NOTE: Janet Staplehurst's 50th appearance blowing the whistle.

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 not only in this country but throughout the world. But also to welcome to the show this week the four dynamic, individual, diverse personalities who have gathered together to pit their wits and their verbal ingenuity against each other, to try and score points in this game of Just A Minute. And they are, in no order of seniority, Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Sheila Hancock and Clement Freud. Please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on the 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's going to help me keep the score, and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Whiterock Theatre in that delightful coastal resort of Hastings.


NP: And as you can hear we have a very quiet, subdued Hastings audience ready to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show this week with Graham Norton. Tell us something about the Channel tunnel. There are 60 seconds...


NP: Your face looks as if you'd rather not, but... Do your best, Just A Minute, starting now.

GRAHAM NORTON: I love the Channel tunnel! Oh how people mocked it when it was being built, but it's turned out to be a huge success and very popular. Especially with the Eastern European branch of the Ramblers Association! They hike up and down embankments. Mind you, it's supposed to be this marvellous zippy train to Paris, and every time I'm on it, it's always a bit of that Connex mantra... I'm just rambling now. Oh rambling, good!


GN: Repetition of rambling!

NP: So Paul, you challenged first.

PAUL MERTON: Hesitation.

NP: That was a hesitation. Paul, you have the subject of the Channel tunnel and you have 31 seconds starting now.

PM: I'm very pleased the Channel tunnel has been built. It makes it so much easier to travel to the Continent by train. Before it was there, you tended to get on the transportations that had balloons attached to them. You floated away across, or hovercraft indeed was another way of doing it. Ferries, there's another one. Who would have thought that one day they would look like the old fashioned things that they are...


PM: People are looking at me like I'm talking sense!

NP: Clement Freud challenged.

PM: Most disconcerting! There's somebody taking notes!

NP: What's your challenge Clement?


NP: It is nonsense, yes.

CF: Yes.

NP: Clement, I agree, deviation. You have the subject, you have the Channel tunnel and there are 10 seconds starting now.

CF: When we built the Channel tunnel, we thought...


NP: Um Graham challenged.

GN: Hello! When did we build the Channel tunnel?

NP: I'm always...

CF: We, the taxpayer!

NP: Well we...


NP: You're not winning friends Clement! I'm sorry, I think you're struggling! As I say, I always try to be fair and give the benefit of the doubt. This time, the benefit of the doubt goes to you Graham...

GN: Does it?

CF: Why?

NP: Because even we as a nation didn't build up. We built it in conjunction with the French. It's an Anglo-French...

GN: Where did I put my pen? That's very interesting!

NP: Right! So you have the Channel tunnel, Graham, back with you and there are seven seconds available starting now.

GN: It isn't in fact the Channel tunnel, because as far as I know, there are three. One is for trains with the people, one is for...


NP: Graham Norton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so and he's now in the lead, then Clement, then Sheila Hancock. And Sheila begins the next round. Sheila the subject is how I could improve myself. Yes you look askance, but try and talk on the subject in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

SHEILA HANCOCK: I feel fairly insulted that I've been given this subject! However I could have a facelift, I could have Botox...


NP: And Clement challenged.

SH: Oh, I could have!

NP: I could have, yes.

SH: Yes.

NP: So Clement you've got the subject, 52 seconds, how I could improve myself starting now.

CF: I'm afraid 52 seconds is simply not long enough for me to explain. But if you'd like me to start, I would do so with my feet. Shoes, boots and Wellingtons are all very sub-par. I mean no...


NP: Sheila challenged.

SH: I'm not quite sure! It was a hesitation...

CF: Then don't challenge!

NP: He did hesitate yes.

SH: He did hesitate.

NP: He was struggling there with his feet.

SH: Yes.

NP: He couldn't move them forward at all. So Sheila I give you the benefit of the doubt, you have hesitation, you have the subject, how I could improve myself, 35 seconds starting now.

SH: Skipping every day, maybe a swim, being nice and not envious and... torrible and...


SH: Oh!

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we hear the word torrible?

SH: Yeah!

PM: We don't often hear it enough these days, torrible!

NP: So what is your challenge?

PM: Deviation from English.

NP: All right, English, English as we...

SH: It's Norman! It's ancient Norman!

PM: Is it?

SH: (laughs) Yeah!

PM: Well when ancient Norman comes in, I'll ask him!


NP: So um deviation from English as we understand it. Paul you have how I can improve myself, there are 21 seconds available starting now.

PM: Well it's difficult. I know, looking at me, thinking "surely there's perfection on legs!" But I suppose...


