NOTE: Maria McErlane's first appearance, Jolanta Zbucki's first 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 introduce the four talented performers who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back two of the regular older players of the game which is Clement Freud and Derek Nimmo. We welcome another regular player from a different generation, that's Paul Merton. And someone who has never played the game before, that is Maria McErlane. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Jolanta Zbucki. And on this show she will keep the score, blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And as usual I will ask the players of the game to speak on the subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the city of Nottingham. And we will start the show this week with Derek Nimmo. Derek, well, who else to begin a show in Nottingham than Robin Hood. Will you talk about Robin Hood for 60 seconds if you can starting now.

DEREK NIMMO: Well I'm sorry to repeat you, but Robin Hood and his merry men. Alan a'Dale, Will Scarlett, Friar Tuck, Little John. What a gathering they were. These chaps who wander through Sherwood Forest. But you know, the city of Nottingham, they seem to concentrate too much, I think, on Robin Hood. You've got other great citizens of this fine town too. Why do you only emphasise Robin Hood? What about Byron, the great Lord who was born here? Why not have a stair about...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Repetition of why not.

NP: Why not.


NP: The audience laughed...

DN: Very mean challenges you do actually!

NP: No, no, I think it was a very good challenge. And you had been going for er 34 seconds as well. And it's nice to hear from somebody else, Paul Merton got in first. And because it's a correct challenge he gains a point for that, he takes over the subject and there are 26 seconds left starting now.

PM: Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, which is the exact opposite of the National Lottery. I remember seeing the television series Robin Hood, starring Richard Greene, and what a wonderful programme that was. Made in those far off days in the 1950s where the black and white programmes were the norm on television...


NP: And Clement Freud has challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of programme.

NP: Yes, those wonderful programmes, black and white programmes.

PM: Programme and programmes, wasn't it?

NP: I think you're right actually, yes. So um Clement I'm sorry, incorrect challenge. So Paul gets a point for an incorrect challenge, keeps the subject and there are 14 seconds left starting now.

PM: Errol Flynn made his name in Hollywood...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of made.

NP: Yes, you said...


NP: Clement you've cleverly got in with 12 seconds on Robin Hood, and a point of course for a correct challenge, starting now.

CF: Robin Hood was a 14th century legend according to pernographers who ascribe, Piers Plowman, printed in 1377, as mentioning him before...


NP: That was Clement Freud who has taken the lead at the end of the round. Paul Merton will you take the next round, the subject is rabbit. We've had quite a lot of rabbiting in this programme over the years. But will you talk on the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: When I was younger we had a lovely pet rabbit called Gordon. He was fluffy, white, everything a rabbit should be. And one Sunday we had him for lunch! I don't mean that we ate him, we actually invited him to join us at our dinner table on the Sabbath and he came along. And he dressed up neatly in a nice little tuxedo. And he was very pleased, because we thought "well, what do you give a rabbit?" So we thought "well, he eats his own dung." So we put that on a plate, with some Brussel sprouts. And I must say this rabbit was more than pleased with himself. And after a while he actually developed, I don't know how, a singing voice. And he used to entertain all the old people down at the local retirement home with his versions of the Johnny Mathis hits like Winter Wonderland and When A Child Is Born...


NP: And Maria McErlane has challenged. Maria?

MARIA McERLANE: Um, I don't believe him.

NP: It's lovely to hear from you Maria. It's one of those impossible decisions in Just A Minute because I mean...

PM: You do believe me, do you?


NP: No, it is that if you wish to keep going, you can go into a flight of fantasy which is great fun and so forth. But as you haven't played the game before Maria, and we'd love to hear from you, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you have a point of course. Eighteen seconds on rabbit starting now.

MM: Rabbits for me have always been associated with myxamatosis, a word that I learnt as a child, and I always thought was a Greek Archbishop, much like Macarios, for much of my youth. So when I heard the song Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel, I realised that myxamatosis made the rabbits...



NP: I'm sorry, Derek challenged with a quarter...

DN: Repetition of myxamatosis.

NP: I know, she didn't actually get the word out before you pressed your buzzer!

MM: He hates me!

PM: How can it be a correct challenge if she hadn't got the word out...

NP: I don't know.

MM: I was going to say Mixamataxis!

PM: Are we allowed psychic, psychic challenges?

