NOTE: Arthur Smith's first radio appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Yes hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more, it is my pleasure to introduce the four exciting personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back three regular players of the game, Paul Merton, Peter Jones and Clement Freud. And we welcome someone who has never played the game before, that is Arthur Smith. But would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Miriam Jones who's going to keep the score and blow her whistle when 60 seconds are up. And as usual I will ask our four panelists to speak if they can on the subject that I give them and they will try and do that, as always without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject on the card. And this particular recording of our show is coming from the Pleasance Theatre on the Fringe of the Edinburgh Festival. And we have an exciting hung over Festival audience. And we're going to begin the show this week with Peter Jones. Peter the subject, auld reekie. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PETER JONES: For the benefit of the linguistically disadvantaged, I should explain that it means smoky, smelly. Though it was a good deal smokier when I was here first. It's improved a great deal, and a lot of the nude er statues on the tops of buildings, in particular I'm thinking of the Scotsman newspaper building...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Two buildings.

NP: There were two buildings there.

PJ: Oh yes.

NP: I know there are quite a few in Edinburgh but... Clement you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that and there are 39 seconds left, auld reekie starting now.

CF: Auld reekie was a Victorian underarm deodorant and bore no, no relation whatsoever to auld lang syne, but nevertheless extremely useful. In that auld spelt A-U-L-D is the Scots equivalent of ancient in our English language. And reekie is smell, stink. Something that emanates...


NP: Arthur Smith has challenged.

ARTHUR SMITH: I think there have been a number of smells and stinks there, haven't there?

NP: It was a bit smelly, wasn't it? I do agree with you Arthur, yes. A point for that and you have 13 seconds to tell us something about auld reekie starting now.

AS: Auld reekie is of course the name for Edinburgh, the fabulous city, the Athens of the North, the Reykjavik of the South as Tom Stoppard said, I believe. And very wittily so, and correctly so. It was so-called during...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Ah, repetition of so.

NP: Yeah you did.

PM: There were three!

AS: That's really hard! And strict!

NP: Well there were three. He let the second one go and he came in on the third.

AS: All right, thank you Paul.

NP: And Paul you very cleverly got in with one second to go on auld reekie starting now.

PM: Auld reekie...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle blows gains an extra point. And it was Paul Merton so Paul has the lead at the end of the round. Clement Freud, would you take the next round, Mary Queen of Scots. Will you tell us something about that exceptional woman in this game starting now.

CF: Mary Queen of Scots was an exceptional woman starting now. She lived to the age of 45 in the course of time which married three times. The first time, a King, the second her cousin and her third marriage was the man who murdered theeeee...


NP: Arthur you challenged.

AS: I feel a bit cruel there but I wanted to know how that ended really!

NP: Ritzio!

AS: Pardon?

NP: That was the name of the other one, it was the other name. So Arthur you have a correct challenge for hesitation and there are 40 seconds, tell us something about Mary Queen of Scots starting now.

AS: Mary Queen of Scots used to go out with Billy Bremner.


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes, you see..

AS: I was waiting for a laugh!

NP: Arthur... I know, Arthur, that's the awful thing about this game, you see... you see, I think I should be generous to Arthur because he didn't know that.

AS: Oh I want to play the game properly. I don't want to be patronised!


NP: Nobody could patronise such an iconoclastic creature as you! Really..

PM: He's doing it again!

NP: Peter, he says no, he wants to play it...

PJ: You decided that er...

NP: Yes that it was a correct challenge, you get a point for that, 33 seconds, Mary Queen of Scots starting now.

PJ: I don't know why she was called Mary Queen of Scots, and not Mary Queen of Scotland. It's like having our own Queen called um Elizabeth...


PJ: ...Queen of the Brits or something like that...

NP: Yes but you were challenged...

PJ: ...as I haven't heard any other voice, I might as well go on!

NP: You were challenged before you got there because you hesitated.

PJ: Who was that?

NP: Your man sitting next to you, Paul Merton.

PJ: Oh I see, he did? Oh. I thought we had an arrangement!

NP: So Paul a point to you, 24 seconds, tell us something about Mary Queen of Scots starting now.

PM: She was notorious when she went out with Billy Bremner for winking at the rest of the defenders. There was Jackie Charlton. Norman Hunter spent a weekend with her, marvelously two days filled sex... oh no!


NP: Arthur you have the subject back and 13 seconds to tell us something about Mary Queen of Scots starting now.

AS: She also used to go out with Les McEwan from the Bay City Rollers. Although he said, continuing over the laugh this time and not letting it ride...


