WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring PAUL MERTON, JULIAN CLARY, KIT HESKETH-HARVEY and LINDA SMITH, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 15 January 2001)
Note: This was the first show to be broadcast on radio without any of the four "originals", Clement Freud, Derek Nimmo, Kenneth Williams and Peter Jones.
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 to welcome our many listeners, not only in this country but throughout the world, but also to welcome the four exciting performers who this week are going to play Just A Minute. And we welcome four of the most talented and outstanding and humourous performers we have in our country. And they are Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Linda Smith. Please welcome all four of them. And as usual I am 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 that subject. Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst who's going to help me keep the score and she'll blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Arts Centre in Kings Lynn. And we have a wonderful passionate Kings Lynn audience in front of us who are ready to cheer us on our way. As we start the show with Paul Merton. Paul, the subject is a close shave. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.
PAUL MERTON: A wet shave is so much closer than the electric one. There is a shop in German Street in London that specialises in shaving gentlemen with beards, or indeed without hair on their cheek, it doesn't particularly matter. If you do have some sort of hirsute growth, then you do get your money's worth I feel, instead of going in completely clean shaven and asking for them to have another go at you. I was in there recently and what a joy it is to be pampered and...
NP: Ah and Julian Clary you challenged.
JULIAN CLARY: Hesitation.
NP: Hesitation, I agree yes. So you have 34 seconds, you take over the subject, you get a point of course for a correct challenge and you take over the subject of a close shave starting now.
JC: The closest shave I've ever had was when I was driving down a motorway. I was on tour at the time and I happened by chance to have a rampantly homosexual driver, who would pass the time by leering at lorry drivers. And on one occasion we were busy looking to our left at someone gorgeous in a great big truck and we failed to notice that the traffic ahead had stopped. Well I very nearly went to meet my maker, I can tell you! It was awful but I survived which is why I'm here in Kings Lynn. And other close shaves that I've enjoyed involve a fish...
NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Julian Clary, so at the end of that round, he's got two points. In fact he's the only one that's got any points at all. And we move on to the next round. Julian, we'd like you to start the second round because it's fan letters, and we'd love to hear from you on that subject and you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.
JC: Generally speaking fan letters are delightful. There's a woman called Renee somewhere in Dorset, hello if you're listening! She writes to me on a regular basis...
NP: Paul Merton challenged.
PM: I have a confession to make. That's me!
NP: I think, I think that particular challenge deserves a bonus point...
PM: I've been writing for years you know!
NP: For courage if nothing else! But have you a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?
PM: No, sadly not.
NP: Sadly. So Julian gets a point for being interrupted because that's what happened, and he continues, a point for an incorrect challenge in other words, with fan letters, 30 seconds available starting now.
JC: Renee writes to me...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Repetition of Renee.
NP: Yes you mentioned Renee before. So... why say oooh? That's the rules of the game. So Paul a correct challenge, a point to you for that, fan letters is with you, 29 seconds starting now.
PM: I first started writing to Julian under the name of Renee in 1988 when I felt sorry for him in the dressing room. His popularity was extremely low around the country. In fact even the milkman used to smash bottles through the door in an aggressive attempt to put him off. So I wrote this marvelous letter. "Dear Sir," I wrote, "I have long...
NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey, you've challenged.
KIT HESKETH-HARVEY: We've had lots of wrotes, haven't we.
NP: Yes we've had lots of wrotes.
PM: Have we had lots of wrotes?
KHH: I'm so sorry.
NP: Yes you have.
NP: And so Kit you've come in with a correct challenge, a point to you and nine seconds available. Tell us something about fan letters starting now.
KHH: A marvelous shop of electrical goods here in Queen Street in beautiful Kings Lynn which sells fans. And people write letters to them from all over the state...
NP: So Kit Hesketh-Harvey was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He's equal with Paul Merton in second place, Julian Clary's in the lead. And Linda begins the next round. Linda Smith, the subject is worms. That's a nasty subject for a lovely person like you. But you tell us something about worms in 60 seconds if you can starting now.
