starring PAUL MERTON, DEREK NIMMO, CLEMENT FREUD and MARIA McERLANE, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 24 February 1996)

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 our senior players who have been with the show since it first began, that's Derek Nimmo and Clement Freud. We welcome another regular who's added such a boost to the continuing progress and popularity of the show, that's Paul Merton. And someone who's only playing the game for the second time, that is Maria McErlane. Will you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Jolanta Zbucki. And on this show she will keep a score, blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the fine city of Nottingham. And I'm going to ask our four players to speak if they can as usual on the subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject on the card. We're going to begin the show this week with Clement Freud. And Clement the subject is goose, an apt subject for Nottingham. Will you talk about it in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: In Noel Coward's piece...


NP: Oh! Paul that was the quickest challenge we've ever had in the beginning of Just A Minute. And yes?

PAUL MERTON: A hesitation.

NP: A hesitation. What happened? Unlike you Clement to dry so rapidly.

CF: I wanted Paul to come in on this!

NP: Right, 56 seconds are available for you Paul, you have a correct challenge so you get a point for that, you take over the subject, goose, starting now.

PM: I would like to leave a hesitation here so Clement can come in.


NP: Ah Clement Freud has challenged. If we go on playing like this there'll be no show, but they'll all get a lot of points! Clement you got a hesitation, 53 seconds, goose, starting now.

CF: In a bar on the Piccolo Marina, life began for Mrs Kingston Brewster, a man came up and goosed her! There are also brent, grey, laughing and barnacle geese, and I would very much like to recommend for Christmas, goose, if anyone is cutting sick of turkey, chicken, roast beef or whatever other meats they might have for the celebration. The best way to do it is to get a goose that has been reared especially for the table. One that has run alongside racecourses, and trained horses or greyhounds, tends to get...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged.

PM: Repetition of horses.

NP: No, no, there wasn't a repetition. No, no. Clement an incorrect challenge so you get a point for that and you have 13 seconds on goose starting now.

CF: Apple sauce, gravy, red cabbage, are the sort of things you'd eat with goose, apart from a knife and a fork! In Poland...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DEREK NIMMO: You don't eat a knife and fork with goose, do you?

NP: Well most people...

DN: He's so boring, he goes so slowly doesn't he.

NP: I know! But you...


NP: Do you eat your goose with your fingers then, is that what you're suggesting?

DN: Of course I do!

NP: Oh right! But you still eat with a knife and fork, so it was an incorrect challenge. And Clement if you can cheer yourself up a little and go for another three seconds on goose starting now.

CF: I'd like to say very quickly you can eat a goose with your fingers.


NP: Derek you challenged...

DN: Well repetition.

NP: Yes he did repeat the word eat. Well done Derek, you've got one second left to tell us something about goose...

DN: Sidney Smith said that his idea of heaven was eating...


NP: So Derek Nimmo was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, and we start the second round with Paul Merton. Paul the subject is balmy evenings. Will you tell us something about those in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

PM: I often go round to Nicholas Parsons' house of and evening and those are indeed barmy evenings! He has a peculiar habit of talking all his clothes off, walking into his own living room with a packet of dry roasted peanuts and saying "anybody for nuts?" And you look at him and you think "I don't know, has he gone a little bit barmy here?" But you let it pass. Then we come to the main meal of the evening...


DN: I must say I do find this an extraordinary deviant situation! Nicholas Parsons wandering around without any clothes on asking people to have his nuts! I don't think this is the sort of thing that's either true or should be allowed on what is after all a family show!

NP: How do you know what I get up to in the privacy of my own living room?

DN: But if you were...

NP: But actually I, I've, in order to be accurate you're quite right Derek. I don't think I've done that. Not as far as I know anyway! So we'll say that it was deviation...

PM: Oh you liar!


PM: That's the last time I have a handful of dry roasted!

NP: We love your flights of fantasy Paul, but Derek must have a correct challenge, 33 seconds are available, another point to you Derek, balmy evenings starting now.

DN: Only two nights ago I was sitting in Ciarina in Northern Cyprus on a particular balmy evening. I had a splendid meal, taramasalata, babakanush and so on. And then suddenly, holding a glass of ouzo in one hand and some cafe metra in the other, I saw a boat glide across that beautiful bay and...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Who cares?


NP: I think all the listeners of Just a Minute because they're listening to see if he's going to hesitate, repeat something or deviate.

PM: He's just swanking again about his holidays, isn't he!

