starring PETER JONES, TONY HAWKS, GYLES BRANDRETH and JO BRAND, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 23 April 1999)


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Oh thank you, thank you yes, hello and welcome to Just A Minute, this delightful and utterly impossible game in which I ask my four guests to show off their verbal dexterity and ingenuity as they try to keep going on the subject I give them. And we have today four fine wordsmiths. Somebody who has excelled himself as a stand-up comedian on improvisation, that is Tony Hawks. And beside Tony a comedian whoís excelled herself in every sense of the word, the original and popular Jo Brand. And on my left another man whose comedy performances and after dinner speeches are par excellence, Gyles Brandreth. And another comedy performer, writer and a much loved comedian, that is Peter Jones. Please welcome all four of them! The rules of Just A Minute are ridiculously simple until you start trying to play the game. They have to speak for Just A Minute if they can on a subject I give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Letís see how well they do today as we start the show with Tony Hawks. Oh Tony, Iíve just realised something. The subject is so apt for today because it is St Georgeís Day. So please talk about St Georgeís Day starting now.

TONY HAWKS: I had no idea that today is St Georgeís Day but nonetheless Iím happy to talk on that subject Nicholas. I donít know very much about Saint George. I believe he had a bit of a fight with a dragon and did quite well. And thatís obviously a big qualification for life. Itís always good to be able to fight these kinds of animals and win. Twenty-third of April, I think it is today and what it is I mentioned, I imagine...


NP: Gyles Brandreth you challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: Well there was a bit of hesitation and a repetition of today.

NP: You always rub it in, donít you Gyles? One challenge is quite sufficient, you donít have to have two faults! Right, he did hesitate so that means Gyles Brandreth has the subject, he gets a point for a correct challenge. He takes over St Georgeís Day and there are 39 seconds available starting now.

GB: I say that George has had his day! Letís hear it for Alban or even better given todayís date, let us hear it for William Shakespeare, the bard of Avon!


NP: Peter you challenged.

PETER JONES: Yes he was deviating.

NP: No he wasnít, he repeated himself, letís hear it for.

PJ: Oh he did? Well I thought you were deviating talking about William Shakespeare and St Albans and...

GB: But you see... let him have it, but the point is St Georgeís Day is also the birthday...

NP: What do you mean let him have it! Donít be so condescending!

PJ: Heís patronising you!

GB: Iím patronising you!


NP: Yes, yes...

GB: Iím showing respect to him!


PJ: Oh thatís all right!

TH: Sometimes saying ďlet him have itĒ can get you into trouble!

GB: Ah!

NP: Yes I think a lot of people donít know that some people want to drop Saint George as our patron saint and bring in this other character. Whatís his name, Saint Albanís?

GB: Alban or indeed William Shakespeare whose birthday it is today.

NP: Absolutely, thereís, thereís been that, are you part of that pressure group?

GB: No Iím not.

NP: Well why are you talking about it?

GB: Well if youíll allow me a few extra seconds, Iíll explain.

NP: No I wonít! Iím going to give it to Peter Jones who has had a correct challenge. Peter you get a point for a correct challenge and you have 28 seconds to tell us something about St Georgeís Day starting now.

PJ: Well he was called just George, before he had this skirmish with the dragon. Thereís a statue of him and the dragon and the horse er just at the end of our road. And er the horse is obviously terrified as is er this er animal that he encountered. And kept er the er ah um...


NP: Jo you challenged.

PJ: Oh dear oh dear oh dear!

JO BRAND: A very lovely extended hesitation.

NP: Oh charmingly put Jo!

PJ: Very nice yes!

NP: Itís so...

PJ: It was worth doing really to get that!

NP: So Jo, a correct challenge, a point for that of course, and itís still St Georgeís Day and there are seven seconds available starting now.

JB: I think there should...


NP: Who challenged? Peter Jones.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Youíre becoming very keen!

PJ: She did take a long time starting.

NP: I know, I know.

GB: She does, you know, she does!


JB: Oi! Hold it, you!

NP: Peter yes Iím going to give it to you, you have a correct challenge. Five seconds on St Georgeís Day starting now.