LINDA SMITH: Worms, the Diet of Worms was where the great church reformer, Martin Luther, spoke to the clerics of the time. And as a child I was confused by this title. Did it mean these venerable leaders of the church walked around with badges saying "lose weight now, ask me how! Eat loads and loads of worms!" But no that isn't what it meant...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Loads and loads.
NP: Loads and loads.
LS: Loads and loads.
NP: Yes it's a difficult... yes. Paul correct challenge, 38 seconds are available, you tell us something about worms starting now.
PM: I don't know a great deal about worms apart from the various sadistic experiments that boys at school used to carry out on them. You could put a worm into a pair of high heeled shoes and make it sing to Judy Garland records! And they hate it! The worm is a sensitive creature and really cannot take the very difficult rhythms that are sometimes... oh...
NP: Ah you were off on a flight of fantasy there which completely tied you up, but it was lovely! And Julian you challenged first, yes. Hesitation I'm sure, 16 seconds for you, worms, tell us something about them starting now.
JC: I once suspected that I had worms because...
NP: Paul has challenged you immediately. Yes?
PM: That was me again!
NP: I can't give you another bonus point but we did enjoy it Paul! But Julian was interrupted, he gets a point for that incorrect challenge, 13 seconds, worms Julian, starting now.
JC: I thought this was the case because I couldn't stop putting things in my mouth! And swallowing them! I seemed to have a giant void within that no, that no thing could fill...
NP: Linda you've challenged.
LS: Just on the basis of taste and decency!
NP: Well they clapped that but have you got a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?
LS: Yes there was a hesitation.
NP: Yes there was a stumble which we interpret as hesitation. So Linda you get a point for that, you have four seconds. You tell us something more about worms starting now.
LS: Worms are hermaphrodites so they can quite literally make their own entertainment...
NP: Linda Smith them speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point, so they're all pretty equal in this situation. Julian Clary is just in the lead. Kit Hesketh-Harvey, your turn to begin. The subject, a nice topical one here for Kings Lynn, the wash. And you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.
KHH: Well yes indeed, here we are in Kings Lynn, at the mouth of the Wash, which is where the river Great ooze, it discharges itself into the north seas through a system of dikes, complicated and laid end to end all over the fence like Holiless Van Nuden. Out through Denver sluice they do come! And terrify the inhabitants! King John famously lost his jewels in the wash, a tragic accident which involved a legless pony and the er the treasure... oh Lord!
NP: Oh dear! I think you brought back personal memories to some of them out there Kit! But Linda you challenged first, yes, hesitation.
LS: Hesitation yes.
NP: And you have 31 seconds, do tell us something about the wash starting now.
LS: The wash, I'm a little alarmed to find that I have 31 seconds in which to explain all that I know about the wash. Because I suspect that I could do it in rather less time than that. However I do feel sympathy for the regal person...
NP: Julian challenged.
NP: Yes I think that was hesitation. Julian, the wash, you tell us something about it, there are 17 seconds available starting now.
JC: I once lost a ring in the wash. But a few...
NP: Paul challenged you.
NP: Yes I'm afraid there was. He got a big laugh...
KHH: It was a pause to receive a laugh.
NP: It's very difficult in this show, you get a laugh, you have to sort of ride it and ignore it because...
JC: I beg your pardon?
NP: It isn't, it is a professional expression called riding the laugh. Paul a correct challenge, 14 seconds, tell us something about the wash starting now.
PM: Well like old rituals, one has to take one's time...
KHH: Oh shhhhhhhh... sugar lumps!
NP: Sugar lumps! Yes Kit?
KHH: I thought it was going to be one but it wasn't, it was...
KHH: One and one's.
NP: One and one's, yes....
KHH: And I'm a fool and I should hang my head!
NP: No all that happens is that he was interrupted and he gets another point...
KHH: Lovely for him!
