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, humorous individuals who are going to play Just A Minute. And they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Julian Clary. And seated on my left, Gyles Brandreth and Tony Hawks. Please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject that I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, who has a stopwatch. She is going to help me with the score, and she is also going to blow the whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And it's a lovely warm spring evening here and they're in a great mood, the audience. So let's get started! Paul will you begin the show. Oh, my motto, that's a subject. Tell us something about my motto, in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Be lucky, work hard. There can be no better motto than that perhaps. If you find yourself.. work...


NP: Tony challenged.

TONY HAWKS: Well I think he may have hesitated.

NP: I think we do interpret that as hesitation.

PM: Mmmmm yeah.

TH: I wasn't expecting it because he is one of the finest speakers around.

NP: Yes.

NP: And yet he let himself down badly, I thought.

PM: I neither worked hard, nor was lucky.

NP: So Tony you have a correct challenge, so you get a point for that, you take over the subject. There are 53 seconds available starting now.

TH: My favourite motto, I think, is you're never too old to be told off by a park keeper. And this is the way I try to live my life. That indeed did happen to me, not long ago, when I was playing a game with a ball against a shed, and along came this young fellow in a peaked cap and instructed me to finish this activity immediately. And I was delighted to see that he was only about 21 years old, and I am in my early 30s, delighted to be...


NP: Gyles, Gyles, you challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: Oh deviation!

NP: I've got to hear what your deviation is.

GB: From the truth.

NP: Obviously yes. You're talking about age, are you?

GB: he looks younger than springtime, but not quite that young.

NP: All right, so Gyles, a correct challenge to you, a point to you, you take the subject, my motto, 26 seconds starting now.

GB: Classical scholars that know that in loco parentis means my Dad's an engine driver, and tarosamalata is Greek for grunting, will have no difficulty with my family motto. Which is vefrustra, spelt V-E-F-R-U-S...


GB: ... some strange way..

NP: Gyles you've been challenged. Tony? What was it? What was your challenge Tony?

TH: I challenged his spelling of that. I thought he came out with something which wasn't actually a letter.

GB: Oh yes.

TH: He just sort of made some sounds.

GB: No, no, no, I explained this as a classical reference. I was doing the Latin pronunciation as taught at my prep school, Betsanga 1961 to 64...

TH: Oh, 61 to 64? I can't remember that far back, I am only 32.

PM: Which year were you born Tony?

TH: 1976.

PM: That doesn't make you 32.

TH: No. I have...

NP: Tony I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt...

TH: Ah!

NP: So you have a correct challenge and say that you have another point of course, nine seconds, my motto starting now.

TH: My motto, which I mentioned earlier, and won't say...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: That must be repetition. He mentioned it earlier.

NP: Yeah but Paul, to be fair, it is a repetitious thought but he didn't actually repeat what his motto was. But it was a good try but we... I'll tell you what, this is what I sometimes do if someone does something there which we enjoy and he got a nice laugh. Give you a bonus point. But Tony had an incorrect challenge so he keeps the subject, another point to him, seven seconds, my motto Tony starting now.

TH: Imagine the scene in the local recreation ground as the crowd developed around us. Such an...


NP: So in this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Tony Hawks who has got the lead as you can imagine at the end of the round. And Gyles we'd like you to start the next round. Three things that most enrage me. tell us something about that in this game starting now.

GB: Three things that most enrage me. I will begin in an English town on a Saturday night when the girls are emerging from the local clubs and pubs. Thongs on display, 13, 14, 15 years of age. I am enraged by this as they puke upon the pavement. I think to myself who is at home looking after their babies? I am equally enraged by large people who I find on the London Underground. I travel by Tube and am surrounded always by the obese. Those with hormonal difficulties should go by bus! The... under the surface we expect to find...


NP: Tony, Tony's challenged.

TH: I'm stopping him on behalf of society!

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

TH: I think he said enraged twice.

NP: It's on the card.

TH: No, enrage is on the card.

NP: Yes. Oh yes, clever listening. Three things that most enrage me is the subject, you can repeat the words independently...

GB: That's right.

NP: And you said, you said enraged...

GB: The first time I said what really does enrage me is the English country towns, and I said the second time, this enraged me. I mean, it's a detail, it doesn't matter.

NP: Do you know Gyles, I think you're right.

TH: I shall be listening back in six weeks' time.