NP: I know! This is why he comes on the show, to show off and impress people. He does it extremely well! Derek, a point to you, 12 seconds, balmy evenings starting now.

DN: It is very nice at this time of year, isn't it, when you suddenly get one last warm evening and you think that perhaps you will not see...


NP: Maria challenged.

MARIA McERLANE: Repetition of evening from before.

NP: Yes because the subject is balmy evenings in the plural and he repeated the word evening. Maria you have a correct challenge, you have balmy evenings and there are six seconds left starting now.

MM: My idea of a marvellous balmy evening would be to have a game of Twister, Nicholas Parsons' nuts...


NP: Maria you were speaking as the whistle went and gained an extra point for doing so and at the end of that round you are in second place equal with Clement Freud. And Derek it is your turn to begin. The subject, salad days. Will you tell us something about it in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: Ah my salad days when I was green in judgement which was spent here in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. I used to go and live for quite long periods because he... my....


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes Paul and there are 49 seconds for you to tell us something about salad days starting now.

PM: When I do the shopping for the week I buy the vegetables on the Tuesday. But on Wednesday, that's the time that I go and buy the salad...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two buys.

NP: There were two buys, yes. Clement there are 41 seconds left, salad days starting now.

CF: If you're going to have lots of salads on salad days, I do suggest that Caesar is one that you should not neglect. You use the whole of beaten eggs and garlic, anchovies, Parmesan cheese, hesteroll and Chinese leaf ideally...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Elizabeth David.

CF: You don't...

DN: He's just sort of doing recipes, isn't he.

NP: I know!

DN: It's not...

NP: But it doesn't matter...

DN: He's not talking about salad days, he's giving recipes. It's a food show, it's got nothing to do with Just A Minute. He's just sitting there and (does impression of CF's voice) use pepper and put it in...


NP: Yes Derek I'm going to grant you that deviation because it's, it's a deviation from salad days to a salad recipe. So I think that's a good challenge, 23 seconds for you, salad days starting now.

CF: Good challenge, yes.

NP: I think it's a good challenge, yes, Clement. Definitely. And I gave my reason and I think I was justified. Derek you have the subject, you have 23 seconds starting now.

DN: I was taken by my great-grandmother to the trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham. And I must say...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: He's had Nottingham already.

NP: You had Nottingham. No, you had Nottinghamshire.

CF: Yes, that's Nottingham.

NP: Yes I know. But he used the word Nottinghamshire...

DN: Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

NP: Nottinghamshire, so I have to listen and he didn't say Nottingham, he said Nottinghamshire, so I'm sorry Clement...

CF: Is having to listen a new resolution?

NP: No, it's my constant as you know.

DN: You're very good Nicholas. You ought to be the Governor of Parkhurst I think.

NP: Eleven seconds for you Derek to continue on salad days...

DN: One went into the theatre with such high hopes. One wanted to play Drury Lane...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of one.

NP: One, you went in and such, one went in with such high hopes. You did repeat the word one.

DN: Oh.

NP: Right, don't me look at that way. Eight seconds, salad days with you Paul starting now.

PM: I was eating a Caesar salad on the Greek island of Lesbos some 48 hours ago and as I...


NP: Maria's challenged.

MM: Um, I just haven't spoken for a long time and people at home might think I've fainted! That's all!


NP: A round of applause for your good challenge and a round of applause, not a round of applause, another point also for the fact that he was deviating because he was giving a recipe and not talking about salad days.


NP: Well if I've got to be fair to one, I've got to be fair to them all, and the same...

PM: At what point was I giving a recipe?

NP: You were talking about...

DN: He was on Lesbos!

NP: You were on Lesbos...

PM: That's not giving a recipe, is it?

NP: No you were talking about a salad you were having is Lesbos and you were taking off Derek Nimmo which was very witty, very funny...

PM: It's not a recipe though. You don't get Delia Smith's cookery book and it says "go to Lesbos"!


NP: You did not convey to me...

PM: I can't, it's impossible to convey anything to you!


NP: ...that this...

PM: Who's the Prime Minister?

NP: Well after what you said about me earlier on, I'm not surprised as well. but anyway you did not establish to my mind that this was how you spent your salad days, this was something you did quite recently. And I think you're past your salad days and therefore you should be...


NP: I've got to justify myself somehow to these fellows! And Maria, you thought, everybody thought she'd fallen asleep so she has every right to come in. And she has one second on salad days starting now.

MM: Salad days, hooray!


