starring PAUL MERTON, TONY HAWKS, GRAHAM NORTON and SUE PERKINS, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 2 April 2012)

NOTE: Graham Norton's final TV appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away it is my huge pleasure to welcome you to this special edition of Just A Minute from the BBC Television Centre. This year marks the 45th anniversary of Just A Minute, and to celebrate over four and a half decades of radio success, they've finally decided to let us deviate our way on to your television screens. So without further ado, please welcome to the show four talented performers. And they are seated on my right Paul Merton and Tony Hawks. And seated on my left, Sue Perkins and Graham Norton. Please welcome all four of them! I ask each player in turn to speak on a subject that I give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And the other three can challenge whenever they wish and if I uphold their challenge, they gain a point. And if not, the person speaking gains a point and keeps the subject. We go on like that until the whistle goes which tells us that 60 seconds is up. By the way they can repeat the subject on the card. Graham would you take the first subject.


NP: Right, oh it's a very topical subject really in view of what I've been talking to you about. It's my 45th birthday. So would you tell us something about that, I thought that would get a reaction actually.

GN: They can't believe I am 45!

NP: The show is 45 but you're not Graham. My 45th birthday...

PAUL MERTON: Let's not get on to the subject of ages!

NP: Especially with me around! So my 45th birthday Graham, you have 60 seconds as usual and your time starts now.

GN: I remember my 45th birthday well. Because it strikes me when you are six, the highlight of a birthday is the candles on a cake and the bumps. But by the time you are 45, that just means the Fire Brigade will be called out and there's probably a visit to A and E. I wish I could say that my 45th birthday was spent drowning in a jacuzzi with close show biz chums like TV's Tim Vincent, that woman with big earrings from East Enders. But no, it would...


NP: Sue you've challenged.

SUE PERKINS: Deviation, I don't think Tim Vincent is that woman from East Enders with the big earrings. At least, he may well, I don't know, have deviated...

GN: It was a list! It was a list!

SP: I see. The comma was not apparent Graham.

TONY HAWKS: I think what Graham was doing, he was actually sort of saying he's got more than one friend. He was being very cocky.

SP: Yeah.

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

SP: Oh I like it!

NP: Which means you have a point for a correct challenge, you take over the subject, there are 30 seconds still left and your time starts now.

SP: My 45th birthday is so...


NP: Graham.

GN: Surely not, Sue!

SP: I wouldn't... it's very...

PM: Oh no no no! Surely not! No!

TH: She may well be about to talk about the future.

SP: Yes!

TH: She may be about to say it's coming up in eight year's time.

SP: Indeed.

PM: Let's not be stupid about it! I mean, you know!.

NP: Graham what I'll do is give you a bonus point for chivalry.

GN: Why, thank you Nicholas.

NP: But Sue was interrupted so she gets a point for that. She keeps the subject, there are 28 seconds still available, my 45th birthday starting now.

SP: My 45th birthday is so far away in time. The worlds may rise and fall, civilisation...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Surely you can remember it! It can't be that long ago! Is it in the mists of time?

SP: It's in the future.

PM: Oh you didn't make that clear. Can I just say you're looking lovely tonight for chivalry?

NP: All right, give you a point for chivalry, leave the subject with Sue.

PM: As easy as that?

NP: All right Sue, they've decided they're all going to be chivalrous, you keep the subject and you have 25 seconds, my 45th birthday starting now.

SP: I'm 32 plus that so for me it's a long time away. But I look forward to the invitation from Graham where I can share show biz fun and jollity in a filled jacuzzi stuffed with Tim Vincent and that bird off East Enders with the enormous earrings who may or may not be the same person, who can possibly tell...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Did we have repetition of person?

NP: Yes and you've got in with seven seconds to go and your time starts now.

PM: I can well remember the guest list at my 45th birthday. In fact when I look around the audience now, I can see several familiar faces who were there...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton so Paul, you are in the lead at the end of the first round. It's not surprising because very few points have been scored. Let's move on, let's take the next subject and Sue (laughs) we'd like you to take the next one. God, it's embarrassing now when I tell you what it is, the worst smell in the world. Sue would you try and tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

SP: A Northern Line Tube carriage in the height of summer. A sweltering afternoon at rush hour with head embedded in moist armpit of a commuter with the heady fug of crotch and tobacco emanating from the body. What could...


