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 throughout the world who tune in to Radio Four, the World Service or on the Internet. And also to welcome to the show this week four talented, exciting, and really clever players of the game who have come together to show their humorous ability, their verbal dexterity, their ingenuity as they try and speak on a subject I will give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And sitting on my right together we have Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And sitting on my left we have Graham Norton and Linda Smith. Will you please welcome all four of them! And sitting beside me is Janet Staplehurst, who is going to help me keep the score, and blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from St Edmund's Hall in that delightful coastal Suffolk town of Southwold. And we are part of the Theatre Festival of Southwold in the summer here. It's a hot night, and we have a hot audience who are ready to cheer us on our way in every sense of the word. As we begin the show this week with Clement Freud. Clement, the subject is my favourite words. Tell us something about that subject, in this game starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: My favourite words are "Clement Freud, you are the winner". But I quite enjoy words like unguent and languid, parallelogram... ubiquitous...


NP: Paul challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation, yes.

PM: And also deviation, because I know that parallelogram is one of Clement's most hated words! I went on a trip to Carlisle, coming back from doing this show he went on about how he hated parallelogram. He said "I can't stand that word". It was quite embarrassing in the end, I had to pretend I didn't know him! So for him to sit here, and tell people it's one of his favourite words, I think it's... frankly I think it's cheating the British public!

NP: I enjoyed that little soliloquy Paul. I can't give you a bonus point for it.

PM: That's a sort of pudding, isn't it?

NP: But I can give you, I can give you the subject and a bonus, not a bonus point, a point for speaking, for a correct challenge and there are 44 seconds, the subject is my favourite words, starting now.

PM: Tangerine, lima, cricket, basket, cheese, wombat, fruits, Norman, Harold, Wilson. These are some of my favourite words. Others are exit, door, peanut, instrumental, wisdom, windoline...


NP: Graham challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible.

NP: Graham why did you challenge?

GN: No, no, I thought it was a repetition, but it was, he said, I just knew you had said something like wisdom, but in fact it was Wilson.

NP: That's right yes.

GN: Sorry, sorry, sorry.

NP: It was quite close but not quite the same.

GN: No, no.

NP: There couldn't be more contrast between Norman Wisdom and Harold Wilson. So an incorrect challenge I'm afraid.

GN: Very.

NP: And so a point to you Paul for that, and you have 21 seconds to continue with my favourite words starting now.

PM: Words are wonderful creations, aren't they? Without words, how could we communicate? I suppose a simple mime might suffice, but even then we wouldn't be sure what we were trying to say to each other. When you get a book, one that you really look forward to reading...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: He's got away from "my favourite words".

PM: A book, reading a book? Well what's in a book? Onions? I mean what...

NP: No I don't think so Clement. I mean he was on about his favourite words, and he was talking about reading a book. He was probably going to tell us about his favourite words that he would find in his book.

PM: Nicholas, you're reading my mind!

NP: So an incorrect challenge, Paul you still have the subject, you have seven seconds, my favourite words starting now.

PM: Beard, trimmings, these are a few of my favourite things. When I think back...


NP: Ah Linda challenged.

LINDA SMITH: He said few before.

NP: Yes, we did have a few before.

PM: Did I?

NP: Yes you had a few.

PM: Are you sure?

NP: I'm absolutely certain! I am listening, it's part of my job! It's what I get paid for.

PM: Is it? This is a job?

NP: No, it's an infinite pleasure especially when you're on the show Paul. So but Linda, a correct challenge yes, repetition, two seconds for you on my favourite words starting now.

LS: My favourite words are bad language and violence...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes in this game gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Linda Smith. So Linda, you have two points, Paul has three, the others have yet to score. And Linda it is your turn to begin, and the subject is Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Will you tell us something about them in this game starting now.

LS: Name Snow White's seven dwarfs is a popular pub quiz question. I often get it confused with that other poser, concerning the cast of The Magnificent Seven, and answer Dozey, Sleepy, Grumpy, and Yul Brynner. It doesn't win me many points in a quiz. The film...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Oh repetition of quiz.

NP: Oh yes, right, there was quiz, yes.

LS: Yes you're right.

NP: So Graham you got in with 41 seconds available, tell us something about Snow White and the seven dwarfs starting now.

GN: Given that the woman lived with seven men, oh the irony that somebody called her Snow White! How could be she anything like that? I don't think so, I hope her mother never found out! How vile! And that Prince can't have been too bright either. Who'd have her after that? But I do (starts laughing) recall...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Massive hesitation.

