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 talented and excited performers who are going to show their skill with words and language knowledge. And they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Julian Clary. And seated on my left, Sue Perkins and Greg Proops. Please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Sharon Leonard, who is going to help me keep the score, and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And once again I am going to ask the four players to speak on a subject that I give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And we are going to begin the show this week with Paul Merton. Paul, oh, a nice one, how I like my coffee. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: I like my coffee, the way I like my women, in a cup. the thing about coffee is it can be hot and sweet, thank you Greg, that was a good laugh. Hot and sweet and...


PM: Oh I repeated hot and sweet.

NP: Sue you challenged.

SUE PERKINS: Repetition of hot.

NP: Yes

PM: Yeah and sweet.

NP: And sweet. So Sue, a correct challenge, you've got in with 51 seconds to go on how I like my coffee starting now.

SP: I like my coffee the way I like my women, freely available and cheap. Failing that, I have it with one sugar and milky, although not a latte, cappucino or anything frothy served by a barrista, who essentially is a gentleman or lady who is trained in the art of fizzing a white substance...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: A bit of hesitation.

NP: There was a bit of hesitation.

SP: There was, there was a bit. It's tough.

PM: I know, it's a shame that it's rules, isn't it.

NP: Those are the rules of the show! That's how we play the game! Paul, a correct challenge so you have another point. You don't have another point, you've got your first point. There are 34 seconds available on how I like my coffee starting now.

PM: I used to drink coffee when I was growing up, by my mother who used to make it the Irish way which is very milky indeed. And for years that's what I thought coffee tasted like. When I first tried coffee with water...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation. And also they're... oh, not hesitation, Nicholas? Nicholas is pulling a sour face.

PM: Do you think it's his own?

SP: We were moving into an area of hesitation.

NP: It was moving into that area but I don't think it was a big enough hesitation or pause to be called hesitation.

SP: Okay.

NP: So I must give the benefiyt of the doubt to Paul. If I can redress the balance later, Sue, I will do so.

SP: Wow! Presumably that's during the show, Nicholas? Or will that be one of your special after-show redressings?

NP: No no no, I'll do it after the show as well, if you like.

SP: Very good. Oh Nicholas!

NP: That's up to you. Paul, incorrect challenge so you keep the subject, 22 seconds avilable, starting now.

PM: Now I've progressed on to filtered coffee and I do sppreciate it although you mustn't drink too much because it's very heavily infused with caffeine. Some people drink decaffeinated coffee but I don't really see the point of that. It's a bit like drinking alcohol...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of drink.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Yes Sue you listened well and you've got a correct challenge and you have how I like my coffee, nine seconds starting now.

SP: I don't understand the concept of a skinny coffee. What's the point of drinking it if you cvan't have the richness of full fat milk, trickling down your chops...


NP: Julian you've challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Repetition of milk.

NP: Yes you mentioned milk before.

SP: Yes I did.

NP: Right at the beginning, yes you did indeed.

JC: It was worth a try, wasn't it.

SP: Yeah.

NP: So Julian you cleverly got in with half a second to go and in that half a second, can you tell us something about how I like my coffee starting now.

JC: I like my coffee the way I like...


NP: Right so at the end of that round, Julian has two points as he was speaking as the whistle went. Sue's got two points, Paul's got one and Greg has yet to speak but he's going to speak now, because I'd like, Greg, you to begin the next round. Oh, chosen specially for you I'm sure, the best thing about Hollywood. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

GREG PROOPS: The best thing... what is it?


GP: Wow! About Hollywood.

NP: Yes.

GP: I wanted to add another word.

NP: Julian you challenged, yes, it was a...

JC: Well an embarrassing hesitation.

NP: I suppose I must be fair within the rules of Just A Minute and say Julian, you have a point. And you have 59 seconds on the best thing about Hollywood starting now.

JC: The best thing about Hollywood is the wall to wall stars. You might be...


NP: Paul. I think the audience spotted it as well, wall to wall.

