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 interesting and exciting personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back three regular players of the game, which is Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones and Paul Merton. And somebody who has never played the game before, that is Stephen Frost. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Liz Trott who's going to keep the score and blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And as usual I am going to 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 without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. We begin the show this week with Paul Merton and the subject Ian Messiter's come up with is odd surnames. Can you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Nimmo! Frost! Parsons! Hitler! Firtvangler! Vinkel! These are all odd surnames. We can't be responsible for our surnames, that's what our parents...


NP: Stephen Frost.

STEVE FROST: At least we're not named after a London borough!


NP: Give Stephen a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge. But he wasn't, Paul wasn't actually deviating from the subject. So Paul you get a point for being interrupted, you keep the subject, odd surnames, 49 seconds starting now.

PM: Before Adolf became the man that he was, his parents... oh I said parents twice. That makes it three times now!


PM: I'll say it again, four! Parents!

NP: But Derek Nimmo challenged when you drew his attention to it. Forty-three seconds for you Derek, a correct challenge, odd surnames...

DEREK NIMMO: Actually Adolf Hitler's original surname was Shickelgruber which I think was even more unfortunate actually than Hitler. I don't think I would have liked...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Repetition of Hitler.

NP: Hitler's not the subject on the card, it's odd surnames. So Stephen, you're getting to know how to play this game now. You got in very rapidly there. A point for you, the subject, 36 seconds, odd surnames starting now.

SF: When I was a little boy, I lived on the beach at St Ives. And there was a girl who...


NP: Paul.

PM: Deviation, he surely didn't live on a beach! He might live near a beach.

SF: We were very poor!

NP: I think actually the council would have taken you into care! If you lived on the beach...

PM: Well surely the tide coming in and out would be a major problem!

SF: It does cause a problem, yes!

PM: "The TV's gone out the front door again, Dad!" "Never mind, it'll be back at 4.00!"


NP: So as I'm dishing out bonus points we give Paul a point for a correct challenge and a bonus point because we enjoyed the witticism and 32 seconds also to tell us something about odd surnames starting now.

PM: My real surname is Martin. But when I wanted to become a member of Equity they said "oh we've already got somebody by that surname. You can't possibly become a... person..."


NP: Stephen.

SF: Hesitation.

NP: I think so Stephen, a point to you and the subject, 22 seconds left, odd surnames starting now.

SF: Crotchel-Varsham was the name of my English teacher...


NP: Peter Jones.

PETER JONES: Hesitation, he just seemed to stop.

NP: That's right.

SF: I just saw my English teacher in the audience!

NP: Peter there are 17 seconds for you to tell us something about odd surnames starting now.

PJ: Actresses sometimes have very weird names. And I, there was one called Katie Bangs. B-A-N-G-S. Which did seem an extraordinary name to leave without changing it. I mean, had I been called Peter Bangs, ah...


NP: Derek you challenged.

DN: Two Bangs.

NP: There were two Bangs. Derek you got in with two seconds to go on odd surnames starting now.

DN: Nimmo sounds rather like a detergent actually...


NP: Whoever is speaking as the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Derek Nimmo, and he and Stephen Frost and Paul Merton are equal in the lead just ahead of Peter Jones. Peter Jones, it's your turn to begin and the subject is my favourite screen goddess. Will you tell us something about her in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Well there was Garbo of course. But then when I was 15, I went to see a film called Ecstasy with Hedy Lamarr featuring in it. And she was much publicised because she appeared in the nude, it said. And naturally this is what appealed to me most about it. I didn't care much about the narrative! But er the sight of this er lovely...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation unfortunately.

NP: Yes, well he would. I saw it as well.

PJ: You did, yes?

NP: She was lovely...

PJ: Very disappointing I thought! It was only about 10 seconds and she was miles away!

NP: I know! Paul Merton, a correct challenge, my favourite screen goddess, 37 seconds left starting now.

