starring PAUL MERTON, PETER JONES, STEPHEN FRY and JAN RAVENS, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 5 March 1994)

NOTE: Jan Ravens's last appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: The fourth programme in this volume of Just A Classic Minute is from 1994. Of the four original male players of the game, Peter Jones is the only one in this show and is in great form especially at the beginning. Paul Merton is in the show as well. He had appeared as a guest quite frequently by the mid 90s, so he was almost a regular. He was good at playing the game from the start and always contributed well. But with the confidence that comes from experience and pratcice, you can tell immediately he is more settled and his performance is more individual and very entertaining. Every comedy performer who has ever talen part in Just A Minute and appeared more than afew times instinctively finds a way to keep going within the rules and maintain their own humorous momentum. That is why it is unfair on a first time player. The game sounds deceptively easy to a listener, but it is devillishly difficult to play, especially if you are trying to hold your audience's attention and be amusing. You're aware of this when listening to Jan Ravens, the third member of the panel in this recording. She is a very talented comedy performer and does well, but occasionally slips up on quite simple repoetition which she immediately recognises herself. With more practice she would acquire the basic technique, part of which obviously is thinking very clearly, speaking concisely and for some, not too quickly. The fourth player in this recording is Stephen Fry, returning after only two other appearances. With his agile and clever mind he is a quick learner, so he is more assured than on his previous outings. And with his fund of knowledge and command of language, he keeps going with great skill when he has the subject, in spite of his very quick delivery. In fact when he does repeat anything, it's usually on a figure of speech, or a verbal idiosyncracy, such as a habit of beginning a sentence with "of course". My performance has become more assured as the show progressed, which is what you would expect given the number of years I have been playing the game. I am now so attuned to the mood of each recording, I can subtly move the pace forward, or hold it back, depending on the way in which the programme is evolving. You may notice moments like these in this recording. Often dependent on the interplay or rapport between the individual performers, which is always different according to who is playing the game. Paul Merton has the unique ability to take a subject when he is going in style into the realsm of the surreal. Kenneth Williams could also do this on occasions but not as often as Paul. And when Paul is on a roll, I think the other players feel it would be churlish to challenge for deviation as the performance is such a tour de force, and we're all enjoying the amazing imagery and creatuve humour. It makes for marvellous radio. I hope you enjoy this particular pastische and many other memorable moments in this recording. And I also hope you have enjoyed the selection of moments in the programmes in this fourth volume of Just A Classic Minute. 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 introduce the four panelists who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back Peter Jones and Paul Merton who have played the game quite a number of times. Stephen Fry who has played it a few times. And Jan Ravens who's only played it once before. Would you please welcome all four of them! Miriam Jones sits beside me with a whistle and a stopwatch. She'll keep the score, blow her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And I will ask our four panelists to speak, in turn if they can, on the subject that I give them. And they will try and do that as usual without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject on the card. Paul Merton would you begin the show, and the subject which I'm sure has been specially chosen for you, metalwork. You have mentioned it more than once in your professional life. Will you tell us something about it now in 60 seconds starting now.

PAUL MERTON: It is true that between the ages of 13 and 15 I attended metalwork lessons, both theory and practical. At the end of this particular exercise I gained CSE ungraded in the subject which is extremely good because it was quite clear that no amount of knowledge had found its way into my brain at all. I didn't want to do metalwork but unfortunately I didn't have the French so I had to do this rather arcane little subject. I can't see what the point of it was, I had no intention of becoming a blacksmith when I left school, and since then I've not really used it in any practical way. I think... purely because I was completely...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: He hesitated a bit, I thought.

PM: I did, yes.

NP: You did, yes. Peter you have got a correct challenge which is a point to you of course. Twenty-three seconds are left, metalwork starting now.

PJ: I remember my daughter was taught metalwork when she was at school. Because the boys were being coached in cooking and needlework in a vain effort to try to make everybody the same. And she made a very nice coathook which we still have in use. But that is all! Two years it took altogether! And er you can't hang a hat on it, it's only got the single curve. Nevertheless...


