starring KENNETH WILLIAMS, PETER JONES, TIM RICE and LIBBY PURVES, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 19 November 1983)

NOTE: Leonie Lawson's last appearance blowing the whistle.


ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Peter Jones, Tim Rice and Libby Purves in Just A Minute. And as the Minute Waltz fades away here to tell you about it is our chairman Nicholas Parsons.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Thank you very much. Hello and welcome again to Just A Minute. And as youíve just heard, we have two guests to join two of our regulars, Kenneth Williams and Peter Jones. So letís welcome back Tim Rice and Libby Purves. And as usual theyíre going to try and speak at different times, we hope, on the subject that I give them, and they are going to try and do that without hesitation, repetition, or deviating from that subject. Weíll begin the show this week with Peter Jones. Peter the subject is plankton. Would you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

PETER JONES : Could be a tremendous source of energy and food for the human race. Grills, I think, are a superior form of plankton. And they keep, ah, whales alive...


NP: Tim Rice challenged.

TIM RICE: Definite hesitation.

NP: Yes there was an er there, which we interpret as a definite hesitation. So Tim you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that and you take over the subject of plankton, and there are 47 seconds left starting now.

TR: The first time I heard this word was when somebody said to me when I was walking down the street ďyou great plankton!Ē I had no idea what they actually meant, but I gathered this was not a complimentary term. No indeed, it was not because the wee...


NP: Ah Libby Purves challenged.

LIBBY PURVES: Two was nots.

NP: Yes there were two was nots. Was and not might be two but... So Libby you have a correct challenge and there are 35 seconds for you to take over the subject of plankton starting now.

LP: Euphemius Jeremiah Plankton of Nottingdale is one of our foremost British painters. Art critics faced with a wall full of canvases will say unerringly ďthatís a PlanktonĒ. They will say ďnot a PlanktonĒ to another picture. To yet another, they will say...


NP: Tim Rice has challenged.

TR: Well there was repetition. And deviation because the whole thing was a pack of lies from start to finish!

LP: Prove it! Prove it!

TR: And there was also a repetition in there. And I thought it wasnít told very well.

NP: And the fact that she wasnít challenged before made her hesitate, I think.

LP: I was longing for somebody to challenge me!

NP: You were daring them to, and eventually they did. It was Tim Rice, one of our guests. And Tim there are 19 seconds for you to take back the subject of plankton starting now.

TR: Frankly I donít go a bundle on plankton. I think theyíre pretty stupid animals. They havenít contributed a great deal to mankindís quest for superior knowledge. Theyíve never achieved anything at all in the world of the arts...


NP: Libby Purves challenged.

LP: They have, Plankton achieved enormous things in the world of the arts. As a water-colourist, he was one of the leading spirits of the 19th century!

TR: I, I was talking about the animal!

LP: How he can sit there saying that Planktonís achieved nothing!

NP: I think heíd established he was talking about the animals. It was, it was a clever challenge...

PJ: They arenít animals of course, really.

NP: I know, that was what I thought someone might challenge on because...

PJ: Well I didnít want to be too harsh!

NP: Youíve just come out with the information, why didnít you challenge on that before Peter?

PJ: Well...

TR: Too late now! Too late now!

NP: Yes!

PJ: I donít like parading my superior knowledge!

NP: I donít know whatís inhibited you all of a sudden! Tim you had an incorrect challenge and you have nine seconds to continue on plankton starting now.

TR: There again plankton could be quite useful as fodder for other living things on this planet. Krill which I believe...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: He talked about the planet before. Repetition of planet.

NP: No, he only talked about plankton before, not planet.

PJ: No, no, planet, heís on this planet, he was talking about, they hadnít contributed anything...

NP: All the living things on this planet, youíre quite right, yes, that was his phrase at the beginning. Right, well done Peter, four seconds on plankton with you starting now.

PJ: Get as much of it as you can, and give it to a whale as I say...


