NOTE: Josie Lawrence's only TV appearance, John Sergeant's final appearance, Jason Manford's first appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Oh, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Hello. My name is Nicholas Parsons, and as the Minute Waltz fades away it's my huge pleasure to welcome you to this special edition of Just A Minute from BBC Television Centre. This year Just A Minute turns 45 and as a special birthday treat, we've taken over your television screens. So without further ado, please welcome to the show four talented performers. And they are seated on my right, Paul Merton and Josie Lawrence. And seated on my left, Jason Manford and John Sergeant. Please welcome all four of them! Players will try to speak for Just A Minute on the subject I give them. They will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. The other three panellists can challenge at any time they wish, and if I uphold the challenge, they gain a point and take over the subject. If not, the person speaking gains a point, and keeps the subject. The person speaking when the whistle goes, which tells us 60 seconds have elapsed, gains an extra point. And by the way, they can repeat the subject on the card. Paul, would you take the first subject, once upon a time. Tell us something about that subject in this game. 60 seconds, as usual, starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Once upon a time is of course the traditional beginning of many a fairy story. Once upon a time there was a princess who lived in a magic forest. She was young, 22, nobody else could see her, she bathed naked in the lagoon. Her, her...


PM: Sorry, I was completely lost it. Where were we? Who are these people?

NP: You talked about her being naked and you went.

PM: I went, I was gone.

NP: It was your own vision, destroyed you.

PM: Yes, I'm happy with the vision..

NP: Josie you challenged.

JOSIE LAWRENCE: It was hesitation.

NP: It was hesitation, my darling. So you have a correct challenge. You get a point for that. There are 44 seconds still available, once upon a time, starting now.

JL: Once upon a time always conjures up an idea of magical places. When somebody says, in a dulcet tone, "Once upon a time" to me, I feel compelled to grab the nearest pillow and suckle on my thumb. When…


NP: John you challenged.

JOHN SERGEANT: Technically you can‘t suckle on your thumb.

NP: No.

JS: I’ve tried it and it just does not work.

JL: Yes, but you're not me, and I can suckle.

PM: She's got a thumb full of milk.

JL: Yeah.

NP: No, within the rules of Just A Minute and grammar and language, I would be inclined to agree with you, John. You can suck your thumb but not suckle on your thumb.

JS: Oh hurray!

NP: So John, you have a correct challenge, you have the subject once upon a time. There are 28 seconds available starting now.

JS: Once upon a time is a phrase I have to use for my four grandchildren because they want me to read a story. The trouble is once I say...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: Oh, no. Sorry. I said, I thought it was a repetition of once, but of course it's in the title. I apologise, John.

NP: It's in the title, and you can repeat the title or individual words in the title.

JL: Sorry.

NP: So, John, an incorrect challenge and a point to you. 20 seconds still available, starting now.

JS: When I say, "Once upon a time" to my grandchildren I feel...


NP: There we are Paul.

PM: Repetition of grandchildren.

NP: Yes you've got too many grandchildren..

JS: Well I mean I was thrown by the interruption, I thought the audience wouldn't understand that I had grandchildren. I don’t think that’s fair.

JASON MANFORD: I think they‘d believe you.

JS: Really? But I'm too young, aren't I, to have grandchildren.

JL: I tell you what John, it's not fair, it suckles.

NP: John those are the rules. You know what I like to do in this game when someone gives a wonderful remark like that and gets a round of applause, I give a bonus point for that. Paul, you had a correct challenge and you have 16 seconds, tell us more about once upon a time, starting now.

PM: Once upon a time there was a small girl called Goldilocks who was making her way through the woods, she came upon a cottage, knocked on the door, walked in, saw three bowls of porridge laid out on the table, she thought to herself, "I don't think much of this as a buffet!"


PM: Buffet is a good word.

NP: As I said before, in this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton. And the situation is very fair at the end of the first round, Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence and John Sergeant have got two points. Jason Manford has yet to speak. Oh, you have spoken!

JM: I'm just taking it all in, working it out. Wait till I go, my God. I'll give you point after point after point.

NP: You’ve already had a go at John.

PM: That would be repetition. Don't do point after point after point.

NP: Right Jason, we'd like you to begin the next round. The subject is turning into my Dad, 60 seconds, as usual, starting now.

JM: Well, over the years I've found myself turning into my dad on many occasions, whether it be phrases that I'm using around the house, such as, "If you're cold then put a jacket on." "Turn these lights off, it's not Blackpool illuminations." I have found myself only recently sitting in the car waiting for my wife to get ready for a night out, thinking that would make her move a little bit faster. Of course, it didn't, and beeping the horn only annoys the neighbours.


