starring PAUL MERTON, DEREK NIMMO, CLEMENT FREUD and PETER JONES, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 24 January 1998)

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 not only to welcome our listeners but to introduce the four talented and skilled players of Just A Minute who are going to compete this week. We welcome back three of the veteran players of the game who can only be described as the golden oldies of Just A Minute, and that is Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo and Clement Freud. And someone who can only be described as a golden performer whoís given us many golden moments on Just A Minute and that is Paul Merton. Will you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Elaine Wigley who is going to help me with the scoring and handle the stopwatch and blow her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And in front of us here we have an audience at the Fringe in Edinburgh during the Festival here. And I can see theyíre a highly hyped up, over animated, probably hung over audience whoíve come here to enjoy Just A Minute! And they listen to our four talented players of the game try and speak for Just A Minute without hesitation, repetition or deviation on the subject that I give them. And we begin the show this week with Paul Merton and what a lovely subject, logjam. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: One of the finest preservatives I think, in my view, is logjam. Itís very easy to make for those of you who are listening to me here or at home. First of all, get yourself a handful of splinters, boil them up amongst a kind of cornucopia of fruit, and then bottle it and leave it on the shelf for about two years. If you want to avoid disappointment leave it there for longer because itís horrible...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Two leaves.

NP: You were leaving too long because you repeated it.

PM: No need to rub it in!

NP: So Clement a correct challenge, a point, 35 seconds are left, logjam starting now.

CF: The French call it pour fudous du bois. And it is something which each day with your croissant or brioche or perhaps just toast, they will serve you in their ill mannered, ill tempered thought...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DEREK NIMMO: Two ills.

NP: I know but they were hyphenated, so what do we do? Um, I think actually...

CF: You give me a point!

NP: I think within the rules of... Paul, you want to say something?

PM: Repetition of hyphen.

NP: Yes! Give Clement Freud and Paul Merton a bonus point because the audience both enjoyed their challenges, they enjoyed both their challenges... they both enjoyed their challenges. No they didnít, they enjoyed their challenges! And Derek Nimmo, yes, I think in Just A Minute we must go by the words and not the hyphen. So you have a correct challenge and another point to you....


NP: Youíre booing Derek or me or somebody else? Right there are 19 seconds left Derek on logjam starting now.

DN: If you were sailing along the Irawaddie you will see lots of fellows on logs trying to prevent a jam. Itís jolly difficult for them because they have to leap from one to another. And they do it most expertly...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: Where was this happening?

DN: Irawaddie! Irawaddie!

NP: At the Irawaddie.

PJ: Everybody knows where that is!

NP: Well everybody in India does because um er...

DN: Itís in Burma, thatís why they know it!

NP: I was saying the Indian subcontinent which includes Burma.

DN: No it doesnít! Itís South East Asia.

NP: I donít want a punch-up on this anyway! Now listen Peter...

PJ: Yes?

NP: You wanted to know where it was. Have you a more succinct challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PJ: I didnít even hear where, the name of the place.

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

PJ: Um, well um deviation, going into some other language.

NP: Because you couldnít hear, itís deviation? Iím sorry Peter, I canít have that.

PJ: I could hear the sound but I couldnít hear his pronounciation, it was appalling.

NP: I think weíre wasting a lot of time Peter!

PJ: Iím sorry to say this about another professional.... You are still in the business, arenít you?

NP: I still canít allow the challenge, Iím sorry Peter. So Derek has another point, he keeps the subject, 10 seconds, logjam starting now.

DN: Sitting in the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, and looking across at the great water in front of me, I saw a logjam...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of great, we had the great Irawaddie.

NP: Thatís right, you did, Iím afraid. Yes so Clement you cleverly got in with two seconds to go, two seconds on logjam starting now.

CF: Any good river will provide...


NP: At the end of that round Clement Freud got the extra point for speaking as the whistle went. And Peter Jones your turn to begin, the subject, tipping the wink, thereís a nice phrase, a nice subject. Talk about it if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

PJ: That means giving somebody a bit of information that you donít want anybody else to know about. You see like for instance a waiter might tip you a wink which would mean in his er language, donít touch the fish! Or you might meet someone who was just about to board the airplane youíre going on holiday with and ah she says...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: I think there was a hesitation.

