starring PAUL MERTON, TONY HAWKS, ROSS NOBLE and LIZA TARBUCK, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 21 March 2011)

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. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented, humorous, clever individuals who are going to show their skill with words and language as they try and speak on a subject that I give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Liza Tarbuck. And seated on my left, Tony Hawks and Ross Noble. Please welcome all four of them! Seated beside me is Sarah Sharpe, she is going to help me with the score, she will blow the 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 Broadcasting House not very far away from the first subject. And Ross we'd like you to begin the show with this subject, Regent's Park. Sixty seconds, tell us something about Regent's Park in this game starting now.

ROSS NOBLE: There's nothing I like more than going down to Regent's Park and feeding the swans, to my dogs. Yes they can't help themselves and the bonus of that is it really annoys the Queen. She swans around London, that's where she is...


NP: Liza challenged.


NP: Swans.

LT: She swans around...

RN: Different type of swans though.

LT: Still spelt the same though.

NP: Yes, spelt the same and so though it was different, I'm afraid it was the same word. So in Just A Minute we go on words. Liza, well listened...

LT: Oh I'm scared!

NP: Forty-six seconds for you to take over the subject, having got a point of course for a correct challenge, Regent's Park starting now.

LT: I'm rather partial top the cherry blossom avenue that comes obviously in spring. There's also a rose garden which is wonderful to visit particularly when the rose's fragrances is...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Hesitation.

LT: Yeah, bang to rights!

NP: So Ross, you've got the subject back again, there are 34 seconds, a correct challenge for you and a point for that, Regent's Park starting now.

RN: Keep off the grass, the signs say. But there's quite a lot of it down there. So why not just take all your clothes off and run around? That way if the park-keeper...


NP: Tony challenged.

TONY HAWKS: Because that's illegal. You said why not and I am telling you why not.

NP: So what is your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

TH: That's where I am a bit scuppered. I think we'll agree it was a valuable point, but I won't be earning one.

NP: You won't be earning one because it wasn't deviation within the rules of Just A Minute. Because he can say that if he wants to...

TH: He can.

NP: ... and ah keep going. Right Ross, an incorrect challenge, another point to you, 25 seconds, Regent's Park starting now.

RN: In the middle of the park is the Regent's Park Theatre which ah, don't go down there...


NP: Paul challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Slight hesitation.

NP: There was a slight hesitation yes and so you've definitely got in there so we are going to hear from everyone on this subject. Regent's Park is with you Paul, 21 seconds available starting now.


RN: Hesitation.

NP: You wicked so-and-so! Give Ross a bonus point because we enjoyed his way of playing the game. But Paul did not actually hesitate so he gets another point for that and Regent's Park is still with him, 19 seconds Paul starting now.

PM: The Regent's Park open air theatre is one I know well. I've played it on and off for the last 20 years with the Comedy Store Players. Every summer we pick a particular Sunday, go on, and do a two hour improvised show. It's a magnificent...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: No I don't think he did actually. I thought he said, repeated show, but he didn't, did he.

NP: No no no no.

TH: So I'm having a nightmare round.

NP: It doesn't matter, the others are getting points. Another point to you Paul, six seconds, Regent's Park starting now.

PM: Regency bucks would greet each other across the greenery and say...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I've made another mistake, I think.

PM: Greenery?

TH: I thought he hesitated but...

NP: He did, he made a complete mess of it.

TH: All right, hesitation.

NP: Well it seemed to be gibberish to me.

PM: But not hesitation.

NP: But we interpret sometimes some gibberish as hesitation, don't we.

PM: Well if we are wandering into the labyrinths of your mind Nicholas, I'm going to lay a breadcrumb trail now.

NP: All right, what I'll do as I've done before sometimes, I give the benefit of the doubt to you Paul.

PM: Thank you.

NP: And if I can redress the balance some time later Tony, I will give it back to you.

TH: That's fine but within the next fortnight!

NP: Paul's got the benefit of the doubt, a point to you for that, two seconds on Regent's Park starting now.

PM: Regent's...


NP: Who's challenged? Liza.

LT: Yes I did, for a cheeky hesitation. You heard it, but it's not true, is it? It's not even funny!

NP: Give her a bonus point. Paul you have another point, you have one and a half seconds on Regent's Park starting now.

PM: Regent's...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went and in this game whoever does that gets an extra point. And so he's got a commanding lead at the end of that round, in fact more points have been scored in the first round than in any other first round I can remember. Liza we'd like you to begin the next round, lovely subject, if I were rich. Would you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

LT: If I were rich, I'd buy myself a new hip and a colour television. Then I'd sit down to work on my...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation. I don't know why because she was going well, I loved the idea.

