starring PAUL MERTON, TONY HAWKS, SHAPPI KHORSANDI and IAN McMILLAN, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 22 September 2008)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners in this country and around the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented people who are going to display their knowledge of language and use of words as they try and speak on a subject that I give them and they do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four are, seated on my right, Paul Merton. And with him someone who has only played the game once before, that is Ian McMillan. And seated on my left, Tony Hawks. And with him, someone who has also only played the game once before, that is Shappi Khorsandi. Would you please welcome all four of them! Thank you! Beside me sits Trudi Stevens, who is going to help me with the score, and also blow the whistle when the 60 seconds have arrived. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the beautiful Opera House in the centre of that fine city of Manchester. And as you can hear we have a vociferous, keen and animated Mancunian audience ready to enjoy themselves and cheer us on our way. As we begin the show with Tony Hawks. Tony, a topical subject to start with, the War of the Roses. They're having to think about that for a moment. But will you talk on the subject Tony, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

TONY HAWKS: I'm not sure how topical the 15th century is. However I will...


NP: Paul challenged.

PAUL MERTON: It was very topical in the 15th century, extremely topical.

NP: Yes, But I think by topical he means today, doesn't he.

PM: Yes he does.

NP: He does. I don't think I can even give you the benefit of the doubt on that one, no. It's a nice challenge, if it had got a bigger laugh I might have given you a point.

PM: Won't make Pick Of The Week though.

NP: Tony an incorrect challenge and there are 55 seconds still available, the War of the Roses starting now.

TH: Many hundreds of years ago it wasn't like it is now. The people of Manchester and Leeds didn't all get together and love each other as they do today. Liverpudlians didn’t pull on England shirts with the good burghers of Hull and cheer their team to an unsuccessful competition attempt to get into the finals as they did recently...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well it was a mercy killing really. Just rambling, rambling the words.

NP: I know, deviation...

PM: Deviation of course it was.

NP: .. from English as we understand it.

PM: Deviation all over the place.

NP: So you have the benefit of the doubt on this occasion Paul.

PM: Outrageous.

NP: And you have 33 seconds, tell us something about the War of the Roses starting now.

PM: I never did this at school.


NP: Paul gets a bonus point because they enjoyed what he said and there are 31 seconds available still, the War of the Roses, Tony starting now.

TH: Danny De Vito directed and starred in this film from the 80s I believe, not certain on that but someone will probably pick me up on that if I'm wrong. Kathleen Turner...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of that.

NP: That, well listened Paul, the War of the Roses is back with you with... does it help you if I was to say last time I was sitting at Old Trafford watching Lancashire play Yorkshire at cricket...

PM: Yes?

NP: And I applauded Hutton because he made a very nice thing, and they said "do you come from Yorkshire?" And I said "no". He said "do you come from Lancashire?" And I said "no". He said "what the bloody hell has it got to do with you anyway?" That is the modern War of the Roses, does it help you, 21 seconds starting now.

PM: Danny De Vito directed a film in the 1980s called The War Of The Roses. And it was a magnificent movie. He was at his best as a diminutive directorial force in the motion picture industry. If we look at his career which culminated in that magnificent...


NP: Shappi you challenged.

SHAPPI KHORSANDI: Yes he deviated.

NP: He deviated yes because it's the War of the Roses and we don't want to hear about Danny De Vito any more.

SK: No.

NP: So you have a correct challenge and you have six seconds on War of the Roses starting now.

SK: The War of the Roses started when my neighbour's roses climbed into my garden and I looked and I thought...


NP: Ian challenged.

IAN McMILLAN: Repetition of my.

NP: My yes.

IM: My neighbour and my garden.

NP: Two mys yes.

SK: Yeah it's all my my I I.

NP: It's very different when you haven't played the game very often. Right Ian, there's only one second left, which is maybe an advantage, War of the Roses starting now.

IM: Submarines weren't used in the War of the Roses...


