WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring KENNETH WILLIAMS, DEREK NIMMO, CLEMENT FREUD and PETER JONES, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 4 April 1978)
Note: This was transcribed by Vicki Walker. Thank you Vicki! :-)
ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud, Peter Jones and Derek Nimmo in Just A Minute. And as the Minute Waltz fades away, here to tell you about it is our chairman, Nicholas Parsons.
NICHOLAS PARSONS: Thank you, thank you very much, hello and welcome to Just A Minute. And ah once again I'm going to ask our four panelists to speak if they can on the subject that I will give them without hesitation, without repetition and without deviating from that subject if they can. And we'll begin the show this week with Derek Nimmo and Derek, the subject is salesmen. Can you tell us something about those in the game, starting now.
DEREK NIMMO: Salesmanship is, ahem, persuading people they can't live without something that they never realized that they needed. I for a long time was a salesman, once working, as a matter of fact, in Petticoat Lane selling patent medicine, a particular kind of liquid which was called the finest liver-cleansing fluid in the world and we used to fill it up from a bottle at the back and it said 100 percent...
NP: Clement Freud has challenged you.
CLEMENT FREUD: What happened to you?
DN: I don't quite know what to say about that, really.
NP: Right, so it was an incorrect challenge, so Derek, you get a point for that and you keep the subject. There are 38 seconds left. The subject is salesmen and you start now.
DN: A salesman is a sort of smooth-talking fellow that single (collapse).
NP: And ah Peter Jones has challenged.
PETER JONES: Eh, hesitation.
NP: Yes, it is not as smooth as ah Derek illustrated. Ah, I agree with the hesitation. A point to you for a correct challenge, Peter. Twenty-four sec... sorry, 34 seconds are left, salesmen, starting now.
PJ: A really good salesman who is loyal to his company will only sell to people who actually require the goods that he's trying to offload onto them in exchange for their hard-earned cash. Now these high-powered salesmen who go around the country knocking on people's doors trying to...
NP: Ah, Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: I don't think you'd be very high-powered if you go around knocking on people's doors, would you?
NP: But I would have thought...
DN: It smacks of vacuum cleaning.
NP: ...that you can be a high-powered vacuum cleaner salesman or a low-powered vacuum salesman cleaner. I don't matter what station of salesmanship you're at, you can either be high-powered at your job or low-powered.
CF: Surely it depends on the door, not on the...
NP: It probably does, but I think that Peter was not deviating from the subject of salesmen, so he keeps it with another point and 13 seconds starting now.
PJ: The brief conversation which ensues usually ends up with the housewife inviting this salesman into her home, and he sprinkles a lot of rubbish all over the carpet, whereupon he opens his box...
NP: So the whistle which Ian Messiter blows for us tells us that 60 seconds is up and whoever is speaking at that moment gains an extra point. And it was, as you've guessed, Peter Jones. Well, not as you've guessed, you've realised it, didn't you! So Peter's in the lead at the end of the round. Kenneth, will you begin the next round? The subject is panache. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.
KENNETH WILLIAMS: It's derived from pana, which means feather, and it really signifies a plume or bunch of feathers. And of course its historical significance for the English is profound since the originator of that great line did take from the ground before the battle that famous plant the genet and stuck it in his helmet. And thereafter gave rise to the Plantagenets of England, who, incidentally, caused an awful lot of trouble. But that is to depart from the subject panache...
NP: Eh, Derek Nimmo has challenged.
DN: Deviation. He's departed from the subject.
NP: By your own admission you departed from the subject! And you even drew their attention to it! So Derek, I agree with your challenge. Seventeen seconds are left, panache, starting now.
DN: Oh, the excitement to be at Halfleur with your panache trailing behind you, and riding down the battlement the great cry of "God for Harry, England and St. George!" Riding against the French with a crossbowman at your side on your mighty stallion, and my goodness, the thrill packaged with excitement...
NP: The idea of you riding on your stallion with a crossbowman aside. He must be going pretty fast to keep up with the horse.