PM: Repetition of wall.

NP: Yes, 55 seconds for you Paul, on the best thing about Hollywood starting now.

PM: Some say the best thing about Hollywood is its past and it is indeed a rich history that Hollywood has. If we look at it nowadats the motion picture industry has lost a lot of its audiences to people who play games or watch television or surf the Internet on what I believe is called a computer...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Oh I didn't really mean to.

PM: Didn't you?

JC: A spontaneous spasm of my thumb.

NP: I think you've er, I think you've made the decision Julian. Forty seconds are still available Paul, the best thing about Hollywood starting now.

PM: Cecil B De Mille is generally credited as being the first director to work in Hollywood which was then just a simple place, an orange grove in fact. And they happened to be there because they were planning to film somewhere, I think it was Phoenix, Arizona, but unfortunately it was full of snow at that time and they were trying to make a western. So they ended up in Hollywood, that's how the histories happen, accidents do...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of history.

NP: Yes.

PM: Histories.

NP: Oh yes!


JC: Have an extra point!

PM: Has somebody brought out the best china? What was that noise?

NP: At the beginning you said history and that was histories. Well done, you've played the game a lot before, haven't you, right. Twenty seconds still with you Paul, and another point, the best thing about Hollywood starting now.

PM: The best thing about Hollywood is the incomic Hollywood sign that sits up on the Hollywood hills. It used to be called Hollywood Land but the last four letters fell off and nobody ever bothered to replace it. Initially it was there as an estate agent's advertisement to indicate that this land was available...


PM: Oh land!

NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of land.

NP: There was two lands there. Yes and Sue you've got in with four seconds to go on the best thing about Hollywood starting now.

SP: The best thing about Hollywood is everybody shares the same face, like a dolly on a bonfire...


NP: So Paul and Sue Perkins are now equal in the lead, one point ahead of Julian and a few more points ahead of Greg. And Julian we'd like you to begin the next round. The subject is breaking things. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JC: I'm very good at breaking things. When I was about 12 I put my foot through the dashboard in my father's zephyr, and he called me a great steaming idiot which offended me greatly. But as I continued to age, I broke things left right and centre. Both of my arms, the left one falling off a stool...


NP: Greg challenged.

GP: I believe there was a repetition of the word left.

JC: Oh! There's general agreement amongst the punters.

NP: Oh yes, left right and centre.

GP: Yes.

NP: Well done. Left right and centre, that's what you said, and then you had your left foot. Right so Greg, good you've got in, 43 seconds, breaking things starting now.

GP: Breaking things is easy to do. For instance you can stumble down a hallway and break your kneecaps. Or you can break the silence...


NP: Greg you've challenged yourself. Your light's come on.

SP: You're the first self-challenging panellist we've ever had.

GP: I do it because it's there!

NP: So what is your challenge Greg.

GP: I thought I was hesitating a little.

NP: Well I think that's a correct challenge. So well listened. You get a point for that Greg and you keep the subject. There are 36 seconds available, breaking things, Greg starting now.

GP: Many times when I was a child, I would be left alone in my room, with just a toybox of various gadgets, geegars, jimcracks and chachkeys. These I would... chachkey is a Yiddish word...


NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: I was going to say you repeated chichkar.

GP: Chachkey.

SP: Yeah chachkey. That's what...

GP: It's Yiddish.

SP: Is it?

GP: It's the best thing about Hollywood, that's what we speak.

SP: What does it mean in Yiddish?

NP: But Greg, it was very kind of you to explain it to us. But in doing so, you repeated the word.

GP: I realise that now. I would have repeated myself, but I didn't have my hand on the buzzer.

NP: So Sue...

PM: I think it was singular and plural though.

GP: Thank you Paul.

NP: Yes it was.

GP: It was chachkeys and then sometimes a chachkey.

SP: Wow! What is a chachkey?

GP: A snall geegar!

SP: You should have said.

GP: Yeah. A little doodle, you know, like a thing.

