starring PAUL MERTON, PETER JONES, WENDY RICHARD and LEE SIMPSON, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 18 February 1995)

NOTE: Lee Simpson's last appearance, the last show produced by Sarah Smith, Miriam Jones's last appearance blowing the whistle.

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 diverse personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back one of the regular players of the game, Peter Jones, who's been with us since the show began. Two other regulars now that is Wendy Richard and Paul Merton. And someone who's playing the game for the first time, Lee Simpson. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Miriam Jones who's going to keep the score. And she'll blow a whistle when 60 seconds are up. And as usual I will ask our panelists to speak on the subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitating, without repeating anything or deviating from the subject on the card. And we'll begin the show this week with Peter Jones. Peter the subject to start off with is the third row in this audience. Everybody who's not in the third row is roaring with laughter! Oh you're getting hand signals from the third row already! Peter right, would you talk on that subject starting now.

PETER JONES: Well I'm very pleased to be talking about them because they look such a jolly crowd. One lady's waved already. And obviously they are modest enough not to have tried to get into the first two rows, and yet they're not kind of withdrawn enough to sit further back. So they're fairly well balanced, I would say, I can see two beards at least and er...


NP: Oh Paul Merton you challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was a definite er there. Paul there are 37 seconds left, you get a point for a correct challenge, and you take over the subject of the third row in this audience starting now.

PM: Well the third row in this audience is made up of a bunch of people who quite frankly shouldn't be allowed out! They're sitting here in all kinds of strange garb. There's people who've got straight...


NP: Lee Simpson challenged.

LEE SIMPSON: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes. You said people before. Yes!

LS: Just to keep this friendly, can we...

NP: Lee Simpson...

LS: Just keep it nice and friendly!

NP: ... your first challenge, your first point and 28 seconds left starting now.

LS: In this audience, in the third row, there's a gentleman over there who I can see whose head could be turned upside down and look exactly the same as if it was the right way eurgh! (goes into Flowerpot men type gibberish)


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of (Flowerpot men type gibberish)


NP: Yes, entirely right! Seventeen seconds for you Paul, back with the subject and another point starting now.

PM: Has there ever been such a wonderful collection of people as we have in the third row of the audience tonight? All ex-beauty queens and Mr Universes, they stand here... stark naked...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: These two men with the beards were never beauty queens!

NP: I like Peter's challenge, he's got seven seconds to tell us more about the third row in this audience starting now.

PJ: They're fairly even distributed, male and female. And I do hope they've come together, some of them, and will leave together at the end...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And on this occasion it was Peter Jones so Peter has the lead alongside Paul Merton at the end of the round. Paul would you take the next round, the subject is package deals. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

PM: I like a good deal in packages. There's a shop near me that sells nothing but packages. And I go in there and I say "look, 60 percent off, I'll have a very large package please because.."


NP: Wendy Richard has challenged.

WENDY RICHARD: You said package more than once, it should be package deals, shouldn't it?

NP: No, if the subject's on the card Wendy, you can repeat it.

WR: He said, he said packages three times.

NP: Well if he said packages three times... but look happier about it Wendy! You can have the subject of package deals, 49 seconds left starting now.

WR: Actually I didn't particularly want to talk about package deals, but as I have to I shall do my very best. One of the best package deals I ever had...


NP: Lee Simpson challenged.

LS: Best.

NP: Yes, I did my very best and one of the best deals she had. Right, the subject is package deals Lee, 42 seconds starting now.

LS: I associate with package deals holidays, package holidays...


NP: Yes Paul?

PM: Repetition of holidays unfortunately.

NP: Yes I'm afraid so, 37 seconds, you have package deals back with you and another point of course starting now.

PM: I went into the travel agents last year, and I said "what can you offer me in the way of package deals?" He said "there's a 50 percent off... ah..."


PM: I've forgotten what he said! He had a stutter! What can I do?

NP: But did you take the offer Paul?

PM: I don't know, I can't remember what it was!

NP: Wendy you have the correct challenge, 29 seconds, package deals starting now.

WR: A good package deal I once acquired was from packaging of breakfast foods. And I got this wonderful plastic clock with the Honey Monster on. It went very well for three years, and has just packed up unfortunately. I think if I fiddled with the hands, I might get it going again. But it's these sort of package deals that I really do enjoy. And I think we should all read these packages more often and never realised what wonderful...

NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: Ah yes, yes...



NP: Repetition of packages.

PJ: Yes.

NP: Well done! And you cleverly got in with two seconds to go!

PM: Are we having psychic challenges now?

NP: If you want them.

PM: All right then.

NP: Peter, two seconds, another point to you, package deals starting now.

