NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners, not only in this country, but throughout the world. And also to welcome the four exciting, individual and talented players of the game. It's a great pleasure to welcome back that multitalented, clever, original comedian, Paul Merton. And beside him is a the person who has played this game more often than any others, he's shown skill, expertise and ingenuity over many years, the ever resourceful Clement Freud. And seated on my left there is another fine comedian, great humorous talent who has excelled in this show many times, that's Tony Hawks. And beside him we have someone who has not played the game quite so often but he's shown great skill and talent when he has done so, so it's a pleasure to have Charles Collingwood with us. And will you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject that I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst, she is going to run the stopwatch for me, she is going to blow a whistle when 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Everyman Theatre, a beautiful little theatre in the heart of that great spa resort of Cheltenham. And we have a wonderful Gloucestershire audience in front of us, with one or two scatterings from further afield, who have come to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show with Paul Merton. Paul, the subject to start with is how to spot a lady. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Well it's quite easy to spot a lady as opposed to gentlemen. Ladies tend to be the ones wearing prettier clothes, I think, and lovely hats and tall shoes as they walk up and down Cheltenham High Street looking for work! And I think that sometimes when you see a beautiful woman walking towards you...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of walking.

NP: Yes.

PM: Oh yes yes.

NP: There was two walkings, yes.

PM: Quite right, that's quite right.

NP: Yeah Clement...

PM: Very good challenge!

NP: Yes, and Clement with a correct challenge, you get a point for that, and you take over the subject of how to spot a lady and there are 44 seconds available starting now.

CF: If you want to really spot a lady, beetroot soup, oxtail stew and spaghetti Bolognese are wonderful means, by which, with a teaspoon, you can splutter all over their dresses, gowns, hats, shoes, socks.


NP: Paul challenged.

CF: That's enough from me.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah. I would agree with that, that's hesitation yes. And Clement was saying you had a very good challenge too, so you're working very well together now.

PM: Mmmm.

NP: And er...

PM: I like to think so!

NP: Yes, you have the subject back, you have 26 seconds and you start now.

PM: The three card trick has been used over centuries to gull people into giving up their money. If you walk down Oxford Street you will find practitioners of this particular skill, asking people to come up, and saying "go on, which one is it..."


NP: Charles has challenged.

CHARLES COLLINGWOOD: That's not true. I walk down Oxford Street a lot. I haven't seen the three card trick played. On trains, yes, but never in Oxford Street. I'm sorry, that's deviation.

NP: Well Charles, we cannot be sure it's never done in Oxford Street. There might be somebody who is at this present moment working it in Oxford Street.

PM: Yes.

NP: So though it's a good challenge...

PM: My mother!

CC: Oh I retract! I'm terribly...

PM: Every Sunday she's there!

CC: I'm so sorry, Paul!

NP: It is perfectly possible that somebody could be doing it in Oxford Street. So I have to say that's an incorrect challenge...

CC: Fair enough.

NP: Paul gets a point for an incorrect challenge, he keeps the subject, 13 seconds available, how to spot a lady starting now.

PM: If one were to breed dalmatians for a living, perhaps do it professionally, then you must know that a...


NP: Tony challenged.

TONY HAWKS: Well actually I've er, I've forgotten what my challenge is already!

NP: You just wanted to be, let them know you were here!

PM: Is that a bit of a handicap in this game?

TH: It is! I thought, I thought I had a sort of brilliant one, and then as I was forming it, I thought it was rubbish!

NP: And so that's all you have to say?

TH: He did, he did say... I'm digging a hole for myself because I know it's rubbish! So I'll, so I'll just withdraw it instead.

PM: Okay.

NP: Well it's good to hear from you Tony...

TH: Thank you! I'm hoping to make better contributions later!

NP: I thought you were letting the listeners know that you were actually in the programme...

PM: Yeah.

NP: ... which I could understand...

TH: Well I managed to do that.

