starring PAUL MERTON, SUE PERKINS, JULIAN CLARY and KEVIN ELDON, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 15 November 2010)

NOTE: Kevin Eldon's first appearance, Paul Merton's 250th appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Oh thank you, 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 today four talented, exciting, humorous individuals who are going to play Just A Minute. And they are, seated on my left, Sue Perkins and Kevin Eldon. And on my right, Julian Clary and Paul Merton. Please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject that I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, she is going to help me keep the score, she is going to 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 it's packed to the seams with lovely, exciting people who have queued in the cold and are now warming themselves up. As we get the show started with Paul, would you take the first round. Yes oh I think it's topical isn't it, Paul, taking my driving test. I believe that happened recently, didn't it.

PAUL MERTON: About 15 years ago.

NP: Right so you told me something that wasn't true.

PM: Yes yeah.

NP: Right. Well that's the subject, taking my driving test and you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: I remember taking my driving test as if it was yesterday! But in fact it was 1995 and the instructor looked at me before I took the examination and he said, "are you sure you're going to be able to propel this motor vehicle around the streets of Putney in a safe and an assured way as guaranteed by the Highway Code?" And I said "not only that, but I'll bring it back in one piece", and I did. And I remember reversing around the corner and it was just so beautifully done, I say it to myself, I've never had to do this since, but as I saw the kerb just there, as the car came backwards, I realised that I was maintaining the optimum length of about nine inches between me and the edge of the road. I turned to the examiner...


NP: Julian you've challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Repetition of road.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yeah absolutely.

NP: A lot of roads.

PM: Boring as well!

NP: So Julian, repetition, a correct challenge, a point to you for that and you take over the subject and there are 20 seconds available...

PM: Twenty seconds.

NP: Taking my driving test starting now.

JC: I took my driving test over 30 years ago. And in those days it was much easier. All you needed was a nice smile and a pleasant cologne. The instructor asked me to pull into a lay-by at one point. I said "I know your game!" He said "I want you to show me your three point turn." I said "shall I turn the engine off first?" He said "that won't be necessary..."


NP: So in this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. It was Julian Clary and he is the only one to score at the end of that round. But there is time to go yet. Kevin, welcome to the show, it is the first time you have played it Kevin and we have got a subject here for you, a new broom. Will you tell us something about that in this game...

SUE PERKINS: Is that topical for you Kevin?


SP: Have you recently bought a new broom?

KE: It's a topic that is always on my mind.

SP: Yeah.

NP: Right well talk about a new broom if you can Kevin, 60 seconds starting now.

KE: A new broom is what the modern young witch is after these days! They don't like the old ones, they are nobbly sticks with twigs at the back of them and you might get a splinter somewhere. No you're... have the...


NP: So Paul you've challenged.

PM: Well there was a bit of a hesitation.

NP: Yeah there was definite hesitation yes.

PM: Yes.

NP: But you can understand.

PM: Yeah absolutely.

NP: First time, thrown in the deep end.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Forty-seven seconds still available, a new broom with you Paul starting now.

PM: My advice to Kevin as a new broom would be to speak at a level of volume and also speed which you can maintain, (starts to speak in fast gabble) instead of speeding up and you (goes into gibberish)...


NP: Julian challenged.

PM: That's what happens.

JC: Turning into gibberish.

NP: Yeah I know so it's a repetition of (imitates PM"s gibberish).

PM: It's like a second language!

NP: Yes.

PM: I've got an O level in it!

NP: Yes repetition of whatever it was. So another point to you Julian and you have 38 seconds, a new broom starting now.

JC: I buy a new broom about every six months. It's not the bristles that wear out in my house. It's very important if you want...


NP: So Sue you challenged. So within the rules of Just A Minute...

SP: Deviation. From the correct, the correct use of a broom!

NP: He was talking about a new broom, he had to get another one.

KE: It's a free country, if you buy a broom, you can use it in whatever way you want.

PM: Exactly.

SP: Must be hard to clean, the other way round. But yeah.

NP: So Julian I think actually that was an incorrect challenge, I give you the benefit of the doubt and if I can redress the balance sometime Sue to you, I will. But Julian, another point to you, 29 seconds, a new broom starting now.

JC: A new broom is very important if you are going to...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Sorry, that was a repetition of important.

NP: Yes because you had said before it was important when you had a new broom, you got your second broom and it was very important. So well listened Sue, you've got a correct challenge, you've got the subject, you've got 26 seconds, a new broom starting now.