PM: My favourite screen goddess was Sissy Fairfax, queen of the silver screen. There was nothing this woman wouldn't do. She would be one week hanging from the mountain cliff. The next she'd be hanging from... oh two hangings...


NP: Stephen Frost challenged.

PM: Parents! Hanging!

SF: It was the old days yes, too many hangings.

NP: She was doing too much hanging, wasn't she?

PM: She was known for it! If there was something to hang off, she'd hang off it! Would Sissy!

NP: Stephen you've got in with 27 seconds, another point of course, correct challenge. And you tell us something about your, well, the subject is my favourite screen goddess starting now.

SF: My favourite screen goddess was of course Sarah Bangs. Not many people have heard of her, but Peter knows that she is a very good actress and was in her time, a...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, he was talking about Katie Bangs.

SF: Was he? Oh she's her sister!

NP: Yes!

PM: He wouldn't necessarily know Sarah Bangs.

NP: He also established that she was on the stage and she wasn't a screen goddess. So Paul, I agree with the challenge, 17 seconds, my favourite screen goddess starting now.

PM: The first major screen goddess, I suppose, in the early days was a woman called Theda Bara. It was thought that her name was an anagram of Arab death, as indeed it is. And she was a vamp figure. She had very black eye shadow, long fingernails...


NP: Paul Merton kept going until the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And with other points in that round he's taken the lead. Stephen Frost, your turn to begin, the subject, mind. Will you tell us something about mind in Just A Minute starting now.

SF: I traveled to the show here tonight on the Underground. And when I stepped off the Tube, I heard a voice say "mind the gap". And it was that particular larynx fortunate type thing coming from the...


SF: What's another word for voice?

NP: I know. Once you'd said it, it comes to a full stop. Paul you got in , hesitation, 49 seconds, mind starting now.

PM: There are some people, they call themselves hypnotists, who make fortunes by appearing in front of the public and attempting to hypnotise them into thinking they are disc jockeys or all-in wrestlers or members of the Government. And I've never been to one of these shows, but I've got a good feeling that I would be somebody who would be very easy to lure into some kind of trance. You stand on the... platform there...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

PM: Breathing! Breathing!

NP: Yes.

PM: Breathing! We haven't all got the benefit of life support machines!


NP: I was about to give you the benefit of the doubt but I've changed my mind! All right, give him a bonus point because we liked his er, his joke but Derek Nimmo has a point for the correct challenge and 24 seconds on mind starting now.

DN: A popular definition of an Australian is to have a closed mind and an open fire. I always think that's very unfair! Rather derogatory because I've found them to be people of huge intelligence and wit. Then Yorks, they say "mind where you're going lad". I think that's rather a nice way because mind ties to intelligence, to the brain...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Was there a sort of a hesitation in there?

NP: No I don't think so.

PM: Didn't quite? No?

NP: No, no, no.

PM: No?


NP: I should have gone to our 17 chairmen in the audience!

DN: Have you ever asked one of them to step on the stage?

NP: I know you think they might favour you if they did, Derek. Anyway, I'm always fair in the game, four seconds for you to continue on mind starting now.

DN: I'd like to think that mind's more important than matter. And I think...


NP: Derek Nimmo was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point and others. But he's still in second place behind Paul Merton who's in the lead. And then Stephen Frost and Peter Jones in that order. And Derek it is your turn to begin, the subject radio phone-ins. Will you tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: I don't awfully like er radio phone-ins...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Um, hesitation.

NP: Yes definitely um.

DN: Yes yes definitely.

NP: You've got in very sharply with 58 seconds to go on radio phone-ins Stephen starting now.

SF: The one thing wrong with radio phone-ins is the crackly line when people talk to the radio presenter...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes and everything, right. Fifty-three seconds Paul, radio phone-ins starting now.

PM: LBC, London Broadcasting Company, were the first radio station to introduce phone-ins to this country. I believe it was around about 1974. I used to listen to them in the early days and in those times you got a lot of interesting people phoning up about half past one in the morning, because this was long before people would phone in and say "hello.."


