NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome not only our many listeners in this country but also throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme this week four talented and exciting players of the game. We are delighted to welcome back that master of improvised ad-lib comedy, Paul Merton. The mistress of acute observational comedy Linda Smith. The outrageous leprechaun of comedy Graham Norton. And the master of erudite comedy, Clement Freud. Would you please welcome all four of them! Thank you! Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst who's going to help me keep the score and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And as usual I am going to ask the four players of the game to speak on a subject I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject on the card. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the New Theatre in that elegant city of Cardiff, the capital of the great principality of Wales. And we have before us here a passionate warm Welsh audience ready to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show this week with Paul Merton. Oh Paul, what a lovely subject to begin the show with, keeping up with the Joneses. Paul, could you talk upon the subject of keeping up with the Joneses, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Keeping up with the Joneses means I suppose competing with your neighbours. If somebody next door to you gets a red car, then you must buy a deep pink motor. This is known as keeping up with the Joneses. But it begs the question, who do the Joneses keep up with? Because if you're keeping up with them, they must be keeping up with somebody else. Is the family next to them the Evans perhaps? The Joneses are definitely competing with, they say...


NP: Graham Norton, you have challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: No, but I'm a fool!

NP: Well they laugh when you're a fool...

GN: No, no, I thought, I thought there was another family. But there wasn't another family, they were neighbours before. And then they turned into a family. And I, I...

NP: You...

GN: I'm trying too hard!

NP: You, no, no, no, no, it's always nice to hear from you whether you try too hard or not...

GN: Really?

NP: Yes! It was an incorrect challenge Paul...

GN: It was!

NP: You get a point for an incorrect challenge, you keep the subject, keeping up with the Joneses, there are 36 seconds available starting now.

PM: There's a lot of Joneses live in Wales. I should imagine there's quite a few sitting in the audience tonight. Perhaps we could have a quick head count. If your name is Jones, just put your hand up, we'll have... one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 31, 42, 56...


NP: Yes, Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of one.

NP: Yes you had the ones to begin with! You did repeat the word one...

PM: Yes.

NP: So Clement has a point for a correct challenge and he has seven seconds to take over the subject...

PM: Seven seconds! Oh!

NP: And the time starts now.

CF: I have two aunts called Joan. And keeping up with the Joans's daughters was fairly...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And on this occasion it was Clement Freud and of course he's got the most points at the end of that round. Graham Norton, will you take the next round, the subject is therapy. Tell us something about therapy, 60 seconds starting now.

GN: I am very much in favour of therapy. Because as my mother always taught me, and I've said it before, a prob...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

GN: Not now!

PM: Repetition, he's said it before!

NP: Paul, it's a devious thought, but he didn't actually deviate by saying those words in that particular round...

PM: As I said before!

NP: Yeah but he hadn't actually said anything before other than er...

PM: Oh I think you're just, I think you're just being picky there!

NP: So an incorrect challenge...

GN: Yeah!

NP: And Graham and you keep the subject, and you have 53 seconds, therapy starting now.

GN: My favourite form of therapy is physical therapy. This is when you literally try to knock sense into someone with a big stick. Oh the joy as they lie there on a couch and you have a large bat beating them into a sort of coma essentially. And they pay you for the privilege! Ah the joy of being that thing, that...


NP: Linda has challenged. Linda Smith you challenged.

LINDA SMITH: I think we may have had two joys.

NP: Yes there was a too much joy, yes.

GN: Really?

NP: I think you were...

LS: It's not a bad thing obviously!

NP: And Linda, a correct challenge, you have 29 seconds, tell us something about therapy starting now.

LS: Therapy's the only form of medicine that the better you get the more you have to have. So they'll say something like you're doing ever so well, you better keep coming for another year...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of better.

NP: You said better before.

LS: Oh.

NP: Yes. Clement, therapy, 18 seconds starting now.

CF: When my distinguished relative Anna Freud reached her 80th birthday, she got a telegram which said "the rapists of Philadelphia send their best wishes". It was actually therapists and the Post Office woman did not understand the word...


