starring PAUL MERTON, TONY HAWKS, GRAHAM NORTON and SUE PERKINS, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 11 February 2008)

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 not only in this country but throughout the world. But to welcome to the programme this week four distinguished, distinctive and diverse personalities who are going to play Just A Minute. And they are, seated on my right we have great pleasure in welcoming back that outstanding comedian and fine exponent of this game, Paul Merton. And seated beside him we have a representative of the distaff side, that lovely actress and comedy performer, Sue Perkins. And seated on my left, we have another almost irrepressible engaging comedian and presenter, that is Graham Norton. And beside him another fine comedy performer and a comedy writer, Tony Hawks. Would you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject that 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 have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Colston Hall, in that fine city of Bristol.


NP: (in Bristol accent) And as you can hear we have a fine Bristol audience in front of us here. Oh I know this town well, the city from my youth. And theyíre all just eager and ready for us to get started.

SUE PERKINS: Are they from Northumberland?

NP: So weíll start with Graham Norton, why not. Oh Graham we have got a subject here for you to start with, because last time you were in Just A Minute, you went off at some length about monkeys. So the producer has thought of this subject for you to start the show with, brass monkeys. Could you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

GRAHAM NORTON: Although brass monkeys are not as cute or entertaining as real monkeys when having a tea party, they are undoubtedly easier to clean. Take an old bit of curtain and a can of brass out to an actual chimp, they wonít thank you, no! In fact it will turn into an instant carnage. And they have teeth those chimps. But thatís not brass monkeys, no...


NP: Sue Perkins challenged.

SP: Was there repetition of chimps?

NP: Ah yes you did talk about the chimps before.

PAUL MERTON: He said chimp and chimps.

NP: You said chimp, chimpanzees before, didnít you?

TONY HAWKS: No, he said chimp and then chimps.

PM: Yes.

NP: Ah.

GN: Yeah, that!

NP: You get these sharp challenges from those who have played the game a lot. No, it was chimp and chimps, so itís a single and a plural, so he wasnít repeating anything. Graham it was an incorrect challenge, a point to you, you keep the subject and there are 39 seconds still available, brass monkeys starting now.

GN: On boats in the olden days, brass monkeys were what you put your cannonballs on. And when it was cold, something would happen, I donít really understand it, and those things you put in a cannon, which is different from the other thing I said, because thatís all one word, Iím pretty sure, theyíd fall off. Hence the expression...


NP: Tony Hawks has challenged.

TH: Sorry, actually I thought he was hesitating but I donít think he did in the end.

NP: No, I donít think he did.

GN: No I donít think so.

NP: Sue Perkins you wanted...

SP: Did he, did he put something in twice?

NP: Yes he did.

SP: Is that a fair cop Graham?

NP: But you know Grahamís nature...

GN: Everyone thinks Iím listening to myself! I donít know!

NP: Sue he did but your challenge came too late. Because Tonyís first was an incorrect one...

TH: Yeah.

GN: Yeah!

TH: Can I change mine to repetition of put?

NP: No no, itís too late now, sorry, so Graham another incorrect challenge, another point to you, you keep going on brass monkeys for 19 seconds if you can starting now.

GN: Brass monkeys, look at them shine as they fly through the trees. It is very rare to see them...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: How exactly does a brass monkey fly?

NP: Right, a brass monkey...

GN: If you throw it!

NP: Graham that is perfectly possible but I think logically Sueís challenge is correct. In other words she has the benefit of the doubt and...


NP: No!

SP: Donít turn on me now!

NP: In talking... listen audience, donít be too partisan! To justify my decision, he did not justify during the round that you throw it to fly through the trees. He didnít justify it, that was after she had challenged.

TH: Yeah, audience!

NP: So it was entirely fair that Sue Perkins has the thing. And if youíre going to start making those sort of noises, thereíll be, thereíll be problems! So Sue you have the subject of brass monkeys, 14 seconds starting now.