NP: When the whistle goes, it tells us that 60 seconds are up and whoever is speaking at that moment gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Peter Jones who's the only one to have scored in that round. So Peter you're in a strong lead. Stephen Fry, will you take the next round. Achilles heel, will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

STEPHEN FRY: Well of course the background to Achilles heel was the Greek hero Achilles whose mother Setus dipped him in the waters of Lycee also known as the liquids of forgetfulness, in order to protect him. However her hand held his heel as he was submerged in this rushing torrent. Therefore the part that was not covered in the fluid was vulnerable, totally open to attack. The rest of him was impenetrable and impermeable. It therefore fell out during the Trojan War, that Paris one of the Iliad... heroes of course...


SF: Oh!

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

SF: Rescue!

PM: Unfortunately a hesitation.

NP: Yes, you've got a point, you've got the subject...

PM: Well he was very good. But it was a shame!

NP: You've got...

PM: He was going so well.

NP: Twenty-nine seconds, Achilles heel starting now.

PM: My Achilles heel is that I find Nicholas Parsons intensely sexually attractive. When I look over there at that blazer and that tie, his hair, the glasses, everything about him says "take me"! I don't know what it is. I go home at night, I see these visions of this erstwhile chairman coming towards me. The silvery glints in his eyes, beckoning...


NP: Stephen Fry you've challenged.

SF: This is not an Achilles heel, this is a strength!

PM: It is!


NP: Whose strength?

SF: I share... um... I find it arms me for the day!


NP: Jan you wish to say something?

JAN RAVENS: I wish... this is deviation on the part of both of them and a bit...

PM: Not at all!

NP: You don't share that feeling?

JR: Sadly no.

NP: Oh!

SF: I'm not ashamed that Nicholas is my favourite fantasy! I think it's something to be very proud of!

JR: I beg to differ! I'm sorry!

NP: Well that's all right Jan, everybody to their own. Paul, six seconds on Achilles heel starting now.

PM: I suppose my Achilles heel is that er I..


NP: Stephen Fry?

SF: That he hesitates!

PM: Yes, I was going to say that, yes.

NP: Yes Stephen, three seconds to tell us something about your Achilles heel starting now.

SF: And the arrow went straight into Achilles' heel and he perished!


NP: Well after that round I don't know whether I'm going to be able to quite carry on, you never know. Especially with some of the letters I might get from people abroad who've never seen me!

PM: They've got a very odd view of you in China, haven't they?

NP: I know, I know. And do you know something very interesting? They tape the programme over there in order to model their English. And I want to know who they're modeling it on! We might have little Paul Mertons coming over here with Chinese accents! Right now where were we?

PM: I look forward to that rather unlikely event unfolding in front of my eyes.

NP: Yes! Peter your turn to begin, the subject is wrong numbers. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PJ: I think I must have a wrong number. Now this is absolutely true! Because five times in the last two weeks, I've had messages on the answering machine asking for a male stripper! Now my wife has encouraged me to go and apply for this job. But they haven't made me an offer I can't refuse, in fact I've not been in conversation with these ladies, all of them were females. But you see I've done a lot of things like... Carry On...


NP: Stephen Fry challenged.

SF: Sorry it was a reflex from my thumb. It was so interesting, it seemed a bit hesitant though.

NP: It was definitely hesitant.

PJ: It was, yes. It was a rather delicate subject, you know.

NP: What worried me Peter is you thought of all the things you'd done and you dried up.

PJ: So would you if you'd done some of the things I've done!

NP: Stephen, a correct challenge, 34 seconds, wrong numbers starting now.

SF: I'm always getting a wrong number. I ring up Peter Jones, the department store in Chelsea and ask for a male stripper and I get this very baffled man saying that he doesn't think I've called the right place! Can't understand it! So I've had to switch my allegiance to another store whose... whose number I have correctly...


NP: Jan you challenged.

