NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: 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 also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented and attractive players of the game. And a huge pleasure as always to welcome back that outstanding comedian and fine player of this game, Paul Merton. And seated beside him we have a fine broadcaster and skilled actor, Charles Collingwood. And seated on my left, we have that outstanding and impish comedian and brilliant presenter, Graham Norton. And seated beside Graham, we welcome back that incredibly attractive and lovely comedienne, Shappi Khorsandi. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me with 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 Radio Theatre which is in the heart of Broadcasting House, that elegant building in the West One area of London. Let's get the show started! And we begin once again, and who better? Paul Merton. Paul the subject here is losing your marbles. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Some people might think that it's already happened to me. But hen it does happen, I'm sure...


NP: Charles has challenged.

CHARLES COLLINGWOOD: Repetition of happen.

NP: Yes he's...

PM: Happened and happen.

NP: He did say happened and happen.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So right, you keep the subject and still losing your marbles, and there are 56 seconds starting now.

PM: Perhaps losing my marbles wouldn't be so bad. I look forward to a gentle decline to the land of whimsy, where I no longer remember to wear my clothes when I go out. There’s somebody trying to take my photograph in the front row. And when I've lost my marbles, where are they? This is the lost property office here at Paddington...


NP: Graham challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: Repetition of lost.

NP: Yes it's losing your marbles.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Well, well, well listened.

CC: Yes! Yes!

NP: Ah there's great one-upmanship in this show. So Graham you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that of course, you have 39 seconds, it's losing your marbles starting now.

GN: A friend of mine went for a job interview and then discovered that he hadn't got the appointment. She sent a box of marbles to the company with a note inside that said "you appear to have lost these"! I admired her kind of confidence and chutzpah. But if you're unemployed, I thought foolish to spend money on posting marbles because they're quite heavy and expensive. And of course the Royal Mail could lose them as well. And thus they'd be lost twice. Have I said that? I don't know. Anyway losing your marbles is a jolly...


NP: Charles yes?

CC: He did actually say lose twice and it's losing on the card.

NP: Yes he did, that's right, yes.

CC: Rather like he said lost before.

GN: Yeah yeah yeah it can happen.

CC: It's only fair.

GN: Yeah yeah.

SHAPPI KHORSANDI: It's the Achilles heel, I think, of this topic, those two words, it's tragic.

GN: Yes. Yes Shappi, you're right.

NP: Shappi you were very quiet then, what did you say dear?

SK: All I was saying is it's a little bit difficult, innit.

NP: Oh that was very nice of them. I don't know what on earth you were talking about. But it was so, Charles you have a correct challenge, 10 seconds left, losing your marbles starting now.

CC: Losing one's marbles is a terrible thing to happen to somebody as you get older. Because it might mean that your brain is no longer as active as you hoped it would be...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Charles Collingwood so he has two points at the end of that round. And all the others have one point each. And Shappi we'd like you to take the next round. And the subject now is my pain threshold. Tell us something about that subject in this game if you can starting now.

SK: My pain threshold isn't as high as I need it to be because I bump into things a lot. Mostly because people leave stuff in my way like doors and walls and furniture and sometimes trees. This is problematic for me, and just last week my pain was so bad that I had to go to hospital because I did walk into an obstacle that was an integral part of my building.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation.

SK: Do you know, not only did I hesitate, I actually just stopped completely! I mean that was a full stop, take a breath, have a think, have a cigarette, and I don't even smoke! I'm sorry!

NP: Paul you have another correct challenge and there are 31 seconds available, you tell us something about my pain threshold starting now.

PM: My pain threshold is remarkably low. If I was to be working for the Army in the course of a war, I would immediately give more than my name, rank and serial number. I would spill the beans on every single topic I could think of as long as they stopped prodding me with that cushion! My low pain threshold has held me back in show business. I could have been...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of low.

