NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my great pleasure to welcome our many listeners not only in this country but around the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented and humorous personalities who have come together to play Just A Minute. And they are, seated on my right Dave Gorman and Clement Freud. And seated on my left, Gyles Brandreth and Marcus Brigstocke. And would you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a 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 keep the score, she will 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. And we are here in a huge marquee and we have a very excited literary Festival audience in front of us of all sizes and denominations, as we start the show with Marcus Brigstocke. Marcus, a lovely subject to begin with, hay fever. Will you tell us something, don't go like that, ohhhhh. We have a few puns occasionally. Hay fever Marcus, 60 seconds starting now.

MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE: What a very suitable topic hay fever is for this wonderful event held here at the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival. Hay fever really is what describes the frenzy of excitement that the good people of Hay get themselves into when they know that we're all going to arrive and invade their town and fill it with our thoughts and our ideas and our highfaluting commentary...


NP: Gyles has challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: Deviation, this is a distinguished literary festival. They actually come to hear Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Cherie Booth QC. We are a sort of puff pastry add-on at the end of the day. Since they've hired the tent and Nicholas was seem trolling the streets, bumping into Bill Oddie, thinking that he was, in fact it wasn't Bill Oddie, it was just somebody coming along, wandering towards the vestibule. The point is it was deviation.

NP: And the point is Gyles, I don't think it was deviation. If you feel you're a bit of puff pastry, I think you should stick to that thought yourself.

MB: If you do that again, I'll fill you with cream.

NP: It was a very nice plug, very nice plug for all the other people that are here at the literary festival. But we like to think that a lot of people have come here just to listen to Just A Minute. So I, so it wasn't deviation, so Marcus you have a point for an incorrect challenge and you keep the subject and there are 38 seconds available starting now.

MB: Of course hay fever also manifests itself when tiny amounts of pollen lodge themselves into your eyes and nasal cavities, making your face itch and turn red and pour with snot and other hideous things that dribble down your face as you...


NP: Gyles challenged again.

GB: Repetition of face.

NP: Yes you did repeat the word face.

MB: Oh yes I did.

NP: Oh yes.

MB: Oh do you see? See how they can turn!

NP: So Gyles you have a correct challenge this time, you get a point for a correct challenge, you take over the subject, there are 23 seconds still available... and that noise by the way was not someone greeting Gyles before he started, it was a huge gust of wind that came in through the side of the tent and almost lofted the roof off. Twenty-three seconds available Gyles, hay fever starting now.

GB: Hay fever is a phrase that describes the erotic charge that one receives when one arrives in Hay for this particular gala...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Repetition of one.

NP: Oh that was a bit of a sharp one yes.

GB: Oh! Oh!

NP: You did repeat one...

MB: Making a total of two in fact.

NP: Yes, so Marcus if that is the way you are going to play, carry on, 17 seconds, back with you Marcus, another point of course, hay fever starting now.

MB: The problem with getting the subject of hay fever back is that I've exhausted both of the routes that I...


NP: Dave challenged.

DAVE GORMAN: Oh it was a hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation Dave.

MB: It certainly was.

NP: So we're going to hear from you on the subject as well with 12 seconds available Dave Gorman, hay fever starting now.

DG: A limerick writer...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: That is a hesitation.

NP: No it wasn't.

DG: It wasn't.

NP: And Dave hasn't played as often. He was taking a breath and I think he was only halfway through the breath. So I give him the benefit of the doubt and say it was teetering on a hesitation but he didn't quite establish it. So Dave you have an incorrect challenge, you have a point for that, you take the subject still, 11 seconds, hay fever starting now.

DG: A limerick writer from Hay
Developed a fever one day
His temperature rose
Sweat dripped from his nose
And his ability to write verse was severely diminished to the point where he no longer used anything like the right number of syllables.


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And it was Dave Gorman and of course, oh Dave's got three points. You're in the lead Dave at the end of that round.

DG: Can I go now?

NP: No no, give us some more limericks later. And Dave we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is losing the plot. Will you tell us something about losing the plot in Just A Minute starting now.

DG: Losing the plot is a phrase one hears all too often these all days. Why, earlier before this recording I heard Marcus Brigstocke, Gyles Brandreth...


NP: Gyles you challenged.

GB: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

GB: Heard, but in a different tense.

DG: I said hears and heard.

GB: And that was the deviation.

NP: I think you're deviating from your challenge now so incorrect Gyles, I'm sorry...

