starring DEREK NIMMO, TONY SLATTERY, NICK REVELL and JOHN FORTUNE, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 16 August 1994)

NOTE: John Fortune's last appearance, Derek Nimmo's last television appearance, Nick Revell's last television appearance.


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Hello and welcome to Just A Minute, the magnificent, gleaming monster of a show that started its working life on steam radio, and has been lovingly maintained by enthusiasts ever since. And they still like to shunt it out once a week, if only for their own pleasure. My guests tonight, firstly as ever, my brawny-armed stoker, a man who likes a bit of fun and doesn't mind getting muck on his face while he's doing it, Tony Slattery! Next to Tony, a writer and stand-up comedian, star of his own award winning situation comedy series on Radio Four. He's appeared on A Word In Your Ear, Just For Laughs, Friday Live and wrote for the last series of Drop The Dead Donkey, the multitalented Nick Revell! On my right, a writer, an actor who was present at the birth of the satire boom of the 60s, now writing for and starring in The Rory Bremner Show, he's still jabbing a well-aimed stiletto into the sagging underbelly of the government of the day, it's John Fortune! And lastly, star of the West End stage and television comedy, a producer who tours the world with his own theatre company, delivers magnificent after dinner speeches, and has been a resident guest on Just A Minute since the beginning of time. Yes, it's Derek Nimmo! The rules are simple, until you play the game and then they are simply, well, they're not simple. I ask our four panellists to speak on the subject that I give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repeating anything or deviating from the subject. Only they can repeat the subject on the card. They can challenge whenever they like. If I uphold the challenge, they gain a point. If not, the one who is speaking gains a point. And as always we begin the show with Tony Slattery. Tony, the subject to begin with, the scrubs. Will you tell us something about the scrubs in this game starting now.

TONY SLATTERY: Well, peculiar family to put it mildly. Daddy Scrubs manufactures ground to air heat seeking pencil sharpeners. Penelope Scrubs, or Peter Scrubs as he was known before the tragic accident with a filing cabinet, now employs herself as a Frank Bruno stunt double. Often they go on holiday to Littlehampton, but not without taking a bit of a detour first via the Arctic circle. A lot of people think that this particular group of human beings should have been put out to sea a long time ago. I disagree because I think we should celebrate idiosyncrasy and bizarreness, Nicholas being a case in point, in all its forms. I went and spent Christmas with the Scrubs a while back. And instead of the traditional turkey, they in fact had a small piece of radioactive bauxite which they set to with a relish. This put them all in...


NP: Derek.

DEREK NIMMO: I thought it was slightly, it wasn't, I do apologise, I'm desperately sorry! I really am desperately sorry!

TS: Thank you very much.

DN: You were doing so wonderfully well!

TS: I know!

DN: And I was enjoying it so much. But I thought you stumbled, but you didn't and I am...

NP: I know, he's been going for 54 seconds!

DN: I know, it's wonderful. What a mess, I'm so sorry!

NP: All that happens is... don't worry Derek, because all that happens is...

DN: What a wreck, no, I know he gets a point but I just feel wretched!

NP: Well so you should. So...

JOHN FORTUNE: I feel very sorry too, actually!

NP: You always look very sorry John, there's something about your countenance...

JF: I am, I am very sorry.

NP: But what happens is that Tony was interrupted then, so he gets a point for an incorrect challenge, he keeps the subject and there are four seconds to go starting now.

TS: I definitely think the Guinness Book of Records should include a section on the Stubbs because they have a...



NP: No, you got in, you got in before.

JF: Not the Stubbs, but the Scrubs!

NP: Yes, no, no, he was deviating, and it often happens if you keep going so long and then you come back in the game, you stumble. And John with half a second to go you have got the subject of the scrubs starting now.

JF: I think I have every...


NP: Yes?

NICK REVELL: Hesitation.

NP: Yes indeed, right. Nick...

JF: That is absolutely ridiculous! That must be...

