NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons and as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my extreme pleasure to welcome our many listeners, not only in this country, in the United Kingdom, but also throughout the world. And also to welcome the four talented skillful witty humourous individuals who this week are going to play Just A Minute. And we welcome back four who have played it with tremendous skill in the past, and that is Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Greg Proops and Clement Freud. Would you please welcome all four of them. And I am going to ask them to speak on a subject I will give them, and they will try and do that if they can without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst who's going to help me keep the score and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Pleasance in Edinburgh. As we begin the show with Clement Freud. Clement, the subject in front of me is whiz kids. tell us something about whiz kids in Just A Minute if you can starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: Hamish and Ophelia Whiz at Ashby-dela-Zouch have a numerous family, and the kids are called Adam, Bernard, Charles, David, Eric, Ferdinand, Frank, George, twins Harry, Isaac, James, Kenneth... Leonard...


CF: ...Martin...

NP: Paul, Paul Merton has challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Hesitation.

NP: There was, he was really, he was getting a bit slow and I think we have to interpret that as hesitation, so. You did jolly well with that list because it's not easy actually. But Paul Merton has a correct challenge so he has a point for it, he takes over the subject and there are 37 seconds available, whiz kids, starting now.

PM: William Hague recently claimed that he drank 18 pints of beer a day while delivering...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: What?

CF: He claimed he drank 14 pints of beer!

PM: After 10, he couldn't remember how many it was!

NP: According to the newspaper I read, yes it was 14 pints of beer. So Clement you cleverly got back in with a correct challenge, a point to you... well it's a correct challenge. That's the rules of Just A Minute. Thirty-two seconds, whiz kids with you Clement, starting now.

CF: Ariadne, Atalanta, Beatrice, Charlotte, Desiree, Erica...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: Now is this, and I'm just clutching at straws, is this a sort of deviation, when it's not established this time that it's the whiz kids?

NP: It's a sort of deviation but er...

CF: I think....

GN: Nothing wrong, just asking!

CF: I think they have a right to be named!

NP: Mmmm?

CF: They have a right to be named!

NP: And I think, I think, it's a difficult decision...

GREG PROOPS: And we have a right to be entertained!

NP: A bonus point...

PM: How many, how many kids have they got?

NP: Right, Greg Proops, I agree, the audience enjoyed your interjection so much that I'm going to give you a bonus point for that...

GP: Well thank you!

NP: There we are...

GP: That's my point for the day!

NP: So you take over the subject of whiz kids Graham with a point of course, 25 seconds starting now.

GN: Whiz...


NP: And Clement has challenged.

CF: He hesitated.

NP: No he didn't!

GN: And we've only just begun, ladies and gentlemen!

NP: One moment Clement shows his generous side...yes, and the next minute he shows the other side and says he hesitated. No it wasn't hesitation. Graham you have another point you have whiz kids, you have 24 seconds starting now.

GN: Whiz kids are the sort of young people that have more A-levels than friends! Oh yes they can reboot an entire roomful of computers but they don't know the difference between sweet or dry cider! True, whiz kids make a lot of money, and they do keep the corduroy industry afloat. But are they really happy in themselves? Act....


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle is blown gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Graham Norton so he's taken a commanding lead at the end of the first round. He has three points and the other three each have one point. So... you're not interested are you! It doesn't really matter! Some people are interested in points! Greg Proops, will you take the next round. The subject here is the hair of the dog. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

GP: I'm reminded of a joke by the late singer and famous drunk, Dean Martin, who said I feel sorry for people who don't drink because that's as good as they're going to feel all day long!... The hair of...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: A slight hesitation.

NP: There was more than a slight one I'm afraid...

GP: I'm sorry, I was breathing!

NP: Yes, you... You have to take quick short breaths in Just A Minute...

GP: Yes you're right, sorry about being a mammal!

NP: Yes!

PM: It's not good enough!

NP: Paul Merton a correct challenge, you have the subject, you have 47 seconds, the hair of the dog, starting now.

PM: I remember a joke on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. They used to have this ticker tape stuff going across the back of the screen and it said one day "go home Dean Martin, your swimming pool is on fire!" And I thought at the time that was a particularly amuse... I see it's gone down well hasn't it! And I can see that there are many people here tonight who are experiencing the hair of the dog, because Edinburgh as a festival does relish the alcohol. The pubs stay open unlike down in the uncivilised south where they close at half past 10 on a Sunday. Here you can drink from May to December at any time you like, and it doesn't matter. That's why the highest alcoholic ratio per head is here in Scotland rather than down in Tunbridge Wells...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of here.

