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 show four exciting, talented, clever individuals who are going to use their skill with words and language to try and speak on a subject I give them and they try and do it without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And they are seated on my right, Paul Merton and Shappi Khorsandi. And seated on my left, Gyles Brandreth and Rick Wakeman. Will you please welcome all four of them! Seated beside me is Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me keep 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 here in Broadcasting House. And Shappi, we'd like you to begin the show and this first round. The subject is musicals. Will you tell us something about musicals in this game, starting now.

SHAPPI KHORSANDI: My best friend Penny is allergic to musicals. If you ever wanted to upset her, you'd have to prance into a room with a gay look upon your face and sing what you wanted for tea. And she would cry. My family love musicals. For years we have meant to go and see The Lion King together at the Lyceum Theatre. One year my father said "I've booked the tickets". And we went to the Sadlers Wells. I said "Dad, surely it's not here." He said "yes it is" and we sat for two hours watching a play about a witch, a wardrobe and a... animal...


NP: So Gyles you challenged first.

GYLES BRANDRETH: The hint of a hesitation.

NP: More than a hint but it was a hesitation. Right Gyles you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that of course, you have 21 seconds still available, tell us something about musicals starting now.

GB: (sings) I'd do anything for one kiss...


GB: But musical theatre is not necessarily...

NP: No, just a minute, you've been challenged. I'm not surprised after the way you sung here. Rick what was your challenge?

RICK WAKEMAN: Ah deviation from anything musical.


NP: Yes I mean the thing is Rick, I've got to be, the thing is, I've got a very difficult decision because I agree with you. It wasn't musical but he was going on to talk about musicals.

GB: It was an extract from a musical, from the musical Oliver.

NP: It was an extract but it wasn't in tune, so really you, you...

GB: It was on a distorted radio.

NP: No no, I think you've hung yourself on that one. So you've made my decision more easy now.

GB: I was explaining why I didn't get the part. Ah! Ah!

NP: No you can't get out of it that way Gyles. Rick Wakeman has a correct challenge, 15 seconds available, musicals starting now.

RW: I wrote a musical once with the great Sir Tim Rice. It was based on George Orwell's 1984 but sadly we never managed to get it put on in the West End, because the owners of the rights to that particular work refused to give us permission...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Rick Wakeman so he now has two points, Gyles has one, the others are yet to score. And Rick we'd like you to begin the next round. And the subject is my secret identity. Tell us something about that subject, it's a strange one, you look a bit puzzled. Think about it for a second.

RW: Okay.

NP: And have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

RW: My secret identity is that of a milkman, because I thoroughly enjoy going out very early in the morning and knocking on people's doors while leaving pints of that nice liquid called milk which I can say...

NP: Why?

RW: ... because previously I said milkman.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yeah that's right yes. Okay carry on! Carry on!

RW: And one of the nice things is you meet so many wonderful people. It was great fun stopping out the doorsteps of different houses down our road, and listening to the people and what they did in the morning...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: We had people before.

NP: Yes.

GB: My sort of people.

NP: My sort of people, yes.

RW: Well these weren't nice people, these other ones.

NP: Gyles had a correct challenge...

GB: (sings) People! People are always people...


RW: He's at it again!

NP: He's not actually on the show yet.

RW: Oh okay.

NP: Twenty-three seconds Gyles, my secret identity starting now.

GB: My secret identity is this. By day I am the person you see before you, conservatively inclined, debonair, suave, middle-ages, yes. But at night I become John Prescott. That is my alternative persona...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Deviation, it is night-time, we are recording this at night-time. He is clearly as debonair as he is ever going to be. He's not turned into John Prescott so therefore it is deviation.

NP: Yeah you don't have any resemblance here, it's night-time...

GB: The night is young!

NP: I don't think either mentally or physically you could turn into John Prescott.

GB: Well it is my secret identity. That is why it is a secret, because otherwise if you knew I did it, it wouldn't be a secret identity, it would be obvious wouldn't it. It is a secret identity. I turn into John Prescott by night. I'm now about to prove it to you by actually being John Prescott. Just wait for the next bit!

NP: Right. I think you're talking rubbish if you don't mind me saying so.

PM: That's him turning into John Prescott!

NP: Paul, we agree with you, your challenge was correct and a point to you, 10 seconds, my secret identity starting now.

PM: My secret identity is Beryl Watson. Every Monday I go to Milton Keynes. I walk around that new town and I say to myself, you don't know...


NP: We'd like to have more of that one, right. Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle, gained that extra point. He's equal with Gyles in second place, Rick is in the lead and Shappi is yet to score. And Gyles... she scores in other ways, don't worry!

