starring PAUL MERTON, DEREK NIMMO, CLEMENT FREUD and PETER JONES, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 16 January 1993)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute.


NP: Hello my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome the four talented and diverse personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back the regular players of the game Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones and Clement Freud, and one of the more recent regular players of the game, Paul Merton. Will you please welcome all four of them. This particular recording of Just A Minute is coming from the beautiful seaside town of North Wales, Llandudno. Beside me I have this week Jane Stevens to keep the score. And once again I'm going to ask our four players of the game to speak on the subject I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject on the card. And we'll begin the show this week with Clement Freud and the subject is Wales. Very apt subject to begin this particular edition of Just A Minute. You have 60 seconds as usual Clement and the time starts now.

CLEMENT FREUD: It has long been my ambition to get some whales, befriend them and form ourselves into a private limited company in order to hire these things out to film studios. The extraordinary thing is that when you go to the cinema it is almost impossible not to see an epic in which whales do not play a part. Um, Jonah...


NP: And Derek Nimmo has challenged.


NP: There was an um there which we interpret as hesitation. So Derek you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that, you take over the subject of whales and there are 37 seconds left starting now.

DN: All my children's holidays were taken in Wales. I used to go to Rilavin, Cricket, to Llandudno of course, but particularly to Prestatton. And I remember now walking over the railway track on the bridge, with the warm sun on the wooden sleepers, which were on top of this erection and then on to the sands with dunes below. The skylarks cry...


DN: What's the matter?

NP: Paul Merton has challenged you.

PAUL MERTON: Was there not a repetition of Prestatton?

DN: You can't have too much of Prestatton anyway! No, no, no, I certainly didn't say it twice.

NP: No I'm afraid Paul that's another wrong challenge and um so Derek you have a point for an incorrect challenge, 17 seconds for Wales starting now.

DN: Edward the First said that he would present to the nation of Wales a prince that could not speak English. And he handed his baby son. And that became the first leader of the principality...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Repetition of first.

NP: Yes you did say first.

DN: Absolutely right, Clay! Well listened!

NP: Yes, your early childhood, you talked about your first impressions and things like that. Clement you very cleverly got in with three seconds to go, the subject is still Wales and you start now.

CF: I was asked to join a movement called Protect White Wales...


NP: Just to remind you, whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gets an extra point. On this occasion it was Clement Freud. And Derek we'd like you to take the next round. A joke, starting now.

DN: Any action or series of words that is designed to produce laughter, merriment and mirth can be described as a joke. It also can be applied to a person. It has been cruelly suggested that the chairman of this game is a joke. I personally don't subscribe to that theory because he's a very dashing beblazered chap and far from a joke. When you have political conferences and so on they do tend to throw up a lot of jokes. There was one, last, the other day, at the...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation there, I'm afraid.

NP: So Paul, you have a point for a correct joke and you have 26 seconds to tell us something about a joke starting now.

PM: Where do you weigh whales? At a whale-weigh station. This is a joke that I remember hearing when I was about seven years old. And I think it's possibly the best joke that anyone ever did tell me. When I was eight I remember hearing the one...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two remembers.

NP: Yes you did remember too much, I'm afraid Paul. So Clement got in with a correct challenge with 10 seconds on a joke starting now.

CF: Senor Inyelli who is the chairman of Fiat said any successful company needs an uneven number of directors, and three is too many...


NP: Clement's little joke kept him going till the whistle went, gained that extra point and has taken the lead at the end of that round. Paul Merton will you take the next round, the subject, tenterhooks. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: Every summer when I was a boy, I was on tenterhooks wondering if we were going to Prestatton for our holidays. My parents would surprise me with a holiday brochure at the beginning of June and say "yes we're going to that resort again". And I would leap with joy and my heels would click together in the air as I realsied we were heading for that part of Britain. And as I sat on the beach I would... oh...


NP: As you sat on the beach you've been challenged for hesitation. It was Derek Nimmo and 38 seconds for you Derek to tell us something about tenterhooks starting now.

DN: Tenterhooks originally was a blanket which was stretched by virtue of these hooks very tight. And so that's how actually it became part of the language. I myself often am feeling on tenterhooks, when I'm anticipating meeting Paul Merton who I regard with such awe because he has a sharp razor-like mind. And when I gaze upon his T-shirt...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged at last. Peter what is your challenge?