PM: No need to laugh thank you! I could get myself an education. I haven't been properly educated. I have a couple of A levels, five Os. And I think that um perhaps I would...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Was there an um there like a hesitating um?

NP: Yes there was an er in there.

PM: Was there?

NP: Yes. Definitely yes. There was an er.

PM: Was there really?

NP: When you listen to this show going out, you'll say "Nicholas was right, again!"


NP: And ah...

PM: Again?


NP: As always! Ah Graham you've got in with only three seconds to go on how I could improve myself starting now.

GN: I've reached the age where it doesn't matter what I do to improve myself...


NP: Graham Norton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point, they're all pretty equal at the present moment. And Paul, it's your turn to begin, the subject is tickled pink. Tell us something about tickled pink in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: Well it's a lovely expression, isn't it, tickled pink. Pink is the colour that is generally associated with gaiety and having fun. I think of all the aspects of the rainbow, it's perhaps my favourite shade. Pink...


NP: Ah Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Doesn't appear in the rainbow!

PM: Does it not?

NP: No. Pink is not on the rainbow, it's not one of the colours of the rainbow.

PM: Really?

NP: No. It's a blended colour, it doesn't appear.

SH: It's your lack of education, you didn't learn that.

PM: That's what it is! It's funny because I did Rainbow O levels!


PM: But in our school, we only had pictures in black and white!

NP: Yes!

PM: Disadvantaged!

NP: Right! So Clement you have a correct challenge on tickled pink, 45 seconds starting now.

CF: I suppose the derivation from the term comes from the fact that if you tickle someone enough, they laugh, smile, guffaw, or burst into wild laughter, as a consequence of which the colour of their physiognomy changes from a light red to an almost dark yellow or pink...


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: No, no, that, that's deviation. They don't start dark red. They surely start pale and then get the pink...

NP: But they don't turn yellow.

SH: No, they don't turn yellow either!

NP: No!

PM: Yellow's not pink, is it?

NP: No, yellow's not pink, so you can't turn yellow then pink when you're tickled pink, no...

GN: Well if you killed them through tickling, then they might turn sort of dark yellow. Clement has a very good point there, yeah!

PM: By the morning!

NP: I agree with your challenge Sheila, 25 seconds, tickled pink starting now.

SH: Well this is a little flower that quivers and is flecked with green and a blue, and has a black centre. And because it has this movement it is called the tickled pink. And you will find it in any horticultural book. People in Hastings...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Now I have to say, in Gardening And Weeds by Sheila O'Brien, a neighbour of my mother, it doesn't feature.

SH: Oh really?

GN: No!

NP: But pinks are carnations, and that is another word for carnations, a pink. That is a correct phrase for a carnation.

GN: Really?

NP: Yes, I don't know whether there is a variety called tickled pink, but it doesn't really matter. Five seconds, tickled pink starting now.

SH: I'm tickled pink that Nicholas let me have that point, because of course I was talking unutterable rubbish...


NP: Sheila Hancock speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. She's equal in the lead with Paul Merton and Clement Freud, they've all got six points. And Graham Norton's only two points behind them, very fair contest. Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject is the sword of Damocles. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: I'm really pleased to be given that subject, especially for 60 seconds. Cicero and Plato both wrote voluminously about the sword of Damocles. I think it was Darynisis or you might pronounce his name differently...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes.

CF: How would you pronounce it then?

PM: Well I would pronounce his name tickled-pink!

NP: Darniseus, right, 42 seconds, the sword of Damocles starting now.

PM: It means something hanging over you, something perhaps you fear...


PM: Three somethings!

NP: Clement challenged. Clement what is your challenge?

CF: Three somethings.

PM: There's an echo in here!

CF: Ah two somethings followed by an admission of a third something.

NP: Thirty-nine seconds Clement, the sword of Damocles starting now.

CF: The sword of Damocles was hung over Damocles by a hair. And it was done so that if he did anything unpleasant, unjust, wrong, difficult...


NP: Sheila challenged.

SH: No, that's not true! It's actually... if I get the subject then I'll tell you how he was, how...

NP: We have to know...

GN: Oh right!

NP: I have to know whether your challenge is correct, that is deviation.

CF: Yeah!

SH: You know, actually, it was a bloke called Damocles who asked, who said to a man called, called Dionysis...

NP: Yes...

SH: ... "you're a lucky guy, you've got, um, everything I want." And he said "well all right, you can be King or whatever I am for a day..."

NP: All right, I think you know enough about it...

SH: Yes.

NP: You've got the subject. You can recycle all that, you see.

SH: Can I recycle it? All right.

