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 our many listeners throughout the world to this programme. But also to welcome on to the show this week four exciting, dynamic and talented players of the game. We have that master of comedy, Paul Merton. We have that outrageous comedian, Graham Norton. We have that talented actress, Sheila Hancock. And we have that master humorist, Clement Freud. Would you please welcome all four of them! 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. I am usual going to ask our four players of the game to speak on the subject I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Whiterock Theatre in that delightful coastal resort of Hastings. And we have an enthusiastic hyped up Hastings audience who have left their gardens and their fishing to come along here to cheer us on our way. And we begin the show this week with Paul Merton. Paul the subject is the magic of radio. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Well it is a rather magical medium, radio. Ask Doctor Crippin. He was arrested after killing his wife, because the invention by Marconi was used to contact the ship's captain. In fact the good man was aboard a boat when it was radioed ahead, and they...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.


NP: Why?

CF: Crippin was not a good man!

NP: I think that's a very good and justified...

PM: No, you know how people gossip!

NP: I know you're using it colloquially, but I mean, I think yes, I don't think he was a good man.

PM: No, I was trying to avoid saying Doctor Crippin again.

NP: I know, I know, that's what the difficulty about the show. Clement got in with a correct challenge, so he gets a point for that and he has er 44 seconds to take over the subject of the magic of radio starting now.

CF: The magic of radio I think, is that many years ago before radio was invented, it was...


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.


NP: Yes I think that was a hesitation Sheila.


NP: Oh, yeah they're very partisan, this audience!

SH: Oh he is, he'll get...

NP: Sheila, welcome back, as you haven't been with us for a number of years. It's lovely to have you again. Um sorry, I mean, I'm talking about...


SH: Oh!

NP: I'm not bringing my private life into this! I'm just talking about...

SH: Memories, memories!

NP: Yes! Anyway, lovely to have you on the show again. The subject is the magic of radio, you've got in with 38 seconds to go starting now.

SH: I am...


NP: And Clement.

CF: Hesitation?

SH: I...


SH: I knew you'd do that! I was dead on the buzzer, I was.

NP: Yes, dead on the buzzer. He did it deliberately just to wind you up! But Sheila you've got another point as that was an incorrect challenge, you have the magic of radio still and you have 37 seconds starting now.

SH: It does always seem a miracle to me that here we are speaking into these black balls, and it goes through the air...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: Surely deviation! I...


GN: I don't know what people at home are thinking!

NP: I know! The audience...

PM: I think listeners know there's always been a lot of balls in this show! You don't have to tell them, Nicholas!

NP: I won't, I will not pursue this anyone any further, and say Sheila, you have another point for an incorrect challenge, and you have 30 seconds to continue on the magic of radio starting now.

SH: And then by some miracle, our voices...


NP: Graham challenged again.

GN: I feel badly now, but repetition of miracle.

SH: Ah!

NP: Yes you did say the miracle of radio before.

SH: Absolutely right!

NP: Well listened Graham, and you have the subject now, you have 27 seconds, the magic of radio starting now.

GN: The magic of radio is almost as good as the ventriloquist of radio. For if I was to say now "here is a hat, oh look, I've taken a rabbit from it", you would not be that thrilled. But at home, people listening are gasping with a mixture of astonishment and joy...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: No, they're not!


PM: I don't think people at home would be gasping.

NP: Well, they might be gasping, some of them! They might be...

PM: Well some of them might be having heart attacks but we don't...

NP: But some of them might be overcome with joy...

GN: Well they're running downstairs to turn this off!

NP: So no, I disagree with deviation. Graham you have another point and you have 12 seconds, the magic of radio starting now.

GN: Sheila, pick a card, any one of these things in the deck. And I'll bet, yes, it was the six of spades! Well done Sheila!


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: Well deviation, what's this got to do with the magic of radio?

GN: Absolute magic of radio!

PM: People at home are gasping at this stuff!

SH: Yes!

GN: Nicholas is loving it!

SH: He's talking about magic on radio!

NP: No, no...

PM: Asthmatics are reaching for the ventalin!

NP: So Sheila I agree with you, you have a correct challenge, you have five seconds, the magic of radio starting now.

SH: Take It From Here, Itma, Round The Horne, Just A Minute, oh...


NP: Whoever is speaking in this game when the whistle is blown gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Sheila Hancock and you won't be surprised, in fact having just returned after all those years, she's in fine form. She's got a strong lead over all the others. And Sheila it's your turn to begin, and the subject is, how apt! The Battle of Hastings.


NP: You're still cheering? It was in 1066! Could you tell us something about that subject in this game Sheila starting now.

