starring DEREK NIMMO, WILMA EWART and BERYL REID, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 22 December 1967)

NOTE: This was the pilot programme of Just A Minute. Nicholas Parsons's first appearance, Clement Freud's first appearance, Derek Nimmo's first appearance, Wilma Ewart's only appearance, Beryl Reid's only appearance, David Hatch's first show as producer, Ian Messiter's first appearance blowing the whistle.


ANNOUNCER: We present Beryl Reid, Wilma Ewart, Clement Freud and Derek Nimmo in Just A Minute. And here to tell you about it is the man of the minute Nicholas Parsons.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Well I'm surrounded here by bells, buzzers and microphones and pieces of paper and goodness knows what. And also a list of rules which I will endeavour to explain to you as we come to them. I also have on either side of me four brilliant and devastating looking individuals who will compete against each other. I'm going to give each one of them in turn a most unlikely subject and then I'm going to ask them to speak for 60 seconds without hesitating, without repeating themselves and without straying from the subject. At any time within that 60 seconds one of the others wishes to challenge he may gain a point but more of that later. So with this thought in mind: keep going, stick to the point, don't repeat yourself, Wilma would you talk for 60 seconds please on excuses for being late starting now.

WILMA EWART: The important thing about excuses for being late is never never tell the truth. If one is really in difficulty and caught by the traffic, one should never say so. Only that there was an accident and you had to stop to give the kiss of life!


NP: Ah Beryl Reid on what...

BERYL REID: Hesitation.

NP: Well I don't think she hesitated and I award you a bonus point Wilma. Continue talking please for another 40 seconds on excuses for being late.

WE: Yes we had a great American author called F Scott Fitzgerald who was always late. Always late. And he had many and good excuses for that. He for instance came in to meet his publisher who was very important to him, you know and er directed his whole life...


NP: Clement Freud you've challenged. On what basis?

CLEMENT FREUD: Well I haven't said anything yet. I thought...

NP: You have received your round of applause and you've made your presence felt. Now seriously as regards the game on what do you challenge Wilma Ewart?

CF: Ah hesitation with just a touch of deviation!

NP: I can't give you any extra points for the touches but I will give you a point for the deviation, yes. And there are 35 seconds to go, and would you continue talking on excuses for being late starting now.

CF: There are really a number of immaculate excuses for being late. One of them is not coming on time. This is invariably the best excuse. You come through the door and you give the kiss of your life to your hostess. You say I'm terribly sorry I am not punctual. Or to put it another way forgive me for being late, here is an excuse. And you then give them a small sweetmeat, otherwise a flower, a parakeet...


NP: That delightful cuckoo was Ian Messiter.... That cuckoo was Ian Messiter who thought up the game. And Clement Freud you get one extra point for finishing but now you will start the ball rolling this time. And I'd like you to speak please for 60 seconds on knitting a cablestitch jumper starting now.

CF: It's going to be very difficult telling you how to knit a cablestitch jumper but you will have to bear with me and I do promise you that any repetition that you're going to get is absolutely necessary. To knit a cablestitch jumper you go into a wool shop and you buy wool. You also buy knitting needles and you sit in a comfortable position with your feet splayed out about 45 degrees from the main...


NP: Wilma Ewart, you have pressed your buzzer. May I ask you on what do you challenge Clement Freud?

WE: Well I think it's nice if he knits splayed out in leaven sharp, I mean...

NP: No doubt you can't rule it because you don't know Clement Freud as well as I do. Clement Freud I award you a point because I know you so well. Do continue.

CF: Hesitation...


NP: Um, Derek Nimmo on what do you challenge?

DEREK NIMMO: Hesitation.

NP: I quite agree.

CF: You didn't say go.

NP: Oh.

DN: He said you may continue, that counts as go doesn't it, if you say continue.

NP: Well now you've got me in a complete dilemna now. Were you all ready?

CF: Yes I was.