NP: Oh yes of course! You didn't do it, you did it outside the show. So correct challenge, the sword of Damocles with you Sheila, 26 seconds starting now.

SH: Well there was this tyrant...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: I've got a different version!


SH: You can't! It's a legend!

NP: Give Clement a bonus point because the audience enjoyed his interruption. Sheila gets a point because she was interrupted, she has 25 seconds, the sword of Damocles starting now.

SH: And he was very rich and successful. And there was a poor man called Damocles who said "I really envy you Mister Die, because you have all these lovely things". And so this bloke...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: A slight hesitation there.

NP: There was a slight hesitation.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes so Paul you tell us something about the sword of Damocles and there are 13 seconds available starting now.

PM: Dialysis had trouble with his kidneys! So he decided to go and see the doctor. And this physician said to him "oh I can see you have difficulty passing water". He said "yea, it is so..."


NP: Sheila challenged.

SH: Deviation.

PM: Why?

SH: Because you weren't talking about Damocles, you were talking about Dialysis.

NP: Quite right.

PM: One of the lesser known Greek Gods! He was a good mate, he used to live next door!

CF: Often pronounced Dialysis!

PM: Yeah.

NP: Well tried but it's wrong! Sheila, three seconds, the sword of Damocles starting now.

SH: The sword of Damocles fell upon the head...


NP: So Sheila with points in the round including one for speaking as the whistle went has moved forward. And she's now in the lead, just ahead of Paul Merton and Clement Freud and then Graham Norton. And it's also Graham Norton's turn to begin. The subject Graham, is thermals.

GN: Not.... oh God, I've not started yet!

NP: I know! Tell us something about thermals starting now.

GN: It is a little known fact that my mother is in fact a white witch! But rather than using chicken livers or tea leaves to divine the future, she scatters her thermal underwear at the foot of the bed! Should it land in a strict pile, she sees foreboding and bad things happening next day. But should it lay flat like someone just vanished or melted out of the thermal underwear, or it makes a murder outline, then you should hear the cackles...


NP: (laughs) Paul, Paul has challenged you.

PM: No, I haven't.

NP: Well your light came on.

GN: My mother's a witch!

NP: So it was one of those involuntary slips. So your light came on which means that maybe your mother is a witch because...

PM: Is she an electrician?

NP: So you interrupted...

GN: Thermal electricity! You see, you see where we're going with this?

NP: So you were interrupted so maybe your mother is at work at this present moment! So because you were interrupted you get a point for that and you carry on with thermals and you have 31 seconds starting now.

GN: My mother's nothing to do with witches...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of my mother.

NP: Your mother yes. Paul you have thermals, 29 seconds starting now.

PM: Well it's an ideal way of keeping warm in the middle of winter. What you do is you put the thermals on underneath your clothes and you get an extra layer of heat trapped between the thermals and whatever you have on top of them. I think perhaps thermals aren't as sexy as they should be. They shhhhhhhhhhouldn't...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: That's a hesitation.

SH: I don't think my buzzer's working!

NP: Press your buzzer Sheila.


NP: Lovely red light came on in front of me when you pressed that. Thirteen seconds Clement on thermals starting now.

CF: When you learn to fly an aeroplane, your instructor is always on at you about thermals. Nothing to do with what you wear over your inner or outer clothing, but winds that appear...


NP: Clement Freud spoke as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's moved forward, he's just one behind our leader Sheila Hancock. And one ahead of Paul Merton and Graham Norton in that order. And Sheila your turn to begin and the subject is smugglers. Tell us something about smugglers in Just A Minute starting now.

SH: When I was very young, I was absolutely fascinated by smugglers. I was evacuated to Dorset, and there was a coast land there which was full of little tunnels that went up into the cottages. And I had this fantasy that I was going to escape from the place that I was evacuate... oh!


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of evacuated.

NP: Yes you were...

SH: I didn't quite finish it. I went evacuuuuuuuuu!

NP: I know but we knew...

GN: It sounds a bit disgusting! I was evacuated! Doesn't it?


SH: Oh you little baby!

NP: Yes...

SH: He doesn't know about evacuation because he's so young!

GN: And not as regular as I was!

NP: Paul a correct challenge, 41 seconds, tell us something about smugglers starting now.

PM: If you look back through the history of Hastings, the area is associated with smugglers. But luckily nine of that goes on today! Does it?


PM: And that laugh tells you that in fact I'm sure there is still an illicit trade in all kinds of contrabrand. It's one of those things that...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Contragrand?

NP: Contrabrand yes.

CF: Wasn't happy about that.

NP: No you weren't happy. So give me your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute.

CF: Not a word!

