starring TONY HAWKS, GYLES BRANDRETH, PAM AYRES and MILES JUPP, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 26 September 2011)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners not only in this country but around the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, dynamic, diverse, talented, humorous individuals who are going to play Just A Minute. And those four are, seated on my left, Gyles Brandreth and Miles Jupp. And seated on my right, Pam Ayres and Tony Hawks. Please welcome all four of them! Seated beside me is Sarah Sharpe, and she is going to help me keep the score, and blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the delightful Garrick Theatre in the heart of that cathedral city of Lichfield. And we have a lovely Lichfield audience, and they've come from further afield, because we are part of the 30th anniversary of the Lichfield Festival here in this wonderful theatre. So let's begin the show with Tony Hawks. Tony, middle England, that is the subject, tell us something about it in this game starting now.

TONY HAWKS: Many years ago when Saint Chad came to this area, he thought to himself, well, I've got a very cool name. I'm roughly in the middle of England, what a tremendous place to put a big cathedral, even though hardly anyone lives here. And that's what he did in this magnificent town, oh...


NP: Oh Miles challenged.

MILES JUPP: Um well...

NP: It's not a town is it.

MJ: It's not a town, it's a city. But what you might be able to say, if I can answer this query for you Tony, you might be able to say I'm going to put a cathedral here and make it a city, in which case, you know, points to you...

TH: It's okay, I wasn't going to say that Miles, so it's okay, it's yours.

MJ: Tony looked so crestfallen at my challenge. He's so easily deflated.

TH: No, the thing is, had I been about, had I been about to say that, then I would have taken the point. But the fact of the matter is, I wasn't going to, so it's a very good challenge by Miles.

NP: It was a correct challenge. So Miles...

TH: I have tremendous admiration for it.

NP: Let's get on with the show...

TH: But I'm going to buzz any minute now.

NP: Tony we've only just started, don't have a banter all the time, right. Let's get on with it. Miles you had a correct challenge, the subject is middle England, there are 39 seconds available starting now.

MJ: Middle England is how I like to describe every part of Britain that is between the borders of Scotland and England and the borders of England and the...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: Repetition of borders.

NP: Yes borders and you have the subject Gyles, you have a correct challenge, of course a point for that, 30 seconds available, middle England starting now.

GB: I have had my fill of middle England. These middle-aged middle class middle Britain people who spend all their time knowing it all. How depressing it gets. The sort of man...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Well he's describing himself!

NP: Tony I'll give you a bonus point anyway, but have you a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

TH: No I just wanted to say that!

NP: Well you get your bonus point, Gyles you get a point for being interrupted. You have middle England, 19 seconds starting now.

GB: They wear red trousers and have ginger hair growing out of their cheeks. If they knew they were called buggers' grips, they'd shave them off. These dubious people sit around expostulating on the benefit culture, immigration and every other issue that disturbs them. I despise and loathe these lowly scum of the earth. I...


NP: Listen, people of Lichfield and further afield, I don't know why you are applauding that! Because some people would think that the Middle Englanders were the salt of the earth, not the scum that he refers to. Gyles I am surprised at you. No wonder you lost that by-election!

TH: Yeah I was going to say!

GB: You're absolutely right. The one thing I could not stand about being an MP were my constituents.

NP: Anyway Gyles was speaking then when the whistle went, so in this game whoever does that gets an extra point. And you won't be surprised to hear he's in the lead at the end of the round. And Pam we'd like you to start the next round. It's old Macdonald. Tell us something about old Macdonald in this game starting now.

PAM AYRES: I had an English teacher called Macdonald and he was very nasty. And we referred to him as old Macdonald. He also taught physical education and constantly was wearing a navy blue...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Was there a slight hesitation?

PA: No.

NP: No there wasn't.

TH: Oh.

PA: No there was not!

TH: I was going to buzz in earlier though and say that taught him! We had this horrible teacher and we used to call him old Macdonald. I bet that got him quaking in his boots!

NP: You have still 46 seconds to tell us something about old Macdonald starting now.

PA: He was given to violence. If people provoked him he would sweep across the classroom in great menacing strides, grasp the child by the hair or the collar, drag him backwards on helpless, scuffling feet across the lino. And out in the cloakroom, who knows what he did to them? We lived in a state of constant quaking, quivering terror from old Macdonald. On the other hand, it could refer to a farmer who had cows and pink-nosed calves and moran chickens which lay eggs of a perfect deep mahogany brown. And geese which graze the pastures and warn people...


