starring PAUL MERTON, GRAHAM NORTON, JULIAN CLARY and TERRY WOGAN, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 28 February 2011)

NOTE: Terry Wogan's first appearance.

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 around the world. But also to welcome to the programme four dynamic, wonderful, highly strung human beings who are going to play this game. And they are, seated on my right Paul Merton and Julian Clary. And seated on my left, Graham Norton. And beside Graham, someone who has never played the game before. It is a great pleasure to welcome Terry Wogan. Will you 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. And beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, she is going to help me with the score, she is going to blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And we'll begin the show this week with Paul Merton. Paul the subject here is the history of the world. Nice broad subject for starters, give us some of your thoughts. Sixty seconds starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Well it started on a Wednesday. On Thursday, God created kittens, lampposts and Zsa-Zed Gabor. It was a very busy afternoon for him. The history of the world, the history of life itself. If we look around we can see we all evolved from a common form. Nicholas Parsons, he is the stencil for the rest of humankind. When we look at him we realise that all humanity has stemmed from that beautiful jacket...


NP: Graham challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: Repetition of stemmed.

NP: Yes you have a correct challenge, so you get a point for that. You take over the subject and there are 35 seconds available, the history of the world starting now.

GN: As a highly strung person, I find the history of the world very worrying. Bad things happen. Luckily, growing up in Ireland, they didn't teach us the history of the world because it didn't matter. We just studied the things that had occurred in our own homeland. In mostly... the...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sadly, hesitation.

NP: Yes it was a hesitation right, so Paul you got in. Sixteen seconds, and you got a point of course for that correct challenge and you take back the subject, the history of the world starting now.

PM: Of course no history of the world could in any way be accurate. They say that history is often written by the victors. The poor losers of any battle never give their account, because of course they have been vanquished. So...


NP: Julian challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Repetition of of course.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yeah yeah.

NP: Of course, you did say of course before. So Julian well listened...


PM: Are we near the Bakerloo Line?

NP: So Julian we are going to hear from you on the subject and you've got five seconds, the history of the world starting now.

JC: The History Of The World In One Hundred Objects was a series on Radio Four that I found...


NP: Right well at the end of that round Julian has got two points. Because whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And Paul and Graham have got one. Terry's yet to score but he is going to begin the next round for us. Terry, a subject I am sure close to your heart, a limerick. You have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

TERRY WOGAN: There was a young lady called Gloria... (pauses)


NP: I must say, Terry, I mean...

PM: Would you have been playing a record at that point?

TW: That's what they call an artistic pause!

NP: I don't know whether you've ever heard the game before but that is the longest pause we have ever had.

TW: Pausing is what I was famous for.

NP: But Julian challenged you, he let you go for quite a long time.

JC: I don't want the subject. It was just by way of chivvying you along.

NP: So you're going to be very generous and give it back to him, are you?

JC: I am indeed.

NP: Right, so Terry, you've still got 55 seconds.

TW: There was a young lady named Gloria...


NP: Graham you challenged.

GN: It was repetition, but he can have it back. Listen, I'm just pointing out you can't say Gloria twice.

TW: When you said, when you said you were going to be kind to me, I had no idea it was going to be this kind of kind. There was a young lady...

NP: No, wait a minute! In this show I always say start now, so we can start the stopwatch at the same time. So there are 54 seconds left...

TW: So many rules!

NP: The subject is Gloria, no it isn't, it's ah...

TW: She's famous!

NP: I think it's become Gloria! Anyway Terry you have 54 seconds, your time, a limerick, time starts now.

TW: I hate this bloody show!


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Well you can't ignore it after a while! There was a pause.

NP: There was a pause.

PM: But I'm quite prepared to have Terry have the subject back.

NP: Look Terry, we're going to give you one more chance! Because they've all given it back to you now. So it's equal.

TW: I don't want your pity!

NP: No, we'd all like a few words from you, that's all!

TW: There was a young lady...

NP: No! You have 50 seconds, a limerick starting now.

TW: There was a young lady called Gloria...


NP: No! You can't do that!

TW: But...

NP: You can't repeat Gloria!

TW: It won't work! If we can't use Gloria...

NP: No no...

TW: You don't understand the rule.

PM: I've got a solution. One of us says the first line, you give Terry the subject, he says the second one and we're up and running.

