starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, TIM RICE and GERRY KELLY, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 7 February 1998)

NOTE: Gerry Kelly's last 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, not only to welcome our listeners, but also to introduce the four exciting and intrepid players of the game. We welcome back one of our regular players whose humourous contribution is beyond par, and that is Paul Merton. Sitting beside him we have someone who has only played the game once before. He is our Irish representative here, that is that great presenter Gerry Kelly. We have one of the great wordsmiths, one of our finest lyricists, Tim Rice. And beside him one of the oldest and most experienced players of the game, Clement Freud. Would you please welcome all four of them! And as usual Iím going to ask them to speak if they can on the subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And beside me sits Helen Williams whoís going to keep the score, and she will blow her whistle when the full minute is up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Belfast Festival at Queens. And we are at the University here at Queens, in front of a most distinguished and excited Irish audience, who are going to give forth with a little bit of clapping, well, and enjoy themselves, as we try and keep going on the subjects. Clement Freud what about you beginning the show this week. And the subject is pleasantries. Can you tell us something about pleasantries in 60 seconds starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: A pleasantry is a verbal or physical earnest of recognition or possibly...


NP: Gerry Kelly challenged immediately.

GERRY KELLY: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was hesitation, well done Gerry...

GK: Thank you.

NP: I should explain to all our listeners, particularly those abroad in India and China and all the other countries that we go to, that every time Gerry Kelly gets anything right, there will be an incredible response from the audience. Because this is his home area! So thereís a lot of prejudice going! Not on the part of the chairman! Gerry a correct challenge, youíre right in there, 52 seconds are available, pleasantries starting now.

GK: The most common pleasantry in Northern Ireland is "what about you?" Which is said by a variety of people from taxi men to bin people and other fellow...


GK: ...travelers on this world of ours... oh shut up!


NP: Tim Rice challenged.

TIM RICE: There was a definite stumble there!

NP: There was a definite stumble. Itís the first time I have ever heard a presenter telling himself to shut up! There we are! Tim youíve got in because we call that hesitation, 42 seconds area available, pleasantries starting now.

TR: Pleasantries is not where the Chinese keep their gamebirds. No it is a string of often insincere statements made to ease the way at social functions...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I thought that was hesitation.

NP: No I donít think so.

CF: Oh really?

NP: No, no, no, definitely not. And this audience is going to let us know when a challenge is correct or not! There are 32 seconds available for pleasantries still with you Tim starting now.

TR: For example I may say things tonight that I donít really mean, purely to keep things going well...


NP: Clement Freud you challenged.

CF: Two things.

NP: Two things that you said before.

TR: Oh yes!

NP: So that was a correct challenge, a point to you Clement for that, 25 seconds, pleasantries, starting now.

CF: Have a nice day! Does your mother take in washing?


CF: Has she sold her mannequin? Lots of fun at the old piano! Your sister used to strangle her...

NP: Tim Rice challenged after about the second of those peculiar pleasantries.

TR: Well I thought the second one which I now canít remember was...

NP: It was does your mother take in washing.

TR: Oh yes.

NP: You would not describe that as...

TR: No!

CF: Itís a pleasantry!

TR: Well...

NP: I suppose...

TR: I think I was wrong, Chairman. I think...

NP: I suppose it depends what strata of society you move! I mean you wouldnít say to someone in the Dorchester Hotel does your mother take in washing! I suppose it could be interpreted as a pleasantry, so...

TR: Take in where?

NP: Oh weíre not going to get into that Tim! Sorry! I will be generous to Clement and say he has 15 seconds and a point and continue on pleasantries starting now.

CF: In different countries of the world, you get quite separate pleasantries. For instance in Turkey somebody hits you incredibly hard on the shoulder. And when you get up, having fallen down, he says "haha, good to see you!"


PAUL MERTON: Repetition of ha!

NP: Thatís right! It was indeed, well listened Paul, you have a correct challenge, you have a point, you have three seconds for pleasantries starting now.

PM: Is that a demob suit youíre wearing is a very...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gets an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton and at the end of that round, they all have two points, Gerry Kelly has one. Tim Rice, will you take the next round. Something very topical for now, will you tell us something about girl power, 60 seconds, starting now.

TR: I am of the school that believes girls should be obscene and not heard. But there are plenty who have a much more stringent and positive view about girl power, viz the Spice Ladies. There are five of them as you all know. There is Scary...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Well I didnít know!

NP: The man who has a regular column in the newspaper but he didnít know that! Clement it was a lovely challenge, we give you a bonus point because the audience enjoyed it. But the subject stays with Tim Rice and it is 47 seconds available, girl power, Tim, starting now.