RN: Was the television and the hip linked in some way?

NP: That's what I was trying to work out.

LT: You'll never know unless I get it back.

TH: Yeah I mean, can we have a bit of a whip-round for this hip for you? Seems a shame...

PM: That's how she did the hip in the first place!

NP: So Ross, you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that, 54 seconds available, if I were rich starting now.

RN: If I was rich, I would open up my own...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah he failed to use the subjunctive there and he said if I, if I was rich which is not...

NP: Well it doesn't matter, the subject...

TH: Well it matters to me! And it matters to this audience. Didn't you hear the groundswell?


NP: Listen...

PM: Audience, are you easily whipped up for no reason at all?


NP: Are you able to calm down and become a normal audience?


NP: Oh God!

TH: Anyway, anyway, I'd like to make a little bit of a point here which is, not that long ago, in my life, I was promised the benefit of the bloody doubt!

NP: Tony it was only two or three minutes ago.

TH: Oh was it? That's why I remembered it then.

NP: Ross...

RN: Yes?

NP: You have an incorrect challenge...

RN: Oh lovely!

NP: So you have a point, if I were rich, 52 seconds starting now.

RN: If I were rich, I would pay for English grammar lessons. Then I would go around to Tony Hawks's house and I would shout all proper stuff through the letterbox. And then no doubt he could come down the stairs and look upon me and bless me with such grace and honour that I would be forced to take a special covering and place it over his head and use fine tapestries to put the works of Shakespeare all down the side of this magnificent, almost a tapestry in many ways...


LT: Oh no! That was an automatic reaction and one was plural and one wasn't. So I'm really, I've fallen into the old ah...

TH: Mmmmm.

NP: Yes.

TH: But I'm in, tomorrow afternoon.

RN: I'll bring my loom.

NP: So you've got 18 seconds to continue on if I were rich Ross starting now.

RN: If I were rich, I would be little Richard. That's right, the favourite Rich of mine. I would dress up in his clothing...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Well you can do this if you're not rich. You can do it tomorrow afternoon after you've come round to my house and done the tapestry thing. You don't have to be rich to be Rich!

RN: Well I bloody will then!

NP: But Tony even if he were rich...

TH: Oh I'm not fighting with you!


NP: That huge reaction, listeners, was because Tony Hawks in desperation threw his buzzer on the ground and stormed out. Anyway incorrect challenge, you will get your benefit of the doubt when it comes up Tony. If I were rich, with you Ross, 10 seconds starting now.

RN: If I were rich, I would get myself a gold-plated...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: We have had I would every time.

NP: I would, yes.

RN: Well I would!

NP: So Paul that's a correct challenge, another point to you, if I were rich, seven seconds starting now.

PM: If I were rich, I would build my...


NP: Ross challenged.

LT: Wasn't me!

RN: Yeah I challenged.

NP: I know you challenged. What was it?

RN: He's loaded!

PM: I would still play Just A Minute on a Saturday night.

NP: Right...

PM: Was the end of the sentence.

NP: He may have quite a bit of money, more than the rest of us. At the same time, at the same time, he can still take the subject and say if I were rich, because he could be richer than he is at the moment.

RN: That would be richer. Ask Tony!

NP: Ross I'll give you a bonus point because we enjoyed your interjection. Paul you were incorrectly challenged, you have a point, you have six seconds, if I were rich starting now.

PM: I would build a pyramid shaped like Alan Sugar and stick it in my back garden, and every Sunday I would say I am...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And he's now taken the lead ahead of Ross Noble. Anyway Tony we'd like you to start the next round. Great strides, lovely subject, start on it, 60 seconds starting now.

TH: I'm hardly making great strides through the score card in this particular edition of Just A Minute. However that will change because underneath this table I am wearing great strides. Ross could glance to his right and confirm this should he wish to do so. However he is busy to see if I repeat anything and he can't do two things at the same time, let's face it! So I would wear these strides, particularly this...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: I think there was a hesitation then yes.

TH: I think there was.

NP: Thirty-three seconds Paul, on great strides starting now.

PM: Samuel Taylor Coleridge strode around the length and breadth of Britain composing his poems. He liked nothing better than to put on the sou'wester and head out into the Yorkshire Dales and come back with a magnificent set of stanzas he'd slap on the kitchen table and say to his wife "there we are, I've done it again". There was...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Well I'm looking forward to the benefit of the doubt! I, I think he's been going for some time on the back of saying once, he once strode out.