NP: I'll have to discount that, I'll have to discount that. I'm very sorry Derek. You have 25 seconds left on which to talk about knitting a cablestitch jumper, Clement Freud, starting now.

CF: You get the world on to a deviation. You engage it and you then purl one purl two, purl one, purl two, purl one, purl two...


NP: Derek Nimmo, try again.

DN: Repetition.

NP: Did you say hesitation or repetition?

DN: Repetition.

NP: Oh why, he said...

DN: Well purl one, purl two, purl one, purl two...

NP: Yes but I don't know a great deal about knitting but I thought they were all different stitches. They were all completing a jumper which was the end product. He was building something, wasn't it. No, I think probably I would say that Clement Freud's still with it here and you still have 15, and you have an extra point, 15 seconds to go with your cable stitch jumper going from now.

CF: Now a cablestitch jumper will eventually be ready. It needs sleeves which have to be tucked on to the main bodice. And after this you have to sew on buttons which may not be about knitting but are an essential of the cablestitch jumper which is then ready to be put on...


NP: An extra point for Clement Freud because he finished with the cuckoo. Beryl would you talk for 60 seconds please on the subject keeping fit starting now.

BR: Well I don't hold with that at all. I think it's absolutely awful, keeping fit. It takes up all your life! I mean, first of all, to start with, your...


NP: Derek Nimmo, your challenge?

DN: A great deal of hesitation I thought.

NP: Yes I think that's true, yes yes. Derek Nimmo you have an extra point and would you continue talking now um for 47 and a half seconds on the subject of keeping fit.

DN: Cold baths! Cold baths are absolutely essential...


NP: I say Clement Freud what are you challenging?

CF: Repetition.

NP: It's not your day at the moment, is it Derek? Clement Freud I award you a point, would you continue talking about keeping fit starting...

DN: He said pearl one, pearl two, pearl one, perl two, but that didn't count! I just had a cold bath twice!

NP: You've made your point, I er, I'm going home! Clement Freud would you continue on keeping fit starting now.


NP: Derek Nimmo?

DN: Hesitation.

NP: You're absolutely right! Very clever actually Derek, because I think you psychologically inhibited him then! And you should have seen the look on his Freudian face! There were, um, Derek would you please continue with the subject of keeping fit, you have 40 seconds to go starting now.

DN: Cool liquid is terribly important to keeping fit. Every morning I would advise people who are listening to this programme to leap into cool... er....


NP: Beryl Reid you challenged.

BR: Hesitation.

NP: Beryl you seem to watch Derek's lips because you challenged on the same basis last time. What were you trying to say Derek?

DN: I was trying to say cool water.

NP: No you weren't stopping, you were fishing for a word.

DN: In the water!

NP: You were just trying to get... well your word wasn't in the water. Your point goes to Beryl Reid, would you continue, you have 30, just under 30 seconds to talk about keeping fit Beryl Reid starting now.

BR: Well if you have a cold bath that closes your pores. If you have a hot bath that opens them. Then eventually...


NP: Clement Freud you're challenging?

CF: For pores!

NP: Well I think that's so clever I will give you a bonus point there Clement. But I cannot take it, the rules of the game, away from Beryl Reid. So she will continue talking for 23 seconds on keeping fit.

BR: Oh what you should do really is open all the windows in your house, put, let all the air come in, put your head out, and...


NP: Derek Nimmo...

DN: I was watching her mouth!

NP: I can't give you a point for watching Beryl Reid's mouth...

DN: And hesitating at the same time.

NP: Well I'll award Derek a point on that. So will you continue, we have four seconds to go, keeping fit Derek starting now.

DN: Get up at 8.00 every morning, run around the park three times, Hyde Park preferably. When you get back do physical jerks, exercise with Indian clubs, run up and down the stairs three or four times and then you will find you have got yourself into a very good sweat...


NP: Right. We have, now who are we with now? We're with Wilma Ewart aren't we? Wilma would you talk to us for um 60 seconds please on the subject of phrenology starting now.