JR: Repetition of store.

NP: There were two stores, yes. Well listened Jan, you have a correct challenge, there are 19 seconds for you to tell us something about wrong numbers starting now.

JR: It's only too easy to phone a wrong number. For example if one were to try and contact the emergency services and dial 987 that would be incorrect. And also if one were to try and get in touch with Directory Enquiries and ring 132 one...


NP: Jan Ravens was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. And Jan it's your turn to begin, the subject hairs. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

JR: Well hairs of course is a most thorny problem for women. The superfluous variety which one has to try and get rid of for some reason, we don't quite know why. Electrolysis is one way of ridding oneself of superfluous...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of one.

NP: Yes there was too many ones I'm afraid.

JR: Too many ones.

NP: Yes. Paul will you tell us something about hairs, there are 47 seconds starting now.

PM: I can't think of hairs without thinking of the silver..


NP: Stephen Fry challenged.

SF: Terrible mistake! I do apologise. So sorry.

PM: Could happen to anybody.

SF: Carry on.

NP: Ah but if you interrupt someone that person gets a point.

SF: Oh quite right, I should pay for my mistake.

NP: So Paul has another point, hairs is still the subject, 44 seconds starting now.

PM: I have a friend of mine who breeds electric hares specially for the greyhound track. And what he does is he gets hold of the hare and he mates it with a battery and it can be 12 volts or 15 of that particular measurement. And he takes it into the stadium...


NP: Stephen Fry challenged.

SF: Two takes there.

NP: There were two takes, yes. You were taking too much there. Thirty seconds are left for hares with you Stephen starting now.

SF: I've only ever met two Hares. One was David Hare who's a well-known playwright. And the other was Doris Hare, a marvelous old actress, used to be On The Buses of course, I was in a play with her. Of the two Hares I couldn't really say who was my favourite. They're both super people. Of course there's the animal which is rather like a rabbit. Hares come out, apparently, in March and they're rather lunatic or deranged in some fashion. Again one doesn't quite understand why. There was a great mad Hare March of that month, again...


SF: Strange word order!

NP: So Jan you got in first then, repetition of March. Seven seconds for you on hares starting now.

JR: There is...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: No!

JR: Get away!

PM: You could have parked a bus in that!

NP: Well I don't think she hesitated enough to lose it. But do get moving a bit quicker Jan! Six seconds for hares starting now.

JR: There are some barbaric types that indulge in a practice called hare coursing which involves two dogs chasing a hare down a burrow or something...


NP: Paul it's your turn to begin and the subject, rather aptly, that's come up is China. So will you tell us something about China in this game starting now.

PM: I believe that China is a country just outside Romford in Essex. And here the Chinese people live happily and gaily. They sing and dance in the streets and congratulate themselves that they are living so close to western civilisation. Of course China is also a a place, somewhere out there, where they pick up Just A Minute and they er...


NP: Jan Ravens you challenged first.

JR: Hesitation.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yes I came to a full stop.

NP: Forty seconds for you to tell us something about China starting now.

JR: Pretty china is something that I love to collect at antique fairs. I go and buy cups, saucers, plates, bowls, all with lovely designs like Clarice cliff from the art deco period is a very nice type of china with little houses and flowers and yellow backgrounds and that sort of thing. Um...


NP: Stephen Fry.

SF: I think um, really says it all.

JR: Um I think is pretty good! (laughs)

NP: Hesitation yes, China's with you Stephen there are 20 seconds left starting now.

SF: Of course bone china is so-called because bits of ossified material of animal nature were in fact inserted into the mix which tried to reproduce the genuine china which had been imported from the place that is now the People's Republic of China which was then of course a series of kingdoms and part of an empire. And er it was generally supposed...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He said and er.

NP: He did say and er, yes. Well listened Peter, two seconds, you got in just before the whistle on china starting now.

PJ: Worcester, Minton, Spode, they're..