SP: Whilst walking through the jungle I was hit on the head by what appeared to be a flying monkey...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: This is nonsense!

NP: Graham it may seem nonsense but she did preface by saying what appeared to be a flying monkey.

GN: Oh yeah!

TH: See where you went wrong!

GN: Yes!

NP: Yes so...

GN: Iím a fool!

NP: We have to be fair to Sue again so a point for you for a correct challenge Sue, nine seconds on brass monkeys starting now.

SP: However ridiculous it was, at the end of this projectile of a chimpanzee nature, I noticed Graham Norton skulking in the bushes, firing with a catapult a selection of knickknacks...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Ah we didnít really establish that these were brass monkeys, did we? We just had monkey before, so itís not really brass monkeys, itís not on the subject, so itís deviation.

NP: Yes! Weíre on the subject of chimpanzees!


SP: Iíll tell you what, thatís turned them!

NP: Iíve got to speak to the audience here, if youíre going to boo every challenge...

GN: No, I thought that was an impressed ooh! Like they go oooh, quelle challenge!

PM: Weíre not doing this for your benefit, you know!

NP: I think as always...

GN: Weíll do it in the car outside!

PM: Yeah!

NP: No Paul, I think that was a justified challenge of deviation, so you take over the subject. There is half a second to go! And you have brass monkeys starting now.

PM: You shouldnít put bras on monkeys...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And it was Paul Merton so Paul Merton, Sue Perkins and Graham Norton are all equal with two points at the end of the first round. Isnít it exciting! And Sue Perkins, would you take the next round, the subject now is all the tea in China. Interesting expression, please talk about it if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

SP: Not for all the tea in China is my grandmotherís favourite expression, alongside whatís the point of you, and heís not your real father, you know. All delivered whilst sucking from a large vat of absinthe and sucking mincemeat through her teeth which is a speciality of the Perkins household. Itís a strange phrase this one, it implies an enormous quantity. All the tea in China, a vast expanse of growing material. However with climate change, one can only presume that this is reducing incredibly so one will have to look for more great sayings that imply an enormous amount of stuff...


NP: Graham youíve challenged.

GN: Repetition of saying.

NP: Yes! Oooh!

SP: Ooohh!

NP: Repetition of saying, yes.


SP: Ooooohh! Ssssss!

PM: That was an odd response, what did that mean?

NP: I think that was, I think that was an audience saying ooohh rather than a boo. And so they were suitably impressed Graham.

GN: Were they? Were they?

NP: With a correct challenge.

GN: I think actually they were thinking I wonder if he is right! Because thatís what I am wondering!

NP: So Graham you have all the tea in China...

GN: Have I? Oh how marvellous!

NP: Oh no you donít, you have the subject.

GN: Okay.

NP: All the tea in China and 26 seconds available starting now.

GN: I would need all the tea in China if I were going to have the chimpsí tea party of my dreams...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of chimps.

NP: No that was in the other round Sue.

SP: Well Iím carrying it on. Itís in my mind!

PM: We canít be challenged on every single word weíve ever said in Just A Minute!

SP: Yeah!

PM: Itís going to make it very difficult!

NP: If you challenged on a word heís said in another round, as you say, weíd never get going at all, would you.

SP: I was testing you, you silver fox!

NP: I have to listen to every word and so Clement, no, where are you?

PM: He listens to every word!

GN: Every word!

NP: I have to explain to our listeners immediately that Sue Perkins is sitting in the chair that...

SP: Iím not Sue Perkins, Iím Kenneth Williams!

NP: ... normally occupied by Clement Freud and so it was instinctive for me to say Clement then rather than Sue Perkins. So Sue Perkins in Clement Freudís chair...

PM: Sue youíve been mistaken for a man in his 80s!

SP: I tell you, it feels good! It really does!

NP: Sue, incorrect challenge...

SP: Just look at me very carefully through the enormous prisms that are your glasses!

