starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, ROSS NOBLE and SEAN LOCK, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 2 September 2002)

NOTE: Sean Lock's only appearance, Claire Jones's 50th show as producer.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my infinite pleasure to welcome our many listeners throughout the world. And also to welcome back the inventive and original humour of Paul Merton, the offbeat and sometimes surreal humour of Ross Noble, and the clever and succinct humour of Clement Freud. And we welcome also for the first time on the show someone who is equally talented and entertaining comedian, that is Sean Lock. But would you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject that I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Claire Bartlett who's going to help me keep the score, and she'll blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the delightful Pleasance which is on the Fringe of the Edinburgh Festival. And we have a wonderful, highly hyped-up, excited Fringe audience in front if us, yeah, ready to cheer us on our way. You've been queuing all morning to get in here so they're really ready for it! So Clement we'll begin again with you. And the subject here in front of me is, oh, very Scottish! How to play the bagpipes. Clement can you tell us something about how to play the bagpipes in this game starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: In a word, quietly! I think it is hugely important to remember that you don't always have to blow. If you're the sort of person that runs out of puff, you can do what they do in the lowlands, in Roxborough, Selkirk, Peeballs, Heatherfields, Dumfries, and that is get bagpipes which you activate by waving your arm up and down, and having the bag itself, close to your... side, arms...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes.

PM: Slight!

NP: But I mean the demonstration I should explain to our listeners was really holding our audience spellbound, as Clement demonstrated the arm movements there...

CF: I've never done it on Radio Four before. It went very well on Radio Two!

PM: They still talk about it, don't they! They still talk about it!

NP: Well maybe you'll get the full lot and do it on Radio One some time and... Paul he did hesitate so that's a correct challenge, you get a point for a correct challenge, you take over the subject and there are 30 seconds available, how to play the bagpipes starting now.

PM: It's quite a difficult technique but it can perhaps best be summarised as first you squeeze and pump, then blow. I'll just repeat that, well I won't, because I actually can't repeat it within the rules of the game. But imagine if you had a set of bagpipes under your arm and you see a stirring sight. Because after all it is an instrument to stir up the emotions. You feel the blood coursing through your veins, and you think "my God, it can't last much longer, but it does! What a sound it is as the bagpipes...


NP: Er Ross Noble challenged.

ROSS NOBLE: Was it repetition of sound?

NP: Yes there was...

PM: Was there?

NP: Definitely Paul, I'm sorry. So the ones who wanted to hear more are in sympathy for Paul, because he's, Ross has challenged with just one second to go.

PM: Oh! Well it had better be good!

NP: So you have a point of course for a correct challenge Ross, you take over the subject, one second, how to play the bagpipes starting now.

RN: Bagpipes, what a marvellous...


NP: Whoever speaks when the whistle is going in this game gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Ross Noble, and er you won't be surprised to hear that he's in the lead at the end of that round.


NP: Well don't clap as much as that, he's only just started! I mean he's got two points, Paul's got one and the others have yet to score and Sean has yet to speak. But um

PM: Don't rub it in!


NP: Well, no, he's spoken now.

RN: He's yet to speak in the game! Not ever!

NP: I know! Yes I hadn't thought of that...

SL: You said you'd go easy on me, Nicholas! Back there...

NP: Well I...

SL: You were massaging me...

NP: I was trying to bring you in, you see...

SL: Oh I see!

NP: So you would say something, we've now established your presence...

SL: I don't know anything about the bagpipes! That's my problem!

NP: No, well you don't have to speak on them unless you challenge and get the subject...

SL: Okay.

NP: You don't...

PM: Ignorance is no bar to success in this game!

NP: No! But you've established...

RN: I'm in the lead!

NP: You've established your presence in the show now which is great Sean. And Ross it's your turn to begin and the subject in front of me is trychology. You, looking at your wayward locks, I don't know whether that's been chosen specially for you. But talk on the subject if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

RN: You wouldn't actually believe it but I am in fact a bald man. Yes I have indulged in trychology or as I like to call it, slaphead maintenance. It's a little bit like the quick fit of the er baldy type offence and little men can come on here, just think of it.... oh just buzz me!


NP: Sean you challenged.

SL: Yes, he was hesitating all over the place.

NP: He was, he was hesitating yes. Your first correct challenge, your first point...

SL: Oooh!

NP: So gather your emotional strength and go with 42 seconds if you can on the subject of trychology starting now.