NP: No, you've all given it back to him once, this time I am going to take it away from him! Because otherwise we will never get the show going at all!

TW: You swine!

NP: So Julian you buzzed in then and you've got 47 seconds, a limerick starting now.

JC: There was a young lady from Ealing
Who had a peculiar feeling
She laid on her back...
Now the next bit I can't repeat so you can fill in the gaps yourselves...


NP: Terry you challenged.

TW: Cowardice!

PM: Let's hear about Gloria!

NP: Terry he also hesitated, didn't he.

TW: He did.

NP: Right well, well listened. You've got a point for that, you have 33 seconds, you take back a limerick, don't tell us about Gloria please! A limerick starting now.

TW: I shall move to the second line.
Who slept with Sir Gerald De Maurier,
Jack Hilton, Jack Payne,
Sir Gerald again
And the band of the Waldorf Astoria.
I personally come from a little town of that name on the banks of the Shannon. I was born in 18 Elm Park Ennis Road in that town. And if you walk down O'Connell Street...


NP: So Terry Wogan was actually speaking then on the subject when the whistle went so he gains an extra point. So Terry you have got two points now.

TW: It was heaven.

NP: You're just behind Julian Clary. And Derek gave us a limerick in the show, this was a time, 33 years ago at least, you know, you had to be a little more circumspect. But his limerick went like this.
A gay young man from Scoon
Took a lesbian up to his room
They sat on the bed
And then each of them said
Now who does what with which and to whom?
But when Derek told it then 33 years ago, it was kept in, and nobody cut it out. Right Julian you had a correct challenge, no, it's your turn to begin. The subject is my name in lights. Julian, 60 seconds starting now.

JC: I suppose anyone in show business dreams of having their name in lights. It first happened to me in 1991 when I appeared at the Aldwich in a show called Camping On A Shoestring. Unfortunately they spelt my name with an E. Well I was furious! I phoned up the producer and I had what is generally known as a theatrical tantrum down the phone. And the next day when I minced into work, it had been corrected. There was my name in all its glory, correctly informing the public of where I was appearing. And I don't like the look you're giving me from my right. If you'd kindly desist I could continue.


NP: Right Terry you pressed your buzzer there, well done. What was your challenge?

TW: Mine is a subtle buzzer.

NP: Yes.

TW: My challenge was I wasn't quite sure what he was talking about.

NP: No but that's not one of the rules of Just A Minute.

TW: I know, but I'm new here!

NP: I know but you can only have hesitation, repetition...

TW: I think hesitation.

NP: You're absolutely right, well done! So you have the subject now, my name in lights, you have 25 seconds, and your time starts now.

TW: Well as the television series told us, fame costs. People think that because you're famous, that you can get a really good seat in a restaurant. This is entirely untrue. Because most of the.... people...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well it was a hesitation but they're, they're getting shorter! We're definitely, there's improvement happening.

NP: Well he may have hesitated a lot but he said far more words than most people have on this show this time. So well done, well done Terry, well done.

TW: Thank you, thank you Nicholas.

NP: And Paul, correct challenge, you have 10 seconds, my name in lights starting now.

PM: I've always wanted my name in lights. That's why I've changed it to the Post Office Tower. And if you look at the London skyline, you'll see it there blazing across the horizon like a beacon...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking then, gained the extra point, and he is equal in the lead with Terry Wogan and Julian Clary. And Graham is just behind them, and Graham we'd like you to begin the next round.

GN: Oh yes.

NP: The subject is glued to the box. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

GN: The subject, glued to the box, is I feel, a little direct. I might have preferred when practical jokes in cricket go tragically wrong. I think that's more subtle and less offensive to listeners around the world. As a highly strung person, I take these things very...


NP: Terry challenged.

TW: That's the second time you've told us you're a highly strung person. That's repetition.

PM: It was another round though.

NP: That was in another round.

TW: I can't be expected to know all the rules!

NP: He said highly strung in the other round Terry.

TW: Yes I know that now!

NP: Right so it was an incorrect challenge Graham, you have a point for that and you have 40 seconds, glued to the box starting now.

GN: I feel sorry for people born now because they can't be glued to a box. For televisions are no longer boxes. They are mere flat screens. Who would be glued to the thing? I don't know what it would be called. Another word, I can't say it again because I have. But the main thing I feel I'm really trying to get at here, and I don't want to be swayed from my argument is that...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Eventually yes.

