starring PAUL MERTON, TONY HAWKS, SHEILA HANCOCK and ROSS NOBLE, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 20 September 2010)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners in this country and around the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented, inventive, creative players of this game. And they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Sheila Hancock. And seated on my left, Ross Noble and Tony Hawks. Please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak if they can on a subject that I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from that subject. Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, she will 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 Radio Theatre, in the heart of Broadcasting House. And we are going to begin the show this week with Tony Hawks. Tony, the subject is a great adventure. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TONY HAWKS: I had a great adventure about a decade or so ago when I put a fridge beside the side of the road in Ireland and decided to hitchhike around that country. I couldn't have expected it to go as well as it did, but these people embraced me, took me to their hearts. The silliness of it all somehow seemed to make them want to shower me with generosity. And I would advise everybody here if they are feeling a little bit stuck perhaps in a little rut in their particular walk of life at the moment, haven't found a career they're happy with, take a white good, place it by the side of the road, embrace...


NP: Ross challenged.

ROSS NOBLE: It's repetition of road, side of the road.

NP: Yes, on the road because you started on the road, didn't you.

TH: I did.

PAUL MERTON: Nevertheless very sound advice in this economic climate!

RN: I had to buzz because the way he was going, he was going to start signing his book!

PM: Oh did you manage to get a book out of it, Tony?

RN: I've got some merchandise for sale, if anyone's interested.

NP: So that was a correct challenge Ross, and in this game whoever has a correct challenge gets a point for that. So Ross Noble has a point and he has the subject and he has 23 seconds, a great adventure starting now.

RN: I'm hoping to have a great adventure one week from today. My plan is to ride from Cape Town up through Namibia and across to Victoria Falls. I haven't yet got a map for the Skeleton Coast but I'm planning on buying a picture of Victoria Beckham...


NP: Sheila challenged.

SHEILA HANCOCK: Planning, I think he had two plannings.

NP: Planning yes.

RN: It's the only planning I've done so yeah.

NP: Sheila you had a correct challenge, you get a point for that and you now have eight seconds, tell us something about a great adventure starting now.

SH: Peter Pan thought that death was a really big adventure, so I hope he's right because I am getting nearer to it every minute! However...


NP: That round of applause when she said she's getting nearer to it, then they all clapped. And actually also for speaking as the whistle went, she got another point for that...

SH: Am I winning? I'm winning! Let's stop! Right!

NP: And we'd like you to take the next round as well.

SH: Oh God.

NP: The subject is, is memoirs.

SH: Oh.

NP: Tell us something about memoirs in this game starting now.

SH: I understand there's a difference between memoirs and autobiography. The latter being more a history of the life, from birth to death whereas...


NP: Paul challenged.

SH: No, it was the last time I said death.

PM: Yeah, no I'd just say autobiography can't really be a history of your life to death, because I assume you'll be, you don't know when you are going to die when you are writing your autobiography.

SH: Yeah that's a point.

PM: Unless you sort of leave the last word until you really know.

SH: Yeah.

PM: And you might be sitting there for years, just wanting to write the word aubergine and then...

TH: The last bit gets finished by a ghost writer.

SH: Yeah yes.

NP: No you can't wriggle out of it like that.

PM: That was a curious mixture of groaning and clapping.

NP: A biography yes but not an autobiography.

SH: Not an autobiography, no, you're right.

NP: So well interpreted Paul and you now have the subject of memoirs, 50 seconds available starting now.

PM: I'm thinking of doing my memoirs. By the time you reach your sixth decade, you should perhaps consider laying down your life's achievements. But I haven't got many so I'd better start doing stuff. It occurred to me the other day that some of the greatest memoirs ever written that featured in cinema...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there definitely was. So Ross you have the subject, you have a point for that of course and there are 35 seconds, tell us something about memoirs starting now.

RN: I've started my memoirs. I've written 57 pages of "sat on the couch and scratched my". I can't actually say that but is ah very much...


NP: Sheila challenged.

