NOTE: The 50th show produced by Tilusha Ghelani.

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 exciting, exuberant, exceptional players of this game. And they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Gyles Brandreth. And seated on my left, Graham Norton and Jenny Eclair. Will you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, who 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 Broadcasting House. And as usual I am going to ask our players if they will talk for Just A Minute without hesitation, repetition or deviation on the subject that I give them. And we begin the show with Paul Merton. Paul, an interesting subject, our American cousins. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: I was recently in America, and I was struck by how polite they are in normal conversation. For example, if you go to a restaurant, you'll find the waiter comes over and says something along the lines of "hi I'm Greg, I'll be looking after you tonight". And it's not just eating in the restaurant, he takes you home...


NP: Graham challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: Repetition of restaurant.

NP: Yes two restaurants.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: That's right yes.

PM: Yeah.

JENNY ECLAIR: You're doing well!

GN: I was right!

JE: It's great.

GN: I'm in the lead. Treasure this moment!

NP: You couldn't say it with confidence but you were right. And 44 seconds available, you take over the subject of our American cousins starting now.

GN: When you look at our American cousins you can't help but think we must have had a very fat aunt and uncle. Because they really are enormous, aren't they. Quite the lardiest things on planet Earth. Obviously under the sea there must be bigger creatures...


NP: Gyles you challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: Well this programme used to be broadcast all over the world. But there was hesitation as we went under the sea.

NP: No.

GB: Oh!

NP: I think he was going quite succinctly and...

GN: I appreciate there was hesitation!

NP: He could have paused because he thought he had gone too far!

JE: He was drowning Nicholas.

NP: But he didn't. He kept going, covering up his faux pas as you might say.

GB: If that's what you believe Nicholas, then... obviously you're in charge now, I respect...

NP: I do believe it and I have to make the decisions...

GB: You do and every decision you make is always a good one!

NP: An incorrect challenge Graham so you...

PM: Yes it's a surprise to us all!

NP: You keep the subject and 28 seconds are still available, our American cousins starting now.

GN: Our American cousins are more or less obsessed by health and fitness. They can't wait to get into the gym each day...


NP: Oh Gyles has challenged again.

GB: Deviation, a moment ago these people were grotesquely obese.

GN: I had time to reflect!

PM: They heard Graham's words and they were shamed into action!

NP: No, I think having said what he said before, now saying that, that is deviation. So Gyles you got your first point, you have the subject, 21 seconds available, our American cousins starting now.

GB: In 1497 John Cabot set sail from Bristol on a wonderful ship all the way to the western world. He took with him eight sailors. Hello Mataloe, he greeted them with those words...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well I'm just, they sailed from Bristol all the way to the western world. Isn't Bristol part of the western world?

JE: Geographical deviation.

PM: Yes.

GB: He was going west. If you go west, young man, from Bristol, the only way west is towards the United States of America as it's now known.

NP: No, I mean Paul is right. This country...

GB: So sorry...

NP: No, logically, logically, we are, this country is part of the western world.

PM: Yeah that's right.

GB: I'm sorry, in 1497 they were not aware of that.

NP: Ah I don't know whether, they could have been aware of that.

GB: They were not aware of that Nicholas, take it from me!

GN: But then Gyles, where was he going? If they weren't aware of it, where was he going?

GB: He thought he was going to China. He thought he was going to Caffay in...

GN: Well he would have gone the other way, that's east.

PM: Yes.

GN: He would have got a train, not a boat.

GB: This is what I was about to explain in the 21 seconds that were remaining to me, before I conquered. But no, fine.

JE: But I, hasn't he gone off the subject as well of American cousins.

GB: No, one of the sailors was a forebear of mine. That is the whole point.

JE: Not a cousin then.

GB: Ah.

JE: Aha!

GB: A distant cousin, a cousin 17 times, do feel free to come in. It is your programme.

NP: We've enjoyed what you said Gyles, so what I'm going to do, be very generous, because of the humour that you injected, we will give you a bonus point for that.

GB: Thank you.

NP: But Paul did technically, technically have a correct challenge. So he takes over our American cousins with 10 seconds to go starting now.

PM: MGMs Studio is one of the most...


NP: Gyles challenged.


PM: No.

GB: Oh sorry oh! No! No! If BBC is repetition, MGM is...

PM: I deliberately said MGMs.

NP: I should explain to our listeners that Gyles gets so passionate in playing this game, he was almost epileptic there.

GB: I know and this is only round two.

PM: Round one actually. It just feels like you've been through a longer round.

NP: Shows you how much you feel it Gyles.

PM: Yes exactly.