GN: Yes.

NP: Yes it was a hesitation. Right Clement you have 15 seconds, for us, to tell us something about Snow White and the seven dwarfs starting now.

CF: I went to see the film of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs in the 1930s on my bicycle, driving through Lowestoft, pedalling like hell up the few hills, and getting to Wrentham and having a bottle of Tyzer...


NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And Graham it's your turn to begin. The subject is communes. Tell us something about communes in this game starting now.

GN: Well about 20 years ago, I lived in a hippy commune for a year, in America. Now the whole house smelt of wet dog. But once we got over that, the next problem was that you had to cook for the entire household. Now all my other communards were vegetarians. I was 20 from Ireland, we didn't have them! But I reckoned that what they eat must be salad. How can you go wrong? My mother had taught me how to cook that, one lettuce leaf, two slices of egg, perhaps some pickled beetroot, and a lot of salad cream. All one word, I'm thinking!


NP: Oh Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of salad.

NP: You had salad before.

GN: Salad-cream! Salad-cream!

NP: It's two words, salad cream. So yes you did have salad before, 18 seconds with you Paul on communes starting now.

PM: While I was an undercover spy, I found myself disguised as Snow White, and I used to live with seven dwarfs in a commune deep in the forest. It was a magical place and every morning I used to get up, feeling Grumpy and then realise...



NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: He said "I used to" twice.

NP: He did say "I used to" twice, yes. We loved the groping Grumpy there.

PM: I didn't say anything about groping anybody! What on earth are you suggesting?

NP: Oh, feeling Grumpy which...

PM: Completely different matter, I think you'll find! Your witness!

NP: I wanted you to go on, I wondered what else you were feeling. Anyway yes he did say "used to" twice. Six seconds with you Clement on communes starting now.

CF: In a bar in Great Yarmouth, where the commune was quite close, a man came up and said "I am the..."


NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's equal with Paul Merton in the lead. Ah Clement your turn to begin, the subject is my lucky number. Tell us what your lucky, no, don't tell us, the subject is my lucky number starting now.

CF: My lucky number is 24, I was born on lucky-number, April 19-lucky-number. And I lived at lucky-number Greaton Gardens, and moved to lucky-number Sussex Place. I, I go to...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well there was a hesitation there. But also it shows a stunning lack of ambition! I live at 24, I moved to 24! There are other houses!

NP: I thought you were going to have it, repetition of I, I. But ah...

PM: Yeah I interpreted that as hesitation.

NP: As hesitation right, there are 43 seconds for you Paul on my lucky number starting now.

PM: Professional gamblers say there's no point in playing roulette because the odds are against you. But you have some kind of chance with blackjack, which is a game, I think, akin to pontoon, where cards are dealt. Clement no doubt has played this in many a casino. I'd like to know from him how well he... actually there's some kids looking through the door! Excuse me, you're not allowed to just stand there and look in, you know! This is a BBC show! What are you doing? These people have paid, these people have paid good money to see this! Come in, come in, do come in, come through! Look there we are, there they are, there's one, come on, in you come, come on in, that's it, there we are, take a seat, take a seat! And I just want to say why you should vote for me at the next coming election is because as your Liberal candidate...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation!

NP: (laughs) Yes.

CF: Nothing to do with the children coming in!

NP: The children coming in has got nothing to do with my lucky number. But I think we were going to be generous and let him get away with it...

CF: I won't let him get away with it.

NP: No, I don't think we'd better. He didn't come back to the subject quick enough after the children came in so...

LS: Nicholas, is this, is this a new form of Just A Minute...

NP: No...

LS: ... where it's called Extreme Just A Minute?


LS: Distractions are brought in throughout the evening to see how you cope!

NP: We've never had this situation before, we've never had the doors open before! We've never had people come in...

GN: No, we've never trusted an audience to stay!


NP: I think it is an almost impossible decision. So let us assume that nothing happened, and .... I mean that happened! But within the rules of Just A Minute... they're going to come in again in a minute! Oh please, either come in or stay out! Right Paul, you carry on, 13 seconds, my lucky number starting now.

PM: My lucky number is seven and seven eighths!


PM: Oh!


PM: I was distracted by that child!

NP: Right Clement, yes you got that one. So you're in on it anyway Clement. Ten seconds, my lucky number starting now.