SH: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah I think there was hesitation.

RN: Okay.

NP: So Sheila you've got the subject back again, 25 seconds, memoirs starting now.

SH: Memoirs are meant to be occasional memories of events that happen. I have written a book called Just Me which is like that. It's about a journey and it reminds me of certain things. People like Jordan don't write memoirs. They actually talk to somebody...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was there a slight hesitation.

NP: A slight hesitation.

SH: Was there?

PM: Not really no no.

NP: All right so it's withdrawn.

SH: How many more seconds have I got?

NP: You've got 10 seconds.

SH: Oh dear.

NP: You've still got the subject, memoirs starting now.


NP: Paul challenged.

SH: Yeah I got...

PM: That was a hesitation.

NP: That was a hesitation.

PM: You didn't want it before, did you?

SH: No I didn't want it, I was very bored with it.

NP: So Paul you have a point and you have nine seconds, memoirs starting now.

PM: Kind Hearts and Coronets is the movie that features Dennis Price as a magnificent man that commits all these murders but then finds himself...



NP: Oh wait a minute, Tony challenged just before the whistle.

TH: I thought given that he had only 10 seconds, he was actually just stalling in talking about memoirs by giving details about a film. It's bad...

PM: It's a key, it's a key plot!

TH: It's bad form and I think we were all embarrassed for Paul.

NP: So...

PM: I'm not plugging my previous books anyway!

NP: Yeah.

PM: I travelled India with a tandoori oven, I don't go on about it! Then two years later Tony Hawks takes a fridge round Ireland, well, I don't know.

NP: Right so Paul, benefit of the doubt, you were asking, remember the last time we were here...

PM: Oh yes?

NP: ... with the same team here.

PM: Yes.

NP: Talking about benefit of the doubt.

PM: Oh yes that was a few weeks ago Nicholas.

NP: I know it was.

PM: You've got a remarkable memory, you really have. You know, I'll tell you what Nicholas, I'm not going to sign that petition! I'm not! I'm not going to sign it!

NP: Right so this is a perfect example, you get the benefit of the doubt, you still have the subject of memoirs and you have half a second starting now.

PM: My mem...


NP: Right so Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's equal with Sheila Hancock in the lead. And then Ross Noble and Tony Hawks in that order. Ross will you start the next round, the subject, the joke book. Will you tell us something about the joke book starting now.

RN: The joke book if often sneered at, but I like to think of it as simply ahhh...


NP: Ah Tony challenged.

TH: Ah slight hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation Tony you have the subject, the joke book, 55 seconds starting now.

TH: The joke book I like the most begins with the joke, what's red and sits in the corner? A naughty strawberry. Now that is comedy at its finest level...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: If he thinks that's comedy at its finest level, I feel sorry for him!

TH: Well I accept your sympathy! But I take the point!

NP: Well as someone who works in comedy, I would agree that is probably deviation from comedy at its finest.

TH: What's red and sits in the corner? A naughty... it has lovely, it works on a number of levels!

PM: Name three!

NP: It's charming, it's sweet, it's infantile, but it's not comedy of the finest order.

TH: Well the point is, the best thing about it is...


NP: If that's the type of comedy you like, audience, I'm a bit sorry for you! Right!

PM: Maybe we shouldn't be trying to raise their standards too much!

NP: I think I have to give you the benefit of the doubt on this one Ross and say there are 44 seconds, the joke book starting now.

RN: What's brown and sticky? A brown stick.


TH: I feel sorry for him!

PM: I wouldn't have thought it was possible to top the strawberry joke. But my goodness, that was good!

NP: Yeah but he wasn't maintaining that was the joke of the finest order. He just told a joke that was basic and simple and rubbish!

RN: But it's in the book.

NP: So an incorrect challenge Ross, you've still got the joke book and you've got 42 seconds starting now.

RN: What's yellow and baggy? A yellow bag. That's right...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of yellow.

NP: Yes right, 39 seconds Paul, the joke book starting now.