SP: Yeah but a Yiddish thing!

GP: Yeah.

NP: Right that's interesting. Right, 23 seconds still with you then Greg, breaking things starting ... Greg are you ready? Starting now.

GP: My...


NP: Paul.

PM: He lied, he wasn't ready.

GP: Is fabricating against the rules too?

NP: So Paul you've got breaking things now, 22 seconds available starting now.

PM: In India they consider that if you can break a world record, this gives you huge esteem amongst your fellow Indians. And indeed in that country they have enormous desires to prove themselves individually, to stand out from the crowd. There was one man I filmed once, that has been seen many times since on YouTube where I was actually kicking him in an area just outside Mumbai, and he was an extraordinary figure...


NP: Right, that was a lovely switch Paul, then. I know where you were kicking because I saw the film. Paul you've increased your lead at the end of that round ahead of Sue Perkins and then Julian Clary and then Greg Proops in that order. Sue we are back with you to begin, the subject now is Robin Hood, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

SP: Robin Hood was an English folklore hero who rode through the glen and lived in Loxley near Nottingham where of course Alan Rickman was sherrif. He did awful things and made Marian blush on several occasions. Surrounded...


PM: Alan Rickman did?

NP: Yes.

PM: Alan Rickman made Marian blush?

SP: No, Robin Hood.

NP: We introduced Alan Rickman into Robin Hood's period.

SP: Yes. It was by way of a joke which now I've explained it has sort of fallen apart the way that some jokes do when put under the microscope.

NP: Is that what we would call deviation?

SP: Well it is what I call anachronism for comic effect. But you're if you...

NP: So I said I would give you the benefit of the doubt...

SP: Right.

NP: Because I gave it to Paul last time. You can have it this time and you keep the subject, 46 seconds, Robin Hood starting now.

SP: He surrounded himself with an awful lot of geezers. Friar Tuck was one, beautiful tonsure, incredible cut with a perfect circle that exposed his baled pate. He was a round guy, he liked to fight with a staff. And also there was Little John, he was quite a tall sausage. And everyone roared with laughter, an inappropriate monicker it was. There they were, dressed in Lincoln green making campfires and slapping each other on the kneecaps, occasionally robbing the rich to give to the poor which by then had become their trademark. He did so well at this particular form of thievery that legend spread and up to this day, we revere him as some kind of extraordinary man who could by dint opf his incredible ability to pick a pocket or two...


NP: Well Sue kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point and she's moving forward. She's still in second place but she's one point behind Paul at the moment, who is leading Julian and Greg in that order. And Paul, it's your turn to begin, how I would describe myself on a dating website. Take the subject, talk for 60 seconds if you can starting now.

PM: I would say I look like a younger Paul Merton. I'm very individual, a characteristic person who perhaps who is miserly as well as being generous, sober alcoholic, sincere, insincere. These are the various qualities I would put across on a computer dating site, whatever these things are. I would imagine that the people who go involved... oh what does that mean? Nothing!


NP: Sue you challenged.

PM: I knew nothing about this subject.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: Yes it was

SP: I would have answered that personal ad had you put that in.

PM: Yes.

NP: Forty-one seconds still available Sue, you tell us something about what you would put, how I would describe myself on a dating website starting now.

SP: What I would put, what I have pit, I am six feet tall, blonde...


NP: Greg challenged.

GP: Can we say put a bunch of times?

SP: I was a flagrant repeater.

NP: No, well listened Greg, 38 seconds, how I would describe myself on a dating website starting now.

GP: As devestatingly handsome to start with. A young Peter Sellers mixed with Michael Caine in The Ipcress File and then later Buddy Holly during the good years.


PM: He's had some bad years!

NP: Julian you challenged.

JC: Hesitation.

NP: Yes you got the big laugh and you paused. Julian, correct challenge, how I would describe myself on a dating website, 28 seconds starting now.