NP: Quarter of a second for you to go right now.

NR: It's the name of a...


NP: Yes...

JF: Hesitation.

NP: Absolutely, yes! A fifth of a second to go...

NR: This is getting into Zeno's paradox for God's sake!

NP: Starting now.

JF: I want to...


NP: When the whistle goes it means that 60 seconds are up. And whoever is speaking then, or on this occasion attempting to speak gains an extra point. It was John Fortune, he's got a commanding lead at the end of that round, Tony Slattery will get a bonus point for keeping going for 54 seconds. That's the first time that's happened in the whole of this series Tony. John Fortune, John, the subject we've got now, Margaret Thatcher's handbag. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JF: If you look at Geoffrey Howe on television, it is very apparent that he has been hit repeatedly by Mrs Thatcher's handbag. You notice it in his eyes, he keeps blinking when he speaks. This is because he has been repeatedly hit on the head by Mrs Thatcher's handbag. This is called Repetitive Handbag Strain and is something that happened in the last Cabinet very very frequently...


TS: Repetition of very.

NP: Very very yes, it's very difficult John, bad luck.

JF: Very very difficult.

NP: Thirty-eight seconds for you to take over the subject Tony of, and of course you get a point, for a correct challenge, Margaret Thatcher's handbag starting now.

TS: Very few people know that what Mrs Thatcher keeps in her handbag is a rotting corpse of a dead calf. This reminds her not only of her own mortality, but also makes her feel a bit better about her own sense of day wear and makeup. She looks at the aforesaid piece of dead meat and thinks...


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: Two deads.

TS: Yes.

NP: Yes there were two deads, yes. Derek, 19 seconds, Margaret Thatcher's handbag starting now.

DN: I have been privileged actually to look into Margaret Thatcher's handbag. I was once asked to Number Ten Downing Street, some few years ago of course now, for a party given for Datasari Doctor Makathir Mohammed...


TS: That's just rubbish! That's a made-up name isn't it!

DN: He's the Prime Minister of Malaysia!

TS: What, Doctor Mabypoppyboppypoppywoppy?

DN: Datasari Doctor Makathir Mohammed. He's the Prime Minister of Malaysia, that's absolutely correct.

JF: Yes, I can say, I can say that's absolutely...

TS: Oh they're all ganging up now! Friends in high places!

NP: Right, no no, but showing off as well. But it doesn't matter...

DN: It's perfectly true!

NP: I know it's true and Derek you have another point because of an incorrect challenge...

NR: That's not showing off, we've all been to a party at Downing Street for the Malaysian Prime Minister! Haven't we?

NP: There are seven seconds left Derek on Mrs er no Margaret Thatcher's handbag starting now.

DN: She had within it a handkerchief and a comb and a compact and lots of pencils for signing autographs, an aeroplane ticket out to...


NP: Derek Nimmo was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so and he's now equal in the lead with John Fortune and Tony Slattery. And Nick Revell's only just behind them. And er...

NR: I don't care!

NP: What's that?

NR: (in tears) I don't care anyway!

NP: Well you're going to begin the next round Nick.

NR: Good!

NP: Whitstable oysters, will you tell us something about that delicacy starting now.

NR: Whitstable oysters, the name drips off the tongue like the slimy molesque itself, as it is pried from its shell and slips down the throat like a taste of seaweed, slimy...


JF: I'm, deviation, I'm allergic to oysters and...

NP: So we're all allergic to that. But John I agree with the deviation. John you have a correct challenge...

NR: I don't like the taste of them so...

NP: ...forty-six seconds on Whitstable oysters starting now.

JF: It is a strange thing but in Victorian England oysters were very very cheap and were...


NP: Oh dear.

TS: Repetition of very.

NP: Very John.

JF: Oh yes, oh dear.

NP: Right all right, 42 seconds for you Tony Slattery, Whitstable oysters starting now.

TS: By a curious coincidence the Whitstable oysters...