PJ: If I buy a packet of... confectionery...


NP: Yes he stumbled as the whistle went, Paul Merton almost tried and got in but didn't quite make it. Wendy will you take the next round, the subject raffles. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

WR: Three years ago I went to Singapore. It was my ambition to visit Raffles which is one of the most famous hotels in the world. Unfortunately Raffles was closed for refurbishment. I do understand that Raffles is now open and is one of the greatest places to visit when in that country. The other sort of raffles I also enjoy are the ones where you buy tickets. I'm never particularly lucky to win anything but being a generous soul, if it is for a good cause then I will purchase such items. (takes breath) Nicholas...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes.

WR: I was pausing for breath! You are allowed to breathe, aren't you?

NP: Well you breathed very well up to that point. You went, going for 33 seconds...

WR: You can only get so much air!

NP: ... breathing quite normally. Rather a long breath there Wendy, maybe, so I think there was hesitation. Raffles is the subject Paul and there are 27 seconds left starting now.

PM: Raffles, the amateur cracksman, was a fictional creation of EW Horner who was the brother-in-law of Sir Alfred Conan Doyle. He was a man who.. pursued...


PM: I said Alfred Conan Doyle! Who's he?

NP: I know! Wendy you've got a correct challenge, 15 seconds, raffles starting now.

WR: About...


NP: Paul Merton.

PM: Breathing?

NP: Yes!


NP: Well the audience appear to endorse the challenge...

WR: I've told you before, if he's going to be like that, I won't play any more! He always picks on me!

PM: It's a campaign on my part!

NP: But Wendy you say that every time you come on the show with Paul.

WR: I know, he always picks on me.

NP: Paul, 14 seconds on raffles starting now.

PM: Starting when?

NP: Wendy you challenged again, hesitation. Well done, that was quick as well! Um... another point to Wendy, 13 seconds, raffles Wendy starting now.

WR: At this time of the year everybody is trying to do raffles. There are many...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, not everybody is trying to do raffles.

NP: No not everybody, no, that is a deviation...

WR: Just about everybody I know are, is.

PM: Well you must mix in a very strange circle of people then. How many people in the audience are doing raffles at this time of the year? One there!

NP: Paul you have nine seconds on raffles starting now.

PM: His best chum was called Bunny and he would help Raffles at his various safe-breaking exploits. Raffles was a gentleman who also played cricket for England and was much regarded...


NP: Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And he's now taken the lead ahead of Peter Jones and Wendy Richard. And Lee Simpson, will you take the next round. The subject, Greek Gods. Will you tell us something about those in the game starting now.

LS: Having had not a whiff of a classical education, I know very little about Greek Gods. What my adolescent mind did notice was however they went to extraordinary lengths to get their leg over. It obviously wasn't enough being immortal to impress some Thessalonian babe, they had to turn themselves into a swan or a shower of rain to introduce themselves. There'd be a party with the mortals on one side and the immortals over the other, so to break the ice they'd turn themselves into an eagle or other such thing. What I wonder is is it any less scary for a bird of prey to swoop down and say "have you ever been here before?" than for somebody from Mount Olympus to do so. And how do you actually have sexual congress with an eagle? As a human being it must be...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Up a tree!


NP: A bonus point for the challenge but what's the real one?

PM: No, no, no, no real challenge that's all I had, that's all it was.

NP: Oh? You slipped up there because he repeated eagle. Lee gets a point for being interrupted, keeps the subject, 19 seconds, Greek Gods starting now.

LS: There was an Athenian girl who went through with a marriage ceremony with a small sheep whose name was Derek. They had quite a good life, carried on for many years. She would snuggle up to his wool on cold winter Greek evenings and they had a marvelous time together. On their 35th anniversary of their wedlock occasion, he bought a very special gift of...


LS: That's just a personal fantasy of mine!

NP: You've picked up the style of this game very rapidly Lee, because you started with the subject and finished with it in spite of being interrupted. And you get a point of course for speaking as the whistle went. You've moved forward, you're in second place, equal with Peter Jones and Wendy Richard. And you're all trailing Paul Merton by four points. And Peter your turn to begin, the subject is getting confused. It happens regularly in this game, but will you talk on the subject starting now.

PJ: Well my advice is once you become confused, is to admit it and don't worry about it, because it's very difficult to sort things out nowadays. For instance, the economy. They say we're doing better, other people say we're not ah really er um getting out of the recession...


NP: Yes?

PM: Repetition of people.

NP: Of people. Paul, correct challenge, 44 seconds, getting confused starting now.