SH: I have a terrible confession to make, I have actually cheated. Because listening to this programme, I realised that when you come to a town, you talk about the history. So I looked up the Battle of Hastings on the web last night. And I came across the most divine site by somebody called Glenn Crack who lives in Battle. It's absolutely beautiful about the Battle of Hastings which happened in 1066. And now I know it was between King Harold of England and William the Conqueror, both battling for the Crown. And it took place on a hill, whose name I can't remember but it's 10 kilometres away from Hastings...


NP: Um Clement you challenged.

CF: Repetition of 10.

NP: Yes you did use 10 before.


SH: Ten?

NP: Ten-sixty-six.

SH: All right, I'll get you Clement!

NP: Nobody...

SH: He's still as nasty as he was 20 years ago!


SH: I bet you'll come in at the last minute too and get a point!

NP: Anyway that was a justified one, well listened Clement. Twenty-one seconds, the Battle of Hastings with you Clement starting now.

CF: The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was actually the last battle that we lost on our land. Some nine hundred and nearly 50 years ago. And it wasn't in Hastings, it was in Cenlach which is some miles down the coast from here...


NP: Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's moved forward, he's one behind our leader Sheila Hancock. And then Graham Norton and Paul Merton in that order. Graham will you take the next subject. Madame Tussaud, or to use the common Anglicised pronunciation, Madam Too-swords. Will you tell us something about that subject, oh it's wonderful that it's chosen for you, isn't it!

GN: Mmmm!

NP: I can just guess what you might be saying! Sixty seconds starting now.

GN: I recently had the shock-slash-honour of being told I was going to be in Madame Tussaud's, presumably being made out of some leftover bits when they recreated Gerri Halliwell. But I found the thrill slightly tinged by the realisation that ultimately there will be a day when they put a sack over me and carry me out and melt me down, to be someone...


NP: Sheila you challenged.

SH: Was there a lot of mes?

NP: There were a lot of mes. Yes.

GN: But it's a tiny word Sheila! It's a tiny little...

NP: We do try and resist the temptation...

SH: All right!

NP: No, no, we don't...

GN: No, don't patronise me!

NP: No, no, no. You have challenged and it's a correct challenge so er we'll have to restrain yourself in future. But on this occasion, a correct challenge, you have the subject Madame Tussaud's and 34 seconds starting now.

SH: Well she was obviously French. And I seem to remember a dreadful story about she used to... bleurgh!


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation. Paul, Madame Tussaud's is with you, another point to you, 28 seconds starting now.

PM: It's one of the most popular attractions in London. I can't think why really. Once you've been...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: I feel slighted and insulted!


GN: My mother has a season pass!

NP: What we do on this occasion is because we loved the interruption, we give Graham a bonus point for what he said because you all enjoyed it so much. Paul is interrupted so he gets a point for that, he keeps the subject, 23 seconds, Madame Tussaud's starting now.

PM: Crowds of people queuing up outside, morning, noon and night. I really don't know why they bother. But now I realise that Graham's wax effigy is prominently figured, I expect to see those queues even lengthen...


NP: Ah Sheila Hancock.

PM: Crowds I said before.

SH: Sorry.

NP: What's that?

PM: Crowds and queues.

SH: Crowds and queues.

NP: Yes, crowds and queues, you thought he had said queues before, yes.

PM: Yes.

NP: You were talking about people with...

PM: It's the old crowd and queue trap you fell into!

NP: Ten seconds, still with you, another point to you Paul, Madame Tussaud's starting now.

PM: In 1968 they melted down Godzilla, and Nicholas Parsons was put into the Chamber of Horrors! And what a remarkable sight it was! Tourists from all over the world...


NP: Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, and he has moved forward, only one behind our leader Sheila Hancock. And Sheila it's your turn to begin, the subject is the 60s. Tell us something about that wonderful period in this century, in the last century, starting now.

SH: Well the 60s is a lovely age to be. I'm in my 60s and I've never been happier really. Because people always say "good Lord, you look good!" As though they expect you to be sagging which I am, but I prop it all up and keep going! And also I was young in the 60s and I used to go around in my Karesh boots and my Mary Quant miniskirt...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Repetition of my!

NP: I know!

SH: Oh right!


SH: Right!

NP: You...

SH: Fair enough!

NP: Yes, touché!

SH: Fair enough!

NP: You had him on the mes, he's got you on the mys.

SH: Absolutely!

NP: So it all works out evenly in the end! Thirty-one seconds for you Graham on the 60s starting now.