SK: Oh Nicholas, Nicholas, Nicholas, when will this end!

PM: When will it start?

NP: It's on E-Bay!

NP: Do forgive me, my darling, I do adore you. Right Gyles, we'd like you to begin the next round, photography. Good subject, 60 seconds starting now.

GB: Flash! Bang! Wallop! Oh what a picture, that's a photograph! Is what I said to John Prescott when he returned with his holiday snaps. He engaged me with the words "oh it's great to be back on terracotta". He'd had quite a turbulent night...


NP: Rick challenged.

RW: Repetition of the word back. Back from holiday and back.

GB: Yes, oooohhh. Sharp!

NP: Rick you may not have played the game very much but you're getting pretty sharp on it. Right, repetition of back, 44 seconds you have on photography starting now.

RW: My first camera was a brownie 127 which took eight photographs which were so tiny they were around the size of a postage stamp, and rarely came out in anything in focus that you could look at or put into your photograph album. My next...


PM: Sadly hesitation.

NP: That was a hesitation yes. So photography is now with you Paul and there are 25 seconds available starting now.

PM: Rick recalls those days when flash photography and simple photographs were easy to be had. Give them to a chemist and you would say to yourself, as weeks went by, some days my prints wil come! And one day they would. You would get them from the dispensers and open them up, and there you would see in glorious technicolour members of your family. Perhaps in the distance you could see Nicholas...


NP: Who's challenged? Gyles.

GB: Repetition of see.

NP: Yes you did see too much.

PM: Did I?

NP: Yes.

GB: Two sees, two sees.

NP: You've only got one second to go Gyles, but someone could have had him for deviation. Because in those days Paul, there wouldn't be technicolour, it would all be black and white.

PM: Quite a lot of it was in sepia, wasn't it Nicholas.

NP: Yes that was before that...

PM: Sepia, wasn't it.

NP: Sepia to begin with and then the brown and white.

PM: They had the big whiskers and the big hats!

NP: That was even earlier.

PM: Was it?

NP: Yes.

SK: And no smiling!

PM: No.

SK Didn't smile because photographs were far too serious.

NP: Gyles, you got there on see, photography is back with you and one second only starting now.

GB: I took my box brownie to the club...


NP: Right so Gyles Brandreth and Rick Wakeman are equal in the lead, one ahead of Paul Merton and three or four ahead of Shappi. And Paul here's a strange subject, it's why babies cannot be astronauts. Why babies can't be astronauts Paul starting now.

PM: Well it seems to me that babies can be astronauts. After all space travel involves an awful lot of travelling and you might all start off when you're young because if you want to put a man on Mars, it takes at least 16 years to get there. What would be better than a baby, taken from its mothers arms, shoved into a space capsule, fired into the great atmosphere up there and gradually as it learns English from listening to old copies of Just A Minute, it will find itself in a marvellous...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation so there are 33 seconds for you Gyles on why babies can't be astronauts starting now.

GB: Why babies can't be astronauts is because they'd slosh about in the costume. They'd be lost down one of the legs. Jumping off the ship on to the Moon, they would not be able to say this is one small step for a baby, one huge leap... oh look, the nappy's fallen down! The whole thing would be a chaotic mess! And not a wonderful lunar experience. Rick with his telescope would be peering up and would see this unfortunate child in its swaddling clothes...


NP: So Gyles went magnificently till the whistle, gained that extra point for doing so, and has increased his lead a little ahead of Rick Wakeman, Paul Merton and Shappi Khorsandi. We'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is anagrams. Anagrams is the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

SK: Madam I'm Adam is an anagram, I believe. And that's in the Bible apparently. I don't know, I've never read it or any other religious book...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Is it in the Bible, Adam saying to somebody "madam I'm Adam"? He must be saying that to Eve presumably.

SK: I haven't read the Bible, that's my point. It could be, I don't know.

PM: Oh right.

NP: I don't know what...

SK: Has anyone read it?

GB: The challenge is deviation, because it isn't an anagram, it's a palindrome.

PM: Yes.

GB: But I didn't challenge because I was so intrigued by the story and I just love to see Shappi talking!

SK: Thank you, that's the name of my Radio Four show.

NP: Paul what was the challenge?

PM: Ah...

NP: You're not sure, are you.

PM: Yeah it's deviation, I don't think there's a sentence in the Bible that says "madam I'm Adam".

NP: I don't think there is either but I'll tell you what we are going to do. Everybody's not quite sure about this one. So I'm going to give Shappi the benefit of the doubt.

SK: Thank you. Okay.

