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 not only in this country but throughout the world. But also to welcome to the show four exciting, delightful and talented players of this game. And they are, seated on my right Paul Merton and Liza Tarbuck. And seated on my left, Sue Perkins and John Sergeant. Please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And beside me sits Trudi Stevens, she is going to help me keep the score, she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition is coming from the Radio Theatre, in the heart of Broadcasting House. And let us begin the show this week with Sue Perkins. Sue, interesting subject, my philosophy. Tell us something about that in this game, starting now.

SUE PERKINS: My philosophy is never mock a waiter. Because the dish that you ordered is never the one that is going to get put back on to your plate. Once I remember casting aspersions on pasta sauce. It was whisked from my sight and returned as a green thing, snotty some would say, viscous certainly, and a certain after-taste that stayed with me way into the next decade. I learnt it is important to remain polite, because if you fail to do so, terrible things will happen. My colon is testament to that. It was a terribly silly error, a schoolgirl one. Ultimately though they're doing a good job for the minimum wage. I tip them now incredibly well. It's important they know they're doing a fine job presenting us...


NP: There we are, Liza challenged.


NP: Two jobs.

LT: Double jobby!

SP: Two great big jobs. Two extra jobs.

LT: I'd love to help you but I'm on two jobs.

SP: That's all right. So have your two jobs and enjoy it!

NP: So Liza that was a correct challenge, and in this game if it is a correct challenge, you get a point for that, you take over the subject. There are 12 seconds available, it's my philosophy and you start now.

LT: My philosophy is take every day as it comes and gather out of it what gives you bright enjoyment. So for example, the sun may be shining, in which case you will take the dog for a walk, and enjoy the way that the light is...


LT: Oh! My tongue just got in the way there!

NP: Sue.

SP: Hesitationay.

NP: What's that?

SP: Hesitation.

LT: Yeah.

SP: And also repeat of um enjoy.

NP: Well you can't have two points.

LT: Take two off for her being smart!

NP: I'm reluctant to do it at all because I have to tell you, you've only got a quarter of a second to go.

LT: Oh!

NP: I mean Trudi had the whistle on the way up to her mouth.

PAUL MERTON: On the way up. It was on the way up, wasn't it. It was on the way up, wasn't it.

NP: Yes it was.

SP: It was, it was in motion.

PM: It was on the way up to her mouth.

NP: But I've got to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute. It was a correct challenge so Sue, you are back, my philosophy is back with you. And if you can say anything, you're one of the few people who could say something! Quarter of a second starting now.

SP: Socrates...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking as the whistle goes gains an extra point. And of course it was Sue Perkins, she is the only one, oh no, she is not the only one, Liza's got a point and Sue's got two. John Sergeant we'd like you to begin the next round and the subject is going green. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JOHN SERGEANT: Going green is very important but it can be taken far too seriously. People can regard it as a religion. And with these people, I have to say...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: There were two people.

JS: Oh dear, yeah.

NP: Too much people there. Yes all right.

JS: I'm not doing very well on this. I'm green myself, that's the trouble.

NP: No, don't worry John...

JS: Sitting next to Sue is so frightening! Sue...

SP: No.

JS: She's so clever!

SP: Would it help if I stopped touching you?

NP: In case you haven't already sussed it, listeners, Sue Perkins and John Sergeant are sitting next to each other.

SP: I'm sitting on him!

JS: She's lightly feathered, she's just adorable!

SP: Oh stop!

NP: Oh you're a ... so 53 seconds are available for you Sue, having got a correct challenge, going green starting now.

SP: I almost bought a wind turbine and as such I see myself, like everyone, fairly green. It's on my mind that the environment is changing, the climate's altering, the seasons running too closely into one another. But the actuality of it is somewhat stressful. I recently tried to convert a barn, making it as green as I possibly could. Then a government inspector came round, told me I had to triple insulate my windows, and was I worried about my U value. I had no idea what he was clattering on about. Apparently it's the way one measures your environmental capability against others, your neighbours for example. So I decided to maybe get a couple of solar panels in Cornwall where the sun never shines. But there are two sides...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well deviation. The sun mjust shine in Cornwall! People go there for their holidays, you can't...

SP: Yeah but it don't shine when they do! How many people have gone down there and seen sun?

PM: Is it deviation to say the sun never shines in Cornwall?

NP: It is deviation Paul. It was one of those things, welcome to the agricultural hour. So Paul you have got in with a correct challenge, four seconds to go, tell us something about going green starting now.

