NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners, not only in this country but throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme four talented, exciting, and experienced players of the game. It's always a pleasure to welcome back that multitalented comedian, Paul Merton. And sitting beside him is the multi-skilled player of this game, Clement Freud. And sitting on my left there's that lovely, clever comedienne Jenny Eclair. And sitting beside her is one of Ireland's greatest gifts to the recent comedy circuit in our country, that is Dara O'Briain. And I'd like you to welcome all four of them! And as usual I'm going to ask them to speak on a subject that I give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And sitting beside me is Janet Staplehurst, she is going to keep the score for me, she's going to blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Watford Palace Theatre which has been recently refurbished. And we have a beautifully refurbished audience who have come to patronise their new theatre. And of course everybody knows that Watford is a little bit north of London, and to the people of Watford there's nothing north of them. And they are going to cheer us on our way. As we start the show this week with Paul Merton. Paul, the subject I have in front of me here is body building. Could you tell us something about body building in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Yes I'm a bit of an expert on the subject of body building. I was Mister Universe in 1984, which will give you some idea of the rest of competition. I think body building is perhaps a little bit fetishistic. You see these big muscles being built up by these individuals but it's what inside that counts. How well is your digestive system coping with the modern food that we eat these days? That's the kind of part of your body you should be building up. Don't worry about biceps and triceps and all that kind of stuff, it's a waste of time. You just end up having a major attack when you're about 48, because you're full of steroids and you look ridiculous. I think, I think Arnold Schwarzenegger was once described as a condom full of walnuts. And I think that's the sort of look that many people are trying to achieve in this particular brand of sport, if indeed you can call it that. I'm not sure it should belong to the sporting world...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Ah he said sport twice, but added ing.

NP: No he didn't, he said sport and sporting.

CF: But added ing after I challenged.

NP: oh! They'll say anything to get points! So Paul you had an incorrect challenge.

PM: Mmmm.

NP: So you get a point for that and you keep the subject, and there are 16 seconds still available, body building starting now.

PM: Doctor Frankenstein was played by Colin Clive in the movie of that name in 1931. Played the part beautifully...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Two playeds.

NP: Two playeds.

PM: Ah.

NP: He played the part and played it beautifully.


NP: Please don't groan, those are the rules of the game! Clement this time you have a correct challenge, so you get a point for that, you take over the subject and there are eight seconds available starting now.

CF: There are two ways of body building. And I like starting at the bottom with the feet, after which you get knees, thighs, waist...


NP: Whoever is speaking in this game when the whistle goes gets an extra point. On this occasion it was Clement Freud. So at the end of the round Clement has two points, Paul has one, and the other two have yet to speak. We're going to hear from Jenny Eclair now. Jenny, a subject which I think is pretty close to our heart, it's moving house.


NP: Could you tell us something about moving house in this game starting now.

JE: Just a month ago I moved house! Having lived in the same Georgian slum for 15 years, we upped sticks, sofas, washing machines, toasters, kettles, pots, pans, shirts, shoes, socks, pens, computers, tables, rugs, mirrors, bathroom mats, all sorts of things, half a mile up the road a way nearer the mental hospital! I thought the whole thing would be terribly traumatic but some nice men with muscly arms helped me, whilst I sobbed and rubbed doorknobs. "I'm sorry house, I'm leaving you, I've fallen for another pad with underfloor housing and a wet room! So tera, and thanks for the memories!" Do you know I'm actually very happy now...


JE: No! I didn't!

NP: Yes! You did! That's the first time for a long time that has happened in the show. Someone started with the subject and kept going for the 60 seconds...

JE: I ran with the ball!

NP: ... without it being hesitation, repetition or deviation, or being challenged. Jenny you get a point...

JE: Is that all?

NP: For speaking as the whistle went, and a bonus point for not being interrupted. So you have two points and you're equal with Clement Freud in the lead. Dara, well let's hear from you now. Oh here's a lovely subject for you because it's so apt, isn't it, looking at you Dara. It's Peter Pan. So would you tell us something about Peter Pan in this game starting now.

DARA O'BRIAIN: Frankly much of the sheen of the JM Barrie story, Peter Pan, came off me, for me recently when Leslie Grantham was caught pleasuring himself on the camera dressed as Captain Hook. It would be a strange woman indeed who developed some sort of pirate fetish ah that they needed Leslie to ah...


DO: Yeah!

NP: Jenny you challenged.

JE: I'm terribly sorry but he was making me feel sick, a little bit sick, that story. And he did say Leslie twice.