GN: I was born in the swinging 60s, or as they were known in Ireland, the end of the world! Because of course before that decade, that country was a lovely place. A simple gorgeous location...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: There was a tiny hesitation there.

NP: There was, yes. He struggled over that word.

GN: Yes there was yeah.

NP: We interpret that as hesitation.

GN: Mmm.

NP: Fourteen seconds are available for the 60s with you Paul starting now.

PM: As regards pop music, the 60s were undoubtedly the decade. So many bands came along that had huge hits, records were very popular. And here at the Whiterock Theatre, Hastings, tributes are often paid to those particular musicians of the day...


NP: Well Paul Merton who at the beginning was in the fourth place, he's now moved forward with those extra points, and he's now in the lead, one ahead of Sheila Hancock, who's just two ahead of Graham Norton and Clement Freud in that order. So still very close. And Graham your turn to begin and the subject is how I get rid of the winter blues. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

GN: I have a fullproof way of getting rid of the winter blues. Simply pop in a video tape of Lorraine Kelly's jazzercise, and slip into a lycra outfit, and oh the fun you'll have!


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: Deviation! I mean, please! The thought of Graham in lycra! It's hideous! Please!

GN: It's in the privacy of my own home!

SH: Well!

NP: You know the awful thing is Sheila, he might actually do that for all we know! So how do I judge on that!

SH: No, that's true!

NP: It is difficult, isn't it!

SH: It is.

NP: All right, let's give Graham the benefit of the doubt on this occasion and say that we assume on occasions you do jump into a lycra uniform and listen to Lorraine Kelly! Graham you have the benefit of the doubt, you keep the subject, how I get rid of the winter blues, 45 seconds starting now.

GN: How I get rid of the winter blues is to view Tracy Shaw's Southserobics. It's a superb workout, I can't tell you. And when you take off your gear, it's a bit damp with sweat, sprinkle watercress seeds on it, and there's an added fascination of growing a crop right there in your bathroom on discarded clothing. Your cleaner will see the funny side, I promise you, as you ask her to harvest it when you're going to work. I can't believe I'm still talking, um...


NP: They enjoyed it so much Graham, they let you talk on. Paul you challenged first.

PM: There was a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation. Sixteen seconds Paul, how I get rid of the winter blues starting now.

PM: The best thing to do is to have a walk by the sea. Get all that ozone deep into your lungs. If that doesn't work, drink four bottles of vodka, and you won't necessarily get rid of the winter blues, but by the time you wake up it will be spring. And as the flowers emerge, the daffodils...


NP: Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, has moved forward and increased his lead at the end of the round. Clement Freud, your turn to begin, the subject is John Logie Baird. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: John Logie Baird was born in Scotland, where the name Logie was so frowned upon that he had to move to Hastings where he invented television. Now Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and the first one of its kind...


NP: Ah Graham Norton challenged.

GN: This might be controversial! But was there a repetition of invented?

CF: I did say he was the inventor of. But if you want to...

NP: You're quite right, you did! He said he was the inventor of and then he said invented.

GN: I never said it!

NP: Thank you for pointing that out Clement, you keep the subject, an incorrect challenge, you get a point for that. You still have John Logie Baird, only in the subject sense and there are 41 seconds starting now.

CF: I would have thought the important invention was the second telephone because what on earth...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of telephone.

NP: Telephone before yes.

CF: It was a good gag.

NP: So Paul you have the subject of John Logie Baird and...

CF: Good gag!

NP: ... there are 34 seconds starting now.

CF: Good gag!

PM: Logie... what do you keep saying good gag for?


PM: Why do you keep saying good gag? Clement said... sir!

NP: Yes!

PM: Clement kept saying good gag to me, sir!

NP: I know and he, so that you'd stop talking and he'd press his buzzer and get in first!

PM: That's right!

NP: That's what he's done!

PM: It's not me, sir, it's Freud!

NP: I think we're going to ignore all this and say Paul, you have John Logie Baird and 32 seconds starting now.

PM: Logie Baird of course was very popular in the 1960s as indeed was his little bear friend. And they used to live in Jellystone Park. And they were always after picnic baskets and the ranger would come round and the little bear would say to his chum...


PM: Two bears!

NP: Graham Norton challenged.

PM: I remember his friend was called...

GN: Repetition of bear.

NP: That's right.

PM: I remember his friend was called Booboo, but I didn't say that.

NP: So Graham, a correct challenge, 20 seconds are still available, you tell us something about John Logie Baird starting now.

GN: John Logie Baird's invention of the television was wonderful. Because before that, the only entertainment was your wife, sitting beside the serving hatch in the kitchen, reading the newspaper headlines out loud...


