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 around the world. But also to welcome to the show four dynamic, talented, excellent, humorous players who are going to show their skills as we play Just A Minute. And they are, seated on my left Paul Merton and Liza Tarbuck. And seated on my right, Sue Perkins and Graham Norton. Please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me with the score, and 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, and we have a lovely hearty Radio Four lot of listeners here who are going to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show this week with Paul Merton. Paul, here's a long subject but try your best with it, how to pass the time if you're stuck in traffic. Sixty seconds, starting now.

PAUL MERTON: There are many ways of passing the time if you are stuck in traffic. You can listen to the car radio. Perhaps Radios Two...


SUE PERKINS: Ah yes um, repeat of radio.

NP: It was a repeat of radio.

PM: No, it was radio and radios. Radios...


SP: Then I apologise.

NP: No don't apologise.

SP: No I should apologise.

NP: We like a keen listener. No well done, Paul yes, he's played the game so often, he knows the tricks. Right, so Paul an incorrect challenge so you get a point for that and you keep the subject and there are 53 seconds available, how to pass the time if you're stuck in traffic starting now.

PM: Making faces at the other stuck motorists is one way of passing the time. Pretend that you are a ghoulish fiend, out on a midnight feast if you find yourself stuck in traffic in the daytime or indeed the night hours...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: I thought daytime hours would be an odd time to have a midnight feast but Paul cleverly went on to say night time.

NP: That's right yes.

SP: Once again I've merely fallen into his trap.

PM: I got here about five hours earlier!

SP: And I'm six hours late, I think, so...

NP: Anticipation of what it could have been. Paul there's still 39 seconds for you...

PM: Thirty-nine?

NP: And you've got another point for an incorrect challenge, how to pass the time if you're stuck in traffic starting now.

PM: One way is to access the Internet. Some cars now have the ability to get you on to this marvellous invention of the 1990s. I particularly when I am stuck in traffic look towards the novels of Ernest Hemingway. Here was a man who was not afraid, originally the first chairman of Just A Minute, he was a character who wrote books...


NP: Graham, you challenged.

GN: I would, I think that was a deviation.

NP: He wasn't the first chairman.

PM: Wasn't he?

GN: No.

NP: No no.

GN: I wasn't even, I'd stopped listening at that point.

NP: I may look as old as Ernest Hemingway, but actually I did the original pilot and I've been in it ever since.

PM: Oh right.

NP: Yes. It didn't get any reaction from the audience.

SP: Some people actually say you're the best chair we ever had.

NP: Graham...

GN: Yes?

NP: You had a correct challenge.

GN: All right.

NP: So you take over the subject, you've got a point of course for a correct challenge and it's 19 seconds available, how to pass the time if you're stuck in traffic starting now.

GN: How I like to pass the time when I'm stuck in traffic is trying to think of new swearwords because I get bored with the old ones. To be shouted at people in the traffic. Because, although rather placid in life, once in a car I rage...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. on this occasion it was Graham Norton so he's now equal with Paul Merton in the lead. And Liza we'd like you to start the next round. the subject is bikers. I don't know whether that's something within your...


NP: ... role, your remit. Oh yes.

LT: I think you know it is!

NP: Yes all right. we try and think of subjects which will appeal to our different players. There are 60 seconds available starting now.

LT: Bikers fall into two categories. The carefree...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Slight hesitation.

NP: There was a slight hesitation.

LT: I slightly...

GN: Whoa Perkins! Whoa errr! Back off!

NP: But she hasn't played the game for a while.

SP: I feel like a gender treat!

PM: But you'd still like the point!

SP: Yeah.

NP: No I'll tell you what, we'll give you a point because we enjoyed your comment.

PM: Yeah.

NP: A bonus point.

SP: Two up to the sisterhood!

NP: But I'm going to leave it with Liza because she'd hardly got going, 57 seconds Liza, bikers starting now.

LT: The brotherhood of bikers is a place I am very happy to be. Clad in lettuce... oh!