NP: So Ian McMillan was speaking as the whistle went and whoever does that in this show gains an extra point. And he's now in second place alongside Tony Hawks, one ahead of Shappi, and Paul's one ahead in the lead. Paul your turn to start and the subject, a nice one, pantomime dames. Will you talk on that subject starting now.

PM: There's quite a few famous pantomime dames came from this area. Les Dawson, Roy Barraclough and people who might remember Norman Evans from the 40s and 50s, were all fine exponents of this craft. I once had the great pleasure of appearing as an Ugly Sister with Ronnie Corbett in a pantomime on a rival network to the Beeb one we are on now. I realised that working with the diminutive Ron was a great treat for me. He was fantastic and showed me how you made the slop which was the bucket of whitewash you throw over each other in the wallpaper scene...


NP: Shappi's challenged.

SK: You, I think you're deviating.

NP: Yes he was talking about him and Ronnie Corbett.

PM: We were dressed as pantomime dames, we were ugly sisters.

NP: That's not a, that's not a dame. They're ugly sisters, the dame is the woman.

PM: Oh yes!

NP: It's a woman. Dame chopped, they had the ugly sisters but they don't have a dame, the dame is all the ones that Les Dawson played.

IM: They're not realistic sisters if he's Ronnie Corbett's sister.

PM: Yeah I think that might be the joke, Ian.

IM: Was it a joke? I see, that's what they call music hall.

PM: That's why it died out! Nobody ever got it.

IM: No I didn't get it.

PM: He didn't get it.

NP: So Shappi a correct challenge, he was deviating from pantomime dames. Will you tell us something about that subject, 29 seconds starting now.

SK: Sadly the pantomime is a cultural phenomenon that I've missed out on. My parents never took me to see a pantomime. Therefore I'm not entirely sure what pan...


NP: Ian challenged.

IM: So it must be deviation if you don't know what it is. You can't talk about something if you don't know what it is.

NP: In Just A Minute you might get a subject thrown at you, even if you don't know much about it, you have to improvise. This is what the show's about actually Ian.

IM: Is it? Oh.

SK: But I quite enjoyed the interruption because I really don't know what to say about pantomime dames.

NP: Well just ad lib some rubbish, darling.

SK: Oh! Okay.

PM: Ad lib some rubbish?

NP: Well I've heard it spoken by any number of panellists on occasions.

SK: I've lots to say about pantomime horses.

NP: Darling, just try and connect it to a dame.

PM: Just say what you were going to say about horses but swap it round.

NP: Right, 21 seconds, pantomime dames starting now.

SK: Pantomime dame is something I've never been asked to perform and if I did I'd definitely want to play the back end. I'm thinking that in my time I won't be asked to be a pantomime dame because my head isn't quite... hello, hello...


NP: So what is your buzz within the rules of Just A Minute, Ian McMillan?

IM: It was, there was hesitation and also it was deviation because she was talking about pantomime horses, not pantomime dames because they're different things. Because a horse is made out of two people and a dame is made out of one person, who's actually a man dressed up.

NP: But she doesn't know anything about it, she said so, maybe in her fantasy world, maybe the pantomime dame does have someone up their backside...

SK: I was...

TH: You could play the back end of a pantomime dame.

SK: Yes.

TH: You'd need to have words with your agent.

NP: I think we have to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she can continue with her surreal Iranian image of pantomime dames and there are seven seconds starting now.

SK: I'm going to direct my own pantomime where the dame comes riding in on a pantomime horse across the stage for all to see. She will be naked...


NP: So Shappi Khorsandi was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And she was saved by the whistle actually, I think, because introducing nakedness at this time of the evening. And also midday on Sundays. Mind you some late risers might still have not got their clothes on. You're now in the lead again my darling...

SK: Yay.

NP: And you're two ahead of Paul Merton and you're quite a few ahead of Ian McMillan and Tony Hawks. And Tony it is your turn to begin, charm offensive, what a good subject, 60 seconds starting now.