PETER JONES: Hesitation.

NP: Yes he did actually, he did stumble around an awful lot.

PJ: He hesitated, he did, not for very long, but I was there...

NP: You're sitting beside him and I think you're a better judge than I am where I am.

PJ: Yes I think that's true, yes.

NP: Right 13 seconds are left for you Peter to tell us something about tenterhooks starting now.

PJ: Two peanuts walk down a dark alley, one was as-salted!


PJ: Now that's one of the jokes that I would have liked to have introduced into the previous subject. And while I'm about it, my parents had their honeymoon in Wales and I was born about three years later. I've always been, I've always been rather a late developer...

NP: Even in Just A Minute!

PJ: Exactly! So now I come to tenterhooks. How long have I got?

NP: You haven't got a lot. Derek challenged you after you'd said about one was as-salted.

DN: Deviation, he was talking about the previous subject rather than the present one.

NP: No, no, no, he...

PJ: It's just a slight time warp, that's all!

NP: He was on tenterhooks to get that joke out!

PJ: That's right, well, I thought it was so good...

NP: Peter I disagree with the challenge so you have another point and you have nine seconds on tenterhooks starting now.

PJ: I don't know why they're called tenter. I always used to think they were tender, but apparently not. It must come from the wild west, I suppose. Something to do with...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: It doesn't! Tenter is from the Latin for tent, tenters.

NP: It's what Derek said earlier on if you were listening. They...

PJ: I was educationally deprived!

NP: Yes!

PJ: And so I wouldn't have known that, you see.

NP: There's one second because Derek has got a correct challenge, tenterhooks...

DN: Tenterhooks is a very good subject to have on Just A Minute and it's surprising how long...


NP: Derek you've got an extra point of course for speaking when the whistle went, and Peter Jones we'd like you to take the next round. The subject is avoiding tax, you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PJ: Well I think it's something that practically everybody does except me! When I hear the prime Minister or the Chancellor of the Exchequer refer to The Taxpayer I always think they must be referring to me! Because it's in the singular you see, there are not even two of us! And it is terribly unfair. I'm told that accountants can help you to avoid paying tax, but I've never found one who could. And even if you do, you have to pay the accountant so much it's really better to pay...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of accountant.

NP: Yes.

PJ: Oh yes, well, it is a big firm.

NP: Give Peter a bonus point, we liked that one.

PM: Presumably double entried bookkeeping!

NP: But Paul had a correct challenge so he gets a point and the subject, 31 seconds Paul, avoiding tax starting now.

PM: I avoid tax by working for the BBC for I know that nobody will ever discover that I actually do appear on Radio Four! It is such a well-kept secret within the organisation of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Even the Radio Times covers very little information...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: I'm trying to prevent him committing professional suicide! I don't mind sacrificing a point, it's a young life at stake!

NP: So have you a legitimate challenge other than trying to help Paul Merton?

PJ: He sort of hesitated very quickly, didn't he?

NP: I think we give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge but Paul Merton gets a point for being interrupted and continues with the subject and there are 15 seconds left starting now.

PM: Some people of course move abroad...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: We've had of course.

NP: You did start off before with saying of course.

PM: Did I?

NP: Yes, I'm afraid you did...

CF: Of course!

NP: Of course you did!

PM: I am being sponsored by the Of Course Society! They feel that the phrase doesn't crop up enough in the English language.

NP: No...

PM: I'll be saying it again later on!

NP: All right. Clement you had a correct challenge, 13 seconds are left avoiding tax starting now.

CF: Given a free choice I would sooner avoid tenterhooks than tacks. But if they come raining down from above, there's no good reason why one shouldn't run quickly to the nearest hostelry and drink...


NP: Well Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point and he's gone back into the lead, one ahead of Derek Nimmo, and then comes Peter Jones one behind and then Paul Merton. Clement your turn to begin, the subject is Goya. Will you tell us something about that great painter in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: I think that everybody knows that Goya was a great painter. But what is far less well-known is that he was a cricketer of tremendous talent. He played short leg and quite often went to midwicket. I've even heard reports that on occasion he tweaked left-handers....


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Two occasions.

NP: Yes there were two occasions there Clement I'm afraid. And Goya, 42 seconds, with you Derek starting now.

DN: I suppose with Valasquez hes one of the two greatest, Spanish painters. Some of my...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: There was a sort of...

