starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, PETER JONES and JIM SWEENEY, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 27 February 1993)

Note: This was transcribed by Vicki Walker. Thank you Vicki! :-) Jim Sweeney's first appearance and only radio appearance.


NP: Hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons and as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome the four interesting and varied personalities who this week are going to play Just a Minute. We welcome back three of our regulars, which is Peter Jones, Clement Freud and Paul Merton, and we welcome someone who has never played the game before, Jim Sweeney. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Jane Stevens with a stopwatch and a pencil to keep the score. And as usual, I will ask our four competitors to speak on the subject that I give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. And let us begin the show this week with Paul Merton. And Paul, the subject: splits. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PAUL MERTON: I remember when I was a child at the infant school, some of the other children could do the splits. This consisted of pushing one foot as far apart from the other as geo... ju... den-


NP: Um, Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: Eh, hesitation.

NP: Yes. Took a long time to make up your mind! Hesitation, long time. But there was no doubt about it, it was a definite hesitation, Peter. There are 48 seconds left, starting now.

PJ: There have been a number of splits this past year: Donald Trump and his wife, and of course innumerable members of the Royal family have broken up and are, as they say in America, Reno-bound. This seems rather sad when you look back on each month of the year, and I could go through January, February and March, but I won't do that because I think it's so incredibly boring. Unless, of course, I change the order. That might make a bit of a difference. But splits, as such, are sad affairs, and they, um...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Hesitation.

NP: Yes, a hesitation.

PJ: Yes, I think you could say that.

NP: Clement, you have 13 seconds to tell us something about splits starting now.

CF: Splitz, I'm almost certain, is a small picturesque resort town in what used to be Yugoslavia and was then Montenegro. I have been offered a fortnight in Splitz...


NP: And before people start writing in from Yugoslavia and Bosnia and places, it is actually Split, not Splitz, I think, um Clement. We do get letters and I wanted to prevent them all flooding in to you.

PM: I';m sure they've probbaly got better things on their mind in Bosnia than writing letters about Just a Minute!

NP: Whoever is...

PM: Have you considered the fact this programme might be the cause of a lot of troubles!

NP: How did you guess, Paul? It all happened once you joined it. Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point, and on this occasion it was Clement Freud. And Clement, the subject: Edward the Second. Would you tell us something about that king starting now.

CF: Edward the Second was the son of Edward the First, and his own progeny later became Edward the Third, which is how it went in the 14th century. He was a bad king. He was born in Caernarvon, he succeeded to the throne at the age of 23. And he was murdered by his wife, Isabella, having previously lost the battle of Bannockburn, where there's still a statue showing what a rotten monarch he was and how difficult the...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: No, I don't think he hesitated.

PM: No?

CF: No.

NP: No, I think he was quite giving us a fascinating history lesson, all about Edward the Second. Obviously did it for his school cert. Um, Clement, you have 28 seconds, having got a point for an incorrect challenge, and you continue starting now.

CF: There was a horse called Edward the Second which won the... lost...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: No!

PJ: Won the... He couldn't remember what he'd won.

NP: No, no, no. Clement, another incorrect challenge. Twenty-four seconds, Edward the Second, starting now.

CF: It is quite a postulate...


NP: Uh, Jim Sweeney's challenged.

JIM SWEENEY: Hesitation. Well, everybody else is doing it so I thought I'd have a go!

NP: As you haven't played the game before, Jim, I will agree with yours. And there are 23 seconds for you to tell us something about Edward the Second, Jim, starting now.

JS: The story...


NP: Uh, Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

CF: I don't know!

NP: Clement is doing his generous thing to first-time guests. You've got a point for an incorrect challenge. And you have 22 seconds, a point and Edward the Second starting now.

JS: The story of Edward the Second is one that's always fascinated me when it has been told to me. Sadly, it was only the once given to me as a story which I have...


NP: Ah, Paul, your challenge?


NP: Paul, your challenge?

PM: Eh, repetition of story.

NP: Of story. Correct. Fourteen seconds, Edward the Second, starting now.

PM: I don't know a single thing about Edward the Second, but...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He must shut up! He hadn't even learned something from Clement! At least we know that he lost the battle of Bannockburn and his wife murdered him.

NP: It was Isabella's lover who actually did the murdering.

PJ: Was it?

NP: Yep. But it doesn't matter. The, um...

PM: It mattered to him, didn't it?

NP: Paul didn't actually hesitate, deviate or...

CF: He deviated.

PJ: But he didn't know a single thing about Edward the Second.

NP: Listen, there's people in Just a Minute over the years haven't known a single thing about some of the subjects and yet they've kept talking about them, including yourself!

