NOTE: Arthur Smith's first appearance, Jeremy Hardy's first appearance, Mariella Frostrup's first appearance.


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Hello and welcome to Just A Minute, the half hour verbal fencing match that we like to think of as a television show. And my guests tonight. Well first up, our resident raconteur, the man with the most entertaining eyebrows in show business and sideboards to match, Tony Slattery! Next to Tony a woman who somehow manages to combine being the Kate Adie of young programmes, the new Barry Norman and the sexiest woman on television. She's also very good at reviewing films, Mariella Frostrup! On my right, a comedian known and loved for his gentle self-deprecating sense of humour. Just recently he's rather modestly produced a book, a radio show and simultaneously a national tour. All entitled Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation, he is Jeremy Hardy! And lastly, and lastly, but by no means leastly, a compere, a stand-up comedian who was once half of a double act called Fiasco Jobjob. Yes he was, yes! He's also a West End playwright, an ex-international porn star, it could be only Arthur Smith!

ARTHUR SMITH: I'm not a porn star!

NP: They're going to try and play Just a Minute and the rules are ridiculously simple, until you play the game and then they become simply ridiculous. I ask them to speak on the subject i give them, and they try and do that without hesitation, repeating anything or deviating from the subject. They can challenge at any time, if I uphold the challenge they gain a point, and if I don't uphold the challenge, the one who's speaking gains a point. They can repeat the subject which is on the card in front of me. Let us begin the show with this clot on my left who is sending me up rotten throughout my announcements. He's incorrigible and he is Tony Slattery. The subject we would like you to talk on is what the butler saw at 10 Downing Street. You have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

TONY SLATTERY: Jeeves the butler wandered the corridors of 10 Downing Street. Oak panels and nasty gloomless things that they were. In one room he spied Carol Thatcher still desperately trying to come to terms with the fact that she's got very bad makeup. And then Mark who was wandering around the room not knowing which door to go...


NP: Arthur Smith you challenged.

AS: You see, Margaret Thatcher's no longer Prime Minister, is she?

TS: This was a historical account!

NP: The thing is Arthur, I don't think he was deviating from the subject because it could be any butler. He hasn't established which butler.

AS: Well, which Downing Street is it?

NP: Right, I think 10 Downing Street does refer to the one where the Prime Minister lives. And it was the butler obviously that was in residence at the time when the Thatcher era was occurring. And I.... fascinating, isn't it?

MARIELLA FROSTRUP: I was enjoying the story, I think he should go on!

NP: I know, it's such a, such an intelligent programme isn't it! Tony, I disagree with the challenge, you keep the subject, you get a point for a wrong challenge and you have 41 seconds starting now.

TS: In another chamber, Denis was upside down in a plastic bucket of warm malt whisky. And then I came across Margaret Thatcher! Was she at her desk writing? No, she was biting the heads off chickens! This was her normal...


NP: Jeremy you challenged. Why?

JEREMY HARDY: He repeated Thatcher!

NP: He did! Yes! Correct challenge from Jeremy Hardy so he gets a point for that, he takes over the subject, what the butler saw at 10 Downing Street, 27 seconds starting now.

JH: These images were both...


NP: Tony Slattery.

TS: I think there was a pause before he started, there was a hesitation.

JH: It was a pause for laughter, I was just assuming I would get it!

TS: Woooooo!

NP: As there was silence when you spoke, you must be a very strange comedian. Um...

JH: Oh get her!

NP: Tony Slattery had a correct challenge and we have 18 seconds for you to take over the subject with a point of course, what the butler saw at 10 Downing Street starting now.

TS: The news was terribly bad! Margaret, I'm very sorry, you are going...


NP: Mariella.

MF: He repeated Margaret.

NP: Yes you said Margaret Thatcher before.

TS: Yes, yes!

NP: Well listened Mariella, you're concentrating, good girl! What the butler saw...

MF: I don't normally, you know, I'm only a woman! Normally I can't concentrate at all!


NP: You didn't need to remind us Mariella, it was... blatantly obvious!

MF: The only or the woman?

NP: What's that?

MF: The only or the woman? Which was it I didn't need to remind you of?

NP: Both, my darling! I've gone! I've peaked already! Mariella you have the subject... what I was conveying was that you were concentrating while they were being frivolous.

