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 and Great Britain but also throughout the world. But also to welcome to the show this week four talented, skilled and highly delightful players of the game. With great pleasure we welcome back that comic, inventive mind, the man who has contributed so much to Just A Minute whenever he has played the game, that is Paul Merton. And sitting beside him we have a man who has played the game more often than any of us, right from the very beginning he was in the show, and his clever and erudite contributions have also helped to keep the show running for many years, and that is Clement Freud. And on my left we have another comic icon, who has also contributed so much whenever he has appeared on the show, and that is Tony Hawks. And beside him we have someone sitting who has only played the game once before, and he obviously contributed so much that we've asked him back again, and that is Charles Collingwood. Now will you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Claire Bartlett, and she is 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 delightful and magnificent Wimbledon Theatre in the heart of Wimbledon, the jewel in the crown of Southern London. And there's four people who recognise the area but they're obviously going to enjoy themselves. As we begin playing the game this week and starting the show with Paul Merton. Oh Paul, a very apt subject for Wimbledon, the Wombles. Tell us something about the Wombles in this game, starting now.

PAUL MERTON: As Shakespeare once wrote, "underground, over ground, wombling free, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we, making good use of the things that we find, the objects that ordinary people leave behind". It was a popular television show in the 1970s. The original books were written by Elisabeth Beresford, and Bernard Cribbins supplied the narration once it was broadcast on the television in the corner of my room. I remember liking it very much. I was of an age when I believed in soft furry creatures living underground... (laughs)


NP: Yes yes so Tony you challenged.

TONY HAWKS: Yes, repetition of underground.

NP: Underground, yes, you can't go underground too often if you're talking about the Wombles. Right there, Tony you have a correct challenge so you get a point for that, have 16 seconds to continue, no, take over the subject of the Wombles starting now.

TH: I don't think it was William Shakespeare who wrote those words. I believe it was Mike Batt. "Underground, over ground, wombling free, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we" were lyrics composed by that...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Tony Hawks so Tony's in the lead at the end of the first round. Clement Freud would you take the next round, the subject is spring. Tell us something about spring in Just A Minute starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: Spring occurs in the third, fourth and fifth months of the year, known as March, April and May. And a bit of it in June, although after that we come to summer. Springs are also metallic bouncy things such as were made by my Parliamentary colleague, Cyril Smith, a failed anorexic, who worked in Rochdale, and had a tremendous factory, employing many people, and using fine Liberal principles, by which to make sure they were paid according to the work they did, and extra money if they...


NP: Oh they were hanging on every word then, egging you on! But Tony you were the one who challenged first.

TH: Yeah I think there was a hesitation there.

NP: It was a hesitation yes, so Tony, another point to you for a correct challenge, 18 seconds available, tell us something about spring.

TH: You make me feel like spring has sprung. A wonderful lyric, not by Mike Batt, but in that Frank Sinatra song. Now spring is nearly upon us and when it is I shall be gam...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: When is this show going out?

PM: Good point! Yeah! Good point!

NP: Ah it will be going out some time in March, and the first day of spring is the 21st of March...

PM: Ah but is this programme going to Australia?

NP: Ah you're going to be very pernickety. I think technically, Clement, he wasn't deviating from the subject. So I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to you Tony, incorrect challenge, another point to you, seven seconds, spring starting now.

TH: I shall be gambolling around the fields like the lambs, until I'm arrested, because that...


NP: Oh Paul challenged.

PM: Well I don't agree with gambling! And I think to drag animals into it is the height of cruelty! The poor things don't really understand poker and to, you know, they lose, they lose the cloth off their back, don't they?

NP: So what is your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: Um as you know full well, I haven't got one, Nicholas!

NP: Well all right, as the audience enjoyed your contribution, we give you a bonus point. And er I think perhaps I should have given one to Clement too...

CF: Mmmm.

NP: .... because they enjoyed it as well. So Clement gets one for his interruption, so that's only fair, I've redressed the balance now. Paul you get a point for your contribution...

CF: Charles would like one as well!

NP: I'm sure Charles will get one. Well Charles will get one for being quiet, I don't know.

CHARLES COLLINGWOOD: I've decided it might be an interesting thing if I don't say anything for half an hour. Would be quite a novel way of playing this game, wouldn't it?

TH: As long, as long as...

CC: You're coming to me in a minute.

NP: Yes you're...

CC: And I'm being polite. I'm, you know, I'm a bit of a new boy, you know.

NP: You're enjoying it aren't you.

CC: I'm enjoying it, I'm loving it.

NP: Yes.

CC: And he's terribly good, Tony, sitting next to me, frightfully good. Anyway...