DN: Nippy fellows.
NP: Anyway, he didn't challenge and you kept going. You've got the point for speaking as the whistle went and you're equal with Peter Jones in the lead at the end of the round. Clement Freud, will you begin please with the subject of gambits? Sixty seconds starting now.
CF: A gambit is a ploy or plan which you use in order to win something which you might otherwise lose. So that for instance in chess...
NP: Ooh, what a funny noise. Derek, your buzzer went a bit off there.
DN: Well, if I may say, that's not quite true. Deviation. Because a gambit is to lose a piece in order that you may win other pieces.
CF: Not necessarily.
NP: Not necessarily.
DN: Oh, it is.
NP: It's a very good gambit, that particular stage.
DN: That's what it is in chess.
NP: Yes, in chess it may be. But it can also be a different... there'd be different kinds of gambits.
NP: You stick to your gambits and let Freud have his gambits. And anybody in the audience can have their own little gambits and then... No, I disagree with the challenge, Derek, so there are 49 and a half seconds with you, Clement, still on gambits, starting now.
CF: I was talking predominantly about the two-tomato-catsup-mustard-pot-salt seller gambit, whereby in a restaurant you are able to summon the manager, the head waiter and quite possibly a floorwalker or three to come along to your aid...
CF: Are you all done?
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Hesitation. Because he just stopped.
NP: Yes, I know. He was grinning at some of the audience as well.
CF: No I wasn't. Idiot gestures around me.
NP: Yes. Well, um, it's um Clement Freud's offbeat day today, and if you consider how offbeat he normally is, it's quite an interesting experience. There are 31 seconds left for you, Derek, to take up the subject of gambits starting now.
DN: What an interesting gambit it would be to ride out from Halfleur on your stallion with your crossbowman by your side. Because he'd have to go frightfully quickly and that might deceive the French and they would think that your horse was being...
NP: And Peter Jones has challenged.
PJ: I think it's objectionable to use the same material for the second subject as you used in the first. It is repetition, actually.
NP: It's not repetition within the rules of the game, if there are any rules left.
PJ: No, but I mean it...
NP: It's, uh, the rules are, as far as I know, that you mustn't deviate from the subject on the card and if you could, if you can cleverly enough use the same material for every particular round, I think it would be really quite exceptional.
PJ: Yes, but he's pushing his luck boredom-wise!
NP: Well, it's up to you to get in to be the first to challenge when he pushes it too far. There are 21 seconds with you, Derek, gambits, starting now.
DN: Sitting by my chessboard in a darkened room with only a candle burning, I moved my pawn to kings queen four. This was the most interest...
NP: Ah Clement Freud has challenged.
CF: King's queen?
DN: I know.
CF: It was a very odd chessboard.
NP: There are...
DN: It was a rather, rather gay pawn.
NP: It's a good reply. Uh, Clement, I agree with your challenge. There are nine and a half seconds, gambits, starting now.
CF: I know a tailor who has a gambit, which is to make any sort of suit that he considers suitable where after he advises his customers to eat accordingly.
NP: At the end of that round Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point. He's uh equal in second with Peter Jones. Derek Nimmo has taken the lead. And Peter, um will you begin the next round with the subject of odd people? Will you tell us something about those in the game starting now?
PJ: Well, being English, I usually think of these as foreigners, uh the type of person who wears an...
NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.
DN: A hesitation.
NP: Yes. A bit naughty, a bit harsh, but there we are. You were right. And there are 53 seconds for odd people, Derek, starting now.
DN: People are frightfully odd, do you know? It is extraordinary sometimes when you wander through an open door and you're confronted by Kenneth Williams coming toward you. And you look with some extraordinary amazement at his wonderfully keen, slim figure and you think behind all that, he is decidedly odd. But then you realise that it is because of his eccentricity coupled with his warmth and filled with the milk of human kindness that he is the person that we have sitting in front of us today. Yet he is an odd person.