NP: Yeah he did...

GN: They're not enjoying the game that much Nicholas, have they? They like the talking but not the playing!

NP: The game is what it's all about but he did, he repeated it twice. So Clement did actually wait, so it is a correct challenge Clement within the rules of Just A Minute, I give it to you, you have a point, you have 12 seconds, you have the hair of the dog starting now.

CF: The saying is the hair of the dog that bites you is quite unlike the hair of the dog that you take on the sidewalk to go to McDonald's and eat...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I don't think that is the saying! That's not how the saying goes! That's just something Clement's made up for his own fancy!

CF: That's what sayings are!

NP: But he's made it up, we can't dispute it, because within the rules of Just A Minute he didn't hesitate, he didn't repeat any words and I don't think he's actually deviated. One second, Clement Freud, incorrect challenge, a point to you, the hair of the dog starting now.

CF: Brown...


NP: And Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation!

NP: You're keen but not keen enough! No, half a second, the hair of the dog Clement starting now.

CF: White...


NP: Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now equal in the lead with Paul Merton and the other two are trailing a little behind. And Graham your turn to begin. The subject is how to take a compliment. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

GN: How to take a compliment is a mystery to me. For to my certain knowledge I don't think I've ever received one! I arrive at parties, people open the door and go "oh it's you! Go in there, why don't you!" I would love to receive a compliment because it's a very good thing to get, I believe. Maybe I should learn how to take a compliment and then that way if someone said "Greg Proops, you're very funny", I could go "I'm Greg Proops!" Oh I've said that twice, haven't I...


NP: Yes!

PM: Shame!

NP: Yes Clement got in first, too much of Greg Proops then... in the game, don't misunderstand me! Ah repetition. Right, 30 seconds Clement, how to take a compliment starting now.

CF: The very best thing, the best place to which to take a compliment is...


NP: Greg Proops challenged.

GP: I'm afraid I'm going to have to. He said best twice. Repetition?

NP: Yes!

GP: Yeah!

NP: Well done Greg, 25 seconds...

GP: Thank you!

NP: Greg you look at me...

GP: I just had to say repetition first...

NP: I know but you looked at me so apologetically! It was my way of saying yes you are right! It wasn't me being condescending...

GP: No I appreciate that.

NP: Yes. Right thank goodness for that. Twenty-five seconds, how to take a compliment starting now.

GP: How to take a compliment. For instance if Nicholas Parsons says well done, don't look at him that way! Because he interprets it as the kind of glance that means that I didn't know what I was talking about whereas what I was actually doing was flubbing around, waiting for something to come into my brain so I could accept a compliment. My point is this. When someone pays you a compliment, it is encumbent upon yourself to accept the compliment as fervently...


NP: Greg Proops speaking when the whistle went then gained that extra point and with others in the round, he's leapt forward, he's equal with Graham Norton in third place a little way behind Clement Freud and he's one behind our leader Paul Merton. And Greg Proops, your turn to begin, the subject cardigans. And 60 seconds as usual starting now.

GP: Cardigans have many purposes. In Denmark...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Name five!

GP: Well...

PM: Five purposes for cardigans!

GP: Give, give us half a chance!

NP: Well maybe if he continues he will name five!

PM: I don't think there's five uses for a cardigan!

NP: Right, well it was an interruption...

PM: I know!

NP: ... and an incorrect challenge so it was not in the rules of Just A Minute. So you have a point Greg, you have 57 seconds to continue, cardigans, starting now.

GP: The chief use for cardigans, number one if you will! During Christmas Paul Merton wraps a cardigan around his head and listens to the show Just A Minute. The second use is the cardigan that Paul sits on while he listens...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of Paul.

GP: I think you'll find I was referring to another Paul!

PM: Fair enough!

NP: You may have been referring to another Paul but it's the words that count in Just A Minute and you repeated the word Paul. So Paul you've got in with 44 seconds. Tell us something about cardigans starting now.

PM: It's like a jumper except that you can button it up. There are seven uses for cardigans. One is rescuing sheep off the side of hills. Two is saving cows that have fallen off cliffs. Three is persuading a horse to eat chocolate against its will. Four is to make a traffic warden go purple when you tie it very tightly around his neck. Five is as a distress signal when you are at sea, you can wave it at the other ships. "Oh he hasn't got a flag but he's got a nice cardigan, it must be a nutter!" And I think that's about as many uses for a cardigan as there are, so I rest my case!