NP: There was a repetition of low. So Graham, well listened, there are 13 seconds still available. Will you tell us something about my pain threshold in this game starting now.

GN: My pain threshold is incredibly high. I remember once when I was marooned on a desert island, with our host Nicholas Parsons, I was barely conscious and couldn't move. He used my naked body as a piece of...


NP: That was...

GN: I'm so sorry the whistle went then!

NP: You knew the whistle was about to go but you built up to that moment so you left it all hanging! To let them... and they enjoyed it! Wicked naughty outrageous audience! Graham you were speaking as the whistle went so you gained that extra point. You're now in the lead, one ahead of all the others. Paul we're back with you to begin and we'd like you to take the subject of voiceovers and there are 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: I don't do many voiceovers. But I did perhaps perform one the other idea for Radio Four. It's going to go out in the cinema. And I happened to be in a recording studio with a man (in very gruff deep accent) whose voice is like that. (normal voice) And we did a sketch together and I think it was particularly amusing. We focussed on the early years of Nicholas Parsons. We talked about how this marvellous entertainer has been seen throughout these years, tetchel... oh!


NP: Shappi you managed to get in first.

SK: Did I get in?

NP: Yes!

SK: Wooooh!

NP: Right.

SK: All right! Have I won the game?

NP: First of all tell me what your challenge was?

SK: Oh my challenge was hesitation.

NP: Yes that's right, 36 seconds for you Shappi, voiceovers starting now.

SK: I...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: I just thought it would be funny!

NP: And it was fun! They got a laugh and you've given her a point so everybody's happy. So there are now 35 seconds on voiceovers with you Shappi starting now.


NP: Oh ah...

PM: I wondered if it would be funny twice?

NP: It was even funnier twice. You give Paul a bonus point, right and...

SK: May I continue?

NP: No darling, don't, you're building up your points, don't worry!

SK: Oh I see.

NP: You've got another one, another point there and there are 34, 33 seconds, voiceovers starting now.

SK: I always wanted to be a voiceover artist. And I went to an agent who specialises in getting edu, actually not education, employment...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: That was hesitation.

NP: That was a hesitation Charles, you have another point, you have 26 seconds, you tell us something about voiceovers starting now.

CC: I was asked to do a voiceover once. I walked into the studio and the producer said he wanted Donald Sinden. I had (does Donald Sinden impression, speaking gibberish)


NP: Shappi, 20 seconds, voiceovers with you starting now.

SK: I was told that my voice is far too be ordinary to be a voiceover artist so I said (in deep manly voice) what about when I talk like...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of artist.

NP: Yes artist.

SK: Yes.

NP: That's right. Well listened Paul, 13 seconds still available, tell us something about voiceovers starting now.

PM: Wilson's Biscuits, the finest biscuit money can...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: I don't think that was right.

NP: No it was, he said biscuit and biscuits.

CC: He did.

NP: Nine seconds still available Paul, voiceovers starting now.

PM: Advertising pays great money for the people who can do voiceovers...


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: Did he hesitate slightly?

NP: Slightly but...

SK: Just a little, tiny. Shall I let that go? I'm sorry.

PM: You do need a gap between words otherwise (gibberish)

NP: He was, Shappi, speaking slower than he normally does.

PM: I'm not feeling well!

NP: But he didn't...

PM: I'm punished, punished for my illness! That's nice!

NP: So he still has another point, he keeps the subject, five seconds, voiceovers Paul starting now.

PM: Bill Mitchell was a voiceover man in the 1970s and he had that deep brown...


NP: Well at the end of that round Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He's increased his lead, he has almost twice as many points as Shappi Khorsandi who is in second place with Charles Collingwood. And Graham just one point behind them. And oh Shappi it's your turn to begin. Here's a subject that you might have some fun with, older men. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

SK: Well I wonder why I've been given this subject. It's a subject very close to my heart. I've always loved older men, particularly if they sit to my right on radio panel shows. Now I'm just checking if that is the correct side of me and it is. Because I'm very dyslexic, I don't know that one side from...


