NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners from around the world. And also to welcome to the programme four exciting and talented players of this game. And they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Charles Collingwood. And seated on my left, Sue Perkins and Julian Clary. Please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me keep the score, and blow the whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. As usual I will ask them to speak on a subject I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation if they possibly can. And we begin with Paul Merton. Paul, oh the subject I've got here is what I've got in my attic. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: What I've got in my attic, it's been a while since I was up in the attic. But I seem to remember there are lots of comics from my golden teenage years. I used to collect such publications as Rover and Roy Of The Rovers was another particular magazine that I subscribed to. I remember, also up there, there are...


NP: Ah yes and Julian, you challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Repetition of remember.

NP: Yes at the beginning you said remember, yes you did, right. So that's a correct challenge...


NP: That's a laugh on nothing at all. It's nothing

PM: Let's not knock it, it's all we've got!

NP: So Julian, a correct challenge, you get a point for that of course, you take over the subject and there are 43 seconds available starting now.

JC: What I've got in my attic is really a trip down Memory Lane to all the highlights of my youth. There's a rugby ball from when I was in the First Fifteen. Happy days! And a pair of swimming trunks from when I did my synchronised swimming in the...


NP: Sue challenged.

SUE PERKINS: Swimming, repeat of swimming.

NP: Yes that's right, he said swimming. Right and synchronised swimming. Sue a correct challenge, a point to you and 27 seconds still available, what I've got in my attic starting now.

SP: What I've got in my attic is a perfect picture of myself as a young woman, fresh faced and rosy cheeked. While the real me decays, day in and month out. I think I might write a novel about it, incredibly interesting to see the disparity between the two things. Myself, that decrepit crone aged 80, descending the stairs to the loft which I put in the basement area because I am capricious that way. How I love an underground floor...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes, gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Sue Perkins and so she has two and she is in the lead at the end of the round. And Julian we'd like you to begin the next round, a lovely subject, clowns. Will you tell us something about clowns in this game starting now.

JC: Clowns, what a lovely subject! I think if you gave me a stepladder and a bucket of whitewash, I could amuse you for hours with my inner clown. No sordid innuendo, it would just be mime. Falling over, spinning round, knocking over people who are passing by. It would be an entertainment to rival any other. Clowns I first encountered when I was a child at the circus, like everyone else. They came on between the elephants and the jugglers. And I liked to see men wearing makeup. I think probably that's where my interest in the subject first happened. Clowns would sometimes involve the audience...


NP: Charles challenged.

CHARLES COLLINGWOOD: I'm sure he said sometimes earlier. I'm sure it's a repetition of sometimes. Nicholas, you don't look certain but I'm absolutely positive.

NP: That's the way to get the point, is it.

CC: And Sue's nodding, she thinks sometimes.

SP: It's just a nervous tick I have!

CC: Oh is it, darling.

NP: Yes all right Charles, benefit of the doubt.

CC: Benefit of the doubt!

NP: Yes. Because there is some doubt...

CC: Fair enough.

NP: ... and I will try and redress the balance Julian later on, if I get the opportunity. You have 23 seconds, tell us something about clowns starting now.

CC: I'm not mad about clowns. Although when I go to be entertained by them, I like them to hurt themselves. If they're just trying to be funny, I don't see any point with the exploding car if it doesn't actually make them really go ow! But in fact the thought of being a clown myself is more than I can bear, although I believe that with that lovely...


NP: So Charles Collingwood was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, and he's now equal in the lead with Sue Perkins at the end of that round. And Charles we'd like you to begin the next round, Americanisms. Can you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

CC: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry to introduce a rather sour note early in this programme. But I'm absolutely against Americanisms. I don't see the point of why our beautiful language should be insulted...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: I mean, this is racism! There needs to be a new category.

NP: In what sense racism?

SP: No, there, there was a slight hesitation, ironically as he was discussing the beauty of the English language on insult.

NP: But are you going for hesitation or deviation?

SP: I don't think racism falls within the rules, remit of Just A Minute. I mean, one day it might well. Cultural racism, I think, should be installed along with repetition, hesitation and deviation!

NP: I think you're talking yourself into...

SP: And cultural stereotype!

NP: Yes. You talk very well to try and get the point but I disagree with you Sue. So Charles you've got an incorrect challenge, a point for that and 47 seconds still available, Americanisms starting now.