PM: Yes his poems.

TH: He's not really talking about great strides.

NP: No he strode out once, but you didn't get back to the subject on the card in time.

PM: No.

NP: And I think I will give you the benefit of the doubt on this one. And say you have 13 seconds on great strides starting now.

TH: I will often go into Regent's Park, take gfreat strides around the inner circle, the outer one of those. And I will keep doing it until 4PM, 5 o'clock, whatever...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I thought you were going to say 5PM. So I was wrong.

NP: No, he's played the game a few times before. So Paul, another incorrect challenge, you see, mounting up, isn't it. Great strides are still with you Tony, four seconds starting now.

TH: The greatest strides taken by man were by a...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went. And he's broken his duck, he's now moving forward, ahead of Liza Tarbuck, behind Ross Noble and Paul Merton who is in the lead. And Paul we'd like you to begin the next round, faux pas. Tell us something about faux pas in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: Not a term for your enemy's father. Rather instead a phrase which means you have done something wrong. I remember the distinguished writer and broadcaster Dennis Norden recounting an anecdote where such a faux pas happened. He was at a party, turned to the woman next to him and said "tell me what happened to that awful blonde woman that our host used to be married to..."


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Repetition of woman, but I was kind of into the story so I'm torn.

PM: Yeah, not too torn though.

RN: Not really!

NP: He did repeat woman.

PM: Yeah I did yes.

NP: I was waiting for the pay-off myself. Can you give us the pay-off now?

PM: No. Later perhaps.

NP: Later perhaps. Right, 41 seconds for you Ross on faux pas starting now.

RN: I'm always doing the old faux pas. My favourite one tends to be at a gig where...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Slight hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation yes. So you've got back in again.

RN: I'll give him tat, let's hear Norden's gag.

NP: Right yes, 35 seconds, faux pas with you Paul starting now.

PM: "That horrible blonde person he was married to." And she said "I dyed my..."


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Repetition of blonde.

NP: Yes.

RN: Sorry.

NP: Yes if you pick up a story, you've got to put the basics down again, haven't you, right. So Ross you got in with another...

TH: This particular anecdote can be found on the BBC website later on.

NP: Thirty-two seconds Ross, faux pas starting now.

RN: I saw a friend of mine and said "congratulations, you're pregnant" to which she replied "no, I had the baby some time ago, I just haven't dropped the weight". I tried to cover up by saying "well you look nice fat". Unfortunately that didn't seem to go down particularly well, it was very much a faux pas. I use that word obviously because I am bilingual...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: It's two words.

PM: Really?

RN: Is it, is it within the rules to punch him?

TH: It's against the law.

RN: To be honest, I meant, I meant express my feelings.

NP: So yes it's two words, so Tony correct challenge, eight seconds, faux pas starting now.

TH: I think it might be from the French, meaning false step. I often go...


RN: Oh you think? You know!

NP: Wonderful interjection Ross, a bonus point for that. Tony you were interrupted, you get a point for that, five seconds, faux pas starting now.

TH: One has to be very careful when one's at a party...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: One, repetition of one.

NP: There was too many ones.

TH: No no no no. One has to be very careful when one's at a party.

NP: Oh yes, apostrophe S.

RN: He's class! He's at it again! He's at it again!

NP: Two seconds Tony, on faux pas starting now.

TH: Clive Dunn who was in Dad's Army will always...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went and he's moving forward. He's catching up the two leaders, Paul Merton and Ross Noble. Liza's still bringing up a valiant rear. I'm sorry, that could have been misinterpreted.

LT: Quite right!

NP: Even misinterpreted, it's a great compliment Liza.

LT: Thank you.

NP: But the point is...

PM: Who wants a cowardly arse?

NP: Ross it's your turn to begin, the subject is oh, a lovely literary one. Moby Dick starting now.

RN: Moby Dick is a terrible affliction often suffered by sailors who have had improper relations with large mammals. Not an easy thing to do, I might add. There was the time at the sealife centre where I couldn't really help myself so I went for a cheeky swim. I made my way towards the large creature and started to flirt, batting my eyelids. Unfortunately because whales don't have normal eyelids, he didn't quite...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of eyelids.

NP: Yes there was eyelids, right. I'm glad you've got him off that one! I'm still trying to recover from his opening remark actually. You've got 28 seconds on Moby Dick starting now.

TH: I think Moby Dick was probably a sperm whale. And I've never really wanted to know how they got that name. We won't go into it here certainly. Herman Melville probably was the writer, I might yet...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we have probably before?

