NOTE: Helen Williams's last appearance blowing the whistle.

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 all our many listeners from around the world and also introduce the four exciting and talented people who are going to play Just A Minute this week. We have four wonderful exponents of the art of comedy, drawn from the great pantheon of British comedy talent that's available in our country at the present moment. One of the most outstanding exponents and a most individual comedy performer, Paul Merton. A most original and witty comedy performer, Peter Jones. A most charming delightful and delectable comedienne, Maria McErlane. And a strong forceful comic performer, Stephen Frost. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Helen Williams who's going to help me keep the score, she's going to run the stopwatch for me and blow the whistle when the 60 seconds are up. So as usual I'm going to ask our four players of the game to speak on the subject that I give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And we begin the show this week with Stephen Frost. And Stephen the subject is first words. Would you take that subject any way you wish, 60 seconds are available starting now.

STEVE FROST: Most parents in the world can't wait to hear the first words of their offspring. Will it be Momma or Dada, perhaps (howls) ohhhhhhh in the case of Rhomulus and Remus. But of course...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PETER JONES: Some idiot is bound to complain that you said Ma twice when you said Mama.

SF: Momma! Momma! M-O-M-A! Momma!

NP: No I think it was...

PJ: But what about Dada?

SF: Yeah you've got me there!


SF: Why didn't I just say Dad?

NP: So Stephen you get a point for an incorrect challenge, you keep the subject, 48 seconds are available, first words starting now.

SF: The first words that were spoken when I were born were the doctor saying "stop joking, where's the baby?" My mother wasn't...


NP: Maria challenged.

MARIA McERLANE: It should be I was born, not I were born.


NP: Ohhh!

SF: (in country yokel accent) I were born in Somerset!


SF: I were!

NP: You see Maria, it does depend which part of the country you were born in, doesn't it?

MM: No, it's ungrammatical.

NP: Yes it's the way you interpret the... yes, that is perceived English and correct English. And of course maybe you got that reaction because we are in a university town of Loughborough. A lot of English students from Loughborough University in the audience here. But I must agree with you Stephen, they do handle language differently in different parts of the country. And those who lived down in Gloucestershire where I lived, (speaks in country yokel accent) they do talk like I were born down there! There are 42 seconds left on first words, starting now.

SF: My first words on the professional stage were "thou nature art my goddess, to my Lord my services are bound, wherefore should I stand in the plague of custom and permit the curiosity of nations..."


SF: ".... to deprive me of that 12 to 14..." (goes into high pitched screamed gibberish)


NP: My God! Have you done your audition for...

SF: King Lear!

NP: I know! Maria challenged, and what was the challenge Maria?

MM: Blatant showing off!


NP: But you can show off as much as you like in Just A Minute as long as you don't deviate, hesitate or repeat anything. He might have done that but that wasn't your challenge. So Stephen we're still with you on first words and there's still 30 seconds to go starting now.

SF: The first words of President Mitterand were "bon jour" when he bumped into me in a Paris street. They weren't his original first words, but they were the first words I heard him say. And of course, I was very impressed. Of course, he's dead now...


NP: Maria challenged.

MM: Of course.

NP: Of course. Of course, yes, that is repetition...

SF: No, it's the French o coure! It's another word for street, course. It was off the course! I bumped into...

MM: Oh sorry! I made a mistake!

NP: Stephen, a few weeks ago you were on the show and you were sort of feeling your way because you weren't so confident in Just A Minute because you haven't played it so much. But now you're getting carried away! Maria you had a correct challenge, you get a point for that, you have 18 seconds to tell us something about first words starting now.

MM: The first words I ever heard my grandmother say to me were "don't put anything in your mouth unless it's been boiled!"


MM: These indeed were very fine words of advice...


NP: (laughing) Oh I'm sorry! Oh! The chairman's slightly hysterical! After some of the things Maria said when she was here a few weeks back, I must say! Paul you challenged, er, what was your challenge?

PAUL MERTON: Well, what about toast?

NP: Paul actually we love the challenge, so we give you a bonus point for that but Maria wasn't actually deviating from the rules of Just A Minute. So she still keeps the subject and gets a point for being interrupted and she has one second left on first words starting now.