CC: I find it infuriating if somebody says "have a nice day". Why don't they put please on the end. I will not be forced into enjoying myself when perhaps I actually want to wander around being rather miserable for the entire time of 24 hours. But nonetheless, as I said earlier on, I am relieved to know...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition, because he said it earlier on.

NP: Paul, I think that was a lovely interruption, I'll give you a bonus point for that. But he actually was saying it within the context of this, his diatribe about Americanisms. So technically within the rules of Just A Minute he wasn't deviating. So Charles, benefit of the doubt, you're still with it and you still have 28 seconds, Americanisms starting now.

CC: What reassures me is that as I make this little speech to you all, all around the nation... oh no I must stop now because I...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes. Sue you've got Americanisms, well, you don't have it, but you've got the subject and 21 seconds starting now.

SP: Touching base, who wants to do that when one is not certain of the area you might be putting fingers on. I've no idea, it was said to me once at a meeting along with running a flagpole up something.


SP: Probably a flag.

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was it running a flag up the flagpole to see if somebody salutes. Not running up the flagpole.

SP: Yeah, they were very confused Americans.

PM: They were confused.

NP: Paul, a correct challenge yes. It was not running a flagpole up a flag. Paul, nine seconds, Americanisms starting now.

PM: (In elderly American accent) Well I've known this town ever since the gold rush in 1865. And you can say Jeb, he's got a mouthful of teeth but he don't know what he's saying. Well I think...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point for doing so. And Charles is now in the lead, just one point ahead of all the others. And Sue Perkins we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is amusement parks. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

SP: The amusement of amusement parks is something of a misnomer as that is not the emotion it conjures up in me. Rather terror or feelings of mild peril as they might say if they were censoring films. Now I don't think any entertainment should be given a height restriction or a warning you might suffer a coronary during it. There are some times of physical exertion I would happily have a heart attack for, but none that I'd reveal in public. However for some reason...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: She said some at least two times.

NP: Yes.


CC: It's called repetition. I mean can I have a list of the words you are allowed to say twice?

NP: No Charles, I mean it's a correct challenge. It's just sometimes we have a little generosity of spirit which... which the audience reaction showed they didn't enjoy that.

CC: Well, tough is all I can say.

NP: Oh well the gloves are off, aren't they. Charles it is a correct challenge so I have to give it to you and tell you you have 31 seconds, amusement parks starting now.

CC: I've always longed to work in a fairground and hang on to the back of a dodgem car and collect the money. And then hop rather sexily to the next car to receive their...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: In the middle of his sexual adventures, repetition of car.

NP: Repetition of car.

CC: Shorter word than some!

NP: But it's, it also is a very strong noun. Paul, 22 seconds for you on amusement parks starting now.

PM: Some people go to amusements parks to have the wits scared out of them. They like to sit in the roller-coaster as it goes to the top of the hill before it plummets down that massive descent and takes you all around the track and deposits you back where you started about a minute and a half later than when you set off. Amusement parks became very popular at about the turn of the 19th century. People would flock to places like Coney Island in America where...


NP: Paul Merton again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He's equal with Charles Collingwood in the lead now followed by Sue Perkins and Julian Clary in that order. And Paul we'd like you to begin the next round, rewriting history. Sixty seconds starting now.

PM: Well there's a saying isn't there, that history is written by the victors. But there is also an opportunity to rewrite history that other people don't remember the dates and particulars that you are talking about. For example, you could say, well, I became hugely popular on the London Cabaret circuit in 1983. I had various people coming up to me offering all kinds of work, mainly of a labouring variety. But I found that after a while I was able to say them that "I am the King of Norway"...


PM: (laughs) I am the King of Norway!

NP: Would it have got much of a laugh, I wonder? Julian you challenged first.

JC: Hesitation.

NP: Yes indeed so you have...

PM: I don't like to tell people.

NP: Thirty-two seconds on rewriting history starting now.

JC: I think it's a marvellous idea to rewrite history. In my case I would say that I married the Duchess of York and we lived happily ever after, to cheerful if... challenged...


NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: Um I yes, hesitation.

NP: Hesitation Sue, correct challenge.

SP: That would be treason as well!

NP: No, 22 seconds, rewriting history starting now.