JC: I think the word available springs to mind first and foremost. But perky as well and I'm not saying I'm picky, but not everyone need apply. I like a hirsute gentleman caller to pop round. I don't know ahat you're looking at! You could visit me on a Thursday, I'm generally home on a Thursday. We'll just have a quiet night in...


NP: Sue what was your challenge?

SP: Repeat of Thursday.

NP: Yes unfortunately, 10 seconds Sue, how I would describe myself on a dating website starting now.

SP: Twenty-four inch waist, breasts like spacehoppers, I have a winning personality, a smile that could crack a lightbulb...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: What? Inflatable?

SP: Yeah. With horns!

PM: With horns?

SP: With horns! Yeah!

PM: Extraordinary image.

NP: So Paul what was your challenge?

PM: Oh I don't think I had one.

NP: Right so four seconds left for you Sue, on how I would describe myself on a dating website starting now.

SP: I have the sight of a sparrow-hawk, no need to wear glasses, me, because my vision is so perfect, I could...


NP: Right so Sue Perkins is surging ahead, she's now in the lead, two ahead of Paul Merton, and Julian Clary and Greg Proops follow in that order. And Greg we are back with you and the subject is my eyesight, 60 seconds starting now.

GP: I found when I was seven years old that I could no longer see the chalkboard in the classroom. My teacher became aware of this as I moved closer to...


NP: Julian challenged.

GP: Phooey!

JC: Oh a hesitation again.

NP: Oh hesitation yes.

GP: Yes. As clear as day.

NP: Julian yes, 51 seconds Julian still available, you tell us something about my eyesight starting now.

JC: Well I can see most things. But like everyone else as I mature, and I am a surprising 52 I'm hear to tell you, when I'm reading I need to wear spectacles nowadays. Apart from that, my eyesight is fine. And I secretly believe that when you are going into a restaurant the menu is now printed smaller than ever it was in my vigorous youth. Not that I went to many restaurant... oh!


NP: Oh Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of restaurant.

NP: Yes restaurant. Oh wait a minute! That was singular and plural, wasn't it.

JC: Oh yes!

NP: Yes.

JC: I'll have that point back.

NP: You don't get it back, you just get a point for an incorrect challenge, and 28 seconds are still with you Julian on my eyesight starting now.

JC: My eyesight is improving in fact, because I prefer not to see things that clearly. It's like looking through vaseline which, believe you me, improves the quality of my existence! We've all tried it, don't deny! And my...


NP: Paul you've challenged.

PM: Slight hesitation.

NP: Yeah. It was a full-stop.

PM: That raises it.

JC: Very slight.

PM: Yeah very slight.

JC: Bold.

PM: Yeah.

NP: I think it was quite definite Julian.

JC: Oh right.

NP: Ten seconds Paul on my eyesight starting now.

PM: I've got almost perfect eyesight, in fact I've got 19-20 vision. And it's fantastic because I was going to say, oh.


NP: Sue.

SP: It was hesitation. But I think there was a beautiful joke coming.

PM: I know.

SP: There was going to be, like the greatest joke ever.

PM: Yeah. If only I could have thought what it was!

NP: Sue a correct challenge, you got in with five seconds to go on my eyesight starting now.

SP: When the optician presents me with a board and says could you please reel off the list of letters you see, there's not one that my eyes can...


NP: So Sue Perkins was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. She has moved forward and she's still in the lead, just two ahead of Paul Merton and three or four ahead of Julian Clary and Greg Proops in that order. Julian we're back with you to begin, the subject now is surprise parties. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JC: There are going to be surprise parties in every street this summer. I'm having an event in my back passage to which everyone is invited. I'm going to lay out a trestle table. There will be candy bars and sandwiches...


PM: Sandwiches!

SP: Sandwiches!

PM: Do you cut the crusts off?

SP: Yeah.

JC: I was thinking, I was thinking of street parties, not surprise parties.

PM: Yeah you were thinking of street parties.

JC: I got it completely wrong.

PM: Got it completely wrong.

