NOTE: Michael Wood's only appearance, Ian Messiter's 300th appearance blowing the whistle.


ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Peter Jones, Sheila Hancock and Michael Wood in Just A Minute. And as the Minute Waltz fades away here to tell you about it is our chairman Nicholas Parsons.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Thank you very much, hello and welcome once again to Just A Minute. And this week we have two of our regulars, Kenneth Williams and Peter Jones. We welcome back Sheila Hancock who has courageously and nobly come to do battle with these fellows again in this um delightful game, or impossible game, whichever way you look at it. And we welcome someone who has not played the game before, Michael Wood. Which requires even more courage if you know how the game is played. The rules remain the same. I'm going to ask our four panellists if they can speak on some subject that I will give them, and they will try and do it without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. And this week we will begin the show with Kenneth Williams. And the subject Kenneth, is what amazes me. You have 60 seconds and you start now.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: What amazes me and has always, every time I hear an account of it, is balloon flying. I suppose that is the correct term to use because I think you need such courage to get into that gondolier and float away, looking at the ground, a patchwork quilt spread out below. Farms and valleys, dales and hill, with no apparent propulsion. Silence is the key...


NP: Michael Wood has challenged. Michael?

MICHAEL WOOD: Yes ah, there could hardly be any apparent propulsion in farms and valleys and dales and hills, I would have thought.

NP: So you're challenging on deviation? Well I mean you do get sorts of gusts of wind that get caught in the valley and do manage to have an effect, surely.

PETER JONES: I should have thought Kenneth Williams would be familiar with gusts of wind!


PJ: One of his favourite topics!

NP: Michael, it is awfully difficult to judge on these things, but I don't think he was, strictly speaking, deviating from the subject on the card of what amazes him. So he keeps the subject, he gets a point for an incorrect challenge and he continues and there are 30 seconds left starting now.

KW: What amazes me also is my extraordinary resourcefulness. How I can dredge up, so to speak, from an inner reservoir a whole mass of talent and charm, charisma one might put it in that fashion...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged

PJ: Well... that's really a matter of opinion! And I don't happen to share it!

NP: So your challenge is deviation?

PJ: Yes.

NP: Well I will not judge on whether Kenneth has that charm and charisma that he thinks he has...

PJ: Oh he's got it all right, but he can't dredge it up!

NP: Well that is the challenge and I'm not going to judge on that one, because I can only upset friends and make enemies that way. So I'm going to let our audience in the studio be the final judges of that. So you can cheer for Peter Jones if you agree with the challenge, you boo for Kenneth if you disagree, and you all do it together now!


NP: I agree the cheers have it, so you win, Peter Jones. Peter you have the subject, a point for a correct challenge according to the audience, 13 seconds left, what amazes me starting now.

PJ: What amazes me is the lack of good manners...


NP: And Sheila Hancock challenged.


NP: Yes I think so. So Sheila there are nine seconds left on what amazes me starting now.

SH: What amazes me is that I come back year after... month to do...



KW: Oh she set, she set that snare deliberately!

NP: I know but Michael got in...

SH: Who challenged?

MW: Oh a definite hesitation there, I thought.

NP: Yes.

MW: I'm really sorry Sheila but...

NP: I'm going to give the subject to Michael Wood with three seconds to go, Michael. The subject is what amazes me starting now.

MW: What amazes me is that this programme is even heard out in the mountains of Peru...


NP: When Ian Messiter who sits beside me blows his whistle, it tells us that 60 seconds are up. And whoever is speaking at that magic moment gets an extra point. And I'm delighted to say it was our guest Michael Wood, and therefore he takes the lead at the end of the first round. Peter will you begin the next round, it is, oh yes, a subject, wire coat hangers. Will you tell us something about it in the game starting now.

PJ: Well I don't happen to like them. And I've noticed that whenever one visits friends in the country or stays in rather inferior hotels, boarding houses, the wardrobes and cupboards are always full of wire coat hangers. People seem disinclined to throw them away. I don't know why. Joan Crawford, I believe, was obsessed with them. And she chastised one of her children because she um...


NP: Sheila, yes Sheila?

SH: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes, he obviously hasn't seen the film yet. Um so Sheila you have the subject of wire coat hangers, there are 35 seconds and you start now.

SH: My wardrobe is absolutely crammed with wire coat hangers, for the simple reason that I seem to get a lot of cleaning done. And whenever you receive your things back from the cleaners, they are on these particular objects. And they are peculiarly nasty. They always fall off with a clatter to the ground. However I have found one very good use for them. The aerial in my car radio broke off and I was in the midst of listening to a very good show, and I happened to have a wire coat hanger in the back. So I squeezed it into an elongated...


