starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, JULIAN CLARY and LIZA TARBUCK, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 20 September 2004)

NOTE: Claire Bartlett's last appearance blowing the whistle.

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 pleasure to welcome our many listeners, those who tune into Radio Four, Radio Seven, the World Service, the Internet, anywhere you receive us you are so welcome and we love playing to you. And also a huge pleasure to welcome four exciting, attractive, I'd like to say even glamorous, but anyway skilled players of the game. Who once again have come together, just for your pleasure and benefit, to show their verbal dexterity and demonstrate their humorous ingenuity as they speak on a subject that I give them, they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four exciting people are Paul Merton and Clement Freud on my right. And Julian Clary and Liza Tarbuck on my left. Please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Claire Bartlett, who is going to help me with the score, and she's going to blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Drill Hall and it's one of the hottest nights of the year. But our steaming audience here have braved the weather to come in and cheer us on our way. As we start the show with Clement Freud. Clement, loose talk, that is the subject. Tell us something about it in this game starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: I'm not very knowledgeable about technical matters. But I think talk is the force that does something to vibration. And I'm not at all sure whether a loose talk is more vibratory than a tight talk. Talking is also something which happens when you open your mouth and words come out. And many times have I heard people say he is one of the loosest talkers I have heard.


CF: You're looking at me!

NP: Julian Clary you challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Well the actual final challenge was hesitation.

NP: Yes.

JC: But it was all a bit worrying before that anyway!

NP: I know! Yes we were all four, looking at him in amazement. We were trying to decipher what he was talking about. But ah he did hesitate yes Julian. So you've got a correct challenge, you get a point for that, you take over the subject, there are 28 seconds available, loose talk starting now.

JC: Loose talk is really equated with dangerous talk in my mind. Just supposing Winston Churchill had gone down the pub on the Friday before D-Day and said (in vaguely Northern accent) "I'm going to fight them on the beaches in a couple of day's time..."


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PAUL MERTON: He wasn't from Leeds! (in strong Northern accent) I'm going to fight them on the beaches! (normal voice) What's all this? Winston Churchill never spoke like that. He didn't speak like that, did he Nicholas?

NP: Well I don't think he was a great imperso... I mean...

JC: He was incognito!

PM: Was he?

NP: He might have gone down and tried to fraternise, and make himself more available...

PM: Winston Churchill goes down the pub on a Friday night and speaks in a Northern accent!

NP: Yeah it's a bizarre thought, him going down the pub on a Friday night, so it's equally bizarre to think he put on a Northern accent in order to fraternise with the people and make them think he was one of them. So I accept the fact that it's possible he could have done such a thing if you accept the premise that he did go down to the pub on a Friday night just before D-Day! So having accepted your premise Julian, the audience agree with me, you have a point for an incorrect challenge, you have 16 seconds still, loose talk starting now.

JC: My point is simple if you can manage to grasp it! Loose talk can be very dangerous indeed. The outcome of the war could have been radically affected. I said to Liza before we started this recording "have you seen that geezer in leather trousers who has just walked through? Fancy wearing those kind of clothes..."


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And it was Julian Clary, in fact he's the only one to get any points in that round. So he's in a solo lead ahead of the other three. Liza Tarbuck will you take the next round.

LIZA TARBUCK: Certainly.

NP: Liza the subject is organic food, you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

LT: Much has been said regarding organic food. But the fact remains that food grown without chemical interference has got to be better for you. Sweeter tomatoes for one thing. They invoke a calm feeling on your insides. GM crops V organic, I know who the winner is. Last year I put 15 bags of pig manure in my back garden, spread it lovingly around much to the amusement of the neighbours. And my courgettes ran and trotted across the garden, in the sweetest...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of garden.

NP: Yes you talked about garden.

LT: I did say that twice.

NP: You did say garden, yes.

LT: Thank God, well said!

NP: I love the idea, your neighbours must have loved you when the pig manure went down, didn't they. Twenty-two seconds are available still Clement, you have a correct challenge. a point, and organic food starting now.

CF: I'm not too sure about organic food because I can't taste one from the other. Frequently people have given me brussel sprouts or beans or cabbages, and said "which of this sample do you think is organic and which not?" I've said which three times...


NP: Ah Paul, Julian challenged.

JC: Two whiches.

NP: Two whiches, which is, and which is not. So Julian you're in there with seven seconds only on organic food starting now.