NP: Sue I wasnít using my eyes, I was using my brain, it just came out of the top of my head!

SP: Some of us can use both at the same time!

NP: Thatís what I will try and do, itís quite a good trick, thank you very much indeed. So Graham Norton, an incorrect challenge and so you have the subject and you have all the tea in China and 19 seconds starting now.

GN: The trouble with all the tea in China is that it stains the apeís teeth quite badly. And they donít like the milk, they prefer lemon, Iíve noticed when organising these soirees with my hairy friends. All the tea in China, that must be quite a lot Iím imagining, because no tea...


NP: Now itís a very interesting thing, itís never happened before. Sue and Paulís lights in front of me, which indicates they pressed their buzzer first, have come on together!

TH: No, what happens is it then passes over to the other player of the game!

NP: Iíll tell you what...

TH: Particularly as he hasnít said anything so far!

NP: Well Tony Iíll tell you what I will do there, because they enjoyed your particular remark, I will give you a bonus point for that, right!

PM: I...

NP: As this has never happened before, what I thought we might do for a bit of fun, because it has never happened before, and thereís only two seconds to go...

PM: Okay.

NP: Sue and Paul both speak together for two seconds on all the tea in China starting now.

PM AND SP: All the tea in China...


NP: So Sue Perkins and Paul Merton were both speaking together as the whistle went and they both get bonus points for doing so. And at the end of that round, Graham Norton is in the lead just one ahead of Sue and Paul and then comes Tony. And Graham back with you to begin, the subject now is gorilla tactics.

GN: Iím delighted!

NP: Will you tell us something about gorilla tactics starting now.

GN: Gorillas are fascinating apes. Not as cute a s a chimp but still nice. Iím not quite sure what their tactics are for but they obviously include picking...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Was there a hesitation?

NP: Yeah there was a little hesitation there, I think, Tony.

TH: Thatís my first challenge! I apologise to Graham, I had to be completely mean there.

GN: Yes no, absolutely.

TH: Otherwise Iím in danger of...

NP: We give you the benefit of the doubt...

TH: I was in danger of getting the 20 grand fee and not saying much!

NP: It rarely happens when you appear on the show Tony, but you held yourself remarkably well up to this point, and you have 50 seconds now to tell us something about gorilla tactics starting now.

TH: I have two brass gorillas and I keep them up in the loft with the monkeys that are made of a similar material. And they like to play chess using very clever tactics. They take the pawn, move it forward two spaces. The other one sits there, appreciatively...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Now repetition of two. Iím pretty sure Iím right here.

NP: Yes you did, he did repeat two.

PM: Yeah.

TH: Did I?

GN: Yeah! There were two of the brass gorillas.

TH: And Iím not allowed to do that.

SP: Is it...

GN: Oh Sue, yes Sue?

SP: Is it just the opening move youíre allowed to move it forward two? I mean obviously your first gorilla would be able to do that. Your second gorilla wouldnít have that option.

PM: No.

GN: Yes the whole thing was a nonsense Tony!

PM: Nobody seems to be asking why, how these brass gorillas were playing chess, made of brass!

TH: When I get the subject back, Iíll tell you.

NP: It depends on the type of gorilla. I mean if youíve got a chimp, then he moves like a knight, you know, one to the side and two forward.

TH: Mmmmm!

NP: And if itís an ape, he moves like the rook, straight up or straight across. And the queen I know nothing about. So you had a correct challenge of repetition Graham and you have 36 seconds, gorilla tactics starting now.

GN: Gorilla tactics are presumably just to get more food. So they pick their nose, and pleasure themselves and retire in zoos. This is so people find them adorable when in fact theyíre just huge, they scream. Why, they only eat leaves, what are they trying to frighten apart from David Attenborough? I donít understand. They are vicious creatures and they have no...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we have creatures before?

GN: I donít think I said it.

NP: No, Tony talked about the creatures in his attic.

PM: Oh I probably heard it then.

