NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Oh thank you, thank you, 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 throughout the world and maybe in space for all we know! But also most importantly to welcome the four talented exciting exuberant dynamic players of the game whoíve joined me this week. We are lucky to have back with us Paul Merton, Stephen Fry, Linda Smith and Clement Freud. And will you please welcome all four of them! And as usual Iím 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. And beside me sits Janet Staplehurst whoís going to keep the score and sheíll blow her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Radio Theatre in the centre of Broadcasting House in the centre of this great city of London. And Stephen itís your turn to begin. Cats. That is the subject. Tell us something about those lovely creatures in 60 seconds starting now.

STEPHEN FRY: Macavity the mystery cat was created by TS Eliot, in his book Old Possums ah etcetera...


NP: Linda challenged.

LINDA SMITH: Sorry, er!

NP: I think there was a hesitation Linda, yes. So Linda you have the subject, a correct challenge, a point to you. the subject is cats, there are 55 seconds starting now.

LS: Cats, my neighbours have four cats and they seem to think that my pond is their own personal...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Ah, two mys. My neighbours and my pond.

NP: Oh yes thatís a tough one isnít it.

LS: Itís the little words that catch you out!

SF: I know! Piss off!

NP: Youíre sharp...

SF: Iím being hissed now!

NP: Stephen there are 50 seconds available, cats is back with you starting now.

SF: A musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on Eliotís poems...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PAUL MERTON: I heard it, itís not a musical.

NP: It is billed as a musical so...

PM: Is it really?

NP: Yes! But the audience apprecaied your remarks so much we give you a bonus point for that interjection. But Stephen was interrupted so he keeps the subject and he has 47 seconds available, cats, starting now.

SF: Thereís a dignified self-possession about the members of the feline species. They donít seem to need you. They rub around your ankles, beg for food, and occasionally allow themselves to be nuzzled and petted. But somehow one always feels that they have a private personal secret which makes them superior to you. Worshipped by ancients Egyptiansh, cats...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: The ancients!

NP: Yes!

PM: I think Stephen was trying to say Egyptians but it came out...

NP: I think he was trying to say Egyptians but something else came out. So we say that is deviation from language as we understand it and there are 29 seconds available starting now.

PM: I suppose you can divide people up between cat lovers and cat haters or people who donít particularly...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Two people.

NP: Yes there were too many people. So Clement you have a correct challenge, you have 23 seconds, tell us something about cats starting now.

CF: I once played a game called Trivial Pursuits in which there was a question...


NP: Stephen Fry challenged.

SF: Iím sure he played a game called Trivial Pursuit, not Trivial Pursuits.

CF: No, this game was called Trivial Pursuits.

SF: Oh is it?

CF: Mmmm.

SF: Oh!

CF: This one was!

NP: Thatís a difficult one isnít it because the actual game that we all know is called Trivial Pursuit...

CF: I didnít play that!

PM: Trivial Pursuits is a much better game!

NP: Oh yes! Another impossible task, isnít it! Shall I put it to the audience?

SF: No, no! They hate me!

NP: I must give you the benefit of the doubt because the game as we all know is Trivial Pursuit so you were correct Stephen. Twenty seconds on cats starting now.

SF: (Laughs)


NP: And youíve been challenged by Clement Freud again.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation.

PM: To be fair, to be fair Stephen was waiting for the booing to subside!

SF: Iím being hissed and booed...

NP: Yeah but you see it all works out fairly. Stephen got a point for that one and Clementís got back in again, heís got a point for a correct challenge, heís got cats, heís got 19 seconds starting now.

CF: What is it that has two legs and sleeps with cats. And the answer was not Mrs Catz but his secretary.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well I mean thatís... whatís he talking about?

NP: I donít know what it was, but some of the audience seem to know! They obviously have very strange lives, some of the people in the audience that are there. But the hesitation...

PM: Hesitation, definitely!

NP: Definitely, after that Iím sure he had to hesitate! Ten seconds are available for you Paul on cats starting now.