PM: As the gangrene set in beneath my kneecap, I realised something serious was wrong. I was going green...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And he's now one point behind Sue Perkins who is still in the lead. Liza Tarbuck will you begin the next round and the subject now is the scenic route. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

LT: Mum and I like going on trips together. And we found ourselves at Lidford Gorge one day because we'd decided to take the scenic route, as opposed to the motorway. And a find it was! It's one...


LT: Do you know what? Why would I stop on just it's? Because you're the kind of people who will let it's go.

PM: Yeah we'd let it's go.

LT: I know.

SP: It's gone! Yeah.

PM: Yeah.

LT: I didn't know. I was very very hard on myself then!

SP: I'm very sorry.

NP: Actually it was Sue who challenged you then. Sue what is your challenge?

SP: Hesitation at Lidford Gorge!

LT: Yeah.

NP: Correct challenge Sue, 49 seconds, tell us something about the scenic route starting now.

SP: Liza is entirely right. The best and most spectacular things in life are when you don't plan. When you take the more meandering way. Perhaps you've decided to go to Nutsford but you don't want to take the M4. Potter around an arterial route that is less travelled. I don't know where Nutsford is. Is it on the M4...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Well ah... I somehow felt I got there just before John! Repetition of Nutsford unbelievably!

NP: I know.

SP: Can you clarify where it is though?

PM: Yeah.

SP: Where is it?

PM: Nutsford, I don't know...

NP: Actually it's up near Manchester.

SP: Oh right right!

NP: The deviation was you don't take the M4.

PM: No.

SP: I just wanted someone to tell me where it was.

NP: I wanted to get John in on that but unfortunately Paul picked it up. To explain to our listeners, I nudged John to challenge...

PM: Yeah.

NP: ... because he hasn't spoken very much and he hasn't played the game as much as the others...

SP: Nicholas, he's a dancer! He's a dancer, not a fighter!

LT: Rhythm's his master!

JS: No, I was just, I just was, I was convinced you could go along the M4 and eventually you would reach Nutsford. I mean it's all very well...

PM: It's the scenic route!

SP: Yeah.

JS: It is the scenic route!

SP: It is in fact the scenic route.

LT: We're all wrong!

JS: And when Nicholas nudged me, I thought he was sort of, I thought he was on his way out and was asking, I thought he was asking me to take over. I was quite surprised!

SP: You thought it was a cry for help.

NP: Your gaze was rigidly fixed on Sue and I couldn't get you away from that.

JS: No I'm always a bit mesmerised by Sue.

PM: John could take over the subject, I'm quite happy.

NP: Would you like to take over the subject?

JS: Well I think I have, haven't I?

NP: Paul's relinquished it and given it to you.

JS: Okay what am I talking about?

NP: Twenty-nine seconds...

SP: Where are Nutsford's city limits?

JS: Just remind me, remind me where we'd got to.

SP: We are on the M4.

JS: Right.

SP: We are looking for Nutsford! We don't know where it is!

JS: We're on the scenic route!

NP: John Sergeant has the subject.

JS: All right.

NP: He doesn't know what it's all about and he had a correct challenge and um...

JS: Right.

NP: So 29 seconds John, the scenic route starting now.

JS: The scenic route is as far as I am concerned almost certainly the M4 to begin with. Then if you're very careful, go on to the M5...


JS: Follow it up... two Ms?

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of M.

NP: Two Ms.

JS: Oh no! No!

PM: M4, M5.


PM: Well I thought I was able to challenge...

JS: The most amazing scenes here on Just A Minute! They're throwing things! They're throwing all sorts of paper...

NP: I'm sorry...

JS: The audience... the audience are going to reply....

NP: Audience those are the rules of the game! You've come to watch a game and so forth. I'll tell you what we'll do Paul...

PM: No, why don't you let him have the subject!

SP: This is, this is the nastiest turn I've seen!

NP: Audience can I draw your attention to the fact that that was repetition. But he's very keen to carry on and have the subject...

PM: Yeah.

NP: And so is this audience, they were getting very vociferous then.

LT: Yeah.

NP: In fact they were rising and coming towards me! And so you've got another point...

SP: It was like Salem, is what it was like. Paul is a gentleman.

NP: So you've got another point for an incorrect challenge, 21 seconds, the scenic route starting now.

JS: Scenic routes are never on motorways so I won't be saying anything about those long big roads that have four of five lanes, sometimes six lanes. The scenic route...