NP: It shows you how fair I always try to be. Last time I gave the benefit of the doubt to Tony when it was against you. This time you have the benefit of the doubt, keep the subject and there are 23 seconds, three things that most enrage me starting now.

GB: The third thing that most enrages me is the trio in whose presence I find myself now. Oh how foolish people are to assume that I am talking about the attractive boys who are on the panel. Oh no! I am referring to three people who are sitting in the audience...


NP: Julian challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Was it repetition of people?

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yes, yes indeed yes. Yes good to hear from you Julian, right.

GB: I don't know that it was because I think I referred to three boys. But I don't mind, I like to hear Julian.

NP: You can't creep and crawl like that. Right Julian, you have a correct challenge, you have a point, thank goodness, and there we are. Seven seconds available and you start now.

JC: Incontinent ducks. If I leave my French windows open, they mince into the house and plop on the carpet...


NP: So Julian Clary was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now in second place alongside Gyles, Tony is still out in the lead. And Julian actually it is your turn to begin. And we'd like you to begin on this subject here, my nan. tell us something more about that subject in this game starting now.

JC: My nan was called Elizabeth and lived on the Isle of Wight which is where all nans should live. But she had a secret life as a pole dancer. Once the night started she would creep out the back door, make her way to this club, where she would swivel and gyrate. And she'd take her teeth out and do something unspeakable with a biscuit. And people would come from an awful long way, just to see this exciting entertainment. And I never knew about this, none of the family did. It wasn't until she passed away and then we got a phone call from her boss saying "is Lizzie there? I've got the grease ready!" And we had to do a bit of investigation work as you can understand. She was also a marvellous knitter and I won't tell you where she put her ball of wool. And I've got a lovely scarf which still smells of my nan. She was a marvellous person with twinkly eyes, one of which was green and the other purple...


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

PM: Oh no!


NP: You don't win friends that way.

PM: I think it's a gas leak.

NP: So I have to take your challenge. What was it?

PM: Repetition of zoological.

NP: You're being very sporting so that Julian can have it back again and get in on the last thing. Right, an incorrect challenge Julian so you have one second to go...

PM: Perhaps you feel sorry about booing me now!

NP: Yeah you should cheer him now.

PM: As I sit here mentally counting the seconds go by so I can judge 59 exactly! Oh I'm giving my secrets away!

NP: Julian, one second to go on my nan starting now.

JC: Her rocking...


NP: So you went for 59 seconds which is brilliant but then Paul Merton gave you a very false challenge there deliberately, so you went for the other second. So you did get two more points in that round, well done. And you are now in the lead alongside Tony Hawks. Tony it's up to you now. What lurks under my bed. Sixty seconds starting now.

TH: I've actually got a futon frame so there isn't much underneath. So technically it's the room beneath which lurks under my bed where I have a new lodger who is a Columbian 26-year-old ice skater who is going to, this is true. Sounds like I've just made it up to try and get attention, but in fact there is truth in this. Very nice young man, hasn't been there very long, so I have to talk about him for a few seconds more in order to complete the brief I've been given...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Could I have his phone number?

NP: It's things like that, Julian, that I think deserve bonus points. Because you haven't got a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute, have you?

JC: No, no, I want to hear more!

GB: I think he has and the word is deviation. Well did we hear how old the boy was?

PM: Twenty-six, he's 26.

GB: Oh? Oh well, that's fine. Well can I come too?

NP: Bonus point to Julian and you were incorrectly challenged Tony, so you keep the subject and there are 30 seconds starting now.

TH: I don't know whether he'll start doing it, but I imagine he'll practice in the privacy of the small chamber which I have allotted to him for the rental involved...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Before we completely lapse into the 18th century, how is he going to practice his ice skating in this very small room?

NP: I had the impression he was doing it in a chamber pot.

PM: I beg your pardon? Well who gave you that impression? Somebody in 1948? What are you talking about?

TH: He's got... he's got exercises that he can actually do inside for this building.

PM: That's not really practicing, that's not practicing, is it? That's training. There's a difference between training and praticing.

TH: Well...

NP: No, no, you're...

TH: He's Columbian so he says practicing.

NP: Right.

PM: Well! When this programme goes out, you can tell him he's wrong.

NP: So Paul, correct challenge and you have ah, 19 seconds, tell me what lurks under my bed starting now.

PM: It's this Columbian. He lives underneath Tony Hawks and he comes around and tells me about it every night. (in accent) I practice ice skating but I tell him it's training. (normal voice) And so we get on very well indeed. I opened up a new bottle of sherry...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: He's Columbian, not Italian.