CF: I think I have already explained what my lucky number is. So let me tell you about the lucky numbers of other members of my family, one of whom I see in the front...


NP: Well Clement Freud and Paul Merton, it's neck and neck. They're out in front together, in the lead, followed by Linda Smith and Graham Norton. And Linda your turn to begin, the subject now is turkeys. It's not unseasonal at this time of year to be talking about them. Tell us something about them in this game starting now.

LS: Turkeys are raised in great numbers in the neighbouring county of Norfolk, by a man whose name escapes me for entirely legal reasons. But I believe...


NP: Oh Paul you challenged.

PM: Bernard Matthews!


NP: Right, a bonus point to Paul, but Linda wasn't deviating, hesitating, or repeating herself. So you keep the subject Linda, you have 51 seconds, turkeys starting now.

LS: Whatever he is called, his products are boo-tiful. Especially one item I delight in which is called Dino-lips. They are mechanically recovered turkey fragments formed into the shape of dinosaur lips. They are...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Rudyard Kipling!

NP: Rudyard Kipling? Yes? Elucidate Clement.

CF: Paul, Paul got a bonus point for saying "Bernard Matthews"...

PM: Yeah.

CF: I thought I might get one for "Rudyard Kipling"!

NP: Yeah but, but the difference is, the difference is Clement, that Rudyard Kipling had got nothing to do with turkeys. As far as I know, unless she had some strange relationship with them. But Bernard Matthews had...

PM: But I mean do dinosaurs have lips?

LS: Of course they do, how would they put on lipstick if they didn't?

PM: You're right! I hadn't thought it through!

NP: Right, Clement wants his bonus point, give it to him. Linda keeps the subject, she has 35 seconds, still with you on turkeys Linda starting now.

LS: These food items are nutritious and delicious. Just one portion contains a whole course of antibiotics. I live almost exclusively on them, and haven't had a sore throat in years! I think I'll just say someone's name. George Eliot!


LS: Can I have a bonus point?

NP: Paul challenged. Paul?

PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation.

LS: Oh probably, most likely.

NP: It was a long time to say George Eliot.

LS: It probably was, wasn't it.

NP: You, you...

LS: Is there a wrong time to say the greatest English novelist? I don't think so.

NP: When you're talking about turkeys, probably yes.

LS: She loved her turkey burger, did George!

PM: Yeah she used to swear by them!

LS: Oh oh she was a bugger for them honestly! She used to get through a box a day, honestly!

PM: Yeah.

LS: When she wrote Daniel Deronda, it was turkey, turkey, turkey, all day!

NP: But there were no turkey burgers in those days...

PM: No, because she ate them all!

NP: And I'm sure they weren't in boxes either! Well said Paul, you've got the subject, you've got 19 seconds, turkeys starting now.

PM: There is of course a feeling that perhaps we shouldn’t eat birds, and we should all become vegetarian. I suppose, I mean, look at...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Some hesitation, and a repetition of suppose...

PM: Yes.

NP: There was a hesitation yes Graham. So you've got in with 12 seconds on turkeys starting now.

GN: If turkeys are so delicious, why do we eat them once a year? It seems unusual. I mean, most things you like, you go and get again. But turkeys, no, you just buy them the once a year, I'll say that again...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Ah repetition of the annual event, once a year.

GN: Ah okay!

NP: Yes.

GN: Oh yeah you're right, yes.

NP: Actually people do eat them, you can buy them now all the year round.

GN: Can you?

NP: Yes.

GN: Fascinating! Let me get a pen!

NP: Ah one second for you Paul on turkeys starting now.

PM: Bernard Matthews...


NP: So at the end of that round Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point. He's just ahead of Clement Freud, followed by Linda Smith and Graham Norton. And Paul, it's your turn to begin as well, the subject is now is clock watching. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: I spent many years working for the civil service, and I indulged in a great deal of clock watching while working for that...


NP: Right, Graham challenged.

GN: Was there a repetition of working?

NP: Yes there was, worked for the, no, you worked the first time didn't you?

PM: I worked, yeah.

GN: There wasn't!

PM: No.

GN: Thanks for answering that question.

NP: You worked the first time, and working.

CF: I spent many years working!

NP: That's what I said, yes.

GN: So he said working twice.

CF: Then he said working again.

NP: All right, so he said working again.

GN: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah, too right he repeated working!

NP: Right, 54, Graham, 54 seconds...