TH: A charm offensive doesn't always work especially if you are advancing on someone like say Genghis Khan. This would have little effect. What a charming spear you have. That wouldn't do much for you, you're chopping me up with great aplomb. He's still going to go ahead with the procedure and you will probably pass away as a result. I wouldn't recommend it. However creeping...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Slight hesitation there.

NP: No no no no no no definitely.

PM: I must have nodded off then! Did I nod off?

NP: No he didn't, he just said it with far more emphasis into however than any other word he’d spoken up till then.

PM: That's why, what I thought in my brain.

NP: That's what blew your brain yes and you have 35 seconds starting now.

TH: Many people decide to make something of a charm offensive on our esteemed chairman Nicholas Parsons in order to win this game, by complimenting him on say his tie or jacket or general...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: A couple of ors.

NP: Yes ors, ors there.

TH: Yes I was sticking my oar in.

NP: I know, 22 seconds Paul, a correct challenge, charm offensive is with you starting now.

PM: When I look over at Mr Nicholas Parsons, I can't help but feel wyself, what a wonder that I work with this man...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Did he say feel, feel wyself?

PM: No I was paying tribute to our wonderful chairman and his wonderful judgements.

NP: I would...

PM: Excellent.

TH: Let's see if it works.

NP: I would love you to continue actually because I was enjoying it.

PM: Yeah so was I.

NP: But unfortunately I think Tony had a correct challenge, you were...

PM: It doesn't work!

NP: ... tripping up over your words a bit. And so I think we do interpret that as hesitation Tony and so you take the subject back, 17 seconds, charm offensive starting now.

TH: The Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War was totally without charm. I think most of us would agree on that. Whether I could...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Deviation, he's not talking about charm offensive, in fact he's talking about the exact opposite. The exact opposite of charm offensive.

NP: Yes.

PM: Deviation.

NP: Right yes. You don't need to get so animated to convince me.

PM: Really?

NP: Yes, absolutely right and benefit of the doubt if not and there are eight seconds for you on charm offensive Paul starting now.

PM: He controls this programme like a jaguar controls the movements of a rabbit...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Two controls.

PM: Oh yeah.

NP: And it was...

PM: Did you like that as chairman?

NP: Oh it was so good. It was lovely.

TH: But a jaguar eats a rabbit, doesn't he, if he catches it?

PM: Yeah.

TH: So you're saying he eats this programme?

PM: Yeah, after he's got it transfixed with his eyes.

NP: I've never been compared to a jaguar before. I might drive one but I don't um... oh you can often see me in my jag you know, sailing along. Oh there's Nicholas out in his jag! Oh!

PM: He's the chauffeur for Eamonn Holmes!

NP: Paul I'll show you how generous I am even when you make a joke at my expense. That is such a good laugh, a bonus point to Paul Merton for that. Tony you had a correct challenge, you've got charm offensive still, four seconds starting now.

TH: I shall make a charm offensive on this audience who are quite magnificent in every way. Not once have...



NP: Actually Shappi challenged a second, half a second before the whistle went.

TH: How dare she?

NP: What was it Shappi?

SK: I've kind of lost confidence now but I felt like he was speaking in an accent that wasn't really his own. (in high pitched voice) He kind of went a bit like this.

TH: That's what you do if you are doing a charm offensive.

NP: I think Shappi, within the rules of Just A Minute he was keeping going under pressure.

SK: That's what I thought, I was just seeing if you were on the ball.

NP: Wherever you're concerned, I'm always on the ball, darling. Oh dear! We've now introduced...

PM: Should the rest of us leave?

NP: There's no reason why you shouldn't have a little sex in Just A Minute. Um...

PM: Well foreplay's out of the question then. No foreplay?

SK: I can't speak!

PM: Just up against the washing machine and that's it!

TH: Are we allowed to...

NP: Oh dear Tony, Tony, all right, go on. They've set me off but let's give Paul a bonus point for what he said because that's what corpsed me and I think he deserves it. Tony you were speaking as the whistle went...

TH: Yes.