TR: And there is Baby. And then there is Ginger...


NP: And Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of and then there is.

NP: And then there is. Trying to avoid the Spice but he put in then there is. Forty-three seconds, girl powerís with you Paul starting now.

PM: Well...


NP: He thought about it and went to a shuddering halt! Gerry Kelly youíve challenged.

GK: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation indeed...

PM: No that wasnít hesitation, it was a fullstop!

NP: Yes it was a wonderful fullstop but itís hesitation in Just A Minute. Forty-one seconds available for you Gerry on girl power starting now.

GK: In the physical sense I donít think girls have much power. I had a puncture the other night as I was driving home and I hailed down a car. A lady got out and I asked her could she help me mend the hole in the round thing from the vehicle that I was driving at that particular time? It was only flat at the bottom, it was fully inflated at the top bit of it. And er, and er...


GK: Oh I hesitated! Thatís a hesitation there!

NP: Gerry, Gerry, you challenged yourself!

GK: Yes I have!

NP: So I have to ask you what was your challenge?

GK: Hesitation!

NP: Yes indeed! You definitely hesitated Gerry! That was a correct challenge...

GK: I did! Thank you!

NP: You get a point for a correct challenge and er... Mind you if you keep this up you could win the game! So you keep the subject of course and 18 seconds are available, girl power starting now.

GK: I took the jack out of the car, and as...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: Definitely weíve had at least two cars.

NP: Weíve had two cars yes! You got carried away there yes! Tim girl power is back with you and there are 16 seconds available starting now.

TR: Sporty and Posh complete the lineup. This incredibly exciting group which illustrates the subject on the card, girl power. Isnít it wonderful, I can hear every female in the nation screaming, that these intelligent bright witty women...


NP: So Tim Rice was speaking then when the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. Heís taken the lead, heís one ahead of each of the other three. And the next subject is, very aptly itís called stitched up. And Iíve been getting stitched up sometimes by our contestants and players, because that is part of the game to get me confused! But Paul will you take the subject starting now.

PM: I was once stitched up when I was about seven years old. I was playing football, a very good game that lots of people play. And I remember banging my head against a bit of concrete and being taken away to a little hospital and some stitches above the eyebrow. Nothing particularly spectacular, not like having your head cut off and having to have that stitched back on to your neck. Nothing as outrageous or as outlandish as that. Also being stitched up means when somebody deliberately puts you into a position against your will where thinhs happen to you that youíd rather they didnít. For example if I was to be found walking down the centre of Belfast saying "kill Gerry Kelly", that would be stitched up because I wouldnít know at the time who he was. And people would say "donít you know you are insulting one of the most celebrated people that we have on this great island of ours?" And Iíd say "oh that one, I...


PM: ... wasnít referring to that particular individual, the one that I was referring to is the one that lives near me in fact...


PM: How long is this going on for?

NP: Well heís challenged you twice now Gerry. What were you challenging about?

GK: I would just like to agree with him! No challenge whatsoever!

NP: So a bonus point to Gerry because they enjoyed the challenge, Paul keeps the subject, he has a point for being interrupted of course. Seven seconds on being stitched up Paul starting now.

PM: I suppose if you really think about it the prime example of somebody being stitched up is un...


NP: So Paul Merton began with the subject and in spite of one interruption finished with the subject and he gained the extra point for doing so. Heís now equal in the lead with Tim Rice and Gerry Kelly. And Clement Freud is only one point behind them. Clement itís your turn to begin, the Glens of Antrim. Tell us something about that beautiful part of this part of the world, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: The Glens of Antrim is a new band which rather like the Spice Girls is likely to hit the public and achieve huge acclaim. There is...


NP: Tim Rice challenged.

TR: The Spice Girls already have done that! And you said that they were likely to do it! So...

NP: They... well yes.... according to him, they were likely that they could achieve fame. I donít think he was deviating. I think thatís trying...

TR: He claimed earlier not to know anything about the Spice Girls at all!

CF: I learnt!

TR: Oh you learnt, Iím sorry!

NP: He listened to you, you see Tim!

TR: I appreciate that!

NP: Right! So an in correct challenge Tim, 49 seconds, still with Clement, the Glens of Antrim, starting now.

CF: The names of the Glens of Antrim are Artifus, Beatrice, Charles, Damon, Eric, Frederick, George, harry, Ivor, Joe, Kenneth, Lancelot, Martin.... Ned...


CF: Oliver, Peter, Quentin, Richard...

NP: Clement you, you were challenged just after Martin. Paul what was your challenge?