GB: I'm just on the wrong sort of drugs, I do apologise. I'm so confused, they keep changing them.

NP: I know.

GB: Obviously I'm on Class A because I'm a snob.

NP: I know, 53 seconds, you have an incorrect challenge, you keep a point of course, losing the plot still with you, 53 starting now.

DG: And Clement Floyd, Freud, oh...


NP: Yes Clement what is the challenge?

CF: Deviation.

NP: Oh I suppose deviation from your name as it came out of his mouth.

CF: Twice.

NP: Exactly so we give you the benefit of the doubt and you've got 51 seconds Clement, losing the plot starting now.

CF: The Beckhams were staying at the Savoy Hotel and got a taxi to London Airport, and the driver said "did you find anywhere good to eat?" To which the great Manchester United and Real Madrid footballer said "we did actually, give me a name of a..."


NP: Dave you challenged. Do you want to finish the story first Clement or you're going to save it.

CF: I'm leaving!

NP: So Dave your challenge?

DG: I thought it was a very definite hesitation.

NP: It was a definite hesitation so you get a point...

CF: You need a definite hesitation, in a joke.

DG: I would very much like to hear the end of the joke.

NP: All right.

CF: And the driver said "where did you eat?" And David Beckham said "station". The taxi driver said "Waterloo?" He said no. "King's Cross?" He said no. "Paddington?" He said no. "Victoria?" He said "oh yes, Victoria, where did we have dinner?"

NP: Clement that was a wonderful story but hardly one to choose to tell in Just A Minute without all the hesitations. We admire you bravery. Dave you had a correct challenge of hesitation and you've got 35 seconds to take back the subject of losing the plot starting now.

DG: My colleagues all spoke to me before, saying "nat Nicholas Parsons, he's losing the plot..."


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Yes deviation from the word that which was pronounced nat instead.

NP: Oh come on Marcus...

MB: He said nat Nicholas Parsons.

NP: No, he did say nat but he...

GB: As in Nat King Cole, it was a reference.

DG: Yes I did, but it was in reported speech, I was referring to what you told me earlier. Now if you said to me earlier "nat Nicholas Parsons"...

NP: I know!

DG: .... I cannot be held responsible.

NP: I think a little bit of the hay fever you were talking about affected him there. The that became a nat. I think I'll give you the benefit of the doubt Dave, keep the subject, 30 seconds, losing the plot starting now.

DG: Of course our chairman is not losing the plot, because in order to lose the plot, one...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Deviation, he certainly is! I mean, no offence, and I'd love to win and all, but he is!

NP: Marcus I used to like you.

MB: Nicholas I still like you, why, because you lose the plot every time you host this wonderful game, and that's why it is so enjoyable to play.

DG: No no no no, in order to lose the plot, one has to possess it first!

NP: I think if I lost the plot, I couldn't, I couldn't, I couldn't host this show. So I'm sorry Marcus I disagree with you, and you have another point Dave and you have 27 seconds, losing the plot starting now.

DG: Down on my local allotment the competition of plots is very keen. A friend of mine, Albert Brian Carl Donald Eric Frank George Harrison was one of the gardeners who was very keen on securing a plot for himself, but lost the plot in an auction online on the Ebay...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of on.

NP: On.

CF: Disgraceful!

NP: It was on on on, on yes, online.

DG: I was going on and on. Online is one word though.

NP: No it's hyphenated. And ah... the elision may have gone now, you know, it might be all one word. You know things do change as, as grammar progresses and so forth... I don't know what I'm talking about! Clement...

MB: Can I have my point then for when I said you... no, all right!

NP: I'm not going to give you a point for insulting me.

MB: No no.

NP: Clement, seven seconds on losing the plot starting now.

CF: What is so very excellent is that if you have an allotment, the local authorities have been ordered not to take them away by...


NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now in second place behind Dave Gorman who is in the lead. And they're both ahead of Gyles Brandreth and Marcus Brigstocke in that order. And Clement would you begin the next round, it's a whale of a time, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: The Bible makes a number of references to whales. Like in the book of Genesis, whales were created by God, as if other things were not. And in Matthew, Jonah got ate by a whale. He made his home in an old whale's abdomen. It aint necessarily so, although the final phrase did not come from the good book but elsewhere. Ummmm...


NP: I must say you're the only person who's ever got a laugh on an errrrrm! Positive hesitation Gyles, I recognise it so I give it to you, you have a correct challenge, 33 seconds, a whale of a time starting now.

