NOTE: Jason Byrne's first appearance.

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, it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners around the world. But also to welcome to the show four exciting, talented, performers who are going to display their talent. They are seated on my right, Paul Merton and Alun Cochrane. And seated on my left, Jason Byrne and Gyles Brandreth. Please welcome all four of them! Seated beside me is Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me with the score, she'll blow the whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the BBC tent at Potter Row at Edinburgh during the Festival Fringe. And we have a lovely warm Fringe audience in front of us who are dying for us to get started. So let's begin the show with Paul Merton. Paul, the subject here, a very topical one, Scottish air. tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Well I've never done Just A Minute before under such a beautiful twilight sky. And it reminds me that here the air in Scotland is fresher than you will ever find in London. If you march across the moors, the Highlands and Lowlands, and you feel your lungs filling with Scottish air, you realise that it's powerful for teh system. it blows the cobwebs away. Previous thoughts of bad... oh!


PM: Bad thoughts, I was going to say thoughts again.

NP: Yeah Gyles you challenged.


NP: That was a hesitation Gyles, and you have got the subject now of Scottish air. You get a point for a correct challenge and there are 35 seconds still available, Scottish air with you Gyles, starting now.

GB: I have breathed the sweetness of Scottish air when on holiday with the heir to the throne. Prince Charles invited me on a camping expedition in the grounds of Balmoral. William erected the tent with his thin girlish arms, but Harry punched in the stakes. I don't know where he gets it from. And the air sweet and lovely, I breathed in deeply and thought to myself, that's Camilla on her woodbines. Not only was she smoking, it was because of the midges which surround the grounds, nipping and tucking...


NP: Right, in this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Gyles Brandreth, and at the end of that first round, he is the only one who has got any points at all. Jason Byrne, welcome to the show, first time.

JASON BYRNE: I was a bit confused there, was that supposed, was that deviation? No? You were talking, it was the Scottish air as in the stuff you breathe and then you went off and went camping.

GB: He is the heir to the Scottish as well as the English and Irish and Welsh thrones, you see.

JB: Ah heir, got it!

GB: And we were breathing Scottish air.

NP: I know, Jason, this is your first time on the show. May I say it's not the way it's written, it's the way it sounds to the ear. Because it's radio...

JB: The ear!

NP: Right Jason, let's begin, the subject for you is David and Goliath. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

JB: The Philistines gathered together to start a war against the Israelis. And for 40 days a very large man called Goliath taunted the... Israelis.... and they all...


NP: Alun you've challenged.

ALUN COCHRANE: I really didn't want to, but I thought... I thought he might be glad of it, to be absolutely honest!

JB: Are you doing me for hesitation?

NP: Yes!

JB: Because that's kind of racist because that's my accent!

AC: I think I detected a slight hesitation. I'm happy for you to give him the benefit of the doubt, Nicholas!

NP: And there was also deviation because they weren't the Israelis, they were the Israelites.

JB: That was near enough.

NP: But we loved it, we got you here for the fun.

JB: I do feel like I've been thrown to the lions.

NP: Right Alun, correct challenge. And you have the subject of David and Goliath, 21 seconds available starting now.

AC: David and Goliath are one of the finest comedy double acts to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I appreciate the Scottish air whilst walking to their venue. I only ever breathed Scottish air until I was seven years...


NP: Paul challenged.

AC: I think I may have been called trying to pander!

NP: Paul challenged, yes, what is it?

PM: Repetition of Scottish air.

NP: Yes right. So Paul you have another point and you have the subject and you have eight seconds to go, David and Goliath, starting now.

PM: It was an unholy challenge. David looked up at Goliath, he towered above his opponent. But he looked down and said...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Looked up and then looked down.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes. And Gyles you've got in with one second to go. It's a correct challenge but you haven't endeared yourself to anyone in the audience. One second on David and Goliath starting now.

GB: With cubits in the hand...


NP: So at the end of that round, Gyles Brandreth was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Alun Cochrane, we'd like you to begin the next round, my mysterious uncle. Will you tell us something about that...

JB: Very good!

NP: he's laughing already, aren't you Jason.

JB: Yeah I am.

NP: Well, try and get the subject and show 'em! Sixty seconds as usual Alun, starting now.

AC: My mysterious uncle was so shrouded in mystery, it wasn't until five years after his death we realised he was a she. My mysterious uncle stood at six foot seven and with a ginger moustache atop his lip, and was a wonderful man and quite strange, spoke in an accent that nobody else could understand. "Hello children, how are you doing?" We would say "where are you from, mysterious uncle and what is it that you do for a living?" He wore a long trenchcoat and came back with it full of money each night, and underneath it, no discernible clothing. I did wonder what my mysterious uncle did, but everything that he did had mystique. And my mysterious uncle drove a big fat...


