NOTE: Elaine Stritch's only appearance, although clips of her are heard on the 1992 compilation, Silver Minutes.


ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud, Barry Cryer and Elaine Stritch 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 to Just A Minute. And this week we have two of our regulars, Kenneth Williams and Clement Freud. We welcome back a guest who has appeared a number of times on the show, Barry Cryer. But we also are delighted to welcome a guest who has not played before, she's had the courage to come and bit her, pit her wits and talent against these three intrepid players of the game, it's that lovely actress Elaine Stritch. And as usual, I am going to ask them in turn if they can speak on a subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Barry the subject is kangaroo pie. Will you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

BARRY CRYER: Kangaroo pie is an Antipodean delicacy, particularly favoured in the outback. First you catch your kangaroo, saving Clement's presence which I am doing for Christmas. The creature should then be placed in a large bucket immersed in a judicious mixture of Australian...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: Deviation, you couldn't possibly get a kangaroo into a bucket! I've never heard such rubbish in my life! Absolute rubbish!

CLEMENT FREUD: He did say a large bucket.

KW: He said the creature should be placed, how can you place a creature in a bucket?

NP: Especially if you try to do it before killing it!

KW: Oh! He has deviated! He's deviated!

NP: Which he hasn't killed his kangaroo yet, it's still alive!

KW: He's still shouting malfeasance!

NP: So Kenneth I agree with your challenge, there are 41 seconds for kangaroo pie with you starting now.

KW: Yes, well you get this, any importer will supply it to you. Somebody's making an awful lot of rustling noises out there. Please...


NP: Barry Cryer's challenged.

BC: Deviation, rustling! (laughs)

NP: Rustling, rustling noise has got nothing to do with kangaroo pie. So Barry you have 34 seconds on kangaroo pie starting now.

BC: The...


NP: Ah Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

BC: Oh!

KW: Hear hear! Hear hear!

NP: Clement you have 33 seconds on kangaroo pie starting now.

CF: Putting a live...


NP: Barry Cryer's challenged.

BC: Repetition of hesitation.

NP: Considering he hasn't started yet he couldn't...

ELAINE STRITCH: (laughs) Oh this is insane!

NP: It's a mad game, isn't it Elaine.

ES: Yes it is.

NP: Yeah. Clement you have 32 seconds on kangaroo pie starting now.

CF: Putting a live kangaroo pie into a large bucket is probably the most humane way of making kangaroo pie. Otherwise produced by catching the beast, skinning it, taking off the bones, cutting the meat into small squares, and marinating them, usually overnight in a judicious mixture of malfeasance, herbs, oil, lemon, vinegar and monosodiumglutomate...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: Deviation, malfeasance can't be part of a recipe!

BC: My mother said it could!

KW: It can't be part of a recipe, a judicious mixture of malfeasance? I mean, it's rubbish!

NP: Yes it is...

BC: My mother used to male malfeasance pudding...

KW: These people have come a long way, they want to see something decent! They don't want to sit there and have their intelligence insulted with a recipe consisting of malfeasance.

NP: Kenneth, Kenneth, I agree you can't but...

BC: We wait for Saturday night for malfeasance pudding. That's what my mother used to make!

NP: Right...

BC: That was a treat!

NP: Right...

KW: You've got malfeasance on the brain, you have!

NP: There are eight seconds for you to take over the subject of kangaroo pie Kenneth starting now.

KW: This would be made most deliciously of course by none other than Elaine Stritch, because she...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: I don't accept that!

ELAINE STRITCH: You don't accept it!

CF: Elaine Stritch is a conservationist of a high order and wouldn't kill kangaroos to make pie.

NP: She might make a pie if someone else killed the kangaroo. We don't know. Would you?

ES: Well I don't know what to do in this game! I've never been so terrified in my whole life! They taught me how to play the game or thought they did, and now I have to say whether I would be in a kangaroo pie? Or have anything to do with making it? I would not! If that's going to clear this game up!

NP: I don't think anything will ever clear this game up!

ES: Well it has nothing to do with loving animals. I don't want to eat a kangaroo!

NP: But Elaine...

ES: I'd much rather see Barnum! I mean this is ridiculous! When is it my turn?

NP: We give Elaine a bonus point for her contribution to the show and another point for having let me off the hook on my next decision which is that Clement Freud was correct. And er, he er, who challenged who? It's such a long time ago. Oh yes you said...

CF: I challenged him.

NP: That's right. So you go on for another second Clement on kangaroo pie starting now.

CF: You can get it in tins in Melbourne!


