NOTE: John Bishop's only appearance, Gyles Brandreth's 50th appearance.

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 in this country, and abroad. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented, humorous wonderful players of this game. And they are seated on my right, Paul Merton and John Bishop. And seated on my left, Gyles Brandreth and Shappi Khorsandi. Please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me with 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 Pleasance Grand which is part of the Pleasance Complex at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. And we have a lovely, excited, over-hyped Festival Fringe audience in front of us, who are going to cheer us on our way. We begin the show with Paul Merton. Paul, oh yes, a perfect subject to start with, funny people. Tell us something about that subject in this game, starting now.

PAUL MERTON: When I was a young boy, I suppose the ages of six, seven, eight, nine, 10, that sort of region, I started getting interested in people I saw on the television. And if they had a sense of humour, I was immediately endeared towards them. Jimmy Greaves and the Beatles are just five disparate personalities, not necessarily known primarily for their sense of humour, but nevertheless that I embraced from these pre-teen years. I remember going to see Nicholas Parsons, the very epitome of a funny person. Unfortunately it was at a psychiatrist's clinic at Millbow in 1978 and he was being held up as the class object. Later that year I was to read many serious books about comedians and you will find some of these are absolutely hilarious in the wrong way. When academics try to analyse comedy they often do it from the point of view of having no idea what the joke should be. For example I once heard one of these professors say that when Charlie Chaplin stuck his foot out in a scene, he was introducing geometry into his comedy...


NP: What a way to begin the first show up here in Edinburgh, with a subject. Paul Merton who is so experienced in this game, but he does know it, doesn't he.

PM: I surprised myself! I didn't know I knew so much.

NP: In this game...

SHAPPI KHORSANDI: It wasn't intimidating at all, was it!

NP: And in this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. In this of course it was Paul Merton and he gets a point for that and a point for not being interrupted. So Paul at the end of the round, you've got two points, you're in the lead, nobody else has scored yet. John Bishop, will you begin the next round. The subject here is there's a first time for everything. So will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JOHN BISHOP: There's a first time for everything which is an appropriate subject for me as a Just A Minute virgin. That also seems apt as when I did lose my virginity it took the same amount of time! Often in life when you do try things for the first time, you never know what is going to be the consequences. When my Dad took off his first wooden leg, we didn't know he was going to fall over! When he did, we thought it was brilliant fun so I assured him we often played let's take my Dad's appendage off and ...


NP: Oh you tried to wriggle out of that one but I'm afraid Gyles challenged before you did.

JB: Oh did you?

NP: What's your challenge?

GYLES BRANDRETH: My Dad's twice.

NP: My Dad's twice, because you can repeat the words...

JB: Ah no, I'm from Liverpool, I've got a number of Dads!

NP: I sometimes do this in Just A Minute when the audience really enjoy a remark that someone makes, I give them a bonus point. And John that really does deserve a bonus point. Gyles you had a correct challenge, so you get a point for that, you take over the subject, there are 26 seconds available, there's a first time for everything starting now.

GB: I am proud to be a friend of Uri Geller and go regularly to his forked suppers. The first of these that I attended was a complicated event. It was he who introduced me to the idea of performing stand-up in Edinburgh. I first wanted to do this 40 years ago. I was booked as second on the bill to Bernard Manning, and according to him I was not very good indeed but...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now in the lead ahead of Paul Merton and then John Bishop and Shappi Khorsandi in that order. And Shappi we'd like you to begin the next round. The subject is a nasty habit. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

SK: I once saw a nun with a very nasty habit. It was purple with red sequins sewn on to it. She was prancing down the street, and when she got close to me I realised that it wasn't a woman of God after all. It was in fact a belly dancer on her way to work. Now you know that my nasty habit is I judge people on the clothes that they wear. When I see a man in a suit, I assume he works in a boring job and cheats on his wife. Another nasty habit that I have is that occasionally when I am on my own, I reminisce about when I was five years old and I contemplate picking my nose and ...


SK: Can I just, can I just say that I only hesitated because I realised that I was sharing too much.

GB: That's why we interrupted, we didn't want you to.

SK: I was too honest about the naughty things that I sometimes think about doing.

NP: I don't know, a lot of children pick their nose.

SK: Yes but I am 37!

NP: Gyles, a correct challenge, you have the subject, 24 seconds available, a nasty habit starting now.

GB: Eating with your mouth open is a peculiarly revolting habit...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: It's the only way to get the food into your mouth! Shove a stick of rhubarb in your ear? I mean, what... Deviation, you know about, you know about eating, don't you Nicholas?

