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 Great Britain but around the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented, humorous individuals. They are seated on my right, Paul Merton and Gyles Brandreth. And seated on my left, Graham Norton and Alun Cochrane. Please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Sharon Leonard, she is going to help me with the score, she'll going to blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And we're going to begin the show this week with Paul Merton. Paul, a strange subject, but do your best. The subject is the importance of eyebrows. Sixty seconds starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Oscar Wilde was rather disappointed the sequel didn't take off as well as The Importance Of Being Earnest. The importance of eyebrows, he considered to be his final work. It was a magnificent piece of fiction. It involved the young Lord Emsbury, a man born without eyebrows, who was forced to make his own way in the world. When people looked at his featureless face, they just saw a white blob. There was no way he could register surprise. He was the exact opposite of Joan Crawford. The importance of eyebrows are when it's raining, it directs the water away from eyes down the side of your face. When we see eyebrows, we realise that they are in fact actually sexually potent signals...


NP: Oh Alun you challenged.


NP: Why?

AC: Well he says when we see eyebrows we realise that they're sexually potent signals. That sounds like deviation to me, surely!

NP: Well it depends on the individual.

AC: Oh okay.

NP: It was a great try Alun, and it was lovely to hear from you! But I think it was no more bizarre then the other fantasy he was talking at the time. Absolutely delightful! Paul I'm going to say an incorrect challenge, you get a point for that. And there are still 15 seconds on the importance of eyebrows starting now.

PM: If one looks at the eyebrow, one must consider that...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: Repetition of one.

NP: Yes, one. I heard some of you groan, but those are the rules of the game.

PM: That's just because it's Gyles though!

NP: Gyles it was a correct challenge, so you have 11 seconds, tell us something about the importance of eyebrows starting now.

GB: When I was up to succeed Roger Moore as James Bond, he said to me the importance of the eyebrow is that you should raise it at those exciting moments when M is about to give you your orders...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was of course Gyles Brandreth, so he's got two points at the end of that round, Paul has got one. And Gyles we'd like you to begin the second round. Oh a lovely historical question, Caesar. Tell us something about Caesar in Just A Minute starting now.

GB: My dog Caesar! Regular listeners will be familiar with my canine companion called Fido, a French poodle spelled P-H-Y-D-E-A-U-X. Also the mongrel known as Down Boy in our house. But Caesar is the dog we really adore...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of dog.

NP: Dog yes. A bit too doggy, so Paul, a correct challenge, a point of course, and you have Caesar and you have 41 seconds starting now.

PM: The importance of eyebrows for Julius Caesar have not been overlooked in history. He would judge a man's character by looking at the hair resting above his eyelids. He would say to himself, can I trust this individual? I am the mighty Caesar, I've had a salad named after me. What could be much greater than this? One thinks about the Napoleon Brandy, one also considers the Mussolini Battenberg cake. It seems to me that dictators throughout the ages have had foodstuffs named after them. When we think of the mighty Caesar, we see him coming to our shores. We were just simple ignorant...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Fourth we.

NP: There was an over-predominance of we.

PM: Yes there was, yes.

NP: So Gyles you've got Caesar back with you and you've got seven seconds starting now.

GB: Vini, vidi, vici. I came, saw, conquered. That was what the mighty dictator said when he arrived at Dover and met...


NP: So once again Gyles Brandreth was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And has increased his lead at the end of the round. Alun Cochrane, we'd like you to begin the next round, and the subject now is stamps. Tell us something about stamps in this game starting now.

AC: Stamps come in both first and second class, but they each have the same picture of the Queen's head upon them. Which I think is a shame as perhaps we should have Her Majesty's face on the first class, and a different picture, perhaps the Royal ...


NP: Graham challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: Oh repetition of first class.

NP: Repetition of what?

GN: Repetition of first class. I feel bad.

AC: Don't, don't, don't pity me.

GN: Okay. You're an idiot! You're an idiot! Yeah! You're a fool!

NP: So Graham, good to hear from you, correct challenge, a point...

GN: Even I'd forgotten I was here!

NP: There are 46 seconds still available.

GN: Really? That many? Great! Okay!

NP: Tell us something about stamps starting now.

GN: Oh what I don't know about stamps! Let me thrill you, ladies and gentlemen! Stamps is really one of my specialists subjects. I don't want to get too technical, too early, I...