DN: Hesitation, absolutely, that's what it was.

NP: Sort of there was a hesitation before. Thirty-seven seconds are with you Peter now on Goya starting now.

PJ: Well I can say without hesitation I hope, that he was one of the greatest war artists of all time. He didn't flinch from showing the gory details and all the horrors that war can bring about...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two wars.

NP: Two wars.

PJ: There was yes, well he did cover more than one!

PM: Very big firm isn't it!

NP: Yes! Twenty-five seconds for you Clement on Goya starting now.

CF: When Goya played football for Tottenham Hotspur he was extraordinarily smart on the left side. He was sadly a one footed footballer, and there was not much point passing the ball to him unless he was in the right position. But then his shot was dazzling. Goalkeepers around the world feared his action. And he was smart with his head...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, not goalkeepers around the world feared his action. Surely only those in the first division! Why would a goalkeeper in Brazil fear this bloke playing for Tottenham?

NP: If he was such a fine striker of the ball, then obviously every goalkeeper around the world might be inhibited by the thought of playing against him. So metaphorically speaking I...

PJ: It was absolute rubbish, wasn't it! Really! I mean...

NP: You're playing the game and I'm not, so why are you challenging?

PJ: Well! Even by the abysmally low standard of this programme, it was absolute rubbish!

NP: Oh!

DN: I thought you were going to be quite interesting about him.

NP: Ah yes.

PJ: Well I would have done but some fool interrupted!

NP: Well actually I suppose you have to be Clement Freud to get away with such rubbish! You did it with great style Clement. You have another point, three seconds left on Goya starting now.

CF: What made it so difficult for him was having a painter of the same name!


NP: Clement again speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point and has increased his lead. Derek it's your turn to begin. Would you take the subject of donkey work and there are 60 seconds as usual starting now.

DN: I suppose donkey work is the sort of work that nobody really wants to do. It is the kind of... position that people on the very lowest level...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Severe hesitation I'm afraid.

DN: I think my stutter's getting very bad tonight, don't you?

NP: You've been reminded of your childhood back in North Wales...

DN: That's right!

NP: All those...

DN: When I used to go up to P-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-prestatton!

NP: Paul you've got in with 52 seconds and the subject is donkey work starting now.

PM: When I was;t enjoying holidays in Prestatton I was going down to Blackpool beach where the donkeys would do a good turn for the kids by taking them up and down the sandy bit on their backs. I remember one particular donkey...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: How were the children were being pulled along on their backs?

NP: I think we'll give you a bonus point, we liked the challenge. But I think he, he did make it clear under the pressure of keeping going that the children were put on the backs of the donkeys. So Paul, you have another point and you have 39 seconds, donkey work starting now.

PM: I remember the skin being scraped off my spine just here as these donkeys dragged me along the afore-mentioned path...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Dragged me along, or dragged at any rate. He said that before, didn't he.

PM: I did, yes.

NP: He did.

PM: I'll say it again, given another chance!

NP: Peter you have the subject of donkey work, 31 seconds are left starting now.

PJ: Yes well it is really drudgery, or very hard unpleasant labour like digging a hole in the road. And you often see people looking and saying "these men, they don't like work, you know, look at them leaning on his shovel". This is after he's been there for about two hours...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: I think there was.

PJ: Was there?

CF: No!

PJ: No, no-one else heard it!

NP: In other words you want to hear from Peter Jones a bit more, do you?


NP: All right then, well, the judges, Peter, they're on your side!

PJ: Well how long is there?

NP: There's 16 seconds.

PJ: Oh! I see! (starts to laugh)

NP: They're your audience, you see, they want to hear more from you. So it's up to you now...

DN: Just because he's got a Welsh name, you see!

NP: Yes! (in Welsh accent) Well Peter, you have 16 secodns and you start now.

PJ: Well it was Mary and Joseph who really made the donkey famous and put it on the map, by taking them to this stable, er, at Christmas time...


NP: And Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Definitely and er.

NP: Definite er there. I won't have the audience say anything against that one. So Derek you have the subject of donkey work, eight seconds starting now.

DN: When our Lord entered in triumph into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday it was on the back of a donkey. And that is why we still mark it on...


