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 infinite pleasure to welcome our many listeners not only in Great Britain but throughout the world. And we welcome to the show again four exciting, humorous, individual, skilled players of the game. And sitting on my right it's Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And sitting on my left it's Tony Hawks and Charles Collingwood. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Claire Bartlett, and Claire 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 magnificent and beautiful Wimbledon Theatre in the heart of Wimbledon, right in centre of South London. And we have a real southern London audience here who have come from all parts of Mordern and Stretton and Chean to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show this week with Clement Freud. Clement the subject is ballroom dancing. I don't know whether it's been chosen specially, I've never seen you actually as a ballroom dancer. But I'm sure you can talk on the subject, 60 seconds as usual, starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: Ballroom dancing tends to take place in palais or halls, and there is music to which people go, slow, and that word again, quick, monosyllable repeated, and then the first one again. It's not really...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Repetition of again.

NP: Again yes! He repeated again. So, yes, again, right, so Paul you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that of course, 45 seconds starting now.

PM: Some of you may remember myself and Clement being an ideal couple when we danced for the Southern England Counties in 1948 at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. What a fantastic achievement it was! Clement was the lady...


NP: Tony challenged.

TONY HAWKS: I think he's lying!


NP: Yes I'm sure he's lying! But on the other hand...

TH: Well it's certainly deviation, them dancing together! That's for certain!

PM: Not at all! Not at all!

CF: I led!

PM: We danced beautifully!

NP: You can go to a gay club, you'll see them dancing together. Ah so ah...

CHARLES COLLINGWOOD: Tell us about it Nicholas!

PM: Nicholas used to compere!

CC: Tell us about it Nicholas!

NP: I don't have a, they have no mercy do they? Right, um, it's one of those difficult things Tony. In this show you can have a surreal idea and people enjoy it. So do we allow surreal humour to be penalised because we know it's probably deviation, I don't know. I will give the benefit of the doubt to Paul, I will try and redress the balance later if I have an opportunity. So Paul a point to you, you still have the subject, 35 seconds, ballroom dancing starting now.

PM: I think the pasadoble was our favourite. The judges would always mark us very high as my partner's head would touch the floor of the ballroom, only to be whisked back up into my arms, twinkled around my head and thrown straight through the public bar! Then he would get the drinks in! It was at that point that I realised that alcohol was affecting my ability to dance at the highest level. I then decided that perhaps the partnership should be broken up...


NP: Um Tony's challenged.

TH: Well I think it's actually, I'm withdrawing it, but I thought he hesitated but he was just drawing breath in fact.

PM: Yeah!

NP: And he was trying to keep going through the laughter.

TH: Yeah.

PM: Yeah riding the laugh, the laugh.

TH: So he gets an extra point because I challenged incorrectly, Paul you have four seconds on...


TH: ... starting now!


TH: Hesitation, my go!


NP: Give Tony a bonus point, he's trying so hard there! And that redresses the balance too about what I said earlier. Paul you still have the subject, you have 12 seconds, ballroom dancing starting now.

PM: One of the finest ballrooms in this area is in fact in Mordern, just near the underground station where the old Odeon used to be. It was knocked down some years ago and a most magnificent structure put in its...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: I think he said magnificent earlier on.

NP: Um...

CC: Don't you Nicholas?

NP: Yes. He was talking about, I'm doing a quick rerun through the whole of his what he said...

CC: Yeah but...

NP: I don't think he did.

PM: No I didn't.

NP: No he didn't.

CC: Damn!

NP: I just did a quick recall of everything he said and...

CC: Sorry about that Paul.

NP: You've got half a second on ballroom dancing...

CF: Did you say furniture polish?

NP: He may have said furniture polish but I didn't hear him say it. Right, half a second Paul, starting now.

PM: Furniture polish!


NP: Whoever is speaking in this game when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton, who actually started with the subject, and with interruptions and so forth, he has at the end of that round got five points which is really quite amazing for a first round! Tony would you take the next round, the subject is big heads. I don't know why it's been chosen, but there we are, it's a good subject. Talk on it, 60 seconds starting now.

TH: When you watch a sci-fi movie, invariably the aliens have big heads. I suppose the thinking of the writers is big head, big brain. But this is flawed because I've noticed George Bush has got quite a big head. And it isn't necessarily the case that he's enormously intelligent as a result of that fact. Now I'm a bit of a bighead and that's why I've been given the subject. I'm fantastic! I think every thing I...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Too many Is.

NP: Yes right.

TH: I've got two eyes, what are you talking about?

CF: Three!

NP: Thirty-four seconds Clement, big heads starting now.