NP: Jason, Jason you pressed your buzzer.

JB: I did press it, I mean I didn't think we were buzzing in, I thought we were being noce. Is he allowed to say mysterious uncle 700 times?

NP: You can repeat the subject on the card as often as you like within reason.

JB: Oh yes I knew that!

NP: You didn't know it, but he did repeat did, didn't he.

JB: He did, yes, thank you uncle. I mean Nicholas.

NP: Jason I'm flattered to be your mysterious uncle...

JB: Yes!

NP: he did repeat did and ah...

JB: Yes he did, repetition of did.

NP: And now we're going to hear my mysterious uncle from you Jason, 20 seconds to go starting now.

JB: Oh what a mysterious uncle my mysterious uncle is, such a mysterious chap that he is. Often he would arrive in his house in his striped jacket. We would wonder, why are you wearing that striped jacket...


JB: Oh! I seen it coming, it was there. I said, don't say striped jacket again, why is it in your face, put it to the side, say other clothing...

PM: Repetition of striped jacket.

NP: Yes that's right Paul, and you have 10 seconds to tell us something about my mysterious uncle starting now.

PM: Every Halloween we would hear a mysterious uncle emanating from the cellar. One by individual we would go down the steps and see what was happening there...


NP: Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now just one point behind our leader Gyles Brandreth. The other two have got one point apiece. And we are moving back to you Gyles to begin. I think for Edinburgh this could be a topical subject, tramways.


NP: That struck a chord with the audience here. And maybe you'll explain why Gyles, as you start on the subject, 60 seconds going now.

GB: I think you must be psychic Nicholas, because of all the subjects in the world that I would most like to have today, tramways is the one. Teddy bears is something that people think I am interested in. But no, tramways in general and Edinburgh tramways in particular are my specialist subject when it comes to taking part in Mastermind. Back in 1871 the first trams were introduced into the great capital city of Scotland. Then they were four-wheelers, they were horse-drawn, and it wasn't until a few years later that they began to have tramways that involved actually stuart-pumps and then electricity the following century, in the first year of the new age. And curiously it was a man named Alan McDonald who devised this original tramway. In 1922 the company was sold to a new family, the Audines, and the Aud, these people...



NP: That applause was for what you said Gyles, congratulations. But Paul you challenged.

PM: Well it was a hesitation as he realised he was about to repeat the name of the family.

NP: That's right yes.

GB: It was, it was.

NP: The name came up...

PM: But it was brilliant!

NP: He couldn't think of another name for the family.

PM: Yeah that's their name.

NP: Well said Paul, you have got in with seven seconds to go...


PM: I feel, I feel your disappointment.

NP: No, that's the game and you were listening well and you've got in with a correct challenge. Tramways with you Paul starting now.

PM: The people who run this magnificent city looked at tramways all over the world and said to themselves this is good enough for Edinburgh. But sadly they've done it all so wrong...


NP: So Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And he's now gone one ahead of Gyles and the other two are trailing him with one point apiece. And Paul it's your turn to begin and the subject is my time as a butler. I don't know whether you have butled or not, but if you haven't, talk on the subject starting now.

PM: I wrote a sketch for a TV series I did which featured me playing the part of a butler. For reasons I can't remember now the particular piece of whimsy never made it on to the caffayed... rayed...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Hesitation.

NP: Yes he was trying to get cafe rouge out and stumbled.

PM: I was trying to get cathode ray out actually.

NP: Oh cathode ray! Gyles, 49 seconds still available, my time as a butler starting now.

GB: The Royal Family offer you friendliness, but not friendship, as I pointed out to the Middletons at the time of the wedding of William and Kate. But it was as a servant of these illustrious people that I became a butler for the first time, working at the table of the late but gracious Princess Margaret. She used me as an ashtray. It was a little humbling but as I...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: You were serving Princess Margaret when she was already dead?

GB: This was some years ago, it's a reminscence of...

PM: You said you were serving the late Princess Margaret. I mean, do they ever let go of their royal heritage or...

NP: No Paul...

PM: Perhaps it was, perhaps it was...

GB: It was always touch and go with Princess Margaret.

PM: Yes!

GB: I was just putting that in in case I caught her on the cusp!

PM: A rather unfortunate image!

NP: That's a lovely challenge!

PM: Isn't it just!

NP: Serving her but she's dead?

PM: It's bizarre, you can't serve somebody who is dead. You can't really, yeah, you can't.