TH: If you say nothing for the whole show, we might get you for repetition of nothing.

CC: Absolutely! Yes! Keep going!

NP: But on that last challenge, or interruption as it was, Tony, you get a point...

TH: Oh great news!

NP: ... because it was an interruption and not a challenge, and you have one second to go on spring starting now.

TH: Lord Lucan...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then again speaking as the whistle went. And with other points in the round he has increased his lead and Charles, we're with you Charles Collingwood. We'd like you to take the next round. The subject, oh I wonder why they've chosen this one for you, baddies. Will you tell us something about...


NP: Oh you're winding them up nicely, Charles. Ah wait for the now Charles and that's when you go.

CC: Is that what I do?

NP: That's right yes.

CC: Okay.

NP: And you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CC: Baddies is a loose term which actors are given when they are playing parts of a rather dubious nature on the theatre or the radio. For my part, I have never had the opportunity to play a baddie.


CC: For over 28 years, and I'm sure the audience can agree with me here, I've been playing the part of a goody-two-shoes, Brian Aldridge in The Archers.


CC: And I can hear them agreeing with every word I say! And I love you audience for just being as generous as you are, in the fact that you agree with me that Aldridge is not a baddy but a very nice person. There are actors who get very bitter about playing the other, opposite of...


NP: Charles you...

CC: I hesitated so badly, I couldn't bear to let it go on!


CC: Do I get a point for hesitation? Sorry.

NP: Charles you've actually challenged yourself, so I have to ask you, what was the challenge?

CC: Hesitation.

NP: It's a correct challenge.

CC: Thank you.

NP: So, so you have got a lot of points already Charles. So you've got one for challenging yourself and getting a point for that. And you've still got the subject, but I have had a little message from the engineer in the van, could you speak a little less close to the microphone please?

CC: Oh.

NP: You were getting carried away with enthusiasm and actually licking the er...


CC: Such has been my role in The Archers for a number of months now!

NP: All that licking came in, but er we didn't see much of it, didn't hear much of it actually either, got the feel. So you have the subject still of baddies, you've been going for ah 49 seconds and you have 11 seconds left starting now.

CC: Baddies...


NP: And you've been challenged.

PM: Slight hesitation.

NP: A definite hesitation. And I have to tell you, they were very generous before, they did let the repetition of Aldridge go by.

CC: Well I think Aldridge does repeat himself rather a lot!

NP: I have to mention that because people often write to me, and say "why didn't you pull him up for that?" It's not my responsibility.

CC: No. Thank you. They just make me look stupid really.

TH: It must be nice for you to get the letters though, mustn't it.

NP: I know.


NP: And I think it's very kind of you to write them as well!

TH: I don't do the threatening ones, that's Paul!

PM: Tony, you don't write him letters as well, do you?

TH: Yeah I do.

PM: Nicholas, I am Lee Wong. Please esteemed gentleman, send me your photograph. That's me!

NP: Really? I wondered why it was so badly written! There we are, Paul, it's a correct challenge, you have 10 seconds on baddies starting now.

PM: Perhaps one of the greatest baddies that ever lived was Jeffrey Archer. A fictional character who was born in the late 20th century, he later became one of the Lord Mayors of London. What a fantastic...


NP: So Paul Merton, speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point. And he's moved forward, he's just behind Tony Hawks, and Clement Freud and Charles Collingwood are both equal in third place. And Tony your turn to begin and the subject now is punctuality. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TH: It's very important that you display punctuality when you begin talking in Just A Minute. The subject arrives at your doorstep from Mister Nicholas Parsons. You must begin straight away. If you hesitate you're finished...


NP: Ah Paul challenged.

PM: Well it doesn't arrive at your doorstep.

NP: No.

PM: We're not broadcasting from each, each one's individual house. You know, so that's deviation.

NP: Absolutely, because it's he gets it straight from me here, that's not exactly his doorstep.

PM: Yeah, it's not his doorstep. You don't live here, do you?

TH: No, listen, I promise not to speak metaphorically again ever! If it's going to get me into that kind of trouble!

NP: Tony a good way to get out of it, but quite frankly, as a metaphor for that table you're sitting behind being your doorstep.

TH: Yeah it wasn't a good metaphor.

NP: It's a bit far-fetched!

TH: It was a poor quality metaphor, granted.

NP: Right so Paul I agree with the challenge, you have another point, you have punctuality, you have 40 seconds starting now.

PM: Well sometimes it's better to be more than punctual, to get somewhere early. That way you can control the status in a room. If you think that the biggest and most important chair is the one that is by a window, make sure you're sitting there when everybody else comes in and therefore they have to...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I think there was a repetition of sure. You have to be sure you get there before...

