starring DEREK NIMMO, PETER JONES, TONY HAWKS and FRED MacAULAY, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 17 February 1996)

NOTE: Liz Trott'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 talented players who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back two of our real old standing players of the game, that is Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones. Tony Hawks who's played it many times. And Fred MacAulay who's only played it once before. A few weeks ago we recorded a show in the Civic Theatre in Ayr. And it was so popular, the audience were so marvellous, they've invited us back! Beside me sits Liz Trott who's going to blow her whistle when the 60 seconds are up, she'll also keep the score. And I'm going to ask our four players of the game if they will speak on the subject I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And we're going to begin the show this week with our Scottish player, Fred MacAulay. And Fred, a lovely Scottish subject, you can take it anyway you wish of course, Burns. Will you tell us something about that subject starting now.

FRED MacAULAY: Well 1996 is the bi-centenary of Burns' death. And 200 years ago he was lucky, because he didn';t have any problems with hesitation, repetition or deviation! Which is just as well because gone would have been the poems like er, "my love is like a red... something, other colour, rose..."


NP: Derek you challenged.

DEREK NIMMO: Well a very mean hesitation actually.

NP: I think it was mean and as Fred's only played the game once before...

DN: I withdraw.

NP: Fred we're going to be lenient with you, you keep the subject, you get a point for being interrupted by the way. Forty-five seconds are left on Burns starting now.

FM: Another... oh....


NP: That's often what happens! Peter you challenged this time!

PETER JONES: It was a hesitation.

NP: A strong hesitation. So Peter...

FM: I was seeing how far I could stretch it!

NP: ..so you have 43 seconds, you get a point for a correct challenge, you take over the subject of Burns starting now.

PJ: Well I think immediately of George Burns, that wonderful comedian who used to partner his wife. Gracie Allen. And since she's died, he's established himself as a solo artist. And he's in his 90s now, still appearing fairly regularly on television. And the thing is I admire most about him is that he's signed a contract to appear at the London palladium on his 100th birthday. And I do hope that I shall be there to see him. Because it's one... of the most remarkable...


NP: Fred challenged.

FM: Yeah I'm coming in with a mean hesitation as well.

NP: No, I don't think it was so mean, I think it was definite hesitation. So you have Burns back with you with 14 seconds to go starting now.

FM: Well I prefer Robbie Burns and he would have said "my love is like a red, and another colour..."


NP: Tony challenged, you said red...

TONY HAWKS: Well repetition of red again I'm afraid.

NP: You can't repeat the words you've already used when you were first talking.

FM: Not even the first time?

NP: No, no, no.

FM: Oh well my apologies!

NP: You can repeat them in....


NP: Ohhhhh! You can repeat them in another round but not in this round. You didn't know that, did you Fred?

FM: No I didn't know that.

NP: And the audience insists that you have it back!


NP: Right, so you were interrupted, you get another point, eight seconds on Burns, Fred with you starting now.

FM: Fair fa' your honest sonsie face
Great chieftain o' the pudding race,
Aboon them all, ya had your place!
That was one of his famous poems and I know it...


NP: By the way whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point and it was Fred MacAulay, our second-time player of the game. Tony Hawks, it's your turn to begin, the subject Mensa. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

TH: I used to think that Mensa was an acronym for Mentally Enhanced Nerds Sit Around. I am not a member of Mensa. I was sent the application form but was unable to reassemble it in the shape of a rhomboid in the allotted 40 seconds! Gary Bushell however, the TV critic of the Sun, is in this magnificent society which goes to show that intelligence and good writing don't necessarily go together. He will not give me a good review the next time I appear on the television!


NP: Fred MacAulay challenged.

FM: Pretty weak challenge, but I think we had television twice.

NP: Um yes, the television critic, he said and television again.

TH: Well why, why was that a weak challenge? I would have thought that was a bloody good one!

FM: No the bell didn't go off that well.

TH: Ah I see!

NP: Twenty-seven seconds Fred, Mensa starting now.

