starring PAUL MERTON, GRAHAM NORTON, SUE PERKINS and PHILL JUPITUS, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 26 March 2012)

NOTE: Paul Merton's first TV appearance, Sue Perkins's first TV appearance, Phill Jupitus's first TV appearance, first show produced by Andy Brereton.

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 the four talented performers who are going to join me. And they are seated on my right Paul Merton and Sue Perkins. And seated on my left, Graham Norton and Phill Jupitus. Please welcome all four of them! The rules are impossibly simple until you try and play the game and then you find they are possibly simply impossible.


NP: Oh thank you, I didn't think it was as funny as that. I will 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. At any time one of the other three can challenge, and if I uphold that challenge, they gain a point. And if not, the person speaking gains a point and continues with the subject until the whistle goes and that tells us that 60 seconds have elapsed. And by the way they can repeat the subject on the card. Phill would you take the first subject, the Bermuda Triangle. You have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PHILL JUPITUS: The Bermuda Triangle is an area of sea that has caused the disappearance of many travellers, be they in boats, ships, trawlers, dinghies, aeroplanes, balloons, schooners, dirigibles, gliders, or other methods of transport. Its mysteries have puzzled travellers for thousands...


PJ: Damn you!

NP: Sue you challenged.

SUE PERKINS: Repeat of travellers.

NP: Yes there were travellers before, but what a lovely list he did there without pausing there. Sue you have a correct challenge, you have 36 seconds, the Bermuda Triangle and you start now.

SP: The Bermuda Triangle is not as one might think the special green one you get in the assortment chocolate box at Christmas. Although you can equally get lost in its charms. It is as Phill has so perfectly described, an area of ocean mysterious where those who venture far into its clutches disappear without trace. Some would say a conspiracy theory, I am not cognoscente of such things. I imagine there's a tectonic plate that has shifted, stuff goes into it, but I've never studied geology. Could it be something to do with the Moon casting...


NP: Sue was speaking when the whistle went, gained that extra point. And she's taken the lead, she's ahead of everybody else. Graham we'd like you to begin the next round.


NP: The subject, oh this is interesting, a new rule for Just A Minute. I'll give you a second or two to think about that and then talk on the subject...

GN: It won't help!

NP: Sixty seconds starting now.

GN: A new rule for Just A Minute which I think would be interesting and fun and perhaps move the game on to a new level, a sort of 21st century yee-ha extravaganza of entertainment on both the radio and of course here on television. Let me get to it, sorry to keep you! So this thing...


NP: Sue, Sue you challenged first.

SP: It was, it was running out of steam, but also repetition of new.

NP: Yes you did say new twice.

GN: That's on the card.

NP: A new rule.

SP: It's on the card, you're right, I withdraw my challenge Graham.

NP: So an incorrect challenge...

SP: I'm a buffoon!

NP: A new rule for Just A Minute is still with you Graham and you have 37 seconds starting now.

GN: I couldn't be happier to have this subject back! Let me tell you about a new rule...


NP: Sue challenged again.

SP: He repeated let me tell you.

GN: Really?

NP: Yes.

GN: Oh well never mind!

NP: Never mind. Sue, correct challenge, a new rule for Just A Minute, 33 seconds starting now.

SP: I think that every time a panellist hesitates, deviates or repeats, Nicholas should remove an item of clothing. That would spice things up no end...



NP: Paul we liked your interruption, we give you a bonus point for that. But what is your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: I think something, she had to be stopped! No, I have no challenge.

NP: You have no challenge. Well you got your bonus point because they enjoyed your interruption. But Sue was interrupted...

PM: Yes.

NP: So she keeps the subject, a new rule for Just A Minute and there are 24 seconds starting now.

SP: Come on now! Who here wouldn't enjoy the sight of Nicholas loosening his tie?


PM: No! Repetition of Nicholas.

NP: Yes that's right.

GN: Very good!

SP: Very good!

NP: Very good, very good, you've played the game before, haven't you? Right Paul so you've got in on this subject with 22 seconds to go, a new rule for Just A Minute starting now.