JC: Prince Charles likes organic food, and from the look of him it hasn't done him much good! I don't like...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Two hims quite quickly.

NP: Two hims quite quickly, yes. Pity, you got a good laugh didn't you. Right, so and you Paul got in with only one second to go on organic food starting now.

PM: Butternut squash...


NP: So Paul Merton got the point for speaking as the whistle went, he's in second place behind Julian Clary and Julian it's your turn to begin. The subject, something close to your heart, I'm sure. Walking the dog, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

JC: I walk the dog twice a day, generally speaking in Regent's Park. I go mincing clockwise in the morning, and anti in that direction of an afternoon. Valerie is my walking companion and she meets all her chums there. There's a Jack Russell called Frank, and a pug called Maureen, a labrador, we don't know her name. She's not particularly friendly and we don't like the look in her eye. She's too highly bred. But I'm very meticulous about clearing up the mess. I take a selection of plastic bags, and as soon as she's finished, before it's even cooled off, I scoop it off the grass because I'm very public minded. Nowadays they put special bins with little flaps and you can...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: How's a dog expected to use one of these bins?

NP: No um I think, we, we did realise it was the dog's stuff that Julian had picked up that went in the bin, and not Julian and um and not the dog using the bin. And 16 seconds are available Julian on walking the dog starting now.

JC: I have a personal assistant who walks a few yards behind. And if there's a particularly messy offering from my daughter as I like to call her. She's not really a blood relation, but you know what I'm saying. Then she will do the honours. She goes home and washes her hands...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Three shes.

NP: Yes there were three shes there, yes.

JC: Three shes and three hims.

NP: Yes. And you've got in with half a second to go Paul.


NP: You're very clever at this, aren't you?


PM: I must be a severe disappointment to you.

NP: No they were just enjoying it. They felt justice wasn't done because Julian talked on the subject from the beginning to the end. You got in with half a second to go, he'll get no points at all, and you'll get one for speaking as the whistle went. That is the irony of Just A Minute so Paul, half a second, walking the dog starting now.

PM: Walking the...


NP: Oh Clement you've challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: No! Give Clement a bonus point because they enjoyed what he did. And Paul's still got a quarter of a second on walking the dog starting now.

PM: Going to the park...


NP: Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject is drilling. Can you tell us something about drilling in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: This was something that goes on in the Army. If I had been old enough, I would have been in the National Service. I suppose that stopped about 1962, I believe. And I would have been expected to march up and down on the parade ground while some Sergeant Major bellowed out orders. I was expected to follow these...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Wasn't he expected twice?

NP: Yes you were expected twice there.

PM: Was I?

NP: Yes you did expect twice. And 46 seconds, back with you Julian, drilling starting now.

JC: Drilling is an activity that men wearing no shirts do in roads, to pass the time. I happen to live in the most drilled road in London, and that's no mistake, I can tell you! Why do you think I bought the house in the first place? They drill away and they fix pipes and things and occasionally there's an explosion, and er the road floods. And then there's more men with no shirts at all...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: A lack of shirts.

NP: Shirts and men yes.

JC: And men I believe.

NP: You had two men. But there can't be too many men in Julian's life, I suppose really. Twenty-two seconds on drilling with you Clement starting now.

CF: It's what dentists used to do all the time. Open your mouth, put out your tongue and they drill. Drill...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: They don't drill your tongue!

NP: No!

PM: They do!

NP: No dentist asks you to put out your tongue.

CF: Mine does! (laughs)

NP: I would leave...

PM: Clement's does!

NP: I would leave him immediately if I were you! Your tongue, really! He can't get at your teeth if your tongue's out anyway, it's only on the bottom set. I agree with your challenge Julian, drilling's back with you, 15 seconds starting now.

JC: There was one occasion where there was drilling in the area in which I live. And I went to the foreman and I said "look, how much longer is this going to go on?" He said "we'll finish Friday but we start again on Monday at the other end." I said "this is ridiculous, drilling, drilling, drilling, constant..."


NP: Er Liza challenged.

LT: That was me, it was a complete error of drilling, drilling, drilling, wasn't it. Because that in fact is the title.

NP: Yes.

LT: I'm a fool.

NP: If he'd done two more I might have given it to you. But no, it is on the card. One second left with you Julian, drilling starting now.

JC: The asphalt...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And it was Julian Clary. Liza Tarbuck will you take the next round.

LT: Certainly.

NP: And it is coincidence. Liza tell us something about that in this game starting now.