NP: She still has anagrams and there are 50 seconds starting now.

SK: I don't like anagrams because I'm never quite sure what they mean. as well as that I'm dyslexic which means when I watch Countdown and they have the conundrum, I always think why don't they jumble the letters up a little bit to make it harder for everybody. People get very snotty about anagrams and every excited about anagrams. Do you know your name also means I've had a cup of tea for breakfast. I don't care, you nerd! Get out of my house! My husband was very into anagrams...


NP: Rick's challenged.

RW: A lot of verys.

NP: Yeah there were yes, very this...

SK: I accept that.

NP: Yes.

SK: I was just glad of the chance to speak!

NP: Rick, 22 seconds on anagrams starting now.

RW: When the subject matter came up, I sat here thinking of anagrams of my fellow panellists. And Paul Merton can be a Christmas anagram of something...


NP: Gyles has challenged.

GB: Hesitation I sense.

NP: Can we have the anagram?

GB: We'd love the anagram of course.

RW: Yeah well I'll tell you what the anagram, based on brussel sprouts which is "a noel trump". Shappi, Shappi, you come out, I think as "I drank a posh ship". And you're extremely difficult. I could only come up with "bandy legs" and a lot of letters left over! But I hesitated...

NP: No I'll tell you what we'll do because I could see you scribbling away like mad at the beginning of this round. Trying to think of things which was very quick on the spur of the moment. So we give you a bonus point for what you've contributed.

RW: Oh thank you, thank you.

NP: Gyles challenged correctly so you have a point Gyles, nine seconds on anagrams starting now.

GB: "Wild agitator means well" is an anagram of William Ewart Gladstone, the former Prime Minister. "Flit on cheering angel" is an anagram of Florence Nightingale...


NP: So Gyles again speaking as the whistle went... (coughs) I'm so sorry, I'm still alive.

PM: I'd like a second opinion.

NP: Right Gyles you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. You've increased your lead over Rick Wakeman and Paul Merton and Shappi Khorsandi in that order. And Rick it's your turn to begin, we'd like you to take the subject of day dreaming. Sixty seconds starting now.

RW: Day dreaming was something I did a lot of when I was at school. In infant school, and juniors and seniors. I used to sit...


NP: Shappi you've challenged.

SK: I think he said school 17 times.

NP: I think three times. So Shappi, correct challenge, 51 seconds, day dreaming starting now.

SK: I'm a huge day dreamer. Sometimes I day dream on panel shows. I day dream morning, noon and night. When I was a child, I always used to dream about saving people from burning buildings and becoming a hero. I wonder if any of you would be honest enough to um dream that you were...


SK: Bleurgh bleurgh bleurgh bleurgh bleurgh!

NP: Rick challenged.

RW: Repetition of dream.

NP: Yes.

SK: I would have said hesitation to be honest with you.

NP: No, darling, you were going too fast for that. Right Rick, 35 seconds, day dreaming starting now.

RW: I often day dream while reading a book. And one of the most... enjoyable...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: It was a hesitation.

RW: It was, yes.

NP: Yes. So Paul you have day dreaming now and you have 29 seconds starting now.

PM: Day dreaming as an occupation is fine, but you then have to put those dreams into action, I believe. Simply spending your hours of your life, day dreaming, sitting in a hammock, might be lovely in the summer, listening to test cricket perhaps, coming live from the Oval. But you have to put thoughts into actions, other...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of action.

NP: Yes you had action before.

PM: Actions and action.

NP: Oooh you're right Paul. You are correct.

PM: Yes.

NP: Twelve seconds, still with you, another point of course, day dreaming starting now.

PM: But to day dream, take a moment, let the thoughts flood in...


GB: Repetition of thoughts.

PM: Thought the last time.

GB: No! No! Well of course I don't know! Whatever the chairman says, it's marvellous that you're here!

NP: No, it was the singular and the plural so we have seven seconds...

PM: Actually, actually to be honest I don't know. I can't say for certain I did. I think I might have repeated, I don't know.

NP: Gyles, benefit of the doubt to you, seven seconds, day dreaming starting now.


NP: Rick Wakeman has challenged. Rick what was your challenge?

RW: He's doing it again!

GB: I'm singing a song about day dreaming. It's a famous song from the musical Salad Days. It's actually called The Day Dream.

NP: Yeah.

GB: Julian Slade, Dorothy Reynolds, 1954...

PM: Sorry I think your singing has set off a nervous reaction in Rick.

NP: Oh right and you challenged him for that.

RW: I challenged him for singing. I mean, wouldn't anybody? I mean, let's be fair!