SP: Could it be vegetarian?

LT: Clad in lettuce!

NP: So Paul you challenged first.

PM: Oh sadly a hesitation.

NP: That was a definite hesitation.

LT: Tongue...

NP: What were you trying to say? Leathers or lettuce?

LT: Leathers.

NP: Leathers.

SP: I like the idea of lettuce! A man only wearing rocket astride a Harley Davidson.

NP: Paul, correct challenge, 52 seconds available, bikers starting now.

PM: If you go down to the east Sussex coast, somewhere like Rye, you will see many bikers travelling around there in the summer months. The roads are twisty and turning, and there's something about those particular modes of getting around that appeals to the bikers that gather there. There is an air of menace as they come into town. The smell of leopards and leather is heady...


PM: What's the matter? What's the matter about that?

NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: Deviation, I mean I don't know if the leopards are a normal biking acoutrement...

PM: Yeah!

SP: Do they all, do they have a sort of big cat?

PM: We've established that, haven't we? Haven't we established leopards?

NP: No we haven't established it, but they could smell of leopard.

PM: Yeah they do.

NP: There could be an animal trainer on the bike.

PM: A lot of them live very close to Whipsnade Zoo!

NP: It's no...

PM: They bathe the leopard before they go on their bike!

SP: It's a ritual!

PM: Nicholas knows about it. You've raised money for them, haven't you Nicholas.

NP: Oh yes for the leopards.

PM: Yeah.

NP: That's right yes, no, I mean...

PM: You helped them to try and change their spots but they wouldn't have it!

NP: Listen, I'm on your side on this one Paul.

PM: Oh okay all right.

NP: Don't try talking me out of it.

PM: Excellent chairman! Best chairman we've ever had! Excellent chairman!

NP: So, so by the wildest stretch of imagination, they could smell of leopards if they...

PM: Exactly!

NP: ... wanted to yes. So Paul you have another point, 29 seconds available, bikers starting now.

SP: There is no deviation there whatsoever!

PM: Go On A Motorcycle starred Marian Faithful, and was produced and directed by Jack Cardiff who was a cameraman, but this was one of his first forays into direction. It was a magnificently erotic film to see if you were a 14-year-old boy, because the aforementioned actress was clad in this animal skin and it was beautifully sensuous as her curves... I'm going to have to lie down!


NP: Sue?

SP: Deviation into erotic reverie!

PM: Yes!

NP: Sue there are six seconds available, it's with you now, bikers starting now.

SP: How I love a grizzly faced man or woman clad in leather...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: No I'm sorry, I was being a bit mean there. No I thought we hadn't quite got to bikers yet. But ah...

NP: Well she'd only just got going.

PM: I know.

GN: I had a very clear vision of a biker.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Male or female.

PM: Yeah absolutely, absolutely.

NP: Right an incorrect challenge, it doesn't matter, you get another point Sue, and you have three seconds, bikers starting now.

SP: Leopard under one arm, cheetah with the other...


NP: So Sue Perkins was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. She's now equal with Paul Merton in the lead, then comes Graham Norton and then Liza Tarbuck in that order. And Graham would you begin the next round.

GN: Yes.

NP: Oh the seven deadly sins...


NP: Why, because it's Graham, should you go "ooohhh"?

PM: An air of anticipation!

NP: I know! All right, 60 seconds as usual Graham, starting now.

GN: Sloth. Gluttony. Are two of the seven deadly sins. I could list them all but I don't mean to patronise you in any way as I am sure you are very familiar with the missing five I haven't mentioned. Why only seven? That's what I ask myself. I feel laziness has even played a part there. There must be more than seven. Isn't it great that I can say seven more than once? Ah I...


NP: Sue why have you challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

PM: It was, yeah.

NP: No!

PM: No?

NP: He didn't hesitate.

GN: I think there might have been. No I think there might have been.

NP: He was pausing for effect, and he said isn't it marvellous you can say seven more than once. And no, he might have been teetering on hesitation but not quite. I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to Graham. I will find an occasion when I can give the benefit of the doubt...