TS: You were not! You were just having a big flirt! You were going "well done and well remembered, you cheeky little thing! Oooohhh!" That's what he was doing!

MF: Anyway, enough of you Tony!

NP: Enough of you Tony! Yes!

MF: I'm ready!

NP: You're ready!

TS: I'm right close!

NP: All right! What the butler saw at 10 Downing Street, Mariella, 14 seconds are left starting now.

MF: The butler actually saw very little at 10 Downing Street because he was tied up in a closet, blindfolded and wearing a tutu at the time. Because that was how Maggie liked to see her him. And she liked him to waltz out during dinner parties, and she would...


NP: Jeremy Hardy challenged.

JH: Repetition of liked.

NP: Yes she liked to walk out twice. Jeremy... you have the audience with you Mariella, that's one thing.

MF: Thanks! Thank them!

NP: And Jeremy lost a little while ago, but he's got the subject back, and he's got one second starting now.

JH: The Antichrist herself!


NP: That whistle tells us that 60 seconds are up and whoever is speaking at that particular moment, gains an extra point. It was on this occasion Jeremy Hardy. And at the end of that round Jeremy has taken a strong lead ahead of the others. Mariella Frostrup, will you take the next round please, the subject is what I did on Richmond Hill. Can you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

MF: Well it's funny you should mention Richmond Hill, because I do actually like to go there very often. Particularly on Saturday afternoons when I take Tony for his weekly walk. He loves to don a collar and lead and scampering off doing funny things...


NP: Um Arthur...

AS: I believe she said he loves to dong a collar!

NP: She did!

MF: Arthur, I have never said dong in my life!

AS: You've never said it!

NP: Right well we'll move rapidly on! I think that's the only thing we can do at this time of the evening! And Mariella you still have the subject, what I did on Richmond Hill, 50 seconds starting now.

MF: So there's Tony running around...


NP: Tony?

TS: Repetition of Tony.

NP: You had Tony before.

TS: You had Tony in my...

MF: But you're part of my story! How can I not... There's it running around?

NP: That is... that is the challenge, that is the challenge of Just A Minute, to continue with the story without referring to the person by the same name again.

MF: I was making you so famous...

TS: Mmmm!

MF: ... in the story and now... I can't believe you!

NP: Mariella... He is a dong fellow! Right! Forty-eight seconds left on what I did on Richmond Hill, Tony, starting now.

TS: On Richmond Hill, unlike on Blueberry Hill, where I left my heart. On Richmond Hill, I did not...


NP: Arthur Smith.

AS: There's too many hills, aren't there?

NP: It's on the card, you can repeat the subject on the card. You don't have to take the whole phrase, you can take any word and repeat it.

AS: Well...

MF: No!

NP: That always has been...

JH: I have a correct challenge though.

NP: What was that?

JH: You don't find your heart on Blueberry Hill, you leave your heart, and you find your thrill.

NP: You are absolutely correct...

JH: You leave your heart... I am a doctor! You leave your heart in San Francisco, you find your thrill on Blueberry Hill!

AS: And you leave your liver on Wimbledon!

JH: Yes!

NP: I'm pleased because I think you may need a doctor Jeremy. But actually no, he was not deviating, or repeating anything within the rules of Just A Minute. So Tony it was an incorrect challenge, you keep the subject, what I did on Richmond Hill, 43 seconds starting now.

TS: I simply walked up to the top, and scanned the London skyline. Look, that's where Nicholas Parsons lives! Over there, I see Jeremy Hardy and both of them communicating by semaphore and flashlights, proclaiming their love to each other, over the London hills...


NP: Ah...

AS: We've had London, we've had hills, we've had dongs, we've had the lot now!

NP: Yes the word on the card was hill and hills was repeated. So Arthur at last, you have a correct challenge. You've been trying very hard! And that's the subject, 27 seconds starting now.

AS: Richmond Hill is an old pal of mine. And what I did on him the other night...


AS: ...really is too disgusting to discuss here on a family programme. However let it be said that he did come away smelling somewhat of the deep tumescent whiff of the River Thames which flows so beautifully though the heart...


AS: I'm turning into Kenneth Williams now!

NP: Mariella you have challenged.

MF: Wasn't he deviating with the Thames? I mean the Thames, Richmond Hill, where are we?

NP: I think the Thames does go quite near to Richmond so...

MF: Not very near!

NP: But near enough! I think...

TS: What a fascinating discussion! How near...

