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 outstanding players of Just A Minute who have joined me this week. We welcome two young comedians who have shone in Just A Minute with such excellence we cannot let them go, that Is Paul Merton and Graham Norton. And two other comedians of a different generation who've shone equally well for more years than the other two, that is Peter Jones and Clement Freud. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Elaine Wigley and she's going to keep the score and she will blow a whistle when 60 seconds are up. And as usual I will ask our four players to speak if they can on the subject that I give them and they will try and do that as usual without hesitation, repeating themselves or deviating from the subject that is on the card in front of me. And we begin the show this week with Paul Merton, and who better? Paul, what an interesting subject, pressing the flesh. Would you talk about that in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: I love sausages, I really do! And there's nothing I enjoy more than getting up in the middle of the night and getting a couple of chipolatas out of the old fridge and giving them a squeeze like that. And it's wonderfully exotic for me. And a fairly sensuous experience I should say. I don't know how the sausage itself reflects on this. It might be as far as it's concerned, rather inconvenient to be woken up in the middle of the night. But I...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

CF: Middle of the night.

NP: The middle of the night, yes. Clement you have the correct challenge so you take over the subject of pressing the flesh, there are 35 seconds available starting now.

CF: Pressing the flesh is another way of saying shaking hands, a very important function for any politician, a practice which I pursued for some 15 years. And it was very difficult because people tried to give you a sort of message as their hand grasped yours. And you said "ah you..."


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of hand.

CF: No, hands and hand.

NP: Yes.

PM: Oh.

NP: Yes it was the same as you had sausage and sausages on the first...

PM: Oh yeah.

NP: So we have to listen very carefully Paul.

PM: Yes we do, yeah.

NP: And so it was an incorrect challenge so Clement has another point for that, he keeps the subject, there are 16 seconds on pressing the flesh starting now.

CF: "You are a freemason," I would say. "No I have arthritis" was the reply. It became very difficult. But it is something, pressing the flesh is a wonderful way of getting to know people. Because...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes you did have people before. Sorry Clement...

CF: You can't shake hands with non-people!

NP: Paul you've got in with four seconds to go on pressing the flesh starting now.

PM: During Nicholas Parsons' porno film career I was often called upon to press the flesh...


NP: The audience are in a slight state of shock after that because they don't know whether it's true or not...

PM: It's true!

NP: It is true, is it? Whoever is speaking when the whistle is blown gains an extra point. And on this occasion it was Paul Merton who also got another point for a correct challenge in the round. So he's equal in the lead with Clement Freud at the end of the round. Peter Jones will you take the next round, the subject, the millennium. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PETER JONES: Well there's a difference of opinion about when it actually takes place, whether it's in 1999 or 2000. And then of course, I was talking to someone just before the show started about this. And the Albert Hall apparently has been booked about 65 times by a similar number of people for one of these nights, or in fact both of them, I believe. So they've got double figures there. We shall be doing Just A Minute of course, it'll be the 30th episode I think, the 30th series rather I should say...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of 30th.

NP: Yes it will be 30th...

PJ: Well...

NP: No it won't be because it's actually the 34th series.

PJ: Really?

NP: Yes.

PJ: Are we doing two a year?

NP: No, this is the 29th series...

PJ: Is it?

NP: Yes.

PM: I thought it was the 30th series.

NP: No, it'll be the 33rd series and we'll be just starting the 34th in the millennium.

PJ: Really?

PM: So make a note in your diaries now!

NP: Paul I agree with your challenge, the audience couldn't care less about what I just said, 28 seconds available for the millennium starting now.

PM: Well as Peter said, some people celebrate it in the year 2000 whereas strictly speaking...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition.

NP: What?

PJ: He admitted it! He said as Peter said! And then he said what I said!

NP: Yes but you, we've established if you remember...

PJ: He can't just repeat something the other person said!

PM: That's right!

NP: Peter, when you were here a few weeks ago and Paul had exactly the same challenge on you and I explained that you can repeat what someone else has said in the round but you cannot repeat what you've said yourself.

PJ: You've obviously got a photographic memory! I can't remember being here, let alone what you said!

PM: I don't remember a word of it!

PJ: No! He doesn't!

PM: I don't remember that at all Nicholas!

NP: You don't remember it...

PM: No...

NP: Well...

