NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once again it is my pleasure to welcome the four exciting personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. And we welcome back three of our senior players of the game, they have been with the show since it first began, and another regular player who has set us alight with all kinds of fascinating different, what is often called alternative humour. But they all blend together into one whole! Would you please welcome Paul Merton, Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones and Clement Freud. Beside me sits Elaine Wigley who's going to keep the score and blow the whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular show is coming from the Pleasance Theatre on the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival. And before us we have an excited over-animated Fringe audience who are going to explode as we start giving of our best. And I ask our four panellists to speak if they can on the subject I will give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject on the card. Let us begin the show this week with Paul Merton. The subject, tattoo. And you have 60 seconds as usual Paul starting now.

PAUL MERTON: It's rather a strain doing this show knowing that the audience is likely to explode at amy moment! Nevertheless I regard tattoos as a kind of self-mutilation. There is a habit amongst teenage girls to have "I love Nicholas Parsons" tattooed on various parts of their body. Because of course our esteemed chairman is currently wowing them at the West End with his soft-shoe shuffle, seen outside Harrods with a little hat to collect coins from the grateful passers-by...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DEREK NIMMO: Deviation, I think he's parted, departed from tattoo. He's talking about you busking outside Harrods. Deviation.

NP: Yes I think we could we interpret that as deviation because I, and also the fact I haven't actually busked outside Harrods.

DN: Thought he was more of a Selfridges man really!

PM: It's nice to have goals in life though isn't it!

NP: I know! I get no quarter from any of them do I? I don't know why you laugh so much but there we are. I thought for once I might have got a nice compliment, he was going to plug the fact I was in the Rocky Horror Show in London. But he didn&'t, so there we are. Derek you had a correct challenge...

PETER JONES: What show was that again?

PM: Which part of the title do you represent?


NP: The Horror part of course! Derek a correct challenge, so you have a point for that, you take over the subject, tattoo, 30 seconds are left starting now.

DN: One of the highlights, I think, of the Edinburgh Festival. This glorious city, spot to which we come every year, with such excitement and enthusiasm to gaze with absolute astonishment at everything but in particular the Tattoo. Up on the Castle Rocks and the lone piper high on the battlements...


NP: What is your challenge Clement?


NP: Why?

CF: I, there's no reason to believe that the piper's high!


NP: Clement, the audience's applause endorses the fact that that was an enjoyable challenge for which we give you a bonus point. But as Derek was not deviating from the rules of Just A Minute...

PJ: He wasn't deviating, but he's obviously in the pay of the Scottish Tourist Board!

DN: And why not?

NP: Derek you get a point for being interrupted, you keep the subject, 10 seconds left, tattoo starting now.

DN: Tattoo is one of the few Polynesian words in the English language. Brought back by Captain Cook when he came... from his...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: No he didn't hesitate.

PJ: He couldn't remember who brought it back!

NP: No, no, I think he kept going Peter, well tried. Derek another point for an incorrect challenge, three seconds left, tattoo starting now.

DN: Stopped in the bay...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I just wanted to see if my buzzer was working!

NP: A bonus point to Paul Merton and Derek get a point for being interrupted, tattoo starting now.

DN: The Egyptian Army took...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point and of course it was on this occasion Derek Nimmo. And you won't be surprised to hear that he's in a strong lead at the end of that round. And Derek it's your turn to begin, the subject, down under.

DN: I once went to speak in a debate in New Zealand, and the motion was "it's better to be down under than on top". Now you can take that either sexually, socially or politically. They in fact took it, as I mentioned, with the S-E-X...


DN: What's the matter?

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of took it.

NP: They took it.

DN: Oh they did.

CF: You can take it.

DN: Oh yeah.

CF: He said you can take it.

NP: I think he said you can take it any way but they took it that way. So Derek you keep the subject, another incorrect challenge, 45 seconds, down under starting now.

DN: Australia and New Zealand are greatly concerned...


NP: Paul Merton.

PM: Repetition of New Zealand.

NP: You had New Zealand.

DN: Oh did I.

NP: Yes you did. So Paul you got in that time and 43 seconds to tell us something about down under starting now.