GB: You will recall that there is a Government Minister called Ed Balls, and I used to go out with his elder sister Ophelia, who did not live up to her name, but nonetheless we had a whale of a time together. Don't ask me why I was called Moby Dick but that was the nickname that she gave unto me. She was herself a bit like a whale, the spout was amazing. We would go out together in a rowing boat, I playing the role of Captain Ahab. she essaying to play the part of ah Starbucks...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Repetition of playing.

NP: Of playing yes. Playing the part.

GB: I thought I said essaying the role and playing the part. And you transliterated it into the same thing because you're banal!

NP: Oh I think...

MB: If I knew what transliterated meant, I'd probably be offended. Fortunately for both of us, I'm pretty thick!

GB: That's what you and Ophelia had in common, yah! But I like a big girl.

NP: The gloves are off, right. Marcus a correct challenge, you have the subject and you have only two seconds...

GB: Oh no!

NP: Yes, a whale of a time starting now.

MB: A whale of a time is a phrase that is often used when describing...


NP: So Marcus Brigstocke was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And he's moved forward and he's still in third place with Gyles, just behind Clement, and a few behind Dave Gorman, our leader. And Marcus back with you to begin, the subject is, the village idiot. I'm sure it doesn’t apply to you Marcus.

MB: No no.

NP: Absolutely not, but will you talk on the subject starting now.

MB: The position of village idiot is one that I have always wanted to fulfil myself. There is no limit to how far one can go if you become the village idiot. Take for example Boris Johnson who has recently been elected, accidentally I might...


NP: Gyles Brandreth challenged.

GB: The great city and town of London cannot be described as a village.

MB: Although interestingly, since Boris became Mayor, I think it's safer that it be described as a village.

NP: I think you weren't deviating within the rules of Just A Minute.

MB: Right yes.

NP: So you keep the subject, you get a point for that, and you have the village idiot and 45 seconds starting now.

MB: One of the reasons why one seldom sees a village idiot these days is because it is very difficult to get hold of a beige smock. They used to be available in a decent outfitter, but now it's incredibly hard to actually find one. However...


NP: Dave challenged.

DG: Repetition of hard. It was hard to find a beige smock.

NP: It was hard to find, it's terribly hard.

MB: I have absolutely no idea. If Dave thought so, I would think almost certainly he's, he's very good at spotting these things.

NP: That's right yes, that's the way we play the game.

MB: Oh good! This all should work nicely then!

NP: A point to you Dave and 32 seconds available, the village idiot starting now.

DG: I once stayed in the village Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Repetition of go.

NP: Yeah I knew that one coming up too Clement. What we do, as the name of that village is a continuous one single word, the go-go is part of that word, but what we do is to give you a bonus point because we all enjoyed your interruption. Twenty-six seconds are still available with you Dave, the village idiot starting now.

DG: Which leads me to question the wisdom that there is only ever one idiot per village. I...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I think it was hesitation.

DG: Yeah it was.

NP: Gyles...

DG: It was.

NP: So 20 seconds are still available for you, tell us something about the village idiot starting now.

GB: The Village Idiot is the name a of a pub in my local village. Politically incorrect is the name in my view, it was previously called the Village Woofter. And I'm not sure that the Village Idiot is necessarily an improvement. But the Mexican boy who runs it stands behind the bar wearing the smock that has been described so charmingly by Marcus with some lovely tatting at the side...


NP: So Gyles was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's now moved into third place just behind Marcus, just ahead of Clement, and a few behind Dave Gorman. And Gyles we're back with you to begin and the subject now is a hornet's nest, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

GB: I'll tell you where is a hornet's nest, and that is the Member's Dining Room at the House of Commons. The Conservative MPs sit at one end of the room, the Labour folk at the other end of the room, ahhh!


GB: Oh it's such a shame, because I wanted to tell you about the Liberal Democrats who wait at table!

NP: Yeah it's lovely to tell jokes in this show, but it's a temptation you have to resist because, we give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the joke, right. But Marcus you have a correct challenge and you have a hornet's nest, you have 49 seconds starting now.

MB: A hornet's nest can be an incredibly dangerous thing particularly if you poke it with a stick. Which is why George W Bush's foreign policy has always baffled me since he seems absolutely determined to whack the nest as hard as he possibly can with as many implements as he can lay his grubby little hands on. However ah he is...


NP: Yes the audience spotted it first, but Gyles you challenged first.