SP: I'm conventional in the way I use my broom. I like to use it to sweep up things, inevitably droppings from the rat that has taken up residency in my basement. Don't know why it's there as the only thing it can feast on is some outdated sports equipment...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: It's deviating from the subject of broom.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yes you're talking about a...

JC: Rat droppings.

SP: Yes but I was cleaning them, cleaning them with a broom.

NP: Yes now listen, I gave you the benefit of the doubt last time...

PM: Yeah yeah.

NP: I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt Sue because you were using a broom to sweep up the droppings.

SP: You'd better believe it.

NP: So there we are, you have a point...

SP: Let me tell you which end now!

NP: Thirteen seconds Sue, a new broom starting now.

SP: A new broom is a thing of great joy. Pristine it is as it comes from its cellophane wrapping and you think of all the things that you might be able to do with it. Just using it as something you can mop up with or clear is only one use of a multiple...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: You can't mop up, mop up with a broom, can you?

NP: You can, you can only sweep up. Or sweep away.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Or tidy away, but not mop.

SP: I mean...

NP: I would love to come and see your house some time!

SP: It's a wet broom! I am pioneering the wet broom technique. I live near a river, it's underground mopping.

NP: Mopping with a broom, right. No Julian you have a correct challenge and there is one second left starting now.

JC: A new...


NP: So at the end of that round Julian was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's running away with it at the moment. He's got quite a lot of points ahead of Paul Merton and Sue Perkins in that order. Kevin is yet to make any impact but he's, he's...

PM: He will! He will!

SP: That's softening the pill, isn't it Nicholas?

NP: But no, his time is coming, I mean it happens with somebody coming on for the first time.

SP: He's yet to give you the benefit of the doubt, yeah.

NP: He's going to get the benefit of the doubt...

KE: You just wait!

NP: Sue we're back with you, would you begin the next round, the icing on the cake. That's the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

SP: The icing on the cake is the ultimate experience, unless of course you're diabetic. It is the piece de resistance, the top of the tops, it is something one should look forward to as an additional bonus. For instance, playing the game Just A Minute. It's ideal and exquisite within itself, but to win would be the icing on the cake. Of course we are not bothered, we're ego-free and certainly non-competitive human beings. Alas, we have chosen to work in the medium of show business, an area famed for its demure and entirely selfless human beings...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Thank you! I think I speak for us all there. That was wonderful, it was a moving speech, wasn't it.

NP: Yeah.

PM: Wasn't that moving.

NP: So what's your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute.

PM: No I ummm...

JC: Deviation.

PM: Deviation.

NP: Why?

PM: Well you tell him.

JC: She was wittering on.

PM: She was wittering on Nicholas, according to my learned friend.

JC: It was no longer, no longer about icing.

NP: I think when you two are on the show together, you should together. You work very well as a double act.

PM: Do we?

NP: Yes.

JC: Thank you very much.

PM: That's our new catchphrase, thank you very much.

NP: I don't think...

PM: No...

NP: So Sue was interrupted, she gets a point, 28 seconds, the icing on the cake Sue starting now.

SP: The best thing about the icing on the cake was just demonstrated by that challenge. Wasn't it...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of just.

NP: Yes it was.

PM: She had Just A Minute earlier.

NP: Just A Minute...


PM: But there's one there I don't understand, inspector!

NP: Those are the rules of the game, audience! Paul was listening well. You have 23 seconds still available Paul, the icing on the cake starting now.

PM: If you see the cake as the absolute triumph of everything you want in life, then the icing placed on top of that confectionery must seem like the golden gilt of a budgerigar's song, played through golden loudspeakers...


NP: Julian challenged, Julian's challenged you.

JC: Hang on, a budgerigard soul? Doesn't hang together in my mind. So I would call that deviation.

NP: In no way would I call the budgerigar's soul the icing on the cake.

SP: I don't know, I've eaten that at Blumenthal's.

PM: Yes. It's fish of the day.

NP: Yeah, 10 seconds Julian, the icing on the cake starting now.

JC: My mother used to let me lick the bowl when she was making a cake during my growing up period. And it was delicious, especially chocolate. The icing on the cake is by far the most delicious...


NP: So Julian, in sporting terms, you are doing what is known as playing a blinder.

JC: Oh yes.

NP: Because once again you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that all-important extra point. Have increased your lead. Sue Perkins and Paul Merton are still equal in second place, both having got points in that round. And Kevin is still in third place. And Paul it's your turn to begin, dressing provocatively.


NP: So listeners that reaction was because Paul has a very attractive scarf around his neck and he threw it back in a flamboyant way.

JC: It's not that attractive!

NP: Right...

PM: You and your grey top!

