starring TONY SLATTERY, ARTHUR SMITH, RICHARD VRANCH and PETE McCARTHY, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 17 February 1994)

NOTE: Pete McCarthy's last appearance and only television appearance.


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Hello and welcome to Just A Minute, the long running radio show that's now on television, because it has to be seen to be believed. First, let me introduce my guests. With me as usual is my regular playmate, in the professional sense you understand. A multitalented comedian who, a lot of people don't realise, suffers from acute camera shyness. It could only be Tony Slattery! Next to Tony we have a comedian, musician, nuclear physicist and founder member of the Comedy Store Players, Doctor Richard Vranch! Incidentally, something that's not known widely, Richard was once a member of a group of male strippers. It's absolutely true, along with another of my guests tonight. But first, on my right, an actor, writer, comedian, journalist, broadcaster, travel show presenter. In fact if I try to list all of his talents, I'd be violently ill. He's the rather more than adequately talented, Rodney Bewes look-alike, only better looking, Pete McCarthy! Lastly a great comedian, actor, compere, the co-author of a West End hit, An Evening With Gary Lineker, and the star of Arthur Smith Sings Andy Williams, yes, you guessed it, he's Richard Vranch's new dancing partner, it could only be Arthur Smith! Those are the four panellists who this week are going to play Just A Minute. For those who may not have viewed us before, the rules are very simple, until you start to play the game, that is, of course. I ask each panellist to speak in turn on a subject that I give them. And they try and do that without hesitating or repeating, except the subject on the card, they're allowed to repeat that, or deviating from the subject. They can challenge whenever they like. If I uphold the challenge they take over the subject and gain a point. And if I don't uphold the challenge, whoever's speaking keeps the subject and also gains a point. It will become more simple and understandable as we progress. Tony Slattery, is going to begin. Tony the subject we're going to start with is things to do on South End Pier. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TONY SLATTERY: All right, well, I don't want to get immediately into cruel character assassination, but the first thing that occurs that I would do on the end of South End Pier is get Robert Kilroy-Silk to tie an enormous weight to his feet, and then push him off the end because his show is so dreadful. I don't suppose he'd like this one either. Another thing to do on South End Pier would be to go to the Punch and Judy show and go to the man with the moustache and say "hello Lord Lucan, you've turned up at last" and then I'd turn down the...


NP: Ah Arthur Smith challenged.

ARTHUR SMITH: I challenge on deviation because really Lord Lucan jokes really are just too old.

NP: They definitely are too old, I quite agree.

AS: You used to know Lord Lucan, didn't you Nicholas. he used to be on this programme.

TS: In fact, ladies and gentlemen, it is...

NP: No, they didn't recognise me, no, no. Actually yes I enjoyed the challenge, but I'm afraid he wasn't within the rules of the game deviating from things to do on South End Pier. So Tony I disagree with the challenge, you have a point for that, you keep going, there are 32 seconds left, starting now.

TS: And at South End Pier, I would survey the beach and the detritus of the British holiday maker. Half decomposed animals being washed up with the raw sewage and condoms and broken bottles. And this is the holiday of our famous bulldog breed...


NP: Ah Pete McCarthy.

PETE McCARTHY: Repetition of holiday.

NP: Yes you mentioned holiday before. So Pete you got in there with a correct challenge, a point for that, and you take over the subject, there are 15 seconds left and you start now.

PM: Contrary to Tony's obsession with things base and rather filthy, I would choose to walk along the pier, eating candy floss, perhaps playing in some of the many arcades...


NP: Tony challenged.

TS: Well candy floss is filthy. It's the most repulsive piece of confection ever invented. And you think that's nice, do you?

NP: Tony I'll tell you what I'm going to do. We liked the challenge so I'm going to give you a bonus point for your challenge. But it wasn't correct within the rules of the game so Pete you get a point for being interrupted, you keep the subject, things to do on South End Pier, five seconds are left starting now.

PM: Arcades full of virtual reality machines are a marvellous way to pass the afternoon while in South End...


