NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, 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 those who receive us via Radio Four, Radio Seven, the World Service, the Internet, or wherever they're tuned in. And also to welcome to the programme four exciting, experienced, intrepid and delightful players of the game. And once again they've come together to show their skill and expertise, their wit and rapport and have fun as we play this amazing game and they try and speak without hesitation, repetition or deviation for Just A Minute or even less. And those four people are, sitting on my right, Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And seated on my left Tony Hawks and Charles Collingwood. Will you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst, who is going to run the stopwatch for me, and blow the whistle when 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Everyman Theatre, which is in that delightful spa town of Cheltenham. And we have a lovely Cheltenham audience here, ready to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show with Clement Freud. And the subject Clement is how to recognise a spy. There's almost a topical reference there. But Clement, take the subject, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: You look for dandruff.


CF: I think that's all.

NP: No wait a minute, Tony you challenged.

TONY HAWKS: Well I think he hesitated because he'd stopped, frankly, hadn't he! He'd completed his entire knowledge on the subject and he thought that's enough.

NP: That's his complete knowledge of spies. So Tony it was a hesitation. We've never had a hesitation so rapidly before. Fifty-seven seconds are still available, you tell us something about how to recognise a spy starting now.

TH: If they greet you by saying the geese fly south in the winter from the Cheltenhams Crasles...


NP: Charles challenged.

CHARLES COLLINGWOOD: (in imitation of TH) Cheltenham Crasles? Hesitation. Hesitation.

PAUL MERTON: Well to be fair, Russian is probably their first language! Russian!

NP: Yes we interpret that as hesitation too, Charles. So as I should have said before, whoever gains the subject gains a point for doing so, and you have 50 seconds Charles on how to recognise a spy starting now.

CC: There are some very famous spy cartoon prints which are recognised because they normally are of foot, footballers...


NP: Tony.

CC: Yes?

TH: Well I think he went into another language then!

NP: I think so.

TH: I think hesitation.

NP: Tony, 42 seconds are still available, you tell us something about how to recognise a spy starting now.

TH: If you've recognised a spy once before by meeting them at a party, the next occasion on which you meet them should be much easier. Unless of course they're wearing a brilliant disguise such as a big moustache, glasses, one of those plastic nosey things attached to it, or any number of methods of this. I would recognise a spy myself by them looking at me with binoculars, through an opposing house, looking into...


TH: Hello?

PM: Ah repetition of looking.

NP: Ah yes he was, two lookings. So that's repetition. You have a point for a correct challenge Paul, and you take over how to recognise a spy, 14 seconds available starting now.

PM: I should imagine it's quite difficult to recognise a spy. Because by dint of their profession, they shouldn't be able to be easily recognised. I suppose if there was a man...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: He supposed before.

NP: Oh yes! Two supposes. So we're going to hear from everybody on this round as Clement got a point for a correct challenge, takes over the subject, five seconds to go starting now.

CF: Look into their sponge bags and see what sort of shampoo they have, it is a...


NP: In Just A Minute whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Clement Freud, he's now equal with Tony Hawks in the lead, and they're one point ahead of Charles Collingwood and Paul Merton. And Tony it's your turn to begin so will you take the next round. The subject is freebies. Tell us something about freebies in this game starting now.

TH: It's one of the huge ironies of life that the greater your success, the more freebies you seem to be given. People in rock bands make millions of pounds and then companies come along and say we'll give your sneakers free, if you wear them on stage. Don't pay for that guitar, here's one. And then the rest of us, the poor little people left at the bottom, do we get any freebies when we go into a supermarket? Yes, a tiny little bit of horrible orange juice they give us, as we're walking past which we don't...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: Several gives there.

NP: Yes. Yes there were. There were several gives so they were repetition. So Charles, you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that, you take over the subject which is freebies, there are 32 seconds available starting now.