NP: Nick.

NR: I thought we were talking about Whitstable oysters. Whitstable oysters!

NP: Right hesitation Nick, back with you to tell us more disgusting things about Whitstable oysters starting now.

NR: The great thing about eating oysters and particularly the excellent...


NP: Yes.

DN: Repetition of eating.

NP: Eating, you were talking about eating before.

NR: I swallowed them, didn't I, before?

TS: We don't want to know!

NP: Derek, 36 seconds on Whitstable oysters starting now.

DN: As John Fortune was about to tell us actually, in Victorian times they were very common fodder. In fact Sam Weller said in his, in fact, wonderful book...


NP: Yes.

JF: Hesitation.

DN: Absolutely right. Well done, Fortune!

JF: Thank you very much, I am learning you see.

NP: Whitstable oysters is back with you John, 28 seconds starting now.

JF: Yes they were very comestible products in Victorian...


TS: Repetition of very. You're not learning!

NP: You're not!

JF: How true!

NP: You said very last time.

JF: Oh how true.

NP: Yes yes yes, Slattery you got in with 26 seconds on Whitstable oysters starting now.

TS: Any old way, the Whitstable Oysters were neighbours of the Scrubs. And they too had very...


NP: Yes?

NR: No they're not.

NP: Nick he did establish these Scrubs were pretty eccentric, outrageous, surreal characters...

NR: That's true, he did.

NP: ...so in that surreal world, they could be related to the Whitstable Oysters. So I'm afraid incorrect challenge, Tony still has the subject, 21 seconds, starting now.

TS: The Whitstable Oysters make a point of not swallowing their food. They in fact masticate and then spit it out on to the table and they call this a parlour game. It's called...


DN: Whitstable Oysters can't possibly... the Scrubs I'll accept! But the Whitstable oysters that live in the sea can't go on to a table and spit things out! I'm sorry, deviation!

NP: Right Derek, you're in there, 11 seconds on Whitstable oysters starting now.

DN: I went to an oyster tasting in Benslies in Hong Kong on the first of September, which is the day that we are supposed to start eating oysters in the northern hemisphere but in Britain in particular. They had oysters from ...


NP: Once again Derek Nimmo was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. Derek Nimmo, will you begin the next round, the subject, my Saville Row suit. Will you tell us something about it in this game starting now.

DN: Well of course, I would really like to know from Nicholas which of my Saville Row suits he would like me to talk about. Ah I have quite a few. I used to start going...


TS: Hesitation, er I.

NP: Yes. The way he looked at me I couldn't care less which one he talked about. Fifty-four seconds for you Tony, on my Saville Row suit starting now.

TS: The weird and wonderful Jenny Saville OBE once gave me a suit as a present made entirely out of codfish eggs. This was my Saville row suit. Now it's a bit of a weak joke, but I was very grateful to receive this particular piece of sartorial elegance from the aforementioned snowy haired ex-DJ. It smelled a bit but so does Nicholas...


NP: Yes, I would hardly call that elegance, would you? I think that's deviation.

DN: Is elegance on the card?

NP: It says it's my Saville Row suit, it's with John Fortune, 31 seconds starting now.

JF: I'm sure Tony knows the family Saville in Saville Row suits very very well. I got that wrong...


NP: Yes...

JF: I was going to say the family suits. But there you are, I never learn.

DN: He said very very.

NP: Yes. Yes.

JF: I'm going to say very very until I get it!

NP: Yes! Derek Nimmo, you've got a correct challenge, another point, my Saville Row suit...

DN: My first Saville Row suit, my first Saville Row suit came from the...


NR: He hesitated then, didn't he.

DN: No I didn't, I came in before I was supposed to start.

NR: Oh right, sorry, oh I see.

NP: Which is very naughty.

DN: I think a point for me for that actually for an incorrect challenge.

NP: I won't score any points because Nick doesn't know, my Saville Row suit, 24 seconds, starting now.