NP: Stephen Frost.

SF: Two people.

NP: Two people.

SF: Phoned in.

NP: Thirty-two seconds Stephen, radio phone-ins starting now.

SF: I think radio phone-ins are an excuse for a lack of script or production from the radio company themselves. Because all they're doing is relying on people to call up the presenter and put their point of view across...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of presenter from before.

NP: Yes you talked about presenters before I'm afraid Stephen.

SF: Yes.

NP: So Paul's got back in again with 20 seconds on radio phone-ins starting now.

PM: Of course it is now a very popular means of filling up schedules. You simply say "do you think Charles should marry Diana again or should they be divorced? I've got Alfred Hackney on the line, what do you think?" "Well I think they should..."


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Three thinks.

NP: There was too much thinking going on.

PM: Yes, that's a rarity for a radio phone-in!

NP: Yes! Five seconds, Derek, radio phone-ins starting now.

DN: The first time I was on a radio phone-in, it was in Melbourne in Australia and somebody rang up...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: There must be surely a repetition of Australia!


PM: I mean, you know I've been to Australia, I don't go on about it!

NP: No, I agree with you, he never ceases to remind us that he keeps going to Australia, and it is true that he does so. But he didn't actually repeat Australia in this round.


PJ: No, but he was talking about his own personal experience of being on the first phone-in. And the subject is phone-ins!


PJ: He er personalised it whereas it was a more general question.

NP: Peter Jones has a correct challenge and he's got in with two seconds to go on radio phone-ins starting now.

PJ: They're very cheap in every sense of the word!


NP: Peter Jones got the point for speaking as the whistle went and he's still in fourth place, he's not far behind Stephen Frost and Derek Nimmo and then Paul Merton in ascending order. Paul Merton your turn to begin, the subject predictions. Can you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: I predict that very soon Derek Nimmo will tell us about his adventures in Australia! He'll regale the audience with his wonderful tales of life on the other side of the world, how he walked through the bush, how he stunned a kangaroo with a particularly dull monologue...



NP: Yes Peter?

PJ: How he. He repeated that.

NP: Well done! He did repeat how he, well done Peter. Forty-seven seconds on predictions...

PM: It's an Australian town.

NP: Forty-seven seconds starting now, predictions starting now.

PJ: Yes, thank you very much for reminding me what the subject is. Ah it's er, predictions are things best to be avoided because you can go terribly wrong. Even old Morse Almanack is not absolutely infallible, let alone Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister himself is not immune from making dreadful mistakes about what is going to happen in the next er year or so. Now if...


PM: Hesitation I'm afraid.

NP: Yes I'm afraid there was.

PJ: Oh yes, very slight one.

NP: So Paul you've got in with 19 seconds on predictions starting now.

PM: Although I have 19 seconds left on predictions, I predict here and now in front of the assembled audience that I will be buzzed before that time is up! Somebody will catch me on hesitation, repetition, deviation, one of those three things will trip me up before that clock hits the top...


PM: I was wrong!

NP: You were wrong. And they could have had you for repetition and deviation. But they didn't, you kept going, gained an extra point for speaking as the whistle went and have increased your lead at the end of the round. Peter Jones your turn to begin, the subject is dimples. Peter tell us something about dimples in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: I remember Dimples very well. Dimples McNulty who was a cigarette vendor at the old Bag of Nails Club in Lyall Street. She had the most wonderful legs and she went round selling these cancerous sticks of tobacco to people, and probably was responsible for a lot of lung disease and many others for all I know!


PJ: Oh no...


PJ: I'm sorry... ah.... That was bad taste, I'm terribly sorry! I take it back... ah... But um she was a very sweet girl and ah (trying to talk over continuing raucous laughter) she was called Dimples because she had several dimples. They weren't all facial!