CC: As an impoverished actor, I spend my life trolling round trying to find places that will give me freebies. Because life is hard enough when you have to pay for things. So if some charity will just give me something for...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of give.

CC: You said it!

NP: You said it before.

CC: I said it before?

NP: Yes, give. Yes you were surprised you said it, weren't you.

CC: We're all give, Tony and I.

NP: Yes you're giving, you're sitting together and you're both of a giving nature. There are 20 seconds still available for you Tony on freebies starting now.

TH: Oh for a gift that you might receive from somebody for which you didn't have to pay. This is obviously a freebie, you get terrible things at functions...


NP: Um...

CF: I'm sorry.

NP: Yes?

CF: Finger slipped.

NP: Finger slipped. Well I'm sorry if we have a Freudian slip in the middle of the show. I mean what we have to do if someone's interrupted, they get a point for that. So Tony you have another point, you have freebies and you have 11 seconds starting now.

TH: I sat down at a function once, and the freebie was a sundial emblazoned with the company's name across it. As if I've got a use for that?


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I don't know, first of all he's moaning he doesn't got any freebies. And then when somebody presents him with a beautiful sundial, he says he doesn't want it. I mean this is just deviation, what's the matter with him? I don't get any freebies! I wish I got freebies!

NP: So you're saying it's deviation because he said he didn't get any freebies...

PM: Yes exactly!

NP: And now he said he has got a freebie.

PM: Exactly!

NP: All right, deviation Paul, we're going to hear and you got in with one second to go.

PM: Mmmm.

NP: Yes that hasn't won you many friends in the audience. One second on freebies Paul starting now.

PM: It's a plastic disc and you throw it...


NP: So at the end of that round, Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He's one behind Tony Hawks, and they're just ahead of Clement Freud and Charles Collingwood. Charles it's your turn to begin, the subject is whistle blowing. Can you tell us something about whistle blowing in this game starting now.

CC: On the whole I'm not remotely interested in whistle blowing. Except when I play Just A Minute, when my eye moves along to Janet, who I know that at the end of 60 seconds will be blowing her whistle. And the longer I can continue to talk without my three fellow panellists, of whom I am so fond, I can possibly win a round after all. Because I am ah argh tyah!


NP: I don't know what that was Charles! It wasn't just hesitation.

CC: No...

NP: It was a sort of complete glottal stop...

CC: Could you...

NP: ... of air and water and everything...

CC: Could you pass me my tablets, Nicholas?

NP: You need them, but you were going, you had them actually spellbound for a moment. It was such a dramatic performance.

CC: Oh!

NP: And I should explain to our listeners, he does put huge drama into his performance. He acts out everything. He was looking at Janet, and feeling every emotion as he did so. But anyway it was a hesitation Paul and you have the subject and you have 34 seconds for whistle blowing starting now.

PM: What would the FA Cup final be like without the referee blowing his whistle in the middle of it all? A bit of a shambles I should imagine. If you take your mind back to this year's event, I think it was Manchester United playing somebody else, I really can't remember at this stage exactly who it was, but I'm sure it will come back to me in time. Now the official...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: I don't think it will!


PM: Millwall! It came back to me!

NP: So what we do there is we all enjoyed Clement's interruption but it wasn't a legitimate challenge. So he gets a bonus point for that, I think we should give you a bonus point for your Millwall.

PM: Mmmm!

NP: And also a point for being interrupted, 18 seconds on whistle blowing starting now.

PM: When I was a child, trying to blow a whistle, in other words, being able to make a whistling sound with your mouth was something I really wanted to do. But I was never any good at it. There was one kid in my school who was particularly superb. And he could create the most wonderful noise just by pursing his lips together...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And he's taken a strong lead ahead of the other three. And also Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject is other people's children. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: Well I'm looking at an audience that consists of other people's children. Oh hang on, I tell a lie, row four, you're mine, aren't you? There was a time when I wanted to have children. But now perhaps, as I get older, I think that maybe it's passed me by. Other people's children are a delight, but they do go home! And that's a wonderful thing. But at the end of the day when they've smeared jam all over the television set, and they've made a general mess, you can say good-bye, and off they go to their respective houses. I think other people's children, they're the people I went to school with actually, they are tremendously good fun providing you can limit...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of good.