NP: No no.

PM: Oh didn't we? I'm imagining words.

NP: No, probably a sperm whale.

PM: Yeah.

NP: You had at the beginning probably a sperm whale.

TH: Did I? Yeah okay.

NP: Well listened Paul.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Fourteen seconds Paul on Moby Dick starting now.

PM: When I was 12 years old I went down to the marine centre and pulled a mussel. Moby Dick was a magnificent creature of fiction, 19th century Americana. Moby Dick, the Americans look up to this magnificent piece of...


NP: So at the end of that round, Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now taken the lead just ahead of Ross Noble, then Tony Hawks and Liza Tarbuck. Liza we'd like you to begin the next round. Oh a lovely subject for an actress, histrionics. Sixty seconds if you want it starting now.

LT: Histrionics is an over-dramatic re... bleurgh...


PM: Shame, shame!

LT: Oh.

NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes we interpret that as hesitation. Fifty-seven seconds on histrionics Ross starting now.

RN: Histrionics is where you take a character from history and animatronics and combine the two. say Sir Walter Riley with a head...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sir Walter who?

NP: Sir Walter Riley.

RN: Sorry I contributed to a lot of childhood games...

PM: Deviation from Sir Walter Raleigh.

NP: Yes.

RN: Raleigh.

NP: Raleigh yes. I think that's correct Paul so histrionics is with you, 49 seconds starting now.

PM: I was on the Le Monde 24 hour car Riley when I said to my companion, I said "what kind of speed are we going?" And I really lost it! My histrionics hit the roof and it was an open top sports vehicle. I said to him "you are an absolute devil! Give me that map! You're no kind of navigator!" We wrestled in the dirt, our clothes being torn asunder. It was covered on Channel Five...


NP: Tony challenged you.

TH: I think my challenge is deviation.

NP: Why?

TH: Because he is just actually demonstrating histrionics...

NP: Yes he is.

TH: ... but not talking about histrionics.

NP: I think he's demonstrating...

PM: How about wrestling with my navigator in the desert.

NP: I mean I...

RN: You were at Le Monde.

LT: That'd be the sand.

PM: That's why I'm arguing with him! We're lost! We shouldn't be in the desert! What is this? Comedy by Ceefax? What's going on here? Step by step explained?

NP: No...

PM: You too can understand the joke! What's going on?

NP: No I'm with you Paul.

PM: Oh you're with me, are you?

NP: Yes I mean he was giving a wonderful demonstration of histrionics, the whole attitude, he was describing the histrionic situation. And I think on every reason he deserves to have his point.

TH: Yes.

NP: For being incorrectly challenged.

TH: Absolutely, I'm fully behind you.

NP: And he keeps the subject, 29 seconds Paul...

PM: How many?

NP: Twenty-nine!

PM: God! I mean, how lovely!

NP: I know, 29 seconds starting now.

PM: Histrionics are known throughout the world of theatre. If you go to any West End Wendy and say to them "has there ever been a time when you appeared in front of the audience and your voice has become something strange?" And they say "never, we are professionals, our..."


NP: Tony challenged again.

TH: I don't get any connection here really with histrionics, I'm afraid.

NP: Well he was going to this actress this Wendy.

PM: Yeah.

TH: But I mean you've got to talk about the subject. I mean actresses, you know, so what, you know, it's not really histrionics.

RN: So what? If that, oh if that's the challenge, brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! I'll remember that.

NP: Actresses and actors indulge in histrionics.

TH: So does everyone, but that's not the, I mean you're talking about it.

LT: But he's sort of, he's inhabiting the whole histrionics theme.

PM: I am being the subject. I have literally become the subject!

NP: All right, Paul then demonstrated it for Tony and that was why the laughter was there, listeners. And I think he wins the day. And you've still got 14 seconds Paul, starting now.

PM: Trying to get the teachers angry at school, making them lose their temper. That was always something you really inspired your other classmates to attempt. If the man standing in front of you suddenly lost his temper you would say...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And with others in the round, he's taken a strong lead at the end of the round ahead of all the others. And Tony we are back with you to begin, oh the subject, man flu. Will you tell us something about that strange subject in this game starting now.

TH: I've always been a huge fan of the Chinese kung fu actor, Man Flu. Watched every single one of them and was delighted to learn recently that this is an expression referring to how feeble men are when they catch a couple of germs. They are safe on to the sofa, lying down, temperature thermometer in the mouth. "Oh go and get me a cup of tea will you, I'm dying!" Women would never put up with that. They are so much stronger, wiser, better in every way. Valiant rears or not, who cares? Women should be ruling the world...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of women.