NP: Oh if you get too animated, you see what happens! Paul a correct challenge...

PM: Yes but it was a shame, I wanted to hear what Graham had to say. But repetition of too.

NP: No it was a correct challenge so you get a point and you have stamps and you have 37 seconds starting now.

PM: One of the world's most popular stamps when it was first introduced, was of course the Penny Black. It was amongst the very first, I've said first twice...


NP: Yes.

PM: I've said it three times now.

NP: What was the challenge.

GB: The fellow on my right said that he said the word first twice.

NP: I know he did but I have...

GB: Repetition was the challenge. Repetition.

NP: It is perfectly correct Gyles, you have 29 seconds, you have stamps starting now.

GB: The sensual pleasure of tearing a stamp, the perforated bit across your lip! How exciting it can be...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: I feel sick!

NP: So what's your challenge...

GN: I just needed it to stop, I didn't care, I didn't care how it happened, but I needed it to stop.

PM: It's not so much a challenge as carrying out a public service!

GN: I withdraw, I withdraw my challenge.

NP: No you couldn't, you could have had him for deviation.

GN: Okay deviation then.

NP: It doesn't make everybody sick, it doesn't make Gyles sick. Anyway 24 seconds, stamps with you Gyles, incorrect challenge, starting now.

GB: The taste of the paste is something that I remember from my childhood. Now of course they are adhesive, and consequently one does not get the flavour when that little wobbly thing that hangs in the middle of your mouth goes over and it...


NP: Alun challenged.

AC: The wobbly thing that hangs in the middle of your mouth?

GB: I didn't feel able to repeat the tongue.

GN: I thought you could mean your tonsils.

AC: I thought there was a bit of hesitation there.

NP: There was a bit of hesitation Alun. Yes you're quite right, having got his wobbly bit out, he... Alun you got in with nine seconds to go on stamps starting now.

AC: Apparently you are supposed to stick the stamp in the top right-hand corner of the envelope. I've never really understood why that should be. I think if the stamp is on a letter that is heading south...


NP: So Alun Cochrane was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, and you did...

AC: Can I just say that is officially the best bit I've ever did on Just A Minute! That nine seconds is the most accomplished I've been on this game, so it's a real result for me!

NP: You know how to get the audience on your side. Right, Graham Norton, it's your turn to begin.

GN: Yes.

NP: And the subject we've got, oh, favourite smells. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

GN: I have many favourite smells. But let me begin with the scent of the inside of a dog's ear. Have you ever sniffed that? Oh it's lovely! Like a mixture of plain biscuit, honey and old leather. It's just gorgeous!


NP: Alun challenged.

AC: I feel sick! I believe that's a legitimate challenge in this show now.

NP: If a dog has an ear infection, it's disgusting!

AC: Oh come on!

GN: I didn't say it was an ill dog.

AC: I don't mean to get gross, but my dog has a bad habit of rolling in fox waste. And it stinks, you wouldn't smell her ear.

GN: No you wouldn't, that's an off day for her ear.

NP: Alun we enjoyed your interruption so we give you a bonus point for that.

AC: Okay I love that.

NP: But Graham wasn't deviating so he gets a point for being interrupted, keeps the subject, favourite smells and there are 41 seconds, Graham starting now.

GN: Hoorah! Let nations rejoice! I get to tell you about more of my favourite smells. Okay, next up, cinnamon everyone. Oh gosh, isn't that a terrific scent to get...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of scent.

GN: Really?

NP: Yes.

GN: Must I lose the subject? Oh.

GB: Not necessarily!

NP: Gyles, well listened, another point to you, 28 seconds still available, favourite smells starting now.

GB: It's extraordinary what people do regard as their favourite smell. The novellist, Smollett I think, in his novel Tristram Shandy, has an extraordinary scene where a chamberpot is produced...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Deviation, wasn't Tristram Shandy written by Lawrence Stern?

GB: Correct!

NP: The erudition displayed on this show is amazing, isn't it.

PM: I surprise myself! I must have been listening at some point when I was at school.

NP: Anyway, well listened, and well spotted, 18 seconds, another point and favourite smells is with you starting now.

PM: A kebab wropped... oh no!


NP: Gyles.

GB: Well a hesitation.

NP: Yes it was a hesitation right.

PM: Absolutely.