NP: Ah yes.

PM: Are you sure Nicholas?

NP: Yes.

TH: Yes.

NP: Absolutely true. You do this to me all the, there's always the one occasion you say to me "are you sure Nicholas?" Yes...

PM: And then your eyes glaze over and you haven't got a clue!

NP: You said about being a very good idea to send them home.

TH: Yes.

PM: Ah!

NP: And then you said good there.

PM: Ah!

TH: Oh he's hot, he's on fire!

NP: So I am listening all the time.

PM: Yes.

NP: Concentrating like stink! Twenty-eight seconds, Tony, for you on other people's children starting now.

TH: The world is full of other people's children, and in many ways this is why it is in the state it's in. Because people view it like this. Instead of saying we are one family who can live together in peace, like we do in this theatre tonight. The love in this place is unbelievable. I cannot, I'm moved in fact by the...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well there's no love up on stage. I don't know where he's heading for! There's no love! Is this your idea of love? Interrupting each other? Challenging people? That's not love, that's competition!

TH: I, I always challenge in a loving way!

NP: So what is your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

CC: Can you get your hand off my knee?

PM: I don't think the whole theatre is full of love.

NP: Well no, but he was giving one of those sort of religious things that he is known for, and he suddenly thought...

PM: No, Nicholas, you're mixing him up with the Archbishop of Canterbury! Definitely mixing him up there!

NP: I think he thought it was Sunday night service actually! He was doing and he was suddenly taken over and his clerical collar came out and he was, and the fact that he was with a Parsons as well I suppose made him feel that...


NP: ... this was a religious event. But no, I think he's entitled to express those thoughts on this subject. So Paul, they enjoyed what you said, so you get a bonus point. You were interrupted Tony, you get another point. You have other people's children still and five seconds starting now.

TH: Other people's children, they come round your house, they're sick on the floor, they turn the television up, no-one disciplines them...


NP: So Tony Hawks was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's moved forward, he's one behind our leader Paul Merton, and he's three or four ahead of Clement Freud and Charles Collingwood. And Clement your turn to begin, a nice topical subject for Cheltenham, the Gold Cup. Tell us something about the Gold Cup starting now.

CF: There are gold cups in horse racing in Ayr, Chester, ah, York...


NP: Yes?

CC: I think er is a hesitation. Unless he was saying Ayr, of course, in Scotland, where there is racing...

NP: No, no, no, he was saying er yes...

CC: Oh good.

NP: He was doing one of his listings but unfortunately on this occasion, he didn't get the full list out before he erred. So your challenge is correct and you have 54 seconds, you tell us something about the Gold Cup Charles starting now.

CC: The middle of March is one of the most exciting times of the year for me, when the Gold Cup builds up. I look at the list of horses feeling this is my chance, to make a fortune. And on this occasion last year at the Gold Cup, I didn't, because the damn thing fell. But I hold no bitterness towards horse racing in this lovely town of yours, except it's cost me millions, and I don't see why every year, you should...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: Why was he betting in lira?


CC: There's a bonus point coming!

TH: No, I want to, we know, we know what this man does for a living. He works for the BBC! How is he betting millions?

NP: I think he was using it, sort of, er, colloquially that phrase.

TH: Okay...

NP: We often say about millions when we often mean a few pounds. And he, he was in full...

TH: You're not in banking, are you?

NP: People...

PM: Can I buy your house?


NP: No I occasionally, I do on this show give the benefit of the doubt.

TH: Yes.

NP: And I think speaking colloquially we do use that phrase millions when we don't mean it, a modest amount...

