NOTE: Final appearances by Stephen Fry and Shappi Khorsandi, final 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's my great pleasure to welcome you to this special edition of Just A Minute from the BBC Television Centre. This year, Just A Minute will reach its 45th birthday, and to celebrate those many years of radio success, we have taken over your television screens. So, without further ado, please welcome to the show these four talented and exceptional show-business personalities, and they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Shappi Khorsandi and seated on my left, Julian Clary and Stephen Fry. Please welcome all four of them. The players will try to speak for just a minute on a subject that I give them, and they must try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. The other three panellists can challenge at any time they wish and if uphold that challenge, they gain a point. If not, the person speaking gains a point and continues to speak on the subject. And, by the way, they can repeat the subject on the card. Paul, the subject here is excuses for being late. You have 60 seconds as usual, Paul, and your time starts now..

PAUL MERTON: Perhaps one of the best excuses for being late is being late.If you are dead, you can't be expected to keep appointments. Other excuses which are wonderful are to refer to outside phenomena. "God ate my homework," you might say, on your way to a theological college, or, indeed, "the tsunami was so great coming down Streatham High Street..."


NP: Stephen you challenged.

STEPHEN FRY: I think there was repetition of great.

PM: Yes probably. I don't listen to what I'm saying. It's hard enough coming out with it in the first place.

NP: So, Stephen, you have a correct challenge. You get a point for that, of course. You take over the subject, there are 40 seconds available and the time starts now.

SF: I suppose the disrepair of some sort of horological device like a watch or chronometer would be a reasonable excuse for being late. "It stopped, it was retarded in some fashion and I wasn't able to tell the time and thought that I was being punctual. As a matter of fact, I was horrifically late and I'm embarrassed and ashamed." It's not an excuse, it's a reason and sometimes the two are confused. An.. An excuse is..


SF: Oh hello!

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a tiny hesitation.

NP: There was a definite hesitation.

SF: Definitely.

NP: Stumbled over the words. So we call that hesitation. So, Paul, you get a point for that. Correct challenge, 18 seconds are still available and your time starts now.

PM: There was a boy at school who specialised in being late virtually every day of the week and he had the most fantastic reasons for his poor time-keeping. "Excuse me, sir, I got my foot caught in a drain." "There was an explosion at the gasometers and I was helping police with casualties." These were genuinely things that he would come in and say.


NP: As I said before whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point, and it's Paul Merton, so he's taken the lead at the end of the first round. Who's going to begin the next round? Oh, Shappi. Yes, a lovely subject. The moon. Tell us something about the moon in Just A Minute, starting now.

SHAPPI KHORSANDI: When I was a little girl, at school they told us that the moon was made of cheese. This is more of a comment on my education than the actual moon itself. It's not made of that substance at all. I've always suspected it's made…


SK: Made made.

NP: And Julian‘s challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Repetition of made.

NP: Yes made

SK: Does it count that if the second time, in my head, I misspelt it?

NP: No, darling, we can't stretch it as far as that. So, Julian, you have a correct challenge. You get a point for that, of course, and you have the subject of the moon and there are 45 seconds available, starting now.

JC: Those of us who are rustic people, of course, know that the moon lights up the sky and makes everything absolutely gorgeous. In the city, you don't really see it. There are streetlights, you may peer up towards the sky and see something vaguely yellowish, however if you...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: There were two sees in there.

NP: Yes two sees, a see there...

SF: I feel such a bully and I don't want to.

JC: I understand.

SF: Oh thank you.

JC: You can‘t help it.

NP: No, Stephen, those are the rules of the game.

SP: You're right, you're right.

NP: Fine and you got a correct challenge, another point, and you have 32 seconds starting now.

SF: La luna, it's often considered a symbol of femininity. The silvery, reflective quality has in mythology and symbology for many years been seen as somehow...


NP: Julian’s challenged.

JC: Is there a word, like... I'm sure there is - symbology?

SF: Yes there is. I'm afraid it became... I'm afraid it became awfully popular with that dreadful Dan Brown book because the character that Tom Hanks played in the film was actually a symbologist. That was his profession.