NP: Sheila you got in there. The ardent feminist couldn't...

SH: Deviation!

NP: Deviation, yes.

SH: Sexism and...

GN: They could take it in turns! It would be interesting! Who's reading the news tonight? Oh it's my husband! Who's reading the news tonight? Oh it's my wife!

SH: It'll be a mother-in-law joke next! (laughs)

NP: Within the rules of Just A Minute, you were not actually deviating. So er you kept the, keep the subject still and you have 11 seconds, John Logie Baird starting now.

GN: John Logie Baird had quite a dull day when he created his marvellous thing, because there was nothing on! He failed to alert any television companies at all!


NP: Graham Norton was then speaking as the whistle went, got that extra point, with others in the round, he's moved forward. He's now in second place, just behind Paul Merton, and he's just ahead of Sheila Hancock and Clement Freud. And Paul your turn to begin. The subject now is the most eccentric person I know. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: Well it's very difficult really. How do you define eccentricity? If you look at Mister Clement Freud, he has done so many...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Not Mister.


NP: Oh! You had this once before, on one of the shows last year. And er...

SH: What is it? What are you?

NP: He's Sir.

SH: I didn't know! Congratulations Clement!

NP: I mean even if someone is Sir or Lord, you can still refer to them as Mister if you wish to, colloquially speaking. Fifty-four seconds are available for the most eccentric person I know, Paul starting now.

PM: On second thoughts, the most eccentric person I know is a man called Rob who lives in Swansea. He's over the years been a performance artist, a sculptor, a painter and he now makes his living making street furniture. This is the sort of thing where if you walk around, you say "oh look, there's a nice little sculpture", and he might well have constructed that. He used to walk round a shopping centre with a crash helmet and a daffodil sticking out of the corner. Very eccentric behaviour indeed. And people would come up to him and they would say...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of people.

NP: People, there was more people in the earlier one.

PM: Right, yes yes, true.

NP: So Clement's got in with 26 seconds to go, the most eccentric person I know starting now.

CF: I think His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester.


NP: I will say Freud does this on occasions! He comes out with a bon mot and he thinks that's good enough for them. Big laugh, I'll retire on that one.

PM: Would that be Mister Gloucester?

NP: You could call him Mister Gloucester, he may not be very happy about it. Sheila you challenged first.

SH: Well he ground to a halt!

NP: He did.

SH: Now I'm dying to know why the Duke of Gloucester was eccentric.

CF: If you hadn't buzzed, you'd know!

SH: No but you stopped!

NP: And that was hesitation Sheila, so you have the subject of the most eccentric person I know starting now.

SH: It's terribly difficult in our profession to choose eccentric people, because we're all a bit round the twist. And I find people who work nine to five and wear nice suits rather eccentric actually. And the living people I find it difficult to define as this, because they're still around and I can name several...


SH: I'd forgotten what agony this game is!

NP: I know! Extra loud laugh and applause because Sheila was illustrating with hands on every part of her anatomy her efforts to keep going, and the pressure not to hesitate...

PM: Every, every, every part?

NP: I could see her legs moving as well as everything else.

SH: It seems so easy when you listen to it, but it really is difficult.

NP: I know. But that's, that's the art that you display in order to make it sound so. But Sheila you were speaking as the whistle went and with other points in the round, you're now equal with Graham Norton in second place just behind our leader Paul Merton and just ahead of Clement Freud, and it's also your turn to begin. And the subject is my pet hate. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

SH: I'm going to get loads of letters, but things that I hate, pets, are dogs. I have a local p[ark and they make the most awful mess. And the other day I was there with my grandchild and a blooming great Alsatian was there, nose to nose with her. And the only...


NP: Paul yes?

PM: Repetition of nose.

NP: Nose to nose.

SH: Oh!

NP: You had a correct challenge on nose to nose Paul. So you've got my pet hate and you've got 42 seconds starting now.

PM: Undoubtedly my pet hate is doing this show!

NP: Ohhh!

PM: It's the most extraordinary bind. I am of course joking. It's a wonderful thing to do, and my pet hate is when I'm not asked to do it often enough...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Do it.

NP: Do it, you repeated do it.

PM: Do it, oh.

NP: Yes, Clement you got in with 29 seconds to tell us something about my pet hate starting now.

CF: Most of my pets hate me. The gerbils, rabbits, cats, budgerigars. Goldfish is especially unkeen on me. You can speak to...


NP: Ah Sheila challenged.

SH: Oh no no no! It's a mistake. I was going to say me but I, you can't have me, can you?


GN: Please them, you tease!

SH: They hate me!