PJ: I think there was a smidgeon! Yes!

CF: No!

PJ: You certainly know how to win friends and influence people Peter! But you still hesitated and I must be fair within the rules of Just A Minute, and say Derek another point, and the subject, tipping the wink, 36 seconds starting now.

DN: If youíre playing tiddlywinks, itís frightfully important to tip the wink in the right direction. In other words you put it at an angle and with your main wink you wonk at it! And away it leaps, and hopefully in the direction of the little pot at the end in which this is going to land. And then youíll be very successful indeed. And itís a game which I played for many years. In fact I was under 14 champion during the north Lancashire... compet...


NP: Nothing! They were so mesmerised by your childhood and Paul Merton got in first. Seven seconds, tipping the wink Paul starting now.

PM: I suppose the real true definition of tipping the wink can be explained very simply and in a few short words... Ahh!


NP: Clement...

PM: I went seven seconds!

NP: Well actually you went for six and three quarters!

PM: Oh no!

NP: But Clement got in first with quarter of a second to go Clement on tipping the wink starting now.

CF: I have...


NP: Right, Clement getting in just before the whistle gained an extra point as well. Heís one ahead now of Derek Nimmo, then comes Paul Merton and Peter Jones in that order. Derek Nimmo your turn to begin and the subject, ah a lovely Scottish subject, the glorious 12th. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

DN: The glorious 12th is the day which grouse shooting begins on North Yorkshire as well indeed as the Highlands of Scotland. In earlier days there used to be tremendous competitions to have the first of these birds on the tables of the hotels in London. I remember Silvara Trumpeto who was at the Savoy at the time, having a ... oh one of these bloody things, what are they called?


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: Well...

DN: He stopped!

PJ: I donít know why you assume the 12th is the 12th of August. Because the 12th of June happens to be my birthday!

NP: And you want an extra point for that, do you?

PJ: No, no, I just wanted people to remember for er next year!

NP: Peter you have a correct challenge for that hesitation so you take over the glorious 12th with 42 seconds remaining starting now.

PJ: As much as that?


NP: Someone challenged. Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: It was! Yeah I donít think heíd been going long enough for deviation. So he can make a comment before he gets into the subject if he likes and which is therefore itís an incorrect challenge Peter, you have a point for that...

PJ: Thank you.

NP: And you have 40 seconds now on the glorious... but do get on to the subject as quick as you can, the glorious 12th starting now.

PJ: Well it starts off with these people lying or standing up in bunkers, hidden behind gorse and heather and so on with double barreled guns which are loaded by mmm...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation?

NP: There was a hesitation, he couldnít think of the name for the loaders. And thereís 27 seconds for you Clement on the glorious 12th starting now.

CF: The glorious 12th is about as glorious for grouse, as the glorious 24th is for turkeys. Unless you are the sort of person who puts it in a couple of nights before, on a very low gas setting. Grouse are quite excellent...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of grouse.

NP: Grouse, yes, itís not on the card. You can mention the words on the card. Seven seconds available for you Derek on the glorious 12th starting now.

DN: Of course these days itís much easier to hit the saboteurs rather than our little feathered friends. Theyíre surrounding...


NP: So Derek Nimmo speaking as the whistle went gained the extra point. Heís now gone back in the lead equal with Clement Freud, and in second place equal are Peter Jones and Paul Merton. And Clement Freud your turn to begin. The subject, nursery food. Will you tell us something about that subject in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: Nursery food is a sort of port manteau name given to cobbled and scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes, bubble and squeak, cottage and shepherd pies, corn beef hash, kedgeree, puddings such as semolina and rice, tapioca and vermicelli, syllabubs, custard creams and mousses, Welsh rabbits, anchovies on toast. They all qualify as nursery food. And there is...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: I donít think anchovies....

NP: No! I would agree Peter! I canít see any children in the nursery eating their anchovies very rapidly! So I would agree with your challenge of deviation and there are 30 seconds for you on nursery food starting now.

