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, around the world. But also to welcome to the show four exciting and talented players of this game. And they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Liza Tarbuck. And seated on my left, Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Josie Lawrence. Please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Sharon Leonard, who is going to help me keep the score, and blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. Paul, will you please take the first subject and start the show for us. And this one is the perfect lie-in. Would you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: I've had several perfect lie-ins, particularly in the late 1970s, early 80s, when I used to work at Tooting Employment Office. And the joy of waking up on a Saturday morning, thinking it was a weekday and then realising it wasn't, and you could stay in bed. And I think that was very typical of my work experience. Of course when you have somebody who is ah not always...


NP: Oh Kit you challenged.

KIT HESKETH-HARVEY: There was a bit of a hesitation, I'm afraid.

NP: Well there was a definite er.

KHH: There was a definite erm, it was an erm going there.

NP: Yes so that's a hesitation.

PM: It is.

NP: So Kit, a correct challenge. So you get a point for that of course and you have 40 seconds still available, the perfect lie-in starting now.

KHH: Vita Sackville West, the noted Kentish author and aristocrat defined luxury as lieing on linen sheets, listening to wood pigeons cooing. Mind you, she probably had Virginia Woolf and a damn fine pair of secaturs in there with her. But her compatriot, friend and contemporary, Steven Tennant, I once interviewed for the BBC, lieing in his...


KHH: Oh! I've done it!

NP: Yes you've done it.


NP: Yes. It's a time since you played and you missed it.

KHH: It is, I'm sorry, it's the big elephant trap isn't it.

PM: Repetition of B as in BBC.

NP: Repetition of B, you see.

JOSIE LAWRENCE: Oh gosh, yes!

NP: So Paul, a correct challenge, a point to you, 19 seconds still available, tell us more about the perfect lie-in starting now.

PM: When I was doing a paper round at about the age of 13, I would sometimes, if it was really raining, cold outside, come up with some excuse not to go to the shop and pick up my daily burden of the whatever newspapers I were delivering at that time...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: Was that a repetition of newspapers? Because of...

PM: Newspaper round and newspapers.

LT: Oh I see.

NP: Newspapers.

LT: I'm going to be penalised.

NP: No no darling, he's played it quite a bit before. So he did singular and the plural.

LT: Oh has he?

NP: Yes. I know, it's the subtle way he does it. So...

PM: Don't explain all the tricks, old man!

NP: Well I must let the listeners know why it was...

LT: Exactly, yes, quite right.

NP: And you still have four seconds Paul with an incorrect challenge, another point, the perfect lie-in starting now.

PM: Two weeks ago I experienced what was undoubtedly the most perfect lie-in. It was...


NP: So at the end of that round Paul Merton has got most of the points and he also got one of course for speaking as the whistle went, which everybody does in this game. And he is in the lead. Josie Lawrence we'd like you to begin the next round. The subject is my ideal date. Sixty seconds starting now.

JL: My ideal date would be, well, let's face it, any date would be ideal. people don't tend to ask me out. Boys are scared of me and I don't know why! But my ideal date would run something like this. First of all, me and my handsome cove would go to the opera, perhaps to see La Traviata or...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry, are you going to the opera with a cove?

JL: A handsome cove!

PM: A handsome cove like Herne Bay or something like that? You've given up on the human species, you're now going out with geographical locations!

JL: Yes! I went out with the white cliffs of Dover two weeks ago, they were lovely!

PM: I bet you had a good time and all.

JL: I did.

NP: Josie yes, I think when you can't talk about the date again, or you didn't want to repeat the feller. So you called him a cove. I think we can use a bit of slang if you want to. So it was an incorrect challenge, you have a point for that, you keep the subject, 40 seconds are still available, my ideal date starting now.

JL: Music would be romantic and passionate. And my date would look after me so well, perhaps even buy me a packet of revels. Then once it had finished, a limousine would be waiting outside the Colliseum to drive us to the Thames. there would be a little jetty with the table, a gingham table-cloth, candle-light, a jazz orchestra. The music and the wine would flow ...


