starring PAUL MERTON, SUE PERKINS, JULIAN CLARY and KEVIN ELDON, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 6 December 2010)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners in this country and around the world. But also to welcome to the show four talented, exciting, humorous performers who are going to show their dexterity with words and their language, as they 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 left, Sue Perkins and Kevin Eldon. And seated on my right, Paul Merton and Julian Clary. Please welcome all four of them! Seated beside me is Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me keep the score, and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Radio Theatre in the heart of Broadcasting House, in the centre of London W1. And we have a lovely audience in front of us eager to get going. So we'll begin the show with Sue Perkins. Sue, I don't know what's going to happen with this subject, my relationship with the chairman. Sixty seconds starting now.

SUE PERKINS: The first time I met Nicholas was in a dimly lit basement. He said "call me Doris", I said "I shall". He had delusions of grandeur, standing there as he was in six inch heels and a charming basque which looked a little second-hand, but nonetheless stood up nicely among his milky white nipples...


PAUL MERTON: I've got, I've got that picture in my head now! Trying to stop it! Deviation, you've never, you haven't got milky... deviation! I don't believe that's the first time she met you, is it Nicholas?

NP: She's never met me like that.

PM: Really?

SP: Oh come now! Everyone calls you Albino Hooters!

NP: Sue you'll say anything to get...

PM: Albino Hooters! The finest Mexican guitarist in Basildon!

NP: Sue, you are incorrigible, you'll say anything to get a laugh. And I think I'm sufficiently...

SP: Just telling the truth, Nicholas! It's time it came out!

NP: Now I'm a sufficiently good sport to take it all. So there we are. But Paul it was deviation of a very serious nature. So you've got a point for a correct challenge and you have 40 seconds, my relationship with the chairman starting now.

PM: Well, the blood tests say father!


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: It was beautiful, then there was a hesitation.

NP: I know, he was playing for the laugh, right. You could have had him for deviation as well. Right...

SP: Well the test result, it's proven now, Nicholas. It's time you stopped denying it!

NP: Well I'd be very happy to have Paul as my son.

SP: Yes.


SP: Oh don't!

PM: Can I, can I express an opinion myself?

JULIAN CLARY: It's not The Jeremy Kyle Show, is it?

NP: So Sue...

SP: I want to see that edition though.

NP: Sorry Sue, you had a correct challenge so you get a point for that and it's still my relationship with the chairman, do watch it please, 36 seconds starting now.

SP: It was Dorking, my first ever Just A Minute and I was terrified. It appeared there were something in excess of about 30,000 people there. I'm guessing...


NP: Julian you challenged.

JC: She's not mentioning her relationship with the chairman, she's talking about Dorking.

NP: I know.

SP: I was getting back to it.

NP: Yes I suppose you were going to say that was the first time you played Just A Minute and that was your, where your relationship began. I assume that was what you were going to say.

SP: Yes.

NP: But she didn't actually say it, did she.

JC: No, it was a long wait!

NP: So the benefit of the doubt to you Julian.

JC: Thank you.

NP: Although I think I knew what she was going to say. Because I was there in Dorking and um...

SP: Yes that's where I first met you.

NP: I know.

SP: Yeah.

NP: I know, but you didn't actually establish it within...

SP: No, I was just setting the scene. Next time, if I get another chance I'm going to go "went to Dorking, met Nicholas"!

PM: Yeah.

NP: Julian, correct challenge, 27 seconds, my relationship with the chairman starting now.

JC: My relationship with Nicholas Parsons is entirely business-like and above board. We have been charming with each other. Nicholas smiles...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well, repetition of Nicholas, I'm afraid.

NP: Yes I thought, mind you, you can't repeat it too often.

PM: No.

NP: Eleven seconds, for a correct challenge, my relationship with the chairman starting now.

PM: When I was at school, I used to admire watching him on The Benny Hill Show and also with Arthur Haynes. And he was a perfect straight man for those two comedians. And I am so thrilled and privileged to be able to say now before the whistle goes. I know he's trying to stop it going, but I do think the whistle going. Nicholas Parsons is a true gentleman and I love him dearly!


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle and at the end of that round, he is in the lead. Julian would you begin the next round, the ultimate road trip, 60 seconds starting now.

JC: The ultimate road trip for me took place quite recently where I drove from London to Monte Carlo with Jody Kidd as my passenger on board a vintage Bentley. The only drawback was that my companion liked to drive at 140 miles an hour, eating a baguette and making a phone call. I used to recite my Hail Marys and Our Fathers, Glory Bes, which I learnt at Catholic school. However the ultimate...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a pause there.