NP: Yes, lovely for him. Eleven seconds, still with you Paul on the wash starting now.
PM: Pour the water into the sink via the hot tap and the cold. But then you...
NP: Linda you challenged.
LS: Well it was a lovely moment Paul, but it was in fact technically hesitation.
NP: It was...within the rules of Just A Minute it was definitely hesittaion. Right, so Linda, six seconds, you tell us more about the wash starting now.
LS: The Wash sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster film set in Norwich where the whole of East Anglia is complete...
NP: Linda was again speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point for doing so. She's now equal with Paul Merton in second place, one point behind Julian Clary. Kit Hesketh-Harvey trails a little. Paul your turn to begin, the subject is chewing gum. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.
PM: Chewing gum, it's very good for the teeth after you've eaten a meal. You chew away at some gum...
NP: Julian challenged.
JC: I thought it was two chews but it was a chewing and a chew.
NP: Yes you can repeat what's on the card, either in the same phrase or individually the word. So unfortunately Julian an incorrect challenge, so Paul gets another point and he has 56 seconds, chewing gum starting now.
PM: It creates saliva which cleans the teeth of residual bacteria. It also, chewing gum is very nasty stuff which you find stuck under tables. If I was to put my hand underneath the wooden structure in front of we, and yes there is a huge lump of chewing gum probably left there...
NP: Julian challenged.
JC: That's not chewing gum!
NP: As you're sitting next to Paul, are you going to tell us what it is or not?
PM: It's got, it's got a spearmint taste, I can say that!
NP: Are you going to give us a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?
NP: No! Well you get a bonus point because the audience enjoyed your challenge so much. But Paul was interrupted so he gets another point and he continues with chewing gum for 39 seconds starting now.
PM: In the capital city of London of the country that we now reside in apart from those people obviously who are in India or China, I'm referring to the place that I am speaking from, they spend millions of pounds every year removing chewing gum from public statues. There's one particular woman, Renee her name is, she sticks chewing gum at the top of Nelson's Column. It's a hell of a drop for her to go all the way up there, and then she comes back down again but...
NP: Julian challenged.
JC: This is kind of deviation because it's not a drop for her, Nelson's Column would be an upward thing, to go up Nelson's Column. It's not a drop.
PM: And then she comes down again! She's up there because she can drop! She can't keep going!
JC: That's not what you said!
NP: I think...
LS: But Paul...
NP: I think actually, Linda, I think actually if she was to drop down she'd do herself a fatal injury. The idea, I think she'd have to climb down, so I think it's a fairly legitimate challenge actually Julian.
LS: And also... also Nicholas...
NP: Have you ever tried dropping off Nelson's Column? Yes what do you say Linda?
LS: Well I... not only is it a legitimate challenge, it wouldn't just be a drop for her, it would be a drop for any of us really, wouldn't it? Coming down there. Not just Renee. Why single Renee out?
NP: The wisdom that falls from your lips on occasions Linda is absolutely incredible!
KHH: Oh that's fine...
NP: Julian you have the benefit of the doubt and you have 14 seconds and you have chewing gum starting now.
NP: And Paul's challenged.
PM: Hesitation I'm afraid.
NP: He does start, he is a bit slow at getting going sometimes isn't he. Um, you did...
PM: He tends to finish at a gallop though!
NP: I know! There was a whole second... I'll tell you what. I gave the benefit of the doubt to you on the last challenge so I will redress it by giving the benefit of the doubt on this occasion to Paul Merton and say Paul, you have a point for that and you have 13 seconds on chewing gum starting now.
PM: It was invented in America...
NP: Julian challenged.
JC: Well he tripped over his words.
NP: That's right, hesitation, you got it back again, right. So 11 seconds Julian, chewing gum starting now.
JC: Chewing gum can be very useful for strengthening the jaw, which will then be applied in various other (starts to laugh)
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Well he sort of, he slipped over his words...