PM: Ah well it was a hesitation.

NP: After Martin, he couldnít think of another name for a little while, yes. As you will observe they do have different ways of playing the game! But he definitely hesitated after Martin and Paul got in there and heís got 29 seconds on the Glens of Antrim starting now.

PM: Well this is going to be an interesting 29 seconds, because I know nothing at all about the Glens of Antrim!


PM: Thank you!

NP: And Gerry Kellyís challenged.

GK: Complete deviation! He shouldnít have started if he knew nothing about it!

NP: Actually in Just A Minute even if you donít know anything about it you still have to try and keep going.

GK: No, but heís in Northern Ireland. He shouldnít open his mouth about something he doesnít know anything about!

NP: Itís obvious this audience want to hear from you about the Glens of Antrim. And if you donít give them something really hard on this, Gerry, you are in trouble. So you have a correct challenge...

PM: I look forward to his expert knowledge!

NP: Right! Twenty-three seconds, the Glens of Antrim, Gerry starting now.

GK: Where the gleens, glan...ohhhh!


NP: Thatís it, about Just A Minute. Theyíre under pressure!

GK: Oh!

NP: Three fellers breathing down their necks! And Tim was the first to buzz, yes, 21 seconds for you on the Glens of Antrim, Tim, starting now.

TR: Only this afternoon I was strolling through the Glens of Antrim, breathing in that wonderful Irish air and thinking I could not be in a better place than this fantastically attractive, delightful, ebullient, enthusiastic, frighteningly...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Run out of words beginning with E!

NP: So what is the correct challenge?

PM: Well hesitation!

NP: Hesi... I think he almost hesitated, yes he was...

TR: Oh!

NP: No? All right then, you didnít! I donít mind. But Paul...

PM: You donít mind!

NP: No. No as long as Iím fair about it. Paul Iím going to give you a bonus point because we loved the challenge but Tim gets a point for being interrupted, he keeps the subject, the Glens of Antrim, seven seconds available starting now.

TR: At number 43, Acachia Avenue in Antrim, you will find the Glen family, Dave and Cath, and their daughters Veronica...


NP: Gerry Kelly youíve challenged.

GK: Itís actually number 44!

PM: They moved about a year ago!

NP: Gerry Kelly you have half a second on the Glens of Antrim starting now.

GK: One of the most attractive...


NP: So theyíre all equal still... no, Gerry Kelly has taken the lead! One point ahead of the other two. Ah Gerry, itís your turn to begin. The best piece of advice ever given to me. That is the subject, can you talk on it, starting now.

GK: The best of piece ever given to me was never a borrower nor a lender be. Surprisingly that this counsel has stuck in my mind all of these years, because it was my great-grandfather who first said it to me. He owed at the time 30,000 pounds to the Inland Revenue! However I have been working steadily since as a television presenter, making very little money throughout all that. People ask me regularly if I, they, even if they could borrow money...


GK: ...from me and I have said no, you may not. Never a borrower...

NP: I say Gerry?

GK: Yes, I am away with it here, with the birdies!

NP: But Tim Rice actually challenged you before you got into your full stride. What was it?

TR: A lot of hesitation there!

NP: There was a bit of hesitation, not a lot. There was just a bit of hesitation.

TR: Easily enough to get the point!

NP: Enough to get the point yes. And you have 33 seconds Tim on the best piece of advice ever given to me starting now.

TR: The best piece of advice ever given to me was be sincere, even if you donít mean it! This is extremely important and incredibly useful as you go down lifeís rocky path. There will be vicissitudes, there will be...


NP: Clement Freud challenged. There will be. Right Clement, 19 seconds, the best piece of advice ever given to me, starting now.

CF: I think the best piece of advice ever given to me was when I went into my local public house and saw a notice which said "food, drink and a kindly word, special deal, three pounds 99". I availed myself of this and got a glass of red wine and some meat pie and waited. The...


NP: You were interrupted with the whistle but weíd love to hear the end of the story.

CF: Well I had my glass of red wine and a meat pie and waited. And the barman said "why are you waiting?" And I said "Iím waiting for the kindly word." And he said "donít eat the meat pie!"

NP: So you got the point for speaking as the whistle went and we should almost give you a bonus for the joke, itís a good one! Right! But Clement youíve now gone into the lead, one ahead of Tim Rice and Gerry Kelly. Paul Mertonís one behind them. And Paul itís your turn to begin, the subject, sugar daddy. Tell us something about sugar daddy in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: I have a sugar daddy. He pays for everything. Ah hotel suites, plane tickets, expensive meals, exotic holidays. His name is Nicholas Parsons! And he is a marvelous individual to me, the number of times...