PM: No, no, no, no!

TH: No?

PM: No, no, no.

NP: No, no, well tried Tony, no. You have 27 seconds and punctuality still with you and 27 seconds Paul starting now.

PM: Some people say that the art of punctuality is something that you can learn or perhaps have instilled in you by sheer disciplinarian methods. For example, if you turn up at a meeting, you're five minutes late, you lose a finger. And therefore you've only got another nine opportunities to be er not on time...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was a definite er there.

PM: There was there, yes. And I did say sure before!


PM: I don't, I don't want you to get the letters Nicholas!

NP: So what we do then is we give Tony a bonus point...

TH: Oh!

NP: .... because you, that was a correct challenge you had yes.

PM: So honesty is not the best policy!

NP: I knew that, I was just wondering how long before you owned up to it. And you were very punctual in doing so. And Clement you have 10 seconds on punctuality starting now.

CF: I'm very fond of words that contain U, C and T, possibly my favourite three letters. Punctuality, punctilious, functional...


NP: I think the route he was following, he was saved by the whistle. But ah he got a point for speaking as the whistle went so Clement you're now in a strong third place. And Charles is just behind you. And Clement your turn to begin and the subject is hustings. I think it's something you can talk about, tell us about it in this game starting now.

CF: Hustings were originally the booths in which people voted, and then became the platforms from which they spoke. I have on many occasions...


CF: ... orated!

NP: Charles you challenged.

CC: Hesitation.

NP: I think there was a hesitation.

CC: That's very good of you, right.

NP: No it's not, it's accurate.

CC: I can't wait to speak on hustings!

NP: Well you've got the subject, you've got 50 seconds to speak on it and you start now.

CC: I think I could have made an extremely good MP. Collingwood for your local representative, I hear myself cry! And the people thinking I'm a sincere, giving, true man, who could represent them in the way that they should be... represented...


NP: Clement you challenged. Clement you challenged.

CF: He fluffed!

NP: He fluffed!

CC: You're very cruel!

NP: No, but yes, you realised you hesitated in the game...

CC: I fluffed frankly!

NP: You bluffed and you fluffed and it, we call that hesitation. Clement you have 33 seconds, tell us something more about hustings starting now.

CF: "Ladies and gentlemen of the Isle of Wight," I used to shout at those...


NP: Charles Collingwood challenged.

CC: He can't have said that, he represented Norfolk.

NP: I know! It was Ely.

CC: Well somewhere.

NP: It was Ely.

CC: Well Ely's not going to be the Isle of Wight.

NP: No, but he still could have said it.

CC: He's terribly lost if he's standing in Newport in the Isle of Wight trying to be a Liberal MP!

NP: Well the point is, this is my difficulty in this game in making a judgement, he could still say that and realise he's made a mistake, or he could have said it as a joke, he could have said it as a bluff. I mean there's no reason why he couldn't have got up in the, in his constituency of Ely, and said "people of the Isle of Wight".

PM: People of the Isle of Wight, how do I get to Norfolk?

NP: So to be...

CC: You are quite right!

NP: ... to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute, I don't think he was deviating, so you still have 27 seconds on hustings Clement starting now.

CF: My constituency was in Cambridgeshire. But I spoke on hustings in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham, Northumberland, Cumberland and all over Scotland...


NP: Paul has challenged you.

PM: He never came to Morden!

NP: Right, Paul, we love the interruption, we give another bonus point for you. Clement was interrupted so he gets a point and he still has 11 seconds on hustings starting now.

CF: Hampstead, Highgate, Kentish town, Camden, Holloway, Islington...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: Well he's just a local councillor now! And very desperate too! A desperation to be loved, going to all these places!

TH: Absolutely!

NP: But you could speak on the hustings at the local council elections, can't you.

CC: Yes but you know he didn't go to all those places.

NP: I know he didn't go!

CC: He's a very distinguished elderly gentleman, but even his life hasn't given him time to be there, all those places!

NP: I don't believe he did go to all those places, but I can't prove it. So what do we do in Just A Minute?

CC: Oh I see, so we can just lie? I mean, I'm a new boy at this game, I can just lie my way through the whole evening now.

NP: If you can, yes!

CC: Fair enough! Well there we are, that's a new thing for me!

TH: Yes!


NP: So...

CC: I love you too, ladies and gentlemen!

NP: While I agree with your thought, I must say within the rules of Just A Minute he wasn't actually deviating. So Clement, you've got four seconds still on hustings starting now.

CF: Politicians of all parties stand on hustings and address...