NP: Right! Well at the end of that round Maria McErlane was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point, she's now in second place behind Clement Freud and Derek Nimmo who are equal in the lead and Paul is just one point behind Maria. And Clement Freud it's your turn to begin. The subject dripping. Yes, someone who is such a gourmet as Clement should be given dripping but maybe he'll give us a different dimension to that subject. Sixty seconds starting now.

CF: Dripping is melted fat that drips from a joint and is collected in a drip tray. And if you put some bread into it, it is delicious. There is something called dirty dripping, ah, which is dripping...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation, er.

NP: Yes there was an er there Derek, yes dripping is with you...

CF: Where?

NP: In between two words that you spoke.

CF: Oh really?

NP: Yes! Forty-four seconds, dripping, starting now.

DN: I used to stay with my aunt in Ilkeston and the maid there, called Mary, used to have the most wonderful dripping out of pork or lamb and beef and we used to covet this and go into the kitchen when we were frightfully tiny, and get the bread and dripping spread across, and lost of black pepper and salt and it was absolutely delicious! It seemed like foie gras to us at that time. I was only nine years old, but gosh, you know, those happy memories remain. If I see a candle guttering and the dripping falling, I go towards it now with a bowl and tale it out to my little rabbit which lives outside in a hutch. And I say "would you like some dripping, little rabbit?" And it always replies "oh my goodness, such a joy.."


NP: So Derek Nimmo's dripping kept going till the 60 seconds was up, he dripped away fantastically well, gained an extra point for doing so and he's taken the lead at the end of that round. Yes she has indeed. Paul Merton, your turn to begin, the subject, capers. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

PM: When I was a young boy I used to get up to all kinds of mischief. I remember once we whitewashed the next door neighbours. And what we did was we climbed through their bedroom window while they were asleep, got a bucket of the aforementioned substance and covered them from head to foot. They woke up the next morning and thought that they had lost all kinds of reason because there they were covered in this particularly...


NP: Maria challenged.

MM: Repetition of covered.

NP: They were too well covered, I'm afraid.

PM: I thought perhaps I was doing another recipe and didn't know!


NP: Yes! There's a certain bitterness that comes out on occasions! Maria, 35 seconds capers starting now.

MM: I'm not too sure of the difference between capers and capons, although I realise I'm in dangerous territory of doing another recipe if I continue to pursue this particular argument. Capons I believe are small...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of capons. (laughs)

NP: You can repeat capers but not capons.

MM: Yes.

NP: Clement a correct challenge and 23 seconds available for capers starting now.

CF: I'd like to give you a recipe using skate which you boil in milk ideally and then garnish with capers in black butter with lemon juice. Absolutely delicious! The sort of thing that Derek Nimmo in his youth would get at his aunt's house in Ilkeston, which is not far from Nottingham, which always gets a cheer. Because capers in this great...


NP: They all know how to play to the audience don't they. Clement you were speaking as the whistle went, got an extra point for doing so, and at the end of that round you are equal again in the lead with Derek Nimmo and then there's Maria McErlane and Paul Merton in that order. And Maria your turn to begin, and the subject is boots. Will you tell us something about boots in Just A Minute starting now.

MM: These boots are made for walking and that's what they're going to do. One of these days my boots are going to walk all over you. Well...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation from the original lyric!

MM: Where...

PM: One of these days these boots, not my boots. One of these days these boots...

MM: But I'd already said these though.

NP: You see she'd already said these. And after all, she can misquote the lyric if she wishes, to keep going, and you don't have to be factual all the time...

DN: You can give the recipe, can't you?

NP: It's been known to happen, I'm sure.

DN: A tablespoon full of salt, rather than a teaspoon full of sugar, doesn't matter!

NP: She didn't repeat anything, didn't hesitate, she didn't deviate. And Maria I give you the benefit of the doubt and you have 52 seconds on boots starting now.

MM: These were the words I uttered on...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of these.

MM: Oh! (laughs)

NP: She actually said these...

CF: These boots! These boot s were made for...

NP: And she repeated these, yes. Forty-nine seconds for you Clement on boots starting now.

CF: If I could walk that way, I wouldn't need talcum powder! Was one of my favourite boots jokes of my youth. But also alligators don't have any hair. Oh it's just a trade name like mothballs, is similarly good, and...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Is it me or....? Is, is Clement just talking rubbish?

NP: I know! I must inform you Paul, because you're a different generation from me. These are the jokes that Clement Freud used to tell in his restaurant when he had it at the Royal Court Theatre Club years ago. He's just giving you the tag lines of a lot of jokes he knows.