NP: Paul’s challenged.

PM: A bit of a hesitation.

NP: A definite hesitation I would have said, but that's the first time you've actually spoken…

JM: Yeah.

NP: Well done.

JM: How long was that? Was that about eight seconds? That felt about two and a half minutes, was it not?

NP: No, it was 31 seconds.

PM: Thirty-one seconds, great!

JM: I‘ll take that.

NP: Paul you've picked him up there on a hesitation. Correct challenge. Turning Into My Dad, starting now.

PM: Turning into my dad is a phenomenon that you wouldn‘t experience...


NP: Jason challenged.

JM: I thought it was turning into my dad? Sorry, I thought it was about my dad. I thought, that sounds nothing like my dad.

NP: I'll tell you what I'll do, because we enjoyed your interruption, I shall give you a bonus point.

JM: Okay. I’ll take it.

NP: Paul, you have another correct challenge, 29 seconds starting now.

PM: Teenagers were only really invented in the 1950s, before that you were expected to dress like your parents as soon as you could reasonably be expected to do so. So a boy of six, seven, eight, nine, 10...

NP: Expected, expected.


NP: Jason you challenged.

JM: Yeah for repetition.

NP: Of expected?

JM: Of, er, what you said. That's what I thought!

NP: Jason, you may not have played the game much, but you were quick then.

JM: It's funny how quick you pick it up.

NP: So that was a correct challenge of repetition, so you have a point for that, 19 seconds, and you take back the subject of turning into my dad, starting now.

JM: One way I know I'll never turn into my dad is because he's so good at getting rid of spiders out the bath, and I'm still making...


NP: John challenged.

JS: Spiders at the bath, I mean, what sort of English is that? At the bar, okay...

JL: He said out.

JM: I said "out" the bath!

PM: Out of the bath, spiders out of the bath.

JM: I think you're being regionalist, John!

NP: Out of the bath

JM: I‘m Northern.

JS: Really? I've never heard anyone say that before, but I don't travel much.

NP: You've never travelled north of Watford, obviously! You didn't understand the North Country, did you there, John? Right Jason, you have an incorrect challenge. So you keep the subject. You've got another point, of course. Turning into my Dad, you've got 11 seconds, starting now.

JM: When getting rid of insects in our house, I have to shout the wife to get them.


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: I‘m afraid he‘s already said wife.

NP: Your wife came in before..

JM: I’ve got two of them though!

NP: Even if you had four, it would still be repetition. So, Josie, you had a correct challenge. You've got the subject of turning into my Dad and there are seven seconds, starting now.

JL: Of course, I am a lady so it would be physically impossible for me to find myself turning into my dad, although I have got...


NP: So Josie Lawrence was speaking when the whistle went and gained that extra point. She's now out in the lead with Paul Merton. And John Sergeant, we'd like you to begin the next round. The subject, I'm sure this is up your street, reggae, 60 seconds starting now.

JS: I…


PM: Hesitation.

JS: Is that fair? I don’t think it’s fair, is it?

PM: You‘re right, you‘re right. Let's abandon the way of playing the programme for 45 years, so that John can feel comfortable in what's being done.

NP: Well, that's very generous of you Paul.

PM: Yeah absolutely. Let him have it.

JM: To be fair, as a regular TV viewer, I definitely would prefer to hear John's version of reggae.

NP: So, John, they're giving it to you, so you have a point. You have Reggae, still. You haven't got it yet because you haven't started! You have 58 seconds starting... Are you ready, John? Starting now!

JS: Reggae was always a rather frightening subject for me, I was going through a phase where I was trying to be a West Indian tough, cool guy. When people said reggae in those days you had to say, "Yeah, man." After a bit, I found this rather tedious because I hated the music and there was no point in pretending, so what I did then was to not say anything like that I would say something like hmmm or perhaps or…


NP: Josie challenged you.

JL: A repetition of say"

NP: Yes you said…

JS: Say?

NP: Yes.

JS: People say things and they say other things, don't they?

NP: In Just A Minute if you repeat the word...

JS: Say?

NP: Yes say, S-A-Y.

PM: I think we should change the rules after 45 years and let John keep the subject.

JS: This is a very tough business!

NP: Josie, do you want John to carry on?

JL: Oh, no. I want the part.

NP: Right, Josie, a correct challenge. You have 36 seconds available, still. Reggae, starting now.

JL: Reggae is such sexy music. I think it's the off-beat rhythm that does it for me. The twang of those guitars. My favourite was always Bob Marley and the Wailers. No woman, I didn't cry! I was jamming in my kitchen to the rock steady beat! Or, going down to Electric Avenue to meet my other friends. The trouble with reggae is it's quite difficult to dance to unless you are a cool person and I am not. You have to have really bendy, soft...