NP: And so Clement Freud has now leapt forward with what he contributed in that round, as well as speaking as the whistle went, and he's now equal with Paul Merton in the lead. They're just ahead of Tony Hawks. Charles Collingwood is trailing. But I think for your interruption Charles, you should have a bonus point, so Charles has got one more.

CC: I think so too!

NP: Right, Charles it's your turn to begin.

CC: Right.

NP: Not too close to the microphone please and the subject is flat stomachs. Right so you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CC: How I long to have my flat stomach back. That six-pack that for so many years excited me in the shower and in the morning, let alone my wife of 27 years...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Is this Charles embracing the concept of lying?

NP: In what way do you think he's lying?

PM: Well I don't know, this six-pack that he claims he had, and he used to admire himself in the shower. I don't.... did you really?

CC: Used to, used to, not any more. I'm getting to this bit. Getting to the sad bit now.

PM: Oh okay, well let's get to the sad bit then.

NP: Right, right, so you were interrupted, you get a point for that, you have 51 seconds, flat stomachs Charles starting now.

CC: Sadly the older I get, the more often I look down, the less I can see beyond my stomach...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

CF: Stomach.

NP: Of stomach, oh.

CC: Flat stomachs.

NP: No, it's stomachs, it's plural. He's being very artful and clever.

CC: Honestly!

NP: I know it's...

CC: (in very good impression of CF's voice) Richmond, Herringay, Ely, Hampstead...


NP: It's a tough, the subject is flat stomachs and...

CC: How sad can you be!

NP: ... as you know Charles, you can repeat the words on the thing, but you were saying stomach in the singular.

CC: Oh well, never mind, I want to hear about his flat stomach!


PM: You can bet your life he had it in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire...

NP: Right so Clement you have the subject and a point of course, 44 seconds, flat stomachs starting now.

CF: If you have a stomach of my size, that could well be called stomachs. Because there is enough of it, 44, 6, 8 inches, in centimetres...


NP: Charles Collingwood.

CC: He was hesitating, and he also said stomachs, and I said stomachs. He can't repeat stomachs...

NP: No, no, he replied it off by saying if you have a stomach, then mine could be called stomachs.

TH: Charles, calm down, you don't win a car if you win!

CC: Oh well, well I'll go quiet again.

TH: Go quiet! I don't bother!

CC: But I did think he was hesitating.

TH: Unless the prizes get better!

NP: No he didn't...

CC: I'm sorry Nicholas.

NP: He was getting close, teetering on it, but didn't achieve it.

CC: All right. Beg your pardon.

NP: Thirty-two seconds, still with you Clement, on flat stomachs starting now.

CF: Flat stomachs are enormously helpful if you want to go in for athletics. If you wish to participate in the Olympic Games in which nearly every discipline requires a svelte...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Well I was going to question whether the shot putting requires a svelte flat stomach.

CF: Nearly every discipline.

TH: Right, I'm now going to list quite a lot that don't! This could take some time! But there's the hammer, there's, um, please help me somebody!

PM: It didn't take you as long as you thought!

TH: Yeah!

NP: He did nearly every discipline.

TH: Yes do you think it is nearly? I mean ah...

NP: Well I have to judge, so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt on this occasion. I will try and redress the balance later if I have the opportunity. Twenty-one seconds Clement, still with you on flat stomachs starting now.

CF: Running, jumping, hurdling spring to mind as exercises in which flat stomachs are essential. On the other hand...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: No, I don't think it's essential to have a flat stomach to run or jump.

NP: No! On this occasion, it's not essential. You might be able to run or jump with a stomach which wasn't flat. So I give you the benefit of the doubt on this occasion, redresses the balance doesn't it. And you have it Tony, a point and flat stomachs, and 11 seconds starting now.

TH: A lot of people go to gyms to try and get flat stomachs. But the ludicrous thing is they drive there and then get on to a running machine and do all sorts of things. Why don't they just get themselves into the...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now equal in second place with Paul Merton, and they're a point or two behind Clement Freud. And Tony, your turn to begin, the subject now is skiving. Tell us something about skiving in Just A Minute starting now.

TH: I reckon that most people have skived at one point in their lives. But there are certain jobs where it's rather tricky. For instance, if you're Prime Minister you can't exactly invite Jacques Chirac over, and then be found on the golf course whilst he's waiting in your office. However it would be fair to say and some might, that certain members of the Royal Family have turned skiving into a job in itself. But I wouldn't be of that opinion because it might make me unpopular and I'm a terrible ah...


NP: Charles you challenged first.

CC: Well I think he repeated might. And then he hesitated.

TH: Yes.

NP: Which one do you want?

CC: I'll have both!

TH: So the only thing I did...