NP: I know! He had some chewing gum in his mouth, I think really...
NP: But five seconds, another point to you Paul, chewing gum starting now.
PM: Captain Wrigley, having spent 35 years at sea, suddenly came up with a wonderful invention. It was called...
NP: Well that sticky round, the words were sticking in their voices on many occasions. But a lot of points were scored. Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so, and he and Julian Clary have both leapt forward together, Julian's, Paul is just one ahead of Julian. And it's your turn to begin Linda. Freckles, starting now.
LS: Freckles, I've got freckles but rather like Abba CDs I don't know where they came from! I sometimes like to join together all my freckles with a pen and it builds a beautiful picture of a little kitten in a basket playing with a ball of wool! It really is quite diverting. I suggest that other people with that pale rather Celtic mien to their skin should try a similar kind of entertainment because it will while away the long winter hours here in Kings Lynn, and I dare say winter hours do not get much longer...
NP: Um I'm sure you were clapping the passion that was on Linda's side as she struggled to keep going on freckles. But Paul you challenged first.
PM: Yes repetition of winter hours.
NP: That's right, 25 seconds now with you Paul, having got another point of course, freckles starting now.
PM: If you go to Ireland you find that the people there are covered in nothing but freckles. Well there's clothes obviously as well. But you see their faces are very... extremely...
NP: Julian challenged.
NP: Yes there was Julian, and you have 16 seconds, freckles starting now.
JC: Must be a bit of a curse, really, having freckles. And can you imagine being ginger to boot? I bet it's God's little trick something to make more attractive people feel better about themselves. It's just too bad if you're gingle... ginger...
NP: So you get in anyway Paul because that was your challenge and it's obviously hesitation this time. Freckles is with you and three seconds to go starting now.
PM: A very important thing to consider about freckles is this...
NP: So Paul Merton was speaking then when the whistle went, gained an extra point and has increased his lead at the end of that round. And Kit Hesketh-Harvey, your turn to begin, the subject, nursery rhymes. Tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.
KHH: Nursery rhymes are supposed to evoke the innocence of childhood and the purity of infancy. But just consider Wee Willie Winkie ran through the town. Imagine calling somebody that! They would be psychologically quarterised for life! The Grand Old Duke of York may have had 10,000 men. It's a little too much information for somebody like me to handle. As for Mary having a little lamb, my God! The King of Spain's daughter came to visit me, and all on account of my nuts. It's pornography! It's filth! We should give them Lady Chatterley's Lover, Knave and Hustler instead of all this! Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross. What are we doing to the innocents of this country? I can bear it no longer!
NP: Well a deserved round of applause Kit. You could bear it no longer, you packed it in. And Paul you were the first one to challenge with hesitation, 14 seconds, you tell us something about nursery rhymes starting now.
PM: On the other hand they're charming little rhymes which enchant our children. Who can ever forget the first time they ever heard that story about the poor cat that fell down the well, and all the various people that...
NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey challenged.
KHH: It was a pussy! And I rest my case!
NP: I'm glad you rested your case after that remark, yes. A bonus point to Kit, and Paul gets a point for being interrupted and he still has the subject, and he has one second available, nuirsery rhymes starting now.
PM: Little Jack Horner sat in the corner...
NP: Well Kit Hesketh-Harvey in spite of his passion in that last round only got one point, he's still in fourth place. And then just ahead of him is Linda Smith, then Julian Clary and then Paul out in the lead. And Paul your turn to begin, the subject, attracting someone's attention. Tell us something about that subject in this game if you can starting now.
PM: Semaphore is a good way of doing it, or perhaps just catching somebody's eye in the corner of a room. If you really concentrate you can make people look at you, can't you Julian? Yes, there you are, he's agreeing with me! It's extraordinary ability that you can actually, it's worth trying catching somebody's eye, you just look at them...
NP: Linda Smith challenged.
LS: You've caught two people's eye now.
NP: Yes, so Linda, correct challenge, 45 seconds, attracting someone's attention, starting now.