JC: Nobody noticed.

PM: No-one noticed.

NP: But Sue noticed so you challenged Sue.

SP: Ah yes hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes, 47 seconds are still available for you Sue, on surprise parties starting now.

SP: There is nothing surprising about a surprise party, because you can tell from the atmosphere around your friends as the birthday approaches. When I turned 30, I was aware that my best mate was avoiding all calls and would mutter and mumble every time the incredible event loomed closer. In fact I was told I was to do nothing. That's the first indication a surprise is coming. Don't leave the house, why would you want to? Of course, I would like to leave the domicile where I...


NP: Oh yes, Greg you challenged.

GP: Yes I believe there was a repetition of the word leave.

NP: Yes there was, definitely was.

GP: And it wasn't in the plural.

SP: Yup!

GP: There were not a pile of leaves.

NP: No no.

SP: A single leaf.

NP: Greg you've got in with 18 seconds to go on surprise parties starting now.

GP: Surprise parties are always exciting. Who could forget the thrill of working into a room full of people you barely like and having them yell at you in the moment of your most vulnerable weaknesses. When I was 16...


GP: Yah! I've got to quit breathing!

NP: Yes Paul you challenged.

PM: Sadly hesitation.

NP: It was, seven seconds, surprise parties starting now.

PM: The biggest surprise party I ever attended was in fact Julian Clary, who suddenly decided to honour my career in show business by inviting everybody...


NP: So Sue still in the lead, one point behind is Paul, then Julian and then Greg. And Sue we are back with you to begin, oh the subject now is sloth. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

SP: Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins along with envy, pride and thinking that Michael Gove is an acceptable human being. It implies a certain laziness, indolence, basking in the sun and not involving yourself in the everyday annoyances of life. I for one, don't actually, am guilty... ah!


NP: Oh Julian challenged.

JC: Oh a general breakdown, let's call it hesitation.

NP: There was hesitation yes, 39 seconds are now available Julian and the subject is still sloth starting now.

JC: Looking around the audience here at the BBC, sloth seems to be the general atmosphere. There's a man over there with his legs crossed. I suppose you're thinking but sloth is what's written across your forehead as far as I'm concerned...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: What else can they do? They can't do handstands! They're sitting down, that's not an indication of sloth.

JC: Well I decided that it is.

PM: Oh well I decided that it wasn't.

JC: Outside!

PM: You've changed your tune all of a sudden!

NP: And I'm going to decide that I've given you the benefit of teh doubt once Paul, I'm going to give it to Julian on this occasion and say you keep the subject Julian, 26 seconds available, sloth starting now.

JC: Sloth is considered a deadly sin but as far as I'm....


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: A bit of hesitation.

NP: That was hesitation. Yes, 23 seconds are still available Sue on sloth starting now.

SP: The sloth is a glorious animal with huge paws like massive mittens that are wrapped around the tree. And a tail that acts almost as a fifth leg. It can hang for up to 17 days doing very little. And I know exactly how he feels, having watched daytime television for almost that long in my student days. Although I somehow strangely managed to graduate...


NP: Greg challenged.

GP: Seventeen days and student days.

NP: Oh yes.

SP: Yes.

NP: Days there we are. So well listened Greg and you've got in with half a second to go. I don't know why they clap that but anyway. Sloth is still with you and your time starts now.

GP: The giant ground sloth...


NP: Right so Sue's still in the lead, just ahead of Paul Merton and then comes Julian Clary not far behind. Greg's not far behind. And Paul we are back with you to begin. And the subject on the card is my three favourite people in the world. Sixty seconds starting now.

PM: My three favourite people in the world. Well obviously one of them has to be my wife. And the second one is probably Nicholas Parsons. I've been professionally associated with him no, no, he's not dead, don't worry! Don't worry!


PM: There's a wave of sympathy! Did you hear that wave of sympathy! I had to break the news that you weren't dead!

NP: But Sue you challenged.