NP: So at the end of that round Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went. And he's gained the extra point. He's gone one ahead of Barry Cryer, he's two ahead of Kenneth Williams, who's equal with Elaine Stritch who hasn't scored any points, but she has been given two by the chairman. And sorry Elaine, it's not your turn to speak yet. But um... yes Clement goes next.

ES: All right.

NP: But Clement...

ES: I just feel a little inhibited about interrupting somebody before I've made a complete ass out of myself.

NP: I wouldn't be, the rest of them are not inhibited, the audience aren't even inhibited.

ES: Okay.

NP: Nobody's inhibited in Just A Minute.

KW: Thank goodness they haven't got any buttons!

NP: In future it's going to be called the Mal... (laughs)... no...

KW: Hurry up! Say something! Don't just sit there!

NP: I had a little malfeasance in my throat, I was clearing it!

KW: Oh I beg your pardon!

NP: Clement the subject is what makes me fall about laughing, there are 60 seconds starting now.

CF: One hardly needs 60 seconds to describe what makes me falling about laughing. Because in a word...


NP: Barry Cryer challenged.

BC: "What makes me falling about laughing"?

NP: Yes. You're going to go on grammar again, are you?

ES: Grammar again!

BC: A slender thread!

NP: It also wasn't the subject on the card. So I think you've got a very good point there Barry. And there are 53 seconds on what makes me fall about laughing starting now.

BC: Tommy Cooper makes me fall about laughing with his fez, his feet, his face, his...


NP: Kenneth Williams.

KW: Three...

BC: Three "his"s.

NP: Three "his"s. Yes.

BC: Quite right! Quite right!

NP: So Kenneth you have the subject with 46 seconds left, what makes me fall about laughing starting now.

KW: It is unquestionably Frankie Howerd. I remember him talking about going down to Chequers. And he said (in Frankie Howerd voice) "I was trying to get in there to see MacMillan you know, it's a lovely spread he's got there, beautiful place, goes with the job, of course! And he wouldn't come out, I was shouting through the letterbox, but he never appeared!" (normal voice) And I thought it conjured up a most wonderful picture of...


NP: Elaine Stritch, you challenged.

ES: I can't hear you!


ES: Or understand you, Kenneth! I really can't! And I think it is a cheek! I meant to say something about Kenneth. He has a wonderful gimmick on this show.

NP: Oh yes!

ES: Well you see he makes one word into a three act play! And, and I think it's the greatest gimmick! And you can't challenge him on it. But that I just take, I really, I don't mean to be unkind or anything but I just couldn't hear...

NP: Oh don't worry, don't be inhibited! Everybody is on this show!

ES: I'll get, I'll get used to it if I'm asked back!

NP: He did repeat the word there which is...

ES: Oh that has nothing to do with it!


NP: It has everything to do with it!

KW: You can't help her! You can't help her!

NP: No, you can't help her! She's so noble isn't she!

KW: I know, so truthful, it's the truth...

ES: (Imitating Kenneth's nasal voice) Now nye doing nyeh nyeh nyan! (Normal voice) And I couldn't understand him and I don't think that's fair!

NP: Elaine he did repeat the word there three times.

ES: Well yeah of course! That we all know!

NP: So therefore you have a correct challenge and you get a point for that...

ES: What are we talking about?

NP: I'm going to tell you in a moment! You have 26 seconds to try and talk on the subject of what makes me fall about laughing starting now.

ES: Well I'm going to agree with Barry Cryer. I don't think I can ever remember in all the times that I've lived in America or in this country, of ever laughing at a comedian like Tommy Cooper. One night I was sitting alone in my ah, room at the hotel and I was watching a television show. And I think one of the strangest things in the world is to laugh when you're all alone, out loud. I think it really is a er example of really thinking something is funny. So I'm watching Tommy Cooper and he said "I was sitting in a dentist's office the other day" and he said "I was reading a magazine and the dentist, the dentist told, the dentist told me that, ah, the secretary of the dentist... Nobody's challenging me!



ES: I almost challenged myself! I said... I couldn't believe it!

NP: I know! People have been known to do that and get points for it actually! But Elaine you kept going magnificently for about an hour and a half and, and you fully deserved the point for...

ES: Well anyway I gotta tell you what Tommy Cooper said!

BC: Yeah!

NP: Oh yes!

ES: He said "hah!" and all that business!


ES: And he said "I was sitting in a dentist's office the other day, hahahah!" And then he said "I had to wait two hours, hahahah!" And then there was a long pause and then he said "isn't that terrible about the Titanic?" And I don't know, that takes a lot of explanation. But have you ever read the magazines in a dentist's office? They're old! But anyway I... that's what makes me fall about laughing, as opposed to this show!

