NOTE: Peter Jones's 300th appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute! Yes!


NP: Hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more, it is my pleasure not only to welcome our listeners but the four exciting players who this week are going to play Just A Minute, pitting their verbal dexterity, their ingenuity and wit as they compete. And we welcome back one of our regular young players who has shown such humour and talent in the show that is Paul Merton. We welcome back young Kit Hesketh-Harvey who's shown equal skill in different directions. And also we welcome two of our older players of the game who have shown incredible skill over many years, that is Peter Jones and Clement Freud. And would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits the lovely Elaine Wigley who will help me with the score, she'll help me with the timing and she will blow a whistle when the full minute has expired. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from Loughborough. It is part of the Festival of Comedy in Leicestershire. And we have in front of us a highly hyped up festival audience who are ready to give their all as our four players try and speak for the minute without hesitation, repetition or deviation. We begin the show this week with Paul Merton, and who better. Paul, the subject, flying by the seat of my pants. Would you talk on that subject, elucidate on that expression, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PAUL MERTON: First you have to get a skateboard. Then you attach a firework to it. You set that alight and you go across the night sky steering by the seat of your pants. By manipulating your buttocks in a rather unusual rhythmic fashion, it's quite easy to turn corners after a while, and it's much cheaper than British Airways! The only problem with it is that you do need to gte a special license from the local council. Because unbelievably, I know it sounds ludicrous, but it is actually illegal to ride a skateboard 15,000 feet...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Two skateboards.

NP: Yes skateboards, I'm afraid.


NP: You were skating with him there, weren't you? You were enjoying it.


NP: But it is a correct challenge, one must be fair within the rules of Just A Minute and for a correct challenge Clement you get a point, you take over the subject, you have 27 seconds left, flying by the seat of my pants starting now.

CF: The history of that term is pantomime in which actors or actresses are flown by a harness attached to the seat of the actor or actress's pants...


NP: And Paul Merton has challenged.

PM: Actor or actress.

NP: Yes. Also it was deviation, because they're not by the seat of their pants they're held, they're held by their crotch actually.

PM: Well some of us haven't studied it as closely as others!


NP: Paul a correct challenge, flying by the seat of my pants, 15 seconds left starting now.

PM: Of course it's also the expression that's used when people are doing something very risky or a bit shady and somehow they're not quite sure whether they're going to get away with it or not...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: He said of course!

NP: Yes he did.


NP: But did he repeat of course?

PJ: Well I think he must have done, don't you?

NP: You were bluffing weren't you? Right, six seconds for you Paul, flying by the seat of my pants starting now.

PM: I once took a journey from New Zealand all the way to Australia with a pair of boxer shorts...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point, it was Paul merton and he is in a definite lead at the end of the round. Kit Hesketh-Harvey will you take the next round, Lear. Will you tell us something about that subject, in our game starting now.

KIT HESKETH-HARVEY: He was a King, a very long time ago, who had three daughters. He wanted to get rid of his realm. The youngest child was called Cordelia, the other two were called Gonerill and Regan. They were a bit chippy, as you would be if you were named after a social disease or a B movie actor! Anyway looking after the elderly does put terrible strain upon their dependants and they threw out him on the blasted heath when he started blowing his wind and cracking his cheeks a bit too much! It was a Saxon version of care in the community!



NP: I think a Saxon version of care in the community almost deserves a bonus point!


NP: Peter you challenged first.

PJ: Well he did stop after all.

NP: Yes he did, he hesitated.

PJ: I would have liked him to have gone on really.

NP: No, you have the subject of Lear, we'd like to hear from you on it, 26 seconds are available starting now.

PJ: Well I'd rather talk about Edward Lear who was a wonderful nonsense man. He wrote things for children, poetry and stories. I know our chairman could talk about him for two hours, because he's made a one evening show out of it. He also used to draw and paint a lot, water-colours. He almost invented mass production of pictures, by putting 12 pieces of paper on the floor and then drawing a little tree on each one...


NP: Yes he has been described Peter, as the Laureate of Nonsense! And he also was the first one to do really sort of cartoon-like figures. He's an amazing amazing man. Peter your turn to begin, the subject is aristocrats. Tell us something about them in Just a Minute starting now.

PJ: Well there's a series on television currently about aristocrats, rather mournful though. Everybody seems to regret their passing and the fact that they're short of money. They usually can't pronounce their Rs very well, they say awistocwats, rather like Frank Muir, who isn't one of course. Bit nevertheless they are sort of amusing people to get on television from time to time...