PJ: Well theyíre all obtainable from any wellknown chemist, and they are comprise ah diced meat, and mince...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I think so, quite a bit actually at one point Peter.

PJ: Thatíll do!

NP: Yes Iím sorry, I didnít want to, you know....

PJ: Donít rub it in!

NP: No, no. I didnít mean to do that, it was just that I was searching for a little ripple of laughter which er...

PM: Youíve been searching for that for quite some time, havenít you?

NP: You see Paul, I normally go for the big laughs. I donít bother with the ripples, and I thought Iíd...

PM: Any laugh in your case would surely be welcome!

NP: And I think, Iím so nice to you most of the time Paul too. Anyway Paul youíve got 20 seconds on nursery food starting now.

PM: Some people call it comfort food. I... favourite meal that I...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Well er it was a hesitation but...

NP: I know, it was a wrong hesitation so if you interrupt someone that is um a point for the person who was interrupted, in this case Paul Merton, so he has another point, he continues, 16 seconds, nursery food starting now.

PM: When I was seven years old, there was nothing I liked better than mashed potato and gravy. To my mind it is perhaps the finest meal I have yet eaten. There is something wonderful about having the white spud on the plate with all the meat liquid swimming around...


NP: So Paul Merton made a big surge in that round, gaining also that extra point when the whistle went. And heís now only two points behind Derek Nimmo and Clement Freud our equal leaders. And Peter Jones itís your turn to begin and the subject is the tattoo. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PJ: I played in a play at the er Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, during the second er Edinburgh Festival. And the Tattoo went on while the play proceeded. It was a very quiet gentle play by TS... TS Eliot. And er we didnít enjoy all the fireworks and screams and shot fires, things like that. And er so I was rather prejudiced against...


NP: Derek you challenged.

DN: Itís a bit mean but there was quite a lot of hesitation really, wasnít there, I suppose.

NP: Yes you were erring a bit Peter.

PJ: Yes.

NP: In trying to recall it all, but er...

PJ: My God!

NP: I know! And that is hesitation in Just A Minute. So Derek you have a point and 35 seconds, tell us something about the tattoo starting now.

DN: Tattoo is one of the few Polynesian words in the English language. And of course it means an indelible marking on the island. The tattoo as far as Iím concerned is one which my son had put on his arm during a drunken spree in Hong Kong some years ago. He was at an establishment called The Dragon. And to commemorate that he had this beast embroidered permanently upon his limb. I thought it was absolutely...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation, itís not embroidered!

NP: Well I think thatís a matter of verbal interpretation really. I mean itís...

PM: Itís not sewn on, is it!

NP: Clement I think the audience is on your side on this one. So you take over the subject of the tattoo with 12 seconds starting now.

CF: It is extraordinary how few people get tattooed when they are sober. Um, a few...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation, er.

CF: Oh no, there were a few.

DN: How many were tattooed when they were sober, er a few.

CF: No, I...

NP: No, I think, I think it was a little sort of er...

DN: Hesitation, yes.

NP: Derek I think it was too sharp to be a hesitation, Iím going to give Clement the benefit of the doubt. I will try and redress the balance, you know I always do if I possibly can later. But six seconds Clement, a point to you, on the tattoo starting now.

CF: Helen Mirren has a tattoo on her hand. Because she didnít know which was left and which right...


NP: Well Clementís points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went pushed him forward into a stronger lead. Clement Freud your turn to begin, and the subject is thrills. Tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: As you get older your thrill factor becomes quite different. It used to be going down the Prestor Run at 70 miles an hour with your nose four inches from the ice. And now...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Quite wrong you know! When you are very young this was a thrill? I havenít even reached that age yet! When I can go down the Prestor Run!

NP: Peter they enjoyed the challenge, you get a point for that but I donít think he was deviating from the subject of thrills. So Clement you get another point, you have 47 seconds left, thrills starting now.

CF: Today the terrific thrill is standing in line, queuing up for a bus pass! I canít think of much which is more exciting than that other than waiting for the pension book to arrive or perhaps the postman to come for his annual bonus, knowing that you may not be there when he arrives in a yearís time. Thrills...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of arrives.

