NOTE: Bob Monkhouse's only appearance, although clips of him are heard in the 40th anniversary special in 2007.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Our third recording is from 1980. Once again we have three of the original regular players, Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo and Clement Freud. And as a special guest, the talented Bob Monkhouse. Unlike most first-time players of the game, he took to the format immediately and contributed a great deal. As an experienced comedian used to ad-libbing, he probably found it less challenging than many other first-time players of the game. But it does not overlook the fact that it requires great discipline of thought and concentration to be entertaining within the rules of Just A Minute. We all have different speech patterns. But when describing something or telling a story, we usually include some repetition for emphasis, even hesitation and deviation. Bob Monkhouse is a master of the one-line gag or joke, and he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of such material. In fact at one point he was asked to speak on the subject of one-liners, and demonstrated his skill with his material by keeping the audience entertained for nearly a minute with a succession of one line jokes, old and new. In the programme, Derek Nimmo is extremely rude to me on one occasion, but does it in such an outrageous way that it generates much laughter and gave me an opportunity to get some humorous sympathy from the audience as well. Clement has been fairly acid on occasions, but it's interesting to note that the public have only remarked on how rude Kenneth Williams was to me. It's all part of the fun of the show, being cheeky to the chairman, the one in charge. But when Kenneth did this it was always in a humorous way, and never with any malice. In fact Kenneth is the only player to have paid me compliments in the show over the years, sometimes very genuine ones. No-one has ever remarked on this. It's interesting that it's always the rude remarks that are remembered. Sometimes I had to be a bit of a psychologist with Kenneth. If he felt put down and was upset for any reason, he joked about it, but I knew he'd gone into his shell, and I quickly had to find a way to bolster his morale, and build up his ego again, which usually had the effect of becoming an extrovert once more and back to his normal sparkling self. There is an interesting example of this at one moment in the recording that follows. The naturalness and spontaneity of Just A Minute where nothing is prepared was demonstrated in this recording when Clement Freud's buzzer broke down. Instead of stopping the recording, the producer kept it going. You'll hear how we handled the situation. The audience love all this and it becomes like a live show. I hope you enjoy the unusual and hillarious moments that help to make this a classic edition of Just A Minute.


ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud, Derek Nimmo and Bob Monkhouse in Just A Minute. And as the Minute Waltz fades away here to tell you about it is our chairman Nicholas Parsons.

NP: Thank you, thank you very much, hello and welcome once again to Just A Minute. And as you just heard, we welcome as our guest against our three regulars this week, Bob Monkhouse.

BOB MONKHOUSE: How kind! How very kind!

NP: Bob will try and pit his wits and his verbal dexterity and ingenuity and all the else, all the other things you require in Just A Minute against our regulars. And they will all try and talk for Just A Minute if they can on the subject I will give them and try and do it without hesitation, without repetition, and without deviating from the subject on the card. We begin the show this week with Derek Nimmo, and the subject is getting sent. A thing that happens to me regularly in Just A Minute but Derek would you talk on the subject for 60 seconds if you can starting now.

DEREK NIMMO: Fracas, Chanel Number Five, Miss Dior, Montquist, Gucci, Madame Rocca, Evening in Paris. These are some of the lovely scents that one can buy in shops today. But if you go to the village of Glass outside Cannes, you'll go to the lovely fields filled with flowers ...


NP: Bob Monkhouse has challenged.

BM: This is one of the most exciting moments of my life! To be on Just A Minute and to have challenged someone! I can't believe I've done it!

DN: Would you like a glass of water?

BM: Thank you, I would, very much! I do believe Mister Nimmo said go twice.

NP: He did, he did say go twice. Bob you're overcome with amazement at your success so rapidly as our guest for the very first time. And you've got the first point and you take over the subject, because you have a correct challenge. And you have 44 seconds left, getting sent starting now.

BM: My agent is always making sure that I am getting sent. He got me sent here to this studio tonight, and heaven knows how I...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: Deviation, that is completely untrue! I know Bob Monkhouse and he never goes anywhere at anyone else’s request. He does it because he wants to do it! Nobody orders him around! Nobody orders him around! It's all rubbish!