PM: You used to see them advertised at the back of The Stage, maybe they're still there, 100 jokes for a fiver. A friend of mine did once send off for this particular book and it wasn't very good. There were however two or three jokes amongst the 500 that he thought weren't too bad...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of five.

NP: No he was selling it for a fiver, not five.

PM: Yeah. If somebody's actually recording this, perhaps we could play it back and...

TH: No but wasn't, wasn't there...

PM: It's a wasted opportunity.

RN: It was a hundred and one.

TH: Well yeah, repetition of a hundred then, a hundred as well, he repeated hundred. Just repetition generally!

SH: This is like the World Cup, isn't it.

TH: Yeah.

SH: That goal in the World Cup, we need more techno, technical things.

NP: So Hawkeye is not available to us on that particular one. So um who gets the benefit of the doubt? What about, let the audience decide? Who should get the benefit of the doubt, Tony or Paul?


NP: That's exactly what I thought too. So Paul you have...


NP: I should explain to our listeners, that last big laugh came because Tony put two fingers up to this audience.

TH: It does work against me in the coming rounds!

RN: If you do it again, I'll have you for repetition of fingers!

PM: Yeah, exactly.

NP: Paul there are 24 seconds, you have the joke book starting now.

PM: Are you a bald headed man or is your neck blowing bubble gum? That was undoubtedly the finest jest contained within these pages. If you thought that was awful, wait till you hear the one about the strawberry that took a life support machine around Scotland and managed to get a book out of it. A man goes into a rest...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Repetition of man.

NP: Yes you had a man before.

PM: Oh well.

NP: So Ross you've now got the subject and there are four seconds, the joke book starting now.

RN: A great big volume of hilarity, that's the best way to...


NP: So Ross Noble was speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point. He's one point behind Paul Merton who is still in the lead and then Sheila Hancock and Tony Hawks in that order. Oh Paul, I think this has been chosen specially for you, would you begin on learning to play golf. Tell us something about it in this game starting now.

PM: Only about six hours ago I had my very first golf lesson. I mentioned this to the other panellists before coming on the show. Mister Ross Noble reacted in such a way as if I had actually killed a goat on a sacrifice somewhere in the middle of the woods at midnight. He thinks that playing this game of golf is abso...


NP: Ross.

RN: Was that repetition of game.

NP: Yes right.

PM: Was it?

NP: Forty-five seconds Ross, learning to play golf starting now.

RN: That's absolutely right. Mister Paul Merton had the audacity to tell me that he has taken up golf. These dickheads with the tartan...


RN: Sorry! I'm sorry! Sorry!

PM: With our audience, surely it must be Richard Head.

RN: Sorry, sorry, sorry, I forgot this was the radio, sorry. It could have been so much worse, I do apologise. Is this the first time in the history of Just A Minute somebody has blasphemed?

SH: It's not...

PM: Dickhead isn't blaspheming.

SH: No that's all right.

PM: Unless you are referring to Saint Peter.

NP: No it wasn't, it wasn't exactly blaspheming, it was just a bit vulgar which we don't usually have.

RN: Sorry.

NP: But usually we let the odd one slip through...

PM: Yeah.

NP: ... which we've managed to achieve on this occasion...

RN: Is that, is that allowed? I wouldn't have stopped if I'd known that.

NP: No, no, we enjoyed Paul's interjection so Paul you have learning to play golf, 37 seconds starting now.

PM: It's a pastime I've looked at in the past and perhaps...


PM: Pastime, past.

SH: Yeah.

NP: Pastime, past.

PM: Pastime is one word, isn't it.

SH: Yeah.

NP: You're supposed to...

SH: It's hyphened.

NP: Thirty-three seconds Paul, learning to play golf starting now.

PM: I've made it specifically for me to learn to play golf because I actually play in...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: He definitely said actually, the first time he had the topic.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yeah.

NP: You did indeed. So Tony you've got in with 28 seconds on learning to play golf starting now.

