NOTE: Sue Perkins' first appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome our many listeners not only in this country but round the world, but also welcome the four individual and talented performers who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back a delightful, a very witty and enchanting player of the game, that is Tony Hawks. We welcome back a most distinguished player of the game, that is Clement Freud. We welcome back after quite a break actually one of the more sardonic players of the game, that is Jeremy Hardy. And we welcome for the first time to play the game a delightful and enchanting comedy performer, that is Sue Perkins. Would you please welcome all four of them! 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 deviating from the subject. Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst whoís going to help me keep the score, sheíll blow her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute comes from the Dorking Halls in Dorking. Youíre all very welcome as we start the show with Tony Hawks. Tony the subject is keeping your eye on the ball. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

TONY HAWKS: There was a PE teacher at my school who used to say to me "Hawks, whatever sport youíre playing itís vital that youíre always keeping your eye on the ball". Which is why, I suppose, I was never very good at chess, boxing or synchronised swimming! But the English football team are very good at keeping their eyes on the ball. But...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of very good.

NP: Yes you were very good earlier on, and...

TH: Oh yes!


NP: Listen if youíre going to be as partisan as that all from the start, I mean, weíre going to have problems. Clement Freud, you have a correct challenge, so you get a point for that of course, and you take over the subject of keeping your eye on the ball and there are 37 seconds starting now.

CF: Ice hockey and badminton are two pursuits in which it is fairly pointless to keep your eye on the ball. Football, cricket, squash, tennis, rugby, fives, all those pursuits, it is essential to keep your eye on the ball. Another description of keeping your eye on the ball could be what protrudes from the other side of your central girth. And there are many people who have more than one ball in that...


NP: Tony Hawks youíve challenged.

TH: Well heís talking about this is the same for everyone. Thereís at least 50 percent of the audience here having nothing protruding from their central girth.

NP: Tony we enjoyed the challenge but I do think that he did make out the fact that that applies not necessarily to the whole of the population. So we will give you a point because we enjoyed the challenge...

TH: Thank you.

NP: But itís an incorrect one so Clement gets a point for being interrupted, he keeps the subject, there are six seconds available, keeping your eye on the ball Clement starting now.

CF: Our cricket team is fairly famous for not keeping...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Repetition of cricket.

NP: Yes you mentioned cricket before. And Tony you cleverly got in with only three seconds to go having got another... itís part of the game! And the subject is still keeping your eye on the ball, three seconds starting now.

TH: If I was a policeman on surveillance...


NP: Oh Jeremy you got in, yes, there.

JEREMY HARDY: If I were a policeman!

NP: Haha! As youíve been so...

JH: Unless he was speaking in the past tense...

NP: Yes!

JH: But he didnít think of that!

TH: No, it was If I Was A Rich Man, wasnít it?

JH: Yes I know, but they were peasants! They had Cossacks on their back, the whole Tsarist regime down on them, Tony, I think they were under more pressure than you!

NP: As people do listen to this programme abroad to try and improve their English, I think we should... Why do you laugh? I get letters saying! We have to have people come from China, they all spoke like Kenneth Williams one time! The image is lovely isnít it! I think deviation from English as correctly spoken so Jeremy we give you a point for that and you cleverly got in with only one second to go, keeping your eye on the ball starting now.

JH: Keeping...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point, on this occasion it was Jeremy Hardy. And therefore he is probably in the lead at the end of that round. He is, heís one ahead of Clement Freud and Tony Hawks. And Jeremy itís your turn to begin, the subject is the commuter belt. Tell us something about... oh thatís got a little echo in the audience, we are in a commuter belt area I should explain to our listeners abroad. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

JH: Sometimes it is necessary to belt a passenger sitting opposite one on the Dorking service! If for example heís bellowing into his mobile phone. I donít want excuses! Tell him to get his arse in gear which is a preposterous expression meaning we know not what! Therefore in a situation like that it is fair play to whip off your belt, wrap it around your fist, and just clock him a couple of times in the ear. Not so much as to induce deafness or even bleeding or an eye to pop out of its circuit. But just to remind him that theer are other people on that commuter service who want to sit peacefully, maybe reading the Evening Standard which can take four or five minutes, gently just thinking about the day, unwinding, doing a little bit of work on their laptop, hopefully with a computer! And in those circumstances, it is only right that one should...


NP: Sue youíve challenged.