NP: How do you know?

KW: A load of cobblers, he's given you!

NP: How do you know?

KW: I've known him for years! I've known him for years! And he doesn't go round at somebody else's behest!

NP: Well how do you know that maybe it was at someone else's behest. Maybe...

KW: Go on! Answer! Tell the truth! Go on! Is it the truth! Can you really tell the truth?

NP: Do you always tell the truth in Just A Minute?

KW: No, but I'm different!

NP: No Bob, you can keep going in any way you like as long as you don't deviate from the subject and you weren't doing that. So that's a wrong challenge and you have another point and you have 36 seconds on getting sent starting now.

BM: Getting sent up the motorways, or getting sent up in any way er...


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: One of the most exciting moments he's ever had is packing up for the first time in Just A Minute!

NP: Yes Derek, a correct challenge, a point for that, 32 seconds are left on getting sent starting now.

DN: Now some people in this life really enjoy being sent up and Nicholas Parsons is one of them! And oh how he loves it and has the joys as you all cheer and call him a large banana and a major Charlie. And he beams with laughter, happy smiles, because he's a sadomasochist! That's why he enjoys being sent up, and we must all the time, pander to this curious quirk within the Parsons that you see over there. Because he really does like being sent up. That is the end of the story, ladies and gentlemen...


NP: And nobody challenged to find out whether it was true or not! Because I would have told them that I don't enjoy it. But as a chairman...


NP: ... I have to try...


NP: ... and be good natured. (in tears) It's a difficult job! Derek Nimmo, you kept going in the most rotten revolting way till the whistle went which tells us that 60 seconds is up. You gained an extra point for doing so and you're equal with Bob Monkhouse in the lead at the end of that round. And Bob Monkhouse will begin the next round and the subject is my happiest holiday. Bob will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

BM: My happiest holiday was spent at the nudist camp. Because I approve of nudism, except of course on Flag Days. I believe that there is nothing to be ashamed of in the human body, or in mine either, for that matter. And so I like naturist's colonies where men and woman can go to air their differences and come across naked as nature intended, in the wild woods, frolicking with my friends the bunnies and throwing stones at my enemies the hedgehogs. And avoiding the squirrels because they were hoarding nuts for the winter. And so everybody would have their happiest holiday if we all ripped off our clothing here in the studio and got at it!


BM: And that's how splendid it would be, proud in our nudity... (continues to talk but drowned out by huge applause and laughter)


NP: Oh Derek Nimmo has challenged.

DN: Repetition of nudity.

NP: For those of you who are not in the studio audience, I should explain that Bob Monkhouse's impassioned plea then had such an effect on all of the panellists, particularly the chairman, that we all started to strip. We were saved from getting down to the bare scud by Derek Nimmo's challenge and it was for the repetition of nudity. It is absolutely correct. He saved a lot of people in the audience from acute embarrassment. Nudity on radio, I think, is something to be encouraged! And there are six seconds for um Derek Nimmo to take over my happiest holiday, that was the subject, not nudity starting now.

DN: My happiest holiday was spent at Prestatton in North Wales. And I used to go paddling every morning and gather mushrooms...


NP: So at the end of that round Derek Nimmo was speaking as the whistle went, and so he gained the extra point. And he is now in the lead, ahead of Bob Monkhouse. In fact they're the only two to score so far. Clement Freud begins the next round which is, the subject, advice to a 21 year old girl. Do the 21 year olds still need advice? Um anyway Clement would you take the subject, and try and keep going for 60 seconds starting now.

CF: I suppose my advice to a 21 year old girl would be to say by now you've probably talked to your parents about the birds and the bees. They do it roughly the same way as your father and mother did it! And anything I tell you will be too late. So why don't you go out and enjoy yourself and try to avoid philological euphemisms. I loathe people who look at me and say things like "you have lost a lot of hair" when they mean you are bald. Or seeing a drunk lying in the gutter they say "the poor fellow has a weight problem", or a drink prob... problem...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Too many problems.