TH: She's still talking about her 45th birthday party!

NP: Tony I don't think...

TH: Can I just say how magnificent she looks, just in case. There could be a point going for chivalry, I don't know.

NP: As the audience enjoyed what you said so much, and gave you even a round of applause, I will give you a bonus point for that. But Sue was interrupted so she gets a point, keeps the subject, there are 42 seconds available and your time starts now.

SP: What could add to the old factory journey than the sound of polystyrene squeaking and suddenly fried chicken emerging. Oh if only we knew the special ingredients that go into that incredible smell bomb that gets detonated every time one attempts to make a journey from say Euston in the centre of town...


NP: Graham you challenged.

GN: Repetition of journey.

NP: Yes.

SP: Yes.

NP: On the Northern Line.

GN: Was there really? Was there really? Okay.

SP: Oh you are cruel.

NP: You looked as if you were trying chancing your arm on that but...

GN: No no no!

NP: It was correct. It was correct.

GN: Yeah yeah.

NP: You have a correct challenge.

GN: Snipe at us all you want, she said it twice.

NP: So Graham another point to you for a correct challenge and there are 23 seconds still available and your time starts now.

GN: A hand knitted jumper that's been caught in the rain, ohhhh the whiff of wet dog on that. I did think that was the worst smell in the world until I got some canine friends and oooohhh they...


NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: Repetition of oooohh.

NP: No, let's be fair Sue, I mean that ooohh was a long one.

TH: Different spelling. Five Os in the first one, nine in the second one.

SP: Yeah.

GN: What Tony said, yeah. What Tony said yeah.

NP: I gave you the benefit of the doubt last time. Graham gets the benefit of the doubt now.

SP: All right.

NP: Keeps the subject, another point to you Graham, eight seconds still available starting now.

GN: Pet owners will know all too well the fearsome woof woof fart...


NP: Oh it's so easy...

GN: You see what I've done there!

NP: Paul your challenge?

PM: Repetition of woof.

NP: Yes. They laughed as if they hadn't spotted it. Right but Paul, well spotted yourself, you have a point, you have the subject, you have three seconds and your time starts now.

PM: Rotting flesh and sewage! So for me a zombie with diarrhoea would be the worst smell in the world...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And he has increased his lead at the end of that round. And Tony would you begin the next round, oh a lovely historical subject. William the Conqueror. Tell us something about William the Conqueror in this game starting now.

TH: William the Conqueror wasn't always called William the Conqueror. For a while he was named William the Bastard, presumably this is because of his lillegitimate birth...


PM: What sort of birth did he have? Lily-gitimate?

TH: Well...

PM: He was born in flowers, what happened then?

TH: His mother was Lily..

PM: Yes and his father was Gitimate. I see, I withdraw my challenge.

TH: Yeah!

PM: What a load of nonsense!

TH: She married Mister Gitimate. A Lily Gitimate birth. Yes.

NP: Tony it was what we interpret as hesitation because you did stumble over the words. So Paul another point to you and you have 48 seconds, you tell us something about William the Conqueror starting now.

PM: I know nothing about William the Conqueror.


SP: Deviation.

NP: Why?

SP: Because he doesn't know anything about William the Conqueror.

NP: But the point is, in this game, whether you know anything about the subject or not, you've still got to try and keep going without hesitation, repetition or deviation.

SP: Is it... okay.

NP: It doesn't matter, it's up to him to try and bluff.

TH: I'm certainly looking forward to the next minute though.

PM: Exactly!

NP: So Paul you've got another point.

PM: Yes.

NP: And you have 48 seconds, William the Conqueror starting now.

PM: From William's early childhood people could...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: I don't believe him. He doesn't know anything, I'm not listening to this.

NP: He's established...

PM: He obviously had an early childhood, he wasn't born middle aged. Like some of us!

NP: No I think you have justified the fact it was an incorrect challenge.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Another point to you, 46 seconds starting now.

PM: William the Conqueror strode into his mother's house...


NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: Is he still young coz striding! I mean it's an emphatic thing for a toddler to do. I'm not buying it, I'm just not buying it!

NP: I think toddlers sometimes stride.

SP: I want Paul to get the maximum amount of points for knowing nothing about the topic.

PM: I'm doing better on this subject that I know nothing about than any subject I've had all day.

NP: So you got another point for an incorrect challenge.

