NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello my name is Nicholas Parsons. And once more it is my pleasure as the Minute Waltz fades away to introduce to you the four exciting personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. And we welcome back Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo, Clement Freud and Paul Merton. Will you please welcome back all four of them! Beside me sits the producer's secretary Anne Ling who has a stopwatch in one hand and a whistle in the other. She tells us how many seconds are going and blows the whistle when 60 of them have passed. And I also have in front of me all the subjects and I am going to ask our contestants as usual if they can speak on the subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Derek, the subject is selling by telephone. Would you try and talk on that subject in this game starting now.

DEREK NIMMO: Well the first time that anyone tried to sell anything to me by telephone was a number of years ago. It rang one morning, bring and another one. And I answered it and it said "this is the Arthur Murray School of Dancing. You have won a prize of a free lesson. We will teach you how to tango, quickstep, foxtrot, waltz, pasedobla...


NP: And Clement Freud has challenged.


NP: Why?

CF: It's giving by telephone!

NP: Giving by telephone?

DN: You only got one free lesson and then you had to buy all the others. That was the point.

CF: Well we've been at it for a long time now.

NP: I think it was a lovely challenge Clement, but I still think that Derek wasn't actually deviating from the subject because they were trying to put something over which we interpreted as selling. So Derek you have the benefit of the doubt, you keep the subject, get a point for an incorrect challenge and continue with 37 seconds left starting now.

DN: Sitting in the Siam Intercontinental Hotel in Ramatu Road in Bangkok, the phone rang one day and a girl...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Ah repetition? Phone?

NP: Yes that's right because the word on the card... you can repeat the words on the card, in case there's some people who have never heard the show before. Ah but the word is telephone on the card, not phone and you repeated it Derek.

DN: It's all right, I accept it. I'm not going to make a fuss!

NP: But I must explain to the listeners, they sometimes look at me with such daggers as if they're trying to bluff me out of it and say you're talking rubbish Parsons. Sometimes they do talk rubbish but that's all in part of the game.

DN: The trouble is you see, you're in the springtime of your senility!

NP: But it does take someone like you to recognise it, doesn't it, Derek? Paul you have a correct challenge so you take a point for that and the subject. There are 30 seconds left on selling by telephone starting now.

PM: Of course one of the things you can sell by telephone is yourself. You can put over a distinctive point of view and create a characteristic in people's minds who happen to be on the other end of the telephone listening to you. British Telecom have recently issued a number of guidelines. If you want to sound very powerful, they suggest you stand up when you're making a telephone call. They suggest also...


NP: And Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of suggest.

NP: He suggested too much and Derek has got in very cleverly with five seconds to go on selling by telephone starting now.

DN: They do try to entice young people to sell insurance by telephone. Apart from this...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle is gone gains an extra point and on this occasion it was Derek Nimmo. And Clement Freud will you begin the next round, the subject is diet fads. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

CF: Nicholas I wonder whether, on a point of information, I've just written down diet fads and find it's an anagram of dead fist. Now if I repeated a clenched hand which has lost its life, will that be okay because it's the same as diet fads? But if you want to say no, diet fads are pretty pointless stupid things. Like all fads, they bear no relationship to sanity or to intelligence. I know of someone...


NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.

DN: On a point of order, are we still on a point of order?

NP: I was waiting for someone who was going to challenge for deviation. I'm still trying to work out this dead fish from it.

CF: Fist!

NP: Oh I see! I see now, yes, it is dead fist. It took me so long...

CF: Am I going too fast for you Nick?

NP: No I just love to give you good queues so you can get laughs. You have the benefit of the doubt this time Clement and you get a point for an incorrect challenge, and you keep diet fads with 28 seconds to go starting now.

CF: It is very odd that at one point diet fads included not eating anything which was likely to poison you or kill you or lay you low. And no-one could have a soft boiled egg or a fish. Today it is the wrapping which is meant to be very bad for you. If you eat cardboard or kleenfoil or tinfoil, it's incredibly evil and your life is shortened amazingly. I think biscuits and white wine, drunk and eaten alternatively...