NP: So incorrect challenge Paul, Graham has another point and gorilla tactics still with you Graham, 13 seconds starting now.

GN: Thirteen seconds?


GN: Thirteen seconds can seem like quite a long time!

NP: Paul you challenged first.

PM: I think I was doing it when Graham went ďohhĒ! Though I suppose we could, we could, it was hesitation.

NP: It was hesitation.

SP: I think it was resignation!

PM: Yes!

NP: It was, and all the buzzers went but yours came on first Paul, thank goodness! In the sense that it gives me an easier decision. Twelve seconds, gorilla tactics with you Paul starting now.

PM: Monkeys are obsessed with fresh breath. So what they do is they have small little peppermint sweets...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Now heís talking about monkeys.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yes which is...

PM: Oh no!

NP: Yes...

GN: Itís gorillas.

NP: So that is deviation.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So you got it back again Graham...

GN: Great!

PM: Iíve taken the curse off it for you!

NP: Youíve got another point and youíre moving forward, youíre catching Paul up and youíve got seven seconds to go on gorilla tactics starting now.

GN: Sometimes in the zoo you can see the gorillas gathering...


NP: Ah Paul challenged.

GN: Oh zoo!

PM: Repetition of zoo.

NP: You talked about the zoo before.

GN: Yes I did. But letís face it, itís quite limited. Itís zoo, jungle or Tonyís attic!

NP: Paul you got in first, five seconds to go on gorilla tactics starting now.

PM: To understand guerilla tactics in the modern age you must go to the Army. These people are specialist in...


NP: So Paul Merton once again was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and heís still in the lead ahead of Graham Norton in second place and then Sue Perkins and then Tony Hawks. And Sue weíd like you to begin the next round, and the subject is the orchestra pit. Thereís no orchestra pit here but you know it well, talk about it if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

SP: The orchestra pit was an ancient gladiatorial arena where the emperors of Rome watched as flautists versus bassoonists in the most disgusting vicious spectacle. The harpists would then turn up and they were the most evil of all. The great Lord ruler of ancient...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I think she said evil twice.

GN: Thatís interesting, isnít it, everyone.

PM: You seem to be the only one here out of one thousand seven hundred people.

TH: I have to say that the evidence isnít looking too good. The audience response, unless there was collective deafness...

NP: No I was doing a very quick recall through my mental capacities and I didnít hear the evil...

GN: Weíre safe as houses then!

NP: Sue incorrect challenge, 45 seconds on the orchestra pit starting now.

SP: The orchestra put is a large hole in front...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Sheís talking about the orchestra put!

NP: You did say put.

SP: Iíve got a sort of Croydonian burr! Itís quite hard for people to understand.

PM: Theyíre like poodles, arenít they!

NP: I actually think thatís deviation from English as we understand it so...

SP: Thatís my accent youíre talking about!

NP: No it was much closer to a Bristol accent actually. (in accent) Orchestra put. (normal voice) Right so...

SP: I say march on him!

NP: No, a benefit of the doubt, Iíve given it against you before, this is why I am always fair Graham. Iím giving you the benefit of the doubt on this occasion so you take over the orchestra pit, 43 seconds starting now.

GN: The orchestra pit seems like a particularly cruel thing. You study the violins for 15 years, finally youíre ready to perform in front of an audience. Where should it be? On a golden cushion in a lovely field? No, in that pit! Go on! Get in there! Your brother is a miner, youíre a violinist, you end up in a pit!


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of violinist.

NP: Yes thatís right.

GN: All right yes.

NP: So Tony you got in with 25 seconds on the orchestra pit starting now.

TH: The orchestra pit is empty tonight, they are all in St Paulís and Hawfield, two areas of Bristol I researched before the show and havenít used. However I have got myself a needless and unnecessary laugh from saying that. I have always wanted to play in an orchestra prit. The violin...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: If Iím to be disallowed my put, then a prit surely...