NP: I know it is!

AS: So what's Richmond Bridge? What does that go over?

MF: His Richmond Hill is a man! So how do you know...

NP: You can go off... I know you haven't played before, but you can take it in any way. You know, otherwise, it's too impossible Mariella. I'm sorry I can't agree with the challenge. Arthur, incorrect challenge, you have another point, you have the subject and there are only four seconds left starting now.

AS: (sings) Walking down on Richmond Hill, da-da-da-dah!



NP: Jeremy you got in first!

JH: Repetition of dah!

NP: Yes!


NP: A point to Jeremy Hardy, he got in with half a second on the subject starting now.

JH: Dah-doo-bee-bee...


NP: And once again Jeremy Hardy was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so, and has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Jeremy we'd like you to take the next round. Will you tell us something about Aylesbury duck... I think the audience like that, there are 60 seconds starting now.

JH: Aylesbury duck is not rhyming slang as people often think. It is in fact a recipe involving duck and Aylesbury. What you do is you take Aylesbury, let it sit for five minutes and then roll it lightly in seasoned flour, then shove a duck right into it! Then baste it in your own saliva and pop it in a microwave for 15 seconds! Then remove the sauté and leave for Delia Smith to find! Oh! (collapses)


NP: Arthur Smith you challenged.

TS: Very good!

AS: I thought it was magnificent Jeremy. And I think you should be allowed to carry on, I want to see what comes out in the end!

NP: No, I think we should hear from you on Aylesbury duck, I'm sure you've got something to say. There are 42 seconds left starting now.

AS: Arthur is twinned with a mud flat in Siberia. In that town people often find that there are low flying geese, going by, in which case they are required to go oomph! (ducks) Like that! And that is Aylesbury duck.


AS: Other things that occur in the town in question are that great octopuses fly by...


TS: Sorry, there were two flies there.

NP: Yes! Repetition of the word fly.

NP: Yes you can't have too many flies on this show. No, they're all under the table at the moment. Um so I agree with your challenge Tony, you have 18 seconds on Aylesbury duck starting now.

TS: One of the best ways to eat Aylesbury duck is just pop it in your mouth and then it'll go down the digestive system through the process of peristalsis and come out the other end. But another recipe is to serve it with bauxite and... strontium 90...


NP: Um...

JH: Slight hesitation on strontium 90.

NP: Yes, Jeremy you have a correct challenge, you have six seconds on Aylesbury duck starting now.

JH: Duck al orange is a different and entirely putrid dish which involves food which I don't think should be put with...


NP: And once again, our first time player of the game, Jeremy Hardy, was speaking as the whistle went and gained an extra point for doing so, and has gone even further into the lead at the end of the round. If you want to know, Tony Slattery's in second place, then comes Arthur Smith and then Mariella Frostrup. And Mariella's going to begin the next round. We are now going to have an object.


NP: Instead of me giving them a subject, they have an object! Isn't that adorable, a pussy cat! Now that's the object. Mariella, you have 60 seconds to talk on that object starting now.

MF: Well if you don't mind me saying so, and if my eyes don't deceive me, I think that is a stuffed dead moggy which is something I hate, more than life itself in fact. My mother has hundreds of them, they ran around the house, they make me sneeze and cough and often cry. This particular cat is a famous cat though. I believe it is Dick Whittington's...


NP: Um...

AS: There's two cats.

MF: Give it to Arthur!

NP: Arthur a correct challenge, there are 41 seconds will you tell us something about this object starting now.

AS: As a conceptual artist, I see this not as a cat, but as a tower block!



NP: Yes?

JH: Very long hesitation indeed!

AS: Well I was just waiting for the laugh, just waiting for them to quiet down!

JH: It had been buried!

NP: He tried to ride a laugh and got off his vehicle. Now Jeremy you've got a point for a correct challenge, there was a pause, 34 seconds starting now.

JH: The cat is not a fish as people often think. It is in fact a mammal and has a tiny pouch from which eggs are produced and...


NP: Mariella?

MF: It's not true! It's nonsense!

JH: It's seasonally adjusted, that's all!

NP: Mariella you have another point, you have this object here, 26 seconds starting now.

MF: This object here actually belonged to Dick Whittington, and it is in fact a pantomime beep, I can't actually say what it is because I've been told I'm not allowed to do that. I don't know very much about the said Mister... Beep...