NP: Clement Freud challenged first.

CF: He's rested his case!

NP: And so that is hesitation. Right so you tell us something about cardigans Clement, 13 seconds available starting now.


NP: Ah Paul challenged.

PM: It was a hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation. He obviously doesn't know...

PM: None of us like it but it's true! I wish it hadn't been me who had drawn, drawn attention to it!

NP: Well come on, more cardigans with you, 12 seconds Paul starting now.

PM: The Cardigans who live in Cardiff have a tremendously large family. There's Bob, Carol, Ted, Alice, Sammy, William, Frank, Bernard, Cheryl...


NP: So Paul Merton kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so and with others in the round, he's taken the lead just ahead of Clement Freud, and then Graham Norton and Greg Proops in that order. Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject, the icing on the cake, so 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: The icing on the cake is traditionally sweet. The sugar can be brown or white, icing, castor, granulated, Barbados, Demeuera. Never mind where it comes from, the icing is the important thing. It makes the cake...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: And There was a hesitation...

CF: I thought cake was... yeah!

NP: No, so Paul you got in first, 41 seconds, the icing on the cake starting now.

PM: Whenever I come here to the Festival, the icing on the cake for me is to do Just A Minute. I travel up here, particularly from London, specially to record this show. It's a great wonderful programme to be involved in. And I think that we should reflect on it all for a moment in silence!


NP: Thank you for that round of applause! I feel that's for all of us! But Clement Freud buzzed his buzzer in the process and you have got...

CF: I reflected!

NP: You reflected! And you're going to have him for hesitation, are you?

CF: Yes.

NP: I thought you might! So 26 seconds Clement, the icing on the cake starting now.

CF: A matter of fascination for me is that organic articles are now put into cakes and icings. Sugar that never ever...


CF: I said sugar before.

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: We have had sugar before.

CF: We have had sugar, yah!

NP: At the beginning...

CF: A lot of sugar yes!

NP: So Paul you got in with 13 seconds on the subject, the icing on the cake starting now.

PM: The icing has to be as Clement has said, particularly sweet. A bitter icing would be a contradiction in terms almost. Who wants to eat an acid cake? Nobody!


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: I love it!

PM: No! You've never eaten an acid cake in your life!

GN: My mother is a professional chemist! It's food and drink to us at home!

PM: You poor devils!

NP: As long as you don't eat a cake with acid in it! That's the most important thing! No no, Graham has got his bonus point which he's been searching for. But Paul was interrupted so he gets a point...

GN: I'd wondered where I left it!

NP: And two seconds for you Paul to continue on the icing in the cake Paul starting now.

PM: Mr Kipling is a man who knows a lot about cakes!


NP: And Paul Merton was speaking then as the whistle went, so he's now leapt forward and he's overtaken Clement Freud. He's now in the lead just two ahead of him. And Graham Norton and Greg Proops follow in that order. And Greg it's your turn to begin and the subject is the British climate. As an American will you talk about the British climate, 60 seconds starting now.

GP: The British climate can be described in one word, no bloody sun! The moisture that clouds the sky here creates an atmosphere of levity and optimism, unparalleled anywhere else in Europe. Why one has but to walk down the street of anywhere on this favourite island to see people go "hi neighbour, howdy, come on over, we're having a barbecue! I invite everyone, one and all, to join us in our levity as the beams from the gigantic orange orb penetrate our skin, turning us into the richly coloured favourite people...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Are you being sarcastic!

NP: He certainly was, but he was still keeping going within the rules of Just A Minute and entertaining the audience. So incorrect challenge Greg, you've got another point...

GP: Hurrah!

NP: You've got 26 seconds, the British climate with you starting now.

GP: The British climate is something that the people of Britain seek to escape. For each year they take trips to Florida, where the sun hangs high...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Repetition of sun.

NP: Yes...

PM: Yes yes.

GP: Quite right!

NP: The sun was out before, yes.

GP: Graham caught me out on that one, you clever nipper you!

NP: Yes!

GN: I was listening! I was listening!

NP: Graham you got in on the British climate and you have 17 seconds starting now.

GN: We may have lost the Empire, every major sporting moment and other things besides. But there's still a British climate, God damn it! We can be very proud of it, for nowhere else in the world has a climate...