CF: But Nicholas.

NP: Yes?

PJ: Yes, well, I make it easy.

CF: He heard where he was born. I don't see how you could listen to 40 seconds on Edward the Second and then say, "I don't know a single thing about Edward the Second."

PJ: Quite!

CF: I think it's a very good challenge.

NP: No, I think, I've got to be fair within the rules of Just a Minute; I'm with you. You have 10 seconds to continue on Edward the Second starting now.

PM: Isabella's lover, Fred, was in fact the one who murdered...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: His name wasn't Fred.

PM: He was Fred to her!

NP: His name wasn't Fred, I'm sorry, Paul. So Peter has got a correct challenge and five seconds on Edward the Second, starting now.

PJ: The Scots have never forgotten this famous victory over this poor inadequate king...


NP: Right, so Peter Jones was then speaking as the whistle went and gained and extra point. And Jim, it is your turn to begin. The subject is commercials. Will you tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

JS: The subject of commercials is one which divides the acting community into two camps. One who believe it's a valuable and worthwhile way of earning money. Others who think it's the moral equivalent of touting for business at Piccadilly. I happen to fall in the first camp. I believe it is a well worth...



NP: Ah, Paul Merton has challenged.

PM: Repetition of camp, I'm afraid.

NP: Yes, yes I know, we can't get top heavy on this show, right. Forty-six seconds for you to tell us something about commercials, Paul, starting now.

PM: I always felt sorry for the actor who had to stand next to a great big ball of Edam with a keyboard cut into it and sing the Jerry Lee Lewis song...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He just became incoherent!

NP: I know. So we call that hesitation, Peter.

PJ: Yes.

NP: Right, 35 seconds for you to tell us something about commercials, starting now.

PJ: They're made so well! It's my ambitious to be the...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation. My ambitious.

NP: Yes, yes. It's catching, isn't it? You're sitting next to each other and you're giving this, uh, incoherence of phraseology and words to each other. Right. Thirty-two seconds...

PM: I wonder where we pick it up from?

NP: I think you're wicked sometimes. Don't know how I cope with you. Thirty-two seconds, uh Paul, on commercials, starting now.

PM: I always use Jacob's Household Paints because when it comes to painting the house, there's nothing quite like the aforementioned product. It's great! I dip my brush in it and whack it across the wall, and then sometimes I go up to the ceiling and if I'm in a particularly generous mood I will do the floor as well. My wife will come in and say, "Mmmm, what a lovely smell!" You can tell it's ah, and it is!


NP: Peter, you challenged.

PJ: Well, that was hesitation.

NP: He kept going.

PM: That's their slogan. You can tell it's mmmm! It's on all the tins.

NP: You see? And as they say sometimes, I think he was rather riding the laugh. So I'll be generous to you, Paul, and say...

PJ: Riding the laugh?

NP: You have another seven... It's a phrase that came up in the, one of the earlier recordings in this series about...

PJ: Twenty-five years ago!

NP: Paul, you have seven seconds to continue on commercials, starting now.

PM: I believe, as Jim mentioned earlier, that there are two very distinct ways of look...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and, uh, he has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Paul, your turn to begin. The subject: grouse. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: A grouse can always often be... oh, I don't know. Can I start again?


NP: You've gone for three seconds.

PM: I'm no good starting off. I start off and I've no idea within my head and I go ahead and say it.

NP: I know.

PM: Dreadful.

NP: It sounds like it sometimes, too. Ah Jim, you have got in with a correct challenge.

JS: Yes, hesitation-ish?

NP: With 57 seconds on, ah, on grouse, starting now.

JS: When I think of grouse, one particular famous grouse comes to mind. One that I have known and enjoyed several times when I've walked into the bars up and down the country, and indeed savoured at great length, several times ending up sitting on the floor singing songs by Abba, dressed in somebody else's clothes and wishing that I could somehow find a cab to take me home. But sadly, I never can. This is why I stopped some years ago indulging in that particular brand of grouse, although it gives me still some thoughts of...


NP: Eh, Paul Merton challenged.

PM: This is a commercial that he's doing!

NP: I know. He's hoping to get a crate of whiskey from that firm delivered after this show's transmission.

JS: (very deep) Yes.

PM: Deviation. He said a particular brand of grouse, and it's a brand of whiskey rather than a brand of grouse. Grouse is a brand.

JS: Oh yes, all right!