NP: Peter Jones speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point. And he's still in third place and Jan Ravens still in the lead. And Stephen Fry your turn to begin, the subject is quacks. Will you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

SF: Quacks! Well, a word meaning charlatans, I suppose, isn't it. Sort of fraudulent doctors. Also the noise that a duck makes, it goes quack like that, I believe. I've never actually heard it, it goes waaaaarrrk like that, not quite the same thing! However there's been many famous mountebanks in history who've tried to put one over on various people. And they, the word quacks really covers them, I suppose doesn't it. Do you know I'm getting awfully bored with this, I can't think of anything else to say...


NP: So Jan challenged you.

JR: I just felt I had to get him out of it somehow.

NP: Yes, you've helped him. Thirty-nine seconds, Jan, quacks starting now.

JR: A lot of quacks are said to be in the field of alternative medicine which is sometimes called complementary. Which doesn't mean that your doctor says "you look very well today" and you instantly feel better. It's a sort of adjunct to the er mainstream...


NP: And Stephen challenged.

SF: There was an ah there.

NP: Twenty-seven seconds, quacks with you Stephen starting now.

SF: Well placeboes are often given by all kinds of apparently respectable doctors and often seem to work. In the sort of snake-oil days...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of often.

NP: Often, yes, you had often too often then.

SF: Did I?

NP: Yes, 19 seconds for you Paul on quacks starting now.

PM: I had a pet duck when I was about 14 that used to console me when I came back from school and said "this metalwork is just not going into my head, I don't understand any of it". And the duck would look me sadly...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Two ducks there.

NP: Yes two ducks. Ducks. Seven seconds Stephen, quacks starting now.

SF: Very common in the American west for people to go round in wagons trying to sell patent medicines of one kind or another which contain nothing more usually than sugar. These people...


NP: So Stephen Fry was speaking as the whistle went, gained other points in the round. And he's moved forward into the lead one ahead of Jan Ravens and then Peter Jones and Paul Merton are equal in third place. Peter it's your turn to begin, the subject is vermouth. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PJ: Vermouth or vermooth as it's often called in America is an indispensable part of the great classic cocktail, the dry martini. Five parts of gin or vodka to one of vermouth makes a very nice drink. I prefer it shaken rather than stirred as Ian Fleming advocated. Because if it's put into a shaker with lumps of ice, a little water gets into it, and it's not quite as strong. It doesn't anaesthetise you in quite the same way as it would if you had it neat. Now the Ian Fle... oh...


NP: Yes I think you actually whet all their sort of saliva, going, you know...

PM: Wet our saliva?

NP: No, no, I'm sorry.

JR: Would be an interesting thing to do!

PM: What are they going to make of that phrase in China?

NP: Salivating at the mouth is the word I was saying...

PJ: That's right!

NP: You set there....

PJ: Yes.

NP: You set their sort of appetites...

SF: As opposed to salivating at the elbow, I suppose?

PM: No wonder they're a confused country over there!

NP: Right, 24 seconds for you Stephen on vermouth starting now.

SF: WC Fields advocated as the perfect martini to take a bottle of vermooth or vermouth and remove the lid and wave it over a glass filled with gin and then replace the stopper. That way it was dry enough. Of course vermouth derives from...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation?

NP: I think so.

SF: Mmmm.

NP: Yes Paul, nine seconds for you to tell us something about vermouth starting now.

PM: I suppose of all my favourite alcoholic drinks and I have quite a few, my...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Oh I just thought it was just a tedious way to begin a sentence really! Probably, probably wrong of me, I begin just as tediously.

NP: Paul Merton, four seconds on vermouth starting now.

PM: So there I was hanging by my fingertips on the edge of Niagara Falls when suddenly a huge glass of vermouth looms...


NP: Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point. He's now equal with Jan Ravens in second place. Stephen Fry is in the lead. And Jan it's your turn to begin, the subject is oracles. Can you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

JR: Oracles are people to tell you what is going to happen in your life. The most famous of course was in Delphi, the Greek oracle called Pythia who was addressed by the people of Greece, no I haven't got a lisp! And she would tell them what was going to happen, what they should do politically. And when they were in their huge period of colonisation she would give them advice on what to do next. She would give the ahhh....