NP: All right, two seconds Rick, on day dreaming... I was sneezing at the time! I don't know what was going on! So as you are new to the game I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

RW: Thank you.

NP: And say two seconds on day dreaming starting now.

RW: There was a wonderful...


NP: Paul.

PM: Hesitation!

NP: No! You know he has hesitated nearly every time before he began, but this time he didn't.

PM: No, that was what I was rather banking on, but he didn't! I should have got him for deviation for not hesitating.

NP: You could have but it's too late, right.

PM: Too late, too late.

NP: So Rick you've got one second and don't hesitate, starting now.

RW: There was a great song that was...


NP: So Rick Wakeman was speaking then as the whistle went. And with his other points in the round, he's now equal with our leader Gyles Brandreth, followed by Paul Merton and Shappi Khorsandi. Gyles we'd like you to begin the next round, on the fiddle. Tell us something about that subject, I'm sorry to ask an ex-MP to talk about it. Sixty seconds starting now.

GB: Nicholas I do not intend to talk about my time as a Member of Parliament, when I was never on the fiddle. As listeners will know, I dug my own moat. My darling wife, she paid for all her own DVDs. I wish to talk about...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of own. Own moat, own DVDs.

GB: Oh yes, oh oh!


NP: If you're going to clap every correct challenge, we will never get anywhere. Forty-nine seconds Paul, on on the fiddle starting now.

PM: Playing the violin used to be a useful prop for a comedian. You think of people like Jack Benny, in this country Vic Oliver and various other people. Who else, oh yes...


NP: Ted Ray.

PM: Yes.

GB: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes think of other people, yes. Well listened Gyles, 40 seconds on the fiddle with you Gyles starting now.

GB: The tale I wish to tell is Ye-hudi Menuhin's...


NP: Paul.

PM: Deviation. There is nobody called Yeooooodee Menuhin. There was Yehudi Menuhin, not Youyouwee.

NP: I think I would give that one to you Paul.

PM: Yeah. He wasn't christened by a drunk priest, was he?

NP: Thirty-seven seconds Paul, on the fiddle starting now.

PM: Ted Ray was a magnificent exponent of the fiddle. And if you have this musical instrument to hand, you can use it as a great device. Because you tell the jokes at the audience, the audience laughs, go back...


NP: Rick challenged.

RW: Audience.

NP: Audience, yes. Rick, well listened, 25 seconds, on the fiddle starting now.

RW: When I was at the Royal College of Music, our opening speech was given by Yehudi Menuhin, who walked on to the stage, stood on his head and stayed there in that position for about 25 minutes. He then talked to us about yoga, saying that that was the best thing that anybody could do as a musician to help prepare themselves before a performance that they were going to give on the stage...



NP: Oh no no no, Shappi, what was your challenge?

SK: He just said stage twice, I thought.

PM: Yes.

RW: Yeah.

NP: He did say stage twice and you've got in with half a second to go.

SK: Did I?

NP: Yes.

SK: Half a second, eh? I wonder if I can manage that!

NP: So you have half a second on on the fiddle, Shappi starting now.

SK: On the fiddle...


NP: At the end of that round Rick Wakeman and Gyles Brandreth are still equal in the lead. And then comes Paul Merton and Shappi Khorsandi in that order. Paul here's a nice subject, we'd like you to begin it, the oddities of the English language. Sixty seconds starting now.

PM: The oddities of the English language. Some words change their meaning over the years. If we look at the word terrific, it used to refer to something being rather terrifying. Now of course we see it as a very positive term. Wicked is a word that used to mean... I've said word already.


NP: And Shappi got in first.

SK: I think he interrupted himself, so I thought that was a deviation or hesitation.

NP: No he did repeat it...

SK: Repeated himself yeah.

NP: Well listened, my darling yes. Forty-two seconds Shappi on the oddities of the English language starting now.

SK: I'm very interested in the oddities of the English language because I remember a time when I didn't speak the English language. And I thought it was just a series of sounds you made up like (gibberish) and this is the way I used to speak to people and oddly enough they didn't understand...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: A couple of repetitions including speak.

SK: Not for (gibberish).

PM: We let that one go.

SK: Okay fair enough.

NP: Twenty-nine seconds Gyles, the oddities of the English language starting now.

GB: The oddities of the English language, I always think are best illustrated by that extraordinary computer that translated the phrase, out of sight, out of mind...


NP: So Paul you challenged.

PM: Yes repetition of out.

GB: Yes! Oh!

NP: Twenty-one seconds Paul, the oddities of the English language starting now.

PM: The oddities of the English language, if you were to take a citizen from 16th century London and grab them from a nearby coffee house and presented them with the book...


