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 throughout the world, those who tune in to Radio Four, the World Service, or even listen to us on the Internet. And it's also a huge pleasure to welcome four exciting, individual and talented players of the game. On my left sits that mistress of improvised comedy, of stand-up humour and outrageous comedy actually, that's Jenny Eclair. And beside her sits a master of improvised ad-lib comedy, Ross Noble. And on my right, we have another well-known established stand-up comedian who has also written two very entertaining and humorous books, that is Tony Hawks. And beside him a master of many skills, multitalented Clement Freud. Please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak if they can at different times on a subject I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation if they can. Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst, she is going to help me keep the score, and she will blow her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute comes from the lovely refurbished Palace Theatre in that delightful seaside town of Westcliff, on the Essex coast. And in front of us we have a true hyped-up enthusiastic Essex audience who are ready in the mood for the show. So let's get started with Tony Hawks. Tony the subject here in front of me is party poopers. Tell us something about party poopers in this game, starting now.

TONY HAWKS: I suppose party poopers are those rather tedious types, who turn up to your party and resent the fact that you're having a fantastic time. And say "oh it's 10 to 10, the music's a bit loud..."


NP: Clement Freud challenged.


TH: Of all...

JENNY ECLAIR: Of all the numbers on the clock!


TH: Of all the times I could have picked! Doh!

NP: Ten to nine, and 10, oh yes! Right, there we are, it doesn't matter, that's the game and isn't it fun. Right so Clement, a correct challenge, you get a point for that of course, you take over the subject, there are 49 seconds available, party poopers starting now.

CF: Iain Duncan-Smith springs to mind! But the Conservative Party is only one of those that has a pooper. The Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy, if I may, is probably more pooped than pooping against. The Labour Party...


NP: Ross Noble you challenged.

ROSS NOBLE: Was it repetition of party?

NP: There was a repetition of party yes.

JE: But I thought that was in the title.

TH: You can say party.

CF: I think it was party, which is on the card.

TH: Party poopers.

RN: Oh yes.

CF: Party poopers.

NP: Oh right Clement, thank you for teaching me the game, I've only been playing it for 35 years!

RN: I'm an idiot!

NP: Clement an incorrect challenge, you, you keep the subject, you have another point for an incorrect challenge, 28 seconds available, party poopers starting now.

CF: I have pooped at many parties...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of pooped. He said more pooped about Charles Kennedy before.

NP: More pooped. He did indeed, more pooped by Kennedy. And so Tony, you do listen well, you've got a correct challenge and another point, not another point, your first point, 26 seconds available, party poopers starting now.

TH: A pooper scooper is a thing that you take into the park and then take up dog...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Take, the word take was said twice. You take a pooper scooper and you take it into the park. Did you hear what he did?

NP: Yes we did Jenny, and you heard it as well and you were the first to challenge, it's correct. You have the point, you have the round, of party poopers, 21 seconds available starting now.

JE: I know a little girl who shall remean, remain ...


JE: Oh no! Oh please! Oh edit that out! Give me another go!

NP: No, the audience enjoyed it too much! So Ross you challenged first.

RN: It was a bit of a hesitation.

NP: We call that hesitation...

JE: It was a speech impediment, not a hesitation!

NP: Once you stumble like that, once you get the subject you want to go...

JE: Yes!

NP: ... and say something which is going to be funny and amusing. It is a difficult game. Bad luck Jenny, but Ross had a correct challenge, a point to him at last. Seventeen seconds, party poopers Ross, starting now.

RN: Party poopers are a bit like party poppers but for more sombre occasions. You pull the string and instead of lots of confetti flying out of the end, it plays The Funeral March and everybody cries as they get a vol au vent and have to place it on their cheeks to soak up the tears...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And it was Ross Noble, he's got two points, so has Clement Freud, and the other two have got one each. It's very even at the moment, there's only one round gone. Second round, Jenny we're now going to hear from you. The subject is pillow talk and you have 60 seconds now, take a deep breath, starting now.

JE: I'm not much of a one for pillow talk. I'm a pillow dribbler. Some mornings I wake up, there's so much goo, I have to peel my face off it! I think that Pillow Talk was a film, starring that little blonde who always looked quite well-scrubbed, Doris Day was her name. Could be wrong, not sure! Now the real meaning of the phrase is to talk soft flannel in bed. Imagine the scenario, two heads close enough to catch nits. He says "darling I love you so much, I'm going to buy you a new kitchen with all mod cons, better than your friend Jean's, and a smeg oven and hob and..."


JE: Sorry, too many ands! I was warned earlier!