NP: So Pam Ayres started with the subject, and as I think you started with the subject and finished with the subject, you should get a bonus point as well. There we are!

PA: Thank you very much. Thank you.

NP: It's amazing what people suffered in the old days at school, they don't realise. That was disgraceful!

PA: It's perfectly true!

NP: I know, I can believe it, because we had people in my school when I was a little boy, we were caned for things we didn't even know what we did.

TH: But you got him back Pam, you called him old Macdonald!

PA: Yeah but by now I think he's dead. So that got him back!

NP: Yes some of the masters at my school, I mention in my one man comedy show, who were horrors. I mention them because they're all dead now so it doesn't really matter, does it. Miles we'd like you to take the next round, begin the next round. Oh the subject and maybe this is one of your pet subjects, I don't know, the films of Marilyn Monroe. Are you a fan, admirer or just in love with her?

MJ: You're about to hear.

NP: You're very sardonic sometimes, aren't you Miles. Anyway you have 60 seconds starting now.

MJ: I have never seen any films which feature Marilyn Monroe acting or otherwise. I have...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: Sorry I thought there was a bit of hesitation there.

NP: There was a bit of one, but not enough. I gave you the benefit of the doubt...

PA: Oh!

NP: ... when you were challenged for hesitation, so I'm going to give Miles the benefit of the doubt and say not quite enough for hesitation.

PA: Okay.

NP: But keep going otherwise you might be!

TH: Go but he hasn't set himself up very well for a full minute!

NP: No, I agree with you Tony.

PA: Poor Miles

NP: Right, 51 seconds, the films of Marilyn Monroe starting now.

MJ: I have not seen any moving images which...


NP: Right Pam challenged.

PA: I think Miles said I have not seen...

NP: That's right, you did, I have not seen any before.

PA: Oh sorry Miles.

MJ: No no no, on you go, you've got about 49 seconds.

NP: Forty-seven actually, you did do two seconds Miles. Pam, the films of Marilyn Monroe, 47 seconds starting now.

PA: I am frequently mistaken for Marilyn Monroe. People say to me "aren't you the woman in the white pleated dress, blowing up," they say, "as you stand on the ventilation grill, coming up from the underground, or as they have it in New York, the subway."


PA: I can't think of anything else to say.

NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: I think there was the slightest hesitation as she imagined all the air coming up.

NP: Twenty-seven seconds available for you Tony, the films of Marilyn Monroe starting now.

TH: One of the films I remember watching was Gentlemen Prefer Blondes which I take it was from a musical at one point. And there was a lovely song in it called Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend. So I went out and bought these lovely jewels for the nearest girl I could find who happened to be called...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of girl.

MJ: No girls, girls the first time.

GB: Apostrophe and S.

NP: No no no.

GB: We are in Doctor Johnson's home city, I'm having one of Doctor Johnson's tics.

NP: It's a thing we have to be so careful of, but it's true, he did say the plural.

GB: He did, he did. Oh I know he did.

NP: And now it's all right...

GB: The singular but with an apostrophe instead of the plural. But I get the gist of it.

NP: We don't mind about apostrophes, it's the word, we are in verbal territory here.

GB: I understand Nicholas.

NP: Right Tony, incorrect challenge, 13 seconds, the films of Marilyn Monroe starting now.

TH: I had a seven year itch which was a coincidence because the film went by the same title. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon dressed as women, do we remember that magnificent movie many years ago, on a boat, I remember...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He is now equal with Pam Ayres in the lead and the other two are equal in second place, one point behind. And Gyles we'd like you to begin the next subject, the Sunday papers. Gyles, 60 seconds starting now.

GB: Well the Sunday papers, they're not what they were. When I was a child, we used to take the Sunday Express and I likened myself to the characters in the Giles cartoons. We also took the News Of The World...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I don't think, I think I made an error there. He said used to take and then took.

NP: Took, yes that's right...

TH: Sorry, he tricked me!

NP: It's all right.

TH: And I withdraw.

NP: You're all so sharp that you trip yourselves up sometimes, 48 seconds Gyles, another point to you, and still with the subject, the Sunday papers starting now.