PJ: And ah the Bag of Nails, I don't know whether any of you remember it. Senior citizens may remember the Bag of Nails. It was (starts to laugh himself)


PJ: I can't go on rambling like this! Um...


NP: Well they very unsportingly let you go for 59 seconds!

PJ: I know! It wasn't very nice. No, I may have got really into deep water there.

NP: But they enjoyed it, they enjoyed it.

PJ: Yes.

NP: And so did we Peter. So Peter we're going to give it to you, you've got one second on dimples starting now.

PJ: And they weren't all...


NP: So Peter Jones got a lot of reaction in that round, he didn't get many points unfortunately. He's still in fourth place just behind Stephen Frost. Derek Nimmo is trailing Paul Merton in that order. And Stephen it's your turn to begin. David Copperfield. Will you tell us something about him in Just A Minute starting now.

SF: Charles Dickens once said "if all my novels could be as good as David Copperfield, I'll die a happy woman". Of course he was misquoted at the time and died a happy man.


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of died a happy. Just to rub it in!

NP: Fifty seconds for you Paul on David Copperfield starting now.

PM: There is a magician who's currently touring this country who's doing some shows at Earl's Court called David Copperfield. He's got these bright white teeth and these kind of Hollywood looks. And he is meant to make us believe that he is gifted...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: There was a slight hesitation in there somewhere. There was, wasn't there?

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes definitely somewhere. Forty seconds for you Peter on David Copperfield starting now.

PJ: Well I welcome the arrival of David Copperfield the magician to these shores. Mostly because it's one in the eye for Paul Daniels!


PJ: Whom I've never seen in the flesh er and er...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes Derek, 18 seconds for you on David Copperfield starting now.

DN: Well the first time I saw David Copperfield was in Kuala Lumpur actually and he was absolutely wonderful, drew enormous crowds...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged you.

PM: Deviation, why isn't it Australia?

NP: Derek an incorrect challenge, so 13 seconds on David Copperfield starting now.

DN: David Copperfield has a most beautiful girlfriend called Claudia Schyffer to who he gave a five carat...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, it's Schiffer. Claudia Schiffer, not Schyffer.

NP: Well..

DN: Cloudia Shoeffer!

NP: Maybe when he's had a few he pronounces it Shoeffer. I don't know. Anyway...

PJ: Shoeffer, Schmoofer, who cares?

NP: So Derek you keep the subject of David Copperfield, eight seconds starting now.

DN: His real name was David Tompkins...


NP: Stephen...

SF: A bit of hesitation there.

NP: I think a little hesitation too. Six seconds for you Stephen on David Copperfield starting now.

SF: He's made the Tower of Liberty disappear...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

SF: Before he did the Statue of Liberty he had to practice! There's one just off Ellis Island called the Tower of Liberty!

PM: I was going to say deviation, but as there is no Tower of Liberty he may well have made it disappear!


SF: Exactly! Well done!

NP: So having challenged, you've actually given it back to Stephen with four seconds on David Copperfield starting now.

SF: And he's going to fly without the aid of strings or any forced air coming up through the...


NP: So at the end of that round Paul Merton is still in the lead, just ahead of Derek Nimmo. And Derek it's your turn to begin, the subject is lolly. Will you tell us something about lolly in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: Well if you happen to be a Member of Parliament you can earn yourself a lot of lolly by asking questions on behalf of Mr Al-Fayed. The current rate is about a thousand pounds a time. You just stand up at the box and make your question heard and you get a little cheque in the post...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of question.

NP: Yes.

DN: Yes.

NP: That's right. Paul, 43 seconds, lolly starting now.

PM: Down at the Bag of Nails Club there was Dimples and Lolly who was the hat check girl. People would come in and they would give their headwear to Lolly at the door and she'd say "thank you very much guvnor!" And people would give them...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Amount of people.

NP: Repetition of people. Lolly is with you Stephen, 31 seconds starting now.