PM: Very similar accent.

NP: But you never established he didn't have an Italian accent.

TH: No I didn't. Like an idiot!

PM: No, you just mentioned the ice skating.

NP: That's a difficult one to judge on.

PM: Isn't it just.

NP: It was a, I mean he was just doing a foreign voice, to convey that...

TH: Yes I'll let him have it. But I'll have a bonus point for the challenge that you liked.

NP: So you've had the benefit of the doubt, I give the benefit of the doubt to Paul on this occasion. Nine seconds Paul, what lurks under my bed starting now.

PM: Freeman Hardy and Willis are three of the things that I really don't like. And I keep them under my bed along with chickens, soda syphons and kit...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He's moved into second place and he also begins the next round. Oh Paul, conventional good looks. Sixty seconds starting now.

PM: Conventional good looks must be a terrible thing to have. If you are someone like me, I don't particularly possess conventional good looks. No, please don't argue with me, I know what I am saying. I'm rather more of the sort of famous film star of the 1920s, someone like Roman Navarro. What a tremendous writer and actor he was! He had a profile, the great side of his face was seen on billboards and film...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: The great side of his face?

PM: Well I'd just said profile, you see, so I couldn't say profile again.

NP: I know but I think it was a...

PM: It was a bit ugly, wasn't it.

JC: I'd call it, I'd say deviation.

NP: A bit ungrammatical, the great side...

PM: Yes.

JC: Yeah.

PM: I couldn't think of another word to put...

NP: It's either side of his face, it couldn't be the great side of his face.

PM: No.

NP: The side of his face which was great.

PM: Yes.

NP: Would have been better.

PM: Yes.

NP: So I'm giving Julian...

PM: If only I'd spent more time thinking about this!

NP: So benefit of the doubt to Julian, 34 seconds Julian, conventional good looks starting now.

JC: Claire Sweeney has conventional good looks and much good has it dome her! I think it's hard to describe what is conventional good looks. Two eyes, roughly, equidistant above the nose and a mouth. And apart from that it's a free for all, isn't it. Conventional good looks is an outdated phrase, no-one knows what it means and we are just not particularly interested. I like quirky, conventional good looks. Say Jeremy Kyle. He is a man who gets me going of a morning and...


NP: So Julian kept going in some strange way until the whistle went and gained that extra point for doing so. And he has now taken the lead, just ahead of Tony Hawks, then comes Paul Merton and then Gyles Brandreth in that order. And Gyles we'd like you to begin the next round. I know you know something about this subject, my favourite Oscar Wilde quote. Can you tell us that in this game starting now.

GB: My favourite Oscar Wilde quote, never commit murder, a gentleman should never do anything he cannot talk about at dinner.


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of never.

GB: Oh very good! Very good!

PM: Well strictly speaking, isn't this Oscar Wilde's fault? Shouldn't Oscar Wilde be taking a point off him, take a point off him?

NP: He did repeat, he did repeat never.

GB: Yes, no, no, no, no.

NP: It might have been in a quote, but it was also outside the quote.

PM: Yes.

NP: And in Just A Minute you can't do that.

GB: No no.

NP: So Tony, you have another point and you have 52 seconds, my favourite Oscar Wilde quote starting now.

TH: I am so clever sometimes that I don't understand a single word I am saying. That is not me speaking there, rather Oscar Wilde for that is one of his quotes and there were so many. What a talented man he was, and in many ways, sad too that he should die in a hotel in Paris, impoverished, miserable, when he was gifted in...


TH: I haven't finished.

NP: Tony challenged. Tony you challenged yourself.

GB: No I challenged him.

NP: Well Tony's light came on.

GB: Ah well, that's what the effect is.

NP: So what's your challenge Gyles.

GB: The challenge was the hesitation and also earlier on, the quotation, the repetition of the word I. But I realise it was Oscar Wilde's fault. The quotation that he gave contained a word repeated twice.

NP: I know but it doesn't matter, that would have been repetition.

GB: Yeah that was repetition but I'm giving you...

TH: We, we usually allow our I because...

GB: Yes of course, that's why I moved on.

NP: I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt Tony. Tony, 25 seconds, my favourite Oscar Wilde quote starting now.

TH: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, or close up the walls. Was not his quotation. It was in fact Shakespeare who didn't know him and is therefore...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Is it once more into the breach, or once more unto the breach? It's once more into, isn't it?