NP: Uh, Clement Freud.
CF: He's sitting beside me.
NP: So I would disagree with your challenge and uh, but only give one point to Derek Nimmo, who continues with the subject for 14 and a half seconds of odd people starting now.
DN: Throughout history, odd numbers, and therefore applied to people, have always been considered to be completely lucky.
NP: And Peter Jones has challenged.
PJ: Eh, repetition of people.
NP: Yes, indeed. Oh, no, I'm sorry, people's on the card. You are allowed to repeat that more than once or twice.
PJ: Well, I know. That's...
NP: Well, it's a good try. You might have caught me off guard, yes.
PJ: Well, I did, actually.
NP: Yes. Ten seconds are left, Derek, on odd people, starting now.
DN: Three has always been a particularly lucky...
NP: Uh, Clement Freud.
CF: Repetition of always.
NP: Yes, yes he did say always before, I'm afraid. There are nine, no, there are not, there's seven seconds left for odd people, Clement, starting now.
CF: One, three, five, seven, nine, 11, 13, 15 and 17, 19 people --
NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.
KW: Deviation. I mean, it's just a recitation of numbers. How can you say he's discussing odd people by...
NP: I quite agree.
KW: Oh, quite right.
NP: Quite agree. It really is, it's the Clement Freud offbeat beat tonight. Um, there are four seconds on odd people with you, Kenneth, starting now.
KW: One thinks of Pooter saying to the wife in the garden, "I didn't know we had a lodging house," and she said, "We haven't." He said...
KW: ..."Well, look at all the borders!" And I think that's enough. I wish they wouldn't blow whistles in the middle of your, your lines. You're trying to get it out, you know, I'm trying to get it out and they blow whistles at you.
NP: Yes, the whistle went just on the payoff to your story. It was very sad.
KW: It is a bit annoying, isn't it?
KW: A bit annoying when you're coming to your coup de gras, as our friends on the other side of the Channel put it.
NP: Yes, with their great...
KW: Leaving me on the left (goes into more French) in the process. Ha ha.
NP: Well, Kenneth, even with your coup de gras and your panache and your odd style that you have, you got the point for speaking as the whistle went. And you're still in fourth place.
NP: And we'd like you to begin the next round and the subject is Francis Bacon. So will you tell us something about him in just a minute starting now.
KW: A notable Elizabethan, and I think I could do no better than to give you an example of his prose. "He who hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune." Doesn't that make us think? And that other wonderful line, "Virtue is to riches what the baggage is to an army, necessary for the progress but it impedes the march." Now that makes us sit back and digest a most complicated series of thoughts. And perhaps this is the very essence of good writing, that it does force us in the most exhilarating fashion, to exercise our mental faculties. And perhaps a man...
NP: Uh, Clement Freud has challenged.
CF: Repetition of perhaps.
NP: I'm afraid you did say perhaps before. Um, and it's rather sad because Clement's got in with only two seconds to go and it was so interesting on Francis Bacon.
NP: So Clement, with the boos of the audience ringing in your ears, would you tell us in two seconds something about Francis Bacon starting now.
CF: Francis Bacon is a very great friend of my brother's.
NP: At the end of that round Clement Freud has gone into second place on his own, ahead of Peter Jones, but just behind our leader, Derek Nimmo. And Clement, your turn to begin. The subject is my...
DN: Can I just ask a question?
NP: Yes, you can ask as many as you like.
DN: Why haven't I had a subject for one, two, three, four, five, six turns?
NP: Um, you're quite right.
PJ: Because you made such a mess of the first one!
DN: I'm getting all fidgety because I keep thinking it's going to be my turn, then you give it to somebody else.
NP: It's quite right. You're quite right. I'm glad you drew my attention to that because it is your turn. I did turn over two cards and I almost missed you out, Derek. So will you tell us something about the subject of traps in just a minute starting now?