PM: Every contestant has to speak backwards. Idea terrible a what. That would be how it would work. But you see it is very difficult to even play the game by the normal rules of deviation, hesitation, repetition. What point would there be if you said you can no longer use vowels, or consonants consecutively one after the other. It would be madness...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And he has now moved forward, Sue is out in the lead. Sue it's actually your turn to begin, oh, unwanted presents. It's a good subject, 60 seconds Sue starting now.

SP: I've always found Ann Widdecombe to be unwanted presence. However I don't believe that's what's on the card. You are of course referring to the things you get on your birthday. Maybe it's a jumper, cardigan, a book. Or as I once received on my eighth birthday ...


NP: Phill you challenged.

PJ: A couple of birthdays.

NP: Yes.

GN: Yes.

NP: Two birthdays right. Phill well listened, you have a correct challenge, you have 45 seconds still, unwanted presents and you start now.

PJ: A 78 record player was given to me by my mother and father one Christmas which did not meet my audio needs one jot in that particular year. I stood looking down at it as it played the discs to my un.... ahhh!


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: I think we call that hesitation yes. And Sue another point to you and 30 seconds still on unwanted presents starting now.

SP: The rule is keep the unwanted gift in a drawer, cupboard or box. Don't do as I did and immediately give it to a charity shop whereupon this particular artefact was displayed in the window and the friend who had given me the gift saw it and hell broke out...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of gift.

NP: Yes you mentioned the gift before.

SP: I did.

NP: So Graham well listened, you've got in with 17 seconds on unwanted presents and your time starts now.

GN: It was Christmas morning, oh I was excited! And I got up, I ran down stairs because I'd asked for all sorts of things. What I got, ladies and gentlemen, I do not lie, it was a ginger haired ventriloquist's dummy called Finnegan. Thank you very much Santa for that...


NP: So Graham was not only speaking as the whistle went, but timed it so the pay-off to his story came right on the whistle. Paul it's your turn to begin. Oh another delightful geographical question, the angel of the north. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: The arch-angel Gabriel appeared in front of Mary and said (in northern accent) "eeehh oop love, guess what, you're pregnant. It's going to be a great Christmas, this is your family, it's going to be the son of God, it's going to be great! Fantastic!" (normal voice) And that would be my impression of the angel of the north. Of course there is also the magnificent sculpture, made by Antony Gormley I believe, the sculptor and it's there...


PM: Sculpture and sculptor.

NP: Yes.

PJ: Oh!

NP: That was the challenge so an incorrect challenge Paul. You keep the subject, the angel of the north, 40 seconds starting now.

PM: As I stared into the mouth of the ravenous beats, I could see in the background an angel magnetically pointing north. This was the golden dream of my childhood to have an angel looking after me and saying "I am your keepsake, your partner through life. Do not think of me as a superstitious ethereal creature..."


SP: Is there a nurse in the building?

PM: Yeah. Did I go again? I didn't start talking about the angel...

SP: Yeah you did.

PM: Oh!

NP: So what was your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

SP: Ah I think deviation from sanity.

NP: You can be as insane as you like on Just A Minute.

PM: Yeah exactly.

NP: As long as you keep going. So Paul, an incorrect challenge, another point to you, you still have the subject, the angel of the north, 17 seconds starting now.

PM: If you look at a map of the London Underground you'll see that the Angel Station is on the Northern Line and indeed it is not far away from that other magnificent... oh I don't know what I'm saying!


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

PM: Yeah.

NP: We call that hesitation Sue, nine seconds are still available, the angel of the north starting now.

SP: Gateshead's proud guardian sits with huge great winds and took a million pounds...


NP: Phill's challenged.

PJ: The angel stands, it doesn't sit.

SP: Yeah yeah it does, there we are. The angel of the south is the one that squats, isn't it.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Phill you had a correct challenge. You have another point of course, the angel of the north, five seconds starting now.

PJ: Sitting atop the hill... ow, I did it!



NP: So we give Phill a bonus point for over-acting. So you have a clever challenge.

SP: Thank you.

NP: And you cleverly got in with three seconds to go. You haven't win any friends but you've got the subject. The angel of the north with you Sue starting now.

