NOTE: Nicholas Parsons's 500th appearance.

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 people who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back one of our regular players of the game who joined us a few years ago and has done so well that we daren't let him go, and that is Paul Merton. We welcome back someone who's only played the game twice before and he did it so well we had to ask him back again and that is Graham Norton. And there is two others who have played the game for 28 years and we can't do without them, that is Peter Jones and Clement Freud. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Elaine Wigley who's going to keep the score and 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 without hesitation, repetition or deviation, the rules of the game. See what happens as we start the show this week with Clement Freud. And the subject, tripe. Will you tell us something about tripe in Just A Minute starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: I think it is proper to say that taramasalata is the biggest sexual stimulant that we have in the western world. A man in Newport Pagnall ate his own weight of this confection of smoked cod's row, lemon juice, sunflower oil, spices, herbs and...


NP: Paul Merton you challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Hesitation.

NP: Yes it was hesitation. I think he was waiting for someone to challenge him for deviation actually, nothing happened. But he paused, that is hesitation, there are 38 seconds left, the subject is tripe Paul, it is with you.

PM: Of course Clement was talking tripe. That's what he was on about as regards the sexual apperfecture... what? (laughs)


NP: Peter what is your challenge?

PETER JONES: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, yes indeed, he did hesitate. But 32 seconds left the subject is tripe with you starting now.

PJ: Well I've been associated with tripe for many years! As an actor you really can't avoid it. And you're often given a lot of tripe to talk or speak or act even. And in the...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Ah repetition of ors.

NP: Of ors?

PJ: No, no, no! Not two letters!

NP: No... you did say it three times. I have to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute. I agree with you it's a bit of a tough challenge. But Clement it was a correct challenge so...

PJ: Boring as well!

NP: Twenty seconds, back with you is tripe starting now.

CF: Tripe is the edible lining of a ruminant's stomach and is pretty disgusting unless you like that sort of thing. In the east end of London they cook it in something called liquor which contains the juices of the meat mixed with parsley or other herbs...


CF: Thank you!

NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Clement Freud so he has two points at the end of that round. Paul Merton also has a point because he was, er, had a correct challenge and he takes the second subject which is the cat's whisker. Will you tell us something about the cat's whisker in Just A Minute Paul starting now.

PM: This is a term for a very old fashioned sort of radio that was very popular in the 1920s and 30s. People would sit around their sets on a Wednesday afternoon listening to the great dance bands of the time. Such groups as Clement Freud's Hawaiian Five and Peter Jones' Syncopated Six. It was a wonderful time for all fans of this kind of popular tune. And people would often come...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: That's the second time he's said and!


NP: Yeah but you should get back at Clement on those sort of challenges, it's not...

PM: But he wasn't, Clement wasn't talking so it's difficult there!

NP: I know! Yeah but... he did repeat and a number of times...

PJ: Well I only did it to show what a ridiculous challenge it is!

NP: As he repeated people as well we'll give it to you Peter and say you have 33 seconds on the cat's whisker starting now.

PJ: Cat's whiskers are the same width as the cat behind them. And so when a cat tries, I've repeated cat...


NP: Paul challenged.

PJ: Just in case anybody's at all...

PM: He repeated cat.

NP: I know but cat is on the card and you can repeat the words on the card.

PM: Oh no, it's cats on the card.

NP: Yes, apostrophe S, it's cat's.

PM: Well it's a different word! Cat, C-A-T is cat and cat's is C-A-T-apostrophe-S! How can it be the same?

NP: Well because cat is on the card.

PM: Are you saying the apostrophe-S doesn't matter?

NP: Not when it's on the card...

PM: Not when it's on the card! If it said on the card "I'm a lunatic", you'd believe it wouldn't you!

NP: If he said whisk that is also on the card and I would allow you to use the word whisk more than once! I don't mind...

PM: What is he talking about? Whisk?

NP: You'd have given me an impossible decision actually if you did that. But cat is on the card because you've got cat or cat's. I think I must give the benefit of the doubt to Peter Jones so he keeps the subject, another point, he has 23 seconds starting now.

PJ: So when a cat approaches a hole or aperture, it knows that if the whiskers stick out further than the hole, the cat...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of whisk.


NP: But whisk is on the card!

PM: Whisk and hole!

NP: Right, yes, repetition of hole. Fourteen seconds Paul, the cat's whisker starting now.

