NOTE: Suki Webster's only appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: 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 show four talented, exciting charismatic personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. And they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Gyles Brandreth. And seated on my left, Suki Webster and Graham Norton. Please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject that I am going to give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me keep the score, she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Radio Theatre in the heart of Broadcasting House in the centre of London West One. And we're going to begin the show with Paul Merton. Paul, the long arm of the law. Sixty seconds as usual Paul starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Doctor Crippin may well have been innocent. The body they found underneath his house which for many years they supposed to be that of his wife has turned out to be somebody else altogether. Recent advances in DNA may actually prove that the gentleman I mentioned earlier was completely not guilty. He was of course caught by an invention by Marconi called the radio. He was doing a disc jockey turn on Radio One and got found by the authorities as he was...


NP: Graham you've challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: Repetition of radio.

NP: Yes.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Radio yes.

GN: Yes yes.

NP: Graham Norton you have a correct challenge so you get a point for that, you have 34 seconds, the long arm of the law starting now.

GN: I've only encountered the long arm of the law once. It was many years ago. I was walking home early in the morning in Cork in Ireland. And the bakery had long trays of warm bread out on the street. Well the hunger came upon us walking home... oh I said walking home.


NP: Gyles you challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: Repetition of walking.

NP: So Gyles you have a point for a correct challenge, 13 seconds available, the long arm of the law starting now.

GB: I had the honour of meeting PC George Dixon of Dock Green some years ago...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Impossible, he was a fictional character.

GB: No!

PM: What, you mean you can meet a fictional character?

GB: Yes! Yes!

PM: Oh all right!

GB: Can we get on?

NP: Yes you can get on.

GB: Thank you.

NP: You've got nine seconds and another point to you, the long arm of the law, Gyles starting now.

GB: Once upon a time, within the metropolitan constabulary, there were rules...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry that was deviation, constabralaaarry? What sort of word is that?

GB: Oh you mock people with speech impediments, do you?

GN: I never knew you had a speech impediment, do you?

GB: No I...

GN: I just thought you were posh!

NP: He's got incredibly...

GN: I just thought he was rich and talked like that!

NP: Though he was speaking fast, he did convey the fact that he was trying to say constabulary.

PM: Oh okay, I got that he was trying to say it obviously. I think we just disagree on his amount of success!

NP: Paul I think what we'll do is we have enjoyed your interruption so much...

PM: It doesn't matter to me, later on I'm going down the pub with Winnie the Pooh and Sherlock Holmes!

NP: Gyles, six seconds, the long arm of the law starting now.

GB: The point is that the traditional copper was obliged to be over six feet tall and have an extremely long...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Gyles Brandreth so I don't really need to remind you that at the end of the round he has more points than anybody else. Gyles we'd like you to begin the next round, the Eiffel Tower. Will you tell us something about that edifice in this game starting now.

GB: I'd be pleased to talk about the Eiffel Tower and I'm amused that you should give me this subject Nicholas. Because I've just in fact returned from Paris where the Eiffel Tower exists as the tallest building in that great story. Erected in 1889...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Isn't the Tour Montparnasse, that thing...

GB: No! No!

GN: Isn't that taller?

GB: No!

GN: The lady down here, see the really clever lady, the really really smart clever lady, her!

NP: Gyles can you justify it?

GB: I can certainly justify that the Tower, the Eiffel Tower is indeed the tallest building in Paris, the tallest erected edifice. There are four other taller buildings in France, none of them are within the city of Paris.

NP: What about this Montparnasse?

GB: I was there this afternoon Madam!

PM: They've put on another extension since you were there!

GB: There is no question that the Eiffel Tower is the tallest edifice in Paris!

NP: Right...

GB: Can we move on? Can we sweep on?

NP: Where is the Montparnasse, the building?

GN: No, it's that big tower south of the river, isn't that taller than that?

GB: No!

GN: It must be taller than that, it's a skyscraper!


GB: No no.

GN: Excuse me! Excuse me! Excuse me! Excuse me! Can we just listen to that accent? That is a French person!

NP: May I ask you, are you from Paris?


GB: Yeah...

NP: Forty years or four years?


GN: Forty years!

NP: We will go with the erudite lady in the front row.

GB: What!

GN: Yay!

NP: Who's lived for 40 years in Paris!

GB: Oh outrageous! This is outrageous! This isn't on!

GN: Someone, someone out the back has just googled it, you know it's true!

NP: No I've decided it is on, Gyles, and I think you've...

GB: All right.

NP: ... had a good enough innings on this already, and you've expressed yourself and I think you should calm down now for a bit. Otherwise we'll have to bring the medics in! So Graham you had a correct challenge...