SP: Oh my word!

NP: Twenty-eight seconds still available for you Graham on the seven deadly sins starting now.

GN: These seven deadly sins, yes I said seven, are deadly sins. Because I believe if you commit them then you will go to hell. I'm pretty sure I can say that without fear of contradiction...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Well deviation. It's a big thing to say you're going to hell, and then without fear of contradiction. Because hell as a place is a very debateable concept, whether it exists or not.

GN: It's thin, but then the whole concept of sin is quite...

PM: Exactly. The whole thesis needs looking at.

GN: Yes! Yes! This subject's ridiculous!

NP: I don't think...

GN: I can't believe you gave it to me Nicholas!

PM: The seven deadly sins!

SP: It's become a moral maze!

PM: It's upped the laughter!

NP: I don't think we've got time to go into whether it's up for debate or not. Paul what was your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: Ah well, within the rules of Just A Minute which are narrow but very wonderful, I have no challenge! But on the broader aspect of whether hell exists or not...

SP: I like the fact...

PM: Deviation because I think Graham can't say "I'm sure I can't be contradicted" when he can be...

NP: No no, it was a very very interesting comment that you made.

PM: Yes.

NP: But not worthy of getting a point.

PM: No.

NP: So...

SP: This show is not ready for metaphysics yet.

PM: Exactly, but nevertheless very interesting.

NP: Very interesting. Right Graham, another point to you for an incorrect challenge, 11 seconds still available, the seven deadly sins starting now.

GN: Surely Nicholas has committed some sort of eighth deadly sin by allowing to torture me by giving me back this subject about which...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well it's deviation, we've moved on to the eighth deadly sin now. Of course the subject is seven deadly sins. You know it's terribly...

GN: I think Paul has a point.

NP: I actually disagree with you Graham, I don't think... I mean you didn't actually deviate from the subject. You said there could have been or should have been eight...

GN: Yes.

NP: ... deadly sins.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So that wasn't deviation.

PM: No that's not deviation from seven, no. Of course not! That's exactly the same number!

NP: No no it isn't. It isn't the same number.

PM: Isn't it?

NP: He was contrasting the fact that there are seven, but there could have been eight, or there should have been eight. Or there could have been eight. There are eight in his mind. Some people have eight in their minds.

PM: Yeah.

NP: It doesn't really matter.

PM: No it's good.

SP: Yeah I've got cinzano on my mind. Ooohh!

NP: So Graham you don't want the subject but you've got it again still. Five seconds, the seven deadly sins starting now.

GN: When I was at drama school, we had to do animal study and I chose...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: It's just deviation now, it's going beyond a joke.

GN: Yeah! Fix that one Nicholas!

SP: Unless he dressed as a starfish and someone entertained lustfilled thoughts.

GN: No. Actually where I was going was, I actually did sloth.

SP: Oh did you?

GN: And I've still got slothy hands, look at them!

NP: Graham, Graham, you've lost the subject so don't try and get it back again!

GN: No I won't!

NP: No, that one goes against you. Right that was a correct challenge Liza, you have half a second on the seven deadly sins starting now.

LT: I often set my...


NP: Liza Tarbuck speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. They're all pretty equal so I won't give you the score.

LT: Oh dear!

GN: The tension is palpable!

LT: Yeah. I wish they did that more on Mastermind!

NP: Oh I'll give it at the end of the next round. Because Sue, we are with you to begin and the subject now is my daily work-out starting now.

SP: It comes as no mystery that I am one of Britain's finest sportswomen. Stopped only from attaining my ultimate Olympic dream by the fact I have a personality. Nonetheless every single morning I wake and embark on my morning work-out...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Unpatriotic!

NP: So what are you going to say Paul?

PM: Well I addressed the concerns of the audience here! I think it's deviation to say athletes don't have personalities because they do.

NP: Some of them do have personality.

PM: Yeah.