FM: I know that Mensa isn't an acronym at all. It comes from the Latin, mensa which means likely to be found in kitchens, extremely boring, and unlikely to have much of a life beyond....


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, 14 seconds are left, Mensa is with you, another point as well of course starting now.

PJ: Yes I remember being told to learn this when I was at school. And the second person, singular is oh... table...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Well there's a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation Derek...

PJ: Well I wanted to do it slowly so that people would be able to take it in, since it is Latin...

NP: Yes, I thought you were actually going to define it for us.

PJ: Well I would have done but unfortunately...

NP: Well do it now!

PJ: No, I won't do it now.

NP: Show off a bit, go on!

PJ: Well oh table you see means oh table, and I thought if I ever have occasion to address a piece of furniture, I shall know how to do it! I can't believe that the Romans ever really needed to do that! They didn't go round talking to pieces of wood, did they? They'd never have got anywhere!

NP: Seven seconds for you Derek on Mensa starting now.

DN: I think you'd have to be a member of Mensa to be able to understand Robbie Burns! Great chieftain of the pudding race, what an extraordinary thing to say about a dessert!


NP: Fred challenged you.

FM: You see, I got into trouble for saying red twice, and he's just said what I said!

NP: I know, but he didn't say it in the other round.

FM: All right, it's okay, I'm picking up the rules as we go along!

NP: So Derek interrupted, Mensa, one second starting now.

DN: Michael Winner is a...


NP: Peter it's your turn to begin, the subject is tiddlywinks. Will you tell us something about that intriguing game starting now.

PJ: Well I don't think it is intriguing, rather boring in fact. But it is dangerous, anybody under five shouldn't be allowed to do it. Because they look, these tiddlywinks, look very like smarties. And they might easily put them in their mouths and choke to death perhaps. And anyone over five of course ought not to play it...


PJ: ...because they must be out of their minds!

NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: I'm sorry but it was a repetition of five.

NP: Yes there was five, anyone over five and under five.

PJ: Oh that's right yes.

NP: Tony you've got in with 42 seconds on the subject of tiddlywinks starting now.

TH: If you were winking at someone surreptitiously, you might be said to be indulging in tiddlywinks. However I would be the last person to say this because it's not remotely funny. Tiddlywinks is a fantastic game. Little bits of plastic, flicking them about with your fingers. Oh what a way to spend an evening. Many's the time I have all my chums over, we crack open a few beers, it's going to be our tiddlywinks evening! We sit up, we get so excited, we put bets on! Yes! Who's going to win the tiddlywinks championship tonight, we say to each other as we excitedly bound towards the board where we keep the plastic bits...


NP: Ah Fred challenged.

FM: Ah repetition of plastic.

NP: Yes there was too much plastic there I'm afraid. So Fred you got in with six seconds on tiddlywinks starting now.

FM: Anyone who ever plays tiddlywinks is unlikely to find themselves also being a member of Mensa! Because if you do that...


NP: Fred I think you're getting the idea of how to play this game now, you've increased your lead at the end of that round. And Derek Nimmo's turn to begin. Derek, bunkers. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

DN: I suppose the biggest series of bunkers ever made, that is out of concrete and steel, was the Maginot Line which was a fortification between France and Germany. The Hun quite sensibly didn't try to go through it. They went round the edges and it worked frightfully well. Actually the Frogs hadn't thought of that, which was rather surprising. Other bunkers, of course, can be for coal. I have one of these bunkers in my little cottage in London. and I there, I keep this...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I think so Peter. You have another point, you have the subject, there are 32 seconds and it is bunkers with you starting now.

PJ: When, when one of my sons was very young...


NP: Yes Derek?

DN: A general sort of confusion. Yeaorgh!

NP: Well yes he had a sharp hesitation for you, so I must be fair and give you a sharp hesitation back. So 30 seconds with you Derek on bunkers starting now.

DN: If you go to the Asher Coast you will see some of the most magnificent and evil bunkers on the golf course there...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: What did he say? Evil bunkers?