TH: The most important thing is to keep your head still. If you move that part of...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Buying golf clubs surely. That's got to be, followed quickly by a ball. That's got to be the most important thing, not keeping your head still. I can do that at home, it's not playing golf.

NP: I'll tell you what I'm going to do there. Paul we enjoyed your interjection there.

PM: I can see where this is going.

NP: So we are going to give you a bonus point...

PM: Oh yeah.

NP: ... for what you said but I mean, I think we assume that people have got the clubs and that's...

PM: Oh do we?

NP: ... when they learn to play and it is very important to keep your head still.

PM: Keep your head still.

NP: As Tony said. So Tony you've got a point for an incorrect challenge and you have 24 seconds, learning to play golf starting now.

TH: A useful tip which Paul might like to listen to, if he has just taken up the game as he assures us he has, is not to look to see where the little white thing has gone. Much of the power comes from the hips in the rotation. Write this down, this is brilliant stuff! If you remember...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Could you go slower? Ro-tate hips! Rotate the hips.

NP: All right so Paul, we give you another bonus point for that, we did enjoy it. But Tony you get a point for an incorrect challenge, learning to play golf and there are four seconds starting now.

TH: It's very much a mental game too. When you...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Repetition of game.

NP: Yes because game is not on the card. You have mentioned game before.

TH: I think I probably did.

NP: So Ross you have got in and I know you don't like the game so what are you going to say.

PM: Yes.

NP: You've only got two seconds, learning to play golf starting now.

RN: If I'm around, keep your head moving or I'll punch you in the face!


NP: So at the end of that round it was Ross Noble speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's creeping up on Paul Merton who is in the lead, then Tony Hawks and Sheila Hancock in that order. Tony will you begin the next round, the green room. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TH: As you have already heard this evening we were waiting in the green room before the show and a discussion took place about golf. I noticed that it wasn't particularly green though, which is often the case with these rooms. Why not, I ask myself as I go around the theatres of the country where I tell stories, sometimes about some of my books which Paul will no doubt publicise shortly. However the history is in fact because actors used to wait before performances, get very nervous, feel sick, turn green...


TH: That's one theory.

NP: Oh Sheila what is your challenge.

SH: That's rubbish!

NP: It is the most delightful rubbish and I'm going to give it to you Sheila. But on the other hand, most superstitions arise out of all kinds of weird ideas. But you know they have no logic in them, most of them. You couldn't care less, could you. Sheila you have a correct challenge, you have 32 seconds, tell us something about the green room starting now.

SH: Nobody truly knows the origin of the phrase. It's suspected that it because in a tragedy there was a green cloth on stage which is why we also use the phrase "I'll see you..."


SH: Oh phrase.

NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Yeah repetition of phrase.

SH: Yeah.

NP: Yes right, Tony you've got it back again, 22 seconds starting now.

TH: Recently I painted my front room green. It was a magnificent experience, it's one of my favourite...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was it really a magnificent experience? Of all the things that a human being can go through, painting, which I don't believe you did paint your green, your front room green anyway, from there can you can see...

TH: Right we're all going down there now!

PM: Yeah.

NP: Right.

PM: We've merely established the fact that you're not always honest with what you're saying. How do we know you went round Ireland with a fridge? Might have been round the Isle of Wight with a pressure cooker. We don't know. We weren't there, were we Nicholas? We weren't there.

NP: No no I did see him actually. Saw him off. Paul, this is where you get the benefit of the doubt because I do agree...

PM: It's not a magnificent experience.

SH: Well it just may be he's had a very sad life.

TH: It could have been a magnificent experience. You don't know what happened, I hadn't told you yet.

PM: Okay, all right, I'm prepared to, prepared to hear what this magnificent experience was made up of.

NP: Very generous of you Paul.

PM: Yeah.

NP: I was trying to illustrate benefit of the doubt because it could for some reason have been...

PM: Yeah absolutely, I'm going to write this down.

NP: Tony, 17 seconds...

PM: This could be, this could be the basis of a show, this.

TH: When Jordan came in...

NP: Wait a minute! Wait a minute!