NP: Jason challenged.

JM: I think Josie is a cool person! It‘s incorrect.

NP: Well she‘s proving it now, isn‘t she? Shall we give him a bonus point for speaking?

JL: Yeah.

NP: All right Jason, you've not played it before, we'll give you a bonus point, but Josie gets a point because she was interrupted.

JM: Yes sorry.

NP: There are five seconds still Josie with you on reggae starting now.

JL: Let's all go to a party and dance to the rock steady…


NP: Paul challenged.

JL: I did.

PM: We had rock steady and we had dance before.

NP: Yes.

JL: We did, we did.

NP: You did. Paul, you got in with two seconds to go. You haven't won any friends in the audience, but you've won a point. And you've got two seconds on Reggae, starting now.

PM: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Whaler made up...


NP: So, Paul Merton was speaking then when the whistle went. That gets him an extra point, equal with Josie in the lead. Closely followed by Jason Manford and John Sergeant, in that order. Josie, we'd like you to begin the next round. The subject is my nemesis. Tell us something about my nemesis in this game, starting now.

JL: My nemesis was a girl named Judy. Now, please remember that name because hopefully it will never be repeated. I remember my nemesis being beautiful.


NP: Paul has challenged.

PM: You said remember twice.

NP: Yes.

PM: Remember that name, and I do remember.

JL: I did.

NP: You did.

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

JL: I don’t believe it, I did.

PM: You did.

JL: I said remember twice.

PM: You did yes, otherwise I wouldn't have pressed the button!.

JL: All right, don‘t play with the point.

PM: We’re caught in a time loop.

JL: What did I do?

PM: I had to press the button.

NP: Paul, a correct challenge and you have 48 seconds, my nemesis starting now.

PM: My nemesis was a man who had exactly the same name as me at school, he went by the nomenclature of Paul Martin and that was what I was really called when I was born. I had to change the letters that acquired the description of me when I became a...


NP: Jason challenged.

JM: Was there like a made up word in there somewhere? A sort of hesitation?

NP: No Jason.

JM: Sounded like you went ahhhhhh!

PM: I didn't cross species! I was panicking but I didn't cross species.

NP: There are occasions Jason where I give the benefit of the doubt.

JM: No that‘s fine.

NP: And I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to Paul. If I can redress the balance sometime later I will do it for you, but right now, Paul, you have the benefit of the doubt. You have 33 seconds, my nemesis, starting now!

PM: I suppose if you do have a nemesis it's important to realise who he or she may be, because you could be indulged in normal social chitchat at a party, without realising the person is standing in front of you in hu...man form…


PM: Hu-muss? Human form.

NP: Yes, trying to change it from something to something else. Josie, you challenged first.

JL: Yes hesitation.

NP: We'd call it hesitation. Josie, you have 18 seconds. You take back the subject of my nemesis, starting now.

JL: My nemesis was better at everything apart from acting. At school I excelled...


NP: Jason challenged.

JM: Repetition of school.

NP: Yes, you mentioned school when you were talking before..


NP: I wouldn't cry, darling, you are only one point behind.

JL: Do you know what? I bet she's enjoying this!

NP: Jason, you had a correct challenge. You cleverly got in with 13 seconds to go on the subject of my nemesis starting now.

JM: My nemesis was a young man at school called Clifford Frame, who had very hairy arms from around the age of 11. I was always jealous of, er, these limbs.


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: Hesitation.

NP: I think there was..

JM: Was there?

JL: Yeah you went "...of, er, limbs"..

NP: Yes and you cleverly got in with two seconds to go, Josie. So, two seconds, tell us more about my nemesis, Josie, starting now.

JL: My nemesis one day, decided to...


NP: So, Josie Lawrence speaking as the whistle went, gains an extra point and she's now taken the lead one ahead of Paul Merton and then Jason Manford and John Sergeant following in that order. Paul, we'd like you to begin the next round. The subject is, what lives at the bottom of my garden, 60 seconds, as usual, starting now.

PM: What lives at the bottom of my garden is a secret underground network of spies devoted to overthrowing this country. I wandered down to the end of my garden and listened to their secretive plans being hatched under the moonlit sky. Their chief ambition is to replace Eamonn Holmes with a huge animated puppet that acts like the real thing, but doesn't eat as much. This is extraordinary, because the very foundation of British journalism is built on the career of this wonderful man. If he was to become something else that we couldn't trust, then I'm sure, the people of Great Britain would say, "The news has changed. It's not what it was. What has happened to our esteemed Ulsterman? There's something about him that isn't the same as there were last week..."