PM: When I look at the average cat and I suppose Iíve met quite a few of thehm over the years, I donít, unlike Stephen, think they have this great self-possession or they possess a secret...



NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Drivel! Sorry! My thumb just twitched hopelessly!

NP: So if it twitched and it was an incorrect challenge...

SF: Yeah it is.

NP: And itís er.. you did buzz...

SF: I was pathetically trying to win back the love of the audience actually. Thatís all it is...

PM: Itíll take more than a twitchy thumb to do that!

NP: So as you buzzed as the whistle went we call that all square and we applaud now because the... And Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went and gained an extra point for doing so. And heís now in the lead one ahead of Clement Freud and Stephen Fry equal in second place. And Linda itís your turn to begin, Waterloo. Tell us something about that emotive subject in this game starting now.

LS: Waterloo, what a famous battle! It began when Abba, the Swedish songsters, entered the charts in 1974, with that very number, Waterloo. They then marched inexorably forward for the next week when they arrived at Number Two, laying siege to Jimmy Jacksí Seasons In The Sun.


NP: Paul Merton you...

PM: Deviation, it was Terry Jacks.

NP: Yes Terry Jacks. Yes, well spotted Paul, 37 seconds , you tell us something about Waterloo starting now.

PM: Terry Jacks of course had a one hit with Seasons In The Sun. And as Linda said it kept Waterloo off the Number One spot... no that canít be right! It came out about two years earlier...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Also repetition of number.

NP: Yes he did repeat number and he went off there. Twenty-nine seconds, you tell us something about Waterloo, Stephen, starting now.

SF: I may be right in thinking that in 1815 there was a battle called Waterloo between Napoleon who er had just had quite a good victory at Lisle, beating the Prussian troops under Marshall Bleuthe there. And then the next day they engaged Wellingtonís Allied troops...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Oh Iím sorry!

NP: Whatís that?

CF: He said Napoleon before, and Wellington. Mistake.

NP: Mistake? well if itís a sort of Freudian slip, then... then what happens is...

SF: No-oneís ever said that before, have they Clement?

NP: Stephen was interrupted so he gets a point for being interrupted and he keeps the subject and there are 13 seconds, Waterloo, starting now.

SF: There are nicer mainline stations in London. I prefer Paddington myself but Waterloo has a charm of its own. I admire the clock, some of the platforms are elegant in their own way. The roof has a ceiling with glass and steel girders. Trains run regularly...


NP: Stephen Fry with points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went, has moved forward. Heís now in the lead, just one ahead of Paul Merton, and two ahead of Clement Freud and three ahead of Linda Smith. And Paul Merton, your turn to begin. The subject, guinea pigs. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: Guinea pigs are inaccurately named. Because they donít particularly resemble pigs or cost a guinea. I am told they make wonderful pets for children, not particularly, moa...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, right, Clement, a point to you and the subject, 48 seconds, guinea pigs starting now.

CF: Guinea pigs are a great Peruvian delicacy. If you go to the Cathedral in the north of that country, you will see a picture of the last supper in which they were eating guinea pig. I was deeply impressed...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I think you were deeply sedated! Thereís no pictures of guinea pigs! They eat guinea pigs, really, in Peru?

CF: Yeah!

PM: Well thereís only one way to find out. Whoís been there?

NP: Has anybody in the audience been to Peru? Is that right?

PM: Do they have pictures of them eating guinea pigs at the Last Supper?

PERSON IN THE AUDIENCE: Yeah thatís true!

NP: It is true? Well Iím glad you came!

SF: I didnít know the mother of Clement Freud was in the audience today!

NP: I know! And how much did Clement Freud give you for that? Right well weíll go with that lady in the audience and say...

SF: Iím sorry!

PM: Is the lady in the audience going to become a regular feature that we can appeal to?

NP: We could use it, couldnít we? Itís a good gimmick, we could do it if we get a situation like that if Clement Freud comes on as often as he does and raises these particular points. So thank you very much anyway, weíre deeply grateful and um he has 36 seconds to continue on guinea pigs starting now.