PM: It's still not a magnificent experience!

TH: I still haven't finished.

NP: Seventeen seconds starting now.

TH: When Jordan came in...


NP: No, Ross.

RN: Repetition of when Jordan came in.

NP: No...

RN: You said it, you said it there.

TH: No.

NP: I hadn't, I hadn't given him the cue to start.

TH: My original when Jordan came in was in my spare time!

RN: Yeah.

PM: He was admittedly reworking his own material!

NP: Fifteen seconds Tony on the green room starting now.

TH: The green room in the Albury Theatre not that very far away from us is...


PM: Where's this magnificent experience? The Albury Theatre not far away? Where's the magnificent experience?

TH: I'm moving on, I'm moving on! I'm ...

SH: I've got another challenge. It isn't called the Albury any more. It's called the New.

TH: That's true.

SH: Yeah.

RN: And you said theatre twice, repetition of theatre.

TH: Yeah so apart from the eight things wrong with it...

PM: I, I gave up a challenge for a magnificent experience, I still haven't heard it.

NP: I know, I'm going to give it to Sheila.

SH: Are you?

PM: Are you? Will that be a magnificent experience?

NP: Oh!

SH: After all these years Nick!

NP: I know.

SH: All these years!

PM: And will it be Just A Minute?

SH: Oh God!

NP: This is a game where you can stick your head in a noose, isn't it. Sheila you've got the subject, the green room, 12 seconds starting now.

SH: The stage was covered in a green carpet...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: It's repetition of stage.

SH: Stage yes.

NP: Of stage yes. So Ross you've got in with 10 seconds on the green room starting now.

RN: I got a job as a decorator and I had to paint rooms green. In fact one client...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well you'll be able to help me here. Did you find it to be a magnificent experience? Or was it just overwhelming?

NP: Was it a magnificent experience?

RN: Hand it back and I'll tell you!

NP: Right, anyway it was an incorrect challenge, five seconds, still with you Ross, the green room starting now.

RN: Imagine my surprise when I turned up to Tony Hawks' house. And there was Jordan standing outside. I could not believe my eyes as I walked through...


NP: So Ross Noble was again speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point. He's equal in the lead with Paul Merton and the other two are trailing just a little. Sheila we'd like you to begin the next round. And the subject is my burning desire... oh God after what I've said! My burning desire starting now.

SH: Well I'd better pursue this. My burning desire is to have a minute with Nick. After many years on this programme I never have and this is the obvious opportunity to have a magnificent experience. On top of that I would like to be an orchestral player. I've always loved the idea of doing a Mahler symphony, playing one of the many violin parts. Or a quartet at the Wigmore Hall. I don't want to be a star player because...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Repetition of player.

NP: Yes you want to be a player right, 36 seconds Ross on my burning desire starting now.

RN: My burning desire is to dress up as Nicholas Parsons and surprise Sheila when she least expects it. That's right...


NP: Oh Sheila challenged.

SH: Deviation. I absolutely don't want him turning up, dressed up as Nicholas Parsons. I want to put a stop to it now before this goes any further!

NP: I think that is deviation. Because I mean, coming along as Nicholas Parsons and it wouldn't surprise...

SH: And you're already there, I'd...

RN: It's worked before Nicholas!

NP: It wouldn't surprise you because you'd see through it immediately, wouldn't you.

SH: I would!

NP: I mean I haven't got as much hair as him for a start.

SH: No.

NP: Sheila you have the benefit of the doubt.

SH: Oh?

NP: Yes you have, 22 seconds.

RN: If she doesn't want it!

SH: Twenty-two seconds? I've been talking about my burning desires for hours! It can't only be 22 seconds, surely your watch is wrong!

NP: No it's not my watch. So you have 22 seconds, my burning desire, Sheila starting now.

SH: I would...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well I feel that Sheila doesn't really want the subject any more.

SH: Yes I do.

PM: Oh do you!

SH: I'll have that extra point.

PM: Oh okay.

NP: Twenty-one seconds...