NP: Tony... (laughs) Tony you challenged.

TH: Deviation, that's not pillow talk, that's madness!

JE: It is at our house!

NP: Tony I think that people can interpret pillow talk in any way they wish. And maybe in Jenny's life that is pillow talk so...

TH: Yes but I'm here to help her!

NP: Oh right! Well you've helped her I think by what you've just said...

TH: Oh okay.

NP: Unfortunately I think within the rules of Just A Minute, and to be fair to Jenny, I couldn't give her for deviation on that. So she keeps going with 23 seconds and a point, more pillow talk Jenny starting now.

JE: Wee wifey says "oh you're just trying to coerce me into some mad sexual position! Get off, you big ape!"


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Not by talking about smeg ovens, he wouldn't!

JE: Oh no, some women will do anything for a smeg oven!

TH: Oh okay, in that case I withdraw my challenge.

NP: No, I think, no, I agree with Jenny actually. I mean... anyway Jenny, yes, we've gone from her kind of pillow talk into the sexual side of it, and Jenny you're still with the subject, and you have 16 seconds available, another point to you, pillow talk starting now.

JE: Pillow talk could be done quite literally. Imagine yourself in that High Street department store, never knowingly undersold, chatting to a nice young man in very tight black trousers about pillows! Would you like...


JE: Oh yes!

NP: So Jenny Eclair started with the subject, and in spite of interruptions she kept going and finished with the subject, so she gets that extra point for speaking when the whistle went, and she's now in the lead of course at the end of that round. Ross, your turn to begin, the subject, tips. Tell us something about tips in Just A Minute starting now.

RN: If you can't afford theme parks, why not take your kids to tips? And rummage around through fridges and bits of old bicycle, and try and give them the best day out that they've ever had in their tiny little lives. Hey there kiddikins, why not come over here and try the new... pot of goo that's been left...


NP: Jenny challenged you.

JE: Ah the merest hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation, yes.

JE: He was being so good it was getting on my nerves!

NP: He was going off in a delightful manner with the subject and ah couldn't sustain it. So there's 40 seconds still available, the subject is tips, it's with you Jenny starting now.

JE: Here's a tip for women over 40. Don't stand next to anything younger than yourself! Hadrian's Wall is a nice place to stand, I find...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of stand.

NP: Yes.

JE: Yes, yes! You're welcome Tony, well done, that challenge was correct.

NP: You're so gracious the way you give it away! Tony there are 29 seconds for you, you've got the subject of tips and you start now.

TH: I was given a tip some years by a very wise man who said "Tony it's never a good idea to try and leapfrog a unicorn". And I've stuck with that ever since. Whenever I've seen one of those creatures, and I did recently, in fact, it belonged to Clement Freud. He was telling me earlier and he had hired it out at millions...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Lies! I lent it, I didn't rent it!

TH: Ah!

NP: So that is actually a correct challenge. There is nine seconds available, tips starting now.

CF: If you go to a restaurant and intend to return, it seems sensible to leave a tip for the waiters. This is newspeak for gratuity...


NP: Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, and he's now just one point behind our leader Jenny Eclair. Clement it's your turn to begin and the subject is VAT. A very exciting subject, isn't it! Will you talk on it Clement starting now.

CF: VAT are three letters of the alphabet, one vowel and two consonants...


NP: Ross, Ross challenged.

RN: He just stopped to think about what he's said there.

NP: I think he was stuck by his own profundity.

RN: Yes.

NP: Yes.

RN: Yes.

NP: But it was a hesitation.

RN: Yeah.

NP: So Ross you have VAT, 53 seconds available starting now.

RN: They were a crack commando unit sent to prison for a crime they didn't commit. They would drive around in a big black van with a red...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: I'm really sorry but he did say they three times. They did that, they did that. But I'll tell you what, it's a dull challenge so I'll withdraw it...

NP: No...

JE: ... and let him go on with the story, because it's a good story! But don't take a point off me! Fair do's!

NP: No, all I'm going to say is a correct challenge, but if you feel you want to be fair to Ross and let him keep it...

JE: Yeah!

NP: I will give you a point because it was a correct challenge, a tough one but correct one. But we leave the subject with Ross...

JE: Yes.

NP: ... who continues on VAT with 46 seconds to go starting now.

RN: "I ain't going on no plane, fool!" That's what he used to say whenever he was in trouble. They would often drug a cake and that's how they would get him on to the aeroplane. Sometimes when people would get in trouble, they would be hired, and it would be necessary for them to use their military skills that they used in Vietnam...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I hesitate to come in with this challenge. But has he wandered off the subject of VAT ever so slightly?