PM: Excuse me, is Clement making the decisions now?

GN: Yes he is!

NP: He made that decision, yes!

PM: Is he working you with his foot?

NP: It's when he works me with his hand that I begin to worry! Fifty-four seconds Graham with you, clock watching starting now.

GN: Clock watching is a great hobby. It's certainly easier than train spotting or bird watching because you don't leave the house. You can just put it on the wall, sit in a chair. It's rather like television but without the remote control, because it works itself. The little hand goes round, sometimes the big hand goes round. Then of course... oh!


NP: Paul say it so I know...

PM: Repetition of hand.

NP: Thirty-six seconds, clock watching with you Paul starting now.

PM: And as the week progressed, I'd think to myself "God, what is the time?" And I'd look up at the clock and I'd think "it's five past nine, Monday morning. This is going on for a number of hours before I get to the weekend", which was always my favourite part of the seven days, because at last I could be...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Wasn't that a hesitation?

NP: No. Definitely not.

CF: From here, it sounded like a hesitation!

LS: I thought it sounded like Paul's talking.

NP: It was, he kept going with a fluency over that. Rubbish but he was fluent! Nineteen seconds, clock watching starting now.

PM: Well Nicholas, I think you're the last person to point out when somebody's talking rubbish, if I may say so. Your chairmanship of this programme since 1967 has been an absolute ferrago. Your decisions are...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Deviation, where's the clock watching?

PM: Just A Minute!

NP: That was a very quick response from Paul there, which got him out of mischief there. So Paul, another point, half a second, no, eight seconds to go, clock watching starting now.

PM: My father used to work in a clock watching factory. And what he used to do was he would make the timepiece and then watch...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Two woulds.

NP: Yes there were two woulds, yes. And Clement you've got in with two seconds to go on clock watching starting now.

CF: More fun than cock watching...


CF: Okay! Less fun!

PM: Well deviation, it can't be more fun, can it?

CF: Yeah!

PM: What, clock watching is more fun than cock watching? Well I mean with a cock, you don't have to put it back an hour at wintertime, I suppose. Or do you? No, I don't, I don't, I can't see how clock watching can be more fun than cock watching.

NP: I suppose it depends on your attitude and your...

PM: To clocks and cocks!

NP: Yes, some people prefer cocks, some prefer clocks.

CF: And chicken and turkey.

NP: That's right you see. Maybe some people don't like to go out of doors for you have to watch, cock watching, you have to go out of doors, don't you. Clock watching, you stay indoors most of the time, don't you.

PM: Unless you specialise in watching Big Ben!

NP: Yes! That's right, I don't think he was deviating within the rules of Just A Minute.

PM: Really?

NP: Yes.

PM: Just the rules of everyday life!

NP: Half a second Clement, clock watching starting now.

CF: Tick tock...


NP: Clement was speaking as the whistle went, gained the other points as well in the round. He's creeping up on our leader Paul Merton, followed by Linda Smith and Graham Norton in that order. And Clement your turn to begin, the subject now is Picasso. Tell us something about Picasso in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: Picasso was actually named Pablo Ruiz, R-U-I-Z, and changed his name to Picasso when he became famous and started painting. I met him when he was in Velarice, running a pottery, and every afternoon he would go to the workshop. And with the back of a paintbrush, he would put a P on the rare side of every saucer, which increased the value thereof by a factor of over a hundred. He was a greedy and avaricious man. He was enormously rich and never gave anybody else any money. And was passionately interested in the British stock exchange. He held shares in many companies, one of which being IC Industries, um...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Ah I could be wrong.

NP: Well...

GN: I'll try it! I'll try it!

NP: Be bold...

GN: It's, it's brave, I think a repetition of I!

NP: Well he did say "I met him" earlier on, and now it's "IC" yes, IC Industries. So it is correct, so 12 seconds with you Graham on Picasso starting now.

GN: Picasso, genius painter, or example of care in the community? What was going on there? Was he just drunk? Do you know what I mean? And people paid him a lot of money for it. I say hurrah for the invention of the camera...


NP: So Graham Norton with other points, including one for speaking as the whistle went, has moved forward. He's equal in third place with Linda Smith, just a little way behind Clement Freud, who's a point or two behind our leader Paul Merton. And Linda your turn to begin, the subject, lighthouses. Tell us something about lighthouses in this game starting now.

