starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, TIM RICE and GERRY KELLY, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 17 January 1998)

NOTE: Gerry Kelly's first 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 also to introduce the four talented and exciting performers of the game who are going to play this week. We welcome back one of our veteran players of the game who has been with us since the show first began, that is the erudite Clement Freud. We also welcome back one of our most talented and original comedians of today and that is Paul Merton. We also welcome back after a long break one of the finest and most talented lyricists, that is Tim Rice. And we also welcome for the very first time on the show, someone who is one of the uncrowned Kings of presenters in Ireland and one of Ireland's most loved sons, that is Gerry Kelly! And as usual I'm going to ask the four of them, that is at different times of course to speak on the subject I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Helen Williams, she's going to help me keep the score, she will blow a whistle when the full minute is up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Belfast Festival at Queens. And we are at the university here, amongst a very animated highly hyped up over excited Northern Ireland audience. And we're going to have a lot of fun as we begin the show this week with Paul Merton. And Paul, oh the subject so apt for anything concerned with Ireland, the crack. Will you tell us something about the crack Paul, in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Well it's a word that means gossip or banter or just enjoying the, the sound of conversation...


NP: Gerry Kelly's challenged already.

GERRY KELLY: It's not!


NP: Well actually um Gerry, I thought I knew a little bit about this country. But I thought that was a reasonable description of, er, what is your challenge then?

GK: Ah, it's not!

NP: So you think that's deviation?

GK: That's the word yes, deviation.

NP: On what basis is it deviation?

GK: Because I could tell you what it is actually if I...

NP: Well all right, as you've never been on the show before and you've challenged before anybody's got under way, one of the sort of unsung rules of Just A Minute, Gerry we give you the subject, and you've got in with 54 seconds left to tell us something about the crack starting now.

GK: The crack, the meaning of the...


NP: Tim...

TIM RICE: Hesitation.

NP: I'm afraid it was hesitation, it's a difficult game Gerry yes. And if you're going to stick your neck out on the first five minutes in your first appearance on the show, you've got to take what comes to you I'm afraid. So Tim I have to give it to you, yes, it was hesitation. And there are 50 seconds left, tell us something about the crack starting now.

TR: As far as I'm concerned the crack has nothing whatsoever to do with buttocks. It means a joke. To me a crack is something humorous. And the greatest crack of all time is beyond doubt what is the difference between... a...


NP: Gerry you've got in very cleverly.

GK: Hesitation.

NP: My goodness me, he's sharp, he's never done it before. Gerry let us now hear what the crack is from you and there are 35 seconds left and you start now.

GK: The crack is a happy confluence of drink, women and song. That is the description in a new book just out in Ireland. The crack is mainly held, er, held (laughs)


NP: Gerry I'm sure you've got some fans in the audience, but why do they clap every time you make a mistake? I think that can only be affection. Clement Freud you challenged. Yes another hesitation, 25 seconds, the crack starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: The sort of thing you would hear at a crack would be a story about Prince Charles going to the North of England to make a speech wearing a Davy Crockett headgear. And at the end of his address, someone went up to him and said "brilliant, but what an extraordinary thing you've got on your head". And he said "it was Mama's idea. I told her I was going to Scunthorpe, and she said 'wear the fox hat (where the fuck's that)'".



TR: Good timing!

NP: A clever thing in Just A Minute is that if you're going to tell a story, make sure you finish with the payoff as the whistle goes. Otherwise you can't continue. Clement Freud, you've got your payoff in, and you heard the whistle and you stopped, because that tells us 60 seconds is up. And whoever is speaking at that moment in this particular game, well in any of the games of Just A Minute, gains an extra point. So at the end of that round Gerry Kelly and Clement Freud are equal in the lead. Tim will you take the next round, the subject is eyes and teeth. Tell us something about eyes and teeth Tim, in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

TR: Eyes and teeth are terrific attributes if you want to become a star. Think of all those incredible performers over the year whose eyes have made them what they are. Viz, Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, eyes of blue, irresistible! Then there are teeth, immediately one thinks of the Bee Gees, Barry, Robin and Maurice. Let me just recite one or two of their great hits. Massachusetts, New York ...


TR: ... Mining Disaster 1941, brackets Have You Seen My Wife Mister Jones...

NP: I'm sorry, Tim, Paul once before...

TR: I'm sorry, did someone buzz?

NP: Yes as you started to go on to some of the Bee Gees hits, Paul challenged you. Paul?