NP: Oh that brilliant thought of Clement's brought that particular round to an end, and he gained an extra point for speaking as the whistle went, and other points in the round. He's got a strong lead. In fact he's in the lead with six points, and the other three have all got one apiece. And Linda Smith, your turn to begin, the subject, hedgehogs. Tell us something about hedgehogs in Just A Minute starting now.

LS: Hedgehogs have lovely spiky haircuts which look so cute on them, and so tragic on Gary Rhoades! I think they're lovely little creatures. They have this spikiness which I enjoy very much. But it must be quite difficult, hence the question how do hedgehogs make love? Answer, with great caution and a first aid kit and some germoline nearby, I would imagine. We very rarely see a whole three dimensional hedgehog. They're usually flat sort of hedgehog shaped table mats on the road. I think they're very much like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca in that they're very very...


LS: Oh! Well I wonder what that was, that challenge?

GN: Maybe I was listening too carefully there!

NP: The audience were living every word with you Linda. But Graham got in first on the very very, repetition. Eighteen seconds, tell us something about hedgehogs Graham starting now.

GN: The best thing about hedgehogs is if as in the lovely book Alice In Wonderland, you play croquet with them as balls. They are not only super things to hit but also aerate your lawn at the same time! Oh...


NP: So Graham Norton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point, and he's now moved into second place. Clement Freud, your turn to begin and the subject now is my favourite word. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

CF: Rather as one's favourite food changes from time to later on, so my favourite word used to be demobilisation, and then became unguent. PT Barnum, the great circus man was acquainted one day of the death of the man who was shot from the cannon. And said "this is grave news, it will be hard to find a man of the same calibre!" Now C-A-L-I-B-R-E is certainly one of my favourite words, as is unguent. Now...


NP: Linda Smith challenged.

LS: Hardly dare to raise the matter but there were two unguents. Which I think is repetition. I may be wrong. I was only half listening!

NP: Right Linda, 22 seconds on my favourite word starting now.

LS: My favourite word depends very much on the context of its use. For example, is the bar open? My favourite word there would be yes! It is open for drinks...


NP: Clement challenged.

GN: Oh!

NP: Yes he got back, there were two opens and the bar was too open. Obviously your thirst was not quenched. Right, 10 seconds, my favourite word Clement starting now.

CF: Lascivious is now my favourite word, as is goose-liver truffle...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: You can't have, you said lascivious is your favourite word now as is goose-liver truffle. They, they can't all be your favourite word. You only have one favourite word.

CF: Well it is goose-liver truffle next week!

PM: Well...

NP: No, no, no...

PM: We can't play the game on what your favourite word's going to be next week Clement!

NP: Paul you...

PM: Anarchy would rule!

NP: I agree with you Paul, no...

PM: Nicholas, he's talking nonsense, isn't he!

NP: I know he is! Absolutely yes!

PM: Favourite word next week!

NP: You all struggle to justify what you just said. So Paul, a correct challenge and you have got two seconds to tell us something about my favourite word starting now.

PM: My favourite word, and it has been since 19...


NP: So Paul Merton spoke as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now equal in second place with Graham Norton. They're just trailing Clement Freud and they're just ahead of Linda Smith. So Graham your turn to begin, and the subject, rugby. That is a passion in Wales, and they've got that wonderful millennium Stadium there where the great events take place.


NP: Yes! Right, yes, that was the sport in which I excelled when I was young and I still love watching it. But Graham, tell us something about rugby starting now.

GN: I was quite surprised at school when I had to play rugby, to discover that this thing called sport actually hurts! Where's the fun in that? I know Wales is very good at it, but you are good at other things...


NP: Um Paul challenged.

PM: Well you said Wales is very good at rugby!


PM: Are you talking about now, or sort of, in the glorious past?

GN: It's sort of in their blood, I'm sensing!

NP: I think you'd established what you were saying and I think Paul was extremely brave to make that particular remark. Because ah thank goodness there's a rail preventing the audience from coming up on the stage! An incorrect challenge Graham, carry on with rugby and 43 seconds starting now.

GN: Good people, you are excellent at singing and digging! Why not do them when you fancy a bit of outdoor activity? Perhaps get a spade, a big hole, and then yeehah, a lovely chanteeee tune...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I, I, yeehah, a lovely chanting tune?

GN: That's what I said!

NP: So which challenge do you want?