MM: Mother...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Maria McErlane who you won't be surprised to hear has got the lead at the end of the round. And Maria it's your turn, the subject, how people misunderstand me. We didn't think of that subject, by the way, after some of the things you said last time you were with us in Just A Minute, in Leicester...

MM: When was that Nicholas?

NP: Oh a few weeks ago. It was a few weeks back, I mean, er...

PM: How amazing that exactly the same people came again!

SF: And sat in the same seats!

PM: Yes!


NP: Maria, how people misunderstand me, 60 seconds starting now.

MM: How people misunderstand me is a phrase I rarely have to use...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Sorry, I don't get what you're saying. What?


SF: No... I don't quite...

NP: Sorry Stephen, is it something, something deep...

SF: It's a joke, did it go over your head Nicholas?

NP: Maria you were interrupted so you get a point for that, you keep the subject, how people misunderstand me, 56 seconds starting now.

MM: This direct approach has lost me many friends. You look fat in that. Your haircut is ridiculous. Or is a miniskirt wise for a woman over 40 with cellulite? Have all been remarks used from my vast repertoire.


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes well done Peter, right. You have the subject of how people misunderstand me, 38 seconds Peter starting now.

PJ: I said to my daughter a few weeks before Christmas "there are two photographs on my desk of rather loose women who are not very well dressed. And I'm keeping them for a particular reason. I took them from a telephone kiosk near Oxford Street." And she said "but why did you take them from a telephone box?" "Simply because they were there." And she said "no, you could have got them from somewhere else, couldn't you? Or stood outside and used a camera to focus on the people that you wanted to from er ah way away from the er kiosk." And it was some time before I was able to get this over to her. She misunderstood me completely. I took them so I could send them to two friends as Christmas cards...



NP: That is what is called comedy timing. Keeping going and giving the payoff as the whistle goes. You gain an extra point for doing so Peter, you kept going magnificently with a story which was so involuted, we didn't know where it was going but we loved it. And you have two points, the only two you've got so far but they are very precious. Peter your turn to begin, the subject, entrepreneurs. Tell us something about those people in this game starting now.

PJ: Richard Branson comes to mind immediately. And an entrepreneur is someone who has a wonderful idea, and is able to persuade other people to carry it out, and carry it through...


NP: And Stephen challenged.

SF: Two carries.

NP: There was too much carry there, I'm afraid Peter, yes. So Stephen's got in with 48 seconds on entrepreneurs starting now.

SF: Entrepreneur is obviously based on a French word. Entre, to go in. And peneur, to do something. So obviously to go into somewhere to create this situation, and that's where it all started. In 1066, William the Conqueror...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

SF: What?

PJ: It's quite erroneous. To go in to do something! It could be a pisoir in the middle of Paris.

SF: Somebody had to think of that pisoir and design it, that was an entrepreneur. Entretepisnoir!

PJ: But the man who...

NP: I think the Manor of Clashmell who described it, he was a bit of an entrepreneur but a literary one of that nature. Peter I agree about 1066, he was deviating from entrepreneurs so 35 seconds with you on entrepreneurs starting now.

PJ: And then if the people who are chosen...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes, you said people before.

PJ: Yes I did. Quite right.

NP: I'm afraid you did, yes Peter. Thirty-one seconds with you Paul, entrepreneurs starting now.

PM: Well I suppose entrepreneurs, as Peter said, are people who have ideas and then get other people to carry them out...


NP: Peter challenged.

PJ: He's just...

NP: (laughs) Yes Peter?

PJ: He's just done what I...

SF: He's just copying exactly what you said!

PJ: He said...

PM: Including repetition!

NP: Yes! I don't know, he copied it word for word, including repetition. So...

PJ: I've thought for years he's been using my material!


NP: Peter gets a bonus point for his remark. He gets a point for a correct challenge, he takes over the subject of entrepreneurs, 24 seconds starting now.

PJ: Sometimes the entrepreneur will reward all those labourers who have got behind the idea and managed to make it work. Sometimes they're mean and they don't reward the...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of reward.

NP: There was reward before.

PJ: Was there? Yes.

NP: I'm afraid there was, so 10 seconds for you to take over Peter Jones' material on entrepreneurs Paul starting now.

PM: I remember I was stationed in Didcot during the war. And my next door neighbour was a chap...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He couldn't be stationed during the war!