CF: Thereís no reason in the world why one shouldnít eat guinea pig...


NP: Stephen Fry challenged.

SF: Repetition of eat.

NP: Yes you did have eat before. Yes so...

CF: I said eating!

SF: Oh did you?

NP: They were eating before?

CF: Yes.

NP: Yes he was eating...

SF: So you were agreeing with me until Clement told you... Thatís fine! I just er...

PM: All this is academic until we find out what the lady in the audience says!

SF: Yes she is our final arbiter!

NP: Did he say eat or eating? You did actually say eating, youíre quite right Clement. So 32 seconds, you keep the subject, guinea pigs, starting now.

CF: You kepe them in a cage and give them to children so they can ask their friends in to come and feed them lettuce, tomato... crusts, lamb, salmon...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: He ran out of lists!

NP: He ran out of lists! It is difficult to list! So hesitation, 23 seconds, guinea pigs with you Paul starting now.

PM: Theyíre enormous fun if you inflate them with helium gas! They run across the London sky and little children have been known in the east end of London have been known to throw rocks at them as they pass gaily over their rooftop. Itís an old English custom. I know people that listen to this programme all over the world. The lady in the audience will back me up! Sheís been to Peru! Itís a wonderful thing to have are guinea pigs. They are treated very much as a national pet over here. There is a recreation council devoted to all kinds of...


NP: He kept going until that whistle went, gained that extra point. Youíre now equal in the lead with Stephen Fry, just one ahead of Clement Freud. And Clement your turn to begin, the subject, fungi. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

CF: Fun is what guinea pigs have which is why they are so many of them. And guy is another name for a chap. Fungi is also a general or mushroom...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: I felt that was...

CF: Itís a bit early for a challenge, you know!

SF: Was it? Iím sorry!

NP: It was a hesitation definitely.

SF: Was there? Clementís decided it wasnít!

CF: No...

LS: Lady in the audience!

NP: A definite hesitation, 49 seconds for you Stephen on fungi starting now.

SF: Antonio Carlucco of the Nealzargest seems to have made quite a... er...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: It was. All right Paul, 45 seconds, fungi starting now.

PM: There is a form of mushroom thatís called magic. And if you have this particular type of edible fungi you can go through all kinds of wonderful things...


NP: Steph... Clement challenged.

CF: Kinds.

NP: Yes unfortunately for you.

PM: Was there?

NP: Yes! Kinds, right, 36 seconds are available, back with you Clement, fungi, starting now.

CF: The French are the great experts, and Antonio Carlucco who is actually Italian is an exponent of the art of dedicating and identifying fugi. Shitake, morel, sep, shorterel, there are so many. And in the far east where thereís a small...


NP: Stephen you challenged.

SF: I was leaping on to a hesitation that barely existed.

NP: Well it was a teetering on it. So we give you the benefit of the doubt on this occasion because it went against you last time Stephen. So you have...

CF: Oh itís like that, is it?

NP: Stephen I give you the benefit of the doubt, fungiís back with you, 17 seconds starting now.

SF: The tatoofey bianci, the white truffles of the Piermont area, Alba in particular, are simply magnificent. Their fragrance will fill a room even the size of this auditorium here. Usually round about Autumn the hounds that sniff out are like the pigs that do it in France and perigo for the black...


NP: So Stephen Fry heís moved forward, heís now gone into the lead ahead of Paul Merton, and Clement Freud there following just behind. Stephen, oh hereís a good subject, especially today with the audience we have in front of us, because the subject is the audience.

SF: Oh my Lord!

NP: So will you tell us something about the audience in 60 seconds starting now.

SF: Handsome! Exquisitely formed! Beautifully thighed! Wondrously coiffured! Marvelously dressed...


NP: Um Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Have you seen the sixth row?

NP: Any other challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: No.

SF: Aw!

NP: You missed them marvelously...

CF: Can you challenge for creep?

SF: You should be able to!