SP: Those arms stretched, bend to the...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we not have arms before.

NP: Yes.

GN: They're not arms.

SP: They're sort of arms

GN: They're wings!

SP: They are wings.

GN: Big flappy angel wings!

NP: Sp Paul, correct challenge, five seconds to go on... no! (laughs). One second to go and you have the angel of the north starting now.

PM: Angel of the north, how wonderful you are...


NP: So at the end of that round Sue Perkins is in the lead and the other three are following with one point separating them. And Sue we're back with you to begin and the subject is my idea for Dragon's Den. I don't know if you have a serious one or not, but it doesn't matter, talk on it in this game starting now.

SP: I have patented Bark Begone, the special mouth silencer for irritating dogs. If you have a terrier, dacshund, spinone, labrador, shbitz, anything that really has a vocal aspect to it, simply put on the vocal alteration...


NP: Phill.

PJ: A couple of vocals.

NP: A couple of vocals yes. So Phill, well listened, you have the subject, my idea for Dragon's Den, 40 seconds starting now.

PJ: My idea for Dragon's Den is once I have received my instructions from the troll master is to approach the den very very stealthily...


NP: Graham you spotted it first.

GN: Two verys.

NP: Two verys. It's one of the tricks of Just A Minute that they can easily fall into. But Graham you picked it up first and you have 33 seconds to tell us something about my idea for Dragon's Den starting now.

GN: My idea for Dragon's Den is just to shut it down! I find it quite irritating, sitting there, smug with their money on the table. I don't think it's appropriate...


GN: Look at this, they're loving it, they hate that show! Who knew? I thought it was a hit but no. They loathe it with a passion? Am I still speaking?


NP: Paul has challenged you but you were going so well the audience didn't hear it.

PM: Well there was a hesitation then.

NP: There was a hesitation.

GN: Yes there was, I just stopped.

NP: So Paul you have the subject, my idea for Dragon's Den, 15 seconds available starting now.

PM: I do watch the programme. Hillary's the new dragon in the den. (cockney accent) I like it love, but I don't think I can invest. (normal voice) I find it absolutely charming the way that these entrepreneurs address these people that come in with magnificent inventions or so they think, perhaps a life-long dream...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking when the whistle went, gained that extra point, and he's moved forward. He's now equal with Sue Perkins in the lead, closely followed by Graham Norton, one point behind, and then two or three behind him Phill Jupitus. It's very close, it's very exciting and you couldn't care less, could you. Graham it's your turn to begin, name dropping, that's a good subject, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

GN: Name dropping is rather gauche and rude, I feel, as I was saying to Madonna only the other day while we were chatting at Rhianna's house, who does put on a nice spread. I was surprised, she doesn't look like she eats but oh, piles of food! Now the big thing about...


NP: Phill you challenged.

PJ: Bit of a hesitation.

GN: Oh that wasn't hesitation!

PJ: There was a lot of oh yeah well oooh der. Ohh ah ooh ah ah!

GN: They're all words!

NP: Phill I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt. If I can redress the balance later on, I shall do so. But you have the benefit of the doubt, you have an incorrect challenge, you have name dropping, 41 seconds starting now.

GN: I do know someone who does a lot of name dropping and I've just realised I can't describe it without repetition...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Predictive repetition. He's basically said he's going to repeat it.

PM: Psychic challenge.

SP: Yeah.

GN: No you're not that psychic, I said I was going to do it.

NP: So an incorrect challenge, Graham you've still got the subject, name dropping, 35 seconds starting now.

GN: So for instance they would say Sarah... Jessica Parker went up to Carrie... Fisher...


NP: Sue you got in.

NP: Sue you challenged first.

SP: He sort of hesitated.

GN: That's right.

NP: That definitely was hesitation. Right, 25 seconds available for you Sue on name dropping starting now.

SP: When I met Rhianna she was furious that Graham had slightly despised her snacks...


NP: Phill challenged.

PJ: Slightly surprised, little bit of a stumble there.

SP: She's got a speech impediment too! And she will be furious! Hell hath no fury like a woman with a speech impediment.

PJ: No it's her style.