DN: If I'd only shut my trap I wouldn't have to get such a boring subject as this, actually! I've noticed or have I got it in? Of course, there are many kinds of traps. One thinks theatrically of the Hamlet trap and the star variety. The... aforementioned one is coming from Shakespeare.
NP: Uh Kenneth Williams.
NP: Yes, I agree with the hesitation. So, Kenneth, you have the subject of traps and with 46 seconds, starting now.
KW: I always think of that hole in the floor that Sweeney Todd had so they shoved them down there and made his mince pies. Well, that's what they told us. Of course, I don't really think anyone ate human pies, it's like giving pigeon pie to a pigeon. It'd be very...
NP: Um, Peter Jones.
PJ: Repetition of pies.
NP: Yes, a lot of pies and pigeon as well. Em, Peter, you have a point and the subject and 33 seconds on traps starting now.
PJ: I don't much like talking about traps because it brings on...
NP: Um, Kenneth Williams.
KW: Well, if he don't want to talk about it, why don't he shut his trap?
NP: Eh, Peter Jones didn't deviate from the subject of traps, so he still keeps it with 30 seconds to go starting now.
PJ: My point was that the subject was painful to me...
PJ: ...on account of my claustrophobia!
NP: Um, Derek Nimmo.
DN: Painful repetition.
PJ: It's a pity when someone's got a psychological disturbance of this kind that other people make mock of it at every turn, isn't it! I'm not even allowed to explain why I don't want to talk about it.
NP: I know. It is...
PJ: Terribly insensitive! I'm surprised at Kenneth... well, I'm...
NP: I don't think sensitivity actually comes into playing Just a Minute. It hasn't so far, but, um...
PJ: No, no, otherwise we couldn't account for your chairmanship!
NP: I think the audience now realise why perhaps I am chairman. Because I give them such wonderful cues! There are 24 seconds left for you, Derek, traps, starting now.
DN: Of course, you can have...
NP: Um, Clement Freud has challenged.
CF: Repetition of of course. He started the last... little bit... with of course.
NP: No, he didn't.
CF: He did, actually, yes.
NP: Did he?
CF: I make a little mark. Of course and always. He's had both.
NP: He didn't say both.
CF: He did. Of course and always.
NP: Oh, I thought you said he said both, b-o-t-h.
CF: No. No.
NP: You made a note of that as well, did you?
NP: You write everybody's script down in shorthand as it goes on?
NP: Uh, Clement, I, I will trust you on this. Um, let us continue with the programme. So Kenneth, no, what's your name? Clement Freud, yes, ah, Clement, ah, you have the subject and there are 23 seconds. Traps, starting now.
CF: In East Anglia we have something called gin traps, which are pretty villainous and vicious. But the other Sunday my children went out to try and find a tonic trap in order that I would be able to have a drink before the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. These are just some of the traps which are, I think...
CF: ...unfairly used.
NP: Uh, Peter Jones has challenged.
NP: Yes, he fell into his own trap there, being rather too clever with his gin and tonics. And he's tripped up, so there are five, no, four and a half seconds on traps with you, Peter, starting now.
PJ: Now mousetraps have always fascinated me because you take a piece of...
NP: Uh, Clement Freud has challenged.
CF: I'm afraid always has already come up in Peter's...
NP: Yes, but it was, it was Derek Nimmo who said always before.
CF: No, no, Peter Jones has.
NP: No, no he didn't.
PJ: No, I didn't.
CF: Peter has an always against him!
NP: You told us before, and it's actually in the programme already, on, recorded, in fact, that you told us that it was Derek Nimmo who said always. And you've made a note of it, so it could not have been Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones.
CF: I keep an of course and always counter for each of my enemies.
DN: He's so assertive, isn't he!
NP: Yes, and I'm not going to fall into the trap, because Clement Freud sets marvelous traps for me to fall into in Just a Minute. But I'm not, with that absolutely insouciant smile of his, I'm not going to be beguiled. I will say no. Peter, you have the subject still, two seconds left, traps, starting now.
PJ: And they're no good for rats or...