PJ: Well Iíve enjoyed it so far! And I think I might enjoy...


NP: And Jo you challenged.

JB: I think there was an even lovelier hesitation then.

PJ: No, I just paused for a moment.

NP: No I think he was trying to ride...

JB: I just paused for a moment at the beginning of my one! Oh all right, let it... heís got a nice cardigan on there.

NP: Heís only got half a second to go and whoever speaks on, as the whistle goes gets an extra point. Peter Jones keep going for half a second starting now.

PJ: Well...


NP: So that extra point was won by Peter Jones and you wonít be surprised to hear that heís got a commanding lead at the end of the round. Jo Brand take the next round please, the subject is families. Tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

JB: Philip Larkin wrote a very concise poem about what your parents do to you. I canít repeat it now obviously because it has a rude word in it. I actually prefer Billy Braggís version which goes ďthey tuck you up, your Mum and DadĒ. Itís quite sweet, isnít it, really...


NP: And Gyles you challenged.

GB: Charming, repetition of Mum and Dad. They were introduced earlier on, in the reference to Philip Larkin. And then came again when in the tuck you up.

JB: I actually said par, par...

NP: She said parents didnít she?

GB: Arenít parents a Mum and Dad?

NP: Yeah they are but you know so well Gyles, you canít repeat the words, but you can use different words, and thatís the whole art of playing Just A Minute.

GB: Iíve lost a point.

NP: No, you havenít lost a point, youíve just given a point...

GB: Oh I like to give a point to a lovely lady!

NP: Yes right, so...

JB: Whereís she then? Where is that lovely lady?

NP: That was an incorrect challenge and er therefore it means whoever is speaking then gets an extra point. It was, not an extra point, you get a point for a wrong challenge. Jo and you keep the subject, itís families and there are 44 seconds available starting now.

JB: I come from a family, most of us do, I think youíll find. I have two brothers, and rather than my parents tucking me up, and I just said parents again...


JB: And my life is over!

NP: Too much tucking up there! So you got in...

JB: And tucking up as well!

TH: No, too many parents.

NP: A point to you Tony, a point to you, families is with you, 35 seconds starting now.

TH: Christmas is a wonderful opportunity for parents to get together and families of course, ah, they should already be together among...


NP: Ah yes, yes?

TH: Nurse!

NP: Right Gyles, your challenge?

GB: Yes, every single word was a repetition!

NP: Oh donít be so ridiculous!

GB: There were a few repetitions.

NP: There were yes, you have families which you want desperately, I know that. So go on the subject and there are 28 seconds starting now.


NP: And you challenged Peter.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Absolutely right! You, you got your buzzing finger back again, itís working wonderfully Peter.

PJ: Thank you very much.

NP: Tell us something about families in 26 seconds starting now.

PJ: Happy families are all very similar in a number of respects. Unhappy families differ and they have a number of ways in which they do. Some are argumentative, selfish and they wonít do any housework, as well I know from personal experience. And they will not wash up, thatís what I object to! They use the plates, as soon as they come through the front door they go to the fridge and tear everything out of it...


NP: So it was Peter Jones speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so and has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Gyles Brandreth, your turn to begin. Will you tell us something about this subject, jobs for the boys. I must remind some viewers who maybe havenít heard of it before, that they can repeat not only the word, but if itís a number of words, they can repeat them together or separately if they wish. Gyles, carry on, 60 seconds as usual, jobs for the boys starting now.

GB: When I was a child, and I told my father that I intended to make a career out of wearing ridiculous jumpers on television and collecting teddy bears, he said ďthese are not jobs for the boys. This is something silly that you want to doĒ. And consequently when I reached the age of 40, to please him I became a Member of Parliament. And then I discovered that jobs for the boys meant something quite different. More to do with snouts in the trough and Iím all right Jack. And Iíve now become something of a connoisseur of the concept of jobs for the boys, which means looking after your own, your chums, people who are around you. It is I suppose an indictment of the world in which we live that there is so much corruption, iniquity, decrepitude, and all these terrible things which go along with jobs for the boys. Itís a horrible world but as the philosopher said...