NP: Oh!

PJ: Dear dear!

NP: right, yes, time to time, Clement you were in first. Thirty-three seconds now, aristocrats starting now.

CF: Well...


NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

KHH: Sorry it was very unsporting. Hesitation but no, I'm sorry.

NP: Well either you're challenging or you're not!

KHH: Clement Freud is an aristocrat and I need to ah, he needs to exercise his joie de senior on me at this point.

NP: All right it was a bit harsh I think. Yes all right, so Clement, aristocrats, 32 seconds starting now.

CF: They tend to sit in the upper house, known as the Lords, where the seats are red and not...


NP: Kit yes?

KHH: He really has stopped.

NP: He did hesitate, yes. Thought of the red seats, right, 24 seconds on aristocrats for you now Kit Hesketh-Harvey starting now.


KHH: If I were ever made...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: No! Kit, 23 seconds, aristocrats starting now.

KHH: If I were ever made to be an aristocrat, I would...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: He won't!


NP: They obviously enjoyed your challenge Clement, so we give you a bonus point for that but it wasn't a correct challenge within the rules of Just A Minute. So Kit gets a point for being interrupted and he keeps the subject, 21 seconds, aristocrats starting now.

KHH: I should like to be gazetted Lord Bracknell because my wife then would have a horrible time. But if that were not possible, I'd like to be Marquis. They're very exotic if you look at the present batch. There's Chumley pacing Houghton Hall to the sound of Chopin. There's naughty Jamie Blandford who likes the snow as much as the Duchess of York. There's... ahhh!


KHH: Another one?

NP: Oh Paul?

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, yes and you got in with half a second to go, aristocrats Paul starting now.

PM: It was a great cartoon!


NP: Paul managed to get in there with half a second to go so he was actually speaking when the whistle went, gained that extra point. So he's now in the lead but only one ahead of Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Clement Freud and one behind them is Peter Jones. And Clement your turn to begin, the subject is mummies. Will you tell us something about that intriguing subject in this game starting now.

CF: A Jamaican aristocrat called Lord Kitchener used to sing a song where the words went:
If your mother and your wife are drowning, which one of the two would you be saving? Well you can always have another wife, but you can never have another mummy in your life. Mummies which are Egyptian women or men dug up from tombs actually were a tremendous boost to the bandage industry. Without mummies it is unlikely that the shares of Elastoplast and similar pharmaceutical shares would ever have hit the high spots which they have reached. And if you look at the Financial Times index, there are few companies as profitable and attractive as those that produce bandages!


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes he did, yes. Having got out of that um problem of repeating something he then hesitated. Often happens. Six seconds on mummies with you Paul starting now.

PM: One of the most frightening things I ever saw as a child was a film that featured this mummy starring Boris Karloff...


NP: So Clement did a lot of hard work in that round, Paul came in just before the end, he spoke as the whistle went and gained that extra point and has increased his lead. And Paul it's your turn to begin with the subject now from mummies to pies. Will you tell us something about pies in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: Chicken. Mushroom. Beef. Pork. Apple. Peach. Carrot. Lettuce...


NP: Kit has challenged.

KHH: Deviation I'm sorry. A lettuce pie?

NP: Yes!

KHH: I don't buy it!

PM: It's very good for you.

NP: I'm sure, I'm sure you could have a lettuce pie.

PM: It's a salad encased in pastry! You must have had it!

NP: Of course it is!

PM: A lettuce pie!

NP: I'm sure, I mean, I don't think it is very marketable but I mean it is perfectly possible to have a lettuce pie. It's a devious thought but it's not devious within the rules of Just A Minute. Pie is still with you Paul, 50 seconds starting now.

PM: My favourite is a stepladder pie. It's wonderful. Quite a tall crust, about 12 foot high. And it's quite difficult to get into the oven but by God, it doesn't half taste nice. And if you actually leave some at the side of your plate, you can turn it into a loft ladder. It goes straight up from the extension. And if you make the pastry thick enough, it can take the weight of a 24 stone man. But don't believe my word for it because as you can see in front of us I've bought my own stepladder pie with me today and Clement Freud...


PM: ...is now going to climb to the top.

NP: Right...

PM: Not that I'm suggesting he is a heavy obese individual because he is not. But I think you will believe this former...