NP: It's a tough game Arthur! Peter you challenged first.

PJ: Deviation. Well he was talking about getting the laugh!

NP: Yeah that's right, that's a better challenge than a hesitation. Right, so Peter, two seconds on Mary Queen of Scots starting now.

PJ: I'm trying to think of a way of getting Billy Bremner’s name into it!


NP: So at the end of that round Peter Jones was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's in second place behind Paul Merton and our first-time player of the game, Arthur Smith is in the lead alongside Paul. What are you writing Paul?

PM: It's a suicide note!

NP: Oh right.

PM: All you've got to do is sign it at the bottom of the page!

NP: Oh! That's why I do this show, because I know who my friends are! Paul your turn to begin, the big time is the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: You know you've hit the big time when you find yourself in a radio show sitting next to Nicholas Parsons! This man is truly a giant amongst men. His pinnacle career... his pinnacle career?


NP: Clement got in with 47 seconds on the big time, Clement, starting now.

CF: ... Aren't you...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged. What's the matter Clement? You're looking at me very strangely.

CF: YOu usually say why one gets in.

NP: I do usually but I thought it was so obvious on this occasion.

CF: I wasn't sure!

NP: All right. So Clement, why did you challenge?

CF: I can't remember now!

NP: And as you couldn't remember, you couldn't obviously remember the subject, Peter did get in. So Peter you've got the big time, 45 seconds starting now.

PJ: I'm trying to remember that big film star with whom someone had an affair, and er she told him that at last he'd made the big time. Um...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, yes Clement, 37 seconds to tell us something about the big time starting now.

CF: I think Peter Jones has truly made the big time. Never have I known anyone more carefully brilliant, more adept at...


NP: Arthur?

AS: Hesitation...

NP: No...

AS: ...deviation...

NP: And repetition of more?

AS: And repetition. He did the whole lot there, I felt. Although far be it from me!

NP: Repetition of more, 28 seconds on the big time with you Arthur starting now.

AS: The big time is what the Bay City Rollers reached in 1976 at the period when Les McEwan was going out with Mary Queen of Scots. But the big time... I've repeated it!


NP: No, listen, I'm not going to charge on that because you don't know. You are allowed to repeat the subject...

AS: Oh really?

NP: ...on the card.

PM: Yeah.

AS: Oh excellent!

NP: As long as you don't do it ad nauseam! So I won't charge any points on that...

AS: All right.

NP: And you keep going on the big time.

AS: Right.

NP: Sixteen seconds left starting now.

AS: The big time, the big time, the big time, the big time, the big time, the big time, the big time....


AS: The big time, the big time, the big time, the big time...

NP: Clement Freud challenged you on the 17th big time.

CF: Not that often!

NP: And to be fair to Clement who's going to get the challenge, I did say as long as you don't do it ad nauseam.

AS: Well was I ad nauseam? I was?

NP: You are not ad nauseam, your shirt is! Clement Freud...

PM: You're in a fine position to talk about what people are wearing! Is there, is there a tie shape at the back of that jacket? You just cut out the tie and stuck it on?

NP: I think you should explain to our listeners, because the audience knows what you're referring to...

PM: Yes, Nicholas Parsons is wearing a combined deck chair shirt and tie! Do you charge people to sit on you for 50 pence an hour? There's a few people who'd be willing to do it for nothing, I can assure you!

NP: Sit on me! Oh! Clement, seven seconds on the big time starting now.

CF: My first experience of the big time was at a Liberal Party conference in...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: A contradiction in terms, surely!


PM: Deviation, deviation!

CF: I had led a very sheltered life before!

AS: No you hadn't! That's not what you told me!

NP: Right we give Paul Merton a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge, because it was a lovely thought. The Liberal Party may have been the smaller party but it was the big time for Clement Freud. Clement's got the subject, a point for being interrupted, two seconds, the big time starting now.

CF: Mister Chairman, Lord Mayor...


NP: At the end of that round, Clement Freud, not only speaking as the whistle went, gaining an extra point, also gained points in the round. He's now equal in the lead with Paul Merton but they're only one point ahead of Arthur Smith and Peter Jones in that order. And Arthur your turn to begin...

AS: Could I just say before I do this...

NP: Yeah...

AS: ..what a great pleasure it is to do this show with you Nicholas, the consumate professional. I know what the other contestants were saying about you behind your back. I don't subscribe to that. I believe you are a wonderful broadcaster with great taste in clothes!

NP: I can't give you a bonus point for sycophancy I'm afraid Arthur. But I will give you one minute and the subject of a sensation starting now.

