WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring PETER JONES, JENNY ECLAIR, KIT HESKETH-HARVEY and STEVE FROST, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 19 July 1999)
NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!
NP: Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure not only to welcome our many listeners throughout the world, but also the four diverse talented and dynamic personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We welcome back one of the wittiest and most erudite players of our game, Kit Hesketh-Harvey. We have one of our most outrageous and audacious and effervescent comediennes, that is Jenny Eclair. We have another delightful stand-up comedian, that is Stephen Frost. And we also are so happy to welcome back one of the long-standing players of the game, the ever popular Peter Jones. Would you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I'm going to ask them to speak on a subject that I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Beside me sits Jane Gibson. She's going to help me keep the score, she'll hold a stopwatch and she'll blow the whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Oxford Union in the very heart of this ancient seat of learning. And in front of us we have a highly intelligent, vociferous, hyped up, intelligent and intellectual undergraduate audience from this great university. And we're going to begin the show this week with Stephen Frost, Stephen, what an apt subject to start off with, it is dreaming spires. Tell us something about it in Just A Minute starting now.
STEVE FROST: In 1976 I went to see a punk rock band called The Ramones. And supporting them were The Dreaming Spires. They were pretty good because they'd come on stage wearing different types of churches on their heads! And one of their best known numbers was Rock The Aisles. And in this case everybody in the audience would start jumping up and down which in those days was called the Pogo. And when The Dreaming Spires left the stage, the audience left the auditorium...
NP: Jenny Eclair...
JENNY ECLAIR: He said left twice!
NP: He left twice, so that is repetition Jenny, well listened. You get a point of course...
JE: Thank you.
NP: ...because that is a correct challenge and you have er 37 seconds to continue, taking over the subject of dreaming spires starting now.
JE: Well obviously I have a massive chip on my shoulder because I never went to Oxford or Cambridge University. Still I haven't done badly for a girl with no education and hardly any bosom to speak of! It is absolutely charming to be here...
NP: And Stephen Frost has challenged.
SF: Deviation, it's dreaming spires and she said she's got no bosom to speak of.
LAUGHTER FROM THE AUDIENCE
SF: I think they're just right, Jenny!
NP: Stephen I think from the audience response to that particular remark of yours shows it was highly appreciated. So that alone we give you a point. But as...
SF: You get two points for Jenny's!
NP: But as Jenny wasn't technically deviating within Just A Minute she gets a point for being interrupted and keeps the subject and there are 24 seconds available still Jenny, dreaming spires starting now.
JE: You see I'm winning already! Who needs a degree! Um, dreaming squires on the other hand are very posh old gentlemen who go to sleep after lashings of port and having elaborate dreams concerning kitchen maids!
NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey challenged.
KIT HESKETH-HARVEY: She stopped, I'm afraid.
NP: She did yes, which is hesitation.
KHH: It was hesitation. She was in a great reverie which was lovely.
JE: I went into a coma actually.
NP: Kit a correct challenge, nine seconds available, dreaming spires starting now.
KHH: Naturally I prefer the dreaming... spires of my own university...
NP: Stephen Frost challenged.
SF: Hesitation there, he didn't want to say Cambridge in front of this lot!
NP: So Stephen you got in, another point to you and seven seconds, you've got dreaming spires starting now.
SF: As I drove here on the A40, I saw the dreaming spires of Oxford gleaming in the sunlight, as the car pulled up...
NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains that extra point. On this occasion it was Stephen Frost and he has naturally taken the lead at the end of that round. And then it's Jenny Eclair and Kit Hesketh-Harvey and then Peter Jones. And Peter we'd like you to take the next round, in fact we'd like to hear from you. And oh, an apt subject, how much do you know about Svengali. But try and tell us something about it in Just A Minute Peter starting now.
PETER JONES: Svengali was the creation of George du Maurier who was the father of the actor Gerald and grandfather of the novelist Daphne.
PJ: And the part was played on the London stage...
NP: Oh sorry, Jenny's challenged. I do apologise.
JE: He was deviating like mad!
JE: We were getting a sort of potted history of the du Maurier family! I thought we were talking about Svengali! I mean I know that he was originally a character in a book called...