NP: I suppose you're, you're technically correct, Paul, yes. But you had... I was going to give him the benefit of the doubt as he hadn't played the game before. I think I will, in fact. Right, Jim. Because it was a tough challenge. You got 29 seconds to continue, try not to advertise too much. I mean, if you're going to get the whiskey you'll get it now anyway, 29 seconds, grouse, starting now.

JS: I have...


NP: Ah, Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation, but give him the benefit of the doubt!

NP: All right, Paul wants Jim to have another point. So there are 28 seconds on grouse, Jim, starting now.

JS: I have never really known what a grouse looked like. I've often had a picture of what it could possibly be. Something very small and slightly feathery with little feet. But I never really knew what it...



NP: Ah Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of really.

JS: Yes.

NP: Yes, he really didn't know. Nineteen seconds for you to take over grouse, starting now, Peter.

PJ: Some people enjoy shooting grouse. I've never done that myself. I don't feel it's something that's, would be appropriate. Now, just like, uh, initials on one's pajamas or having a personalized number plate on the car. It's not something I can identify with. Shooting these birds and being photographed with hundreds...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged.

PJ: ... of these corpses around on the ground.

NP: Paul Merton challenged you, actually.

PM: Repetition of shooting.

NP: Yeah, you were shooting too much there. You were shooting off your head there about it.

PJ: Oh, yes.

NP: But you were making a point, which the audience appreciated, but I'm afraid...

PJ: Right.

NP ... in Just a Minute we have to play by the rules.

PJ: I was playing to the animal rights group at the back!

NP: I know. Careful they don't move to the front or we'll, right. So there are only one second left on grouse, with you, Paul...

PJ: Only one second, Paul! Really! Pootling!

NP: I know. You've got one second, starting now!

PM: The glorious...


NP: So speaking as the whistle went, Paul Merton got the extra point, has increased his lead. Then comes Clement Freud, and then equal just behind them, Jim Sweeney and Peter Jones. Clement, your turn to begin. The subject: Double-glazing salesmen. Will you talk on it in this game starting now.

CF: There are very few double-glazing salesmen whom I know intimately. But thinking about it, there is Alistair, Bill, Charlie, Desmond, Edward, George, Frederick, Harry, Ivor, Jack, Leonard, Martin, Norman, Oliver, Peter, Quentin, Richard...


NP: He had to slip up at some point, yes. Right, Paul, you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: You waited and got in first, right. Thirty-three seconds, double-glazing, starting now.

PM: I don't see many double-glazing salesmen round my way. I suppose it's because most people in my street already have double-glazing. It was a big fad in the 1970s. People would look out of the window. There would be the double-glazing salesman with his double-glazing van and his cheery double-glazing cry: "It's glazing and it's double."


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes, there was.

PM: Oh, that was ages ago.

CF: Oh yes. Yes, I didn't want to do a lot of work for this point.

NP: He sometimes does that as a sort of generosity on his part.

PM: How can he be generous to interrupt when there's less time left on the watch?

NP: Yes, that's another clever ploy of Clement Freud's. He's been playing the game for 26 years, you know.

PM: Has he really?

NP: Mmm-hmm. Fourteen seconds, Clement, double-glazing salesmen, starting now.

CF: Sylvester, Thomas, Urich, Victor, William, Yves and Zebekiah.


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Well, Eve isn't a man's name.

CF: It is. Yves Montand. That sort of Yves.

PM: Yes, but he's not a double-glazing salesman!

JS: I don't know, the recession's hit you know, it's bad!

PJ: Of course, he's no longer with us.

NP: I thought he meant the other Eve, yes. And so Peter, you have six seconds on double-glazing salesmen, starting now.

CF: Who?

PJ: However good an, er, salesman he is...


NP: Paul challenged.

PJ: What?

NP: However good you are, you mustn't hesitate, Peter.

PJ: No, I know.

NP: And Paul got in with three seconds, double-glazing salesmen, starting now.

PM: Peter, William, George, Harry, Margaret! All these people...


NP: Well, Paul Merton again speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point, has increased his lead. And Jim Sweeney, your turn to begin. The subject: Pisa. Will you tell us something about that beautiful place starting now.

JS: Whenever I think of Pisa, I remember being a child and reading magazines like The Beano or periodicals of that kind. As we called them periodicals in the class I was in where we couldn't speak properly. Where there'd always be a cartoon where Corky the Cat would go somewhere like a little town in Italy where he would see an unsteady pile of pizzas and they would say it was the Leaning Tower of... that particular...


NP: Peter challenged, Peter Jones.

PJ: Well, uh, repetition.

NP: Of what?

PJ: Something or other, I don't know.

NP: Right at the beginning he did repeat the word periodical.

PJ: Yes he did, very quickly.