PM: I was walking down the street the other day when a giant strawberry came out of a shoe shop and went "aaarrgh!" Now this is the sort of thing that I can't stand because it sends my equilibrium all over the place. I go doo-lally. So I go down to the doctor and I say "you'll never guess what happened just now". And he says to me "well I reckon that probably what happened was you had an encounter with some strange fruit in one of the merchandising establishments down by the street that we refer to as High," which is High street backwards but who cares about that anyway...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: He did say High twice.

NP: He did say High twice, yes, he was going very fast but he still said High twice. Right, 18 seconds are left Peter for you to get back and without being confused talk about getting confused starting now.

PJ: Well I can't help but be confused if poor old Paul met a strawberry! And he was accosted or something in the street. It's not like being accosted by a peanut...


NP: Wendy challenged.

WR: Accosted twice.

NP: Yeah you were accosted twice. Do you want to finish the joke?

PJ: No, I don't think so.

NP: Just for fun, try it.

PJ: Two peanuts walked down the street, one was a-salted!

NP: There you are! Very good! Wendy you got in with nine seconds to go on getting confused starting now.

WR: I often get confused at work. Because I do this programme called East Enders. We get...

PJ: What's it called?

WR: What? (starts to laugh)


NP: Well nobody was speaking then when the whistle went. But as Wendy was the last person to speak she gets the extra point. Paul Merton, your turn to begin, the subject is the great escape. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: Harry Houdini is generally acknowledged as the greatest escapologist who ever lived. Perhaps his greatest trick was the occasion where...


NP: Lee Simpson challenged.

LS: Repeat greatest?

NP: Yes, Lee you've got in with 52 seconds on the subject, the great escape starting now.

LS: How did Donald Pleasance find that needle? I don't know. Even by measuring the steps from the door to where it should have been, bending down, you couldn't really pick one up. Try it at home. It's very difficult indeed. I tried it with a knitting thing, rather than saying the thing that I should have...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of thing.

NP: Yes! You avoided the word but you had to refer to it by the things. Two things and 34 seconds left for the great escape Paul starting now.

PM: Dum-dum-da-da-da-dum! It's Christmas time again whenever you hear that familiar musical refrain, you realise that between half past two and 6.30 in the evening, you've got The Great Escape starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, the bloke who used to be Shuhie McFee in Crossroads. Do you remember him, the chef? He has quite a lot of scenes with the er lead actor, the guy I mentioned earlier. And it's one of those films which I suppose has become famous over the years simply because it's on a lot. There is that wonderful scene for example where Gordon...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition of scene.

NP: Peter you've cleverly got in with four seconds to go on the great escape starting now.

PJ: Yes, I was in a film about a great escape. I can't remember the name of it now. We did it...


NP: So Peter Jones got the extra point for speaking as the whistle went. He's moved forward into second place behind Paul Merton. Wendy it is your turn to begin, the subject peel. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

WR: It is very difficult to peel an orange and get the peel off all in one piece. I once saw some chap on television do this. It was quite a remarkable feat. I actually enjoy peeling oranges... no I don't...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, she doesn't enjoy peeling oranges.

LS: It was very honest of her to admit it though, wasn't it?

NP: I'd go for the hesitation.

PM: There was hesitation.

NP: Yeah, it was hesitation. It was a rather clever challenge but it wasn't accurate.

WR: And a repetition I think, I said orange twice.

PM: Well I didn't want to add even more to your woes, really.

NP: Peel is the subject Paul, 46 seconds starting now.

PM: Diana Rigg made a big impact made in 1965 when she joined The Avengers television series. She played the part of Emma Peel. A rather unusual name but it comes about because the producer wanted somebody who had man appeal, so M-a-peal was what it became. She of course popularised this kind of rough fighting beautiful rubber clad woman. I think I'm going to have to stop! She was wonderful, she was beautiful. There's no two ways about it, Diana Rigg toyed with my affections long...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of Diana Rigg.

NP: Yes.

PM: You can't have too much of Diana Rigg!

NP: Peter you got in with 17 seconds on peel starting now.

PJ: Well there are lots of peels, almost as many as there are fruits. And if you take the peel off, then you can boil it in sugary water and preserve it or put it into a cake or other kind of confection. And very tasty it is. Sometimes there are little bits of peel on chocolates and...


NP: Peter Jones is moving forward, another point and also one for speaking as the whistle went. He's now only two points behind our leader Paul Merton. Lee Simpson, your turn to begin, the subject, a wonderful moment. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

LS: The phone rang, I picked it up. It was a lady called Miriam. She said "do you want to be on Just A Minute tomorrow night?" What more wonderful moment could there be. Stomach churning sycophancy aside, another wonderful moment for me was in 1971, May and my uncle played in the article... ah...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

LS: I was so excited by it!