RN: Oh you said VAT? I thought you said the A Team!


RN: (laughing) I can't believe I spun that joke out for that long!

NP: Tony yes, he was on the A Team and it's VAT, value added tax if you want to spell it out. Or that's what it usually stands for . But Tony you have a point, you have 23 seconds, VAT starting now.

TH: The headquarters of the VAT offices are in Westcliff. And they have the finest disco. Every Christmas I go to those and I can tell you, I'm not a party pooper when I get along to those! I'm grooving...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two thoses. Those and those.

NP: Oh Jenny you're getting too...

JE: Am I getting too petty?

NP: No, too keen, darling, yes.

JE: I'm sorry, I'm very very over-competitive!

NP: I know you are!

JE: I'll let it go.

NP: All right Jenny, take another point, Tony keep the subject, 11 seconds, VAT starting now.

TH: I remember those heady days when it used to be 15 percent. Oh now of course up to 17 and a half. Tricky, you have to fill out a very difficult form if you are trying to...


NP: So Tony Hawks was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He's now equal with Clement Freud in second place, just ahead of Ross Noble, Jenny's out in the lead with all the theys and those that she spotted.

JE: By being petty, I'm winning! (laughs)

NP: Right but Tony, your turn to begin. The subject now is chaps. Tell us something about chaps in this game starting now.

TH: Chaps has always struck me as a peculiarly English word. Yet Americans try to say it to ingratiate themselves with you, saying things like "hey you chaps, do you want to come and have a beer?" And it doesn't work for me and I sneer at them! I once wore a pair of chaps to a fancy dress party, went to a pub foolishly drinking beforehand in west London, it was the wrong kind and I was attracting quite a lot of attention, I can tell you. What an evening I had! Now chaps...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Was that repetition of evening? One evening...

NP: Yes.

RN: I had quite an evening...

TH: It could well be...

RM: Yeah!

TH: I don't think any of us know!

RN: Everyone was just picturing you in chaps!

NP: One evening he went, one evening he went there and one evening, yes, well listened Ross, 26 seconds, you tell us something about chaps starting now.

RN: Chaps is the wrong way to refer to skinheads. Don't walk into a bar and go "I say chaps, you're looking frightfully unusual" because they might turn on you, and they might kick your head in which isn't...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two mights.

NP: Yes. They might turn on you, they might kick your head in. So 14 seconds Jenny, tell us something about chaps starting now.

JE: Madonna wore chaps in one of her recent videos, along with a stetson which is the correct headgear to accessorise your chaps with. Blazer wearing tights...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Ending a word on a preposition!

JE: Guilty! Guilty as charged!

NP: But Clement, that's observant of you, but I mean colloquially speaking, people often in life in conversation end on prepositions. I don't like it, any more than you like it. But...

TH: I know! Look when we do it in the dressing room you should see how furious he gets!

NP: Colloquially speaking she's entitled to do that within Just A Minute, where you have to keep going under the pressures that exist. So she gets another point and five seconds on chaps starting now.

JE: When chaps get together, they smoke cigars, drink port...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: She said they before!

NP: Yeah that's right! One second is available for you Ross...

JE: Oh!

NP: ... yes, on chaps starting now.

RN: Big leather pants...


NP: So Ross, extra point for speaking as the whistle went, has moved forward. He's now equal with Tony Hawks, one ahead of Clement Freud, and they are trailing Jenny Eclair who is still in the lead. And Ross, your turn to begin, the subject, balloon modelling. Did you hear me correctly?

RN: What's that, moon yodelling, did you say? Right then, start her up, here we go! I was on the Moon in leiderhosen...

NP: Right, there are 60 seconds as usual, balloon modelling, starting now.

RN: Well balloon modelling is something that I think is a rubbish skill to have! I mean quite frankly, making balloons look like a small Scottie dog, that's not right! Surely getting a little canine creature and twisting that so it looks like it's full of air? That surely is something that you could write home about. The people of Britain would be... up in arms if they were...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: He was going ahhhhh zbbbbbb like that.

NP: I know he was, but were you having him for hesitation, do you?

JE: Yes I just wanted to get in because he got me on the last round when I had three seconds left, and it was spiteful!

RN: Do you shout at the telly whenever Leonard Rossiter's on? He goes yah yah yah zbbbbb...

JE: I shake my fist! Go on, take it boy!

NP: And you don't speak like that anyway Ross. So a point to Ross for an incorrect challenge, 28 seconds still available, balloon modelling starting now.