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: I think heís insulting the country!


PJ: Iím not going to stand, sit here and listen to that diatribe against the people that are doing their level best in the House of Commons and the House of Lords to er do keep us, you know, surviving in this hostile world.

NP: So whatís your challenge Peter?

PJ: Ah deviation! And er well...

NP: Deviation from what though?

PJ: Treason!


NP: Peter we love your idea! Iím going to give you a bonus point for the idea of the treason as everybody enjoyed it. But strictly speaking he wasnít deviating from the subject on the card. So Gyles gets a point for being interrupted, he keeps jobs for the boys, 14 seconds starting now.

GB: As the philosopher said no matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor but honest. Which is my way of saying jobs for the boys is something that one should avoid getting involved with because it leads to a pernicious and indeed reprehensible...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth began with the subject and actually finished with the subject. He was interrupted once. He got one point for the interruption and one point for speaking as the whistle went. And what has happened? Well heís in second place. And Peter Jones is still in a strong lead. And Peter Jones, itís your turn to begin, the subject, saints and sinners. Tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Saints as Saint Augustine said, are to be praised. But the sinners are to be condemned. He was a great man for quotes! As for instance when he said ďLord, give me chastity, but not yet!Ē And everybody enjoys that!


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: Deviation, I donít enjoy chastity!

NP: What about hesitation?

TH: Yeah hesitation.

NP: Right! So saints and sinners are with you and 37 seconds, 38, starting now.

TH: What an apt day to be talking about saints with it being St Georgeís Day. One of my favourite nights of the year is to enjoy celebrating this saint but Iím not a sinner...


NP: Jo Brand challenged.

JB: Heís talking rubbish!

NP: So heís...

JB: But Iím not claiming I could do any better when I start off again! But he was bumbling.

NP: He was bumbling, yes.

JB: You were Tony.

NP: I think he was deviating from saints and sinners...

TH: I, the thing was I nearly said day again, you see. And I got...

NP: I know, itís so difficult, isnít it. It doesnít matter how much you think about it as youíre going along, you get tripped up. Twenty-nine seconds...

JB: Oh is it that much? Twenty-nine?

NP: Iíve never met anybody come on the show and get absolutely turned off at the idea of having so many seconds to go.

JB: Well I do!

NP: Twenty-nine seconds, do your best, saints and sinners Jo, starting now.

JB: Saints is another name for Southampton football team. And theyíre doing very badly at the moment. Theyíre bottom of the league and I donít know any more about them. So Iím going to keep talking rubbish until someone can...


NP: Gyles has challenged.

GB: I felt there was a woman in distress! Sending out signals!

NP: And you picked up the signal, hesitation or deviation, saints and sinners is with you, 17 seconds Gyles starting now.

GB: Saints and sinners is the name of a charitable luncheon club which exists in London, which I once addressed most unsuccessfully. Indeed the audience threw buns at me! I went on speaking and consequently they dipped the bread into the wine to make it more solid and slung some more! As I continued they ten put ten-penny coins...


NP: Well very few people come on the show and tell us about their difficult shows they did. They usually talk about the successful ones. But Gyles did that, kept going until the whistle went, gained an extra point. And heís creeping up on Peter Jones who is still in the lead. And Peter, that was saints and sinners. Tony Hawks itís your turn to begin, oh hereís a nice subject. Chicken vindaloo, thereís a hot subject for you Tony, go on it if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

TH: Last night I went out in Birmingham and had a curry with Barry Cryer and I ate a chicken vindaloo. And I think Jo Brand can bear witness to that fact as she sits alongside me now! Quite a meal it was! Magnificent in every respect and I enjoyed it very much! Not...

NP: Jo you challenged.

JB: I can bear witness to that! Could I be moved over to the other side?


JB: Peter can I come and sit next to you?

PJ: Yes sure, yes!

NP: Jo what I like to do on these occasions, when we get a lovely challenge, not a lovely challenge, a lovely introduction, lovely interjection like that, is to give a bonus point for that. But as Tony was interrupted, he gets a point for being interrupted, he keeps the subject, chicken vindaloo and you have 42 seconds starting now.