NP: Yes! Elaine you get a point for speaking when the whistle should have been blown by Ian Messiter...

ES: Yes, but I won?

NP: You also get a point for sportingness.

ES: Right.

NP: For being such a great sport which the audience showed their appreciation. And you are now... you might be surprised to hear that you are now in the lead! Alongside Barry Cryer and Clement Freud. And Kenneth Williams isn't far behind which is a dangerous position for him to be! Oh Elaine it's your turn to begin, and the...

ES: Oh it's my turn? Now I'm going to get boring! I can feel it!

NP: Elaine the subject is keeping my figure and you have 60 seconds starting now.

ES: I think keeping your figure is very important, both...


NP: Clement Freud Has challenged.

CF: It's keeping my figure, not...

NP: It doesn't matter, she can still say "keeping your figure" and go on the subject. She doesn't have to say "keeping my figure", start off with the words on the card...

CF: Direct deviation of the subject!

BC: You cad!

NP: You can't be so ungenerous and ungallant!

CF: We were very...

ES: I got two laughs and you're mad at me!


NP: You got more than two Elaine! And you've got another point for an incorrect challenge. It's so mean, you'd only been going for two seconds. You have 58 seconds to continue on keeping my figure starting now.

ES: Is I think the most important thing in the world. Not only for a man, I mean, a woman like myself, but for, for men. When I was growing up, I think it was one of the most important things in the world to me, to be thin. I was almost to the point of anorexia, because I wanted to be an actress, and I thought that all actresses had to be very very thin. Because someone told me once that when you went on the screen, you put on 10 pounds automatically whether you weighed more, more than that or whether you didn't. And so when I, don't do this to me again because I'm telling to... if I don't play one shot at this, oh, I don't want to deviate either! I want to stay right on the subject! And when I really found out the absolute causes for putting on weight, they really began to bore me as I got older. Because I used to be a very er extreme human being in every thing that I did. And when I liked something, I would eat too much of it. And when I liked something to drink, oh I'm repeating myself all over the place! But it's a terribly interesting point and I don't care!


NP: Well Ian Messiter did blow the whistle then at the end of 60 seconds, it's an amazing long time to talk, isn't it when you

ES: It is! But now really be honest with me! I did, I repeated myself, didn't I?

NP: You did, yes.

KW: The only, the only, I would complain that you're not decipherable, you can't be heard properly! You've got to be like me, you speak very plainly, you see and annunciate! You've got to annunciate! That's what you've got to remember!

ES: Ken, but listen! Kenneth!

BC: Tell him! Tell him!

ES: I don't want to go home and have this show broadcast and say "how was I?" and somebody will say "well they were very nice to you". I mean that really isn't going to cut well with me, so I want to be treated just like the rest...

NP: I think...

ES: ... of the gang! Right!

NP: Actually I can tell you something Elaine. They've actually treated you rather toughly because that's a mean way to treat you what they've done...

ES: Right!

NP: They only do that to people that they not only love, but people that they know are good at the game....

KW: We did it to Barbara Castle!

ES: Well all the time I thought it was because I was attractive Nicholas! And I'm going to keep that thought and go home with it! So the hell with all of you!

NP: That actually goes, goes without saying Elaine! I didn't think I had to mention it.

ES: Oh Nicholas!

KW: You sycophantic! Look at him!

ES: Come on, let's go, I want to challenge somebody!

NP: Yes...

ES: I won that point too?

NP: You won that point, but I want to say something in case you weren't aware of it. You can repeat the subject and the words on the card if you wish...

ES: Oh then maybe I did it well?

NP: You did it very well...

ES: Okay.

NP: ... because you didn't repeat them either.

ES: Right.

NP: So Elaine, at the end of that round you have increased your lead, you're now well ahead of Barry Cryer and Clement Freud, and infinitely well ahead of Kenneth Williams. And Kenneth it's your turn to begin and the subject Ian Messiter's brought along for you now is Quetzalcoatl. Would you talk on that subject for 60 seconds starting now.

KW: Quetzalcoatl is of course an Aztec deity. And the lovely thing about it is that the modern Quetzal takes its name from it, because of it's lovely plumage...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Two lovelies.

NP: Yes I'm afraid so. So Clement you have a point and the subject, and you have Quetzalcoatl starting now.

CF: Quetzalcoatl is not a subject which I would have chosen given a totally free choice. It is one of the few words...


NP: Ah Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: The subject is Quetzalcoatl, not what he would have chosen for a subject.