GB: All human life was there. That's when I first read of the schoolmaster who ffff terrorised poor Pam Ayres during her childhood...


NP: You've been challenged Gyles.

MJ: That was a hesitation.

NP: Yes you stumbled over a word which sounded like hesitation. The Sunday papers Miles, and there are 42 seconds available starting now.

MJ: The Sunday papers are the ones that are delivered on Sunday.


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: Oh sorry Miles, no, you can say Sunday, can't you.

NP: Yes it's on the card, you can repeat the words on the card. Miles who hasn't played it very often before...

TH: Thanks for clarifying that as well though Miles! All's the confusion's gone now about...

NP: Thirty-seven seconds still available Miles...

MJ: Thirty-seven!

TH: Where's he going to go now? He's already told us that, surely there's nothing left!

NP: You will find out Tony, 37 seconds Miles, the Sunday papers starting now.


NP: Miles we have been through this paraphernalia before. Once I say now, you've got to get cracking.

MJ: Yes, no, I appreciate this. This is, I used to have...

NP: You don't do it, do you.

MJ: No I'm sorry about that, I ...

NP: It doesn't matter, don't apologise. Gyles got in first.

TH: He's got to draw on that vast wealth of knowledge he's got.

NP: Gyles you challenged first. Hesitation so there are 36 seconds, the Sunday papers starting now.

GB: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, what boring moments they are as one waits the Sunday papers...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Well they're days, they're not moments.

GB: No, the day's made with a myriad of moments in my life.

NP: I think you're trying to escape.

GB: I was trying not to repeat the word day which I felt was probably within the rules. Not to repeat, you see, that's the idea.

NP: But you hadn't yet established they had any connection with Sunday papers.

GB: Yes the week is just a moment, I'm building up to something.

NP: Gyles, Gyles, you will argue your way out of anything, you're the most literate, clever man I know. But this one is against you. So Tony you have the subject ...

TH: Well I'm rather disappointed that I'm not the most literate man you know. Very hurt! You told me I was earlier!

NP: You're all literate. You wouldn't be on the show, you wouldn't be able to play the game if you weren't literate. Tony you have a point for a correct challenge, the Sunday papers, 29 seconds starting now.

TH: I like a little bit of a lie-in on a Sunday morning. But I'm very irritated by the church bells which ring and wake me up and so I make my way down to the newsgent where I buy a Sunday paper. Don't always forget the sadger...


NP: Miles you challenged.

MJ: That was a hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation.

TH: That's the Soviet newspaper.

MJ: So Miles there are 14 seconds available, and you do know that when I say now, you begin. And the subject is the Sunday papers and you start...

MJ: I, I'm still panicking, I have to, right, go on.

NP: You start now.

MJ: The Sunday papers I buy come from a particular shop which is not open on a Sunday. I regret the fact that this store has these operating hours but what am I supposed to do? I am merely one man out of a million people who perhaps don't agree with this particular rule of shopping facilities, ah trousers...


NP: Miles I know that you are new to the game, but just because I point out to you that you have to start on the now, you don't have to go twice as fast as normal. But you did very well, you kept going till the whistle.

MJ: It was very kind of no-one to buzz in despite the fact that at one point I went ah trousers.

NP: You gained the extra point for doing so and you've now taken the lead, one point ahead of all the others. Tony we're back with you to begin, no, I think it's the first time on this show that you've started, now I look back and see, has Tony started? No he hasn't. Yes he did, middle England, was that in this show?

TH: I'm glad you were enthralled by my speech!

NP: Time goes so fast, I don't know what's happening. So Tony the subject is conspiracy theories. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TH: I am a huge fan of conspiracy theories and believe all of them. I don't think they landed on the Moon and I believe that 9-11 was done by Prince Philip in a bad move whilst dancing with Elvis who is still alive. What a magnificent idea to come up with these things and spread them. They write books which we enjoy greatly, but the photographs that were taken on the lunar landing, are they really viable? Can we believe that these astro...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of believe.

NP: Yes you said believe before. So Gyles you listened well, you've got in with 26 seconds on conspiracy theories starting now.