NP: Right Paul, dressing provocatively, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: I dress provocatively when I perform on Just A Minute and sitting next to Julian Clary. Because I know he can't take his eyes off me! Look at him now! He's looking straight at me! He can't take his eyes off me! And I figure myself to be a man who can carry off a kumquat... a kumquat?


PM: A kumquat?

NP: So Kevin...

PM: They're both very odd words, aren't they.

NP: ... you challenged.

KE: I was wondering what a kumquat was.

SP: He can carry it off.

NP: A kumquat is...

PM: It's an American fruit.

NP: It's a fruit.

KE: I thought that was kum-kwatt.

NP: No.

PM: That's how the Americans pronounce it. But to me it's always been kumquat. That is, WC Fields...

NP: It is a kumquat Kevin, but look, don't get out of this one, you've got the subject.

PM: Yeah you've got the subject.

KE: I have?

NP: Yes.

KE: Deviation, okay.

NP: Deviation right yes, well listened and well challenged.

SP: Yes.

NP: So you have 48 seconds Kevin, on dressing provocatively starting now.

KE: Dressing provocatively can be quite good fun. I remember once I went into a Mormon Church with a T-shirt that said "I hate the Osmonds" on it. Apart from Crazy Horses which was quite a good stonking circle, actually. If there is a good example of somebody who dresses provocatively, it must be Anne Widdecombe on Strictly Come Dancing. Whenever I see her in a new costume, I am provoked to say "what the hell is that?" And then I roll about laughing my head off until I start weeping, realising that I spent hours of my life watching that glittery rubbish. And I should have been reading some great novels or something like that. But if you're dressing provocatively in a sexy kind of way, then you should wear what I am wearing now, this gold lame leotard which everybody is enjoying, I know. A lot of comments were given to me backstage when I appeared in it...


NP: Kevin you've got this audience in the palm of your hand, well done. You kept going provocatively until the whistle went, you gain an extra point for doing so. You've got two wonderful points now. But you're still in third place but not to worry, it's your contribution what matters. And Sue we are back with you, we'd like you to begin the next round. Waiting rooms, can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

SP: Waiting rooms are fabulous for people who want to know the celebrity gossip from 1989. Simply arrive at the dentist or the doctor's and immerse yourself in a world where batwing jumpers reign supreme. Should you become bored of Madonna before she developed arms like giant haystacks, then peruse leisure leaflets about chlamydia and how to get it, should you fancy getting that most cherished of downstairs diseases. I love the idea one could enter the waiting room perfectly healthy, and leave an hour and a half later full of every single germ slash virus that the world could possibly produce. It is a toxic melting pot of sneezes, coughs, gibbering wrecks, pensioners that wink at you with trousers halfway down their ankles. When you go in...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Deviation, you can't wink at somebody with your trousers.

NP: I think you can wink in any condition you are in!

PM: You can't wink with your trousers.

NP: No she said, she said your trousers down and winking.

SP: It adds to the effect.

NP: The image, the image makes me laugh. This poor old decrepit pensioner, rather like me, going into, going into the waiting room and suddenly, you know, displaying himself... with his trousers...

PM: Are you going to put it on your to-do list?

NP: Oh I dried myself up! Thank you Sue for the image you've given me. So I think it was an incorrect challenge Sue, so you go on with your winking and trousers down. There are eight seconds available, waiting rooms starting now.

SP: Occasionally a nurse might pop by and wipe flecks of vomit with her new mop-broom that she's got from the shops that somehow...


NP: So Sue you changed the whole flavour with that last remark of yours. But you kept going until the whistle went, gained that extra point. And you're now only two points behind Julian Clary who is still in the lead. You're three ahead of Paul Merton who is in third place and then Kevin is bringing up the rear. And Paul Merton, your turn to begin, the subject is oh-oh, who is going to go on this one? Quantum physics.

SP: (laughs) You've only got a minute though Paul.

NP: He's writing it down. I don't think you could forget it. Quantum physics, 60 seconds Paul starting now.

PM: I am amused by the audience's reaction that somehow I would be incapable of talking about quantum physics. Well let me show something, there's two elements, quantum, physics. Put them together, physics, quantum, which ever way you put it, it's still quantum physics.


NP: So Kevin, you pressed your buzzer.

KE: We didn't, there was deviation there. We wanted a bit more details about quantum physics.

PM: In a minute? In a minute?

KE: Yes, in a minute.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Sort of deviation and some form of hesitation.

SP: Hesitation.

PM: It might be hesitation.

NP: I think it was all of them and there was certainly repetition as well, wasn't there.

SP: Yeah.