NP: Yes Kenneth but he was establishing...

KW: No, no, we don't want a load of rubbish like that! Come on! Play the game properly! He was deviating horribly!

NP: I am doing my best...

KW: He's supposed to be talking about Quetzalcoatl!

NP: That's what he was talking about...

KW: He wasn't. He said...

NP: He said he wouldn't have chosen that subject, and that is the subject on the card.

KW: Well it's the subject! You're supposed to discuss it, you great fool! I haven't come all the way from Great Portland Street to be made a fool of! To be made a fool of!

BC: Anybody got a volume control?

KW: Yes they have said to me, yes! You're quite right!

NP: Clement you continue for 43 seconds on Quetzalcoatl starting now.

CF: Like Equeequee and Albuquerque in New Mexico, it is a word that only has the opening letter appearing once, whereas in the other two as you will have noticed, the 19th letter of the alphabet happens on more frequent occasions. If you go to Brazil... (long pause)



NP: Ken yes?

KW: Well he, hesitation I thought.

NP: Hesitation, he came to a full stop! Yes!

CF: I wanted Kenneth to...

NP: He suddenly realised when he said Brazil instead of Mexico. So you have the subject back of Quetzalcoatl, 21 seconds starting now.

KW: Well of course it was the great ornithologist, Ludwig Koch, who chanced to see the Quetzal in all its great exotic splendour...


KW: ... and they said "you have to for sit seven hours in the rain forest". And he said "I'm not going to go wet for a load of bleeding birds!" (laughs loudly)



KW: Oh dear, he had to sit there with his umbrella!

NP: Clement Freud challenged you there.

KW: Oh yeah?

CF: It was repetition.

NP: Yes. Of what?

CF: Ha! Ha ha ha ha!

ES: (crying with laughter) Oh God!

NP: Oh dear me! Clement you have a correct challenge and two and a half seconds on Quetzalcoatl starting now.

CF: One of the great problems about tourists in Mexico looking for the Quetzal...


NP: Well at the end of that round, Clement Freud got a number of points including one for speaking as the whistle went, and he's now gone one point ahead of Elaine Stritch.

BC: Nicholas...

NP: The laughter is because of the by-play that's going on between Kenneth Williams and Clement Freud at the moment.

KW: I'm not doing anything of the kind! I'm blowing a kiss to the producer!

NP: Well I think you should keep your private life off the show! Barry you want to say something?

KW: I want to come back next time, you see.

BC: I just wanted if there any points for spotting that Ludwig Koch was mentioned two weeks running!

NP: Yes but you see, the thing is this audience weren’t here...

BC: That's why I'm telling them!

NP: It was many weeks, it was many weeks ago when Ludwig Koch came into it...

BC: I think this audience should be told that Ludwig Koch has been...

KW: No, you're mixing it up...

NP: I should explain to this audience that Kenneth Williams in another programme which went out many weeks ago mentioned about Ludwig Koch sitting in the rain jungle...


NP: And Ian Messiter's blown his police whistle and arrested me, so we'll get on with the show. Um where are we? It's Barry Cryer's turn to begin, the subject is dice. Barry will you tell us something about that in the game, 60 seconds starting now.

BC: Dice of course is a plural word, die the singular. The great game of chance known in the occasionally United States of America as craps. Casting the... die...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: No I don't think so. He did repeat the word die, but you didn't spot that one. So there are 44 seconds for Barry to continue with dice starting now.

BC: Casting the die has nothing to do...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of die.

NP: Yes!

BC: I would agree there, I would agree there!

NP: Yes so Clement you have the subject, 42 seconds, dice starting now.

CF: Dice is the airport serving Aberdeen. And as such one of the great growth areas of Scotland. If you get to Dice, it's only nine miles into the granite city which now bounds...


NP: Ah Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Two cities. He said "the city of Aberdeen" and then he said "city" again.

NP: That's right. He did Kenneth and you listened well and 29 seconds left for you to take over the subject of dice starting now.

KW: "I say, this dice ain't nice!" Said a very fat lady at a party to which I was invited. They were throwing it for this game which was called, as I remember, no, now it fails me. But I do...


NP: Barry Cryer challenged.

BC: It failed him! And you can't throw a dice.

NP: Well he was deviating, wasn't he...

KW: Rubbish! Rubbish!

BC: You can't throw a dice!

KW: I was at this party where this woman said "this dice ain't nice"! That's how I always remembered it. And it was a game and I was going on to say about how they played the game and all the rest of it. Oh no, there was no deviation...

NP: I think there was so...

KW: ... I was positively glowing, and the audience were all agog with interest!