NP: You were challenged about 10 seconds ago actually?

PM: Oh really?

NP: Yes. Clement what was your challenge?

CF: Ah repetition of stepladder.

NP: Yes you did have too many stepladders I'm afraid in your pie. Clement, 22 seconds pies starting now.

CF: Melton Mowbray in this great country of Leicestershire...


CF: .... is probably the best place in which to get pies and raised pies are the great speciality. The filling is not lettuce but a cereal of meats, pork, beef, even venison, in a gelatinous juice or gravy and...


NP: Clement was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's two behind Paul Merton who's still our leader. Kit Hesketh-Harvey your turn to begin, taking the plunge. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

KHH: In Just A Minute, you have constantly to take the plunge. You can't timidly step across the pebbles, you have to sternly face the channel of the challenge set before you. Covering yourself with goose-fat provided by Mr Messiter you jump into the buffeting waves thrown up by Paul Merton, Peter Jones and Sir Clement Freud. With only Nicholas parsons on a ketch behind you urging you on through his megaphone as you strike out without hesitation...


NP: (laughs) Paul Merton challenged.

PM: He's on drugs!


NP: He's on something! I don't know what it is!

PM: We should have random drug testing for this show!

NP: Right! So we'll have a random test. So what was your challenge within the rules of Just a Minute?

PM: Deviation, it's nothing like that! I don't see you shouting from the back of a ketch or whatever it was! Urging us on!

NP: I certainly, I certainly never had a megaphone anyway.

PM: No.

NP: So I will accept your challenge Paul, 33 seconds, taking the plunge starting now.

PM: I once dived off the highest board in Mauvin swimming baths right at the top. It was about 65 feet away from the water and I was very nervous about this. But I thought "no I'll give it a go". I got halfway down, I changed my mind. I went back up, and I always regretted turning back because I was so near. I was going in the right direction but somehow my nerve went. And there were other people who looked at me afterwards and realised that I wasn't the man I appeared to be. They'd been walking down the street saying "look at him, he's the idiot who wouldn't go into the swimming pool..."


NP: Yes so that flight of fancy kept Paul going until the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so and he has increased his lead at the end of the round. Peter your turn to begin, the subject is cooks. Tell us something about them starting now.

PJ: The famous cook in this part of the world was Thomas Cook who started taking tours from Leicester, and the first one was here to Loughborough. I don't know quite why he chose this, um, as his destination. But I know he wouldn't allow anybody to have a drink while they were on the train or when they arrived. I don't know, there seem to be one or two pubs here, I haven't found them all. Most of the shops seem to be opticians I've noticed. I don't know why quite that is. Or ophthalmic, whatever they're called. Now Thomas Cooks of course belongs now to Germany or Germans er (laughs)...



PJ: ...and they er...

NP: You've been challenged Peter.

PJ: By whom?

NP: Your man sitting next to you, Paul Merton.

PM: Hesitation.

PJ: Hesitation, yes.

PM: After Germans or Germans or Germany.

NP: There are 17 seconds left for Paul merton to take over the subject of cooks starting now.

PM: Loughbor...er... oooohh!



PM: What a time to discover a new speech impediment!

NP: Yes! It's the German influence, Loffenbra, right! Sixteen seconds Kit on cooks starting now.

KHH: I think there are far too many cooks on television at the moment. Not only the blessed Delia of course but ah the er...


NP: Clement challenged first.

CF: There seemed to be a sort of hesitation.

NP: Yes there was, a breakdown actually. Nine seconds for you Clement on cooks, very aptly, starting now.

CF: If Thomas Cook really had his first outing from Leicester to Loughborough, one would like to know where his second went!


NP: Clement Freud you were speaking as the whistle went, you're still in second place, Paul Merton's still our leader. And Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Peter Jones follow in that order. Clement, good taste. After cooks, good taste. Tell us something about it, in 60 seconds starting now.

CF: Sixty seconds is an inadequate time in which to talk about good taste...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: After 30 years, it's too late to complain!


NP: Give Peter Jones a bonus point, we did enjoy the challenge. Clement wasn't deviating within the rules of Just A Minute, so he keeps the subject, another point to him, good taste is still with you, 55 seconds are left starting now.

