NOTE: Helen Lederer's first appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it's my pleasure to introduce to you the four exciting, different and exuberant personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back two long-standing players of the game, Peter Jones and Clement Freud, someone who joined us a few years ago, Paul Merton, amd someone who's playing the game for the very first time, Helen Lederer. But would you please welcome all four of them! The rules have remained the same and I will ask the contestants, our panelists, our players if they can speak on the subject I give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. We begin the show this week with Peter Jones. Peter, the subject, the boot. Will you try and talk on that for Just A Minute starting now.

PETER JONES: Well I suppose that's rather a crude version of getting the sack. I suppose the nicest way to get it to is to be invited to submit your resignation. That's what I'd like if I ever am given the boot from this lovely programme. I've always been surprised that I haven't had it already! But there you are, the boot! And er it's sometimes on the other foot. I don't know quite what that means, ah, but I've often heard that expression.... Are the buzzers working for the other places?


PJ: Oh thay are!

NP: Well they are working, yes. I think they were being terribly generous to you actually. You erred...

PJ: No they weren't! They wanted me to flounder on for about 55 seconds and then somebody would come in and get an extra point. I know what they...

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PAUL MERTON: I didn't have a challenge, I just wanted to confirm the buzzers were working!

NP: Well in that case Paul, it's an incorrect challenge.

PM: I know!

NP: So you get a point...

PJ: Ah good!

NP: ... and you have 28 seconds to continue talking about the boot starting now.

PJ: Well the boot is also a rock in New Zealand, which juts out of the sea and is roughly the shape of a boot. And it was named after the actual leather article that somebody thought it resembled. And people sometimes go to the toe of the boot and dive into the sea, some other people wash around...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes that is right, you did repeat people more than once. Helen the best way to play the game is to keep your hand on your buzzer all the time, my dear

HELEN LEDERER: I was being polite, Nicholas, I was keeping my hands firmly underneath my legs.

NP: But they'll get in...

PJ: You're perfectly safe with me!

HL: I know!

NP: Clement yes a correct challenge, you have seven seconds to tell us something about the boot starting now.

CF: If you put your hand right down to the very bottom of your leg, you find the boot...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Um deviation, only if you're wearing boots. If you're wearing shoes, you don't find the boot at all.

NP: So I think technically that is a form of deviation. So Paul you've got a correct challenge, a point for that and you have cleverly got in with only two seconds to go on the boot starting now.

PM: My Dad used to go to this pub called The Boot..


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gets an extra point. And on this occasion it was Paul Merton who has taken the lead of course at the end of the round. Clement Freud would you take the next round and the subject is horses. Would you tell us something about that starting now.

CF: A poet whose name actually escapes me for the moment wrote "I know too things about a horse, and one of them is rather coarse". I know much more than that about horses because I am passionate about them. I ride, my children do so as well. And um I cook...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes a definite hesitation Paul. So you're going to tell us now something about horses having got another point and 41 seconds left starting now.

PM: My father was a great gambler on the horses. Although he would often only put down 50 pence at a time, he would regularly bet every day. He would go down to the betting shop, he would walk...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: The third would.

NP: He didn't pick you up for two knows in the last time. But anyway that was a correct challenge so I have to be fair within the game. Thirty seconds are left with Clement Freud on horses starting now.


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation definitely. So 29 seconds for you Peter on horses starting now.

PJ: I did ride on a horse once, only. And the horse made such a dreadful fuss and grumble and growled and made all kinds of noises I felt really if I had been carrying the horse I couldn't have made more of a to-do...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation. The subject is horses, he's only talking about a singular horse. They only thing he's ever ridden!

NP: If the subject is in the plural you can still take it in the singular...

CF: Oh I see!

NP: ...because a singular horse is part of a number of horses.

PJ: I may have been going to talk about another horse that I didn't ride!

NP: Peter another point for an incorrect challenge, 13 seconds, horses starting now.

PJ: Now I would like to be a bareback rider in the circus and mount one of these piebald horses with a lot of things dazzling over my head and a... pistol in my right hand...


NP: And Helen Lederer has challenged. Yes it was hesitation?

HL: He was hesitating! Absolutely well spotted!

NP: And you very cleverly got in with half a second to go!

PJ: Thanks a lot!

NP: The subject is horses starting now.

HL: The wonderful...



NP: Paul Merton challenged you just before the whistle went. Paul what’s your challenge?

PM: I thought there was a hesitation.

NP: There wasn't a hesitation.

