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 to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented, clever individuals who are going to try and speak on a subject I give them, and show of their skill with words and language as they don't hesitate, repeat things or deviate from the subject. And they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Jenny Eclair. And seated on my left, Graham Norton and Josie Lawrence. Will you please welcome all four of them! And seated beside me is Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me keep the score, she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And the audience are now hushed! So we are going to begin the show this week with Graham Norton and who better. Graham, how to make small talk at parties. Can you talk on that subject, 60 seconds starting now.

GRAHAM NORTON: Compliments are the key to making small talk at parties. You meet a man, you say "hey have you been working out?" And if you encounter a woman, even if you have never seen her before in your life, you say "have you lost weight?" And they will be delighted! They can't wait to pass on the hors d'oeuvres to you because you will now be their favourite person at the party. How to make small talk at a party. Avoid your idea for reintroducing the death penalty and don't go on about difficult subjects...


GN: I took my own advice there.

NP: Paul you challenged.

PAUL MERTON: I think there was a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation. Yes we loved it all, well done Graham. But Graham you, and you went for 40 seconds. Ohhhh!


GN: (laughs) I didn't jump through a hoop, I talked for 40 seconds.

NP: But Paul, correct challenge, so you get a point for a correct challenge in this game and you take over the subject. And you have 20 seconds available, how to make small talk at parties starting now.

PM: You now have these little tiny plates of food that come round. Tiny little...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JENNY ECLAIR: He said tiny twice. Couldn't believe it!

NP: Right right. So you've got in with 16 seconds to go Jenny, on how to make small talk at parties starting now.

JE: Try not to dribble. And if you do, do not say oh, it's either one end or the other, which I did at a party quite recently. To which the gentleman in question recoiled in horror. Keep to safe topics such as food, holidays, have you ever been...


NP: In this game, whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And it was Jenny Eclair so she now has two points, Paul ahs one, the others are yet to score. And Josie we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject, oh a lovely one, smoothies. Tell us something about smoothies in this game starting now.

JOSIE LAWRENCE: I wake up in the morning and think "hooray, I'm going to make myself a breakfast smoothie". I love making smoothies. There I am, in the kitchen, in front of me, my second favourite electrical appliance in all the world, the liquidiser. In it I chuck bananas peeled, punnets of strawberries, a green apple with the core still attached for roughage...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Deviation from a proper smoothie, you can't put apples into smoothies.

JL: You can.

JE: Can you?

JL: It sweetens them.

GN: Right? Do you put lemon juice in to stop them going brown?

JL: Yes. Unless you want a brown smoothie.

GN: Oh that's right!

JE: I withdraw my challenge.

NP: Incorrect challenge Josie, so you have a point for that, there are 37 seconds for you to tell us more about these mouth-watering smoothies starting now.

JL: Walnuts for the grain. Greek yoghurt, it has to be that particular kind of white stuff, else I don't want to know. I put the lid on and then turn on the volume... no, not the volume...


JE: This is going to be messy, isn't it!

JL: Yes!

JE: She put the radio on, she's getting confused between her electrical appliances. I don't think she should be allowed in the kitchen because there's sharp knives in there. She could harm herself!

JL: I meant to say knob.

JE: Yeah! That's Graham's job!

NP: So let's come back to the person who challenged which was Paul.

PM: Oh it was deviation.

NP: Yeah deviation, right, 25 seconds Paul on smoothies starting now.

PM: So if you're going to make small talk at parties, you go up to someone and you say "I'm very good at making smoothies. What I do is I get fresh ingredients from one of the more leading supermarkets that you find in your high street, and I put them all together in a glass container and whiz themselve up in a morning and what a wonderful treat it is". As I turn into a breakfast DJ. And if you want to have a really good raspberry smoothie, I recommend that you use that fruit because if you put strawberries in, it's a complete...


NP: Paul you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, and you are now in the lead, ahead of Jenny Eclair and Josie Lawrence and Graham Norton. Jenny will you begin the next round, the subject is Internet dating. Sixty seconds starting now.

JE: Never had the need myself! I've always been able to pull on the bus...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Even she couldn't struggle through that lie! There was a hesitation in the middle of it.

NP: There was a hesitation.

JE: There was a slur and a hesitation.

NP: Yeah Graham could only have one point, I think that is quite sufficient. Fifty-seven seconds Graham, Internet dating starting now.