NP: Absolutely Sue, completely fair, hoisted on his own petard almost. But it does illustrate to our listeners the difficulty in keeping going under pressure in this game. So pit became prit and you got the benefit of the doubt...

PM: It could have been worse!

GN: Thereís always one in the orchestra!

NP: So Sue youíve got the orchestra prit, no you havenít, youíve got the orchestra pit, seven seconds starting now.

SP: I entirely agree with Graham. I believe that the young musician should be brought on to the stage and the actors and actresses should be passed into the dark bowels below...


NP: So Sue Perkins was speaking then as the whistle went, gained that extra point, sheís moved forward. Sheís still in third place but she has moved, but sheís only two behind Graham Norton and he is a couple behind Paul Merton and theyíre all three a few ahead of Tony Hawks. No, no disrespect Tony because youíve often triumphed in the past in this show. And Paul weíre back with you to begin, the subject is the gold rush. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: The Californian gold rush happened I believe around about the 1870s. And Charlie Chaplin made a film called The Gold Rush, it was released in 1925...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: No, I thought heíd repeated 19 but it was 1870s you said the first time.

PM: Yeah.

NP: It was 1870s yes.

TH: Yes.

NP: One of those things, if you play regularly, you think 19 is coming up twice.

TH: Yes I thought I was going to be clever.

NP: Yes.

TH: And I wasnít.

NP: So Paul, an incorrect challenge and you have 52 seconds to continue on the gold rush starting now.

PM: When he rereleased the movie in 1940... oh!


NP: Yeah! One of the pitfalls of Just A Minute, dates! Tony anticipated it but he got it right that time. Tony youíre in there with 49 seconds on the gold rush starting now.

TH: There is something of a gold rush going on in Britain at the moment with this government who are desperate to have gold medals in the Olympics when it comes here. They are cutting money from the arts and pumping it into useless events that nobody really does, just so that they can do well in the table that comes out, the thing, the list...


NP: Sue Perkins you challenged.

SP: Hesitation, running out of steam, and repetition of they about seven times.

NP: Which one do you want? You canít have two challenges.

SP: Canít I?

NP: No. Which one?

SP: Which one do you think?

TH: This sounds like some great show! Which one are you going to pick?

SP: I think, I think there was a slight hesitation.

NP: No there was no hesitation.

SP: No the theys! He said they a lot!

NP: No there was no hesitation so Tony you...


NP: You canít whip this audience up to be all on your side.

SP: Trust me! If I have to take them out one by one...

NP: You donít have to do that, theyíre with you anyway. But Tony, an incorrect challenge, 30 seconds on the gold rush starting now.

TH: When they first...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of they.

NP: You had they before, you shouldnít have started with it.

TH: I shouldnít have done.

NP: Oh gosh!

TH: Itís quite hard not to say they.

NP: I know, itís a tough tough game. And with tough players as well, itís even more nail-biting. Twenty-nine seconds Graham, the gold rush starting now.

GN: Itís hard to imagine what the gold rush was like, but presumably it was similar to the opening day of a new Ikea store. Thousands of people running aimlessly towards something, the Klondike I believe. What a lot of gold there must have been. I can say gold, canít I, yes I can, because that is part of the subject. The gold rush to give it itís full name, was what they did...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of name.

NP: You mentioned the name before.

GN: Ah!

NP: So Sue you listened well and you have the gold rush with six seconds starting now.

SP: Strangely they opted to pan for gold with a sieve which is the most unlikely implement, presumably all that they had to hand...


NP: Right so ah let me give you the score, because we are moving into the final round.


NP: That was a very strange noise.

GN: Theyíre going to use these audience noises forever now! I need a one thousand seven hundred people being slightly surprised! Ooohh!

NP: I donít know if it was an oooh or a boo or an orgasm, it really was a very...

SP: Have you been visiting those women again?

TH: You havenít heard very many obviously!