NP: Jason challenged.

JM: I think repetition of the word same.

NP: That‘s right, you did say same before.

PM: I'm sure I said it, I did, yeah.

NP: He’s not the same, you said earlier on.

PM: He‘s not the same, yeah that‘s right.

NP: But you went for 50 seconds. And you get a point, of course, Jason, 10 seconds as I said. What lives at the bottom of my garden, starting now.

JM: What lives at the bottom of my garden is my brother, in the shed. We let him move in a little while ago...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: I was going to say hesitation but there wasn’t really.

NP: So, Jason, you're still there, with an incorrect challenge, another point to you, Jason, and what lives at the bottom of my garden, starting now.

JM: My sibling finished university around two years ago and decided that he didn't want to actually pay...


NP: Jason Manford was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so and his situation is that he's now equal with Paul Merton in second place. Josie Lawrence are still in the lead, one ahead. Jason, it's your turn to begin and the subject is oh, a lovely one, Tommy Cooper. Tell us something about that great comic and magician, 60 seconds as usual, starting now.

JM: Tommy Cooper is one of my absolute heroes in comedy, alongside Les Dawson and Dave Allen and Billy Connolly. He's a prop comedian, a...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes. You tried to remember his props.

JM: I did.

NP: Go on, do him for us!

JM: Well I thought about doing him, but his phrase is, sort of "Like that, and it's like that," and I thought that’s repetition. I wouldn't be able to do. Everyone feels like they can do it.

NP: So, Josie, a correct challenge, you get a point for that, of course. You take over the subject, Tommy Cooper, 50 seconds, starting now.

JL: The wonderful Tommy Cooper, the man with the fez. You know, a mate of mine, Sandy, who's a make-up artist, used to work on all his shows and she said he had one of the biggest faces she's ever seen. And what a wonderful visage. You only have to look at Tommy and you laugh. But his jokes are wonderful and he was a brilliant magician. One of my favourite jokes was, "I've just been to the dentist. There's nothing wrong with my teeth but my gums have to come out." (laughs)


NP: Paul, you challenged..

PM: Repetition of ha! You forgot you were meant to keep going.

JL: I did, I did.

NP: I love it that you told the joke, you love the joke, you tell it again, and you laughed just as loud.

JL: I know, I‘m stupid.

PM: No, it’s good.

NP: No, it’s lovely. Paul, correct challenge, 20 seconds still available, Tommy Cooper starting now.

PM: I watched Tommy Cooper's last television appearance Live At Her Majesty's, I think it was called, 1984. I was watching the programme with a fellow comedian called Norman Lovett...


NP: John challenged.

JS: Watching.

NP: Yes.

JS: Two watchings.

NP: Two watchings yes watching.

JS: Watching.

PM: Watching.

JS: Yeah two watchings.

NP: You were watching him.

JS: Yeah.

NP: Watching.

JS: I was watching you, you were watching him. It's all wrong, Paul. I've got to just get you back on track I‘m afraid.

NP: John can I bring you back into the game.

JS: Yes.

NP: So you had a correct challenge, you get a point for that, the subject is Tommy Cooper, 13 seconds, starting now.

JS: It wasn‘t just the phrase, just like that, it...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: Repetition of just.

JS: Oh, yes, terrible!

JL: It wasn’t just the phrase just like that.

NP: Oh yes, well listened, my love.

JS: Very good.

NP: And so you've got back in there...

PM: Sorry, was that showing me how to play the game? I must, just, just, two justs, one after the other, as quick as that! That's where me timing's... just, just…

NP: So Josie, six seconds still available, Tommy Cooper, starting now.

JL: One of the best sketches was the hat sketch. He had a box full…


NP: Jason challenged.

JM: Sorry, It was the sketch thing, she said sketches and then sketch.

NP: That’s right.

JM: I've learned that, now.

NP: Yes it doesn't matter. All that happens is Josie gets another point. She has three seconds still available. Tommy Cooper, starting now.

JL: What an adorable man, I only...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: We did have man before.

NP: You did have man before.

PM: Do you remember?

JL: Yes, I remember.

PM: She remembers, she remembers.

NP: Paul, you've got in with one second to go. And one second, Tommy Cooper, Paul, starting now.

PM: One of the great comedians of the 20th century...


NP: Let me give you the situation at the end of that round. Josie Lawrence is still in the lead. She's two ahead of Paul Merton and more ahead of Jason Manford in that order. Josie, the subject is pound shops. Tell us something about those in this game, starting now.