PM: Whisk, whisk, whisk, whisk, whisk!


PM: Who buzzed now? We've established the rules!


PM: We've established that we can repeat whisk as often as we like!

NP: But not ad infinitum like that!

PM: Well three isn't ad infinitum, is it?

NP: No, you did it more than three times.

PM: I said whisk, whisk, whisk, that's three times.

NP: No you said whisk, whisk, whisk, whisk, whisk, whisk, whisk....

PM: All right, five, that's not ad infinitum!

NP: Clement you have a correct challenge and so you...

PM: He hasn't said what it is yet!

NP: Yes it is, repetition of whisk.

PM: Oh.

NP: He only used one word! Ten seconds Clement starting now.

CF: The very best way to remove whiskers from a cat is to take the feline animal to a barber with a pair of scissors and snip it off...


NP: On that very sorry thought we come to the end of that round. And Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went so he gained an extra point. He has increased his lead at the end of the round. Peter Jones in second place, then Paul Merton and Graham's yet to speak. Um, but wait till he gets going! Peter Jones will you take the next round and the subject is snap. Will you tell us something about snap in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Well it's a funny word because it can be used in so many different ways. Verbs like snap is a rather bitter, irritable retort to a question. And then snapping a pencil in half for instance. Or then a cold snaps of course and brandy snaps, all...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: Er that was a repetition of snaps. I hate to be picky! But it was.

NP: The subject is snap and he repeated snaps. Well done Graham!

GN: Was I right?

NP: Yes you were right.

GN: Good.

PM: Things have changed since the cat-cats rule!


PM: Is there no moment of consistency in your judgements?

NP: Ah if there was you wouldn't have all the ammunition to come back and be so amusing and facetious Paul. Ah the subject is with you, 41 seconds, snap Graham starting now.

GN: Very little can make me snap! Apart from fat children really. When I am sitting on a bus and one of those rotund infants comes in and sits opposite me I try to be nice and have sympathetic thoughts like how difficult to be a young person in that pudgy state! But something within me wants to reach out...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two somethings.

NP: Clement you have a correct challenge, you also have 19 seconds, the subject is snap starting now.

CF: Snap is a very useful game to play with Peter Jones, because when two cards show the same picture or number, he always begins by saying "well"! After which you can say "snap" before he gets it in. Therefore you succeed and the afore mentioned colleague...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: I think he's making a personal attack on me!

NP: So what is your challenge?

PJ: Deviation.

NP: I don't think he was deviating from the subject of snap. He did hesitate, didn't he?

PJ: Yes.

NP: Well done, you have very cleverly got in with half a second to go...

PJ: Ah!

NP: ...on snap starting now.

PJ: I always...


NP: So at the end of that round Clement Freud gained points and increased his lead by one over Peter Jones who's in second place, then Paul Merton, then Graham Norton. And Graham your turn to begin, the subject ecstasy. Oh the audience are looking forward to you telling them something about ecstasy Graham starting now.

GN: I once very nearly achieved a state of ecstasy but then my mother burst into the bedroom! And removed the book I was reading entitled Grimble at Christmas written by the very lovely Clement Freud! This superb tome has whipped me into states of excitement and pleasure I can hardly describe. But my God, I'm going to try! I've spent many winter evenings curled in front of a fire hugging my knees with pure pleasure as I recall this lovely shirt book, novella if you will...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of book sadly.

GN: Oh dear!

NP: Yes! Yes!


GN: I'm a fool to myself!

NP: You did go for 40 seconds, that's very good. It's the best we've had today yet.


NP: And Paul, correct challenge, 20 seconds available, ecstasy starting now.

PM: My idea of high fun would be to go to a... fun fair somewhere to...


NP: Graham you got in, yes, what is your challenge?

GN: Was it me?

NP: Yes it is you, you got in first.

GN: Er too many funs.

NP: Yes fun, fun fair yes. Ecstasy back with you, so as rapidly as that, 15 seconds available Graham starting now.

GN: Money can't buy you love! Nor can you purchase happiness! But you can buy ecstasy...



NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

CF: Buy.

NP: Yes you're quite right, he did say buy unfortunately. He was working up to that very good gag but he had to use buy twice. Seven seconds available for you Clement on ecstasy starting now.