DN: Ablaze which was a shop in Saville Row was owned by Rupert Lyceum-Green who was married to the Countess of Beacham. And I purchased four Saville Row suits from him, of great quality, which still work frightfully well today, but unfortunately they don't fit me, because I've got far too fat...


DN: And what? What's the matter?

JF: I was just thinking, although I don't play this game very well that suits...

DN: Suits, it's on the card.

JF: But suits don't work, do they?

DN: They don't work and they don't fit me.

JF: Neither do they spin.

NP: No, no...

DN: They don't fit me any more...

NP: So 12 seconds with you John Fortune on the subject starting now.

JF: I once had a suit made in Saville Row. I took it back after a number of months because the trousers became extremely baggy. The tailor said to me "what do you do for a living?" I said "I write." He said "how do you do that?" I said "sitting down." He said "these are walking..."


NP: Oh!

TS: I think there were lots of saids quite close together.

JF: Yeah there were.

NP: Yes...

JF: No verys though!

NP: No verys, but Tony you got in with one second to go on the subject starting now.

TS: My Saville Row suit exploded...


NP: John you're to take the next round, the subject, West End girls. Do tell us something about them in this game starting now.

JF: West End girls are very nice. They live in the West End and they are extremely happy to do so. Because when they become awfully depressed, they find that they can go to the East End and eat some Whitstable oysters in a restaurant in Whitechapel Road which is, as you know, quite a long way from the West End. But on the other hand, if you're travelling by bus, it doesn't seem quite so long...


TS: Repetition of long.

NP: Of long, yes.

JF: That seemed very long to me!

NP: Well you kept going for 29 seconds John.

JF: And I only said very once!

NP: And you only said very once. And there are 31 seconds for you Tony on West End girls starting now.

TS: I once met a West End girl who talked a bit like John Fortune. (robotic emphasising each word individually) In that she went into a strange kind of linguistic Dalek-type voice and...


NP: Yes?

JF: Deviation, a very bad impression!


TS: Fair enough!

NP: You've gone for deviation John and the audience endorsed it. Twenty-two seconds for you to take back West End girls starting now.

JF: One of the things that West End girls very rarely say is (in Dalek-type voice) "exterminate" (normal voice) because they are not Daleks. This is a great pity because we need more Daleks in the West End...


TS: Repetition of because.

NP: Yes and Daleks right.

JF: (sings) Because!

NP: Yes, West End girls is back with you Tony starting now.

TS: Well West End girls and East End boys or something like that was a song by the Pet Shop... young men...


NP: Right Derek, you got in.

DN: Hesitation, I'm afraid.

NP: Hesitation, Derek you have West End girls and 10 seconds starting now.

DN: Oh goodness gracious, it takes me back to my early days in the theatre when the West End girls were people like Evelyn lay and Vivien Leigh, Dame Anna Neagle. Glorious creatures which...


NP: Derek Nimmo was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point. He's still in second place, just behind Tony Slattery. And now instead of giving my panellists a subject I'm going to offer them an object. And through that black hole will...


NP: ... arise something amazing and unusual. Tony Slattery, we'd like you to begin. Will you tell us something about this object in this game starting now.

TS: I've got a feeling this might be an ancient, perhaps round about Victorian times, device for measuring heads, prior to a hat fitting. Of course, if it wasn't that, then you could perhaps use it to give a West End girl a bit of a good time! You could say "yes, this is better than being on Antiques Road Show, we could just sit round and talk about this" which looks a but like a Medieval torture device. But it isn't, it (splutters) ooooh!


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

TS: Sorry.

DN: Um hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, yes Derek I agree, 34 seconds, there's the object, tell us something about it, do you know what it is? Starting now.

DN: It's a 19th century Whitstable oyster opener, you can see the screw in the bottom which will bring it up tightly. And then if you have the Scrubs family with you, or their forebears, they will be very happy to eat these delicious...


NP: Nick Revell.

NR: Habby.