NP: Yes I mean you're right, I mean you can't eat unless you open your mouth, can you.

GB: Can I say I know Nicholas, he is a true gentleman. What he does is he places the food into his mouth, closes his mouth, and then eats it. That is the way a gentleman of his generation would behave. But I understand Paul, it is done differently in your family! Fine!

SK: Well Gyles, the most polite way to do it is to shove it up your nose which is what I did. There's no problems.

GB: Oh this is why you're lenient.

NP: Gyles, Gyles, let's be fair, you did not convey that in what you said.

GB: I didn't. I got it wrong, I got it wrong, I'm bitter, resentful, I will sit back defeated!

NP: Just go on competing because we love having you on the show! Paul you have a correct challenge...

PM: Well that's putting it a bit strong!

JB: This is the poshest argument that I have ever been involved in!

PM: Only because it doesn't involve broken bottles!

NP: Paul, there are 20 seconds available, will you tell us something about a nasty habit starting now.

PM: I have a particularly nasty habit which I can't really go into in too much detail because it is against the law. Basically what I work as is a sniper. I go to very tall buildings, and I fire my automatic rifle at various passers-by. Luckily I'm only using blanks, well actually it's paintballs and they go home with this great big bruised circle on their duffle coat. I don't know how it got there. Meanwhile I'm walking round the back streets...


NP: I think they could have had you for deviation there, because I don't believe you go around and take potshots at people, Paul.

PM: I've missed you three times!

JB: I was actually, I was going to buzz for that, but then I thought if this show is about honesty, I've got to go home and cut my Dad's leg off!

NP: Oh give him another bonus point! We enjoyed it!

PM: You'll have to do it again on the Sunday repeats! That's the other one gone!

NP: Paul you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and you are equal in the lead with Gyles Brandreth. And Gyles we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject now is birds of prey, 60 seconds starting now.

GB: Birds of prey, when my three children were small, and my wife is sweet enough to say they are indeed mine, we used to take them to wonderful hotels near which were castles. And inevitably there was a birds of prey exhibition. This has stood me in good stead for my new television series, Britain's Got Talons where I will be inviting owls and eagles and wonderful creatures to fly above and scavenge the motorways of the United Kingdom. Because now these birds of prey are returning from the mist to swoop down on the roadway. Because we are killing hamsters, gerbils, otters and other creatures that crawl on and in between the cars. It is...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: To be honest, there's not many hamsters on the motorway.

GB: That's how we got rid of all of ours. Emptied them out of the back window. Anyone who has been a parent will know exactly what I am talking about. It is the...

PM: Do you introduce children to mass genocide at an early age?

GB: But it's better than taking potshots at people from rooftops.

NP: There are children at home now crying at the thought...

PM: Yeah!

NP: ... that their little hamster might be taken out by somebody like you and left to die on a motorway.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Oh I think it's pathetic!

JB: Yes it's sad!

NP: Mind you, the hamsters that we got for our children, they disappeared and they followed the mice down the back of the skirting and we mever saw them again. So we, so we came out with cross-breeds but we never saw them. Right...

JB: I'd love to see a cross-breed between a hamster and a mouse.

PM: I'd like to see a cross-breed between a hamster and Nicholas Parsons! I think that would be worth seeing. That would be good wouldn't it. Have you ever been crossed...

NP: It would be physically impossible.

PM: Oh have you been giving it a go, have you?

NP: I don't think... Only in your mind could that happen, not...

PM: Yeah I know. I need treatment, don't I!

NP: Right Paul, you have the subject and you have 15 seconds, birds of prey starting now.

PM: My wife recently rescued a barn owl that we passed in a country lane and we put it in...


JB: I'm not sure a barn owl is a bird of prey.

NP: No.

PM: Is it not?

NP: No it's not a bird of prey.

PM: Oh.

NP: Oh wait a minute, they do swoop down and take little animals, don't they.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yes.

GB: Hamsters chiefly.

PM: That's why you don't find them on motorways! All the barn owls get them!

NP: John's never played the game before...

PM: Yeah yeah.

NP: ... and it's his first time so we give him the benefit of the doubt and say John...

JB: Yay!

NP: The subject is birds of prey, 10 seconds starting now.

JB: My Uncle Jimmy used to call nuns eagles. When I asked him why, he said they're birds of pray. I thought that was a little...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well no, I think he rescued it in the end. Because I was going to say if I have been challenged on the doubtful premise that a barn owl is not a bird of prey, then surely a nun must come into... a very positive category. But then as I buzzed, John did finish it.