LT: I don't believe in coincidences as I think everything happens for a reason. After er an alleged ah...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation Julian, yes. Coincidence is with you and there are 55 seconds starting now.

JC: By sheer coincidence my friend Hector and I once turned up at the same night-club, and would you believe we both went home with the same man! That's where the coincidences stopped. But it is uncanny the way nature seems to dole out these extraordinary...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation Liza yes, coincidence is back with you, 39 seconds available starting now.

LT: Er coin... ahhh! (laughs)


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Well a sort of major hesitation really.

NP: Major...

LT: You're right.

NP: Major or minor, it was a hesitation. Thirty-seven seconds Paul, coincidence starting now.

PM: When coincidences happen, they can be quite charming. And sometimes they make you think that life is more than just what we perceive on this Earth. Clement is looking at me now with love in his eyes, and who can blame him? Because me and...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Well that's irrelevant really, deviation. Clement's looking at him.

CF: It's personal!

LT: It's no coincidence.

NP: well I don't know, there could be a coincidence. No I think Paul, you have the benefit of the doubt on this occasion and you have 24 seconds on coincidence starting now.

PM: They are amazing things and they make you believe that perhaps there is an existence beyond what we perceive here. For instance I once had the most amazing coincidence where I went to a night-club and I was picked up both by Julian and his friend Hector. What an extraordinary evening it was! The three of us went up to his place and played scrabble in the nude, and drank horlicks until dawn! She was the cleaner, she turned up about half past four, and chucked us out. But I still remember those nights...


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. And he's moved forward, he's only one behind our leader Julian Clary, and they're both a few points ahead of Clement Freud and Liza Tarbuck. And Julian your turn to begin, the subject now, Julius Caesar. You've brought a lot of history into this show and last time you were here. Tell us something about this amazing man in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

JC: Julius Caesar was known for having thighs like tree trunks. And everyone in the Roman Empire said "oh you're gorgeous, Julius Caesar. W'd like you to be our leader." And he wasn't that keen but in the end, he crumbled and he approached the throne, he sat upon it. And do you know, he rather liked the feeling. He started to wave at his public, and he said "cut his head off over there! He's looking at me in a funny way!" And that's how he carried on really. He was a very primitive sort, but he had very interesting bone structure which people admired far and wide. He conquered all of Europe, mainly with his cheekbones. He had a few tattoos...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of cheekbones.

NP: Yes, his cheekbones, yes.

JC: Did I say it twice?

NP: Yes you did.

JC: Well there's one on each side.

NP: I know, I know. No you mentioned his cheekbones, and they loved his cheekbones and he conquered with his cheekbones. And I'd have given deviation for conquering with his cheekbones actually! Julius Caesar is with you Paul, 18 seconds available starting now.

PM: The salad was created specifically to commemorate his coming to Britain in the year 55 BC. And what an extraordinary event it was. He was greeted at the shore by the fellow Britons that had been standing by. And they looked at him and they said "you will be our great leader. We will..."


PM: Rock you!

NP: Julian challenged. Julian challenged.

JC: Two leaders.

NP: Yes. You will be our leader and ah, two leaders. They were two leaders, weren't there?

JC: I think so.

NP: Yes.

PM: No I only said leader once.

NP: Oh did you, right, okay.

CF: He said leader.

NP: Mmmm? He said leader before, and you only said it once.

CF: Yes.

NP: So it's an incorrect challenge, and you have three seconds on Julius Caesar, Paul starting now.

PM: As leaders go, he must...


NP: Ah...

PM: Leaders!

NP: Leaders and leader. So Clement, incorrect challenge, two seconds with you Paul, another point of course, Julius Caesar starting now.

PM: "Et tu Brutus," he cried as the knife flung...


NP: So with other points in the round and one for speaking as the whistle went, Paul Merton has leapt ahead and just gone ahead of Julian Clary and Clement Freud and Liza in that order. Paul it's back with you to start and the subject is the art of listening. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PM: I think the art of interviewing is about the art of listening. If you ask a question based on the previous answer, there is a flow towards the discourse that goes on between two people. The art of listening sometimes is just to have a very patient look on your face, and go "ah yes" every five seconds, just to indicate that you are following this narrative. And people will come...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes you did repeat people before. Clement you've got a correct challenge, 35 seconds...

CF: A correct challenge, wasn't it.

NP: The art of listening is with you starting now.

CF: The art of listening gets you very few points in Just A Minute. I just listened to Paul Merton talking about Julius Caesar, who was very keen on soothsayers, and it reminded me of a constituency garden fete...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Deviation.