HL: No it wasn't.

NP: So you have a quarter of a second to go and you got another point for an incorrect challenge as well. Quarter of a second on horses starting now.

HL: Beating them...


NP: Well done! So Helen was speaking as the whistle went. And she's now in the lead with Peter Jones and Paul Merton. And Clement Freud is trailing one behind. Paul your turn to begin, the subject, stains. Could you take that subject and talk on it for Just A Minute starting now.

PM: Washing up powders for years have claimed that they can get rid of a variety of stains. Recently these products have made various um...


NP: Helen Lederer challenged.

HL: Hesitation?

NP: Yes definitely. There are 51 seconds left for you Helen to take the subject of stains starting now.

HL: There are several meanings of the interpretation of the word stains. I feel that Betjimen of course referred to stains as the place where bombs should be dropped...


NP: Ah Clement Freud.

CF: Wrong!

NP: What was wrong about it?

CF: Come friendly bombs then fall on stains.

HL: Oh! But isn't it near...

CF: The Slough, Slough...

HL: Isn't it near Slough? It's in the same area.

NP: Only a...

CF: Indirect hit!

NP: Only if they...

PM: Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough and Stains if you're in that area! That's the rest of the poem!

NP: Yes!

HL: I didn't realise it was quite so pedantic! Sorry!

NP: I must say I can think of all the people in India who listen to the programme looking up their maps now of the British Isles.

PM: We'll have a lot of confused Indians wandering around Stains!

NP: Yes!

PM: Thinking they're in Slough!

NP: Clement a good challenge and you have 43 seconds to tell us something about stains starting now.

CF: Stains is quite near Egham which is a place of which I am fond. Where my daughter went to university at one time. And in 1215 King John signed the Magna Carta on those fields. There is a small post on a meadow...


NP: Ah Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, we're talking about Egham now.

CF: No.

NP: He signed it at Runnymede. Is Runnymede the same place?

CF: No, that's exactly where it is.

PM: I've just remembered the rest of the poem. Come friendly bombs, fall on Stains, Slough, Egham and Runnymede!

NP: Clement you have another point and 26 seconds on Stains starting now.

CF: What is quite convenient about Stains is its proximity to London Airport which is near Isleworth and Hunslow. I'd very much like all people, whatever continent or sub they might come from, to realise the geography of the Home Counties which is unparalleled. Stains is...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: What does he mean, come from Europe or sub? What does that mean, er...

NP: Continent, he said continent or sub.

PJ: Continent or sub! Very few people come from sub!

NP: I think we realise what he was saying. I think it was a clever way of keeping going, don't you?

PJ: Not terribly clever!

NP: Anyway he wasn't...

PJ: He's given up the poem, you know! It's out of the window, now, because you've got to include Isleworth and London Airport as well.

NP: An incorrect challenge, seven more seconds for you on Stains starting now.

CF: If you were to ask me how one best gets to Stains, I think either the M4 or Paddington Station Railway...


PJ: Wonderful Liberal answer that! He really gives you a choice!

NP: Well at the end of that round, Clement Freud not only getting an extra point, speaking as the whistle went but he's now in the lead at the end of that round. And Helen Lederer, your turn to begin, the subject, fine. Can you tell us something about that subject starting now.

HL: The rather frightening connotation of the word fine makes me feel most sick when I recall so many things plopping through my letterbox with pound notes on them which suggests, falsely I sometimes offer to the police constable, that I have been in the bus lane when I shouldn't have been. And also have parked on those horrible zigzags outside a chemist on an alarming Sunday morning. This is not the case, as I said to the PC. Of course, it was a woman. And the more people, not that I'm being sexist by mistake there, of course. That was an additional addenda to what I'm originally saying which is of course as many people as you can book on the zigzags you get posted to Brigadier possibly overseas..


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I thought I'd give her the opportunity to breathe!

NP: Paul we will give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge. But as you interrupted Helen she gets a point for that and she continues for 22 seconds if she can starting now.

HL: It is a wonderful thing to be able to breathe when referring to the fine aspect of our society at the moment. Not the weather aspect because...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two aspects.

NP: The two aspects yes. Clement there are 13 seconds to tell us something about fine starting now.

CF: I had a constituent some years ago who stuck green shield stamps on his national health insurance form. And when he came before the magistrates he was fined, or allowed...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: A hesitation.

NP: Yes.

CF: Shall I just tell you how that story finished.

NP: Yes.

CF: The magistrate said "you're either fined 50 pounds or have a premium plated kettle!" Didn't go very well!