GB: Adolf Hitler is not dead, he is alive and well and waiting to have a baby with Katie Price. This is the news that no Sunday paper is able to bring you. Conspiracy theories are joyous things. They are what tell us that Lichfield, that beautiful city, is actually twinned with a lunar landscape caaaaaaaaaaaalled Parsons...


NP: Miles you challenged.

MJ: There was some hesitation there.

GB: No! Elongation not hesitation.

NP: Elongation but you went so long in your elongation, we interpret it as hesitation Gyles. I don't think you quite finished the word. And Miles you've got in on conspiracy theories with three seconds to go starting now.

MJ: White flag terrorism is a type of conspiracy...


NP: So Miles Jupp once again was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's moved forward. He's two ahead of Gyles Brandreth, he's three or four ahead of Tony Hawks and Pam Ayres in that order. And Pam we'd like you to begin the next round. Oh Pam, I'm sure this has been chosen for you, power dressing. You tell us something about that subject in this game, starting now.

PA: I believe in power dressing because it enables me to make other people feel insignificant. My outfit of choice is a sharp black suit with enormously padded shoulders, a tightly fitted skirt, my seven inch Jimmy Tews on which I totter...


PA: Oh!

NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: I'm so sorry but I just feel that this is such a deviation. We heard the other day that actually her favourite outfit is a day-glow safety harness that she wears. But she isn't wearing that, she's wearing a white pleated skirt that blows up over her face. This is a woman who is staggeringly inconsistent.

TH: Gyles that was week ago! She can change her mind!

NP: So another point to you Pam and 40 seconds available, power dressing starting now.

PA: Totter around the board room pointing at pie charts and talking in unintelligible jargon which no living human being can understand and using a small red laser dot to project my opinion. People say to me how did you become such a financial whiz kid. Well, I say, it's my premium bonds...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: Repetition of say.

NP: Yes I'm afraid you did say say before.

TH: People say to me and then I say, yes. It was very good.

NP: Well listened, it was very good.

TH: It was very good indeed. You did the lion's share of the work there.

PA: Yeah I did really yes.

TH: I probably haven't got long to go, have I?

NP: You've got 17 seconds.

TH: Oh that's too much.

NP: Power dressing with you Tony starting, dressed as you are today, I don't know if you know anything about it. I should explain to our listeners that Tony is sitting in there in a dirty old sweatshirt.

MJ: I think you were wearing that the last time we were in Lichfield.

NP: And Miles you can't speak either. Anyway, 17 seconds available, power dressing with you Tony starting now.

TH: This makes me think of these soap operas like Dynasty or Dallas where the women wore these shoulder pads, swanned around the place with power on their minds and took...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: Well he said mai-eends. Which I did not recognise as being part of the English language.

TH: I was doing an impression of you!

NP: It was deviation from the English language. All right Pam, the benefit of the doubt, you have six seconds, power dressing with you starting now.

PA: My investment advice to you is find an interest bearing account...


NP: So Pam Ayres was then speaking as the whistle went, once again she got that extra point for doing so. She's moved forward into second place equal with Gyles Brandreth, two points behind Miles who is in the lead. And Miles we're back with you to begin. I know you are a cricket enthusiast like me and so this subject must have been chosen for you. A sticky wicket.

MJ: A sticky...

NP: All right and you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

MJ: A sticky wicket is a term associated with the finest game that has ever existed, I refer of course to cricket. What a wonderful sport it is! In that particular pastime this term, a sticky wicket, refers to when the pitch is low and perhaps a little damp and consequently the ball doesn't come on to the bat in the way that you wish it might. If the ball does come on to the bat...


NP: Oh Gyles.

GB: Repetition of does after repetition of refer.

NP: And there was also balls, there were two. So Gyles you've got the subject of a sticky wicket and there are 38 seconds available starting now.

GB: When Rupert Murdoch approached me recently and asked me to be the editor of a re-launched News Of The World, I sensed that a sticky wicket was coming my way. But I thought this is a challenge that I must rise to. Having been appalling at the game of cricket when I was at school, I scored well but mainly from the long grass, which I sucked as I lay there, keeping the numbers as the game went on being played...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Was there a repetition of game?

NP: There was a repetition of game. You didn't play the game much when you were young, right at the beginning of your dissertation. And so Tony you've got in with 16 seconds on a sticky wicket starting now.

TH: I wouldn't necessarily agree with Miles that cricket is the best game. But let's...