NP: He's not old enough!

PJ: He wasn't old enough...

NP: He's not old enough!

PJ: ...to be stationed...

PM: I was quoting from your autobiography!


NP: A bonus point to Paul Merton because that was a very amusing as well as a clever remark. And Peter, it was a correct challenge you had. So you get another point, you take back the subject...

PM: I didn't say which war. It could have been the Falklands.

NP: It's too late now!

PJ: They didn't, they didn't station people in Didcot... in order to have them ready to go to the Falklands!


NP: Peter you have another point and you have five seconds available, keep going, entrepreneurs starting now.

PJ: Now I could count the number of entrepreneurs on five fingers who have made a considerable difference...


NP: Well it is very unusual in Just A Minute for somebody to be fourth in the points system and leap from the back as you might say, and gain so many points in one round including one for speaking as the whistle went, that he has gone forward into the lead! And that is Peter Jones who is now alongside Stephen Frost. And Maria McErlane, your turn to begin, the subject, men-made fibres. Tell us something about that interesting or boring subject, according to your particular proclivities starting now.

MM: Polycrocylene, elastane, lycra, acrylic, are all names of the Ice Warriors on ITV's game show of the same name! They are also coincidentally man-made fibres. Not good for sweating or glowing in my particular case. In, we all thought they were labour saving and innovative at the time which was the late 60s, early 70s. Now we know them to be skinky, smelly and rather crap. However cotton, linen and wool are all natural fibres, much nicer to wear, much cleaner...


MM: Much!

NP: Paul Merton, much and...

MM: Much and much!

NP: Too much! But it was very interesting, I must say! I mean, all those students from Loughborough University were fascinated by that piece of information you gave them. They obviously weren't, I said the wrong thing!

MM: I think they were just marvelling at how you were patronising me then!

NP: No, no, they would never do that because I would never patronise you. You're far too attractive to be patronised!


NP: Paul you had a correct challenge, repetition of much, 22 seconds are available for man-made fibres starting now.

PM: When I see the phrase "man-made fibres", I immediately think this is a newspaper headline. Man Made Fibres! Or is it a bit like Chicken Fried Rice? Is that a dish, or is it something that a bird actually did? Did it go down to Uncle Ben's, empty into a saucepan, put it on a low frame, and say "there you are, I've cooked you a meal"? But no, that isn't the case at all. Man-made fibres, nylon sheets, they're terrible, they...


NP: Paul Merton moved forward then. Also speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. He's just one ahead of Peter Jones and Stephen Frost. And Maria is just a little way behind the other three, only in points though, she's way ahead in all other things! Paul your turn to begin, the shires. Yes we';re in Leicestershire, at the moment. Sixty seconds starting now.

PM: Well, they're big horses with hairy feet, often employed by brewers that drag wagons of beer around the capital city of London. I often see them going round the Wandsworth way, these huge mighty animals. I don't know why they're called Shire horses. I suppose they must come...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Two horses, repetition of horses there. Shire horses and big horses.

PM: Yeah.

NP: And he had the horses at the beginning, didn't he. Right, yes. He didn't have them, but he mentioned them, I'm sorry.


NP: You're getting carried away! Forty-two seconds available for you Stephen, on the shires, starting now.

SF: If you walked into The Bull in Ambridge and ordered a pint of shires, you would receive the finest pint of ale you could possibly get...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: No you wouldn't, it's a fictional village!


NP: That's a very difficult challenge on which to make a decision.

PM: Do you think it's real?

NP: No! Well most people do believe that Ambridge and I don't want to destroy their...

SF: You phone up Eddie Grundy! He'll tell you!

NP: But actually, if we want to be factual, and it's a good proper challenge. So Paul, I must be fair, say you have a correct challenge, 34 seconds on the shires starting now.


NP: Stephen you challenged.

SF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes.

PM: I said everything I knew about it last time!

NP: Oh so, it wasn't that you misunderstood me, you didn't actually speak up deliberately?

PM: No.

NP: Are you playing games with me, Paul Merton?

PM: Yes.

NP: Right! Do you want to take the subject or not?

PM: No, I don't.

NP: You don't. Well then Stephen had a correct challenge, he gets another point, he's forging ahead, 35 seconds, the shires starting now.

