NOTE: Sarah Sharpe's last appearance blowing the whistle.

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. But also to welcome to the programme four talented exponents of this game who are going to display their skill with words and language as they try and speak on the subject that I give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And they are, seated on my left, Julian Clary and Sue Perkins. And seated on my right, Paul Merton and Charles Collingwood. Will you 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. And we are going to begin the show with Sue Perkins. Sue, I'm nervous of this subject especially in your hands. The subject is the contents of Nicholas's wallet. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

SUE PERKINS: Nicholas's wallet is full of French letters because he has a Parisian pen-pal. And the communication is florid and varied. Also a freedom pass, he might traverse the highways and by-ways...


NP: Ah Charles challenged.

CHARLES COLLINGWOOD: We got hiiiighways and by-ways. I would, she was deviating slightly.

NP: I thought it was hesitation.

CC: Hesitation, hesitation yes, via the highways and by-ways. Well you obviously did think it was a hesitation.

NP: I do think it was hesitation but you said deviation. Oh Charles, listen, I'll be generous to you. It was a hesitation...

CC: I'm not looking forward to talking about this subject, I have to point out, but anyway, here we go.

NP: Now's your chance, 48 seconds starting now.

CC: I looked into Nicholas's wallet just this afternoon and you would be amazed to see that there is a labrador dog in there, squashed very tightly because there is hardly any room for a four legged creature to fit in there. Nonetheless it's Nicholas's favourite little pet and I'm not for one moment going to say...


NP: Julian challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Let's just stop this nonsense!

NP: I quite agree, most devious...

JC: Deviation.

NP: ... thing I've ever heard, yes. I've got a labrador pet in my wallet?

PAUL MERTON: Oh so you admit it!

CC: There we are! I rest my case!

NP: No no no, we could go into the realms of the surreal Charles but I think that was taking it a bit too far! So Julian you have a correct challenge and there are 60 seconds, you've got a point of course for a correct challenge, 27 seconds available, the contents of Nicholas's wallet starting now.

JC: Just before this recording Nicholas asked if I wouldn't mind holding his man bag while he visited the lavatory. My curiosity got the better of me and I opened it. It was calfskin, quite good quality. And there were a number of credit cards as you might expect and his...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a sort of hesitation.

NP: There was a slight hesitation.

JC: Is um a hesitation?

PM: Mmmmmm.

NP: Mmmmmm.


SP: Did you or did you not find a labrador in there?

NP: Listen Julian, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say it wasn't quite hesitation because the audience definitely felt that way and they are the final arbiters. There are eight seconds for you to continue on the...

PM: Well why are we listening to you? If they're the final arbiters, why are we listening to you?

SP: You call yourself a chairman?

PM: Yeah.

NP: They were the arbiters of decisions about challenges...

SP: It's anarchy!

NP: Not about my wallet. So Julian continue with eight seconds to go, the contents of Nicholas's wallet starting now.

JC: What really shocked me though was a lock of hair with a label on it, and it belonged to Camilla Parker Bowles...


NP: I'm surprised you kept it as a souvenir actually.

JC: I burnt it in a full moon.

SP: Maybe she will rise again!

NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And of course it was Julian Clary then so he is in a strong lead at the end of the first round. And Julian it's your turn to begin. The subject is waiting for the phone to ring. Sixty seconds starting now.

JC: My agent called me the other day and said someone very important wanted to take me out to the pictures. "Who is it?" I said. "You'll never guess," was her reply. It turns out it was David...


NP: Paul.

SP: Copperfield? Blunkett?

JC: It's...

SP: Dimbleby?

PM: Hesitation I'm afraid.

NP: Definite hesitation.

PM: It's a shame.

NP: We'll never know, we will, unless he gets back in again. So Paul, a correct challenge, 45 seconds, waiting for the phone to ring starting now.

PM: I was sitting there the other day waiting for the phone to ring when they phoned up and said, my agent said "Julian Clary can't make it, can you go and meet David at the Ivy?" "Are you talking about the same man, the one individual whose name begins with D and ends in the same..."


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of name.

NP: Yes.

PM: Oh yes yeah.

NP: That's right, Sue you got in with 33 seconds on the subject, waiting for the phone to ring starting now.

SP: I represent David Dimbleby, and he was desperate to meet Julian Clary. He phoned, got through and...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Hesitation unfortunately.

NP: It wasn't, she was going magnificently.

JC: Don't you want to hear the rest of my story.