NP: It doesn't really matter. He's quoting Shakespeare, not Oscar Wilde. So I think I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say he's not, he's deviating from the subject. My favourite Oscar Wilde quote, he's gone into Shakespeare.

PM: Yeah he has yeah.

NP: Right, 16 seconds...

TH: Oh that's rattled your cage.

NP: Sixteen seconds Paul, my favourite Oscar Wilde quote starting now.

PM: It was to the hat check girl at the Savoy. Thank you, he said. And there have been many times in my life when I have used exactly those same words to find myself in a difficult...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: In Oscar Wilde's time, there was no such thing as a hat check girl. The word was coined in 1922.

PM: What? There was no such thing as a hat check girl? What, people just threw their hats into the street? I'd like to see that again.

NP: I think what Gyles is trying to convey is that that wasn't the phrase that was used.

PM: No he only said thank you to the hat check girl.

NP: Yeah but the...

PM: Who didn't exist before 1923.

NP: No, the girls existed...

PM: Did they?

NP: But not the phrase with which to describe them.

GB: No the staff there in the cloakroom were male staff at the Savoy in the 1880s and 1890s.

PM: Oh well that's, oh you're thinking of the Savoy in London. I see your mistake! I was referring of course to the New York Savoy, but of course if you didn't know that.

NP: No they're all, they're all so clever and sharp there, I don't know where to go. But I mean Paul, I gave you the benefit of the doubt last time on the...

PM: Oh really?

NP: Yes on the quote, so the benefit of the doubt goes to Gyles on this occasion.

PM: Absolutely.

NP: Gyles you have six seconds, my favourite Oscar Wilde quote starting now.

GB: After a good meal, one can forgive anyone, even family...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: This was long before people had good meals!

NP: Paul...

PM: The first decent breakfast was 1904!

NP: Paul, very clever and a well received round of laughter and applause, so you get a bonus point for that. But Gyles was interrupted so he gets another point and continues for four seconds only, my favourite Oscar Wilde quote starting now.

GB: Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde came from a witty family. His brother once applied...


NP: So it's all very close. Gyles was then speaking as the whistle went. With others in the round he is still in fourth place but only one point separates them all. Then there's Paul, one point ahead and then two points ahead Julian Clary and Tony Hawks equal in the lead.

GB: It's a needle match.

NP: It's Radio Four, the passions are rising, right. Right so Julian it is your turn to begin and the subject now, oh a lovely one. Breakfast in bed. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

JC: There's nothing nicer than a tray brought up to my room with soldiers on! My mouth waters as I hear the footsteps and it sets you up for the day, puts a smile on your face. But you must remember to wipe your mouth afterwards. Breakfast in bed is something I have done since I was a teenager. I think I was rather spoilt by my mother but she insisted that the best way for me to give myself brain power was breakfast in bed. A little grapefruit perhaps with all the segments separated for me by my adoring parents, and then some muesli which slips down and keeps you regular. Breakfast in bed is a tradition in our family, we all have it. Who starts the whole chain going is anyone's guess. I think the woman next door would come in with something in a glass for my father. I don't know what it was but it was definitely organic, because he would smile all the...


NP: Paul, you're not going to believe this.

PM: Oh no!

NP: You've got in again with one second to go.

JC: And for what reason have you interrupted my flow?

NP: So what was your challenge Paul.

PM: Well you paused!

JC: Oh I was breathing.

PM: If you could have breathed for one more second, it would have made for a much nicer atmosphere for me and everybody else.

TH: He said zoological twice as well.

NP: They were very generous with you Julian and you did pause a bit.

JC: I know.

NP: Paul you have a correct challenge, breakfast in bed, one second starting now.

PM: Audrey Hepburn had it in Tiffany's.


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And as we go into the final round, let me tell you that Gyles is trailing just a little.

GB: Oh no!

NP: No, no, but your contribution has been invaluable. You're a few points behind Tony Hawks who is in second place, and one point only ahead are equal leaders Paul Merton and Julian Clary. So we...


NP: Ooooh ooooh! The audience are with us, good. Paul it's your turn to begin...

PM: (unintelligible)

NP: What are you two doing over there?

PM: Julian just, Julian just stroked my thigh! What did you have on your hand?

JC: Well it's, it was wet. And I didn't know where to wipe it. I can't reach anyone else. I'm sorry, I won't do it again.

NP: Haven't you brought a handkerchief with you Julian?

PM: It's too late now!