SUE PERKINS: Ah I havenít got any points! Thatís why Iíve challenged!

JH: My dear, stick with me and I can give you all the points you need!

SP: Iíll cling close!

NP: Sue itís lovely to hear from you, and...

SP: Yeah I thought I might as well say something.

NP: ... the audience responded, the audience responded with such warmth to your interruption that we will give you a point for that. Sue has got a point and Jeremy was interrupted so he gets a point for being interrupted, so he still has the subject and nine seconds on the commuter belt starting now.

JH: A hurly bat on the knee is possibly an over-reaction to the problem of people...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of people.

NP: Yes you said people before.

JH: Oh fair play! Well thereís more than one!

NP: I know! You repeated the word.

JH: Oh all right, right! If weíre going to quibble about the rules.

NP: You can struggle all you like...

JH: A man whose only crime was to break the rules of the programme!

NP: Four seconds available for you Tony on the commuter belt starting now.

TH: I used to have a lucky belt which I wore round my trousers when...


NP: Tony Hawks got the point for speaking as the whistle went and with the other points in the round heís now taken the lead one ahead of Jeremy Hardy, then Clement Freud and then Sue Perkins. And Sue it is your turn to begin and the subject is my worst nightmare.

SP: My worst nightmare is a recurring nightmare which features Joan Collins dressed as a Pekinese dog. Sheís standing at the head of a large swirling staircase, I am beneath her and Christopher Biggins is on top of me. He is dressed as a Chihuahua and is eagerly licking my face. In the background stands my mother grinning, with a photographer from Hello magazine, happily snapping as Mr Bís large purple proboscis slaps around my visage in no uncertain fashion. If anybody knows the word I just said and the meaning of it, if theyíd like to write to me Iíd be very grateful! Just to the left of me stands Anthea Turner and her sister Wendy Turner currently embarking on a brand new...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.


NP: Forty-eight seconds, not bad, but Clement, yes, she did repeat Turner..

CF: Oh no thatís not why I challenged.

NP: Well then why did you challenge?

CF: I wanted her to have a point.

NP: Nothing if not difficult Clement but itís all appreciated. Right, so there are 12 seconds still available because Clementís been very generous and given you a point and you carry on with my worst nightmare, 12 seconds, starting now.


NP: And youíve been challenged.

TH: Repetition of Turner!


NP: You certainly know... you certainly know how to win friends, donít you!

TH: Yeah! I didnít think youíd allow it. Are you allowing it?

NP: Ah well, technically I suppose I should. But on the other hand Clement was so generous and had a challenge and gave it away...

TH: No, no, I withdraw...

NP: You should do the same thing...

TH: I withdraw, I was doing it for humourous purposes but I didnít realise everyone would want to lynch me! I withdraw!

NP: Sue, Sue was interrupted so she gets another point and she now has 10 seconds on my worst nightmare starting now.

SP: These terrifying...


NP: Jeremy Hardy challenged.

JH: Far be it from me, not, not to be offering points to Sue at this point.

NP: I mean, Sueís...

JH: Iím not going to be shown up here! Iím a good hearted man! Okay so the point is hers!

NP: So your colleagues have been most generous and youíve got nine seconds on my worst nightmare starting now.


NP: And youíve... Clement?

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes! That was hesitation. She was so shattered at the generosity of these four intrepid players of the game that she couldnít believe it and couldnít get going again! Eight seconds now available, my worst nightmare Clement with you starting now.

CF: I take sleeping pills so I donít have nightmares. I donít in fact even dream...


NP: Jeremy Hardy challenged.

JH: Repetition of donít.

NP: Donít, yes. Thatís a tough one.

CF: A bit mean!

JH: Huh?

CF: You wait!

NP: Yeah but you stopped...

JH: You picked on her!

SP: Yeah! And Iím the local charity when it comes to comedy apparently!

JH: You want to play hardball? We can play hardball!

NP: Okay, four seconds, Jeremy, you have my worst nightmare starting now.

JH: Sitting in nothing but a vest on top of a bus...


NP: Jeremy Hardy with points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went has moved forward, heís one ahead of Tony Hawks and Sue Perkins and Clement Freud, theyíre all equal in second place, Tony Hawks, Sue Perkins and Clement Freud. And Tony Hawks, your turn to begin. Stirring, thatís the subject, just stirring. Tell us something about it, thereís been plenty of that going on already in the show. But talk on the subject, 60 seconds, starting now.