NP: Sixteen seconds Gyles, back with you, another point, favourite smells starting now.

GB: In the kitchen it is the baking smell that I adore. Opening the oven and there is a scone rising gently, and from it emanates the most wonderful nostril enhancing delight. Combined with the biscuit when that is coming towards me too...


NP: At the end of the round Gyles has got another point for speaking as the whistle went, has increased his lead. Ahead of Paul Merton, Alun Cochrane and Graham Norton in that order. Alun Cochrane we are back with you to begin and the subject now is graffiti. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

AC: Graffiti is often thought of as a young person's problem. But actually here at Radio Four, after live events, graffiti is a huge difficulty that they have to face. It's of a different generations, graffiti. It says things like, you know, George Robertson is on drugs, brackets, mostly prescription for his sciatica, close brackets. Ah oh...


AC: I've just realised I've done that as well. I thought I might have got away with it. But no.

NP: Gyles.

GB: Repetition of brackets.

NP: Oh yes, brackets right. Gyles you've got graffiti now, 37 seconds starting now.

GB: Alas poor Kilroy, I knew him backwards. Pinocchio is a swinger. No arms for the Venus D'Mylo. These were the graffiti of my childhood. Down with all Italians also was seen on the wall. Horrible graffiti in its own way. Nowadays of course you could sign a petition on indeed a piece of furniture over there if you really objected to it. But I find spraying...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Oh what the hell is he talking about?

NP: I think the audience applause endorses the fact...

GN: There was some sort of deviation going on there.

NP: Yes, some sort of deviation.

PM: He was having some sort of breakdown!

NP: So again the benefit of the doubt to you Graham, 10 seconds, you tell us something about graffiti starting now.

GN: Graffiti used to be seen as a form of vandalism which of course is awful, and I believe a crime. But now, graffiti has been...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was there a slight hesitation there?

NP: A slight one, but not enough for you to take the subject over, no. So Graham you've still got it, another point to you, well you've always had it, but you've...

GN: Thank you.

NP: You've got the subject still and you've got only one second left, graffiti starting now.

GN: Nowadays the galleries are...


NP: So Graham gained more points, he's moving forward, he's now in second place behind Gyles Brandreth. Graham it's your turn to begin, the subject is my problems with this show. There are 60 seconds starting now.

GN: I have many problems with this show. But probably my greatest one is that I just know too much! I am extremely well-informed on a vast range of subjects. So when I'm given a mere minute to discuss something, gosh, that is difficult. I wonder if I've said that before? Anyhoo, on I go.


NP: What was that you said? Anyhoo, how I go?

GN: I don't know, Gyles Brandreth is catching, that's all I'm saying.

NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Yes he did hesitate.

NP: Oh he did, I don't know what he said.

PM: On I go and then he stopped.

NP: That's right.

PM: And anyhoo.

NP: I was trying to work out what he said.

PM: Anyhoo.

NP: Thirty-five seconds are still available Paul, my problems with this show starting now.

PM: I don't have any problems with this show.


NP: I'd like to give the audience a round of applause for the, I mean a point for the round of applause. Shall we give it to Paul? Because he got such a lovely reaction from the audience. He deserves it. Right, a bonus point to Paul. It was a correct challenge Graham and you have the subject, you have 33 seconds and we are back with you, my problems with this show starting now.

GN: One of my other problems with this show...


NP: Alun challenged.

AC: I thought you'd told us all of your problems in this show earlier.

GN: No no no, I said my main problem.

AC: Oh!

PM: He's so well educated he can't help but talk for a minute on any subject that he is given.

AC: That's right, yeah, I take it back.

GN: My main problem, and now I'm going on to minor problems.

PM: Main problem.

AC: Oh okay. My apologies.

NP: An incorrect challenge Graham, another point, 31 seconds, my problems with this show starting now.

GN: One of the other problems...


GN: Oh I did, oh yes.

PM: We have had one before.

GN: Yes.

NP: We have had one yes. Paul, a correct challenge this time, 30 seconds, my problems with this show starting now.

PM: I don't have any problems with this show.


NP: I can't give you two bonus points for the same statement. Gyles you got in again. My problems with this show, 28 seconds, starting now.

GB: My problems with this show are entirely connected with the physical attractiveness of the audience that comes to watch it. The erotic charge within the room is so great that it becomes almost impossible for me to concentrate on the business in hand. I'm feeling...