NP: Paul we'd like you to begin...

PM: I don't think I'm ready to continue! I want counselling!

JC: Shall I, shall I sit on my hands?

PM: That'd make a change.

NP: Right...

PM: I'm ready!

NP: You're ready, are you?

PM: Yes.

NP: There are 60 seconds...

PM: Yes.

NP: And the subject is the best way to make up. Sixty seconds starting, starting now.

PM: A gentle caress of the inner thigh while appearing on a Radio Four...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: It wasn't the inner thigh, it was the outer thigh.

PM: It was the inner thigh, I'm not built as other men.

NP: Julian, even if it was the outer thigh, on the occasion which happened just then...

PM: Yeah.

NP: The point is he can still say that is the best way to make up.

PM: Yeah.

JC: I would have got to the inner thigh if I'd had the chance.

NP: I think we'll pursue this later.

PM: Will we! Have I not got some say in this before I am turned into some sacrifacial victim of the panel and the chairman?

NP: Sacrafacial? A sacrafacial victim?

PM: I can't speak! I'm robbed of speech! It's sexual harassment!

NP: You've got the subject still.

PM: Oh okay.

NP: You've got another point.

PM: Right.

NP: You're moving forward.

PM: Yes.

NP: Fifty-six seconds!

PM: Good!

NP: The best way to make up starting now.

PM: We'd had a terrible caravan holiday in Real, and then he turned to me and said, "you know, I can never forget that view from the top of Snowdon". I said "come here". We kissed each other between the Welsh valleys. And then I felt something I'd never had in my hand before. It was a National Express ticket to go to Plymouth Argyll. And I did. And I went to the football team that plays there...


NP: Tony's challenged.

TH: Has he had long enough to talk roughly on the subject?

PM: What is the subject? I just panicked! I've got no idea what the subject is!

NP: You started off by saying the best way to make up.

PM: Oh yes that's right.

NP: Yeah.

PM: I was a long way from that.

NP: I know you were.

PM: So Tony, correct challenge and you have 33 seconds, the best way to make up starting now.

TH: Flowers are often abused by men who treat their women abysmally and then turn up thinking...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Deviation, deviation.

NP: Why?

PM: Flowers aren't often abused by men! What nonsense!

TH: Well no...

PM: No wonder you were told to leave the park!

NP: No Tony, they're not abused by men...

PM: No!

NP: Men often use flowers to make up. They take a lovely bunch of flowers...

TH: Well my point was that they they abuse this because they are actually using it to get out of terrible holes. And it isn't really justified to use flowers to...

NP: You should have said it in the show! It doesn't make sense now.

TH: Oh okay.

NP: Paul yours was a correct challenge. Paul we are back with you, the best way to make up, 26 seconds starting now.

PM: A gentle kiss behind the ear...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I think he said gentle before.

GB: Yeah he did.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yes gentle before, well listened Tony. You've got it back again, 23 seconds, the best way to make up, Tony starting now.

TH: A gentle kiss behind the ear is a torrendous way if you...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Deviation from the English language, torrendous is not a word, whatever the pronunciation.

NP: Tremendous, he said torrendous.

GB: Yes torrendous.

NP: All right, deviation from English as we understand it and speak it. Nineteen seconds with you Gyles, the best way to make up starting now.

GB: The best way to make up is to sit in front of the mirror and look at yourself, solidly and patiently. Then to take the mascara and lift one eyebrow and apply it gently but firmly over the top, touching the eyelashes as you do so. Then you take the back of the neck, find the sellotape...


NP: I must tell the listeners that Gyles was actually demonstrating what he was talking about there and it gives a very interesting image of how he lives at home.So Gyles you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And I said this was to be the final round and I have to tell you, in spite of that, you';re still in fourth place. But don't worry...


NP: No, don't worry, he contributed wonderfully. Yes, they all do, and there's hardly any points separating any of them. And one point ahead was Julian Clary, and one point ahead of him was Tony Hawks. And one point ahead of him was Paul Merton. Very even contest but Paul has the most points and we say Paul you are the winner this week. I do hope you've enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players and amusing and witty, clever players of the game, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Gyles Brandreth and Tony Hawks. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, she's blown the whistle beautifully when the 60 seconds have elapsed. We are grateful to our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are also indebted to this lovely audience here in the Radio Theatre. So from me Nicholas Parsons and our delightful panel, thank you for tuning in, but remember, be with us, the next time we take to the air and we play Just A Minute! Yes!