TH: Just before the show I overheard Jeremy Hardy saying that Nicholas Parsons is the finest performer that there has ever been in show business for the last 50 years. No, obviously he didnít say this, what I am doing is stirring. Because there will then be an argument between my colleague and the other panelists over to whether heís lost his judgment completely, or gone completely bonkers...


NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: Completely, repetition.

NP: Yes. Repetition of completely, right, 36 seconds for you Sue on stirring, starting now.

SP: In the dressing room before the show I er couldnít help noticing a large stain on Nicholasís trousers, which I was at pains not to point out in front of him, but decided to mention in front of 400 people at the Dorking Hall. This is, was... splurgh!


NP: Tony you challenged first.

TH: I think there was a hesitation among those...

NP: There was. In fact, I must explain to our listeners, everybodyís buzzer was pressed, but the one who gets in a fraction first, the light comes in front of me, in front of their nation and that is the one who gets it! Right...

TH: Fingers Hawks they call me.

NP: Tony, stirringís back with you and there are 22 seconds starting now.

TH: The hardest kind of stirring is the stirring that you are required to do early in the morning. Iím not necessarily someone who goes out and drinks an enormous amount of alcohol. But I have been known in the past to have a few pints. And that alarm clock goes off and I think "no, Iíve got to get up and face the day, I donít want to". Stirring is the last thing on my...


NP: Jeremy challenged.

JH: I just want to say I think Tonyís doing really well! So, go for it Tony! Weíre all rooting for you here!

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

JH: No, no, no, no I donít!

NP: Tony has a point for an incorrect challenge and keeps the subject, one second on stirring Tony starting now.

TH: Glove puppet...


NP: So the contributions are all equal and so are the points at the moment, so Tony Hawks, Sue Perkins and Clement Freud are equal in the lead just one ahead of Jeremy Hardy. Jeremy itís your turn to begin. This is a nice subject, the skin of the custard. Thatís got a good reaction! Tell us something about the skin of the custard starting now.

JH: The skin of the custard is a highly prized pelt leading to the possible extinction of the custard. They can be shot, but that tends to leave a little wee hole in the skin. Or they can be trapped, which is cruel, although the Countryside Alliance think that itís not cruel, and the...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Ah repetition of cruel.

NP: There was too much cruelty...

JH: Ah yes, fair play to you.

NP: Yes fair play then, right, you have the skin of the custard, Clement Freud and you have 44 seconds starting now.

CF: You would never get a lot of skin on custard if you kept stirring! I thought this was an important thing to mention. My, my children like the skin of custard, ah more than custard...


NP: Ah Jeremy you challenged.

JH: There was an er there. Only...


NP: Listen whoís running this show, the audience or me!

TH: What er?

NP: It was only, it was only infinitesimal, I donít think it was enough for me, I must also...

CF: I think thatís right!

NP: Yes! Clement you still have the skin of the custard and you have 31 seconds starting now.

CF: As a consequence I always make custard in baking trays so there was a lot of skin and hardly any of the custard. This was hugely important, similarly um...


NP: Yes! Ah the trigger happy Hawks got in there.

TH: Poor old, poor old Jeremy desperate to get in there!

NP: Yes and I saw all your fingers and thumbs go down on your buzzers, but yours went first and youíve 20 seconds for the skin of the custard Tony...

JH: An er is fine, but um is controversial? I think I see the way the cards are stacked in this game!

NP: No youíll see that if I have an opportunity to give you the benefit of the doubt later Jeremy I will certainly do it.

JH: I might not feel like it then!

NP: That was a longer hesitation whether it was er or um, that was a longer one and so Tony has the subject, the skin of the custard Tony starting now.

TH: In some ways I believe that the skin of the custard is like a metaphor for life itself. The pro...


NP: Jeremyís challenged.

JH: You canít be like a metaphor, youíre a metaphor! Or youíre...

TH: You can be!

JH: You canít be like a metaphor.

TH: You can, if youíre...

JH: You could be a simile for a metaphor, I suppose!

TH: If youíre actually not a metaphor but you look a lot like one...

NP: No, no, thatís truly in the rules of Just A Minute, so you will have the benefit of the doubt on this occasion.

JH: Hahah!

NP: And you have the subject, 13 seconds, the skin of the custard starting now.