NP: No, he did say...

PM: So he did say it was a bird of pray.

NP: No he did say his uncle told him that.

PM: Yeah, he did, yeah.

NP: He justified it.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So an incorrect challenge John...

PM: Yeah yeah.

NP: You've still got the subject...

GB: He would have known the nuns because he is a bishop too!

JB: That was my next joke!

NP: Three seconds only John, on birds of prey starting now.

JB: Birds of prey are wonderful creatures, some...


NP: So John Bishop was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's moved up on Gyles and Paul who are equal in the lead. John Bishop will you begin the next round, the subject, married life, 60 seconds starting now.

JB: Married life is like standing on top of a diving board and thinking, this could be brilliant or it could hurt a lot. But I have to try it. And that's what happens. We reach a stage in our evolution where we find a partner and we feel that I love you, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, I...


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: Two yous. Is that harsh?

NP: Yes, with you, no that's not harsh, darling.

SK: Okay.

NP: He said two coulds as well, but you didn't pick that one up.

SK: I did not!

NP: But you let it go, no, that was very generous of you because John hasn't played it very much before. But nor have you, so you take over, married life, 41 seconds starting now.

SK: I love talking about married life, especially now that I am at the tail end of my married life with my upcoming divorce. What I loved most about married life was having a mother-in-law...


NP: John challenged.

JB: Two loves.

SK: There was two loves but now there are none!

NP: Oh I'm dishing out the bonus points, darling, that deserves a bonus point. A bonus point to Shappi for that one, for what she said. But John had a correct challenge and it is married life back with you John, with 32 seconds available starting now.

JB: This discussion of married life has changed from a radio programme more to a counselling session, I feel I'm right in the middle of The Jeremy Kyle Show. Because people sat around this table have been through the whole gamut...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Are you saying we resemble people on The Jeremy Kyle Show? Is that what you are saying John, as a guest of this programme? You look around and you see a caption underneath me that says I've slept with my brother's Mum!

JB: No but....

PM: Who turned out to be my own mother! I didn't know that!

JB: The fact that Gyles has got a track suit and a baseball cap on, I mean it's giving him away.

GB: I'm just trying to look street!

PM: Round the back of the bins!

NP: I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say it's a point to him for an incorrect challenge. Married life John, 20 seconds starting now.

JB: The reason I referred to a previous show that... have...


NP: Shappi you had a correct challenge I'm sure, what was it?

SK: It was hesitation.

NP: Hesitation right, 15 seconds are available Shappi, tell us something more about married life starting now.

SK: My married life came soon after I met my husband and I knew he was the one for me. Because I really wanted a baby and he had a very symmetrical face. We had a wedding and at our wedding my father did not give me away...


NP: Oh dear.

JB: Wedding.

SK: Wedding yes I did.

NP: Wedding yes.

SK: Yeah yep.

NP: John, another point to you, four seconds, married life starting now.

JB: The worst part of married life is actually having a marriage...


NP: So John Bishop was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And Shappi we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is an ideal night out. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

SK: I suppose here at the Edinburgh Festival, I should say that my ideal night out would be going to an obscure theatre production where nobody understands what on earth is going on. But the players are from Belarus so we all come out going "oh my goodness, that was so moving!" But if I am honest with you, my ideal night out is being peeled off the pavement at 4am by well-meaning drunks who share their can of special brew with me and walk me home. In Edinburgh that's a typical night out, perhaps more than an ideal night out...


SK: No no, I meant the Festival!


SK: No I need to buzz the audience...

NP: They're all challenging you darling.

SK: No because....

NP : One after the other.

SK: I feel that the audience misunderstood. When I said Edinburgh, I didn't mean your holy city, I meant Edinburgh Festival.

NP: So who challenged first? I've forgotten.

SK: The audience!

NP: Paul. They all...

GB: The audience challenged.

NP: They all challenged in quick succession but Paul, your light came on first.

PM: Repetition of Edinburgh.

NP: Edinburgh, you mentioned Edinburgh more than once.

SK: Okay.

NP: Yes okay, an ideal...

PM: The second one you probably remember.

SK: I do want to say to you good people, I meant the Festival, I meant what us comics get up to. I don't mean you good people. None of you look like you've ever seen special brew in your life.

NP: But darling...

PM: Are you saying they can't afford it?

NP: But darling, I'm doing a comedy show up here. I don't think I'm in the gutter every night, being dragged back to my hotel like that.

PM: You have Mondays off, don't you? He has Mondays off.