CC: Can I get two points?

NP: No, you can't have two points. Definite hesitation, he did repeat might. Anyway, 31 seconds, skiving with you Charles starting now.

CC: When you skive, it doesn't really give you a feeling of satisfaction. Because all the while you know you should be doing something else, even though you may at that moment be having a lot of fun. But I do app...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: That's what gives you the satisfaction!

NP: So what is your challenge?

TH: Deviation.

NP: No.

TH: Oh okay.

NP: You could have had him for hesitation.

TH: Oh I know but I didn't want to.

NP: No, no, I do think actually to be serious, I mean you can have the fun and enjoy it.

TH: Mmmm.

NP: Others do have a conscience about it.

TH: Well let's have a chat, you and I, about it afterwards, shall we?

NP: Well I make the comments, so...

TH: Yes I agree, I mean, it looks like we've got something a lot in common on this one.

NP: ... so we come back with the laughs which is all what the show is about. But you still have the subject Charles, with a point of course, 18 seconds on skiving starting now.

CC: I live in an area of North London where I feel that most of the workforce that come to attend various parts of my house spend a great deal of time skiving. And I get very annoyed that I am about to pay them a huge amount of money when they fail to make an appearance...


NP: So Charles Collingwood, with points in that round on skiving, has moved forward. Actually he's moved forward so rapidly he;s now actually in second place. It's a very close contest as we move into the final round, I'm sad to say. Clement Freud is still just in the lead, he's only two points ahead of Charles Collingwood, and only three points ahead of our equal third place, Paul Merton and Tony Hawks. It's still anybody's contest if you are interested in the contest. You're not? Nor am I, I'm entitled to the points. And Paul, the last round is going to be taken by you, and the subject here is famous last words. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PM: There are books that collect famous last words. And I suppose if you've lived a fairly anonymous life, here is your last chance to actually make a mark. You're on your death bed, you're not feeling too good, prepare something beforehand, and just as the doctor's looking down into your eyes, saying "well I'm afraid, there's not much hope", look up and say something pithy, witty, exciting, controversial, and then die. But don't make the mistake of coming up with this marvellous statement and then saying something stupid and then popping off. Because after all that preparation wouldn't it be awful if your last words were "I keep thinking it's Tuesday!" It's not going to get you into the reference books. If you look...


NP: Clement has challenged.

CF: Repetition of book.

PM: Books that time, book before.

CF: No, book.

NP: No, book and books.

PM: Book and books. Book and books.

NP: He started off at the beginning and said there's books been written about this.

CF: Book.

NP: No he didn't!

PM: If only somebody was taping this, we could find out, you know, we could play it back...

TH: Now Paul, if only you hadn't lied earlier!

NP: Ah you're quite right, he did say books. And the thing is, he did, he did ah...

CF: Lie!

NP: Earlier yes...

CF: Lie!

NP: ... he admitted that. So benefit of the doubt to you Clement, and 20 seconds on famous last words starting now.

PM: When it comes that my time is up on this solid earth, I hope that I have the good grace and presence of mind to conjure up some witty, epigrammatic...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: We've had witty before.

NP: Yes you did have witty before.


PM: It's got nothing to do with you! There's a vociferous woman in the third row, Nicholas!

NP: But it does show they're following the show, doesn't it? And they are with it.

PM: Yes.

NP: Every word. So Clement's got in with 11 seconds on famous, famous last words starting now.

CF: Perhaps the most famous and memorable to me last words were of the man who said...


NP: Ah Charles challenged.

CC: I thought there was a bit of a hesitation there.

NP: I thought there was too Charles, so you... He's getting sharp, it's towards the end and there's five seconds for you Charles on famous last words starting now.

CC: This old family friend of ours lay on his bed and said "I wish I'd bought more whisky when it was 10 quid a bottle..."


NP: So let me give you the final situation and the final score, it's all very very close. There's only one point separating all of them. And in ascending order in a very strong fourth place was Tony Hawks because he's only three points behind the, four points behind the winner. And in a very powerful second place was Paul Merton. And in a really challenging second place was Charles Collingwood. But just one point ahead was Clement Freud, so we say Clement you are our winner this week! So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four exciting and provocative and stimulating players of the game, that is Paul Merton, Tony Hawks, Charles Collingwood and Clement Freud. I also thank Claire Bartlett who has helped me keep the score, and she's blown her whistle so delicately. And we thank our producer-director Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here at the Wimbledon Theatre in Wimbledon who have cheered us on our way with joy and panache. Thank you, from our audience, and from me Nicholas Parsons, and from our panel, thank you for tuning in, be with us the next time we play Just A Minute!