AS: I well remember in one of my West End comedies that was running, when I appeared on stage wearing only a banana and a cod piece. Now this was deemed a sensation, which is normally a word...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Not clear whether it was the banana or the cod piece!


NP: Peter we'll give you a bonus, we loved the challenge, but I don't think it's within the rules of Just A Minute. So Arthur you keep the subject, you get also a point for getting interrupted and you have now 47 seconds on a sensation starting now.

AS: The feeling that flows from your body to the outside of your skin, running along the synapses of the part of one's self that is.. not...


NP: Paul Merton you challenged first.

PM: Hesitation I thought.

NP: Hesitation indeed, yes. Thirty-seven seconds, a sensation with you Paul starting now.

PM: In 1936 Nicholas Parsons wowed the West End crowd with his nude performance as Mary Queen of Scots! They had seen nothing like it! The night when he spends a whole weekend with... I've done it again!


NP: And Arthur got in first.

AS: Well it was er...

NP: Hesitation.

AS: Yes. And repetition and a bit of hesitation.

PM: I think I've been hypnotised. Every time I mention Billy Bremner I then can't finish the sentence!

NP: Twenty-four seconds Arthur, a sensation, starting now.

AS: During the performance that Paul was talking about, Nicholas Parsons was wearing both a cod piece and a banana. For one...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I thought hesitation.

NP: No, he didn't hesitate.

CF: Oh really? What was it?

NP: I thought you were going to have him for repetition of the cod piece and the banana which he has said before.

AS: Oh but that was in an earlier bit.

NP: No, no, it wasn't, that was in this particular show, you talked about it...

PM: In this round.

NP: This round.

AS: That was yesterday, wasn't it? Surely!

NP: No...

AS: Oh the rules are so arcane! I can't stand it!

NP: So you have another point because I disagreed with the challenge Arthur, you have 17 seconds, a sensation starting now.


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of cod piece and banana.

NP: You are a clever so-and-so aren't you! Paul has 16 seconds, the subject's a sensation, Paul you start now.

PM: I was sitting in the front row and I could see that the banana hadn't been peeled properly, which some people just thought was disgusting! They said we haven't paid good money to come and see this. Then they realised that they had indeed done that very thing. So they sat back and watched Arthur's wonderful performance that night as he...


NP: Arthur Smith challenged.

AS: It was Nicholas's wonderful performance we were talking about.

PM: I'm talking about yours now.

NP: No, you talked at the beginning...

AS: No, but that was in a previous... (laughs)

NP: Oh dear.

AS: Oh I don't know really.

NP: I don't know where we are now. So...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: What's the next subject?

NP: Give Peter another bonus, we've got two seconds left on this one, a sensation Paul starting now.

PM: I was lying on my back in a flotation tank when I...


NP: Oh so at the end of that round Paul Merton's taken the lead. Peter it's your turn to begin and the next subject is an odd ball. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PJ: I suppose an odd ball is better than no balls at all. And if you're in that unhappy position...


NP: Arthur Smith challenged.

AS: There was a laugh, I understand that Peter paused there for...

NP: Mmmm, and then he paused.

AS: And then he paused a bit more, so...

NP: Yes he had reason to pause after what he'd said too.

AS: I didn't realise this was such a smutty affair, this programme.

NP: No! An odd ball Arthur, 51 seconds starting now.

AS: A square ball would definitely be odd. As would a triangular one. In fact any number of shapes and sizes of balls which are not round would constitute...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Three woulds.

NP: Yes would would. Once you can play the game well there's no quarter given.

AS: No, I accept that! I worship at Clement's feet!

NP: Right, Clement's got in with 40 seconds to go on an odd ball starting now.

CF: Steve Interesting Davis is a snooker player who is particularly adept at odd balls. Not just the white, pink, black, brown, green, yellow, but even balls that he finds on other people's tables all around the country. Himself...


NP: Peter Jones you challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation indeed. Twenty seconds, an odd ball, Peter starting now.

PJ: It usually means a loner or somebody who doesn't quite fit in. Like a square peg in a round hole. Though why they should say that, I don't know really. In fact it's getting a bit boring already! Um...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes. Yes he may well have done. Six seconds Paul, for you to tell us something about an odd ball starting now.

PM: I was playing snooker once and I remember the blue was just over the corner pocket, so I...


NP: Arthur Smith challenged.

AS: Deviation, there isn't a blue ball in snooker, is there?

NP: Yes there is, it's in the middle, five points for it.