NP: ... and so you get a point for that. Have you given it to him Trudi? I've set the audience off and now they're interpreting things in all sorts of wrong ways. Shappi it's your turn to begin and the subject is my birthday party. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

SK: I had a birthday party recently, it was my 30th, I only ever celebrate my audition age. I never have a party for my real age, because that's not...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of age.

NP: Yes there was too much age, darling.

SK: Yes that's what my point was. I'm too old.

NP: So Tony a correct challenge and you have my birthday party, 52 seconds starting now.

TH: For my birthday party this year, I've hired the Manchester Opera House and I shall fill it full with this audience who are quite magnificent in every way. There are some people missing at the moment because we're not full right at the top of this terrific auditorium...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was that te-riffic? Deviation from how terrific is normally pronounced.

NP: No he was dragging it out a little but not enough to be hesitation or deviation from English as we understand it. I have to interpret it some way. If we get, when they try to keep going like that and I jump on things like that and give it against them, I would be completely unfair. So Tony a correct challenge, 34 seconds, you still have my birthday party starting now.

TH: I shall have individual cakes for every single person, hang the cost! Little candles placed in the beautiful pastry...


NP: Shappi.

SK: Bee-ooootiful pastry!

TH: You're just jealous because you're not invited!

NP: No I think Tony you did drag that one out far too long. So Shappi a correct challenge to you, and 24 seconds on my birthday party starting now.

SK: It's difficult to have birthday parties when you are much older because all your friends have children and it's rude to tell them not to bring them with them and then they all come...


NP: Ian you challenged.

IM: Two thems.

NP: Two thems, well listened Ian...

IM: And also if all the friends got children, she's got children too.

SK: Yes but mine's a baby, it doesn't make too much noise.

IM: Are babies not children these days?

SK: Yes but he doesn't break things yet.

NP: He's still a child, darling.

IM: Yeah.

NP: Right Ian, correct challenge, 16 seconds, my birthday party starting now.

IM: My last birthday...


PM: Hesitation.

NP: That was a hesitation.

PM: You noticed that, didn't you.

NP: Yeah.

PM: You didn't notice it?

IM: No, what happened then?

PM: You must have fallen asleep.

IM: I was asleep, I don't know what happened. I'm 52!

PM: He's 52, he shouldn't be falling asleep like that.

NP: Well it's very hot here in the Opera House here isn't it right. Um 15 seconds Paul a correct challenge, my birthday party starting now.

PM: I remember my...


IM: Hesitation. You went like (gasps breath), you went like you had asthma.

PM: Even more so, you shouldn't pick on my disability.

NP: No Ian that was an incorrect challenge, Paul...

IM: That was as long as my hesitation.

NP: No yours was a definite hesitation.

IM: No, mine was definitely asthma!

PM: You could have made a ham sandwich in your hesitation. You could have made a ham sandwich, you could have bought the bread, go down the shops, put the butter in and the ham and a made a ham sandwich.

IM: Yeah you could have raised the pig and then killed it!

NP: Yeah have you two finished your little conversation. They are sitting together sparking each other off. Um 14 seconds... and I've forgotten now who challenged. It was, oh I remember you were very sharp, I remember, on Paul, it was an incorrect challenge, Paul still has the subject, my birthday party, 14 seconds starting now.

PM: All the local children were invited and some of them came. And they brought presents with them and they were fantastic gifts. I remember sitting there in our living room opening up these packages covered in the most gaily covered paper...


NP: Ian challenged.

IM: Covered and covered, they were covered.

NP: There was two covereds.

IM: They were covered in paper.

PM: Yes yes.

NP: Covered again.

IM: Was it the sparks that put you off? I couldn't see for the smoke!

PM: I couldn't see for the smog.

IM: No.

NP: Yes.

TH: I have a follow-up question. All the children were invited and only some of them came? Was this a huge disappointment to you?

PM: It was, a big disappointment, though I managed to turn it into a subject of comedy.

NP: Back to Just A Minute, my birthday party Ian, ohhhhh and you've got in...

IM: Ohhhhh that's my stage name. My stage name is Ian ohhhh!