NP: Well it's a very close contest this week. Derek Nimmo's just come back into the lead with that extra point. Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject a perfect day. There are 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: My idea of a perfect day is to go down to Blackpool and listen to the kids screaming as the donkeys drag them backwards down the beach! I can't get enough of this! In fact I take a tape recorder down with me and record...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Two downs.

NP: Derek you got in there with 47 seconds to go on a perfect day starting now.

DN: My idea of a perfect day is to set forth in a slow train from London up to Crewe, sit there for a hour and a half, change in one to Chester and then come on to the Llandudno Junction and visit the place where we're trying to get through applause from quite a long way away. And when you actually arrive and see yourself surrounded by smiling faces, often chatting to you in Welsh. (hesitates, then goes into Welsh language)


DN: (continues in Welsh)

NP: Clement Freud has challenged you.

DN: Oh really?

CF: He stopped.

NP: He certainly hesitated, yes.

CF: Yes that's what we call...

NP: So Clement you have another point and you have 21 seconds, a perfect day, starting now.

CF: I think a perfect day should start now in Llandudno. You go gently down the coast through the city of St Asaph, up to Rhyll, to Colwyn Bay where they've closed the pier...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Well you can't go from St Asath to...


NP: Derek you have the subject back, eight seconds, a perfect day, starting now.

DN: Walk along the pier and breathe in the ozone...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

DN: ... and retire to a handily adjacent...

CF: It's closed! I just said!

NP: No, of course it's not closed at Llan... I think we should broadcast that fact, don't you?

PM: I can see that the Llandudno Tourist Board is very pleased with this programme.

NP: That's right, yes. Derek it was a wrong challenge, you have five seconds on a perfect day starting now.

DN: In to a fish and chip shop and getting some salt and vinegar and a wellworn copy of the...


NP: Peter Jones your turn to begin, the subject nuts. Will you tell us something about...

PJ: Well if I were Clement Freud I suppose I'd just start giving you a list of them. Like coconuts, hazel, pe and so on. But what can one say about nuts, except that they are a secondary sort of source of protein. They're quite good for vegetarians to eat, as long as you chew them up well and eat plenty of green stuff with them. They are...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of eat, I'm afraid.

NP: Yes you did say eat.

PJ: Well it wasn't very interesting anyway! Was it!

NP: Paul you have another point and 41 seconds, the subject is nuts starting now.

PM: Nuts is one of those colloquial terms for people who have a mental instability. It's a rather unfair description but it's one that's often used. Many years ago it was the practice of people of London to go to Bedlam Hospital to look at the nuts there inside. And this was when we had a very bad view of what it was to be um mentally ill...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes. Clement...

PM: I was trying to turn it into a song actually!

NP: Twenty-one seconds are left and the subject is still nuts, Clement, starting now.

CF: G-N-U-T-S is how Dan Quayle would spell nuts which is actually quite wrong! It is an enormously important and successful source of protein. I think cashews and brazils are those that are most calorific and therefore...


NP: Well it's still neck and neck in the lead. Clement Freud is only one behind our leader Derek Nimmo. And Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject is estate agents. Will you tell us something about that much maligned group of people starting now.

CF: I really know very little about estate agents, other than that they're always moaning about not having any work to do. And tend to become Conservative Members of parliament where they bore everybody greatly. There's one called Vivian Bendall. I can't remember what his seat is. But he was an estate agent and went on throughout his career in the House being known as one of that company. Anyone who wanted to sublet or rent a house or flat would go to this good man, he wasn't really that terrific, and say "can you accommodate me? There's a lot of commission available if you would do what I..."


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Twenty-three seconds are for you Peter on estate agents starting now.

PJ: Estate agents always seem to get a very bad press. You don't often meet people who like them. But my experience has been that if you treat an estate agent kindly, like you might a boa constrictor or something of that kind, it can, it can become quite friendly and helpful...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Can, can! He sort of stuttered.

PJ: I stuttered???!!!!!

DN: I'm sitting next to him!

NP: But he kept going. You didn't challenge him for repetition...

PJ: It's the p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-pot calling the kettle black!

NP: Peter you keep the subject, you have six seconds starting now.

PJ: They are one of the worst kind of agents and I've come across so many. Theatrical agents, and turf...


NP: So at that round Peter Jones spoke as the whistle went, gained an extra point. And Derek it's your turn to begin, the subject is my mistake. Can you tell us something about my mistake starting now.