JL: In the olden days when a wage could be little more than a farthing, pound shops were very expensive establishments. But now they're the best places for bargains, an Aladdin's cave, a cornucopia of treasures. Grab your plastic basket and walk down those brightly lit aisles. Cranberry scented candles, batteries for my household needs, a jumbo roll of cling-film, Christmas decorations, a glowing Madonna on laminated cardboard, all for a pound! I have 20 pounds in my purse. I'm rich. Look, over there! Bin liners, mint flavoured hand wipes, toothpaste, shampoo and up there plastic chrysanthemums...


JL: I love pound shops! I love pound shops!

NP: Paul, what's your challenge by the way?

JS: You can't get everything you need!

PM: Sorry, I think John's trying to run a minicab business while we're on air. "He's outside now love, he’s outside the door. He's ringing the doorbell. I'll be with you, Nicholas. He's ringing the doorbell." Times are getting hard, are they?

JS: I thought we were allowed to comment on how well Josie had done and what it revealed about Josie's life. I thought that was part of it.

NP: Well go on.

JS: And it did reveal. It did reveal a extraordinary interest in these rather horrible stores.

NP: John she loves them, you don‘t like them.

JS: No I don’t.

JM: That's because he's never been to the north. That's where they all are.

PM: He goes to guinea shops! "Everything here's a guinea. Wow!"

NP: So where do you go to? Harrods? Fortnum and Mason's?

JS: I go to the very best places! If you say, "Here's a pound", they go, "What's that?" I've never seen one of those. Cheap!

JL: John, despite you calling me cheap, I still want you to grab my hair and drag me across the floor!

NP: I think that deserves a bonus point, don't you? Yes right. So, Paul, you challenged. What was it?

PM: Well I wrote it down because I was in danger of forgetting it. Repetition of plastic.

NP: That’s right yes. You mentioned plastic before. Paul, you got in, nine seconds to go. Pound shops, starting now.

PM: Josie obviously loves these pound shops. I've wandered in on occasion, but I don't actually find much in there that I like. I prefer staring through the window and conjuring...


NP: So...


NP: That little delicate little bell is to let us know that we only have time for one more round. And Jason, it's your turn to begin. And the subject is David and Goliath. What a wonderful subject. 60 seconds, as usual, oh, before we go into the round, you'd like to know the situation. Josie Lawrence is still in the lead, two points ahead of Paul Merton, and she's four to five ahead of Jason Manford and even more ahead of John Sergeant. And so before we go into the final round, give John Sergeant another bonus point because he needs it.

JS: I don't need charity!

JM: You're probably not going to charity shops, either.

NP: Jason, the subject is David and Goliath, 60 seconds, starting now.

JM: David and Goliath, off of the Bible, two famous chaps who didn't get along. They had a massive fight, which I would've liked to have seen. David was three-foot-four, Goliath 12-foot-8. David had a slingshot with a stone in it which he aimed right in the centre of Goliath's head. He went down, and David went over and chopped his head off, which for me, is a bit harsh. He's already won the match and he's ruined it for the spectators. David and Goliath could also refer to any sort of situation where somebody small is facing somebody big, or somebody...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: A couple of somebodys there.

NP: Somebodys yes, small and big. I loved your interpretation. He wasn't three-foot-nothing, David.

JM: No he wasn’t, he was five foot eight.

NP: Goliath was a giant but he was normal size.

JM: Well Goliath was six-foot-eight at the time, but in the repeated telling of the story he's now like eight-foot-three, so we keep adding a couple of inches, but that's men for you!

NP: I think David was just standard height.

JM: I think he was.

NP: But, Paul, you made a correct challenge. You have the subject of David and Goliath, 26 seconds, starting now.

PM: Of course in the Bible, David isn't the fancied man at all. Goliath is so huge. It's about winning against overwhelming odds, perhaps we can also see parallels in the story of the tortoise and hare. One animal clearly designed for speed and the other one ambling along.


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: Repetition of one.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Well listened, Josie. Ten seconds to go. David and Goliath, with you, starting now.

JL: Now imagine the scene. Poor giant, Goliath, has been asked by his mates to go out there and fight with a little bloke. So he's in a bit of a no-win...


NP: So, Josie Lawrence, speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And now it remains for me to give you the final situation. John Sergeant who did very, very well, but he did finish in a very strong fourth place. Jason was just ahead, one point ahead, Jason Manford. Did very well. He hasn't played the game before. Paul Merton, who has played quite often, was in second place but three points ahead of Paul was Josie Lawrence. So we say, Josie, you are the winner today. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game. It's good-bye from this delightful audience at Television Centre, it’s good-bye from me, Nicholas Parsons, and join us again, the next time we play Just A Minute!