NP: And I can assure you it does work, because I've done the same, Sheila. Sheila you were speaking as the whistle went, you gained that extra point and now you've taken the lead at the end of the round. And it's your turn to begin as well, the subject is letter writing. You have 60 seconds starting now.

SH: This is something that I spend one or two days a week at least doing. Because I have the longest...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: Hesitation.

NP: Yes Kenneth, there are 52 seconds, letter writing starting now.

KW: What more delightful happening can occur, than to have the envelope fall through the box and know a dear friend is writing a bon mot, a little witticism to you through the post. I am the er...


KW: I was going to say I'm post office preferred but I, you know...

SH: You're what?

KW: I was going to say I'm post office preferred, you know. Pop, do you remember? Post office preferred, they said if your letter box was a certain width, they preferred it that way. You remember that? It's all died out now but they were mad about the 10 inch slot, and I didn't have a big enough slot. Who challenged me, Nick?

NP: Sheila Hancock challenged you.

KW: Oh I see. Well she's every right to do so!

SH: Quite!

NP: You have 35 seconds on letter writing, Sheila Hancock, starting now.

SH: Only today I had a letter from a gentleman who lost his wife five years ago, and I wrote with a little bit of advice, and the names of some places that he should contact. And he sent me the lovely news that at one of these societies that he went to, there was a nice Red Cross nurse there whom he is now very friendly with and he has just come back from a cruise, and had a simply nice time. So those are the sort of letters that I enjoy both writing and receiving and as I do say I do spend about one day a week doing that...


NP: Kenneth Williams.

SH: Oh I said it before yes.

KW: Well it's repetition, she told us that before!

NP: She repeated the whole phrase, didn't she.

SH: Yes, quite!

NP: So there are...

SH: Well challenged Kenneth!

NP: Well challenged Kenny, well done!

KW: Thank you! You are nice!

NP: Isn't he brilliant at the game! Kenneth there are six seconds on letter writing starting now.

KW: The ones that I dread of course are to those when the envelope says OH...


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: I'm questioning his syntax. The ones I dread of course are those ones to whose, what was it you said?

KW: Well I can't remember now.

SH: I'm sure it was devious though.

NP: I think actually Sheila, if we challenged on syntax in a game where you have to try and keep going without repeating the words, we would never get going at all.

SH: All right.

NP: So I think Kenneth you have one fifth of a second, letter writing starting now.

KW: Writing a letter at home on a beautiful day...


NP: Well there's no need to tell you, with all the points that Kenneth Williams got in that round, that he is now in the lead.

KW: Oh good! Oh joyful day! Joyful news!

NP: Michael Wood your turn to start, the subject, searching. Will you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

MW: Searching is something I spend a great deal of my life doing. So much so in fact that whenever I go to work and walk in through the door, the commissionaire says to me "have you found it yet?" Or "are you still looking?" But I also spend a large amount of my life at home searching, because as all my friends will...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He talked about a large part of his life earlier.

NP: I know he did, he repeated the whole phrase again.

PJ: Yes.

NP: So that was a very definite repetition and Peter you take over the subject with a point gained, and 42 seconds left, searching starting now.

PJ: Well I've spent a lot of my time searching. Mostly for stamps, envelopes, the addresses of people to whom I want to write, er fountain pens...


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: Er hesitation.

NP: I think so Sheila yes. Thirty-three seconds on searching with you Sheila starting now.

SH: I am searching for the answer to life. At the moment I feel there is something more to it than perhaps I have achieved. I'm going to do an Open University course, and I'm going to watch Michael Wood's programmes, and try and discover more about the English countryside and all the wonders that there are before me, which I feel I have spent half my life not discovering...


NP: Kenneth has challenged.

KW: Well her syntax is appalling! I mean! I mean to say!

NP: I think the only fair thing is we give Kenneth a bonus point for a good challenge, getting back at Sheila...

SH: You didn't give me one! You didn't give me one!

NP: No, but, but the joke was, he's got back at you on your challenge and I think that deserves a bonus point.

KW: It was brilliant, you see I turned...

SH: Well I said his joke well then!

KW: That was what you call parrying the blow, you see!

NP: But Sheila you can keep the subject...

SH: I'd forgotten what a rotten quiz master you are!


NP: Now before, before you go any further, Sheila, let me tell you that you keep the subject and you also get a point for a wrong challenge...