JC: Well it was for dramatic effect.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Right, 36 seconds Paul, the ultimate road trip starting now.

PM: The recent ultimate road trerrrrr...


SP: Went a little bit Irish then.

JC: Have you had a stroke?

PM: No, but I can move my chair nearer if you want.

JC: Can we turn the lights out?

NP: I should explain to our listeners, that is exactly what Julian has done. He's moved a bit nearer to Julian. Julian you challenged.

JC: It was a hesitation.

PM: What was?

JC: You, grinding to a halt, stopping speaking.

NP: You made a....

JC: Strange gutteral noise.

NP: ... vocal hiccup.

PM: Yeah.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Which we interpret as hesitation.

PM: Really?

NP: So Julian has got 34 seconds to continue with the ultimate road trip starting now.

JC: I'd like to go home in about half an hour. For me that would be the ultimate road trip. There is something I particularly want to see on Channel Four at 10 o'clock this evening involving a million pound drop...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Deviation, he's discussing his televisual.... this is a radio medium and he's discussing what he's going to do after the show.

NP: Why couldn't he?

SP: I don't know, I just thought maybe you'd give me the benefit of the doubt.

NP: You're playing this audience very well Sue. But no, he's entitled to go home after the show and watch television if he wants to. There is nothing devious in that. And, it depends what he is watching of course, I suppose. No, no, an incorrect challenge Julian, another point to you, 21 seconds, the ultimate road trip starting now.

JC: The ultimate road trip from the BBC to my home...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of B.

NP: Yeah, it happens. Correct challenge Paul, well listened. And the ultimate road trip is with you Paul, 18 seconds starting now.

PM: From Aberdeen to Inverness at the top of Scotland was a trip I recently underwent. It was an absolutely wonderful day, and it's a new fresh road there, gliding over the hills and across and through the mountains, and the scenery was breath-taking and every time you turned a tight corner, there...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's increased his lead at the end of the round. Julian's in second place, then Sue Perkins and Kevin Eldon. And Kevin we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is how to tell a story. There are 60 seconds as always and you start now.

KEVIN ELDON: Well the best way to tell a story is to begin by really taking your voice down so that you draw the listener in. This peaks their attention and they think to themselves, oh there might be something quite mysterious and fascinating here, I better draw a bit closer and cock an ear. Then when you've got them ensnared you take everybody involved off on to a flight of imagination. You can sometimes vary your tone so it doesn't get boring, but not too high, otherwise you'll crack some glasses and some dogs will be upset. At all costs you must have a good end of the story or denouement as it's called in classical terms where the listener is fascinated by what's happened and completely surprised by the turn of events as they have evolved and are filled with emotions that move them to go to other areas of their lives and say I've heard the most wonderful tale today. It was narrated in such a manner as I have never heard before and will always...


NP: So Kevin Eldon who began with the subject and finished with the subject, it doesn't often happen and Kevin has only played the game once before. And you fully deserve not only the point for speaking as the whistle went but a bonus point for not being interrupted or committing any of those. So at the end of that round you've got two points and you're in third place now ahead of Sue Perkins. Paul we'd like you to begin the next round, the country life. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PM: (speaks unintelligibly in country accent) When you walk in the field and the cows seems to say to you, I wonder if it might be...


PM: Who buzzed? Who buzzed then?

NP: Sue, Sue Perkins has buzzed you.

SP: Repetition of cliche!

PM: Cliche?

SP: No there was a howra, howra, howra, so repetition of howra.

NP: I know, I have to make judgement. So Sue, benefit of the doubt yes, you have the country life now and you have 53 seconds starting now.

SP: I love the rural idyll, the tranquillity and silence of the country side, punctuated only by somebody, vote for Nigel...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was there a slight hesitation there?

NP: I don't think so.

PM: No no.

NP: No no so incorrect challenge Sue, another point to you, 45 seconds, the country life starting now.

SP: The stillness broken only by members of Ukip canvassing at the door, desperate that nobody other than farmers should permeate their small closed world. I love nature, to be out in it, to see cows mooing, that's the only sound they make really. It's impossible to do an impression of a cow without invoking that...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Oh I think it's wrong, cows and cow.

NP: Yes she said cows the first time and then it was a cow the second time. Twenty-five seconds, another point to you Sue, incorrect, the country life starting now.