NP: When the whistle goes it tells us that 60 seconds are up and whoever is speaking at that moment gets an extra point. And on this occasion it was Pete McCarthy so Pete has got the lead at the end of that round. Richard Vranch will you begin the next round, the subject we've got here is why I hate London. I don't know whether you do or not, but you have to speak on the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

RICHARD VRANCH: The thing that I hate most about London is the fact that at 11.00 all the pubs shut. And that's just the time of the evening when...


NP: Um...

PM: Well deviation, this is a reason for hating Britain, isn't it, not just London.

NP: Yes it's a good idea, but at the same time, he doesn't deviate from the subject on the card. So Richard a point for being interrupted and you continue with 51 seconds on why I hate London starting now.

RV: It's just this time when thespians come out of their theatres and want to go for a refreshing...


NP: Ah...

AS: He said thesbians and it rhymed with lesbians!

NP: Maybe he's met a few, I don't know. Anyway...

PM: Maybe he could tell us what a thesbian is.

NP: What's the difference between a thesbian and an thespian?

RV: Ah, the T-H mainly.

NP: Oh Arthur I agree with the challenge, because he should have said it's a deviation from correct English, it should have been thespians. And there are 45 seconds for you to talk...

TS: How many seconds?

NP: Forty-five.

TS: Because originally you said for-dee-high seconds. If this is how the show is going to go on, we might as well all leave! It's terribly important to get the thought out of one brain into another, you use English and not the language, not the language of the Mar-dee-how-doo tribe!

AS: How dare you patronise an old man like that! Poor old chap! We've only been going two minutes and he's already lost the will to live!

NP: I was about to say Tony, that I'm not only going off you very rapidly, but I've also gone off Arthur Smith as well! But still we play the game don't we. Why I hate London, Arthur, there are 45 seconds starting now.

AS: I actually love London because I like to go drinking with Lord Lucan virtually every night of the week in pubs that are open until 4.00 in the morning since they are if you know where to go, I can tell you. Another thing I hate about London though is the flat in which I live. I believe my apartment should not be in that way...


NP: Tony you challenged first.

TS: I'm sorry, there was a stumble, my papartment.

NP: Papartment. I mean, gosh, where does he live? How does he live? I don't know. Twenty-two seconds...

AS: Don't do so many ad libs, Nicholas! Dangerous!

NP: Too many are dangerous, I quite agree. Tony, back with you, you have another point for a correct challenge, 22 seconds, why I hate London starting now.

TS: I hate London because the streets are strewn with corpses that have been forced to endure Nicholas's ad libs! They raggedly fall on the nearest child...


NP: Arthur?

AS: Repetition of Parsons jokes now, isn't it.

TS: I haven't said any yet!

AS: You've done about 20 already! I think we should have a minor truce on Nicholas for a bit.

TS: Yes okay.

NP: I don't mind about that. But listen the point is that I am always fair and he has not actually mentioned me in the game. You've mentioned me outside the game. So Tony you have another point, you were interrupted, 12 seconds on the subject starting now.

TS: I once asked the taxi driver to take me to the Ganges in India. And he said I'm not going south of the river. And that's the type of thing that I hate the most. But you see the thing is that's another thing which I hate about London...


NP: Yes?

PM: Repetition of thing.

NP: Another thing yes. Yes and Pete you very cleverly got in with one second to go on why I hate London starting now.

PM: Well it's a dump, isn't it. I mean...


NP: So Pete McCarthy was again speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so, and he's still in the lead but now only one ahead of Tony Slattery who's in second place. The next round, Arthur Smith, we'd like you to take that. Where I live, we've heard a bit about it. Frankly I don't really want to go there, but will you tell us something about it Arthur in this game starting now.

AS: I live in a pond on Clapham Common. Right at the bottom, after the pub shuts, every night I like to descend to the murky depths where I snore through my gills, and cavort with toads and fishes. What a lovely life I lead down there, swimming around, gambolling with the dolphins, er...


NP: Richard Vranch.

RV: There was an er after the dolphins.

AS: Oh thank you!

NP: Yes he hesitated. My God, after those dolphins, I'm not surprised. Richard, a correct challenge and a point to you and the subject, 41 seconds left, for where I live starting now.

RV: I live in a nice little flat in north London which I purchased thinking that I would be able to keep up the mortgage payments. Sadly since those days the er things which I use...