NP: You mean deviation from English as we understand it and speak it and write it?

CF: Or not a word!

PM: It's one of my own special words!

SH: A Norman word, is it?

NP: Yeah but it's not one you can use in connection with smugglers. So Clement you have 26 seconds on smugglers starting now.

CF: There was a huge amount of smuggling in Hastings, mainly because there was such a great amount of fishing...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of amount.

NP: There was two amounts there, yes.

CF: That's right.

NP: Paul you got back in, you needn't worry, 19 seconds, smugglers starting now.

PM: More than 500 yards from this theatre, there are caves full of Nivea cream which has been brought over from the Continent! You walk around this town now and strangers will come up to you out of doorways and say "'ere, want to buy some face massage oil?" And you'll know exactly what they're on about! It's amazing! I haven't walked, I can tell you this much, I haven't been round...


NP: Paul Merton with points in the round including one for speaking as the whistle went, gained er, well he's moved forward. He's now one ahead of our joint second, Clement Freud and Sheila Hancock. And Graham Norton brings up the rear behind them.


GN: Leave it! (laughs)

NP: Paul the subject now is the best way to win a bonus point. That is the subject, it's your turn to begin so you start now.

PM: The best way to win a bonus point is to flatter Nicholas! Let me show you how it works. Mister Parsons, you are a wonderful chairman! I can't imagine how this programme would survive without you!


PM: Still, let's give it a go!

NP: (laughs) Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I can!


NP: I think you're a rotten audience! There we are! It's all good fun!

PM: I think you're a...

NP: And I'll show you how generous I am! Because you enjoyed Clement Freud's um response, I'll give him a bonus point for that. But Paul keeps the subject, the best way to win a bonus point, starting now.

PM: Traditionally the best way to win a bonus point in Just...


NP: Um Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I can!


NP: Very clever Clement, you've got to have another bonus point for that one! Yes he just established it. But Paul was interrupted so he gets a point for that...

PM : I, I'd like to challenge.

NP: Why?

PM: Well Clement's getting the points, deviation, Clement's getting the points but he's not talking! It's not his subject!

NP: But you know I often do this, give bonus points...

PM: You do.

NP: ... for a good response...

PM: Okay.

NP: And you keep the subject and you have 44 seconds still...

PM: Oh God, have I?

NP: The best way to win a bonus point, starting now.

PM: The best way to win a bonus point without any doubt is to blackmail our chairman! There are many photographs floating around in the inner circles of show business, him with congress with various animals...


NP: (laughs) Sheila challenged.

SH: I'm trying to save you and get a bonus point!

NP: Well, no, you don't get a bonus point, you get a legitimate point...

SH: Deviation!

NP: Yes it was deviation, yes.

SH: Deviation.

NP: Absolutely devious!

PM: Are you, are you denying this photographic record exists?

NP: Absolutely, I've never posed with an animal in my life!

PM: I wish to God you were only posing!


NP: Sheila it was deviation and you've got a...

PM: You're telling me!


NP: Give Paul another bonus point!


NP: Sheila gets a legitimate point for a er correct challenge. Sheila the subject is still the best way to win a bonus point, there are 31 seconds available starting now.

SH: Nicholas I saw those photos and I tore up my version because I love you so much. I didn't want it to get in The Sun about you and those creatures that were talked about before. So I love you, you're so beautiful, and you've got lovely grey hair. This is the way to get a bonus point... (laughs)


NP: (laughs) Paul you challenged.

PM: This is crawling!

NP: She's illustrating how to get a bonus point.

PM: And did it work?

NP: Yes! But you have got a point for a correct challenge because she was er um ah...

CF: Crawling!

NP: Because she was deviating, going on about me and the animals which wasn't correct. Thirteen seconds, the best way to win a bonus point Paul starting now.

PM: I'll never look at a seaside donkey in the same way...


NP: Sheila challenged.

SH: No, I'm going to stop him, I'm going to stop him, he was deviating.

NP: He was deviating because you thought he was coming up with me again...

SH: Yes I did, yes.

NP: Right! All right...

PM: No, but I wasn't going to go down that route.

SH: What were you...

PM: If only some of us were quite so strong-minded!


PM: Those kiss-me-quick hats aren't meant to be taken literally!

SH: (hardly able to speak for laughing) This will all be cut!

PM: No it won't!

NP: No it won't! Sheila I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say, because I gave it to Paul on the last one, I'm going to give it to you on this one, 10 seconds, the best way to win a bonus point starting now.

SH: I think ah Paul...


NP: Paul.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation Paul, you've got another point and you've got eight seconds, the best way to win a bonus point starting now.