TH: I think you're right to give the benefit of the doubt Nicholas. And may I say what a fine job you're doing generally!

NP: You're searching for another bonus point!

TH: I may need it later!

NP: So the benefit of the doubt goes to Charles Collingwood, on this occasion, and he was stopped in full flood, it was such an utterly dramatic performance, it was almost over the top. But the Gold Cup is back with you Charles and 27 seconds available starting now.

CC: Actually every year my wife and I go and stay with some friends who have a large plasma television screen, and the line through to the local bookmaker. We have champagne and canapés and...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: The BBC are paying him way too much! Plasma screens and the lines...

CC: That was my friends! This is friends!

NP: Tony he did establish it was his friend's house.

PM: Yeah.

TH: Oh yes.

NP: He's got some rich friends obviously.

TH: Fair enough.

NP: Right but Tony, the audience enjoyed your interruption, so give Tony a point which he's been searching for for ages! So you've got a bonus point, Charles has got another point for being interrupted, 16 seconds, the Gold Cup, Charles starting now.

CC: We abide with these people because my wife and I can't afford...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of wife.

NP: Your wife came into it earlier on.

CC: She did.

PM: She did.

CC: She comes into a lot of things in my life!

PM: That's handy!

NP: Well I'm very pleased to hear it Charles. Paul a correct challenge, 12 seconds, the Gold Cup starting now.

PM: I won a prize at school when I was 12 years old, and it was a beautiful solid gold cup.


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Liar!

PM: Shall I go and get it?

NP: We don't know whether you did or not, but you said it and I'm sure in Just A Minute you can say what you like. But they did enjoy what Clement said, so give Clement the bonus point, Paul was interrupted, he might have been exaggerating, he might have been in his childish imagination, it might have been real gold. Who are we to put it out of his mind, dissuade him from his lovely thoughts. Seven seconds, Paul, the Gold Cup starting now.

PM: The headmaster presented it to me and he said "remember in years to come, when you're sitting next to Clement Freud, tell him he's wrong..."


NP: I think in a child's fantasy world, it was gold. But Paul, you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point...

PM: Why, why is it so unbelievable that I might have won a prize at school?

NP: No, no, I didn't, I'm sure you won many prizes at school. I could not believe that any school would give gold cups!

PM: No, I made it up!

NP: I know!

TH: Solid, solid ones at that!

PM: Solid gold, that's what he told me!

NP: Solid gold, that's what he told you, yes. That's right. And you, you as an innocent seven-year-old believed him.

PM: I did yes.

NP: That's right, you did, so lovely world of fantasy in which you took us. But Clement still got his point, and you got a point for speaking as the whistle went, you've taken the lead ahead of Tony Hawks, Charles Collingwood and Clement Freud in that order. And Tony Hawks your turn to begin, the subject is feedback. Tell us something about feedback in this game starting now.

TH: Take yourself back to the 60s, you're in the hottest group around. You're recording your new single, Day Tripper. George Harrison, your guitarist gets...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of you're, we had three.

NP: Yes, you're, you're, too many you'res there.


TH: No, I, I, I did a lot in a row.

NP: Those are the rules, audience! That's the way we play the game, he was listening very carefully. Clement you're in with 51 seconds to go, the subject is feedback starting now.

CF: When you go to Cheltenham, the feedback you get is about the Gold Cup. Quite especially Best Mate who won it this year for the second time. But also Arkle and the great...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: Hesitation.

NP: That was a hesitation yes, and 40 seconds Charles, tell us something about feedback starting now.

CC: Feedback is a Radio Four programme that is on every week, where people can write in and criticise the shows they've been listening to. Let us all pray they don't do that for this programme tonight...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of programme.

CC: Absolutely right.

NP: Programme, yes, yes right. And 29 seconds with you Clement on feedback starting now.

CF: Gold Miller, I seem to remember was probably the most famous dual winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Deviation.