NP: Right you've got it back on a repetition of M with our American cousins and seven seconds starting now.

GB: My cousin Bernard lives in New York. He moved up from Baltimore because Philadelphia was too big for him...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gain an extra point. On this occasion it was Gyles Brandreth and you won't be surprised to hear that he has actually got a commanding lead at the end of that round. And unfortunately we have to begin the next round with Gyles because it's on the card in front of me. I don't mean unfortunately that we don't like hearing from Gyles because he gives incredible copy, overacts like mad! But the thing is I would love somebody else to start the next round so we get a different voice, but we haven't.

PM: We haven't delved into Gyles's repertoire. He might not do just angry middle-aged nutter, he might be able to do a whole range of characters.

JE: I like it when he...

GB: Don't count on it!

NP: Gyles the subject is a dark secret, 60 seconds starting now.

GB: I have a dark secret and it is my...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: I don't want to know it!

NP: Oh give Graham a bonus point for that.

PM: I bet it involves dental records!

NP: Gyles still has the subject, a dark secret, 58 seconds starting now.

GB: It involves death. Recently I hosted the funeral directors' awards and congratulated them on thinking outside the box. During the course of the dinner, around the room were a range of caskets and I was invited to lie in a coffin...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Double invited.

NP: Yes.

JE: One was invited twice.

NP: Invited to do the awards.

GN: Yes.

NP: Well listened Jenny.

JE: I was getting bored with not hearing the sound of my own voice.

NP: No there's plenty of time yet Jenny, there's 43 seconds on this subject, a dark secret starting now.

JE: I have a dark secret about everybody on this panel. They all begged me to sleep with them. Turned them down, disgusting hideous boilers. Another dark secret, Graham isn't gay, Paul is. Gyles is very common. Nicholas likes bare knuckle boxing and I an a thief. Just before the show I nicked 20 quid off the producer's purse! Hahahahaha!


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of ha.

NP: Yes. Yes indeed Graham so you got in very cleverly there with 21 seconds still available, a dark secret starting now.

GN: In this business we call show, we all...(starts to laugh)


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Well I think a hesitation as a genuine dark secret crossed his mind. And he realised he didn't want to go on any further with it.

NP: He tried to avoid repeating show business, didn't he, well done. Anyway correct challenge Paul, a dark secret and 16 seconds starting now.

PM: (in Alec Guinness voice) I for many years was the voice coach for Sir Alec Guinness. When he appeared in many of those great British classics before and after the Second World War, it was my dulcet tones you heard and not his. Isn't that a remarkable thing...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking then as the whistle went, gained that extra point. I can't give him a bonus point for his impersonation, as good as it was. Have you thought of taking it on to one of those talent shows?

PM: No. Have you ever thought of doing anything else other than this show? I should think the opportunities have been there over the years.

NP: I've just written about them in my memoirs!

GN: Oh very good!

JE: Very good!

NP: And Graham we are with you to begin. The subject is my inner monologue, 60 seconds as usual, my inner monologue starting now.

GN: My inner monologue consists mostly of two questions. The first one is can I eat this and the second one is...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: By definition a monologue is just one subject, monologue.

GN: Whoa! Who made you King of Monologue?

NP: That's an interesting grammatical and technical subject. I think I have to give you the benefit of the doubt Gyles and say yes...

GB: If you can't go west from Bristol, you can't have a duologue in a monologue.

NP: No it's a difficult technical question to answer. But a monologue is a solo talk and he wasn't giving a solo talk, he was coming back to do another one so I know what you mean.

GN: But wait, wait, wait! I'm not taking this lieing down.

NP: You're quite right...

GN: There's not, there aren't two voices in my head...

JE: I can hear them, there are!

PM: Let Derek have a shout!

NP: No, I see what you mean Graham, I'm always big enough to change my mind. Yes you had one monologue, then you had another monologue didn't you. So Graham you get the benefit of the doubt. You still keep the subject, my inner monologue, 51 seconds starting now.

GN: My inner monologue when I am in a car turns into a very angry monologue. Isn't it great that you can say monologue more then once because of course it is the title of the subject, my inner monologue. There, I've said it again, nothing can be done about it! My inner monologue contains rage. Have I said that before? I don't think I have...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Said before.

NP: Yes.

GN: Oh yes.

NP: Well listened Gyles, that was a correct challenge, 34 seconds are now available for you, you tell us something about my inner monologue starting now.

GB: My inner monologue is concerned entirely with my weight and my obesity. No bread, rice, pasta or potatoes are at the heart of the new culinary diet I have introduced. Nil by hand. Nothing requiring the use of cutlery, no alcohol, liquids...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Nil by hand? How on earth are you feeding yourself? Are you sticking pieces of food to the ceiling with your feet? Gaffer tape, you wake up in the morning and get the doctor to pick them up for you?