PM: Oh good!

NP: Forty-three seconds starting now.

PM: Everybody in the neighbourhood hated William the Conqueror. They despised the fact that he used to go off conquering and not send his mummy, poor mother, wouldn't send her...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of mummy.

PM: Yes but I said mother before. I did buzz...

GN: Well I've given you a point, that was my main aim.

NP: So Paul you've got another point, increasing your lead and 35 seconds...

PM: How many seconds?

NP: Thirty-five seconds to talk about something on which you know nothing. Time starting now.

PM: I've got a cat called William the Conqueror. He's a lovely little creature, he's part moggy and another part of him...


PM: That's two parts. Wahay! No more!

NP: Sue you challenged first.

SP: Repetition of part.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yes absolutely.

NP: Well done so Sue you have the subject now, William the Conqueror. Tell us something about it, 30 seconds to go starting now.

SP: William the Conqueror was the Duke of Normandy, got bored and thought "I'll have a bit of England". Harold was ruling it at the time, dubious lineage, but the problem was Edward the Confessor hadn't got any kids. So he...


TH: She knows too much about William the Conqueror!

PM: It's a contrast.

NP: Tony this has happened before. You made a joke and you got a round of applause. I'm always inclined to give bonus points for that. So you're winning on bonus points.

TH: Thank you very much.

NP: So you were interrupted Sue so you get another point for that, 20 seconds still available, William the Conqueror starting now.

SP: William the Conqueror toddles over to the UK and ends up in Hastings, lovely seaside resort. But he aims to go to battle, because it's the best place for a fight. And it doesn't need to be renamed, that's the annoying thing about locations, you have a massive fight there and then...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of fight.

SP: Yes.

NP: Yes. Graham it was a correct challenge and you've got in with three seconds to go. William the Conqueror with you Graham starting now.

GN: Looking at this erudite audience I realise I mustn't bore you with the details...


NP: So Graham Norton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. At the end of the round Paul Merton is still in the lead, and Sue Perkins and Graham Norton are equal in second place and Tony's bringing up the rear with all his bonus points. Paul we'd like you to begin the next round. Bee keeping, will you tell us something about bee keeping in this game starting now.

PM: Due to the terrible ecological climate that we now live in, bees are actually missing out on existence. We have to, all of us, to encourage to keep our... oh God's sake...


PM: Four or five mistakes in there.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: Yes indeed it was, right! There are 51 seconds still available, Sue, you tell us something about bee keeping starting now.

SP: Bees are stoners! They love a bit of a smoke to calm them down. Nothing signifies...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: This is inappropriate, I feel. This is celebration of Just A Minute, and I don't think this should be in there.

SP: Mellow! Mellow bees!

PM: We shouldn't be encouraging insects to break the law, should we Nicholas.

NP: I don't know what your challenge was Graham.

GN: I was just stopping it!

SP: It was more of an intervention.

NP: I don't think it was a legitimate challenge, so...

GN: Okay. It's your programme!


GN: You saw me! I tried to stop it!

NP: The darling boy's in a huff! Graham because they enjoyed your reaction I'm going to give you a bonus point.

GN: Now was that that hard. Was that that hard? Thank you.

NP: But Sue was interrupted so she keeps the subject.

PM: Can I just say Sue, you are looking particularly beautiful tonight. Chivalry.

TH: Yeah.

PM: Chivalry.

NP: Will you all give her a bonus point. Right, Graham you got your bonus point, Sue you got the subject, 43 seconds starting now.

SP: Bee keeping is important because as Paul said, they are dieing out die to monoculture. Agriculture only providing a single crop for us to eat. These thrive on diversity, they need to eat freely...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: I'm so bored!

SP: I had drugged bees, now you don't like the serious bit. What kind of bees you like?

GN: Mono bla bla bla!

PM: Are we allowed to challenge for boring?

NP: You can challenge for whatever you like, it's up to me to decide whether you get a point or not.

PM: Oh really?

NP: So Sue was interrupted, she has a point for that and the subject is still bee keeping and there are 29 seconds starting now.

SP: I kept bees for about 15 minutes, had to wear a space suit, got badly stung. Because one little blighter got underneath the enormous cowl that I was wearing. Not the silent variety, merely a sort of headgear that was going to keep them away from me. They can really nip, what with that massive great pointy thing that comes out of their backside. So I retreated because other hobbies are frankly safer...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well they don't really nip, do they, bees?