PM: Well I didn't want Tim to recite some of their greatest hits!

NP: So you consider that is deviation from eyes and teeth?

PM: Absolutely!

TR: Well the entire Bee Gees career was founded on brilliant songs, but also teeth.

PM: And the hair!

TR: And the hair.

PM: And the medallion.

NP: You're arguing against yourself now, you know Paul. No I, I actually agree with your challenge, I think he was getting away from the subject of eyes and teeth and more about the Bee Gees and their life and their, their hits. So Paul you have a correct challenge, 33 seconds are available, eyes and teeth starting now.

PM: I know a man who's a ear nose and throat specialist. And I asked him once why he didn't also specialise in ears... ears? I said ears...


NP: Clement...

PM: It's jet lag!

NP: Yes right. Ears Clement?

CF: Repetition of ears.

TR: Ear ear!

NP: Yes yes.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Twenty-five seconds, eyes and teeth Clement starting now.

CF: It is odd that medics specialise as in E and T. I went to an eyes and teeth man who just announced himself by his initials. And thought he was for elbows and toes, and had to pay a lot of money for totally useless advice because my feet were in reasonable shape at the time. Eyes and teeth are important attributes, as my friend, Sir Timothy, has just said. Without...


NP: Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's now taken the lead ahead of the others in this particular game. And Clement it's your turn to begin. Let's have something unusual, oxymoron. Clement tell us something about oxymoron in this game starting now.

CF: An oxymoron is a juxtaposition of two words, the whole of which beggars belief. Like a heavyweight Liberal. Or ummm...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: There was a long um there, I think.

NP: Yes after he mentioned the word Liberal, he was waiting for his automatic round of applause which always comes for the Liberal Party! I agree with the hesitation so there are 50 seconds available for you Tim on oxymoron starting now.

TR: I don't really have very strong views on this particular subject, oxymoron. But nonetheless I think it is my duty to impart them to you...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, it's not his duty.

NP: No it's not his duty.

PM: No duty at all, he doesn't have to say anything about it. He said he doesn't care anything about the subject so why should he bore us rigid?


NP: Paul because of the audience applause I will give you a bonus point because they enjoyed the challenge. But you can be bored rigid in Just A Minute if you wish, as long as you don't deviate, hesitate or repeat something. So oxymoron is still with you Tim and there are 41 seconds left starting now.

TR: Frankly I was rather hoping this subject would be taken away from me! I...



NP: Paul you challenged again.

PM: It's up to you Nicholas, to make his wish come true!


NP: Well I'll give you a bonus point, you have the subject and oxymoron is with you Paul starting now.

PM: Well it's an old English term which basically means eight idiots. The sort of people that you might get in a rowing boat. There are seven plus one of those individuals and that would be an oxymoron...


NP: Gerry Kelly challenged.

GK: Individuals I think he said twice.

NP: I don't think so.

GK: Sorry Paul, sorry, sorry.

PM: He turns! He turns!

NP: He tried not to use people in a boat and he said individuals instead of people again.

GK: I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I am sorry!

NP: Twenty-seven seconds available with you Paul, oxymoron starting now.

PM: Nicholas Parsons, professional chairman. Do you see there's an inherent contradiction there?

NP: Oh!

PM: There's something about the phrase which as somebody earlier said beggars belief. One thinks of our esteemed man in the middle as being somebody who perhaps has been in show business for a very long time. But when you actually think about it, you're stuck for a reason as to why he should have survived as long as he has. He must have blackmail photographs featuring high-up people in radio Four...


NP: I hope you were cheering Paul's talent at keeping going and not all the things he was saying! Really! And so Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went and he's now in the lead, just ahead of the other three. Only one point separates all of them. Gerry Kelly will you begin the next round. Gerry, oh, what an apt subject for this darling man of Ireland, the Emerald Isle. Tell us something about that jewel in the crown of the Atlantic Ocean, 60 seconds starting now.

GK: The Emerald Isle is a phrase known world-wide to denote Ireland. But I often wondered is it as verdant as people think it is. I got the question answered a few years back when I interviewed a lady called Helen Sharman. She was an astronaut, the first British lady to do that, to go up...


GK: Oh!

NP: What did she do Gerry?

GK: She went to do, to go up...

NP: Well I think that's better than what they normally do! But Tim challenged first. I think we call that hesitation Tim, 21 seconds are available, the Emerald Isle starting now.