TH: Vindaloo of course was one of the pop songs used for the World Cup in France. I never quite followed the lyrics. It didnít have chicken vindaloo in it, but I think if they had had done, it might have been a bigger hit. It might have made number one as opposed to the one by Bedelah Newman which reached that slot. I will often go and have a chicken vindaloo with my nephews Derek and Clive who are...


GB: I sense a deviation here. Not only do I know that he eats chicken vindaloo, but I know his family quite well. And there is no, there is no Derek and Whatsit in his family. Itís a deviation.

NP: Well I donít know whether...

GB: Am I right? Challenge him! Ask him! Has he got a nephew and a niece and a cousin?

TH: I have their birth certificates with me!


GB: He has not! Well thatís a deviation in itself! To go around with your own nephew and nieceís birth certificates! The man should be arrested!

TH: Neither of them are my nieces! Derek and Clive are both boys!

GB: Itís getting, itís getting worse!

NP: I think, I think we can move into the world of fantasy in Just A Minute as long as we keep going and donít hesitate or repeat. So you may know that it is devious, I donít know that he hasnít got these two nephews. So Iím going to be generous and say that you have the benefit of the doubt on this occasion Tony, keep going on chicken vindaloo, 23 seconds starting now.

TH: My brother has over 300 children. Itís difficult to keep track of all the names! Now I once ate a doh! Ah cho...


NP: Yes youíve got in this time.

GB: I think there was a touch of hesitation.

NP: I think it was a guilty conscience after the 300 children! That was devious! Right...


NP: And who challenged then?

JB: I did. No, he said I once ate a doh tow choo and thatís a Chinese dish!

NP: Fourteen seconds Gyles, with you, chicken vindaloo starting now.

GB: Chicken vindaloo is a game played by children in the streets of Delhi where the little lads line up on one side of the room and attempt to run across before being actually hit by a passing camel. I have seen this dangerous game being...


NP: Peter, camel! Challenge!

PJ: Mmmm?

NP: Peter, challenge!

PJ: I have, yes!

NP: Right! Camel...

PJ: Itís a slow. a very long wire between this and the bell! It takes a long time to get through, you know!

NP: Yes, elephants, tigers...

GB: There are camels on the road from Delhi to Agra. But I mean, obviously youíre in charge!

NP: But theyíre not, camels are not rushing down the road every single day!

GB: Have you ever seen, have you ever been spat at by a camel?

PJ: Yes!

NP: Yes!

TH: Yes, my nephews have anyway!

NP: Peter...

PJ: Yes?

NP: You were very quick on your challenge, so ah, you got in actually with half a second to go on chicken vindaloo starting now.

PJ: The camels are very infrequent!


NP: Peter Jones was attempting to speak as the whistle went and oh heís increased his lead at the end of the round. Gyles Brandreth in second place, and equal in third place, Jo Brand and Tony Hawks. And Jo Brand, your turn to begin. The subject, counselling. I think you know something about this. Can you talk on the subject in 60 seconds starting now.

JB: As an ex psychiatric nurse I do indeed know about counselling. But different types of people need different types of counselling. And I said types twice...


JB: What is the matter with me?

NP: Well you mustnít draw attention to it, you know, because sometimes they can be generous and let you continue.

JB: Ah okay, can you be generous and let me continue?

NP: Itís too late now!

TH: Of course I, of course I can! So Iíll tell you what. Iíll make a mistake after about six seconds...

JB: All right.

TH: And you pick up on it.

JB: Okay.

NP: Fifty-one seconds Tony, counselling starting now.

TH: I often require counselling myself, I know that you will find this difficult to believe! I seem such...


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: Well I believe it!


PJ: I should go tomorrow if I were you!

NP: Peter...

PJ: Yes?

NP: You get a bonus point for that interjection.

PJ: Oh thank you!

NP: I gave him an opportunity to...

PJ: I donít often get a point for an interjection.

NP: An interruption then.

PJ: All right.

NP: You get a bonus point for what you said because the audience enjoyed it so much. You have a point because you were interrupted, Tony, and you have 45 seconds to keep going on counselling starting now.