NP: No they don't.

PM: They sting.

NP: They sting, they inject something into you.

SP: Do they?

NP: Yes.

SP: So they don't have enormous canine teeth?

NP: No no they inject something into you...

SP: Oh.

PM: You're thinking of dachshunds.

SP: Yes.

GN: Yes.

PM: Different to bees.

TH: And does it really come out of their backside?

SP: Yes well sort of, I feel...

NP: No no, quite far back, but not the backside...

TH: I was going to pick her up on that but I was too shy!

NP: Yes...

SP: Is it a sort of thorax prong that what you'd have...

NP: Yes.

TH: I'd have said thorax prong and I'd got the subject.

PM: Isn't he one of Norway's biggest film stars?

NP: Paul you had a correct challenge because they don't sting, they inject and there are nine seconds available starting now.

PM: Thorax Prong was sitting in his dressing room. He was about to appear in The Swarm, definitely a B movie. He looked at his fellow movie stars and he went to the lens and said...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. So what do we, Graham it's your turn to begin again. Oh here's almost what you did just then, throwing a tantrum. So will you tell us something about throwing a tantrum in this game starting now.

GN: Some days I so long to have the emotional freedom of a three year old child, to have myself prostate in a supermarket...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Prostate?

PM: Yeah.

GN: Yes I know.

SP: I don't know that they do them in Tesco's.

GN: It's their finest phrase.

SP: (unintelligible).

NP: We should all have our prostate seen to occasionally. Sue you challenged and you were correct and there are 50 seconds available still, throwing a tantrum starting now.

SP: What you might not know about me is I am the Mariah Carey of factual entertainment! Unless there is a huge collection of freshly born puppies in my dressing room and only blue M and Ms, I will have...


PM: No.

NP: Tony challenged.

PM: M and Ms.

TH: Yes I was going to say repetition of M, but as Paul's pointed out thankfully, um, um, she said M the first time and Ms the second time. So what I am going to try and do is cleverly work a bonus point out of this by saying how magnificent you're looking!

NP: Well...

PM: That was not what you said before you came on! "Is he still going?" you said.

NP: I'm inclined to take a point away from you Paul!

TH: Well I'll have it!

NP: I suppose if you flatter the chairman, you're entitled to a bonus point, don't you think?


NP: You've got it then. But it was an incorrect challenge Sue so you've still got the subject, throwing a tantrum, 39 seconds starting now.

SP: The worst tantrum I ever did see was Nicholas Parsons before a radio recording of Just A Minute. There he was in his thong screeching like a barn owl for all to hear. Because somebody hadn't out fresh roses in the dressing room. Well he turned...


NP: Ah who's challenged? Tony yes.

TH: Me, I think there was a dressing room before with fresh puppies in the dressing room.

NP: But it was deviation anyway. No, tony you've got the subject and you have throwing a tantrum, 24 seconds starting now.

TH: (in American accent) You cannot be serious! (normal voice) We can all remember these amazing tantrums from John McEnroe during Wimbledon and how the crowd were delighted by them in some sort of perverse way. Although this behaviour was clearly appalling, they loved it and they bemoaned the fact that the tennis people do not carry on with such vigour and passion. They would like to see more of it...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking when the whistle went, and with great passion he went up to that moment and gained the extra point for doing so. And he's still in fourth place. Sue oh quite an interesting subject, my first celebrity crush.


PM: That's the noise we used to hear when people said "and tonight's star prize".

NP: Right Sue your turn to begin, my first celebrity crush, 60 seconds starting now.

SP: My first rather improbable celebrity crush was Jan-Michael Vincent from cult mess, Airwolf. What an extraordinary voice, which I thought at the time reeked of sexual allure and promise. But in fact he probably had laryngitis. It was as if his tonsils had been grated by a parmesan shaver. And when he took off his spectacular aviator sunglasses, his eyes resembled raisins in a half baked sponge. And yet something about him appealed to my teenage self. The way he say, pigeon chested...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: I think there may have been a repetition of way.

NP: Yes the way he sat and the way he did this. Yes well listened Tony.

TH: He's on his way now.

NP: So you have 27 seconds Tony, my first celebrity crush starting now.

