WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring PAUL MERTON, GYLES BRANDRETH, SUE PERKINS and LIZA TARBUCK, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 9 February 2009)
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 this week four exciting, talented, literate individuals who are all with their different humorous ways going to show their capability with words, their verbal dexterity as they try and speak on a subject that I give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four talented performers are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Sue Perkins. And seated on my left, Gyles Brandreth and Liza Tarbuck. Will you please welcome all four of them! Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me with the score, and blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Radio Theatre in the heart of Broadcasting House, that edifice in the West One area of London. We have a lovely cosmopolitan metropolitan audience. Everyone is ready to cheer us on our way. And we begin the show, Gyles we'd like you to start the show off. And the subject is, oh a lovely one, my favourite Shakespeare play.
GYLES BRANDRETH: If music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it. But surfeiting the appetite may sicken and so die. That strain again, it had a dying fall. This is the first line from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night written in the early 1600s, and certainly my favourite play. I've assayed the role of Malvolio and that of Festy. We could cast the drama here tonight, with you, perhaps Nicholas in the role perhaps of...
NP: Sue challenged.
SUE PERKINS: Role.
SP: A double role.
NP: Role yes.
NP: What were you going to cast me as?
GB: Well Orseno I thought, because Count Orseno is the romantic lead.
NP: Oh that's very flattering of you.
GB: And Sue was going to be Viola. It would be quite fun. And Toby Belch could be Paul. And you could be, darling Liza, you could be a lovely Mariah and also Olivia.
LIZA TARBUCK: Thanks very much.
GB: You could have the double role.
LT: We're on.
GB: That's the idea.
NP: And you're going to present this for us, this. But Sue Perkins challenged then, because it was a repetition of role and so she has a point for that and she has 36 seconds available to tell us about my favourite Shakespeare play starting now.
SP: I'm a fan of MacBeth the much maligned lady of that name. She comes a cropper due to a spot of blood on some washing and she can't get it out. Come hell or high water she is there all night long scrubbing away. Because of course there is no detergent. He is off killing people. He has seen a ghost and gone absolutely stark staring mental. You would, wouldn't you? For the answers flown, that what for the answers...
NP: Liza's challenged.
LT: You, you would wouldn't you.
NP: You would, you would, two many yous. Let one go but three or four, no.
SP: She's right.
LT: Two yous then, you Perkins.
NP: There are 14 seconds for you Liza on my favourite Shakespeare play starting now.
LT: Romeo and Juliet is possibly my favourite Shakespeare play. I was excited by the film directed by Franco Zefferelli in which he made this blank verse that I've been learning at school come off the page and come on to the screen, and set the whole thing actually...
NP: So Liza Tarbuck was talking then as the whistle went, and in this game whoever is speaking at that moment gains an extra point. It was Liza so she's now, at the end of the first round, in the lead, way ahead of all the others. Sue Perkins would you start the second round, Soho, another London subject. Tell us something about it in this game starting now.
SP: Well it's all flashing lights and young people. And I was part of that set way back when. Imagine the 80s if you can, some knickerbockers, a tank top, braces of the dental kind. And me traversing Bohemian London looking like a right state. I often would wear a parka with a target on my back, so people could aim their missiles more effectively at my spine which they tended to, being as I was a spod. I loved the classics, to read great works of literature. I was no clothes horse, I weighed approximately seven stone and was skittish at best. Like a new-born foal but without the capabilities of racing...
NP: Gyles has challenged.
GB: There is a certain erotic charge to this description of Sue in the 1980s, but Soho really has not featured at all. We are just getting a picture of a girl in the 1980s.
SP: In Soho!
GB: She could have been anywhere.
SP: But I was in Soho, the bright lights. Do you not remember, way back when? About 30 seconds ago.
NP: So... you were giving a brilliant description of you at that particular time. But you didn't relate it very closely to Soho. And you didn't talk about the area itself.
SP: Did I not say I was the Duchess of Soho?
NP: No, so Gyles, correct challenge, of course a point to you, 25 seconds, Soho starting now.