PM: It was weeks ago! How could you remember it!

NP: I have that kind of recall, Paul, I...

PM: Do you really?

PJ: My God! It must be a terrible burden! What a heavy load you carry round!

NP: So you can repeat what was said so who challenged who then? I think it was Peter challenged Paul, didn't he?

PJ: Yeah.

NP: So Paul you still have the subject, 23 seconds, the millennium starting now.

PM: Of course it should be accurately reported that the millennium will happen in the year 2001. Stanley Kubrick made a wonderful film which was called that very thing. The title of course was a wonderful ah...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of of course.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes right, seven seconds available for the millennium with you Clement starting now.

CF: I believe the Albert Hall has been booked for (starts to laugh)...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I know, he dried up. Three seconds with you Paul, the millennium starting now.

PM: Now you may not know this but you can actually book the Albert Hall for the year 2000...


NP: So Paul Merton once again was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's in a strong lead ahead of Clement Freud. Graham Norton and Peter Jones have yet to make their mark. And Graham it is your turn to begin, the subject Jim. Will you tell us something about Jim in Just A Minute starting now.

GRAHAM NORTON: Gym is an abbreviation of the word gymnasium. A place I love to go! The only problem is I do find it a bit confusing because there's so many machines. And pieces of apparatus. Perhaps it's apparati, I don't really know. But the piece of equipment I like the best is long and you need to pull down on it. It's called... the sun bed...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Well until he said sun bed, it was going to be deviation! But I...

NP: So you tried to anticipate a challenge which is very shrewd but on this occasion, you tripped yourself up. An incorrect challenge Graham so you keep the subject, and you have 33 seconds to continue on gym starting now.

GN: Jim has just opened a shop underneath my flat. It was empty for months, I can't tell you the worry! Because you think somebody will break in, they'll squat the thing. But happily Jim has rented it now, and he's started a small business there. He doesn't stock very much, generally just pot noodle and old papers! But still it's something in the morning when you're feeling a bit peckish and you think "oh what'll I have? I'll go and ask Jim!" And sure enough, Jim is there! And he's even said to me on more than one occasion "Graham, don't you worry, I'll order things in special!" And I said "Jim..."


NP: So Graham Norton started with the subject and in spite of an interruption in the middle, kept going with the subject, gained that extra point for speaking as the whistle went. And whose turn is it to begin? Oh it's Clement. Clement, crosswords. Can you tell us something about crosswords in this game starting now.

CF: Damn! Bum! Drat! Bother! Are the sort of cross words that spring to mind. There are also competitions in many newspapers, usually on the back page, in which you are given clues, both down and across. And there are those like my dear wife who spend an awful lot of time, solving the questions and giving the correct answers in exactly the right number of letters placed in the appropriate squares. And I admire that sort of knowledge hugely and am myself totally unable to comply with the instructions printed upon the media paper which we purchase or is brought every day of the week. Also on Sundays where crosswords are marvellously diverse and give prizes of considerable value to those who solve answers and questions exactly as they are placed...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: You don't solve answers! Do you? You can't solve an answer!

NP: A very shrewd challenge Peter. Yes and you very cleverly got in with only three seconds to go. So crosswords is with you Peter and there are three seconds starting now.

PJ: John Gielgud is a great crossword player and he...


NP: Well Peter Jones and Graham Norton are in third place, Clement Freud in second place behind our leader Paul Merton. And Paul once more it is your turn to begin and the subject is turning the other cheek. You have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: I think this is a rather bad piece of advice. Because if you turn the other cheek, good chance are that you'll get the other one slapped just as hard as the first one was. I think it's a much better way to deal with life by saying: get your retaliation in first! This is the complete opposite of turning the other cheek. But those people who are so meek and mild that you hit them and they say "I don't care, look, I shall turn my face. I present the other side of my visage for you to strike also". And they hit them again. What can you do with these people? It's obviously a completely...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition of people.

NP: There were too many people.

PM: Yes.

NP: Turning their cheeks, right. Thirty seconds area available for you to tell us something about turning the other cheek Peter starting now.

PJ: It does smack of masochism in my opinion. I think if you do that then you deserve all you've got coming to you. And it wouldn't be my advice to a child who is slapped in the face, or a grown-up for that matter. Er... (clears throat)


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: I think er um.

NP: Er um...