NP: But your, your negligent challenge has given Paul another point, and he has seven seconds still on how to spot a lady starting now.

PM: Acne is a terrible affliction which affects both sexes, whether you be a man, or indeed a female of the species...


NP: Whoever is speaking in this game when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton and with other points in that round, he has naturally got a strong lead. Ah as we go into the next round, and we'd like Charles Collingwood to take it. Charles the subject here is fashion. You're a fairly sartorial character but would you like to talk on that subject, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CC: We live in the world of spin these days, and nothing is spun more than the world of fashion.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well it's a bit harsh, but repetition of world.

NP: Yes.

PM: World of spin, world of fashion.

CC: Oh yes. No, that's quite right, yes. Do you know, I made such an effort not to say spin twice! I said spin and spun, and I went, clever old me!

NP: That's what happens.

TH: Yes.

NP: You see, they have been playing the game a bit more often than you Charles.

CC: They have...

NP: They listen to themselves...

CC: They're younger than me as well!

TH: I tell you, Paul, Paul's on fire tonight!

CC: Let's put him out!

TH: Okay!

NP: And when you booed Paul then for his challenge, I have to remind you, those are the rules!

TH: What, you have to boo Paul?

PM: Yes!

NP: No, no, no...

PM: It's a new rule!

NP: The rules are that you challenge if he repeats something. And he repeated something which was the world, and ah, well of course, world. And Paul you have a correct challenge, you have a point, you have fashion, you have 54 seconds starting now.

PM: As you can tell I've never really been particularly a follower of fashion. Although it was a very favourite song of the Kinks, which was released in 1965, I believe, written by Ray Davis. I have never been the kind of...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: Repetition of never.

NP: Yes there were two nevers.

PM: Yes yes.


NP: Well Charles, with one effort you've already won the whole sympathy of this audience. Or the sympathy of the whole audience maybe. So you have a correct challenge Charles, you have the subject, you have 43 seconds and you have fashion starting now.

CC: If you open those glossy magazines, and look at those designs that are made for our young ladies of today, how on earth are they going to get into them, and go shopping? Or take their shoes off? Or go on the bus? They are ridiculous! And you know full well, they're pinned up at the back as well. They don't even fit those young persons! So it's quite ridiculous...


NP: Um Clement challenged.

CF: We've had rather a lot of youngs and theys.

NP: Yes. That's right.

CF: I thought we'd let a few go.

CC: That's all right.

NP: They let you go for a bit to give you a fair crack of the whip...

CC: Very kind of you!

NP: Clement waited and came in with a correct challenge. Twenty-four seconds, fashion is with you Clement, starting now.

CF: Bespoke is a word I am very fond of. You have a suit made for you specifically, or shoes or socks or a handkerchief...


NP: Ah Tony challenged.

TH: Well, four ors quite close to each other.

NP: Yes! One you might let go...

TH: Yes...

NP: ... but four...

TH: No, no! Four's too many!

NP: Fifteen seconds are still available to hear from you Tony on fashion starting now.

TH: As everyone in this audience can see for themselves, I am quite the most fashionable figure you could wish to come across. In my beautiful khaki outfit, I've been planning for months! Most of the people that come on this show don't give it a moment's thought. But not me, I'm Mister...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went, and he gained that extra point. And he's now equal with Charles Collingwood and Clement Freud, who are just behind Paul Merton who is still in the lead. And I think for the sake of our listeners I should say that I think the whole of this panel and everybody is reasonably well dressed. You're not the only one who's got er well cut clothes on.

TH: Well...

NP: In fact I would say yours are not up to the standard of some of the others! Anyway let's get on with the show. Tony would you like to take the next round, and it is second thoughts. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

TH: A lot of listeners at home will be disappointed to learn that we record this show some way in advance. And I have to admit I had second thoughts when I accepted this job because as I speak at the moment, Greece and Portugal are doing battle on a football pitch somewhere in the world. And...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Lisbon!