PM: Well it's deviation.

NP: That was deviation there, I thought you wanted hesitation, right! You have got the subject Paul, you have 27 seconds, it's rugby starting now.

PM: We only have to take our minds back to the 1970s, Barry John, Gareth Edwards, Phil Bennett...


PM: Let's now have a moment's silence while we think about them!


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: He said let's have a moment's silence but he didn't even have the moment.

PM: No!

NP: You came in before the moment had even started!

PM: Yes!

CF: If a moment's silence is not hesitation...

NP: A moment's silence is a hesitational type thought, but he didn't actually hesitate.

GN: I think I'll start writing this down! I think it's going to be good!

NP: As I keep saying, we're working in the realm of sound. It's what he says, he didn't actually hesitate. Fifteen seconds, still with rugby, still with you Paul starting now.

PM: The Cardiff Millennium Stadium has been mentioned and what a magnificent structure it is. Why, even the English FA saw fit to carry the final there instead of Wembley which is currently undergoing refurbishment or demolition as I prefer to think of it...


NP: So Paul you rehabilitated yourself with this audience with your other comments about some of the greats of Welsh rugby there. And you've now taken the lead ahead of Clement Freud and Graham Norton and Linda Smith in that order. And Linda your turn to begin, the subject is pear shaped. Tell us something about pear shaped in Just A Minute starting now.

LS: Pear shaped is an expression people use when something has gone horribly wrong in any kind of way. For example, the Jeffrey Archer trial from that man's point of view went pear shaped really quite early in the proceedings. And I cannot help but feel for poor Mary, his wife. Because now that he's in prison, she'll have to see him on a regular basis, which is not really...


LS: ... how they have conducted their union so far! And one can understand why! Pear shaped is a strange shape to choose as something that is bad because pear shaped is a lovely shape, I think. A better fruit to choose to denote disaster would be a star fruit. What on earth is that? It's a mess! It tastes of nothing, it looks scary...


NP: So Linda Smith started with the subject, went with style and panache, and finished with the subject! Sixty seconds, it hasn't happened in quite a while Linda!

LS: I've just hit on the right combination of drugs Nicholas!

NP: Right! Well you not only get a point for speaking when the whistle went, but you get a bonus point for not having been interrupted. And you went magnificently but you're still in third place! That's what's so unfair about this show. You contribute so much and you get so few points. But anyway Linda, well done. Paul, it's your turn to begin and the subject that's been thought of for you is Anne Robinson.


NP: I can see why they've given the subject to you because it was on your programme! You know...

PM: It's a bit early for pantomime isn't it?


NP: My God, and she's in the audience too! There we are! Paul, the subject is Anne Robinson, you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: Well she's known for hosting a show called The Weakest Link. And she did appear on a programme of mine earlier this year, called Room 10-uno. And she did criticise the Welsh in a very heavy manner. Normally when we have guests on that er programme, I usually have lunch with them beforehand and we discuss the topics. We didn't do it on this occasion as she didn't have time. And so I had no idea really what she was going to say. If...


PM: It's true! I didn't!


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: I just, just to save a lynching really!

NP: But have you got a...

LS: Yeah he hesitated.

NP: He did, actually hesitate, yes.

PM: I didn't know what she was going to say!

NP: Yes I think so, yes. So would you...

PM: I would have told her not to say it!

NP: I'm sure you would.

PM: Yeah, I would have done!

NP: Well you love the Welsh, I know.

PM: Yeah!

NP: I know this, it's one of your passions so um... Linda, he did hesitate, so 34 seconds, tell us something about Anne Robinson starting now.

LS: Anne Robinson is very ignorant and stupid, I think!


LS: I've seen her on The Weakest Link, a show mentioned early and no wonder people get the questions wrong...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: The show mentioned early?

LS: I thought I said earlier.

NP: Yeah I think...

GN: From being very close to you! Very close!

LS: Yeah...

GN: Reallllllllllllllly! Not as close as your mouth to your ear, but very very close.

NP: I was on the other side of her, and I thought I heard earlier. So I don't think you...

GN: Did you? I wouldn't argue with you!

NP: I know! Right, so Anne Robinson still with you...

GN: I'm livid!

