starring TONY SLATTERY, ARTHUR SMITH, RICHARD VRANCH and TED ROBBINS, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Television, 23 August 1994)

NOTE: Ted Robbins's only appearance.


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Hello and welcome to Just A Minute. On radio, it's been catching Britain's most entertaining performers with their trousers down for many years, and now on television you can actually see the trousers as they come down. They're already sending me up so let me introduce my guests. And as always by my side, like the faithful young scamp that he is, my resident guest, the often scandalously irreverent, but always immensely entertaining Tony Slattery! And next to Tony, one of the Comedy Store Players' most prominent and active members, without doubt the most talented improvised comedy, keyboard playing nuclear physicist in the country, Doctor Richard Vranch! On my right, a comedian with show business in his blood. A member of the famous Scouse family Robbins which includes Kate Robbins, and whose father claims to have discovered Des O'Connor on an archaeological dig, the immense comic, I'm sorry, the immensely comic Ted Robbins! And lastly one of the funniest comedians around who also happens to be a highly successful playwright, compere and chat show host, Balham's answer to Wandsworth Council. I don't really know what that means, I shouldn't think he does either. It's Arthur Smith! We do have rules in Just A Minute, quite loosely interpreted by me from time to time. What I do is to ask them all to speak at different times if they can on the subject that I give them and they try and do that without hesitating, repeating anything, or deviating from the subject. Oh they can repeat the subject on the card, but it doesn't matter about that. Anyway they can challenge whenever they want to. If I agree, they get a point and take over the subject. If I disagree with the challenge whoever is speaking keeps the subject and gains a point. That's how we play. Tony Slattery, once more will begin and he'll stop sending me up for a moment if you dare. Right! Tony, how we survived the Blitz. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TONY SLATTERY: Well I survived the Blitz, very cleverly, by not being born during the war. If you're talking about how the British people generally, with their Cockney British spirits in London especially survived the Blitz, then I know of one particular family who in fact moved to Germany! And that's how they got out of it. Tragically...


NP: Arthur Smith.

ARTHUR SMITH: You see there was a Blitz in Germany as well though, wasn't there.

NP: I would quite agree.

AS: There were bombs. You couldn't escape by going to Germany.

TS: I was going on to make a joke about Dresden which you ruined.

AS: Thank God you didn't!

NP: I'm glad you didn't make any jokes about Dresden! But er...

TS: That's right...

NP: I quite agree, yes, and the word Blitz comes from the German word Blitzkrieg. Arthur, you have a correct challenge so you get a point for that, you take over the subject of how we survived the Blitz, 40 seconds starting now.

AS: We survived the Blitz by...


NP: Ted Robbins.

TED ROBBINS: There was a, a er.

NP: A big hesitation, he didn't know how he survived the Blitz.

AS: No, I didn't, I died in it.

NP: And you're a reincarnation? What a fascinating idea!

AS: And I come back as this? What a bummer!

NP: Ted Robbins, nice to hear from you, first time on the show, first time to speak. A point already and the subject, how to survive the Blitz, 36 seconds, starting now.

TR: My grandfather always said that during the Blitz, never worry about a bomb getting you, for it had to have your name on it. Now that was fine for us...


NP: Ah Richard Vranch.

RICHARD VRANCH: He's doing Paul Merton's material here! That's got to be deviation.

NP: Well he's got it wrong anyway. They said it was the bomb you couldn't hear was the one that was destined for you.

TR: And how do you know it was Paul Merton's material?

NP: Because he works with Paul Merton at the Comedy Store. This is all frightfully interesting, isn't it! Richard...

TR: Who's Paul Merton?

NP: Oh shame, they said. Richard, I disagree with the challenge.

RV: Okay.

NP: So Ted you have another point and you keep the subject, you have 30 seconds on how we survived the Blitz starting now.

TR: We survived the Blitz by regularly playing to ourselves Paul Merton video tapes, which were very enjoyable, especially the bits about a neighbour get-ting...


NP: Yes...

TR: I hesitated! I hesitated!

NP: Ted, ah, Ted you challenged yourself?

TR: Yes! Well I could see a big hesitation coming up, so I zapped in there.

NP: Right well Ted, you are... I agree with the challenge actually. You did hesitate.

TR: Do I get a point?

NP: Yes you get a point! A new way to play the game, challenge yourself! But your challenge was correct so you have another point Ted, you keep the subject. If you go on like this, you could just keep it to yourself, couldn't you, ay? How we survived the Blitz, 21 seconds are left starting now.