NP: Clement Freud showing off his incredible knowledge...

TH: That's, that's all well and good, but what I want to know is what the score is!

NP: They haven't started yet!

TH: Oh okay.

NP: So don't get the audience agitated.

TH: Sorry.

NP: No, don't say that. Anyway Clement, because your interruption there, the audience enjoyed it, what I will do is, I do on these occasions, I give you a bonus point for an amusing interruption. But Tony was interrupted, he gets a point for that, he continues with the subject, 41 seconds available, second thoughts starting now.

TH: Generally, second thoughts happen just after first thoughts, and immediately preceding third thoughts. Fourth, fifth, sixth may follow, depending on how much thinking you are doing that day. I would imagine most people have second thoughts when they've made some sort of reckless decision where they've agreed perhaps to marry someone that they don't even like, or to do something ridiculous like turn up on a show where you need verbal dexterity and you have no capability for that. Like me of course, and can I just point out how fashionably I'm dressed! Nicholas, on the other hand, should have second thoughts before he wore that jacket! But he went through with it like a fool, thinking he was...


NP: So Tony Hawks started with the subject, and despite of an interruption, continued till the 60 seconds was up. He got his point for the interruption, he got a point for speaking as the whistle went. He's now equal with Paul Merton in the lead, followed by Clement Freud and Charles Collingwood. And Clement your turn to begin, the subject, cheese rolling.


NP: Oh obviously we have an audience of cheese rollers! It's a very topical subject, but Clement, tell us something about it in this game starting now.

CF: If I had to choose between sausage rolling, cheese rolling, and corned beef sandwich rolling, I think cheese rolling is absolutely my first choice. No second thoughts would come up at all. The important thing about cheese rolling is to make sure that cottage cheese is not used as it tends to stick and not facilitate the descent of the cheese. In Gloucestershire, in fact in Cheltenham, not very far from here, cheese rolling is an afternoon's...


NP: Charles Collingwood challenged.

CC: He said in Cheltenham, not very far from here.

CF: Mmmm!

PM: It couldn't be much nearer!

CC: No, we're in... and I know he's going to say not very far, there was a "in Cheltenham... not very far from here". But as an actor I felt it sounded like "in Cheltenham, not very far from here". Total rubbish, I felt personally! And that is what, I'm sorry Clement, don't look at me like that! He makes you ever so nervous when he does that!

NP: Yes he can do that.

CC: Oh he can!

NP: He can bluff you out of things. But no, I do think that he was trying to convey the fact that though we're in Cheltenham now, this takes place not very far from Cheltenham. And though it may not have been the sort of usual grammatical phraseology, I think he was conveying what we all know, it's not very far from Cheltenham that it takes place. So Clement you have the benefit of the doubt on this occasion, you keep the subject...


PM: Excuse me! It's got nothing to do with you!

NP: I know...

PM: It's got nothing to do with them, has it Nicholas?

NP: They're a very partisan audience, and as you notice, they keep changing their allegiance.

PM: They do!

NP: So they're utterly fickle as well! And they're just mad about cheese rolling so it says something for them, doesn't it. I wondered why their faces...

CC: May I get a bonus point for such a clever interruption?

NP: No, it wasn't all that clever Charles.

CC: Oh!

PM: (laughs) I wouldn't draw attention to it, if I were you!

NP: Clement you carry on with another point, 30 seconds, cheese rolling starting now.

CF: I have a film of Gloucester cheese rolling, and I've said Gloucestershire before, so it wasn';t...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah well he said... repetition of Gloucestershire.

NP: That's right! In other words, in this game you can struggle out of a situation, and dive straight in again with the other side. So Tony a correct challenge, cheese rolling is now with you and 25 seconds available starting now.

TH: I have tried to popularise cheese rolling in central London, and it won't happen! First of all, it's important to get a round cheese, square bits of cheddar don't roll properly. Generally though, there's no enthusiasm in that capital city for this. Perhaps you need to be Gloucester folk, with not much else to do, to enthusiate yourself down the hill...