PM: Um, sort of hesitation really.

NP: Completely dried, we call that hesitation. A point and the subject Paul, 44 seconds, a wonderful moment starting now.

PM: Last night Diana Rigg came round my house. And she had a bottle of beer in her hand and a packet of peanuts and she was ready to have a party! And we sang songs till the small hours of the morning. And then we got up out, because we'd gone to bed obviously! And then we got up again and we sang more songs and...


PM: ...we sang and we sang and we sang and sang and sang!

NP: My goodness, your fantasy was really communicated there! Wendy you were the first to challenge.

WR: Yes there was an awful lot of sanging of songs.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes, a lot of sanging of songs. But that's what he does when he sees Diana Rigg! Right, 28 seconds...

LS: That's not what I do when I see Diana Rigg!

NP: ...a wonderful moment starting now.

WR: I have had several wonderful moments in my life, I'm happy to say. One of the most glorious being invited to join this programme for the very first time a few years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting Clement Freud and Derek Nimmo and the lovely Kenneth Williams. And of course Nicholas Parsons who I have known for many years...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, I don't think there's any pleasure in meeting Nicholas Parsons!


NP: Why is the audience clapping and laughing? If I could turn you out, I would you know!

PM: They recognise a universal truth when they hear it!

LS: It's struck a chord, hasn't it Paul?

NP: I can't take a point away from you Paul. Wendy gets one for being interrupted and she keeps the subject of a wonderful moment and there are eight seconds left starting now.

WR: Since that first wonderful moment, I have also had the pleasure of being on...


NP: Paul?

PM: Repetition of pleasure.

NP: You had too much pleasure in your wonderful moments.

WR: Sorry, I thought I'd started again.

NP: Yeah I know. Three seconds are left on a wonderful moment Paul, starting now.

PM: I remember when I discovered I'd passed my A-levels...


NP: So Paul Merton got points in the round, also one for speaking as the whistle went, and has increased his lead. He's just ahead of Peter Jones and then it's Wendy Richard and Lee Simpson in that order. And Peter we're back with you to begin, the subject is how to make a fruit cake. Will you... you've given us a few pointers already, but will you er talk about that subject, 60 seconds starting now.

PJ: I'm sure I gave this recipe years ago on this programme! But here goes again. Now you get three, four, five eggs, whatever you feel like. And then you weigh an equal amount of flour, sugar and margarine and mix them all up together. And then you er butter a dish or pan, tin thing. And er you er put it, the mixture, in. And if you like to put sultanas and raisins and even apricots or dried figs, whatever you feel like, chopped up a bit, er that'll make it more fruity than it would have been otherwise. You can add nuts as well if you like. That's perhaps going too far! But a little bit of gravy browning, I'm going slowly, so that, because people will be writing this down all over the, all over the country. Now if you want to ice it, that's another thing. But that does in a way spoil the rather nice brown texture with the fruit, bubbling up underneath the surface. And it can be very attractive of course, if you make the particular feature of it...


PJ: How long has it gone on? This cake will be overdone! Well...


NP: Right! Yes! The cake might be overdone Peter, but you certainly weren't. They were a little bit naughty, they did let you go, they stopped buzzing actually...

PJ: Yes I thought they did.

NP: But...

PJ: It's a conspiracy!

NP: ... they were getting it down and the people in the audience there have got their pens and papers out. Anyway you kept going for one minute and 20 seconds Peter...

PJ: Good gracious!

NP: And Paul it's your turn to begin, how to make an umbrella, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: First you get your brella, and you fix it to your um. Then you get an equal amount of fruit and margarine and gravy browning and you boil it all up together. And then you have a remarkably...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: That's plagiarism!

NP: A bonus point Peter, but I'd hardly call it that. So Paul you were interrupted, you get another point and 47 seconds on how to make an umbrella starting now.

PM: You get hold of a piece of circular cloth and several pieces of metal spikes that you put into the afore-mentioned material. And then you have a handle made of wood or plastic or any similar type of material, and you thrust this...


NP: Wendy Richard challenged.

WR: Repetition of material.

NP: Yes you had some material before Paul. So Wendy's got in with 28 seconds on how to make an umbrella starting now.

WR: If you're really desperate and don't have such pieces of metal or material or cloth or whatever, one could always wander into the woods or jungle depending where you were at the time, and pick a very large leaf. One with a long stalk. And then there would be, it would be possible to walk about holding this over your head and you would keep yourself dry. I have some carved wooden frogs that are holding such items above...