TR: The Blitz of course is an abbreviation of the Blitzkrieg...


NP: Yes?

AS: Areviation? I thought there was a little stumble over the double B. Two Bs...

TR: I don't think so.

NP: I don't think so, no I don't think so, and he hasn't played it before, no, no, no. Nineteen seconds...

AS: But he's scoring points by challenging himself! I mean! Er, I challenge myself! Er, I've repeated and hesitated! Er, deviation, this could go on all night!

NP: Arthur, Arthur...

AS: It's scandalous! There are people out there that make their lives by the rules of this game! Look if we can't, society will crumble if this sort of thing carries on!

TR: Arthur, when you're a marvy old pro like me and Nicholas, love, you pick up a few tips about show biz.

NP: Right, 19 seconds for you Ted on how we survived the Blitz starting now.

TR: We sang to ourselves merry little songs like Paul Merton Is My Hero...


TR: Ooooohh!

TS: Paul Merton.

TR: Yes.

NP: Yes and of course Paul we established wasn't around during the Blitz.

TR: He's had plenty of plugs on this show though, hasn't he.

NP: I know, he has, yes. Have I Got News For You, Paul Merton! Right, now 16 seconds, 16 seconds for you Tony on how we survived the Blitz starting now.

TS: I know one family who survived the Blitz by sending up a huge barrage balloon in the shape of Vera Lynn to confuse the Luftwathe as they were raining bombs...


NP: Yes?

TR: He said Luftfaffer! It's Luftwaffer!

TS: Luftwathe. No, you say in German Luftwathe.

NP: Luftwathe. (goes into German accented gibberish)

TS: Oh God!

NP: (in German accent) No, definitely it was Luftwathe and...

TS: That's Welsh!

NP: (goes into German gibberish) How we survived the Blitz, you have 60, six seconds left starting now.

TS: Well we all went down in the underground and we sang old gay songs like My Old Man Said Follow The Band and they were so boring everyone fell asleep...


NP: When the whistle goes, that tells us that 60 seconds are up. And whoever is speaking at that moment gains an extra point. And on this occasion it was Tony Slattery, but he's still in second place behind our leader who is Ted Robbins...

TR: Oh thank you.

NP: Yes and you... Richard Vranch will you begin the next round, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, what a lovely subject. Sixty seconds to tell us something about them starting now.

RV: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictitious characters, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson lived at two hundred and twenty-one B Baker Street in London. And it was from this address that they embarked upon their escapades looking for criminal masterminds. The most famous case they ever took on was the one concerning the missing flippers. This was not written up later because no-one had the gall to put it in print. However they went on...


NP: Arthur.

AS: There's some confusion. He says it's fictitious and now he claims that it's a real case that wasn't written up. We're in some kind of post-modernist nightmare!

NP: Arthur, I agree with your challenge, you have 33 seconds to tell us something about...

RV: Disgraceful!

NP: Well no, I think he was deviating from er, no he wasn't actually was he...

AS: All right, you've just given me the point, I want the point now.

NP: Well you can have a point because we enjoyed the challenge. i just wanted to hear from you Arthur, I like to spread it around a bit there.

TS: Yes!

NP: Richard you have a point for being interrupted, 33 seconds for Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson starting now.

RV: Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson's archenemy was bleurgh...


NP: Ted Robbins.

TR: There was a stumble there.

NP: Yes there was a stumble there.

TR: Hesitation.

NP: Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson is with you, 29 seconds starting now.

TR: Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson were in fact very successful at Kew Gardens where they managed to raise a lemon yellow coloured bush. When asked what this was, he replied "a lemon tree, my dear Watson..."


NP: Oh! Richard Vranch challenged.

TR: Not very funny? I'm sorry.

RV: Two lemons.

NP: It was nothing to do with the comment, it was to do with the fact that you repeated lemon.

TR: Two lemons.

NP: Two lemons, yes.

TR: Sorry.

NP: Yes we can't have two lemons on this show, can we?

TS: Only one!

NP: Right, I stick my neck out sometimes! But it's...

TR: And that's not all!

NP: Oh steady on, steady on! Richard, we'll move rapidly on, 16, 18 seconds, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson starting now.

RV: Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson's adversary was of course the Moriarty of...


NP: Ah yes?

TR: You said Moriarty before.

NP: No he didn't get it out. He didn't get Moriarty out. No, please, please, no he tried to but he failed. Richard you have another point for an incorrect challenge and you keep the subject, 13 seconds, starting now.

RV: One of their lesser known enemies was a...


NP: Yes.