GN: Internet dating is of course very nervous-making. Because you meet someone lovely on-line, you arrange to meet them and then something that looks like your father...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: He sort of stumbled during like, by laughing. But he did say meet twice as well. I'm sorry.

GN: Did I? Did I? Did I? Yeah yeah yeah okay.

NP: Josie you got in with 42 seconds on Internet dating starting now.

JL: I did try Internet dating once actually. Ah it was a wonderful...


JL: Oh gosh!

NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Er would suggest a hesitation.

NP: It would suggest it.

JL: That was the name of the man I had the date with. He was from Norway.

NP: It didn't come over like that Josie.

JL: No quite right.

NP: So Graham you're back in with 37 seconds on Internet dating starting now.

GN: Internet dating is perhaps best used if you are interested in niche dating. That would be somebody who likes something...


NP: Jenny you challenged.

JE: Ah he did hesitate. And I think it was a good job because I think he was going to...

GN: Yeah seriously.

JE: ... be a little bit specific about the kind of...

NP: I think he was slightly running down to a halt then yes.

JE: Yeah.

GN: Thank you Jenny.

NP: So we interpret that as hesitation. And Internet dating is with you Jenny now, 25 seconds starting now.

JE: The thing is people lie. If I wanted to go on Internet dating, I'd put a picture of Cindy Crawford in, and say "look at me! I'm 24 years old and so much fun!" The actual truth is I'm a horrible 51-year-old bad-tempered cow. But nobody wants to meet anyone like that. So that's why the whole system is full of absolute fibs, lies, slanted...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of lies, but now I've got the stupid subject back!

NP: Yes.

GN: And also, no you're not Jenny. Was I a bit slow with that?

JE: Yeah you were.

GN: Sorry.

JE: I was waiting for an interruption before then. Thank you very much.

NP: Half a second Graham, Internet dating starting now.

GN: My favourite item...


NP: So Graham Norton speaking as the whistle went, and gained that extra point. He's now taken the lead ahead of the other three. And Paul Merton, we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject now is plankton. Can you tell us something about plankton in this game starting now.

PM: Plankton is very small fish that swim around the sea in large millions of them in groups. And whales come along and eat plankton. It seems to be what the whale mainly considers to be its diet is plankton...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: I think a hesitation.

NP: I think it was too, yes. Forty-seven seconds Graham, plankton with you, starting now.

GN: Judging from the size of whales, one can only imagine just how calorific plankton is. Because it doesn't look that filling to be honest. In fact you cannot see it with the naked eye. Write in if that's wrong, I'm not really sure...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: No you can see it, can't you.

NP: You can, yes.

PM: Deviation.

GN: Can you, I...

NP: Yes you can.

GN: Oh yeah.

NP: And the whales comes along and opens its mouth and a great shoal of little plankton goes in.

PM: Yeah.

GN: Oh speak slower, I'm trying to write this down.

NP: Paul, a correct challenge, 31 seconds, plankton starting now.

PM: When I looked around the people at my CSE Maths class, I realised that I was with them. One of us was plankton and all of us were. We were very stupid people, we were right at the bottom of the educational tree...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: There was about three we weres there.

NP: We weres yes.

PM: Yeah.

NP: We were, we were, we were, yes.

PM: Absolutely.

NP: Twenty seconds Josie, on plankton starting now.

JL: Plankton is indeed a living organism. I have swum in the sea at night and the plankton lights up by the light of the moon...


JE: Sorry Josie no, light and lights. She was right, keep going, darling. It's fascinating! Very bad challenge, very poor.

NP: Don't bother to apologise, she gets another point. And she moves forward with 11 seconds on plankton starting now.

JL: You look like a beautiful sea creature, a mermaid, you're lit up, illu...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of sea.

NP: Sea yes.

JL: Oh.

NP: Yes. Oh right Paul, five seconds on plankton starting now.

PM: I once had a pair of underpants made out of plankton which was awfully difficult when I got to Swansea because as I said, Wales and plankton, you know what I mean...


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And he has now moved one ahead of Graham Norton, and two ahead of Josie Lawrence and Jenny Eclair. Graham it's your turn to begin. The subject is creepy houses. Tell us something about creepy houses in this game starting now.

GN: The thing is houses are houses, but sometimes a house is not a home. I live somewhere where my sister claims it's haunted. She and my brother-in-law have heard things on the stairs in the middle of the night. Now I don't like to tell her what those sounds are, but I'm pretty sure my house does not have a ghost or a creepy thing...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two ghosts.