PM: Ah!

NP: I think you have a good challenge, 31 seconds, boots starting now.

CF: Who?

NP: Paul!


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: I know, but he didn't know! But he wasn't sure he was able to get off the leash again. So Paul Merton has the subject, 30 seconds are left, boots starting now.

PM: Boots the Chemist, what a wonderful firm. Established, I believe, originally here in Nottingham! And what a great place that is indeed because there's a lot of people who come from the local idea because that's why they're here, I mean. There's a obviously a blot, a lot of them come from...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes oh yes. Fifteen seconds, boots with you Derek starting now.

DN: I get my glasses from Boots. Because I can't afford, like Nicholas Parsons, to go to a very posh office. But they give me tremendous value for money. This is our National Health frames, and they give me a very good prescription. And I do think Boots offer a wonderful service...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of very good.

NP: Yes you did say very good before. Yes you did, sorry.

DN: I didn't say very good before.

NP: What did you say then?

DN: I said wonderful.

NP: I thought he said very good.

PM: I thought he said very good.

NP: Yes!

PM: That's one of the reasons why I challenged!

NP: I know! Three seconds are available for you Paul on boots starting now.

PM: Boots, boots, boots...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: I think that's too many boots.

PM: I was doing the song Marching Up And Down Again. I didn't get to that bit.

NP: I think if he had gone for a fourth one that would have been too many, because that was the song. One second on boots with you Paul starting now.

PM: One of the great...


NP: Clement Freud is still in the lead, he's one point ahead of Derek Nimmo, then comes Paul Merton and Maria McErlane in that order. And Paul your turn to begin, the subject carbuncle. Will you tell us something about carbuncle in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

PM: One of my favourite Sherlock Holmes stories written by the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is entitled The Blue Carbuncle. This is a particularly fine mystery. The action as you know takes place at 221B Baker Street, and Watson comes in and says (in sort of English old buffer voice) "hello erargh there" and Holmes...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of eureuragh!

PM: No, there's no accent over the second one!

NP: It was a hello hello or words to that effect and that was repetition Paul. So 42 seconds for you Derek on carbuncle starting now.

DN: The Prince of Wales said when the proposed extension was first displayed to the National Gallery in London that it looked like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of an old friend. And through his intervention that design was got rid of, and a very pleasant classical facade of the new building which is now in place was erected. It is very splendid indeed and find... when I was there the other day...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Sounded like a hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation.

DN: Yes it was! Yes!

NP: It couldn't sound like a hesitation because there's no sound in a hesitation!

PM: Well...

NP: There's a silence in a hesitation.

PM: Well there's still a sound of somebody going (splutters). You can't smell a hesitation, can you?

NP: You can't smell it but normally there's a silence.

PM: You can't taste it.

NP: No...

PM: If you can't hear it, how do you know it's there?


NP: Nineteen seconds, carbuncle Clement starting now.

CF: Old people tend to die of carbuncles. Anthrax...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes.

PM: And possibly false medical knowledge!

NP: I would have given it to you for deviation as well, I quite agree Paul. So, but either will do, carbuncle is the subject, 14 seconds for you starting now.

PM: If you go to Switzerland, the most popular make of car is called the Bunkle. And...


NP: And Clement Freud challenged.

CF: It's not! Deviation.

NP: Deviation, nine seconds Clement, carbuncle starting now.

CF: In animals a carbuncle... is called anthrax.


NP: And Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes Paul, I agree. Six seconds, carbuncle, starting now.

PM: I once developed this most enormously horrible looking carbuncle on the back of my neck...


NP: Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, and he's equal with Derek Nimmo in second place now, just behind our leader Clement Freud. And Maria McErlane it's your turn to begin, the subject is dressing. Will you tell us something about that subject in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

MM: It's surely one of the most tedious pastimes. Should I put the blue polka dot dungarees with the pink hat, or the yellow taffeta dress with the purple tights?


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of with the.

NP: With the, yes.

MM: That's correct.

NP: That's right, but that's a tough challenge.

MM: But should I though Derek, what do you think?

DN: I think you should.

MM: Oh you do? Thank you.

NP: Derek you have 50 seconds for dressing starting now.

DN: I once saw an untouchable in Bombay with a terrible carbuncle and I went to the local hospital and said "would you please give this poor man a dressing?" Now as he was of the wrong caste they wouldn't apply a dressing to him. Now I thought it was a tragedy...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Oh sorry, I was... dressing!

NP: Dressing is the subject.

PM: Sorry.