RN: Naomi Campbell used to get in a lot of trouble for trying to slide her tiny little thin legs inside of balloons. She would wander around the town, thinking that she was the height of fashion, when in fact she wasn't at all. She looked ridiculous in her...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: I think, three shes in 10 words is...

NP: Yes, three shes in 10 words.

RN: I'll give you it.

NP: You'll give it to him. So Clement, a point, 25 seconds, balloon modelling starting now.

CF: Vanessa Feltz springs to mind...



NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Ah there was a bit of a hesitation but people were laughing so I'm wrong.

NP: He hesitated, you have a point Ross, you have 20 seconds, balloon modelling's back with you starting now.

RN: Vanessa Feltz, she springs to mind on a regular basis whenever I'm thinking about balloon modelling. I'm not quite sure why. I haven't fully worked that out at this stage. But I thought I would steal whatever Clement was going to say and use it as my own. I once filled Vanessa Feltz full of helium...


NP: Tony challenged.

RN: Ah I've said her twice, I'm an idiot!

TH: Well if he hadn't repeated Vanessa Feltz, I might have possibly had him for a lie. I don't know. But anyway he did repeat Vanessa.

JE: And Feltz.

TH: And Feltz.

NP: And Feltz yes. But we don't want to have fun at her expense. Two seconds available Tony, balloon modelling starting now.

TH: Lord Lucan had a fine balloon...


NP: Oh they're all getting points and all doing so well, it's all very even which is lovely isn't it. So Clement Freud is now equal with Jenny Eclair, in the lead and they're two points ahead of Tony Hawks and Ross Noble in that order. Clement your turn to begin, the subject is pilots. Tell us something about pilots in this game starting now.

CF: Pontius was probably the most famous man of that family. But Amy Morrison, Lindbergh, Berlioz, there were so many pilots who made history by flying aeroplanes over distances that nobody had ever used before. I partic...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Well I think they had used the distances before.

NP: Yeah a clever challenge. If he'd said over those, flying over those distances yes, never used the distance before. That is a clever challenge of deviation, Tony you have a point and you have 39 seconds, pilots starting now.

TH: Pilots always impress me in the way when they talk on the intercom to the passengers. They seem to be a little bit patronising. And they do that thing, sometimes they say "cabin crew, 10 minutes to landing" like it's going to be different for the rest of us! I resent that kind of talk. Now pilots obviously have to go through qualifications. They sit in little booths and they are waggled about quite a bit. And then they do a week of that and then they have got our whole lives...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: They're waggled about a bit?

NP: Yes?

RN: Don't they waggle something else about a bit?

NP: They might, but they might rock them about a bit to give them the sensation of sitting in a...

RN: I think waggling is a very specific action! Which quite frankly isn't right...

NP: We can't have a semantic discussion about what is waggling and not waggling and whether pilots are...

RN: When have you ever been on a plane and you go "oooh it's waggling a bit"?

NP: Exactly! Maybe in Tony's world, that is the word he uses. He gets on a plane and says "I hope you're not going to waggle this one today".

JE: I'm really scared of waggling!

NP: Yes! I have to interpret these things and I think I'll give the benefit of the doubt to Tony and I'll try and redress the balance later if I can. Thirteen seconds Tony, still with you on pilots starting now.

TH: What shall we do with the maverick figure, Jesus Christ, who is causing the Roman Empire such problems? This was the dilemma...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: He's been a long time away from pilots.

NP: No, I think he was building up to Pontius...

JE: Was he going back to Pontius? I thought that was Clement's.

NP: It was Clement's, but he can still take that if he wants to.

JE: Oh.

NP: So six seconds are still with you on pilots Tony starting now.

TH: Electric cookers are disappointing things because they don't have pilot lights. Whereas gas ones do and that is...


NP: So Tony Hawks with points in that round, including one for speaking as the whistle went, has moved forward and he's now in the lead, just ahead of Jenny Eclair and Clement Freud and Ross Noble in that order. And Jenny your turn to begin, jellied eels. I'm sure that's something the people of Essex know quite a bit about. Or maybe they don't, maybe this is Westcliff, maybe it's downmarket in Southend where they know about it. Anyway it's with you, jellied eels Jenny starting now.

JE: There is some things that I refuse to put in my mouth. I don't want you to all start sniggering, saying "that's not what I've heard"! But jellied eels, Yorkshire pudding, rollmock herrings, I can't put those past my lips. I'd chuck, I really would! I don't see what's wrong with jelly without eel in it? What are you going to do next, put some liver in it? Jelly is nice as a sweet dish. Tangerine chunks, maybe some pineapple, keep your eel out of it! It's a cockney dish, you can get it from pie and mash shops. It is quite downmarket, they don't serve it at Marks and Spencers. That's always a clue, isn't it? I have a problem with slithery fish....


