starring PAUL MERTON, TONY HAWKS, GYLES BRANDRETH and LIZA TARBUCK, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 5 April 2012)

NOTE: Final TV appearances by Gyles Brandreth, Tony Hawks and Liza Tarbuck.

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 great pleasure to welcome you to this special edition of Just A Minute from BBC Television Centre. We found our way at last on to your television screens after celebrating 45 years of radio triumph. So without further ado, please welcome to the show four fabulous, talented performers, and they are seated on my right, Paul Merton and Tony Hawks. And seated on my left, Liza Tarbuck and Gyles Brandreth. Please welcome all four of them! The players will try and speak for Just A Minute on some subject I will give them and they must try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. The other three panellists can challenge at any time and if I uphold their challenge, they gain a point and take over the subject. If not, the person speaking gains a point and continues with the subject. And by the way, they can repeat the subject on the card. Gyles would you take the first subject, pardon my French. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

GYLES BRANDRETH: (speaks in French: Good evening Nicholas and everybody who is here this evening. I am truly honoured to be here with you and I am going to try and speak for one minute in the French language, not necessarily very easy to do. But I am going to try without hesitation or deviation. I am going to...)


NP: Tony you've challenged.

TONY HAWKS: Repetition of vey.

NP: Yes he did repeat vey, yes he did.

GB: Oy vey! Got it in one.

NP: (speaks in French gibberish)

GB: (responds in French)

NP: (speaks in French gibberish) I hope you understood that. Pardon my French, that is Tony who had a correct challenge there and so you take over the subject, there are 39 seconds still available, pardon my French starting now.

TH: (speaks in French: It's not only Gyles that can speak French. I can do it as well if you want.) But people tend to say pardon my French when they're swearing or don't want to be seen to be very ride. It doesn't bother our host. People would be interested to know...


NP: Gyles has challenged.

GB: Repetition of people.

NP: Correct challenge, repetition of people. You take over the subject or take it back, pardon my French with you Gyles, 22 seconds starting now.

GB: The person who most needs to pardon my French is an old teacher because I was a pupil at the Lycee Francais D'laundra where the masters and mistresses, I use the word advisedly, were all of a Francophile disposition and many of them were in fact nationals of that particular country...


NP: Paul challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Francophile individuals and nationals of that particular country, Francophile isn't a country. He was referring to a country.

GB: They were Francophiles or of that country. They were enthusiasts for France or of that country.

PM: Yes.

NP: No no Paul is actually right, you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that of course, seven seconds still available and your time starts now.

PM: I did metalwork!


PM: Pardon my trowel! It's not the same sort of thing really. I've no idea what this round's been about at all!

NP: I think you deserve a bonus point.

PM: Oh thank you very much.


PM: That's the first time I've had my ignorance clapped!

NP: It wasn't ignorance, it was your wit!

PM: Oh yes indeed. Absolutely.

NP: And Tony you challenged first.

TH: Yes well we count that as a hesitation.

PM: Yes indeed.

NP: We count that as hesitation.

PM: (speaks in Spanish) Is that French?

TH: A bit Spanish.

PM: A bit Spanish!

NP: Correct challenge so you have another point and you have six seconds still available, pardon my French starting now..

TH: I have never had to pardon my French kissing. It is of an extraordinarily high calibre.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I disagree, it's rubbish! It was hardly worth getting drunk for!

NP: Tony, I've never heard anybody, after a bit of oscillation say "pardon my French kiss". It's ridiculous.

TH: Well I've done it to such a high calibre I've never had to pardon my French kissing, you see. This is my point.

NP: Exactly, exactly. What did you challenge then?

PM: Well why get ping, bogged down with details? No I don't have a challenge, I don't.

NP: Well all right, you see, I have to be so careful here, because there's only half a second to go. So Tony you have half a second, pardon my French starting now.

TH: (speaks in French)


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And it was Tony Hawks, and you won't be surprised to hear that he is in the lead at the end of the first round. Liza we'd like you to begin the next round.


NP: The subject is man's best friend, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

LT: My friend Roger Mann's best friend is a woman called Sarah Hughes who works in a book shop in Liverpool. The thing with Sarah is she is very very... oh!


LT: Classic!

NP: Oh the classic problem in Just A Minute. Paul you picked it up first.

PM: Repetition of Sarah.

LT: Oh!

PM: You did that as well. I ignored very but you did say Sarah twice.

NP: That's very clever of you yes so Sarah. And you've got 50 seconds, you tell us something about man's best friend starting now.