GB: This is the whole point, you lose an awful lot of weight this way.

NP: But Gyles...

GB: No finger food, no crisps, no picking up things. Only you eat food that requires the use of cutlery.

PM: Or is it at the same height...

GB: No no...

NP: But Gyles...

GB: I'm fed by young Latvian girls!

NP: Gyles...

GB: Come to Room 17 at the Novotel later and yiou can see it all happening.

NP: Gyles...

GB: I'm so sorry...

NP: Can you be quiet for a moment? I was listening to what you said and you actually said no cutlery. So if you have no cutlery then how can you have no hands as well to feed yourself?

GB: Nil by hand, you use cutlery. I didn't say...

NP: No you said no cutlery.

GB: I just explained I was going to...

NP: No, the audience are agreeing with me, he said no cutlery.

GN: He could, he could use a small trough.

PM: Yes, yeah, made of silver!

JE: At last, a voice of reason.

GN: Yes.

NP: Nineteen seconds Paul, my inner monologue starting now.

PM: Great, I won that challenge. Now what I've got to do is make sure I speak when Nicholas tells me to. Oh he has. Nobody's remembered the fact that I have hesitated...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: A very attractive hesitation.

NP: Yes all right, you've got 11 seconds now, my inner monologue starting now.

GB: My inner monologue really concerns the fact that I would like to be Nicholas...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Is this deviation? This is the second monologue he's mentioned and the subject is my inner monologue so really this is deviation against my inner monologue because he is talking about the other monologue which makes two monologues by the definition of monologue, he's done monologues.

NP: That was Gyles' challenge on Graham earlier on.

PM: Yeah yeah and upon mature reflection you can now think about it again. It could go either way.

NP: No a monologue doesn't mean to say it can only be one. You can have a succession of monologues.

PM: Yeah sure I can.

NP: And it's a case of you going on talking by yourself...

JE: Yeah because otherwise Alan Bennett wouldn't have done what he has done, if you were only allowed one monologue his career would have been shorter than it is.

PM: Absolutely, absolutely.

JE: That's actually quite a sensible...

GN: What a pity you didn't get the subject, you could have said all that.

JE: I know. I should get a bonus point for that Alan Bennett line.

NP: No.

GN: No.

NP: What a way to milk an audience! I don't think it was worthy of a bonus point, darling. It was a very interesting comment but it wasn't absolutely brilliant, eruditious and...

PM: It wasn't eruditious.

NP: Eruditious? Is there such a word? I don't know. Anyway Gyles you have a correct challenge and you have eight seconds on my inner monologue starting now.

GB: My inner monologue concerns my desire to be Nicholas Parsons in another life...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we have concerns before.

NP: Yes.

PM: Repetition of concerns.

NP: Concerns his food and his eating and so forth, as he said. Well listened Paul and my inner monologue is back with you, five seconds to go starting now.

PM: As I sailed west from Bristol, I thought to myself I've got to find somebody who is eruditious so I can...


NP: So Paul was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's creeping up on Gyles who is two ahead, Graham is three ahead and Jenny is three or four behind.

JE: All right!

NP: It's all right darling, they like to know these things and you're giving great value in all your wonderful thoughts about...

JE: Alan Bennett, not getting a point for Alan Bennett.

NP: Alan Bennett, that's right.

JE: National treasure, no point for Alan Bennett.

NP: Paul this subject is a bit bizarre because I don't know how you are going to interpret it. It says the person to my left. That is the subject. Oh it's all right for you isn't it, I'm getting muddled between my right and my left. It's going to be difficult for Graham if you get it.

GN: Hello!

NP: Paul the subject is the person to my left, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: The person to my left is Gyles Brandreth. And I think as children we all remember getting a little version of him, when we were younger, that we could take to bed with us and feed Farley's rusks to, add bits of evaporated milk that congealed on the end of the bedstead. I myself used to look forward immensely to the cuddly little toy that...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Used, two used.

NP: Two used to, yes.

PM: Yes really. Oh yes, could be.

NP: Could be, well listened Jenny, you have the subject, you have 42 seconds available, the person to my left starting now.

JE: The person to my left is my imaginary friend Penelope. I've had her since I was six...


JE: Sorry Graham.

NP: I should explain to our listeners that big laugh came because Graham didn't like being referred to as her imaginary friend Penelope. Jenny the benefit of the doubt because you could have an imaginary friend to your left.

JE: I do.