CF: It's very odd that words like ec-sti-ty, er...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Well there isn't a word like ecti-titty!

NP: So you call that deviation from...

GN: Well I suppose there is a word like ectity, it's ecstasy.

NP: So deviation from the word as we understand it, and it's four seconds available with you Graham on ecstasy starting now.

GN: Ec...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes of course Peter, two seconds for you on ecstasy starting now.

PJ: Whatever it is, it doesn't last very long!


NP: Well Peter Jones speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point and he has now leapt forward to join Clement Freud in the lead and then Graham Norton and Paul Merton are equal in second place. Clement Freud it is your turn to begin, the subject is going for a song, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: A man came up to me at the fair and said "if you have a poet's tongue, tumble up and chant the air, so that birds of morning hum. I'll pay you if you sing it well, a penny piece." I answered flat "sixpence is the proper price for a ballad such as that." I learnt this in a detention at school because I had been doing something I should not have done...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes.

CF: I was breathing!

NP: He thought of what he shouldn't have done and paused. Ah 35 seconds are available for you Paul, going for a song starting now.

PM: Lots of people go for a song, they love musicals. Andrew Lloyd Webber's work is still packing out the West End, shows such as Cats, Miss Saigon and all these kinds of blockbusters...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: I don't think he wrote Saigon.

PM: No, he didn't, no.

NP: He didn't. But when you have to keep going in Just A Minute under pressure sometimes those sort of things slip up. But you picked it up Peter and you are going to play this game of Just A Minute, 24 seconds starting now.

PJ: People all over the world flock to the...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition, I just said all that!

PJ: He...

PM: I just said all that! People flock all over the world, he's just copying what I've said!

PJ: No I mean they flock to the Eurovision Song Contest!

PM: Oh that's all right! I withdraw my challenge!

NP: No, no...

PJ: That's quite all right!

NP: Paul you've been on the show long enough now to know you can repeat what someone else has said, as long as you don't repeat something within a round. All right Peter, 21 seconds still available, going for a song, starting now.

PJ: And they want to take part in it of course when they arrive. And many of them do from Sweden, Norway, Ireland, all over the place. And they sing a number which has been specially composed for the purpose as a rule. And they are all, without exception, ghastly! In my opinion! Ireland often wins...


NP: Well fans of the show will be pleased to know that at the end of that round Peter Jones not only got extra points, one for speaking as the whistle went, but he's taken the lead ahead...

PJ: I was in the lead before!

NP: Two ahead of Clement Freud and Paul your turn to begin and the subject, blockbusters. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: Metro Goldwyn Mayer or if you prefer MG, was perhaps the first film studio to initiate the huge musical blockbuster. When talkies were invented some time around 1928, they were the first studio to get hold of the new sound system and produce all-singing...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: They were behind Warner Brothers.

PM: Well I was going to say the all-singing all-dancing musical's very much a MGM thing. Warner Brothers...

NP: It was very much a MGM thing but I'll tell you what we'll do. I don't know if Warner Brothers pioneered it before MGM...

PM: No Warner Brothers certainly had the first sound film with Al Jolson.

PJ: And that was a musical, wasn't it?

PM: Well yes it had musical numbers in it, but no dancing. Sort of spectacular musicals was what I was talking about.

PJ: Oh I see.

NP: Well I think in that situation...

PJ: Yes well I understand now.

NP: I can't really judge...

PJ: Seems reasonable to me, yes!

NP: Very amicable! Give them both a point and leave the subject with Paul Merton then. Paul there are 41 seconds left for blockbusters starting now.

PM: I was lying, it was Warner Brothers who started the whole big business of making these blockbuster musicals with Al Jolson...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Was there repetition of musicals?

NP: Yes that's right.

GN: Oh now!

NP: That's right. Well done, well listened Graham, 34 seconds available, blockbusters with you Graham starting now.

GN: Blockbuster isn't a term you'd apply to Grimble at Christmas, a superb slim volume written by Clement Freud who brought me much pleasure through my childhood years. If it were a blockbuster, the front cover would have the title of that character in the holiday season written in gold lettering, slightly raised off the page...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged.

PM: Repetition of written.

NP: That's right, written by Clement Freud. And written again came up. Paul's got in with nine seconds to go on blockbusters starting now.

PM: There used to be a rather irritating show hosted by Bob Holness where spotty students would say things like "I'll have a P please" and then giggle...