NP: Kit you've challenged.

KHH: I'm so sorry, we've had music before. I was so wrapped up in it.

JL: We have!

KHH: The music was poassionate and romantic.

NP: Yes.

KHH: I feel awful that I've nipped you off in the bud.

JL: I know, you're not, you're not going to know whether I let him get it or not now, are you!

KHH: I think after all that, it was a foregone conclusion. Wasn't it? All that and Traviata?

NP: So Kit that was a correct challenge, you have a point for that and you have 14 seconds still available, my ideal date starting now.

KHH: My ideal date would be 1865, the year in which Tristan And Isolde was premiered. Kipling and Yeats were born. And Nicholas Parsons lost his virginity to good-time Gloria from Golders Green. There was a girl...


NP: I don't know why you laugh about my virginity! Well not at that date, yes. 1865, was it? How do you know, anyway?

KHH: Remember good-time Gloria from Golders Green? She's out there tonight, boy!

NP: Well as long as you weren't involved, Kit! Right Kit's got a lot of points in that round, one for speaking as the whistle went. He's now equal with Paul in the lead and then Josie and then Liza in that order. And Liza we'd like you to begin the next round, Camden Town. Tell us something about Camden Town in this game starting now.

LT: Just north of this great big capital city of London is a small village called Camden Town, nestling in the combs of Hampstead Heath. It boasts wonderful and dramatic architecture, combined together in the most frightening of ways, depending on what your mental state is. And generally, if I let my nephew go down there, he comes back early and a little bit frightened. I was very lucky to be a member of the National Youth Theatre who based its summer courses at the base of Haverstock Hill. So Camden Town became my playground for about four years and I used to enjoy going to the Round House and Camden Lot Stables where all sorts of interesting little old me would be selling things that they dug up at a garden, like bottles or shrimp containers, all of which I have at home still! And I'm very glad to say I thoroughly enjoy a mooch around because the music at Camden is always very good. Apart from the....


NP: So that hasn't happened for a while.

JL: Well done!

NP: Someone started with the subject and went fluently with it, right through for 60 seconds.

LT: When you say fluently...

PM: It was excellent.

NP: It was fluent, darling.

LT: You're very kind.

NP: You didn't hesitate, you didn't repeat yourself and you certainly didn't deviate. And you get a point for speaking when the whistle went and a bonus point for not being interrupted. But you're still in third place. But that was naughty of me, because you're only one point behind Kit and Paul, and one point ahead of Josie. And Kit it's your turn to begin so would you take, ah, a historical question here, the Ides of March, 60 seconds as usual Kit, the Ides of March starting now.

KHH: Well you would, wouldn't you? Walking through ancient Rome, minding her own business, which in this case is being a demi-god, ruler and conqueror of all known civilisations. Bestriding the world like a colossus so that petty men have to peep through your legs and suddenly a soothsayer comes up to you and says "beware the Ides of March". You think, what on earth was he on about? March a perfectly nice village in Cambridgeshire, quite close to me, in the Fenn. And the Ides were where the swan feeders and the twitchers who feed these lovely birds at twilight go. Nothing is scarey about that surely. You would say "get out of my way, oh seer, march on towards your death, assassination by endless stabbings from Brutus, to whom you would cry "et tu Brute?" And Cassius who has a lean and hungry look, all because he said they should be more specific these seers, should they not?


KHH: What was I on about?

NP: I know!

JL: It was bloody brilliant!

NP: Josie you challenged.

JL: Did I?

NP: Yeah! You did, you pressed your buzzer, darling and the light came on.

JL: I don't know. Seers?

PM: No, it was seer and seers.

JL: And seer, no. I was just carried away, I didn't realise. I've done that before with the pressure of my thumb, haven't I?

NP: You get so excited, you press.

JL: You are brilliant!

KHH: It's very sweet of you to say so. I felt moved, I felt moved by the power of the bard.

JL: I am so sorry, I stopped you in your um...

KHH: My tracks.

NP: Well it doesn't matter, it was an incorrect challenge.