NP: I'm going to say that as he challenged in the middle of the word and you hadn't actually got it out, you didn't actually repeat myxamatosis. I'm giving a logical interpretation here, and say that was an incorrect challenge so you have another point and you have quarter of a second on rabbit starting now.


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Repetition of myxamatoe!


NP: You can't have retrospective challenges and she hasn't said anything on that particular occasion. So that's another incorrect challenge and you have one seventh of a second on rabbit starting now.


NP: Ah Derek challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

MM: They're being very hard!

NP: The whistle should have gone in one seventh of a second!


NP: Right! Maria got a point for not speaking when the whistle went! And at the end of that round, she's got about five points and she's in the lead at the end of the round. Clement Freud would you take the next round, the subject is barge. Would you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: A barge is a slow moving flat bottomed thing, rather like Nicholas Parsons, only it goes on water. And if you go to the canal here in Nottingham, you will see barges, usually two of them, motors and butties, the latter one of these having a kitchen and a dining room whereas the former has the engine which propels the pair of boats up and down towards wherever north and south lead to. Barge is also a word used for shoulder pushing another footballer or a rugby player, in order to keep possession of a ball which the other person, he who makes physical contact, may well be trying to establish. The Royal Barge on which Her Majesty the Queen inspects the troops or the Navy or indeed the Air Force either, goes up and down the river Thames...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged.

PM: Repetition of up and down.

NP: Yes, you did go up and down before, I'm afraid Clement, yes.

CF: Ah!

NP: And Paul you've got in with three seconds to go on the subject of barge starting now.

PM: My pet rabbit Gordon used to work on a barge and he...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And he's taken the lead at the end of that round. Maria McErlane your turn to begin, the subject habits. We've had rabbits, now we have habits. Can you talk on that subject in Just A Minute starting now.

MM: Habits are something I know quite a lot about, being a convent girl myself. And it's true that convent girls do indeed have very bad...


NP: Derek.

DN: Repetition of convent.

NP: Yes so Derek, a point to you and there are 53 seconds starting now.

DN: I know it's very difficult to get out of bad habits. I was brought up and taught by my mother always to open doors and let ladies go through. To stand up on a crowded tram or car or railway train to let members of the fair sex and the old people I meet sit down. But this doesn't really happen any more. I got in a lift only yesterday and I stood back and a woman wouldn't go past me, because I was letting her pass. You see, with these very old habits, it's very difficult to get rid of them. I think this world is becoming a very discourteous place. Not so charming. I think that manners do maketh man. And manners are... something which I said before...


DN: ...so I rather regret it actually!

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of myxamatosis!

NP: No, there was a repetition of manners, well done, 14 seconds are left for habits with you Paul, starting now.

PM: I have a habit of chewing other people's fingernails. And this really annoys them! They may be out shopping, or perhaps at a football match. And suddenly I will creep up behind them, grab hold of their hand, bite right into the end of that digit...


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking once again as the whistle went, gained an extra point, and has increased his lead at the end of that round. And it's his turn to begin and the subject is stars starting now.

PM: Mary Pickford was generally acknowledged as the very first star of the cinema. She became known as Little... well, I can't say it because it's first name repeated. But audiences in America loved her. She used to play sort of gamine roles. It's a very odd word now, you don't hear it. It's not like gammon, which sounds, which is a kind of bacon. It's another word which obviously I can't mention again. She started work in the 1908, I believe it was, for a director called DW Griffith. And she made a series of films for a studio called Cafe. Now these particular movies were so popular with audiences of the time that they had to know who she was. Because generally the policy at that er...


NP: Clement Freud challenged first.

CF: Ah hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, 16 seconds Clement, stars. Tell us something about them starting now.

CF: I'm very keen on the Plough, a constellation which you catch if you look for the Northern Star and an eyeline will reach the constellation which I've just mentioned before...


NP: So Maria you challenged.

MM: Yes I, I, I challenged because he hesitated and went...

NP: No, he repeated constellation.

MM: Oh right. But, but, no, but also I was going to say...

DN: Nicholas why don't you come and play the game instead of just...

NP: All right!

MM: I don't think you can catch a star either, which I think Clement mentioned.

NP: Oh yes...

PM: Catch a star and put it in your pocket!

MM: No, but that's rubbish as we know. You can't...

NP: Oh no, no, I've done it regularly.

MM: Have you?