SL: Trychology as I understand it is the study of hair. And I've always fancied being a trychologist because it means you get the afternoons off, because there's obviously not a lot to do, is there? If you study hair for about two hours, and then your eyes would start blurring over. And you'd think "I'm fed up with this! I'm going out to look at some other subject apart from hair." Now...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Ah repetition of hair.

NP: Yes I'm afraid there were. He let the first one go...

SL: Oh yeah I know.

NP: There were three hairs actually.

SL: Really?

NP: So, well, a new boy, they're generous. Paul, you have trychology, you have a point of course and you have 25 seconds starting now.

PM: I'm actually a donor for a bald man! I'm growing hair for his particular top of his head. Because as you can see if you are here in the radio audience, I have become the new Harold Shipman!


PM: I've grown a beard and it makes this man happy! There's a new film being made, The Early Years...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of new.

NP: Yes you had new before.

PM: Oh what nonsense! A little word like new?

NP: Yes! The new Harold Shipman and the other new and so forth. I must explain to our listeners because our audience can see, Paul has grown a beard which he doesn't normally have. And actually there is a passing resemblance to Harold Shipman.

PM: I was hoping to get the part in the musical!

NP: No, that's... when's the audition?

PM: Oh you're not getting in on it! Don't worry about that!

NP: Clement you had a correct challenge, so you have er, seven seconds to tell us something about trychology starting now.

CF: I'm rather against all these philological euphemisms where if you're bald, people say you've lost your...


NP: So Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went then, gained that extra point. And now he, Ross Noble and Paul Merton are all equal with two points, and Sean Lock has one point. So it's very close isn't it. Could you care less? Anyway! Sean will you take the next round...

SL: Yeah all right.

NP: The subject is neighbours. Can you tell us something about neighbours in this game starting now.

SL: Yeah, I think it was Jesus who said "love thy neighbour", which was very easy for him, because he moved about a lot! And he was also Jesus so he was meant to love his neighbours...


NP: Yes, Ross challenged you.

RN: Sorry, repetition of Jesus.

NP: Of Jesus.

SL: Ohhhhhh!

NP: It's a difficult game isn't it?

SL: But he's, I mean he's worth repeating!

RN: He is! But he's the father, the son and the holy ghost so strictly speaking you're allowed to mention him three times before you're...

NP: Ross got a correct challenge, a point for him. Neighbours is with you, 50 seconds to go starting now.

RN: I'm a big fan of the Australian soap opera Neighbours. And I recently visited the actual set of said show, it really is brilliant!


RN: Thank you indeed for your kind oooohhs you gave me there. I played cricket in the street as a tribute to the original opening credit. Unfortunately in the actual show, those...


SL: Repetition.

NP: Yes all right, I just say, yes... I know you're keen! I don't want to discourage you Sean but I say yes, what was your challenge?

SL: I'm learning, I'm learning! It's repetition, he repeated the word show.

NP: He did, he did repeat the word show. Well listened yes Sean. You got in there, my gosh, you're doing... you're in the lead now! No, you're not! Almost! You've got 30 seconds, tell us something more...

SL: You treat me like your bitch, aren't you! You're in the lead, you're not, you've spoken, you haven't... I don't know where I stand Nicholas!

NP: Well you're sitting actually, but I mean, er, no, I'm trying to encourage you actually Sean. And you have, how many, 30 seconds on neighbours starting now.

SL: Ah...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: I wanted him to have another point!

NP: Yes! I think what Clement's saying is you hesitated a very long time and didn't get going, so he challenged for that pause. So he's not going to, he's not going to accept it, he's going to give it to you.

SL: Well thank you.

NP: But this time when I say now you do have to start right away.

SL: OKay right.

NP: Okay so there are now, two seconds you didn't say anything. Um, which can't happen, I mean it's all right in real life, you can go two seconds, not in Just A Minute. Um Sean, neighbours is still with you, 28 seconds starting now.

SL: The theme tune of the show Ross was talking about was "everybody needs good neighbours". Well that's not true if you're an eskimo. You don't need good neighbours, do you?


NP: Ah Clement challenged.

CF: I think repetition.

NP: Of good. Yes.

SL: I think I need to go on a course.

PM: This is the course! None of us have got off it! God knows what hell awaits us!

NP: Clement you have 22 seconds, the subject is neighbours starting now.

CF: There are streets in which the numbers are odd on one side of the road, like one, three, five, seven, nine, 11, 13, 15. Whereas on the other, they are even, two, four, six, eight, spring readily to mind. And neighbours are those next door. Just go out of your house...


