WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring DEREK NIMMO, TONY HAWKS, GRAHAM NORTON and LINDA SMITH, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 1 March 1999)
NICHOLAS PARSONS: Hello, this is Nicholas Parsons. And the recording you are about to hear features Derek Nimmo who sadly died recently. The BBC with the agreement of Derek's family has decided to broadcast the show as a tribute to him. It was incidentally his last professional engagement before his tragic fall, the consequences of which finally overwhelmed him. Derek Nimmo was one of the stalwarts of Just A Minute. He'd been in the original pilot show with me over 34 years ago. And his clever witty and sometimes outrageous contributions to the programme were always a joy and a delight. Our friendship goes back even further and it was because of this he was able on occasions to be incredibly rude to me on the show. It's only when you know somebody extremely well that you can make fun of them in public and the listeners enjoy it because they know there's no malice intended. Derek was a skilled comedy performer, equally at home on the stage or before the television cameras. He was also a very fine after dinner speaker and a most successful entrepreneur sending productions of plays around the world. He brought all his performance skills and love of travel into Just A Minute. He was exceptional, individual and a rare comic talent. Please enjoy him once again in what was one of his favourite programmes. Welcome to Just A Minute!
NP: Hello my name is Nicholas Parsons and as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome our many listeners throughout the world and also the four exciting exuberant attractive players of the game who are going to compete this week. We welcome back a young comedian with his own distinctive and individual style, that is Tony Hawks. Another young comedian with his own original style and that is Graham Norton. A comedy player who developed his style many years ago and it is still as fresh today as it was then, that is Derek Nimmo. And a young comedian with a style that is distinctive as she is attractive and that is Linda Smith. Will you please welcome all four of them. And as usual I'm going to ask them to speak on the subject I give them and they will have to do that without hesitation repetition or deviating from the subject. Beside me sits Elaine Wigley who's going to help me keep the score. She has a stopwatch which she will hold which will tell me how many seconds have gone by. She also has a whistle to blow when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield. We enjoyed ourselves so much when we were here a few weeks ago the invitation went out again and we accepted with alacrity. And we have an exciting warm but certainly not alorn Yorkshire audience who are certainly not feeling the cold though they live in a very cold part of the country. And we're going to begin the show this week with Graham Norton and who better? Graham the subject is what makes me furious. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
GRAHAM NORTON: I thank you Nicholas for this opportunity to rant quietly about what makes me furious. It is in fact when technology is not ready to be introduced to the marketplace and yet they do. For example, video plus. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it. But it doesn't actually perform the task it's intended to. The end of the film is coming close and somebody says "the person who did the murder was..." shake and back, better shake... And it's very irritating! Other things that annoy me because dear God, I've nothing else to say about that are...
NP: Tony Hawks challenged.
TONY HAWKS: I think there may have been a hesitation there.
NP: I think there was a hesitation so, but it was lovely wasn't it! Tony you have a correct challenge so you get a point for your correct challenge, you take over the subject, there are 16 seconds available, what makes me furious, starting now.
TH: I am so calm and at peace with myself that I very rarely get furious about anything. But there is one particular area where I'm not always happy and that's when I'm putting on a duvet cover. It's so difficult and I can never...
NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point and on this occasion it was Tony Hawks. And Linda will you take the next round. The subject: my party piece. talk on the subject starting now.
LINDA SMITH: When I was little my party piece used to be to sing along to my favourite Cilla Black song, Anyone Who Had a Heart. Everyone thought it was charming. How times change! These days my party piece is to drink industrial quantities of chardonnay, then ensconce fags because I'm so drunk I've forgotten I don't smoke, then sing Fire Starter by Prodigy. Nobody seems to find it delightful in any way at all! Why...
NP: Graham Norton challenged. Graham what was your challenge?
GN: One or two sings.
NP: Yes, sing along, she did sing more than once. You have a correct challenge Graham.
GN: All right.
NP: So you take over the subject, my party piece, 30 seconds, starting now.
GN: My party piece is perhaps a little visual. It is to do an impression of a small terrier dog making love. It goes something like this.
NP: I must explain to our listeners...