TH: Having imaginary nephews is a severe problem, and I talked this...


NP: Yes?

GB: Having imaginary nephews? Now theyíre imaginary? A moment ago he had this... this man is deviant!

NP: Yes that is deviation.

TH: Thatís why I need counselling!

PJ: Yes!

NP: That is deviation because he did establish before they were real. Now heís established that they are imaginary. So that is definitely deviation. So one or the other, it doesnít matter which way, you have got the subject, 41 seconds, counselling with you Gyles starting now.

GB: When I was a Member of Parliament, I found that my Friday evening surgeries in the constituency turned into counselling sessions. I was a kind of unpaid relate, adviser, housing associate and doormat. People used to enjoy coming in and walking all over me and then telling me all their problems about which...


NP: Why have you challenged?

TH: His lifeís too sad! They were throwing buns at him last minute! Has he ever had a nice day?


NP: He does come out about the sad part of his life in the show, doesnít he. Thatís the thing about Just A Minute, so much of our life is revealed here! Tony letís hear something more about your life, counselling, and there are 24 seconds starting now.

TH: You sit down on the sofa, sometimes you lie there, and the man runs through your childhood with you, telling you...


NP: Jo why have you challenged?

JB: Sexism!

GB: Yup!

JB: The man runs through your childhood!

TH: No, a good point!

NP: A good point, yes.

TH: He happened to be a man though.

JB: Does that fit into deviation?

NP: Well itís good enough because he said he wanted to give it back to you...

TH: Yes!

NP: Because we want to hear from you on the subject that you know more about than any of us. And 17 seconds available, counselling Jo, starting now.

JB: For example, if I was counselling Gyles, Iíd say ďitís very simple, donít be a Tory any more!Ē


JB: That wonderful clap from the audience! Thank you very much! There are...

GB: Itís not a landslide is it!


NP: Itís the first time somebody in this show has kept going with interjections from the audience! So...

JB: It was sort of applause by rote! It was like...

NP: It was nothing to do, it was nothing to do with counselling though! But nobody challenged you so she kept going, got that point for speaking when the whistle went. And itís pretty even stevens. Only one point separates all of them. Six, seven, eight, oh 10, two points ahead. And Peter I think itís your turn to begin, isnít it? No, itís not, itís Gyles Brandrethís turn. Oh bangers, what a lovely subject, I love my bangers...

GB: Bangers.

NP: Bangers, yes, sausages. Bangers and mash, what a lovely... But itís just bangers, 60 seconds starting now.

GB: Iíve had a few bangers in my time! Including, well, a motor car, a Volkswagen that was collapsing. A...


NP: Tony?

TH: His lifeís too sad! I mean... whenís something good going to happen in it?

GB: Wait! Wait till you hear about the third banger!

NP: Oh right!

TH: Carry on! Carry on!

NP: For a man with all your happy family and married life, and all these disasters! Itís amazing! Tony you got in with a correct challenge...

TH: No, no, no, I mean, no, no, I was being silly! I think he should carry on! I want to hear about his banger!

NP: Right, third banger, 51 seconds starting now.

GB: Well I also had a hot salty sausage and met a girl called Flossy Mossop, who was, in her own way, something of a banger! She worked in a factory where she made the doors for the aforementioned vehicle. And consinquently her role was to be a banger, attaching...


NP: Tony what was your challenge?

TH: I think heís made a word up there. Consewinaquintly!

NP: Deviation from English as we understand it, and it was...

TH: I think there was a hesitation or a stumble or something.

NP: No, no, no, I think deviation from the English language as we understand it. So Tony correct challenge, youíve now got in with 33 seconds on bangers starting now.

TH: Sunday lunchtime I like to eat bangers and mash. I know thatís not necessarily the traditional dish eaten at that time, but I do it nonetheless. And whoís going to stop me? Itís a free country! If you want to put bangers on your plate, and some spuds there, go ahead and do it, I say. Donít let people dictate to you what you put on...


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: Yes well Iím very pleased to know that heís going to see a counsellor! Because heís... obviously hyper-aggressive and er a worry to all his family, nephews and all!