GB: Oh!

NP: And you have the Eiffel Tower...

GN: I'll share the cash prize with you!

NP: The Eiffel Tower, Graham, is with you, 49 seconds starting now.

GN: The Eiffel Tower is a quaint little structure in Paris...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Deviation.

NP: Why?

GB: It is not a little structure. It is apparently, according to you Nicholas, the second tallest edifice in Paris!

NP: Yes but if you're Graham Norton and you speak with affection about something, you can describe it as a little charming little place. I think he was being endearing about it and so I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt Graham and you continue with the Eiffel Tower with 45 seconds starting now.

GN: And I imagine it will be lovely when it's finished! I think...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: It was finished on September the 22nd, 1889!

NP: Gyles on this occasion, yes, you have the benefit of the doubt. It was finished, so you have, the Eiffel Tower's back with you, 41 seconds starting now.

GB: It is the creation of the great Gustav Eiffel who literally designed it for...


NP: Paul challenged,

PM: No that's definitely wrong! Somebody copied it from the one in Blackpool, didn't they!

NP: They definitely....

PM: Deviation, it wasn't anything to do with Gustav Eiffel. Right, somebody back me up on this!

NP: They're definitely winding you up now Gyles. An incorrect challenge Gyles, you have another point, 38 seconds on the Eiffel Tower starting now.

GB: The French author Guy de Montepasaan took lunch there every day, because he said it was the only place in the City of Light from which he could not see the hideous edifice...


NP: Suki challenged.

SUKI WEBSTER: He said city earlier.

NP: You had city earlier, well done.

GN: Oh!

SW: Repetition.

NP: Well listened. Our first time player of the game is spotting these things well, 30 seconds are available Suki, will you tell us something about the Eiffel Tower starting now.

SW: The Eiffel Tower stands in that most romantic city of Paris. Many young lovers have met beneath the tower for clandestine trysts, kissing each other and whispering sweet nothings like "cor, you're a little darling, aren't ya!" As they climb to the top of the tower, breathless, they look out over that gorgeous capital of France. They are so enamoured with each other and of the place, they fall into each other's...


NP: So Suki Webster was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and she's now equal in second place with Graham Norton. Out in the lead is Gyles, two points ahead, and Paul is trailing them all a little. Suki we'd like you to begin the next round, it's a very good subject, a fun guy. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

SW: My favourite kind of fun guy is the one that you can whap into a pan and fry up with your eggs and bacon in the morning. And I don't mean a mushroom, I mean a man that does that has got to be good for a laugh! Today I am surrounded by four fun guys. Paul Merton, that dry wit and gorgeous godlike creature. Next to him...


PM: Who buzzed? Who buzzed? Who buzzed? Who buzzed then? Who buzzed then?

NP: Gyles you challenged.

PM: That's what I pay my licence fee for! Who buzzed then?

NP: Gyles you challenged.

GB: Yes I challenged!

NP: Why?

GB: Deviation.

SW: He is a fun guy!

NP: Listen, you, you may have a different...

GB: Did you hear the description? Would you like it replayed to you?

PM: Yes I would!

NP: You may have a different opinion of Paul Merton, but that is the image that Suki Webster has and she's entitled to her image of Paul Merton.

GB: Yeah the deviation is her! Poor darling girl! She's obviously a deviant if this is her, if Paul is her idea of a sort of godlike creature, she's got problems! And I was just trying to spare her and her family from this sort of public humiliation! This is ghastly!

NP: I think you're digging yourself a kind of grave here actually! Because I'm never going to agree with you.

GB: No, well that's all right.

NP: Suki, no, you're allowed to have your own opinion of all these four people on the panel. I'm interested to know what you think about the other three.

PM: Yes!

NP: So an incorrect challenge, a point to you Suki, and there are 37 seconds starting now.

SW: Next to him, Gyles Brandreth. He's posh, he's angry and he's gorgeous! What a...


NP: Paul challenged.

GB: This is good!

PM: Well you're just, you're just devaluing the word now, aren't you! I mean if Gyles Brandreth is gorgeous then...

NP: No I mean, Paul, if she can have that opinion of you, she can always...

PM: You're just waiting to hear what she says about you, aren't you!

NP: Of course, I can't wait for it! So Suki, another incorrect challenge, you have 29 seconds, a fun guy starting now.

SW: On my left, that funster, that naughty potty-mouthed but loveable Graham Norton! What a fun guy he is! But the best...


NP: Graham, wait, she's just getting to me!

GN: No gorgeous! Nothing! Over there, a wall of beauty! Here, some swearing giggly man! I tanned for this!