NP: That is the logical interpretation of...

PM: Isn't it just.

NP: ... what you're saying and that's your challenge...

AC: Unless the late Princess Margaret was just a lack of punctuality. She was five minutes late for an appointment.

NP: Gyles you should have said that, but it's too late now. Paul, your challenge came in first...

PM: Okay.

NP: ... and that's the correct one. And you have 26 seconds Paul on my time as a butler starting now.

PM: I had to serve some custard cremes to Edward the Seventh, the year was 1956 and he was in a right old state.


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: So much deviation that it is barely credible!

NP: You don't believe he served...

GB: Edward the Seventh died in nineteen hundred and 10!

PM: That's why I said it! Following on your Princess Margaret joke.

NP: Yeah, I always like to be fair in this show, I gave the benefit of the doubt to you Paul...

PM: Yeah.

NP: ... because of the late Princess Margaret. I now give it to Gyles because Edward the Seventh died in nineteen hundred and 10.

PM: Yes.

NP: Right Gyles you got the subject back and 22 seconds starting now.

GB: You Rang My Lord was one of my favourite television series and featured a wonderful actor named Paul Shane in the role of the butler. I aspired to that particular part and attempted to murder the actor in question in the hope of taking over from him. Unfortunately I was caught by the police who felt this was an inappropriate way to fulfill my career hopes and therefore I ended up in pokey...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth was then speaking as the whistle went. And he's now moved forward, one ahead of Paul Merton, and Jason and Alun are now equal in third place, with one point apiece. But it's the contribution and not the points! And Jason we are back with you and the subject for you now is family holidays. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JB: Family holiday is a contradiction in terms. It's not really a family holiday, it's more you gathering your children together with your wife and spending a lot of money and babysitting them in a different country. Ah, do, oh no! No, a duh, a dew, as you, no, I can't put myself...


NP: Jason you challenged yourself.

JB: I'll go again.

NP: Don't keep doing it, otherwise I will penalise you.

JB: Right!

NP: That was a correct challenge, well listened. And there are 40 seconds still available, family holidays starting now.

JB: Arriving at the pool is normally a very stressful time on family holidays. Because you can't relax there, it's watching the kids, waiting for them to fall into the pool. Then you put armbands on them...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of pool.

NP: Pool, kids, all kind of things yes.

JB: Well we normally go twice.

NP: Gyles a correct challenge so you have family holidays and 31 seconds starting now.

GB: Family holidays are indeed traumatic. But Royal Family holidays are truly monstrous! There I was in the field...


NP: Alun, Alun you challenged.

AC: Deviation, how do you know that the Royal Family are all on holiday? They are always on holiday, aren't they? That's what they do.

NP: Oh no no!

GB: Yes but when yoju're the butler and you're actually in the field, stepping through the cowpats with them, you realise...

PM: With the late Princess Margaret!

AC: Was that your job? To step through cowpats?

NP: Gyles, incorrect challenge, 23 seconds, family holidays starting now.

GB: In the middle of the night, you leave your tent to relieve yourself, and there is the Duke of Edinburgh with a blunderbus trying to blow you out of the undergrowth! It is most uncomfortable because of course he is there guarding the edge of the perimeter, because he is the founder of the National Playing Fields Association and a jolly good egg and feels that holidays...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well amidst this homage to Prince William, who of course we all love dearly, haven't we sort of strayed off the point of family holidays?

NP: Well I think he was trying to talk about the Royal, the Royal...

PM: He had Prince Philip blasting, blowing somebody off in the woodlands.

GB: Is the Royal Family not a family...

PM: In the undergrowth, didn't we.

GB: Is the Royal Family not our nation's number one family?

NP: Yes Gyles, I agree, deviation. Paul you have the subject of family holidays and you have four seconds to go...

GB: Oh four!

NP: Starting now.

PM: The very first family holiday that I can recall was an absolutely superb event...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point. He's one behind our leader Gyles Brandreth. The other two are trailing just a little. But Alun it's back with you to begin, Scrooge, that's the subject Alun, we'd like you to begin. And 60 seconds as usual starting now.

AC: Scrooge is a name I am often called. I was born in Scotland and raised in Yorkshire and I am a thrifty individual and I make no apologies for that. there's nothing wrong with being a little bit of a scrooge, unlike Scrooge who is a character in the popular Dickens movies and books. He is a stingy man but he hates the book whereas I love the poor. If it weren't for the poor, who would know...


NP: Jason you're listening well, you're getting the hang of it now.

JB: Yes finally, that's repetition of poor, yeah!