NP: I think a lot of people would love to respond to your last remark Sheila.

SH: Well...

NP: But you did have him for me before. It's only fair, you had er Graham for me, so why shouldn't you have Clement for me?

SH: Really?

NP: Yes.

SH: Oh dear!

PM: Why shouldn't Sheila have Clement for you?


PM: Is that what you said?

NP: No, I said...

GN: Is there a video?

NP: It sounded like that, it sounded like that.

PM: It must be the sea air!

NP: No, no, no, the repetition of the word me.

PM: Oh I do beg your pardon.

NP: That's all right. Sixteen seconds, my pet hate, Sheila starting now.

SH: Colloquially speaking, I hate cyclists. I loathe the way they go over traffic lights when they're red. Also I'm very suspicious about the outfits they wear. Those middle aged men in tight pants cycling around the street...


NP: Sheila Hancock speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point and er where is she now? You're doing well Sheila.

SH: Am I?

NP: You are yes. Because we're moving into the last round, and you moved forward with all the points in that round, and you're equal with our leader now, Paul Merton.

SH: Wow!

NP: Yes but I do have to... I do want to make one serious point before we go. I don't think you could hate cyclists Sheila. I really think if more people got on their bicycles and got out of their cars, it would be a much happier world and a much safer world. That's from the heart!

SH: Do you?

NP: And a much healthier world as well.

PM: What about ambulance drivers? How safe is that? Two stretchers between two bikes? That's not very safe, is it?

NP: They're in ambulances, not in cars.

GN: So if we all buy ambulances, you'll be happy?

NP: Oh buy your bicycles...

PM: How do we know who wants a new ambulance?

NP: Get fit! Get the fresh air! And stop polluting the atmosphere! You're getting me on my little hobby horse here. Right.

SH: Do you ride a bike?

NP: I do ride a bike.

GN: No, a hobby horse!

NP: We're into the final round...

GN: No!

NP: Yes we are! And Graham Norton it's your turn to begin.

GN: All right.

NP: And the subject is sitcoms. Sitcoms, 60 seconds starting now.

GN: People in the glamorous world of media are so busy, ladies and gentlemen, organising lunches, dashing hither thither, they don't have time to say situation comedy. No, they barely have a second in their day to say sitcom. And people know what that means. That would be an amusing thing happening in a location, usually a kitchen or a doctor's waiting room, I've found in experience. I don't...


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: It's sort of hesitation, isn't it.

NP: It's sort of, yes, I don't know...

SH: Expeeerieee...

GN: It's a long word. Foreign people listen to this programme, I just want...

NP: He was dragging out his words but I don't think he quite hesitated.

SH: No, all right.

NP: Teetering on the border of hesitation. So Graham you have the benefit of the doubt and 31 seconds on sitcoms starting now.

GN: Sitcoms can be quite sexy. Who can forget the frieson between Terry and June? There was something about it! I don't know, those nylie nie nyeh nyah no...


NP: So Sheila what was your challenge?

SH: well it was hesitation, wasn't it.

NP: Well it was a mumble of words, a stumble, which we interpret as hesitation. So Sheila you have 20 seconds, still available, the subject is sitcoms and you start now.

SH: Sitcoms usually last about half an hour and are very often done in front of an audience with four cameras which they edit afterwards. I have done several in my time. Something called The Rag Trade, Bedsit Girl, Now Take My Wife, Mister Digby Darling, all of which...


NP: Paul challenged you.

PM: Well we could all recite our credits! I mean...

NP: So...

PM: I mean, this is a, well, you don't... well, okay!

NP: And Sheila still keeps the subject of sitcoms and there are three seconds available starting now.

SH: Nowadays The Royle Family is one of the best sitcoms in the world...


NP: Let me give you the final situation for those interested in points and scores. Right, Clement Freud and Graham Norton who have triumphed admirably in the past before, have both finished together equal in third place. They are three points behind Paul Merton who often finishes up there in front. But somebody who hasn't played the game, she says for nearly 20 years. I don't know if it's as many as that. But has come back in triumph, to triumph, with points two ahead of Paul Merton, our winner this week, Sheila Hancock! Thank you very much indeed! It only remains for me to say thank you to our four exciting and delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Sheila Hancock and Clement Freud. I also thank Janet Staplehurst for helping with the score and blowing her whistle so delicately. We are also grateful to Ian Messiter who created the game for us that we enjoy playing. And also we thank our producer Claire Jones. And we are also grateful to this lovely audience here at the Whiterock in Hastings who have cheered us on our way From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, from our panel, good-bye until the next time we take to the air and we play Just A Minute! Till then good-bye!