LS: Attracting someone's attention can be quite difficult, for example, in a restaurant. It sometimes makes you feel as if you are the invisible woman but you forgot to put the bandages on this woman this morning...
LS: And nobody can, nobody can hear you speak...
NP: Kit... I'm sorry Linda, I'm sorry...
LS: ...English because you've lost all powers of it.
KHH: Sorry darling.
NP: Sorry the man sitting next to you has challenged.
KHH: I was trying to attract your attention there. Hesitation.
NP: It was hesitation.
KHH: Yes. Collapse I'm afraid. Yes.
NP: Right, so 35 seconds for you Kit on...
LS: I think hesitation would do. I don't think we need collapse do we?
NP: Attracting someone's attention Kit, 35 seconds starting now.
KHH: You have to be very careful how and where you do it. I went to the local... ah pleurgh!
NP: So Linda you're back in there with a flash. So Linda you have the subject and you have 31 seconds, attracting someone's attention starting now.
LS: Attracting someone's attention is quite easy if that person is Nicholas Parsons and you are playing the game of Just A Minute. You simply ring your little bell and then you tell him why you are doing that...
NP: Paul Merton challenged.
PM: You're right! It works! It does work! It does work!
NP: Well done Paul!
PM: Isn't that a thing!
NP: Isn't that a thing! Any challenge within the rules...
PM: No, no, I just wanted to see...
NP: Well there we are! But give Paul a bonus point because they all clapped, he obviously deserved it. And Linda you were interrupted so you get a point, and you still have the subject, you have 19 seconds and it's attracting someone's attention, starting now.
LS: I think the demonstration we've just seen aptly illustrates the point I'm trying to make to you very good people this evening. Our esteemed chairman is so on the ball. He's like a rabbit out of a stew! He just, he...
NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey.
KHH: Hesitation, I'm afraid.
NP: Hesitate? Well after that last remark, I'm not surprised! Yes, rabbit out of a stew? It should be arriving cooked! Right there we are, four seconds Kit, attracting someone's attention starting now.
KHH: The auction rooms at Snettersham, where I bought an eel keep, a muck spreader and a ferret...
NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey spoke as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's now equal with Julian Clary and Linda Smith, all in second place, trailing Paul Merton. And Julian, your turn to begin, the subject, my worst phobia. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.
JC: I have a whole range of phobias to choose from. But what I would describe as the worst one is maroon cars. I won't get in to one, I won't even cross the raod in front of one, and I don't know why this is. I put it down to the maroon school uniform that I had to wear...
NP: Linda challenged.
LS: Two maroons.
NP: Two maroons. Yes I'm sorry, you were marooned by your own colour there. Forty-six seconds Linda, my worst phobia starting now.
LS: My worst phobia are golf courses. I really dislike them. The are so ugly and they encourage people who should stay indoors to go outside. For example, publicans in vast pringle sweaters, straining over their huge beer guts. And estate agents who witter on in quite annoying nasal voices about that marvelous deal they clinched this morning. And the actual layout of these dreadful things is so ugly, like those gardens that are full of conifers and heather. Very unstylish. People say "oooh it's a walk in the countryside. It's not, it's nature tidied up which is a terrible idea. I put them in the same category as bungalows which to me are high-rise coffins rather than...
NP: Well Linda kept going magnificently until the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And all that passion there Linda has only got you one extra point. But it was... But I really must take you to task about golf courses. I mean some of them are beautiful. I mean the ones that have been landscaped by Jack Nicklaus, designed by him and Montgomery by others, are some of the most wonderful exquisite places to wander, even if you don't like some of the people on the course.
NP: You obviously have a passion about exercise...
LS: I'm sorry...
NP: Not at all!
LS: I'm sorry, you just proved my whole point there Nicholas! Better than I could ever have done!
NP: Right, anyway they didn't ooohh and ah like you just said. But and it's your turn to begin Linda. And the subject it is vegetarians. Tell us something about vegetarians with the same passion if u can starting now.