NP: All right...

LT: We told you to steer clear of the motorways.

JS: I was wrong, wasn't I!

SP: I said A-roads, John, I said A-roads!

NP: So Liza got in on the lanes and...

PM: I think you should let John have the subject!

LT: I'm not as generous as you.

NP: I'd like to hear from Liza on the scenic route.

PM: Yeah, yeah.

NP: And there are 10 seconds, Liza starting now.

LT: Last week Pauline Carford and I took ourselves off to Heevord Castle in Kent. And what an enjoyable day we had. We could have...


NP: So Liza Tarbuck was then talking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, and she is now equal in the lead with Paul Merton and Sue Perkins. And John Sergeant is just a little way behind. Not very far, John.

JS: Just a little way behind!

NP: No just...

JS: Like an hour behind.

SP: You're just taking the scenic route there!

NP: Paul your turn to begin, will you take this subject now. Oh yes a lovely one, a sort of a comic's line, isn't it. A man walks into a bar. A man walks into a bar, Paul, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: A man walks into the bar and he says to the landlord, he said "excuse me but a strange thing happened to me, just down a country lane." He said "what do you mean?" He said "about five miles down the road my car suddenly broke down. I lifted up the bonnet, I looked inside, suddenly I heard this voice. It said 'check the carburettor'. I looked and there it was, that was the mistake. I fixed it, I looked up and there was this horse, looking straight at me. I thought extraordinary that this equine is giving me motoring tips. So I said to this man who was the hostelry owner of this particular place I've been in. He said "that's extraordinary, what colour was this four-legged animal..."


PM: The punchline is there! Who would be so mean-spirited!

NP: John Sergeant.

PM: Oh really!

JS: Right, it's payback time!

NP: Paul, give us the payoff to the gag.

PM: He said "what was the colour of the horse?" He said "brown". He said "you're lucky it wasn't the white one, he doesn't know anything about cars!"

NP: So we give Paul Merton a bonus point for keeping going so well on the gag in spite of being interrupted and getting a big laugh, even though he didn't get to the payoff until he had come back to it again. And John you had a correct challenge and...

PM: What was the challenge?

NP: What is the challenge?

JS: It was repetition.

NP: Of what?

JS: I can't remember. It was extraordinary, that was what it was.

NP: Extraordinary.

JS: Of course it was.

SP: I think it was collapse!

JS: That was what it was, it was extraordinary!

SP: Nicholas...

NP: It was, it was delightful, 29 seconds John, you've got a point for a correct challenge, a man walks into a bar starting now.

JS: A man walks into a bar and he wonders to himself what on earth am I doing here! And it was a very strange place because all of it was covered in black. And he thought well, this must be the strangest place anyone would want to drink in. And what made it also more...


PM: Are his batteries run down?

NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: Repetition of place and also strange.

NP: That's right. You can only have one point though. You have a man walks into a bar, 60 seconds starting now.

SP: Sixty! Someone's reset Nicholas!

PM: It's the one thing this show fears, a time warp! We will be playing this round forever!

NP: I'm sorry.

PM: And he said "you're lucky it wasn't the white one".

SP: I walked into this strange place, it was black, it was a strange place.

NP: No I'm sorry, John's delivery has sent me into a sort of time warp and I thought we were back at the beginning. And we're not, we've got 10 seconds are left Sue. And you've got a man walks into a bar starting now.

SP: A man walks into a bar and says "ouch". End of. It's the fact that we get used to the repetitious nature of jokes, like the Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman. The knock knock jokes...


NP: Paul you challenged and just a touch before the...

PM: Repetition of knock.

NP: Of knock yes, and you have a quarter of a second for a man walks into a bar starting now.

PM: A man walks into a bar, he says...


NP: So Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's increased his lead slightly over Sue Perkins, Liza Tarbuck and John Sergeant in that order. And John we're back with you, oh this subject is right up your street. Go with it with style and passion please. Current affairs, 60 seconds starting now.

JS: Current affairs often has no style or passion, it can be incredibly boring. It's neither current nor is it about the really interesting affairs that people can have. No it can be just very dreary stuff like warmed up mashed potatoes. But it's liked by the BBC and by ITV and in fact they make special programmes devoted to this particular subject. I don't normally enjoy them very much. Sometimes they send me to sleep. And it's not just Paul Merton who finds these programmes rather difficult to cope with. It's more or less everybody...


PM: Nurse! He's out of bed again! He's out of bed again!