PM: Do you remember who it's about?

JC: Yeah.

NP: We're longing to hear the rest of your story Julian but I've got to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute. It wasn't hesitation.

JC: Well you never have been before! It's a premiership footballer.

NP: Well we could hear it after the round's over if you haven't got in before. Waiting for the phone to ring Sue, 28 seconds starting now.

SP: David Platt, erstwhile premiership footballer, waiting on a date with Julian...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of David.

NP: Yes.

PM: There was David Dimbleby.

NP: David Dimbleby.

SP: Yeah.

NP: So Paul you've got in with 24 seconds on waiting for the phone to ring starting now.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry I've got to answer that! I won't be a minute. I was hoping this might make a phone ringing noise but it didn't so the joke didn't really work. But never mind. I challenge myself, hesitation.

NP: That was a correct challenge so I suppose I've got to give you a point for it.

PM: I listened very carefully.

NP: I know, you were listening very carefully.

PM: Yes.

NP: And you've got another point, 23 seconds, waiting for the phone to ring starting now.

PM: Before the invention of the answer machine, one had to stay indoors waiting for the phone to ring. I remember spending many mornings expecting the gas board to come and attend to my redundant...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: Yes because the word wasn't quite there.

PM: Yeah yeah.

NP: So we interpret that as hesitation Sue, 13 seconds, waiting for the phone to ring starting now.

SP: The most painful time when one waits for the phone to ring is when you've met somebody and you're waiting to see if they could possibly be interested in you. You exchange digits, give out a number...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: Well I'm afraid it's only a three letter word, but it was a repetition of you very very quickly. The word you and you..

PM: I was worried about the exchanging digits bit.

SP: Yeah. It was the to give someone a finger or maybe a whole hand sometimes.

PM: Yeah.

SP: Or maybe an arm if it's gone really really well.

PM: Yes.

SP: On one occasion, a torso.

PM: That must have gone very well.

NP: Four seconds Charles, waiting for the phone to ring starting now.

CC: As an actor, one has spent so many years waiting for that phone to ring in the hope...


NP: So Charles Collingwood speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, and he's now taken the lead just ahead of Paul Merton, and Sue Perkins and Julian Clary equal in third place, one point behind. Paul Merton, we're back with you to begin and the subject is the perfect man. Yeah it's a strange subject.

PM: Yeah it is.

NP: But will you tell us something about it in this game starting now.

PM: When I gaze at our esteemed chairman I can't help but think of him as the perfect man. He has hosted this magnificent programme Just A Minute ever since its inception on the radio in 1967 and Nicholas Parsons has not missed a single recording. And I think that deserves a one minute tribute of applause!



NP: Well I'm overwhelmed.


PM: The audience gets the point! Yeah you get the point.

SP: Repetition of this action.


NP: Right well Paul should have been speaking when the whistle went so, but the audience were certainly in full throttle when the whistle went and I'm overwhelmed, I'm touched, I'm flattered. Thank you audience you were lovely. I wish I could come round and kiss every single one of you. But you don't want to get my cold. So that means that Paul gets a point because he was not interrupted and the audience get a point each. And there are about 400 of them, are there? Right so we move on and whose turn is it next to begin. Oh my goodness me, Sue Perkins the subject now is the perfect woman starting now.

SP: I think the perfect woman is somebody who is delighted with herself or at least satisfied with the lot she has been given. When body dysmorphia hits a woman you should never succumb. The magazine saying too big, too small, the top half is elevated when it should be sunken. Never ever listen, the ideal...


SP: I don't know what I'm talking about. What magazine says you should have a sunken top half? Sunken Top Half Weekly!

NP: Charles you challenged.

CC: Well I probably won't get the subject because I was just trying to be kind because I saw her in such terrible state. I mean she didn't, she didn't know what...

SP: This is how I normally look!

CC: So basically on her own admission she didn't know what she was talking about so it's deviation.

NP: I think in this game, you can talk rubbish, as long as you don't deviate, hesitate. She wasn't deviating from the perfect woman. I mean that could be her concept of the perfect woman.

SP: It isn't but yeah.

NP: Charles, the benefit of the doubt. You tell us something about the perfect woman in 40 seconds starting now.

CC: I'm gazing out into the audience and I can see the perfect woman. She's about in Row 12 and hello, will you please meet me afterwards outside in the street because I want to explore your...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Ah I'm stating an intervention! A slight hesitation.