SK: That's just wrong! I hate myself! I'm sorry!

NP: Right, Graham you challenged.

GN: Repetition of side.

NP: You were getting your sides muddled up, darling. So Graham a correct challenge and you have 41 seconds, tell us something about older men starting now.

GN: It is distressing when you get a subject like older men and realise that now I've become one of them! Because in the past obviously, like everyone else, I was younger. I think that's fair. We can say that about everyone on the panel. Paul wasn't always this old, nor you Nicholas indeed. You were a boy once and skipped blithely around fields in some country part of the...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: They didn't have fields when Nicholas was a boy!

NP: Paul, we've always had fields! In fact there were more fields, more fields when I was young than there are now.

PM: Really?

NP: So many of them have been built on.

PM: You told me the other day you remembered before the horse! Before we had horses!

NP: But there were still lots of fields.

PM: Before we had horses!

NP: There were still lots of fields even when we had lots of horses. Before the horses. But we loved your interruption, so we give Paul a bonus point for that. But Graham was interrupted so he gets a point for being interrupted.

GN: Yes.

NP: And you keep the subject...

GN: I do!

NP: Yes, you obviously don't like older men. I don't, I don't mean... and there are 15 seconds available starting now.

GN: Older men like talking about the past, I've noticed. A time before horses and fields when even blazers...


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: He said fields before. Had you said fields before?

GN: I might have.

SK: Blithely around fields. Because I remember blithely.

GN: Yes yes. Yes blithely yes yes yes.

SK: And I remember...

GN: Aha aha...

SK: ... you said some other words after blithely.

GN: It might have been around a field though, mightn't it Shappi? Mightn't it? Mightn't it? Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh?

NP: No it was fields. No no it was blithely around fields.

SK: Around a field?

GN: All right, it was.

NP: Right. Well listened Shappi, you have er, you have six seconds to keep going on older men starting now.

SK: It's...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Six seconds are probably long enough. Anyway...

NP: I think they enjoyed what you said Graham so we give you a bonus point for that. But Shappi was again interrupted so she gets another point and there are four seconds this time Shappi on older men starting now.

SK: See it's hard to talk about older men without talking about sexy stuff...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: Well she said without earlier.

GN: Oh well now!

CC: Sorry, I'm bringing my sort of intellectual brain into this. But I had heard her say without earlier.

SK: I never said without before in my life!

CC: In your life? Well if you'd not in your life, I can't apologise enough!

PM: Her pronunciation was very good!

NP: Yes!

CC: I'm very sorry Nicholas...

NP: No, don't apologise to me. I mean Shappi's got another point...

CC: Quite right!

NP: She's got one second on the subject.

CC: I'm ashamed!

NP: Are you ready Shappi?

SK: I am, yes.

NP: One second, older men starting now.

SK: The thing about older men...


NP: I must tell the listeners that Shappi actually did pause then completely. But the trouble was that the silly girl had taken a drink of water just before she started, and she suddenly got a hiccup in her throat. Shappi you kept going until the whistle went, with a little assistance from others. And you get a, you actually get another point for speaking as the whistle went. Oh you weren't actually speaking as the whistle went but you were speaking when the whistle should have gone. But you are now in second place.

SK: Ah wonderful!

NP: Just behind Paul Merton, but ahead of Charles Collingwood and Graham Norton. And Charles we're back with you, hair loss. I don't know whether... the humour here that is going on now is because people are looking at Charles's head. Anyway that's the subject Charles, talk about it, 60 seconds starting now.

CC: Every day I get up in the morning, look in the mirror to check if I've lost any more hair than I had the day before. When my children were very young they used to call me Gor, Baldielocks...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: A sort of hesitation I felt.

NP: No no, I think...

CC: It was the gag!

NP: No I think...