GB: Ah yes indeed hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, we heard the er, 29 seconds back with you Gyles, a hornet's nest starting now.

GB: As a child I had a nest of hornets. It was the name of a wonderful comic that as a little boy I used to enjoy every Thursday afternoon. In my childhood which was not a misery one, oh no, not for me, the tales of...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: My childhood was not a misery one. I think is a deviation from English.

GB: Oh no, I could talk about the hornet's nest and not having a misery memoir and my childhood being a happy experience. And I got this comic on a Thursday afternoon, it was tuppence and it went up to threepence in 1959.

NP: Gyles that was lovely stuff but I think it was, the way we are using language now, that was deviation from English as we understand it. So I give the benefit...

GB: It was current usage in your day.

NP: And while I was that age, it was current usage, but we're not, we're in the adult period of your lives and that's where we're going to use language. So Marcus, benefit of the doubt, you have the subject, you have 18 seconds, a hornet's nest starting now.

MB: I was once painting the roof of a cottage in Canada on a small island in one of the lakes there. And I stepped back to admire my work and placed the heel of my bare foot directly into...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Three mys.

NP: Mys.

MB: My my my! Funny how you get caught out.

NP: Yes and so Clement you come in with eight seconds to go on this subject of a hornet's nest starting now.

CF: I understand that it Market Harborough there is only one hornet. Therefore there is absolutely no need to have a nest because he sleeps in the Travelodge.


NP: Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went gained another point and he's moved forward, he's only two behind our leader Dave Gorman and Dave is three ahead of Gyles Brandreth and Marcus Brigstocke. And Dave it's back with you to begin and the subject now is the far side of the Moon. We've had some great literary expressions in this show, but let's talk on that one starting now.

DG: The far side of the Moon is the name of a career defining long playing record by the prog rock band Pink Floyd.


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Deviation.

NP: Why?

MB: The Dark Side Of The Moon is the title of that great brilliant 1973 classic Floyd album. Best album ever recorded.

NP: All right, you needn't emphasise it, we know you're right.

MB: Yeah.

NP: It's The Dark Side Of The Moon.

DG: I thought that was the subject.

NP: No it isn't, it's the far side of the Moon.

DG: In which case I simply misheard the subject.

CF: Nicholas deviated!

NP: I think my diction's sufficiently good to carry it over there and you haven't misheard anything yet. So I'm going to decide that you did hear it but you misinterpreted it and Marcus has a...

DG: Did someone speak?

NP: So Marcus you have a correct challenge. I'll give the benefit of the doubt back to you if I get the opportunity Dave, 52 seconds, the far side of the Moon, Marcus starting now.

MB: The Moon has a magnetic pull, much smaller than that of the earth. However it is enough to slingshot a spaceship round the far side of the Moon. And I believe this is the technique that was used by the Apollo 13 which was so badly stricken and ran out of important things that they needed to get them safely back down here on to our planet where of course we all live so very happily and safely. Having travelled round the far side of the Moon, the astronauts made contact with Houston and said "here we are, we've made it round the far side..."


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: It wasn't Euston.

MB: No, Houston, not Euston.

CF: Ah!

MB: Euston's a very good station but they're not, they're not equipped to deal with international space travel. I only say that because I've taken the train from there once.

NP: He definitely said Houston. So I'm afraid it was an incorrect challenge and you have another point Marcus and you have 19 seconds, the far side of the Moon starting now.

MB: If I didn't live in the sunny leafy suburb of...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Live, repetition of live, earlier on he came back to live in this country where we all live so happily.

NP: Quite right, he did say that, we all live happily.

MB: Repetition from a separate section.

NP: Yes.

MB: You're playing this on a whole other level, Brandreth!

NP: That is the premise of the game and if you can be clever enough to remember back, you can get those challenges in. Gyles you have a correct challenge, you have 17 seconds, the far side of the Moon starting now.

GB: As I recall the far side of the Moon is a rather amusing gay bar in Allacanti. I went there some years ago when I was on holiday with Nicholas Parsons and we were trying to get in touch with ourselves. The mid-life crisis is a difficult thing for a man of riper years and Nicko sent...


NP: Listeners, all the audience are looking at me and ah, I wasn't saved by the whistle, I mean Gyles was. Really that's disgraceful!

GB: Well it was deviation of a kind, wasn't it.

NP: It was yes.

GB: And as I recall not much hesitation. All you kept saying was "repetition, repetition!"

DG: And it only lasted Just A Minute!