PM: I was once working in Melbourne, Australia, and the Mayoress of that particular town, I was having lunch with her, there was some sort of...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: It's actually a city, Melbourne.

PM: It was a long time ago! They only had...

NP: You don't...

PM: They had four sheep and a post office when I was there!

NP: You don't look old enough Paul, you don't get away with it.

PM: Well I put that down to the Oil of Ulay.

NP: Probably because you weren't wearing that sweater

PM: I drink it by the pint!

NP: Peter Jones, correct challenge, down under's with you, 35 seconds starting now.

PJ: One of my really favourite places. And I remember the first Sunday I was there, the theatre manager took me for a trip up the Blue Mountains. And he stopped his car which was a new one on the edge of a precipice which was a wonderful panoramic view. And he said "well you stay in the car Peter and have a rest, you must be tired and I'll just stroll around." And I said "no I want to get out!" And he insisted. But then I did step out on to the road outside. He slammed the door of the car...


PJ: ...It rolled forward and went over the precipice.

NP: Right Clement, you had a challenge.

CF: Two cars, I'm afraid.

NP: There were two cars.

PJ: Yes.

NP: Much earlier on you said car and you repeated car...

PJ: Yes.

PM: That would be two cars then, yes.

NP: But Clement very sportingly waited until you got to the end of the story to see if it was worth it.

PJ: It wasn't!

NP: I know, that's why he pressed his buzzer!

PJ: ah.

NP: Well he's got in now with six seconds to go on down under starting now.

CF: Melbourne and Sydney are probably my favourite cities down under...


NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, and he's in second place behind Derek Nimmo who's still in the lead and then it's Paul Merton...

DN: Does anyone hear music?

NP: Has somebody got a walkman on?

PM: I think it's another show.

NP: Okay...

PM: They won't be able to hear you Nicholas, if they have!

NP: I said earlier on that this particular show is coming from the Pleasance Theatre on the Fringe at Edinburgh. And if in the background you hear some very delicate music it's not the Minute Waltz which we have as the overture to our show, it is another show on the Pleasance which is taking place. So just know that we're being accompanied while we try and entertain you. And er...

PM: Just A Minute, the musical!


NP: Another bonus point to Paul Merton for that. Right, yes, we'll see if you like it better, you can write in and let us know what your reactions are. Peter Jones your turn to begin, the subject is count. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PJ: Count Basie comes to mind, the Count of Monte Cristo, and of course er Count Dracula...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

PJ: That's the part I always rather wanted to play...

NP: I know.

DN: Er Count Dracula, hesitation

NP: There was an er before the Count of Monte Cristo. So Derek you got in with 53 seconds, tell us something about count starting now.

DN: Count is a French title, the equivalent of an English earl. But the curious thing is that a British Count has a Countess, although I said that has a different...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: He's just said Count was a French title. You can't have a British count having a Countess. It's a British Earl that has a Countess.

NP: But...

PM: Can't we settle this with a spirited song?

NP: It was a very good cue for a song. Clement I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, you have 44 seconds on count starting now.

CF: One of the best ways of counting is to look at the audience and say they are one, two, three, four people in the fifth row. And the sixth and seventh from the left look extraordinarily like the eighth and the ninth. And we thought 14th. Er count...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: A definite er there Clement. So that's hesitation, 24 seconds back with you, count Derek starting now.

DN: Can you imagine fighting Mike Tyson? Receiving a vast blow and then being counted out, (very fast) one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. And you could not see anything or hear anything, you'd be almost dead...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

DN: What's the matter?

CF: Two anythings.

NP: Two anythings. See anything or hear anything, Clement you're back in on the subject of count...

DN: I was trying to put a bit of speed into it.

NP: I know. Thirteen seconds starting now.

CF: One of the most dangerous things when you're boxing, is if the referee tries to put some speed into it. And instead of counting (slowly) one, two, three, four...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I think we heard a repetition of some of those numbers before!

NP: We did!

CF: No, oh no!

NP: You did, you said one, two, three, four.

CF: First, second and third, first, second and third.