NP: Right. So Peter Jones got a lot of points in that round and he's moved up into first place alongside Derek Nimmo and he's overtaken Clement Freud, who's still in second place. And now, Clement, we come to you to begin and the subject is my swimsuit. Will you tell us something about it in Just A Minute starting now.
CF: Of course I've always wanted to talk about my swimsuit, because since I stopped wearing pants or trunks, I have invested in a very substantial amount of cloth because the avoir du poir, weight or body...
NP: Derek Nimmo.
NP: I think so, yes.
CF: I think so, yes.
CF: It's not...
NP: There are 44 seconds on my swimsuit, starting now, Derek.
DN: Of course, I've always wanted to talk about my swimsuit because I look so absolutely magnificent in it! It is made of black and yellow material, and as I am down "sur de France," as they say across the other side of the channel, people stand and cheer, because I hold a little Union Jack in one hand and paddle into the little waves, and people smile at you.
NP: Ah, Peter Jones.
PJ: Repetition of little.
NP: Yes, it was all going a bit too little, little. Ah, there are 23 seconds for my swimsuit with you, Peter Jones, starting now.
PJ: My swimsuit hasn't been wet for a very long time. When I've been to the coastal resorts in England, it's been much too cold. In Australia I was so terrified of being bitten by whales or seals or other animals that were lurking...
NP: Uh, Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Deviation. Seals don't bite.
PJ: Yes, but I was still terrified of it! There's always a first time for everything!
NP: You could be terrified of being bitten by a mouse and...
PJ: And I am!
NP: So Peter, I agree with your challenge. There are seven seconds left for my swimsuit, starting now.
PJ: It couldn't be worn in Spain because they have laws about indecency and this is such a very small one.
NP: So Peter Jones has taken the lead at the end of that round, not only for points in the round but getting another one for speaking as the whistle went. Peter, we're with you to begin again. The subject is strings. Can you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now?
NP: Ah, Clement Freud has challenged.
NP: Indeed it was hesitation. Peter...
PJ: No, it was no hesitation at all!
NP: Wh-wh-why wasn't it hesitation?
PJ: Well, I mean, ah, you can't hesitate if you're not going to, I mean, you're not, uh, I hadn't actually started!
NP: Did you realise I asked you to talk on the subject of strings?
PJ: Strings! Ah, yes. I didn't, I didn't hear that. I was waiting, ah, I was waiting for you to repeat that.
NP: Well, we're not allowed to repeat things in Just a Minute. So Clement, I agree with the challenge. There are 58 seconds on strings, starting now.
CF: If you had a deaf aid, it would be very much easier to hear words like strings being called out by the chairman of this admirable programme. I have strings hanging from my swimsuit, which is why I found it so extraordinarily difficult to speak quickly when called upon to do so. Rope and seizel are excellent for making what is known as a string, especially when it hangs from...
NP: Ah, Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: He was hanging twice.
NP: Yes, that's right. They were hanging from your bathing costume before.
CF: I said hang and hangs.
NP: No, I think they were hanging. The strings were hanging from your bathing costume.
CF: Yes. But this time I said hangs, but if you're not listening it is unimportant.
NP: I was listening so well!
CF: It's like we're playing two completely different games. One for logic and one against you!
NP: But there wouldn't be a game if you didn't have someone as idiotic as me as chairman, would you?
DN: May I second that?
NP: I quite agree! Thank you for drawing my attention to that, Clement. It was extremely well done. Now you have drawn my attention to it. I do realise you were absolutely correct, and Derek Nimmo was trying it on as usual, and you keep the subject, you have another point, of course, and 34 seconds on strings, starting now.
CF: Every now and again one is made an offer which sounds enormously attractive until you learn that there are strings attached to it. In...
NP: Ah, Kenneth Williams.
KW: He's said everyone's made an offer. Well, no one's made me any offers and I, well, I've had nothing offered me with no strings attached to it or anything! Nothing! I mean, I've had nothing anyway! I mean, what's this everyone's had offers? I've been standing around for ages and nobody's made me an offer.
