NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome our many listeners not only in this country, but throughout the world. And also to welcome to the show four highly talented and exciting players of the game who have all excelled themselves and distinguished themselves in various forms of comedy and humour. Would you welcome those four, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Jenny Eclair and Clement Freud. All together! And as usual, I am going to ask these four to speak on a subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst who is going to help me keep the score, and blow a whistle when 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the elegant beautiful Theatre Royal in that wonderful city of Brighton on the coast of Sussex! And as you can hear we have a vociferous, keen Brighton audience here, representing this cosmopolitan area who are going to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show this week with Clement Freud. Clement, the subject in front of me is how to annoy the audience. You have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: Before I start, I just have to make one announcement. Would everyone in the second row of the stalls please stand up? Um, er, I'd be awfully grateful. And those sitting behind them, if the women could turn round and kiss the men...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged you.

PAUL MERTON: Did I detect a hesitation?

NP: A hesitation, yes, more than one and a long one. I think he was demonstrating ways to annoy the audience but they were not responding, I should... As this is radio, and you cannot see what is happening in our audience, I must tell you, they did not respond. So either they were not annoyed, but anyway...

CF: They were annoyed! That's why they did not respond.

NP: Yes! Anyway that was hesitation, a correct challenge, you get a point for that. You take over how to annoy the audience, 36 seconds available starting now.

PM: And now, ladies and gentlemen, I leave you in the capable hands of Nicholas Parsons! Could there be a more chilling sentence in the history of English theatre? Audiences blanch with horror and fear as those dreaded words crash upon their ears! What have we done to deserve it? Tearing their hair out, desperately trying to get through the doors! They're locked, it's too late! This has happened before! Another way of annoying the audience is to actually pick on somebody in the front row, like you sir, and say "you're a bit bald, aren't you? Would you mind, would you mind moving your head, the light's shining on it in my eyes." That sort of thing...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton and of course at the end of that round he is the only one to have scored anything. Jenny Eclair would you take the next round?

JENNY ECLAIR: Yes I will Nicholas.

NP: And the subject is the advantages of being a woman.

JE: Oh!

NP: Oh I'm longing for when the men get this subject! Right, um, 60 seconds starting now.

JE: Where do I start? We have a secondary set of sexual organs, our breasts! That attract men like bees around a honey pot! And jiggle attractively when we jog! Oh the bare faced cheek of being a woman! I love it so much! When we steal things, we can blame it on our hormones! Haaaaaaa! And even if we don't feel like going out shoplifting, we can just stay under the duvet, crying, eating chocolate, watching daytime television which was invented just for us! Women don't have to do brave things! We don't have to go down and tackle the knife wielding burglar! Neither do we have to wash our car...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged you.

JE: What?

PM: Repetition of have we have to.

NP: How we have to, yes.


JE: You're such a game spoiler!

NP: We are playing, audience, we are playing Just A Minute and there are certain rules. Just because you enjoyed what Jenny said, you can't have her all to yourself and only.

JE: I'll come back! You watch!

NP: That was a correct challenge so Paul, you get a point for that of course and you take over the subject. There are 19 seconds for you to tell us something about the advantages of being a woman starting now.

PM: Well of course the high pitched voice is an extraordinary advantage. You can cut through any conversation in a crowded room, with some load of old rubbish that's just come into your head about some nonsense or other!


PM: And also the shrill tones are such...


NP: Jenny you've challenged.

JE: It's for his own good!

NP: This is the first time actually that an audience has taken over the show! I mean you are so fickle. A minute ago you were applauding when he was lambasting me and being so rude, and now of course you can't stand him because of what he said! But oh the fickleness of Brighton but I've discovered it personally before. Jenny you have a point for a correct challenge, you have...

PM: What was the challenge?

NP: I don't know what it was but she's got it!


NP: And she has two seconds on the advantages of being a woman starting now.

JE: I'm far too pre-menstrual to argue with Paul!


NP: Jenny Eclair was then speaking as that whistle went, gained the extra point. She's now got three points, Paul Merton's got four, and the other two are yet to score. And Clement it's your turn to begin and the subject is Fat Boy Slim. Will you... I don't know why you're laughing! It's obviously been chosen because of your knowledge of the pop world! Sixty seconds as usual, Fat Boy Slim, Clement starting now.