GN: No, Nicholas, don't!
NP: I have to! The audience have laughed and all the listeners will wonder why were they laughing. And the reason was that Graham Norton gave a brilliant, his features took on that of a little terrier dog and his little tongue came out and it made licking movements. And it was worth the laugh! But you've lost the subject.
GN: Yes I thought as much.
NP: Yes because Derek challenged, hesitation. Derek my party piece, 16 seconds starting now.
DEREK NIMMO: Well my party piece use to be to waggle my toes and say nursery rhymes to them. This was tremendously popular. I went on the Eamonn Andrews show with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and did my party piece which received tremendous praise...
NP: Yes Derek Nimmo speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And he's now alongside Tony Hawks in the lead. Derek it's your turn to begin. The subject: steel. Talk on it Derek, 60 seconds, starting now.
DN: Here I am in the city of steel! Well that it used to be when 40,000 people were employed in the industry and nine tenths of the worlds knives were made here. My great grandfather was a master cutler and lived in this fine wondrous place. I was told by him never ask anyone if he's a Yorkshireman because if he is he will already have told you, and if he isn't you don't want to humiliate him! But he lived here for these many years! Of course I can think of Tommy Steele who was discovered in the Three Eyes Coffee Shop in Earl Cumbstone Street in Soho. And David Steel that marvellous man who led the Liberal Party for so long after the collapse of the previous head of that organisation. And steel is something which Sheffield...
NP: Oh Tony you challenged with two seconds to go. You went for 58 seconds! And if you go for the full 60 you get an extra bonus point but Tony you got in. Yes it was a hesitation, twos seconds for you on steel starting now.
TH: It is wrong to steal but I am going to say exactly what..
NP: Oh I think has been chosen especially for you Graham. Bright young things. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
GN: Bright young things is a lovely way of describing babies living near Cellarfield. Of an autumn evening you can see the glow emanating across the fields. Nervous children living there don't need to worry...
NP: Derek Nimmo's challenged you.
DN: Repetition of children.
NP: Yes there were children before, yes. So Derek you've got in on this bright young things and you have 41 seconds to tell us about it starting now.
DN: I do remember years ago when Nicholas Parsons and I were bright young things. Flappers in the 1920s, down the Strand we go! Tossing our pearls over our shoulders! Blowing kisses to passing guardsmen! And they would say they are bright young things! And we were! It's so sad to see him now! In the first, in the first flush of his senility! Remember he too, and I, we were in...
NP: Yes Linda challenged, yes Linda what was your...
LS: Yes several repetitions of we were.
NP: Yes we were definitely, a hesitation, and rubbish! And deviation as well, yes! So Linda you have 10 seconds on bright young things, starting now.
LS: Bright young things in my experience certainly don't work in DIY Super Stores. Quite the reverse I find, they're really rather stupid young...
NP: So Linda Smith speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so and has moved forward but Tony it's your turn to begin as well, keeping a straight face. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
TH: If I look out at an audience and see nothing but straight faces then as a comedian I'm not really doing my job properly. But I used to do a good deal of acting in the past and it was important to be able to keep a straight face. it was no good being told by a fellow er thespian on stage that your mother had died in a Greek tragedy and then burst out laughing because someone had dropped their kecks in the wings! Frankly it was not on! I used to keep a straight face in the cupboard under the stairs. For about four years it was there. I used to bring it out at parties and wave it around and then er put it away again...
NP: Derek you challenged.
DN: Well hesitation.
NP: Yes he said a definite er there so that's hesitation. Derek you have a correct challenge, another point of course...
DN: Two seconds to go?
NP: No you've got a full 25 to tell us something about keeping a straight face starting now.
DN: It is sometimes very difficult to keep a straight face on stage. I used to work with a lovely lady called Maureen Lipmann and she is the most difficult to keep a straight face with because she's always pulling funny ones! And I don't know! Geoffrey Palmer. Do you know him? Sour faced old fellow! Well he is terribly difficult to keep a straight face with as well because he makes you giggle. And I know if I am sitting in the audience as you are tonight and I see people...