NP: So Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point, he's one ahead of the others. And er Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject now is locks. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: When I was younger I always believed there was such a thing as the Loch Ness Monster, and I'm very disappointed it's never been found. I wonder if Nessie is out there somewhere swimming around beneath the surface which is the best way to swim. And if it could be found perhaps one day, the Norwegians have sent a submarine down there. And sometimes they put a man inside it. And he looks out of the portholes and he comes back with a terrible report. "Nothing, I can't see a thing!" There are...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: He wouldn't say that if he were Norwegian!

PM: He's bilingual! He's bilingual!

NP: But actually the...

PM: He works for Scottish TV! He's Norwegian!

NP: But actually the Norwegians speak some of the best English in the whole of the world...

PM: You know that! You're very big in Norway aren't you Nicholas?

NP: Absolutely, my, my pop record was number three in the hit parade over there.


PM: You made a pop record?

NP: Yes! It's called Fantasy.

PM: We're wandering into the middle of one now! So when was that?

NP It came out last year and er...

PM: Did it?

NP: It was a sort of dance record. They tell me, tell me I should take it to Ibiza. I could clean up over there.

RN: You could clean up in Ibiza!

NP: Oh I see!

RN: If you keep producing records like that!

NP: Oh they didn't mean financially, they thought I could go over there and...

RN: Just cleaning up! Yeah!

NP: Oh I see!

PM: How, how did this record go? The Norwegians grasped it to their bosom! How did it go?

NP: Well it sort of said "I want to be your fantasy!" And then we went into the beat, you know. Da-da-da (sings) she wants to be my fantasy... (normal voice) and I went... yes! Coming on long, coming on strong...


NP: I wish I'd done that last year up at the Edinburgh Festival when it first came out, I might have sold a few more records in this country! So actually the Norwegians speak very very good English so they, they could have said that. So Clement they enjoyed your challenge because it was very apt and clever. So we give you a bonus point but Paul was interrupted so he gets a point and he keeps the subject, 33 seconds, locks starting now.

PM: I remember moving into a new bedsit. And because it was brand spanking newish to me, I put the keys somewhere where I couldn't find them. And when I came out of my bedroom about half past four in the morning, I wanted to visit the loo, I took a wrong turning and found myself outside the front door with no key, stark naked! I was there for about seven weeks, it's unbelievable! The only thing that kept me going was a copy of Nicholas Parsons' record, Fantasy! It was an enormous hit in some countries overseas, not here of course, nobody would buy it here! But it was a wonderful brilliant tribute...


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now one point behind Clement Freud, our leader, and one point ahead of the other two. Ross it's your turn to begin, we've already talked about the Loch Ness, but now the subject actually is Nessie. So will you tell us something about Nessie in this game starting now.

RN: Sometimes when the Untouchables were being over-familiar, they would refer to their boss as Nessie, because his real name was Elliot Ness. But you know, they'd come in there, "oy! Nessie, get us a cup of tea!" And that used to drive him mad. He'd send them off on errands that quite frankly wasn't becoming of their crime fighting status. They'd be pouring sugar into hot beverages instead of running around the back streets, trying to find Al Capone and all of the other gangster types. They would enjoy a hit soup occasionally instead of going off and checking through important criminal records. They would sometimes be forced to eat quiche for hours on end... instead of...


RN: Oh!

NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

RN: There was a hesitation.

NP: I'm afraid there was, yeah. But you went so well for um um 44 seconds!


NP: But that is the irony of this game, you can go for 44 seconds and entertain the audience but you don't get any points at all. And someone interrupts you and has a correct challenge which was Paul. And he has therefore 16 seconds to tell us something about Nessie starting now.

PM: When I was younger I used to believe that Nessie existed there in Loch Ness. I believe sometimes they'd send down a sub...


PM: Oh!

SL: Repetition of believe.

NP: Yes that's right. You did, well listened Sean. You've got another point and you have 11 seconds on Nessie starting now.

SL: If the Loch Ness monster does exist, then why haven't we found him? It's plain...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: I don't know!

PM: You don't know?

NP: You don't know? Right, so Clement comes in with these apt remarks which I said at the beginning, which get a round of applause. So I usually say, right, bonus point to, to Clement. You were interrupted Sean, so you get a point for that...

SL: Oooohh!

NP: You keep the subject, and you have six seconds still on Nessie starting now.

SL: As I would believe most people wanted to find a Loch Ness monster...


NP: Ah Ross challenged.

RN: Ah repetition of Loch.

NP: Oh that's right because the subject is Nessie.

PM: Yes!

SL: Yes! Ahhhh! Oh this is, er....

NP: It's so difficult, we had lock earlier...