GN: Were there? I was thinking that I said, oh I don't know what I mean.

NP: So Jenny you've got in with 32 seconds on creepy houses starting now.

JE: Net curtains and gnomes are often the sign of a serial killer, so have a good look at what you've got living next door to you. Often it's not just haunted houses that are creepy. Maybe divorcing couples can leave a stain of upset, soaked into the carpet. I think estate agents should be more honest and say things like a 13-year-old shouldn't be left here alone at night. Or if they're a little bit of the depressive type, don't buy this house, it's really not a happy...


JE: It's those houses! You go in and when the floorboards creaking, they're not just creaking. They're crying!

JL: I had a happy ghost in mine!

NP: Yes we had one once, in a house I owned once. Used to come out at night and chat uh, but you'd never see him. The uh...

GN: Was that just the radio, Nicholas?

NP: So what is the situation and who was speaking then when the whistle went? Jenny was, yes and she's now in second place alongside Graham Norton and Josie Lawrence. They are one point behind Paul Merton who is in the lead. And Josie we'd like you to begin the next round. Oh after all the creepiness we've had, leaving on a high is the subject. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JL: I always like to leave a party on a high. "Good-bye everybody, thank you for laughing at all my jokes, complimenting me on my fashion sense and beauty. See you all at the next big do." But usually I leave on a "all right, I'm going! Sod the lot of you, there's someone around here who will serve me!"


JL: That wasn't, that wasn't made up.

NP: Well as an actress, you got your round of applause, my darling. There was a big pause so Jenny you got in first. Leaving on a high is with you Jenny and there are 33 seconds available starting now.

JE: You can leave on a high if you commit suicide by jumping off Beachy Head. It's a nice high place to leap from. Um what other highs...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Um yes hesitation Paul and you have 24 seconds, leaving on a high starting now.

PM: When this programme eventually comes to an end, and it's been running now since the 1960s and I don't imagine its end... oh!


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of end. Or maybe stopped, he ended anyway.

NP: Yes.

GN: Hesitation, deviation, repetition, I don't know. He seems to have finished.

NP: I think that's a correct challenge. You have it anyway, 16 seconds, leaving on a high starting now.

GN: The last time I was at Beachy Head, and this is true, I met an old lady coming down the hill. And as she passed, she said "oh, talked myself out of it" which I thought was very cheering. There's something so British about that woman in her woolly hat...


NP: So Graham Norton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now equal in the lead with Paul Merton and the other two are just behind them. And Jenny we'd like you to begin the next round. My favourite shoes, tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JE: My favourite shoes are the point shoes I wore to my successful audition at the Royal School of Ballet. This was when I was 11 years old. Before that, my favourite shoes were a black patent pair of Mary Jane's. Do you remember those? How sweet and charming we looked in the 1960s with our lazy tights. Those favourite shoes meant party time. The great thing about shiny shoes is that if you eat too many sausage rolls, jelly, ice cream, cake, etcetera, and are sick on said shoes, they can be hosed down. Unlike suede shoes which are no good at all and are never my favourite. Don't fall in love with a pair of new bucks because they will never see you out and will only let you down and stain heavily. That's all I am trying to say. Of course... what? Stop it!


JE: Ohhhh! I got stared out of it!

NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was yes yes, 10 seconds Paul, and another point to you, my favourite shoes starting now.

PM: My favourite shoes happen to be the shoes that I am wearing at this very moment. The right is very similar to the left, although there are subtle differences. Perhaps you think of it as a shoe, I would...


NP: So Paul Merton then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point, has moved forward and he is just ahead of the other three. They're all very close but Paul is just in the lead, then Graham, then Jenny and then Josie in that order. Paul your turn to begin, and the subject is dog lovers. Tell us something about those people in this game starting now.

PM: Dog lovers are recognised by their love of dogs. You see them walking down the street and they'll have a dog with them on a lead or a leash. And they will indicate to this animal where it should empty itself on the pavement or sidewalk if you happen to be an American. And this mess is deposited downwards on to the ground, and then the lucky dog owner says "I'm going to put that in my pocket". And get the bag and it's all over the excreta and it's nicely away or put into a bin. Dog owners, dog lovers...


NP: Yes Graham.

GN: Repetition of owners.

NP: Yes.

GN: Was it me? Was it me? Was it me? I just said it. I just said it.

NP: No no...

GN: It was me.

NP: The subject is dog lovers...

GN: Yes.

NP: ... and he's repeating dog owners.