SP: I feel lazy if I don't churn my own butter in the countryside. But I'm not very wise as to how to do this, milk I imagine would be the best thing. Also there's an idea if you are not growing vegetables, you're somehow remiss. Everything is slower, at a different pace. Time to contemplate the wider things such as why am I here? Why do I have no television reception...


NP: Julian.

JC: Repetition of why.

NP: There was too many whys there so Julian you have a correct challenge, four seconds, the country life, Julian starting now.

JC: I've got a small holding with ducks and chickens and dogs...


NP: So Julian Clary was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now one point behind our leader Paul Merton, then Sue Perkins and Kevin Eldon in that order. Sue we'd like you to begin the next round, determinism. I'm sure we all know about that but would you talk on that subject starting now.

NP: So Sue was interrupted, she gets a point, 28 seconds, the icing on the cake Sue starting now.

SP: Determinism is a philosophical principle whereby an event is causally determined by a series of events that have gone before. For instance where I to deviate, repeat or any other infringement of the rules of Just A Minute, I could quite happily say the reason for this was not my own free will but a selection of things that happened in my non-too distant past. I am merely a hostage, a soldier of fortune operating as a pawn in the wider scheme of things, moved in a haphazard fashion by powers that way way ad... no!


SP: That is determinism! It was meant to be, I submit.

NP: And you went for 38 seconds on determinism and that's not bad, is it.

PM: Very good.

NP: No. Julian you challenged first, what was it.

JC: Repetition of way.

NP: That's right, you did say way way, right. Julian, there are 22 seconds available, determinism starting now.

JC: Determinism I predict means that someone is going to buzz very very shortly and do something awful...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: He's psychic! Um I think he was off the subject because he doesn't really know anything about it so deviation from the subject of determinism.

NP: No it doesn't matter as long as you say...

PM: What? Really?

NP: You can still say that you don't know much about the subject but still, you're obviously still talking about the subject.

PM: Oh!

NP: So Julian, incorrect challenge, you have 17 seconds, tell us more about determinism starting now.

JC: The difference between determinism and fatalism is not a subject for us to discuss this evening...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: That was hesitation so determinism is back with you Sue, 12 seconds starting now.

SP: Theological determinism means you believe a god or higher identity is in some way shaping your destiny. Whilst I'm not a religious person...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of destiny.

NP: Yes you talked about destiny before.

SP: Well I'm the David Icke of Radio Four.

NP: So Julian, well listened, you have three, oh three seconds only, determinism, it's about all you need, isn't it. Starting now.

JC: Determinism, it is a well-known fact...


NP: I must say we haven't had abstruse subjects like this before. But it's happening one or two of them and Julian you were speaking then when the whistle went and with others in the round, you've now increased your position. You're ahead of Paul Merton who is in second place and then Sue Perkins and then Kevin Eldon. And Julian we'd like you to begin the next round which is building bridges. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JC: Before I became a camp comic and renowned homosexual, I had a day job building bridges...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: You're homosexual?

JC: I'm sorry to spring that on you!

PM: Well, congratulations!

NP: Paul the audience enjoyed your reaction and your challenge, what you said. So we give you a bonus point for your interruption. But Julian you were interrupted so you get a point for that and you keep the subject with 55 seconds on building bridges starting now.

JC: I was building bridges over the Thames with Billy Boy and George, my companions. We all had hard hats and I don't mind telling you we had some very lovely...


PM: Billy Boy and George!

NP: So what is your challenge, Sue.

SP: Well unfortunately there was hesitation because Paul was laughing and he was distracted.

NP: I don't think he was distracted enough and he kept going in spite of all the distractions.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So the benefit of the doubt.

SP: Billy Boy and George.

NP: Let's hear more about Billy Boy.

PM: I'd like to know him.

NP: Yeah, building bridges Julian, 45 seconds starting now.

JC: I was the hod carrier and it was my job to deliver the bricks to my compatriots. And on one occasion, I dropped one, right in the middle of the river. It was awful! I said "don't worry, boys..."


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Was it repetition of river as in river Thames?

NP: You mentioned the river Thames before.

PM: I'm disappointed not to hear any more about Billy Boy and George.

JC: Well it would have been repetition.

PM: Oh yeah.

JC: I'll tell you after.

PM: Oh okay.

NP: Right, 32 seconds Sue on building bridges starting now.

SP: When you have had an argument with a friend, the best way forward is to build a bridge. It's very hard work, it means there's no time for further disagreements, especially like me, if you're a novice. I like to go to George and Billy Boy who apparently are the world experts in building bridges. Unfortunately they don't have their well-known hod carrier because he has gone on to better things...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: I can give you their number if you like.