CF: In the 1960s, a pathologist from Brockinghurst in New Forest dug out this severed leg, dug it up and said "this is a fat boy's limb". Everyone was immensely impressed. How do you know that that is so, and the surgeon who had gone into pathological exercise afterwards pointed to the misshapen toes, to the inverted knee and to the calf beneath the shin, explaining that fat boy's limbs tend on the whole to be of their nature...


NP: Julian Clary you've challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Did he misunderstand the title?

NP: No, no, he's taken it... This is radio so what you hear and it's not what's written down. It's Fat Boy Slim...

PM: This is radio?

JC: Oh well thanks for the tip!

PM: We're being recorded?

NP: Yes that's right, yes. Why, did you dress for television?

PM: I did, yes!

NP: He's taken it rather cleverly which the audience enjoyed as well, as fat boy's limb.

JC: Well I'll shut up then!

NP: But it did take you rather a long time to cotton on to that, didn't it Julian?

JC: Well I was enjoying it as much as the audience!

NP: Yes! Right so I don't think he was deviating...

JC: No I don't either, having had it explained! Hush my mouth!

NP: So 17 seconds still available, Fat Boy Slim, Clement starting now.

CF: I understand that there is a man who calls himself Fat Boy Slim who sells...


NP: Julian Clary challenged.

JC: At last!

NP: And what's your challenge this time?

JC: Just that I wanted to say something! He said man twice!

NP: Yes he did say man twice!


NP: The audience applauded then because Jenny very sportingly actually whispered to Julian what the challenge should be. Fat Boy Slim, 11 seconds Julian starting now.

JC: I've never met the man, never had the pleasure of him. But I'm...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Never, two nevers.

NP: I never had the pleasure of him, no, right! Paul you've got in...

JC: That makes two of us!

NP: Eight seconds, Fat Boy Slim, Paul, with you starting now.

PM: Fat Boy Slim, his real name is, of course, Norman Cook and he's married to Zoe Ball who is the daughter...


NP: Paul Merton with points in the round and one for speaking when the whistle went gained, has moved forward. Jenny it's your turn to begin and the subject is Oz and we'd like you tot talk on it starting...

JE: Can I just ask what that means, Oz. Do you mean as in Australia, shortened to Aus?

NP: No, you see, this is radio as I said before. It's whatever you like to interpret it...

JE: I thought we were just playing for fun!

NP: We are just playing for fun, and you've created a lot of fun already. It's like Fat Boy Slim became fat boy's limb. It's Oz, you take Oz in any way you like...

JC: Oh you had to ask!

NP: Oz means.... Oz means different things to different people. You talk on Oz, 60 seconds starting now.

JE: Aus is short for Australia, I've been there, you know, two weeks, just recently. Did the Melbourne International Comedy Festival which I triumphed at! Oh, the reviews! Do you know it's great going to Australia now, because it's really cheap! Do you want to see my boots?


JE: Look at these boots! No, let them see my boots before! Look!

NP: Ah Jenny er, Jenny, your boots are wonderful, but we're not on television, my love. This is radio. I should explain to our listeners she got up on the desk and showed off her boots, and someone challenged you which was Julian, and you were hesitating because you actually stopped! Brought the show to a halt as you showed off your magnificent boots!

JC: That wasn't my challenge actually.

NP: Right, well your light came on Julian.

JC: No, I did challenge, but I wasn't challenging about hesitation.

NP: What were you challenging about?

JC: Repetition, repetition of Australia.

NP: Absolutely right! I can't give you two points. Anyway, 45 seconds, Oz is the subject, with you Julian starting now.

JC: I've been to Australia as well, a little island called Orpheus which is on the Barrier Reef and you go there to look at the fish. Unfortunately I had a terrible ear infection. Do you think I could put my head under the water? No, siree! It's a lovely place though, they're very open there. They don't care what you say on the radio or television in Australia. You can get away with absolutely...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of Australia.

NP: Yes! Eighteen seconds, Oz is the subject Paul, it's with you starting now.

PM: A man called Frank L Baum, spelt B-A-U-M wrote the book called The Wizard Of Oz, some time in the early 20th century. And although there's a famous film based on that novel, he wrote many, in fact...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of wrote.

NP: Yes you wrote too much.

PM: Did I?

NP: Yes. Clement you got in with five seconds to go, the subject is still Oz starting now.

CF: We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful... of Oz is a song...