NP: Yes he did.

DO: Yes.

JE: Yes.

NP: Yes so you've got the subject with a correct challenge. I think it's as well you took it away from him the way he was going! So you have 44 seconds to tell us something about Peter Pan starting now.

JE: Everyone wants to do the panto Peter Pan, because you get to fly, imagine that...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I don't!


JE: You'd be a marvellous Hook!

PM: He's turned, you've turned it down, haven't you!

NP: Yes!

PM: He's turned it down!

DO: They're sick offering it to him!

NP: Actually I think he would make a rather interesting Captain Hook.

JE: Yeah!

NP: Yes.

CF: I was offered Nana!


NP: Oh! Anyway what we do in this game is when someone does an interruption like that and it's so effective and it gets such a big response from the audience, I give them a bonus point. So Clement you have a bonus point for your particular remark. But Jenny was interrupted, so she gets a point for that. She keeps the subject of Peter Pan, 40 seconds still available starting now.

JE: Imagine being up there in the rafters. Mind you if you were Wendy in your nighty, you'd have to make sure you put your pants on, wouldn't you? Otherwise the audience below would look up and think, oh crikey, look at that, (screams) horrid! It was written by JM Barrie, am I allowed to say that after Dara said it?

NP: Yes. Go on.

JE: Oh good. And recently there was a film starring the cheekbones of Johnny Depp! Mmmm he's lovely! About the whole story. You know, it's all quite sad because the original boy it was based on committed suicide, jumped in front of a train. Did you know that? You can go and see the film...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: He thought he could fly!


NP: Have you got a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: No.

NP: You haven't. Well we'll give you a bonus point because the interruption was lovely and the audience enjoyed it. But Jenny was also, because she was interrupted gets another point...

JE: Haha!

NP: And she still has Peter Pan, and 10 seconds available starting now.

JE: There's also a lovely bronze statue of the lad in Kensington Gardens. What's very sad these days is so...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of sad.

NP: Yes you did say sad before, yes.

JE: Oh! How sad!

NP: Mmmm! Sad story. So Paul you cleverly got in with three seconds...

JE: Ohhhhh!

NP: Yes! It is the rules of the game Jenny. Three seconds on Peter Pan starting now.

PM: Remember if you believe in fairies you must clap very loudly...


NP: Oh yes so Paul your request for applause increased your reaction there. And you get the point for speaking as the whistle went. And Jenny Eclair's now in the lead, one ahead of you. And two ahead of Clement and um...

DO: And then me!

NP: And then you. Clement, will you take the next round. Clement, north of Watford. They don't think very much of north of Watford. So will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: In olden days, when it was thought that the world was round...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Has there been developments since then?

NP: Paul I think that deserves a bonus point, but as Clement technically wasn't deviating...

PM: What in the old... okay.

NP: No, you can keep going in different directions according to your particular attitudes to life. And so Clement, Clement was interrupted, he gets the subject still of north of Watford, 55 seconds starting now.

CF: The Flat Earth Society always believed that Watford was the end of the planet. When you got to Watford, you fell off, which was pretty hard for Dunstable, Luton and Tillsbury, let alone Manchester, Hull, Birmingham, Derby. I like north of Watford very much indeed because the motorway, M1, before you get to the one that has five...


NP: Paul challenged.

NP: Paul you're quite right.

PM: Two repetitions of one.

NP: One yes, M1 and get to the one.

CF: Didn't want the subject!

PM: No, didn't you?

NP: Different type of one but it is the same word.

CF: Yeah.

NP: So there we are, Paul, correct challenge, another point to you, 23 seconds are available, north of Watford.

PM: About 10 years ago I was at Hamel Hampstead Station and I saw this huge sign, advertising a discotheque. And it said in big red letters "hard luck, London, Watford's done it again!" And I thought it made me chuckle, because it's a wonderful chutzpah. An area can say to itself, we are not going to be dwarfed by a mighty metropolitan city ahead of us. No, because we're Watford, we're proud and we're out...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Three we'res.

NP: Yes. We're Watford, we're proud.

PM: Well yes that's true.

NP: That's true yes.

PM: Makes a good slogan though. We're Watford, we're out and we're proud!

NP: But in Just A Minute, it doesn't work.

PM: No.

NP: So Clement has a correct challenge, three seconds. He's got in with three seconds to go, but you don't groan this time. Right, three seconds...

PM: Because they're out and they're proud, they, they, they're very happy.

NP: Three seconds Clement, starting now.

CF: Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well this is just a list of place names. It's...

CF: No, they're north of Watford! All of them!