NP: Yeah there was too much women there. Mind you, it went down well!

TH: It did, I know which sex to ingratiate myself with.

NP: Paul, a correct challenge, 26 seconds, man flu starting now.

PM: The headline on the London Times the day after the Wright brothers managed to take to the air was Man Flew. And there was the photograph that showed that Edgar, who wasn't actually there, because he wasn't one of the actual...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah hesitation.

NP: Yes he hesitated, 14 seconds, back with you Tony, man flu starting now.

TH: Man flu is stronger, obviously, than the female kind...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: Deviation.

NP: It was also hesitation, wasn't it.

LT: Yeah.

NP: Right you've got the subject. Nine seconds Liza, man flu starting now.

LT: Man flu is a wonderful disease which negates the need for any sort of sympathy from the female of the house. You let them lie up stairs watching sport...


NP: Right so Liza Tarbuck was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and she's leapt forward. Actually we are moving into the final round. Oh sadness. Right let me give you the situation as we do. Liza's trailing just a little behind Tony Hawks who is just one point behind Ross Noble. And Ross is a few points behind Paul Merton who is in the lead. And Paul we are back with you to begin. Oh another serious subject here, the theory of relativity. I'm sure you know everything about it...

PM: Yes.

NP: Sixty seconds starting now.

PM: The theory of relativity was devised by Albert...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: It was a bit hesitation.

NP: There was a bit of hesitation.

PM: Yeah it was.

NP: Do you think...

PM: I did hesitate, I think. Yeah.

NP: Right, because I was going to give you the benefit of the doubt to you but I give it to Ross.

PM: Yeah I think I did.

NP: Right, 57 seconds Ross, the theory of relativity starting now.

RN: The theory of relativity is time passes slower when you are with your relatives! This can be proved mainly at Christmas time when you sit around...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of time.

NP: Yes time passes slower.

PM: Christmas time.

NP: Time's not on the card.

RN: Oh yeah.

NP: Yes.

RN: Thank God for that!

PM: Yes, I share your thoughts exactly!

NP: You've got the subject back again Paul, the theory of relativity, 48 seconds starting now.

PM: The rapper's version is E equals MC Hammer! And if you actually put those two figures together, you realise that what this great scientist was about. He managed to find through looking at physics and devising another higher form of mathematics which could explain so much that goes on in the universe. Why is it that Eamonn Holmes is still on television? The answer lies...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: It's sort of deviation because we are not actually talking about um...

PM: No, that's a surprise!

LT: ... the theory of relativity.

PM: Yeah, I wonder what happened there.

LT: I was looking for some help.

NP: I agree, that's deviation, I don't think Eamonn Holmes comes into the theory of relativity.

LT: He might do, might do.

PM: Yeah.

RN: He does have his own gravitational pull.

NP: Oh Ross that was brilliant, give a bonus point to Ross for that. Liza gets a point because she had a correct challenge and she has the subject, the theory of relativity Liza starting now.

LT: Albert Einstein when coming up with this fantastic theory was living in a shack with the Mayor of Scarborough in 1939. Nobody really knows this but the said official of the town looked into his eyes one day and said "Albert I have never loved..."


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: That's a very sad story! But it's also repetition of Albert.

LT: Oh was it?

PM: Yeah Albert Einstein.

NP: Albert Einstein. Yes you did say Albert before.

PM: I'm sorry.

NP: What a pity because we loved it.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Right so Paul you got a correct challenge, you've eight seconds, the theory of relativity starting now.

PM: Ah the theory of relativity. I wonder whale how many of you are familiar...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: That was hesitation.

NP: Yes it was.

PM: It was yeah.

NP: Anyway the benefit of the doubt to you Ross, three seconds on the theory of relativity starting now.

RN: My grandfather was the Mayor of Scarborough and Albert Einstein wanted...


PM: It's true! It's true!

NP: So what I said before that round, it was to be the last and indeed it was. And Liza came in fourth place, just behind Tony Hawks. And he is a few points behind Ross Noble. And Ross is four or five points behind Paul Merton so Paul we say you are the winner this week. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these ine, talented players of the game, Ross Noble, Tony Hawks, Liza Tarbuck and Paul Merton. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle so magnificently when the 60 seconds elapsed. We thank our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. We are grateful to our lovely audience here in the Radio Theatre of Broadcasting House. So from our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons and the team here, say good-bye, but don't forget to tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yeah!