NP: Ohhh!!

JR: Twenty-five seconds! Ahhhhh!

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of give.

NP: Yes.

SF: He's a subtle old devil isn't he!

NP: Right well listened Paul, 35 seconds, oracle starting now.

PM: The man who lived next door to me when I was seven years old was considered by the rest of the neighbourhood a bit of an oracle. He had his magic underpants that could predict the future. So what he would do is, you'd go round to his house and he'd take out this pair of pants and he'd say "I see a big dark man in the corner". It usually turned out to be a policeman because we all knew he what he was up to! And we knew it wasn't true, but he was one of those local characters you tend to sort of like. You chivvy them along, you don't really want to get too involved. I remember one court case, he went to, where he suddenly said to the judge, "look", he said "I know exactly what's going to happen in the next five minutes". And the judge said "I know what's going to happen you in the next 10 years, you're going to prison!" And that is...


PM: I don't know, I said judge twice!

NP: Yes! Stephen you challenged.

SF: No, no, I just thought I'd time it after the punchline. There was a couple of happeneds and a couple of gives and...

NP: Yes...

SF: It was brilliant!

NP: Three seconds for oracles...

PM: Oh! Three!

SF: Oh really? Sorry!

NP: Three seconds, it's not fair is it!

JR: Shame!

NP: Really! Right, we'll give him a bonus point because he did get a lot of laughs and didn't even wait for them! Right three seconds with you Stephen, oracle starting now.

SF: One of the best known was the Kimmen Sibble of course who was Greek as well...


NP: So Stephen Fry got a point for speaking as the whistle went and Paul your turn to begin, the subject, temper. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PM: There is a process in the course of metalwork that's called tempering but unfortunately I don't know what it is because as I say I got CSE ungraded. But I suppose it's also a phrase or word rather, because it's not really... what I said earlier...


NP: Jan Ravens.

JR: A sort of hesitation I think.

NP: No, deviation but I don't think he really hesitated.

JR: Well it went a bit sort of ahhhhh.

PM: I can't help my impediment!

NP: No I don't think so Jan I'm sorry, 45 seconds starting now.

PM: I suppose it has...


NP: Stephen Fry challenged.

SF: Second I suppose, he's...

NP: You did say I suppose.

PM: Yes.

NP: Forty-four seconds for you Stephen on temper starting now.

SF: I used to have an incredibly short temper, as they're called, ie, I lost it very fast. While that should make it short, I've no idea. I repeated short...


SF: I repeated short!

NP: Yes.

SF: A pair of shorts.

NP: Yes, two shorts. Jan 38 seconds for you on temper starting now.

JR: Some people are of a very sanguine temper which means that they are very hopeful, optimistic, not pessimistic. And some people are very aggressive...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Some people.

NP: Some people, yes. Paul you have it back...

SF: It's an awfully difficult game!

JR: I know!

NP: Thirty seconds, temper Paul starting now.

PM: I suppose...



PM: Aaaaahhh! I've got to get firmer opinions!

NP: That is the third one.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yeah, 29 seconds, temper Stephen starting now.

SF: Tempered steel is something that Paul made reference to, or at least in that area he made some kind of allusion. I don't know what it means either, we're both perfectly ignorant on the idea of tempering metals of any kind. However it's something to do with testing because of course that's the origin of the word, isn't it. Same as temptation, actually comes from the same source as that word which I just mentioned which is reasonably fascinating if you're in any way elucidated by that kind of nonsense. I'm beginning to drivel which is a shame because temper is the subject on the card and I must refer to it at all times. Haven't done so much so far! But temper is also...


NP: I think you were driveling but you increased your lead at the end of that round and you begin the next round. The subject is getting into hot water. That's a nice subject, will you tell us something about it in this game starting now.