SW: You do look gorgeous!

NP: I'll tell you what we're going to do, we're going to give Graham a bonus point for his interjection there and what he said because it was so enjoyable. But Suki I gave it against the others and therefore I still have to give it with you and your descriptions and say you have 20 seconds still, a fun guy starting now.

SW: The most fun...


NP: Paul?

PM: Hesitation.

NP: No! Not at all! She was just about getting to the... no! She was just, I was just, it was all expectancy everywhere, no! Right, another incorrect challenge, another point to you Suki, another 18 seconds, a fun guy starting now.

SW: Last but not least, Nicholas Parsons, what a fun guy he is! Only last week we were at a party when he stripped naked, had... nipples....


PM: Stripped naked, he was! Stripped naked!

NP: I don't know why I gave you the benefit of the doubt last time! Gyles why have you challenged?

GB: Well I mean, for a variety of reasons, one, to protect your reputation. Two, because the erotic charge that there had been in the studio earlier on suddenly evaporated. But principally, if I'm to be honest, because of the repetition of the word last. Last but not least, and then afterwards, last week I was at a party.

GN: I guess that's sound.

NP: So I have to give it to you Gyles, a point to you. A fun guy is with you, eight seconds starting now.

GB: Guy Fawkes was one of the most amusing of all people in the 17th century. He loved a bonfire, fireworks, all sorts of...



NP: No no, wait a minute, no, Paul challenged before the whistle.

PM: Deviation, no, I don't think he loved a bonfire because they really only became popular once he was killed.

GB: No! No, he was the 17th person to be killed that November by fire.

NP: But he...

PM: That doesn't prove he loved a bonfire and fireworks!

NP: Gyles...

PM: He loved a bonfire and fireworks? The reason we have fireworks is because of Guy Fawkes.

GB: How do you know?

PM: Because I built the Eiffel Tower!

NP: Honestly, no, what Paul said is absolutely correct!

PM: Yes!

NP: I mean he didn't decide to blow up the Houses of Parliament because he enjoyed a bonfire! We, we now have bonfires celebrating his activities. So no, no, benefit of the doubt goes to Paul, he has half a second on a fun guy starting now.

PM: Dressed up!


NP: So at the end of that round Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's still in fourth place and then is Graham and Gyles and now Suki Webster has taken the lead! Graham, will you take the next round, oh a lovely subject, the plinth in Trafalgar Square. Will you tell us something about that famous empty plinth, 60 seconds starting now.

GN: The plinth in Trafalgar Square is now being put to marvellous use. A series of street performers and artists can perform there without being peed on by dogs. I think that's a lovely thing to do. They're all the time though. When you go by in the middle of the night. Last evening there was a woman counting beads on a rope at about half 11. Doesn't she have a television? Why not go home and watch that? It seemed odd to me. There are other plinths in Trafalgar Square of course. Why was that one left empty? It can't have been for this surely, this wasn't God's plan...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of this.

NP: This yes.

GN: Oh thank God for that!

NP: So Gyles you got in first, 24 seconds available, the plinth in Trafalgar Square starting now.

GB: In younger and happier days when I was a member of Her Majesty's Government, I had a lowly employment at the Department of Culture and National Heritage and the offices are in Trafalgar Square. And I traipsed across the square every day and saw...


GB: Square is on the card!

GN: I'm an idiot! I'm an idiot! I stab myself! I fall on my pen!

GB: That would look good on the plinth!

NP: Yes you can repeat the subject...

GN: Yes.

NP: ... on the card or any word in the subject on the card. And that's what Graham realised too late but he did interrupt Gyles who has another point and he has the plinth in Trafalgar Square, 11 seconds Gyles, starting now.

GB: It was I who saw that this plinth was deserted and suggested to the then Minister that perhaps we could fill it with somebody interesting. Like Margaret Thatcher in her tank or indeed the Queen Mother under the table...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth was then speaking again as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's increased his lead at the end of the round. Paul we're back with you, will you begin the next round, my favourite diet. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PM: My girlfriend is on a seafood diet. She sees food and she diets. That doesn't make any sense!


NP: Suki challenged.

SW: It didn't make sense.

PM: It didn't make sense.

NP: Hesitation.

SW: Hesitation as well.

NP: Yes definitely.

SW: He paused just after it didn't make sense.

NP: It wasn't that, he didn't get a laugh, that's why he paused. Suki, my favourite diet is with you, 56 seconds starting now.

SW: My favourite diet is not to diet. I don't see the point of it. I think people...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Deviation because everyone has a diet. You have to eat something.

NP: No I think in a strict interpretation of the word diet, it means that you are restricting certain diets.