NP: Jenny darling, you needn't show off your, your brilliant erudition here! No, he was deviating...
NP: He was on to the du Maurier family, and not Svengali, though Svengali was created by Gerald du Maurier. Forty-eight seconds available, Svengali Jenny, starting now.
JE: Yes, originally from the book Trilby, by the author that Peter was chattering on about. I'm not going to fall into the same trap as he did. Surely not, but I have to say, um, no...
NP: So you fell into a different trap! And Kit got in...
KHH: She fell into hesitation.
NP: Right Kit, a point to you and er and the subject of Svengali, 40 seconds starting now.
KHH: The lovely family, the Galis, live on a Norwegian fjord called Dagenham. Their daughters, Ulrika, Gretcha and Ursula Andress, were crowned by a lovely little son, Sven Gali, who was the apple of his parents' eye. He grew to be the greatest herring smelter this side of Fondheim. And he went out in his little Norwegian jacket and socks and caught... I said Norwegian twice, shall I interrupt myself?
NP: Kit you actually challenged yourself!
KHH: Yes I'm sorry.
NP: And so I have to ask you what was the challenge?
KHH: I wanted to spare myself from the challenge of repeating Norwegian.
NP: Absolutely, you're perfectly correct! So I suppose if you challenge yourself, it isn't very often done! And you have a correct challenge for repetition, you get a point for that...
JE: Oh no!
NP: Yes a correct challenge er Kit, another point, 11 seconds still available, Svengali, can you keep going on it starting now.
KHH: He spent his life looking for the fishermen's ring, which, as a lot of you will know, is the Papal seal to which he attaches his briefs. And there was no... ring to be found...
KHH: Oh no!
JE: He not only hesitated but he said ring twice.
KHH: I did.
NP: He did indeed, yes, but I can't give you two points Jenny, one's enough.
JE: That's enough.
NP: Right, one point for a correct challenge and two seconds cleverly...
JE: Svengali, what an ace name for a son. If I had one, I'd call him Svengali...
NP: So er Jenny Eclair was speaking as the whistle went and got that extra point for doing so. She's now moved into the lead ahead of Stephen Frost and Kit Hesketh-Harvey equal in second place. Kit will you take the next subject. Oh yes, very topical, the millennium bug. Right, I don't know if you know anything about it, but we've heard a lot about it, read a lot about it, tell us something about it in 60 seconds if you can starting now.
KHH: I am sick to death of the millennium bug! Everyone's a bugger these days! They come up to one at parties and say "what are you doing for the millennium?" I couldn't care a jot. Just so long as I don't have to watch Peter Mandelson... peel back the covers of his glistening Dome...
NP: Stephen Frost challenged.
SF: He choked on Peter Mandelson!
NP: He saw this highly political audience in front of him and he er choked as it came out. Right, Stephen a correct challenge and there are 47 seconds available, the millennium bug starting now.
SF: I had a cold last week and that was my 2000th illness, it was my millennium bug. But of course, a lot of people are referring to the computer that is going to blow up. The computer in the sky, the one that's going to run...
JE: He said computer twice.
NP: I know he did say that.
JE: I'm sure he didn't mean to, but he did.
NP: So Jenny, 38 seconds, the millennium bug starting now.
JE: If I've got this right, the millennium bug sends clocks backwards. I wouldn't mind catching it because then I would be 19 again! Hurrah! Imagine that! All nubile and gorgeous once again! Ah apart from...
NP: Kit challenged.
KHH: She went into a reverie just thinking about it.
NP: I know. Well this subject that you don't want you've got back again and 27 seconds on the millennium bug starting now.
KHH: What rough beast, his hour come at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? Wrote WB Yeats, he was a great apocalyptic milleniest, turning in the...
NP: Stephen Frost you challenged. I'm sorry I didn't hear any noise, but your light came on, you challenged.
SF: Well deviation there.
SF: Well because he said it's poetry...
KHH: He wrote on the millennium, you see Yeats...
SF: Yeah I know that! Don't show me up in front of all these people! I know that!
JE: He was also guilty of showing off a bit!
KHH: I'm sorry, certainly!