GN: Yes I think there was.

NP: Fourteen seconds still available Paul, and you have glued to the box starting now.

PM: I saw a statistic the other day which says the average viewing time of Britons... oh!


NP: Julian.

JC: Does that come under hesitation?

NP: That comes under hesitation yes. Another point and you have the subject, eight seconds, glued to the box starting now.

JC: There's a marvellous programme on every day at four o'clock on Channel Four that people...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of four.

NP: Yes.


GN: Shame! Shame! Shame!

PM: Should I have kept quiet about that one?

NP: Yes it was four o'clock...

PM: Was four, Channel Four, yes.

JC: Got me there!

NP: Yes and you've got four seconds to go and you've got glued to the box, Paul starting now.

PM: Glued to the box, I spent my early years watching...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and has now taken the lead ahead of the other three. Paul it's your turn to begin so would you take the subject now, the dictionary. Tell us something about the dictionary, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: I used the dictionary the other day. I heard the word antediluvian and I thought I'd known that particular sentence or... (laughs)


NP: Julian yes.

JC: Hesitation again.

NP: Yes.

PM: Dreadful!

NP: So 52 seconds Julian, the dictionary starting now.

JC: Every desk should have a dictionary placed on it and you can flick through it and discover new and exciting words. Obfuscated, I enquired the other day, means generally... dis...


NP: Paul.

PM: Oh hesitation.

NP: Yes it was so you've got the dictionary back again and you have 42 seconds starting now.

PM: It means old fashioned or indeed before the flood. And I had no idea it was as amusing as that. So if you look up various words in say the Oxford English Dictionary or indeed Websters. Marvellous dictionary that one, because it is sold mainly to people who are illiterate and they have got very low standards, and so it is very cheap to buy. There are no letters for example listed under B. There are just simple A, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P...


NP: Terry you challenged.

TW: Deviation.

NP: Yes, definitely deviation, because in Webster's dictionary, there are Bs.

PM: I know. That was nonsense, why I was allowed to go on as long as I did...

NP: Terry spotted it immediately, didn't you Terry. Right...

TW: Thank you. Unfortunately, unfortunately I've forgotten the subject.

NP: I always give you the subject before you begin it.

TW: Bless you.

NP: You've got another point for that Terry, you have 10 seconds, the dictionary starting now.

TW: The dictionary is merely a selection of words that are identified, conjugated, parsed and selected for the...


NP: So Terry Wogan was then selected when the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now equal with Julian Clary in second place, and they're all three of them, just ahead of Graham Norton. Terry it's your turn to begin, oh the subject, a great catch. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TW: A great catch can be translated in two ways. It can relate to the fishing or it can be, in my case, a personal thing. For I was known as a great catch. In Ireland my wife when we became affianced was known as the luckiest woman in Ireland...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of Ireland.

NP: You mentioned Ireland before. Yes and Julian, correct challenge so you have another point, you have 41 seconds, a great catch starting now.

JC: I've been a very keen sea fisherman since about the age of 13 when I went along the cliff-top with my rod in my hand and reel in whatever I found. Oooh what a whopper, my friend Kane next to me declared. And indeed I had a gift. The biggest catch I ever achieved was 10 pounds and 12 inches. It features as I speak above my mantelpiece and is the envy of everyone who sees it. Occasionally when I am spring cleaning I put it out on the front lawn for a bit of an airing, and all who walk by gasp in admiration. So there we have it, I have been keen on all kinds of...


NP: So Julian took the subject with great aplomb and panache. And Julian we'd like you to begin the next round. Oh it could be apropos of the last round, a voyage of discovery. Would you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JC: I'd love to go on a voyage of discovery. Unfortunately they don't have en suite facilities on the kinds of ships that might take you to these far-flung places. So instead I am interpreting this subject as every time I leave the house, it's a voyage of discovery. Little did I think this morning, as I set out, about my ways, that Terry Wogan would be waiting for me, around about half past seven of an evening. "Hi there," I declared. He gave me a bit of an adventure! And...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Slight hesitation.

NP: There was a slight hesitation. Yes so we give it you Paul and 32 seconds are available, a voyage of discovery starting now.

PM: I remember watching television when I was younger and seeing the film Jasonm And The Argonauts with Bisha... God what's the...