NP: And you have 36 seconds, the person to my left starting now.

JE: She's always laughed at my jokes. Here is an impression of Pen. "Oh Jenny you're so funny, you're better than all those losers on that show! You know, the one you never win but it doesn't matter! Because you're the best..."


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry, haven't we moved on from the inner monologue?

JE: My impression is...

PM: This is the voice that Jenny hears whenever she plays Just A Minute and probably when she walks down the street as well I should imagine.

NP: No when...

JE: When I walk down the street, I pretend I'm being filmed.

NP: Right.

PM: Well you probably are by the rightful authorities, I should imagine.

NP: But Paul, what was your challenge, within the rules of Just A Minute.

PM: Oh I've forgotten! I don't know.

NP: I don't think she was deviating.

PM: No no no I was going to say deviation.

NP: So then benefit of the doubt Jenny, the person to my left, 24 seconds starting now.

JE: The real person to my left is Graham Norton. Have you ever heard of him? He's been around the blocks some time. I first met this lad many years ago in Edinburgh when he wore a tea-towel on his head. A nativity play?No, he was pretending to be Mother Teresa in a show about Karen Carpenter...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of he.

JE: Oh yeah, I probably did.

NP: He, yes, a bit too much repetition of he.

JE: Yeah and it was all about Graham and I was getting a bit sick of it as well.

GN: Yeah, no, I was. I was looking for a way out as well. I thought how can I stop this.

JE: You've come a long way on very little. On more than tea-towel.

GN: I was hoping to buzz in before you said that.

NP: Come on Just A Minute and get all the barbs, really! Jenny I think he's got so much to recommend him and he's got four seconds, it's with Paul...

PM: Yes.

NP: Four seconds to go, the person to my left starting now.

PM: Of course I was mixing him up with teddy bears. The person to my left is actually Gyles...


NP: Right so we are getting a very even contest. Paul was speaking as the whistle went. He's crept up on Gyles, equal with him, and Graham's one ahead and Jenny's one behind them. And Jenny we are with you to begin again. Would you stalk on the subject of...

JE: Stalk? I'll stalk you any time Nicholas!

NP: How lovely, right, oh yes, especially when you hear the subject, a gut feeling. That's the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

JE: A gut feeling can sometimes mean you have appendicitis so if it really hurts go to the doctors'. For heaven's sake, don't muck about. Otherwise it could be women's intuition. Sometimes we can feel in our waters...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: I'm so with the woman in the front there. Yes it's sometimes, repetition of sometimes.

NP: You said sometimes twice.

GN: Yes.

PM: Well when I get a gut feeling, I very rarely think it's women's intuition. That might just be me.

NP: I love the way Graham has got a...

JE: There's lots of audience participation going on.

GN: Well no, because they know I'm a lame duck on the panel so they are just helping. They're just going God love him, he's put a shirt on, let's try and help him. You know, he's had a wash, he's left the house. Now try and help him.

NP: Yes well there is someone in the front row...

GN: And I thank them, thank you very much.

NP: I don't know which one it is you're playing with...

GN: That lady there was the sometimes.

NP: The lady in the white there or the...

GN: It doesn't really matter, it's radio, isn't it. We're just, we're just, we're just pointing at darkness, if you're listening at home.

NP: Yeah. But our listeners have imaginations too.

GN: Let them use them.

NP: Right let's get on with the show, 47 seconds are available and Graham, a gut feeling with you starting now.

GN: When I was a child, I had a gut feeling and I didn't want to go to school. And my mother made me go to the doctor and he said you've got appendicitis. But of course I didn't, I was just pretending. But I went along with it and had the operation...


NP: Jenny you challenged.

JE: Well the weird thing is exactly the same thing happened to me!

GN: No!

JE: Yes! I thought, you know, I had the tummy ache and all that thing and basically I was trying to wag off school.

GN: Yeah yeah yeah yeah.

JE: And I ended up at Blackpool Royal Infirmary being cut home.

GN: Yeah because you'd get in more trouble with your mother if you said "actually I'm just making it up." Your mother would hit you very hard if you said "I've wasted your time". So easier to have general anaesthetic and have an operation.

NP: So...

PM: Is there actually anything, does appendicitis actually exist? Is it a story that is made up by kids to get away off school.

NP: So welcome to the chat show between Graham Norton and Jenny Eclair. And the hospital...

JE: Now that was just weird!

NP: Right yes, 30 seconds available Graham, you were interrupted, so you have a gut feeling still, 30 seconds starting now.

GN: I have a gut feeling that I am speaking now, but within 30 seconds I won't be. Because it is very unlikely that I will keep this subject of a gut feeling. That's my gut feeling, I could be wrong. You don't know whether to trust a gut feeling or...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Eventually hesitation came.