PJ: Yes I was just trying to think of something else to say! Just to keep that dreary monologue going!

NP: It's tough in Just A Minute! Fourteen seconds available, turning the other cheek Clement starting now.

CF: Turning the other cheek is the opposite instruction to do unto others and run like hell! When Cynthia Payne stood for Parliament in a by-election I suggested she embraced as her motto...


NP: Graham you challenged.

GN: Well I did press for hesitation, but I'm dying to know what you told Cynthia!

NP: I know. Do you want to finish the round, then we might discover...

CF: If you give me an extra point, I'll tell you what I...

NP: Graham, one second, turning the other cheek, starting now.

GN: Frying cod cheeks...


NP: Clement see if you can earn that extra point.

CF: I did suggest she use as her motto "if you can't join them, beat them!"


NP: We enjoyed it Clement. There we are, you get your bonus. Peter Jones your turn to begin, the big cheese. With you Peter starting now.

PJ: Well there are lots of very big cheeses. Gouda is one of them. Made in a village in the Netherlands. And they make Edam as well in an adjacent place. Then of course there's Gruyere in Switzerland which also comes from a town of the same name as the cheese. But mostly... what a boring subject this is! It is concerned with politicians pressing the flesh! And usually if they press enough flesh they become a big cheese. And they are er highly thought of individuals or perhaps there are people terrified of them, I don't know. As with the mafia, a lot of them belong to it no doubt! Er.... what....


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: (laughing) Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation. Yes I would grant that one. The big cheese is with you Clement there are 11 seconds available starting now.

CF: Senor Anyelli who is the President of Fiat in Italy once said, and he is a big cheese, if you wish to run a successful company, you need an uneven number of directors...


NP: Clement Freud then...

CF: And three is too many!


NP: Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point, and he has taken the lead ahead of Paul Merton at the end of that round. Graham Norton it is your turn to begin, the subject is common. Will you tell us something about common in Just A Minute starting now.

GN: Often common is seen as a sort of derogatory term. And how depressing it is in the winter when you get a bit of a headache and your nose is running, and you're coughing, and you go to the doctor, looking for sympathy, and all he can say is "you've got a common cold"! And you just think what, did I catch it from chips? Will people come to my bedside with plastic roses wrapped in tabloid newspapers? This is horrific! Why can't they call it something else? Common, it's not a nice word and I don't think it should be used. I think people in the medi...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

GN: Thank you!

CF: Ah think twice, repetition.

NP: Yes, 23 seconds, the common with you Clement starting now.

CF: Wandsworth Common and Clapham Common are the commons I'm most fond of. But you will find commons in the counties of Suffolk and Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hereford, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire. A common I particularly enjoy is one in the county of Hereford...


CF: Beautiful! Lush...

NP: Yes Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes it was hesitation. Because he said Hereford before, that's why.

CF: Hartford!

NP: He was waiting for the challenge and nobody came in.

CF: Hartford!

NP: But hesitation happened, two seconds available, common with you Paul starting now.

PM: Well I agree with what everybody says about the subject really!


NP: Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he has moved forward but he's still one point behind our leader Clement Freud. Clement it's your turn to begin, a dog's dinner. Something that you would have never served in your restaurant. But would you talk about it, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: It used to be very difficult for people who had dogs, who wanted to go on holiday to ensure that the dog's dinner arrived while they were away in Benedorm or wherever. But a company has now invented something called a dog's dinner disposal unit machine, into which you put a dozen or more sachets of whatever disgusting...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: I think this is a bit nonsense! Why do you need a dog dinner disposal machine? A dog is a dog dinner disposal machine.


NP: So what is your challenge then?

CF: Philosophy!

GN: No, it should be dispenser surely? Surely you would dispense the dinner, not dispose if it.


NP: Graham whether it dispenses or disposes, it doesn't matter, he wasn't actually technically deviating from the subject...

PM: And how does the dog get it out of the sachet?

GN: Do you... you're just full of holes! He's making it up!

PM: I think every day a little door opens, the dog sees the sachet, the door closes, the next day the same thing happens again! It's enough to send your dog round the twist, isn't it!


PM: It's like, they used to torture people in prisons like that, on spy films, didn't they. The thing comes round, there's your dinner, you go for it and it closes! You can't get it!

PJ: In this age of dog eat dog, I would have thought a dog would be the best dinner for a dog! Wouldn't it?