CF: But good taste is an anagram of oat stodge. And I think this is something which should not be forgotten. Good taste is having all the right things at your fingertips. The poets, the writers, the authors, the actors, the cinemas to which you should go, and the theatres that must not be avoided are all part and parcel of having good taste. If you said "I went to a really devious brothel the other night", you would be instantly disqualified from claiming to have good taste. On the other hand, should you have...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah hesitation, you've got the subject, 17 seconds, good taste Paul starting now.

PM: I went to a devious brothel the other day where all the women were wearing Nicholas Parsons face masks and I don't know what it was about it, but it didn't half get me going! And now that I look at him sitting there in the flesh, I can't think what I was thinking of. I must have been off my chump because I can see him there and I've got a taste of vomit...


NP: Oh! Oh! How quickly can you lose an audience Paul! You had them on your side until the vomit! Right! And Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject, a good yarn, starting now.

PM: When I was 15 years old, I started reading this book by Tolkien called The Lord Of The Rings. Now some people may have read this and it was certainly recommended to me by a school friend. But it is not a good yarn. I found it thoroughly dull. The trouble with is there's no humour in it. There are no decent jokes. And if it's over one thousand one hundred and fifty-two pages long, you have to have something in there that can be passed off as comedy. But all you get is people saying things like "oh I swear by the Lord God Thar, my axe will feel the weight of an orc's neck tonight!"


PM: And they all laugh, and you think that...

NP: Excuse me, Clement has challenged you.

CF: Has he? Oh!

NP: Clement what was your challenge?

CF: Repetition of Lord.

NP: Right, a good yarn is with you now Clement, 24 seconds starting now.

CF: It was a dark and stormy night. And the captain said to his mate "Bill, tell us a tale." An ancient mariner and he stoppeth one of three...


NP: Um Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I think so Peter. Thirteen seconds for you on a good yarn starting now.

PJ: Denis Nordern once said to me "the only thing I ever learned at the BBC..."


PJ: .... "was how to yawn with my mouth closed."

NP: Clement Freud has challenged.


NP: I think the audience has recognised the challenge, BBC. B B.

PJ: Oh I don't think....


PJ: They don't care about that!

NP: Well then you must have challenged yourself Peter, because your light came on then.

PJ: It's nerves, I suppose, nerves.

NP: So Peter a point to you, for a good challenge, and you continue with a good yarn, eight seconds are left starting now.

PJ: Ripping yarns, that's an extraordinary expression, I don't know why they are referred to as this. Do they tear up something ala...


NP: So Peter Jones speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point. He's now ahead of Kit Hesketh-Harvey, but he's trailing Clement Freud and Paul Merton in that order. And Kit it's your turn to begin, the subject Pythagoras. Tell us something about that great Greek philosopher in this game starting now.

KHH: Personally I think he's a cracking bore! He discovered the universal mind or matter and became the father of philosophy by so doing. But he didn't believe in emotion or heart or response. And he went through South Italy and set up a like-minded bunch of dreary old souls, who worked. They didn't play. They worked (laughs) ... nooooooooooo!


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of worked.

NP: Yes! Right, 40 seconds, Pythagoras with you Paul starting now.

PM: Perhaps of all the favourite pies, Pie Thagoras is the one that I really love. Now if you want to take down the recipe at home. You have to take about a man's weight in asparagus tips, boil them for about six weeks inside a nylon shopping bag. And then empty the whole contents straight into the dustbin! And that is an absolutely delicious dish. The other thing that I know about Pythagoras is that he had a theorem. This was like a kind of three wheeled bicycle! And he used to pedal it up and down the High Street and people would go "ooohh look at him and his... thing there!" And it was a wonderful sight to behold. He was in many ways, in many true...


NP: Ohhh! Kit you spotted it first.

KHH: Oh.

NP: Two many manies and there's only two seconds to go! Oh, Pythagoras back with you Kit starting now.

KHH: E equals MC squared, or was that the other one?



NP: Actually Paul I think your buzzer went just before the whistle.

PM: I did, I, I was going to say deviation, E equals MC squared is Einstein.

NP: Einstein yeah. Well you were right actually. Right so Paul you've got a third of a second on Pythagoras starting now.

PM: And so...


NP: Right so Paul you've increased your lead at the end of that round, gaining more points. In fact you're in a very strong lead as Peter Jones takes up the challenge with the next round. Tiddlers Peter, tell us something about those starting now.

PJ: I used to go fishing for tiddlers in the stream which wound its way through the playing fields of the first little grammar school that I attended in Shropshire. And they're sometimes called sticklebacks. If we caught one, we'd take one home in a jam jar and it would er usually die...