JH: Custard farms have been springing up all over the south of England. The custard rights protesters have broken in and released the custards, causing ecological breakdown as they fight the mink and produce a new race of super rat...


NP: Jeremy Hardy speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And itís still very close. He and Tony Hawks in second place, one point behind Clement Freud and theyíre just one ahead of Sue Perks... Sue Perks! Sue Perkins!

SP: Itís that endearing familiarity, Nicholas!

NP: I know! Well I went out with a Sue Perks once, I suppose thatís what it was. Um...

TH: Did you get any perks?

NP: I wouldnít tell you on Just A Minute! Sue the subject is stars, tell us something about those in this game starting now.

SP: Catch a falling star, put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day goes the song. And grabbing a fading celebrity is an easy matter. All you need to do is stalk them. But putting them in a poshette is a very different matter. I took Meg Matthews used a winch but even so it was a tight squeeze. Although on a cold and rainy afternoon she did indeed entertain me with stories of her bad boy rock and roll marriage to Noel Gallagher...


NP: Clement?

CF: Sheís sucking a peppermint!

SP: I was, I was just breathing!

CF: And she hesitated!

NP: And she hesitated! Right, 33 seconds available for you Clement on stars starting now.

CF: The Plough is probably my favourite stars. There are five...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Well since weíre having a bit of a grammatical show...

NP: Yes!

TH: The Plough is my favourite stars?

CF: Yep!

NP: If he said the constellation of the Plough was his favourite stars, then that would be, would be in the singular. But the stars, yes I think that is grammatically incorrect. Iím sorry to have to disagree with somebody who writes so eruditely...

SP: Thereís white heat coming from Clement! Absolute white heat!

JH: Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

SP: Hawks is dead in the car park afterwards!

CF: How many stars...

TH: Iím meeting Sue Perks later!

NP: As some people in the audience seem to think that Clement was grammatically correct there, I will let you be the final judge on this occasion. So if you agree with Tony Hawksí challenge on the grammatical indiscretion he thinks that Clement committed, then you cheer for him. But if you disagree you boo for Clement, and you all do it together now.


NP: They are with you to a man and a woman and a child Tony. You have the subject and you have 28 seconds on stars starting now.

TH: I read my stars earlier today. And it said as a Pisces I would be able to talk for 28 seconds on this subject without being interrupted. And normally I think these are rubbish but clearly itís not the case because this is turning out to happen right now! How extraordinary an event. Iím going to read them tomorrow to see what beholds me in the future there too. Because I am unbelievably excited at the prospect of going... how long is this bloody 28 seconds?


NP: I think they were appluading the look of agony on your face Tony, as you tried to keep going! But you got there to the end, you got that extra point. Youíre equal in the lead with Clement Freud ahead of Jeremy and Sue. Jeremy ah Hardy, your turn to begin, the subject is working the system. Tell us something about working the system in this game starting now.

JH: The richer you are in this country, the less tax you pay. This is what we mean by working the system. If you have a good accountant, by which I mean a clever one rather than one who has a pure soul...


JH: ... or is untainted by worldly things. Yes?

NP: oh yes Sue you challenged.

SP: Politically Iím onside, I want to say that! But I think he might have repeated one!

NP: Yes.

JH: Oh yeah, fair play!

NP: Yes Sue well listened, youíve got in there, youíve got 46 seconds to tell us something about working the system starting now.

SP: I would like to find this accountant which means that you can save, and thus pay a much much reduced tax...


NP: Clement was the first one to get in, working... working the system Clement, and there are 46 seconds, no sorry, 39 seconds left starting now.

CF: When I was a Member of Parliament, I had many letters from people asking me to introduce a bill for the registration of plumbers. And these are people who work the system...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes, working the system with you Tony starting now.

TH: I had a system which I used to work whenever I went to the casino. I would go in and play the blackjack. And this was advice I had taken from friends. I would put money on, operate the system they had suggested and lose my money! This...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two lots of money.

NP: And the money, yes, youíre right Clement, youíve got back in again, 15 seconds, working the system starting now.

CF: A very good system to work in a casino, possibly the one to which Tony Hawks went, is to play blackjack, and depend on the banker getting six, against which number almost anything that you, the player, might receive, is beneficial...


NP: Clement Freud with the extra point and the other points in the round has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Sue Perkins itís your...

TH: You canít stop him now! I was writing that down!

SP: You need a six!

TH: Oh right! But then what do you do? I donít know!