NP: Sue you challenged.

JS: Was that a challenge. Was that a challenge.

SP: Yes! Sorry, I, I had narcolepsy and I think they just... I just set it off! Um I think ah there was a slight hesitation actually just as I buzzed. There was a long pause. Admittedly it was because there was a lot of laughter going on but um there was a two and a half second pause.

NP: You, the thing is, I have to tell you, I've switched off. I don't know!

PM: My, my concern is that people will be doing it in their hundreds of thousands! If you've switched off Nicholas, and this is the only job you've got! If you've switched off, then there's no hope for the rest of us!

SP: We need you to stay focussed Nicholas!

NP: Right...

SP: Lead us out of this!

NP: What's your challenge then.

SP:It was hesitation.

NP: All right, hesitation, 23 seconds, Sue Perkins, current affairs starting now.

SP: Current affairs, or the news as us layabouts call it, has a scattergun effect on my brain. I watch an awful lot of it and yet only a few things stick within. I know there's been an oil spill, don't tell me where. Nutsford, I heard, although ask me how to get there. Absolute nightmare on the M4, clogged up with people all trying to find their way out of it! I know also that Iran is trying to enrich some uranium which I gather may well lead...


NP: So Sue Perkins was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. She's moved forward, she's only one behind our leader Paul Merton. Sue Perkins will you take the next round, the subject is oh, one of my favourites, butterflies. Ohhhh! Tell us something about butterflies in this game starting now.

SP: When I see Nicholas Parsons I get butterflies in my stomach. There's something about that silver...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: You said he makes you sick! You never described it as butterflies in your stomach before! She did, Nicholas!

SP: It's a fine line. It's a fine line between lust and terror!

NP: Actually if you had butterflies in your stomach, you would be really sick, wouldn't you.

PM: Yes you would actually.

NP: We don't want to eat them, so we.

SP: We don't want to eat them, no. Some of them are endangered, Nicholas. And they're very hard to trap.

NP: And they're dying out, some species have disappeared altogether.

PM: Yeah.

NP: That beautiful Camberwell Beauty, gone now, not to be seen any more.

SP: We've buried the body.

PM: Welcome to another edition of Let's Say Goodbye To The British Butterfly!

NP: The Painted Lady which was so popular in the Sussex area.

PM: Yeah.

SP: Yeah, that as well.

NP: Sue it was an incorrect challenge, you have a point for that and still with you Sue starting now.

SP: The infant terrible of British art, Damien Hirst, recently did an installation involving butterflies which broke my heart. In their natural state they are the most colourful and beautiful of all God's creatures. However he trapped them, killed them, lacquered them in gold and nail-gunned them to a piece of MDF. Well congratulations sir, you really have established yourself as a man of rarefied taste and beauty. I suspect it was post rationalise, and he could talk to critics and say "ah what I was trying to do there by merging all those butterflies was showing how beauty really can't be..."


NP: Um Paul challenged.

PM: It's a shame but it was a repetition of beauty.

NP: There was a repetition of beauty...


NP: Those are...

PM: I think you should let John carry on with the subject!

NP: I don't think you want us to play Just A Minute, I think, you just want to listen to other people talking about things. That was a correct challenge and those are the rules of the game, and Paul you listened well. And you got in, because she goes so fast you have to listen well with Sue. And there are 22 seconds, you tell us something about butterflies starting now.

PM: It was a hit sitcom in the 1980s starring Wendy Craig, written by Carla Lane. And I think Geoffrey Palmer was in it as well. And it was a magnificent situation, I loved it as a programme. It was a very gentle touch, but also a wry look at this woman growing up with a family, who felt trapped by this people around her, kith and kin, who wanted to see what the life was like on the other side. Was the grass greener...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And with some lovely colourful stuff there, he's moved forward, but he is still two points behind Sue Perkins who is in the lead.


NP: You are the most vociferous audience we have ever had!

PM: I think they're patronising us now, though. They've got it in their head that this is fun!

NP: Because we are moving into the final round.


NP: That's a better sound.

PM: I know it seems like it may never have got here.

SP: Let's see who's got the final subject.

NP: Well it's John... (starts to laugh)


JS: There's a lot of, there's a lot of cheap unfairness here.

NP: John we can only laugh because we love you. So John it's your turn to begin so we'd like you to take the subject now of the cleaning rota. Sixty seconds starting now.