GB: I first got involved in Soho when I was a member of Lord Longford's Pornography Committee. I still have the raincoat that I bought at the time, but my wife has now sewn up the pockets. We paraded around Soho, the noble Earl and myself, dipping into dives to see topless people dancing with goats...
NP: Paul challenged.
PAUL MERTON: Topless people?
PM: Topless men? I mean that's not pornography, topless men.
GB: Can I say I am gender neutral. I don't just, I don't patronise a lap dancer just because she is a woman.
NP: Gyles I actually am going to give you the benefit of the doubt again. Because you can say topless people.
NP: And it could refer to girls or men, it doesn't really matter.
GB: They were both! They were both!
NP: It doesn't matter whether there were only one, it is still correct.
GB: You were with us, do you remember? We went to that gay bar just off Queen Street.
SP: He plays a fast and loose game, Gyles.
SP: Also can you dip into a dive?
GB: Yah! Can I tell you?
GB: It's like a Sherbet dip, it's fun, you just blow it in, come out, oh yeah!
NP: Right Gyles so you have the benefit of the doubt and you have Soho still, eight seconds starting now.
GB: Go Up Greek Street towards Soho Square and you find there is a wonderful Roman Catholic Church where the vicar is a sweet man who forgives the fallen...
NP: So Gyles again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now one ahead of Liza Tarbuck and you are three ahead of Paul Merton. Liza will you begin the next subject, I don't know how you are going to go with this one, endorphins. Do you know anything about them?
LT: I certainly do.
NP: Oh good, would you talk about them, 60 seconds starting now.
LT: Endorphins are chemicals that rush up the spine and into the brain. Although it is the spinal chord ones that we know about most. Found accidentally while scientists in the 1970s were searching for drug information, they discovered that these liquids in our head and ... help me!
NP: Paul you challenged.
PM: There was a sort of coming to a stop.
LT: I did, yeah.
NP: There was coming to a little stop.
LT: I was being stared at!
PM: Were you?
SP: That was in a loving way.
NP: We were absolutely entranced with it.
LT: Do you know what, it was absolutely right.
NP: We were enraptured by what you were saying actually. Couldn't understand it.
LT: I meant every word of it.
NP: I know. Paul you got a correct challenge, you have 39 seconds, tell us something about endorphins starting now.
PM: Well they are beautiful creatures. Flipper was my favourite. He would bounce around, swim around the sea, bottle nosed variety. And people would say where is he heading for? And then they would search across the ocean and he would lead them...
NP: Gyles challenged.
GB: This is very droll. But it's a slight on your diction! It's an insult to you, you're, you're famous for your diction. You're only here, I know, because you knew Lord Reith personally! When he appointed you a while ago, at the end of the late hostilities, he said, "Nicholas I like you because you seem to have your own teeth!" And you did say endorphins very clearly and he is talking about any old dolphins. Flipper and the like.
PM: Yeah, when they enjoy themselves, they've got endorphins in the brain.
GB: No, no, no, no, no, no!
SP: When dolphins are released up your spine into your brain, I'll tell you now, that's a buzz!
LT: That's higher than you can get!
GB: Endorphins actually, not wishing to be pedantic but endorphins are...
LT: But you will be!
NP: Gyles you are going to have the subject, no matter what you say about me.
GB: Right, I'll be quiet!
NP: I mean, I must assure all my listeners, I didn't actually personally know Lord Reith. I didn't. And I didn't get the job because of him. I have been here quite a long time...
LT: And they're not your own teeth!
SP: He's road testing Ann Widdecombe's tonight!
PM: There's a labrador outside that looks a bit gummy!
NP: I think Liza deserves a bonus point for that insult she did against me. And endorphins, you did, I think I said it quite clearly Paul. Endorphins and not dolphins.
LT: Yeah how dare you!
NP: So Gyles you have the subject, you have 29 seconds, endorphins starting now.
GB: Endogenous morphine naturally produced from the pituitary gland is what we now call endorphins. Discovered in 1975 by two remarkable men in the United States of America and a Japanese who is still claiming rights in this particular issue. When you actually produce this in yourself, the effect is startling. All over the body, not just up the spine, but I can tell you, around the knees...