NP: Evil bunkers, yes.

DN: You will see evil bunkers.

PJ: Are they evil?

NP: Well to a golfer, they could be described as being evil.

DN: They're evil, they really are difficult.

NP: They're difficult...

PJ: Difficult, yes, but evil? It's a different thing. We're talking about good and evil, I mean, they can't really talk about these sandholes, er, it's not, it doesn't make sense, does it?

NP: I don't think so...

PJ: No I don't think it does.

NP: So I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt because he had a very sharp challenge on you a moment ago...

PJ: Yes!

NP: Benefit of the doubt, 23 seconds Peter, bunkers starting now.

PJ: This boy said "what is a bunker, Daddy?" And I said "it's something on a golf course, a hole." And he said "did Hitler play golf?" And I said "no, no, that's a different sort of bunker altogether..."


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: We had a eirghwooweurgh noise again.

NP: No he didn't go whoawooweurgh then.

PJ: You're one to talk!

NP: Yes! The last time he did but not that time Derek. Thirteen seconds still with you Peter on bunkers starting now.

PJ: And they create these all over the golf courses so that people can't...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Repetition of golf.

NP: You mentioned golf courses before. So Tony Hawks you cleverly got in with nine seconds left...

PJ: That rule you made up, in order to get him out of it, wasn't it, about not repeating it, er, something you said earlier in the round...

NP: You can't repeat...

PJ: Fred said he was picking it up as he was going along, and I thought, well, Nicholas is making it up as he goes along!


NP: I don't know why you're clapping, he's talking rubbish! It's part of the rules of the game, you can't repeat certain words and you have repeated the word golf.

PJ: Not after you've had an interruption, surely?

NP: Yes! And you know that! After 28 years Peter! You know that in one round you cannot repeat the word however many times you are interrupted.

PJ: Yes.

NP: That has always been the truth!

PJ: Well I never knew that!

NP: Right...

PJ: Amazing, isn't it!

NP: Anyway you...

PJ: I've always thought there was something wrong!


NP: (trying to speak through laughter) Tony Hawks you've got nine seconds to tell us something about bunkers starting now.

TH: My cousin was in a coal bunker which caught fire. And he got burns on the underside of his chin, on the front and underneath, at exact right angles, and was admitted to hospital with 90 degree burns!


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He is in fourth place behind Derek Nimmo, then Peter Jones, but one ahead of Peter is our leader still Fred MacAulay who begins the next round. Fred, allergies, can you tell us something about that in this round starting now.

FM: I've only ever suffered from one allergy. I've never been one to sneeze when a cat comes into the room or something like that. My allergy was an allergy to strawberry plants. As they grew, strawberry leaves...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Sorry, repetition of strawberry.

NP: Too many strawberries I'm afraid. Forty-seven seconds are available for you on allergies Tony starting now.

TH: I'm allergic to people who have allergies. Whenever they appear I get a rash desire to tell them to pull themselves together and stop whinging and moaning about this and that. A cat is not that much of a problem, I say to them. But am I being unsympathetic? Allergies can be serious. I can also, and I'm going to be in a minute. But first a humorous joke about allergies...


NP: Fred MacAulay challenged.

FM: There was all kinds of things going wrong there, wasn't there?

NP: Well give us one!

FM: Well he deviated for a minute, and then hesitated.

NP: That's right, he deviated from that, he was telling about telling jokes and not about allergies. So well listened Fred, deviation, 22 seconds, allergies back with you starting now.

FM: These plants that grow out of the ground and bear fruit...


NP: Tony.

TH: Repetition of plants.

NP: Yes it was the strawberry plants.


NP: I'm afraid you are right Tony, 19 seconds, allergies starting now.

TH: In my poem, Elegy to Allergy, I cover this subject enormously well. Those of you who have purchased it, for it is for sale in WH Smith's and other leading stockists, price 400 pounds, you've read it and know it already. No need for...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Those of you who had read my book, and then you read it.