NP: And 55 seconds still with you Stephen on the audience starting now.

SF: The audience I had with the Pope some years ago was something of a disappointment. He did not appreciate my embracing him quite as vigorously as I did. Nor did he agree with me on my deeper theological views that he was the son of an arse for being so backward and right wing and everything! But I got to meet him there, it was not a successful audience, I can go that far. Our audience here today however is magnificently wondrously perfect and I very much admire them for their patience and their understanding and the way they have sat through in this hot weather and listened to us rambling on for a minute or a few seconds at least on subjects chosen on the card. The audience sits there quietly, occasionally laughs, occasionally... oh dear...


NP: Oh dear! And Paul you got in first... Yes he deserves a round of applause. That does often happen, somebody goes for a long time on a subject, gets no points for it, someone comes in towards the end and gets the benefit. Sixteen seconds available with a correct challenge from you Paul, the audience starting now.

PM: I can honestly say that of all the audiences that weíve had this evening this is by far the best! Thereís a lot that came in about half past seven, that were rubbish! Oh they were terrible! We were back there sweating buckets, saying "weíre not going out in front of that lot!" But thankfully this lot are very very good... two lots...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Repetition of lot.

NP: There were too many lots, yes. So Stephen you got in with two seconds to go on the audience starting now.

SF: The audience is patient, kind, fun...


NP: So Stephen Fry speaking as the whistle went once again gained that extra point. And with others in the round heís now taken a strong lead ahead of Paul Merton followed by Clement Freud and Linda Smith. And Paul your turn to begin, the subject, fans. Tell us something about fans in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: They would be very useful objects here tonight, on the hottest day of the year. The audience have been sitting here very calmly, very patiently, thatís two verys, thatís three...


NP: Yes! And you spotted it yourself, but Stephen pressed first so 53 seconds on fans with you Stephen starting now.

SF: I once heard somebody describe the play of Oscar Wildeís as Lady Fandermereís Wind! It is of course not quite the right description of its title. Fans are very useful in hot weather because um when they admire your work....


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: I thought there was a erm but I could be wrong, I probably am!

NP: Youíre right! Yes! There are!

SF: Yes! Well done! Be patronising!

NP: You have 43 seconds, 43 seconds, fans with you Linda starting now.

LS: Fans were very popular in Victorian times when ladies would fan themselves because theyíd be too hot, sitting very close to the fire. Of course in those times they hadnít invented the practice of moving further away from the fire! They were very baffled...


NP: Stephen?

SF: A couple of fires.

NP: There were two fires yes. And 29 seconds are available on fans with you Stephen starting now.

SF: Made of ivory and chicken skin, particularly in Paris where they were in great vogue in the 18th and early 19th centuries. However electric fans which move round when you put up a little knob, and then stay still when you push it down again are very popular too over here...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of very.

NP: Very, yes indeed. Right Clement, 14 seconds, tell us something about fans starting now.

CF: Plymouth Argyll has some ardent fans who wear green and white and black scarves. And when the team gets a corner they do a lap of honour, because very rarely does that Football Association...


NP: Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point for doing so. Heís moved forward, heís now in third place just ahead of Linda, one point behind Paul Merton and four behind Stephen Fry whoís still our leader. Linda it is your turn to begin and the subject is feng shui. Tell us something about feng shui in Just A Minute starting now.

LS: Feng shui which should be correctly pronounced a number 39, is the ancient oriental art of getting money off of simpletons. It involves, itís, it involves someone coming to your house and saying "oh the sofa in front of the front door, thatís really bad karma!" If I want furniture moved, I get Pickfords, not some dopey hippy called Crispin in a caftan, who hasnít washed since he last went to Glasselwig which heís never come back from since he first went there in 1967. I donít understand what is wrong with people! The phrase, more money than sense, comes to mind, doesnít it! You sometimes, oh, mustnít...


NP: And the audience certainly enjoyed it! You went for, my goodness me, 39 seconds...

LS: I went for 39 seconds?