NP: Oh right, Julian we give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the interruption. Sue you get a point for an interruption and you keep the subject, 10 seconds, building bridges starting now.

SP: Building bridges was of particular significance in the Millennium Bridge scenario where it was so wobbly that those that created it had to go back to basics...


NP: So Sue Perkins was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. She's moved forward, she's now in second place ahead of Paul Merton and behind Julian Clary. And Kevin Eldon we'd like you to begin the next round, seven ways to say good-bye. Sixty seconds if you want it starting now.

KE: There are of course even ways to say good-bye. The first is the most conventional one which is go up to the person you have been spending some time with and say ta-ta. The second if you're shy...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: It's terrible really but ta-ta, you know, it's sort of...

KE: It is, it is repetition.

NP: No, it isn't, he said tat-ta. Not ta-ta.

PM: Oh tat-ta.

NP: Yes.

PM: (Oh no, it's not repetition then.

NP: No it isn't repetition, no.

PM: Oh well done, tat-ta yeah.

KE: And that's Inuit for see you at the next fish season.

PM: Yeah. I know it well.

NP: So Kevin you had an incorrect challenge, you gain a point for that, 48 seconds available, seven ways to say good-bye starting now.

KE: Another way to say good-bye is to be a bit flamboyant, maybe poke yourself down a cannon, light the fuse and as you are shooting through the window say "thanks for the quiche". The fourth is to do it in French, au revoir. Fifth, German, auf wiedershein. Sixth, Italian, arrividerci. Seventh, why not go all around the room and kiss everybody on the lips and say "I bloody love you"! Then maybe you could get something really wonderful going by doing the high kicking dance routine out of the door so that the very last thing they see of you is a waving top hat. The main thing though is to make sure that everybody misses your presence and that you...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of everybody.

NP: You mentioned everybody before.


NP: Yes that applause shows they do love your contributions Kevin. But Julian it was a correct challenge so you've goy six seconds, seven ways to say good-bye starting now.

JC: One of the seven ways to say good-bye happened when I...


NP: Right, Paul.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation Paul.

SP: Choked by the moment I think, three seconds Paul, seven ways to say good-bye.

PM: I said to Billy Boy and George, listen to me, I am saying good-bye...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's moved forward, he's now in second place, one ahead of Sue Perkins. and three or four behind Julian Clary who is still in the lead. And Kevin is also there but his contribution is more important. Paul we'd like you to begin the next round and the subject is the most useless thing I've ever bought. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

PM: The most useless thing I've ever bought, well, I wonder what that could possibly be. I suppose it was that bicycle that I purchased when I was 10 years old. I didn't understand the concept of wheels, I didn't know...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of I didn't.

PM: Yes.

NP: He realised that as he said it.

PM: Yeah.

NP: And put on a different voice. Forty-seven seconds with you Sue, having got another point, the most useless thing I've ever bought starting now.

SP: The most useless I ever bought was a home brewing kit. Sixteen months later I had put yeast, sugar, water in a vat and then sent to the airing cupboard to find it not only tasted appalling but that cider was freely available at off-licences for a fraction of the price. It cost a monumental 35 pounds for what essentially boiled down to basic storeroom ingredients and an urn. I have no idea what propelled me into the world of micro-brewing but it was a very brief stint and one that I am very glad to be shut of...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Very repeated.

NP: Yes you did say very before. And so well listened Julian another point to you, 12 seconds, the most useless thing I've ever bought starting now.

JC: The most useless thing I've ever bought was a pair of boxing gloves. I mean, I ask you! I don't get into scuffles very often. In the end I used them for drinking sherry out of it which is delicious and it keeps them toasty warm...


NP: Right so Julian was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, has increased his lead. Fine so um oh we've got another one of these difficult subjects, Dostoyevsky.

SP: What is this? Determinism and Dostoyevsky!

NP: We look to you with your superior learning and say anyway, 60 seconds starting now.

SP: Dostoyevsky is my favourite novelist. He was writing in Russia in the...


NP: Kevin challenged.

KE: Ah it's a deviation, isn't it. Are we talking about Colin Dostoyevsky, the garden shed supremo?

PM: Yeah. He's just opened up a new warehouse.

KE: He has yeah.

SP: Fantastic prices.

NP: Kevin they loved your interruption, but she can go on any Dostoyevsky. I don't know yours, the garden shed guy. But ah no...