NP: Poor yes right.

JB: Oh yes I got one of 'em right!

NP: There are 33 seconds available and the subject is Scrooge and you start now.

JB: Yes, my father is a definite Scrooge, a very mean man indeed, he would never part with his money ever. My mother would say "please I need to go the shop." "No you can't, the money is sewn into my pants, up in the..."


NP: Alun challenged.

JB: Oh I said money.

AC: Repetition of money.

NP: Money yes.

JB: Sorry.

NP: You don't have to apologise.

JB: No, I do, it's just ridiculous!

NP: Correct challenge Alun, you have another point, Scrooge is back with you starting now.

AC: Scrooge disliked the financially challenged whereas I love them. For without them, who would wash my car? I certainly wouldn't. Ten pounds and they give it a really good scrub just around the corner from my home. I am sometimes a little mean. My wife thinks that it's not right that we have an electricity monitor and I walk around the house turning all the gadgets off stand-by. But that's a good thing...


NP: So Alun Cochrane was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And Gyles we are back with you to begin, the subject now is the chairman of the board. Tell us something about that pompous subject in the game starting now.

GB: When I first met the Queen, she told me that she was indeed the chairman of the board, but she preferred to be called the chair. I said to her "Your Majesty, you are not an inanimate object, a piece of furniture. You are not inviting me to sit upon your lap, are you?" And she said "I am nonetheless not to be called the chairman of the board, I wish to be known by the letters C-H-A-I-R, spoken clearly in the Queen's English, for that is our national mother tongue...


NP: Alun challenged.

AC: It's not my national mother tongue. I'm Scottish.

GB: You speak the Queen's English with a Scottish accent.

AC: I don't, I speak it with an English accent.

NP: You do, actually, yeah! So I think I have to give you the benefit of the doubt on that one, because ah is it from Yorkshire or Lancashire you are from?

AC: Yorkshire, yeah.

NP: Yorkshire, right. Benefit of the doubt to you on that one Alun, the chairman of the board starting now.

AC: When I met the Queen, she never mentioned the chairman of the board. I mainly discussed the chairman of the board as in people who are extremely profoundly bored. That's the chairman of the board. I've never been chairman of the board, I don't really hold down jobs well...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: You're getting there!

NP: What I sometimes do in this game when someone comes in with a brilliant interjection like that, I give them a bonus point. And Paul, that certainly deserved a bonus point, right. But have you got a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: No I don't!

NP: You don't, right. So Alun was interrupted.

PM: He was.

NP: He gets a point for that.

PM: Absolutely.

NP: You've got 11 seconds still, chairman of the board starting now.

AC: Someone who works in a wooden hardware shop and is the boss is probably the chairman of the board. And he probably does...


NP: Paul yes.

PM: Two probablys there.

NP: Two probablys there yes. So this time you've got in again with four seconds to go, a correct challenge, another point, chairman of the board, Paul starting now.

PM: Frank Sinatra used to refer to himself as the chairman of the board, along with Sammy Davis Junior and all the other members of the...


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now moved two points ahead of Gyles Brandreth, the other two are trailing a little. And Paul we are back with you to begin and the subject is owning a tandem. I don't know whether you have ever owned one or not but talk on the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: I've never owned a tandem!


NP: Jason you buzzed first.

JB: No it wasn't me.

GB: He was trying to help you!

JB: Oh I'm sorry!

GB: I ought to explain to listeners...

JB: I'm very sorry...

GB: Nicholas is now actually holding Jason's buzzer.

JB: I'm too nice for this game.

NP: But Jason...

JB: Yes?

NP: Gyles actually did challenge first. Are you going to give it to him Jason?

JB: Yes! Go ahead Gyles! No! I'll take it!

GB: If we were on a tandem, we could do it together!

JB: But I mean, it probably wouldn't work, because you'd only bring the Queen along!

NP: Gyles...

PM: It might be Princess Margaret, you never know!

NP: It was a correct challenge Gyles so we give you a point, because you had a correct challenge. But we are going to give the subject to Jason, 57 seconds to go Jason, owning a tandem starting now.

JB: Yeah a tandem was something I owned. I bought it off the Goodies, they were ah big fans of their tandems and I said "how much is that tandem?" They said "it's 50 quid to you" Really...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well the Goodies didn't have a tandem did they, it was a three-seater bicycle.

NP: A three-seater, yes.

JB: Oh yeah!

NP: I don't think it has a name, the three, just, it's a bicycle made for three, that's all.

JB: Wait a minute! It doesn't have a name?

NP: No, just...

JB: Well tandem would have done.