NP: No, 49, 49 seconds, 49 seconds!

SF: Forty-nine seconds!

LS: In this weather!

NP: Only 11 seconds available. I think because she, because you applauded and she kept going through the applause, I think she should have a bonus point for what she contributed, donít you?

SF: Because after all, sheís only a lady!

LS: Thank you!

NP: Feng shui with you Clement starting now.

CF: Thereís no aspect of life to which you canít...


SF: Itís probably true but...

NP: Itís probably true, yes!

SF: A little bit too gnomic!

NP: Right, seven seconds for you to tell us something about this subject Stephen starting now.

SF: Feng shui as Linda told us it should be pronounced, does certainly seem to be sweeping the nation and I would heartily endorse her view that itís a load of old arse...


NP: Right so Stephen was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and has increased his lead at the end of the round. And itís also your turn to begin Stephen and the subject is going to the gym. I donít know whether this is one of your habitual pastimes, but talk on it, 60 seconds if you can starting now.

SF: One look at my honed body which resembles nothing so much more than a bin liner filled with yogurt should tell you that the gym and I are strangers! I have been to a gymnasium more than once. Interestingly by the way the word comes from the Greek gymnos meaning naked. People are not entirely naked, theyíre nude... bother!


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Iím afraid two nakeds. I was enjoying it.

NP: Thereís too much nakedness, yes. It doesnít come over so well on radio. But you canít repeat the word...

LS: Sometimes it does!

NP: ... which he did, 44 seconds available Clement, going to the gym, starting now.

CF: Going to the gym is uplifting and coming back from the gym is quite a lot of fun. Being at the gym is so hugely boring! All those awful machines called pelati or perhaps perati which...


NP: Stephen challenged?

SF: Is there a machine called pelati? I thought it was a type of exercise, isnít it, pelati?

LS: There is a machine as well.

SF: Oh thatís good. Thank you! Well done! I think Clement deserves a point for showing another dimension!

NP: We learn a lot of things in this show, right Stephen yes. And your interruption means Clement has another point but he keeps the subject and Clement continues for 26 seconds, going to the gym, Clement starting now.

CF: An excellent way to go to the gym is to start at Marble Arch, pursue Oxford Street, make towards Piccadilly Circus and then hove to the left which would be east in the direction of Covent Garden, where after there is an establishment called The Pineapple, a sort of gymnasium for the upper market well heeled women and men who live in that part of...


NP: Clement Freud gained points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went. Heís moved forward into second place now, just...

SF: It was just the master at work, wasnít it?

NP: Yes, yes, well heís had some practice, 34 years, but itís paid off and he really is absolutely excellent! And Paul itís your turn to begin and the subject is down the plughole. Tell us something about down the plughole in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: Down the plughole is a horroble world of hairiness! Peruvian guinea pigs breed down there! Ask the lady in the audience, sheís lived through it! They get in the dark and theyíre all together and suddenly before you know it, thereís more hamsters... no, I didnít say hamsters before I said something else!


NP: Stephen you challenged.

SF: Oh dear, by avoiding saying hamsters twice you managed to say it twice!

NP: Right so youíve got in first Stephen, 47 seconds, down the plughole starting now.

SF: I have a dim memory of a musical song saying my babyís gone down the plughole. I donít remember much more of it, fairly...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: My babyís gone down the drain, my babyís gone down the plughole, Iíll never see baby again! Thatís the end of it.

NP: Thatís the end of it.

SF: No itís not... yes it is!

PM: Is it not? Does it go on?

SF: Yes!

LS: And the angels say your baby is perfectly happy...

CF: Heís gone...

LS: He wonít need a bath any more, your baby has gone down the plughole, not lost just gone before.

SF: Awwwww!

NP: Wasnít that a touching moment! Memorabilia! I mean I just couldnít, thereís not a dry eye in the audience after that!

PM: Theyíre sweaty!

NP: I know! But where are we in Just A Minute because you challenged...

PM: I challenged but it turned out to be a wrong challenge.