PJ: ...after three days. It was always disappointing. One hoped... what?

NP: Clement Freud has challenged you.

CF: He didn't say of course.

NP: All right Clement, a bonus point to you. But Peter you were interrupted, you get a point for that, you keep the subject which is tiddlers and 42 seconds are left starting now.

PJ: Of course! They didn't last very long! Since I hadn't said it before and he's established that, hadn't you, I can say it now. Well they used to eat a little bit of parsley or lettuce...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: It's his sixth little.

NP: Yes a little thing...

PJ: Sixth?

NP: Not six, no. You have repeated it, but not six times, no. Clement has exactly...

PJ: He says I have, you see.

NP: Well when Peter hear the repeat of this show, I'm sure they'll be dying to listen to see if there were six. You did repeat...

PJ: They'll be dying all right!


NP: Clement he did repeat little so tiddlers is with you, 29 seconds starting now.

CF: The village of Warbeswick in East Suffolk is probably the tiddler capital of the world. Nowhere will you find more tiddlers in every nook and cranny, in the rivers and the rivulets which run across the common. Look where you will and...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: You'll never find a tiddler in a cranny! No, I've been through all the crannies in Shropshire and I've never seen a tiddler there!

NP: You're talking as a tiddler expert, are you?

PJ: Yes I am!

NP: You're an authority on the subject?

PJ: Absolutely.

NP: I accept your authority Peter and say you have 12 seconds on tiddlers starting now.

PJ: They can be eaten of course if you're very...


NP: Um...


PJ: Yes! Hoist!

NP: Yes! Right, of course! Eight seconds with you Paul on tiddlers starting now.

PM: I once had a tiddler that I caught out of the sea. And I put it into a jam jar on the mantelpiece and I used to invite people to come round to my house and observe...


NP: Well Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went and has increased his lead. He's way out there in front of the others, Clement Freud, Peter Jones and Kit Hesketh-Harvey trail in that order, not too far but a little more than usual. And the next round is alas the last round but Clement Freud begins it. Oh are you sad?


NP: Oh well you'll have to ask us back next year. Clement the subject is halcyon days. Will you tell us something about that delightful subject in this game starting now.

CF: Well of course, you don't get too many halcyon days outside Leicestershire. The Norfolk Cup, the Thorn, the Cotsmoor are all races point to...


NP: Oh yes! Oh what a frustrating game! You got in, point to point, where Kit Hesketh-Harvey first. Halcyon days is with you, 45 seconds are available starting now.

KHH: Of course Leicestershire is famous for its hunting. And those opponents of the chase of whom I'm number one can rest assured here they hunt with the quom which is a vegetarian meat substitute and therefore it involves no cruelty to animals! But for me a halcyon day...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: No well I buzzed for deviation because we hadn't got to halcyon days but Kit said halcyon days just as I buzzed.

NP: Oh right, oh, well we'll be generous to him shall we, and say that he was interrupted and has 28 seconds to continue on halcyon days starting now.

KHH: Thank you. For me halcyon days are a Cook's tour of Loughborough with a nice pie in my pocket and Peter Jones's tiddler to examine on the way! Nothing for me could be sweeter or more rapturous. In fact...


NP: Paul yes?

PM: That was hesitation.

NP: That definitely was hesitation. Twelve seconds are available, halcyon days Paul starting now.

PM: My favourite circus act was Hal the sea lion. He was absolutely wonderful and one day he got stunned by a piece of scenery and people said "oh Hal-see on daze!" It's a very weak joke but that's the best I can do...


NP: So Paul Merton with that pun and that ingenious use of language brought this edition of Just A Minute to a close. For those interested in the point, well, Peter Jones and Kit Hesketh-Harvey were in third place only one points or two points behind Clement Freud. But in the lead quite a long way ahead this week was Paul Merton. So we say Paul you're the winner this week! The contributions of our talented players make to the success of Just A Minute are all important and we congratulate Paul Merton, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Peter Jones and Clement Freud. Also Elaine Wigley for blowing her whistle and keeping the score and the timing. Anne Jobson for producing and directing the show. Ian Messiter who created the whole show. But particularly this audience here in the Charmwood Theatre in Loughborough, it's been a thrill to be part of the Leicester Comedy Festival. Until we take to the air again to play Just A Minute, thank you and good-bye!