NP: Arthur Smith.

AS: Er things.

NP: All right, hesitation we call that. Thirty-one seconds, Arthur, where I live starting now.

AS: Really I live in Balham which is one of the most beautiful places on Earth...


TS: Deviation, no, he really does live in a pond!


NP: Tony you're winning bonus points with your challenges, but Arthur Smith was interrupted so he gets a point for that and he continues with where I live for 28 seconds starting now.

AS: Balham as any dismal wanker will tell you...


NP: Yes?

RV: Repetition of Balham.

AS: Oh yes.

NP: You can repeat the subject on the card...

AS: Gaw! Doh!

NP: Twenty-six seconds, Richard where I live starting now.

RV: Decorating is a thing I like to do in my spare time. So the mint er...


NP: Tony?

TS: That's a measure of time I'm not familiar with, mints.

NP: I know, and the tongue coming out as well. Where I live, 21 seconds starting now.

TS: I live above an illegal pharmaceutical drug-inducing youth...


TS: I'm sorry!

PM: Anyone from three really!

NP: I know...

AS: Oy, my press was alight, not yours!

PM: I went...

AS: Mine cuts yours out if it gets in earlier.

NP: Whoever presses first a fraction of a second ahead gets in. It was Arthur, yes, hesitation Arthur, 15 seconds left, where I live starting now.

AS: I live in Islington now, in fact my domicile has been in pretty well every part of London since I was born here in 1837, the son of an Archduke and of Countess of Bermondsey. It was...


NP: Once again Arthur Smith proved that you can speak rubbish on Just A Minute and if you keep going until the whistle goes, then you get that extra point. It was Arthur Smith. Arthur's now equal in the lead with Pete McCarthy and Tony Slattery and Richard's only two points behind them. It's...

AS: It's still last though, isn't it.

NP: He's wicked isn't he. Right, Pete will you take the next round, the subject, London bobbies. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

PM: Many years ago because of a coincidence which I cannot satisfactorily explain, both of my maternal aunties married men whose surname was Bobby. We all lived up in Merseyside and so the situation was quite confusing for a while, until one of the family decided to move south to the capital or London as it is known. There they stayed for several years until we...


NP: Arthur Smith challenged.

AS: It's just a bit boring!

PM: We were just reaching the good bit.

AS: Oh were we? All right. Oh I dozed off!

NP: No I agree with you, it was utterly boring. But I mean you can be as boring as you like as long as you keep going without repeating anything...

AS: You've made a career out of it!

NP: Oh dear, and obviously you can be as rude as you like, but still the chairman's here for that, isn't he. Pete, 38 seconds are left, you've got another point for being interrupted, London bobbies starting now.

PM: As they lived there down in the south...


TS: Repetition of lived.

NP: Yes, lived, you said lived before Pete.

TS: Don't look at me like that, Peter.

NP: Why not? Do you like other people to look at you like that? I'm so sorry, right...

TS: What on earth are you talking about?

NP: I don't know but it made them laugh...

PM: I was trying to smoulder, I was trying to smoulder for you.

AS: Get off! What are you doing down there? Are you all right, mate? There really is a bloke down here under the table! Get off! There really is!

NP: I'm sorry, viewers I must explain that will all become apparent later. Let us get back to Just A Minute, Tony Slattery had a correct challenge, 37 seconds are left, London bobbies starting now.

TS: The archetypal chirpiness, cheeriness and kindness of the London bobby is sometimes put to the test. Because I went up to a constable the other day and I said "have you got the time sir?" and he said "you're nicked, gobhead!" Which I thought was rather nasty. He took me down the station and there he revealed that he wasn't a policeman at all. He was...


NP: Um...

AS: I think we've had a couple of policemen haven't we?

NP: We've had a constable and a bobby.

AS: We've had a constable and a bobby and a er I'm terribly sorry, I've given you an extra point.

TS: Hurrah!

NP: You have indeed and it went down like a load of old bricks. Twenty seconds are with you now, London bobbies starting now.

TS: Anyway, in the place where the types of people in the blue uniform go with the pointy hats, I said "you're not really a law enforcer", he said "no I'm not, I'm a.."