NP: Too many problems yes. Derek Nimmo you take over the subject, there are 20 seconds left, advice to a 21 year old girl starting now.

DN: I think the advice I would give to any 21 year old gir-erl is to see dear...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: Yes I don't think he knew what he was talking about. Sounded like goil! Or gargoyle or goyle. Ghastly! Quite ridiculous!

NP: Kenneth there are 16 seconds left for you to talk on the subject of advice to a 21 year old girl starting now.

KW: (very slowly and solemnly) It has already been set down by one of our greatest writers. Neither a borrower nor a lender be. And this above all to thyne own self...


NP: Bob Monkhouse has challenged.

BM: I've been listening to this show for 13 years and that's repetition. He always goes on like that!


NP: Bob, he does, but he wasn't repeating the subject on the card which is repetition. Not repeating his style, his phraseology or his monotony! So it's incorrect challenge...

KW: That's lovely, isn' it! Charming, isn't it! How you get treated, you see! You end up with your ego round your ankles! It's wonderful, isn't it! He's supposed to a be a friend! Marvellous!

NP: Kenneth...

KW: Charlotte Bronte said with friends like that you don't need enemies!

NP: Kenneth, you don't need any encouragement! As people have said of you, you are actually becoming a cult in your own time.

KW: That is true. I am a cult. An enormous cult. People have said that to me, "you are a cult". You, I, I'm one of the biggest cults around! It is true! It is true! You're quite right! Quite right! And yes very percipient of you to say that Nick. That is percipient of him, isn't it. He's very percipient.

NP: So I've built up your ego again...

KW: That has done it. That's done the trick beautiful, yes! Lovely!

NP: You've got half a second to continue on advice to a 21 year old girl starting now.

KW: And of course you then must...


NP: Kenneth Williams speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point and he has a number as well in that round. So he's now in second place behind Derek Nimmo. And he also begins the next round. The subject is my faults. Now, it's a difficult subject Kenneth, because I know you believe you haven't any! But um would you try and talk on the subject for 60 seconds starting now.

KW: My faults can be as listed as follows. One, I err very very badly on the side...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Repetition of very.


NP: Yes.

KW: Yes. Isn't it mean! Isn't it mean!


KW: They're all booing, you heard the boos.

NP: I know, I heard the boos.

KW: They don't agree with the challenge at all. It's a disgrace! Isn't it! Absolute disgrace!

NP: Well it was accurate, you see.

KW: Oh I see.

NP: And I'm afraid that though we're usually more generous and allow the contestant to keep going for a few moments, Clement...

CF: Oh let him keep going.

NP: And there are 55 seconds, Clement takes over the subject of my faults starting now.

CF: Such faults as I have do not include hesitation, repetition or deviation from the subject which I am given in Just A Minute. But sitting next to Kenneth Williams does tend to bring out the worst in me! My shoes become undone, my socks crumple, my ties crushed at the sheer joy of sitting next to one of the great cult figures...


NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.

DN: Next.

NP: Yes, sitting next. Um 32 seconds Derek for you on my faults starting now.

DN: I suppose if I have a fault, and I must admit to several, one of them is that I am sometimes... overtly rude...


NP: Clement Freud.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes Clement, you have 25 seconds on my faults starting now.

CF: Niggar... dliness must...


CF: My thing has come out!


NP: For the sake of our listeners, I must explain, the extra laugh came because as he was challenged, Clement Freud's buzzer came to pieces in his hand. And he's now trying to put it together. And I think we will continue with the show. No, an engineer's coming to help Clement Freud.


NP: No, but it doesn't matter, it hasn't been working all through the series!

DN: I think the 21 year old girl wants some advice!

KW: We want to get on!

NP: Bob Monkhouse, your challenge? Hesitation, well done, you take over the subject and there are 23 seconds on my faults starting now.

BM: My faults are so despicable, vile, low, that only...


NP: Kenneth Williams?

KW: Deviation, the root is despice, therefore it's pronounced DESpicable, you don't, you don't accent the I.