JC: Just a yes will do!

SF: Sorry.

JC: Symbology. Symbology. I'll use it now.

NP: So, Julian, alas, but we did enjoy hearing from you and we loved the interruption, but Stephen was interrupted, he gets a point for an incorrect challenge and he keeps the subject, 21 seconds available, starting now.

SF: In the magnificent extended poem by John Keats, Endymion, the moon falls in love with this beautiful youth who lies naked in the silvery light he's cast upon him...


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: I think you said silvery before.

SF: Do you know I did.

NP: Yes he did, well listened Shappi.

SF: The silvery moon..

NP: Shappi, you have a correct challenge, you have a point for that, of course. There are 11 seconds and you take over the subject of the moon, starting now.

SK: (sings) By the light of the silvery moon, I want to spoon with my honey I croon love's tune. (speaks) Was a song that we learnt at school...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Well, in her first little speech, she told us that at school she was...

SK: It was a different school.

NP: No, it doesn't matter. No, Shappi, I think you've justified it, and I'm glad you have, because there's only half a second to go and it would be very unfair to take it away from you at that particular moment. .

SF: It would, I agree.

NP: So it was an incorrect challenge, you get a point for that, and you've got the moon, and whichever school you went to, whichever, half a second, starting now.

SK: The moon on a stick...


NP: Shappi Khorsandi was speaking as the whistle went and gained an extra point, and the situation is that she's now equal in the lead with Stephen Fry.

SK: (gasps) Wow!

NP: Whoo! There's very little difference in the points and, Julian, we'd like you to begin the next round. The subject is, oh, the front row of this audience.

SF: Good Lord!

NP: Oh they’re all, oh they’re all sort of straightening themselves up now and twitching a bit. Sixty seconds as usual, starting now.

JC: Now, when I look at the front row of this audience, the word casual springs to mind. There is a woman over there wearing burgundy corduroy trousers, which, frankly, is a mistake. I can't see anyone amongst you who's seen an iron in the last week. Can I say the word shampoo, madam? And you, with the curly hair, is your hair naturally that way....


NP: Stephen you’ve challenged.

SF: Two hairs, curly hair and your hair.

NP: Yes.

SF: Sorry. I'm loathe to take over the subject, but nonetheless.

NP: Well, we've heard some of Julian's comments, let's hear yours on the front row of the audience, and 39 seconds still available, Stephen, starting now.

SF: Do you know, when I took my seat I thought, have I arrived at a beauty pageant, and are these the contestants lined up before me? It's a marvellous mixture. They're very keen. They're the first to have got here, presumably. They queued up a long time ago and that's why they're in such a state because the weather isn‘t good outside...


NP: Julian you’ve challenged.

JC: Well we had two theys and two theres.

NP: Yes.

SF: Wow!

NP: Wow! Tough challenge but correct.

JC: Well pardon me, symbology.

SF: No no... symbology.

JC: Symbology is it.

NP: So, you have a symbolic challenge there and you have the subject back again, Julian, and we'd love to hear more from you on the front row of the audience. 24 seconds available, starting now.

JC: You've all perked up somewhat, but can I say the word posture to these two at the front. Are you members of a boy band that we ought to know about? And you, are you going out with anybody that we need to know? I don’t have time to pause for the answers…


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: There were two needs to know there, I‘m afraid.

NP: Two needs to know yes. so Stephen, you've got in with 11 seconds to go on the front row of the audience and your time starts now.

SF: The colours range from pastel to deep viridian green, there. I see a brown, I see a rather pleasant...


NP: Oh yes.

SF: I see many things, don‘t I.

NP: Julian, you challenged first..

JC: Repetition of see.

SF: It was a sea of colour.

NP: A sea of colour. The front row of the audience is still the subject and there are six seconds available, with Julian starting now.

JC: Do you worry about your head? Because you needn’t.


PM: Sorry, I thought he was going to say hair. Deviation, he didn’t say hair.

SK: Why is it everyone on the front row's turned purple?

NP: But they’re also crossing their hands, like this.