NP: It's one of my pastimes. Yes...

MM: You're on drugs Nicholas!

NP: I know. Maria you have one second to tell us something about stars starting now.


MM: (laughs)

NP: Derek you challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

MM: Oh please!

NP: Well he...

MM: Aren't I allowed even to take a breath? Have I just got to be ready with my breath now?

NP: You see, I always say, yes, I'm afraid you have to, they're wicked, they give you no quarter! So Derek, you have half a second on stars starting now.

DN: The milky way!



NP: No! Maria challenged you!

DN: Oh I'm sorry, before you said now, I said "the milky way".

NP: No but she also challenged, what was your challenge?

MM: Just being irritating really!


NP: So Derek Nimmo was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And Clement Freud it's your turn to begin, the subject, punch. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

CF: Punch is the Hindu word for five, that being the number of ingredients in the drink punch. I think aromatics, alcohol, spice, fruit, and of course the most important, water. Go into any bar and ask for punch and the majority of what you will have in your glass, the major part of it, will be...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of part.

NP: Part, yes, you did say part.

CF: Parts and part.

NP: No, it was parts before, I'm sorry, you're quite right Clement. The subject is still with you Clement, punch, 35 seconds starting now.

CF: Punch is also if you hit somebody in the face, especially with a boxing glove in a ring when Frank Warren or one of those promoters pays you huge sums of money. And television networks which are not terrestrial but only able to be watched by those who are moneyed or like to pay huge sums towards watching...


NP: Maria challenged.

MM: Repetition of sums.

NP: Yes. Eleven seconds are available for you Maria on punch starting now.

MM: Punch was an early wife beater, ah, who lived with somebody called Judy. And I believe he also lived with a crocodile...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: He lived with too many people.

NP: Yes. Yes so lived, repetition. And two seconds, Derek, punch starting now.

DN: Gosh I don't like boxing very much. I used to belong to the world sporting club and very...


NP: So Derek Nimmo speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's equal now in second place with Maria McErlane and Paul Merton is still in the lead. And Maria it is your turn to begin, the subject sponge. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

MM: Sponge is a good word to describe the top of my thighs, er, probably because I eat too much of the jam and cream variety, and not enough of the trainer variety...


MM: Oh variety variety!

NP: Yes, Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I don't believe it!


NP: Forty-five seconds, sponge, starting now.

CF: Sponge is a lowly sort of animal life. It has an IQ of hardly anything at all. And you can use it in a bath which shows what a negative substance it is, to scrub your thighs, or anyone else's, regardless of what shape they might be. I had a sponge in a hotel bedroom which I used to frequent in Sutherland...


NP: Maria you've challenged.

MM: Deviation, that he had a sponge in a hotel bedroom, surely!

NP: What's...

CF: You get, you get your pleasure where you can!

NP: And um we will give you a bonus point Maria because we enjoyed the challenge, but he wasn't actually deviating in any sense. So Clement you have a point for being interrupted, you keep the subject, 19 seconds, sponge starting now.

CF: There used to be a Turkish bath in Russell Square called the Imperial. And...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I think so Paul. Sponge is with you and there are 13 seconds left starting now.

PM: Mr Kipling is known for his sponges. Apparently they are exceedingly good. He gets the ingredients, which Clement will probably know, but I shall tell those of you out there who aren't entirely sure of what you need to make a sponge...


NP: So Paul Merton once again was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and has increased his lead at the end of that round. Derek Nimmo your turn to begin, the subject sally forth. Will you talk on it, 60 seconds, starting now.

DN: A very great friend of mine called Geoffrey Palmer reached middle age without having got married. He does a series called Second Time Around which you may see on television quite frequently. And he drew up a list of people that he thought would be eligible to be his bride. First of course came Judi Dench. Second Edwina Currie, and thirdly Shirley Bassey. They all turned him down but Sally, fourth, won. And she, actually her maiden name was Sally Green and...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Repetition of Green.

NP: No, no, no, no, no, I think you thought it was repetition of Sally which is on the card and you can repeat...

CF: What do you mean you think I thought?

NP: Well that's the only assumption I can make...

CF: I said repetition...

NP: I know your agile mind, you quickly change it...

CF: I said repetition...