SF: When they start dribbling halfway through and go all over your fingers, that's when they get irritating. The best thing to do is to get a teatowel, wrap it round your hand and give it to someone else and say "there you go sonny! Take that back home to your mother and give it to her so she can enjoy the rest of the evening watching Coronation Street." If this doesn't work, then buy something a little more solid. Because lollies under heat can go too far. The red green yellow ones, they're usually called whoppers. I'm not bragging, but I've got one! And also, have you noticed, if you put them in the freezer department of your fridge, they do lose their taste after three months. So...


NP: So Stephen has only played the game twice before. He's now getting the hang of it and he kept going magnificently until the whistle went and he gained an extra point for doing so. He's just behind Derek Nimmo. Paul Merton is just ahead and Paul it's your turn to begin. The subject, raspberries. Yes you can take that any way you wish and there are 60 seconds to do so starting now.

PM: I don't like 'em!


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes.

PM: Nothing to talk about! I've said enough! I've stated me case!

NP: Right yes..

PM: Don't care for them!

NP: A right sort of Just A Minute raspberry in other words. Right, 58 seconds for you Derek, raspberries starting now.

DN: Well a raspberry can be rather a rude noise rather like (blows raspberry). But as you...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Two rathers.

NP: Fifty-five seconds for you Stephen on raspberries starting now.

SF: They're purply pinky reddish and I love them with cream on custard, even treacle. Pick them fresh while the juice is sparkling on their little rotund shapes and force them down your throat, buckets at a time so that the juice...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Can I remind you this is Radio Four! What would Lord Reith say?

NP: I don't think, I think he'd be turning in his grave every time we go out actually. Paul what is your actual challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: There is no actual challenge within the rules of Just A Minute.

NP: So Stephen gets a point for being interrupted, he keeps the subject of raspberries, 42 seconds are left starting now.

SF: The best time to eat a fresh raspberry...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of eat.

NP: Yes you were eating them before. Right, 39 seconds, raspberries with you Derek starting now.

DN: I like to put the licquer made from raspberries into white wine. It's very similar to keo which was invented by the Mayor of Deejon. Frangrass is what the frogs call it. And absolutely delicious it is. I have raspberry canes in my garden in Northamptonshire which is the most beautiful place to grow this particular fruit and you can have them frozen these days. And somehow it's particularly decadent, I think...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of particular.

NP: Yes you did say particularly before.

DN: Particularly decadent I said if you listened. You can't say particular decadent, can you?

NP: You said, yeah but you said particularly before as well. So you did repeat particularly. And Paul is correct and he has 15 seconds on raspberries starting now.

PM: The raspberry is my favourite fruit. I know I said...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He said he didn't like them!

PM: Ah but after Stephen's description... I can't wait to go out and get a punnet!

SF: Exactly!

PM: Yeah he's won me over! Totally! I'm convinced!

NP: I think, I think you...

PM: I sat down here tonight, an anti-raspberry man. I'm not proud to say I'd go out and buy a punnet of them now!

SF: You'll go on a raspberry binge after this!

PM: Lovely!

NP: Having established at the beginning that you don't like them, you can't now change...

PM: But I was lying before!

NP: Yes I know you were but it doesn't really matter. Peter's got in with 13 seconds on raspberries starting now.

PJ: Quite the best raspberries come from Scotland and they come at different times of the year. But mostly in the summer when they gather them, these people in kilts and whatever they have on their heads...


NP: I don't know why you had to put a kilt on to gather your raspberries in Scotland.

PJ: No well...

NP: A devious thought I think, in a way. Peter you kept going till the whistle went and you're catching up on the others.

PJ: Oh good!

NP: Yes! And it's your turn to begin Peter.

PJ: Ah!

NP: The subject is the knowledge, 60 seconds starting now.

PJ: Well that has something to do with taxi drivers who have to gain what is called the knowledge, that is to know every street and house number in the capital. And I think it's a gargantuan task. And I see them all the time driving their little motor bikes around with big pads on them and maps, trying to learn where these places are. And most of them succeed. I think I've never stumped a London taxi driver... by asking...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of taxi driver.