CF: Stick, stick on a 12. I mean anything!

TH: Excellent!

CF: A six is so likely to have the banker...

NP: Where is the nearest casino in Dorking?

TH: Iím off! See ya!

NP: Right! Sue Perkins itís your turn to begin and the subject is sisters. Tell us something about sisters, 60 seconds, starting now.

SP: Sisters exist to remind you of what you could have been had you benefited from the better genes of your parents! Sisters walk around with cameras and video recording equipment that always seem to be on hand to capture those misery inducing moments which they then play back in full view of all your assembled friends and family, saving the best of course for the boyfriend, where they will reveal you as a four-year-old totally naked and skipping round, and humming like an innocent thing, projected on an enormous wall six foot high. Other things sisters tend to do is generally not laugh at your jokes, feel ashamed of the chosen career, talk about performances youíve given which were less than sufficient. And possibly mention this one where Iíve tended to repeat the word must...


TH: I have to stop her Nicholas, before her relationship with her sister breaks down completely!

NP: If it wasnít a valid challenge within the rules of Just A Minute, then Sueís interrupted. So she gets a point for that and keeps the subject, and 15 seconds available for your sisters Sue starting now.

SP: The other thing that sisters tend to do is be a lot brighter than you are. Theyíre also blondes, have a much better figure and run fast, although why somebody sprinting very very...


NP: They love you!

SP: Thatís an idiom, thatís my idiom!

NP: Thatís your idiom of speech, but they love you for it! But it was repetition...

SP: Yes.

NP: ... and Tony was the first to get in, five seconds Tony, sisters starting now.

TH: Sisters are doing it for themselves! This was a huge hit but exactly what was it that they were...


NP: Oh at the end of that round Tony Hawks speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point. Heís moved forward, heís only one point behind Clement Freud as we go into the last round and Sue Perkins follows in third place and then Jeremy Hardy. And theyíve got a few points to catch up if they want to win...

SP: Thatís very very very very unliklely!

NP: But you never know! Itís happened once before! But um Clement itís your...

TH: How many years have you been doing this show? Itís happened once before! The odds arenít looking good!

NP: Clement itís your turn to begin and the subject is the good old days. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: When people talk of the good old days, they inevitably mean hanging and molesting children, Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street with a deer stalker hat, horse drawn carriages, trolley cars, trams. All the things that weíre really rather pleased that we do not now have...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: I think heíd made his point! He might now need a lie-down I think!

NP: So we call that hesitation Tony, so youíve got in with 39 seconds on the good old days starting now.

TH: For once I couldnít agree more with what Sir Clement was saying. How foolish it is to live our lives in the past, looking back at the good old days when the important thing is to cherish tomorrow. To go out and do something that will be, if you like, the good old days of the future! Because we must not bury ourselves in what...


NP: Jeremy Hardy challenged.

JH: Pure rhetoric with no substance!

NP: A shrewd comment! But have you a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

JH: If youíre going to be picky, then no!

NP: Sixteen seconds, incorrect challenge then Tony, youíve still got it, the good old days starting now.

TH: When I was a very little boy I used to watch a programme on television called The Good Old Days. And it used to come from City Varieties in Leeds. And it did look a lot of fun, I have to say. How I wished I was up there in that audience dressed in ridiculous outfits, cheering useless old songs...


NP: Right! So I said that was to be the last round and Tony Hawks interrupted and then kept going until the whistle went, gained two more points so he has come out just ahead of Clement Freud. So in ascending order, it was Jeremy Hardy, Sue Perkins, then Clement Freud. But two points out in the lead Tony Hawks, so we say youíre the winner this week! Iím sure that applause is for all of them for their valuable contributions! So it only remains for me to thank our four great players of the game, Tony Hawks, Jeremy Hardy, Clement Freud and Sue Perkins. Also to thank Janet Staplehurst for keeping the score so magnificently for me. And we are also deeply indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game and indebted to Claire Jones for producing and directing. And weíre indebted to this audience here...


NP: Yes Jeremy?

JH: Repetition of indebted!

NP: I know! I was making a sort of specialty of it deliberately!

JH: Oh I see!

NP: Because itís outside the game.

JH: Itís post-modern!

NP: And weíre indebted also to this audience here in the Dorking Hall whoíve come far and wide to enjoy the show. From them, from the panel, from me Nicholas Parsons, goodbye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute, till then goodbye!