WE: Phrenology is a science as you all know. It began in Polynesia where it was the custom of the natives to bang their heads together. This was a greeting rather like rubbing noses or shaking hands. So the more people, the more the bumps on a person's head indicated how friendly you were. How many, how many friends you had. And the natives in Polynesia are splendid at reading one's head to discover if your friends are sincere, warm, or... if they're...


NP: Derek Nimmo what have you challenged?

DN: Um, let me see actually, um, well I thought hesitation really.

NP: Are you sure you would call it hesitation.

DN: Well I did think that it was...

NP: Well I think so too!

DN: ...hesitation actually.

NP: So...

DN: It won't be long because I don;t know much about phrenology, you see!

NP: You have 30 seconds, having won a point, 30 seconds in order to continue talking about phrenology Derek Nimmo.

DN: I think it's very interesting when you're walking down the Portobello Road to see those little heads with the large lumps in all the windows which er divide up into various partitions for people to read the bumps on heads. And even if you go to a phrenologist he has there a head which he has divided out into various sections er according to the brain area, some of which say about your sex, whether you're male or female, whether...


NP: The score you may be interested to know is Clement Freud seven, Derek Nimmo's caught up, he has seven, and Wilma Ewart has four and Beryl Reid has three.

BR: Oh! How rotten!

NP: Clement Freud it is your turn to talk this time, for 60 seconds, on the English nanny starting now.

CF: The English nanny is a great institution, beloved by all English children. Almost the nicest thing about the English nanny is that she's a tremendous boon to caterers. Every English nanny tells every English child to eat up, not to make a scene and to never ever query a bill. And for many years English caterers helped by English nannies have been working on this assumption. They give people appalling food knowing that thanks to the English nanny people will eat it up. They give them outrageous bills and thank the English nanny because they know that this will never ever be queried. As English nannies have always said that rightfully...


NP: Derek Nimmo you've challenged.

DN: Well I counted seven English nannies!

WE: So did I!

DN: Repetition!

NP: So you have an extra point Derek and you have to continue talking for just over 15 seconds on the English nanny.

DN: It always gives me great pleasure to go to Hyde Park...


NP: Clement Freud you challenged Derek Nimmo on what?

CF: I don't like Derek Nimmo! English nannies are tremendously... warm hearted, generous, kind, white haired, pram pushing, beloved, endearing, bespectacled, kind ladies. And they don't like Hyde Park, they like Kensington Gardens...

NP: Right well Derek Nimmo gets a point because Clement Freud dislikes him! And also Clement Freud gets a minus point because he went on without permission from the chairman. Right now we continue that with 17 seconds to go on English nannies with Derek Nimmo, 15 seconds on english nannies dear.

DN: When one goes into Hyde Park, one is always pleased to see the number of English nannies pushing their prams towards Kensington Gardens where of course they're always much happier...


NP: You know it sometimes pays to be at the end of the race at the beginning. Because Derek Nimmo was so far back in the first round, you've been all on his side. I think he's way ahead of the field now. Right we'll now continue and Derek Nimmo it's your subject now to start with. Can you talk to us for 60 seconds please on things to do in the bath starting... starting now.

DN: I had a girlfriend called June with whom I...


NP: Beryl Reid you have challenged Derek Nimmo.

BR: Deviation!

NP: Well! All I can say is that your challenge is very devious!

DN: I don't think you'll find I'm deviating from this particular subject!

NP: Before we get into very deep and hot water in this bath, I think that um I should award that to you Beryl Reid. Oh to take it out of the hot water that Derek Nimmo said it... what does the audience think?


NP: And the same to you sir! And I hope you'll come again! Who thinks Beryl Reid has got a point?


DN: I think I ought to continue the sentence!

NP: And who's with Derek Nimmo in his bath?


NP: Derek Nimmo you're back in your bath having gained a point. So you have 57 seconds to go, will you continue talking about...