CF: It's very difficult if your head size is over eight inches to find a hat, especially one which is a proper head...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I don't think he ever really got going there!

CF: I was never going to, no I was, no I didn't...

TH: No, it was like the batteries he's using had clearly...

NP: So Tony you've got the subject back...

TH: Hesitation yes.

NP: And 23 seconds on big heads starting now.

TH: When a coss is toimed...


NP: I'd love to know what you were trying to say Tony!

TH: It was a spoonerism, I was going to translate when a coin is tossed, but I did say when a coss is toimed. Which isn't technically even a spoonerism is it? We need to think of a word for what that is.

NP: I think it was almost giving up the will to live, I think!

TH: I certainly have done now, anyway!

NP: Charles you got in first, on hesitation, 21 seconds with you, big heads starting now.

CC: It always seems to me that a baby should be born with a smaller head than its ah...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes, Clement you have the subject of big heads and you have 15 seconds starting now.

CF: If you toss a coin in the air, and ask two captains to call, one might say "big heads" whereas the other could prefer "small tails", which is exactly how I like my rhinoceroses...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Well... sexual deviation?


PM: Unnecessary personal detail? It conjures up a horrible scene, doesn't it?

NP: It does that. I'll tell you what I'm going to do there, I'm going to give Clement a bonus point, because what he said, the audience enjoyed so much. I'm going to give you a point for a correct challenge and say you have one second to go starting now.

PM: One time ago...


NP: So Paul Merton has increased his lead at the end of the round, by speaking as the whistle went and other points. And it's Clement Freud, Tony Hawks and Charles Collingwood in that order. And Charles, your turn to begin and the subject now is thrillers. Tell us something about thrillers in this game starting now.

CC: Wait Until Dark was one of the best thrillers ever written. It surrounded a blind woman on stage who couldn't of course see...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I thought a hesitation there.

NP: There was a sort of hesitation yes.


PM: No?

NP: Well I've got to be fair within the rules...

CC: There you are, you didn't know what a big family I had, did you?

PM: It's no good, it's no good booing Charles, if he made a mistake, he made a mistake! Don't rub it in!

NP: So Paul you have the subject of thrillers, 50 seconds starting now.

PM: Alfred Hitchcock...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Hesitation.

NP: No! Shut up! Well tried, but 49 seconds, thrillers Paul starting now.

PM: Made his name throughout the world with a series of brilliant films from the 1920s onwards. He was known as the master of suspense. Perhaps his finest movie is North By, no it's not that's one, it's Psycho! Because...


PM: ... (laughs) otherwise I'd be in trouble! I think maybe Norman Bates's character is the most wonderful...


NP: Clement challenged you.

CF: Repetition.

NP: What's that?

CF: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

CF: Hahahahaha.

NP: Give him his bonus point, and you've got one for being interrupted Paul, and you have 31 seconds on thrillers starting now.

PM: The British period, 1937 was a...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

CF: Nineteen.

NP: You said 1920s before.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Yes. Clement you have 27 seconds on thrillers starting now.

CF: Don't Be Home Before Dark is a play that if it hasn't been written should be. I've not seen it. It might very easily deal with a blind woman who cannot see, who would come on to the stage, late in the second act and find...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I think there was a slight hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes, because he didn't know the plot, and he couldn't go on. Ten seconds on thrillers starting now.

TH: I've never seen a thriller with a blind woman in, but I'm going to go and see one very soon...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well curiously, repetition of see.

NP: Yes. Going to go and see.

TH: No, I said I've never seen.

NP: No, going to go and see, you used the word going as well.

TH: So which I have repeated then?

PM: See, you repeated see.

TH: I've never seen a film, a play...

CC: He's my partner, he said seen and see.

NP: He's never seen...

PM: Ah!

CC: He did not repeat see, he said seen and see and we're bonding over here!

PM: Are you?

CC: You should see us two ballroom dancing!

PM: I thought the table was moving up and down!

NP: You have the subject still Tony of thrillers, six seconds starting now.

TH: Michael Jackson made a video called Thriller, from the song. And I remember watching this and thinking nothing is more frightening...


NP: So Tony Hawks speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point, he's now equal with Clement Freud in second place, our leader is still Paul Merton, and Charles is trailing just a little. And Paul your turn to begin, the subject, game set and match. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: Well of course it's a tennis term. And as we are here in Wimbledon, the home of that game, perhaps as famous as Mordern, the tennis tournament they have there every year, is outshone slightly by...


PM: Tennis.

NP: Clement Freud challenged.

PM: Tennis.

CF: Repetition of mmmm.