PM: Man's best friend is undoubtedly Colin Watson. He lives in Rotherham, and any time a man is in trouble, they go to him and they say "my dear friend, get me out of this particular hole I find myself in now". They often say that dogs are man's best friend but I don't really know whether that is the case. My best friend wouldn't get up to some of the things that those creatures do. Have you seen canines walking through the park? They have the most extraordinary lifestyle. People clean up after them which is lovely, but whether that qualifies them as man's best friend, I don't know. How about man's best friend being the giraffe. A majestic animal with its long neck and its nibbling of acacia trees. It shows to humanity that we and other species can be joined together as we search towards truth, light and the American way. Yes we must go to safari parks and...


PM: Sorry it's just something I feel passionate about.

NP: Well that passionate speech of absolute rubbish was delightful! You kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point on man's best friend, but you're still in second place, doesn't matter. You're only one point behind our leader Tony Hawks. Paul we'd like you to begin the next round, I don't know what you're going to do with this, when I worked as a meteorologist. After man's best friend, tell us something about that one in this game starting now.

PM: When I worked as a meteorologist, my work mates didn't like me. They were a bit of a shower. In fact I used to...


PM: What are you groaning about? I've just been given the subject! And they used to rain on my parade, I'd say no! Sometimes there were scattered spells of interest, but they didn't last very long. I could never work out the difference between the various clouds, there's nimbus and the other ones and that's where I got confused because when I was delivering the weather forecast after the 6 o'clock news, a nation I could see...


NP: Gyles you challenged.

GB: It's always delivered just before the six o'clock news. Deviation in terms of the Radio Times, I mean I've checked!

NP: But also it is delivered later at night, isn't it after the 10 o'clock news.

GB: After the six o'clock news implies immediately after the six o'clock news.

TH: But surely the really relevant point is it's never presented by Paul Merton.

PM: Only because I didn't get on with them because I had these rain based puns that nobody likes.

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

PM: Yes.

NP: And if I can redress the balance some time later Paul, I will give you the benefit. Right now Gyles has got it, he has the subject, when I worked as a meteorologist and there are 33 seconds available starting now.

GB: When I worked as a meteorologist, it was always the first day of spring because...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Get yourself a new calendar! Every day is the first day of spring? You'd be thrown out coming up with that rubbish! Hello, it's the first day of spring again!

NP: No I'll tell you what...

PM: This will redress the balance.

NP: Absolutely! You've taken the very words out of my mouth.

PM: Oh go on then.

NP: There he are because he was using...

GB: No you're right...

NP: ... metaphorically speaking.

GB: I was, absolutely!

NP: You were using metaphorically...

GB: It's like saying after the six o'clock news.

NP: So you have the benefit of the doubt and you have when I worked as a meteorologist, and you've now got another point. Oh they're all equal in the lead, Gyles Brandreth, Tony Hawks and Paul Merton. And 28 seconds still available Paul starting now.

PM: I was aware of a persistent cold front that led all the way up to Christmas. My work colleagues were...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: He said work before in the first patch.

PM: I did, you're absolutely right

NP: Yes right so Liza you got in on this subject now, when I worked as a meteorologist, you have 21 seconds if you want them starting now.

LT: I was in charge of the shipping forecast and my favourite area was German Bite which is adjacent to Dogger you'll understand. The news there was we joined the meteorology office in 1920 or thereabouts after the First World War and I had to go down and check for mines.


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: She's not that old surely.

LT: I am.

TH: Really?

LT: Nipped and tucked.

TH: Ah right.

LT: One way of saying it.

NP: No no Liza, looking at you I cannot believe that you were there right back at the beginning. So Tony correct challenge and you've got in with four seconds to go...

LT: Four seconds!

NP: And you start now.

TH: When I worked as a meteorologist I did a lot of French kissing and very popular I was too in the department. I would go...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And he's moved forward and he's just taken the lead, two points ahead of the others. Gyles we'd like you to begin the next round, and the subject is oh, drinking games. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

GB: Recently I happened to be staying for the weekend at Highgrove. This is where Prince Charles lives with his second wife and ah Camilla was not actually anywhere to be seen...


NP: Tony's challenged.

TH: Well he did an er which we count as a hesitation. He went and er.

GB: Did I?

TH: Yeah and besides, besides, my story's so much...

GB: I was actually overawed by the glory of my story. I do apologise.

NP: I thought the audience went oh.

GB: Yeah I think so, I think they were going oh oh.

TH: No.

GB: Some of them were getting down on their knees, I noticed.

PM: They were trying to crawl out and they've been spotted.

NP: Tony another point and 52 seconds, drinking games starting now.

TH: Every four years there are Olympic Games but London...


LT: Hesitation, there was a definite gap there.