NP: Right so it was an incorrect challenge, Julian another point to you. Four seconds are still available. The front row of this audience, starting now.

JC: You do have a lovely head of skin, if I may say so, and between you and me and the gatepost....


NP: So Julian Clary was then speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point for doing so, and he's in the lead now with Stephen Fry, and the other two are only one or two points behind. And Stephen, we'd like you to begin the next round. Oh, the subject, you might have some knowledge on this, writer's block, 60 seconds, as usual, starting now.

SF: Well, sometimes the words simply don't come. There's a sort of verbal constipation that afflicts authors of all kinds, poets, playwrights, novelists. It's a terrible condition, because sometimes they have achieved a huge amount in their chosen profession and are expected to produce all kinds of work each year, and then nothing. I lived in an apartment block which was Jay MacInerney's and Timberlake... Er... Baker's.


NP: Julian challenged.

SF: It’s such an odd name, isn’t it? Yes it was a hesitation I think.

NP: Yes it was indeed.

JC: It was a hesitation.

NP: Julian, you've got in again with 33 seconds to go on writer's block, starting now.

JC: I had writer's block once and I invested in an enema, which shifted it very, very quickly. The words flowed freely...


NP: Paul’s challenged.

PM: What flowed freely? I’ve read one of his books, he’s right!

JC: The words.

PM: Oh the words? Well, I do beg your pardon.

JC: Which one have you read?

PM: Oh, it was probably the one called Murder Most Fab.

JC: Thank you.

SF: He remembered the title!

PM: That was a lucky guess, wasn't it?

JC: Oh, give him a point.

NP: Well the audience did enjoy your interruption so we’ll give you a bonus point for that.

NP: But Julian, you were interrupted, so you get a point and you still have 27 seconds, tell us something about writer's block starting now.

JC: Writer's block is terribly frustrating. It's like looking at a blank page and nothing is swimming before you. Eventually you may wander into the garden, look around at the trees and perhaps the birds singing will inspire you, and that thrush will wave its way down to the...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation, yes. He was keeping going magnificently, but there are still 10 seconds available and it's with you, Paul Merton. The writer's block, starting now.

PM: Writer's block, or a desk if you prefer. An object you need to lean on, drawers with pencils inside, perhaps an eraser, and then issues of paper in front of you...


NP: So, Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and the situation is that Julian's now in the lead. He's two points ahead of Stephen, three or four ahead of Paul and Shappi. And Paul, it's your turn to begin. Oh, the subject, this is a fascinating one, my robot butler, 60 seconds, starting now.

PM: My robot butler's a marvellous invention. He gets me up at half past six in the morning, does a few logarithms, presses my trousers and then breakfast is served. He's called Boris and he's based on the Mayor of London. He walks in, a wonderful creature, I can hear his wheels going across the wooden floorboard.His metallic voice croaks out to me, "Good morning, sir. "How'd you like a boiled egg?" And I say to him, "Of course, perhaps even two of those delicious chicken products would be great." "How would you like it done?" I would like it…


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Two likes.

PM: There's two people talking. The robot's saying one thing, I'm saying the other. I can't control the robot.

NP: No, you deserve a round of applause for that, but, Julian, your challenge?

JC: Two likes.

NP: Two likes yes. Yes right so Julian, you've got in again with 30 seconds to go. My robot butler starting now.

JC: My robot butler is called...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was that robo butler? It sounded like that. Did it sound like that to you, Nicholas? Robo butler?

NP: It did sound like that to me, but I think he really got enough clarity.

PM: Got enough clarity, did he? Okay.

NP: So, Julian, the benefit of the doubt, and if I can redress the balance some time later, Paul, I'll give it back to you. You have 29 seconds, my robot butler starting now.

JC: She looks gorgeous in dungarees and her hair is just about shoulder length, which is what I like. She's based on Abi Titmuss, for whom I've got an inkling that I've been a fan for many, many...


PM: Well, lying for a start, but also...Big fan of...? Repetition.

NP: Yes many many. So, Paul, you got in, and we're back with you on the robot butler and you have 17 seconds, starting now.