TR: When I, a mere Englander, think of the Emerald Isle, I think of course of the...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Ah two thinks. Rather quickly together.

NP: Yes I'm afraid that's right, repetition. The Emerald isle is with you Clement and there are 36 seconds available starting now.

CF: When Mr Kelly talked about the lady gastronome, I'm reminded of at one point cooking in a kitchen in Driada. And I said I would like the extra virgin olive oil. And the woman said "you mean the emerald oil?"


CF: And I said yes I...


NP: Tim challenged, you were riding your laugh! But I think...

TR: Well it was really rather unsporting of me, but I did feel...

NP: It wasn't! He paused for a very long time!

TR: Clement pausing for effect.

NP: I think he was expecting a bigger laugh actually!

CF: I was expecting a buzz!

NP: Well you got the buzz as well, and 16 seconds are available, the Emerald Isle with you Tim starting now.

TR: Emerald Isle to me means the Eurovision Song Contest. Year after 12 month period, the Irish triumph in this sensationally exciting, gripping...


NP: I knew Paul would challenge on that one! Yes Paul?

PM: Sensational gripping Eurovision Song Contest? Deviation! Deviation!

NP: Now that is one of those things I don't wish to judge because I could prejudice my position with the general public.

PM: But no...

NP: No, no, no, I am quite prepared to let the audience be the superior judges. If you think the er Eurovision Song Contest is gripping, then you cheer. And if you think it was boring, you boo, and you all do it together now.


NP: That's enough! That's enough! That's enough!

PM: Has that helped you to make your decision Nicholas?

NP: I don't know why they have it on the television after a thing like that! There we are, there were two people, I mean, they came in with the cheers at the end. I think they've only just woken up actually! Paul we agree with your challenge, there are five seconds available, the Emerald Isle starting now.

PM: The great thing I love about coming to Ireland is being able to hire a car and drive around on roads which are nowhere near as congested as the streets...


NP: Even though Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went and got that extra point for doing so, Tim Rice got a number of points in that round and he's taken the lead just ahead of the others. Tim will you take the next round, the subject man's best friend. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

TR: Of course man's best friend is dog. And I'm immediately reminded of the wonderful story about a dachshund and a street vendor. What is the difference between these two people? The answer is that one bawls out his wares on the pavement, and the other does the opposite!


TR: This is a very interesting illustration of the importance that this kind of quadruped has in our lives. Personally my favourite type of animal that goes (makes barking noise) is a boxer. These wonderful slobbering cuddly children favouring animals are an absolute delight. They do have a little problem with their wind but other than that, they are virtually perfect animals. Short haired, easy to clean, not too many fleas...


NP: Gerry you challenged.

GK: Animals.

NP: Yes.

GK: A couple of times.

NP: You repeated animals. So Tim you did jolly well, you kept going for 49 seconds. But Gerry was listening well, he got in with animals, repetition. Man's best friend with you Gerry starting now.

GK: Man's best friend is woman. I have known ladies for many many years now...


GK: I just repeated many! I know! I know! I know!

NP: Oh it's a mean game isn't it! Many many yes! You have to practice at it! Oh I don't know whether to be overgenerous and say carry on, because it was a first...


NP: The audience decided I have, I'm terribly sorry Clement, they're entirely prejudiced here. And Gerry in spite of that, but I can't let you get away with it again. Many many is repetition but on this occasion we won't allow it. And you have six seconds to tell us more about man's best friend starting now.

GK: For quite a few years I have known women and I...


NP: Um Paul challenged this time.

PM: Repetition of women.

NP: Yes you said women before. Paul has a point for a correct challenge and he takes over the subject...

CF: It's not a correct challenge!

NP: Paul's was, previously...

CF: No, no, Paul's challenge, let's be pro Gerry on this programme!

NP: All right then, pro Gerry...

CF: He said man's best friend was woman...

NP: All right then, take away and up the point from um...

CF: He said man's best friend was woman and then he said women!

GK: I did!


NP: Well as I always put female in the plural I suppose I didn't recognise it. So there we are. Gerry that was an incorrect challenge...

GK: Thank you!

NP: So you have another point and you have three seconds left for man's best friend starting now.

GK: The first...


NP: Clement Freud what was that for?

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Absolutely not!


NP: So Gerry you have another point and you have two and a half seconds on man's best friend starting now.

GK: The second female that I ever met was my teacher. I loved her from the first day...