NP: Yes, read, you got in with two seconds to go on allergies Derek starting now.

DN: My poor dear wife to whom I've been married for 40 years is allergic to me...


NP: Derek Nimmo was speaking as the whistle went, moved forward and he's only one point behind our leader who is still Fred MacAulay. Tony Hawks, your turn to begin, the subject shades. Can you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

TH: My favourite hobby is wandering into a chemist or a large store and watching people as they purchase shades. Because they buy them mainly to look cool. And what happens? They have little tanks hanging over their noses when they try them on. I stand behind the counter and snigger at them as this goes on. And they are so humiliated, they don't go ahead with the particular object they were about to buy. I wish that I had the opportunity to wear shades, and look cool, on this...


NP: Fred challenged.

FM: Another cool slipping in there.

NP: Another cool, yes, too cool right. Fred, 30 seconds, shades starting now.

FM: A boy at our school was called Shades McGowan because he always wore dark glasses to make himself look sinister rather than cool. He was an evil looking character in the old fashioned sense of the word which means that he (laughs)...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Well repetition of haha.

NP: No just a repetition of ha I think. Right Derek, 17 seconds, shades starting now.

DN: In a very gloomy garden it's very difficult to find plants that will actually grow in the shade. Hosters I recommend to any gardeners who actually happen to be here...


NP: Tony Hawks.

TH: Deviation, he's talking about shade and not shades.


NP: Yes! I think that's a good challenge of deviation. Ten seconds with you Tony on shades starting now.

TH: International celebrities wear them under the pretence that they won't be recognised. But what happens? You see them and think there's that bloke trying to get noticed with those ridiculous...


NP: Tony Hawks kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point. And it is Peter Jones' turn to begin, the subject now Peter, charm. Can you tell us something about charm, I think it's lacking in our society so much today, starting now.

PJ: Well you really took the words out of my mouth. But it is really not in very good supply at the moment. Particularly in show business. When you think of the glorious stars of the past like Jeff Buchanan and Barbara Mullin and Sophie Stewart and Harry Gordon and all those people, who are familiar to you I'm sure. They were really charming! Now you can't say that about Bruce Willis and... various other people who are stars...


NP: Yes, Fred challenged first.

FM: Bruce Willis is charming! So I can say it!

NP: You can say it, yes. But I wouldn't have that as a challenge, if I were you!


NP: What about hesitation Fred?

FM: Okay!

NP: Right! Thirty seconds Fred starting now.

FM: Not all the McGowan family were evil. The younger brother of Shades was called Charm McGowan because he...


NP: (laughing) Tony...

TH: I'm afraid, repetition of McGowan.

NP: Oh it's a tough game, 22 seconds with you on charm Tony Hawks starting now.

TH: There are many beautiful girls here this evening, but of them all, you are the most radiant, would be an example of charm. However I don't have that ability. Instead of doing that, I will approach a female and say "there are some interesting cycle routes in the area, aren't there?" Or "isn't it amazing how long things stay hot in thermos flasks?" I wish I had the charm to woo them in the way that Bruce Willis...


NP: Tony Hawks kept going on charm until the whistle went and charmed the audience, got a big round of applause and a point. And he's now equal in the lead with Fred MacAulay. And Derek Nimmo your turn to begin, the subject, growing sprouts.

DN: I remember when I was about eight years old, I was in the bath, and my mother was coming in to see me. And she suddenly noticed that growing out of my back, there were little sprouts. And she said "you little angel" because she thought I was going to turn into one. And from then on, I've always been called Gabriel. They never grew very large of course. But they are quite definitely sprouts. And if any of you would like to come after the show today, I'm very happy to show you the little feathered friends that I have there on my back. If you want to grow them in a ...


NP: Fred has challenged.

FM: Back.

NP: I thought it was quite sick making actually. But er... Um Fred you have another point, you have growing sprouts, you have 31 seconds starting now.