RN: Arry, arry, arry! Shall I just...

SL: You want it, don't you?

RN: Shall I just go?

NP: Because we had lock before, and Sean Lock is talking and...

RN: You know what? I feel wrong and cheap and...

NP: But you're playing within the rules of the game and that's what it's all about.

RN: No...

NP: Ross you got in, I don't want to rub this in but there's one second to go! But it is the game! And Nessie's with you Ross, one second starting now.

RN: Nessie that...


NP: So Ross was speaking then when the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's in third place, just behind Paul Merton and Clement Freud ahead. And Sean Lock one point behind him. And Sean your turn to begin, the subject is plates. Tell us something about plates in this game starting now.

SL: Plates, whether they're tectonic or ceramic, you can't live with them... or without them...


NP: I think that was wonderful, I really do! I think we can live without plates!

SL: You can't have a tectonic plate in the house, it's too big!

NP: Anyway what was Ross's challenge?

RN: I can't remember! But I think er...

NP: He did hesitate.

RN: Yeah and also repetition of them as well, if you wanted to be...

NP: That's right. You can't live with them or without them. So Ross tell us something about plates and there are 50-see, er...

RN: Fifty CCs?

NP: Ross you get me in such a state! Fifty-three seconds available, plates starting now.

RN: Plates are often found in the head of old war veterans so have had part of their skull blown off and there are plates in there, usually made out of steel. In the old days of course, it would be baker light...


NP: Um...

SL: There was a repetition of old.

NP: That's right, well listened Sean.

RN: I'm glad you buzzed!

NP: You're really getting the hang of the game Sean. So you got another point and you got 40 seconds, tell us now something about plates starting now.

SL: It's a very British sound. The grim cheer that goes up when someone drops a plate in a restaurant! As if it...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation but he hasn't played the game before so...

SL: Yeah.

NP: ... I think we'll give the benefit of the doubt to him, but don't pause quite as long again.

SL: Oh sorry!

NP: Ah so...

SL: I was trying to put a bit of drama into it!

NP: Yes a bit more passion and drama, right.

SL: Okay. Okay.

NP: Thirty-three seconds, plates starting now.

SL: It's as if we're saying "hurray, someone's messed up! It wasn't me! What a relief!" In other countries, they don't behave like this. In France for example, they're very mature about it. If someone drops a plate and they...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Repetition of plate.

NP: Yes because the subject is plates.


NP: The extra reaction then from our audience which I should explain to our listeners was because that Ross felt it wasn't a popular challenge and he got up and left! But fortunately he has returned and after all, I have to tell our audience, he is playing the game! That's what it's about! You may have sympathy for Sean Lock who engages you so much. But a correct challenge Ross, and you have 23 seconds on plates starting now.

RN: I'd like to get my plates and throw them around, pretending to be Greek! That's right, I have no ancestral links to that particular country, but I just enjoy smashing things. Occasionally I'll throw them at my family members which is handy because they're all jugglers, and they catch the said crockery and get a stick, and they spin the plates on the top like that...


NP: So Ross Noble got points in the round, including one for speaking as the whistle went and he has leapt forward literally! He's one ahead of Paul Merton and only one behind Clement Freud, and two ahead of Sean Lock. That's the order if you're interested in points. Paul it's your turn to begin, and the subject is the seven seas. Tell us something about the seven seas starting now.

PM: Well there used to be five. And then that was decided that wasn't enough and so another two were added, making a grand total of seven. I have sailed all of the seven seas in the last four weeks. I was sponsored by a record company that wanted to make a follow-up to Nicholas's marvellous dance track called Fantasy. But they needed to get the money together because apparently the last release, well, it wasn't so much released as escaped...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: I thought he said release twice but I don't think...

PM: No.

NP: No.

CF: I think it was released.

PM: Release and released.

NP: That's right I'm afraid.

PM: Clement will agree with that.

CF: Yeah!

NP: I would like to have given it away Clement, because I don't know what he's going to say next. But he's had a correct, an incorrect challenge for a point. So the seven seas is still with you Paul, 31 seconds starting now.

PM: A long time ago, many years from now, perhaps I'm going back to...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Does that work in space and time?

PM: I was going backwards. Was that confusing?

NP: Yes it did confuse him yes. I like to live in the present or the future, I'm sorry...

RN: But many, many years ago, surely?

PM: Well...

NP: Yeah that's another way of putting it, but actually...

PM: That's a very very strict understanding of the English language. Are we not allowed a bit of flowery sort of...

NP: No, no, no, I'm with you, I've got the sense of it now.