SF: I was always getting into hot water with my Latin master at school, until they sacked him, which was a shame because I liked communal baths! Oh no, this is really something which Paul's made mention of the same kind of idea at his school. It's obviously a concurrent problem which needs dealing with urgently...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I'm sorry, I can't hear a word he's saying!

SF: It's embarrassment I'm afraid!

PM: You suddenly abandoned consonants like they'd never existed!

NP: He was speaking so quietly I don't think he even heard himself what he was saying.

SF: Oh dear!

NP: Paul you have 44 seconds to tell us something about getting into hot water starting now.

PM: You have to be very careful when you've filled your bath with hot water to make sure that it's not too hot for you to get into. A lot of people employ the elbow method where they...


NP: Stephen Fry challenged.

SF: Nobody employs the el-bow method! I happen to know that! Some people employ the elbow method.

PM: I said elbow, didn't I?

SF: My mother is recording this! No, no, you're quite...

NP: No, I think he was close enough to elbow even if it wasn't, exactly sounded...

SF: He doesn't know his elbow from.... um....

NP: We won't go any further on the radio! Right, 34 seconds, getting into hot water, Paul, starting now.

PM: When you cook lobster, it's essential to get this particular unfortunate crustacean into lots of hot water. So you get hold of a water source...


NP: Stephen Fry challenged.

SF: Get.

NP: Yes you were getting too much.

SF: He repeated get.

PM: At least you can hear every word!


PM: Even if I can't pronounce them properly!

NP: Getting into hot water... Stephen, getting into hot water, 25 seconds starting now.

SF: (very slowly with each word pronounced very clearly and precisely) I have a very sensitive skin and find it difficult to get into hot water without burning or scalding myself. Therefore I take great pains to test the temperature of the bath fluid in order to maintain a decent 140 Fahrenheit degree heat. It is not necessary for it to be...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Isn't that way above boiling?

SF: No!

PM: One hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit?

NP: No, 180 Fahrenheit is boiling.

SF: I said Fahrenheit, dear.

PM: Oh I took a wild chance there.

NP: I know you did. So it was an incorrect challenge Stephen, two seconds on getting into hot water starting now.

SF: I shall be getting into hot water with my mother, pretending that she is recording this, of course as a matter of fact she isn't...


NP: So Stephen Fry was again speaking as the whistle went and has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Peter Jones it's your turn to begin, the subject is what's in my fridge. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PJ: Do you mean your fridge or my fridge?

NP: Peter after 28 years, you know you can take the subject whichever way you like, my fridge or your fridge.

PJ: What?

SF: Like an assignation, your place or mine?

NP: Don't let's get back on to that, especially as Paul's vying for my attentions as well. Um...

PM: Vying? I didn't know there was a queue!

NP: Oh dear I'll never get out of this one! Right, there are 60 seconds Peter, take the subject whichever way you like, what's in my fridge starting now.

PJ: Well not very much really, because I'm supposed to do some shopping in the morning. But there are some cubes of ice ready to make a dry martini. Unfortunately no gin or vodka. But I'm hoping if I get home early enough there will be about a quarter of a bottle of white wine if my wife hasn't drunk it. She's not recording this programme, never has and doesn't! But there is a little pot of olive pate, there's some pesti sauce, there's a few eggs...


NP: Jan Ravens challenged.

JR: Repetition of there's.

NP: There's, there's.

PJ: Oh yes.

NP: Jan, well listened, 34 seconds, what's in my fridge starting now.

JR: I have a photograph of my young baby son opening the door of my fridge and revealing what's inside it. And so I can remember very easily what is there. There's some pasta from Safeways, there's some basil, there's some cheese and I'm repeating there&'s as well...


NP: Peter you challenged.

JR: I might as well challenge myself again!

PJ: There's, yes.

JR: The same way..

PJ: The same word as I used!

NP: Peter, there's again, back with you, 20 seconds, what's in my fridge starting now.

PJ: Well we have an ice compartment and there are a few...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of ice.