NP: So at the end of that round Gerry Kelly was speaking as the whistle went and he has leapt forward and yes, yes, well, he's leapt and he is equal in second place with Paul Merton who are only two points behind with our joint leaders Clement Freud and Tim Rice. Clement your turn to begin, the subject, casing the joint. Tell us something about that subject in this game, Just A Minute starting now.

CF: Casing the joint is a word for investigating a...


NP: Tim?

TR: It's, it's not a word. It's three words.


NP: Correct challenge, a man who deals in words must know, mustn't he? Right, 56 seconds are available for casing the joint with you Tim starting now.

TR: If ever you're offered a property by an estate agent, those wonderful band of men, then you should be absolutely certain before entering it that any contract, deal, or agreement with said business characters, that you case the joint. This means you wander round the premises looking in any every nook and each cranny to make absolutely certain that...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: His second absolutely.

NP: I know!


NP: That's a very strange reaction! It sounded as if someone was having a rather emotional experience...

TR: A very good challenge, I must say. Very good challenge.

NP: Thirty-three seconds Clement for you, casing the joint starting now.

CF: Casing the joint would also mean putting the pork piece, lamb, or some other meat into a box or parcel. Even marijuana would be the sort of joint which in my case, if you were worried about...

NP: (whispering) Deviation! Deviation!

CF: ...maxim...

NP: Sorry?

CF: Could you hear me? I could hear you very well!

NP: I was prompting our first time player of the game.

CF: Ah!

NP: But it didn't work!


NP: So you carry on, you have 15 more seconds on casing the joint starting now.

CF: Casing the joint is a very good expression which I think people would use much more often if it consisted of three words instead of one...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Well deviation, it does consist of three words.

NP: I know, and I don't know what he was talking about actually! Sounded pure Freudian rubbish to me! But there we are. So Paul I agree with your challenge, there are five seconds on casing the joint starting now.

PM: When I cook a leg of lamb I like to encase the whole piece of meat in filo pastry. That gives it...


NP: Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, he has moved forward. The leaders are still jointly Clement Freud and Tim Rice. Paul your turn to begin, the subject, knickknacks. Tell us something about those in Just A Minute if you can starting now.

PM: I'm not sure what knickknacks are really? Does one start off with a knick and think to oneself after a while "I could do with a knack to go with this" and put two of them together on a mantelpiece. They don't really mean anything, do they, knickknacks. They are things I suppose you acquire throughout your lifetime that you have to dust regularly when you're doing the housework. But what exactly are they? What do they signify? Are they such things as...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Three whats.

NP: There were three whats. He waited after the second, waited for the third, then challenged. Very sporting. Thirty-five seconds, knickknacks Clement starting now.

CF: I was once asked whether I knew what was small than a nit's knackers. And I thought about this and replied a gnat's knickers! This has not much to do with knickknacks...


NP: Tim Rice challenged.

TR: Deviation which he admitted.

NP: He admitted, yes! Twenty seconds, Tim...

CF: Deviation where?

NP: You admitted it's got nothing much to do with knickknacks. Out of your own mouth!

CF: And you believed me?

NP: Yes I believe everything anybody says on this programme. Knickknacks with you Tim, 20 seconds starting now.

TR: Knickknacks are really things that are useless but quite fun. I recently had a birthday which was almost the reason for a national holiday, not quite. And I received a lot of knickknacks as a result of this great occasion in my life. I received a Swiss Army...


NP: Gerry Kelly yes.

GK: A couple of receiveds there.

NP: A couple of receiveds, yes.


NP: Well as far as the audience, it's Gerry Kelly against the rest, isn't it! Four seconds Gerry to tell us something about knickknacks starting now.

GK: When I was very young we took the whole school off to an excursion in Newcastle...


NP: So Gerry Kelly was speaking when the whistle went and gained that very important extra point. And now he is in the lead alongside Clement Freud and Tim Rice.


NP: First time on the show, my goodness me! Tim Rice your turn to begin. Oh a wonderful subject for this part of this wonderful country up here, the giant's causeway. Tell us something about that exotic and beautiful place starting now.

TR: The giant's causeway is a geological phenomenon. So I have been led to believe teams of experts from this part of the world. Who knows how it go there? And frankly who cares?


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I care!

NP: That was a good laugh, but do you have a more legitimate challenge?

CF: Repetition of who.

NP: Yes that's correct. He did repeat who, so 48 seconds for a correct challenge, the giant's causeway with you Clement starting now.