NP: ..by saying repetition of green. And I had to do a quick sort of recall and think did you repeat green. And I didn't hear him say green before, so it was an incorrect challenge. But it was well tried. And sally forth is still with Derek Nimmo with 30 seconds left starting now.

DN: Bradagina that famous Venetian General used to sally forth from the Wars of Farmagusta when he was surrounded by the Turks through the Sally Gate. And attack them with such courage that he managed to hold the castle for some... one year...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I agree Paul, he tried to change the word, failed and the second went. Fifteen seconds left, and for you on sally forth starting now.

PM: Anybody in the audience who read girls' comics when they were younger will remember The Four Marys. But there was another equally nice strip called The Four Sallys...


PM: (laughs) Four!

NP: Clement, you got him on the four. Six seconds, Clement, sally forth starting now.

CF: I read recently that 96 percent of all journalists approve of condom machines in public conveniences. So...


NP: I think the programme was saved by the whistle on that occasion! But Clement was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. And he's in second place, equal with Maria McErlane, and Derek Nimmo's just behind, and Paul Merton's still in the lead. And it's Paul, your turn to begin, swedes. Tell us something about them in this game please starting now.

PM: I never liked swedes. They taste horrible, almost as bad as the vegetables. But if you want to cook a Swede, you must persuade him to climb into a very large pot. It's best if he takes his clothes off first, because otherwise you get this rather nasty woolly after taste. And you put it in the oven for two or three hours or until he stops screaming, and if you prepare a large vat of custard, ah, then that gives you something to do while he's actually boiling away. I've never been to Sweden but my best friend has. And he says it's a wonderful country. You can walk around and there are Swedes everywhere. You go into shops, there they are. Walk into any cinema you care...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of walk.

NP: Yes, you were walking a bit too much there. And 20 seconds available for swedes with you Derek starting now.

DN: My favourite Swede is Ralf Tserlund which is spelled T-S-E-R-L-U-N-D. Curious name! I met him funnily enough in Aberwiskwith which is not the sort of place you expect to meet a Swede...


DN: But there he was!

NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: He didn't spell Aberwiskwith!


NP: Very few people can! But Clement, an amusing challenge, we give you a bonus point for that because we enjoyed it, but he wasn't actually committing any of the sins of Just A Minute. So he gets another point for being interrupted, keeps the subject, Derek six seconds, swedes starting now.

DN: One of my favourite root vegetables...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Didn't we have favourite before?

NP: Ah yes because it was the favourite Swede before, and this was a favourite root vegetable. So well done Paul, five seconds on Swedes starting now.

PM: I remember when we were served up our school dinners at the age of seven, I'd look it down...


NP: Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, increased his lead at the end of the round. Clement Freud your turn to begin and the subject is Hector. Will you tell us something about him in this game starting now.

CF: Traditionally in legend, Hector was Prian's eldest son. But it's also about 2-point-1-5 of an acre. And those of you who own property as Mrs Thatcher would be so pleased to learn, will realise that if you buy a 50 hectare plot, it is very much bigger than... oh hesitated...


NP: Maria challenged.

MM: He couldn't follow through with that, could he.

NP: I agree with your challenge and carry on for 35 seconds if you can on Hector starting now.

MM: Hector had a house in my childhood, along with Kiki. Ah, I think they followed...


NP: Derek challenged.

DN: Repetition of ki!


NP: Oh dear! I think his name was Kiki and not ki-hyphen-ki...

MM: It was a she!

NP: It was a she, I know it was, yes. Maria I'm not going to allow it...

MM: I think I've lost the will to live anyway Nicholas, so...

NP: I think you've got 29 seconds on Hector starting now.

MM: Hector and hectoring are something that stand-up comedians often... suffer....


MM: Eurgh!

NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Mmmm!

NP: I think so, yes! Hector's back with you Clement, 23 seconds starting now.

CF: Hector's really an excellent name for a dog, spelt H-E-C-T-O-R or...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: That's not how you spell dog!


NP: So if one's going to be logical, I've got to give it to you Paul. Okay Paul, 15 seconds, Hector starting now.

PM: The programme to which Maria was referring to earlier was Hector's House...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Ah deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Grammatically.

NP: Yes, carry on.

CF: The programme to which Maria was referring to.

NP: We can be colloquial. I'm not going to allow it. No Paul, carry on...

DN: Look, Vivian Shepherd's very much opposed to the sort of decision you're giving!