NP: You challenged Sue?
SP: Yes it's repetition of produce. But also I got to the stage when I was panicking when he was talking about producing the endorphins himself! Where are we going? I must stop this!
NP: So repetition of produce? That was your first challenge?
NP: Yes you did have two produces. But we let you go because we, we, we couldn't believe it. Eight seconds Sue for you to tell us something about endorphins starting now.
SP: A tidal wave of chemicals surge through your brain, the like of which has not been seen since Gyles Brandreth personally saw to it himself...
NP: So Gyles Brandreth is still in the lead. Sue Perkins got one for speaking as the whistle went, she's come up in second place alongside Liza Tarbuck. And Paul for once is trailing in fourth place. But Paul will you begin the next round, and the subject now is the American dream, 60 seconds as usual starting now.
PM: Well the American dream is looking pretty good now, I suppose. As the New Year begins, 2009, there is a newish American President. In fact he's brand new but I said that before so I can't repeat...
NP: Gyles challenged.
GB: Repetition of new.
NP: Yes you have the new, you tried to get out of it by saying newish and... I know it's sad but that's the rules of the game. Gyles has 49 seconds on the American dream starting now.
GB: All of us apparently dream in American because we watch so much television and the accent is one that we hear constantly. And consequently the American dream is all our sleep time throughout...
NP: Sue challenged.
GB: Yeah. Yeah.
NP: So Sue you have another point, you have 39 seconds, the American dream starting now.
SP: I have a dream, the most important phrase ever uttered by a campaigner in American history. And finally we see the realisation, the bow drawn across the arc of history and fired into the future by a man upon our very hopes rest. He's the most important...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Can the bow be drawn across the arc of history?
SP: Of course it could! I believed him!
NP: If you, if you want to be poetic. And she was going into poetic language, I thought.
NP: And so she created an image in my mind and which I accepted. All right?
PM: Okay yes.
NP: And so we...
LT: That's divided them! (in Northern accent) I didn't come here for poetry!
PM: Once she's created an image in his mind, there's no point in fighting it! Once he gets the image, he can't shift it!
NP: I try to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute and I give the benefit of the doubt to Sue. And you know that I will always redress that balance if I get an opportunity later, Paul. So Sue you continue after getting another point, 25 seconds, the American dream starting now.
SP: The Great Gatsby is a book written about the American dream. Where the eponymous hero, Jay, sets off on a mission to exhaust his own limitless potential. He's aided by his love object, it's a long time since I read it, in fact I did it for O levels. So whilst I made a big play of it at the beginning I can scarcely remember the plot now and I'm struggling away. The 20s were a roaring success and much of it was to do with the accumulation of wealth by a small...
NP: So Sue Perkins has gone ahead, she's in the lead now, having gained that extra point for speaking as the whistle went. She's one ahead of Gyles Brandreth, she's three ahead of Liza Tarbuck, and one or two more, Paul Merton. And Gyles we'd like you to start the next round. I'm a bit nervous of this subject, I don't know why they put it in. It says if Nicholas was a super hero. I don't know what you'll do with it, but you have the opportunity, 60 seconds starting now.
GB: If Nicholas was a super hero is a misnomer, he is a super hero! The personification of glory in our eyes! Look at the physique, the silver hair, the proud brow, that powerful nose, teeth that fit, the hearing aid so discreetly hidden. Then a chin, in fact several, they are so beautiful. Shoulders that are powerful, underpants, you can actually see them rising above his trousers, the natural garb of the true super hero.
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Sorry I panicked! I just panicked! I thought this has got to stop here!
NP: I know! I know! Where it's got to stop.
GB: But it can't.
PM: It's deviation.
NP: Of course because I haven't got those underpants on.
SP: You've got a lime green banana hammock on.
LT: No he's gone commando now.
GB: Oh absolutely!
NP: And you can have him for the teeth, I've got my own teeth. I haven't got a hearing aid in, you can have him on any number of deviations there. But it was very, it was tremendous fun.
GB: I was just getting down to your body!
PM: That's why I panicked!