NP: But he didn't, so what is actually...
SF: I had him for deviation because he's not mentioned... or did he say millennium?
NP: He talked about Yeats and his association with the millennium.
SF: I'm sorry, I wasn't listening!
NP: That's why we love having you on the show...
SF: I know, I'm having enough trouble keeping Peter quiet!
NP: So an incorrect challenge, another point to you Kit, and 16 seconds, the millennium bug starting now.
KHH: The... aeroplanes are going to fall out of the sky...
NP: You've been challenged again.
PJ: This er, isn't doing anything.
NP: I know, there's no sound, can we stop the show, there's hardly any sound... Peter you challenged but I hardly heard you. I'll tell you what we're going to do. I've just got a word to the engineer and he says that millennium bug has got into our buzzers. And so he's managed to upbeat the sound just to show what we're going to get now.
NP: My goodness me! So from now on, team, that's the noise we're...
SF: But they've all left! They think it's fire drill!
NP: So that particular millennium bug was cured very very rapidly. I hope all the others will be. And Peter what was your challenge after all that?
PJ: Gosh I can't remember!
NP: Anything will do!
PJ: Yes I was complaining about the equipment and the lack of ...
NP: So it was deviation from the normal...
KHH: And hesitation as well, I hesitated and deviated all at the once.
PJ: Did you really?
NP: So Peter you have a correct challenge...
PJ: Ah thank you.
NP: You have a point which is fantastic! And you have 13 seconds to continue on the millennium bug starting now.
PJ: Well I was going to say that it's nothing to do with computers or anything. It is a bacteria and it will come from the starlings in the southern part of Japan. And they'll kill them all...
NP: So Peter Jones speaking as the whistle went got the extra point for doing so and with the other points in that round, he has leapt forward, and he's still in fourth place. But um Peter Jones it's your turn to begin, the subject Oxford brogues. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.
PJ: Well I won't er go on about them. But they are shoes that are worn usually er in the country. And they're decorated with holes...
NP: Kit you challenged.
KHH: Deviation, he's going on about them!
PJ: That's mean!
NP: So incorrect challenge Peter.
NP: And you get a point for that and you get 53 seconds, Oxford brogues starting now.
PJ: They're not really very fashionable at the moment except in the outer limits of Oxfordshire...
NP: Jenny challenged.
JE: Some hesitation then.
NP: Not some, none, I don't think so, no.
NP: Forty-six seconds, Oxford brogues Peter with you starting now.
PJ: There's a lot of Irish people who speak with a brogue in Oxford and elsewhere, wherever they go, they spread. And er it is quite appealing really, because it's warm, friendly, and everything, usually, unless they're carrying um ahhhh rather...
NP: Yes Jenny I will agree with you on that one and you have Oxford brogues and 30 seconds starting now.
JE: I always say that you can tell a lot about a man by his shoes. If he's not wearing any, he can't afford you! I also think a man who's got lace-ups is far superior...
NP: Stephen Frost challenged.
SF: Two men.
NP: Yes it's very difficult for Jenny because she does repeat man quite often! And er but that was repetition within Just A Minute, 20 seconds available, Oxford brogues with you Stephen starting now.
SF: I had a pair of Oxford brogues once. They were beautiful. Light brown colour, six holes in each shoe where I put the lace and tied them up before I went out walking. As they clipped along the pavement everyone would look at me and say... what?
NP: Kit you challenged.
KHH: He was lost then.
NP: He couldn't remember what they said, but there was hesitation, nine seconds...
SF: I thought I heard a buzz, I'm ever so sorry, I thought there was a buzz.
NP: I don't know what he said then but it sounded absolute rubbish! The er Oxford brogues with you Kit, nine seconds starting now.
KHH: They come from the Highlands of Scotland. Why they were adopted by this ancient university I cannot imagine, because they take an awful lot of polish. Perhaps they're a sign of privilege, so high...
NP: So Kit Hesketh-Harvey was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And he's equal with Jenny Eclair in second place, just behind our leader Stephen Frost. And Kit it's your turn to begin, the subject, thinking out loud. Something that I think people do in this show, but talk on the subject starting now.