NP: Gerry Kelly challenged.

GK: I thought he hesitated.

PM: I know, I just found it hard to believe myself!

NP: So Gerry youíve got in... I wanted to hear more about that actually! I didnít know I had all this! Anyway 49 seconds available, sugar daddy with you Gerry starting now.

GK: Paul and I could well be brothers, because I too have a sugar daddy in our chairman tonight, Mr Nicholas Parsons. Nicholas and I go back many...


NP: Tim Rice challenged.

TR: Two Nicholases.

NP: I know but you canít have too much of a good thing! Oh I love coming to Northern Ireland! Right! But it was a correct challenge so Tim you have another point, you have 41 seconds, sugar daddy starting now.

TR: The two greatest sugar daddies of all time were Mr Tait and Mr Myer...


NP: Clement Freud challenged. Two Misters!

CF: Repetition of Mister!

NP: Mister! Thirty-six seconds, sugar daddy with you Clement starting now.

CF: I have a friend who is a confectioner who informs me that sugar daddies need more sugar than sugar mummies. And this I think is quite false, because if you consider the protrusion that emits from a man...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Is it just me or... Is Clement completely incomprehensible?

NP: I donít think perlusion is a word you will find you will find in the usual dictionary!

PM: Absolutely!

NP: So we call that deviation from the English language as we understand it. Paul I agree with the challenge, 20 seconds are left and sugar daddyís still with you starting now.

PM: Fancy lingerie! Thereís nothing that he wonít buy for me! And as the two of us lie on our Caribbean beach, looking into the otherís eyes, I can swim for hours in the deep azure blue that you find just beside his pupil and...


NP: Tim you challenged.

TR: Yes we had two lookings. He was looking at you...

NP: We did have two lookings. My goodness me! What a picture it paints of your chairman! Iím going to get all kinds of indecent propsals now Paul, you know that, donít you?

PM: You wish!

NP: Tim... Tim you have a challenge which was correct and there are seven seconds when you pressed your buzzer, sugar daddy is with you starting now.

TR: Sugar Daddy are a very exciting blues tinged septet from New Orleans, in actual fact from quite near...


NP: Tim Rice was then speaking when the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. Itís very even all the way through. Itís neck and neck as they say. And Clement Freud and Tim Rice are now equal just one ahead of Paul Merton and Gerry Kelly. Clement your turn to begin, the subject tyres, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: I have a new national hunt horse, which is called Dig Up St Edmunds. And the sad thing when it runs in a race is that it tires. The animal starts the way they do for a race, and after a mile and three quarters, it is well in the lead and you think this is going to be it! I shall become rich! I shall be able to augment my BBC salary. And it tires! It comes nowhere or last. The money that I have invested in it goes to the bookmaker. And sadly I have to return to work. Tyres are also things that you find on the four extremities of a car. made of rubber in the old days but now some other pneumatic substance. Who knows, probably coming from Northern Ireland where the great inventions emanate. I think somebody in Bemanagh, or it might have been Down or Derry, possibly...


NP: Well that hasnít happened in Just A Minute for a very long time. The person who took the subject at the beginning kept going without hesitation, repetition or deviation. He was not interrupted and he did the full 60 seconds and deservedly got that big round of applause. So he gets a point for speaking as the whistle went, but a bonus point for not being interrupted. And of course that reference at the end was right, because I believe tyres were first invented by Mr Dunlop here in Northern Ireland! It was a Northern Ireland invention! And what is the score at the end of that round? So Clement Freud has increased his lead, but only by two, because that was all the points he got. Gerry Kelly itís with you again, ah, the bare necessities. You can interpret that any way you wish but talk on the subject, 60 seconds, starting now.

GK: When I travel abroad, I take with me the bare necessities. That includes a pair of shades, a pair of trunks...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Pair of.

NP: Two pairs, yeah. So Paul you got in with 52 seconds with pairs and the bare necessities are with you starting now.

PM: Round about 1968 I remember going to see a Walt Disney cartoon called The Jungle Book. And one of the popular songs in that particular movie was The Bare Necessities, sung by a character called Baloo the bear. And his voice was in fact supplied by Phil Harris, who was a very popular American entertainer in the 40s and 50s and I believe was...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: It was in the er 40s and 50s. There was actually an er there.


TR: But I donít really want to challenge on that!

PM: Just because Iíve got a speech impediment!

NP: Oh I must say you can work an audience canít you Tim! You suddenly thought youíd lost them and you changed your mind! But you know, one has to be fair, he did say er...