NP: Oh yes of arrives. I mean I could think of many more thrilling things at my age...

CF: Speak for yourself!

NP: I know! Derek I agree with the challenge, 21 seconds, thrills, starting now.

DN: It has always been a tremendous thrill to take part in this programme, Just A Minute. Particularly when itís being recorded...


DN: Whatís the matter?

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, itís not a thrill doing this show! Itís mildly entertaining, but itís not a tremendous thrill.

DN: I have a much quieter life than you!

NP: No! I think itís each to his own really, isnít it Paul?

PM: Yes!

NP: It obviously gives him a thrill. It doesnít give you the same kick, you find it elsewhere! And I suppose Derek, well heís modest in his demands. And um this is his big thrill of the week! So please help him to make the most of it! Ah 15 seconds for you to continue Derek starting now.

DN: My particular thrill is of course coming to Edinburgh. Itís oh weeky itself in the mantle of this magical festival...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: I didnít understand...

DN: Irawaddie! Irawaddies I said, Irawaddie!

NP: Yes I, I agree with you there, we will interpret that sort of alliteration of language as um a hesitation Peter, because it was almost incoherent.

PJ: Almost? It was yes!

NP: Nine seconds for you Peter on thrills starting now.

PJ: Well they do change as you get older. Iíve been told that the knees are the first things to go though that hasnít been my experience!


NP: That continuos round of applause must mean theyíre applauding the thing with you that hasnít gone yet Peter, which is very impressive and I wonít take it any farther, because theyíve obviously...

PJ: Oh please donít!

NP: No, itís an audience with imagination which is what you expect on the Fringe in Edinburgh. And right, Paul Merton itís your turn to begin and Iím dreading this subject because it is Parsons pleasure. And Merton, that great iconoclast is going to take that subject and have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: Itís gin! He canít get enough of the stuff! He drinks it by the bucketload! If you go round Nicholasís house on a Friday, youíll see a tanker delivering this alcoholic refreshment straight through his letterbox! Heís lying on the doormat with his mouth wide open, itís a five litre. Thatís how he spends his weekend, heís completely sozzled all the time! Look at him, look at this down alcoholic wreck that we see, standing in front of us now, a sheer rambling wreck of a human being...


PM: Did somebody buzz?

NP: No! No, carry on, carry on!

PM: Heís part of the British way of life. And we know how bad that is these days! He is I suppose perhaps the last great man we have left in Great Britain who remembers the silent films...


NP: Derek you challenged three times.

DN: Two greats.

NP: Two greats, I know. But I think the audience were enjoying it actually! Shows you what a good sport I am, I let him go on like that! So Derek letís hear from you on Parsons pleasure with 22 seconds left starting now.

DN: I think Parsons has derived a tremendous amount of pleasure from his various wives. The first one, Denise, was a most wonderful beauty, shimmering creature, who lived in Rose Cottage. Even his most recent wife is a fabulous woman too, and we all...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

DN: Donít you like his wives?

CF: Repetition. Itís the repetition of wives that I was...

NP: Yes!

CF: Wife twice!

DN: Wife and wives!

PM: We had wife and wives.

CF: No, wife number one.

NP: Yes quite.

DN: Well heís had more than one, hasnít he?

NP: I donít think Iíll be able to leave the theatre after this programme! You know, drunk most of the time, gin being poured through the letterbox and all these wives roaming around...

PM: Well youíre big enough to admit it!

NP: Ten seconds are left for Parsons pleasure with you Clement starting now.

CF: Iíve known Nicholas Parsons for a fairly long time. And his genuine pleasures are in rubber tubes, metal clips...


NP: For once Elaine I would have loved you to blow the whistle a second or two earlier there! To finish on that was what we call timing! And I donít know how Iím going to hold my head up after this! But let me tell you within Just A Minute Clement Freud has gained a stronger lead. Heís followed by Derek Nimmo, Paul Merton and Peter Jones in that order. And as we move into the last round it is Derekís turn to begin. A delightful subject for you to get us into the finale, better safe than sorry Derek is the subject, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

DN: My grandmother always used to say to me, and I use the word advisedly, wear belt and braces, because itís better to be safe than sorry! And itís something which Iíve carried through life with me. Everywhere I go, I put...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, heís not wearing braces!