NP: I don't think that you should bring so much of your personal life into this Gyles right. Right Paul you have 34 seconds, tell us something about the subject, if Nicholas was a super hero starting now.
PM: If Nicholas was a super hero I see him as Captain Suave with a bullet-proof cravat. Walking into situations, desperately fighting them and then saying "oh really you must come to tea". And being so elegant as he fights off the super villains of the world. Octopus Man coming towards him with eight arms and Nicholas would gently say "I really just don't think those cufflinks go with these sleeves". And he would dare to point out that this huge person was actually not fit to save the planet. But here, Nicholas can grab us all in his arms and say "I am Captain Suave and I believe in truth, justice and the BBC!"
NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, worked bloody hard to get it! Sue it's your turn to begin.
NP: And the subject we've got now is cracking the whip. Tell us something about that subject... oh my dear it is getting a bit sort of naughty, this programme, isn't it. Cracking the whip, 60 seconds starting now.
SP: Cracking the whip is used by two professions, lion tamers and dominatrix. Make sure you get them the right way round, otherwise you'll have lions in an office block and... I can't...
SP: Started well but there was so much wordage, it petered out into a thin meaningless...
NP: So Paul you challenged first.
PM: There was a little bit of hesitation.
NP: There was a bit of hesitation, cracking the whip is with you now, 49 seconds starting now.
PM: If we look at the case of Max Mosely, there is a man who was strapped for cash! I think that cracking the whip is one of those things in life where you suddenly realise that I've got to improve my status. I've got to change things. Perhaps seek out new horizons...
PM: I went into Star Trek! Seek out new horizons?
NP: You've been very dramatic in this show.
PM: I have yes.
NP: Yes, absolutely carried on, dolphins and er...
NP: Cravats and so forth.
PM: And wild wild women!
LT: It cannot be denied.
NP: Sue you challenged first.
NP: Yes right, 35 seconds, cracking the whip, back with you Sue starting now.
SP: It's important to crack things on, to get things going a pace, when the tempo is sagging...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Repetition of things.
NP: Yes you had too many things there, right, 31 seconds with you Paul now, cracking the whip starting now.
PM: When I was in charge of a poodle act, it was very important to make each one of those dogs realise their initial responsibilities to the routine. For example, Barry, he was a keen cyclist, one of the finest in French dogs you can see. And he would get up on that bike, hold his head proud, wearing a cravat funnily enough...
NP: Gyles you challenged.
GB: Repetition of cravat or maybe that was something...
NP: No he was talking about cravats before.
GB: Yes he was. He was.
NP: Paul an incorrect challenge, cracking the whip still with you, 13 seconds starting now.
PM: It's all about discipline. If you look at the panellists on this show, each one of them has succeeded in their own chosen professions. Nicholas, he sits amongst us like a giant, but he cracks the whip. If somebody hesitates...
NP: So Paul Merton who has been trailing a little, was not only speaking then when the whistle went, gained the extra point but others in the round. He's now equal in the lead with Sue Perkins. But they're only just ahead of Gyles Brandreth and only just further ahead of Liza Tarbuck. And Liza you're going to begin the next round because your name is here on the card in front of me. And the subject, I think you know something about this, vegetarianism. Right tell us something about it in this game starting now.
LT: Abstaining from eating flesh for ethical or nutritional reasons is one way of explaining vegetarianism. I can't go into what the other one is. Safe to say I was a ve, vegetarian...
LT: Blast it!
GB: It was so interesting too.
LT: You are kind.
GB: No it was.
NP: It was interesting yes.
NP: So Gyles you challenged, you've got 50 seconds, tell us something about vegetarianism starting now.
GB: The first time he met me Barack Obama sensed that name dropping is one of my weaknesses. Interestingly his wife Michelle has the same name...
NP: Liza challenged.
LT: There was a bit more of an arc than you normally do before you said Michelle so I'm going to say hesitation.
GB: Yeah that's fair enough.
NP: All right, fair enough.
GB: I want to hear more about you.
LT: You've backed right off, haven't you.