PM: Tennis.

CF: Tennis.

NP: Yes, too much tennis yes, 52 seconds Clement, game set and match starting now.

CF: Tennis is the only game in which an umpire could...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: Sorry, sorry he didn't hesitate. I just saw it coming and it didn't! I'm so sorry!

TH: You can't...

CC: It's bad radio that because I could just see him coming... sorry!

NP: It wasn't, it was quite good. I mean it was sort of...

CC: Did you think he was hesitating?

NP: He was about to, I quite agree with you, yes.

CC: Okay, great!

PM: Are we allowed to be psychic?

NP: No you've asked this once before, we don't have psychic challenges.

PM: No.

NP: No, what Charles was referring to is the fact that we can see, which the listeners can't, that on Clement's face you could see he was about to hesitate. But he didn't quite do it.

CC: I'm sorry Clement.

NP: No, no, so he was teetering on the edge of it and so he gets an incorrect challenge and a point, and 49 seconds, game set and match starting now.

CF: If I were about to masticate, could you see that as well?


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, if you were about to masticate, what, what was the end of the sentence?

CF: Did I say masticate?

NP: You did say masticate. I'm rather a long way away, I thought you said masticate.

PM: I think he did say masticate. I hope he said masticate!


PM: I've just had this suit cleaned!

NP: Because we wouldn't want him throwing up all over you, would we, no...

PM: No!

NP: So Paul...

PM: Not as well! That's what I call, that's what I call a bad night out!

NP: Oh I tried to save you from yourself and you stepped further into it! Ah game set and match Paul is with you and 43 seconds starting now.

PM: I went to see this sport at Wimbledon last year and it...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of Wimbledon.

NP: You mentioned Wimbledon, it's not on the card, yes.

PM: Oh! I was so desperately trying to avoid the word tennis.

NP: I know! That's what happens, 39 seconds with you Tony on game set and match starting now.

TH: They often say game set and match at the end of a tennis game at Wimbledon. And the centre court surely is the easiest place on earth to get a laugh. The ball gets stuck in the top...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: I'd like to say he repeated get but then it sort of became gets.

NP: That's right yes.

CC: So I shouldn't have challenged.

TH: Yeah, we're enjoying your contribution in this round a lot!

CC: I'm not having a very nice day now!

TH: No, it's okay! We get points though.

NP: But the bonding is disappearing, isn't it?

CC: Certainly has, we've stopped holding hands ages ago!

NP: Charles it's good to hear from you. All that happens is your friend whom you've bonded with does get a point because it was an incorrect challenge...

CC: Good luck Tony!

NP: ... and he keeps the subject , 28 seconds on game set and match starting now.

TH: Game set and match to Tim Henman, this is what I long to hear after the final. Will it happen? He's got to the semi of those twice, but three times in fact, but never gone all the way. It will happen shortly in our lifetime...


NP: Ah Charles challenged.

CC: That must be deviation, because he was talking rubbish then!

NP: Charles you have the subject, 13 seconds, game set and match starting now.

CC: There is something awfully final about the expression game set and match. That is precisely what happened to my character round about last Christmas. When my stepdaughter Debbie found out that Brian Aldridge...


NP: So Charles Collingwood was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point and he's leapt forward. He's still in fourth place and um it's the contribution, not the points. And Clement Freud and Tony Hawks are equal in second place, and our leader is still Paul Merton. And Clement your turn to begin, the subject is traffic calming. Talk on the subject starting now.

CF: Traffic calming or axle crushing as many of us consider it to be, consists of having either dead policemen or ramps in the road which cause vehicles to diminish their speed, slow down and presumably traffic calm or traffic calming as it is called and the subject on the card is presumably that, otherwise we wouldn't be sitting here...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: That just wasn't a sentence, was it! I think he's got to do sentences!

PM: No, I was gripped!

TH: Deviation from English language.

NP: No he wasn't deviating, it wasn't er...

TH: I want to see the punctuation for that sentence and I want to see it now!

NP: But we're not going by the written word or what we see so...

TH: Did it make any sense at all?

PM: Yes!

NP: It did make sense actually...

TH: Did it? Oh all right.

CC: It didn't make any sense to me!

TH: No, you see, Charles and I agree on it.

CC: We didn't, either of us, think it made any sense at all.

NP: But you're not working as a team.

CC: We are now!

NP: Clement, the benefit of the doubt, 34 seconds, traffic calming starting now.

CF: Traffic calming is becoming more and more...


NP: Tony challenged, you got him this time, right, more and more. Right, 31 seconds, traffic calming with you Tony starting now.