SP: I would be delighted if history were rewritten. And then I could look upon the King of Norway in an entirely new light, as well as the brand new beau of the Duchess of York. Extraordinary, they think, that she is actually stepping out with such a gorgeous young man and yet produce children who wear bizarre fascinators at weddings that look like an upside down skyscraper perched on one of their titian heads. I myself would opt for...


NP: I think you were saved by the whistle then Sue, you were just getting into very dangerous territory weren't you. Anyway you were speaking as the whistle, gained that extra point. And now you are equal with Paul Merton and Charles Collingwood in the lead, just ahead of Julian Clary. And Julian we'd like you to begin the next round, oh, singing in the shower. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

JC: Singing in the shower is the perfect way to begin your day. I favour Aretha Franklin. Only this morning as the larks were singing, there I was going R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me. I've got a...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of E. That's what it means to me, anyway!

JC: It's only one letter though Nicholas.

SP: You should have gone for D-I-V-O-R-C-E. You know that would have saved...

JC: Yeah, thank you very much.

NP: Well I suppose within the rules of Just A Minute, it's a correct challenge isn't it. And you have 46 seconds, singing in the shower starting now.

PM: When I'm singing in the shower, I like to belt out show standards from the musicals of the 1930s. Who can forget something like the gold diggers of 1933. I can because I never see it...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of I.

PM: Didn't like the E challenge much then!

NP: Thirty-six seconds Julian, singing in the shower starting now.

JC: I've got a lovely voice and people gather at the window, and it puts them all in a very jolly mood. Singing in the shower is something that my mother taught me when I was sitting on her knee. She said "Julian, my boy, whatever you do in life, always sing in the shower." It's something you can...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of sing. Is it singing on the card.

NP: Oh yes, on the card you can repeat anything. It's singing in the shower and he talked about sing. Well listened Sue and you have 18 seconds, you tell us something about singing in the showers starting now.

SP: Singing in the shower was the prequel to Singing In The Rain but the box office wasn't so good. Featuring Gene Kelly in the nude, under an enormous sprinkler. However marginal that DVD release was...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: That's deviation because it did not feature Gene Kelly in the nude under an enormous sprinkler.

PM: Oh it did, it did.

SP: It did. Have you not seen it?

CC: How can I have missed it? I mean...

NP: Well that's just your life Charles.

CC: That was deviation, absolutely.

PM: We can't cope with the breadth of your ignorance, where are we going to be? Just because you haven't heard of it. Singing In The Shower, Gene Kelly.

NP: No, I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt as I gave it to you before Charles. I'll have to give it to you again because you were correct. Five seconds on singing in the shower starting now.

CC: Whenever I sing in the shower...


PM: Hesitation.

NP: No! Give Paul a bonus point for that because we enjoyed his interruption. But you were interrupted so you get another point Charles and you've got singing in the shower and three seconds starting now.

CC: My love of singing in the...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Hesitation! I'm very low on points Nicholas!

NP: Give Julian a bonus point for that. Charles we are still with you, two seconds on... you're there are you, right?

CC: Yes.

NP: Singing in the shower starting now.

CC: This morning at half past seven I arose...


PM: Did we have morning before.

CC: Oh shut up!

PM: We had morning.

NP: Yes!

CC: I only said about three words! Were they all morning, were they? Oh well! Morning!

NP: Paul, half a second on singing in the shower starting now.

PM: Singing in...


NP: So at the end of that round, Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, has increased his lead, just ahead of Charles Collingwood who's just ahead of Sue Perkins and she's just ahead of Julian Clary. That's the sequence and Charles we'd like you to begin the next round, Sydney. That is the subject, tell us something about it in this game starting now.

CC: I've never been to Australia, principally because I have a terrible fear of little tiny funnelweb spiders, which inhabit Sydney from length to breadth. And I...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: That is a massive spider!

PM: That's why he's terrified of them! It's huge!

SP: I had no idea!

PM: Massive! It's the size of Tasmania!

SP: Extraordinary!

PM: It's enormous!

CC: Listen and learn, darling!

SP: Yeah.

NP: I mean I would say that was deviation because they're not, Sydney, I've been there, there are not spiders from one side to the next. The other interpretation...

SP: Not even in Sydney or out in the outback...