NP: Yeah but you didn't establish that, did you.

CF: In three seconds? And it's the subject!

NP: Right, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt Clement...

CF: Benefit of...?

NP: Sometimes you say you don't get it, I've given it to you this time. And you've still got one second on north of Watford starting now.

CF: Edinburgh.


NP: Ah...

PM: That was hesitation.

NP: That was hesitation yes. So you've got a third of a second on north of Watford starting now.

PM: Edinburgh!


NP: Paul it's your turn to begin, so the subject now is what I think of my name. It's a strange subject, a moment for thought for you and you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: I don't like my name very much. I would prefer to be called George Pipp or William Seed or Roderick House, anything like that. I think Paul's a rather unusual name, I don't think you can do much with it. Pauuuuuuuuuuuul's name is an odd name. Because I nearly repeated that but I didn't because I put an S on the end of it. I would think if I had a choice of any name that I would pick Nicholas Parsons. Because there is a name that stands for everything that we stand for in this country today...


PM: Two stands! I emphasised the second one in a different way.

NP: I know! And you got that little feeling of sympathy which was running through the audience there. I did appreciate that.

PM: Yes.

NP: It was very warm and giving of you. But Jenny you buzzed first.

JE: He said stand twice.

NP: Yes right, he did indeed. So 35 seconds available, what I think of my name Jenny starting now.

JE: I'm Jenny with a Y, not an I, because then it would be enni and it would be ridiculous. I don't mind my name. There weren't many Jennys in my class at school. Lots of Susans and Janes. No, Eclair I made up of course, when I was 17 pretending to be French in a disco at Blackpool. But it's a story I don't really want to go into because it would embarrass my mother whose name is June. What a ridiculous name when she was born in May. Her mother wasn't really thinking, I think she was postnatally depressed or something. Didn't really come round for a month and then thought "well, I'll call her whatever it was, the seasonal..."


NP: So Jenny's playing it like a real trooper, isn't she?

JE: I was rather dull. I think you should take points off for dullness!

NP: No! So Jenny got the extra point speaking as the whistle went. She's in second place, one point behind Paul Merton, and he's two points ahead of Clement Freud, and then it's Dara O'Briain in that order. And Jenny it's your turn to begin again.

JE: I'm quite bored with me!

NP: And the subject is wearing glasses.

JE: Ah!

NP: I must explain to our listeners, Jenny does actually wear glasses.


NP: Audience, I know you can see that but the listeners can't!

JE: I'm glad that you told me Nicholas!

NP: You have to explain things to the listeners on occasion.

DO: Would this give Jenny a unique perspective on the topic?

NP: You never know, it could, it could create something yes. Jenny you have 60 seconds starting now.

JE: How extraordinary that I should get this topic, considering that at the age of eight I was diagnosed as short-sighted. My parents thought something was wrong when I blundered up the wrong garden path, and lived with a complete family of strangers for six months without noticing. First time I put on a pair of glasses I screamed in horror. I had no idea I was so plain. The great thing about being myopic is everything's just a fabulous blur. And then when you put your specs on, it pulls everything into focus. And do you know...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: She said family twice. I let her go on a bit but...

NP: Yes you did repeat family...

JE: Yes.

NP: ...right at the beginning.

JE: So you let me get on, so you'd get in with what? Ten seconds left? You're fiendish, Clement!

NP: No no, he's got 27 seconds...

JE: Oh right, I might get back!

NP: Somebody, somebody could have challenged right away on that but they didn't. So 27 seconds Clement for you on wearing glasses starting now.

CF: The Warings were probably the best designers of glasses that anyone has come across. Richard and David as well as Benjamin and Joe actually did... to my...


NP: Dara you challenged.

DO: On the grounds of a mercy killing!


NP: Yes so what's your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute though?

DO: Ah I think you'd call it a hesitation.

NP: I think I would call it hesitation Dara. And so you have 16 seconds, you tell us something about wearing glasses starting now.

DO: Very difficult for me to speak on this topic having... relatively...


DO: Ohhhhhh!

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a hesitation there.

DO: Like Clement.

NP: There was a hesitation, I know.

DO: It was dramatic inflexion, ah...

NP: Yes, because he hasn't played it so often, I don't know whether we're generous to him but I...


JE: Yes!

DO: (laughs) I was going, I was going nowhere, right!

NP: Yeah but you see, but then I'm being ungenerous to Paul, aren't I?



JE: But it was me who buzzed.

NP: It wasn't darling, Paul's light came on.

JE: Oh, Paul first.