NP: But that's the subject on the card, so that wouldn't have helped.

SP: Hesitation though.

PM: Yeah hesitation.

NP: So well listened Kevin. You've got in with 50 seconds to go, tell us something about quantum physics starting now.

KE: What a fascinating and complex subject it is. And it's fascinated me for many years. Now did you know that up until about 100 years ago, people believed...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of years. Many years I've been interested.

KE: Fair enough.

NP: Oh yes.

SP: I'm bad, I'm bad.

NP: So Sue, they're all getting the subject they don't want.

SP: It's okay because I don't know anything about it. So inevitably they'll...

NP: Forty-one seconds, try on quantum physics Sue starting now.

SP: What I don't know about quantum physics isn't worth saying in this room. But let me mention the word string theory. And that's as far as that goes. I read it once and I believe it's got to do with a ball that initially rotates in the universe. Who knows...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Deviating away from quantum physics.

NP: Yes. A ball that revolves, no, that's not quantum physics.

PM: String theory?

SP: Yeah I just, I mean I absolutely concur. I haven't got a clue. I was going to say the word quark and hope that would get me out of trouble.

NP: You were going with supreme confidence with rubbish.

SP: That's my career Nicholas!

NP: Julian you've got in with 30 seconds, you try and tell us something about quantum physics starting now.

JC: Although I was away from school on the day we did quantum physics, I had one of my heads, I did read up about it in my spare time. And I can tell you that X multiplied by the length of the distance from here to the Moon is only the beginning. It gets far more complicated and indeed surreal and involves matters that my brain can just about cope with, but I'm not sure everyone in this room could, if you know what I'm saying. Quantum physics, my...


NP: So Julian Clary very cleverly kept going on a subject that I don't think he knows anything more about than the rest of us. And...

PM: Well he hid it well!

NP: He did it well yes. And he's got the extra point for speaking when the whistle went, he's increased his lead at the end of the round. And Kevin we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is my comedy hero. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

KE: Well that's very difficult of course because anybody sitting here tonight could be a candidate to be my comedy hero. Now...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: What about that bloke in the third row over there? Deviation, you see, deviation.

NP: Deviation because it couldn't have been anybody in the audience. You should have established that it's one of these four people up here.

KE: I said, I said sitting on the panel, didn't I.

SP: Yeah.

KE: I said sitting on the panel.

PM: Did you?

KE: Yeah.

PM: I thought you said sitting here.

NP: You did say sitting here.

KE: Oh sitting here. I went like that though. I know that doesn't read on the radio.

NP: You made a gesture but I know you conveyed it was sitting here. But I'm not going to allow because you haven't played the game before.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So you're there and you've got another point for an incorrect challenge, by the way.

KE: Oh dear.

NP: Build up points for incorrect challenges, 52 seconds still available Kevin, my comedy hero starting now.

KE: So my real comedy hero is Richard Madeley. I think he's absolutely hilarious, unintentionally of course. Every time he opens his mouth, especially in an interview, I love watching him unwittingly and without any malice, put his great size 10s right in it. As he tramples over various people's sensibilities and feelings. Oh how I laugh at him in his jumper and his trousers and his floppy fringe and his lovely wife. All this fills me with the most deep a full joys and I shall continue having him as my comedy hero, I think, until I draw my very last breath. I think that Richard Madeley should be...


NP: So you kept going then for 40 seconds which is very good. You haven't played the game before. And I must explain to our listeners, his animation as he talks is absolutely incredible. And has to be seen to be believed. Paul you challenged.

PM: Oh I've forgotten what it was now. Ah repetition of Richard Madeley.

NP: Paul yes that's right, so you've got 11 seconds Paul, tell him, us, something about my comedy hero starting now.

PM: I suppose my comedy heroes have changed over the years. Many days ago I would have felt...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Oh here we go, it's going to be silent movie people, is it?

NP: Julian I don't know why you're piqued but we all know that Paul has this great love of the silent comedy eras.

JC: Well...

PM: It might be you, it might be you Julian.

NP: Why are you piqued by the fact that he might use that material in this show?

JC: Ohhhhh! The number, the number of times I have sat in the back of the cab with Paul going on about...

PM: I don't think you can get me on repetition of things I've said previously in my life!

SP: That's a whole new ball game.

NP: Well Julian you've only got to listen for six more seconds. He's not going to be sitting in the back of a can forever so...

JC: Six seconds eh!

NP: Incorrect challenge Paul...

JC: Charlie Chaplin! Mmmmm!

NP: There might be another one, you don't know.

JC: He never made me laugh!

PM: I don't suppose you had much of an effect on him!