NP: You had some ice right at the beginning.

PJ: Oh that's right yes.

NP: That's right. Eighteen seconds for you to tell us about what's in my fridge Paul starting now.

PM: Lord Lucan!



NP: We give Paul a bonus point for his remark because it was a classic one and he gets a bonus for that...

PJ: And then he hesitated! Waited for the laugh in fact!

NP: Oh..

PM: I was riding the laugh!

PJ: Yes!

NP: Riding the laugh...

PM: They think I'm mad!

NP: Riding the laugh? You just decided to retire on the laugh!

PM: A lot of people have retired on less, I can tell you.

NP: I know, I will grant you that...

SF: A lot of people should have done, Nicholas! No, not you...

NP: That wasn't fair Stephen...

SF: No, no...

NP: No, I was just about to pay him the compliment of saying it was a laugh retiring on Paul. But...

PJ: Oh is he retiring?

NP: Yes!


SF: Not so as you'd notice!

PJ: Doesn't seem to be! He seems to be very busy.

NP: It was so good we thought he was going to retire.

PJ: I was asked when I was going to retire the other day...

NP: Peter...

PJ: ...and I said I usually do just after News At Ten! What?

NP: Give Peter a bonus point too! And five seconds on what's in my fridge Peter starting now.

PJ: A lot of odd things that we have to use up fairly soon. They're beyond their sell-by or even edible date I think..


NP: Well at the end of that round Stephen Fry is still in the lead only just ahead of Paul Merton and then Jan Ravens and Peter Jones in that order. And this is the last round coming up, and Jan it's your turn to begin and the subject, euphemisms. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

JR: Euphemisms are what people use when they don't want to say what they really mean. So if for example people are dieing, they might say...


NP: Stephen Fry challenged.

SF: People there.

NP: There were people, I'm afraid Jan yes.

JR: People all over the place.

NP: I know, 54 seconds euphemisms with you Stephen starting now.

SF: It's a characteristic of the modern right-wing journalist to moan at euphemisms all the time isn't it. And go on about how we have to have rodent operators instead of rat catchers and so on. I suppose they are rather irritating because I prefer people to say I'm sitting on the bog, not something like I'm on the unnecessary or whatever it is. I think, you know, if I see a spade I call it just that and um, that's my way, I don't apologise for it. But um I suppose the other...


NP: Jan Ravens challenged.

JR: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I'm afraid so, he was, he was riding the laugh then I think too. Twenty-eight seconds, euphemisms back with you Jan starting now.

JR: Actors use euphemisms a lot when they go and see each other backstage. They are very wont to say "darling you were marvelous" when really they thought they were crap. Or "well what about you!" Or maybe "that was very brave!" or something of that sort. Politicians use euphemisms, they are apt to say..


NP: Stephen Fry challenged.

SF: A couple of uses in there.

NP: Yes the uses Stephen, the actors and politicians. Stephen...

JR: You're a hard taskmaster Stephen!

NP: Nine seconds to go on euphemisms starting now.

SF: Jan calling me a hard taskmaster is a euphemism for meaning I'm a sodden old bastard I think! If my reading of the situation is that, she has every reason to use that sort of euphemism because I am just that...


NP: Well as I said a few seconds ago that was to be the last round. And I will now give you the final score. Peter Jones who has triumphed many times, he came in fourth place, but he was just behind Jan Ravens who's only played the game once before. She was a few points behind Paul Merton who's played it frequently. But Stephen Fry who's played it a limited number of times has once again excelled and got most points, so we say he is the winner, Stephen Fry! We do hope you have enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to say on behalf of Stephen Fry, Paul Merton, Peter Jones and Jan Ravens, thank you very much. And also on behalf of Miriam Jones, who's been keeping the score, blowing the whistle. Our creator of the game Ian Messiter, our producer Sarah Smith, and myself Nicholas Parsons. Hope you've enjoyed it and you'll be with us when we once more play Just A Minute. Till then from all of us, good-bye