KE: Colin!

NP: Colin, no, she did establish within seconds of you challenging that it was the Russian. But you get a bonus point because they enjoyed your interruption.

KE: Fine.

NP: Sue gets a point because she was interrupted and there are 55 seconds, Dostoyevsky, Sue starting now.

SP: He authored magnificent words of existentialism. Brothers Karamazov, Crime And Punishment. But what he really wanted to pen was chick lit. (in Russian accent) Why does nobody see the market for handsome man with beautiful girl with big boobies? No-one will ever buy the stuff and yet I write so heavily that is boring. Why this stuff about a pawn broker that dies at the hand of someone who wants to better the universe? Oh I hate determinism and free will. If it was just left to me, I would just do Mills and Boon, but nobody interested...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Oh no, I think, oh no, I was going to say hesitation. But I'm not sure there was actually.

NP: There wasn't hesitation.

PM: No.

NP: You could have had deviation but it's too late.

SP: Apart from the Russian language, that is.

NP: Still with you Sue, having got an incorrect challenge, 23 seconds available, Dostoyevsky starting now.

SP: He had an incredibly miserable life which may in some way show why... I've said the word way repeatedly which is a shame.


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition.

NP: Yes.

JC: Way.

NP: Way way, so Julian another point to you, 16 seconds available, Dostoyevsky starting now.

JC: He was a bearded kind of chap, I know that much. Bits of food no doubt got caught in this attachment to his face and mice would live in there and nibble away at these little bits of bread and vodka which is what they washed it down with...


NP: So Julian Clary was speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point. He's increased his lead at the end of the round. And we are moving into the final round, I'll give you the situation as we go into the final round. Kevin Eldon hasn't played the game very much.... no, that wasn't patronising...

KE: No, no, it's not.

NP: Because your contribution is brilliant.

KE: Yeah.

NP: And then Paul's trailing in third place for once. And just ahead of him is Sue Perkins and out in the lead is still Julian Clary. And Julian actually we are back with you to begin. Getting rid of hiccups, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

JC: There are a number of ways to get rid of hiccups. One is to hold your breath to the count of about 30. The other is to get someone to give you a shock. My mother used to come into the room wearing nickers on her head and we'd all go, scream, how frightening! And once you'd recovered, you'd realise hiccups were a thing of the past...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a hesitation then.

NP: There, there was a full-stop.

PM: He'd finished. I thought it was extremely informative.

NP: Right.

PM: And again, another one of those mental images that'll take a long time...

NP: Forty-two seconds still available Paul, for you, getting rid of hiccups starting now.

PM: There is a pretty good way of getting rid of hiccups and that's to think, or indeed describe what you had for breakfast, out loud, verbally. It doesn't sound as if it should work, but there is something about thinking around food that leads you to stop hiccupping. This was told to me by somebody called Andy Smart who demonstrated it to me one day when I was suffering from this particular affliction and it does... indeed work...


PM: It does work! It does work!

NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Ah hesitation.

NP: Yes hesitation on the work, work came into his mind and he didn't want to repeat it. So 19 seconds are available for you Sue on getting rid of hiccups starting now.

SP: The best cure I've found for hiccups is once, when I was afflicted, Julian's mother came in with a pair of nickers on her head. I have to say that abiding image was burning into my retina. It also makes me think slightly less of what was happening in my chest region. Another thing you can do is...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of thing.

NP: Yeah there were too many things there.

SP: Always the way!

NP: Listen Julian, nobody can catch you up now.

PM: No.

NP: And there are only four seconds to go and everybody has spoken on this subject except Kevin.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So can we give those four seconds to Kevin?

JC: No, I'd be delighted.

NP: And so we'd love to hear from you Kevin on this subject so we all have a go at it. Getting rid of hiccups and you've only got four seconds starting now.

KE: (shouts) Whaaaaaaa! (normal voice) Doing that very quickly in front of somebody's face will shock them so much that the hiccups...


NP: So Kevin Eldon was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He still finished in fourth place, but it was a very magnificent one because he contributed so much with his humour. Paul was in third place just behind Sue Perkins. And they were all a few points behind Julian Clary, congratulations to Julian Clary. So we do hope you have enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute and will want to tune in again the next time we play the game. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Sue Perkins, Kevin Eldon, Paul Merton and Julian Clary. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, she has kept that whistle going whenever the 60 seconds elapsed. We thank our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here in the Radio Theatre. So please tune in the next time we all play Just A Minute! Yes!