PM: I've got a robo buh buh and...


PM: What happened? Who buzzed then? Who buzzed then?

NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: I buzzed. Um I’m not sure if what you said was…

PM: I said what Julian said. This is where I get the benefit of the doubt.

NP: No Julian just went robo butler, yours was buh buh buh buh buh.

PM: That‘s repetition.

NP: I know it is.

SK: There were a lot of buh buhs.

PM: Yeah there were too many buh buhs.

SK: Too many buh buhs.

NP: Far too many buh buhs. Shappi, you got a correct challenge, you've got 16 seconds. My robot butler, starting now.

SK: I wish I had a robot butler. I would polish him all day long, because, just because, you're not...


SK: Blah blah.

SF: Too many becauses I‘m afraid.

NP: Becauses yes.

SK: There was because, there was hesitation. I stammered as well.All sorts of stuff went wrong there.

NP: So, Stephen, correct challenge, 10 seconds still available, my robot butler starting now.

SF: It's a sort of oxymoron in a way, because "robot" is the Czech for "slave" or "serf".


NP: Shappi you challenged.

SK: I'm not sure if that was the right challenge, but I think you kind of hesitated too much.

NP: There was hesitation, darling. It's all right. And you've got seven seconds on my robot butler, starting now.

SK: I'd take my robot butler on holiday, probably Barbados. I hear over there the care of robot butlers is second to none. In a way....


PM: Very good.

NP: So, Shappi Khorsandi was speaking as the whistle went. Gained an extra point. She's moved forward, and she's equal with Stephen Fry and Paul Merton in second place, and they're all trailing Julian just by three points only. And Julian, we're back with you to begin. Cabin fever, tell us something about cabin fever in this game, starting now..

JC: I know when I was in the Navy and I checked into my cabin, they said, "Do you want the top bunk or the lower?" I said, "Let me unpack, first," and soon after, cabin fever struck me. "Please, may I open the porthole?" I cried, but request was denied. The next time I had cabin fever I was on the poop deck, and there's someone breathing very noisily next to me, very off-putting, and cabin fever spread like wild fire throughout the ship. People were falling left, right and centre. Oh, and very, very faint...


NP: Yes, we all spotted it, Paul..

PM: Yes repetition of very, sadly.

NP: Very, very," yes. It was lovely, Julian, but unfortunately Paul spotted the very first, so he's got the point, and he's got the subject, 24 seconds available, "cabin fever," starting now.

PM: When I had the job of delivering Abi Titmus's robot butler, I knocked on her door and she wasn't in her house, and I was advised to go to the end of the garden where she had locked herself into this meticulously built cabin. I enquired of the gardener, who was there, "why is she in this particular structure?" He said, "Ah, she is an artiste, she has a great following..."


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: She's not an artiste.

PM: No, no. That's just the gardener saying that. I don't agree, with that but he's been paid by her, so he's a certain amount of loyalty.

SK: Ah, see, now I'm stuck as to whether or not I was correct or not.

JC: She is an actress, now, she's a bona fide actress, can we just say.

SF: Can somebody tell me who she is, because I've never heard of her. There was a marvellous England spin bowler called Titmus, he's the only Titmus I've ever heard of. I don’t know, who is Abi Titmus?

JC: She's an actress, she's got lovely, milky skin.

SK: She's beautiful, very nice skin.

NP: She was with a well-known television presenter for a time, and that's how she got well known. And we'll say no more. And Shappi, he did say she three times.

SK: He did. Well, that was my main point that I wanted to make. He said she three times quite close together.

NP: So, as Paul's in the lead, and you haven't played the game as much as anybody else...

SK: Will I get the benefit of the doubt Nicholas?

NP: Yes, you have. And you've got "cabin fever," with only four seconds to go, starting now.

SK: I shared a hotel room in Paris with my mother this weekend, and cabin fever is what both of us got.


NP: So, Shappi Khorsandi was speaking as the whistle went. Gained an extra point, and she has moved forward. She's equal with Stephen, one point behind Paul, two or three points behind Julian, who's still in the lead. And Stephen Fry, we'd like you to begin the next round. And the subject is "Lift etiquette." Tell us something about that subject in this game, starting now.