JL: Yeah sorry.

NP: It's as well it was.

JL: But you get another point.

KHH: That's very sweet of you to say.

NP: Actually we nearly had another second.

JL: I know.

NP: Right!

KHH: Sorry.

NP: To order. I was about to say...

KHH: My ideal date is Josie Lawrence!

NP: ... we nearly had a double whammy there in the sense of two people speaking consecutively for the full 60 seconds. We just failed by four seconds.

KHH: Four seconds! Oh not to worry, no, no, no, no, no.

NP: Because he actually...

KHH: It's only a parlour game.

NP: The thing is it doesn't make any difference to the score. Because he gets a point for being interrupted and he keeps the subject and he's got four seconds to go...

KHH: So I get an extra point anyway so that's fine.

NP: ... starting now.

KHH: Now? Oh goodness!


NP: You deserved that because you were just chatting among yourselves.

KHH: I'm so sorry.

NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: There was a sudden realisation that now had started, so hesitation.

NP: There was a definite hesitation there.

KHH: Wrested from me, I'm so sorry.

NP: They're so carried away with chatting amongst themselves.

KHH: She does smell delicious to me!

NP: Paul you got in on Ides of March with two and a half seconds to go starting now.

PM: Et tu Brute which of course is Latin for don't you start! Julius Caesar...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And Kit, you missed out on getting it then because you were chatting away frivolously to your partner on your right.

KHH: She's gorgeous!

NP: Paul will you begin the next round please. Oh, how to belly dance.. You don;t have to demonstrate but could you try and describe that, for 60 seconds if possible starting now.

PM: It's about moving the stomach in an exotic way, backwards and forwards. You see old Carry On films where somebody walks into a harem and there's a belly dancer going with some diamond embedded into her navel. And this makes Charles Hawtrey see double and he goes all funny. The cinema's perhaps least convincing heterosexual. But nevertheless there he is, seduced by the charms of this exotic creature in front of him...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: Is that two exotics?

PM: Might be.

LT: From the top.

PM: Was it?

LT: The initial description.

PM: Yeah might be.

NP: Yes, exotic creature came up again.

PM: Nobody was listening! I wasn't!

NP: I think they were carried away, especially with the gyrations you displayed.

PM: Exactly! Thanks very much.

NP: Liza you've got a correct challenge. You've got how to belly dance, 38 seconds starting now.

LT: I'm blessed with all the right equipment for belly dancing. And what I like to do is lift my T-shirt up to just under my breasts, knot it, and then literally just jiggle. And the effect is one that frankly...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry, where are we? Who are these people?

NP: Do you have a challenge Paul?

PM: No! I've no complaints whatsoever!

LT: Thank you so much!

NP: All right, give Paul a bonus point because we enjoyed the interruption. Liza gets a point because she was interrupted and she keeps the subject, how to belly dance, 23 seconds starting now.

LT: My favourite tunes to belly dance to are actually things that you wouldn't consider appropriate perhaps. I like for example Holst's The Planets and it is...


NP: Kit you challenged.

KHH: I'm sorry, it was terribly funny and we all collapsed laughing, but she collapsed laughing too.

NP: And she dried up, but I'll tell you what we'll do. To compensate her, let's give her a bonus point because we enjoyed the images you create.

LT: Thank you.

NP: Holst's Planet Suite. And you giggling to it, oh the image just throws me. But Kit it was a correct challenge, you've got 10 seconds, how to belly dance starting now.

KHH: There's absolutely no point in talking about it on the radio. I am going to get my...

JL: Oh my God!

BUZZ (horn-like sound)

NP: Josie's challenged you.

PM: You seem to have set off some internal alarm.

KHH: That sounded like the nuclear alarm going off.

JL: Yes it was your tummy.

KHH: Oh good gosh!

JL: It was right next to me, ladies and gentlemen, all sticking out.

KHH: It's called belly dancing!

NP: And Josie you challenged him.

JL: Yes because his belly was all sticking out.

NP: Yeah but have you got a challenge within the rules...

JL: Deviation really.