NP: Iíll give you the situation as we go into the final round, Tony Hawks who has done very well on many occasions in the past on this show, no no no...

TH: Iíve done very well on this occasion Nicholas!

NP: Youíve done magnificently, you have leapt forward, youíre still in fourth place but you have leapt. Youíre not many points behind Sue Perkins and she is only two behind Graham Norton and Paul Merton who are in, equal in the lead at this moment. As we begin the last round with Graham and the subject is the missing link. Tell us something about that subject in this game if you can starting now.

GN: Somewhere in the mists of time, Mister Ape stopped being that and turned into a human being. Who was the missing link? Thatís what I long to know, ladies and gentlemen. Often I canít sleep. I have to stay up and watch those terrible quizzes on ITV because it bothers me that we donít know the name of the missing link...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of know.

NP: You donít know, yes, thatís it, you donít know who the missing link was.

GN: I donít know, I donít know.

PM: I think it was Harold Peters.

GN: Was it?

PM: I think the missing link was Harold Peters.

GN: Really? I must, I must write this down.

PM: He went into the cave an ape and he came out an estate agent! Harold Peters, the missing link.

SP: Thatís a step backwards.

PM: It is a step backwards. Evolution gone mad.

NP: So Sue Perkins, a correct challenge, a point to you, the missing link and you have 38 seconds starting now.

SP: In the beginning was primordial soup which I believe was chicken and mushroom flavoured. Then some electricity went into it from a source who knows where, that came from another planet...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Oh we havenít got to the missing link yet.

SP: Itís coming.

PM: Yes. I donít mind waiting.

SP: Iíve got...

GN: Currently, currently it is missing!

NP: No no but she had gone for nearly 10 seconds without establishing...

PM: Yes.

NP: ... this missing link. So I think itís justified by saying, as I said before...

SP: I was taking you on a rich journey, Nicholas, about the beginnings of time. If you donít have the time to listen to it...

TH: Sue itís Just A Minute, you canít do the beginning of time.

NP: I think in Just A Minute...

PM: Letís play Just a Millennium!

NP: I think 10 seconds, anyway I think the trick of the show is to establish immediately the link before you start talking about it. Otherwise you are going to commit one of the crimes of Just A Minute. And in this case Paul got in first with 29 seconds to go, the missing link starting now.

PM: I have a beautiful necklace at home. But sadly I canít wear it because there is of course a missing link. When I tried to put it on the other day, I gazed in the mirror and I thought to myself I have never been lovelier. And then I realised as I reached for my jewellery box that I couldnít put it on because the missing link...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Was there a repetition of put it on.

NP: Yes you did put it on before, thatís right. Well listened Tony, well listened.

SP: It was a nice image though.

NP: Yes.

PM: I look very good in a necklace, donít I, Nicholas, donít I!

NP: You look lovely in it but I would have thought it was deviation from what we imagined...

PM: You gave it to me! Do you remember giving me that pearl necklace, Nicholas?

NP: I thought you would never tell them, Paul! I thought it was our little secret! Oh there we are!

SP: Oh now thatís a picture.

NP: So Tony you had the correct challenge, you have 10 seconds, the missing link starting now.

TH: I agree with the theory Paul Merton has on this subject, that the missing link is a man called Harold Peters who went into a cave as a primordial figure and returned shortly afterwards as a...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He has moved forward, I will give you the final situation, itís very fair, very even, only one point separates all four of them. So in ascending order it was Tony Hawks, then Sue Perkins, then Graham Norton and then one ahead Paul Merton. So we say Paul one ahead makes you are the winner this week. Congratulations! So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Sue Perkins, Graham Norton and Tony Hawks. I thank Trudi Stevens, who has helped me with the score, and blown her whistle so magnificently. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. We are grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And we are also very grateful to this amazing audience here in the Colston Hall in Bristol who have really expressed themselves with fervour and made it a memorable occasion. So from our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons and the team, good-bye, and tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yeah!