GB: Because I've thought, maybe if I'm a bit cool, I'll get a bit further.
NP: Could I ask, could I ask if you two could stop playing the game to each other?
NP: Because I can't always see your faces there.
LT: We're sitting knee to knee.
GB: Yeah yeah.
NP: Forty-two seconds available for you Liza, you've taken back vegetarianism starting now.
LT: Pythagoras was a vegetarian as was Plato. And if you want to avoid anaemia, it's probably quite good to load up on B12 although it's not necessarily the right thing to do as it might cause other problems. For 11 years I did not eat meat. And for the same period of time, every time I went home to Tarbuck Towers...
NP: Sue challenged.
SP: Oh there was a slight hesitation but I am annoyed because I am really involved in the story. More so than by rights I should be.
LT: Do you know, we are playing a game though, aren't we, and we ought to adhere to that. But somebody, somebody's given me a wrong time...
NP: I don't think you did hesitate.
NP: I don't think you hesitated enough to be given...
LT: I nearly did.
NP: You nearly did, yes.
NP: I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt.
LT: Oh I've lost my flow.
NP: Well darling, I'm sorry, you'll soon get it back again. Take a deep breath. This audience will inspire you, give her her flow back please audience.
LT: Oh heaven!
NP: Twenty-three seconds, vegetarianism, Liza starting now.
LT: Big Jim would often say to me, in fact every single time we sat down to dinner, "if you’re hungry, there's a whole brass..."
LT: Murdered it! Don't give me another chance!
NP: Gyles you challenged.
NP: The hesitation.
LT: I murdered the gag.
NP: Sixteen seconds, vegetarianism is with you Gyles starting now.
GB: Beetroot, carrot, aldive, the whole range of the vegetarian diet is something that I find extraordinary to look at, to cook, to taste. The sumptuous delicacy...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Quite a few lots of tos, to look, to cook, to taste.
NP: Yes to taste, to to to to to.
LT: Perchance to dream!
NP: So tough challenge but...
NP: Four seconds are still available for vegetarianism with you Paul starting now.
PM: When I look at the broad bean I realise it represents everything I want in life...
NP: So we now have a very close situation. Paul now with that extra point has taken the lead. He's only two ahead of Gyles Brandreth and Sue Perkins equal in second place. And they're only two ahead of Liza Tarbuck in fourth place. So we're neck and neck. And Paul your turn to begin, and the subject now is chemistry. Can you tell us something about that in this game starting now.
PM: Well the short answer is no. I did O-level chemistry, I sat there for three and a half hours, wrote the same sentence, lime water turns milk in, feel asleep. That is the sum total of my knowledge of chemistry. Over to somebody else.
NP: Very generous gesture. Liza you got in first.
LT: It was the only time I have been able to get in.
LT: My thumbs...
NP: No you're well in there, my love, with all the others. You've got chemistry, you have chemistry, you have your own natural chemistry, but the subject...
LT: I don't know what's going on here tonight! I swear!
NP: It's just to build up your morale, darling, so they all flow again as you said before.
PM: It's called grooming!
NP: Chemistry is the subject Liza, 49 seconds starting now.
LT: Getting metal out of stones is something that thrilled people of yesteryear and it was then called alchemy but moved into a chemistry session later on. To turn something from...
NP: Gyles challenged.
GB: I thought there was hesitation.
NP: There was hesitation I'm afraid Liza.
LT: Settling into it!
SP: It's going to become clear that no-one knows anything about chemistry!
PM: I was honest, you see!
LT: No, I am, I am...
PM: I don't know enough about it.
NP: Gyles chemistry is with you now and there are 38 seconds starting now.
GB: In chemistry at school I sat next to a girl called Diana. One day abruptly she left the class because she thought the teacher had said "come on Di, outside". In fact he was referring to carbon dioxide. Her interest in the subject was as lean as mine, but we did enjoy the experiment with the bunsen burner. Oh she managed to...
NP: Liza challenged.
LT: A wobbling she there.
LT: As you clutched for the next word, which I appreciate in life, but I'm playing the game!
NP: So you have the benefit of the doubt, you have the subject, you have chemistry back with you.