FM: Growing Sprouts McGowan was the third brother! And he got his nickname from his horticultural... predilection...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes. Too many McGowans! Twenty-three seconds, Derek, growing sprouts starting now.

DN: Well you need a really good compost! That's the most important thing! And put a lot of manure into the ground, you dig your furrows and you grow the seedlings elsewhere, bring them out...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Repetition of grow.

NP: Yes I'm afraid so. Tony, 16 seconds, growing sprouts, starting now.

TH: My grandfather has an allotment which he shares with the McGowan family, Shades and Charm. And their sprouts are...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Why does your grandfather have an allotment in Perthshire?

TH: Because he lives in Perthshire!

NP: Eight seconds for you Tony, incorrect challenge, starting now.

TH: I have been growing sprouts since I was four years old. I didn't do it in the bath like Derek did. I did it at the bottom...


NP: Fred MacAulay we're back with you to begin, the subject busking. Talk on the subject if you can starting now.

FM: Busking is the generic term for anybody who wants to stand up in a street, anywhere, with any old instrument. It could be a tea chest or a guitar and they think that this is entertaining. All they have to do is shout and people think "oh this is magnificent, I'll give 'em some money..."


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Two thinks.

NP: There were two thinks, yes, yeah. Forty-seven seconds for you Derek on busking starting now.

DN: I think the most wonderful buskers in the whole wide world are in Socamilco in Mexico. There are the Mariachis, stand there, hundreds of them, waiting for her. You go on one boat, they go on another, and they play to you quite divinely. Three trumpets, seven violins. You toss some coins, pesos which they're frightfully grateful for. Mind you, you can...


NP: And Tony Hawks challenged.

DN: What's the matter?

TH: Why are you telling them to pess oss?


NP: All right Tony, have a bonus for that one. But Derek was interrupted, keeps the subject, busking starting now.

DN: I went on to the Piccadilly Line and as I descended the escalator I saw a very amiable fellow from the West Indies playing a saxophone, and asking me in between mouthfuls of air, if I would contribute to his little hat which I did. I was very happy to do that. And I was in Grafton Street in Ireland and a woman said to me, she said (in Irish accent) "would you like to give some money if you so desire?" Now I thought that was very charming for a busker, don't you?


NP: So Derek Nimmo kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's now equal with Fred MacAulay in second place behind our leader Tony Hawks who begins the next round. Tony, trunks, can you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

TH: (sings) Nellie the elephant packed her trunk, and said good-bye to the circus, Off she went with a trumpety-trump (speaking) and she repeated the next word three more times! In my opinion, it's foolish for these jungle creatures to pack their trunks, because they're attached to their bodies. I don't have a trunk. If I had a dangly thing at the front of my body, then I would certainly not whack it...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Deviation, I... I don't want to know about the dangly thing in front of him!

TH: Everyone else does!

NP: But I think he was talking about trunks. You don't want to hear about it, I quite agree! But he wasn't actually deviating within Just A Minute. So Tony, you keep the subject, tell us more about trunks, 38 seconds starting now.

TH: Some men wear swimming trunks that are so small they start to disappear up behind them! They are almost mooning, one could say, unintentionally. They usually hang around on Greek beaches flexing their muscles, their trunks, their symbols to the female beach-goers that they are attractive. Hey! Look at me!


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: He's talking rubbish! He said...

TH: I am, I am talking rubbish!

NP: What is it, just deviation...

DN: Deviation.

NP: That's right, 17 seconds trunks starting now.

DN: One of the most wonderful cabin trunks ever meant were back, actually constructed...


NP: Fred challenged.

FM: I thought there was a little hesitation.

NP: There was a little hesitation there, yes. Trunks, tell us about Mister... what's the name?

FM: Trunks McGowan!

TH: Trunks McGowan!

NP: Trunks McGowan, yes! Tell us about him in 13 seconds if you can starting now.

FM: The first pair of trunks I had were knitted woollen ones. They weren't so much an item of clothing, more a form of punishment! And I wonder if in 20 years time my children will be saying "oh do you remember these lycra trunks. How ridiculous they were, they don't...