NP: Hesitation.

TH: Definitely.

NP: A complete full stop.

TH: Well yes I was going to say every again and what do you do when you start to say every and then you, well, that's what happens.

LT: Yeah.

NP: That's what happens. Liza you have the subject, you have 47 seconds, drinking games starting now.

LT: I like nothing more than enticing a whole shipload of sailors off of their boat in Plymouth and ...


PM: Who buzzed then? Who buzzed then?

NP: Tony did.

TH: Well repetition of off. She went off him.

LT: Okay.

NP: I beg your pardon.

TH: Oh I suppose that's not two offs, is it, it is an off and then an of.

NP: It's of and off.

TH: Yes.

GB: And the story was just hotting up.

PM: I'm not sure we can pick up the thread now! If I may use that euphemism.

TH: We can all just loosen our clothing a bit and get ready for it.

NP: Right here we are, so Liza, an incorrect challenge, a point to you, drinking games, 42 seconds starting now.

LT: Our favourite tipple of course is a Nelson's blood, reminiscent of that old fruity matelot from years gone by...


NP: Gyles.

GB: There was a bit of a hesitation, a touch of the...

NP: There was. You looked at Gyles.

GB: You did.

NP: He resented you calling Nelson, the great admiral, a fruity nut, a fruity nutbar.

LT: He was a fruity matelot though wasn't he. You've got one or two fruity sayings of his. You were regaling...

GB: I have, that was Napoleon.

LT: Was it?

GB: Yeah absolutely.

LT: He's of an age!

NP: Right so Gyles a correct challenge, 36 seconds are available...

GB: What's the subject again?

NP: ... for drinking games...

LT: Sailors!

NP: ... starting now.


PM: Hesitation. Clearest hesitation we've ever had. Very clear hesitation, you could have made a ham sandwich in that. You could have made a ham sandwich.

NP: I think to be fair to Gyles he didn't realise we were about to start.

GB: No I was giving... thank you, thank you. I'm now poised.

NP: You're now poised.

GB: Well when I say I'm poised that's for you to judge, I mean I'm ready.

NP: Gyles it's drinking games, 35 seconds starting now.

GB: In Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, Sir Toby Belch, Andrew Akershake and Vesty with Mariah indulge in drinking games and sing the most extraordinary cash round. Productions of this enjoy the drinking games hugely. There is a lot of acting that involves leaning forward like this and then going backwards. Ho ha hee is not the sound that is normally made, but repetition is not permitted in this particular drinking game that I am indulging in. A glass of schnapps, then vodka, wine from Germany, France, Italy, all those extraordinary places and then of course Algeria where it takes...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth was speaking then as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And he's moved forward, he's now in second place one point behind Tony Hawks. Tony it's your turn to begin, ah, lovely subject, Peter Pan. Tell us something about Peter Pan in this game starting now.

TH: I've always wondered what Captain Hook was called before he had his hand bitten off. JM Barrie never really told us that in Peter Pan. However it's a delightful story about a little boy who...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Well just to be a little bit nit picking, in fact JM Barrie does tell us in the storybook version of Peter Pan. He explains the fact that he went to Eton and that at Eton he was indeed already called Hook and there's a whole sequence, this is in the novelisation published in 1906, two years after the original play.

TH: How, how do we...

GB: I'm just throwing this in because this is BBC Two and I think, I feel, I always feel...

TH: What you don't know Gyles is I've got a computer under here, I've googled it and you're talking absolute rubbish. He made the whole thing up!

GB: No no no.

PM: Can you get the weather on there.

GB: On this one I am right. James Hook there's a sequence, there's a paragraph in the novelisation...

TH: You're saying he was called James Hook and it's just a coincidence that he had his hand bitten off and then was called Hook?

GB: Yes!

TH: That's extraordinary.

GB: That's what JM Barrie...

NP: I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt Gyles and say that you have an incorrect challenge, another point to you, Peter Pan is still with you, 46 seconds starting now.

TH: I think you don't really know who was talking before.

NP: No!

TH: You said incorrect challenge, continue talking and I thought...

GB: We both began at the same time.

TH: Yeah.

GB: I challenged.

PM: Okay let's start from the war. We won the war in 1945, 1946 you went into Repertory, then it was 1960, then we had the Beatles, the man on the moon...

NP: Can I also point out I've been doing this show for 45 years, never missed a performance, I've never had a moment like this before.

PM: Apart from 1972 through to 1978.

NP: You are wicked, you really are!

PM: Oh I'm sorry.

NP: So where are we?

GB: I had 46 seconds, quite a long time to go.

NP: I know you've got it Gyles, I said you had 46 seconds, Peter Pan, with you Gyles, so I was correct.