SF: I suppose I'd better annunciate what we're all thinking, really, and that is don't let out any anal wind when you're in an elevator. It must be the first rule of lift etiquette. I think it's probably true, also, that one shouldn't stare at people. It's generally, especially if you're English, considered wise to look towards the ceiling. There's never a hatchway, as there is in thriller films. But in real life, lifts are rather dull places, and people are embarrassed to be inside them...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes.

SF: Oh yes that’s true.

NP: Yes indeed so well listened.

SF: True story, well done.

NP: You’re concentrating like stink.

SF: He is, isn‘t he. He's really on fire.

NP: Really?

SF: Sorry, I don't mean you're really on fire.

JC: Start the car, would you?

NP: Julian, a correct challenge, which is the important thing.

JC: Thank you.

NP: And you have lift etiquette and 34 seconds, starting now.

JC: Every time I get in a lift, I say, "Are you going down, or shall I?" Which seems to break the ice, and then we start chatting, and, generally a journey in...


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: It was hesitat-at-at-ive. Is that a word, Stephen?

PM: Hesitation.

SF: It is now.

NP: No he didn’t actually hesitate.

SK: He didn’t.

NP: He didn’t.

SK: I’m sorry.

NP: He was teetering on it, but didn't get there. And so, Julian. Incorrect challenge, you still have lift etiquette, 25 seconds, starting now.

JC: I enjoy going up and down in an elevator.


NP: Stephen yes.

SF: He went down before, if you remember.

NP: So, Stephen. You have the subject of lift etiquette, 23 seconds available, starting now.

SF: I was in one of the largest and longest lifts in London, Centre Point, there's a nightclub at the top, there, and I got stuck one night. It was most embarrassing. About five of us in there. And I tweeted, using a new social network thing called Twitter, and it rather caused a fuss. Everybody got excited about this thing, because people in newspapers published it...


NP: So, Stephen Fry was then speaking as the whistle went. Gained an extra point. And the situation is at the end of that round, he's moved forward, he's one ahead of Paul Merton, two ahead of Shappi, and he's trailing our leader, Julian, by three points. And whose turn is it to begin? Oh, Paul, we're back with you. Happy hour, tell us something about that subject in this game, starting now.

PM: There are many happy hours throughout the day, perhaps one of the most earliest ones are…


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: I just find it ugly to use a double superlative. Most earliest.

PM: Yeah. I hadn't used the first one out.

SF: It's not really, it’s a sort of deviation. I mean, it isn't, to be honest. Shakespeare uses it in one of the most famous speeches in Julius Caesar, "The most unkindest cut of all. It's somehow just isn't nice style, is it?

NP: Yeah but we're not bothered so much about style.

SF: Good, that's fine then.

NP: It's about whether you can keep going without hesitating, repeating words, and so forth.

SF: That's perfectly all right, then.

NP: So, Paul, you have 55 seconds, another point, of course. Happy hour starting now.

PM: As the sun rises over the dew-kissed lawn, and the rooftops of London glisten from the overnight rain, one can hear the earth, in fact, the very metropolis, rising from its slumber and greeting the brand new 24 hours that lie ahead. The happy hour is often referred to in cocktail bars or pubs, where one is encouraged to become an alcoholic at half price. And this is a fantastic inducement for those people who can no longer afford the hard liquor of their childhood. I, for one, used to sup at my mother's knee. It wasn't very painful for her, because she had a metallic one, and it was magnificent, because I would see in the happy hour...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: There were two "becauses" there.

NP: Two becauses yes.

SF: It was painful because.

NP: So, Stephen, you have a correct challenge. And you have 12 seconds, the happy hour, starting now.

SF: I would endorse everything that Paul Merton just said really. It does seem a rather cheap advertising gimmick and a way of getting young people drunk cheaply and early.


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: Cheap and cheaply, they’re not the same words.

NP: No no.

SK: Well, good job I didn't interrupt you, then. That would've been well embarrassing.