NP: Miles challenged.

MJ: Deviation, I mean, it just is! What else could it be? Tennis?

NP: Ah we can all have our personal opinions about this. But as we enjoyed your interruption, we'll give you a bonus point for that. But Tony was interrupted so you get a point Tony, 12 seconds, a sticky wicket starting now.

TH: I used to play when I was at school, enjoyed it actually. And the wicket when it becomes damp is tricky when you are facing...


NP: Miles challenged.

MJ: Hesitation. Resulting in bad grammar.

NP: Miles you are getting over-keen now! You're getting carried away with your success! The last time we were here you were struggling a bit. Now I think you're getting a bit over-confident if you don't mind my saying so.

TH: We're not playing consequences!

NP: No...

TH: Resulting in this, resulting in that. Resulting...

GB: I shouldn't have given him those drugs on the train, Nicholas.

NP: So Tony, another incorrect challenge to you so another point and five seconds only, a sticky wicket starting now.

TH: Imagine the situation when you are in a complicated position when someone approaches you and...


NP: Oh Miles.

MJ: Repetition of when.

GB: Yeah.

NP: Yes when when, two whens there. Miles you are getting too good at this game! You've got in with half a second to go. With you on a sticky wicket starting now.

MJ: New balls...


NP: So Miles Jupp, our second time player of the game and you've increased your lead. Let me give you the situation because I think we are moving into the final round, aren't we. And let me give you the score at that moment. Gyles has moved forward, he's two points behind our present leader, Miles Jupp. And he's one point ahead of Tony Hawks, and Pam is only one or two points behind him. And Tony we are back with you to begin and the subject is now why cheating never pays. That's a good subject, 60 seconds starting now.

TH: I gave Nicholas Parsons 150 quid before this show began to give me the benefit of the doubt. Cheating never pays, ladies and gentlemen! Because it hasn't happened enough really for the money invested in that. Now there is a moral behind this subject and I feel it falls upon me to talk for 44 seconds or so on that very thing. Imagine if somebody offers you a huge sum to...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of sum.

NP: Yes there was a sum of money that you offered me earlier on and you repeated the word. So Gyles you have the subject now, you have 30 seconds to go, why cheating never pays starting now.

GB: When I was at school, there was a master that had come from a girl's school somewhere in the middle of England...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of school.

NP: When I was at school, there was a master that had come from a girl's school.

GB: Girl's schools!

TH: Gyles have you ever gone quietly on a challenge?

NP: I think that was an example of a rather artful bit of cheating actually.

GB: I was trying to illustrate the point you see.

NP: Tony correct challenge, 25 seconds still available, why cheating never pays starting now.

TH: Why cheating never pays? A question I asked somebody once and they said doesn't mean anything. Put a preposition in there somewhere, sonny! And slapped me around the head. An anecdote I won't be telling again but I have done tonight. And I've shared it with you pointlessly.


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: I don't really know what it's got to do with cheating.

NP: No...

PA: I'm sorry somebody hit him around the head but I'm not sure what it has to do with cheating.

NP: I agree with you Pam. He's teetering around the edge of the subject and he hasn't actually got to the core of it. So we are going to give you the benefit of the doubt, say, oh you've got in with seven seconds to go, why cheating never pays starting now.

PA: I have always walked the straight and narrow, and never indulged in cheating or low behaviour of any kind...


NP: Well as I said a little while ago, this was to be the last round and indeed it was and what a fair situation at the end. Only one point separates each of them, in ascending order, Pam was one point behind Tony Hawks, Tony Hawks was one point behind Gyles Brandreth, and he was one point behind Miles Jupp who has only played the game once before. But he came with a flourish at the beginning, kept a bit more quiet towards the end. But he maintained his lead so we say Miles you are our winner this week. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine humorous players of the game, Tony Hawks, Pam Ayres, Miles Jupp and Gyles Brandreth. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle so delicately after the 60 seconds elapsed. We thank our producer Tilusha Ghelani. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are grateful to this lovely audience here at the Garrick Theatre in Lichfield who have cheered us on our way. We hope you've enjoyed yourselves, we hope the listeners have enjoyed themselves, and from me Nicholas Parsons I hope I say you'll all tune in again the next time we take to the air and we play Just A Minute!