TH: My first celebrity crush was when Luciano Pavarotti fell on me at a party. It was absolutely terrible. I was underneath him for quite some time, hospitalised for four weeks. Tried to bring a court case against him, he wasn't having any of it. He had all the best lawyers in Italy and you know how corrupt some of them can be. That Berlusconi, he'd organised the party we had afterwards...


NP: Graham you challenged.

GN: Repetition of party.

NP: Yes.

GN: Yes.

NP: He fell on you when you were at a party.

TH: Ah yes yes.

NP: Repetition of the word. So Graham you cleverly got in with six seconds to go, starting now.

GN: My first celebrity crush was David Cassidy. That was fine, but then I met him, ohhhh! He...


TH: We, we don't want the whistle, do we!

SP: No! How bad was it?

TH: We want to hear more.

GN: That's all you need to know!

NP: Anyway Graham Norton was then speaking as the whistle went, and Graham it's your turn to begin.


NP: Oh!

SP: Is it tea time?

NP: That particular little tinkle tells me that we have one more round to go. Let me give you the situation as we move into the final round. In ascending order, Graham is trailing Tony by two points and he is trailing Sue by two points and Sue is trailing Paul by two points. So that is the situation in ascending order. And Graham it's back with you to begin.

GN: Everything to play for!

NP: And the subject, a lovely one, Venice. So tell us something about Venice in this game starting now.

GN: Venice is the city of romance. So vital is that town to lovers and so drawn are they...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Were there two sos quite close together.

GN: Tiny words! I breathed several times during it as well.

TH: Listen, everything to play for, it's dog eat dog.

GN: I'm coming last! Kick me while I'm down!

NP: Well it was a correct challenge so maybe I should give it to you unless you want to give it back to him.

GN: No no it's fine.

SP: Can I just say Nicholas how youthful, handsome, debonair, charming, sophisticated you are appearing tonight! It's a real joy to be sat next to you. is that cologne you're wearing, or just a natural uber-fertile man musk?

NP: Sue you need more than one bonus point to win.

SP: Man musk might give me two!

NP: All right, give her a bonus point. Tony a clever listening from you, correct challenge, Venice and 51 seconds starting now.

TH: I've heard it said that Venice is actually sinking, unlike the Italian economy which is doing terrificly well I believe. I have gone...



NP: Graham you challenged.

GN: Ah yes I did. Um...

NP: The Italian economy.

GN: It was deviation from sense.

NP: Yes Graham that was a correct challenge. You were very quick on that one, I must say. Forty-two seconds starting now.

GN: A lot of people wonder how did they build Venice. Happily I have talked to Nicholas, he was there when it happened, and he told me how they put down rushes and mats and then spat on them. And then they got some mud...


NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: Well he's both hesitating now and also deviating.

NP: Why?

SP: Well I don't believe Venice was built on a series of rush mats on the water because matting's quite...

GN: That man's nodding and how old is he!

NP: No so I give you the benefit of the doubt Sue, Venice is with you, 26 seconds starting now.

SP: Ah Venice, indeed the city of the true romantic which is why I only did a day trip and then went on to somewhere like Milan. Heavy, hard core, industrial and loveless. But when I was there, I was delighted to see the Vaporetto, the water taxi that transports you from the airport to the heart of that great city where you can stare...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I think she said city before.

NP: Yeah. Yes you did.

TH: Repetition of city.

NP: Yes.

TH: Started off with city.

NP: Yes you did. And so Tony you got back in with the subject, which probably pleases you very much and you have only six seconds to go starting now.

TH: I went there once many years ago. What a romantic occasion! Lost my virginity, terrific evening it was...


TH: Stood there, huge people came past looking...

NP: Sue challenged...

TH: No I haven't finished! I want to tell them!

SP: Can I just say I was there and it was Rotterdam, not Venice.

NP: Anyway Sue an incorrect challenge, and Tony's got one second left on Venice starting now.

TH: Lulu said to me once don't...


NP: It now remains for me to give you the final score in this exciting edition of Just A Minute. Graham Norton, who has given such wonderful value, and we love him dearly on the show, he only just finished in second place. He was three points behind three people who are equal in the lead. So it couldn't be fairer than that, Paul Merton, Tony Hawks and Sue Perkins, three equal winners. Oh I love it when it works out as fair as that. So we do hope you have enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. From us good-bye and don't forget bt with us the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes! Yes!