SH: Ah good!

NP: You have seven and a half seconds actually on searching starting now.

SH: Searching in my handbag this morning for a handkerchief, I discovered a purse, and searching in my purse I discovered...



NP: Ah no Peter, Peter, Peter challenged just before the...

PJ: She repeated purse.

NP: And she's, that's right yes.

SH: So I did.

NP: Peter Jones has a point, the subject and one fifth of a second on searching starting now.

PJ: Searching...


NP: Oh that was a desultory round of applause for the... Um at the end of that round Sheila gained a number of points, and Kenneth had one more, and they're now equal in the lead. And Kenneth is going to begin the next round, Kenneth the subject, witchcraft. Can you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

KW: I recall an occasion in Round The Horne when the question was put "which craft did you sail in?" And we said "a very chic little dinghy but we was washed overboard". And Kenneth said...


NP: Michael Wood has challenged

KW: ... "did you manage to drag yourselves up?" and we said "no, we just wore casuals!"


KW: It was very amusing! Who, who had the temerity to interrupt me?

NP: You guessed, Michael Wood.

MW: Grammar, I'm afraid, we was. I mean we can't really allow that on this programme.

NP: Oh we've allowed it so often in 15 years! We can't suddenly have rules about Kenneth's grammar after.... Michael I...

MW: I bow to you then, Doctor Syntax!

NP: No it's not that, I mean we bow to your superior judgement and knowledge and wisdom and command of the English language...

SH: Oh don't crawl Nick, don't crawl!

NP: I'm not, I'm making him feel better, having just pushed him down! We, Kenneth's been doing this for so many years, we have to allow him, otherwise we wouldn't have a show.

PJ: This is basically a show for the handicapped!

NP: And now you know why they have a mentally handicapped question master! The subject is still witchcraft Kenneth, you have 44 seconds left starting now.

KW: One thinks of those old hags sitting on that moor crying "when shall we three meet again?"


NP: Sheila challenged.

SH: Terribly bad luck to quote the Scottish play!

NP: And so you're...

SH: I'm doing it for his own good really!

PJ: It's too late now, he has to go outside, turn round three times...

SH: Three times, knock and ask to come in!

NP: A point to Kenneth, he keeps the subject, there are 37 seconds, witchcraft starting now.

KW: Yes, unfortunately of course my flow was interrupted, otherwise I would have told you about the coven. Now they all sit there, you see, with eye of newt and er nail, nail of toe, toad...


NP: Michael Wood.

SH: Nail of toe!

KW: Was that Michael Wood?

NP: Yes.

MW: I'm getting really nervous about interrupting Kenneth! It's terrible!

NP: I know, that's why I was crawling to him before. He's quite correct yes.

MW: Definite hesitation there.

NP: Definitely and you have the subject of witchcraft and there are 26 seconds left starting now.

MW: Witchcraft is something I've never really dabbled in. Although I must say in its dramatic representations on stage and on film, I've been very tempted to try. In fact my next door neighbour is rather an old witch, and she's often invited me in for tea. And I've thought "well perhaps I should go and discover a little bit more about this strange and arcane art." Rather like Doctor Faustus I thought, I would be quite willing to sell my soul to the Devil for the kind of bliss that Doctor Faustus had...


NP: Well a well deserved point for speaking as the whistle went, because not only did he keep going, but he was so interesting and informative at the same time.

KW: I think he'll be in trouble with his neighbour though!

SH: Yes!

NP: Yes!

MW: I'm moving fortunately!

NP: Maybe, as a result of the show? It's amazing what you have to do to keep going in this show. Peter Jones and Michael Wood are equal in second place, Sheila Hancock's in third place and Kenneth is now definitely in the lead.

SH: Third? I was first a minute ago!

KW: Ah but things have changed!

NP: Kenneth, Kenneth's made some points on witchcraft so that's taken him two points ahead of you Sheila. And Peter Jones, your turn to begin, the subject is scuba diving. You look, obviously it's been chosen for you specially, you look like a true scuba diver.

PJ: Well thanks very much.

NP: And there are 60 seconds if you can keep going on the subject starting now.

PJ: It's something I am saving up for my retirement as a matter of fact. Like hang gliding and free fall parachuting. I'm not likely to be doing it for some years. But I understand that you have to have an oxygen tank, and of course a lot of water, to get in and you can breathe under the surface and go about groping on the bottom of the sea or swimming pool, wherever you happen to be indulging in this sport and you can watch the... fish...


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: Hesitation.