NP: I should explain tour listeners that er um, Graham Norton's mobile face is working overtime at the moment. And our audience are enjoying it here, but it's not great radio. At least if you know, if you know what's happening, I'm sure you can visualise it in China and India and South Africa and all the other places there are...

PM: If Graham has, if Graham has a mobile face, does it stop working when he walks under bridges?

NP: So Linda, I didn't think you deviated there, so Anne Robinson is still with you, I don't know whether you want her or not! Twenty-four seconds available starting now.

LS: The ginger haired sour faced Anne Robinson! Who has an expression on her mush pretty similar to the one on Graham's at the moment. But one of bitterness and contempt. As I said she mispronounces things all the time on The Weakest Link, not that I watch very often...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Oh! Oh yeah, no, this is right! I'm right now! Weakest Link, repetition!

NP: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, she didn't use the word Weakest Link...

GN: She did!

NP: It was Paul who said The Weakest Link.

GN: She did! Because that whole thing about the early thing! The Weakest Link mentioned early...


GN: Oh shit!


NP: I must explain to our listeners...

GN: No, no, Nicholas...

NP: I have got to!

GN: No, no!

NP: Graham got so carried away and gesticulated so magnificently, he knocked his glass of water flying right across the table! But Graham you have got a correct challenge...

GN: I don't deserve it!

NP: No, no, I only...

GN: Look at the mess!

NP: I only tried to generate fun then because I knew you'd get passionate and do something outrageous which you've done.

GN: Good!

NP: And she did repeat Weakest Link.

GN: Okay.

NP: And you've got Anne Robinson, seven seconds starting now.

GN: Essentially Anne Robinson is God's revenge on America! Yes, they got stuck with her for a while...


NP: One thing I'm certain of! Anne Robinson will never want to be a guest on Just A Minute!

GN: Not in Cardiff anyway!

NP: No, so Graham Norton was speaking as the whistle went, he gained that extra point for doing so. He's equal in third place with Linda Smith. They're just behind Clement Freud, and he's not far behind our leader Paul Merton. And Graham, your turn to begin, the subject, castles. Tell us something about castles in Just A Minute starting now.

GN: Castles are places people lived in until they received their first gas bill. And relieve, re lee lee lee leeeeeef lies...


NP: Paul Merton has challenged you.

PM: A very slight elongation! And hesitation.

NP: Yes I don't know what he was trying to say but we'll interpret it as hesitation. Paul, 50 seconds on castles starting now.

PM: They do seem to be rather romantic places. But as Graham, I think, was suggesting there, they must have been quite uncomfortable in the winter. No windows to speak of, draughty holes all over the place. They do sort of survive as ruins, apart from the Royal family. I'm not talking about them as being in a sort of ruinous state. But the er houses and castles...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Just a touch of hesitation.

NP: Yes, there was an er there, a definite er.

PM: Yeah there definitely was.

CF: Yeah.

NP: Thirty-two seconds Linda, tell us something about castles starting now.

LS: Castles are places you're dragged round by your Mum and Dad as a sort of educational treat. Well there isn't much pleasure for a kid to be.. called a...


NP: Graham Norton.

GN: That was a hesitation.

NP: That was hesitation Graham.

GN: Yes.

NP: So you've got castles back, you have 22 seconds, tell us more about them starting now.

GN: Castles can be practical places though! Particularly if you're somebody like Errol Flynn say. For God knows he couldn't have done much swashbuckling in my mother's lounge, without breaking her lovely collection of Royal Doulton figurines! And as the swinging grew, the louvered French windows! Shrieks! They could never have landed on that coffee table from that distance! I like castles very much...


NP: So the scoring system is getting very close. Graham Norton, then speaking as the whistle went, and other points in the round as well. He's now moved forward, he's equal with Clement Freud in second place. They're only three points ahead of Linda Smith, they're all trailing Paul Merton just a little. Linda your turn to begin, the subject, thunder and lightning. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

LS: Thunder and lightning are usually bracketed together like sex and violence, or Richard and Judy. Pairs like, of that nature. My Mum used to say when it thundered, that that was God moving his furniture around. So I suppose lightning was God plugging in a...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There is only one God!