NP: So Paul, the audience would like to hear a little bit more from Dara. He is trailing a lot. So um he's got another point and you have 12 seconds Dara on wearing glasses starting now.

DO: The one thing that's always kept me from wearing glasses, although I do borrow them from other people which is almost a compulsion when you don't have your own set, is to go to other people and go...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of other people.

NP: Other people yes yes, definitely. So you're back in again, you see, Paul, and you... so you see justice plays its own part in this game as well and you've got in with only four seconds which is easier isn't it. Wearing glasses starting now.

PM: The big thing about wearing glasses and I can't emphasise this enough, it's very important. You must...


NP: So Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went. He has increased his lead at the end of that round over Jenny Eclair and Clement Freud who are equal in second place, and then Dara O'Briain. And we come to Clement Freud to begin again and that is the subject, no, that is the subject, no that's ridiculous nonsense I'm talking now! Clement...

PM: Nicholas you had a rare moment of self-awareness then, didn't you!

NP: I set myself up for you to come back with these wonderful remarks! How else would we keep the show going without? Right, Clement, the subject is my favourite season starting now.

CF: My favourite season is the asparagus season. It comes in late May, early June, and goes on a little bit into July. And asparagus are...


NP: Oh! Dara?

DO: How can it go on to early June and then still carry on until July? Yeah!

JE: No, no...

NP: No no Jenny's giving you a tip. I'd take it.

DO: I know, I know, he said asparagus twice, but don't worry...

PM: Dara, do you feel patronised now that Jenny's writing the word asparagus down for you? In case you might have missed it.

DO: Not only, not only did she write asparagus, but she also went "X 2"! Which I...


JE: I might have spelt asparagus wrong!

NP: Right and the audience were actually drawing designs of it in the audience. But anyway so you've got a...

DO: My challenge was equally valid in terms of deviation, but nonetheless he did say asparagus twice.

NP: Yeah that's right. So anyway you've got the subject.

DO: Thank you very much.

NP: You've got my favourite season, and yo've got my favourite season, you've got 48 seconds starting now.

DO: I can never decide if it was ninety-seven or ninety-eight when we won the Doubleford...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of ninety.

NP: Ninety.


NP: Audience, those are the rules of the game! No, I'm sorry Dara, it's a tough game. And the old pros at the game, Clement's played it more often than anybody, his ears are tuned to every little hiccup like that. And I'm afraid I've got to be fair within the rules and see justice played. Forty-four seconds Clement, my favourite season back with you starting now.

CF: And in my favourite season I make hollandaise sauce with egg yolks, melted butter and a little lemon juice. And what a delicious confection that is. I think superior to almost any other contribution from the kitchen which goes with my favourite season's vegetable. There are sprew which are asparaguses...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry, what's this word sprew? He said "they are sprew". What's, what's that?

CF: It is a small young thin asparagus.

PM: Yeah there's people clapping out here, but they're bluffing because they don't know! They said oh yeah, I'm going to look clever so you know (claps).

CF: Watford are big sprew eaters!

PM: So a young, a young asparagus is called a sprew?

CF: A thin, yeah!


NP: There's two people, they obviously get a lot of sprews up here in Watford.

PM: So what do you think Nicholas?

NP: I think it's yes.

CF: (laughs)

PM: Do you?

NP: I don't say it with confidence as you saw from my voice. But...

PM: There are two people in the audience, Clement might be working them with his foot!

NP: Well last...

PM: He might have spotted somebody outside, "I'm going to say sprew tonight, when I say sprew, here's five quid, go yeah" (claps).

NP: Well last time when I was in Evesham where some of the finest asparagus in the country comes and I said "could I have a bunch of sprew", they looked at me very strangely but they gave me something.

PM: Did they? What did they give you?

NP: I don't know!

PM: It sounds, this young vibrant asparagus, it sounds a bit naughty to me!

NP: I'll tell you what, if I'm wrong, we're going to get some wonderful letters! But Clement...

PM: You just mark on the envelope "re sprew"!

NP: And Clement's been looking for the benefit of the doubt, and so he's got it, and ah...

CF: So I won the round?

NP: Mmmm.

CF: Yes.

NP: Right. You've got the benefit of the doubt, 20 seconds on my favourite season starting now.

CF: Football seasons are quite favourite as well. I enjoy watching premiership as well as championship...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: As well, two as wells.

NP: As well, there was as well, as well. Clement always looks as if he is absolutely horrified to be correct. But Jenny it was a correct challenge, 14 seconds, you tell us something about my favourite season starting now.