NP: I was getting exclamation there, I twisted...

PM: Is it a full moon?

NP: Let me get it out!

IM: You'll get it out sooner or later.

NP: Listen there's only half a second to go.

IM: Oh.

NP: So you've got in very cleverly with half a second on my birthday party starting now.

IM: Madagascar is a great place...


NP: Right! So Ian McMillan was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's moving forward, he's still in fourth place just behind Tony Hawks who is a few behind Shappi Khorsandi and Shappi is only two behind our present leader Paul Merton. Still a very interesting competition if you're interested in that. I agree, we're more interested in the fun. Ian it's your turn to begin, will you take this subject now, packing for the holidays, 60 seconds starting now.

IM: When we were little, packing for the holidays was a great traumatic thing because of my dad's trilby. My mother would insist on putting my dad's titfer in the case...


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: My dads.

NP: Three mys yes.

SK: Yeah. Three mys and several dads.

IM: I had three dads, they used to come in... on Monday night I had a Monday night dad, Tuesday night I had a Tuesday night dad, Wednesday night, Uncle Frank.

NP: We might let a couple of mys go. But three, no. Shappi well listened, 53 seconds available, packing for the holidays starting now.

SK: I'm rubbish at packing for my holidays especially since I've had a baby. I end up packing loads of stuff for the... child...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: No it was a slight hesitation.

NP: There was a slurring of speech which I didn't understand.

TH: Well I put it you that that's a hesitation.

NP: All right, we interpret that as hesitation, benefit of the doubt Tony and 40 seconds on packing for the holidays starting now.

TH: Holidays are very difficult to pack and yet they still have package holidays. What a mystery that is...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: What's he talking about?

NP: I...

PM: Deviation from common sense. What's he talking about?

NP: Yes.

PM: You can't package holidays.

NP: You're interpreting the word as package in a different way from packing. This is packing your possessions, your clothes, for a holiday. Not a package holiday.

TH: I don't care. I don't care any more. I've lost interest.

NP: I have to explain the reasons for my decisions otherwise I do get letters.

PM: I write those letters.

NP: I know! I recognise the writing.

PM: That's mine, yeah.

NP: Forty seconds Paul, a correct challenge, packing for the holidays starting now.

PM: Well what you do is you simply look through your underwear and you think how long I am going away for. Five days and I shall get the appropriate number of underpants which I believe is somewhere between four and six. Put them into the suitcase with socks, trousers, shirts, that's all you need to do. Bit of shaving equipment, perhaps some foam, a razor...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I was going to say not if you're a woman. But then you might do actually, they might need shaving...

PM: I'm not talking as a woman, I'm talking as a mongoose in seventh century Romania!

TH: Well you were...

NP: Paul you had an incorrect challenge, 24 seconds, packing for the holidays starting now.

PM: Going to Butlin's Holiday Camp when I was about eight years old was tremendously exciting because you had to bring with you some football shorts and a pair of appropriate boots in order to run around on the field playing soccer with other children of the same age as you. It was a fantastic experience, I remember opening...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I think he deviated there because I thought...

NP: Why?

TH: Well he wasn't really talking about packing for the holiday.

PM: Packing football boots.

TH: No but he'd finished that, then he talked...

PM: I said I remember opening the suitcase, then you buzzed on opening.

TH: Well let's see what Nicholas thinks.

PM: If you want to see what Nicholas thinks, press the red button!

NP: Tony I try to be fair always and give the correct decisions but I had the impression that he was, he packed all those things and he got them all out at Butlin's and was running around.

TH: Okay, I like the way you say I always try to make correct decisions... but!

NP: But not everybody will agree.

TH: Ah okay fine.

NP: Because you all have your own interpretation and packing for the holidays, still with you Paul, six seconds to go starting now.