NP: There was a slight hesitation yes.

CC: Well that was a better challenge than the one I gave her so...

NP: But it was certainly, I think she was right to hesitate there. The idea of meeting one of our audience out in the street afterwards! Really!

SP: I know! Soliciting!

PM: It's not enticing, is it really. Meet me on the street later!

NP: Coming on Just A Minute to get a date!

PM: Yeah!

NP: Twenty-eight seconds Sue, we're back with you, aren't we, the perfect woman starting now.

SP: When Nicholas Parsons appeared in The Rocky Horror Picture Show in nothing but a bask and fishnet tights, I thought to myself, there goes the perfect woman. Oh it was an extraordinary sight! Hair quaffed, makeup pitch perfect, the rouge colouring in his cheeks, no Aunt Sally this one! I was in love as were the rest of the audience who couldn't believe the definition of calf and thigh, elegantly perched on those three inch heels...


NP: So it's going from one extreme to the other, isn't it! Paul got that incredible reaction before and you got quite a different one. I don't know where I stand now psychologically in the ah...

PM: You need help!

NP: You were speaking when the whistle went and you gain an extra point for doing so and you are equal in second place with Paul, one point behind Charles Collingwood. And Charles it's back with you to begin. Paying through the nose is the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

CC: Something that I'm sure annoys everybody in this audience is when they realise they're having to pay throught the nose. That is to pay more than you should do for something you feel isn't worth that amount. I have however tried to pay through the nose literally, by sticking a 10P piece in my mouth and going I would like to buy that object and sneezing it out of my nostrils to see, and it hurt like hell, I've got to tell you! So that was certainly the only time I was literally going to pay through the nose...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repeat of literally.

NP: He did indeed, that's right. And you've got 28 seconds on paying through the nose Sue starting now.

SP: Once I bought a donkey who I thought was excellent value. But apparently 14,000 Euros for a nag is a little above what I should have put out. I had nowhere to tether him beyond my small suburban garden. So I ended up paying again for a rescue centre to get him. He now loiters in an enormous acreage munching on hay and I am a bankrupt! I can't help it, I see an animal's eyes and they draw me in. Endless sanctuary...


NP: So Sue Perkins was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And she has leapt forward and she's now in the lead, one ahead of all the others. Julian Clary would you begin the next round, the subject is my favourite season. Sixty seconds starting now.

JC: I think I'll plump for autumn Nicholas. Then the berries are on the trees and everything is a lovely golden hue. Perhaps the odd touch of orange. I run through the fields in Kent where I live and I feel very at one with nature in my favourite season. The others come a poor second. Spring doesn't do it for me. No, my favourite season as I've already repeated...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: No a hesitation.

NP: Yes a hesitation. Right, my favourite season is with you Sue and 35 seconds available starting now.

SP: I love spring. Bursting through the hard ground, you get crocuses and other bulbs, flashes of colour, and suddenly you are alive again. We had the most...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Well I'm alive in the autumn.

SP: I go into cryonic suspension around about September and yeah... well I mean metaphorically alive.

NP: It's a personal opinion Julian. And all those crocuses and other bulbs make her feel alive again. So we give her the benefit of the doubt and say, you keep the subject Sue, 25 seconds, my favourite season starting now.

SP: What I particularly like about my favourite season is that Christmas is not in it. I find that a chore and therefore winter is a bore. I know that all the festive fun is coming and I simply can't join in. So I hunker down and wait for the grass to turn green and the leaves to appear fully on the trees again. And I will skip, yes, dance through Hampstead Heath for which I have been arrested on numerous occasions...


NP: So Sue Perkins was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. She has increased her lead at the end of that round, ahead of all the others. Paul Merton we're back with you to begin and the subject is camping holidays. Tell us something about it, 60 seconds Paul starting now.

PM: So there I was with Frankie Howerd, John Inman and a few other people and I suddenly realised that a camping holiday is a wonderful way to get out under canvas or indeed in a caravan. You can attach this vehicle to the back of your car and drive deep into the countryside, pitch up a tent and before you know where you are, you're communing with nature. You're drinking mountain streams, you're walking across...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: Now you can't drink mountain streams. You can't. I mean that's just impossible.

NP: You can drink the water from a mountain stream.

CC: You can but you can't drink mountain streams. I mean, think gallons, tons of it.

SP: He's a thirsty man.

CC: You can drink from mountain streams, therefore I think it's hesitation because drinking mountain streams...