NP: Graham Norton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject stalemate. Tell us something about stalemate in this game if you can starting now.

CF: I went into a cafe and the man said "what do you think of the icing on the cake?" I said "stale, mate!" Because the sugar which was white and sweet and contained Demeuera had sort of...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Deja vu, I think! I think I've heard all this before, haven't we?

NP: We have but...

PM: But not on this subject.

NP: But not in this round. What is your challenge first, and then I can decide.

PM: Um, I... well you tell me!

NP: I'm not psychic and we're not playing Psychic Just A Minute!

PM: Okay, I don't know, I haven't got one!

NP: No, no, but you could have been. If he had got on a bit longer about um icing on the cake then it would have been away from stalemate. I don't think he deviated long enough. So Paul... Clement you still have the subject and another point of course and 44 seconds, stalemate, starting now.

CF: When you play chess with one of your children, be it Charlie or Fred...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: I don't have any children, Clement!

NP: What has that got to do with...

PM: You're not trying hard enough!

GN: He said when you play chess with your children. I can't play chess, I've got no children!

NP: Well he's talking personally when he was... I took it to the fact when he was playing with his children.

GP: Is everything about you!

NP: So have you...

GP: (chanting) Everything revolves around Graham!

NP: Have you got another challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

GN: All right! Oh do I have another one?

NP: You can have another chance, yes.

GN: Ah yes, deviation?

NP: No, I could have given you hesitation...

GN: Oh damn it! This is a clever game isn't it! You've just got to guess!

NP: You have 39 seconds Clement, stalemate starting now.

CF: Queens, rooks, pawns are all hugely important to affecting a stalemate in a game which is played C-H-E-S...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: It's spelt C-H-E-S-S! It's not pronounced C-H...

NP: That's the tough thing of keeping going in Just A Minute. Yes a point to you Paul and you have stalemate, 27 seconds, starting now.

PM: I've really got nothing to say about...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Then shut up!

PM: That's nice, isn't it!

NP: That's very unkind!

GP: I was enjoying the show!

NP: I must say his timing was impeccable! But the thing is, he hadn't, have you got any other challenge in the rules of Just A Minute? No you haven't because actually he can say I haven't got much to say about the subject and still go on talking about it. That's Just A Minute. So Paul it was an incorrect challenge and you have another point, you have 25 seconds, stalemate, starting now.

PM: There was two cars driving down a country lane, each from the opposite direction. And they stopped in the middle of this road and decided that neither one of them was going to back up to let the other vehicle through. And so they were there for several hours and eventually the police were called and er threw...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes. What a wonderful sketch that was in your show Paul...

PM: Yes!

NP: I remember it very well!

PM: That's why I talked about it with some authority!

NP: I know, yes! Clement a correct challenge, the subject is stalemate, there are eight seconds available starting now.

CF: A stalemate could be...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Why don't you shut up! Two can play at that!

NP: I know! And he gets another point as you got a point the other time. Keep saying shut up to each other you can keep giving each other points like this and run away with it from the other two on the left-hand side of the stage. Clement, seven seconds, stalemate, starting now.

CF: A stalemate could be a situation in which two cars coming at each other from opposite directions...


NP: So Clement Freud and Paul Merton on my right are battling it out in the lead. One is one point ahead, Clement Freud of Paul Merton. And the other two are battling it out in second place on my lead, that's Greg Proops and Graham Norton. And Graham it's your turn to begin and the subject, the subject is a free lunch. Tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

GN: The idea of a free lunch is wonderfully appealing. But we must pause and consider, dear friends, the emotional cost. Yes it's a wedding buffet, you haven't paid, you're gobbling it all down. But the trauma of having to talk to relatives you don’t really know very well! Perhaps they're an architect or an accountant. And they'll go on to you about how actually working with figures in my job is a bit like being an actor. And you think no it's not, it's really dull, shut up, go away, let me get on with the free lunch, I'm quite enjoying it without you! Am I still talking? Indeed I am...


GN: You can easily forget how you...

NP: No, no, yes you can stop talking now! Paul has challenged you actually. There wasn't much noise from his buzzer but his light came on so I know he challenged. Yes Paul?

PM: Yes!

NP: What?

PM: He's still talking!

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

PM: No, but it would have been funnier if it had come in quicker!

NP: What had come in quicker?

PM: My challenge!

NP: Right...

PM: Flog, flog, fannying about!

NP: Well the audience were laughing...

GN: You got me at the end of my trail!