AS: Oh my God! What a terrible... There's not on my snooker table! I'm going to bloody send that back!

NP: So Paul's got a point for an incorrect challenge and two seconds left on an odd ball starting now.

PM: Eccentric people are often referred to...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now taken the lead and Clement your turn to begin, the subject, takeaways. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: I was in a restaurant in Dayton, Ohio, eating a rather smart hamburger with cheese sauce, when the man at the next table lit a pipe. I summoned the head waiter and said "do you do takeaways?" And he said "yes". I requested him to take away the man who... And was told that wasn't the sort of takeaways they do. There is in Covent Garden a restaurant called Takeaways which I've always meant to go because I think it's such a cunning name. It's not spelt as you would expect T-A-K-E and then the second letter of the alphabet followed by the previous one which I can't repeat again. And it's awfully good, I do recommend that everyone goes nowhere else. Russell Square...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Well deviation. If everyone goes nowhere else, it'll be just jammed full of 60 billion people!

NP: So what is your...

PM: Deviation. You can't suggest that everywhere...

NP: Well actually in Just A Minute you can suggest anything you like. I mean it may be bizarre, surreal thought, it doesn't really matter.

PJ: He, he hasn't even been there! He admitted that at the beginning!

PM: What kind of recommendation is this? It's not good enough for him but we've all got to go there!

NP: So Clement you weren't deviating within the rules of the game, so you have 13 seconds to continue on takeaways starting now.

CF: We recently had an infestation of Indian meal moth and the man from the exterminator who arrived said "have you taken anything away of a nature that might have brought these pests here?" And I said "a chicken guriyani..."


NP: So Clement Freud started with the subject and in spite of one interruption was still with the subject when the whistle went at the end. And as I know we have lots of listeners around the world, and they try to model their English on our show, he did say and then the second letter of the alphabet. Well in the English alphabet the second letter is E, it's not A. And that's what he was referring to because he said...


AS: Deviation.

NP: Why?

AS: You're talking rubbish, surely!

NP: I'm not...

PM: There's no deviation there, he always talks rubbish!

NP: So um...

PJ: It's B isn't it?

NP: What...

PJ: The second letter is B.

AS: Yes.

NP: That's right, yes.

CF: Oh and I got it wrong!

PJ: Never mind Clement! You madea tremendous effort going to Dayton... I mean anybody's who prepared to go to Dayton, Ohio, for a hamburger has my fullest support!

NP: The second vowel is E, the second letter...

PJ: Vowel! Oh yes! Vowel, yes.

AS: I've gone off you now actually Nicholas. No, I liked you at the beginning, I don't like you now. I agree with all the others, you're a bit of a wally!

NP: Oh! Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject is my worst memory and you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: There I was, midnight, standing on the Fourth Bridge, totally soaked, no clothes, a scrabble board in my hand, a tennis racquet in the other, and I realised I'd had too much to drink. It was an awful experience as the rain sheeted down from a black thunder sky....


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: It's shat!

NP: So... he was drunk at the time so he was probably a little like that anyway. So Paul I disagree with the challenge, you have 42 seconds to continue on this memory of yours starting now.

PM: I believe in reincarnation and this is undoubtedly the worst memory I've ever had. In 1647 when I was oing out with Mary Queen of Scots...


NP: Arthur Smith challenged.

AS: He said he was oing out with her.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yes. That is deviation from the English language...

AS: Well he may have a defence.

PM: Well I don't like the letter G.

AS: Because that's the third in the alphabet!

PM: That is the third in the alphabet!

AS: I'd like to withdraw my challenge!

NP: Mocking doesn't become you Arthur really. You've got a correct challenge though, it shows you how fair and generous I am and you have 33 seconds on my worst memory starting now.

AS: I cannot remember my worst memory. Therefore I am unable to talk about this subject properly. And yet I will summon up some poor memories that I have had in my time. I remember once when I was going out with a woman and she turned up one day wearing the most remarkable outfit you can imagine.


NP: And the thought of it brought you to a sudden....

AS: Yeah I suddenly remembered her actually!

NP: Paul Merton got in first.

AS: Oh she was so sweet.

NP: So 13 seconds, my worst memory Paul starting now.

PM: I turned up at Arthur Smith's place wearing this most extraordinary thing and he never knew it was me! And I had this long blonde hair and these dark glasses and we spent several nights of passion together! But I realised at the end that it was not for me and that...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point for doing so. He's increased his lead. Arthur it's your turn to begin, the subject is my goodness. Would you talk to us about that subject starting now.