CC: Are you challenging me now, Nicholas?

SP: I'm challenging your geographical accuracy.

NP: And also I'm challenging his anatomical description. No Sue, benefit of the doubt to you, you have 49 seconds on Sydney starting now.

SP: I will never go to Australia because I have been told that one enormous spider that stretches over Queensland to Magnetic Island waits there. It's a sort of revenge attack for sending people over to Botany Bay. It's an anti-colonial arachnid that awaits anyone who may well be unfortunate enough to visit the Antipodes. But in all seriousness I think Sydney is a beautiful place for one simple reason, the finest Opera House in the entire world which sits overlooking the water and in its glorious walls contains some of the finest vocalists in the entire planet. The acoustics...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: We had two entires.

NP: We did have two entires there yes. So Charles you've got in there, back in, I should say on 13 seconds, Sydney starting now.

CC: I have had a lifelong love of cricket. And it's quite a sad thing that I will never go there to watch a test match being played because I am very nervous of the little rats that you can find...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we have little before?

NP: Yes.

SP: Little funnelwebs.

CC: No, I thought the spider was huge, according to her.

NP: But they stretch from end to end of Sydney. Paul you've got in once again with one second to go.

CC: Oh damn!

NP: Sydney starting now.

PM: I wouldn't put it there, mate!


NP: So Paul was speaking as the whistle went, increased his lead at the end of the round. Sue I'd like you to start the next round, dadaism. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

SP: An American art critic once said that dadaism was the sickest and darkest thing ever to originate from the human brain. This is not true, it's The X Factor. However this was in the 1920s when dadaism hit its full force. It orginates from the home of the cuckoo clock and Nazi gold, Switzerland. But from there it emanates outwards as far as Africa and certainly hit big in the Balkans and also the Uk. How to describe dadaism, it's very hard because it's anti-everything. War, the borgeoise, society as we know it, money, colonialism, capitalism. It serves as a gigantic two fingers, pointed towards anybody who has ever wanted to conceive of life as something that operates within narrow constraints. Arts, literature, music, architecture, resounded with the enormous splurging of madness that this extraordinary force of nature brought upon us, lasting way way way... no!


SP: It's okay, winning is not for dada-ists!

NP: You were absolutely superlative, you were challenged.

PM: Well it was way way.

SP: It was way way.

NP: It was way way yes.

SP: Who's also an artist of course, who's not into dadaism.

NP: But if you hadn't said it....

SP: Tell me how bad it was, tell me how bad.

NP: Well you went for 59 seconds.

SP: Oh! Oh!

NP: If you'd left out one way you'd have gone for the full 60.

SP: Hey!

NP: What a pity! No we give her a bonus point anyway because 59 seconds, she deserves it. And so it was a correct challenge so Paul's entitled to the subject with one second to go on dadaism starting now.

PM: It shows you how hard it is...


NP: Paul again was speaking as the whistle went, and has increased his lead. And Paul we're back with you to begin. Oh the subject, my Olympic dreams, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: My Olympic dream is that I will be able to train to the utmost in my discipline. And when I take on the rest of the world at my sporting activities I will be able to show them my head high, that I am a true Brit. I will not be taking drugs, I will be adopting the strongest physical attributes that I can adopt...


PM: Adopt twice?

NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Adopt.

NP: Too much adopting right.

PM: Two adopts, yeah.

NP: Forty-two seconds Sue, my Olympic dreams starting now.

SP: I fancy the Velodrome, not in a personal way. I just think that maybe cycling might be for me. I worry however about the Jodhpur style legs you can get. They never look good on a woman. It's the hulking quads you get from pedalling around endlessly. So I might turn my attentions to swimming. Look at me, I'm a coquette, it's a female prerogative, we change our mind about which sport we might want to excel in, every single second. I however am tempted by lacrosse...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Um hesitation.

NP: Well there was a bit, she was running down a bit, wasn't she, at one point. I thought it was deviation too, you can't change your mind about the sport you are going to do. You have to train for one sport intensely.

SP: They say that, Nicholas, they say that. But beach volleyball, come on.

NP: Oh right. But you'd like to take part in every sport there, would you?

SP: I'd give it a go!

NP: You'd give it a go. Julian, benefit of the doubt, 16 seconds, my Olympic dreams starting now.