JS: I'm not surprised that I've been given the cleaning rota as a subject. It normally goes to the person who is not really liked by the rest of the panel. I'm not the sort of person to get upset about that kind of thing. But if I did...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: That's deviation because he clearly is! It's upsetting me now! I don't like to see him so upset!

SP: I don't like to see him upset either.

LT: It's upsetting me.

SP: Yeah let's get him off the subject!

LT: I don't want the subject! I want John to have the subject!

NP: Darling, stop running the game! Just let me make the decisions here. I quite agree, it doesn't matter even if it's true what you said, he can still say it within the rules of Just A Minute...

PM: Yes.

NP: And therefore he can express whatever words he likes as long as he doesn't deviate from the cleaning rota...

LT: You've changed your tune!

NP: John you still have the subject and you have another point for that of course. And you have 45 seconds, keep going, here we go. The cleaning rota starting now.

JS: When I was a little boy, I would go youth hostelling. And if you remember, what used to happen at these establishments was that you would spend the night and then you would have to do something horrible the next day instead of having to pay for your night's accommodation. And so there were all sorts of jobs you might have and one of them was the cleaning rota. And some of the places...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I think we should give John the subject!

NP: He's got the subject.

PM: He's got the subject, yeah.

NP: Yes, did you have a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: No. I got a laugh out of it, that's all I wanted.

NP: John you were interrupted so you get a point for that.

JS: Okay.

NP: You keep the subject.

JS: Okay.

NP: Twenty-one seconds still available, you started with it, you're going very well, aren't you.

PM: Yes.

NP: The cleaning rota starting now.

JS: The point about cleaning rotas is that they do...


LT: Oh no, my mistake, I thought that repetition. You're allowed to say it because it is on the card.

PM: Yeah.

LT: Sorry.

NP: You've got another point John, 18 seconds, the cleaning rota starting now.

JS: The cleaning rota...


PM: Hesitation.

NP: No! No! Another point to you John, another point, 16 seconds, the cleaning rota starting now.

JS: To do well...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Was that deviation, Nicholas? Just deviating from any sense of time or place? Floating ethereally as I am now, just blatantly...

NP: I think you've gone on to another planet.

SP: I have!

JS: Yes, thank you.

NP: John you might be surprised to hear you still have the subject. You have 13 seconds on the cleaning rota starting now.

JS: The cleaning rota is one of those appalling things which...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: Repetition of appalling from before.

NP: He didn't say appalling this time. You've only got nine seconds in which... (starts laughing) Oh I'm getting hysterical! The cleaning rota, John starting now.

JS: The cleaning rota is meant to be unpopular but I've always rather enjoyed it.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry I couldn't actually hear any of that. I couldn't... for a professional broadcaster I thought that was quite a worrying, worrying trend that I couldn't actually hear a word he said.

NP: Well I'm sitting closest so I vouch for that. And...

PM: Fair enough.

NP: So we, he gets another point John.

JS: Thank you.

NP: You have five seconds to go, the cleaning rota starting now.

JS: The cleaning rota is sometimes seen as very difficult but it isn't for me.


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Well we had difficult before. Repetition of difficult.

NP: No. There is only half a second to go, and John Sergeant hasn't played the game very much. He's getting a lot of practice right now.

SP: It feels like he's been playing it for years!

NP: And they've been...

SP: Who's going to stop him?

NP: ... generous to him all along. And they're going to continue to be generous and say John, you have half a second to go on the cleaning rota starting now.

JS: The cleaning rota...


NP: So John Sergeant was endeavouring to speak then as the whistle went and he gains an extra point for that. And you might be interested to hear he did get an awful lot of points in that round.

PM: Very well played.

NP: Yeah yes.

SP: Beautifully played!

NP: It was different but it was well played. So he's leapt forward and he's now actually equal with Paul. And nobody has ever got eight points in one round before. But John achieved it so that is a first, a first for Just A Minute. And Liza Tarbuck was just behind them in ah, in third place. But one point ahead of our equal second, John Sergeant and Paul Merton, was Sue Perkins, so we say Sue, you are the winner this week! 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, John Sergeant and Sue Perkins. I also thank Trudi Stevens who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle with great style and panache when the 60 seconds had elapsed. We thank our producer Tilusha Ghelani who does such a wonderful job. And also we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are grateful to this lovely vociferous audience here at the Radio Theatre here who have cheered us on our way magnificently. So from our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, and this wonderful team, good-bye, thank you. But tune in again listeners the next time we play Just A Minute! Yeah!