NP: No, no, it went on to that, you said one, two, three, four to begin with. And then you went on to the seconds, thirds, sevenths and eighths. I have to listen and that's my job. So...

PM: If you weren't here Nicholas, I don't know what we'd do! Train a budgerigar perhaps!

NP: You'd get a fall guy somewhere!

DN: You won't get a bonus point for that one!

NP: Why not? Give him one, I don't mind. Two seconds, Paul, you got in with two seconds to go on the subject of count starting now.

PM: One, two, three, four...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point for doing so. He's equal with Clement Freud, who are two points together behind Derek Nimmo and then it's Peter Jones. Clement the subject is basil. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: Basil is a herb which is green, and particularly beloved by the people of Italy. An Italian salad is likely to have a red tomato, white mozzarella cheese and then the verdancy of basil. So the flag of the Italianate people is reflected in the food that they have on their plate! Many of you might have been to the Imperial War Museum in Rome where they have a Second World War tank which belongs to the...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: War.

NP: You repeated War.

CF: Yes.

NP: You see, they do this, they look at me. I must explain to the listeners, they look at me as if to bluff me out of the fact. You can't give that against me, I definitely didn't do it! But I have to listen and have confidence in my decisions...

PM: Even if no-one else does!

NP: I know! Twenty-seven seconds for you Derek on basil starting now.

DN: Good old Basil Brush! Do you remember that little foxy character that we used to see on television. Derek Fowlds sitting next to him. And the feller was under the table with his hand up, manipulating poor old Basil all the time. What a clever ploy...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition of poor old.

NP: Poor old. You had poor old before Derek. Don't look at me like that please. Thirteen seconds for you Peter, basil starting now.

PJ: I got fed up with recipes that called for a handful of basil. Which is an enormous quantity! This year I've actually grown my own and I've been able to produce about seven pots of it and...


NP: Peter Jones was speaking as the whistle went, he's in fourth place but only a point or two separates him from Paul Merton, Clement Freud and Derek Nimmo just in the lead. And Paul your turn to begin, the subject, breaking a leg. Will you tell us something about breaking a leg and 60 seconds are available starting now.

PM: Well it's a very painful experience and I wouldn't recommend it to anybody. I did break my leg up here in Edinburgh in 1987 and it was a rather tragic event. I'd come to the Festival to do a one-man show, successfully performed for one night and then went out and broke my leg. And I had the rave reviews that said "go and see this man". So people would come to visit me in hospital to see how amazing and amusing I was. They would chuckle at my x-rays, they'd never seen such wit! They would watch me dribble food out of the corner of my mouth, barely recognising friends and close family as I mumbled into the terrible dream that I was having at the time. It was a ghastly, dreadful, terrible, ghastly, dreadful...


PM: ...dreadful, ghastly experience!

NP: Clement Freud you challenged.

CF: Yes!

NP: Yes you did. I think we know why. Fourteen seconds, breaking a leg starting now.

CF: Technically breaking a leg is wrong, you break bread and you carve a leg. It is done to beef, mutton or pork. You do so by sharpening the knife and cutting against the grain which is ever...


NP: Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point and he's creeping up on our leader. He's only one point behind Derek Nimmo. And Derek your turn to begin. Derek, the subject is pipes. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

DN: Well the fair city of edinburgh at the moment is positively pipe-ridden. Every time you go out the door there's some dreadful fellow... pulling away at his pipes...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes hesitation yes. Paul, pipes and you have 52 seconds starting now.

PM: (singing) Oh Danny boy, the piper's pipes are calling! (speaks) Because of course Daniel was a plumber and he would hear this noise and realise that the terrible rumbling coming from within the pipes meant they had to be lagged for the winter! Why somebody should bother writing a song about this individual, I've really no idea. But it has been passed from hand to mouth over the years. And we have listened to this great tuneful melody and I'm sure there's not a person here in the audience who hasn't sung this particular ditty once today. As they've walked up the Royal Mile, amusing tourists as they go! I think that's one of the great tricks about Edinburgh is to confuse the Americans and tell them all kinds of nonsense! They go along...