NP: Rick challenged.

RW: There weren't any coffee houses in the 16th century.

PM: Yes, wasn't there?

GB: No, 17th century.

RW: Yeah.

NP: Seventeenth century were coffee houses.

SK: They were brought over by the Arabs.

RW: Starbuckles I think they were...

PM: Starbuckles!

RW: Starbucks!

SK: No, if they were brought over by the Arabs, it was El Starbuckles!

NP: There probably were coffee houses but they weren't called coffee houses.

PM: No, they were called horses.

NP: I don't know what to do, I think I should give you the benefit of the doubt.

PM: Are you giving me the benefit of the doubt?

NP: No, I'm going to give it to him.

PM: Oh.

NP: So you've got 11 seconds Rick on the oddities of the English language starting now.

RW: I like the oddities of the English language, especially when words have the same sound but...


NP: Shappi's challenged.

SK: Did you hesitate?

NP: No he didn't, darling.

SK: I'm just checking, that's all.

NP: Rick you have five seconds left, the oddities of the English language starting now.

RW: But different meanings, take rain for example. Rain as in...



NP: Oh! So Shappi you got in there just before the whistle once again.

SK: Oh no, that wasn't me, it genuinely wasn't me, I put my buzzer down because I was wrong the first time.

NP: I can't help you, can I.

SK: Nope! Oh yes, oh that was me! I just felt that um...

NP: No darling, it was Paul who pressed the buzzer first. Right Paul...

SK: I don't know who I am any more!

NP: ... what was it.

PM: Rain.

NP: Rain.

RW: Different spelling.

PM: Yes, same pronunciation though.

GB: Sounds so the same, doesn't it.

PM: Repetition of rain.

NP: Rain. So we are going to give it to Shappi?

PM: Yes.

NP: Right that's very generous of you Paul. So Paul pressed his buzzer, Shappi's got the subject and there's, according to this watch I've got in front of me, you've got minus one second.

SK: I have to say I feel like that kid on school that always wet themselves and everyone was kind to.

NP: Half a second on the oddities of the English language starting now.

SK: I believe...


NP: Right so I've just heard we've no more time we've got to play, the final round is coming up. But at the end of that round and the beginning of the final round, oh it's very close. Shappi Khorsandi got points in the last round and she's now equal with Paul Merton who is... yes! And they are three or four points behind Gyles Brandreth who is behind Rick Wakeman who is out in the lead at the moment. And Shappi we'd like you to begin the next round, getting found out. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

SK: Getting found out is something that I live in fear of. Not that I've done something especially naughty but I have a guilty conscience which dates back to Montpelier Primary School at around 1982 when for no reason that I can really think of, I put Gwendoline Knowles's shoe down the toilet during a tournament of six-a-side football where I played goalie because I was chubby in Nappy United. After that it became my absolute dread if I ever heard anyone say "Shappi, can I have a word?" When someone says that to you it...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of someone.

NP: When someone says that to you, yes.

SK: (sings) Someone out there!

NP That's all right darling, you went for nearly 40 seconds. And Gyles you've got 22 seconds, getting found out Gyles starting now.

GB: It is my constant nightmare, indeed last night I was having the terrible dream where I am playing the role of the Chinese waiter in King Lear. The character that comes on in Act Two, Scene Three, "come hither Ho!" I had told them I could play the part, I didn't even speak Mandarin...


NP: Rick challenged.

RW: Repetition of part.

NP: Yes, played the part. Right so Rick you've got in with six seconds to go, getting found out starting now.

RW: Getting found out can be extremely painful, especially when you walk out of the divorce court having...


NP: So Rick Wakeman was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And Gyles where does this Chinese waiter come in to King Lear?

GB: He's summoned on in Act Three, Scene Two. King Lear calls out to him, says "come hither, Ho!"

PM: I think the joke book that Gyles was referring to was printed some time in the 1950s.

NP: Well it's so close, I'd like to say they are all winners here. So technically Rick Wakeman, we say you are the winner, but I think we should say they are all winners! Give them all a round of applause! We do hope you have enjoyed this particular edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine and exciting and wonderfully humorous players of the game, Paul Merton, Shappi Khorsandi, Rick Wakeman and Gyles Brandreth. I thank Sarah Sharpe who has helped me with the score, she has blown her whistle most delicately after the 60 seconds. We thank our producer Tilusha Ghelani. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are grateful to this lovely audience here, at the Radio Theatre, who have cheered us on our way. So from our audience, from me, Nicholas Parsons, and the team, good-bye, and don't forget, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!