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

GB: Yes.

PJ: Yes!

NP: What is it?

PJ: Itís repetition.

NP: Repetition of what?

GB: (whispers) Putting on the plate.

PJ: Putting on the plate.

NP: Putting on the plate.

TH: I donít mind! At least it wasnít treason!


NP: Well listened Peter! You jumped in there like a dose of salts. And youíve got 16 seconds to tell us something about bangers starting now.

PJ: Yes they are very nice! I eat vegetarian sausages because I donít like pork, since I once was on vacation on a farm where they bred pigs. And they had such a ghastly life that I thought I would never be part of this ghastly organisation again...


GB: Well done!

NP: So in spite of the ghastly that came up one second ago, they let it go so Peter was still speaking when the whistle went. And you have increased your lead at the end of the round Peter. And who is going to speak next? Peter Jones you actually begin the next round. It is, well, I donít mean he actually begins it, what I mean to say is itís his turn to begin. So and er I think this is also going to be the last round. Itís very close still, Peterís just in the lead, anything could still happen. Letís see how we go on red tape. Yes thatís a good subject Peter, red tape starting now.

PJ: Red tape is the kind of material that people used to wrap round, if they were... Members of Parliament, the papers and scrolls and things that they carried from one place to another. And it was er usually identified with bureaucracy and a very tedious business it was. Itís used now to describe a lot of er performances that have to be gone through in order to get anywhere in Parliament. And Iím sure Gyles...


NP: Yes Gyles has challenged.

GB: Repetition of Parliament.

NP: Of Parliament, yes.

PJ: Oh yes thatís right, yes.

NP: So yes and there are 33 seconds for you to tell us something about red tape. You must know quite a bit about that Gyles. Tell us, 60, er 33 seconds starting now.

GB: Peter is indeed correct that in the House of Commons there is much red tape. Most of interesting enough hanging from the coat hangers. As you enter the Members Cloakroom you will find a something to hang your er clothes...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: I think there was a hesitation.

NP: There was because he was still searching for an alternative word...

GB: I was!

NP: I know!

GB: I was!

NP: I know you were! Nineteen seconds for you to tell us something about red tape Tony starting now.

TH: Every time you fill out the insurance form you have to go through reams of paper and itís all red tape. Is it really necessary, I ask myself? I tell my counsellor this during my sessions! Why must we do all of this writing on bits of paper...


NP: And Peter you challenged.

PJ: What does your counsellor do while youíre talking to yourself?


TH: He takes 75 pound an hour!

NP: Itís amazing! Have you got any challenge within the rules of Just A Minute, Peter?

PJ: No, not within the rules of Just A Minute.

NP: Well we enjoyed the interruption.

PJ: Oh well good! Iím glad!

NP: You do get a point for being interrupted Tony and you keep going, there are three seconds available, red tape starting now.

TH: I had a Kate Bush tape and I coloured in...


NP: Ah Jo Brand has challenged.

JB: I think that shows how disturbed he is!


NP: I know once before Jo, you said all your ambition on the show was to get in with two seconds, or one second to go.

JB: I know!

NP: Youíve achieved it, and youíve achieved it, thereís only one second left.

JB: Oh really?

NP: Yes! Iím sure Tony will be generous and give it to you, wonít you?

TH: I am disturbed! You should have it!

JB: I am coming last! Itís all right, Iím not going to catch up!

NP: No, no, no, thereís no-one last in this show. Youíre just coming...

JB: Yeah there is! Me!

TH: Jo, weíre all winners!

NP: You have one second to tell us something about red tape Jo starting now.

JB: Bureaucracy is another...


NP: So Jo Brand with that last minute flourish brought that round to an end, and also brought the show to a close. And as I said before, yes, theyíre all winners in this show, but some get one or two more points than others. And today it has been this man over there who has got most points. So we say Peter Jones, youíre the winner! So it only remains for me to thank our four exciting and intrepid players of the game, Tony Hawks, Jo Brand, Gyles Brandreth, Peter Jones. From them and from me, Nicholas Parsons, hope youíve enjoyed it. Be with us the next time we play Just A Minute. Till then good-bye!