NP: Why?

TH: Absolutely nothing to do with feedback.

NP: Um he tried to establish previously that he had the feedback about the Gold Cup. But he didn't re-establish it. So that is deviation so...

CF: It would have been repetition, if I had established it!

NP: Give him another bonus point, we liked that one! Twenty-one seconds for you Tony, with a point, feedback starting now.

TH: And from the amp the noise came back. This whizzing, whirring feedback. And George Martin being...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of George. George Harrison.

NP: George Harrison before. Right ah 14 seconds Paul, with you on feedback starting now.

PM: Jimmy Hendrix became known in the 1960s as perhaps the arch exponent of feedback guitar. And it was something that was perhaps discovered...


PM: Oh no!

NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Two perhapses.

NP: Yes two perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. So Clement you're in...

PM: I keep doing that!

NP: I know! I suppose you keep doing it, perhaps.

PM: It's a new thing I've started doing, isn't it.

NP: That's right.

CF: Mmmmm.

NP: So six seconds available Clement, feedback starting now.

CF: The feedback I got from the football was...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Deviation.

NP: Why?

PM: He's not talking about the Cheltenham Gold Cup!

NP: And you were waiting for it. Give Paul a bonus point, we enjoyed the interruption. But Clement gets a point because he was interrupted. Three seconds for you Clement still, feedback starting now.

CF: Six-nil is the sort of feedback I got from...


NP: So Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. He got many other points in that round and he's leapt forward. He's just three behind Paul Merton, he's one ahead of Tony Hawks, and four ahead of Charles Collingwood. And Clement it's your turn to begin, and the subject now, strip poker. Tell us something about strip poker in this game starting now.

CF: I was invited to play strip poker at Cheltenham Ladies College. And I said "please could you just remind me of the rules, is a flush better than a pair?" And there was a very long pause before anyone could tell me that actually a straight, a strip straight was...


NP: Oh Tony what was that?

TH: Repetition of straight.

CF: Yes.

NP: Yes he did repeat straight. It was a pity because they were really enjoying that. He really set their imaginations flying Clement. But Tony you got a correct challenge, you've got strip poker and you have 39 seconds starting now.

TH: Strip poker is a much better game to play when your guests are Jennifer Aniston, J-Lo, Christine Aguillera, rather than Nicholas Parsons or the Archbishop of Canterbury! Although quite why those two would be round having dinner at your house, is another matter. But I like to play strip poker as it adds a certain amount of excitement to the evening. Poker played in an ordinary manner, just for cash, not enough going on there. Let's see if you're really prepared to get stuck in and get your kit off. That...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of get. Get stuck in.

NP: Yes, repetition of get, get stuck in, get your kit off. Ah Paul you've got in with 11 seconds, tell us something about strip poker starting now.

PM: I think perhaps the appeal of strip poker is the idea that...


PM: ... you just take your clothes off in a random way. It doesn't matter who is sitting next to you because...


NP: This is the reason why sometimes people say this programme should be on television. Because as Paul was speaking then, that huge reaction from the audience was as he started to strip. And they enjoyed seeing his hairy chest.

TH: Yeah I wanted it on repetition of nipples.

NP: Fortunately he only had 11 seconds. Otherwise if he'd had the whole minute, we might have got right down to something quite nasty! So Paul you were speaking as the whistle went and got that extra point for doing so. You've increased your lead as we go into the final round. And Tony your turn to begin, the subject is texting. Can you tell us something about texting in Just A Minute starting now.

TH: This is something which goes on an extraordinary amount now, particularly outside schools. Kids with these mobile phones texting each other, that wouldn't have happened 25 years ago, largely because those kind of things weren't kicking around so they couldn't...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Did I?

NP: Yes.

CC: No! No he didn't. I think you'll find, I think you'll find he was speaking!

NP: I have a number of little lights in front of me, and whose ever buzzer is pressed...