NP: It wasn't hesitation Charles.

PM: If you say I drink beer, it doesn't infer I drink all the beer in the world.

NP: No Charles, I think Paul's made his point.

CC: I think he has, yes.

NP: He didn't say drinking from mountain streams but I think he conveyed that he was drinking the water that came from mountain streams.

CC: Oh I understood that bit Nicholas, I'm not quite that stupid.

NP: Why did he challenge?

CC: Because he said "I'm drinking mountain streams" and I just thought it was a slightly odd...

NP: Well he answered you, he said if you say you're drinking beer...

CC: I know he did yes.

NP: ... it doesn't mean all the beer in the world. Right so Paul...

CC: You're quite right...

PM: Nicholas. Nicholas.

NP: An incorrect challenge...

CC: Mister Tambourine.

PM: See what you say.

NP: Thirty-nine seconds Paul, camping holidays starting now.

PM: Some people eschew the outdoor holiday... oh that's no...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: I'll call that hesitation.

PM: Indeed.

NP: Yes indeed you were right. And Julian you now have 35 seconds to tell us something about camping holidays starting now.

JC: I've got a four man tent although I have on occasion fitted 12 people in it, if you know what I'm saying. Yes, camping expeditions, well, it's in my blood, it's a gift, this subject, for me...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: I think his laughing was hesitation.

NP: He did hesitate, didn't he, well, but he was keeping going, wasn't he.

SP: Yeah.

NP: Through the laughter.

SP: I think there were happy memories.

NP: I think we give him the benefit of the doubt and let him continue...

SP: I'd like to hear about some of those memories.

NP: Camping holidays Julian, 14 seconds starting now.

JC: I've got a billy can which I brew outside the canvas and with...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah there was yeah he didn't know what he was doing outside the canvas really. Eight seconds on camping holidays back with you Paul starting now.

PM: And in the middle of the night, when you hear some animals scurrying past, you think to yourself, I am amidst creation, all is right...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And he's now moved ahead, he's just two points behind our leader Sue Perkins and they're both a few points ahead of Julian Clary and Charles Collingwood. Sue we'd like you to begin the next round, oh, who I would like to have been. Sixty seconds, who I would like to have been, 60 seconds starting now.

SP: I would have liked to have been Greta Garbo, the Scandinavian siren by which I mean she lured seafaring folk to their death by singing in a high pitched fashion from rocks. She famously claimed "I want to be alone" and when it was said by her, people respected it. If I was to utter...


NP: Julian Clary challenged.

JC: Repetition of said.

NP: Yes she did say things, didn't she. So Julian you have who I would like to have been and you have 44 seconds starting now.

JC: I would like to have been David Beckham, the premiership footballer. Those lovely tattoos all down his arm and legs to die for, let's face it. And he can run like the wind, a lovely wife, three darling children. That is why the person I would most like to be...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: Oh yes there was a hesitation then. So Sue, 24 seconds on who I would like to have been starting now.

SP: I'd like to have been Joan of Arc because she rocked that bolka way before it was fashionable in the 60s and the Beatles chanced upon it. However there was that slight burning thing which would have meant I'd have met a sticky end. So in many ways I am re-evaluating that, plus there was the visions...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Did she have the clap?

SP: Wasn't she the virgin Queen of France? Sort of.

NP: I think you're introducing something they weren't even aware of at the time. I think it existed but...

PM: What, fire? You remember the invention of fire, don't you Nicholas? You endorsed it didn't you. You said this is a step for mankind.

SP: You couldn't believe it.

NP: I was the one that rubbed the two sticks together.

PM: Yes.

NP: Sue, 10 seconds on who I would like to have been starting now.

SP: Sally Gummer was a marvellous human being and was never immolated so win for me. Also completed the 400 metres with verve and pep. Extraordinary...


NP: So Sue Perkins, another point for speaking as the whistle moved ahead and increased her position of strength ahead of the others. Charles Collingwood it's your turn to begin. The subject now is Bach. Will you yell us something about that subject, that man, in this game starting now.

CC: Johan Sebastian Bach was a famous composer. And although I don't know very much about him, I am aware that he was looked on as a sort of god by the fellow composers of his time. Rather like some actors look upon other actors...


CC: Oh that's a shame yes.

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: We had the phrase look upon.

NP: Yes. And of actors too. Right so Paul you got in with 42 seconds on Bach starting now.