NP: I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I said if I hadf a chance I'd give you the benefit of the doubt. I am giving it to you now Phill.

PJ: You are nothing if not steeped in justice, Nicholas Parsons.

NP: No just fair justice, not sneaking justice.

PM: No steeped.

SP: Steeped.

NP: Oh steeped.

SP: Steeped Nicholas.

PJ: As if I would address you like some common Mexican bandito, Nicholas. (in Mexican accent) I don't need your stinking justice!

NP: I'm not a bandito! You have the subject, name dropping, 20 seconds starting now.

PJ: Name dropping is something which people do in order to make themselves look big to people they meet in the street...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes, people do in order to make people in the street. Sue well listened and you have 15 seconds still, name dropping starting now.

SP: If you feel shy, awkward or insecure, it sometimes beholds you to mention the name of somebody more socially powerful or important. I've done this a few times and yet in truth, I don't really know anybody sufficiently grandiose to drop with any degree of...


GN: (pointing at NP) Hello!

SP: I forgot. Nicholas, forgive me.

GN: I can't believe you said that, Sue!

SP: I feel bad! I just don't know him well enough.

GN: Oh yeah!

SP: Not until the after show party!

NP: What's your challenge?

GN: Oh ah er, deviation from the reality of knowing you! You open doors, Nicholas.

PM: Yes.

SP: He's a doorman at the local hotel.

PM: You do open doors, the ones marked Exit.

NP: Graham you got in with one second to go.

SP: Oh.

GN: Sue, laughing, laughing there, oh really, you're giving it to him?

NP: Name dropping starting now.

GN: Name dropping, yes I've got the subject back...


NP: So Graham, Graham was speaking as the whistle went so you gained the extra point Graham. And you have, and you are now in the lead, yes! Paul we'd like you to begin the next round. The subject is 1967. I think the reason they've chosen this subject is that is the year Just A Minute began on radio, 45 years ago exactly. Didn't get any reaction at all. Anyway that is the subject, 1967 Paul, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Nineteen-sixty-seven was a very big year in culture. We had the Beatles, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely... Hearts Club Band...


NP: Sue.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: A bit of hesitation yes Sue, you have 54 seconds, 1967 starting now.

SP: Nineteen-sixty-seven was the summer of love and one of the products of that psychedelic free for all was the panel show Just A Minute where hippies would sit around with their bongs and their bell-end flares and they would...


SP: (shouts) We can't broadcast that! I meant bell bottom!

NP: Phill what was your challenge.

PJ: I've had lots of pairs of trousers in my life Nicholas, some of them very comfortable.

NP: Let me see if I agree with you, what was it then?

PJ: She said bell-end flares!

NP: So Phill...

PJ: Yes.

NP: Correct challenge, you have another point and the subject is still 1967 and your time starts now.

PJ: In 1967 I lived in the middle of Essex in a beautiful cottage where for my fifth birthday I received a small motor boat that I used to play with in our pond. I watched it going round and round the surface...


PJ: Oh man! I suck!

NP: Right so Paul you spotted it first?

PM: Yes round and round sadly.

NP: Round and round yes, the subject is back with you because you began with it and it's still 1967 and 26 seconds starting now.

PM: Patrick McGoohan produced a television series The Prisoner which people still debate the various meanings of it even today. 1967 was a magnificent year in music. Not only did we have... ah!


PM: Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

NP: Sue.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: Absolutely. Seventeen seconds Sue, tell us something about 1967 starting now.

SP: My parents were in a flat in Peckham not enjoying some of the high fandanjo jinks that one might think of when you think of...


PJ: Hesitation Mister Parsons sir.

NP: I don't think she hesitated, she might have deviated with her high fandango jinks.

PJ: Then I'm out. I've got nothing.

NP: All right, you're trailing a little...

PJ: No no no, don't patronise me on television.

NP: I never patronise, I just give out love and warmth to my players and my guests. So Phill we love hearing from you, 1967, nine seconds starting now.

PJ: It was a wonderful year where I would gambol around the garden with my dog and rabbit and look at them as they would frolic to and fro in the grass. Then behind the bushes I would...


NP: So Phill Jupitus was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's creeping up on Paul Merton who is one ahead of him.