NP: Well, according to the rumours, you're always having offers.
KW: No! It's rumours. All lies!
NP: No? Oh well, whether it's lies or not...
KW: So it's deviation. He's said everyone's getting these offers and we're not getting them. That's deviation and I should get the subject, right?
PJ: He means everyone in East Anglia.
KW: You shut your row! He's always arguing all the time. Always arguing. I haven't got a word in for ages, have I? Shoes in here, I've come all the way from Great Portland Street.
NP: I think you're doing very well in the present moment getting a word in.
KW: Well, what about me having a go, then?
NP: I'd love you to have a go, but if I give it against Clement Freud on an incorrect challenge...
CF: No no, if he's not getting it, let him have a go.
NP: Well, Clement Freud, who's sitting beside you, is being extraordinarily generous and decided as you haven't been getting it, you should have it. And I'm going to give you, and I'm going to give you the subject of strings and there are 25 seconds left in which to talk about it starting now.
KW: Well, I was given...
NP: And Clement Freud challenged.
NP: And Clement has given you another point because it was not a hesitation. And there are 24 and a half seconds on strings with you, Kenneth, starting now.
KW: It's interesting that you've given me the subject because I have a true...
NP: Clement Freud has challenged again.
CF: Well, you didn't give him the subject. I did.
NP: I would say that you gave me the subject to give to him. Because the chairman actually finishes up whatever happens by saying I give you the subject. You said, actually, what you said, I remember now, was "give it to him." And he has a legitimately incorrect challenge and there are 20 seconds left starting now.
KW: As a sea cadet I was given a great coil of this stuff with lade on the end and he said, "Take the sounding." I stood forward, threw it into the water but forgot that I had the hold of it and I fell in the river! It was absolutely terrible. And I had my foot down and I was over dragging...
NP: So Kenneth Williams, struggling out of the river there dripping wet, having got a number of points in that round, is now, in fourth place. But we have heard from him, which is what we all like, isn't it? So Kenneth, you're only just a little behind Clement Freud, only two points behind him, actually; only three behind Derek Nimmo and only five behind our leader, Peter Jones. And Derek, your turn to begin. The subject: Jack Ketch. Will you tell us something about him in Just A Minute starting now.
DN: Jack Ketch. Oh my goodness me, what a frightening subject! It takes me back to my childhood when I first went to see a Punch and Judy show and there I saw Jack Ketch with the aforementioned gentleman with the big nose and hump, lighting him on the head. And I was so terrified because, of course, the real, historical Jack Ketch was the great, notorious hangman of the 17th century who killed, oh goodness! Lord Russell, strung him up for his part in the Bride Rebellion. I filled with tears, I did, at the untimely death of this most gallant nobleman, all because of the infamous Jack Ketch, who was removed from his post and Mister Rose was put there instead, who was finally hung himself, and poor Jack Ketch lived to hang another day! And if it were not for people like that and a bit more rig and a bit of string perhaps as well, we would have capital punishment back in this country today, not that I approve of it but we don't have Jack Ketch to worry about anymore!
NP: Well, Derek Nimmo deserves to be hung. He took the subject of Jack Ketch and, that was only a joke, and he kept going magnificently for 60 seconds without being interrupted. And, I've just been told, we come to the end of the contest. Kenneth Williams, as I've told you before, was only just in fourth place. Clement Freud was only two points ahead of him and Derek Nimmo, with that last bit of panache and talking about Jack Ketch, crept up on Peter Jones, who was previously in the lead, and so we now have joint winners this week, Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones! We do hope that you have enjoyed listening to this particular game and contest, if you can call it that, of Just a Minute and will want to be with us again at the same time next week when once again we all take to the air and we play Just a Minute. Until then, from all of us here now, goodbye.
ANNOUNCER: The chairman of Just a Minute was Nicholas Parsons. The programme was devised by Ian Messiter and produced by John Browell.