NP: Oh dear! I suppose I could be proud of the repetition, in that particular situation. But anyway let's move on because... Gyles, I'll tell you what I will do there, we'll give you a bonus point because the audience really did enjoy what you said and we carry on to the next round, which is actually the last round.


NP: I know, isn't it sad! Oh and Gyles with that extra point and one for speaking when the whistle went, you are now equal in the lead with Dave Gorman. But you are both only two points ahead of Marcus Brigstocke and Clement Freud, equal in second place. Isn't it exciting! I'm glad you're so interested in the points. Clement it's your turn to begin actually so will you begin and talk about Sherlock Holmes, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: Sherlock Holmes is the name of a fictitious detective written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who died in 1930. Sherlock Holmes can't be pronounced by French people, who therefore call him omlock chaise which is not very interesting but is actually true. Grahn Grom is Graham Greene but ... people from France...


NP: Marcus you challenged.

MB: Yes a bit of a hesitation...

NP: There was a bit of hesitation so Marcus you now have Sherlock Holmes and you have 37 seconds and you start now.

MB: I've always fancied playing the role of Sherlock Holmes and the main reason for this is that I have a lifelong addiction to lordanum and cocaine. And I know that this would qualify me uniquely...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Self-confessed deviation!

NP: Yes, that is, yes, I imagine, knowing Marcus quite well that he, he hasn't got that addiction.

GB: It's deviant behaviour, the point is and the BBC must acknowledge this, in order to deal with his devious behaviour...

NP: In Just A Minute you can say whatever you like and you can deviate in thought, but you must not deviate in words. That is the premise of the show Gyles. I know you've played it many times but if you're not aware yet, I'm sorry. I will give the benefit of the doubt to Marcus and have 27 seconds, Sherlock Holmes, Marcus starting now.

MB: One of the things that Sherlock Holmes is famous for is wearing a deerstalker hat. Another are his infamous battles with Moriarty, the criminal mastermind who so often came close to outflanking and outsmarting Sherlock Holmes...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Sorry.

NP: Oh you didn't? You...

CF: Mistake.

NP: You don't want...

CF: Big mistake!

NP: You pressed your buzzer.

CF: Yeah. That was the mistake.

NP: I thought you were going to challenge him for out.

GB: Yes.

CF: Yeah.

NP: Repetition.

CF: I don't think...

GB: They are two complete words, you see.

NP: They are.

GB: Outsmart and...

CF: Outsmarting...

NP: Outsmart, I know they are, I know they are, but I wondered if that was going to be his challenge. It wasn't his challenge, right, fine, so it was an incorrect challenge...

CF: You are accusing me of doing something you thought I said which I hadn't...

NP: No actually Clement, Clement as an old friend...

CF: You are dragging it on a bit!

NP: As an old friend, and it's a very close contest, I was actually, you know, trying to give you the benefit of the doubt and bring you in at the end.

CF: Yah I would like to be brought in at the end.

NP: But now you've actually refused that opportunity, Marcus has an incorrect challenge, he keeps the subject, 14 seconds, Sherlock Holmes Marcus starting now.

MB: Over and above his use of Class A drugs, Sherlock Holmes played a violin in order to...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Not Class A drugs in 1888 when he was...

NP: No they were not, that's a well challenged...

CF: And not lordanum, it would have been Class B.

NP: I gave the benefit of the doubt to Marcus last time when you challenged on drugs, you have it this time Gyles, so you have nine seconds, Sherlock Holmes starting now.

GB: Gippy tummy, elementary my dear Watson. He was so shrewd, Sherlock Holmes, and he inhabited a pub off Northumberland Avenue which now bears his name...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And now I have to give you the final score. I would like to say that they were all equal because they all gave such wonderful value. But actually only one point separated all four of them. In ascending order it was Clement Freud, one point ahead Dave Gorman, one point ahead Marcus Brigstocke, and only one points ahead Gyles Brandreth, so we say, going by the rules, Gyles, this week you are the winner. Thank you, thank you! It only remains for me to say thank you to these four intrepid players of the game, Dave Gorman, Clement Freud, Marcus Brigstocke and Gyles Brandreth. I thank Trudi Stevens, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle very sweetly and delicately. We thank, oh she did blow it delicately! And we thank this lovely audience here at the Garden Literary Festival at Hay-on-Wye for cheering us on our way. We also thank our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And we are indebted to the creator of this game Ian Messiter. Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Good-bye!