JC: My Olympic dreams are coming along nicely. Oh the Olympic village, how I long to check in there. My chosen field, which I know you are wondering about is gymnastics. The rings is what I am expecting to take the bronze for. I'll mount...


NP: So Julian Clary was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point. He's creeping up on the others, I mean only in the game, don't misunderstand. He is just behind Charles Collingwood, a little bit way behind Sue Perkins, Paul's in the lead. And Julian it is your turn to begin, the subject is putting your foot in it. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JC: Putting Your Foot In It was a sitcom in the late 80s that I starred in with Peggy Mount who played my wife. The general scenario, that I was a closet homosexual and nobody knew. Each week my er spouse...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: There was a bit of a hesitation there.

NP: There was a hesitation Charles.

CC: Which is jolly sad because I was looking forward to hearing about this.

NP: You could have let it go, couldn't you.

CC: I could have let it go but that's not playing the game correctly.

NP: Oh I think the fun's more important Charles.

CC: Well it was fun yes.

NP: Forty-six seconds starting now.

CC: This was an affliction I tend to use rather more often than I should. I wish I was a little more tactful in life. But every now and again I find myself in a room with my life and I cannot remember her name. And people just think this is disgraceful. But fortunately he says he's just stupid, not conceited and I get away with it. But putting one's foot in it can of course mean lowering one's foot into something...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of ones.

NP: Yes because it's putting your foot in it is the subject.

CC: So I repeated one's, did I.

NP: Yes you did repeat one's.

CC: Okay mmmm.

NP: So Sue it's back with you, 19 seconds starting now.

SP: I once put my foot in it with Suzanne Vega who was an extremely successful singer who came on a programme I did, didn't recognise her and thought she was a member of the audience. Suddenly turned up in the third part of the programme promoting an album and I felt like a right idiot. If only I could have turned back time. However as we conclusively proved today, that's not possible. She looked at me...


NP: Oh I've just had a word that we are moving into the final round.

PM: Oh.

NP: So as I do, I'll give you the situation. Julian is trailing a little behind Charles Collingwood who did have the lead for a time. He is three or four points behind Sue Perkins and she is about three points behind Paul Merton. And Charles Collingwood, it's your turn to begin and the subject now is my sixth sense. Sixth sense Charles, 60 seconds starting now.

CC: Before I develop this subject, I would like to say as an actor I am able to say my sixth sense rather beautifully. Many actors can't say sixth, they say sith, which is awful. But going back to the subject on the card which is my sixth...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Well deviation, he said going back to the subject on the card which means he must have removed himself from the subject on the card and therefore deviated.


PM: Was that an Underground train coming in then?

NP: Yeah I think, I think that's a very clever challenge and it's correct, it was.

PM: Yeah.

CC: What?

NP: You had removed yourself from the subject. By your own admission Charles.

CC: All right! All right!

NP: I must explain to our listeners, he is looking very hurt now. And 46 seconds Sue on my sixth sense starting now.

SP: I see dead people all the time.


PM: It's called doing Just A Minute!

NP: That's absolutely wicked! Give him a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge. But Sue you got a point for being interrupted, you have my sixth sense, 43 seconds starting now.

SP: That was a quote of course from the film, The Sixth Sense, in which Bruce Willis played a man who was permanently befuddled by the fact that no-one talked to him. Ultimately at the end and I don't wish to issue a spoiler, it turns out he was of the departed variety of human being. However I notice in the audience, some of you haven't seen it and are therefore pursuing me with pitchforks, vengeful because they were looking forward to watching it this evening on DVD. It is...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of D.

NP: That's right Paul, so you talk about my sixth sense, 18 seconds starting now.

PM: Extra-sensory perception is a hell of a sixth sense to have. It's a bit of a curse, a burden perhaps. Sometimes I look into the future and I can see the ghastly hands of fate grab my neck and pull me towards my ultimate death which I am pleased to say I recently found out will happen on October...


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point. And the final situation is Julian Clary who has triumphed in the past sometimes, finished in a very strong fourth place. And then Charles Collingwood who has not played it so often, did a very sturdy third place. Sue Perkins was second. But out in the lead, a few points ahead of Sue was Paul Merton so we say Paul, you are our winner this week. So we do hope you have enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score. 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. From them, from me Nicholas Parsons, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!