NP: But I think your challenge, we're playing Just A Minute... she got such a lovely reaction when she said that...

PM: Yeah.

NP: I'm going to give her...

SP: A mixture of hatred, regret, bitterness...

NP: ... the benefit of the doubt. I said I would find an opportunity to give you the benefit of the doubt...

SP: Oh!

NP: ... and you have got it now Sue. So you have a point for an incorrect challenge, you have 45 seconds, my daily work-out starting now.

SP: I like to start by rolling my eyes skyward. This can take upward of four and a half hours especially when I am listening to the Today programme's Thought For that particular jour. Then I decide to put on a pair of baggy fruit of the loom overalls and schlep my way to the nearest cappucino maker. Whereupon I may perform a simple ritual of pressing a button whereupon grounds...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: Two whereupons.

NP: Two whereupons.

SP: Ooohh! She's as good as they say.

PM: It's a big word.

NP: I don't... it's a big word. Why you go oooooohhhh...

LT: It was a four syllable word. You know what I mean?

NP: Liza it was a correct challenge.

LT: Anything under three, I let go.

PM: You do do that.

LT: Yeah I try to be fair.

NP: Let's hear about your daily work-out, the subject is actually my favourite work-out. And there are 21 seconds starting now.

LT: I get up, don a leather jerkin, open a packet of Capstan full sme...


LT: I can't say words. I was going to say full strength obviously. Now I nearly said smelt.

SP: Are you smelting at that time of the morning?

LT: You know me and iron!

SP: I've seen the cauldron baby!

LT: Keeping it real!

NP: So Sue, your challenge?

SP: Well, just the fact that Capstan full smelts haven't been invented yet. The new cheesy way to enjoy nicotine!

NP: Right. Deviation from English as we understand it, right, my daily work-out is back with you Sue and there are 15 seconds available starting now.

SP: I might lift a letter, parcel perhaps, depending on what has been delivered, and slump luxuriously into the sofa whereupon one of my...


SP: Oh! Whereupon! What happened to my Dickensian vocabulary! Whereupon the young lady decided to visit! I can write the 19th century on my own ass!

NP: I think it has that effect on you, you know, this game...

PM: Yeah.

NP: It does bring out, sort of, archaic words on occasions, or period words like whereupon. But anyway Graham...

GN: It brought it out three times now.

SP: Yes yes.

NP: And Graham you've got five seconds to tell us something about my daily work-out starting now.

GN: My daily work-out is extremely gruelling. I have a...


NP: And we'll never know. But he was speaking as the whistle went so Graham Norton got another point. He is now equal with Sue Perkins in the lead and they are three points ahead of Paul Merton and Liza Tarbuck in second place. Liza your turn to begin. Valentine's Day, that's the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

LT: Valentine's Day is based on an old Roman festival where they used to worship the she-wolf that suckled Rhomulus and Remus. And half of Rome would turn up outside their ex-cave, slaughter two goats and a dog, pull its insides out, and run round the walls of Rome, and punch women for fertility.


LT: All true!

NP: I love it when somebody goes like that and corpses themselves with laughter at what she said. Well done Liza but you were challenged with 40 seconds to go. And it was you Sue, what is your challenge?

SP: Ah hesitation, but also the fact that they punched them for fertility. It's long been proven as the most helpful way of helping people conceive, a punch.

LT: It's absolutely true!

GN: I also liked that they were standing outside an...

SP: Ex-cave!

GN: ... ex-cave. Is that, is that just a wall?

NP: I think Liza's right.

SP: Ex-cave? There is an ex-cave?

NP: There is a certain truth about the punching business but let's not go into it.

PM: What? You can punch women to see if they're fertile?

NP: In that, in that particular time, in Rhomulus and Remus's time, yes.

LT: Yes it's true.

SP: You were there, of course!

PM: Yeah! He was Rhomulus and Remus's support act! Here here, they've turned up, you know who they are! Rhomulus and Remus! Go on, let's hear it!