NP: Well Clement Freud began with the subject and also finished with it, in spite of being interrupted. And he got an extra point for speaking as the whistle went and he's now in second place behind Derek Nimmo, then Paul Merton and then Peter Jones. And Paul, it's your turn to begin, the subject is verse. Will you tell us something about verse in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

PM: Verse of course is an anagram of serve! There was a young lady from Ealing,
who boarded a bus to Darjeeling,
it said on the door,
don't spit on the floor,
so she climbed up and spat on the ceiling.
Those are a particular kind of verse, that is a limerick. There are many other forms of verse, there are stanzas, there are many...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of there are.

NP: There are, yes. So verse is with you now Clement, and 36 seconds starting now.

CF: It is uplifting to notice that at one time, like when I was young, verse meant if one line ended with love, the next was likely to finish with glove. But that is no longer so. You now get moon rhyming with blue stocking. Fry...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged.

PM: Deviation, you can't make moon rhyme with blue stocking.

NP: no, they may try but it doesn't actually rhyme. So you're quite correct and that is a correct challenge Paul. So you take the subject, a point for that, 17 seconds on verse starting now.

PM: I was taught poetry at school, an appreciation of poetry I should say... oh...


NP: And Derek Nimmo challenged for?

DN: Repetition of poetry.

NP: Yes and it's verse that's on the card...

PM: Yes.

NP: So Derek you have a point and the subject and 13 seconds on verse starting now.

DN: A dirty British coaster with a salt cake smoke stack, bucking down the Channel in the mad March day with...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

CF: I've heard it before.

NP: So give Clement Freud a bonus point because we all enjoyed the challenge. But as Derek wasn't deviating he has four seconds to continue on verse starting now.

DN: Corinthians Chapter One, first...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged. Peter, lovely to hear from you!

PETER JONES: Um well I was fascinated. But it didn't come from the Bible, that er verse.

NP: No...

PJ: I know Corinthians fairly thoroughly! And it's not anywhere in it.

NP: Isn't it? So what is your challenge?

PJ: Deviation.

NP: Deviation. Well Peter as we haven't heard from you and we're five minutes into the show, I'm sure you must be an absolutely correct challenge. And you have one second, very brilliant of you to get in there, on verse starting now.

PJ: It rhymes!


NP: Well Peter Jones was then attempting to speak when the whistle went, gained an extra point, he's now equal with Paul Merton in third place. Peter your turn to begin, would you talk on putting up a shelf. I don't know whether you ever have, I don't know whether you are much of a handyman. But tell us something about it, if you can, in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Well the first thing to do is to measure the place where you want to put it. If it's an alcove be sure to get the right distance between each side. Otherwise the shelf will be either too long or not quite er short enough...


NP: Oh! Ah! We get some wonderful attempts at English in this! The trouble is that so many people around the world listen to it, I've been told they model their knowledge of the language on our show which is very disturbing. Um Derek Nimmo you challenged first.

DN: Hesitation, not er quite short enough.

NP: And you... no, it wasn't a hesitation, it was a lot of deviation. No, no, no, I think...

DN: I don't have to be brow beaten by you all the time!

NP: Well it's better than being brow beaten by you, I would have thought. Peter you continue with 46 seconds on putting up a shelf starting now.

PJ: Yes well, ah...


PJ: Oh dear dear!

NP: Derek Nimmo you challenged.

DN: Repetition of well.

NP: And er! Right, 45 seconds for you Derek on putting up a shelf starting now.

DN: Well you get out your Black and Decker drill and some wall plugs. You bash into the wall, bung those things into it, and then you get some planks and put them on top of those angled irons which so effectively hold it so rigidly against the stone masonry. And then on to the top of it when you put up your shelf, you put jars of marmalade, tins of fish, every manner of...


DN: What's the matter?

NP: Peter Jones...

PJ: Well he's giving us an inventory of what he's going to put on the shelf once he's put it up.

NP: Absolutely.

PJ: Which is nothing to do with it. Deviation.

NP: Deviation, that's not putting up a shelf, that's what you stack on it. Well challenged, Peter, 20 seconds for you which for you is the subject you don't want, putting up a shelf starting now.

PJ: Well I was in..


NP: Derek has challenged you again and I think I know...

DN: Repetition of well! He always starts with well! He's started with well for 24 years!

NP: I know, he does...

PJ: And I'm still here! So obviously something's working!

NP: I'm sorry but you have said that. So Derek you're back with putting up a shelf, 19 seconds starting now.

DN: You can buy kind of metal ladders which you put hooks into. And then...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: You can't put hooks in metal ladders!