TS: You definitely said edemies before though.

NP: Yes...

TR: Edemies?

TS: Enemies.

NP: Ah Tony correct challenge, another point to you, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson starting now.

TS: Imagine the scene when Doctor Watson enters the velvet room and says "Sherley, I thought you were in Switzerland!" "Ah, that's all you know, I have things in my bi-personality you..."


NP: Once again Tony Slattery was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. He's now caught up with Ted Robbins, they're equal in the lead, just ahead of Richard Vranch. Arthur Smith, Barking Creek.

AS: Are you?

NP: Yes! That is the subject that has been thought up for you to speak about, 60 seconds starting now.

AS: Just near where I live in Balham there is a large gully where lots of canine animals gather together and make funny noises. This is Barking Creek, after a fashion. But the real Barking Creek, obviously, is in that place that begins with B and ends in ing, otherwise known as Banking. Um...


AS: Thank God!

NP: Ted you challenged.

TR: Just out of pity, more or... Arthur Mullard, Smith, here...

NP: Arthur Mullard, yes, right, he keeps changing. Hesitation, Ted you have the subject of Barking Creek, 39 seconds starting now.

TR: It is correct to say that Barking Creek is populated by small little animals called dogs. I was down there, one little dog got hold of my leg and...


TR: Ah!

TS: Incorrect challenge, I withdraw immediately.

NP: No...

TS: No, he said dogs and then he said dog.

TR: One was the dog plural.

TS: Sorry.

NP: Well listened, thank you very much...

AS: Shouldn't Tony lose a point now for that?

NP: No, all that happens is that Ted gains a point...

AS: Oh, Ted always bloody gains a point!

NP: Thirty-two seconds, with you Ted, Barking Creek starting now.

TR: In Barking Creek a small ferocious pitbull terrier seized...


NP: Ah yes...

AS: We've had a small before.

NP: Yes we did.

TR: Where? Where?

NP: When you talked about small dogs.

TR: Oh very clever.

NP: Arthur, you've got the subject of Barking Creek back, 29 seconds starting now.

AS: When I go to Barking Creek, I take a bag and put it over my head. And that is a great relief to all the residents there, I can tell you! Another thing that I do when I go to Barking Creek is I write poetry like this! (laughs)


NP: Richard Vranch challenged.

RV: Repetition of ha.

NP: Well that's an even more subtle challenge than hesitation. But you got in with two seconds to go on Barking Creek, Richard starting now.

RV: Barking Creek is my favourite holiday resort. I've been there four times...


NP: Richard Vranch then speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point for doing so. Ted Robbins is now in the lead, two ahead of Tony Slattery and Richard Vranch. We're going to do something slightly different now. Instead of me giving them a subject, I'm going to offer them an object.


NP: That was Ray doing the offering from down below in the bowels of our desk, yes. And that stomach came from his insides. And there is the object...

TS: Just to recap, were we right in hearing you say that stomach came from his insides?

NP: Yes.

TS: Just wanted to clarify, that's all.

NP: I do like to test my panellists to see if they're still awake. Right, there&'s the object, Tony Slattery will you start talking and tell us in 60 seconds if you can something about that object.

TS: The marriage of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton reached new excesses on the banks of the Nile in 1976 when her jewellery collection, or so she thought, became so diminished that she desperately wanted a new token of his love. He replied by giving her the Wankypom Diamond...


NP: Ted.

TR: Er, isn't that rubbish? Isn't that...

NP: Well he's certainly deviating from that subject there, yes, sorry the object, which is now the subject. Ted, will you tell us something about that object, there are 41 seconds left starting now.

TR: It is in fact the...


TS: It's an incorrect challenge, it was just a knee-jerk reaction, sorry.

NP: Forty seconds left, on the object there starting now.

TR: Actually this... is a rock...


TR: Eyah...

RV: I think he had a bit of a pause after....

NP: He did yes, he was trying to get away from in fact and er he paused. Right, 37 seconds for the object Richard starting now.

RV: New age travellers use things like that to get in touch with the ether, that thing which surrounds the entire universe and connects us to our maker. They drive along in their buses and just in the engine compartment, they have an object like that one instead of an engine. They don't...


NP: Arthur?

AS: Have we had two engines?

NP: No, we've had deviation.

AS: I'm sorry, we've had deviation because it's not anything, it's deviation then, that's what I meant to say. How could I have said it was repetition, obviously deviation is what I've gone for.

NP: Ah 18 seconds Arthur, tell us something about that object starting now.

AS: Let us imagine a very large ice man... that...