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. He has moved forward, just one ahead of Clement Freud but he's still trailing our leader Peter Jones. And Graham Norton your turn to begin, the subject is the twilight zone, 60 seconds starting now.

GN: The Twilight Zone is a popular science fiction programme emanating from America. One of the most popular episodes involved...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Ah two populars there.

NP: There were two populars.

GN: You're right!

NP: Yes there are so Clement, a correct challenge, 53 seconds available, the twilight zone starting now.

CF: The twilight zone in London has telephones which are prefaced 0181 and we all feel really sorry for them. I subscribe to a charity which sends them food parcels and hopes that like Captain Scott, they will come back and get better. The twi...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Repe, repetition of one.

NP: Yes you're quite right Graham, well listened, 34 seconds for you on the twilight zone starting now.

GN: As I was saying, my favourite...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: He's not sticking to the subject.

GN: Like a leech! Like a leech! I want to go back!

NP: I think we have to give him a little more time to get under way and establish whether he's on the subject or not. And I would have thought as I was saying shows that he's really into the subject. Twilight zone with you Graham, another point, 30 seconds starting now.

GN: A Twilight Zone classic featured Captain Kirk, William Shatner, sitting in a plane. He looked through the window. There on the wing was something that looked very like Edwina Currie attending a barbecue. He was terrified and rejected his in-flight meal! "Fool!" I thought. "You'll want that later!" But I didn't sleep hardly a wink that night! I tossed and turned, such was the fever in my blood from the television...


NP: Well Graham Norton's surge of energy and expertise brought him extra points in that round but he's still in fourth place. But no, that is Just A Minute you see, it is the contribution that is so valuable, the points I think are secondary. And Clement it is your turn to begin, the subject is vacuum, will you tell us something about a vacuum or vacuum in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: Vacuum is one of the very few words that has a double U in it. It is also a cleaner, prefaced Hoover, one of the... many...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Well there was a slight hesitation really.

NP: There was a definite hesitation Graham yes.

GN: There was yes.

NP: Clement you were challenged and Graham Norton you have the subject of vacuum, there are 49 seconds available starting now.

GN: I know what a vacuum is because it was explained to me by Carol Vorderman who is incidentally my cleaning lady. Because you don't get paid a lot of money for doing sums, I'm here to tell you. So she was using this heavy piece of equipment, a vacuum. It makes a lot of noise, you need to drag it across your carpet, you sweat, you can't hear yourself think, the dog barks, the cat flees the room, the television's in bits, you can't watch a programme! And yet...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of can't.

NP: Can't, you can't do this and you can't do that.


GN: No, it's off, I'm getting tired now!

NP: Just because he's playing to the audience outrageously! It doesn't mean to say that if he commits one of the sins of Just A Minute that he should get away with it. Peter yes he did emphasise it too. Vacuum is with you, 17 seconds available starting now.

PJ: It's a misnomer really, vacuum cleaner, because you can't clean something that isn't there. And a vacuum is just nothing, absolutely nothing. But...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I think there were two nothings.

NP: There were two nothings.

PJ: Yes.

NP: Nothing, absolutely nothing, yes. Clement you've got in with six seconds on vacuum starting now.

CF: One of the very best ways to clean a carpet is to put pot ash on to it before engaging...



NP: No Peter challenged just before the whistle went, what was it?

PJ: Well he's not, er, he's talking about cleaning now.

NP: Yes...

PJ: Cleaning a carpet, it's nothing to do with the word vacuum necessarily.

CF: You could have fooled me!

PJ: What?

NP: It's a debatable situation, I mean if you...

PJ: Well let's debate it!

NP: ...use a vacuum to clean a carpet. He had only been going for four seconds, I think we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he was speaking when the whistle went so Clement Freud you have that point, and but you're still one point behind Peter Jones who is still in the lead. We didn't get a round of applause for that! Paul Merton it's your turn to begin, the subject is the high life. Will you tell us something about your private life if it's not the high life, but the high life if it is and 60 seconds are available starting now.

PM: Balloonists are people who are said to enjoy the high life. There is nothing that would get me up into a hot air balloon. The idea of standing in this wicker basket while you're some six hundred and fifty feet up in the air. There's nothing between you and the ground apart from this afore mentioned thing that you'd normally keep your laundry in at home. But suddenly it's between you and the bottom of, where you're going, looking down, that's right! And that's what I don't like about it! And the other thing about the high life which I...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition of about.