NP: No.

DN: Yes they are special ladders with little holes to go, and you put these little hooks in them...

CF: I don't...

DN: .... to hold the planks on them. You may not have done it yourself, you're no good at handiwork Freud. You always have minions!

NP: You don't describe them as ladders, no no. I think Clement you have a correct challenge and 14 seconds on putting up a shelf...

DN: They're described in a do-it-yourself shop, they're described as that!

NP: They're called ladders?

DN: Yes.

NP: I do have the authority to ask the audience to leave, you know. All right I will always be fair, I will always try and be fair, I will always bow to the superior judgement of the audience. If you think these things are called metal ladders, are they?

DN: Mmmmm!


NP: Well it was before my time obviously.

DN: After your time!

NP: All right, I will put... if you, if you agree with what Derek said, you cheer for him, if you disagree you boo, that is for Clement, all do it together now.

CF: Boo!


NP: Derek you have the benefit of the audience's doubt and you have the subject and another point, 14 seconds, putting up a shelf starting now.

DN: I've looked through Chippendale's directory for instructions on how to put up a shelf. He has wonderful designs for them, but no actual rules for fixing to any kind of wall or...


NP: So Derek Nimmo was speaking then as the whistle went and has increased his lead at the end of that round having gained one or two points including one for speaking after 60 seconds. And Derek it's your turn to begin, the subject is adders. Just A Minute, starting now.

DN: One of my favourite kinds of an adder is an abacus. And I was in the Friendship Store at the Ho Chi Minh Avenue which leads into Tiannamen Square last week. And there every assistant was using this particular variety of adder, which consists of little metal balls on wires. And very rapidly they move them up and down. Now a snake which is an adder is a very venomus creature, a viper in fact. Unless of course perhaps it is a puff adder, and perhaps they have different intonations, I don't know...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Two perhapses.

NP: Clement you have the subject and 27 seconds on adders....

DN: He sounds like somebody's maiden aunt!

NP: ...starting now.

CF: Difficult not to notice that adders is the same as sadder if you reverse the S to the beginning from the end. Anagrams appear to be very popular in setting subjects in Just A Minute. I don't like...


NP: Derek Nimmo's challenged.

DN: Why, whatever subject we've got, does he start talking about the Times crossword? Why do we have to go through anagrams all the time?

NP: So what is your challenge?

DN: Deviation.

NP: Yes because he's talking about anagrams and not about adders.

DN: Very good.

NP: Yes I agree Derek, so 13 seconds are left on adders with you starting now.

DN: A pocket calculator is a very good form of adder. And without one, I don't think I would be able to negotiate the world...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes he did stumble there Peter. So you have a hesitation and five seconds to tell us something about adders starting now.

PJ: I've been told that they're not dangerous unless you annoy them. I did hear of someone...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation.

NP: Why?

PM: Pocket calculators aren't dangerous at all!

NP: Give Paul a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge and Peter gets one for being interrupted because he didn't establish which he, what he was talking about, but we assume it was vipers and the subject is still with you, adders and a half a second to go Peter starting now.

PJ: Unless you annoy them...


NP: So Peter Jones was then speaking again as the whistle went, gained another point. And at the end of that round Peter has leapt dramatically forward. Derek Nimmo is still in the lead but then it is Peter Jones and then Clement Freud and then Paul Merton in that order. And Clement it is your turn to begin the subject is swashbuckling.

CF: Swash is the sound made by the lapping of water. And buckling is the smoked herring usually from Lowestoft or thereabouts. And for some extraordinary reason a swashbuckler is someone who is a bully and a grandiose, swaggering, unpleasant, nasty, usually sword bearing man who does unkind things to people, smaller or more timid than he. Among famous swashbuckling practitioners in history are those who have taken from the rich and given to the poor, usually their wives and children. And those on trains between York and London who've played games when they might have eaten sandwiches which is a rotten thing to do on British Rail...


NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.

DN: He's just trying to advertise the fact that he makes the sandwiches for British Rail! And while we're on this point, he has for years...

PJ: I'd have thought he'd want to keep quiet about that!

DN: No, they're very good sandwiches. But as a matter of interest, to show what sort of hypocrite he is, for years and years he's refused to give anyone an autograph. But every single one of his sandwiches on British Rail is signed by Sir Clement Freud!

CF: I get up very early every morning and do those!