NP: Yes.

KHH: It was undulation. It's quite different!

NP: I think we'll give you that deviation because this is radio...

JL: Yes exactly!

NP: You don't do physical demonstrations on radio. So Josie, oh Josie, you've got the subject with half a second to go. Give us a half a second on how to belly dance starting now.

JL: When I belly dance I...


NP: So Josie had another point then for speaking as the whistle went, she's creeping up on the other three. The other three are equal in the lead, two ahead of Josie Lawrence. And who's going to begin the next, oh Josie it's your turn to begin. The subject is clearing out your clutter Josie, 60 seconds starting now.

JL: My house is full of clutter. I feel that I exist because of my clutter. It's really just memories of my life, but I realise that I had to do something about the clutter when a friend of mine a couple of months ago said "where do you keep the loo paper?" and I didn't see them again for four days! They'd fallen under an avalanche of towels, spare toothbrushes, talc bottles. I knew it was time to clear out my clutter. So I got my bin bags and my rubber gloves and started under the stairs. That's where most of my clutter began. I have a cocktail bar from the 1960s, a walking stick that you can sit on, but without the metal bits so the spike would go right through you. I have a bakerlite telephone that...


NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: It was an "I have a" twice.

JL: Yes you're right.

KHH: I'm sorry. So sorry but she did it to me. So I'm really on a mission of revenge!

NP: She did repeat I have. And you've got in with eight seconds to go Kit on clearing out your clutter starting now.

KHH: I hadn't considered colonic irrigation as a possibility until I learnt that the warm water is infused with herbs, margeram, thyme. I thought it would be lovely. Unfortunately she reached for the chili...


NP: So Kit was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now two points ahead of Paul, he's in the lead. And Kit, we are back with you to begin, the subject is how to throw a successful party. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

KHH: This is right up my alley, this is what I do...


KHH: Oh, two this is.

NP: Liza.

LT: This is, this is.

KHH: Didn't get far, did I.

LT: No!

PM: Shame!

NP: Right Liza, correct challenge, 58 seconds, how to throw a successful party starting now.

LT: Nicholas Parsons is quite frankly the dordogne of knowledge when it comes to how to throw a successful party. And his Dare To Bare sequence in spring was actually something to write home about! And I didn't get back to my abode for two weeks because of what he force fed me. Whether it was music...


LT: We're back to the Planets.

PM: I think we should stop right there!

NP: It sounded very exciting, I wish I'd been there. So Kit you have the subject, you have how to, oh what was the challenge?

KHH: Oh it was hesitation!

NP: Oh yes.

KHH: It was hesitation.

NP: Thirty-six seconds, how to throw a successful party starting now.

KHH: Those who have seen Nicholas Parsons give his Asbesia, Queen Of The Upper Nile in belly dancing form, are fortunate indeed. Strong men whimper, warriors burst into tears, pashas and khans empty cornucopias of jewels at his feet...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Are we a bit far away from how to throw a successful party?

NP: No, I don't think you got to your point quick enough.

KHH: No you're quite right.

NP: So Paul, 22 seconds, how to throw a successful party starting now.

PM: Lots of people make special efforts, don't they, matching... individuals...


NP: Kit you got it back again.

KHH: I'm sorry, there was a, there was a hesitation there...

NP: There was a hesitation and there are 19 seconds still available Kit, how to throw a successful party starting now.

KHH: Basically it's a question of lighting. Keep it as low as possible and it will go with a swing. If you've got a very good looking waiting staff indeed, that can help. Elle Macpherson has matching butlers, identical twin Beach Boys., which are absolutely beguiling and hand round all sorts of good sweeties towards her successful parties. It's a trick I...


NP: Right so Kit was then speaking as the whistle went and he gained that extra point. He's creeping up on the leader, Paul, he's only one point behind him. And he's a couple ahead of Liza Tarbuck and Josie Lawrence in that order. And Josie we are back with you, here's a subject for you, advice from my hairdresser. You'd like to tell us something about that in this game starting now.