GN: Yes I heard that and said it aloud.

NP: You picked it up...

GN: Yes.

NP: ... very cleverly.

GN: Yes.

NP: You've got a correct challenge.

GN: Yes.

NP: Yes and you're now going to give us of your talent with 28 seconds to go on dog lovers starting now.

GN: I count myself amongst dog lovers. But I'm not a crazy person. I'm not one of those women you see at a pub kissing the dog. That's wrong, they've crossed a line! Back off the mutt, crazy lady...


GN: Oh!

NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two crazys.

GN: Yes.

NP: Oh yes.

GN: It's true.

NP: Yes. Nine seconds Jenny, you've got in on dog lovers starting now.

JE: The trouble with dog lovers is that you can't trust them not to leave all...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: You can trust them Jenny. I just felt, I felt slighted there by Jenny, having just said I am a dog lover. She then goes on radio and says they can't be trusted.

NP: No she didn't say that Graham. She said they can't be trusted and she was going to explain why.

JE: Yes.

GN: I couldn't wait! All right.

NP: So an incorrect challenge, she has another point, five seconds Jenny, dog lovers starting now.

JE: To leave all their worldly goods to dog homes. What a waste! How furious I would...


NP: So Jenny Eclair was speaking as the whistle went, and she's got that extra point, of course. She's now equal with Paul Merton in the lead. They're just ahead of Graham Norton and Josie Lawrence in that sequence. And Graham we are with you to begin, oh an erudite subject, the Pharaohs. Will you tell us something about the Pharaohs... by the look on your face, you wish you hadn't got the subject. But anyway do your best, 60 seconds starting now.

GN: How lucky that I happen to be a leading world expert on Egyptology. I hope I don't bore you over the next 60 seconds, as I reveal some of the fun and interesting facts about the Pharaohs. Let's start simple, hey! They lived in Egypt, that's abroad! They lived in... oh I said lived twice.



NP: Do you know, that round of applause indicates to me that you deserve a bonus point for what you did.

JL: Yeah absolutely.

NP: But Josie...

JE: I think we learnt a lot. We all learnt a lot.

GN: Yes yeah. If anyone wants to come and talk to me after the show, any questions about it...

NP: But Josie you challenged. What was your challenge?

JL: They learnt twice.

NP: That's right yes. You've got the subject of Pharaohs and 38 seconds Josie starting now.

JL: I love going down to the British Museum, they have a wonderful section, full of everything about the Egypt.... so...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sort of hesitation.

NP: Yes.

JL: Yes it was, it was.

NP: You were searching for Egyptology, I think.

JL: I concur.

NP: Yeah, yes, right, so Paul you've got 29 seconds to tell us something about the Pharaohs starting now.

PM: Call that a pyramid? I wouldn't be seen dead in it! Mind you, Ulysses the Second was a very fair Pharaoh. He was known to the Egyptian people as the fairest Pharaoh of...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: Oh no!

NP: No no.

JL: No.

NP: It was fair the first time and fairest the second time.

JL: Absolutely.

GN: He's made a fool of you Josie!

JL: Well it was Rameses the Third actually!

NP: It was never his intention. But he's so clever at the game that he can do those kind of things. Right Paul, incorrect challenge, the Pharaohs, 18 seconds starting now.

PM: Eighteen seconds, soon to become 15. The belief of the Pharaohs were that they would be buried with their precious objects, their artefacts. This would aid their entrance into the new world after their death. They would be welcomed into the firmament of the sky, the great heavens. The gods before them would say "have you brought your pencil case..."


NP: So Paul was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. he's now a couple of points ahead of Jenny Eclair and Graham Norton, equal in second place, then Josie Lawrence. And Josie, we'd like you to begin the next round, crackers, take it any way you like. Tell us something about crackers in this game starting now.

JL: Crackers, there are lots of crackers. Oh crackers, a biscuit with cheese on. I'm getting married in China, let's light some Chinese firecrackers. Oh that man's a bit off his chomp, he's crackers. I'm a poet, what can I get to rhyme with "I'm in Caracas". These are all terms for crackers. They're very dry, and one of the best party games to play is to see how many crackers you can put inside your mouth without taking a drink. You can tell what a fun girl I am. It makes your tongue all crusty. Crackers when they are wet are the weirdest things in all the world. You...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Deviation. I don't think a wet cracker is the weirdest thing in all the world!

JL: Yes but you don't live inside my head!

PM: That is the weirdest thing in all the world!