NP: This week once again I am very fortunate in sitting in the chair of Just A Minute. Because I have the lovely Leonie who is the secretary to our producer, and she has come along with all her charm and feminine grace to not only blow the whistle, but sit there with a pair of hideous looking headphones on. And when she does that it tells us that 60 seconds is up. And whoever is speaking at that particular moment gains an extra point. And it was Peter Jones and he is equal in the lead with Tim Rice at the end of the first round. Kenneth will you begin the next round, the subject is memorable sunsets. Will you tell us something about those in the game starting now.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: This, alas, is what plankton will never see! Theyíre under the water, and you must be above it to witness that lovely sight, of the setting sun, when youíre on a luxury cruise, leaning over the shipís rail, perhaps with a glass of martini cocktail in your hand. Then getting close to the one you adore, and whisper ďoh look at that blood-red sunset. Donít it get you going! Donít the adrenaline charge...Ē


NP: (laughs) Libby challenged. Libby?

KW: Whatís she on about? Grammar again?

NP: Yes! I must explain to our listeners that last remark, because when Libby Purves was a guest a few weeks back she mentioned something about Kennethís grammar. And challenged on that, so, but what is your challenge this time?

LP: I wasnít challenging him. I just wanted to ask him to marry me!


NP: Well as you...

KW: You are already, sheís already spoken for!

NP: Well I know she has a baby, so I donít quite know... So you just um...

LP: I just became overexcited at Kennethís description. My hand on the trigger...

PJ: Very happy!

NP: A sort of Freudian slip and Clement Freudís not on the programme. And so Kenneth, thereís a bonus for you. She challenged, she interrupted you, so you get a point for that. And you continue on memorable sunsets with 22 seconds left starting now.

KW: They have been painted of course by Turner. But the most memorable for me is Sunset Over Goddleming by Wright. Now heís not so well known as you might think he should be. Because after all, heís done an awful lot down on the Kent and Sussex coasts, and some of those water-colours are very charming. You know, Iíve often wondered why we donít spend more on them. They should fetch a fortune like my old uncle...


NP: So Kenneth Williams started with the subject and finished it, in spite of being interrupted, so he has two points at the end of that round. Iím afraid heís still behind, one behind our leaders, Peter Jones and Tim Rice. And Tim you begin the next round, the subject is moving house. Can you tell us something about that horrendous undertaking in the game starting now.

TR: If you live on the San Andreas fault, youíre quite likely to have a moving house. And the people in California are extremely worried about the prospect of their homes, their livelihoods, their families, their cats, dogs, goldfishes and all their possessions being swept away by nature which of course is a much more powerful force than mere man. And frankly if I lived anywhere in that part of the world, I would leg it pretty quickly to somewhere safer, like the Gobi Desert, or the Kalahari Desert. But I...


NP: Libby Purves challenged.

LP: Two deserts. The Gobi Desert and the Kalahari Desert.

NP: Yes.

TR: Oh.

NP: Well listened, Libby, you have the subject of moving house and there are 31 seconds left starting now.

LP: You have to move house sometimes because you get so much...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: You donít have to move house at all! A snail never moves!

LP: I was explaining, I was explaining...

KW: A snail takes his house with him everywhere, donít he! I mean he never moves house at all!

LP: Give me time!

NP: He does move his house though, doesnít he?

KW: He never moves house.

NP: Moving house, heís moving his house along with him.

KW: Oh thatís clever! I get your point! Ahhhhh! Yes! Not just a pretty face, is he!

NP: Libby you have the subject still and there are 28 seconds on moving house starting now.

LP: I must sometimes...


NP: Kenneth...

KW: Hesitation! It takes ages before she starts!

NP: I know, one second, but sheís our lady guest and...

KW: Oh lady guest! I thought womenís lib meant we were all equal!

NP: Well we are but some are less equal than others!

KW: Exactly!

NP: And on Just A Minute we have a little sort of courtesy and chivalry to those who have not played it quite so often and happen to be of the feminine gender. And also have just got a baby as well. So Libby you have moving house still and 26 seconds starting now.