PM: A law enforced?

TS: An enforcer, a law enforcer.

NP: I think he did say enforcer, I'm very close to him.

PM: Please yourself.

NP: All right, Tony got another point and eight seconds on London bobbies starting now.

TS: The said sergeant then revealed himself to be a speciality dancer. I said "how on earth did you get to that rate if you're in the constabulary.."


NP: So Tony Slattery was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so, gained many points in that round and has now got a strong lead ahead of the other three. We are going to change things slightly now. Instead of me giving them a subject, I'm going to offer them an object.


NP: My golly! It came up quickly didn't it. The audience are what in Arthur Smith's phraseology would be gob-smacked. They are still trying to solve what on earth that is. My four panellists now have to try and speak on that object and describe it in any way they can. Richard Vranch, would you begin, Dr Richard Vranch, it might help you. Sixty seconds starting now.

RV: I should explain how this device works. It takes three people to operate it properly and that's why because of the immense embarrassment caused to the couple attempting to make love that they never actually proceed with this union and no pregnancy...


NP: Arthur Smith.

AS: You see, he's gone like a Dalek, hasn't he. (in Dalek robotic voice) If I actually had to proceed with this union I... (normal voice) which is really just a series of pauses.

NP: No, he can speak anyway...

AS: It's hesitation.

NP: No, no he can speak any way he wishes providing he doesn't pause too long and too, too over the top as a Dalek. so Richard, I disagree with the challenge, you continue, 32 seconds starting now.

RV: These machines went out of fashion because of the way they rust after three or four weeks of use. A blind man in Hertfordshire once got a terrible infection from this thing, after using it on a sheep. He had this animal as a pet and was trying to make it produce a flock of the same kind of er...


NP: Half a second to go on this object Arthur starting now.

AS: Buses...


NP: So Arthur Smith was then speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point for doing so. He's still in second place. Now I'll give a bonus point to anybody who thinks they know the...


NP: Yes Richard, if you can tell me exactly what it is, you'll get a bonus point.

RV: I think it's a mechanical cork extractor for bottles of wine.

NP: No. Pete, any ideas? Arthur?

PM: Is it anything to do with mincing intestines, at all?

NP: No, no, you're way off. Actually before the show I saw it and I guessed right. It's a 1930s blood circulator made by McCaughis, by the McCaughis Institute actually.

PM: You guessed that? That's great!

NP: No, I didn't guess that part! No, I said it was something to do with massage which is all to do with blood circulation. You put it on there and go...


TS: You sad twit!

NP: That makes the halfway mark in our show. Tony Slattery's in the lead and then Arthur Smith and then Pete McCarthy and then Richard Vranch. And after that distasteful demonstration of one-upmanship, we're going to scuttle to the four corners of the studio and scowl at each other. So why don't you stretch your legs and join us after this.




NP: Welcome back to Just A Minute. And without further ado let's crack on and let the light hearted banter continue. Right, I'll tell you what I'm going to do now. Instead of me giving our panellists a subject, I'm going to ask our audience to give them one. Are there any suggestions of any subjects. Oh dear! Yes that gentleman, what would you like them to speak on?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What goes bump in Nicholas Parsons' wardrobe.

NP: That's a good subject isn't it. Yes that lady over there in the pink.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What happens in Soho.

NP: Yes.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What happens in Soho.

NP: You don't know?


NP: Any other suggestions? Yes, stand up.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'd like to know what goes on in Parliament.

NP: Yes, so would we all. Right, I think, what about, you're going to start. What would you like, the bump in the night, yes? Well, Pete McCarthy, would you talk on the subject of what, the things that go bump in Nicholas Parsons' wardrobe, 60 seconds, starting now.

PM: All of Nicholas's wardrobes are inbuilt units from MFI, and he's renowned throughout the show biz world fro the enormous collection of South American animals that he keeps inside there. The pets though he keeps downstairs in the cellar...


NP: Um, yes Richard?

RV: Two keeps.

NP: Yes you were keeping too much. So Richard the subject is the things that go bump in Nicholas Parsons' wardrobe, 48 seconds are left starting now.

RV: I can reveal tonight that the thing that goes bump in Nicholas's Parsons' wardrobe...