PM: Bach of course was not only the father of the organ but he also produced a lot of children who were composers in their own right. One thinks of course of Fred Bach who was a magnificent composer of the Georges... oh!


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yeah, 29 seconds, Bach is with you Sue now starting now.

SP: Bach was a flagrant contrapondalist. It is not rude, however it is a musical term. And it's true, he spawned an inordinate amount of imitators. At the time he wasn't known as the Baroque legend we perceive him to be. However he composed extraordinary work such as the Goldberg Variations, the Brandenburg Concertos, numerous preludes and (unintelligible) which are fiendish for even the most accomplished pianists. Some find it robotic, hypnotic maybe. However it plays with the brains of...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of however.

NP: Yes there was two howevers there, well...

PM: Interesting though!

NP: Yes.

PM: I was interested in that.

NP: Very interesting! The audience were very quiet though.

SP: I think I put half of them to sleep. It was like a veterinary procedure.

JC: Julian you cleverly got in with one second to go.


NP: It's the game! And you've got Bach and one second starting now.

JC: His movements were...


NP: So I've heard we are moving into the final round. So Charles Collingwood who hasn't played the game as much as the others, but has contributed so well, is in a very strong fourth place as we go into the final round. He's only just behind Julian Clary who is one point behind Paul Merton and he is trailing Sue Perkins by a few, she's in the lead. Julian it is your turn to begin, and the subject my hobby. Tell us something about my hobby, I should tell our listeners he gave a very strange reaction then. But 60 seconds starting now.

JC: My hobby is table tennis and I am rather expert at it. I've got the good wrist movement which I think we can blame my lifestyle for. Because you can set up your table anywhere, look...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: Repetition of table.

NP: Table tennis yes.

JC: Oh yes.

NP: Right well listened Charles, 46 seconds, my hobby starting now.

CC: My hobby is stamp collecting. I long to get the little squares and lick them the sticky side up and place them into this afore-mentioned book and then go away and find out how much they are worth. And do you know my little book is worth...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of little.

NP: Yes.

CC: I do say little rather a lot.

PM: Yes it's a good tip for the rest of us. When you hear one, you know there's another one coming right behind it.

NP: Paul a correct challenge you have 30 seconds, my hobby starting now.

PM: I like to stuff mincemeat into dead animals. But then of course there's all sorts of hobbies, isn't there. If you look at something like the eagle, a magnificent creature of the air. But in taxidermy circles you can see this thing that once it's been completely pushed full of breadcrumbs, not breadcrumbs, sawdust...


PM: Breadcrumbs? Do they have taxidermy with bread... no that's cooking, isn't it.

SP: Yeah it's cooking.

PM: That's cooking.

SP: I think I've eaten that actually.

PM: Cooking and taxidermy, I always get those two things mixed up. You don't want to have an omelette at my house, I'll tell you!

NP: So Sue a correct challenge and 13 seconds, my hobby starting now.

SP: My hobby is eating eagle with breadcrumbs. It's delicious, an extraordinary, tastebud sensation. In fact that is true. My...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: She's quite right, it's beautiful.

SP: It's very morish.

PM: Eagle and breadcrumbs, it's very morish.

SP: Very morish.

NP: And what is your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute.

PM: I just thought it might be amusing to endorse what she was saying. But I have no actual challenge within the rules of the game.

NP: It's not enough to get a bonus point, I'm afraid.

PM: That's absolutely fine with me.

NP: So Sue was interrupted...

PM: Glad to see you working so well.

NP: Ah Paul, no...

PM: Sue yeah.

NP: My hobby starting now.

SP: My hobby is collecting then breaking spectacles which is an expensive one. However...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well I don't know. Is this deviation? Because we had the other hobby. So you said my hobby is this, then my hobby is that. Shouldn't it have been my other hobby? If you had my hobby...

NP: You're quite right Paul, we could have had my other hobby rather than my hobby...

PM: Yeah.

NP: So Paul you have half a second.

PM: Oh! It won't make any...

SP: Give us the recipe for eagle and breadcrumbs!

PM: Exactly!

NP: Staring now.

PM: Tuna mayonnaise and cuckoo...


NP: So let me give you the score. Charles Collingwood did magnificently and bravely and came in a strong and powerful fourth place. But he was only one point behind Julian Clary who gave great value as always. And he was three points behind Paul Merton, the usual good value. But out in the lead, ahead of them all was Sue Perkins so we say Sue, you are our winner this week. 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!