GB: Yes.

NP: Starting now.

GB: The perfect part is the role of Tinker Bell which I have assayed myself on more than one occasion. Wendy is a delightful role also and of course the name is one originated by Sir James himself...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I think he did say role twice.

NP: Yes you did, you said the role, two roles. Well listened Tony and you have a correct challenge now which I agree with and 41 seconds Tony, Peter Pan starting now.

TH: A young man who will not...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we have young before?

NP: Yes we did.

TH: We didn't.

PM: Didn't we? Who thinks we had young before?


NP: You had a young boy before.

GB: That's repetition of young.

TH: Did I say young before?

PM: You did yeah.

TH: Oh well maybe...

PM: You changed lad to boy but you said young.

TH: Oh probably did.

NP: Paul, correct challenge and you have 39 seconds, tell us something about Peter Pan starting now.

PM: Peter Pan, young boy, lad, adolescent...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: I just thought there was a bit of a gap between lad and adolescent.

NP: There was but not enough to give him hesitation really.

LT: Just saying! Just trying to play the game.

NP: So Paul an incorrect challenge, you have another point, you have 36 seconds, Peter Pan starting now.

PM: JM Barrie, as Gyles said, created this timeless immortal creature back at the turn of the last century and what a magnificent story it's been, enchanting children...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I don't think it was the turn of the last century, it was the century before.

PM: Has anyone got a calendar? All right, let's go back to the war, 1945, we beat, we went into space, Margaret Thatcher...

TH: Wasn't the turn of the last century when we turned from the 20th to the 21st century. And he did it at the turn of the 19th and the 20th century.

PM: Oh maybe that's right?

NP: That is right!

PM: Yes that's right.

NP: So he did it at the turn of the 19th century so you are incorrect.

PM: Yes I am.

NP: Yes that's right.

PM: I'm glad we are in total agreement on that.

NP: So Tony, another point, 27 seconds, Peter Pan starting now.

TH: Like Peter Pan, our esteemed host refuses to grow old. Look at him, he's wearing shorts under there like a little lad. And he was parading...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of lad. Sorry.

NP: We did have a lad before so Paul, correct challenge and you have 19 seconds on Peter Pan starting now.

PM: I remember the cartoon version very well. Made by Walt Disney some time around 1960-something I think but...


PM: Gyles challenged.

GB: 1954.

PM: Yes it is 54, I think he's absolutely right. Some time around 1960 given the course of time since then.

NP: I think so, I think I gave the benefit of the doubt against you last time.

GB: Wrong decade! Fifty-five maybe, 53, 51, but 1960-something or other. Look surely, surely...

PM: It was the same century!

GB: You wouldn't know what century that was.

PM: It's true, I don't actually.

NP: You see how passionate they get about this game.

PM: Yeah!

NP: They'll fight for their points like this. You've all gone very quiet! Anyway I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.

PM: Okay.

NP: Right, 13 seconds available Paul, Peter Pan starting now.

PM: Wendy was a name that was invented specifically for the play, nobody had been... oh.


NP: Gyles you got it correctly this times yes.

GB: Hesitation.

PM: Right.

NP: So you needn't get too passionate because you've got the subject anyway and you've got eight seconds, Peter Pan starting now.

GB: In any production of Peter Pan in which I intend to appear, I hope the role of...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Third time he's said role.

GB: No this was a, oh I suppose it, yes...

NP: So you listened well Tony...

TH: I love the way his machinations were going there. I can get out of this! I can get out of this!

NP: So we've, this round has gone on for an awful long time, hasn't it. Three seconds are still available Tony and Peter Pan starting now.

TH: What an amazing part for any actor to play, to tread the boards dressed in the...


NP: So Tony Hawks was again speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point. He's now in a strong lead ahead of Paul Merton and Gyles Brandreth equal in second place. Liza's bringing up a magnificent third place. And Paul we'd like you to begin the next round, oh a very pompous subject, Sir Isaac Newton. Tell us something about Sir Isaac Newton in this game starting now.

PM: Sir Isaac Newton had a pet tortoise called Fluffy. And this creature was a magnificent visionary. It said to Sir Isaac Newton one day "you know, I've been thinking about the law of gravity". "What particular aspect of that subject you've just mentioned do you wish to talk me about?" said Isaac Newton. And his round hard shelled companion said "if we look to the skies we can see meteorites and various planetary bodies heading towards us, but how come they do not break the earth's atmosphere. Some do, the others penetrate, they come down hurdling towards us..."


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Was it repetition of penetrate?

NP: No.

TH: How come they don't...