GN: That's a calory controlled diet. Everyone has a diet.


NP: I think the audience are endorsing what you are saying. So I give you the benefit of the doubt Graham, and tell me something about my favourite diet, 50 seconds starting now.

GN: I don't have one!


NP: Gyles you came in first.

GB: Yes all of his diets are consequently his favourite diet.

NP: So what's your challenge?

GB: That it's deviation.

NP: No!

GB: According to what he said, he said, you accepted that everybody has a diet, he has to have, all of his diets are consequently at equal level, they are all his favourite diet or his least favourite. We're now into semantic byplay but why not?

GN: I'd go with the fact, I'd go with the fact that I stopped speaking! I thought that was a...

PM: Hesitation.

GB: That's the one that I was going for.

NP: No no...

GB: I was going, I was going...

NP: Gyles...

GB: But the woman in the front row from Paris who was in before was shaking her head at me so I was confused.

NP: Gyles you can't...

GB: Yes yes let's hear some more from him! I agree! He spent a lot on the town...

NP: Shut up will you! We don't have secondary challenges.

GB: Of course not.

NP: He did hesitate.

GB: He did hesitate, exactly.

NP: He was sufficiently logical within the rules of Just A Minute, not to have your first challenge.

GB: You're quite right!

NP: The looks on my face, I wish they could be conveyed but it's radio. But there we are, 48 seconds with you Graham, my favourite diet starting now.

GN: My favourite diet is chips, I don't know, perhaps with ketchup, that's a deviation or a variety. I really thought...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: He clearly doesn't want the subject.

GN: No, I'm just, no, I'm so confused because I thought, I thought it was still, I thought it was with Gyles now. But you said Graham and I thought "what?"

NP: Oh you must be always ready for the unexpected.

GN: I know, that was very unexpected.

NP: Paul you have a correct challenge, you have 40 seconds, my favourite diet starting now.

PM: Undoubtedly my favourite diet is the Mediterranean one. I drink five glasses of that particular sea every day and you know my skin flushes like a young blossoming virgin as she is led away to the police inquiry...


NP: Suki challenged.

SW: Has he looked at himself lately? Young and blossoming? I don't mean to be cruel but you know!

PM: Hang on, I was a god about 10 minutes ago!

GB: Yes, 10 minutes is a long time in love!

PM: Yes.

SW: A rugged god though.

NP: So what is your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

SW: Deviation from the truth.

NP: Oh shall we put it to the audience?

PM: No!

NP: No I think, I don't think you could compare his complexion to that of a young virgin, I really don't. So Suki you have 26 seconds on my favourite diet starting now.

SW: My favourite diet is chocolate. I have a very sweet tooth. As long as it is packed with sugar and calories I will eat it. None of this low fat high fibre for me, give me cake! Give me biscuits!


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Just a repeat of the give me, give me.

NP: Yes and I think all the audience spotted it as well. So give me, give me and there's 12 seconds for you Gyles, my favourite diet starting now.

GB: No bread, rice, pasta or potatoes, only consume food that traditionally requires the use of cutlery, and eat three times a day on your own, chewing everything at least 26 times...


NP: So at the end of that round Gyles Brandreth was once again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. But Suki Webster is creeping up and um she's only one point behind him, and she's two or three points ahead of Graham Norton and Paul Merton in that order. Suki we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is in the doghouse. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

SW: As a teenager, I was often in the doghouse for my pubescent antics. I spent so long in the doghouse which wasn't easy because we had a miniature Pekinese. Getting in there was very troublesome. Eventually I refurbed it and put in a conservatory. That was much better. Neil Armstrong was also put in the doghouse by his wife. When he went to the Moon, he had told her that he had just popped down to the newsagents for a paper! She wasn't happy! She didn't speak to him for three...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Unfortunately it was a repetition of she.

NP: She yes, she she.

SW: Yeah.

NP: She she right.


PM: I know!

NP: It's a correct challenge! Those are the rules of Just A Minute!

GB: A lot of us make correct challenges and they get ignored, you know. But not necessarily me, obviously!

NP: I can't give you a bonus point...

GB: No I don't want a bonus point, I just want to take this opportunity to say how much I admire you Nicholas! I always have!

NP: I can't give you a bonus point for flattery or for bitterness.

GB: Oh God, that's what keeps me awake!

NP: Thirty-one seconds Paul, you have another point and you have the subject, in the doghouse starting now.

PM: (in odd semi-posh voice) In the doghouse is indeed referring to the kennel that you find resting against a lot of domestic homes in the mid 19th century. One thinks of it as an American invention. I don't know why I'm talking like this. But I think I'm prematurely...