DN: The young friend that I mentioned that I used to have my bath with, we used to sit together. And I used to play with her rubber duck and she used to play with my sponge. Alas she grew up and went to nursery school and I never saw her again! Since then I've often had all sorts of interesting experiences in baths. I have a t home a family bath. And I think it's terribly important to have a family bath. I have a wife and two children. We have a large bath which we all gather together in on cold winter evenings. And it's one way of getting to know your family awfully well! The... I also rather like to shave in the bath. And this is my vices perhaps, whilst bathing. Another vice is to read the newspaper and I was terribly interested to read in the paper the other day...


NP: I think an extra point there. What a wonderful image that is of Derek Nimmo sitting in his family bath, reading the newspaper and shaving. I must come round some time! What is the score at the end of that magnificent round? Well Derek Nimmo with the audience on his side, you have 13 points Derek Nimmo. Very unlucky omen I would say. Clement Freud is second with seven, Wilma Ewart has four, Beryl Reid has three. Beryl...

BR: Still?

NP: Well Beryl I think you could have challenged Derek very easily on that, he, he was going off about his family bath, and not about things to do in the bath and nobody picked up this point I thought. Anyway Beryl would you like to continue and talk to us for 60 seconds on what to buy in a jumble sale starting now.

BR: Well I'd start off with a bird cage. I haven't got a bird but it would be very nice, er, to have one. And so that would be the first thing I'd look for. I'd like a pair of stepladders because I'm not very tall and I could see more, um, that's going on if I had a pair of stepladders. I'd also like some navy shears with long handles so that I could cut the extra grass without bending down. And most of all, I'd like some very thick saucepans...


NP: Wilma Ewart you have challenged.

WE: Well I think it's deviation, she's talking about what she'd like really, not what to buy in a jumble sale.

BR: But this is what I should buy at a jumble sale.

NP: Yes well I'll think I'll give you that Beryl yes. I don't grant the challenge, you have an extra point...

BR: Because you don't know what's at the jumble sale, do you?

NP: You've won your point, my love, you don't need to convince me. You have 30 seconds to continue talking on what to buy at the jumble sale.

BR: Yes I'd like some old china. I'd like one of those jugs and basins like I used to have in digs. And I'd also like a ukulele because I think that that would be very useful if I could get the strings for it. But what if I couldn't pick those up at the jumble sale, I'd have to travel to get those. I'd...


NP: Clement Freud you challenged.

CF: Deviation, this is what not to buy at a jumble sale!

BR: Oh!

NP: Very, a very clever and valid point, Clement Freud. You win it and you continue for 10 seconds talking about what to buy at a jumble sale.

CF: The best thing to buy at a jumble sale are home-made jams, especially if they're made by the kind ladies who stand behind the counter beside the jumble sale. And other good things to get are...


NP: As you were still speaking on the cuckoo, an extra point to Clement Freud. Wilma Ewart it is your turn and would you talk to us for 60 seconds on the many uses of bubble gum starting now.

WE: I had an uncle in Chicago who knew all the secrets...


NP: Beryl Reid?

BR: Deviation.

NP: What do you say to that Wilma?

WE: Well he was a bubble gum expert, you see. I'm sorry I brought him up first but I thought it was necessary.

NP: I think it sounded like deviation to me and I'm going to give Beryl an extra point. Beryl would you continue talking for about 50 seconds on the many uses of bubble gum.

BR: Well if the door won't stay closed in the bedroom, it's very useful to put the bubble gum between the two things of the door and it does keep it shut. But you must be very careful not to breathe through it because a big bubble gum...


NP: Wilma Ewart on what have you challenged?

WE: Well I think there's hesitation there. I think so...

NP: You have had a lot of hesitation....

WE: If you're careful...

BR: But I know nothing about it!

NP: I know! Wilma Ewart you won a point, carry on talking, we have 40 seconds to go on many uses of bubble gum.

WE: Bubble gum ironed very flat with an iced rolling pin, this is very important. You must have iced to get the bubble gum...


NP: Clement Freud?