DN: The advice I carry with me!

NP: Well if itís advice you carried... I think Paulís got a very good challenge there, because heís proved that youíre not carrying out the advice all through your life. You are not wearing braces. So I give you the benefit of the doubt there Paul and you have 46 seconds, better safe than sorry, starting now.

PM: As an expression, better safe than sorry seems to indicate to me a certain lack of ambition. You have to try for things because you can say "well Iím safe here", but you wouldnít know where you would be if you tried to take the risk. If you went for an opportunity it might say "well I could be better off where I am". But you never know where you might end up. If Buzz Aldrin had said at the age of 22...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: I think he said better twice.

NP: Yes he did.

PJ: Ah good.

NP: Well listened Peter.

CF: It is on the card!

PM: The subject is...

NP: But unfortunately betterís on the card! And you are allowed to say whatís on the card more than once if you wish. So Iím afraid Peter... 24 seconds are left. Would you like to be generous and give this one to Peter? Because...

PM: I would like to give him an opportunity to buzz for repetition in the next bit that I say.

NP: Thatís right, yes. All right carry on Paul, 24 seconds, better safe than sorry starting now.

PM: Buzz Aldrin...


NP: Buzz Aldrin!


NP: Peter you challenged second, what was your challenge?

PJ: Well he said Buzz Aldrin after Iíd buzzed the first time!

NP: Iím lost, Iím totally lost! Iím in... youíre in a different time warp Peter! Peter try and finish the show for us. There are 22 seconds left on better safe than sorry starting now.

PJ: Well if Derek has been wearing...


NP: Whoís challenged? Clement challenged.

CF: He said well again.

NP: Yeah but he hasnít spoken in this round yet! So he can say well in this round once if he wishes. So Peter youíve got another point and you continue with the subject, 21 seconds, better safe than sorry starting now.

PJ: If Derek has been wearing braces...


NP: Who challenged? Clement Freud.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Didnít say well!

NP: Oh well done! Give him a bonus point for that and er but Peter you get a point for being interrupted, you continue with the subject, 18 seconds, better safe than sorry starting now.

PJ: If Derek has been going...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of Derek.


NP: The most prejudiced audience weíve ever had! Seventeen seconds with you Derek on better safe than sorry.

DN: I always like to have some potato with mince on top of it, because itís better to be safe than sorry. You mightnít get anything else to eat all day. And if you have this shoved down your throat in all its horrifying ghastliness, at least you wonít...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, itís not horrible or ghastly, itís one of the finest meals created by man!

NP: I have to accept that the audience endorsement is that they agree with Paul Merton. So Paul you have three seconds...

DN: Whatís his challenge?

NP: Well deviation. Three seconds Paul starting now.

PM: I remember one incident particularly in 1960...


NP: We have no more time to play Just A Minute. It remains for me to give you the final score. Actually if Paul Merton hadnít made that final challenge and it had gone Derekís way, they would all three have finished up equal in the lead which would have been a very very fair result. But as it was...

PM: As it was itís a very unfair result!

NP: No as it was we have for those who are interested in having winners and seconds and thirds and so forth, we have Peter Jones in fourth place, not a lot of points, made a lot of impact, won a lot of friends! Derek Nimmo was in second place, made a huge impact, and kept the friends he already had! Clement Freud was only two points ahead, he was in second place and he made a deep impression up here at the Festival, he might be asked back. And two points ahead of him was Paul Merton, the man whoís been to the Festival more often than any of us to work up here and very aptly we say he is the winner this week! It only remains for me to say thank you to our four intrepid players of the game, Paul Merton, Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo and Clement Freud. And also thank Elaine Wigley for blowing the whistle so delicately and helping with the score and the stopwatch. Chris Neill who has produced and directed the show, Ian Messiter who created the show and keeps us all in work. And also this lovely audience here at the Pleasance in the Fringe who have given us such warmth and encouragement as we put over Just A Minute. From them, from our players, and from me Nicholas Parsons until you listeners take to the air and listen to Just A Minute again, goodbye from us all!