NP: Yes.

PJ: He said periodical and then he said periodical again.

NP: That's right, yes.

PJ: But I thought I'd give him a sporting chance.

NP: That's right, yes.

PJ: He hasn't played it before.

NP: With my help.

PJ: And then he repeated something else.

NP: Right.

PJ: And I felt it was getting a bit...

CF: Benefit of the doubt.

PJ: Yes, that's what I thought.

NP: Forty-one seconds, Peter, you've made your point. Pisa, starting now.

PJ: The Leaning Tower of Pisa, in my view, is popular because it's flawed, it's imperfect. And I think if the Queen could market the castle at Windsor as being half burnt down, it might do even better than it did before! But it's a question of getting the advertising right, and I think she's probably, uh, capable of doing it because she's handled the last er week or two quite well.


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Uh, hesitation.

NP: Oh, there was a lot of hesitation, yes Paul. Seventeen seconds for you to tell us something about Pisa, starting now.

PM: The leaning tower at Pisa has been closed for the past four or five years because the Italians are rather worried that it's in fact leaning too much. And they have banned tourists from climbing up the stairs and experiencing the lean for themselves. I bel...


NP: Once again, Paul managed to keep going and spoke when the whistle went and has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Paul, it is your turn to begin. Elitism. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game, starting now.

PM: There are many people who have a rather high view of themselves and regard themselves...


NP: Jim?

JS: Repetition of themselves?

NP: Yes, definitely, Jim, so... it's very interesting, Paul. You know, so often you have difficulty starting, but once you've started, there's no holding you, is there?

PM: Should have been there on the honeymoon! Had to get a set of jump leads!

NP: Right, Jim, you've got in, ah, with 53 seconds to go. The subject is elitism, starting now.

JS: Elitist attitudes pervade our entire society. People who will sit around and say people shouldn't watch programs like El Dorado. And I've said people twice, and that's the third time I've said it, and they're letting me get away with it, God bless them all! Because this is the first time I've been on this programme. It's showed there's been no elitist attitude regards this particular show which I'm enjoying now. Elitism, of course, is something that I hate and abhor, that people should decide that one thing is good and one thing is bad without allowing other people to make up their own...


NP: Paul Merton.

JS: Did I say people?

PM: I think you did. Repetition of people.

NP: Oh yes. Incessantly, yes.

JS: I'm being sponsored by that word.

NP: Twenty-eight seconds for you to tell us something about elitism, Paul, starting now.

PM: (singing) People who need people...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Repetition.

NP: Oh. Thought you were going to have him for deviation for his singing. The, 25 seconds on elitism with you, Clement, starting now.

CF: I think one of the best poems about elitism is Hilaire Belloc's Garden Party, in which the poor arrived in Fords whose features they resembled, they laughed to see so many lords and ladies all assembled. The middle class was there looking underdone and harassed, and very out of place...


CF: ...and horribly embarrassed.

NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes, I agree there was a hesitation, Peter. You're going to tell us something about elitism and you have seven seconds left, starting now.

PJ: People tend to associate it with those members of the audience of ballet performances and opera...


NP: So Peter Jones was then speaking as the whistle went, and Clement, it's your turn to begin. The subject: witchcraft. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: There's absolutely nothing elitist about witchcraft. You just get an ordinary witch in a conical hat, stick on a Hoover and claim a free flight to America.


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Sort of a full stop, really.

NP: Yes. Witchcraft is now with you, Paul, and you have 46 seconds to tell us something about it starting now.

PM: When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain? So intoned the three weird...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: If there's anybody superstitious, they're going to be terribly worried by that because it's quite wrong to em, ah, quote from that Scottish play.

NP: And what will happen to the show now he's quoted?

PJ: He's supposed to go outside and turn round three times and do something else, I forget what. I, I'm not superstitious myself and, uh, I don't mind him, ah, reading the entire text of Macbeth if he wants to. But it is very unlucky...

NP: Are you speaking in the game or are you just telling us...

PJ: I'm just giving you a bit of extra information.

NP: Oh, I see. Right, right.

PM: He's giving round detail.

NP: No, no. Anyway, Peter, I agree with your challenge. You have 36 seconds, witchcraft.

PM: Have you gone raving mad?

NP: No, I'm superstitious. I don't want you to go on quoting anymore. Thirty-six seconds, Peter, witchcraft, starting now.

PJ: I don't believe in that at all, really, witchcraft, because it's just superstitious and it's based on primitive beliefs. And uh the idea of these crones flying about on broomsticks and...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes, Paul, right. Twenty seconds and you get the subject back, you knew that, witchcraft, starting now.