NP: I've got the day off from my show so I can do this one.

PM: Exactly.

NP: I'm not going to be in the gutter tonight, I can tell you.

GB: Oh no.

NP: Unless you want to join me.

PM: Who could resist such a proposition? Meet me in the gutter at three o'clock!

NP: So Paul you had a correct challenge, an ideal night out, 30 seconds starting now.

PM: An ideal night out is following Nicholas and Shappi as they head out on their ideal night out in this great city of Edinburgh. Watching them walk down the Royal Mile, hand in arm, seeing them look up at the castle...


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: Hesitation I believe.

NP: No!

SK: Oh I'm sorry.

NP: No I didn't, I think he was going with great aplomb.

PM: Yeah I think so.

NP: Yes.

SK: I'm really not ingratiating myself to the panel, am I either.

NP: Darling, you've been ingratiating yourself with me, but still as, still as chairman...

PM: That's why ASBOs were invented.

NP: Where aer we going to meet up for this...

SK: You know, one of these days Nicholas, I'm going to go right, you, let's do it! And when, where will you be then?

GB: Where will he be then? Intensive care! You're too exciting for all of us, darling!

JB: Radio Four goes lecherous!

NP: Well Shappi, as much as I'd like to give it to you, I'm...

PM: The law of physics forbids it!

NP: Oh dear, Radio Four I apologise on their behalf.

JB: I'll tell you what, Jeremy Kyle's not that bad!

PM: It's beginning to look like something we should aspire to!

NP: No, to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute, it was an incorrect challenge so Paul you've got a point, still have the subject, an ideal night out, 18 seconds starting now.

PM: An ideal night out for many of us may be totally different. Myself, I love to wander through the streets...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Both wandered and streets before in Edinburgh, following Shappi around.

PM: Yeah you're right.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yes.

NP: Well listened, well remebered, that was a long time ago.

PM: It was. For some of us the trauma is still vivid!

NP: Gyles you've got a correct challenge, a point of course, 12 seconds now on an ideal night out starting now.

GB: Many years ago I was on a committee investigating pornography and I still have the raincoat I bought at the time. My wife has now sewn up the pockets. And we had an ideal night out in Copenhagen...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And Gyles we'd like you to begin the next round. The big society is the subject, tell us something about that in this game starting now.

GB: The big society is our new coalition government's big idea. I was very excited back in the...


NP: John challenged.

JB: I don't think it's the government's idea. I think it's an idea that the Tories had prior to the coalition. So I think that's a deviation.

NP: Yes. A very clever challenge John, yes. It was an idea that occurred before they formed this current government.

JB: Yes.

NP: And then they became the big society which you referred to. So 55 seconds John, starting now.

JB: When I first heard of David Cameron's plans for the big society, I thought we are bending over too much for the fat people. There's a lot of obese people, we don't want all the big...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of people.

NP: Yeah there were too many people there John, I'm afraid.

JB: Yeah.

SK: That's what the Tories think.

NP: So Paul got in with 46 seconds on the big society starting now.

PM: I'm not quite sure what the idea is behind the big society. Perhaps it's such that Government should no longer look after its people who it deserves to look after them because...


NP: Gyles challenged.

PM: Look twice.

NP: Gyles.

GB: Repetition of look after.

NP: That's right.

GB: Repetition.

NP: Thirty-four seconds, the big society starting now.

GB: I adored watching that civil partnership enacted in the Rose Garden at Number Ten...


NP: John challenged.

JB: Rose Garden, Rose Garden, you said Rose Garden before.

PM: He never promised he wouldn't.

JB: That is brilliant!

NP: It was a bit quiet over here, what was so brilliant?

PM: Well we, we won't relive it now, but I, there used to be a song, I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden.

NP: Oh.

JB: Tammy Wynette.

NP: Right, 28 seconds available for you John on the big society starting now.

JB: The big society is a challenge for any group of people, particularly...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: It was repetition of people there.

NP: Yes.

JB: Oh no!

PM: It is hard! It is hard!

NP: Oh it's a tough game John, it's a tough game yes. You used it the last time you were speaking. You can't whereas repeat what other people have said but also you can't repeat what you said in a previous ah line. I think you understand what I'm saying...

JB: Well that's fairly clear!

NP: That is one of my great gifts, making everything absolutely clear, right. Twenty-five seconds for you Paul, you challenged first, on the big society starting now.

PM: I suppose we are all part of society. Margaret Thatcher once famously claimed there was no such thing as society. But we know this to be true because when we look around, perhaps we no longer recognise our neighbours...