NP: Suki challenged.

SW: I thought there was a hesitation.

NP: No there wasn't a hesitation, darling.

SW: I apologise. I take it back.

NP: You could have had him for deviation from his normal speech but it's a bit late now.

SW: Too late!

NP: Right! Paul an incorrect challenge, another point to you, 16 seconds, in the doghouse starting now.

PM: One thinks of those fantastic Tom and Jerry cartoons where the dog, always the enemy of the cat, was put into the doghouse. And he would react in a very angry way. I remember one particular animated adventure...


NP: Ah Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of remember.

PM: Nobody does! The ultimate irony!

NP: I think right at the beginning you said I remember.

PM: Though you're not sure though, are you?

NP: No.

PM: You've got no idea really, have you.

GN: Madam?

PM: You haven't, have you? It's all for the best we're taping this, we can play it back, we can play it back!

NP: No we haven't got time for that, I have to make a quick decision.

GB: This is being recorded is it?

NP: It is. No I think at the beginning you said I remember.

PM: Mmmmmm.

NP: And so Graham you have a point, you have two seconds...

GN: Oh the irony! Sorry yes? How many seconds?

NP: In the doghouse, two seconds...

GN: This is genius! Marvellous!

NP: Two seconds starting now.

GN: In the doghouse there is a lot of...


NP: Right so Graham Norton was then speaking as the whistle went, he's crept forward. He's now equal with Suki Webster in second place, they are one point behind Gyles Brandreth and they're all just five points ahead of Paul Merton. But it's the contribution. And we're going into the final round. And Graham it's with you to begin, the subject is my first car, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

GN: Since you asked, my first car was a Toyota Rath Four. Bought a little prematurely because I couldn't drive at the time. I assumed I'd learn which I did many years later. But that car (laughs)...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: It was a laugh to cover the hesitation.

GN: Oh!

NP: No...

GN: J'accuse!

NP: I'm going to interpret that as a laugh through dialogue...

GB: Oh very lovely! Can I say that's brilliantly put, yes.

NP: So you have...

GN: It was actually a laugh through tears!

NP: I gave you the benefit of the doubt the time before Gyles, so Graham has it on this occasion...

PM: Can I just establish I haven't had my benefit of the doubt yet, have I?

NP: Give it to him now then! Right, 46 seconds Graham, my first car starting now.

GN: In retrospect it was perhaps a mistake to buy a car, just because it had cupholders...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was that repetition of buy?

NP: Paul a correct challenge, 42 seconds, my first car starting now.

PM: My first car was a Rover. You pressed a button and the automatic roof went up and down. I wasn't particularly very fond of this vehicle. It had a rather top heavy feel to it. But I had recently passed my test and I was keen to get out on the land's motorways. Afterwards I bought another car that was a much better one than the previous. Oh this is the most boring thing I have ever said in all my life!


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: This is a charitable intervention because he was saying it is very boring and he was moving towards a hesitation, I was anticipating that.

NP: No you can be as boring as you like in Just A Minute.

PM: Exactly Nicholas!

NP: As long as you don't...

PM: I mean exactly Nicholas, the intonation was wrong there, wasn't it. I didn't mean like exactly Nicholas!

NP: No it was a right intonation because it got a laugh.

PM: Yeah that's right.

NP: I'm very tolerant, I accept the laughs even when they're at my expense.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So benefit of the doubt to you Paul, you've got another one...

GB: He had an earlier doubt!

PM: Yeah yeah!

NP: Nineteen seconds, my first...

PM: How many seconds?

NP: Nineteen!

PM: Right!

NP: Seconds starting now.

PM: My first car was a miracle of engineering. Let me take you through every aspect of the engine. There were a couple of bits that went whoop and another thing that went soooooo and I realised that I had no idea how this magnificent creation could be powered down the road. I was...


NP: Well as I said a moment ago, this was to be the last round and it is. And I'll give the final score. Well it's extremely fair and there's only one point separates all four of them. So what can I do but say that Suki Webster and Paul Merton are just one point behind Gyles Brandreth and Graham Norton. But I think they all did so well, I won't say that anyone of them is the winner over the other, I'll say that all four of them are winners this week! And they were all so good so let me say finally a very great thank you to Paul Merton, Gyles Brandreth, Suki Webster and Graham Norton. I also thank Sarah Sharpe who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle so elegantly. We are grateful to our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are grateful to this lovely audience here in the Radio Theatre who have cheered us on our way magnificently. So from our audience, and from me, Nicholas Parsons, and the panel, we are grateful to you. And please remember, tune in again at the same time the next week, or the week after, or next year when we play Just A Minute! Yes!