TH: I appreciate that this is not making me a popular figure here this evening but...


NP: No, you may have lost some friends with that remark, Tony, but you kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point, and you've taken the lead, two ahead of Paul Merton and Clement Freud, and then Charles Collingwood. And Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject now is my favourite planet. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

PM: My favourite planet without any doubt is X-B-1-10, it's in the northern arm of Beetlejuice. And it's an extraordinary place. The buildings are made out of cheese, and the cheeses are made out of...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Cheese and cheeses.

NP: What is your challenge?

PM: Cheese and cheeses.

CF: Singular and plural.

PM: Yes.

CF: I got caught!

PM: Yes.

NP: You got caught, yes. They do that sometimes, trip each other up. But it was an incorrect challenge, 51 seconds, still with you on my favourite planet Paul starting now.

PM: On second thoughts, I think Neptune is much better. Because when you go there, it's a wonderful atmosphere. It's quite warm, but there's not many people and you get a deck chair to yourself... (starts to laugh)


NP: Charles you challenged.

CC: I think it was hesitation.

NP: It was hesitation Charles. So you have my favourite planet and you have 43 seconds starting now.

CC: My favourite planet is Mars, written by Gustav Holst, who I believe was born in this fine town here many years ago. I like all the planets quite frankly. And I want to visit one one day although I realise that I'm already residing on a planet as happens now. But in the time to...


NP: Paul challenged. You challenged?

PM: Residing on the planet as happens now?

CC: That is the way we speak on my planet!

PM: Yes!

NP: Well what I do there, Paul gets a point for a correct challenge as it was deviation from Grammatical English as we understand it. But Charles we give you a bonus point for your comeback...

CC: For acting?

NP: No, not for acting because all your hands were nearly hitting the microphone. And Paul you have the subject, 22 seconds, my favourite planet starting now.

PM: The planet Earth, isn't it beautiful? The blue ball spinning in space. Where we call home. Charles unfortunately is a visitor, but we welcome him to our bosom, because we say to the aliens that live on other aspects of the galaxy, "come to us, we have plenty..."


NP: Paul, Clement challenged.

CF: That was five wes.

NP: Yes. Oh! It was, I don't know if it was five, I wasn't counting, but ah...

CF: Sorry!

NP: Right, we have...

CF: I take it back.

NP: No, no, no, don't take it back. Because we had the ors against you, oh dear me, that sounds bad, doesn't it.

PM: And we've got the wes against me!

NP: Yes, um so Clement, five um seconds, my favourite planet starting now.

CF: Of all the planets I've visited, Earth is actually my favourite...


NP: So at the end of that round, Clement Freud got the whistle, speaking as the whistle went. It's an interesting situation. Clement Freud, Tony Hawks and Paul Merton are all equal in the lead, and Charles Collingwood is only two points behind. And Charles it's your turn to begin, the subject, I don't know why it's been chosen for you, we'll discover soon I'm sure. Changing nappies, tell us something about that in this game starting now.

CC: It's many years ago since my little daughter was a tiny baby. How I remember throwing away the pooey one, and then lying the infant down on a cloth, all warm and powdered, as I wrapped this folded towelling square round her little shape, and very carefully with a sharp pin, so as not to prick this virgin skin, I pushed it through as she gurgled in my face. Warm, I put her panties...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Um two warm.

NP: We've had warm before.

CC: Too warm?

PM: Two warms, we've had too many warms.

NP: Yes yes, for those listeners who like visual images, Charles was doing that with his eyes shut! So whether it was the memory...

CC: Memories yes!

CF: The smell!

NP: As long as you don't do your other radio show with your eyes shut!

CC: No...

NP: You couldn't read the words anyway...

CC: Pity you do yours with your eyes shut!

NP: I don't know what that meant Charles!

CC: No, I don't...

NP: A good attempt but it didn't quite come off. Right...