LS: Lighthouses are very tall buildings, with lots of stairs, and no disabled access whatsoever. I don't think that's a very good thing. There is a beautiful lighthouse here in Southwold. I stayed in a hotel a while ago, and I could see the lighthouse light going round all the time, in the night. It was like being in the slowest discotheque in the world. Or perhaps it was God calling last orders, by flicking the light off and on. I don't know. But a lighthouse is a dreadful place to live if you've forgotten something when you go upstairs, because you've got a very long way to climb down again. So it's a very good idea to not say very quite so very many times...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Sadly, repetition of very.

NP: I know, they almost let you get away with it...

LS: Do you think so?

PM: Yes.

LS: I thought I'd got away with it.

PM: But I hadn't, I hadn't noticed until you then said "I shoudn't repeat very".

NP: I know! I know, I know! You should have gone on with that style and panache that you have Linda and you might have got away with it. But there are 17 seconds still available and lighthouses are with you Paul now, starting now.

PM: One of the lightest houses I ever lived in was 24 Albumen Terrace. I bought the house from Clement Freud. He said to me "you'll always have a wonderful time here". And I weighed it, and it came out at the most extraordinary figure. I think it was 35 kilograms, which you will agree that for something which is where you live...


NP: Well ah we're now moving unfortunately into the last round.


NP: Ah that's better because the audience we had for the first show, of course it was a long time ago now, but ah, they were, they didn't give that lovely warm groan when I made that remark. Ah so you've obviously enjoyed yourself...

PM: You're obviously hoping to get a bed for the night!

NP: So we go into the final round, with Linda Smith and Graham Norton equal in third place, a few points behind Clement Freud, who is also a few points behind our leader who is Paul Merton. But Graham it's your turn to begin and the subject is my motto. Tell us something about my motto in Just A Minute starting now.

GN: My motto is "a problem shared is gossip". And isn't that a lovely thing to live by! Yes, when at work people are boring you out of your mind with their dreary difficulties, you can be thinking mmmhmmm but I can... is that repetition? Anyway I'll keep going, ah...


NP: Graham...

GN: Damn, they heard my inner monologue!

NP: Don't draw attention to it! Keep going and they'll be generous and let you get away with it. But Linda challenged.

LS: Yes, repetition. And hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, right...

LS: So that's two points to me! Hurrah!

NP: No! Forty-two seconds Linda, one point to you, my motto starting now.

LS: My motto is "if your ears are burning, your head's on fire". It's a great role to live by in life. And I always check every morning to see if those means of hearing things are in fact alight, in an incendiary fashion in perhaps a way that might impair my ability to use them for the purpose for which they were intended. Luckily this morning that was not in fact the case with me. So that's another day I live with all my sense in tact. What a blessing that is, for which I am very grateful. And I really sincerely mean that to whoever put that situation in the place that it was for me, on this very day in this life that I am living so happily here amongst the good people of Southwold, who I have come to think of as friends. I love the way their children run in and out of the show, without any parental discipline whatsoever. They are truly...


NP: Linda we, we, we were very mean then. You were going so well that we did let you go, actually you weren't going well, but you were going! And we just let you go and you actually went for a full minute! So ah you not only get a point...

LS: Oh it seemed so short!

NP: ... for speaking when the whistle went, we'll give you two bonus points for going for the full minute because the audience loved it!

GN: Nicholas, Nicholas, I hate it, but did I do a bit of chatting at the beginning of that minute?

NP: Yes but from the moment she picked it up...

GN: Oh fair enough, fair enough!

NP: From the moment she picked it up, she went fort a full minute. So she er, which is very mean of us...

LS: Does that settle that for you Graham?

GN: Yes it does! Thank you Linda!

NP: So Graham...

GN: What?

NP: Lovely to have you back on the show!

GN: Yeah yeah, but I came fourth!

NP: But a brilliant fourth!

GN: Yeah yeah!

NP: Because it's your contribution that we love.

GN: Thanks very much.

NP: Linda, a superb third. There we are! Clement Freud, a magnificent second! And Paul Merton, out in the lead, a triumphant first, a round of applause for Paul Merton! So there's with no more time, it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Linda Smith and Clement Freud. I thank Janet Staplehurst who has helped me with the score, she's blown her whistle except for the last one which I blew. And also we thank our producer, Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created the game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here in the St Edmund's Hall. We are indebted to our lovely audience here in Southwold who have cheered us on our way magnificently. From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, and the panel, good-bye! Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!