NP: John challenged.

JB: Sorry, it's pathetic! There was a lot of wes. And I've got a feeling there was we about four times. But I feel like a bit of a, I feel, I feel bad, I feel dirty telling you...

PM: I feel like there's been wee in here since I started talking!

NP: No, I've got to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute, it was a correct challenge. So you take back the big society, 14 seconds starting now.

JB: People.


NP: Now that's what I call generosity and humour all combined. So give John a bonus point for what he did. And Paul gets a point for a correct challenge and he comes in with 12 seconds on the big society starting now.

PM: My mother, father, sister. Sadly I have no brothers. But when I think of the big society and I see this audience in front of me now, it makes me want to say to each and every one of you, you are unique, fantastic people...


NP: Well Paul brought that round to a close with huge panache! Leapt forward, he's equal with John Bishop in the lead, only one point ahead of Gyles and two or three ahead of Shappi Khorsadi. Oh it's an exciting game. Paul will you begin the next round.

PM: Yes.

NP: And the last round it is probably. Getting away with it is the subject, give us some of your thoughts on that, 60 seconds available starting now.

PM: Over the years playing Just A Minute, people have tried to get away with it.


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Sorry, I'm on automatic pilot. People. I withdraw, I withdraw. He meant to say persons anyway.

NP: It doesn't matter, he hasn't repeated people before. That is John Bishop who always says people.

PM: Gyles, you're the one who always gets booed, and John is the one who always says people. That's what they say when we appear on The Jeremy Kyle Show. John Bishop - always says people.

JB: I can't help it anyway, I'm a people person.

NP: And I'm just one of the people.

SK: But you're good people.

NP: Right...

PM: Hello! It's back on! It's back on!

NP: Paul an incorrect challenge and you still have the subject, getting away with it, 56 seconds starting now.

PM: Try to fool the chairman into thinking that they didn't repeat a word or hesitate or indeed make any of the other simple mistakes that can appear in Just A Minute. Getting away...


NP: John challenged.

JB: He said Just A Minute before.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yes you did.

JB: Yeah he did.

NP: Well listened John, well listened, you're right beside him and you pick it up very much more quickly than we can.

JB: If that's the case this radio programme is going to be rubbish in Southampton. It'll take ages for them to hear anything.

PM: And the Isle of Bute. We get a lot of letters from the Isle of Bute.

NP: Yes.

PM: Why do we have to live on the Isle of Bute, they say. I'm sure it's lovely.

NP: Right, 44 seconds John, getting away with it starting now.

JB: I've often felt all of my life that I am just getting away with it. Right now sat here on a Radio Four programme, I feel like an advert for a comprehensive education. I am amazed that in my life I have managed...


JB: My life.

NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of life.

NP: Yes. Right so 26 seconds...

SK: He could be a Buddhist.

NP: I'm going to give you a bonus point for an intellectual comment. Bonus point to Shappi, Gyles has got the subject and a point, 26 seconds, getting away with it Gyles starting now.

GB: When I was a Member of Parliament you could not get away with it. For example, I dug my own moat! Not only that, my wife, she paid for all her own DVDs. It was subsequent to the outrageous...


NP: Paul challenged yes.

PM: Repetition of own, own moat.

NP: Yes.

GB: Yes.

NP: Twelve seconds Paul, getting away with it starting now.

PM: The prisoners in Colditz wondered if they would get away with it. As the months passed by and their German commandoes looked out towards the horizon, the RAF POWs in there were building a glider...


So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. Let me give you the final situation. Shappi who gave us fantastic value, but she finished a little way behind the three boys.

SK: Did you have to mention they're boys.

JB: Anyone who thinks I'm a girl, they're going to get a...

PM: That's your next appearance on The Jeremy Kyle Show. John or is it Joanna!

NP: Right, so in order, in ascending order, it was Gyles. And just ahead of that was John Bishop. First time on this show and he was only one point behind the man who pipped him there to be the winner this week, Paul Merton! But as I saud before it's not the points they get, it's the contribution they make. And they were all great. Therefore it only remains for me to say thank you to these four exciting, delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, John Bishop, Shappi Khorsandi and Gyles Brandreth. I also thank Sarah Sharpe who has helped me with the score, she has blown the whistle magnificently all the time. We thank our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And so from these four here, and from the others, and from the audience here, from the Festival Fringe at the Pleasance, from me, Nicholas Parsons, and everyone else, thank you for tuning in but don't forget, please tune in again the next time we take to the air and we play Just A Minute!