PM: What a fine play Macbeth is! I love it! It's an absolute wonderful piece of dramatic work. Shakespeare wrote it, I believe, in a great, yer...


NP: Yeah, Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: I don't think there's any doubt that Shakespeare did write it. He did.

NP: Yes. Ten seconds, Peter, witchcraft, starting now.

PJ: And then they descend in, on blasted heaths. And they, uh...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes, he's erring all over the place. Four seconds, Paul, on witchcraft, starting now.

PM: My parents used to dabble in witchcraft when they were younger. They would...


NP: So Paul again was speaking as the whistle went, and Jim, it's your turn to begin. And I have to tell you all we have very little time left, so this will be the last round, alas. Saving is the subject, Jim, and the time starts now.

JS: It is difficult for me to think of saving without remembering Gordon Banks and the wonderful save he made against Pele in the World Cup some years ago. I leapt from my seat with joy, believing it impossible for somebody to make such an extraordinary move in midair, it appeared to me. I'm surprised he didn't break his back, but he obviously didn't, 'cause he kept playing for a little bit longer. What a treasure he was for the game! Gordon Banks...


JS: I'll get a cab.

NP: It's a tough game. There's the applause. They're saying they love you, Jim. Right, um...

PM: Which is more than they say for you, isn't it? Already he's more popular than you!

NP: Are you clapping me or Paul's remark? Yes, right. Paul, 38 seconds to tell us something about saving, starting now.

PM: Banks, of course, are very keen to get people saving with them as soon as possible. They entice students with all kinds of bribes. A free anorak, or a night at the pictures if you deposit your money with this particular financial institution. Um...


PM: I didn't think I'd get to the end of that so I stopped to describe the piece.

NP: That's all right, Paul. Mmm, Peter got in, a correct challenge. Twenty seconds, and you tell us something about saving, starting now.

PJ: Life-saving, I suppose, is very commendable. But I remember Peter Cook once telling me that he saved the life...


PJ: ... of David Frost.

NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two lives.

NP: Yes, saved the life and life-saving.

PJ: Well, that's not a repetition.

NP: It's hyphenated, isn't it, I think?

PJ: Oh, it is, yes.

NP: It is, right. Well done, Peter. Um, 12 seconds, you continue on saving, starting now.

PJ: He dragged David Frost out of the sea and gave him artificial...


PJ: ... respiration.

NP: Uh, Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of David Frost.

PJ: No, I didn't say David Frost again.

NP: He hadn't mentioned David Frost.

PJ: Him, I said. Him.

CF: Peter Cook, he said.

NP: He mentioned Peter Cook.

PM: He mentioned David Frost before.

CF: Nope. Peter Cook.

NP: No, no, he hadn't. You just assumed it was David Frost he rescued.

PM: Why would I assume it was David Frost?

NP: But he didn't say it when he was actually speaking. It was after the buzzer.

PM: He didn't, he didn't say it?

NP: He didn't say it when he was...

PM: Did he say it through a spiritualist or something?

NP: You see how they all get to me in the end!

PM: It's because you're an idiot!

NP: And of a long series! Where is the man in the white coat? I want to go home now.

PM: We could get a glove puppet to do what you do.

NP: And you'd work it, wouldn't you?

PM: Well, I'm, I'm tempted as it is!

NP: I was trying to say he was not speaking in Just a Minute when he said that. The buzzer had gone on the other side of the room, and that as such was my memory of the situation.

PJ: Quite.

NP: So Peter, you have nine seconds to tell us something about saving, starting now.

PJ: He's regretted it all his life!


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Um, hesitation.

NP: I know, but it was worth waiting for, though, wasn't it?

PJ: No, I was, I was, er, riding the laugh.

NP: And it was a laugh which was worth riding, Peter.

PJ: Thank you very much.

NP: And you've got the last round. There's two seconds left, you can't possibly win -- starting now.

PJ: Better use it than let it go rusty.


NP: So Peter did speak as the whistle went and gained that extra point. And though I said he couldn't win, he has finished in a very strong second place. Behind him comes Clement Freud and then Jim Sweeney, but out in the lead was Paul Merton, once again our winner. Congratulations. I do hope you've enjoyed this edition of Just a Minute. It only remains for me to thank our four talented players of the game. Also Jane Stevens for keeping the score and blowing her whistle. And also Ian Messiter for having created the game so that we go on working like this, and Sarah Smith, she is our producer. Thank them, and from me, Nicholas Parsons, and we hope that you'll be with us at the same time when we take to the air and play Just a Minute! Until then, goodbye!