SP: Ah hesitation. I know it was a comedic pause so I'm being...

NP: It was a comedy... so you've had the benefit of the doubt. Let's give it to Paul on this occasion and say Paul, 49 seconds starting now.

PM: I have been professionally associated with our esteemed chairman....


NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: Repetition of professionally associated.

PM: Oh did I say that before?

NP: That's right yes.

PM: I must listen to what I'm saying.

NP: So Sue correct challenge, 47 seconds now, my three favourite people in the world starting now.

SP: My three favourite people in the world are all Nicholas Parsons! Because what you don't know is he's a triumvirate, he's a blessed trio. You never know which one you're going to get. You're going to get malevolent sexy Nicholas...


PM: The good, the bad and the ugly.

NP: Julian you challenged.

JC: Repetition of get.

NP: Yes and Nicholas too.

JC: And Nicholas as well, yes.

NP: But we can't have too much repetition of that, I suppose. thirty-eight seconds Julian, my three favourite people in the world starting now.

JC: My three favourite people in the world are my mother, father and Christopher Biggins! They've all been around as long as I have, peering into my pram when I was first born, cooing over me, feeding me food and...


PM: Christopher Biggins did all this?

JC: Yes.

NP: Greg you challenged.

GP: I did, but I don't want to now. He said me twice, but that just seems so picky.

NP: Well he said it three times actually.

GP: Oh did he? Well, well listened Nicholas! I'll give you a point from over here! And I'm going to give you a compliment (undecipherable).

NP: Greg, well listened, 23 seconds, my three favourite people in the world starting now.

GP: Bob, Doug, Ed, Carl, Phil, John, Roman are not my three favourite people in the world. They're just a bunch of dudes I know. My three favourite people in the world are probably, I would say, the father, the son and Satchel Page who pitched in the Negro Leagues in the United States. Now some people might think that that's a deviation, but it's nit for I studied this all through...


NP: Right so I just heard we've no more time to play Just A Minute. We've got time for one more round. And so as we move into the final round Sue is still in the lead and she's three points ahead of Paul Merton, and she's four points ahead of Greg Proops and Julian Clary who are both creeping up magnificently. It's very close still. And Greg we are back with you to begin and the subject is smartphones. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

GP: Smartphones are a tool. And if you are on yours all the time, so are you. Smartphones are used by people far too often. Every time you see one walk out of the lift, they're looking at their smartphone. Smartphones are used by the government to track us wherever we go, because it's not only a smartphone, it's a microphone that listens to everything you say. It's also a camera that watches you wherever you go. It...


NP: Yes Paul.

PM: Hesitation sadly.

NP: Yes because he knew he repeated wherever you go. Thirty-six seconds Paul on smartphones starting now.

PM: A smartphone, I'm not really sure what that is. I don't own a mobile phone myself. I'm one of the few people around who doesn't seem to have one of these objects in my hand or purse or pocket. And a smartphone I suppose is a phone that you can rely on, that can be different things that you want it to... be....


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Um hesitation.

NP: Yes hesitation and be, 19 seconds Julian, you tell us something about smartphones starting now.

JC: I think smartphones are a marvellous invention, not only can you call your beloved ones, but you can do your shopping list on it. It can speak to you nowadays which is a relatively new invention. You can have a hair appointment if you want, you could even...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: No I think it was getting close to hesitation but didn't quite achieve it. So Julian the benefit of the doubt to you with five seconds to go on smartphones starting now.

JC: Of course there is a danger with smartphones getting so smart that eventually they will overtake their sensibilities...


NP: Julian Clary brought the show to a close there. He's finished in second place alongside Paul Merton. They are two points ahead of Greg Proops and they are all those three trailing Sue Perkins by two points. So we say this week Sue, you are our winner. We do hope that you have enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Sue Perkins and Greg Proops. I thank Sharon Leonard, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle magnificently when the 60 seconds elapsed. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are grateful to our producer Claire Jones. From the audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, and the team, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!