NP: Why?

JC: Well he's not talking about the art of listening.

NP: Well I think he was conveying, the soothsayers, you have to listen to soothsayers.

JC: I thought he was talking about Julius Caesar, using the thoughts he'd had for the previous round in this round!

CF: But I was listening!

NP: He was listening. And no I think, no he conveyed to me, that he brought it back to Julius Caesar, soothsayers. You listen to soothsayers because they have something important to tell you. So you have to have the ability to listen. I'm with you on this one Clement, so you have 24 seconds, the art of listening starting now.

CF: The art of listening is practised by fortune tellers. I had one at a garden party in my constituency. I said this before but...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: He said this before.

NP: I know he did!

CF: It was after I was challenged.

PM: Oh no I don't think so.

CF: It was.

PM: Was it really?

CF: Mmmm. Can I just tell you about this fortune teller?

PM: Yeah go on, yeah.

CF: She sent a letter saying due to unforeseen circumstances, I will not be able to attend your garden party.

NP: Give Clement Freud a point because they enjoyed what he said. Paul gets a point because he got a correct challenge and he takes over the subject with eight seconds, the art of listening, starting now.

PM: The art of listening is to be concentrating fully on the person you are talking to, and listening to what they're saying...


NP: So Paul Merton has increased his lead, he is just ahead of Julian Clary, and then Clement Freud catching up on Julian, he's only one point behind. Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject is the gnu. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: A gnu is the singular of g-news. And I listen to the six o'clock and the one at eight and nine. I am very keen on Trevor McDonald who is in fact a knight. And I prefer him to many other g-news readers. There is also an animal, I forget exactly where it comes from in Africa. But it comes...


NP: Liza you challenged.

LT: Comes.

NP: Yes there were two comes there. And so you have 34 seconds, tell us something about the gnu starting now.

LT: It's also known as a wildebeest, or it's a sort of antelope, ox-like head with a tucked-in tail. It is found in Africa, yes and it doesn't rhyme with anything. But it's great for scrabble unless you're saving your G and N for the I that might come and increase your score later. The gnu likes nothing better than to dress up in ladies' skirts with veils on the top and possibly a floral garland to hide its bosom. Strolling liberally this way and that, searching for small grubs to num, num, ah!


LT: Oh I was nearly there!

NP: They loved it! Paul?

PM: Repetition of num.

NP: Yes! Absolutely. And you have four seconds only to tell us something...


NP: But it is the game, you know. Paul, four seconds, the gnu starting now.

PM: Flanders and Swann had a huge hit with their song about the gnu, which they first made in 19...


NP: So Paul has increased his lead, an extra point, speaking as the whistle went. And then it's Julian Clary, Clement Freud and Liza Tarbuck in that order. And Liza your turn to begin, the subject, fishing. I don't know whether you are a fisherman...

LT: Oh I am one.

NP: ... or whether you're interested in that sport. But talk about it, 60 seconds starting now.

LT: There is nothing I like better than getting up at five o'clock on a Saturday morning, grabbing a big box of lug worms and going down to the gravel pit to look in vain for a 35 pound perch. Which if you do catch it is full of slime, so you have to put him back and stick things down the throat, to get these little silver things that you put your bait on out of their gobs and move on to the next fish which could in fact be a pike. It could be a...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Two coulds.

NP: Yes.

LT: Yeah.

NP: Could be, yes.

LT: I make him right.

NP: And I was squirming then with all the disgusting things you were doing. Thirty-three seconds Julian on fishing starting now.

JC: I once sat on a riverbank and pulled out an eight pounder, much to the delight of my fellow fishermen. I threw it back in from whence it came. And then I got bored because that's what people don't know about fishing. You know I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than ever do it again. I sat there with my rod in my hand, from morning till night, and I just glazed over in the fullness of time. You're not allowed to read a book or anything, in case your line starts to twitch. Sea fishing on the other hand is a much more...


NP: So Julian Clary speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point. He's catching up on our leader Paul Merton, he's ahead of Clement Freud and Liza. And Julian it's also your turn to begin, the subject is fate. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JC: It's Prince William's fate to become King in the fullness of time. But just supposing he didn't accept his fate and he wanted to become a male stripper for example. What would the nation do? This poor boy since the day he was born has been told that this is his fate. I wouldn't accept it if I were him. I would say "I'm going to break out on my own and do my own thing". And if he gave all his money away...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of own.