JL: My hairdresser is actually my best friend, she is called Michelle. And the best advice she ever gave me was I think we had better unlock the refrigerator now. Let me go back in time to explain this. We went out one day after she had cut and died my hair in my flat, to a little bar in Soho, and then to another one. And then we started to drink a little more until it was three o'clock in the morning. You have to remember we were very young, it was the 1980s and crazy times. We went past Spittal Fields Market and saw all these blokes travelling about on their little trolleys. Thought it might be fun to join them. So we got on one of the said wheelerie machinery thingies and said "do you enjoy your work?" "Yes," they replied, "but we don't like our boss". So me and my hairdresser decided to lock said... person...


JL: Damn! Oh so close! It's a true story!

NP: I have to say but Kit you got in with three seconds to go.

KHH: Sorry! Snatched!

NP: But as you went for nearly 60 seconds Josie, we are going to give you a bonus point.

JL: Thank you.

NP: And Kit you have three seconds on advice from my, oh you don't need it, do you!

KHH: Thank you Nicholas! I wondered when that was going to come!

NP: Mind you...

PM: Does he charge a search fee?

NP: He could work on the beard, couldn't he.

KHH: He could yes, that's getting quite lush.

NP: Advice from my hairdresser, Kit starting now.

KHH: My hairdresser advised me that a Brazillian would be extremely painful and on no account was I...


NP: Right so Kit Hesketh-Harvey got the point for speaking as the whistle went, and he's crept up and he's now again only one point behind Paul Merton, our leader. And Liza it's your turn to begin, the subject is my favourite children's book. Sixty seconds starting now.

LT: I'm very partial to a good illustration. And by that I would take the work of Arthur Rackham as an example, because he draws the most beautiful fairies and involves them in the bark of trees. All fairy queen...


LT: Oh blast it!

NP: No you didn't.

PM: You said fairies and fairy.

NP: You said fairies and fairy.

PM: You could have kept going.

NP: You could have kept going.

LT: I could have kept going but I didn't, did I.

NP: No.

LT: It's what women of a certain age call pink fog.

NP: Paul...

PM: There's always a new perfume around, isn't there!

NP: Paul, 45 seconds are available for you Paul now on my favourite children's book starting now.

PM: Just William, I suppose, written by Richmal Crompton. She composed many of those books over the years. I first encountered the boy when I was about 12 years old, roughly the same age as our eponymous hero, I suppose. I was also a big fan of Enid Blyton. I didn't mind that they seemed to be middle class people and they were so British and white and there wasn't anything else happening particularly. And smugglers used to walk by and have swarthy beards and say things like "Gaw, strike a light! I reckon the boat's going to be late, what do you reckon, skipper?" And things like this give the children...


NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: There were two reckons there, weren't there? I reckon the boat's going to be late, what do you reckon skipper.

PM: Oh yes, yeah you're right.

NP: Right, well listened Kit, 17 seconds...


NP: A round of applause for sharp listening and 17 seconds with you still, not with you but to you, my favourite children's book starting now.

KHH: In the end, it has to be Winnie The Pooh, doesn't it? But the last chapter of The House At Pooh Corner is perhaps the most...


KHH: Oh double Pooh! Pooh Pooh!

NP: Yes.

PM: I think you were going to try and avoid AA Milne. I was waiting for that. I was waiting for that one, not Pooh. I didn't think Pooh would be repeated.

NP: No.

PM: It's repetition of Pooh, Nicholas.

NP: Yes...

PM: You don't mind me saying that while I'm looking at you?

NP: There was just a bit too much Pooh, wasn't there? Eleven seconds with you Paul, my favourite children's book starting now.

PM: As Liza said, the illustrations are key. Thomas Henry was the man...


NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: I don't think she said the illustrations are key, did she? She said they were beautiful.

PM: Well she said she liked them.

KHH: Oh did she? Oh right.

PM: She didn't say they were key, I suppose, no.

NP: No, he said they were key, but it doesn't matter.

PM: What do you think? Do you think they're key?

LT: I do actually, yeah.

PM: She does think they're key.