DN: I think one of my mistakes was not being able to get into the subject of nuts. Because I would have liked to have talked about lunatics for a while, particularly the one who escaped from the asylum, assaulted a laundress and then fled. And the headline the next day in the Sun was "Nut Screws Washers and Bolts"...


DN: I'll always thought that was a great mistake that I wasn't able to penetrate that particular question. And It's something I'll always...

NP: Clement Freud challenged you at the end of your joke.

CF: It's a repetition of nuts.

NP: Nuts?

CF: We're talking about my mistake.

NP: It might have been a mistake actually to tell that story, you never know! And Clement Freud you have a correct challenge, you have 40 seconds, my mistake starting now.

CF: My mistake was to go to a restaurant and order turtle soup. And having done so I waited for 35 minutes and left. Whereupon the restaurateur came out and said "you can't", pacing behind me as I was walking down the street. I said "I certainly can, I ordered this delicacy which is either made by opening a tin and pouring the content on to a plate, or by using the beast and soaking him for days on end. If you’re unable to do the former, I'm not prepared to wait for the latter!" I think it was a mistake because as a consequence I didn't get dinner that night. It was in Southampton, there was no-one else...


NP: Clement Freud with his points including one for speaking as the whistle went has now taken the lead, one ahead of Derek Nimmo. Paul Merton your turn to begin, the subject, algebra. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PM: Algebra is a very small country just off the coast of Spain. The people who live there live in all kinds of rude huts. These are various houses with two fingers sticking out of the roof. That is why I referred to them earlier as I did. The Algebraic people are a kindly race. They don't get on very well with their near neighbours who are the people of the island of Geometry. There is a great war between these two, Geometry, Alge...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Two Geometries.

NP: And you always tell me you did woodwork at school.

PM: Well quite clearly I did, as I didn't do Algebra!

NP: Thirty seconds for you Derek on algebra starting now.

DN: Al Gebra was the one goalkeeper who was not frightened of Goyer when he was playing centre forward! Oh Al Gebra was tremendously popular because he managed to repel every ball that was kicked towards him and retired to live in the south of Spain, because as the name suggests, it is of course of Arab origin...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I don't know, I just thought it was a good time to stop!

NP: Might have been a good time to stop. But er 10 seconds for you Derek, algebra starting now.

DN: So many of these mathematical sciences...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Peter you have seven seconds to tell us something about algebra starting now.

PJ: Well that's too long to talk about the algebra that I know about! Because I had a very bad time at school...


NP: But you kept going in spite of that until the whistle went Peter. This is the last round I have to tell you and as we enter the last round, Derek Nimmo is still in the lead, only two ahead of Peter Jones and Clement Freud equal. And Derek it's your turn to begin, the subject is spring. Will you tell us something about that delightful subject in this game starting now.

DN: One of the nicest kinds of spring waters that I know is called Hipburn Spa and it comes from a place called Dalesfill which is just outside Ballarat which is tolerably near to Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. It was purchased by an impresario called Harry Miller who put it into these canisters and sold it for an absolute fortune! I once did a calculation you know that Perrier water if it was put into an oil can is wirth 110 pounds per... great big barrel...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Repetition of water.

NP: Yes, you had water and the subject is spring, not spring water. And there are 32 seconds left on spring starting now.

CF: I shared an office for many years with that famous failed anorexic Sir Cyril Smith who had a company called Springs. His first name preceded it. And he knew more about springs than anybody I've ever met. He employed many people and looked after them well. And there was a profit sharing scheme. And springs came out of Rochdale...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He has repeated the plural of spring.

NP: He did say springs more than once and spring is the subject on the card. So well listened Peter, you've got in on the last round with five seconds to go on spring starting now.

PJ: It is one of the most delightful of the seasons because it applies mostly...


NP: As I said before this was to be the last round so what I have to do now is to give you the final position. Only one point ahead and equal we have two joint winners this week which is Derek Nimmo with Peter Jones! Well we hope you enjoyed this particular edition of Just A Minute which has come from the lovely seaside town of Llandudno. And it only remains for me to say on behalf of our four players of the game and Jane Stevens who's kept the score for the first time absolutely admirably. Also the creator of the game, Ian Messiter and our producer Sarah Smith, thank you for listening. We hope that you'll be with us the next time that you hear us playing Just A Minute. Until then from me Nicholas Parsons, good-bye.