NP: No! I think we're rather regretting you even told the story!

CF: Not as Peter Jones has mentioned a very good medium for telling jokes.

PJ: It needs a couple of weeks on tour really first! Before you bring it in.

NP: You need to work it in somewhere! Paul we're back with the subject of fine and you have half a second to go on that starting now.

PM: My Dad used to...


NP: At the end of that round Clement Freud is still in the lead, one point ahead of Paul Merton. Then comes Helen Lederer and then Peter Jones. And Peter your turn to begin, the subject is subjects. Can you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Well we're all subjects in this country. I don't really like that term myself. I'd prefer to be called a citizen as the people are in America. And the sooner that happens in this little er country... I said that before... um...


PJ: What?

NP: Helen Lederer challenged you.

HL: Hesitation and repetition. Are you allowed to do two?

PJ: No you don't have to rub it in!

NP: You can't have two points.

HL: I'll go for the hesitation.

NP: Yes he definitely hesitated. Forty-four seconds for you Helen on subjects starting now.

HL: When I was at school we were forced to take as many subjects as we possibly could. Unfortunately if you were slightly less intelligent than other people you were put in lower streams and sometimes forbidden from taking biology...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: She did repeat sometimes.

NP: Yes she did repeat sometimes.

HL: I did, I did.

NP: Yes Peter you listened well, you got back in with the subject of subjects and there are 32 seconds left starting now.

PJ: I wasn't very good at any particular subjects. And I remember sitting through homework with the whole school sitting round desks. And I used to time how long I could hold my breath by watching the sweep hand of my watch. And fortunately this little hobby, that's what it was, made my lungs weak. And eventually they were so bad I was able to leave school altogether.


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Um, a repetition of school.

NP: Yes you did mention school. He also repeated school but nobody picked you up on that. So they're being quite generous Peter.

PJ: Are they?

NP: Six seconds on subjects, Paul Merton, starting now.

PM: I think one of my favourite subjects at school, without any shadow of doubt, was woodwork. What a wonderful...


NP: So Peter's weakness kept him going and he's now equal with Helen Lederer in third place, behind Clement Freud one point ahead and then comes Paul Merton one ahead in the lead. And Paul your turn to begin, the subject, builders. Will you tell us something about those chaps in this game starting now.

PM: I've got some builders round, into the house that I just moved into. They've been doing all kinds of...


NP: Helen Lederer challenged.

HL: Were there two intos?

NP: But he's only been going for five seconds!

HL: Oh is that not done?

PJ: It's a bit kind of niggly, that's how we find it. You know, I don't want to embarrass you or anything but that's how we feel!

NP: So you tell us something about builders, Helen, in 55 seconds if you can starting now.

HL: Well the zealousness about interrupting builders can often lead to disaster as I discovered when I ofrfered them a cup of tea. They interpreted that as something more. They wanted to drink the tea near my bathroom on...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two teas.

NP: Yes that's right, and...

HL: I only did that on purpose so that people would like me again for being...

NP: You might have gone a bit too far. Who knows what else they asked for after the tea! Um...

PJ: Just a piece of cake probably!

NP: Clement you have 42 seconds on builders starting now.

CF: Forty-two seconds is quite a long time to have on builders. I have seldom met builders who achieved anything in under three weeks. It is the portmanteau name for all sorts of jobbing people who do plastering, decorating, painting, as well as building, brickwork, plumbing and so on. Builders tend to push little cards through your letterbox saying "look no further, the best is not necessarily the most expensive..."


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Um I think this is deviation. He said builders put through cards saying "look no further". On the card it says look no further, but the builder doesn't say "look no further" as he puts the card through... do you see? Do you see the desperation I've been to Nicholas?

NP: Yes!

CF: I'd like him to have the subject!

NP: Yes.

PM: No, no, no.

NP: Twelve seconds to go starting now.

PM: I had some builders come round to knock down the Anderson shelter that was in the back garden. It took two of them several hours to actually penetrate theshell of this afore-mentioned construction. This was something...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's now taken the lead again just ahead of Clement Freud and then Helen Lederer and then Peter Jones in that order. And for people listening who don't know what an Anderson shelter is, they were what we built during the War to protect ourselves. I'm pleased to say they were well built and they took so long to smash it down.

PM: A hydrogen bomb probably would have smashed it quite easily! A pneumatic drill takes forever!

NP: Oh yes.

PM: If the Nazis had parachuted in with a pneumatic drill we would have been fine!