CC: So sad!

NP: I think he was speaking through it. Somehow I think the sense came out all right. So benefit of the doubt Charles...

CC: You're really sharp tonight Nicholas! You're in my team!

NP: I give benefits of the doubt on occasions and I always try and redress the balance later if it's possible. So Charles you keep going with 48 seconds, hair loss starting now.

CC: The kids called me Spamhead when they were teenagers and I found that very insulting. Because as a handsome man with not too much on my bonce, I do not need to be reminded by the nation...


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: That was a slight sort of stammer.

NP: It was yes.

SK: Hesitation.

NP: No no no...

SK: I know, I don't want to victimise a stammering person but it was a hesitation. I think it was a hesitation that kind of disguised as a stammer.

CC: No, I don't have a speech impediment.

SK: No that's what I meant when I, yes!

NP: But actually if I, I wasn't going to allow it last time when Graham challenged, I couldn't allow it when you challenged. Because it wasn't, it wasn't quite a hesitation. He was...

GN: Dear God! Is this man unstoppable?

NP: He was teetering so benefit of the doubt Charles, keep going, 30 seconds...

CC: I'm going to be calling you Daddy quite soon, Nicholas!

NP: Hair loss starting now.

CC: Hair loss is such a nuisance for women. Because we chaps...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of because.

NP: Because yes, you did say that Before.

CC: I did say that before.

NP: That's right so Paul's got in on hair loss with 32 seconds available starting now.

PM: Are you bald or is your neck blowing bubble gum? This is one of the things you can say to people who have no hair. Equally when Charles goes to the barbers, they charge him a search fee! These are the many jokes that are aimed at people who have pates on the top of their head. Hair loss, who can...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: It was a hesitation.

NP: No it wasn't.

CC: Gah-hair loss!

PM: No it wasn't...

NP: No I gave you the benefit of the doubt before, the benefit of the doubt goes to Paul on this occasion. Fourteen seconds Paul, hair loss starting now.

PM: Many years ago in the early 1970s, I thought for a while that I was going to be a victim of hair loss. I looked in the mirror one morning and I noticed that my golden locks were there lying on the pillow and behind me was a hirsute man...


NP: So Paul Merton was once again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's increased his lead, he's ahead of Shappi Khorsandi, Charles Collingwood and Graham Norton in that order. And Graham we're back with you to begin the subject. The subject we've got now is super foods. Can you tell us something about super foods in this game starting now.

GN: Super foods are new! They're in the supermarket and they tend to be all berries and beans we have never heard of. Now it strikes me, if they are truly super foods, why haven't we heard of them?


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of heard.

NP: Yes, heard of them and heard.

GN: Oh did I?

NP: Yes. Things at the beginning, you said heard. Right well listened Paul and there are 47 seconds, super foods starting now.

PM: Chicago was on fire! What were they going to do? They called for Superbap. Yes half sandwich, half hero, this magnificent piece of bread sailed through the sky...


NP: Shappi?

SK: Two halfs.

PM: Half, half bread and half man.

SK: Half bread, half hero, half, make a...

NP: Yes, two halfs.

SK: Two halfs.

PM: There were two halves yes.

GN: Yes.

NP: Well listened Shappi, another point to you Shappi, 39 seconds available, super foods starting now.

SK: I can't stand this new way they're trying to make you buy pomegranate seeds at about a million pounds per packet. Where in my day you used to...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: I'm sorry but they don't. It's not a million pounds per packet. And I know, I know you... Tell me where you live and if it's that, if you're paying that sort of money, darling, move! Because they're cheap as chips, pomegranates, near me in Hampshire!

NP: Charles...

CC: It was a sympathetic interruption.

NP: No it wasn't, it was a, it was an unnecessary interruption.

CC: I thought it... you don't think it was deviation?