NP: But you did interrupt him.

SK: Sorry.

NP: No, don't apologise to me, darling. Apologise to the others. Because he gets another point. And he has four seconds. Happy hour, starting now.

SF: I believe some of the legislature or other...


NP: Julian’s challenged.

JC: Repetition of believe.

NP: Yes, you did say I believe before.

SF: He’s awfully good! I don't know, but I mean it's so convincing!

JC: I think you probably did.

SF: I probably did. I probably said rather and I probably said people. You're very good at this, aren't you?

JC: Just calm yourself.

SF: All right, all right.

NP: Julian, correct challenge. Another point to you. And you have three seconds only on happy hour, starting now.

JC: Every hour is happy hour round at my place. Gin and tonics for all.


NP: So, Julian Clary was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point, and he has increased his lead at the end of the round..


NP: Oh, that little tinkle tells me something!

PM: We want the nurse back?

NP: No, it is actually telling us that we have time for only one more round. Oh, Julian, we're back with you to begin. The subject, Elvis. Tell us something about Elvis in this game, starting now.

JC: I started my career as an Elvis impersonator. In The Ghetto was my show stopper, and people would come from miles around to watch me quivering my lips and shaking the hips in a very Elvis fashion. There are some footages on YouTube, which people admire, and there are conventions which I turn up to in disguise as Elvis. And, frankly, that's all I've got to say on the matter.


NP: So, Paul, you got in there first..

PM: Came to an elegant stop.

NP: So, we call it hesitation. Paul, you have the subject of "Elvis." There are 33 seconds available, starting now.

PM: (mumbles in Elvis voice)


NP: Julian.

JC: Repetition (mumbles)

PM: That's Elvis Presley, that's not my fault..

NP: He was a bit more distinct.

PM: Was he? How did he sound to you?

NP: (does mumbling Elvis impression)

PM: You knew him better than I did.

NP: So, Julian, we give the benefit of the doubt to you, and it is Elvis, still with you. 31 seconds, starting now.

JC: People loved my Jailhouse Rock, which wasn't particularly correct...


NP: Shappi challenged.

SK: Iz-bits…

NP: Yes a bit of hesitation.

SK: Sorry.

NP: So you're catching up rapidly on them now, Shappi. And 28 seconds still available. Elvis, starting now.

SK: We hear a lot about the food Elvis liked to eat towards the end of his life, and a lot of people were appalled by it. However, I'm quite intrigued by this thing he used to have, an entire loaf of bread hollowed out, with bacon in it and loads of cheese, and grilled. I think that sounds delicious. It's a real shame that it's unhealthy. But I'd like an Elvis cookbook, because I think a lot of the stuff that he had, erm, would, would be...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Oh, I'm afraid you hesitated.

SK: I was starting to feel fat, as well, as I was talking about it, so I'm glad of that.

NP: You were interrupted with only three minutes to go.

PM: Three minutes? Time's going backwards! He’s turned back time!

NP: I'll say anything to get a round of applause.

PM: "Hello, I'm your new milkman." He says that, sometimes.

NP: Julian, you've got in, actually, with three seconds to go.


NP: Which is correct, those are the rules of the game. And you have another point. You have "Elvis" back with you. Three seconds, starting now.

JC: I am still often mistaken for Elvis. I can't set foot in America...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: That's no compliment, he's been dead 30 years. Although now you say it, I can see what you mean!

NP: Paul, I give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the interruption, but I don't know whether it's a legitimate challenge. There's only half a second to go. So what I'll do is give you both a point, all right? One to Paul Merton, one to Julian Clary...


NP: And that's the end of that round. So, it only remains for me to give you the final score. And Shappi did very well, she came in a brilliant fourth place. No, no, it was very, very good. Only a few points behind Stephen Fry, who was in a very strong third place. And one point ahead was Paul Merton. But three points ahead of him was Julian Clary, so we say, Julian, you are our winner today. So, it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game. So, from this delightful audience here in Television Centre, and from me, Nicholas Parsons, and this wonderful team, we say good-bye, thank you and join us again the next time we play Just A Minute. Yes!