KHH: Thinking out loud, I can see that Nicholas Parsons' buttocks are particularly tightly clenched tonight. Whether it is because he is at this ancient university and scared that his Brideshead might become revisited, I do not know! He looks very fetching with it! Thinking out loud I look around this ancient chamber and I said ancient twice, for God's sake rescue me...
NP: Jenny you challenged.
JE: Thinking out loud, see that bloke four rows back, he's cute, isn't he! Oops done it again!
KHH: You are shameless, Miss Eclair!
NP: Absolutely yes.
JE: I can't concentrate actually.
NP: I haven't given you the chance to start yet.
NP: I mean I know I do have to say there are 38 seconds, thinking out loud, starting now.
JE: Can I say what I just said again?
JE: So he knows I'm serious! (laughs raucously)
NP: Kit you challenged.
KHH: Repetition of ha!
NP: And I'm sure Jenny doesn't mind losing the subject because it was worth it, she enjoyed it! Um 35 seconds available, thinking out loud with you Kit starting now.
KHH: Thinking out loud, I should tell him, don't even go there, darling! It's a horrible place and you will find yourself embarrassed in the morning! The absolute nadir of your existence will be waking up with Jenny Eclair at the Randolph Hotel tomorrow. Beautiful, you might be, come back Jenny now!
NP: Oh Peter Jones has challenged.
PJ: Repetition of Jenny.
NP: Absolutely yes! I mean there are some who say you can't have too much of Jenny and er... certainly in Just A Minute we love having as much as possible of her! But Peter it is repetition to repeat her name so you've got in there with 18 seconds available, thinking out loud starting now.
PJ: If I were sitting next to Jenny and I put my thoughts into words, I would probably be arrested! Thinking aloud is not something that should really be encouraged by er anybody, I don't think, because it's just...
NP: Well Peter you did jolly well, a lot of points there including one for speaking as the whistle went. Jenny what a lovely subject now, very apt, May ball. Will you tell us about May ball, have you ever been to an Oxford May ball?
JE: Oh are you asking me a question or...
NP: I asked you a question, yes.
JE: I have, yes!
NP: Then tell us about it, 60 seconds starting now.
JE: I have never been to a May ball without having to sing for my supper. As a stand-up comic, and Perrier Award winner 1995, I've been to many of these things. Do you know, it's so ghastly. They're very expensive, the tickets, and they employ people with guns and walkie-talkies to keep out the riffraff like me! I said to this bouncer "do you know who I am?" "No," came the resounding reply and I had to get in via a hedge! They're getting more and more over the top at these things...
NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey challenged.
KHH: Repetition of more, I'm afraid.
NP: Yes there was more, yes.
JE: You're right Kit.
NP: Repetition, you are right Kit, a point to you and May ball is with you and 36 seconds starting now.
KHH: I can sense that this audience is completely baffled, since in Oxford they're actually called Commem balls. May balls are what we have in Cambridge and...
NP: Stephen Frost challenged.
NP: So give Stephen a bonus point because we not only enjoyed the challenge, so did the audience. Kit wasn't actually technically deviating from the subject. So Kit you have a point for being interrupted, you keep going. There are 29 seconds still available, May ball starting now.
KHH: The tickets are terribly expensive. And you don't want May ball, you want a partner who will ball definitely by the end of the evening! You want to get the investment you put into it! They're very muddy affairs by what I er ahhhh...
NP: Stephen Frost challenged.
SF: Sorry, two verys. Very expensive and very muddy.
NP: That's right, yes, two verys, right. Stephen, 18 seconds, May ball starting now.
SF: The last May ball I did a gig at, the sign said "free beer and comedy". So I was very upset because when we arrived on stage, all the students were drunk and throwing cans at us! Which made them laugh but not us. We walked off and made sure that we got home safely and never played that... venue...
NP: Kit you challenged.
KHH: Narrowly averted being patronising there!
NP: Right, Kit it was hesitation and you've got one second...
KHH: Oh God!
NP: ...on May ball starting now.
KHH: May Ball was a lovely girl...