PM: I just thought that every time you said "oh my God, how much longer is it".

NP: So Sheila, 20 seconds now, my burning desire starting now.

SH: I would play quartets up at Wigmore...


SH: Oh I've said that, haven't I.

NP: Ross challenged yes.

RN: It's quartets and Wigmore.

SH: Yeah yeah but that is my burning desire. That is my ideal...

NP: So Ross you got in with a correct challenge now, another point to you, 17 seconds, my burning desire starting now.

RN: I have a burning desire but luckily I was able to get antibiotics from my friendly doctor and it cleared up in no time whatsoever. I remember the time when I was down at the Wigmore Hall, hanging around outside waiting for Sheila to come by, where I could make her dreams come true by pushing her through...


NP: And we are entering the final round. Let me give you the situation as we go into that final round. In reverse order, Tony Hawks is trailing a little. He's two behind Sheila Hancock. And she is two behind Paul Merton. And he is three behind Ross Noble. I don't know...


RN: Don't sound so surprised! Ooohhh the idiot's done well!

NP: No they were taking on the drama that I was trying to build up. And Ross we'd like you to begin this round, it's if I were a robot. I don't know how you take that but talk on it, 60 seconds starting now.

RN: If I were a robot, then I wouldn't need to wrap my legs in tinfoil as I do every night moving around my living room, pretending to be one of those particular machines. I'd talk in a voice (does robot voice) robotic like this. (normal voice) And it really does entertain the children and scare animals. I place two torches on the side of my head...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of two.

NP: Yes right, so Tony's got the subject, 41 seconds on if I were a robot starting now.

SH: You don't want to win though, do you.

TH: If I Were A Robot is the opening song of a new updated version of Fiddler On The Roof which I saw not that long ago. Quite a magnificent evening was had by all who went to see it...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Yeah I don't trust your use of the word magnificent! We've had issues about this before. I don't know that a rewrite of Fiddler On The Roof, I Am A Robot necessarily constitutes a magnificent evening in the theatre...

TH: The thing is though Paul, you see...

NP: No no I agree with you in the same way that it wasn't a magnificent experience with his green...

TH: Am I not allowed to have any magnificent experiences? He's...

PM: You can have them, just don't describe ordinary ones as being magnificent.

TH: They may be ordinary to you! I'm fantastically easily pleased! I'm having a magnificent time now!

NP: Paul let's be fair to Tony, it may be rubbish to most of us...

PM: Yes.

NP: He thought it was magnificent.

PM: Yes.

NP: So that's his particular attitude.

PM: Yeah absolutely.

NP: We'd better let him have his way.

PM: Exactly.

NP: So Tony you have the subject, if I were a robot and there are 29 seconds starting now.

TH: I would go round people's houses, break down the door and take away their remote controls. Because they would...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah I think that was a hesitation.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Twenty-one seconds starting now.

PM: If I were a robot, I would wander around my house doing simple household duties. I would look at the sink and think to myself, those plates are rather dirty, I shall go into washing up the dishes mode. And simply a button would be pressed on my chest, my antennae would flow around the electrical ions and then I would go to work. Being a robot...


NP: So Paul brought that round to an end magnificently, gained that extra point for doing so...

PM: Well of course it's a controversial word magnificent. If you're saying that my contribution is equal to paint drying!

TH: This is the man who is about to get his excitement playing golf!

SH: Golf!

NP: So equal in third place were Tony Hawks and Sheila Hancock. But you were only two or three points behind Paul Merton who was in second place. But one point ahead of him was Ross Noble so we say Ross, you are our winner this week. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine, delightful and wonderfully humorous players of this game. We also thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, she's blown her whistle most elegantly when the 60 seconds have elapsed. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are also indebted to our producer Tilusha Ghelani, who steered us on our way. From this lovely audience here in the Radio Theatre, and thank you for tuning in, I hope you've enjoyed it all. But don't forget, tune in again the next time we take to the air and we play Just A Minute! Yes! Yeah!