KHH: Well that's all right then! Carry on.

LT: To the ones I liked, yeah!

PM: Exactly yeah, good job you're here.

NP: Paul, seven seconds, my favourite children's book starting now.

PM: When you look at the association of children's authors today, you see a magnificent body of people who contribute so much to...


NP: Well Paul got that point for speaking as the whistle went and has moved forward. And we are moving into the final round


NP: Oh, how lovely you are. I'll give you the situation. Josie is trailing a little in fourth place just behind Liza Tarbuck, and she's a point or two behind Kit Hesketh-Harvey who is two points behind Paul Merton as we go into the final round. And it is train announcements. And it is Kit, your turn to begin. So will you tell us something about train announcements starting now.

KHH: I set off this morning from Bodnin Parkway, deep in the heart of the Duchy on this beautiful day. And went through Exeter, St Davids, Bristol, Reading, Paddington, Ealing, where I got on to the Red Line I believe it's called, to the common Acton town. I feel suddenly rather like Clement Freud. Could somebody else take over.


NP: Josie's challenged.

JL: I'll take over for him.

KHH: Yes you take over Josie.

NP: Anyway he wasn't, he wasn't actually giving train announcements. He was giving a travel...

KHH: But they do these days Nicholas. They come through in the passenger compartment.

NP: Yes but you didn't establish that fact, you just gave us a monologue of these stations you went to.

KHH: I do all these logical jumps, aren't I.

NP: That's right, no, doesn't matter. Josie's got in with 36 seconds on train announcements Josie starting now.

JL: What really upsets me about train announcements is when they say "we apologise for the delay". And you can tell that the voice on the other end of said announcement isn't sorry at all. But what is much worse is the automated voices that come out of the stations like some weird little robotic Daleks living up there in the office who are so blibbid-gibba-doo!


NP: Paul what is it.

PM: Nice to hear blibbid-gibba-doo again! One of my favourite words, but I think it's deviation.

NP: Yes yes.

JL: Yes.

PM: Lovely to hear it though.

JL: I stopped breathing.

PM: Yes.

NP: The words still came out, flibbid-gibbid-dibbady-doo. Eight seconds Paul on train announcements starting now.

PM: On the Tube, the Northern Line, you go from Morden, South Wimbledon, Colliers Wood, Tooting, Broadway. And then you skip a few...


NP: Kit challenged.

KHH: Well isn't he doing the same thing as I got done for.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yeah.

NP: He is.

PM: I'm announcing the stations as I go through. On the Northern Line, Morden, South Wimbledon...

KHH: I got hung, drawn and quartered and hoisted by a petard.

NP: No, you didn't get hung drawn and quartered.

KHH: I was shown as an example and dropped.

NP: No he was...

KHH: Cruelly!

NP: ... doing the same thing as you, he wasn't making a train announcement, he was giving an account of...

KHH: There are people in Indonesia listening to this. I'm humiliated!

PM: Well they need to change at Kennington for either Charing Cross Line or the Bank. They need to know that!

NP: Yes you were just giving a list of the stations.

PM: Yes.

NP: And you weren't giving an announcement.

PM: Okay.

NP: So Kit you've got in with one second to go.

KHH: Oh!

NP: And it won't make much difference to the final result and ...

KHH: Thank you Nicholas!

NP: Train announcements starting now.

KHH: Blah blah blah blah!


NP: So Kit Hesketh-Harvey was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And he's finished up with a lot of points, but let me just tell you. First of all Josie was trailing a little in fourth place, just behind Liza Tarbuck. She was just behind Kit Hesketh-Harvey, and he was only one point behind Paul Merton. So we say Paul, one point ahead, you are still the winner this week. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Liza Tarbuck, Josie Lawrence and Kit Hesketh-Harvey. I thank Sharon Leonard, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle with aplomb when the 60 seconds arose. And we thank our producer, Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are grateful to this lovely audience here in the Radio Theatre. And so from them, and from me Nicholas Parsons, and the team, thank you for tuning in, and be with us the next time we play Just A Minute! Yeah!