NP: Oh Tony Slattery?

TS: Big hesitation, I'm sorry.

NP: Yes there was, but also Mariella as you have courageously...

MF: Don't you condescend to me!

TS: You're in a very aggressive mood! At least I'm not behaving like Nicholas! (does impression of NP) You dirty little thing! Mmmm! You've got a couple of points!

NP: You know Tony, the awful thing is I am just about to give Mariella another point. She gets a bonus point because she correctly identified the object. It is Dick Whittington's cat. A reproduction of it. So she gets a bonus point for that.

TS: What sort of ranting, drug-induced gibberish is this? Dick Whittington's cat and it's an accurate copy?

MF: That's why it's stuffed and dead, it's been dead for a long time, you can tell.

AS: When I saw Dick Whittington, it was played by Joanna Lumley! Not that! The cat talks in pantomime! That cat's said nothing! Stop going round! You're making me ill!

NP: This is a traditional cat as supports Dick Whittington in the pantomime which Mariella Frostrup with her deep intelligence informed us, so she gets the bonus point! Yes! And Slattery, I'm always fair. You did have a correct challenge, you get a point for that, you have this object and there's 12 seconds left starting now.

TS: This is the thing which for many years has been masquerading as Bruce Forsyth's toupee! It would probably blend in with the rest of his face because he uses coal copper, the same sort of makeup that Philip Schofield uses, not necessarily on their...


NP: Tony Slattery speaking as the whistle went and he gained that extra point for doing so. The cat is about to disappear...


NP: Yes I thought it might!

MF: Thank God for that!

NP: That sound is something wrong with its insides actually! And we've reached the halfway mark in this contest. Let me tell you what the score is as we go into the halfway mark. Jeremy Hardy's still in the lead, just three points ahead of Tony Slattery. He's one point ahead of Mariella Frostrup and she's two points ahead of Arthur Smith. Isn't it exciting! I'm sure you are thrilled to hear that! After that harrowing bout of verbal aggression, it's time for us to limp off to the first aid point. But we will see you or more likely you will see us, after this.




NP: Welcome back to Just A Minute and lets plunge headlong into the undignified squabble which we like to call the second half of the show. I'm not now going to give our panellists a subject, I'm going to ask the audience to give them a subject on which they would like one of them to speak. So may we have some suggestions for subjects? Yes, that gentleman over there. Yes?


NP: Radio days, a lovely one. Yes, anybody, yes, another suggestion, that gentleman there, stand up please.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Nelson's Column.

NP: Nelson's Column. Yes and the same to you! Any other suggestions? Please stand up with a suggestion. Yes the lady at the back there?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What do you keep under your bed.

NP: What do you, yes, what do you keep under your bed, I think that is a good subject. Arthur, will you tell us something about what you keep under your bed, Arthur, 60 seconds, starting now.

AS: Under my bed I keep Big Ben, Nelson's Column, and a number of other London monuments! Because I have an absolutely enormous thing on which I sleep. This is because I am very fat...


MF: Repetition of because.

NP: Yes you did say because before. Mariella, well listened, 45 seconds are left, will you tell us what you keep under your bed, 45 seconds, starting now.

MF: Under my bed, I don't keep any of the same things that Arthur does. In fact I keep lots and lots of young men...


NP: And you've challenged...

TS: Lots and lots.

MF: And I said lots and lots!

TS: Yes, lots and lots.

MF: I was overcome! I wanted to tell you!

NP: Yes!

MF: Now you're never going to know what I keep under my bed, and there was a lot more there!

NP: Oh I know!

TS: Darn! Or should I say dong?

NP: Will you tell us what you keep under your bed Tony Slattery, in 39 seconds starting now.

TS: Under my bed I keep a collection of early Louis Cattier 17th century ball gowns! When I fancy going out on the town, I wander up and down Piccadilly, and someone says to me "ooohh! 'Oo you looking at madam?"


NP: Yes ah?

MF: Repetition of oooohh.

NP: That's right, oooh oooh. So now Mariella you see you lose the subject, you get it back, another point and 25 seconds, what I keep under my bed starting now.

MF: Under my bed, I also keep my family. But it's a bit of a problem because they tend to argue all the time and they tend to try and join in as well...


MF: Repetition of tend!

NP: Repetition of tend, yes. Nineteen seconds for you Tony, on what you keep under your bed starting now.