SF: We had a very well-spoken gym master at school who would say (puts on English upper-class accent) "after the game, get into the showers (pronounced as shires), will you?" (normal voice) And of course we did. He reminded me a bit of Terry Thomas who used to say (upper-class accent) "you absolute shower (pronounced as shire)!" (normal voice) as well. Of course we'd always take the mickey out of him because of his accent in the (posh voice) showers (normal voice) with him. We used to make him take...


NP: Peter challenged.

PJ: Repetition of (upper class accent) showers.

NP: Yes!


NP: I agree with you Peter. The subject is shires, or the shires, and he said showers. Yes. Right now, Peter you have 14 seconds on the shires ah with another point of course, starting now.

PJ: We have a lot of them in England, shires. The name of the shire is ah usually...


NP: Maria you challenged.

MM: Progressive hesitation.

NP: Don't rub it in! It was hesitation! (laughs) Seven seconds on the shires with you Maria starting now.

MM: Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hammel Hampsteadshire. (laughs)



NP: Peter yes?

PJ: Yes...

NP: Yes...

PJ: Erroneous!

NP: Erroneous, yes, Hammel Hampsteadshire.

MM: Rubbish!

NP: Rubbish. We have many shires but not Hammel Hampsteadshire! Right, one second...

MM: Oh damn!

NP: Peter you got in cleverly with one second to go on the shires starting now.

PJ: The pearl of them all is Shropshire!


NP: At the end of that round, Peter Jones has leapt forward again, I say he's leapt forward. He's moved forward, he's inched forward actually because he's one ahead of Paul Merton and Stephen Frost, who are equal in second place, and then Maria McErlane. But Stephen Frost, your turn to begin, the subject is shambles. Something that regularly occurs on Just A Minute but talk on the subject if you can starting now.

SF: I was once walking through an area in Glasgow called The Shambles. It was just south of the Gorbals if you don't know where it is. And unfortunately, it is a shambles. There are dead dogs in the street, lampposts that don't work, and holes in the road. A complete and utter shambles. The Gorbals on the other hand is much nicer. The lighting in the street...


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: Yes ah he was talking about the Gorbals...

NP: Yes he mentioned...

PJ: ...instead of the ah shambles.

NP: He repeated Gorbals.

PJ: Yes he did.

NP: He did indeed yes.

PM: There was quite a lot of Gorbals, wasn't there?

NP: There was a lot of Gorbals.

PJ: Yes.

NP: (in Scottish accent) And as I come from Glasgow, I don't know any place called The Shambles. I think you were having us on there. It was a nice bit of fiction. Right, the shambles do not exist near to the Gorbals...

SF: What part of Glasgow is that? Dublin?


PM: Is there a doctor in the house?

NP: (still in Scottish accent) It's a wee bit of a Scottish education for them all. Right, the Gorbals, he repeated Peter, you listened well...

PJ: Yes.

NP: And you came in with 39 seconds to go starting now.

PJ: Shambles used to be the word to describe the slaughter house or abattoir, because there was always bits of animals all over the place, blood on the floor, in an absolute chaotic mess...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: That's exactly what I said, that's why it's called the Shambles in Glasgow. They've dogs all over the place! He's just doing my material now!

NP: No he wasn't! Because his was an abattoir, yours was south of the Gorbals. Utterly different! Yours was fiction and his was real! And so Peter you have another incorrect challenge against you, another point, 26 seconds, shambles starting now.

PJ: Because it was such a mess, it is often used to describe what happens when a television show goes wrong, or even a stage play. The actors say it was a shambles. And of course they are not referring to the abattoir or the real red stuff on the floor...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of abattoir.

NP: We had the abattoir before Peter.

PJ: Yes we did, what a nuisance!

NP: What a nuisance, yes! But he got in with eight seconds to go, Paul Merton did, on shambles starting now.

PM: Does anybody here remember Sale Of The Century? It was a television programme which did come live from Norwich. And what a wonderful...



NP: I must thank our audience here for that wonderful cheer you gave for Sale Of The Century!


NP: And Paul likes to have a go at me on it whenever he possibly can. He got a point for speaking as the whistle went, he's one point behind our leader Peter Jones. And Maria is going to steam forth with the last round, telling us something about stuff and nonsense. And Maria will tell us about it in 60 seconds starting now.