PM: I don't think we should start picking on jokes that don't work! We'll, we'll be here forever!

NP: I think we get some fun out of the fact that they don't work. So 30 seconds, changing nappies is with you Paul starting now.

PM: So I went back to the supermarket and I said "excuse me, these nappies I bought yesterday, they seem to be made of asbestos". They said "ah well, it's a cut-price cheap kind of nappy." I said "well that's no good to me, I want to change..."


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Two I saids.

NP: Two I saids. Yes, he did indeed, right. Tony, changing nappies is over to you, 19 seconds available, starting now.

TH: I'm terrible at changing nappies...


PM: Well give it to somebody who knows what they're talking about then! I'm terrible at changing nappies?

NP: If you...

PM: He interrupted me, he interrupted me to tell us he's no good at changing nappies!

NP: If you've got asbestos nappies, I don't know that you know much about it either!

PM: That's why I took them back!

NP: Right, what we do there, is the audience enjoyed Paul's interruption so we give him a bonus point for the interruption. Tony gets a point because he was interrupted and he has 17 seconds to continue on changing nappies starting now.

TH: Sometimes I'll wear them for days before I think of putting a new one on. Weeks pass in some cases. But I generally get someone to come in and do it, a nanny or suchlike. And they do a good job. I lie down, much in the way that Charles Collingwood...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of I.

NP: Oh!


PM: I wear nappies, I lie down.

NP: Well let's, let's watch this in future. We've had all the ors and now we've had the wes and now we've had the Is. So, but it was correct so Paul, two seconds, you've got in with two seconds to go. And you've got changing nappies starting now.

PM: Towelling is the most important thing. First of all you put it round the baby...


NP: So Paul Merton with other points in the round, including the one for speaking as the whistle went, has edged slightly into the lead, ahead of the others. And Clement your turn to begin, the subject, cobblers. Will you tell us something about cobblers in this game starting now.

CF: Northampton Football Club are known as the Cobblers, mainly because in the city from which the footballers take their name, they produce shoes, boots in great quantities. In Cheltenham where we now are, the team is called the Robins. I'm not at all sure why, other than that robins...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of robins.

NP: Yes it's cobblers on the card. So we got off on the robins...

PM: It sounded like cobblers to me!

NP: Yes, 39 seconds Tony, cobblers with you starting now.

TH: You could argue I could speak on any subject and then claim that it was cobblers. No-one could get me for deviation. Swimming, that's fun, isn't it. And the windows outside my house are a little bit grubby...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: The win... well I know the subject is cobblers, but he has got windows outside his house? Are they not part of the house?

TH: Cobblers!

PM: You can't...

NP: It's going to be a difficult thing because he maintained he's talking cobblers!

TH: This is the one...

PM: It's taking the concept of double glazing a bit far, isn't it!

TH: This is the one round where you can't get me for that one. Any other round you can, but it is cobblers to have them outside.

NP: No...

PM: It's deviation!

NP: I think it's an almost impossible decision because this, there's truth in your argument. But on the other hand...

TH: I established it! I spent, I spent good seconds establishing the premise.

NP: That you're going to talk cobblers?

TH: Yes!

NP: I've given Paul the benefit of the doubt last time, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on this occasion. Carry on with your cobblers, 24 seconds starting now.

TH: Shoes would be difficult... oh I can't be arsed!


NP: Charles yes?

CC: Well hesitation and a repetition of shoes.

NP: No, he hadn't said shoes before.

CC: Oh, oh you can, oh I see, that's good! Boy you can see how quick I am, can't you!

NP: You can repeat what somebody else has said in the round, as long as you haven't said it.

CC: Oh right, oh I might win next time! Oh okay right cobblers!

NP: Charles you've got cobblers and you have 22 seconds starting now.

CC: The windows outside my house overlook a cobbled street where there are no...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes...

PM: I'll accept the benefit of the doubt!

CC: What?

PM: Mine...