NP: You can pronounce it any way you like in Just A Minute.

KW: No, you can't, it's written down in the...

NP: Some of your pronunciations are utterly incredible.

KW: On the contrary, on the contrary, the authority for this is Fowler in Modern English Usage. And he makes the point that this is a common error. And people should be, as Bernard Shaw rightly said, enlightened about it.

NP: Well you've enlightened them and now let's continue with Bob Monkhouse pronouncing anything any way he wishes, in exactly the same way that you do. And he has 19 seconds to continue on my faults, Bob starting now.

BM: I used to sellotape bread crumbs to the window sill and laugh...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: In Fowler's Modern Usage that should be sealo-tape!


NP: A bonus point to Derek Nimmo for a very good challenge! No-one gets any, er, no penalties charged...

KW: He can't even speak properly, can he? It's a joke, isn't it!

NP: You keep the subject Bob and there are 16 seconds left, my faults starting now.

BM: I once sent a calendar to a convict who was serving a life sentence! How low can you get? And as a child, I was equally wicked. But can anyone among you say that you are without faults? I ask you this in all sincerity...


NP: So Bob Monkhouse kept going till the whistle went, gained an extra point and others in the round so he's now back in second place, only one behind our leader Derek Nimmo. And Derek begins the next round, the subject is Everest. Derek will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: Sir George Everest, the Surveyor-General of India, in the 19th century, had this great mountain named after him. And I remember full well the excitement some 26 years ago. I was standing in the Mall, waiting for Her Majesty the Queen to process down it, when one heard that Everest had been climbed. Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tensing were the first ones to the top. And one read about it in the newspapers of that same day...


NP: Um Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Well it was in the newspapers before he went to the Mall to see the um...

DN: No!

CF: ... Coronation. Yes! We all did! It was a, it was announced at midnight.

DN: I was there all night! It was very cold and chilly and nasty...

KW: Yes! I know he did! Yes!

DN: I know where I was to hear it! The news that Everest had been climbed.

KW: Yes! Wonderful!

NP: I agree with that Derek so you keep it, you have a point for a wrong challenge, 32 seconds are left starting now.

DN: Now all the danger has gone out of climbing Everest because you can go to a holiday inn in Nepal, and you can look across and there you can see this great gleaming silvery peak. Sometimes the mystery, the excitement and the tension, the danger and all the daring has disappeared! That's what we want more of in this country today. The challenge, the great mountains that need to be scaled and flags to be planted on the top, Union Jacks fluttering in the mountain air. That is what this wonderful Septic Isle which we love so dearly, and Her Majesty the Queen reigns over us all, and I'll talk about the royalty on that stand if you like...


NP: So um Derek you deeply impressed everybody, you kept going until the whistle went, gained an extra point and you increased your lead. And now we move to Bob Monkhouse. Bob your turn to start, the subject, pitfalls for a programme chairman. Having been one yourself many times, you can maybe tell us something in Just A Minute about it starting now.

BM: I am amazed that the subject of pitfalls for a programme chairman is raised in public on this programme as I understood that the pitfall that we were digging for our programme chairman was to be kept a secret from him, outside in Regent Street. However as I have been chairman of programmes like The Golden Shot and Celebrity Squares, and welcomed may I say the...


NP: Um Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: There can't be other programmes like Celebrity Squares!


CF: Man can only take so much!

NP: Yes well they, they've taken a great deal of that and enjoyed it. But your challenge was much appreciated. So let me give you a bonus for that Clement and leave the subject with Bob Monkhouse, with 40 seconds left, pitfalls for a programme chairman starting now.

BM: People used to say to me that one of the pitfalls must be you have to provide these marvellous prizes. How can you afford it? And I would reply that we have a system. We used to go to the Sale Of The Century studio and mug the winners as they came out one by one! And you haven't lived...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition, one by one.

NP: Yes. Rotten challenge?

DN: Why is it a rotten challenge? If he said it and it's repetition...

KW: Don't bang the table! That's dreadful! The engineers can't stand it! If you start banging the table! The engineer can't stand it! He'll go mad!