NP: No no she was speaking metaphorically, we all knew what she meant. I gave the benefit of the doubt against Shappi to you last time. She has the benefit of the doubt on this occasion. She gets another point, she keeps the subject, 31 seconds with you Shappi on super foods starting now.

SK: And the worst thing is, where I live, middle class mothers fall for it. They buy loads of this ridiculous stuff that really, when all is said and done, is fruit that has been around in the Middle East for many many many years...


SK: Why did I do that? Why did I do that? Graham , why?

GN: Sort of Just A Minute suicide!

NP: One of the classic...

SK: Do you know, I couldn't believe that I was going quite far, I couldn't believe that I could actually hear my own voice!

NP: Then you went into the natural speech patterns like very very many many right. Graham well listened, 18 seconds with you on super foods starting now.

GN: I put my lustrous hair down to my intake of super foods. But then I was in a department store...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Isn't that a wig? Isn't that a wig? Shake vigorously from side to side!

GN: You see!

PM: Yeah I was wrong! I just thought nobody would get a haircut like that! I thought it had to be a wig!

NP: Right...

GN: There was no time after the colouring!

PM: Are you wearing a wig Nicholas?

NP: What's that?

PM: Are you thinking of having extensions?

NP: No...

PM: I'm still talking about your hair by the way!

NP: I've had all the other extensions, they failed! Oh God!

SK: I...

NP: Mmmm?

SK: I had alapechia once.

NP: Did you?

SK: Alapechia ariata, there you go.

GN: It sounds like a pasta dish.

SK: It does, doesn't it.

PM: It's the first part of the lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody.

NP: Right I think we'll get back to playing Just A Minute. And the interruption came from you Paul. We enjoyed the interruption so you get a bonus point because the audience enjoyed it. But Graham you were interrupted, you were talking about you hair, your follicles of lustrous juvenile growth that you have. And you get a point because you were interrupted, 12 seconds...

GN: Do I?

NP: Yes! Twelve seconds available...

GN: Am I still coming last?

NP: No no no, where are you? You're um, you're doing very um...

GN: Fourth! When that fifth person shows up, they're going to feel really stupid!

NP: You're third. Right and you have another, how many seconds was it, 12 seconds, it's still, believe me or not, super foods starting now.

GN: Super foods, as hard to finish a round on as they are to swallow! Yes I think super foods, oh we know what they are. It's things like meat, that is super food, that's...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I don't know if meat is classified as a super food. It's...

GN: Oh it is!

PM: It's things like pomegranates and broccoli and things like that...

GN: Meat's super food!

NP: It depends on your taste. To some people meat could be super food. To others, you're a vegetarian...

SK: It's about the antioxidants, isn't it?

GN: No you hush!

NP: No I don't think, benefit of the doubt to Graham on this occasion.

GN: See?

NP: Another point to you Graham and two seconds on super foods starting now.

GN: Everyone knows super foods are about...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Haven't we had everyone knows before?

GN: I didn't say it!

PM: No you're right. It was something I saw on telly in 1968! Just stored it in my mind!

NP: Graham another point, one second, super foods starting now.

GN: There's very little I don't know about...


NP: So let me give you the score at the moment because we're moving into the final round. Well it's a very interesting situation because Paul Merton is still in the lead. He's a few points ahead but Graham Norton has leapt ahead on his super foods and other things, and he's now equal in second place with Shappi Khorsandi. And Charles Collingwood is only a few points behind as we go into the final round. And Paul it's your turn to begin and the subject is what I would play in an orchestra. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: If I had the chance to play in an orchestra I would like to play the ukulele. It's an instrument that I recently tried to learn, it's a simple one, it has only four strings. Indeed there are various bands around the country dedicated to this particular instrument. And I...


PM: I've said instrument.

NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: Instrument twice yes.

NP: Yes the instrument I'd like to play and this instrument. Right, Shappi well listened, 46 seconds are...

PM: Oh hang on! Is that not in the title of the...