LT: Oh God!
NP: You have 18 seconds starting now.
LT: I like chemistry a lot and used to do it at school, obviously. We ah used to...
NP: Sue challenged.
SP: I'd have thought a bit of hesitation.
NP: There was a tiny bit of hesitation yes.
LT: I'll give you that.
NP: So Sue you have chemistry, 12 seconds starting now.
SP: Once a woman showed me a beaker, shoved it in a fume cupboard and said "how about that?" I didn't know what was going on. Copper sulphate was involved and iron fillings. This huge black tower of smoke arose from the said container...
NP: So Sue Perkins speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. Let me give you the situation as we go into the final round. Liza Tarbuck is only trailing just a little in fourth place. She is only one behind Gyles Brandreth in second place, because out in the lead equal are Sue Perkins and Paul Merton. It's anybody’s contest indeed if you're interested in the points but I always think the fun is more important. Gyles it's your turn to begin and the subject now is something money can't buy. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
GB: Thinking back to what Paul was saying about going to one of Max Mosely's parties, that's where he and I originally met. Looking around the room I thought of course, it's judgement that money can't buy. It was there that my friend explained to me the difference between the erotic and the perverse. With the former, you use your feather gently and lightly. With the latter you use the entire chicken! Now this discovery...
NP: Sue you challenged.
SP: Um hesitation.
NP: Gyles actually I don't think he was hesitating. So incorrect challenge, so you have another point, something money can't buy starting now.
GB: Style, what you've got, Nicholas, in spades! Elegance! Allure! Panache! And indeed cravats that are not just bullet-proof but would be worn by dolphins they are so...
PM: I agree with that! I agree with that!
NP: Liza you challenged.
LT: I agree with absolutely everything, but I do think you can buy style because now people do it for a job.
GB: Oh look...
NP: Liza what is your challenge, darling? Tell me because I have to make the decision.
LT: He's saying you can't buy a style, I think you can.
NP: You can buy a style yes.
LT: So it's deviation.
NP: Oh in that sense, a very subtle challenge. Yes but I think I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.
LT: Thank you my darling!
NP: Why didn't you go for deviation on dolphins wearing cravats? I mean that's...
LT: Dolphins, you said?
NP: She said dolphins with cravats.
SP: They can't abide a cravat.
LT: Shall I go and get the man?
SP: Yeah get the man. A waistcoat’s fine!
NP: Right you have the benefit of the doubt Liza, you have something money can’t buy, 23 seconds starting now.
LT: I think the main thing that money can't buy is time, followed by love, possibly happiness, and definitely peace of mind. You can go through life wanting all of these things and amassing a great fortune. But...
NP: Liza, Gyles challenged again.
GB: If you can't buy style, what are you doing when you get a watch but buying time?
LT: Oh I don't remember asking Mister Smart-arse to tea! Um...
PM: A watch is an instrument that measures time.
NP: No it's all right, Gyles, Paul has given you your answer.
LT: Sorry, my Lord.
NP: No Paul has given the answer.
GB: It's a good answer! It's a good answer!
NP: It's a very good answer yes. Sorry Liza has still got the subject, something money can't buy, 11 seconds starting now.
LT: Money can't buy this moment, for me. Sitting next to Gyles Brandreth, discussing the ins and outs of his intricate and interesting crocheted mind...
NP: So Liza Tarbuck who was speaking there as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so and with others in the round. She complained last time she was with us that she never wins. But I can tell you now that this is a very interesting result actually. Because Paul Merton, Sue Perkins and Gyles Brandreth are all equal in second place.
GB: Oh! Oh!
NP: And with that flourish about style or something money can't buy, she forged ahead and one point ahead of them is our winner this week, Liza Tarbuck. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Sue Perkins, Liza Tarbuck and Gyles Brandreth. I also thank Sarah Sharpe, who has kept the score for me so carefully, and blown her whistle very delicately. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. We are grateful to our producer Claire Jones for all that she puts into the show. And we are grateful to this lovely audience here in the Radio Theatre. Thank you for cheering us on the way. Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Bye-bye!