PM: Have you?

NP: Yes!

RN: That's only because you were around at the time!

NP: I know, yes! I think it's a little bit of what they call grammatically tautology. But it did make sense after I paused and thought about it.

PM: Yeah.

NP: I have to think about so many other things in the show, that one escaped me for a moment. But so Ross, I'm afraid it was an incorrect challenge. So Paul you still have the subject of er the seven seas and there are 31 seconds starting now.

PM: If you wanted to go through the seven seas, you must first of all build yourself a solid boat. Perhaps the best boats in the world...


NP: Clement challenged.


CF: Hesitation!

PM: Oh no!

NP: Yes he got out of boat and boats, and then he hesitated! Yes Clement, I think you're right. Hesitation.

PM: What? I hesitated after he buzzed!

NP: Oh! I'll tell you what I'll do. As there seems some discrepancy in the audience about this, I will let them be the final judge. Right if you agree with the challenge of hesitation, you cheer. If you disagree you boo. You do it all together now!


NP: I think it's quite conclusive! Paul you have another point and you have 23 seconds, the seven seas starting now.

PM: Of all the seven seas, undoubtedly my favourite is the Red Sea. What a wonderful body of water that is! I can still remember very clearly as if it was yesterday, in fact it was more than a year ago, I stripped down to my underpants, took off my bra, and jumped into that water, and swam as far as the eye...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Was it repetition of water? Body of water, jumping in water.

PM: Yes.

NP: That's right, indeed. Well listened Ross.

PM: Nobody questions the bra! But the water is...

NP: I know! That's, that's the joy of Just A Minute. They, they like the images but they want the repetition. Yes so, perhaps you always wear a bra, I don't know. I mean maybe that's what they thought. Paul Merton yes, he's always got his bra on.

PM: That's what they do say about me!

SL: He might not be wearing it, he might be fishing with it!

NP: No, didn't you see him before he came out to do the show? He was, he was adjusting it. Anyway it doesn't matter. Ross you got in with a correct challenge with only three seconds to go, the seven seas starting now.

RN: I was under the seven seas in a Norwegian submarine. And all of the sudden...


NP: So Ross Noble speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now still in second place, one point behind Paul Merton, one point ahead of Clement Freud, and four or five ahead of Sean Lock. And that...


NP: He's done very well for the first time, I can assure you! And that is the situation as we go into the final round alas!


NP: I think it was worth more than that!

SL: Hooray!

NP: And the final round is very apt, it's a fine Scottish subject, it is the Scottish Parliament. And Clement Freud so will you take the subject and go with it Clement, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: If you look at a national assembly with a Scottish Speaker, a Scottish Leader of the House, a Scottish Lord Chancellor, and a Scot in charge of the Exchequer, that would be the English Parliament!


CF: But the Scottish Parliament is peopled. When the Scots arrived after the Norman Conquest, the Angles who were acute turned north, and those obtuse remained in the south. As a consequence of which, virtually all political bodies are peopled by those excellent gentlemen known as Scottish. And the Scottish Parliament is to be hugely welcomed and is very expensive and extremely, extremely beautiful...


NP: Ah Paul challenged.

PM: Ah repetition of extremely.

NP: Yes that's right, there were two extremelys there. I mean yes, there were all kinds of other things, but no-one dared challenge, they didn't want the subject! The Scottish Parliament is with Paul Merton and there are 10 seconds to go starting now.

PM: When the Pics arrived here, the local Scottish people were playing bagpipes and making kippers! They didn't have plates in them days, oh no! Instead of this fancy crockery, what they used to do...


NP: Paul, Paul Merton brought that round to an end with a flourish and also has brought the show to and end because we've no more time, alas! I'll just give you give you the final situation. Sean Lock who's not played the game before, did extraordinarily well, unfortunately finished in fourth place, but he was a great contributor, great contribution. The other three were just ahead of him and very close. In third place was Clement Freud, one behind Ross Noble only. And in second place was Ross Noble, only two behind Paul Merton. And so Paul we say you're the winner this week! It only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful and humorous and intrepid players of the game, that is Paul Merton, Ross Noble, Sean Lock and Clement Freud. I also thank Claire Bartlett who has been helping me keep the score and blowing her whistle so elegantly. And we also thank our delightful producer-director, that is Claire Jones. We're indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are more than indebted to this lovely audience here in Edinburgh at the Pleasance on the Fringe who have cheered us on our way with panache and style! From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons from the panel, and from everybody else, good-bye till the next time we play Just A Minute!