NP: Yes.

NR: I thought he said habby.

NP: Twenty-two seconds Nick, I want to hear from you on this object starting now.

NR: All I can understand about this object is that this is the item which caused me to interrupt Derek Nimmo. And I do apologise because I realise after my challenge, although the chairman gave it as a correct challenge...


NP: Yes?

TS: Repetition of challenge.

NP: Ah, too many challenges there, sorry, 10 seconds on the object Tony starting now.

TS: Tragically John Stubbs who was related to the Scrubs family took his own life by sitting on tis and swivelling round it! Now that's a very very bad way to commit suicide...


DN: Very very.

NP: Very very! Yes! Very very! Derek you cleverly got in with half a second to go on the object starting now.

DN: A vice of some kind...


NP: Yes! And I'll give a bonus point to anyone who can identify or get close to identifying what that particular object is.

DN: A cap stretcher.

NP: No, it's a veterinary device for what?

NR: Oh my God, is it a gynaecological device or something?

NP: No.

NR: For giving birth...

NP: No, no, no...

TS: Oh for teeth, horse's teeth.

NP: You're getting close, you're getting close yes. Tony was closest. For the teeth, they put it in, it helps a veterinary surgeon to take its pills. And I promised the team that we would all nip backstage some time and I think the time has come now for a flick through my collection of Victorian...


DN: Is that a problem Nicholas?

NP: No I just think it's time we had a little flick through my collection of Victorian corsetry catalogues. So to do that, we'll take a break, we'll see you after this.




NP: Welcome back to Just A Minute! You join us with just a few minutes to go in this gripping final of the men's synchronised swimmer modelling competition. So let's now sashay into the next round. And I'm not going to give a subject to my panellists, I'm going to ask our audience to suggest a subject on which they'd like to hear them speak. Any ideas for subjects from our audience? Yes, anybody?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The London dungeons.

NP: The London dungeons. And back there?


NP: Mincing Lane. That's a nice one, isn't it, yes, Mincing Lane. Nick we'd like you to begin. Has anybody else got a subject or not? Quickly! Right, yes.


NP: Dorking. And the same to you! If that's how you feel. Nick, we'd like you to begin, what about Mincing Lane? I think that's quite good, don't you? I think that's a nice subject that.

NR: Mincing Lane is of course the place in the city of London where meat is reduced into small particles of meat or mince... oh!


NR: Oh God, what an idiot! I could have said the word anyway, couldn't I, because it's on the card!

TS: Repetition of meat.

NP: Yes repetition of meat. Fifty-two seconds for Tony Slattery for you to tell us something about Mincing Lane starting now.

TS: Mincing Lane, well, we've all been down there Nicholas darling, haven't we? Let's be brutally frank about that! It's no good sort of swaggering about in a kind of macho fashion, just because you're dressed like something out of John Collier, the window to watch. No, Mincing Lane is where you troll about, and sashay, to use one of your words actually, and generally flaffs around with your feathers and your high heeled shoes and your basket and everything like that. Sometimes in Louis Cattoar's ball gown which I think looks very nice on you, with the crinoline actually (starts to laugh)


TS: Sorry.

NP: Yes, Derek Nimmo?

DN: Hesitation and Louis Cattoar's didn't have crinolines.

TS: Oh my! Ooooohhh!

NR: He did if you knew him as well as Tony did!

TS: Yes!

NP: That's why it's called Vokewo mincing by the way. Right Derek, you have the subject, a correct challenge of course, a point, 22 seconds, Mincing Lane starting now.

DN: I knew an old actor called Arthur Lane who was popularly known to everyone who met him as Mincing Lane for fairly obvious reasons. It was in Clapton-on-Sea where I first espied this figure coming towards me along the promenade. And I waved and said "whatho" and he didn't reply. And I knew from what I heard that was Mincing Lane. Goodness, I thought to myself...