NP: So er Kit Hesketh-Harvey speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. He's now taken the lead at the end of that round, just ahead of Stephen Frost, Jenny Eclair and Peter Jones in that order. And Stephen your turn to begin, and the subject is fishing for compliments. Do you ever do it? Tell us something about it, 60 seconds starting now.
SF: "How was I darling?" is probably the most fished for compliment in the world. the trouble with fishing for compliments is you don't get the answer you require. Often you're told that you're not as good as you thought you were which can be very embarrassing and can need a long long... long long...
NP: Yes Jenny yes?
JE: He got depressed about his sex life!
NP: Repetition or hesitation, or a combination of the two. Right Jenny, a point to you, fishing for compliments starting now.
JE: Fishing for compliments is a girl thing. "Oh God, I'm so fat and I hate my hair" and then the bloke is meant to say "darling you're a beauty of the first degree. How I adore your slender cellulite-free flab. And as for your silky tresses, may I bury my head into them once again and remind you what a fantastic bird you are!" See blokes, what klutzes you are! That's all you have to do to keep us happy! We're not very difficult people at all!
NP: Peter Jones you challenged.
PJ: Well I didn't hear all of that, I didn't think, but I think there were one or two repetitions.
NP: So what is your, your challenge actually? Deviation?
PJ: Well I don't know really...
NP: You don't know.
PJ: What choices are there?
LAUGHTER FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: Um I'll give you them I'll give you the choice, I'll say the benefit of the doubt.
NP: That's a good choice, isn't it.
PJ: Yes all right.
NP: So it goes to you Peter, well done! Twenty-three seconds, fishing for compliments starting now.
PJ: It's not something I've er ever done because I haven't really er been able to collect enough bait to er really er provide somebody with the material on which to decide whether I was worth a compliment or not. Ah compliments can of course be a plug as well if you're ... inclined that way. Um...
NP: Peter you were going with such style that um I was rather naughty, I let you go beyond the minute and actually, you, that's why there was a pause. You looked at me and I blew the whistle myself on that occasion. But you get a point for speaking when the whistle should have been blown.
NP: And er what's the situation? You, you're doing jolly well, I mean you're equal with Jenny Eclair and she was leading a little while ago. And who's going to begin the next round? Let me have a look. It is Peter, it's your turn to begin. Ah, the one way system. Talk on that subject Peter if you can, 60 seconds starting now.
PJ: Well the only really sure-fire one way system I suppose is gravity. Because everything goes down, even if you're on the other side of the world it appears to be doing so. Though from our er position here, it appears to be going up...
NP: Stephen you challenged.
SF: It's like taking... (laughs) Two appears there.
NP: Two appears.
SF: Appears to go down...
NP: Appears to go down, and appears to go up, yeah! Repetition Stephen, 42 seconds on, no not gravity, what... 42 seconds on the one way system starting now.
SF: The best way to go down a one way system is to reverse and no-one complains at all because that way you are going the other way that you should have gone but not...
NP: Peter Jones challenged.
PJ: Just a very ah....
NP: I know!
PJ: Too rough and not er distinct! Not up to BBC standards at all!
NP: The one way system starting now.
NP: Yes you!
PJ: Oh I see! Oh I thought that I'd done that! Ah...
NP: No, it's still the same subject Peter. You challenged! You challenged Peter, it was a correct challenge, I gave you a point for a correct challenge...
NP: We weren't sure what your challenge was but I gave you the benefit of the doubt again.
PJ: Well thanks very much!
NP: I said right, you get a point for that...
NP: And now you take over the subject and there are 27 seconds available, and you start now, when I say now. Now!
PJ: Now? Oh... if you go er backwards up a one way street, you're infringing the police regulations and you're not really er supposed to do that. And anyway nobody is going to believe that you're really going forwards if you're actually going backwards. I've noticed that people who...
NP: Kit has challenged you, yes?
KHH: A lot of goings weren't there?
NP: Going and backwards too. But you kept going for 40 seconds Peter, but unfortunately till the whistle. So you, Kit...
PJ: Forty seconds?
NP: Yes you did jolly well.
PJ: I only had 27 to start with!
NP: Well you see I studied my mathematics at Glasgow University and obviously they ah, I was at the wrong university for maths. Um no I'm sorry my subtraction was wrong, yes. It was only 20 seconds.