NP: You can repeat the subject on the card, yes, it is easily done. Thirty-one seconds still with you Derek.

DN: if you are working in a play, particularly in a musical, you need a dress. Now for instance Nicholas Parsons, our chairman, was recently in a wonderful show in London, and he had to dress in er...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: You couldn't get it out, could you?

DN: No.

NP: You were so shocked by it.

DN: I was a bit shocked actually.

NP: He was referring to the Rocky Horror Show where I underdressed in fishnet tights and suspender belt. And er...

PM: And that was just going to the theatre!


NP: Paul you have a correct challenge, the subject dressing. There are 21 seconds left starting now.

PM: In my salad days I nah... ohhhhhh....


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Ummm...

NP: Yes hesitation Clement, 18 seconds, dressing Clement starting now.

CF: If you put on your shoes and socks and pants and shirt, tie, collar, and you're a bit angry, it's called cross dressing! I would like to recommend that to all my listeners because it's become enormously trendy. Walk down any London street on a Saturday afternoon...


NP: Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point and has increased his lead. And we're moving into the final round. It's very close, Clement's only just in the lead, ahead of Paul Merton and Derek Nimmo who are equal in second place about two or three points behind, and then comes Maria McErlane. And Derek it's your turn to begin, the subject is bigwig. And can you tell us something about it in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: This derives from the days when magnates and important people wore a much larger wig than anyone else. Nicholas Parsons wears a fairly small wig, which actually shows how deeply negligible as a person he happens to be. Now I do know bigwigs in fact, I have... as a friend, I think...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah I would have given it to you whatever you'd said actually!


NP: Forty-two seconds for you Paul on bigwig starting now.

PM: Bruce Forsyth has a big wig which he shares with the three Beverley Sisters. They have it on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, whereas the gentleman I mentioned earlier tends to utilise this toupee on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Now I don't know why...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Deviation, a toupee isn't a big wig.

PM: Well if you've established the size of the toupee, then it's a big wig.

NP: Of course it is.

PM: And I had established it was big enough for four people.

DN: A toupee is something like yours, Nicholas, which you just brush into your remaining hair. Take it off Nicholas! Come on! Take it off! Go on, take it off, Nicholas!

NP: Jolanta will you please pull my hair for me? Will you please pull my hair?


NP: Is it coming away? No!

DN: No, get hold of his hair instead!


NP: Oh I enjoyed that actually, thank you very much. We do have some fun in Just A Minute. Paul Merton, who was challenged..?


NP: Maria you challenged.

MM: I'd just like to tell everybody at home that Jolanta is crying now!

NP: I like that challenge actually Maria so you've got the subject, because I don't know what on earth was going on. Twenty-four seconds starting now.

MM: Ah Paul Daniels has quite a bit wig, but not as big as Debbie McGee, his wife, whose hair is really quite extraordinarily large, sometimes reaching 25, 30 foot, which you might like but not a lot. I know I don't. I'm not really talking much sense now but I'm hoping somebody will stop me soon because...


NP: Derek Nimmo has.

DN: Ah well I was just trying to satisfy the lady.

NP: Have you got a challenge? Oh dear, but not in public please! What is your challenge?

DN: She said she hopes somebody challenged her so I did, I challenged.

NP: You haven't given hesitation, repetition or deviation...

DN: Well repetition.

NP: No, no, no, she didn't repeat anything.

DN: Well you never listen, how do you know?

PM: Anyway, who would buy a grey wig?

NP: And Maria you have six seconds still available on big wig starting now.

MM: Bigwigs often work for huge corporations...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of huge.

NP: Yes you did say huge.

MM: Oh huge hair of course.

NP: That's right. Paul you've got in with two seconds to go, last round, bigwig starting now.

PM: The largest hairpiece I ever saw covered the island of Lesbos!


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went not only gained an extra point but brought the end of the round and the end of the show together, one at the same time, with a great flourish. And he finished in second place. In fourth place was Maria McErlane, only just behind Derek Nimmo and he was only just behind Paul Merton and he was only just two points behind Clement Freud. So we say the one with the most points is our winner, that's Clement Freud! It only remains for me to say thank you to our four talented players of the game, which is Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Maria McErlane and Derek Nimmo. I also must thank Jolanta Zbucki who has kept the score for the first time and blown her whistle so magnificently. I must thank Ian Messiter of course who created the game and also Anne Jobson our producer director. And from them and from me, Nicholas Parsons, good-bye, hope you've enjoyed Just A Minute, tune in next time we play this game!