NP: Well Barry...

BC: Agog?

NP: In spite of the gog...

KW: They were very titular, that's why they keep falling forward you see.

NP: Barry I agree with your challenge, you have the subject, there are 11 seconds on dice starting now.

BC: One remembers Sky Masterson in Guys And...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: He says "one remembers Sky Masterson". I don't remember Sky Masterson at all! In fact as far as I'm concerned, he needn't have bothered to existed!

BC: I said "one remembers". Are you one?

KW: Well one assumes...



NP: Elaine's been...

KW: You shouldn't be laughing! That's rude!

NP: Elaine what did you want to say?

ES: Nothing, I just got nervous!

NP: Barry I agree with your challenge...

BC: I meant "one" in the sense of I! That's all!

NP: Yes you have seven seconds on dice starting now.

BC: Singing Luck Be A Lady Tonight, accompanied by the chorus, the stage swirling with figures, colours and the wonderful...


NP: Well it's turning out to be a close and interesting contest. Kenneth Williams is trailing a little behind Elaine Stritch who is one point behind Barry Cryer, who has now leaped forward to be only one point behind our leader who is still Clement Freud. And he begins the next round, the subject is the most important thing in my life. Will you tell us something about that Clement, in the game starting now.

CF: This is really very boring, because the most important thing in my life is my family. And nobody wants to hear about my family...


CF: I could say "my family" several times.

NP: Elaine Stritch challenged.

ES: I do!

NP: Repetition of family, well done Elaine!

ES: Yes!


NP: And you have 53 seconds on the most important thing in my life starting now.

ES: I think the most important thing in my life is the fact that I am sitting here and doing this show and...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Hogwash!

ES: Well I hadn't made my point yet!

NP: So what is your challenge?

CF: Let her continue!

NP: Well she gets a point...

ES: He challenged me, like I challenged him. Because I don't think his family is boring, and he doesn't think that this is the most important thing in my life.

CF: That's right.

ES: But he didn't let me finish my point.

NP: No, no, he could have had you for hesitation, but he didn't. So you get a point for an incorrect challenge...

ES: Okay.

NP: Because you weren't deviating and there are 45 seconds on the most important thing in my life Elaine, starting now.

ES: Because I just can't begin to tell you how many things are wrong in my life. But I also, er... in a great, great, a great hurry, that there are things in my life that I am so thankful for. And the most important thing in my life which I understand I can repeat over annnnnnnnnnnd... So I'm going to repeat it again. The most important thing in my life is that I'm sitting here, doing this show and I am healthy and feel marvellous! That is what I think we all should think about over and over and over and over...



NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I wanted her to feel like, like a contestant! Repetition.

ES: You're contesting over?

CF: Repetition of over.

NP: Over and over.

CF: Over...

ES: Well go on, tell us about your family!


KW: (still laughing) Nobody's ever played this game like her!

NP: I know!

CF: Well I'm very glad you asked! Now to begin with, there's my wife, whose name is Jill, who is an actress. And we have five children called Nicola, Ashley, Dominic, Emma and Matthew. Two grandchildren called Tom and Jack. A budgerigar, a hedgehog. (long five second pause)



NP: He was correct when he said nobody wanted to hear about his family! Because nobody buzzed him when he stopped! Actually he, the 60 seconds was up just as he did pause. So he does get a point for speaking as the whistle went. And I have to tell you that unfortunately we've come to the end of this hilarious show.


NP: Oh are you sad about that?

ES: Awwwww!

NP: You could stay all night. Well it's been great fun, hasn't it, and it's been lovely having such an unusual and original performer as Elaine Stritch! Because her contribution was...

BC: Hear hear!


ES: Thank you very much! Thank you Nicholas! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


NP: Elaine your contribution has been... yes? Elaine you've challenged, what was your challenge?

ES: I've repeated myself!

NP: Let me give you the final score. Kenneth Williams who sometimes wins and tries very hard to win, but always gives great value, unfortunately finished in fourth place. And...

BC: I've lost my title!

NP: Barry Cryer, Barry Cryer, who was with us a number of weeks ago, and er got a lot of practice from that, almost won. But he did finish up one point behind Elaine Stritch, who was in second place, not having played the game before. But she was two points behind this week's winner who is Clement Freud! Well we do hope you've enjoyed listening to this programme as much as our audience appear to have enjoyed it in the studio. And certainly as much as we've enjoyed playing it. And ah we hope that you will want to tune in again at the same time next week, we'll take to the air, we'll play Just A Minute, and who knows what will happen. Tune in, find out. 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.