TS: Also low-cut bras, cantilevered corsets and a rubber basque. This is generally... (dissolves in laughter)


MF: Hysteria! Deviation, hysteria, stumbling and all that sort of stuff!

NP: Yes, laughing at his own jokes! Eleven seconds for you to tell us Mariella starting now.

MF: There's John, Tony, Fred, Nick, Arthur, Jeremy, Tony, Nicholas...


TS: I haven't been under your bed twice! No way!

NP: So Tony, ah yeah I think it's you isn't it. That's the subject, six seconds starting now.

TS: Under my bed I keep Nicholas Parsons' straitjacket...


NP: Yes?

AS: Oh I just pressed it! I'm deviating by pressing it! Please, I'm sorry!

NP: I thought you were going to mention he mentioned Nicholas Parsons under his bed, I thought that was a very devious thought! Yes Arthur...

AS: Oh right! That was a lucky challenge!

NP: Yes! Five seconds are left, what you keep under your bed starting now.

AS: Under my bed I keep an enormous red balloon which... wells it up...


NP: Tony you got in first.

TS: Hesitation.

AS: It was.

NP: A big hesitation and you got in with half a second to go on what you keep under your bed starting now.

TS: Dirty Bunty comics...


NP: As we move into the final round which Jeremy Hardy will take on the subject of Maidenhead. There are 60 seconds as usual starting now.

JH: Maidenhead is in Berks which again is not rhyming slang, but short for Berkshire. It also means virginity which people tend to try and lose. Although you may find that once you have lost it, a policeman finds it outside the police station and brings it round! As it...


NP: Mariella?

MF: Police station, two instances.

NP: Yes I'll give you the benefit of the doubt Mariella. Will you tell us something about maidenhead, 43 seconds starting now.

MF: Maidenhead means a woman of virtue. A woman who’s bright, intelligent...


TS: Too many women.

NP: Two women.

TS: A woman of virtue, a woman who's bright, intelligent.

NP: So we're going to hear from everybody...

MF: I'm going now! I'm sulking!

TS: No, don't!

MF: I'm out of here!

NP: No, you've contributed so much!

MF: I'm going back to all those young men under my bed.

NP: Right Tony you had a correct challenge, there are 21 seconds for you on Maidenhead starting now.

TS: Does anyone remember the piece of frozen confectionery called Strawberry Mivvies? It's unlikely that you...


NP: Ah Mariella Frostrup?

MF: Deviation.

NP: What's it got to do with Maidenhead? Nothing! Mariella you have the subject back, I'm glad you stayed! Fifteen seconds, Maidenhead starting now.

MF: Maidenhead is a town in the Home Counties where a lot of people like to ride horses, eat cream teas and look down on their neighbours live. It's not only...


NP: Tony challenged.

TS: Well that's just gibberish! Look, look down, look down on their neighbours live? Look down on their neighbours live! It's Swedish! (in Swedish accent) Look down on their neighbours live!

MF: I am funnily enough Swedish! So you've almost got it right, but you've got no right to challenge me!

NP: Tony... (in Swedish accent) In Sweden they do talk like that sometimes. (normal voice) Right Tony...

TS: What accent was that?

NP: Tony... no, take that one away from Tony! You've just given him, I haven't given him the point there! No he's not going ahead, Tony! We're in the last round, there are seven seconds. Mariella's never played the game before, and it's an even contest and I think she has the benefit of the doubt so she carries on with maidenhead and there are seven seconds starting now.

MF: Maidenhead lies on the banks of the Thames and is very close to Marlowe, Henley and lots of other little towns. It's a beautiful place...


NP: Jeremy yes?

JH: Repetition of towns.

NP: Yes you had towns before, yes. You've got in with half a second to go...

MF: I'll get you later!

NP: Maidenhead starting now.

JH: Maidenhead is...


NP: It was Jeremy Hardy then speaking as the whistle went. And gaining an extra point for doing so. And at the end of the round, it was a very even contest. Our joint winners this week, Mariella Frostrup and ...

TS: (in Swedish accent) Tony Slattery!

NP: Tony Slattery! So from Tony Slattery, Mariella Frostrup, Jeremy Hardy, Arthur Smith and myself Nicholas Parsons, it is good-bye until we seize the airwaves again with another round of Just A Minute. Until then from all of us here good-bye!