NP: I think the benefit of the doubt goes to Josie. All right, crackers with you Josie, 17 seconds starting now.

JL: No, honestly, if you soak crackers in stale milk and roll them between the palms of...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Why would anyone do that?

JL: Well I told you it was weird!

GN: Yes, it's stupid, is what it is.

NP: Graham it may be stupid, but she can still express it in this game.

GN: Quite right! I lashed out, Josie, I apologise. Putting my buzzer down now.

NP: Eleven seconds Josie on crackers starting now.

JL: I discovered this when I was camping with the said liquid that comes from a cow and remains very old. You get your cracker and put it between these protrube...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a hesitation there.

NP: There was a hesitation.

JL: Yes, I was trying to think of another word for hands.

NP: Paul you've got in with half a second to go...

PM: Half a second!


PM: I know, I'm as disappointed as you are!

NP: But it was a correct challenge, and you were very generous last time. You said that Josie should have the benefit of the doubt.

JL: Thank you Paul.

NP: So this balances out now, half a second Paul on crackers starting now.

PM: Jacob's...


NP: So Paul Merton then was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, has increased his lead ahead of Jenny Eclair and Graham Norton, equal in second place. Only one point behind them was Josie Lawrence. And I've heard we are going into the final round. Let me give you the situation as we do, it is very close. Josie Lawrence, Jenny Eclair and Graham Norton, only one point separates all three of them in second place behind Paul Merton. And who is it now? Jenny, a back rub. Are you all for those sort of things?

JE: No.

NP: Oh well, try and talk on the subject if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

JE: I have no need for back rubs ever since I started Pilates. Yes I might bore on about that form of exercise for a while. Because about six months ago...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: That would be deviation then.

NP: Why?

GN: Well she's talking about Pilates, she's just told us. She's going to wang on about Pilates for some time, when the subject is a back rub.

NP: Yeah that's true. It's not Pilates, it's a back rub. Well done.

JE: But the Pilates...

GN: Yeah no no no no.

JE: It's what has deemed the back rub not necessary any more.

GN: But that's talking about something else.

NP: No no, I mean the benefit of the doubt goes to you Graham, yes. It is a back rub and not Pilates. So 51 seconds with you Graham starting now.

GN: I cannot bear the touch of another human being. So when I need a back rub, I put small amounts of dog food on my back and then unleash the hounds. Their large paws manipulate the muscles of that area, just as effectively as the tiny...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I think this is the saddest thing I've ever heard! TV favourite Graham Norton has no friends in the human world. When he has a back rub, he has to stick bits of dog food to his back?

GN: Well when you put it like that, Paul...

NP: You know, the awful thing is, Paul, that he wasn't deviating within the rules of Just A Minute.

PM: No but I think we should show him some sympathy.

NP: Well we have shown him sympathy and we are horrified at the thought of what he goes through. But I think you have the benefit of the doubt again Graham and you still have a back rub, 31 seconds starting now.

GN: When I was in Cuba, I didn't have my beasts of a canine variety with me. And the dogs... oh I've said that!


GN: After all that, after all that, Io think I said dogs again. I'm sorry.

NP: Right Josie you challenged.

JL: He said dogs.

NP: Yes he said dogs before, 22 seconds, a back rub with you Josie starting now.

JL: I had the most fantastic back rub once from a Russian on a cargo ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. But my Mum is listening to this programme so I won't say any more about that. Granny Griffin...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I thought there was a hesitation there but I actually don't think there was.

NP: There was a slight hesitation.

PM: Was there?

NP: Yes.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yes and I've given the benefit of the doubt against you twice Paul. So I'll give you the benefit of the doubt now and say you have eight seconds on a back rub starting now.

PM: A back rub for me is best done by an alligator. What you do is you get a dead duck around your back, and this said creature comes up, starts biting. You have to go to Florida, mind you, because that's where they all live...


NP: So as I said a short while ago this was to be the final round, so let me say it was a very even contest. Graham Norton, Josie Lawrence and Jenny Eclair were all equal in second place, only one point separating the three of them. But a few points ahead of them was Paul Merton so we say this week Paul, you are our winner! So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine intrepid players of the game, Paul Merton, Jenny Eclair, Josie Lawrence, and Graham Norton. I thank Sarah Sharpe who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle so delicately when the 60 seconds elapsed. We are grateful to our producer Claire Jones. We are deeply indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. So from our audience, from me, Nicholas Parsons, and the panel here, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!