LS: I wasn't suggesting a break from monotheism there! I was just saying that she suggested when he was doing that, I mean, God can do everything at once, can't he? He's omnipresent.

NP: Yes but you did repeat the word God.

LS: Did I?

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes you did.

LS: But can you say it too many times?

PM: Yes!

NP: In Just A Minute, you can! So Paul, a correct challenge, 43 seconds, thunder and lightning starting now.

PM: It was one of the Strausses in Vienna who wrote The Thunder And Lightning Polka and it's very very... oh!


NP: Graham?

GN: What am I doing? There was a, there was hesitation there.

NP: There was hesitation yes, 38 seconds, thunder and lightning back with you starting now.

GN: Thunder and lightning are very extremely frightening. Oh to look out of the window and see those things in the sky...


NP: Linda challenged.

GN: Thank you.

NP: Linda, he seems grateful but what was your challenge?

LS: It was just his pleading eyes!

NP: But he didn't actually do anything wrong within Just A Minute.

LS: It was like Battersea Dogs Home really! Help me!

NP: It did look a little bit like that! But you didn't actually hesitate or repeat anything or deviate so 30 seconds, thunder and lightning starting now.

GN: I well remember, no I do, being in the south of France, a small town called Lille-Jourdaine, not far from Toulouse. It was a happy summer, oh how we laughed. That was the summer we smiled and giggled like school kids...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: We haven't got to thunder and lightning yet!

NP: No!

GN: It was a build-up! It was going to come again! The clouds were gathering!

PM: Yes!

GN: I'm picking about 4 o'clock!

PM: Yes!

NP: But the er, in Just A Minute, you have to establish your subject much quicker than that.

GN: Sorry, I er...

NP: No, don't apologise, because they loved it...

GN: Did they really?

NP: And they love you in the show.

GN: Oh a shame, isn't it.

NP: And that's why we... And Paul, correct challenge, 15 seconds, thunder and lightning starting now.

PM: They are too extremes of weather that normally do go together. And that wasn't meant to rhyme but somehow it did. I have the facility for that kind of thing, I'm a poet and I don't know it! Thunder and lightning, what could conjure up the...


NP: Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point, and increased his lead at the end of that round. And we're moving into the final round in this show.


NP: I think it was worth more than that actually!

PM: But they've seen the show now!

NP: We have a situation where we have three people almost equal in second place, Graham Norton, Linda Smith and Clement Freud, only one point separates the three of them. But a little way ahead, about four or five points, is Paul Merton. But Clement Freud begins the last round. It still could be anybody's game in points but we don't know. Let's find out as Clement talks about leaks. It's Welsh, it's other things and it is 60 seconds starting now.

CF: Leeks are a traditional Welsh vegetable. I think wonderfully well served, undercooked with olive oil and chopped chives. The Scots have a soup called coqueleekie which you would think would be a slightly incontinent condition, but is in fact the chicken broth with leeks and prunes. It's very odd to have those dried plums in a concermae such as that. Leeks, Marie Tempest used to talk about with tremendous... candour...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Was there a hesitation?

NP: There was a hesitation yes. Twenty-one seconds, Paul, tell us something about leeks starting now.

PM: I once had a leak in my parent's bedroom. And it was something that needed the plumber to come round and have a look at it. And they had gone out to church and I didn't know what to do. So I phoned up this number in the book and the man came round. And luckily he was somebody who was skilled in the plumbing art, or otherwise I wouldn't have spoken to him. But he was brilliant because within seconds, if not minutes, he had literally transformed...


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, brought that round to an end, got an extra point for doing so, and increased his lead. And the final situation is that Clement Freud, Graham Norton and Linda Smith are all equal. Well one point's different between them, it doesn't really matter. But out in the lead, yes, almost doubling the score of the others, was Paul Merton, so Paul we say you are our winner this week! So it only remains for me to say thank you to our four outstanding players of the game. I also thank Janet Staplehurst for helping me with the score and blowing her whistle so delicately when the 60 seconds was up. And we are grateful to our producer and director that is Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. But we are deeply indebted to our audience here at the New Theatre in Cardiff for the warmth and passion they've shown as they have cheered us on our way. So from our audience in Wales, and from our panel, and from me Nicholas Parsons, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute. Till then good-bye!