MM: Stuff and nonsense will probably be spouting from my mouth for the next possible 10 seconds. Nonsense is quite clear to define. David Mellor is handsome and sexy, obviously nonsense! Tonight I will be getting off with the Mayor of Loughborough, again, nonsense! That was last night! Stuff on the other hand is slightly more difficult to understand... the usage.... ahhhhh!


NP: Stephen got in first.

SF: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes. Stephen there are 33 seconds available for you on stuff and nonsense starting now.

SF: There are a lot of stuff and nonsense things that go on in this world. Painting grass red, for instance, on football pitches or American games... things...


NP: Paul challenged you first, yes, Paul Merton?

PM: A sort of hesitation.

NP: A sort of hesitation yes. Twenty-five seconds with you Paul Merton, stuff and nonsense starting now.

PM: Maria told me before the show that it's her proud boast to have had sex with every Lord Mayor in the country!


PM: She gets on very well with the Lord Mayor from Lincoln. His name's Bobby...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: He said Mayor again.

NP: Yeah, there were two Lord Mayors.

SF: Every Lord Mayor and then the Lord Mayor, yeah.

NP: Fourteen seconds, Stephen Frost, stuff and nonsense starting now.

SF: Stuff And Nonsense is the name of a cafe in Loughborough where they serve sage and onion and bric-a-brac. You can go and eat there...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Well, a cafe that serves bric-a-brac called Stuff And Nonsense!

NP: It could be a sideline. I've been at a cafe...

PM: It could be a sideline!!!!!

NP: Yes.

SF: Yeah...

NP: You go into a cafe, sometimes they sell flowers and cafes sell other things as a sideline. I mean he's not actually deviating from the subject. It could be a cafe that sells bric-a-brac.

PM: So you go in, you have omelette and chips and maybe something for the mantelpiece?

NP: Yeah! Definitely. I mean I haven't seen it but it is perfectly possible, isn't it?

PJ: You're not likely to see it!

NP: Why not?

PJ: It's not there!

NP: Are you trying to undermine the position of the chairman completely Peter?

PJ: No, but I know for a fact it isn't there. I scoured the streets in the few hours I had before...

NP: That's what you were doing, I did wonder actually! After you told us about those pictures you took down from the telephone kiosk, I was...

PJ: Well!

NP: So Paul, no, I disagree with the challenge, Stephen has another point and he has eight seconds to carry on with stuff and nonsense starting now.

SF: I did in fact order egg and chips, and also a nice little pair of doves made out of porcelain. One was bigger than the other but it didn't deflect from the...



NP: No, no, Peter challenged. Peter challenged before that. What was it?

PJ: If one was bigger than the other, they weren't a pair!


NP: Peter as an old friend, I'm delighted you did challenge there. And it's an utterly correct challenge because you got in with half a second to go and in that ha;f second you can now win this show.

PJ: Really?

NP: Yes. So keep your wits about you, half a second...


NP: Stuff and nonsense starting now.

PJ: Good old Loughborough!


NP: So stuff and nonsense brought this edition of Just A Minute to a close and stuff and nonsense is probably the meat and drink of Just A Minute, but we do it in such a way, or at least the panellists do it in such a way that it entertains and you and keeps us going, or it has done very securely for over 30 years. Isn't it lovely! Let me give you the final points position, I don't say the final score because I know you love them all. Maria McErlane, who's done so well on her second visit up to Leicester. And Stephen Frost came just ahead of her and he was dynamically funny. And Paul Merton with his great style and panache within Just A Minute did extraordinarily well as usual. But just a little way out in the lead with a few more points than everybody else was Peter Jones, so he's our winner this week! Peter you come to the shires and you carry all before you, well done, congratulations. It only remains for me to say on behalf of these four exponents of this game, Just A Minute. That's Maria McErlane, Peter Jones, Paul Merton and Stephen Frost, we thank them very much. We also want to thank Helen Williams for keeping the score, helping with the stopwatch, blowing her whistle. And of course our producer, Chris Neill who directs with such style and panache. Ian Messiter who has thought of and created this game which we all love playing. from them, from me, Nicholas Parsons, and from our audience here in the Town Hall, Loughborough, good-bye! Yes!