NP: Alun you challenged.

AC: I feel sick!

NP: Well that's another repetition, you said that before.

AC: Yes...

NP: So have you got a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

AC: No, I just thought it was probably best to release the valve of erotic tension that Gyles was creating in the room.

NP: So I'm afraid it was an incorrect challenge.

AC: Okay.

NP: Gyles you still have the subject, you have 12 seconds, my problems with this show starting now.

GB: My only real problem with this show is that it comes to an end. And then what does one do on a Monday evening or a Sunday morning instead of listening to Just A Minute? One is lost with repeats of Alan Jones...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and has increased his lead at the end of that round. Paul Merton and Graham Norton are equal in second place. Alun Cochrane's bringing up a noble rear there.

AC: Steady!

NP: Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject now is Wales, tell us something about Wales, in this game starting now.

PM: The first time I appeared on stage in front of a paying public was at the Swansea Fringe Festival in 1981. It sounds very grand or perhaps it doesn't. The event itself wasn't a particularly big affair. Wales is somewhere I have been many times since and I have always enjoyed playing there. Cardiff as well as a beautiful Millennium Centre, beautiful new...


NP: Oh Gyles you spotted it first.

GB: Repetition of beautiful.

NP: Beautiful yes and 40 seconds for you Gyles on Wales starting now.

GB: The holiday in Port Talbot is one I will not forget. The sign that said "welcome to the Welsh Riviera" was a tad deceptive. It was August and the hailstones came down thick and fast but with a gorgeous accent that accompanied them. They were more like cales that came from that part of the country. Eistedfast was taking place and I climbed aboard a bus and went to the Swansea Grand where I too have made an appearance. Miss Adelina Pattie was opening the theatre at the time, second on the bill was Nicholas Parsons. It was a glorious cultural day for those people who live on the other side of the border...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth, speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Gyles it is actually now your turn to begin again, and the subject now is making a splash. As if you haven't made a big enough one already, try talking on the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

GB: Those of you who only know me as the voice of Stewie in Family Guy will not realise that I have an amazing physical body to go with that extraordinary voice that emanates from my...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Where do you keep it?

GB: Well I'm going to explain. I take off my clothes to make a splash. You can't see it because I am dressed. When I'm undressed, you'll notice.

NP: I don't know what the two of you are talking about. What's your challenge Paul?

PM: Ah I don't think I've got one.

NP: Oh what a pity! I was going to give you the point. Gyles it is still with you, 48 seconds, making a splash starting now.

GB: I love to go down to the Fulham Baths and tear off all my garments, wearing nothing but sweet speedoes, dive into the...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I think the Fulham Baths closed about 1972.

NP: Also that would be deviation because it wouldn't be allowed at any baths.

PM: You've not still been going there? It's now a furniture room. They sell furniture now. He's walking in there stark naked every Monday.

NP: Paul you have 40 seconds and a correct challenge, making a splash starting now.

PM: David Hockney made a splash with a painting around that very subject. Set in California by the swimming pools. Making a splash is a phrase you often hear in show business when somebody first comes along to entertain an audience. One of the very aspects that people like in entertainment is to find somebody who has a freshness...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of entertainment.

NP: Yes.

PM: Was there? Oh.

NP: So Graham, well listened, 24 seconds are still available...

GN: How many?

NP: Twenty-four.

GN: So I buzzed terribly early.

NP: The way you've been going up to now that's nothing, that's a dolly.

PM: Exactly!

NP: Making a splash, come on Graham, 24 seconds starting now.

GN: Oh there's nothing more annoying than being at a swimming pool when people are doing that thing of bombing which I believe is illegal. I've seen the poster by the side of the wall. That would be the entire thing, the flat thing over there by the grass perhaps. And then...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: No I don't think so.

PM: Oh really?

NP: Do you want to relinquish the subject?

GN: No I'll keep going.

NP: No you can, I disagree, he may be teetering on hesitation but not quite achieving it.

PM: Okay.

NP: Nine, there's only nine seconds, gather your second wind Graham and go on making a splash starting now.

GN: I remember once appearing on the bill at the Royal Variety Performance which sounds like a lie! But it really did happen.


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of really.

NP: Yes.

GN: Damn! I nearly got there.

NP: And Gyles...

GN: No it's fine.

NP: You got in with two seconds...