NP: Derek I disagree with your challenge but you get a point because we enjoyed...

DN: What was the challenge?

NP: I don't know, but everybody enjoyed it. I've been very generous in giving you a bonus point but Clement gets one for being interrupted, keeps the subject, swashbuckling starting now.

CF: Many people think that a swash...


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes you did talk about people before, yes. Don't look like that Clement! Derek has the subject, seven seconds on swashbuckling starting now.

DN: Well swash was the naves given by the sword as it actually tapped upon the buckle which was the keel...


NP: So Derek Nimmo again spoke as the whistle went, gained an extra point and with others in the round has increased his lead. And Paul Merton your turn to begin, the subject is quacks. Can you tell us something on that subject in 60 seconds starting now.

PM: People who are not properly qualified to practice medicine are often described as quacks. Quack doctors, in fact. There are several stories in, within the National Health Service, of people pretending to be medical practitioners who have donned the white coats and have duped various patients and other members of staff into thinking that they hold the appropriate examination qualifications. But they have often been found out after several years and some have even been discovered to be better than the actual doctors they are replacing. There was a man in Lowestoft in fact who had his right leg removed by an individual who turned out to be a plumber who had just come in to fix the radiators. This kind of malpractice is very common, more er um than people might think.... Let me, let me go into some detail over this one.... The way I see it is, um, it's a noise that a duck makes as well incidentally. Oh it attracts er other members of this particular species to the um notion that there is a bird of the same kind in the immediate vicinity. Now this is the longest minute but...


NP: It was a long minute actually, it was 95 seconds. But the audience were enjoying it so much Paul we were very wicked and rather evil and let you go on struggling away there. And though you were challenged for repeating yourself once or twice or pausing we ignored it because we enjoyed it so much. You started with the subject, you finished with the subject, one minute and 35 seconds later. And you not only get a point for speaking when the whistle went, but a bonus point for not being interrupted or me not allowing the interruptions. And er, and you're still in fourth place! But you're very close to Clement Freud, only one behind him. And Peter it's your turn to begin, chambers. Can you tell us something about chambers, personal or the reading kind or whatever you like starting now.

PJ: Chambers is a wonderful encyclopaedia. I can't really speak too highly of it. I'd like to go on talking about it long enough to be sent a complimentary copy! I will begin by saying it contains geographical information and biographical of course. Several well-known people's names occur in it. Nicholas Parsons, I don't think is in it, but that wouldn't really put me off, ah, having it! And I'd be very pleased to ah allow the other members of the panel come to my house and look anything up if they wanted to. So I do feel, ah well, I shall be expecting it Tuesday morning first post (starts to laugh) if there's any justice at all. There aren't any other books of this nature that are entirely British. And um oh...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Well quite a lot of ums really but I chose the last one to challenge on.

NP: Because that was the longest one, right.

DN: Mmmm.

NP: Derek there are 11 seconds left on chambers with you starting now.

DN: The chamber is the part of the gun into which you put the cartridge or bullet before you fire it. You turn it round and then shoot. Cambridge of Horrors is not quite the word I meant to say which was Chamber of Horrors....


DN: It's an anagram!

NP: Paul Merton challenged you before you went on. Paul?

PM: Um deviation.

NP: Yes indeed, deviation from English and other things as well. And you got in very cleverly with half a second to go on chambers Paul starting now.

PM: Chambers...


NP: So at the end of that round Paul Merton has moved forward into second place, alongside Peter Jones. Derek Nimmo's out in the lead, Clement Freud's one behind the two in second place. And Derek your turn to begin, the subject is muddle. Can you tell us something about muddle.

DN: Well muddle's quite often what I get myself into when I play this game. Because I tend to stutter, have a... speech impediment which people often...


DN: What's the matter?

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: The speech impediment came rushing to the fore!

NP: Yes.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Fifty-five seconds left on muddle Paul starting now.

PM: Muddle is a very tiny village in Shropshire. It has a population...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: It isn't, I come from Shropshire and it doesn't.

PM: It's very tiny. You could easily overlook it.

PJ: Middle? There's a Middle.

NP: There's not a Muddle?

PJ: No.

PM: You've just made enemeies of the people of Muddle, I can tell you that.

PJ: Well if it's so small, it doesn't really matter!

NP: So there we are. We'll risk it and say Peter, a correct challenge, 50 seconds on muddle starting now.