NP: So Derek did keep going until the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's equal in the lead with Tony Hawks at the end of the round. Graham Norton your turn to begin, the subject: seven hills. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
GN: Imagine my delight when I sat in my hotel room, picked up a colourful lavishly illustrated brochure which announced "if you like hills, you'll love Sheffield". Because as you know and I didn't it's built on seven hills. How did that happen I wonder! Presumably it was in fact built on one hill! And...
NP: Oh dear Tony challenged.
TH: Repetition of built.
GN: Well spotted, yeah!
NP: Yes. The generosity! Right! Tony, 28 seconds for you on seven hills starting now.
TH: Jimmy Hill. Gordon Hill. Damon Hill. Harry Hill. Box Hill. The hills are alive with the sound of music! I could go on. Rome wasn't built in a day. That was constructed on seven hills also but it's not a patch on Sheffield! Frankly you see no tools lying there! With people I often feel like going to the tourists who are there and saying "why are you in this Italian city when you could be in Yorkshire, visiting the seven hills there? There's much more to see and more Roman remains...
NP: So Tony you've taken the lead, you received an extra point for speaking as the whistle went, you've gone ahead. And Derek Nimmo will you take the next round. My current craze. What a lovely subject! Sixty seconds as usual starting now.
DN: In my long life I've witnessed many crazes. There used to be hula hoops! Now it seems to be yo dittoes that everybody has, pulling them up and down the little gears cunningly put inside them! But I have a current craze this year which curiously enough is currants. Because I had a surfeit of strawberries, an extravagance of raspberries, far too many blackberries, and then at the end of summer I thought to myself, "oh currants". Those little sultanas. And I put them into cakes and into pies and also the red ones and also those glorious...
NP: Tony Hawks has challenged you.
TH: Well there were quite a lot of alsos.
NP: Yes you were alsoing a bit too much there, Derek.
DN: Oh yeah.
NP: Yes but you did very well.
DN: I'll get you for that!
NP: Tony Hawks you challenged, a correct challenge, a point for that of course, 21 seconds available, my current craze, starting now.
TH: My current Crays are Ronnie and Reggie. I went out and bought toy replicas of them and I play with them at home. I was quite keen on snowboarding. I did that for a while. I did it on Hampstead Heath in the summer. It was no fun I have to tell you. It's far better to go to Verbiez or somewhere in Switzerland and...
NP: So Tony Hawks spoke as the whistle went, gained the extra point and he's moved into second place behind Graham Norton. Linda Smith it's your turn to begin. The subject is critic. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.
LS: Kenneth Tynan said a critic is someone who knows where to go but doesn't know how to drive the car. This makes a critic the opposite of a minicab driver who knows how to drive the car but doesn't know how to get there in my experience! This is particularly true in south London I find where many... oh dear God! Surely that's a minute!
NP: Graham Norton you challenged.
GN: I sensed she wanted me to!
NP: So do we interpret that as hesitation? I suppose so! Or even deviation!
LS: Just giving up! Just giving up the will to live really!
NP: Yes! Right! Thirty-six seconds Graham, critic, starting now.
GN: It is a little known fact that critic is a French word meaning "sad wanna-be who was bullied in school and wants to get back at the world for a living". Oh read them and weep! I have no idea really why anyone would want to be a critic. When I was in school I remember...
GN: Thank God for that!
NP: Linda challenged.
LS: Repetition of school.
NP: That's right, yes.
GN: Oh yes!
NP: Linda you got in but you've only nine seconds to go on critic starting now.
LS: Some rather smug people say, "ooohh I'm my own worst critic!" How on earth can they possibly know that? They don't know what we're saying about them!
NP: So Linda Smith speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. She's equal in second place with Graham Norton and they're behind Tony Hawks and Derek Nimmo who are out in the lead together. Derek your turn to begin, the subject: the wild card. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
DN: Wella wild card is someone who is unpredictable and I would suggest David Shaylor, that curious man who was employed by the MI5 must be a very wild card indeed. How did the intelligence service get someone who was such a loose cannon and employ him? I've never seen anyone look so shifty and unpleasant and he's sitting there in France eating off the lap. He can't come back here and sue me by the way because if he does he will be nabbed and put in the nearest jail. And jolly good too! And his girlfriend looks equally notorious to me! But I cannot imagine how wild card...