NP: She's never played Just A Minute! And never likely to! Eleven seconds Paul, 11 seconds Paul on Hector starting now.

PM: Kevin Hector was a very popular player with Derby County in the mid 1970s. And although we are speaking from the wonderful situation of Nottingham, there may indeed be some fans about...


NP: Paul Merton gained another extra point, speaking as the whistle went, and he's in a very strong lead as we go into the last round. If you want to know, Clement Freud's in second place, then Maria McErlane and then Derek Nimmo equal with Maria. And Maria it's your turn to begin. So will you take the last round and talk on fripperies if you can for Just A Minute starting now.

MM: Fripperies are items of meaningless consequence or useless trifles. Although in my experience trifles can never be...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Too much trifle.

NP: There was too much trifle, yes.

MM: I've got spongy thighs!

NP: I know! Derek, 52 seconds are left for fripperies. Will you tell us something about...

DN: Actually my family made their money, curiously enough near here, in Ilkeston, by making fripperies lace. They had factories round there and indeed in Nottingham. And I spent a lot of my youth looking at these now vanished fabrics, because they couldn't sell them any more. That was what was a tremendous sadness. These great mills went broke! And the whole of Nottingham collapsed because...


NP: Paul.

PM: Repetition of Nottingham.

NP: Nottingham, yes, you mentioned Nottingham before.

DN: Well, why not?

NP: I know! Why not! Thirty-one seconds for you Paul on fripperies starting now.

PM: Nottingham, Nottingham, Nottingham, Nottingham, Nottingham...


NP: So Derek Nimmo challenged. Derek you've got in again on fripperies, 29 seconds starting now.

DN: I used to go down Petticoat Lane on a Sunday morning, looking for the little fripperies that I could give to my wife...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of little.

NP: You mentioned little before.

DN: When?

NP: Right at the beginning, when you were talking about lace.

DN: Tell me the sentence!

CF: He was listening!

NP: I can't give you the exact quote but you were talking about the little places you go to and these lovely little lace things that were made.

DN: I never said they were little! That would be a grave slur on Nottingham! It was the centre of the lace trade!

PM: I've got a feeling this programme is being taped. So we could listen back...

DN: Of course I said little, I'm not dispute about that... But repetition, you've got to say little twice! Just think about it Nicholas! Go on! Slowly! Get your abacus out and work it out!

PM: If he gets his abacus out, I'm going home!

NP: All right, Derek didn't repeat the word little. Derek you have 11 seconds in the final round to tell us something more about fripperies starting now.

DN: Go to Harrod's any day of the week and you will...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Not if you go on a Sunday!

DN: It's open on a Sunday!

PM: Is it open on a Sunday?

DN: Yeah, yeah.

NP: But if they weren't open, you could still go to Harrod's on a Sunday so it's not illogical...

PM: All right! Can I change it then?

NP: No! It's too late now!

PM: Could I have non-repetition of the word little?

NP: Derek you have another point, you have 10 seconds on fripperies starting now.

DN: Nottingham Goose Fair is probably the best place in the whole wide world! Not only to have tremendous fun but also to have...


NP: Maria challenged.

DN: What's the matter with you?

MM: He said tremendous from earlier on.

NP: He did say tremendous earlier on.

DN: Did I?

NP: Yes, definitely. Maria's got in with three seconds to go on fripperies starting now.

MM: Fripperies also...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: No! Right, Maria's got another point, two seconds, fripperies starting now.

MM: Fripperies are long thin tubes of do-nut...


NP: Yes! Right, so that last exhausting round has finally come to an end. We do hope you've enjoyed Just A Minute as much as we've enjoyed playing it. Let me give you the final score. Clement Freud actually finished in fourth place which is unusual, one point behind Maria. And she was only one point behind Derek Nimmo, and they were all a few points behind Paul Merton so we say the most points, he is our winner this week! It only remains for me to say thank you to our four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Maria McErlane and Derek Nimmo. I also must thank Jolanta Zbucki who kept the score for the first time and has blown her whistle with great aplomb. Also our producer Anne Jobson who looks after us and keeps an eye on our shenanigans. And also the creator of the game, Ian Messiter, who thought it up and kept us in work for over 28 years. And from me, Nicholas Parsons, hope you've enjoyed the show. Tune in again the next time we take to the air and play Just A Minute. Bye-bye!