NP: Well Paul Merton took the subject of pipes, and with his flair and flamboyance kept going until the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And he's equal in second place with Clement Freud, only one point behind our leader Derek Nimmo. Peter Jones is trailing a little and it's his turn to begin and the subject is Burke and Hare, another Edinburgh association there. Will you tell us something about those two characters in this game starting now.

PJ: A very unsavoury couple who used to dig up bodies from the cemetery and then sell them to Doctor Knox who used to dissect them. And in a way they made a great contribution to medical science. But they ran out of these er people in the er...


PJ: ... cemetery...

NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes a lot of hesitation there yes. Right...

PJ: Cadaver was the word I was trying, looking for.

NP: I know. What was the word Peter?

PJ: Cadaver or... I never know quite how to pronounce it.

PM: You say ca-dar-ver, you say ca-day-ver.

NP: Trying to confuse the Americans again are you Paul? There we are, 43 seconds, Burke and Hare with you Derek starting now.

DN: William Burke and Bill Hare were indeed Irishman who came to this fair city of Edinburgh, and went to this rather curious phase of actually murdering people and taking the bodies and flogging them to Doctor Robert Knox who was frightfully pleased to have a new subject to dissect. But the people didn't really go along with this, they thought it was taking... er...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was hesitation. Burke and Hare's with you now Paul, 22 seconds starting now.

PM: Burke and Hare were of course one of the first midnight shows on the Fringe in the early days. And people would go along to see the corpses being dragged out of the ground, there were some jugglers nearby as well. And people painting faces...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Ah two people.

NP: Yes there were too many people there Paul, nine seconds on Burke and hare with you Clement starting now.

CF: In the evenings Burke and Hare used to sit in Mungo Park wondering what to do about the Niger. They had an awfully good time...


NP: Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went and he's now in the lead alongside Derek Nimmo. And then just behind Paul Merton and Peter Jones in that order. And, of course, there's a little Edinburgh ditty about Burke and Hare, what was it. Um...
Up the close and down the stair
Been the house of Burke and Hare
Burke's the butcher, Hare's the thief
And Knox the boy who buys the beef.


NP: And Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject is digs. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

CF: Digs is short for diggings and means theatrical usually, accommodation. But in Edinburgh it isn't like that. People who live in this fair city leave Scotland altogether while the Festival is on, and rent their flats and houses for huge sums of money which performers who are on the Fringe or in the main theatre...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of Fringe.

NP: Yes you mentioned the Fringe before Clement. Thirty-seven seconds are available for you to tell us something about digs, Paul, starting now.

PM: Archaeologists are people who go on digs. They're intensely interested in digging up something from the past. Oh look there's a ring-pull can, it's got last Wednesday's date on it! We must take it to the British Museum! I personally can't be bothered too much about what happened in the past. I'm really much more...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of past.

NP: Yes you mentioned the past before. Peter you got in with 20 seconds to go on the subject of digs starting now.

PJ: Mrs McNab, 4 Brougham Place, Edinburgh, kept the best digs in this country. Or the other country down south. She was one of the...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two countries.

NP: There were two countries. Eleven seconds, digs with you Clement starting now.

CF: Any person who is a bit short of money could do far worse than go to the Steels at Etherick Bridge who put out all sorts of strange people for hardly...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes. There were too many people, you made it before Clement I'm afraid. You got in Paul, cleverly, with half a second to go on digs starting now.

PM: A shovel...


NP: Yes Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point, he's now equal in the lead with Clement Freud in the lead. And I agree with you Peter, Mrs McNab did have the best digs in the whole of the country. I stayed with the dear lady. She was over 80, she'd had a vasectomy and she ran around...

PM: She had a what? A Vasectomy?

NP: Oh no, sorry!


NP: (laughing) I'm sorry...

DN: Deviation!

PM: Slight, slightly, slightly more than a vasectomy if her name was Mrs McNab!

NP: She had these wonderful books that all the stars had signed for her.

PJ: I never got to know her that well!

NP: Oh dear! Oh the best things come out by accident, don't they! Paul, it's your turn to begin, a full house. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: Well this is something you get in Bingo. All the sixes, 66, and various calls like...


NP: And Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I think that could be a repetition of six.