NP: Graham I can't agree with the challenge as good as it was. Clement you still have the subject, 36 seconds are available, a dog's dinner starting now.

CF: A dog's dinner is also the expression used to describe unpalatable food which is put before persons, men, women, children or any other species of humanity. Sir Walter scott when he was in the south Arctic seas before he escaped...


PM: Was Sir Walter Scott ever in the...?

NP: Sir Walter Scott wasn't!

PM: He was a novelist wasn't he?

NP: Sir Walter Scott in the south seas, escaping! I mean... the whole thing is getting so bizarre, it sounded like a Paul Merton flight of fantasy. You are right, it was quite devious. Seventeen seconds for a dog's dinner, with you Paul starting now.

PM: The perfect thing for a dog's dinner is a big cheese. And when I say that I refer to the Bee Gees who actually had a hit with Saturday Night Fever in 1977. What a great band they were! I would willingly feed them to any animal, be they canine or feline, I wouldn't care! Particularly the one in the middle, Barry. I think any Alsatian could more than happily...


NP: Well Paul Merton got points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went, and has moved forward, he's now one ahead of Clement Freud and Graham Norton and Peter Jones are equal in third place, a little way behind. And Paul it is your turn to begin, fudge, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: If you want your dog to stop barking, give it fudge. It won't be able to move its mouth because the trouble with fudge is it's so sticky. I don't actually like this stuff, I've had it a couple of times when you have to go to some professional fudge day where celebrities have cooked fudge and you have to test which it's the best fudge. Is it Melvin Hay's? Or has Wendy Craig won it for the third year running? And you go along to these things. Derek Nimmo, in fact came fourth one year with a remarkable fudge which um turned out to be something he'd nicked from Nicholas Parsons. And there was a great terrible scene as the two of them had a massive fight in the beer tent, bottles of Tizer being smashed all over the place! Nicholas I remember was absolutely steaming...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two Nicholases.

NP: Two Nicholases, I know! What a pity!


NP: Oh they feel they can't have too much of Nicholas.


PM: Three people clapped there!

NP: I know!

PM: Three out of 300!

NP: I know! It's outrageous...

PM: And two of them were being bullied by the other one!

NP: Clement he did repeat Nicholas and there are 21 seconds available for you to tell us something about fudge starting now.

CF: Quite apart from the sweetmeat fudge, fudge typographically is what used to be called Stop Press. A page which had a little square on it which could be replaced by further news without resetting the whole newspaper. And fudging was something editors were very keen on...


NP: Well it is nip and tuck as they say because Clement Freud is now one ahead of Paul Merton. And Peter Jones it's your turn to begin, the subject is saloons. Will you tell us something about saloons in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Well they're a cut above the public bar as a rule. And I've known a number of pleasant saloons. Most of them have been modernised and they're not nearly as nice as they were before that. But I'm not a great pub goer so I'm not really very qualified to speak on the subject of saloons for any length of time, not even a minute. But Clement Freud would tell you that he knows saloons in Hartfordshire, Herefordshire, Devonshire, Cornwall, Northumberland and elsewhere. And I'm sure he does, and very nice they are. They sell crisps and wine in automatic dispensers or disposals as probably Clement Freud thinks, I don't know....


PJ: But the actual beverage isn't very nice... er... when it comes out of these... ah... containers, we'll call them. And the water and the beer is generally tends to be er...


NP: Well that hasn't happened for quite a long time. Someone began with the subject and finished with the subject, two points to Peter Jones. Graham Norton it is your turn to begin, the subject bucket shops. Will you tell us something about those, I'm sure it falls into your area of knowledge, 60 seconds starting now.

GN: Bucket shops, once a thriving industry, have never really recovered from the blow dealt to them by the introduction of indoor plumbing. There was a time when every High Street in the land had a bucket shop. There were chains of them! Buckets R Us! House of Buckets! World of Buckets! Or for the richer people...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Well this could go either way, but repetition of Buckets because it's bucket on the card.

NP: I know, isn't that mean! It's bucket on the card and you...

GN: Paul, I say go!

PM: I know! I've known this decision to go one way and then the other, then back again. I think he secretly tosses a coin in his pocket!

GN: That's quite a trick!

PM: He's doing something there anyway!

NP: Oh...