PM: I've got his career in a complete tailspin.

NP: Graham got in first, what was your challenge Graham?

GN: Hesitation.

NP: That's right.

GN: Hesitation.

NP: A voyage of discovery is with you now Graham, and you have 27 seconds available starting now.

GN: When I was a waiter in this great city of London most evenings involved a voyage of discovery as I would fall asleep on the night bus and wake up in various parts and the environs. Sometimes I would go past places twice...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of places.

NP: You went to places yes.

GN: Did I really?

TW: I heard him do that.

GN: No no I'm sure I did yes.

NP: Well I'm afraid you did say it.

GN: I'll go to the BBC Listen Again feature. There will be letters!

NP: Julian, nine seconds for you, a voyage of discovery starting now.

JC: I do believe in a former life, I was deported for stealing a bag of oranges. And I ended up on this ship on my way to Australia...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: That's just nonsense!

NP: You don't believe he went on a ship...

GN: Deviation.

NP: Deviation.

JC: In a previous life?

GN: Yeah, where were there oranges? Why stealing an orange? Who'd steal an orange?

JC: I was living in Spain at the time.

GN: They're everywhere! Why would you steal them?

JC: I was called Jose.

NP: I will give you the benefit of the doubt because you did establish it was in another life. So you've got two seconds Julian, a voyage of discovery starting now.

JC: I had to share a bunk-bed with...


NP: So Julian Clary was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And has now taken the lead ahead of Paul Merton, Terry Wogan and Graham Norton in that order. Graham, it's your turn to begin, we'd like you to take the subject of how I would like to be remembered. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

GN: I would like to be remembered as the man who finally got the British space programme off the ground, and cured all known diseases. Sadly...


NP: Paul.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Paul a correct challenge, 50 seconds, how I'd like to be remembered starting now.

PM: Unlike my previous three attempts, I'd like to be remembered as somebody who could occasionally play Just A Minute and obey the rules of hesitation, repetition and deviation. And be able to utter a sentence followed by another one until the 60 seconds has elapsed. That for me would be something I could take to my grave, happy in the knowledge that I was able to speak at last, fluently...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Is this picky? Repetition of able.

NP: Oh!

GN: Is that too bad? Am I being horrible? Is that vile?

NP: No, very clever, very clever! So 28 seconds, how I'd like to be remembered starting now.

GN: How I'd like to be remembered in the long term is not at all. In the short term as...


GN: Oh! I'm sorry! I'm an idiot! I'm an idiot! That was hari kiri.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes anyway Paul you got back in there.

PM: Repetition of term.

NP: Yes we know that. Right 23 seconds, how I'd like to be remembered Paul, starting now.

PM: They could occasionally look ay my CV I suppose. I started in 1987 in a show that I did for Channel Four. Then Whose Line Is It Anyway followed by Have I Got News For You, Room One-oh...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Hesitation.

NP: No, he paused so that he wouldn't say one again.

PM: Yeah I was thinking about it.

NP: Well he paused but he... no, it wasn't enough. I gave you the benefit of the doubt last time, I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to Paul on this occasion. No you didn't fully hesitate Paul, you have 11 seconds, how I'd like to be remembered starting now.

PM: As a National Hunt jockey from Uruguay. I think this is very unlikely so I won't be remembered as that person. But if I was given a choice, I would say to the great British public here tonight, when I am gone, remember me in your hearts as the man who had a whistle...


NP: Right so Paul Merton with points in the round including one for speaking when the whistle went, has leapt forward into the lead again. And ahead of Julian Clary, just two points difference, then Terry Wogan and then Graham Norton in that order. And Paul we are back with you to begin and the subject now is Charles Dickens. Tell us something about Charles Dickens in this game starting now.

GN: Sorry sorry.

NP: Sorry... I should explain to our...

GN: We were getting confused. I'll shut up.

NP: That's all right. Well what was your confusion?

GN: It doesn't matter.

TW: It doesn't matter.

NP: I should explain to our listeners Terry and Graham are having little chats amongst themselves. On the left hand side.

TW: Obviously you're like Quelch.

NP: Quelch?

TW: Billy Bunter's headmaster.

NP: I thought it was an Irish word for belch or something.

TW: Don't start poking fun at the Irish.

GN: Otherwise Terry and I will plot and this table will become independent!