NP: No, but he wasn't establishing that he was talking cobblers so on this occasion your challenge would have been correct anyway.

PM: Ah yes.

CC: Hesitation?

NP: No, no, but he's got you on two scores.

CC: Has he?

NP: Yes.

CC: Have you never heard of a dramatic pause?

NP: As performers, we've all heard and we've all indulged in dramatic pauses but they are not going to work on Just A Minute. It's one game where you can't use them. Seventeen seconds Paul, cobblers starting now.

PM: I've got Clement Freud's first country and western album at home, and what a treat it is! When you put on that record, and you listen to the first track, I'm Just...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of first.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Yes.

NP: I've got Clement Freud's first track, and he listened to the first. Right. Clement you've got in with 10 seconds on cobblers starting now.

CF: My second country and western album was a terrific success. It was bought everywhere in towns, villages, hamlets and cities, and...


NP: Ah and at the end of that round, Clement Freud got the point for speaking as the whistle went, has moved forward. He's equal now with Paul Merton in the lead. And I mention this now slowly because we're going into the final round, for those interested in points. Paul it's your turn to begin, and the subject is one way systems. There are one or two of those in Cheltenham, I can tell you. But will you talk on it starting now.

PM: I've just been round the one way system in Cheltenham. And it strikes me as a beautiful thing because it actually helps you to get to where you want to be, which is where I am now. In the middle of the place that I just mentioned earlier, which of course I can't mention. But there's lots of...


NP: Ah! Oh that's the fun and frustration of this game. And Tony you spotted it.

TH: Yes repetition.

NP: Of mention yes. One way systems is with you Tony, and 49 seconds available starting now.

TH: I've always wondered what Brands Hatch was in before they put the one way system in. Must have been complete chaos with Schumacher...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: That was um hesitation.

NP: No don't you tell me, it's my job!

CC: Mister Parsons, OBE...

NP: No no, you don't need to patronise now. Ah 39 seconds for you Charles, tell us something about one way systems starting now.

CC: One way systems make one get so much older quicker than you'd like to be. I can't think of anything I'd rather do less than drive round a one way system. However when you are lost, people are incredibly kind. They wave and give you directions, saying "the Everyman Theatre's just round there". Is it hell!


NP: Tony.

TH: Not in Edinburgh, they don't!

NP: Ah, very nice challenge, a nice interruption.

TH: Stylish!

NP: But I think, I think we, we give Tony a bonus point because we enjoyed his interruption. He's got that. And you get a point because you were interrupted. And you have Charles, 18 seconds, one way systems starting now.

CC: But all of the sudden, I saw a person who said "I..."


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we have repetition of person.

CC: No.

NP: He said person before. People who, no, it was people before.

PM: People! It was people yes.

NP: It was people before, people yes. Charles, you see I do listen to every word that's spoken, and Charles, at this rate, you could actually win, you never know. You still have the subject, one way systems, 16 seconds starting now.

CC: Just under the subway will not get you to where you want to go at all...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: I want him to have another point!

NP: So you had an incorrect challenge, you've got another point Charles. And you have 12 seconds on one way systems starting now.

CC: It must have been many years ago when they introduced the subject of one way systems to some of our major towns. I suppose it's because the traffic when going in two directions was rather difficult to manipulate and...


NP: So Charles Collingwood was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, and with a number of points in that round, he has leapt forward. But he didn't quite make it! He's actually finished in second place. And he was three points behind our winners, which is extremely fair, given the tremendous value they all give. Because all with 13 points, are Paul Merton, Tony Hawks and Clement Freud. All equal! It's never happened before! Our winners! What a fair result in a game that is played for fun and not for points. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Tony Hawks and Charles Collingwood. I also thank Janet Staplehurst, who has helped me with the score, she's blown her whistle so well when the 60 seconds was up. And we are grateful to our lovely producer, Claire Jones. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this delightful game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here in the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, who have cheered us on our way. From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, and the team, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!