LS: Vegetarians come in for a lot of ridicule. I think it's unfair. People only take advantage because they're too weak and feeble to defend themselves, depleted as they are of vital nutrients from their strange mode of eating. I once went to a vegetarian circus. It was a disaster. The most thrilling spectacle there was a man who placed his head into the mouth of a live yoghurt! It wasn't exactly the scariest thing you'd ever seen. In Brighton which is a haven for vegetarians I need hardly explain, there is a shop selling shoes for vegetarians. No doubt on the grounds that these items are far tastier than anything the poor blighters might actually eat. I as you might have gathered am not a vegetarian. But even so I expect these days with BSE and things like that, they're fairly very smug so hats off to them in a...
NP: And hats off to Linda Smith who started with the subject, kept going with it without any interruption or any hesitation, repetition or deviation, till the final whistle. And somebody hasn't done that for quite a long time in Just A Minute...
KHH: She's never done it before, she's just said.
LS: I don't think I have.
NP: No I don't think you've ever done it. It's been done before once or twice..
KHH: It's the first time. Here's to the cherry popped!
NP: The cherry popped! And what happens on that occasion is she not only gets a point for speaking as the whistle went, she gains a bonus point for not being interrupted. So you are two magnificent points. And you have leapt forward Linda, but you're still in second place. You're trailing Paul Merton and just behind you is Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Julian Clary, equal in third place. As we move into the final round alas. Kit it's your turn to begin. Please take the last round, the subject is the first time I played Just A Minute. There's a good subject, isn't it. A little second to think about it...
NP: And you start now.
KHH: Looking at the motley crew in front of you, you may think people just stumble in to this programme. It is not the case at all. There's a bizarre arcane initiation ritual through which you have to go. One is invited to Nicholas Parsons' Cotswold mansion, beneath which is a specially constructed rubber playpen! You are greeted by Linda Smith dressed as a Swedish prison wardress, who severely jangles her chatelaine, and leads you through to meet Julian Clary wearing nothing but a big smile and a bottle of Mazola oil! Then you confront upon his throne Paul Merton in a bola-skin jockstrap, suggestively stroking a rather good looking blackfaced Jacob's sheep. You are then blindfolded and the rest I must draw a veil of taste and decency over. The good burghers of Kings Lynn who are protected, thank God, from such atrocities (starts to laugh)
NP: And nobody had you for deviation. My God, I won't be able to lift up my head in the Cotswolds...
PM: It's all true! How can it be deviation?
NP: I know, I know! But Paul, you actually challenged.
PM: Yes it was a hesitation.
NP: It was a hesitation, but we enjoyed it yes. But Paul with seven seconds to go, you've got in on the subject of the first time I played Just A Minute starting now.
PM: The very first time I played Just A Minute was in the year 1988, and I was very pleased to be doing the programme because I had listened to it as a boy...
NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and has increased his lead at the end of the round. And certainly, what he was saying then, I'm sure he could have gone further and told you how much he enjoyed playing the game as a boy, and one day he played it for real! And he's never left us since, we are delighted to be able to say. And once again he's proved his talent at playing the game because he managed to beat Julian Clary and Linda Smith and Kit Hesketh-Harvey who all trailed him in points, but not by many. So this week Paul, we say you are our winner! It only remains for me to say thank you to these four wonderful players of the game, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Linda Smith. Also thank Janet Staplehurst for helping with the score and also blowing her whistle so delicately after 60 seconds on every occasion. We are grateful to Ian Messiter, indebted to him for creating this game which we enjoy playing. And also we thank our producer Claire Jones who keeps us in order whenever she possibly can. And also to this lovely audience here who've shown passion here at the Arts Centre in Kings Lynn as they've cheered us on our way. Thank you to the panel, thank you to the audience and from me and from them, Nicholas Parsons, goodbye, tune in next time we play Just A Minute.