NP: There's an awful thing in bombing if you get the shrapnel, you get the debris and you get...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Well I thought we'd be running into the News if we went on any longer!

NP: I throw out little things like that hoping that you'll pick them up and come back with one of your quips...

PJ: Oh sorry, I couldn't.

NP: All right Peter, we'll get on with the show, and Helen Lederer's turn to begin. And it's a legpull. Sixty seconds as usual Helen starting now.

HL: A legpull is a term that puts people off other people. But I always enjoy the joke...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes.

PJ: Almost immediately!

NP: Yes it... as you got in on the first five seconds on someone else, we'll let Peter have it on the first five seconds with you. And there's 55 seconds now for Peter to take over legpull starting now.

PJ: Well a legpull is a joke at the expense of the owner of the leg. He doesn't get much fun out of it. Only when all is revealed at the end. And so I don't really enjoy them very much, even if I am pulling the limb. But if I'm not then ah, it's ah rather boring...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I think hesitation.

NP: Thirty-five seconds for you to tell us something about a legpull starting now.

CF: One of the very best legpulls I encountered was on the Victoria Line, leaving Manor Park Station, making towards Newbury Park and out into Essex. And there was a man who normally used the buses in order to get back into the city did the following thing to a woman whose address was Gants Hill. He said to her "if you will climb up on to the fourth floor of this building, open the window and throw yourself out, I will catch you". And she said "thank you very much, that's really decent of you. Any moment now the whistle will blow", she said, but nothing happened because...


NP: You have such a clever deceptive way of playing the game Clement. Yes there was no story at all, you were sort of creating it as you went along. But actually at 60 seconds you were still talking, you do get the bonus point for speaking then. And you are now equal in the lead with Paul Merton at the end of that round. And equal in second place is Peter and Helen. And we now move on to Peter Jones, your turn to begin. Getting frantic, something we don't actually associate with you Peter, certainly in Just A Minute. But can you talk on the subject starting now.

PJ: No it's something that I really associate with the late and much loved Kenneth Williams. He would have er done a very good minute or more even on being frantic and would have actually probably got very frantic in a very entertaining manner. But er it's something I er on the whole try not to do. Because it only upsets...


NP: Helen Lederer's challenged.

HL: Sorry to challenge, I feel so ashamed. But was it a...

PJ: Don't be embarrassed!

HL: ...hesi... I'll go for it...

NP: There were four hesitations. He said er four times.

HL: Yeah that was it.

PJ: Yes.

NP: I was beginning to count them and I thought when is somebody going to come in.

CF: That was repetition.

NP: Yes you could have had him for repetition of er, yes. But well said Clement. Forty seconds for you Helen to tell us something about getting frantic starting now.

HL: The trouble with getting frantic is that it tends to impede your natural potential which we are all after in this struggling world. It also puts people on edge because they are not calmed by er inner self which holistically speaking is a pursuit which we should all endeavour to adopt. Looking round at the people in this room...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of people.

NP: Paul you got in with 18 seconds on getting frantic starting now.

PM: I remember getting very frantic when I was studying my A-level exams. I would do a certain amount of revision in the library. Then I'd have these terrible nightmares that somehow I'd be asked a question that I hadn't properly studied. I remember thinking about this during my History A level...


NP: Ah someone challenged but no light came on.

CF: Me.

NP: Right. I assume it was anyway Clement. Yes?

CF: A-level.

NP: A-level, yes, you repeated A-level. Clement's got in with one second to go, getting frantic, starting now.

CF: Do not get frantic.


NP: And at the end of that round a very close contest. Clement Freud is now one point ahead of Paul Merton. Clement your turn to begin, nuisances. Would you tell us something about that subject in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: There are of course a huge number of nuisances about us in life. But what I find most irritating are doors that do not open both ends, in and out, push and pull. It is quite inconceivable to have an entry or exit to a building in which some of the means by which egress or innnnnnnn....


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Thirty-seven seconds Peter to tell us something about nuisances starting now.

PJ: I agree with that about the doors. But of course if you are running a jewelers shop you don't want people to be able to rush out terribly quickly. So you make it possible for them, people to go in or pull the door which will...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Was there repetition of people?

NP: There was a repetition of people. So Paul, 24 seconds for you to tell us something about nuisances starting now.

PM: The man who lives over across the other side of the road from me is a complete nuisance. He gets up at half past five in the morning, starts playing the bagpipes extremely loudly. When I've woken up he then decides to go out to his back garden...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition of decides.