CF: Doctor Johnson when travelling in Antrim wrote "the giant's causeway is worth seeing but not going to see". And...


CF: ...I thought somebody just might buzz...

NP: Tim Rice challenged.

CF: ...for see...

TR: I thought he was grinding to a halt.

CF: Oh no!

TR: And, and he said see twice.

NP: Yes, two sees, 33 seconds Tim, the giant's causeway back with you starting now.

TR: When one is in the presence of such a fantastic creation of nature, or of God, one's mind drifts off philosophically in all kinds of directions. Do shrimps feel pain? This is the kind of thing you are inclined to think when you...


NP: Gerry Kelly challenged.

GK: Deviation.

NP: Why?

GK: Shrimps...

TR: That's the image I've got.

GK: There are no shrimps about the causeway.

NP: You think talking about...

TR: It's a philosophical gem that a great piece of nature...

NP: Yes I think it was most probably very devious from the giant's causeway. I agree with Gerry in other words. And Gerry...

GK: Thank you.

NP: It was deviation, 16 seconds are available for you on the giant's causeway starting now.

GK: The giant's causeway was built by a giant from Ireland. His name was Finn McCool and what happened many... centuries ago...


NP: Oh the joy of Just A Minute, the look on their face as they try to search for another word. Clement got in first with hesitation, 10 seconds, the giant's causeway Clement starting now.

CF: The giant's causeway is a tremendous tourist attraction. Every year July, August, September, even in early October, people from Britain and Wales and other parts of Ireland...


NP: Well that's one way to win friends and influence people, isn't it. Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went and also getting other points in that round has gone forward and he's now just in the lead ahead of Tim Rice and Gerry Kelly and Paul Merton in that order. And we’re coming to the last round. Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject is robbing Peter to pay Paul. An interesting subject, can you talk on it starting now.

CF: Paul is now so well-paid that's it really almost a waste of time to rob Peter, who is unlikely to have nearly enough money to affect Mr Merton's enormous income...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation.

NP: Why?

PM: I'm doing this show for the BBC!


PM: There are no enormous sums involved!

NP: I know! But we enjoyed your challenge so we give you a bonus point for that but leave the subject with Clement Freud who continues with 48 seconds on robbing Peter to pay Paul starting now.

CF: I don't really know about robbing Peter to pay Paul. It's an expression that one hears quite frequently. And I suppose Peter might have been the Biblical character. Paul on the other hand could also easily have featured in the good book. Matthew, Mark were just some of the versions in the New Testament which has people called Peter and Paul also. John...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, yeah, I've never seen Clement struggle so much! I think he was looking for a challenge and he got one from Paul Merton. Twenty-one seconds are left for you Paul on robbing Peter to pay Paul starting now.

PM: Well it doesn't really make financial sense, because in the end you are still going to have to owe a great deal of money to one individual. You can take from this person and you can pay that person off. But you...


NP: Gerry Kelly was the one that got in.

GK: Repetition of person, there were two persons.

NP: So Gerry you're learning fast, 10 seconds available, robbing Peter to pay Paul starting now.

GK: Robbing Peter to pay Paul reminds me of Robin Hood and his merry men. This was a story associated with Nottingham in England where this gentleman called er...


NP: Yes...

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes he was just trying to find another one for Robin, wasn't he.

GK: Yes.

NP: And you got in with one second to go, you... Robbing Peter to pay Paul, one second left, Paul Merton starting now.

PM: I owe Peter five thousand pounds!


NP: Well as we said when we began that round it was to be the last. And er indeed we have no more time to play Just A Minute. So let me give you the final score. They all scored almost the same amount of points because they all made equal contributions. But for those who are interested in points, let me give you the final situation. Tim Rice and Gerry Kelly, Gerry who has never played the game before and had incredible support from this audience here, came equal in third place. But they were only one point behind Paul Merton and he was only two points behind our winner who this week is Clement Freud! Clement! It only remains for me to thank our four exciting players of the game which is Tim Rice, Gerry Kelly, Clement Freud and Paul Merton. Also to thank Helen Williams who's kept the score, blown her whistle so delicately and magnificently. Also our producer Chris Neill who has looked after us and guided us to this position and brought us all over here to Belfast. And also the creator of the game Ian Messiter. And from them, and to this lovely audience at Queens at Belfast, thank you for coming and cheering us on. And to all our listeners, thank you very much for staying tuned. Be with us the next time we take to the air and play Just A Minute. Until then from all of us here, good-bye!