PM: What an odd word to imagine I said twice!

LT: Reverie!

PM: Yeah.

TH: Oh I thought he said they penetrate the atmosphere and then, then again.

PM: Oh I wasn't really listening, so I mean...

TH: To be honest with a tortoise you're never sure what they're saying.

PM: You don't know. They're very slow.

NP: I don't believe a tortoise spoke to Isaac Newton.

PM: Oh well you see...

GB: It wasn't called Fluffy anyway.

NP: Anyway you didn't challenge for that so an incorrect challenge Paul. And you have Sir Isaac Newton still and 26 seconds starting now.

PM: Isaac Newton became a member of the House of Lords I believe and the only utterance he ever made in that venerable building was to ask if somebody would mind if he opened the window. This is a true fact, it's one of the few...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: Actually I think it is "would you mind if I shut the window".

PM: It is, you're right. It is, absolutely.

NP: That's why we have you Liza, for your erudition and knowledge. Right and you've got in with a correct challenge and 13 seconds to go, Sir Isaac Newton starting now.

LT: Sir Isaac Newton was a premature baby born ridiculously enough on Christmas Day three months after his passed on. His interesting life began with his mother taking care of him because she was very worried...


NP: So LIza Tarbuck was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And she's moved forward, she's still in fourth place but she's moved forward. But she's in a very strong place, as their points are secondary, it's their contribution...


NP: Oh we've only got time for one more round. I was a bit unsure as I thought my mother was calling me in for afternoon tea. By the way you might be amused to know that Sir Isaac Newton was also born in Grantham, the town where I was also born.


NP: You couldn't care less, could you.

TH: What was it that fell on your head then?

NP: The reaction from that audience then.

PM: The tree!

NP: So we've got time for one more round, Gyles it's your turn to begin, oh speed dating.

PM: Oh hello!

NP: Yes there we are...

PM: He's an expert!

NP: Sixty seconds starting now.

GB: You live and learn, then you die and forget it all. And speed dating is an experience I have had and it was brief. I'm sorry to tell you that I arrived at the speed dating parlour, it was a public house, there were a lot of girls all lined up. I sat down, they sat down with me, the scene...


NP: Tony challenged.

GB: Oh yes you're right, no.

TH: Two sat downs.

NP: Two sat downs.

GB: Two sat downs.

NP: Two sat downs.

GB: Two sat downs. I'm glad because this was a very bitter story.

NP: Tony you challenged you have speed dating, you don't have it, but that's the subject, you have 45 seconds starting now.

TH: Many years ago I played the piano in a wine bar where they decided to hold some speed dating. It was extraordinary. People sat down, then another person would be rolled in opposite them and a clock would start and they'd chat. The minute, a bit like this game, would be up, they'd move on to somebody else. It was extraordinary. Had they fallen in...


NP: Liza you challenged.

LT: It's two extraordinaries.

GB: Yah yah.

NP: Yes, Liza you have got in on this last subject and there are 27 seconds starting, speed dating starting now.

LT: I can't really see the point of speed dating because I think it's all about giving the other person the eye, not really getting to know them. Don't pat...


NP: Gyles, no, Paul you challenged first.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation.

LT: As I was just stopped with him doing that.


GB: How dare you!

PM: Were you being interfered with?

LT: I was!

GB: How dare you! I wasn't invading your space, I was going to say how could you say speed dating...

LT: Chauffeur's window!


LT: Can't hear you!

NP: You get a bonus point for your reaction there.

LT: Thank you.

NP: And your comment and your wit which got a wonderful reaction from the audience. So Liza gets another point, give her two, she needs them, right! No, give her three because it's the last round, that's better! And Paul you had a correct challenge.

PM: Speed dating, 19 seconds starting now.

PM: There I was, going round with Lewis Hamilton. He was doing about 120 miles an hour and I was trying to catch up with him, Brands Hatch. And I suddenly shouted through the cockpit window, "I love you, you are the world's most exciting racing driver as far as I am concerned". And then he was gone. Then I saw somebody else right behind him, I thought I shall adjust my eye towards this man here, this Formula One driver...


NP: Right so Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went and gained the extra point, and it only remains for me to give you the final situation. Well with a little bit of help from me just then, Liza Tarbuck and Gyles Brandreth and Paul Merton were all equal in second place. But Tony Hawks got a few more points so Tony you're the winner today. Well we do hope you've enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. And it only remains for me to say a final thank you to these four fine players of this amazing impossible game. And so it's good-bye from this delightful audience here at the Television Centre. It's good-bye from me Nicholas Parsons and good-bye from these four lovely players of the game. Do join us again the next time we play Just A Minute!