NP: It's a rotten way to treat a guest. So um but it is a correct challenge so Derek you take over the subject with 33 seconds left, sorry, 28 seconds, pitfalls for a programme chairman starting now.

DN: The pitfall I'd like to provide for this special programme chairman is in the Orongo valley. I'm going to find a very deep mine shaft and I'll dangle Nicholas Parsons over the edge of it on a long rope, and drop him.


DN: But at the bottom, of course, I would put cushions and mattresses and have bottles of champagne awaiting him because we do love him very much. He's a national institution, I...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation. He doesn't love him, remotely!


NP: Well I can't judge whether Derek Nimmo loves me or not. They wouldn't think we were friends, would they! There are eight seconds left for pitfalls for a programme chairman starting now.

CF: There wouldn't have to be very many pitfalls for Nicholas Parsons to fall into, and as chairman of Just A Minute, he has given pretty good notice...


NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point. But he's still in third place behind our guest Bob Monkhouse and they're both a little way behind our leader Derek Nimmo. Kenneth's just in fourth place and Clement begins the next round which is drafts. Will you tell us something about those in Just A Minute Clement starting now.

CF: Drafts are the sort of thing that happen very frequently in a BBC studio when people leave, as they do in this programme, and remain... deep...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation

NP: Hesitation is right. Fifty seconds on drafts with you Derek starting now.

DN: Drafts can mean money orders. And drafts at Algate Pump is a way of expressing that something is completely worthless because another meaning of the word draft is liquid...


NP: Clement Freud.

CF: Repetition of meaning.

NP: Yes, Clement you take the subject back, you have 38 and a half seconds on drafts starting now.

CF: Draughts is a game which you play on a board but as you would practice chess upon. It's really very much more skilful than people think. It contains a number of pieces, that are both black and white. And you move them from your side to the other, whence the... piece...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: A hesitation.

NP: Hesitation!

DN: He was floundering, floundering.

NP: Floundering yes. Derek, 20 seconds, drafts starting now.

DN: Sometimes you say you're feeling the draft. It means you've fallen on rather hard times and things are not going terribly well. Out of luck, bad fortune has come across this poor chap that you're...


NP: Kenneth Williams.

KW: Yes I think there was a degree of hesitation there.

NP: Yes. I think so Kenneth. So you take the subject now of drafts with 10 seconds to go starting now.

KW: These are caused by ill fitting windows and doors. And what you must do is get a nice bit of felt, preferably done out of thin strips and stick it there...


NP: So Kenneth Williams kept going until the whistle went, he's got another point for doing so and he's still in fourth place. But he's only one behind Clement Freud, who's only two behind Bob Monkhouse. But they're all quite a way behind Derek Nimmo. Kenneth it's your turn to begin and the subject is Bloomsbury. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

KW: Many a time and often I've trod those affectionate pavements. And I mean it! They've loved me just as much as I have in turn given a great deal of warmth and love to them...


NP: Bob Monkhouse has challenged.

BM: I fear there's too much love coming from Mister Williams.

KW: Mmmm!

NP: Yes!

BM: Double love in fact.

NP: Yes.

CF: They loved me and I've given love.

NP: Forty-six seconds for you Bob on the subject of...

KW: No, I said loved them and they've given love to me. So I loved and not love. So I didn't repeat it. That's right. Thank goodness I didn't! Oh dear! Thank you very much!

NP: It took you a long time to work that one out! And there are 46 seconds left starting now.

KW: In Gordon Square there was born that wonderful creature Virginia Woolf who married Leonard. And we think of the guests, people like Maynard Keynes, Ogden Morrell, Lytton Stratchey, all of whom enhanced the literary scene of their day, and left us a heritage of which we have every right to be proud indeed. As that wonderful woman said, Vanessa Bell, when a diamond falls from the sky, let us not with ill grace receive it...


NP: So...

KW: What about that? Has that put me in the lead? Am I in the lead?

NP: No I'm afraid...

KW: Has that put me up again?

NP: It pulled you up considerably yes. You got more points...

KW: How far up?