TH: I don't think it's actually the traffic that needs calming so much as the drivers. As soon as they get behind the wheel, they become maniacal, shouting at others, veins coming out on their necks. What's the matter with them, why don't they calm down? But maybe it is in fact the traffic calming that is making them cross in the first place. Used to have a nice smooth road, now somebody from the council's gone and put a little bump in the middle of the day, that's not going to make them...


NP: Um Charles challenged.

CC: I think there were two middles.

NP: No he didn't say middle before.

CC: Middle of the road and middle of the day.

NP: Oh yes!

TH: Yes, yes, well done!

NP: Charles, six seconds on traffic calming with you starting now.

CC: Traffic calming simply doesn't work anywhere at all. And if I see another...


NP: So Charles is leaping forward and he's now almost equal with Clement Freud and Tony Hawks in second place, but still out in the lead is Paul Merton. And Charles your turn to begin, and the subject is the best programme on Radio Four. I wonder what you'll say! Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

CC: You may be surprised to know that I think the best programme on Radio Four is the shipping forecast. Because a few years ago I was sailing down the Irish Sea with my singer songwriter friend Peter Skellern, who is a better musician than he is sailor, and we got into a force 10 gale. And I can't help but telling you, ladies and gentlemen, the shipping forecast for the next...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Sorry, shame.

CC: What a shame.

NP: What a shame yes.

CF: What a shame.

CC: We still depended on it and I'm here tonight to tell you...

NP: Yes...

CC: ... we lived through it, ladies and gentlemen.

NP: The shipping forecast was repeated and er Clement you have 37 seconds on the best programme on Radio Four starting now.

CF: I'm very fond of the shipping forecast. I think Charles Collingwood should tell us more about it. In a few seconds time, I'm going to pause, and if he could then buzz...


CF: ... and get me for hesitation I will raise my hand...

NP: Just a minute, you've been challenged, Clement, by Paul.

PM: Hesitation. In a few seconds time.

NP: Hesitation when?

PM: In a few seconds time.

NP: Oh oh anticipation.

PM: Anticipation.

NP: Psychic.

PM: Yeah he said I'm going to hesitate in a few seconds time. I thought there's no point in hanging around, let's get on with it. I've got lots to say, I've got lots to say on this subject. I'm champing at the bit!

NP: No, well, I'll tell you what we'll do. That was, he hadn't hesitated, so I can't give you a point for hesitation because it hadn't happened.

PM: But when he does hesitate do I get the point?

NP: No! You can have a point now because they enjoyed your interruption.

PM: Oh okay.

NP: But Clement keeps the subject, has another point and he has 27 seconds on the best programme on Radio Four starting now.

CF: I'd like to put a bid in for a hesitation next week.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation then definitely and now you've got the subject with 23 seconds on the best programme on Radio Four starting now.

PM: I love the consumer programme with attitude, Up You And Yours! What a fantastic show that is! I tune in every midday...


NP: Charles you've challenged.

CC: Repetition of show.

NP: Yes you did repeat show before yes.

PM: Oh!

NP: Yes!


NP: I know you enjoyed it but we're playing Just A Minute and those are the rules.

PM: Yes.

NP: And I have to judge by the rules. So Charles you got in with 16 seconds on the best programme on Radio Four starting now.

CC: Considering I've been employed in The Archers for over 28 years it would be churlish if I didn't say that I think is the best programme on Radio Four...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well deviation, a minute ago he said it was the shipping forecast. Now he's saying it's The Archers. Which is the best programme on Radio Four, Charles?

CC: You know actors, darling, we're very changeable! We'll bat for any old side, we will! My wife...

NP: Charles you got your plug in but Paul was correct, it was deviation.


NP: Well no, you said, you said, you said the best programme was and now suddenly you've changed it and said The Archers.

CC: Yeah but I was allowed to lie earlier.

NP: You didn't say you were lying though.

CC: No but...

NP: You didn't say you were lying...

PM: So which is the lie, the shipping forecast or... I bet you can't stand The Archers! I bet you can't!

CC: I don't care anyway!

NP: Within the rules of Just A Minute, Paul is actually correct and if you're going to lie, let them know you are lying.

CC: Listen, I'm getting 15 grand for tonight, I don't care what you say!

NP: If you're getting 15 grand, you can take this audience out afterwards!


NP: Paul you have seven seconds on the best programme on Radio Four starting now.

PM: The show I prefer...


NP: Tony has...

PM: Oh no!

TH: Yes the second word he said was the one he repeated previously! Not that I'm rubbing it in at all.