SP: Roll up ladies! Fancy a punch!

NP: So I come on Just A Minute just to have my morale boosted all the time! So Sue a correct challenge, 40 seconds, Valentine's Day starting now.

SP: Valentine's Day is the most depressing day of the year. Because people are forced to be happy. And if you're not in love, and excitable and delirious with amour, you have to sit in a restaurant and watch people face-hugging to the point of distraction. So much saliva in such a small area. Hands locked, faces melding, and me and Jett Black alone...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: A repetition of face.

NP: Yes you did have more than one face.

SP: Yes. I'm known for it!

GN: Who knew I was listening? I didn't!

NP: And if I was playing the game I would have you for deviation of feeling and emotion. Valentine's Day is a lovely day. It's where people express their love for each other.

LT: Yeah, but when you've been punched as many times as I have... by men checking on whether I'm fertile or not... it really takes the shine off it!

PM: How are the triplets?

NP: We'll say no more on that one. Graham, 19 seconds available...

GN: Nineteen seconds!

NP: Nineteen seconds yes, Valentine's Day starting now.

GN: When I worked in restaurants, nobody wanted to be on the shift on Valentine's Day. Because it seems that lovers are also very cheap. They would order half, we never saw so many half bottles of wine...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of half.

GN: Yes that's right.

NP: Yes he did, he repeated half.

GN: I started to talk.

PM: You talked normally.

SP: Normal Graham talking.

PM: That gave the game away.

NP: Yes Paul a correct challenge so three seconds available, Valentine's Day starting now.

PM: If you punch her, she gets up, she must be fertile.


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went and he's moved forward. He's in a strong second place. Sue Perkins is still in the lead, just two points ahead and Liza's trailing them just a little. And Graham your turn to begin and the subject is being house-proud. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

GN: Give me a cushion, I will scatter it! Hand me a rug, I will throw it!


NP: Paul, Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of I will.

NP: Oh yes.

GN: Oh! Picky! Picky!

PM: Yes.

NP: No, Graham, that was hardly picky, you really emphasised it. I will! I will!

GN: All right! Don't go on about it!

NP: So Sue, a correct challenge, 55 seconds available, being house-proud starting now.

SP: My house looks like a cross between a dungeon and skip. Rarely can I find a work surface which doesn't have piles of paper, things I have received from relatives long ago, gathering dust. I'm not organised. I don't understand ironing. Help me, Anthea Turner...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well there's an iron which heats up.

SP: Yeah.

PM: The pressure of the hot metal on the fabric sort of puts a, puts an ironed crease into it. And that's how it works.

SP: Okay.

NP: But she asked for Anthea Turner's help, not yours.

PM: Yeah she's not...

SP: Yeah but to be fair, Paul is easier on the eye.

PM: Can I help it if I'm depping for her?

NP: I think we could tell the difference.

PM: Yes.

NP: Right so an incorrect challenge I'm afraid. So Sue another point to you, 37 seconds, being house-proud starting now.

SP: Somebody once told me the best way to be house-proud, to make a room look nice, was to have an accent wall. I have no idea what this is so I bought some brown paint and spat at it. Looked a little like Jackson Pollock. Nonetheless it added a certain je ne sais quoi to my home environment, and people were delighted as they entered the room...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes there were people before.

SP: Whereupon I must agree!

NP: So Graham you got in with 21 seconds again, your subject that you started with, being house-proud starting now.

GN: Nothing makes me happier, well, very little does, than comparing paint colours, swatches of fabric, perhaps a neck rue or a duck egg blue...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry, has the word fabric got a hyphen in the middle?

SP: Faaaarr! Farrrrrrrrrr!

GN: When you're house-proud, yes it does!

SP: It was like the mating cry of a grieve!.

NP: He was dragging it out a bit.

PM: He was dragging it out wasn't he.

SP: Yeah.

NP: But I don't think it was enough...

PM: Oh no!

NP: ... to interpret it....

GN: You still understood the word fabric.

SP: Eventually, yes.