NP: Oh tea time!

PM: Does that mark the actual official beginning of the sťance? When do we start holding hands and trying contact the living?

NP: So that means that we only have time for one more round. So I need to...


NP: Oh you are lovely. Let me therefore give you the situation as we go into the final round. Phill Jupitus who is doing extremely well, he is just in fourth place though. He is only one point behind Paul Merton, then is Graham Norton and just one point ahead of Graham, still in the lead, is Sue Perkins. Phill it's your turn to begin, the subject is the eternal optimist, 60 seconds ...


PM: Shall we challenge now?

NP: I almost feel like giving you a bonus point for acting. So 60 seconds starting now.

PJ: The eternal optimist would think that at this point in the game Just A Minute, he was going to surge suddenly and capture it from his other team players. But sadly I know that this will not happen. The eternal optimist is someone who would say when life gives you lemons make lemonade. Or perhaps another beverage might be possible to make with that fruit. But no, it's just the one. In addition to the afore-mentioned fruit, you need water...


NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: Repetition of fruit.

NP: You had more fruit than you should have had. And Sue you listened well, you got in first, 33 seconds starting now.

SP: Usually my glass is three quarters empty. But for this round I shall make an exception and believe that it's possible for a great man of comedy and letters such as Phill Jupitus to buzz in when I leave this pause and gain the points he needs to come first...


NP: And Paul challenged!

PM: I thought Phill would be too slow. But I challenge on Phill's behalf! Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation definitely.

PM: Is that right Phill?

PJ: Yeah! Yes!

NP: But you're only one point ahead of him, it's neck and neck, I think you should take your challenge which is legitimate and you have the eternal optimist, 20 seconds Paul starting now.

PM: I suppose being an eternal optimist is better than being the eternal pessimist. Looking at the situation and thinking maybe there is a brighter side. The other side of the...


PM: Oh side!

NP: Oh yes, Sue challenged.

SP: A couple of sides.

PM: A couple of sides.

NP: A couple of sides yes.

PM: A couple of sides.

NP: And Sue you have 11 seconds left on the eternal optimist starting now.

SP: I still believe if I leave sufficient pause, Phill...


NP: Phill you were really quick there, you challenged first.

PJ: Oh I challenged erroneously. I don't wish to take over hosting of the show but she said believe and leave, two different leaves.

NP: You've got a correct challenge, Sue wanted you to come in, you did. You picked it up immediately, you've got the subject, the eternal optimist, eight seconds starting now.

PJ: I feel that if I keep talking about this subject the eternal optimist, the point will be mine. If only I can maintain this breakneck pace of talking, then surely it will be...



PM: Oh I'm sorry, I withdraw my challenge. Believe you me, I'm as disappointed as you are. I don't know what I was thinking! I saw the thing there.

NP: So what is your...

PM: Repetition of talking.

NP: Yeah he did say talking.

PM: Otherwise I wouldn't have pressed the buzzer.

NP: And you've got in with half a second to go.


PM: Thank you, I take that as praise.

NP: Those are the rules of the game!

PM: Were you disappointed during the 1966 World Cup Final when Geoff Hurst scored with three seconds to go? Oh that's not fair, he hasn't given the Germans a chance! What sort of game is this!

NP: So Paul you have half a second...

PM: Yes.

NP:... on the eternal optimist starting now.

PM: I give it to Phill!


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and therefore we have brought the show to a close. Let me give you the final score because I did say this will be the last round. Phill Jupitus who gave incredible value, we love having him on the show, he did finish in fourth place but it was a very good fourth place. A strong fourth place! And he was only two points behind Graham Norton who was in a brilliant third place.

GN: Yeah! I could have been a contender!

NP: And he was only one point behind Paul Merton who was in a magnificent second place. And so the winner of today's show is Sue Perkins. Thank you, we do hope you have enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. From us good-bye and will want to be with us the next time we play this amazing game. Until then, from me Nicholas Parsons and of course from our talented guests Paul Merton, Sue Perkins, Graham Norton and Phill Jupitus, good-bye. Hope you'll be with us the next time we all get together and play Just A Minute!