NP: No, what I would play in an orchestra.

PM: Oh yeah that's right.

NP: Not instrument.

GN: Yes.

SK: That's instrumental! Sorry!

NP: Right, Shappi, 46 seconds, what I would play in an orchestra starting now.

SK: What I would play in an orchestra is probably the triangle. I believe it to be the least stressful of instruments. When I was at school they used to always make me play the glockenspiel in an orchestra. That is no good because glockenspiels don't make...


NP: Graham challenged.

SK: Glockenspiel.

GN: Yeah yeah, I noticed the word glockenspiel. I don't want to be picky but glockenspiel cane up again!

NP: And 31 seconds are still available Graham, what I would play in an orchestra starting now.

GN: I would play the cello because I think the costume must be the most comfortable. Quite tight in the neck but after that you could really relax if you're playing that instrument. However in an orchestra there's a wide range of things, isn't there. You could be a drum...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Well there's a gradual slowing down.

GN: But I never stopped!

PM: Which I thought might be hesitation.

NP: It might be, you know, but we've had a bit of slowing down from everybody, except you actually. So I don't know what to do, it's the final round. He did slow down but he didn't actually hesitate, did he.

PM: Okay.

NP: So all right, benefit of the doubt to Graham on this occasion, 11 seconds, what I would play in an orchestra Graham starting now.

GN: What I would play in the orchestra is the piano. Because actually I...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Deviation, he just told us he'd play the cello. Now he's going to play the piano. How many hands has he got?

GN: I changed my mind!

PM: Changed your mind!

NP: Yes but I now think, as I gave you the benefit of the doubt...

GN: Oh no! Wait! You're not allowed to change your mind in Just A Minute?

NP: Um well it's a difficult one because...

GN: No it's not!

NP: You couldn't play both of them in an orchestra.

GN: I could if I changed my mind! If I said "oi, gone off the cello thing, give me that piano costume, I'll sling it on!" I put my shoes on the pedals and I'm off!

NP: If you said the other instrument that I'd play, then that would be all right.

GN: No, I changed my mind! I don't want to play the cello! I'd hate to play the cello now!

PM: But that's deviation, you said you'd love to play it.

NP: Graham in order to justify this, because I gave you the benefit of the doubt before, and I think it's only fair to give it to Paul, is that you should have said I've changed my mind.

GN: I felt, I felt this thinking audience could reach that conclusion by themselves.

SK: Did you perhaps perform in two different orchestras?

GN: That's an interesting point! I put it to you Paul, I went into two different orchestras! I'm losing this, aren't I! I'm losing it!

NP: I think it was a deviation within the rules or the spirit of the game of Just A Minute...

GN: I've been awful! I've behaved terribly! I'm sorry!

NP: No we thoroughly enjoyed it. The more argumentative you become, the funnier you become. And as I've given you two benefits of the doubt, Paul hasn't had one, we are reaching the end of the show. Paul you have the benefit of the doubt, you have the subject, what I would play in an orchestra, seven seconds starting now.

PM: I've changed my mind! I want to play the glockenspiel, harpsichord, piano, organ. Any keyboard instrument, I'd be happy!


NP: So let me give you the final score which was brought to the close with a flourish there. Charles Collingwood who hasn't played as much as some of the others came in a very commanding fourth place. And Shappi Khorsandi who has only played twice before, but she was in a very strong third place and did extremely well. She was only one point behind Graham Norton who was in an excellent second place. But out in the lead was Paul Merton with more points than anyone else, so we say Paul this week you are our winner. Thank you. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Charles Collingwood, Shappi Khorsandi and Graham Norton. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle sometimes with great aplomb. You did it very well, darling, don't worry! We thank our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this surprisingly amazing game. And we are grateful to this lovely audience here at the Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House for cheering us on our way. From our audience, from me, Nicholas Parsons, and the team, good-bye, tune in again the next time you hear Just A Minute!