NP: So Clement got the extra point for speaking as the whistle went, and with others in the round he's creeping up on our leader Paul Merton. And he's a little way ahead of Jenny Eclair and Julian Clary in that order. And Julian we're back with you to begin and the subject is a bee in my bonnet. Sixty seconds starting now.

JC: I can't think of anything worse than having a bee in my bonnet. Especially if you're bald, like that man down there! You don't mind me saying that, do you? You've got a lovely head of skin! And to buzz round...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Paul, hesitation, correct, 50 seconds, a bee in my bonnet starting now.

PM: As Julian pointed out, there is a man in the front row who hasn't got much hair. One of my favourite anti-heckle put-down lines is in a book I once bought. It said "excuse me sir, are you bald, or is your neck blowing bubble gum?" But a bee in my bonnet is something that I do have about anti-heckle lines, in fact, which I've repeated...


NP: Jenny challenged. Jenny you challenged, yes?

JE: Heckle, he said heckle twice.

PM: I did.

JE: Yes he did, right. So Jenny you've got in with a bee in my bonnet, you have 35 seconds, tell us something about it now.

JE: Once I literally had a bee in my bonnet. I was a bridesmaid for my sister and dressed up like a shepherdess. We were outside the church and there was this guy trying to take photos. But I was leaping all over gravestones trying to get the bee out of my bonnet. And once my mum got a bee in her pants! She got them off the washing line, put them on...


JE: ... and got stung on the bum!

NP: Julian you challenged.

JC: We're not talking about bees in your mother's pants! It's deviation from the bonnet theme!

NP: All right Julian, you have a correct challenge, 15 seconds, a bee in my bonnet starting now.

JC: A bee in your bonnet would not be a problem of course if it was a friendly neutered bee. It could crawl around and give you a little scratch occasionally. Maybe you could teach it things, and then it would move over to the other side of your head, give you another little poke there and maybe crawl inside...


NP: Julian Clary was speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point. He's now equal with Jenny Eclair in third place, just behind Clement Freud but out in the lead is still Paul Merton. And Clement it's your turn to begin. The subject is things that make me blush, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: I think increasing my position in second place makes me blush a bit. But what does tend to make me blush, honestly, is having a bet on a horse and realising that the money I've placed with a bookmaker is equal to seven weeks' wages of my Portuguese cleaner. And then I blush with shame. And if somebody would like to take the subject, I'd be very pleased to let them...


NP: Jenny you have challenged.

JE: On behalf of all the Portuguese cleaners in the country, I'm going to take this round off you!

NP: Right, so hesitation...

JE: That includes my Portuguese cleaner, ah....

NP: I haven't said start yet, darling.

JE: Oh darn!

NP: Thirty-six seconds, things that make me blush starting now.

JE: I have no embarrassment gene so I find it very difficult to blush. That said, the other day I fell down in front of a load of sixth form boys in Dullich. I just wobbled off into the gutter! And they all sniggered! It was awful! I got in my car and I was the colour of that red nail varnish that Chanel's doing this season! I remember also being a teenager. I was asked on a date and he took me to the recreation park because it was a posh date. I've said date twice, but you all forgive me...


JE: No! You won't!

NP: Paul challenged yes.

PM: Ah date three times.

NP: Date twice yes.

JE: I've dated many times!

NP: We never heard what happened in the recreation park.

JE: My pants fell out of the bottom of my jeans. You know when you wear your pants in your jeans, and you put on clean pants the next day, but yes, those pants are still tucked in the legs!


JE: It made me blush! They ricocheted out of the leg of the jeans!

NP: What a pity you didn't save it for the show because you weren't actually in the show then. But we'll give you a bonus point because they liked it, your pants! (clears throat)

PM: What is it about the women in your family, and pants? Your mother gets bees in her pants, and your pants just fall out of the bottom of your trousers, jeans.

NP: Jeans right, and you have nine seconds Paul, on things that make me blush starting now.

PM: I used to be very easily embarrassed. When I was 16 years old, it was torture for me to talk to anybody on the telephone. I hated it! I would ask my mother to...


NP: Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so, and other points in the round. Has increased his lead, he's ahead of Clement Freud, Jenny Eclair and Julian Clary in that order. And Jenny your turn to begin, the subject is a sure sign that summer is here. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JE: A sure sign that summer is here is when women take off their thick woolly tights, and expose pallid flesh to the sun. I start applying fake tan, even though it smells of burning prophylactic and makes my legs that fluorescent orange of a chicken tikha. I don't care, it's better than looking like a jellyfish! The other upsetting thing is, you know when you try on last season's clothes and you look like tapioca in a string bag? And you realise that you must go back to the gym, that's another sure sign that summer is before us...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Sorry, finger slipped.