NP: Yes?

TR: Hesitation.

NP: Definite hesitation, Ted Robbins, 12 seconds starting now.

TR: Do you remember a popular confection called Fox's Glassy Mints. This is the original model based upon that item. In fact it's the second time...


TR: I'm sorry!

NP: Oh dear! When you, when you do your stand-up act, do you just say in fact, in fact, in fact?

TR: I just like to lie down really. You should now, that summer season we shared together in Cromer! Very popular, wasn't it.

NP: Ah correct challenge, Tony, five seconds on the object starting now.

TS: This was one of the object that was thrown at Ted in that summer season in Cromer. The act was so appalling, somebody lobbed this thing...


NP: Tony Slattery was speaking when the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. I will give a bonus point to anybody who can make a stab at guessing what that really is.

TR: Crack cocaine.

NP: No. Have a go, you get a bonus if you get it right.

TS: It's part of a building.

NP: No, it's....

AS: It's art, is it a piece of art?

NP: No, it's not a piece of art, it's...

TR: It's a prism.

NP: Ian Messiter has it in his home who thought of this game as a piece of art so you're quite close. But actually it's a fragment of astronomical glass, it was made for the Greenwich Observatory. The man who actually created it has got this wonderful astronomical telescope, he's making, it was all warm...


NP: That's a comment on the story! And once it was warm, somebody opened the door of his er laboratory and a blast of cold air came in and destroyed it all. Aren't you fascinated!

TR: Good night children everywhere.

NP: We've achieved the halfway mark in our show...

TS: You've got through to the Samaritans.

NP: Tony Slattery's taken the lead, just one ahead of Ted Robbins. And then comes Richard Vranch and Arthur Smith as we go into the halfway mark. And as you savour the wisdom of the discourses that you have just heard, we are going to spoil the whole edifying experience with some adverts. We'll see you after this.




NP: Welcome back to Just A Minute, the trendy new improvised comedy show that's been going for over quarter of a century. And we're going to do something slightly different now. Instead of me giving the 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 have we any suggestions for subjects from our very attractive looking audience? There's one up there, the gentleman in the green sweater.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'd like the panel to discuss Nelson's column please.

NP: You'd like them to discuss Nelson's column.


NP: All right. Any other suggestions? The lady at the back with the lovely hair, yes?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The first day of the lingerie sale at Harrod's.

NP: The first day of the laundry sale at Harrod's.


AS: Lingerie.

TS: They don't sell laundry at Harrod's!

NP: They don't have a laundry sale, no. Ted, I think we'd like you to begin, what about the Harrod's one, that's not bad.

TR: Yes, the lingerie sale at Harrod's.

NP: Yes. So what about in fact, the first day at the lingerie sale at Harrod's. Ted will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

TR: In fact the first day of the lingerie sale at Harrod's is usually a complete wipe-out because everybody is staying at home watching Just A Minute where I use the word in fact loads of times. Because I can use it this time as it's in the subject...


NP: Um, yes?

RV: Two becauses.

NP: Two becauses, so you got...

TR: Scratch that subject, instead of in fact I want because!

AS: Dear oh dear! Can we not change it to because in fact?

NP: Richard, a correct challenge, another point to you and you have the subject, in fact the first day of the lingerie sale at Harrod's, 48 seconds starting now.

RV: In fact the first day of the lingerie sale at Harrod's is the only day of the lingerie sale...


NP: Yes Tony?

TS: I'm sorry, I withdraw.

NP: You can't do that in this game.


NP: What do you want to say Arthur?

AS: Oh yeah I think I also withdraw.


TR: Well if everyone's leaving, so am I!

NP: And I can't do the show alone, so Richard Vranch, we have an incorrect challenge, another point to you, in fact the first day of the lingerie sale at Harrod's, 43 seconds starting now.

RV: The lingerie sale at Harrod's only lasts one day. This is because the...


NP: Yes?

AS: Well he's done two days, we've had three or four days now.

NP: I know...

RV: Day's on the card.

NP: Day's on the card. In fact the first day of the lingerie sale at Harrod's.

AS: Only lasts one day, but he'd had another day earlier on.

RV: But day's on the card though.

NP: But day's part of the subject.

AS: No but he'd had another... oh!

NP: Thirty-eight seconds Richard, in fact the first day of the lingerie sale at Harrod's, 38 seconds starting now.

RV: I queued up outside the front door of Harrod's for seven days because I wanted to buy a particular piece of lingerie. It was a black basque which did up at the front, very useful if you're doing it on your own. I also purchased a pair of suspenders and stockings. Why did you...