GN: If you'd forgotten the F by the time I got to the bric, then I would have stretched it out too much.

PM: Yes it was nice to get it in installments.

GN: Yeah! By the yard!

NP: And also I have to give benefits of the doubt on occasions. On this occasion Graham, you have got the benefit of the doubt.

GN: Thank you.

NP: You have that one and you have 10 seconds still, being house-proud starting now.

GN: I like...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: I just got in with the hesitation. As he took a breath in.

GN: Shoot me for breathing!

LT: I could see Brian Sewell gathering in his chest for more, and I was having none of it!

PM: Yeah!

NP: No I'm sorry Liza, he did take in a breath, but not long enough to be a pause.

PM: No.

LT: Oh okay.

NP: Not in Just A Minute.


SP: Oh see don't turn on 'em, because they may get nasty!

NP: I know you want to hear from lovely Liza but I've got to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute. So Graham, another point to you, being house-proud and there are nine seconds starting now.

GN: You can sand down floors and do things to them, with honey in fact. Very odd. Or maybe it's wax, I'm not quite sure...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: I'd say deviation because honey is very odd. And simply wax would be the better option.

GN: Well I corrected myself very quickly there.

NP: He did correct himself.

GN: Yeah Sue.

SP: Yeah but you were going, you were going to varnish...

GN: What do you know? You live in a skip!

SP: Yeah! But if you look in the bottom of the skip, it won't have honey in it! At least I can walk across the floor of the skip without fear of being stuck to it!

NP: No Graham, I'm still with you, four seconds, being house-proud starting now.

GN: Being house-proud is a very important thing. If people come round to your...


NP: So Graham Norton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And we're moving into the final round. So let me tell you the situation as we do. Graham Norton is in the lead. And he's one point ahead of Sue Perkins and a few more ahead of Paul Merton and a few more still ahead of Liza Tarbuck. Sue we are going to begin with you in this round here, it is a loose cannon. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

SP: A loose cannon is a maverick personality, a renegade. Someone like Jeremy Clarkson, who despite all scientific evidence, decides the best way to approach the environment is by being a loose cannon. Shouting his mouth off. "Oh the polar bears aren't hungry, and if they are, I'll just drive my Mercedes staright past them and chuck something like a sandwich from Preta Mange in their face. They'll love a bit of it. It is after all sardine flavoured which is akin to something they might get in the wild." He can't help himself. He is exactly the kind of eccentric loose cannon we are used to in this country. And it's strange we still give them air time. Nonetheless there he is. If there is a right thinking opinion, he will merely take the converse route. He will permanently like to pursue the path of most resistance. Of course I say this as a liberal. There are many out there who might feel that what he has to say is absolutely correct and perfectly within his rights to say. However on the other hand loose cannons may be fun...


NP: Well it doesn't often happen in Just A Minute, especially when you have three clever bright opponents against you. But Sue started with the subject and she carried on magnificently with it. And finished in fine form as that resounding round of applause indicated your triumph. And you get a point for speaking as the whistle went and a bonus point for not being interrupted. Well done! And you won't be surprised to discover that she is in the lead. But let me tell you that Liza Tarbuck who is lovely to have on the show but she did finish in fourth place. A brilliant and wonderful fourth place.

SP: She taught us something, she taught us something about fertility along the way, it's fair to say.

GN: That we'll remember forever!

NP: And she was a few points behind Paul Merton. And he was one or two points behind Graham Norton. Graham was only two points behind our winner...

GN: Don't rub it in!

NP: Only two points behind right. So a round of applause for our winner, Sue Perkins! So that's all we have time for alas. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Liza Tarbuck, Sue Perkins and Graham Norton. I thank...


NP: I'm sorry, just a minute. Also thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, she has blown her whistle beautifully after the 60 seconds elapsed. We thank our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are indebted to this lovely warm audience here in the Radio Theatre who have cheered us on our way magnificently. From our lovely audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, and from the four panellists here, good-bye and tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!