NP: Tony you pressed your buzzer.
TH: Repetition of imagine.
NP: That's right yes, more than that yes but there we are! Tony, 22 seconds, the wild card starting now.
TH: The wild card can be used in poker. We used to have some magnificent games. Paul Merton who's an illustrious player of this game, we'd go round his house and play into the night. It was magnificent. Sometimes you'd have so many wild cards...
NP: Derek challenged.
DN: Repetition of magnificent.
NP: It was too magnificent I'm afraid.
TH: It was.
NP: Ten seconds Derek, back with you, the wild card starting now.
DN: You can change the colour or the suit or any kind of rule if you're dealing that you want to inflict. That can be for the wild card. Now when I was in Vegas...
NP: Derek Nimmo speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's in second place behind Tony Hawks at the end of that round. Tony, we're with you. It's your turn to begin again. And the subject is the arrest. Can you tell us something about that in this game starting now.
TH: Last night I went out in Sheffield, drank 14 pints of lager, climbed to the top of the Town Hall, stripped naked, and sang the entire repertoire of the Spice Girls hits accompanying myself on the organ. The arrest that followed was swift and devestating. The officer came up to me and said "hello, bonjour, good day," taking care not to repeat those words which was handy for me in recounting this story. And he said "you've already taken down what I want for evidence" and I made a statement and was taken off. I made a citizens arrest once...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Repetition of made.
NP: Yes you were making yes a lot there. Derek with you the arrest, 14 seconds, starting now.
DN: I was in my room at the Gaduggan Hotel, number 14 I think it was when I suddenly heard a rattatditto on the door. And I opened it. Outside was a Bobby Peeler or I think a policeman as you might call it today and they said "we are here to arrest you". They took me down to Chelsea Hospital which was very near the police station and was quite a good place to be really...
NP: Derek Nimmo speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's now in a lead, just one ahead of Tony Hawks. Graham Norton, your turn to begin. Scent. Tell us something about that delicious subject in this game starting now.
GN: It remains a mystery to me why they name scents the way they do. Who wants to smell like old spice? Surely it should be fresh, vibrant, mmm Basil I love you. But however a scent like jazz is to perfume what that is to music. Pointlessness. Dreariness in the air! There's a new one now that Calvin Klein has just introduced called contradiction. Why? Somebody says "I love your perfume". "No you don't." "I'd like to go home with you." "No you wouldn't." It’s a curious name for anything! As a young boy I would sit in the car beside my father being driven to the School of Pop reeking of blue stratos which was a popular thing at the time. Now of course draw near...
NP: Well that hasn't happened for quite a while, someone started with a subject and went the full 60 seconds, no hesitation, repetition or deviation, and he was not interrupted. Graham you get not only a point for speaking when the whistle went, a bonus point for not being interrupted. Hard work for two points but well done! And you're still in third place! Linda, it's your turn to begin. A swift half. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.
LS: A swift half. A quick little drink. Probably with a chum is so much nicer than a half swift such as the cat might leave in the kitchen for you to find. Charming! Equally unpleasant a half swallow, a half pigeon, a half wren, a half ermmm...
NP: Tony you challenged.
TH: I think there was a hesitation.
NP: Yes a definite hesitation. Tony, 41 seconds, a swift half, starting now.
TH: Last night I went out in Sheffield and drank 28 swift halfs. I climbed to the top of the Town Hall, removed my clothing and sang the entire repertoire of the Spice Girls hits whilst accompanying myself on the organ. This is an example of what not to do. Normally you just have a swift half maybe...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Deviation. I don't think they could be very swift halfs if he had 28 of them! They must be rather slow halfs!
TH: They're incredibly quick if you've got to get 28 in, I tell you!
NP: No it could have been a swift half, each half was swift. No he wasn't deviating from the subject. So 21 seconds for you Tony still, a swift half starting now.
TH: The second half of Sheffield Wednesday against Manchester United went very swiftly for me because I was enjoying the scoreline of 3-1. That was an example of a swift half that you don't imbibe but one that you watch. I can't pretend to errrrr, come on!