PM: Lucky boy! Was ever a soubriquet so ill-justly earned? I recognise...


NP: Well thank goodness that round's over! And...

GN: As the donkey said!


NP: I can tell you that more points were scored in that round than have ever been scored in a single round in Just A Minute since we started the show 35 years ago! Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject is ginger. Tell us something about ginger in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: Ginger is a spice that comes from the east. Not that of Sussex or even Essex, Kent, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire. But the far eastern provinces, islands, settlements. And Australia is particularly famous for its crop of ginger. Go to Queensland, look where you will, dig out the bit of land, scrape a bush, shake the trees...


NP: Graham you challenged.

GN: I think there was a final hesitation.

NP: I think he was stumbling to a halt.

GN: Yes.

CF: I was... sorry.

NP: And so we give you the benefit of the doubt and say it was hesitation. Twenty-nine seconds Graham starting, on ginger starting now.

GN: Ginger is an odd quality in a human being. Because it gives everyone else carte blanche to insult them! Look at little Ginger Spice, so pretty and lovely and thin! And yet because she was ginger, we can call her a fat old dog! I don't understand it myself! Ginger people, rise up! Take to the streets! Mind you, put some sunscreen on because you might burn horribly...


NP: So Graham Norton with a great deal of style there gained points including one for speaking as the whistle went. He's moved forward! He's still in fourth place but he has moved forward! The last time he played, he won! And, but he's in fourth, but that's the way this game glows. And goes and glows! And Graham is glowing so it's his turn to begin. The subject Graham is pretentiousness. Can you tell us something about pretentiousness in Just A Minute starting now.

GN: I cannot think or hence, (translates into French) why I've been given this subject at all! As I languished on my Connex train coming down here, I had plenty of time to read my Proust in the original French, aloud, because it really sounds better like that! Even...


NP: Sheila challenged you.

SH: Well he is hesitating now.

NP: No he isn't! He's going a bit slow! But he's not hesitating.

GN: I think it was mentioning a Connex train started it!


NP: No, he was dragging it out a bit Sheila but he didn't actually hesitate...

SH: I think when you hear the programme Nick, you'll see that he did!

NP: I think if he went any slower, you might accuse him of that. But he didn't actually hesitate.

SH: Go on, I was enjoying it anyway!

NP: But almost between some of the vowels, but not the words! Right, we're in the last round, by the way, so keep it going Graham. You might finish up with the others! Pretentiousness and there are 35 seconds starting now.

GN: Pretentiousness, I think, is most made physical in the form of pot pourri. What the hell is that? Just those horrible smells that sound like, no, smells can't sound anyway!


NP: Sheila you challenged.

SH: Well that was a hesitation.

NP: That was a hesitation yes Sheila.

SH: It's a shame, it was so good! (laughs)

NP: Sheila you got in with 18 seconds on pretentiousness starting now.

SH: Now, people in the theatre are often very pretentious about people who work...


SH: Aaaaaahhhh!

NP: Yes Paul?

PM: Repetition of people.

SH: Mmmm.

NP: Yes there were too many people I'm afraid. So Paul's got in with 14 seconds on pretentiousness starting now.

PM: I was travelling down to Hastings a few months ago on a Connex train as Graham mentioned, and some schoolboys recognised me. And just for the hell of it, I pretended to be French.


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Who were you?


NP: All right Clement, you, you, you gain all your points in bonus points this time! So another one for that, the audience enjoyed it very much. Paul was interrupted so he gets a point for that, and he has two more seconds on pretentiousness starting now.

PM: When I was in Monte Carlo, I said to...


NP: So as I indicated during that round, it will probably be the last and I discover we have no more time to play Just A Minute. Isn't that sad.


NP: Anyway I'll give you the final situation. Graham Norton giving tremendous value as always, we couldn't do without him. He finished just in fourth place. A little way behind Clement Freud, who was one point behind Sheila Hancock. But five points ahead of Sheila was Paul Merton so we say Paul, you are our winner this week! Thank you! So it only remains for me to say thank you to our four exciting players of the game, which is Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Sheila Hancock and Clement Freud. I'm very grateful to Janet Staplehurst who kept the score so well for me, and blew her whistle so magnificently. Also our producer Claire Jones. And we are deeply indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we're particularly thankful to this lovely audience here in the Whiterock Theatre in Hastings who have cheered us on our way with such aplomb! Thank you! So from our marvellous audience, and from me Nicholas Parsons, and from our panel, thank you for tuning in. Be with us the next time we take to the air and we play Just A Minute! Until then good-bye! Yeah!