NP: Clement?

CF: Fish.

NP: Fish, you mentioned fish before. Seventeen seconds, jellied eels is with you Clement starting now.

CF: People think that jellied eels consists of jelly and eels. And they're quite wrong because the gelatinous nature of the bones of an eel similar to those of the husk, nuss, rock salmon and other piscine... excellences...


NP: Oh you were trying so hard there Clement! Your face gave it all away! And Tony's got in with one second to go on...

JE: Oh!

NP: Anyway we know it was hesitation. So Tony, jellied eels, one second starting now.

TH: Lord Lucan...


NP: So Tony was again speaking as the whistle went and therefore has increased his lead at the end of that round. Ross Noble, your turn to begin, the subject now is the mockers. Tell us something about the mockers in Just A Minute starting now.

RN: The Mockers are a lovely family that live near me. They really are quite delightful. The mother I'm not too keen on though, because she has set up a stall selling Indian footwear. That's where they got their name from. Originally they were going to be called the Moccasins but they felt that that was too erm something...


RN: ... and I've hesitated there! And that's fair enough.

NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: I interpret that as hesitation, yes Clement, you have the point, you have 40 seconds, you have the mockers starting now.

CF: The mockers are very much not the sort of people that come to the Palace Theatre in Westcliff. Never have I encountered a more charming, hospitable and er...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I interpret that as...

TH: I think he ran out of compliments!

CF: I saw something!

NP: Twenty-seven seconds Tony, the mockers with you now starting now.

TH: Henry Spooner used to call the mods and rockers, rods and mockers. And this was an extraordinary thing he did, not of any interest, or in any way funny! But I'm glad I mentioned it nonetheless! Mockers are people that will come up to you and say "you're rubbish! Talking for a minute, that's easy without hesitation or deviation. Little do they realise just how tricky it is. If only they were up here, they'd know it now. But they're not, they're out there mocking...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: There, there, there, there, they, they, he did a lot of that.

NP: They did a lot of that, all right Jenny, we'll give it to you this time. You've got in which you love on four seconds to go, and you have the mockers starting now.

JE: Putting the mockers on something is to spoil an event like...


NP: Well let me give you the score as we move into the final round. Tony Hawks has got a very good lead, on, he's got as many as 19 points, that's a lot! But not far behind is Jenny Eclair on 15, and Clement Freud on 14, and then Ross Noble, just two or three behind. Clement take the last round please, it is the rhinoceros. You have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: Don't ever try to give anyone jellied rhinoceros! Big mistake! What you want is a white rhino from southeast Asia and ideally serve him on toast with anchovies and a modicum of butter. Because the rhinoceros has little fat due to the fact that he runs all over the place and its muscle and bone and skin and look where you will, so does he. Because the eyes follow you. I have seen rhinoceros in zoos in Bristol, Torquay, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Berlin, Munich...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: The one in Edinburgh died!

CF: I saw him before he died!

TH: I hope that wasn't the reason!

RN: He actually died on the way to the zoo, so therefore he never made it!

NP: We don't know that Ross, but what we'll do is as we enjoyed your challenge, we'll give you a bonus point for the reaction that it, you received for that. Clement you have another point for interruption and you still have the rhinoceros and, that's a funny thing to say to somebody, isn't it? But you still have the subject of the rhinoceros and 16 seconds starting now.

CF: Go to Tunbridge Wells and the likelihood of meeting rhinoceros is remote. On the other hand, Southend would be an interesting location. For that and many other animals whom you would otherwise expect to find in...


NP: So it now remains for me to give you the final situation as regards points. But let me say now, there's no winner in this game, they're all winners. But Clement Freud got a lot of points in that last round, but he didn't quite catch up our leader. But in a very good fourth place was Ross Noble.


NP: That's right, you applaud their contribution! Jenny Eclair gave great value, she was in third place.

JE: Oh!

NP: Clement Freud gave his usual good value, he was in second place. He was two points behind the person who had 19 points and that was Tony Hawks, so he gets a round for being in the lead! It only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Ross Noble, Jenny Eclair, Clement Freud and Tony Hawks. I thank Janet Staplehurst who has helped me keep the score, and she has blown her whistle with such panache. And we thank our producer-director that is Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here in the Palace Theatre in Westcliff who have cheered us on our way. From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, from our panel, and everybody here in Westcliff, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!