AS: My goodness is better than your badness. It's indisputably an aphorism that has no meaning whatsoever. My goodness is a kind of epithet. A swearword if you like for people who are afraid to curse. Unlike...


NP: Clement Freud you challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, 44 seconds, my goodness starting now.

CF: My goodness is famed, legion throughout this country. Cornwall, Devon, Wiltshire and Dorset are counties about which they speak nothing but well of me. Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Wessex, go where you will, north to south...


NP: Arthur Smith challenged.

AS: I know somebody in Cumbria who hates Clement!


NP: I'll give you a bonus point Arthur because we loved the challenge and Clement gets one for being interrupted, keeps the subject, 24 seconds, my goodness, starting now.

CF: There are parts of Derbyshire and not in the whole of Nottingham do they speak entirely kindly of me. But I would like to make an exception of those and concentrate on Scotland, especially Cocoombridgeshire, near Dundee...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes, tried to ride the laugh but failed. And um...

PM: Don't rub it in!

NP: No, eight seconds on my goodness Paul starting now.

PM: I suppose the thing about me that people really love is the fact that I'm so open hearted and generous with everybody that I meet...


NP: I hope that you'll display some of that towards me in future Paul when you're talking about my clothes. Peter Jones it's your turn to begin, the subject is what I would like to give up. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PJ: I think I've given up practically everything I wanted to give up. And quite a few things I didn't want to give up! But if I had to give something up I think it would be smoking cigarettes. I haven't smoked any for about 30 years. But I could take it up again, I suppose, and then give it up! Because it does give one a tremendous lift. It makes you feel tremendously better when you've stopped that filthy habit! And I suppose there are other things I could think of that I could take up. I could become an alcoholic, I suppose, and join AA. That'd be quite a nice thing to do. They're a very friendly crowd at those meetings. I have been as a guest once or twice. What's the matter?

NP: Carry on!


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of A.

NP: Yes he said AA.


NP: The first letter of the alphabet by the way! Paul you've got in with 14 seconds on what I would like to give up starting now.

PM: I would like to give up challenging Peter Jones because obviously it's not very good for my health!


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes, nine seconds for you Clement on what I would like to give up starting now.

CF: I would like to give up eating fatty things like donuts, chicken which has skin that crackles, pork...


NP: Well at the end of that round the situation's still the same with Paul Merton just in the lead ahead of Clement Freud. And Paul it is your turn to begin, the subject hope. What a lovely subject to finish on! Would you talk on hope starting now.

PM: It's very difficult to live without hope. I'm always being optimistic I suppose.


AS: Hesitation.

NP: Yes indeed yes, 56 sedonds hope, Arthur starting now.

AS: According to Dante written above The Gates of Hell is "abandon hope all ye that enter here" although in Italian obviously since he was writing in that language.


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes, 44 seconds, hope Paul, starting now.

PM: I had a pet tortoise and I always hoped one day it would learn to fly but it never did. I put pieces of lettuce for it up on the roof and say "go get it" and it would just look up at them in a rather forlorn way as if to say "well I can't really do very much about that because I've got this shell and no wings". But it's no problem, I think, in life in encouraging your pets to do things they wouldn't normally think of. My dog...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of think.

NP: Yes they were thinking too much.

PM: Were they?

NP: Yes, 23 seconds Clement, hope starting now.

CF: The difference between a communicant and someone fawning down on the bathroom floor is the former goes up with a soulful of hope whereas the latter comes down with a bowlful of soap.


NP: Arthur you challenged.

AS: Well it's just such an old joke!

NP: Yes!

AS: I don't know if I'm allowed to challenge on that front? But...

NP: No, no, but I think we'll give you a bonus because we, we liked the challenge. But Clement was interrupted, he gets a point and he has 10 seconds to continue on hope starting now.

CF: There are a number of other old jokes about hope. The best one of which concerns Bob of that name, the eponymous comedian who lives in Palm...


NP: We've reached the end of the show. Peter Jones who has played the game a few times before, he contributes a lot but doesn't get many points. Arthur Smith who's never played the game before, contributed a great deal and has gained a few points. Paul Merton who's now played the game a lot has gained a lot of points, but he's one point behind Clement Freud so we'll say he is the winner this week. It only remains for me to say thank you to our four talented players of the game, also to Miriam Jones for keeping the score and blowing her whistle so magnificently. To Ian Messiter who created the game and of course to Sarah Smith who has produced the show. And from me, Nicholas Parsons, and everyone else concerned, good-bye until the next time we take to the air and play Just A Minute.