NP: I know! He started with confidence and then whoops! Yes?

TS: There was a bit of a stumble there.

NP: There was.

TS: Nicholases.

NP: Would you Tony tell us something about the things that go bump in Nicholas Parsons' wardrobe in 44 seconds starting now.

TS: Few people know that Nicholas has a large collection of spangly boob tubes left over from the 70s. Also rainbow coloured leg warmers and valor chokers with imitation ceramic clasps. These he dresses up in and parades up and down his bedroom bumping into...


NP: Richard Vranch.

RV: Two ups, dresses up and parades up.

NP: That's right.

RV: Sorry.

NP: And you cleverly got in with only one second to go Richard on the subject starting now.

RV: It's me! I'm inside that wardrobe!


NP: Well Richard Vranch was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And I certainly stuck out my neck out there. But as it happens Tony Slattery is still in the lead, ahead now of Richard Vranch and Arthur Smith equal in second place. And then Pete McCarthy. And after that, Tony Slattery, the subject is...

TS: Oh me?

NP: Yes, it's a good subject, this one. Stains.

TS: Stains.

NP: Yes stains, will you tell us something about stains in 60 seconds starting now.

TS: I've done many bad revue shows in my time. But coincidentally that reminds me of a joke that we did about coming on stage and saying "yes, new hypoactive biological washing powder gets rid of those stains at source" and a housewife comes on and says "you're right, my armpits have completely disappeared!" And that was sort of the reception it got when I did it at the Bernaby Theatre in Guildford all those years ago. The railway system in Stains leads to a rather peculiar place. It leads to the Punjab...


NP: Pete McCarthy.

PM: Repetition of leads.

NP: Yes he did leads, yes.

PM: Twice.

NP: Stains is with you Pete, 32 seconds starting now.

PM: I I understand that Stains is in Middlesex, although these days that seems to be a rather fictitious place. Ever since Government reorganisation it may as well be on the planet Mars or Jupiter. I once tried to go there but unfortunately ended up in Huddlesfield in the middle of the market. A cheddar cheese on the market there seemed to be...


NP: Ah...

TS: Repetition of market.

NP: There were too many markets yes. Tony cleverly got in with seven seconds to go on stains starting now.

TS: The market in Stains to which Pete refers is where he bought his shirt. It's closed down now. Hardly surprising really. They didn't sell...



NP: No I'm sorry, I must be fair. Arthur did actually buzz before the whistle. Arthur what's your challenge?

AS: Um, no, I was challenging partly because it was coming up to the whistle...

NP: Yeah?

AS: And also because Tony is very very fond of the shirt gag and the Lord Lucan gag and I feel this shirt, I mean it's not that bad that shirt. It's deviation. And furthermore it's an insult to Pete McCarthy who I know to be a splendid man, a seraphic Beau Geste around town.

NP: I've never heard anybody try so hard to get a point! Arthur I disagree, so you've got another point...

AS: Oh no!

NP: Half a second to go starting now.

AS: Why?

NP: Because it's wrong, that's an incorrect challenge.

PM: I'm not a seraphic Beau Geste? Is that what you're saying? I've never been so insulted in my life Nicholas!

NP: That was not the judgement on whether you're a seraphic Beau Geste or not.

PM: I'm known for it Nicholas! I'm known for being a seraphic Beau Geste about town!

NP: That is repetition of seraphic Beau Geste. Arthur has an incorrect challenge, Tony Slattery has another point with half a second to go starting now.

TS: When St Mary's are...


NP: Tony Slattery was once again speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. And brings not only that round that round but this show to a close. So let me give you the final scores. Pete McCarthy who has not played the game before but did very well finished in fourth place, but only, only one point behind Arthur Smith and Richard Vranch who were a few points behind our winner who got a lot of points this week, that was Tony Slattery! We hope that you enjoyed the show. It only remains for me to say good night from Tony Slattery, Richard Vranch, Pete McCarthy, Arthur Smith, and myself, Nicholas Parsons. And if you have enjoyed this show half as much as we have been paid for doing it, then it will all have been very worthwhile. We hope that we'll see you all again soon and so from all of us here, good night.