NP: One.

KW: Oh.

NP: Ahead of Clement Freud. But only one behind Bob Monkhouse, but a few behind Derek Nimmo, our leader. Derek your turn to begin, the subject, dog days. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: Dog days apply to the warmest days of the year and are in July. It's an old Roman term in fact, because they thought that when the Dog Sat rose at the same time as the sun, this increased the intensity of heat. And therefore the expression dog days was born. Now we all know that in English climes, it's not always certain that heat or warmth will come during the dog days. But if you are outside Rome or Venice, Naples, then you can enjoy dog days, as sure and certainly as the months come round every year...


NP: Bob Monkhouse challenged.

BM: He had two years in there.

NP: Yes I'm afraid we did Derek, so there's a good challenge from Bob there. Nineteen seconds, Bob Monkhouse, on dog days starting now.

BM: I have enjoyed dog days in such obvious places as Barking and the Peke District. And at White City where a dog once winked at me and said "I am going to win the next race, put..."


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: Deviation, I don't believe dogs talk to Bob Monkhouse.

NP: Yes but um...

KW: No buts about it, you silly great fool! No but! Hark at him! But!

NP: If Bob Monkhouse is a comedian, and he can tell a story about a dog talking to him, he's not deviating from dog days. So he keeps the subject and there are five seconds Bob, for dog days starting now.

BM: We all make mistakes, that's why they put rubbers on the end of pencils. And I therefore went and placed a good bet...


NP: So Bob Monkhouse, our guest, who has never played Just A Minute before, not only got the point for speaking as the whistle went, but gained a number of points in that round. And he's moved forward rapidly, he's now only one behind our leader Derek Nimmo. And it's also his turn to begin and the subject is the one line gag. Bob you know a lot about that. Tell us something about it in Just A Minute starting now.

BM: Low necks, are they on the way out? And never tell secrets to a peacock, you know how they spread tails. Reincarnation is a considerable surprise. Venus flytraps, do they eat the front of your trousers? It is one line gags like these that have held back what was once a promising career. But on my way to the studio as I invariably call in at the zoo, and tell my one line gags to the hyena which gives me a great deal of confidence. But I've also had to spend money on these one line gags because I pay a schoolboy to translate them from the original Latin. Please don't laugh at these, there are people down the front who are trying to sleep. A typical one line joke would be the one about the female hippopotamus who was pregnant for 16 months so there'll be no hurry with the knitting. Another one is the one about the Arab who...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of one. Another one...

NP: Yes, there was a lot of one. But what a pity.

DN: Oh sorry...

NP: Oh one, one line gag, I'm sorry, it's on the card!

BM: Right you are Derek.

NP: He's allowed to use the word one because it's er on the card. So there we are, you can keep going with another point and he's caught you up Derek Nimmo. There are 16 seconds on the one line gag with you Bob starting now.

BM: Is Karl Marx's grave a Communist plot? Always try to be yourself because if you are not, someone else will be. Does unabridged mean a river that you have to wade across? These are other one line jokes which certainly should not be extended...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of jokes.

NP: You did talk about the word jokes before. So he's got in, Derek did, with half a second to go, on...


NP: Aw, yes! Yes I don't know if we've got any more time. And so with half a second to go on one line gags starting now.

DN: The unluckiest man...


NP: So I think at the end of that round as we have no more time, a special round of applause for Bob Monkhouse. Because to keep going on the one line gags, and demonstrate them as well as talk about them, required a great deal of ingenuity and verbal dexterity.


NP: And now to give you the final score. Clement Freud for once finished in fourth place just behind Kenneth Williams. Kenneth was a number of points behind Bob Monkhouse our guest, who almost won but not quite. At the last post, he was pipped by this week's winner Derek Nimmo. We do hope that you have enjoyed Just A Minute and that you will want to tune in again at the same time next week when once again we take to the air and we play Just A Minute. Till then from all of us here good-bye.


ANNOUNCER: The chairman of Just A Minute was Nicholas Parsons, the programme was devised by Ian Messiter and produced by David Hatch.