NP: Six seconds Paul, my comedy hero starting now.

PM: Undoubtedly, Mrs Shufflewick. What a wonderful act she was. There that pleased you didn't it. An old variety drag act from the 19...


NP: There we are Julian so that surprised you. So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and others in the round. And he's moved forward. I've just heard we are moving into the final round.


NP: Oh you are lovely. So let me give you the situation. Kevin Eldon who has not played the game before is doing very well. Because when he starts you can hardly stop him. He's great, but he's lingering a little in fourth place. Paul Merton is ahead of him but Paul is only one point behind Sue Perkins and she is only three points behind Julian Clary. As we go into the loose, last round... the loose round! I think I saw the subject on the card, I thought of the word loose. Because Julian it is your turn to begin, right Julian, eating spaghetti. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JC: I don't know what that's got to do with loose. But anyway, eating spaghetti can cause...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Slight hesitation?

NP: No I don't think so. No no no. I wanted, I was thinking about, he didn't understand why I should think that loose has got something to do with spaghetti. Well, spaghetti is loose, it's individual strands...

PM: It's not the only thing that's loose is it?

SP: Get that screwdriver!

NP: No I'm going to give Julian the benefit of the doubt Sue, and say eating spaghetti, 55 seconds, still with you Julian starting now.

JC: Stab your fork into the bowl of spaghetti and twirl it around and then pop it on to a spoon. Continue this motion until it's all round or about...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation slight stumble, round the bound.

NP: No, he repeated but he didn't hesitate. I don't think you hesitated Julian.

JC: Well I, I kind of think I did. But I'm happy to have an extra bonus point!

NP: No no the bonus point goes anyway, it goes to ah um what's your name?

SP: Just call me Hemiah like you did yesterday.

NP: Sue. I gave you the benefit of the doubt last time Julian, so I'll make it fair and redress the balance...

JC: Oh you've changed your mind?

SP: We're playing a whole new game here!

NP: I know.

SP: It's very abstract!

NP: It's the way we play the game, 46 seconds Sue, eating spaghetti starting now.

SP: I like a good slick of olive oil which always helps the sauce permeate the spaghetti. Then as Julian has indicated, twirling it with a fork before ramming it into my mouth. Often I'll stab my lips, I'm in that much of a frenzy for my high GI, highly carbonated... not carbonated, it's not fizzy, calories...


NP: Julian you challenged.

JC: Repetition of carbonated.

NP: She said carbonated yes.

SP: Strange really! Anyone else like fizzy pasta?

NP: Right you've got your spaghetti back again Julian.

PM: Well done.

NP: And you've got 28 seconds, eating spaghetti starting now.

JC: I once tried eating spaghetti with a broom handle. But it didn't work, there's not enough room in my mouth so I returned to the conventional use of finger and thumb, which is how they eat spaghetti in Italy. Certainly in the north of that lovely country where they invented olive...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation, but I don't think they invented olives.

NP: No.

JC: Olive, olive oil, I was going to say.

PM: Oh yes, oh yes, yeah...

NP: It didn't come out though, did it Julian.

PM: No.

JC: Well I didn't get a chance.

PM: No.

NP: Hesitation, Paul correct challenge, so we are going to hear from you on eating spaghetti with 12 seconds to go starting now.

PM: So there I was on the heath, the moonlight was playing about his temples. I suddenly...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Well there's nothing about spaghetti in that sentence. Deviation.

PM: Well I hadn't finished the sentence.

NP: He was just about coming to the fact that he was eating spaghetti.

PM: Yeah absolutely.

NP: He hadn't quite got under way.

PM: Not yet no.

NP: So on this occasion he will have the benefit of the doubt...

PM: So that's the benefit of the doubt I was getting, was it.

NP: That's the one. Seven seconds Paul, still eating spaghetti with you starting now.

PM: I remember my first experience of eating spaghetti. It was extraordinary! There was Field Marshal Montgomery...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, and gained that extra point for doing so. Let me give you the final score. Kevin Eldon, who hasn't played the game before, finished in a magnificent fourth place. No, it was very good! Because Kevin, it's the contribution, points become secondary. Just, just ahead was Sue Perkins. And one point ahead of her was Paul Merton. And three points ahead of Paul, the man who got the lead at the beginning, kept it till the end, so we say Julian Clary you are the winner this week. It only remains for me to say thank these four intrepid players of the game, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Kevin Eldon and Sue Perkins. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle so delicately when 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 friendly audience here at the Radio Theatre who seem to have enjoyed themselves which made our task so much easier. So from our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons and the team, good-bye. And please tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!