TR: He certainly did!

NP: Yes we have to, I have to be fair within the game. And if you say er that is hesitation even if you say it quickly. So Tim I... Tim I think you should have it, 31 seconds, the bare necessities, starting now.

TR: The bare necessities of life are five bob in your pocket...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Decimal currency! Five bob is no longer a bare necessity!

TR: I was going to go on saying as my mother told me in 1968!

NP: But you didnít establish that in time! So I think...

TR: Well I couldnít establish it, could I? This twerp interrupted me!

NP: No I was generous to you on the last round, I think itís only fair I should be generous to Paul now and that makes it equal. So Paul you have another point and the subject, 26 seconds, the bare necessities, starting now.

PM: I remember saying to ĎEr Indoors about the bare necessities of life. And the reply I got was one that was rather extraordinary, because I sometimes think about the dear Queen and Prince Philip. And when I mention Her Highness, sheís otherwise known as Er which is ER...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of Er.

NP: ĎEr Indoors and Er ER! Right! Clement...

PM: Two different words! I know itís the same...

NP: I know but we are in sound radio and itís what you say that matters, not how it appears on the paper written. Ten seconds, the bare necessities Clement starting now.

CF: For me among the bare necessities in life is a notice on my desk which states "to err is human, to forgive is not my method!"


NP: Itís a great gift in Just A Minute if you can time your bon mots to go in with the whistle. Clement you were speaking again when the whistle went, youíve increased your lead and youíre ahead of the other three but theyíre almost equal in second place, that is Tim Rice, Paul Merton and Gerry Kelly. And we have little time left, weíve got time for one more round. And Paul I think itís your turn to begin so letís take tunnel vision. Tell us something about that if you can in this game starting now.

PM: Several years ago, it was Napoleon who came up with the idea I believe of a Channel tunnel, but it wasnít until the beginning of the 1990s that we actually saw this enterprise opened. I donít know if anybody here has actually travelled on the Chunnel as itís known more colloquially, but it is a rather interesting experience. On the English side, the train dawdles along at about 15 miles an hour. We reach the apparatus tube under the sea, it takes 13 minutes to get through that. Once we get on to the French side, we...


PM: ... are whizzing along at 170 kilometres...


NP: Right, Paul you were challenged before...

PM: Oh was I, I didnít hear, sorry!

TR: Two sides.

NP: There were two sides, Iím afraid, yes.

CF: Inevitably!

NP: Yes!

PM: Thatís one of the chief features of a tunnel!

NP: I know, yes!

PM: If it goes round it becomes a hoop!

NP: Right, yes!

PM: You wouldnít have the Channel Hoop!

NP: No! We love your remarks...

PM: The Choop!

NP: The Choop! Itís all good grist to the comedy mill but unfortunately in Just A Minute, you canít repeat the words and you said side more than once, so Tim Rice you have the subject of tunnel vision starting now.

TR: I felt that the person who chose this subject meant us to discuss an attitude that people have sometimes, which prevents them from looking at anything other than one particular topic. They go droning on and again about the same thing, over and repeatedly, just continuing to hammer home the same point...


NP: Clement Freud youíve challenged.

CF: That was...

NP: I think that was hesitation.

CF: I believe that was hesitation.

NP: We were all waiting to see which other words he could use to describe the same thing, eight seconds are left, tunnel vision with you Clement starting now.

CF: The Channel Tunnel is incredibly popular. And at Dover there are two queues, one marked "cross Channel passengers", the other marked "very cross Channel passengers"!


NP: So once again Clement Freud got his joke in just as the whistle went, the payoff to the joke, which is very shrewd and very clever and also gets a point for speaking as the whistle went. And as I said a little earlier this would have to be the last round, alas it is! Right let me give you the final score, not that the points matter so much, it is the contribution and it was pretty even throughout. But in this situation only one point separated the last three which was Gerry Kelly in fourth place. Just ahead of him was Paul Merton. Just ahead of him was Tim Rice. But a few points ahead of them was Clement Freud, so we say Clement Freud, most points, youíre the winner this week! So it only remains for me to say thank you to our four exciting and talented players of the game, Paul Merton, Tim Rice, and Clement Freud,a and a special thank you to the person whoís only played it twice now, that is Gerry Kelly. But will you thank all four of them! We want to thank Helen Williams for helping with the score, blowing the whistle when the 60 seconds were up. We thank Ian Messiter for thinking up and creating this game that we enjoy playing. And Chris Neill who has produced and directed it. And we thank you for your applause, your warmth and your reception. And thank you to the listeners, until weíre in Belfast again, goodbye!