NP: So Fred MacAulay speaking as the whistle went got an extra point. He's still in second place behind Tony Hawks. Peter Jones, your turn to begin, the subject, cues. Could you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Well apart from lines of people waiting to get on a bus or into a cinema or something, they're also the lines which the actor prior to you speaking ahs to say, so that you know when to deliver your own line. And er of course if you forget his, or even your own, it does hold up the proceedings terribly. And er it's pretty boring if nobody can remember it. Er of course there are prompters who is, whose business it is to give... what's the matter? What are you waving at?


NP: Carry on!

PJ: Oh I thought you were going!


NP: Fred you challenged at last!

FM: I thought I detected a slight hesitation!

NP: Yes!

PJ: There was, yes.

NP: There was a slight hesitation, yes. But Peter we did enjoy it. But Fred you have 20 seconds to tell us something about cues starting now.

FM: Well the kind of cues that I'm more familiar with, thanks to a misspent childhood, are snooker cues. And as the people of Scotland will know, we respect our players who use these implements to knock balls into the holes in the corner of the table on which this game is played. And we admire them for winning 147,000 pounds in 11 minutes and 30 seconds...


NP: Well done Fred, kept going until the whistle went, and you're now back in the lead alongside Tony Hawks. We're moving into the last round, let me tell you as we do so Derek Nimmo's in third place and then Peter Jones in fourth place. And Derek it's your turn to begin, the subject digits. Can you speak on that subject in this game starting now.

DN: I was reminded when this programme began, or rather just before it, by the wife of the editor of the Glasgow Herald, that I have rather curious digits. In other words my toes are rather strange. I hadn't thought about them for years but she said to me, she came to see me a long time ago in a musical called Charlie Girl, and I displayed my digits for her delectation. And greatly she enjoyed it at the time. Now I wonder about that, because I used to say nursery rhymes to them. There's the church, and there's the steeple, there's the preacher...


NP: And Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Three there's in a great...

NP: Three there's yes...

DN: That was the rhyme, I can't change it just for you!

NP: Tony you got in with 30 seconds on digits starting now.

TH: There is an old joke connected with digits. Can I use your Dictaphone? No, use your finger like everybody else!


TH: Dave Allen of course has nine digits, he lost one at some point, but this did not stop his career blossoming. He would hold up his hand and it would get great amusement from the audience as they saw one finger missing. The digits of my phone number will be lent, handed out on pieces of paper after the show...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: There was a sort of hesitation.

NP: There was a definite hesitation and you got in cleverly Peter with only two seconds to go on digits starting now.

PJ: Well they can be fingers and thumbs and toes...


NP: Fred MacAulay challenged.

FM: There's probably only half a second, but er this is the only chance I've got to mention one of the McGowan family!


FM: Who only had eight fingers and you'll never guess what he was called!

NP: Right, we'll give him a bonus point for his digit fingers, Peter Jones a point for being interrupted and he has half a second to tell us more about digits Peter starting now.

PJ: Very useful!


NP: Alas we have no more time to play Just A Minute. Let me give you the final score. Peter Jones who has excelled in this game over many years and contributed so much. But he did this week finish in only fourth place. A little way behind Derek Nimmo who's often triumphed in the past. But out ahead of both ahead them are the new player of the game, Tony Hawks, but alongside him a man who's only played the game once before. And they are joint winners, congratulations to Fred MacAulay and Tony Hawks. It only remains for me to thank our four marvellous players of the game, Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones, Tony Hawks and Fred MacAulay. And also we'd like to thank this lovely audience here at the Civic Theatre in Ayr for being so warm and encouraging us all to play the game with such panache. I thank Liz Trott for keeping the score, blowing her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. We thank Ian Messiter for thinking of the game, keeping us in work. We thank Anne Jobson for producing it so well. And also from me Nicholas Parsons, on behalf of all of them, good-bye, hope you'll be with us next time we play Just A Minute.