PM: One of them's a life support machine!

NP: Tony's light came on...

TH: Yeah.

NP:... so Tony I've got to take your challenge. What was it?

TH: Well I was going to challenge myself for deviation. But I've realised I wasn't deviating at all!

NP: So you haven't got a good challenge?

TH: Well er, that... hang on, I think I lose out either way here, don't I?

NP: So I can't give you a point for a correct challenge? I can't even give you a point for being... I can give you a point, I can't give you a point for being interrupted...

TH: Can you, can you give me a point for psychically pressing my buzzer?

NP: No, I think what I shall have to do is...

CC: Can you give me a point for buzzing? For buzzing because he repeated kind. I mean it was just playing the game, simply darling...

NP: Charles, Charles, contain yourself!

CC: I'm terribly emotional!

NP: Really, don't get so passionate! This isn't The Archers!

TH: Nicholas?

NP: Yes?

TH: I've got a challenge now.

NP: What?

TH: Repetition of kind.

NP: Right. And that's what Charles spotted. He pressed his buzzer, but your light came on. You hadn't got a legitimate challenge. So I'm going to be very generous and say Charles, you have 46 seconds, texting starting now.

CC: You press your little machine on A or B or C...


NP: And er...

CC: Oh!

NP: Clement challenged.

CC: Or or or.

NP: Clement, or.

CF: Yes.

NP: Forty-two seconds, texting with you starting now.

CF: I would be very good at texting, if I had a mobile telephone. In the absence of this, I do semaphore, which is really quite hard...



NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Ah, hesitation.

NP: Yes it was hesitation. Give him a bonus point because they did enjoy that huge laugh he had. But Paul you have a correct challenge, you have texting and there are 32 seconds starting now.

PM: Rather like Sir Clement next to me, I too don't have a mobile phone. I haven't owned one now for several years. In fact I don't think I have ever purchased one of those instruments...


PM: No I have actually.

NP: Tony you challenged first. Hesitation.

TH: Yes I think that was a hesitation.

NP: Twenty-one seconds, texting starting now.

TH: Imagine a world where we didn't have mobile phones...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I don't have to imagine it, that's the world I live in! I don't, I don't have a mobile phone.

NP: No but...

PM: But he has said mobile phones before.

NP: Texting is the subject, 17 seconds starting now.

PM: I remember when I studied my History A-level, a you, oh!


NP: Tony yes.

TH: Sort of a yeurgh blah, we'll call that...

NP: Call that hesitation.

TH: We'll interpret that as hesitation.

PM: Yep.

NP: Tony you had a correct challenge, 13 seconds, texting starting now.

TH: There's been a magnificent innovation lately, predictive texting. Where, using your digits you tap in what you think might be a word, the computer inside the instrument recognises what it thinks you are going to say...


NP: Charles has challenged.

CC: There were two whats.

NP: There were two whats, yes.

TH: That's the power in the phone.

PM: Yeah, won't work otherwise.

Th: Won't work.

PM: Won't work. You're quite right, he is right.

NP: And Charles, you are listening well because you've got in with half a second to go on texting starting now.

CC: Whenever I can...


NP: Well I'm afraid that's all we've got time for in this delightful game. It's all incredibly close, they've all got so many points. Tony Hawks who has won on many occasions before, only just came in fourth place. But he was only one point behind Clement Freud, who was only one point behind Charles Collingwood. But three or four points out ahead of them was Paul Merton, so we say Paul you are the winner this week! And so it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful, humorous and clever players of the game, Paul Merton, Tony Hawks, Charles Collingwood and Clement Freud. I also thank Janet Staplehurst, who has helped me with the score, and she's blown her whistle with great aplomb when the 60 seconds were up. We thank our producer, Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are very grateful to our lovely audience here in the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, in this lovely spa town, who have had a wonderful time, they've come here. From them, from me Nicholas Parsons, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!