NP: Six...

PM: Sixty, all the sixes, 66.

NP: That's what he said, that's not repetition. I'm sorry Clement.

CF: Well what is?

NP: An incorrect challenge Paul, so another point to you, you have the subject still, a full house starting now.

PM: All the eights, etcetera! You know it's a very popular game although I...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of all the.

NP: All the, yes. Clement it's tough at the top there, you're still level pegging. A full house is the subject, you have 51 seconds starting now.

CF: If you have a full house in poker, you beat a pair... two pairs...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: There did seem a bit of a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes, he was trying to go through...

CF: Where?

NP: Between a pair and two pairs. There was a definite hesitation, right, 46 seconds, a full house Peter starting now.

PJ: It's something that many actors don't experience except at Christmas when all their relatives visit them! But there are other occasions...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation there too Peter, yes.

PJ: I speak very slowly!

NP: Thirty-seven seconds, Derek, a full house starting now.

DN: Well the reason we have a full house at the Edinburgh Fringe is quite obvious. It's because it's free. We let anybody come in at all! If we were charging 50p nobody would turn up! As it is a full house now we know that we are without value! That is why they've arrived, rather than go and see the excellent shows that are here. Who would actually pay to witness Nicholas Parsons? I would not for one, although I did see him actually doing his one man show which was an extraordinary sight. I saw the love affair for him in Edinburgh with some chums...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of Edinburgh.

NP: Yes you mentioned Edinburgh before. Seven seconds tell us something about the, a full house starting now.

PM: I have got in my house at the moment 15 young Arab boys, who are there for my own personal amusement...


NP: Why you should cheer his devious thoughts with those Arabs, I don't know. But he was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point and he's taken the lead just ahead of Clement Freud. And only just behind is Derek Nimmo and then Peter Jones. And Derek Nimmo we're moving into the last round. It still could be anybody's contest. And a buttonhole is the subject, you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

DN: A buttonhole in those days is something which I always used to sport. I used to go, many years ago, to the Dorchester Hotel. And just inside was a wonderful little plaza and it always had a clothe-coloured flower that I wanted, a carnation in fact. Had a glorious smell! It's funny you know, that those particular flowers don't actually have a stem any more. It's a great shame. That's perhaps why I don't wear a buttonhole. The other reason for wearing the buttonhole is that some people used to come along, they used to shove their thumb inside your buttonhole and pull you towards them. That is what was called buttonholing and they would speak very closely to you about some subject of no particular import or interest. But you couldn't get away from them. So don't be buttonholed by Nicholas Parsons if you see him! He will go for you! I warn you ladies and gentlemen! Don't laugh please! He is an extrovert! He is a cad as well of course. And he will shout and...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of he is a.

NP: He is a, yes, I should think so. Whatever you had said I would have given it against him actually! The idea that I would go and buttonhole this audience, I would like to chat them up, but, especially the more attractive ones. Ah and I would chat up the unattractive ones because you know I'm....

PM: Desperate!


NP: You have 15 seconds to tell us something about buttonhole Paul starting now.

PM: Derek's quite right, you don't see buttonholes as often as you used to. It seems that the fashion amongst modern tailors is not to incorporate this particular feature into the suits that they make theses days. I really don;t know why this should be the case...


NP: And nobody could put a buttonhole into your psychedelic sweater anyway Paul!

PM: It represents the rings of Uranus!

NP: Paul Merton was speaking then as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, and increased his position at the end of the round and at the end of the contest. Let me tell you that it was a very even contest, they all contributed a great deal, they all didn't get quite the same number of points. But out in the lead, just five ahead of the rest was Paul Merton. So Paul you have triumphed once again in Edinburgh, Paul Merton! It only remains for me to thank our four intrepid and outrageous players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Peter Jones and Derek Nimmo. Also thank Elaine Wigley for keeping the score for us and also Ian Messiter for thinking up the game which we all enjoy playing so much. And above all thank our producer Anne Jobson. From them and from our audience here, we do hope you've enjoyed the show and will tune in again the next time we take to the air to play Just A Minute. Until then from all of us here good-bye!