NP: Thank you very much! Right! Forty-two seconds Stephen still with you, down the plughole starting now.

SF: This show was in danger of going down the plughole earlier until it was rescued by some skill, wit and judgment on the part of our beloved chairman and the three others...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Nobody but nobody would call you a beloved chairman!

NP: Stephen just did...

CF: Can we have a vote on it?

NP: All right! Ask the audience to vote on it! If you agree with Stephen cheer, if you disagree, boo...

LS: Can I just say Nicholas, you have gone down this mob rule route before and it didnít work out too well for you! I think we should let sleeping audiences lie!

NP: And Iím not embarrassed!

SF: No! Show how much you love Nicholas!

PM: No, please come back!

NP: I think weíll leave it at that and say, Clement Freud that was an incorrect challenge. I would have given it against you whatever you said after that! Stephen has another point, he has down the plughole starting now.

SF: Clementís challenge of course went down the plughole just now and I think...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of of course.

NP: Yes unfortunately...

SF: Well spotted, yes!

NP: In spite of what Clement said, you see, Iím always very fair. Clement you have a correct challenge, 31 seconds, down the plughole starting now.

CF: There was a song which began a mother was bathing a baby one night. The youngest of eight had a terrible night. She only turned round to get soap from the rack. She wasnít a minute but when she turned back, the thing had gone, in anguish she cried, oh where is my.... the angels replied...


CF: My baby has gone... gone down... Iíve been challenged.

NP: You were challenged.

PM: I didnít know he had such a feel for music! Freud, the Musical!

NP: I know! Itís the old time music hall in Just A Minute! Because yes you didnít want to repeat the word baby so you paused instead and Stephen came in with a challenge. So Stephen, eight seconds on down the plughole starting now.

SF: And what a wonderful song it is! I think Iím going to go home and learn it because Iíd love to be able to perform it professionally. My babyís gone down the plughole! What a lovely thought!


NP: So Stephen Fry got more points in that round, has increased his lead and weíre into the final round. And actually Stephen itís your turn to begin and the subject is email. So will you tell us something about email in this game starting now.

SF: Email of the species is more deadly than the mail. Itís swept the world has it not! The net, Internet, call it what you will, it has made an enormous impression on the lives of the entire planet populations. It seems that now correspondence can become faster, quicker, easier, cheaper and more thorough. It can contain applications, pictures, music, sound within the mail, such that now you can upload and download files...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Bit mean but was that hesitation?

NP: There wasnít hesitation, what about the load?

LS: Oh, now as well. And load.

SF: Upload and download are both separate words.

NP: Right. Thirty-one seconds, continue with email Stephen starting now.

SF: All you have to do is send a piece of email to another person and use their address, their email formulation, which has that curious at symbol, an a with a half circle, or perhaps three quarters around it. And there instantly at their box, their inbox which is...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Three theres.

SF: Yes.

NP: Yes...

SF: Right.

NP: They were there, there there! Right! Fourteen seconds you have got email Clement starting now.

CF: I know nothing about email other than dots and coms and obliques and slashes, come in orders which I do not comprehend or have any desire to whatever. Email people...


NP: Well as I said that was to be the last round and indeed it was. Just to give you the final situation, well, they all contributed so much. But when it comes to the points. Let me tell you that Linda didnít get quite so many as Paul Merton and he didnít get quite as many as Clement Freud and none of them got quite as many as Stephen Fry. So Stephen out in the lead we say that you are the winner this week! And it only remains for me to say thank you to our four delightful and talented players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Linda Smith and Stephen Fry. And also I thank Janet Staplehurst for keeping the score for me and blowing her whistle. And Claire Jones who is our producer-director on this show. And weíre grateful to Ian Messiter the original creator of Just A Minute. And weíre very grateful to this audience whoíve sat in this hot studio on a hot summers day in the Radio Theatre here for coming along and cheering us on our way. From our audience, from the panel, from everyone else and from me, Nicholas Parsons, goodbye. Tune in next time we play Just A Minute!