PM: Looks like heads from where I'm sitting!


NP: How low can you take it!

PM: Well I don't know, you tell us Nicholas! Ten p piece I've heard!

NP: Oh well! I'm glad they laugh, it shows I'm a good sport! But you did repeat buckets so I've got to be fair in Just A Minute. Paul, a correct challenge, 36 seconds, will you tell us something about bucket shops starting now.

PM: Well I don't know enough about them really, so I think you should give the subject back to Graham.


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: (laughing) Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was hesitation. Clement, 32 seconds on bucket shops starting now.

CF: Bucket Shops is the name given to travel agents who are not bound by some altruistic charter and therefore they can sell flights which don't necessarily exist. What is so miserable about bucket shops is that you sit on a plane and you have no idea whether the person sitting next to you... I've said sitting twice now but no-one...


NP: Peter your light came on.

PJ: Repetition of sitting.

NP: Yes that's right, well done Peter. Right, 13 seconds, bucket shops starting now.

PJ: You can get them at ironmongers. And I once heard an Italian...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: (laughing) Deviation! You can't get a bucket shop...

NP: You can't buy a bucket shop...


PJ: Buckets! You get buckets! Whittled it down to buckets!

NP: Oh I see. You mean a bucket shop is a shop that sells buckets? Right, so that was an incorrect challenge and you have a point, and there are nine seconds for you to continue on bucket shops starting now.

PJ: I once heard an Italian describe it as an eye-ron-mon-jarry shop...


GN: You couldn't describe it! Because it's bucket shops!

NP: No, he had interpreted the subject as I understood it, to shops that sell buckets. So there are five seconds for you to continue on bucket shops Peter starting now.

PJ: Well I don't know! Any shop that sells buckets (laughs) is a bucket shop, as far as I'm concerned...


NP: (laughing) Clement challenged.

CF: Then he should stop talking about it!

NP: So the only thing I can do is give the benefit of the doubt to Peter Jones...

CF: Aha.

NP: ...and say you have half a second on bucket shops starting now Peter.

PJ: Yes!


NP: So Peter came from nowhere in that round, and gained...

PJ: And went back there afterwards!

NP: Graham Norton's in fourth place, then Peter Jones. Paul Merton is behind our leader Clement Freud, only one point behind him. I mention that fact because we are now entering the last round of the show. And it is Clement Freud to begin. And the subject is making waves starting now.

CF: It seems to me that the subject of making waves when you are one point ahead in Just a Minute is not one that is conducive to winning a game. Because it is simply too difficult to explain the manufacture of oscillation on the water in the number of seconds that I will have to spin out my monologue in order to explain this to the people sitting here in this theatre waiting for me to stumble or fall. Get into a bathtub and move your hands backwards and forwards and you will be surprised how many waves will appear on the surface of the water causing great...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of surface.

NP: Yes.

CF: Really?

PM: Yes, yes.

NP: I think someone's in love with you, out there Clement. No he did repeat that so Paul you have the subject of making waves and there are 22 seconds left starting now.

PM: Wave making machines have become very popular in swimming pools up and down the country. Local town councils have got involved, invested in these particular apparatus and they are very popular with people...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Was there a popular and popular?

NP: Yes, two populars there. Eight seconds for you Graham on making waves starting now.

GN: Making waves is something that David Copperfield, the magician's hairdresser seems to do overtime, I feel, in the mistaken...


NP: And so Graham Norton aptly brought the show to a close, gained an extra point for doing so. It remains for me to give you the final score. Graham Norton did magnificently, he contributes so much but he doesn't make many points, I don't know why! But it is the contribution which we love Graham. Peter Jones, I could say the same thing about him. He's been doing it, making an amazing contribution for a large number of years. But he's got quite a few points, he's got quite a few points. But a great contribution came from the other two players again and very aptly they both finished up with the equal number of points. So a very apt situation to say Paul Merton and Clement Freud have tied to be called the winners this week. It only remains for me to say thank you to our four outstanding players of the game, also I must thank Elaine Wigley for keeping the score so well, blowing her whistle so delicately. Our producer Anne Jobson, Ian Messiter for thinking of the game, and also from me Nicholas Parsons, we do hope that you've enjoyed it, be at the end of your radio sets the next time we take to the air to play Just A Minute. Until then from all of us, good-bye!