CF: Repetition.

NP: Why? Explain yourself.

CF: If you have an iced rolling pin, of course you've got to have ice.

NP: All right I'll give you a point for that. Will you continue talking about the many uses of bubble gum, Clement Freud.

CF: One of the primary uses of bubble gum is to chew it, which is beneficial for your teeth and enhances your general appearance when you go out. Another good use of bubble gum is that you can chew it and blow into it and produce a bubble which breaks making a certain amount of noise which frightens women and children, tells other people of your impending arrival...



NP: Wilma Ewart, Wilma you challenged just as the whistle went.

WE: I was going....

NP: Was it a mistake?

WE: ...to challenge him for deviation. I felt that he must be some sort of deviant to want to frighten women and children!

NP: He might be a deviant but it doesn't make any difference to a deviation. No I think he was with the subject, he wins that point for finishing on the 60 seconds. And Clement Freud would you continue now, would you talk for 60 seconds on the subject of Chinese restaurants starting now.

CF: The great thing about Chinese restaurants is they serve Chinese food. Absolutely unpredictable and unimitable. If you go to an English restaurant you tend to have the good pretty lady sitting next to you saying "why are we eating roast beef and two veg..."


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: Deviation, he's talking about and English restaurant with roast beef and cold veg.

NP: What do you think...

CF: I was drawing an important social parallel!

NP: I don't think you've made your important social parallel firm enough at this point. And Derek I award you a point, would you continue talking about Chinese restaurants, you have 42 seconds to go.

DN: What I like to eat most of all, I suppose, is chop suey, then egg foo yung, lobster balls, perhaps pork balls, pancake rolls...


NP: Clement Freud what's your challenge?

CF: Repetition.

NP: I'm sure that after you put all that down you would repeat! Clement Freud you have won a point, would you continue talking about Chinese restaurants, Clement Freud, from now.

CF: In view of the fact that Chinese dishes are almost unpronounceable, restaurants have menues on which there are numbers. The great...


NP: Derek Nimmo?

DN: Hesitation.

CF: A dramatic pause!

NP: That wonderful dramatic pause gains a point for Derek Nimmo because it sounds from here as hesitation. So there are 23 seconds to go, Derek Nimmo, Chinese restaurants.

DN: I also like the half baned, soft noodles, sometimes hard noodles, crispy rolls and egg foo yung...


NP: Clement Freud?

CF: Again!

NP: And again you win a point and you continue talking about Chinese restaurants.

CF: What one has to be most careful about in Chinese restaurants is that as dishes are numbered on the menu, waiters have this terrible ten...


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: We've had all this bit about them being numbered on the...

NP: You're absolutely right! We did have the numbers on the menu, we had the dramatic pause afterwards which we failed to get this time. So Derek Nimmo you have three seconds to go, will you continue talking about Chinese restaurants now.

DN: I do feel that watermelons and...



NP: Clement Freud you challenged. Clement Freud got his buzzer in first. And what have you challenged?

CF: Watermelons are no part of Chinese restaurants.

NP: I quite agree.

CF: Deviation.

NP: You've got an extra point. I've never seen watermelons at a Chinese restaurant. Which is it, another second to go?

IAN MESSITER: One second.

NP: Oh I'm so sorry, we haven't finished yet because Derek Nimmo...


NP: Derek Nimmo you challenged on what grounds and who?

DN: Hesitation. He always speaks so slowly he's bound to hesitate before he starts!

NP: Well as I was speaking then and I was hesitating I don't know quite who to award the point... I think I'll give one to both of the girls for that. All right! Anyway I think that's about all we've got time for. I'll give you the final score. Ah Derek Nimmo was way ahead at the end and has 20 points closely pursued by Clement Freud with 15 points and rather nicely coming an equal third we have Wilma Ewart and Beryl Reid.


ANNOUNCER: The chairman of Just A Minute was Nicholas Parsons. the programme was devised by Ian Messiter and produced by David Hatch.