PJ: So what happens to me?
NP: You, you keep quite now because Kit has got a correct challenge...
PJ: Oh yes?
NP: It was repetition of backwards and things like that. And so Kit, you've got a point for a correct challenge and one, 10 seconds available, the one way system starting now.
KHH: The terrible thing is that after this recording we're going to go to a hostelry where Nicholas Parsons will toy with his oysters and then bat his eyelids at me and say "life isn't just a one way system, you know, would you not like snails..."
NP: What makes you think I'm going to bat my eyelids at you Kit?
KHH: You've done it before! I have to put a chair under the door handle in my hotel, I can tell you!
NP: And Jenny it is your turn to begin, so take the last round, brown envelope. Oh so many significances there. But talk about it, 60 seconds starting now.
JE: I'm not sure whether this is some weirdo sexual deviation Nicholas, I'm rather worried! Brown envelopes, do you know, in the olden days when men got paid their weekly wages they'd bring it home in a brown envelope and the missus would take it off them! Hurrah! It doesn't work that way any more! I've tried! I've tried! But...
NP: Oh! It's a tough game, isn't it, tried and tried...
JE: It's so hard!
NP: Stephen you came in first.
SF: Tried and tried.
NP: So 46 seconds on brown envelope starting now.
SF: Bad news comes in brown envelopes. I think they should change the colour of them so you're not taken by surprise. You think "that's a yellow one, I know what's coming, I accept it". With brown, you always seem to know that that situation...
JE: Well he hesitated, deviated, he just went on and on and got a bit dull!
NP: You needn't rub it in for him! Really! He hesitated, 34 seconds, brown envelope for you starting now.
JE: The thing is, Steve was wrong as well. Because my bank used to send me bills in brown envelopes. I never used to open them so they started sending them to me in pink. I used to think "oh Valentines card!"
NP: Stephen Frost challenged.
SF: Two sendings.
NP: Two sendings, yes, so Stephen, 28 seconds, back with you, brown envelope starting now.
SF: I found a brown envelope on the floor this morning inside my house. Of course it was there, not outside, otherwise you'd have to sack the postman. But he knew that if I saw what was inside, I'd burst into tears. It was another brown envelope. A cruel trick played on me by this man who delivered this mail to my door...
NP: Stephen, Peter Jones you challenged.
PJ: Repetition of door.
NP: That's right, there was too many doors there and other things. Right, Peter you've got in with seven seconds to go on brown envelope starting now.
PJ: It can be full of crisp fivers! So long as you promise to ask a question in the House of Commons...
NP: So Peter Jones then speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point for doing so. And he's moved forward into a very respectable position there. And I'll just give you, for those interested in points, the final score. Jenny Eclair was leading for quite a long time, and she gave incredible value as she always does, but she did finish up only just in fourth place...
NP: And Peter Jones came from nowhere and he finished up just ahead of Jenny...
PJ: I came from London!
NP: Ah but as you were playing the game, you sort of came from nowhere...
PJ: Oh really?
PJ: You mean I got back into the game as they say.
NP: You got back into the game and you excelled!
NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey who always gives good value there, came... oh this is very very fair isn't it. Stephen Frost who hasn't played the game quite so much and Kit Hesketh-Harvey only two points ahead, but between them they have an equal number so we call them the winners this week! Yes! And we do hope that you have enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to thank Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Peter Jones, Stephen Frost and Jenny Eclair, and also Jane Gibson for keeping, helping to keep the score, and blowing her whistle so delicately, with such power actually, it was very very dramatic. And also our producer Chris Neill who produces and directs the show. And of course Ian Messiter who created Just A Minute and we still go on playing this game. And of course this particular undergraduate audience here, and maybe there's some graduates in the audience as well, I don't know, at Oxford Union. It's been a joy to be with you, and maybe, who knows, we might come back again. Wouldn't that be lovely! Would you like to have us back again?
SHOUTS OF "YES" FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: All right. Until we return here again let me say to all of you and our listeners at home and overseas, good-bye! This is Nicholas Parsons saying thank you for listening! Bye!