NP: No! Oh give him a bonus point because we love his interjections.

JB: Thank you.

NP: But Paul had a correct challenge and he has 48 seconds on owning a tandem starting now.

PM: I've never owned a tandem!


NP: It's getting delightfully hysterical. A bonus point to Paul because we loved what he said. Gyles you challenged.

GB: I did.

NP: Forty-eight seconds, owning a tandem Gyles starting now.

GB: I as part of National Cutlery Week was sent to a greasy spoon in Acrington in Lancashire where I was amazed to find, waiting outside the restaurant my childhood tandem, which was actually a tricycle made for two. I climbed aboard this and went to Harcourt Road where my old auntie was nursing a telegram from Her Majesty The Queen. It was a glorious moment and we paraded around that wonderful northern city, waving aloft this beautiful triumphant royal effigy on this tandem. My auntie and I...


PM: Repetition of auntie.

GB: Are you sure it wasn't aunt last time?

PM: No.

NP: No, the audience were listening as well.

GB: You're not sure, you're not sure, but you know, if he says it confidently enough, you'll think it is.

PM: There speaks a politician!

NP: Paul a correct challenge, 13 seconds, owning a tandem starting now.

PM: I've never owned a tandem!


NP: Alun you challenged.

AC: I don't think Paul has ever owned a tandem! I think it may be repetition.

PM: Absolutely!

NP: Repetition because even though he was speaking before, when he goes back to the subject, he can't repeat what he said before. So Alun you've got the subject of owning a tandem, 11 seconds starting now.

AC: Owning a tandem was perhaps the loneliest moment in my friend's childhood because he was an only child. He used to cycle it to school and lock it up at the gates with a tear running down his face whilst I laughed...


NP: So Alun Cochrane was speaking then as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's moved forward, he's still in third place. And I just heard we are going into the final round.


NP: Oh you're so lovely! Let me give you the situation as we move into the final round. Jason Byrne who has never played the game before, though it wasn't very obvious, we loved it...

JB: I'm good at football!

NP: And Jason is in fourth place. He's a little bit behind Alun Cochrane who's in second place. He's a few points behind Gyles Brandreth who is three points behind Paul Merton who is now in the lead. But Jason we are back with you to begin, and this is a lovely subject, it's something which I love very much. Prunes! So can you talk on prunes in this game starting now.

JB: Prunes, a dried plum, can be used in various ways. It can be used as a stew, as a main dinner, or a dessert. Also prunes can be used for old people, old people love them...


NP: Gyles you challenged.

GB: We had used a few times and we had old people a few times.

NP: Gyles a correct challenge, you have 45 seconds available, tell us something about prunes in this game starting now.

GB: Of course for Christmas...


NP: Alun challenged.

AC: Oh the Queen loves 'em, it's bound it to be, innit. I just thought I'd save him the bother!

NP: All right, for that round of applause Alun, we are going to give you a bonus point because they enjoyed what you said. But Gyles you were interrupted, 43 seconds on prunes starting now.

GB: I'm planning to give my wife a bronzed effigy of my torso and consequently I am on a diet at the moment that involves no bread, rice, pasta or potatoes but entirely prunes. I suck 'em dry and then spit out the stone. When, rather sweetly, Princess Anne comes along, holding the spittoon in front of me. Oh she's a game girl! She's actually in science, you think more of man than woman. But there is something about her that is nautical and ferocious and exciting. Not as thrilling as Zara who also loves prune juice and tells me that on the rugby field, she sometimes plays with her husband, oh yes, ah, the strength up...


NP: Paul you've challenged.

PM: Well it was a hesitation there.

NP: Yeah that huh-huh.

PM: As the authorities come to take him away!

NP: Right, Paul, you've got in with three seconds to go.

GB: Oh no!

NP: Prunes is with you Paul, three seconds starting now.

PM: I believe it was William Wordsworth who first penned the lines to the prune, oh...


NP: As I said a few moments ago this was to be the last round. And the situation is that Jason Byrne, not having played the game, coming in for the first time, but what value he gave. And Alun Cochrane, who has only played the game a few times, he gave great value too! Gyles Brandreth, in second place, he always gives good value. Give him an individual round of applause. And the man with most points this week, so we call him the winner, and a big round of applause for Paul Merton! So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of this game. And we are grateful to Sarah Sharpe who has helped me with the score, and blown the whistle so well. I am grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are indebted to this lovely audience here, at the Festival Fringe, who have cheered us on our way magnificently. From our audience, from me, Nicholas Parsons, and the team, good-bye, thank you, and remember, listeners, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!