NP: Yes that's true. Well done Paul, and you've got in with 25 seconds on fate starting now.

PM: Of course it is the fate of us all to be here at the end of Just A Minute to hear the final scores read out by the urbane Nicholas Parsons. That means he lives in the town! What a wonderful man he is! It is indeed our collective fate to be here when those points are announced...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: We had two hears.

NP: There were two hears. It is our fate to be here, and at the end, right. And Julian you got back in with seven seconds on fate starting now.

JC: It's Prince Harry's fate...


NP: Ah Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of Prince.

CF: Repetition of Prince.

NP: You had Prince before, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince Harry. Right, five seconds left on fate Paul starting now.

PM: I went to this chiropodist the other day because I was having this most incredible difficulty trying to...


NP: Right so Paul Merton has increased his lead at the end of that round, with an extra point for speaking as the whistle went. Let me give you the final situation as we move into the final round. Liza Tarbuck at the moment is trailing just a little in fourth place, but she gives great value. Clement Freud is sin second place behind Julian Clary and he's a few points behind our leader who is still Paul Merton.


NP: And Clement has challenged. You challenged Clement?

CF: Yes, could I be in third place, if there are two people in front of me?

NP: You are in third place, there are two people in front of you, that's right. Paul would you take the next round, it is, the subject is mug. Tell us something about mug in this game starting now.

PM: Mug can be a colloquialism for face. If we didn't have faces how would we recognise each other. We'd wander around, there'd be a bit of flesh just in front of our heads, and we wouldn't be able to see whether there is someone that we had known before, or perhaps a completely different individual. Mug is also something you can do when you rob people. Physical violence in the street. You go up to them and say "I want your wallet, trousers and everything else in between." They hand this over to you, and you have in effect mugged them. Another...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: What happens if you have your wallet in your trousers?

NP: Well if you've got the trousers, they've got the wallet as well.

PM: Yeah.

NP: I thought that was the reason to get the trousers, to get the wallet.

CF: And everything in between them!

PM: Yeah.

CF: Was what I was worrying about!

NP: Well you're worried about it, I don't think it makes much difference to the show. Paul has 33 seconds on mug starting now.

PM: Also it's a vessel for drinking liquid out of. You can go down to the pub and say "I want my favourite mug hanging over the bar". And when you ask the barman, he will pour beer into this mug, and you will knock it back. And you will be able to say "that is my personalised mug". And people...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: I do challenge because I would have thought it should be stated that mug was a, an old word. Because if you went and did that now, they wouldn't put it in a mug, would they?

NP: Well they do put it in a mug. It's a tankard really, isn't it.

LT: But then you'd say tankard.

NP: I know, but ah, some people might refer to it...

LT: I don't actually want the subject. However...

NP: I'll tell you what we'll do. Paul's got a commanding lead...

LT: Yes.

NP: And 17 seconds to go, I'm sure you don't mind if Liza finishes, right. So I think she... Paul's always very generous in this game. And we'd love to hear from you on mug Liza, 17 seconds starting now.

LT: Right now, I feel...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation I'm afraid.

NP: No hesitation at all. You've got another point Liza and you've got 16 seconds starting now.

LT: On my forehead is one word. It is mug. I jump into...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

LT: Yeah.

NP: I don't think so. No, let her go on... I think she was intimidated so...

LT: You're quite right.

NP: Ten seconds on mug Liza starting now.

LT: My favourite mug at home is a wide brimmed one that I like to have coffee in. On the side it says "love". This I can sip out of with, oh I'm talking rubbish, I really am...

NP: I know!


NP: Liza's rubbish kept her going until the whistle went, gained that extra point. And I'll give you the final score. She now therefore finished up with those points she got with my help...

LT: First!

NP: ... in a very respectable fourth place. No, no, it was a very strong, very strong fourth place. Very strong fourth place. And she was just two points behind Clement Freud who was in a very very commanding third place. And he was um three or four points behind Julian who was in an excellent second place. But out in the lead with really, far more points than has ever been scored in one round, in one session, I should say, of Just A Minute, was Paul Merton, so Paul once again you are the winner! It only remains for me to say thank you to these four intrepid players of the game, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Liza Tarbuck and Clement Freud. I thank Claire Bartlett, who has helped me with the score, she has blown her whistle with such delicacy. Also we thank our producer, Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here in the Drill Hall. From them, from me Nicholas Parsons and the team, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!