NP: You'd already said show before, and you said show again, and Tony you got in with the best programme on Radio Four, four seconds starting now.

TH: The best programme on Radio Four has to be Just A Minute of course! That's why we're all here!


NP: So Tony Hawks brought that round to an end with a flourish which we all appreciated, particularly the audience and gained an extra point, and he's one behind our leader Paul Merton. He's two ahead of Clement Freud and one or two more ahead of Charles Collingwood. That is the situation as we go into the next round, and Clement it's your turn to begin and the subject, oh this is a period subject, spam. Oh all the older people in the audience are laughing. Ah will you tell us something about spam in this game Clement starting now.

CF: Spam is a sort of spiced ham which came into popularity during the Second World War. And because everyone was so enormously fond of the taste, it hung on in there. Spam pie and pudding, fritters, with chips, peas...


NP: Yes Paul?

PM: That was a hesitation.

NP: That definitely was a hesitation.

CC: I could have had that.

NP: No you could please...

CC: I lost my nerve then!

NP: Never lose your nerve in this game, none of them never do Charles.

TH: Could you give us the recipe afterwards for spam pudding? I'm keen to cook some spam pudding myself.

NP: Twenty-nine seconds Paul, with you on spam starting now.

PM: There's a Monty Python sketch featuring Terry Jones at a transport cafe where the menu consisted of nothing but spam. So when the customer came in and said "what have you got?" she said "spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam..."


PM: I'm quoting from the sketch.

NP: I know. Clement has challenged you though.

CF: I think that's too often.

NP: I think that's too often.

PM: That's rich! I didn't say I had spam in Greenwich, Norwich, Cambridge...

NP: You know after all the years you've played the game, you can't say any word indefinitely Paul. So 25 seconds Clement with you on spam starting now.

CF: There are people who find spam unpalatable, even unappetising. And I suggest that pickles, chutney, macerated cucumber, gherkins, capers, all sorts of condiments and spices are extremely...


NP: Paul has challenged you.

PM: Well we got a list of condiments and spices, we've moved away from the spam.

CF: They're with spam.

PM: We're talking about other foodstuffs.

NP: Well he did establish that... He did establish that you can have all these condiments with spam.

PM: Oh but that's just ridiculous. You might as well say all the people who have eaten spam, Winston Churchill, Thomas... where do, where do you go with that? You've got to stick to the subject.

TH: Charles, Charles and I, Charles and I have decided not to play in this round!

CC: And having just said spam 46 times I don't think...

PM: I stuck to the subject didn't I!

CC: I don't think you speak from a position of strength quite frankly Paul.

PM: I speak from a very strong position, I didn't deviate.

NP: No I have to be fair...

PM: ... or hesitate...

TH: Charles I've got some cards here, come on, let's have a game of cards!

CC: I've got a packet of spam!

NP: Clement you still have 12 seconds on spam starting now.

CF: Clement Attlee and Winston Churchill did eat spam but Stafford Cripps never did because he was a vegetarian...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Deviation, Churchill couldn't stand the stuff! He hated it!

CF: He ate it!

PM: He was photographed with it for the war effort, but he actually hated it. He used to give it to his wife. The Churchill Years by Roy Jenkins has just come out. You look up spam in the index! Spam, Churchill hated it, page 148.

NP: Paul, none of us have any proof that he never ate spam...

PM: Is there a bookshop that's open in the area? Go down to Oticus, send somebody down to Oticus!

NP: Paul, give him two bonus points because he's got two interruptions both of which got laughs. But Clement has a point for being interrupted, he keeps the subject, spam is still with you Clement and you have six seconds starting now.

CF: I would recommend spam to all my readers whom I will now mention by name...


NP: Well I never thought a simple thing like spam would give us so much fun but also so much trouble to the chairman. Let me give you the final situation. Charles Collingwood who's only been with us twice before but did extraordinarily well, we loved your contribution Charles, you did unfortunately finish in fourth place but that is no reflection on the, what, what your contribution. Brilliant, brilliant! Tony Hawks who has played many times and often won but he finished only two or three points behind our winner. Clement Freud, coming with that last flourish on spam came up to 19 points but just one point ahead was Paul Merton, so we say Paul you are the winner this week! So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful, exciting and talented players of the game, Paul Merton, Tony Hawks, Charles Collingwood and Clement Freud. I thank Claire Bartlett who has helped me keep the score, and blown her whistle so delicately. And also we thank our producer-director which is Claire Jones. And also we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are deeply grateful to this lovely audience here at the Wimbledon Theatre in Wimbledon who have cheered us on our way magnificently. From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, and from our lovely panel, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!