NP: Graham Norton challenged.
GN: That was a bit.
NP: That was a hesitation. And you cleverly got in with four seconds to go on a swift half Graham starting now.
GN: Thanks to penalty shootouts, hurrah, what a great idea, swift halfs...
NP: Well Tony Hawks is still in the lead, Derek Nimmo's coming up one behind him and Graham Norton is creeping up and Linda Smith is following him. And Derek it's your turn to begin. The subject is quotations. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.
DN: I always like that quotation of Carol Brown when she said she could never see what Sir Godfrey Terl could see in the actress Jill Bennett until she went to Caprice and saw her eating corn on the cob. I always think that is rather an amusing idea. And that line of Oscar Wilde's when he said never make love to a Methodist standing up because it could lead to dancing. If you're going to a building contractor it's very important to get a quotation first because otherwise you'll be done horribly. I have experience with a company called First Direct and they told me how much it was going to cost. But unfortunately when the bill arrived it had doubled. I looked the gentle day before the wheels of Febus roundabout dabbles and drought east of Oxford Road, thanks to you all Anne Levus. Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom...
NP: Right! Well that doesn't often happen in Just A Minute. Two complete rounds with no interruptions for hesitation, repetition or deviation. Well done! So we're moving into the last round alas. And Tony Hawks it's your turn to begin and the subject is apron strings. Sixty seconds as usual and your time starts now.
TH: I was tied to my mothers apron strings for a long period of my life. But fortunately they were incredibly long so she lived in Buenos Aires and I was brought up in Brighton. Sometimes shipping would get entangled causing enormous difficulties to the commercial business that went on on the ocean. I also...
NP: Graham Norton challenged.
GN: There were two ons weren't there?
GN: You all heard them!
NP: So a correct challenge, another point Graham, apron strings is with you starting now.
GN: Apron strings is a dull topic and yet I will go on! I'm not in favour of the domestic bow at the back when tying them. Having worked in restaurants I favour the twice round, up the front, a little...
NP: Um, Linda you challenged.
LS: Was there a repetition of favour?
NP: Yes you did...
NP: I don't favour the bow at the back, I favour... Yes well done. well listened Linda yes, the last round and they're all...
GN: I could have fought it! Because God knows no-one was listening!
NP: So Linda you've got in on the subject of apron strings, there are 23 seconds left starting now.
LS: Like Graham I prefer the bow at the front. It looks so much more professional like the two fat ladies or somebody like that. Some TV...
NP: Er Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Repetition of like.
NP: Like that. there were too many like I'm sorry Linda. So Derek's got in with 15 seconds to go on the subject, apron strings, starting now.
DN: If you were a bishop of the Church of England you would wear an apron with strings tied at the front. Similarly if you should be a freemason you would wear as an instant apprentice an apron with strings that have to be tied, not behind...
NP: Tony Hawks challenged.
TH: Repetition of tied.
NP: Tied yes that's right and Tony you've cleverly got in with one second to go! And I think we're going to make it a very tight contest at the end as a result of that last challenge! One second, apron strings, Tony, starting now.
TH: Apron strings are...
NP: So let me give you the final score. Linda Smith who's not played the game as much as the others just finished in fourth place, just behind Graham Norton in third place. Two with the same points, 11 points each, Derek Nimmo and Tony Hawks are our joint winners. What does it really matter where they come? It's the contributions they make and they were all wonderful and lovely and delightful. I do thank Linda Smith right at the top there, Tony Hawks, Graham Norton, Derek Nimmo, for the wonderful contribution. I thank Elaine Wigley for keeping the score so magnificently and giggling so charmingly in my earhole and also helping me with everything. And also our producer Chris Neill who produces the show and keeps us all in order when he possibly can. And of course the creator of the game, Ian Messiter, we're deeply grateful to him. And particularly grateful to this lovely Yorkshire audience at the Lytheum Theatre in Sheffield for encouraging us on our way. Thank you so much! We've enjoyed ourselves here in Sheffield. From me Nicholas Parsons, goodbye!