TW: And possibly divided!

NP: Now we are going to get back to Just A Minute with Paul Merton and the subject is Charles Dickens. Paul, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Charles Dickens was a born story-teller. By that I don't mean he emerged from the womb saying "as the grey clouds of mist descended on London town, towards the house of Gregory Trimwicket, the big fog that had evaded the society that he knew as large..."


NP: Julian.

PM: The first draft!

JC: Well I'd call it deviation, veering away from anything that Charles Dickens ever wrote into general what comes under the heading of mumbo-jumbo.

NP: I got the... I got the impression he was trying to use sort of Dickensian language to...

PM: Yeah.

NP: ... create a mood.

PM: Yeah.

JC: Oh you're being very unkind to me today!

NP: Oh I gave Paul the benefit of the doubt last time. You can have the benefit of the doubt this time. Forty-three seconds Julian on Charles Dickens starting now.

JC: Charles Dickens was (mispronounces slightly) prolific, there was no...


PM: I thought he was British! Deviation, he wasn't prolirfic, whatever that word was! I was interrupted for that!

NP: Paul we'll give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the interruption. But he wasn't actually deviating so he gets a point for being interrupted. Julian and you carry on with 40 seconds to go on Charles Dickens starting now.

JC: Not far from where we are all sitting at this very moment is a road. And in that road...


NP: Graham.

GN: Ah hesitation.

NP: Yes, 35 seconds, Charles Dickens with you Graham starting now.

GN: Charles Dickens as well as being a novelist was also the host of the popular panel game What The Dickens. Celebrity panellists...


NP: Terry challenged you.

GN: I'm sorry.

TW: No I haven't.

NP: Well your light came on.

TW: I can't help the glimmer. It's called star quality! I never touched it! Never touched it!

NP: And you've got 27 seconds to go on Charles Dickens, Graham starting now.

GN: Teams would guess what Victorian urchin children were suffering from. It was a sort of X Factor for disease if you can imagine such a thing...


NP: Terry challenged.

TW: This is mumbo-jumbo.

NP: It's certainly deviating from what Charles Dickens did. He never did a show called What The Dickens. They didn't have those sort of shows in Dickens' time.

GN: Bless you for pointing that out!

NP: Terry you've got back in again with 19 seconds to go, Charles Dickens starting now.

TW: If Charles Dickens had been alive today, he would in fact be doing a quiz show called What The Dickens.


NP: Graham's challenged.

GN: Therefore I wasn't speaking mumbo-jumbo before.

NP: No, the difference is Graham, you said he did do a programme...

GN: All right.

NP: ... when he was alive. So Terry has another point and he has 10 seconds, he has Charles Dickens starting now.

TW: Charles Dickens is one of my favourite authors. David Copperfield, Great Expectations...


GN: The list goes on!

NP: No, unfortunately, the list didn't go on!

TW: It might have if given half a chance!

NP: I think I know the challenge.

PM: It was hesitation.

NP: It was hesitation.

TW: Why does everybody have to have such a fast mouth in this show! On Radio Two, we were much more stately. Radio Four is a hooligan's network.

PM: Have you heard that show Up You And Yours.

TW: And Poetry Please.

PM: Yes.

NP: We had...

TW: There was a young lady called Gloria...

PM: We never did hear what happened to her, did we.

NP: Paul you got in with one second to go.

PM: Oh blimey!

NP: Charles Dickens starting now.

PM: Great Expectations...


NP: Gosh we have had so much fun and we have laughed so much, a lot of which has been generated by you Terry. It's been a joy having you...

TW: You're patronising me again!

NP: No I'm just saying what fun you brought to the show as a newcomer, first time.

TW: Isn't it exciting! And it's been demeaning.

NP: And it's been exhilarating.

GN: You've had the best!

NP: And it's also been exhilarating. Let me give you the final situation. Graham Norton, you were just alongside Terry in third place. Just ahead of you in second place was Julian Clary. But out in the lead, two points ahead of Julian was Paul Merton so we say Paul, you are the winner this week. We hope you've enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. It only remains to say thank you to these fine and delightful and wonderful players of the game, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Graham Norton and Terry Wogan. And also we thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle so delicately. We are grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani. We are deeply indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And from me, Nicholas Parsons, thank you for tuning in, be with us the next time we play Just A Minute!