NP: Yes.

PJ: Oh yes!

NP: Yes, so Paul you've got in with 32 seconds left to tell us something about the knowledge starting now.

PM: I believe it takes them about four years to learn this particular knowledge. And as Peter says, the streets of London are filled with people going around on their motor bikes studying all this kind of stuff. I once lived on a road called Lavender..


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Well he says "as Peter said", and that does seem like repetition to me.

NP: Peter it is a repetitious thought but it is not repetition within the rules of Just A Minute. So we give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge. Paul gets a point for being interrupted, he keeps the subject, the knowledge, 21 seconds starting now.

PM: If you go to the highest mountain of Tibet, on the very top peak you will find...


NP: Stephen Frost...

SF: (in taxi driver voice) Not this time of night, guv!

PM: It's all right, it's not south of the river!

NP: Not south of the river! Stephen we enjoyed that challenge, we give you a bonus point because we enjoyed it, but it wasn't a correct challenge of hesitation, repetition or deviation. So 15 seconds for you Paul to continue with the knowledge starting now.

PM: There is a wizened old man who has secrets of the universe locked into his mind. I once made...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: If he's on the very top of Everest, he's not going to last five minutes, is he really with his secrets?

NP: He said Tibet, and Everest is actually in the Himalayas but it's er...

DN: Well where do you think the Himalayas are?

NP: On the border of Tibet, but I don't think Everest is actually...

PM: Well this is all redundant because he's got a chalet anyway! And a paraffin gas fire!

NP: Anyway I agree with the challenge Derek, you have eight seconds on the knowledge...

PM: What? What do you mean you agree with the challenge? What nonsense!

NP: It may be nonsense but I think it was correct, what was it, it was deviation, was it?

DN: That's right, yes.

PM: Deviation from what?

NP: From what, Derek?

DN: Deviation from the truth! You can't have a little old man living up there with a paraffin stove, with no oxygen on the top of Mount Everest! It's just not possible!


PM: Well I'll tell you something. He listens to this on the World Service, you'll be getting an angry fax from him I can tell you.


NP: Peter Jones you challenged, yes Peter?

PJ: Well in a world in which Paul Merton can spend 18 years on the planet Venus, surely this is possible up the top of Mount Everest?

NP: But that was in another show when he was on Venus!

PJ: Yes, I know it was, but each show that passes, I keep a record of these decisions!

NP: Eight seconds for you Derek, the knowledge starting now.

DN: A taxi driver with the knowledge will come out of Piccadilly Circus into Shaftesbury Avenue, turn right at Charing Cross Road, use Trafalgar Square...


NP: Stephen has...

SF: No, you can't do that!

PM: You might be able to, because there's a man sitting on a mountain just at the end of the T-junction!

NP: Actually, you're wrong, I do know the road he's talking about and Derek you are correct, you have a second to continue on the knowledge starting now.

DN: Through Trafalgar Square into the Strand...


NP: Stephen should also have an extra point because we did enjoy the challenge so there we are! We've reached the end of the show. Peter supplied his usual wonderful sense of humour, finished up in fourth place. But what's it matter? What's it matter? He was just behind Derek Nimmo. Stephen Frost who's played the game less but was great, finished in second place, he did remarkably well. He didn't quite overtake Paul Merton, he had most points so we say he's the winner this week, Paul Merton! It only remains for me to thank our four outstanding players of the game, Paul Merton, Peter Jones and Derek Nimmo and Stephen Frost. Also Liz Trott for keeping the score and blowing her whistle and Ian Messiter for having thought of the game, and also Anne Jobson who has produced the show. And from me, Nicholas Parsons and all of us, good-bye, we hope you've enjoyed the show, and will tune in the next time we take to the air to play Just A Minute. Till then from all of us, good-bye!