NP: Oh Peter, you, you've got this bee in your bonnet about ands and ors...

PJ: About is two syllables!

NP: Oh all right.

PJ: It's the big time!

NP: Right Peter it's going to be the prepositions show this time and you challenged again on that. But it was successful, it was correct, yep. High life is with you, 33 seconds are available starting now.

PJ: A lot of people in aircraft practice the high life. And they have er badges...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation?

NP: Hesitation. You were thinking of the high flying club, were you? That made you pause?

PJ: The what?

NP: The high fly... what's it called? The high, um...


NP: The high... what is it again?


NP: The fly high club.

PM: No...

GN: Was it called the deaf club?

NP: No, the mile high club is what it's called.


PJ: Mile high.

NP: You see I'm almost Peter's age and we were searching for the same thing but...

PM: Indeed!

NP: At our age we have to search for it! Anyway...

PM: Any luck?

NP: What's that?

PM: Any luck?

NP: Ah... Frequently, yes! Um...

PM: You amaze me!

NP: Really? Mile high all the time! Right Clement there are 27 seconds for you on the mile high club... oh I'm so sorry, 27 seconds on the high life starting now.

CF: People have different concepts of the high life. For me it would be having a season ticket at Home Park and watching Plymouth Argyll win all their matches in the third division, well upon month after year. And I, they now play in green and white and black which they think gives a higher...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Well as we're having them, repetition of and. Green and white and black.

NP: Yes you're quite right, if we're going to have the prepositions...

PM: I didn't start it!

NP: This is, as I say, going to be the prepositions show. Five seconds are available Paul for high life starting now.

PM: I remember a film called The High Life. It featured this wonderful country and western musical moment called The Preposition Bound where these two cowboys rode across this town...


NP: Well Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point and has moved forward. He's now equal once again with Peter Jones in the lead but only one point behind is Clement Freud and then another point or two behind is Graham Norton. Graham Norton it's your turn to begin, the subject is Paris. Will you tell us something about that... does that bring back thoughts of ecstasy that you were beguiling us with earlier on?

GN: Ah, no!

NP: Right! Paris is the subject Graham starting now.

GN: If there is a mental hospital in Paris, I wish someone would tell the mad people where it is! Because you can scarcely relax on a terrace munching on a baguette, perhaps fallen into a sandwich of some sort, ham, cheese, lettuce, but lo and behold there's some yeeha yip howling at the moon crazy creature at your table. And what's more, though they are a bit touched up at top, they can speak French! And on they go! And of course though they are just a little bit below what you might expect of another human being you meet in the street, they think you can talk their language as well! This can lead to difficulties. Paris of course is reached by the...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Ah two of courses.

NP: Yes.


GN: Oh no, no! Fair is fair!

NP: I know! But you've been going for 57 seconds!


GN: Clement I think you've lost the crowd now!

NP: (laughs) Definitely he has! You've done all the hard work, you've got all the emotional response to that audience and Clement gets in with three seconds to go, one point for that Clement, Paris starting now.

CF: I entered a competition, what is the capital city of France...


NP: There's no justice in Just A Minute! So Graham did all the hard work and kept going and made a great contribution, and Clement came in, got two points and it now remains for me to give you the final score because we have no more time this week to play Just A Minute. You've enjoyed it, have you?


NP: In this particular show Graham Norton, who came from nowhere, gave incredible value. And his value was such that you thoroughly enjoyed it. But he didn't get a lot of points. But that is Just A Minute alas, so he's in fourth place. Then Clement Freud who always gives great value but he finished up with fewer points than usual. And Peter Jones who always gives great value finished up with a lot of points. But he didn't quite get as much points as the man who also gives great value, and he was just two points ahead so we say this week the winner is Paul Merton. We do hope that you have enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute and it only remains for me to thank our four talented and outstanding players of the game, Clement Freud, Graham Norton, Paul Merton, Peter Jones. Also thank Elaine Wigley for keeping the score, blowing her whistle so delicately and admirably when the 60 seconds are up. Also we must thank the creator of the game, Ian Messiter, without whom none of us would be doing the show, and also our producer Anne Jobson who does such an admirable job. And on behalf of them all and me thank you and good-bye!