PJ: Well it's a state of mind that I've really been in ever since I can remember! And I find it fairly comfortable. I don't like making decisions and deciding on certain ways in which I will deal with things. I prefer to postpone them and say well, I don't really know. In fact I am one of that party, the 17 percent say of the people who are questioned give this reply. And I think er that we ought...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Well I chose that particular er again.

NP: You let a few go and then you came in. Twenty-four seconds left on muddle Derek starting now.

DN: I think perhaps because I'm getting older and more enfeebled, I do become more muddled as the days pass by. Partly due to my wife who goes out of her way to drive me barmy. The extraordinary thing about women is they never get ulcers but they're carriers! And I because of this great muddle...


NP: Derek seemed to strike a chord there and he got a response from the women as well as the men in the audience! And he increased his lead because he was of course speaking as the whistle went. And Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject, the Taj Mahal. Will you tell us something about that magnificent edifice starting now.

CF: That magnificent edifice starting now is a white marble mausoleum at Agra in India. For which reason it's odd when you consider how many restaurants bear that same name. I went to the Taj Mahal in Tooting. And I would quite particularly like to recommend number six, number 11, 24, 37, 48, and advise you to avoid anything over 80 which tends to be sweet and sticky. The Taj Mahal is genuinely one of the most sensationally beautiful buildings in the entire world. And when people denigrate Disney World or other places like that because everyone goes there I would like to plead for an exception to be made for the Taj Mahal which is just so staggeringly lovely that if Air India is listening at the moment...


NP: On this occasion Clement Freud took the subject and finished with it without hesitation, repetition or deviation and he was not interrupted of course. So he not only gets a point for speaking as the whistle went but a bonus point for no interruptions. At the end of that round Peter Jones, Paul Merton and Clement Freud are all equal in second place behind our leader who is still Derek Nimmo. And Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject keys. Can you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: I have a key ring in my pocket that contains several keys. There is the key to the garden shed, there, the key to my front door. There are many forms of keys as well in other aspects of life. For example to open a tin of sardines you sometimes need a particular key...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Well it's the plural on the card.

NP: That's right.

DN: Exactly what I was challenged for, the plural, it's the singular you see.

NP: Well done Derek...

DN: So it's a little naughty challenge which was done to me earlier on, so I'm just getting my own back!

NP: Which you don't need to as you almost have twice as many points, but it doesn't really matter. But he did repeat the word key, and keys is on the card. So Derek you have 43 seconds to talk about the subject starting now.

DN: I..


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation. Hesitation.

NP: Well done Paul! You have 42 seconds on keys starting now.

PM: Just a...


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: No! Paul you have another point for an incorrect challenge and you have the subject of keys and 41 seconds starting now.

PM: Just outside Muddle is an even tinier town called Quays. Now the residents of this particular town...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two towns.

NP: There were two towns there, yes. Clement you have keys and four, 35 seconds starting now.

CF: Cecil Parkinson is the sort of name that springs to mind which no-one...


NP: Clement said two words and then paused. And then...

CF: I challenged myself for bad taste!

NP: And what is your challenge Clement?

CF: Bad taste!

NP: Yes! Well you get a point for that, it was bad taste. So 23 seconds to talk on keys starting now.

CF: There is an island off the west coast of Scotland called Skye, which is an anagram of keys! And our audience really wanted to know that! I have a bunch of keys in my pocket, just like my friend Paul Merton, sitting on my right, in which I have the keys to several garages, many houses, a number of flats and...


NP: And Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Bad taste. Showing off!

NP: All right, we say touche Derek and give you a bonus point for the challenge that we enjoyed. But Clement also, as he wasn't strictly speaking deviating from the subject, another point to Clement Freud and er we're in the last round now and the topic is still keys and there are three seconds Clement starting now.

CF: The keys I like best are the ones to my front door...


NP: As I indicated just then, that was the last round of this edition of Just A Minute. Peter Jones was two points behind Paul Merton who was two points behind Clement Freud but he was six points behind this week's winner, the one we adjudge to be out in front, the winner, Derek Nimmo! It only remains for me to thank our four panelists, also Anne Ling who's kept the score so well and blown her whistle so admirably. Also the creator of the game Ian Messiter and our producer Edward Taylor and me Nicholas Parsons, from all of us here, goodbye.