NP: Wendy you were speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point. You're still in third place, just behind Peter Jones. Paul Merton's in the lead. And Wendy your turn to begin, the subject try-outs. Will you tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

WR: In this country, try-outs are known as auditions. But in America they are known as try-outs. And having to attend one of these can be the most nerve-wracking experiences, especially if one is just starting out in the business as they say. I've had some appalling experiences when I've had to go through these interviews, because you really try to do your best and convince whoever it is who is trying to see, assess, your talent or lack of talent or whatever...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of talent.

WR: Yes.

NP: There was too much talent there, I'm sorry Wendy. Yes Paul...

WR: I just wanted to hear you say that Nicholas!


NP: Paul, 31 seconds for try-outs starting now.

PM: I bought a pair of trousers the other day and I said to the man "can I have these on a try-out basis before I give you the full amount of money?" And he said "of course, this is quite a regular custom that we have here. We have lots of people, for example, there's a man who I sold a pair of underpants to in 1934 who's still paying them off on an installment basis. He's been dead since 1968 but the regular payments come out of his bank account..."


NP: Wendy challenged.

WR: Payments twice.

NP: You mentioned payments more than once, Paul, yes.

PM: Oh.

NP: So Wendy you cleverly got back in with 10 seconds on try-outs starting now.

WR: (takes breath) It is possible...


NP: Paul?

PM: Hesitation.

NP: I'm afraid I have to agree, yes. Another point to you Paul, nine seconds, try-outs starting now.

PM: I once went to a try-out for the lead of Evita. Marilyn Monroe was up for it and so was James... (starts to laugh)


NP: Wendy got in again, one second for try-outs Wendy starting now.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes! A fifth of a second for try-outs Paul starting now.

PM: In 19...


NP: So Paul's increased his lead at the end of that round and got a number of points in that round and one for speaking as the whistle went. And the next subject is my favourite skirt and Paul it's your turn to begin. Will you talk, Paul, on my favourite skirt, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Well it's a rather fetching little party number that comes to about three inches above the knee. And when I put it on, I feel a little bit fruity. And I sometimes go out to various organised celebrations in this rather beautiful skirt. And I, it's got a pleat down the back which is very nice. It sort of matches my eyes, it's a sort of gingham effect, and a sort of blue and white squares...


NP: Lee challenged.

LS: He said the pleat matched his eyes.

NP: Yes that's right.

PM: I did, I've got pleated eyes! Look!

LS: Oh he has! He has! He's got pleated eyes! I retract completely, he has got pleated eyes!

NP: Yes! No...

PM: Medical science is baffled!

NP: Forty seconds, my favourite skirt Lee starting now.

LS: My favourite skirt is the one Paul's just described. By God, he looks a dream in it! I've seen him sashaying down Oxford Circus with a little twinkle in his eye and a glint in his step...


NP: Ah Paul...

LS: Which is really difficult to do!

NP: Yes!

LS: Actually!

NP: Paul?

PM: Deviation, you can't sashay down Oxford Circus. You can go around Oxford Circus.

LS: Yes.

PM: You can go down Oxford Street but you can't...

NP: Yeah I agree, yes, you can't sashay down Oxford Circus. Right, right, well done. I grant you that one, 29 seconds Paul, for my favourite skirt starting now.

PM: Unfortunately it was stolen one night by burglars. So I had to go down to the police station and look at this line of rather burly men wearing identical skirts and try to pick out which one I wanted to be my lifetime companion! So I moved in with Bert Figgis, safe cracker, amateur cracksman and one of the nicest blaggers you could ever hope to meet! He's got a little shop just in the Easthorn Church Road. And I go round his place and I say "hello, how are you, Mr Albert?" And he says "I'm not so bad, here, I've got some swag here which I got from the north..."


NP: Well that great panache with which Paul finished that round not only finished the round, but also it's brought the contest to an end. And Paul was speaking when the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. And the final situation, Lee Simpson, who hasn't played the game before, but did extraordinarily well I thought, did finish...

PM: Coming last!

NP: ...just in fourth place. It doesn't matter where you come, it's the contribution that you make which is the important thing. Then it was Peter Jones, then Wendy Richard just ahead. And then out in the lead Paul Merton, so we say he is the winner this week, Paul Merton! On behalf of our four panelists, Wendy Richard, Peter Jones and Paul Merton, Lee Simpson. Also Miriam Jones who's kept the score and blown the whistle. Our producer Sarah Smith and of course Ian Messiter who thought of the game, and myself Nicholas Parsons, thank you for tuning in. We hope that you've enjoyed it as much as we've enjoyed playing it and you'll be there at the end of your sets next time we play Just A Minute. Until then from us all good-bye.