NP: I've said it before, I don't want to say it again, a Freudian slip!


NP: Yes it deserved that! Ah so it was an incorrect challenge so you interrupted Jenny, you get a point for that, you keep the subject, 28 seconds, a sure sign that summer is here starting now.

JE: Blossom falls from the trees, swallows flit. Ice cream fans tinkle their warning "don't run out in front of me children" bells. And all over is the whiff of the barbecue. That spat... no...


NP: Clement you challenged this time.

CF: Hesitation.

JE: Yes.

NP: That was hesitation and you have 14 seconds and the subject is a sure sign that summer is here starting now.

CF: An eight foot by 10 foot notice board...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Two feet.

NP: Two...

PM: Eight foot by 10 foot.

NP: Yes, you don't often make those mistakes Clement. But this time Paul got you. Eleven seconds Paul, a sure sign that summer is here starting now.

PM: Well you have to be quick to catch it. I think it was a beautiful day this morning and indeed most of the afternoon here in Brighton. It was lovely. The sun was out, people were paddling at sea, summer must have arrived...


NP: Right, Paul Merton, more points in that round, one for speaking as the whistle went as well, has increased his lead ahead of the other three. And Julian Clary it's your turn to begin, the subject, text messages. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JC: Text messaging is a form of communication, invented mainly for use by teenagers. However it seems to have transpired into the rest of the community. Wherever you happen to be, you hear that annoying beep beep noise and it just...


NP: Paul Merton challenged. I know what you're going to say. Oh it's a tough game, beep beep noise!

JC: It's one word!

NP: No, no, it isn't. It may be hyphenated but we are in radio, as I've said before, and it's what you say. And you said beep beep, that is repetition, I'm sorry Julian. They loved you for it but Paul had a correct challenge. Forty-six seconds, text messages to you Paul starting now.

PM: I feel a bit unhappy in challenging Julian there on text messages. I was quite interested in what he was saying, because I don't know a great deal about them. I know it's abbreviated words that appear somewhere...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: He said know twice.

NP: Yes.

JE: Yes.

NP: Come on Jenny, let's hear from you on text messages, 35 seconds starting now.

JE: I don't know how to do it, I'm a complete Luddite! I like my messages on blue note paper written in blood, tied up in pink ribbon....


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes you've got it back...

JE: I ran out of personality there, Paul.

NP: Twenty-five seconds, text messages Paul starting now.

PM: So I think that's all they are. I don't really see the point of them but I suppose it's a good way of people...


NP: And Julian challenged.

JC: Two supposes.

NP: Yes, I suppose that's what they are, you said suppose before.

PM: Did I?

NP: Yes you did...

PM: Are you sure?

NP: I'm absolutely certain. And 20 seconds Julian, text messages starting now.

JC: I conducted an entire relationship by texting... will you stop staring at me like that?


JC: It gets on my nerves!

NP: Clement you've challenged.

JC: It's like having a very big fish bowl next to me! You've no idea!

NP: I'm sorry, you've been challenged by Clement Freud. Yes Clement?

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Stop staring at me...

NP: I know! Stop staring! You give me a very difficult decision because she was, Jenny Eclair sitting beside Julian Clary there, on my left, and the other two on my right, she was staring and trying to put him off so she could get in there. So it really was intimidating and Clement, quite rightly, has got a correct challenge. And I think, to be fair, it was, because you were intimidating him. We won't count that challenge. And we won't have any points scored. So Julian you keep the subject, 16 seconds starting now.

JC: So this man I was seeing texted me on a frequent basis, and I would text back. Eventually we graduated to the use of a telecommunications system and I went off him entirely. Isn't it funny how life works out...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two hims.

NP: Yes, him, and Jenny you've got in with three seconds to go and you have text messages... and Julian sitting beside you is now going to intimidate you. Three seconds, text messages starting now.

JE: There are all sorts of abbreviations you can use when texting, it's called netiquette...


NP: So Jenny Eclair was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and she has leapt forward, she's now almost equal with Clement Freud in second place, just ahead of Julian Clary, but out in the lead still is Paul Merton. And Paul it's your turn to begin and we are moving into the final round. And the subject is...


NP: Ohhhhh! Do you love us as much as that?


