pam will you take the next round, a roll in the hay. Yes will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PA: My favourite roll in the hay would be baked with granary flour, split, buttered and absolutely crammed with thinly sliced tomato, crispy chickaree, creamy avocado, a great uncoth Somerset Brie just going runny in the middle, a modicum of Gloucester old spot unsmoked ham sliced extremely frugally...


NP: Maureen, save us!

ML: Two objections, one I'm feeling sick! And two, there has been no mention of the second part of the category, as in hay.

PA: I was just getting to it.

ML: Oh you might say that Pam.

PA: I was getting to it!

NP: Well I had the impression that her roll in the hay which is a joyous thing to do, was having all this wonderful food, which I agree was a bit vomit making but...

DO: I think we should let her continue so we can hear describe 700 types of hay!

NP: I think Pam, once again I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you have 36 seconds still available, a roll in the hay starting now.

PA: I would fasten up my roll with a rubber band, lean back and relax in the hay with a glass of Macassin and a photograph of Brad Pitt! Other sandwiches or rolls that I would enjoy are tuna with mayonnaise, turkey and cranberry sauce, smoked salmon with a squeeze of lemon, or just...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Didn't we have smoked before?

NP: Yes, smoked ham you had before.

PA: Oh! No!

NP: Paul, 16 seconds are still available, a roll in the hay starting now.

PM: When I look out of the windows now and I think to myself, as soon as this recording is over, I'm going to go out there and have a good roll in some hay. It's fantastic hay rolling weather! Just look! It's fantastic... again...


PM: It's too fantastic!

NP: Dara you challenged first.

DO: Um fantastic, repetition of fantastic.

NP: Yes indeed. Four seconds for you, tell us, a roll in the hay starting now.

DO: Hay gets everywhere. I'm not recommending this as any...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: It doesn't get on the moon! It's not everywhere, is it.

NP: No but he was speaking metaphorically and I think we know what...

PM: Oh he was lying!

NP: He has...

PM: So you're saying there's hay on the moon? Is that what you're saying?

NP: No I'm not saying that at all. I'm sure there isn't... we know there isn't hay on the moon, because Aldrich has been up there and he came back and told us...

PM: The first thing he said was there's no hay! There's no hay up there! A waste of time going, there's no hay!

NP: One step for mankind, a great step for man but a great step for mankind, and there's no hay.

PM: They took a horse up there and everything! No hay!

NP: So the benefit of the doubt to you Dara and you have two seconds, a roll in the hay starting now.

DO: Some of my happiest memories are summery...


NP: And I'm sorry I misquoted this great man. What was it, he said? One small step for man, a huge leap for mankind.

DO: No!


DO: A giant leap for...

NP: Oh a giant leap. I'm glad you came! We're at a literary festival, and I knew you'd help me, thank you so much. And I give this situation now because we're moving into the final round. Paul Merton is still in the lead with 16 points, he is just four ahead of Dara O�Briain, and then Pam Ayres, you've got 13 points darling. You're one ahead of Dara...

PA: Oh?

NP: And you're four or five ahead of Maureen Lipman in that order. And Paul we're back with you to start and the subject is famous last words. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: There would be an awful lot of pressure on an individual who thought to themselves I would like to get into one of these encyclopaedias or dictionaries of famous last words. They're on their death bed, they're thinking to themselves I'm not feeling too good. Maybe now's the time to say this sentence that I've been saving up my entire life. You say it, everybody says it's a remarkable...


NP: Maureen challenged.

ML: Say say.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: A lot of says there yes. Maureen you have the subject and there are 43 seconds available, famous last words starting now.

ML: Well of course it was Dorothy Parker whose famous last words were, excuse my dust. And then there were the famous, then there were the ones from...


ML: Oh no!

NP: Then there was another yes.

ML: Famous? I can say famous twice.

DO: Yes you can.

NP: Yes but you said, well, let me hear what the challenge is first.

PM: Well it just sort of collapsed, didn't it.

ML: Only because I thought...

PM: It wasn't repetition no.

ML: I thought I'd said famous twice, but I hadn't because I can.

PM: No you can but you went duh-ruh-uh-uh. And that was the deviation.

ML: I was throwing in a little Swahili there.

PM: It was very good.

NP: Paul you have a correct challenge yes, 36 seconds starting now.

PM: (in slow posh voice) Oh what a wonderful world it has been, as I...


NP: Pam challenged. You're in hysterics aren't you.

PA: Extreme pretentiousness I would say!

PM: Famous last words!

PA: It was the gesticulation that I thought was extremely pretentious.

NP: I know, but we're on radio, it doesn't really matter how...

PA: All right then, all right then!

NP: ... you gesticulate.

PA: I was just being spiteful really!

NP: You were being keen which we love. Right there's 32 seconds Paul, still famous last words with you starting now.

PM: (bellowing like a Shakespearian actor) I have now been breathing all my life and find myself on my death bed now, after three score years and 10. Martha, is that you? I see you in the light. Alice, is Alice here? Who's looking after the shop? (normal voice) These are the sorts of things that you want to say to your loved ones when the time comes for the fading of the light. I'm sure I speak for everybody on the panel when I say to Nicholas, well, I don't know if you've got a return ticket or not, but I wish you the best of luck if you can get back to London in the current state you are. And what a great...


NP: Pam has challenged.

PA: I challenge for deviation actually.

NP: Why?

PA: Because he was going on about going back to London in the state you're in. And I didn't think it had anything to do with famous last words. Because he was talking about railways.

NP: All right.

PM: If I die, I win the point, right?

NP: Yes! Listen if those were famous last words, and you had all that strength to get those out...

PM: Yes!

NP: ... you're going to live for another 10 years! One second, famous last words starting now.

PA: I once invented a feeble joke...


NP: My favourite last words were those of Oscar Wilde, who said either that wallpaper goes, or I do.

PA: Would you like to hear my feeble joke?

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes.

PA: Okay, the feeble joke is famous last words of the fatted calf, I see the prodigal son's come home!

NP: Give her another bonus point for that!

PA: Oh!

NP: Right, let me give you the final score because Pam Ayres was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and another bonus point, finished up in a very strong second place. She's just ahead of Dara O'Briain and Maureen Lipman in that order. But just two points ahead of Pam was Paul Merton so we say this week Paul you are our winner! Thank you, thank you! It only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Maureen Lipman, Pam Ayres and Dara O'Briain. I thank Trudi Stevens, who has helped me with the score, she has blown her whistle with great elegance. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this lovely game. And we are also grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And we are grateful to this audience here at the Guardian Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye who have cheered us on our way in spite of the wet and the cold in this damp tent as it swayed to the sound of the breezes outside. From you, from me Nicholas Parsons, and everybody here, good-bye listeners, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!