TR: Obviously the purchase of the stockings and suspenders caused him to stumble and falter there.

NP: A very devious thought however, but he definitely hesitated. Ted you have the subject which you started with and it very conveniently begins with in fact the first day of the lingerie sale at Harrod's, 20 seconds starting now.

TR: In fact the first day of the lingerie sale at Harrod's is very popular because I go and buy leather posing pouches there...


NP: Ah Richard.

RV: Another because.

NP: You had another because.

TR: I'm very... it's just not even funny now!

NP: I know!

TR: It's devious, sorry.

NP: Richard he said because again, repeated himself, 15 seconds on that subject starting now.

RV: Frilly knickers, those are the things which sell the fastest on this particular day. People go into the shop and hit each other with their handbags because they want that particular product...


NP: Yes Tony?

TS: Two particulars.

NP: Two particulars.

TS: Repetition of particular.

NP: Tony you got in with four seconds to go on in fact the first day of the lingerie sale at Harrod's starting now.

TS: I much prefer the first day of the laundry sale when you can go through other people's pants and say "oh where did you get those..."


NP: Time for one more round and Tony Slattery's going to begin. Tony can you tell us something about the Lord Mayor's Show, you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

TS: The Lord Mayor's Show is something whatho happens in London. Lots of poncey people in ermine parade up and down the street, between the carriages and the horses. The horses leaving dung... ooohhh!


NP: Richard Vranch yes.

RV: Two horses.

NP: There are lots of horses, yes, but you can't repeat the word. Fifty seconds are left for you Richard to tell us something about the Lord Mayor's Show starting now.

RV: The Lord Mayors show their bottoms when they are inaugurated. This is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years and late...


NP: Yes, what is it?

TR: If that isn't deviated, Lord Mayor's bottoms, deviating. Then I don't know what...

NP: It may be a devious thought, but he wasn't deviating from the subject on the card, you see Ted.

TR: Isn't that what it means.

NP: No so you keep the Lord Mayor's Show and there are 43 seconds starting now.

RV: Lady Mayoresses have never in er involved in...


TS: Ah Bruce Forsyth. Never immmmm!

NP: Tony will you tell us something about the Lord Mayor's Show again, 40 seconds are left, starting now.

TS: I do find the Lord Mayor's Show tedious. I think instead of the aforementioned er...


NP: Yes...

TR: There was just a pause and a hesitation in the aforementioned.

NP: Yes all right, so you have another point and you have 33 seconds, the Lord Mayor's Show starting now.

TR: The Lord Mayor's Show is very peculiar as it goes through the window as everybody looks at it and everyone says and everyone says and everyone says and everyone says...


NP: Richard Vranch.

RV: Everyone says.

NP: Everyone says, 28 seconds, the Lord Mayor's Show starting now.

RV: Back in 1824, the Lord Mayor of London decided not to have a show. The whole town...


TR: Bit of hesitation there.

NP: Yes very hesitation, 18 seconds for you, the Lord Mayor's Show, Ted, starting now.

TR: The Lord Mayor's Show is a magnificent sight. The Trooping of the Colour pales into insignificance before that...


NP: Yes?

TS: A stumble, t'pales.

NP: T'pales, and tinsignificance too, right. Fourteen seconds, the Lord Mayor's Show Tony starting now.

TS: I want the Lord Mayor's Show to be Oklahoma. That's what I...


TR: He said er that's what I... If you're going to go the Lord Mayor's Show and I go er... It's like a coughing programme, this!

NP: Ten seconds, the Lord Mayor's Show, Ted starting now.

TR: As the horses steam away and people follow with little shovels to pick up all the things that drop from the horses, they say "that's very nice..."


NP: Yes Arthur?

AS: Horses.

NP: Yes there were too many horses. Four seconds are left for you Arthur on the Lord Mayor's Show starting now.

AS: It usually takes place on the first Sunday in November, I believe. But I'm absolutely wrong in saying that, I imagine...


NP: Right! It's a very interesting result this week because out equal in the lead were Ted Robbins, Richard Vranch and Tony Slattery. They all had 20 points, three winners! How they got all those points remains a mystery but there we are. That's all we've got time for. If you want to see the show again you'll just have to look out for a reconstruction of it on Crimewatch. So from Tony Slattery, Richard Vranch, Ted Robbins and Arthur Smith, and myself Nicholas Parsons, we hope you have enjoyed the show. And until we burst through on your television screens again, from all of us here, good-bye and good night.