NP: We thought you loved us more but it doesn't matter! Going to the hairdressers is the subject Paul, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: I'd like to thank the woman who made a funny noise in the front row, just like "oh what would he know about going to the hairdresser's?" But one of my favourite occupations is to go to an old fashioned barbers's in Germond Street in London, when I've had a shave by them. It's beautiful. They get the hot towels out and the cut throat razor, and it cuts... (laughs)


NP: Jenny?

JE: Hesitation and cut, cut, cut, cut.

NP: Well hesitation yes. Forty-two seconds Jenny, going to the hairdressers starting now.

JE: I adore going to the hairdressers. And they love me going because I'm such a challenge!


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

JE: Me me me!

CF: Going.

NP: Going, yeah but going's on the card.

CF: Sorry.

NP: Sorry, it's all right Clement. So it doesn't matter, jenny gets another point, she was interrupted. Forty seconds for going to the hairdressers Jenny starting now.

JE: These days they make me sign a release form before they put more bleach on it, in case the whole lot just falls out!


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Oh er was there two lots, or...

JE: Yes!

NP: Yes there were two lots.

JC: Were there?

JE: I have no idea what's coming out of my mouth, darling!

JC: I think there was something.

NP: I don't think you said lot twice. Jenny you have going to the hairdressers, 30 seconds starting now.

JE: I actually... oh!


NP: Clement got in this time, yes?

CF: Hesitation.

NP: That was hesitation. Going to the hairdressers Clement...


NP: For those listeners who tune in... for those listeners who tune in abroad and don't know the features of our four panellists who are very well known to everyone in this country, Clement Freud doesn't have a great deal of hair on the top of his head! And that's why the audience laughed, I should explain that to you.

JC: You mean some people don't know what I look like?

NP: There's probably people in China and the Indian subcontinent and all those countries...

JC: How awful!

NP: I know! Well they write to me and ask for pictures of the team, they want to visualise what you look like...

PM: Do they?

NP: Yes!

PM: And what do you do?

NP: I send them pictures.

PM: You haven't got any pictures of me.

NP: I've got a picture of the team.

PM: Oh I see. Have you?

NP: Yes, the BBC supply it!

PM: Do they?

NP: Yes! We haven't had any pictures taken for a long time but we should have some more I think, actually. They even...

PM: You could send pictures of anybody! They wouldn't know! A picture of the Beverley Sisters talking to Churchill!

NP: Anyway Clement, you've got in on going to the hairdressers, 28 seconds, starting now.

CF: The less hair you have, the more you have to go to a hairdresser. It is a strange thing but wanting to be thought hirsute is not anything that a bald man would desire. Therefore I go to Germond Street which is in London...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I think that's deviation, a lot of men who are bald wear wigs, don't they. They, so bald men do want to be thought of as hirsute.

CF: You don't go to a hairdresser for a wig!

PM: No, but... You hadn't got to that bit!

NP: No, I don't think he was deviating from the subject, no. So Clement you keep the subject, another point to you, 14 seconds, going to the hairdressers starting now.

CF: If you drive up the A12 passing Chelmsford and Colchester, there's an excellent hairdresser on the left hand side as you go through Saxmunden. I can't recommend him sufficiently. He is a master...


NP: So Clement Freud brought that round to a close with a flourish there and also gave a little flourish which was a fine way to finish this particular edition of Just A Minute. So all I need to do now is to give you the final score. Julian Clary who has triumphed so magnificently in the past just finished in fourth place. Jenny Eclair who gives such incredible value in everything that she does...


NP: Particularly the hairdressers! Finished just ahead of him. And she was two points behind Clement Freud who always gives great value. And one man who gives extremely good value, once again got the most points. We say, Paul Merton, you are the winner this week! So congratulations to our four clever and delightful players of the game. We thank Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Jenny Eclair and Clement Freud. We also thank Janet Staplehurst who's helped me keep the score and she's blown her whistle so magnificently. And we also thank Claire Jones who is our producer and director, who tries to keep us all in order. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this lovely game which we all enjoy playing. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here in this beautiful Theatre Royal in the city of Brighton who have cheered us on our way. We hope you've enjoyed yourself!


NP: Thank you, thank you, thank you, that's enough! Because we've enjoyed ourselves, we've enjoyed having you here. And so from our lovely audience, from our magnificent panel, and from me Nicholas Parsons, good-bye, until the next time we tune in and play Just A Minute!