NP: Yes, the picture of Peter Jones groping on the seabed! I agree with a hesitation Sheila, the subject is scuba diving and there are 33 seconds left starting now.

SH: I once went scuba diving in Majorca with Frankie Howerd. And had the most enormous problem, apart from being with Frank, that I could not get my bottom underwater. I had the mask and that thing with a tennis ball...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: If Sheila couldn't get her bottom underwater, she wasn't scuba diving! She was scuba floating!

NP: I think... all right, I'll do what I did with Kenneth. Give Peter a point for a nice challenge, a bonus. But Sheila gets a point for a wrong challenge because she was talking about her attempts at scuba diving, and she keeps going with 17 seconds left starting now.

SH: Eventually I scuba floated as Peter quite rightly said, with my head and .... face...


NP: Um Kenneth Williams...

KW: I'm afraid hesitation.

NP: Yes you're correct...

KW: You know she is a delightful creature but she does tend to trip up on the fluency now and again.

NP: Ten seconds are left, for scuba diving with you Kenneth starting now.

KW: I have never attempted it. But unlike Sheila, I know that my behind would go under, because most people...



SH: (crying with laughter) Oh how did we ever get...

NP: It's an incredible game, isn't it. You get the subject of scuba diving and they finish up talking about bottoms!

SH: We always do!

KW: It was her that started it! She started it off!

SH: We always do on this programme!

NP: Kenneth you've increased your lead at the end of that round

KW: Oh! Excellent! So joyous!

NP: But Sheila Hancock also got some points so she is still only two behind you.

KW: Oh.

NP: Sheila your turn to begin, the subject, Cupid. Can you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

SH: It's...


KW: Hesitation!

SH: Oh get off!

KW: Hesitation!

SH: I was drawing breath! You have to draw breath!

KW: Definite hesitation! Don't you agree?


SH: You have to breathe in!

NP: That's a definite... there was hesitation, but I hate to think, if anybody had done that to you Kenneth, what your reaction would have been!

KW: But I am quick off the mark!

NP: When you're...

KW: There's no hanging about with me! I'm right in there!

NP: Well Sheila doesn't play the game as often as you do, and I think therefore I am going to be generous to Sheila, and she's also our guest, she's also a lady...

SH: Quite right!

NP: ... and chivalry and all those things come into it. So you have only 59 seconds on Cupid starting now.

SH: Cupid was the Roman version of the Greek god, Eros. And a nice little fellow he is too. Being the god of love, usually depicted with an arrow shooting darts into the hearts of various people, hopefully Kenneth and Michael and Peter. It did so very much with the aforementioned Mister Wood with me, when I first saw him on television. So much so that I asked to have him on a desert island with me, in a programme. Because he is the sort of beautiful person that Cupid often throws their darts at. And entwines the hearts of loving ladies sitting on the end of the set. In fact there are a few who feel the same about Kenneth, I know. Lovely ladies who Cupid has attracted...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged you.

KW: Ah that's just because she won't include him in it!

NP: I must say that would have been my challenge. You've only got four seconds to go and you haven't me mentioned yet.

PJ: I know.

NP: But what's Peter challenge?

PJ: She repeated ladies.

SH: Ah.

NP: She did.

PJ: And I knew there wasn't much time to devote to my section of the speech so I...

NP: You got in...

PJ: Repetition really.

NP: So...

SH: Pique!

PJ: I was yes.

NP: You are right Peter, and you have a point for that and four seconds on Cupid starting now.

PJ: The statue of Eros stands in Piccadilly Circus and of course it is, as Sheila rightly...


NP: Well the situation is still the same at the end of that round despite the fact that Peter Jones got the point for speaking as the whistle went, and Michael Wood your turn to begin, and the subject is space games. Can you tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

MW: This question...


NP: Kenneth Williams has...

KW: Hesitation!

NP: Yes! But...

MW: I was drawing breath! Now look, this is, this is my first time on this programme, I really think you ought to show a little bit of...

SH: Quite right!

NP: Absolutely Michael, you don't, you don't have to underline it. I was going to say exactly that. So Michael, I disagree with the challenge, you get a point for that, you continue, there are 58 seconds, space games starting now.

MW: Of all of us, Peter could perhaps illuminate us most on the question of space games, being the time lord of this programme. Because of course there are multifarious games played...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: Two of courses.

NP: Yes there were, weren't there? Oh. He is a guest.

KW: Mmmm I can't help that, there were two of courses.

NP: All right, I have to keep within the rules of the game. So Kenneth you have 50, er eight, 58 seconds on space games starting now.