NP: No I don't... listen every member of the audience is saying no as well.

GB: Well repetition of the same theme.

GN: Yes people! Let us storm the Brandreth! Tear him down!

JE: I would like to challenge on the fact that he tried to say won't, but it came out as gon't, so it was deviation from the word won't.

NP: Jenny you can't have retrospective challenges.

GN: Yeah! Yeah Jenny!

NP: Gyles, very keen but incorrect, Graham has still got the subject, a gut feeling, 16 seconds starting now.

GN: I've a gut feeling that 16 seconds will seem incredibly long. Now a gut feeling...


NP: Gyles.

GB: Repetition of seconds.

NP: Yes.

GN: Oh!

NP: Yes.

GN: Saint Gyles to the rescue!

NP: You were talking about seconds in the other time you were on...

GN: Yes.

NP: Right so Gyles, well listened, you've got 12 seconds, a gut feeling starting now.

GB: I've been cherishing through the perishing, winter nights and days, a funny little phrase that means such a lot to me that you've got to be with me heart and soul. (sings) Gut feeling, I've got that gut feeling, it makes me feel so sweet and light and nice...


NP: Is that your new record Gyles?

GB: It's a very old song, it's a very old song. I've a gut feeling about it though.

NP: Right. Well Gyles you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point...

GN: He was singing really.

NP: And you're now just ahead of Paul Merton and Graham Norton and Jenny Eclair in that order. And this is the final round.


NP: I don't think it deserves that sort of gasp, it's like a vampire! Graham it's your turn to begin so would you begin on this subject, Plan B.

GN: Yes.

NP: Sixty seconds starting now.

GN: Plan B in my life seems a very long time ago. I'm probably on... X...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a hesitation there.

NP: I think there was a hesitation.

GN: There was, yeah there was.

NP: So Paul you have a correct challenge, you have plan B, 53 seconds starting now.

PM: If I don't happen to win this edition of Just A Minute, I won't mind, because we are recording another programme in this venue some weeks from now. The audience here won't know that because they won't be here for that other one...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two won'ts.

NP: Two won'ts.

PM: They won't know, exactly.

NP: They won't know that, they won't be here.

PM: They won't be here.

NP: Forty-three seconds are still available...

JE: I can't remember what it is, what's the subject.

NP: Well don't worry, darling, I'll tell you.

PM: Just A Minute, Radio Four, BBC.

GN: You live in Camberwell, all right, you live in Camberwell.

PM: You want a warning...

GN: We'll get you a taxi, all right.

JE: Some will think I've done better than that.

NP: And we're in the Radio Theatre and you have an imaginary friend.

JE: Who are you? Okay I've got it.

NP: You've got it, you've got it, right, 43 seconds starting now.

JE: Plan B is usually what you get when you can't afford Plan A like me. I want a swimming pool on my roof but I have to make do with an inflatable, plastic, stupid thing. When you go into this show business thing people always say...


NP: Paul challenged.

JE: Yeah I know, I know.

PM: She knows, she knows, repetition of thing.

NP: That's right, too many things there, I'm afraid Jenny. And 28 seconds still available Paul and you have Plan B starting now.

PM: I was recently working in Hollywood and there were a lot of people there who don't have a Plan B. But I think it's essential because who's to say that Plan A that is at the top of your dreams is going to come true. If you're not going to be a star at Universal Studios, it doesn't matter, it's not Paramount. You can be somebody else, working in a car wash, washing these beautiful vehicles that come in, looking towards the sky and saying to yourself I am going to be somebody one day when that whistle goes...


NP: And so Paul Merton then, speaking as the whistle went brought that round to the end with great style and panache. And also brought the show to an end in the same way. Let me give you the final situation. It's moved this way and that way like a pendulum and may I just say that Jenny, there's only one point that separates all four of them. If you're interested in any of that, yes. And Jenny didn't finish in the first three, but she was only one point behind.

JE: Oh God.

NP: And Gyles and Graham together didn't finish in the first two. So it means that two points ahead of all the others was Paul Merton so we say Paul, you are the winner this week! It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of this game, Gyles Brandreth, Paul Merton, Jenny Eclair and Graham Norton. I thank Sarah Sharpe who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle magnificently every time the 60 seconds elapsed. And we thank our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. We are also grateful to this lovely audience sitting down here in the Radio Theatre who seem to have enjoyed themselves. It has made our job so much easier for the warmth and laughter you have extended to us. So from our audience, and from me, Nicholas Parsons, and the team, good-bye, and tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!