GN: No it's fine! No it's fine Gyles! You're in the lead! It's fine! You just go! Don't worry about us over here!

NP: They enjoy making you feel small Gyles. But make a splash now with two seconds on that subject...

GN: How many seconds?

NP: Two seconds...

GN: Two seconds! Enjoy it Gyles! Go!

NP: Give Graham another bonus point for...

AC: Did Graham just get a bonus point for wishing Gyles luck? Good luck Gyles!

NP: Give Alun a bonus point. Paul would you like to get a bonus point?

PM: No no. I'll wait till I've earnt it!

AC: I wish I could be so proud!

NP: Give him a bonus point for that! And there's still two seconds left in this round with Gyles if he makes it, making a splash starting now.

GB: Johnny Weismuller made a splash and he is my role...


NP: So we are moving into the final round. And as we do, let me tell you that it's pretty close, but one or two are trailing a little. Alun who has not played as much as the rest is trailing a little in fourth place. But not far behind Graham Norton and Paul Merton who are equal in second place and they are three or four points behind our leader, Gyles Brandreth. And Alun it's with you to begin and the subject is remembering people's names starting now.

AC: Remembering people's names is nigh on impossible for me, as people are so tedious that I really have to struggle to put their names into my head. Many people suggest tricks for remembering people's names like, oh you can make an image out of their name. And they always pick a convenient example. Like if you meet someone called Steven Lighthouse, just pick his face in a big lit-up building on the coast of the country...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a bit of a hesitation there.

AC: I was trying not to repeat lighthouse. I don't know if I gave that away or not.

NP: A bit of a hesitation but I think he was going with reasonable confidence. And teetering as I said before but not quite achieving it so we leave it with you Alun, you've got another point for that, incorrect challenge, 32 seconds still available, remembering people's names starting now.

AC: As I was staying, saying to Steve... ahhhh!


NP: Graham you challenged.

GN: Ah there was a...

NP: Hesitation yes. Thirty seconds on remembering people's names starting now.

GN: Remembering people's names is very difficult as Andy was just explaining. And I find the most annoying thing about it is that people get upset. Why would you care? It wouldn't bother me in the slightest...


NP: Alun challenged.

AC: Just to correct you, it's Alun.

GN: Oh?

AC: And I'm really offended by you calling me Andy.

GN: My point has been proved.

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

AC: There isn't one, I was just trying to make a little joke.

NP: Right!

AC: I see the error of my ways now.

NP: Quite right. Alun we enjoyed the interruption, a little bonus point there for him, it doesn't make a lot of difference to the final result.


NP: Give him two bonus points, right. Graham you were interrupted and remembering people's names, 14 seconds starting now.

GN: I actually am very bad at it and even good friends, I will be somewhere and go to introduce them and suddenly that name is gone...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was that a hesitation?

GN: Oh no! No no no no no! That was so filled!

PM: It was filled with something!

NP: It was filled with humorous animation and expression.

PM: Ah!

GN: Is that what it was?

NP: Yes.

GN: Yes! What he said!

PM: Ah okay.

NP: It was an intake of breath'. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt Paul.

PM: Yes.

NP: So four seconds, remembering people's names starting now.

GN: Some people think it's a skill...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes you mentioned people before.

GN: Oh.


GN: No no, fair, that is fair.

NP: No, people's on the card.

PM: I know, people's, but he repeated people.

NP: Oh yes! Well Graham you've had too many benefits of the doubt.

GN: Yes I understand.

NP: So Paul you've got it with two seconds to go on remembering people's names starting now.

PM: People, people's, it doesn't really matter in the end as long as you get there...


NP: So let me give you the final score. Alun Cochrane who achieved so much but finished up in a very fine, very talented fourth place. He was three points behind Graham Norton. And he was four points behind Paul Merton. And Paul was five points behind our leader who was Gyles Brandreth! So a round of applause for our winner this week! We do hope you enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute and will want to tune in again at the same time next week. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four intrepid players of this game, Paul Merton, Gyles Brandreth, Alun Cochrane and Graham Norton. I thank Sharon Leonard who helped me keep the score, and blown her whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. We are indebted to our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are very indebted to this lovely audience, in the Radio Theatre. So from them, and from me, Nicholas Parsons, good-bye, and tune in the next time we take to the air and we play Just A Minute! Yes!