PM: Billie Holiday and her brother August Bank are terrible packers. So what I did is I go around and I do it all for them...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking again as the whistle went, has increased his lead at the end of that round. Let me give you the situation as we go into the final round. Ian McMillan who has only played the game once before is in a very strong fourth place. He's trailing Tony Hawks a little who has played it a bit. And Shappi who has only played it once before, Shappi's in a powerful second position behind our leader Paul Merton. And Paul it's your turn actually to begin, here's a weird subject, do what you can with it, who knows where this may lead. Very poetic in a way but will you talk on the subject if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Who knows where this may lead, those were the last words I uttered and now is the rest of my life. What will happen when I leave this venue? I will go to the hotel. Myself and Nicholas will find a discreet corner and in Just A Minute we'll come out of that particular recess and join the rest of the party back at the hotel...


NP: Ian challenged.

IM: Two hotels.

PM: Yes.

NP: Two hotels.

PM: We're at separate hotels.

NP: Yes Ian, well listened, who knows where this may lead, you have 42 seconds starting now.

IM: Who Knows Where This May Lead was one of my dad's favourite songs along with Donald Where’s Your Trousers by Andy Stewart and Puppet On A String by Sandy Shaw...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of by, by Andy Stewart...

NP: By and yes, well listened Paul, sharp there.

IM: I said it first...

PM: While you hunted for the name of Sandy Stewart.

IM: That's right.

NP: Yes.

PM: Or was it Andy Shaw.

IM: It was Sandy Shaw.

NP: Listen you two, will you just stop chatting amongst yourselves. We're trying to play Just A Minute.

PM: You don't understand, during the recording we've undergone a civil partnership.

IM: Yes.

NP: Oh right.

IM: And we're adopting Shappi’s baby.

NP: Oh are you?

SK: Ohhhh! Who are you, Madonna?

IM: Yeah, I've got a pair of breasts.

SK: Just because my baby is a little bit brown, you can't have him!

PM: I said we should have mentioned it to her first! I did say she'd be funny didn't I.

NP: Let's get back to Just A Minute.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Twenty-eight seconds Paul, still with you, who knows where this may lead starting now.

PM: Who knows where this may lead? Tony Hawks may suddenly wake up from his party reverie, imagining inviting all these people here to his wonderful birthday celebrations. Who knows where this may lead? It's a magnificent statement of optimism for the future. We're a proud country here in Britain. Let's march and take on the world! We can go to Japan and say look... what am I talking about?


NP: Paul, Paul...

PM: I came over like Oswald Moseley, didn't I!

NP: You shouldn't have stopped, you had the whole of this audience with you, they were on their feet. They were about to follow you somewhere.

PM: Exactly!

NP: I don't know why... so Tony Hawks has a correct challenge...

PM: What was the challenge?

NP: What was the challenge?

TH: Ah deviation.

NP: Why?

TH: Because he said, he said...

NP: Who knows where this may lead? It leads to me exhorting the audience to follow me to Japan!

TH: He said...

PM: That's where it led to.

TH: He said what am I talking about. And if he doesn't know what he's talking about...

NP: We loved it though Paul.

PM: Yeah so did I.

NP: A bonus point because he enjoyed Paul's tirade.

PM: When, next Wednesday's good for me!

NP: And Tony really had a correct challenge of deviation so he gets a point, he takes over the subject, five seconds to go, who knows where this may lead Tony starting now.

TH: So far everyone has begun this subject by saying who knows where this may lead.


NP: So who knows where this may lead. Let me give you the final situation. Ian McMillan who contributed so much but did finish in fourth place, but a very fine fourth place. Tony Hawks who has always done well, but he finished only in third place. Because Shappi Khorsandi who has only played the game once before, she finished in a fine second place. And she was just behind Paul Merton, who this week once again is our winner. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players and exponents of this game. I thank Trudi Stevens, who has helped me note the score down, she has blown her whistle with great aplomb throughout! We thank our producer Tilusha Ghelani, we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this unusual and amazing game. And we are grateful to this lovely audience, these massed ranks of Mancunians, sitting in the Opera House in Manchester. Thank you for listening. And from our Mancunian audience, and from me, Nicholas Parsons and our team, good-bye. Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes! Yes!