JE: I like winter because for women like me it means thick black woolly tights. What a boon after the summer where we have to show off our pasty white legs and sweaty creases. Also my cheeks go pink with the cold...


NP: So Jenny Eclair was speaking as the whistle went, got that extra point for doing so, she's moved forward. In fact I'll tell you what the situation is because we're unfortunately moving into the last round.


NP: That's an audience we love to hear. So...

PM: If you don't make it, we've got it on tape anyway!

NP: You wicked! You are not on tape! We haven't pre-recorded anything, we never do in this game. Ah but if Paul wants to say that get a laugh, I don't mind! Let me give you the situation as we go into the final round. Paul Merton is still in the lead, but he's only two ahead of Clement Freud, and he's only three ahead of Jenny Eclair, and he's a few ahead of Dara O'Briain. But Dara's got the sympathy, so it didn't matter. But it's the contribution, and his contribution has been equal to the rest. His points are a bit lower, that's all! And Paul it's your turn to begin and the subject is how to get a good night's sleep. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

PM: Well first have a very hot bath, and then a lovely big plate of sprew! How wonderful it is to chew on it, and lie in there, let the water soak into your skin. It's beautiful as the bathy foam all comes towards you, and you chomp on the asparagus and you go "ah this is young, it's lively, it's sensuous, it's sexy! This is a vegetable that has been brought down in its prime of life, and bought to my table now, so it's succulent..."


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: So sorry, two boughts.

NP: There were two boughts.

PM: Was there?

NP: Yes.

JE: Sorry yeah.

NP: It was bought down in the time of life and bought to my table.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Yes.

PM: I thought it was bought and brought.

NP: No.

JE: No.

NP: No, it was bought.

JE: No, I know because...

NP: You meant to say brought, but you actually said bought.

PM: So I'm being punished on what I meant to say? I don't care! As long as I get my sprew, I don't care!

NP: So Jenny's ears were attuned and we're into a tight finish here so I have to be fair and give it to her. And say Jenny, how to get a good night's sleep, 35 seconds starting now.

JE: A litre of red wine, Newsnight, that�s me down for nine hours! A good night's sleep should be a bit like being in a coma, nothing should wake you, not even needing a wee at three o'clock in the morning. I don't need that, that's not my problem. The old man, he's always going for...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of need.

NP: Need.

JE: Need, yes, yes, I will give you back Paul, you obviously wanted this subject so badly!


NP: Oh don't bring bitterness into it.

JE: Sorry, sorry yes.

PM: What would you be like Jenny if you were competitive, do you think? What do you think you would be like?

NP: She'd have a good night's sleep.

PM: Yeah she would, wouldn't she.

NP: Paul you've got the subject back which is good because the audience enjoy hearing from you, and it's how to get a good night's sleep, 21 seconds starting now.

PM: Cocoa is meant to be particularly effective. Of course it depends how you make it. Some...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of of course.

NP: Yes you did say of course before.

PM: Did I?

NP: Yes you did.

CF: Yeah you did.

NP: Mmmm. Ooooohh! So Clement's got in with 17 seconds on how to get a good night's sleep starting now.

CF: I consider myself to be a good knight. And I take sleeping pills. Huge quantities of them at six o'clock and then again three hours later. And I don't seem to sleep very well, and I can't imagine why this is because the expert...


NP: So Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point on that occasion so he's moved forward. We have a very interesting situation at the end of the round and the end of the contest. Because Dara O'Briain whose value was immeasurable, and ah, and...

PM: But if you were to measure it...


NP: The audience would go out saying "wasn't he lovely"! And we enjoyed him!

DO: I'm not here as part of the Make A Wish Foundation!

PM: Have you checked your contract?

NP: You're here for your contribution, and you were good. And it takes a lot more experience to get the points as well which you deserve. But the other three, only literally two points separated all three of them. But in order of ascending, Jenny Eclair was just in third place. One point behind Clement Freud who was just in second place. And one point ahead of him was Paul Merton, so we say Paul you're the winner this week! So thank you very much indeed! Again I must thank our four intrepid players of the game for their marvellous contribution, Paul Merton, Jenny Eclair, Dara O'Briain and Clement Freud. I thank Janet Staplehurst, who has helped me with the score, keeping it all written down for me, and her stopwatch which she ran for me as well of course as blowing that whistle so delicately when the 60 seconds was up. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. We thank our producer, Claire Jones. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience who have come into the Watford Palace Theatre to cheer us on our way. From the people of Watford, from me Nicholas Parsons, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Till then good-bye!