NP: Derek Nimmo kept going till the whistle, gained the extra point. He's still equal in the lead with Tony Slattery who begins the next round. Yes it's probably the last round as well. So Tony how do we end this show? The steward's inquiry at Epsom, yeah, the imagination can go on that one. What will happen with Slattery as he starts speaking this round now.

TS: I went to Epsom, a steward came up to me, and he made an enquiry. He asked me a question, he said weirdly in French (French sounding gibberish) which means are there any Gallow Roman sympathies...


NP: Yes?

NR: Repetition because he said it in French and then he said it in English.

TS: They're different words.

NP: No, it's a repetitious thought, but he wasn't repeating anything within the rules of Just A Minute. So Tony, 51 seconds for you to continue on the steward's inquiry at Epsom starting now.

TS: The steward was a bit camp. He came up to me and said "who rattled your cage then?" I thought to myself are they (giggling)...


NP: Derek.

DN: He sort of just dissolved into laughter!

TS: I'm sorry.

DN: Who rattled my cage then? What's he on about?

NP: I don't know, I don't know. What was your challenge, Derek, that's what I'd like to know.

DN: Hesitation, deviation and repetition of hahaha!

TS: Sorry Derek.

NP: All right, Derek you have another point and the subject, 46 seconds, the steward's enquiry at Epsom starting now.

DN: It's always a very serious business having a steward's inquiry at Epsom. You have to gather together the stewards for a start. There's Lord Derby and Lord Vesty and the Marquis...


TS: Repetition of Lord.

NP: Repetition of Lord.

DN: There's an awful lot of Lords there at Epsom.

NP: Tony you got in with 40 seconds on the steward's inquiry at Epsom starting now.

TS: One steward's inquiry, a famous incident, was when the 32 horses in one of the Grand Nationals which unusually was run at Epsom that particular...


DN: It's never been run at Epsom!

TS: I said unusually!

DN: It was very unusual because it never happened!

TS: Yes! Oh you know everything don't you!

NP: You should have said tried to run at Epsom but never did. Right Derek you got in on 31 seconds, steward's inquiry at Epsom starting now.

DN: Probably the most famous steward's inquiry at Epsom was when a four-year-old was discovered to be running in what is essentially a race for three er...


NP: John Fortune you got in first.

DN: Oh dear!

NP: Yes hesitation John.

JF: Yes that was what I was going to say, but I hesitated before I said it.

NP: Steward' inquiry at Epsom is with you John, 21 seconds starting now.

JF: The most famous steward's inquiry at Epsom took place when a horse called Sceptre was perceived to be going backwards in a horse race...


TS: Repetition of horse.

NP: Of horse.

JF: Yes, that's what stopped me.

NP: I know, you should have kept going and maybe... 13 seconds are left for the steward's inquiry, no, just steward's inquiry at Epsom, Tony starting now.

TS: I often dream of Nick Revell dressing up as a suffragette and throwing himself beneath the feet of the horses who run at Epsom. But that's just a quiet reverie and sometimes I get...


NP: Nick?

NR: Deviation.

NP: Well it's got nothing to do with a steward's inquiry, it's to do with him throwing himself beneath the horses. So Nick you got in cleverly with five seconds to go, steward's inquiry at Epsom starting now.

NR: A steward's inquiry at Epsom is probably one of the few subjects I can talk about without...


NP: Nick Revell was then speaking when the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. And we've got no more time to play Just a Minute. Nick Revell in spite of the great value that he contributed finished in fourth place just behind John Fortune. And Derek Nimmo who's played the game many times finished in second places, but just out ahead of him was the man we call the winner this week, Tony Slattery! The sands of time are trickling with inexorable certainty through the clenched fists of our mortal frailty. The lights are going out all over Europe. And Nurse is impatiently dangling her keys. So it only remains for me to say good night from Tony Slattery, Nick Revell, John Fortune, Derek Nimmo and myself Nicholas Parsons until we are released from our therapy once more to play Just A Minute. Until then from all of us good night.