NP: Yes he decided twice, didn't he. Yes, bad luck. But Peter got in on 14 seconds, nuisances starting now.

PJ: I hate to say it, but dumb animals...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Then don't say it!

PJ: I feel it my duty on behalf of my neighbours!

NP: But an incorrect challenge Peter so 12 seconds on nuisances starting now.

PJ: Well it's these dogs that foul the pavements. And they do it in such enormous quantities that it's really quite upsetting! I live quite near the zoo...


PJ: ...and I think sometimes...

NP: And someone's challenged.

PJ: What?

NP: Clement Freud.

CF: Two quites.

NP: Yes two quites.

PJ: Oh yes, quite. What a pity!

NP: It's only enormous dogs that do the enormous quantities.

PJ: Well I don't know. You see I was going to say that we live very near the zoo and I sometimes think that some larger animals escape from the zoo as soon as twilight falls, things like hyenas or even possibly camels or something, and they do their business outside our front door and then they make their way back to the zoo before dawn! That's my theory, I can't think of any other explanation for it!

NP: You should have said all that in Just A Minute Peter. It was delightful!

PJ: Well I was going to, only that fool pressed his buzzer!

NP: So Clement did get in before that and half a second, nuisances starting now.

CF: What I find very...


NP: And we begin the last round so it's still anybody's contest. Paul it's your turn to begin. Foolishness is the subject, will you tell us something about it in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

PM: There are certain television programmes which try to find their entertainment by making fools of other people. One such particular kind of show is The Jeremy Beadle Television Experience wher he will set up all kinds of practical jokes which unsuspecting members of the audience will then fall for. The type of thing for example is where some...


NP: Helen Lederer challenged.

HL: Types of jokes and type of thing.

NP: That's right Helen, well listened. Yes, 39 seconds are left starting now.

HL: There isn't much too offer, foolishness, really. The main thing is to be sensible at all times with a lot of character building, preparation, before you go out. When people look in the mirror...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation from the English language. We were, we went all over the place there a bit I'm afraid.

NP: Yes, looking as they go out, they look in the mirror. Yes Paul I think there was a deviation from grammar so we give it to you, 27 seconds on foolishness starting now.

PM: And then somebody finds that their car's been blown up! And then comes this bearded fool who springs out of the darkness disguised as some kind of traffic warden and says "ah, you've been on my show!"


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition of show.

NP: Yes, the Jeremy Beadle Show. Yes.

CF: The lights didn't go on.

NP: Yes, Peter's light came on.

PJ: Have I won on a technicality?

NP: As it's the last round and there's 15 seconds to go and you're actually in the lead and Peter Jones I don't think can win, foolishness...

PJ: God, now he tells me! All the heart goes out of me naturally! I can't win whatever I do!

NP: There are 15 seconds for you Peter to tell us something about foolishness starting now.

PJ: Well sometimes foolishness is reinterpreted years later and the person who perpetrated it is announced as a genius. Because they think that something he did or invented possibly...


NP: Clement Freud challenged because the light didn't come on.

CF: Ah! Repetition of something.

NP: Yeah you did say something.

PJ: You mean every time a light doesn't come on, it's Clement? You’re moving the goalpost all the time!

NP: Listen I've got to keep my wits about me up here. The other three lights are working and Clement's isn't. So if the buzzer goes it must be Clement.

PJ: Well I'd like to sit there next time! He can't lose in other words, can he?

NP: No he can't lose!

PJ: He can't lose, no.

NP: No and he's got three seconds to tell us something about foolishness starting now.

CF: In As You Like It, Shakespeare, who knew nothing about Just A Minute...


PJ: Oh dear dear!

NP: Right, as I said a few moments ago, this was to be the last round and at the end of that round I will give you the final score. Helen Lederer who's never played the game before but she's finished in fourth place, but only two points behind Peter Jones who always contributes a great deal. Paul Merton always gives tremendous value in the show. And Clement Freud who's played the game many times but just edged ahead so with more points we say this week he is our winner! We do hope you've enjoyed this edition of our game, and it only remains for me to say on behalf of the creator of our game Ian Messiter, Anne Ling who sits beside me, our producer Sarah Smith and of course our four very talented players of the game, Helen Lederer, Peter Jones, Paul Merton and Clement Freud, and myself Nicholas Parsons, thank you for tuning in and we hope that you'll tune in again at the same time when we take to the air and we play Just A Minute. Until then from all of us here goodbye.