KW: One of the space games I used to play when I was a golden haired child was hopscotch. Because you had to get into certain spaces, and you hadn't must indeed trip over. If you did of course you were immediately disqualified. And I was an enormous success at this, and people would say "he's the best hopscotcher..."


NP: Sheila challenged.

SH: Repetition of hop.

NP: And scotch.

KW: Ah but that's hyphenated Sheil.

SH: Is it?

KW: It's hyphenated! Definitely hyphenated!

SH: And it was going to be scotcher.

NP: But hopscotcher is not.

KW: Oh!

SH: But he said hopscotch first.

NP: Hopscotch first.

KW: Oh well I'll accept it then. It's an insult I'll have to swallow.

NP: You repeated the word hop, and I think it's right to give it to Sheila. Sheila you have 25 seconds on space games starting now.

SH: These are extremely fashionable particularly among teenagers. My eldest daughter being obsessed with space games. And I have continually reprimanded her about wasting money on this rubbishy nonsense. Until a couple of weekends ago, I went to Brighton and had some time to kill with my seven year old in the pouring rain, went into an amusement arcade...


SH: You know Nick...

NP: And what happened Sheila?

SH: In order, in order to win this game you have to be unutterably boring, don't you!

PJ: Kenneth's winning at the moment!


NP: And Sheila's catching him up fast, she's only one point behind at the end of that round. So Peter Jones and Michael Wood are sitting in a respectable third and fourth position. Kenneth it's your turn to begin, the subject is paddling. Will you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

KW: I have enjoyed paddling in many places in this world, notably Ceylon. I was in Palestinia and enjoyed going into that salt water...


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: Repetition of enjoyed.

NP: Yes you enjoyed paddling at the beginning, and you enjoyed going in that particular water.

KW: Oh she's sharp, ain't she?

SH: Mmmm!

KW: Oh!

SH: I get tuned in about just towards the end of the programme!

KW: Oh she's sharp! Straight out of the knife box, ain't she? Mmmm!

NP: There are 48 seconds for you Sheila, to take over the subject of paddling starting now.

SH: There is nothing more delightful than feeling...


NP: Kenneth Williams has...

SH: Now you'll never know what I like feeling!

KW: Hesitation!

SH: Will you!

MW: Yes you might have let her finish the sentence!

SH: Serves you right! I shan't tell you!

NP: Well as you had to pause before you told us, we will leave it to our imagination. Kenneth you have the subject and there are 33 seconds for you on the subject of paddling still Kenneth starting now.

KW: Bernard Shaw said "to be single minded a man must be single". And so I have paddled my own canoe on more than one occasion, in a varied career but paddling...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He's talking about paddling his own canoe.

NP: Yes?

PJ: Well that's not the same as paddling.

NP: Well it is, he's got the word, paddling is the subject, you can take the word in whichever way or in whichever context you like. Otherwise we are limiting the game...

KW: Yes you are a great fool! You fell right in it there, you did! Yes!

NP: There, you got another point Kenneth, you're doing very well...

KW: Good!

NP: And I think this is going to be the last round so keep going, there are 22 seconds left on paddling starting now.

KW: And a paddle steamer is fun, as you see the wheels paddling away, going down the rivers in America, where they call at places exotic names like St Louis, where we remember of course they paddled the blues. That was a great thing in St Louis you see because they...


NP: And Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of St Louis.

NP: Yes, St Louis, yes. Paddled the blues! I think you could have had him on that one! Played the blues! You don't...

KW: I meant pedalled it, I meant...

NP: I know! But no-one challenged. So Peter, you've got in very cleverly with two seconds to go on the subject of paddling starting now.

PJ: New Brighton is the best place for paddling with rocks...


NP: And as I said a moment ago this probably was going to be the last round, and it's turned out to be the last round, because we have no more time alas. Let me give you the final score. Michael Wood, our guest, playing for the first time, contributing magnificently finished in a strong fourth place. Peter Jones with a late flourish there, paddled just up behind Sheila Hancock, he was in third place. Sheila Hancock remained in second place behind this week's winner who was Kenneth Williams!

KW: Hurray! Hurray!

NP: And it's such a joy when Kenneth wins because it does mean so much to him! It does mean he'll come back again next week, rejuvenated, re something else, and ready to paddle his um oar in this particular... I don't know what I'm talking about! I just think I should say that I hope you've enjoyed the show as much as we've enjoyed playing it and you will want to tune in again, same time next week and listen to 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 Pete Atkin.