NP: So he's still talking and he has 17 seconds...

GN: What?

NP: You're still, it's you Graham, yes.

GP: This is, this is getting a little metaphysical for me!

NP: I know! Yes!

GP: You keep asking if he's still talking while he's talking and then you're telling him that he's talking while he's not talking! So is he talking or is he not talking? And when so we know if he's started or stopped? For instance are you talking now?

NP: Just a minute, Greg, Greg you've earned another bonus point. Greg, Greg actually I've just looked here, you've got about eight or nine points and nearly all of them are bonus points! But um but that is the great value to the show! I mean it's the contributions isn't it! Right Graham you're still talking, when you start... You still have a free lunch and you still have 17 seconds starting now.

GN: My favourite free lunch consists of cake icing. Nothing but that, piled very high on a plate! I eschew the marzipan! I don't like that! But the hard white stuff on top of it, particularly if it's free and especially...


NP: So Graham Norton was speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point for doing so. In fact he started with the subject and finished with it. He was interrupted once or twice so he got points. He's moved forward, he's trailing Paul Merton a little. We're moving into the final round I should tell you. Clement Freud is just in the lead, one ahead of Paul, so I think it's between those two. But the others still have a chance and Greg Proops is trailing Graham Norton in that sequence, as Paul Merton begins the final round which is whippersnapper. Tell us something about whippersnapper Paul starting now.

PM: Well it's an old fashioned English word meaning quite literally whippersnapper. And it usually refers to young people, perhaps kids maybe who are slightly just out of short trousers or indeed long pants whatever way you look at it, who are very very... very very, yeah!


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Very very.

NP: Very very, yes it's difficult isn't it.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Forty-three seconds, Clement you've got the subject, whippersnapper, and I said 43 seconds starting now.

CF: A snapper is a sort of pinkish fish, much loved in the country from which Greg Proops comes. And the whipper would simply be a chap with a lasso attempting to catch the snapper making him...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: It'd be a whip then, isn't it? A lasso is a whip.

NP: No it's...

GN: I'm just chatting now!

CF: The man who wield...

GN: I just thought you mightn't get around to telling us and I'd ask!

CF: Yes...

NP: I think he was trying to convey that they, he was sort of whipping in the snappers...

GN: I see!

NP: It's a rather bizarre idea but within the rules of Just A Minute I don't think he was deviating...

GN: That's interesting! Yeah! Yeah!

NP: But we loved hearing from you...

GN: Yeah!

NP: Yes...

GP: It's always nice to hear from him!

GN: Yes it is!

NP: You're both doing well! And 27 seconds Clement Freud, another point to you, whippersnapper starting now.

CF: A photographer taking pictures of flagellation could well be termed a whipper snapper...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: A triumphant silence!

NP: Yes! Well when you get laughs like that you rest on your laurels don't you! And the shock it got as well as the applause. So right Paul, yes, hesitation, definitely, 14 seconds available, with you, whippersnapper starting now.

PM: When I first appeared on Just A Minute in 1988 I was very much regarded as a whippersnapper. I was a young boy wet behind...


NP: Greg Proops challenged.

GP: I believe he said young before.

PM: Yes I did.

NP: Yes he did, yes, a whippersnapper, he was talking about young people...

PM: Yes.

NP: So Greg you got in and there are seven seconds left, you might even finish the show for us... I don't mean finish it off, don't misunderstand me...

GN: If you're good!

GP: Welcome to the final episode!

NP: This could be the final contribution to this particular episode, with seven seconds available with you Greg on whippersnapper starting now.

GP: Whippersnapper was what my father would call me when I was a young lad. When I...


GP: Oh!

NP: So Greg Proops who has not played the game as much as the others got some points at the end there and he's finished up equal with Graham Norton in third place, a large number of points, a lovely contribution. But they were just behind Paul Merton and two ahead of Paul Merton was Clement Freud so this week we say Clement you are our winner! So it only remains for me to say thank you to our four intrepid and daring players of the game which is Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Greg Proops and Clement Freud. I also thank Janet Staplehurst for helping me with the score and blowing her whistle. We are indebted to the producer Claire Jones who keeps us in order as much as she can and puts the show together. And we're also indebted to the creator of this game, Ian Messiter and we're deeply indebted to this audience here at the Pleasance at the Festival Fringe who've cheered us on our way, nobly and with great vivacity. From our audience, from the players, from me, Nicholas Parsons, until we meet again, goodbye!