LP: When I move house it is generally because there is so much mess in the old one that I have no alternative but to move to a new one...


NP: Tim Rice.

TR: Well there were a couple of ones and I know oneís a small word but it was a very important word.

NP: It was a very definite...

LP: He said, he said, he said there five times...

TR: Well you should have challenged!

NP: But you should have challenged on...

LP: ... and I didnít challenge because I knew you wouldnít have allowed it!

NP: Oh yes I would for five theres in quick succession, there there there there there.

LP: Are you trying to comfort me, Nicholas Parsons?

NP: She did...

TR: I didnít do that, did I?

NP: Yes you did. You said their thing and their something and their something and their house and their home and their thing and their there.

TR: I see.

PJ: And she does have a baby!


NP: Itís becoming the most famous baby on radio! Libby Iím afraid I um agree with Timís challenge and he has a point, the subject, 18 seconds, moving house starting now.

TR: I have only moved house a few times in my career. I remember once packing up all my belongings from my childhood home with...


NP: Libby Purves challenged.

LP: He said my three times. My house, my belongings and my career.

PJ: My my!

LP: There there!

NP: All right, well it is a correct challenge and there are 12 seconds, sorry, yes thatís right, 12 seconds starting now.

LP: You put everything that you own into tea-chests, large ones and small tea-chests...


NP: Kenneth Williams.

KW: Well itís ludicrous! Everything you own! I mean, whereís your bed going? In a tea-chest?


KW: No! Iím not putting my mattress in a tea-chest!

NP: Kenneth you have the subject of moving house...

KW: Yes! Quite right! Iíve got the subject! Yes!

NP: And there are six seconds starting now.

KW: One thing you must do is get your tissue paper around your Waterford crystal. Because they do tend to knock it about...


NP: Well everybodyís very close at the end of that round...

KW: Yes Iíve gone into the lead with that last one because I would have got the extra point, you see, for speaking. You understand my point?

NP: As the whistle went, yes. And you are in second place.

KW: Oh that will do! Moved right up, you see! Itís all happening!

NP: Alongside Tim Rice.

KW: Yes.

NP: And one ahead of Peter Jones.

KW: Yes.

NP: And one behind our leader who is at this particular moment Libby Purves.

KW: Oh!

NP: And Libby begins the next round, the subject is getting booked. Will you tell us something about that Libby in the game starting now.

LP: Listeners may have been wondering how it is that people get booked for Just A Minute. I can tell you. Getting booked for Just...


NP: Oh! Tim Rice challenged...

TR: Just.

NP: Yes we were going to hear from Libby...

LP: I was going to say ďgetting booked for justiceís sakeĒ!

KW: Oh brilliant! Thatís brilliant!

TR: Well in that case, hesitation! She, she just said just.

NP: No she said just and paused, and no, you were correct. She, she twisted it beautifully and magnificently. Tim you have the subject and 52 and a half seconds, getting booked starting now.

TR: I think itís very unfair the way that some policemen these days steam around in unmarked cars giving...


NP: Libby Purves challenged.

LP: There arenít any steam police cars left in England, are there?

NP: What did you say, steam?

LP: There arenít any, he said policemen steam around in cars. Iím just interested because I havenít seen any steam police cars for years now.

NP: I think he was using the phrase colloquially. When you go around very fast, you talk about steaming around.

LP: But steam cars would go slower.

NP: No Libby, youíre not going to get me on that. It wasnít run by steam, the car was steaming around and it wasnít letting off steam, it was...

PJ: Steam radio, you see, this is steam radio! thereís no steam, is there?

NP: Well tried, but Tim you keep the subject, and 47 seconds, getting booked starting now.

TR: Because when these policemen drive around with...


NP: Peter Jones.

PJ: Well repetition of policemen.

NP: Yes Iím afraid thatís what happens when you stop and start again. One of the words comes back. Forty-five seconds Peter, getting booked starting now.

PJ: Well a warden in Sloane Square said to me that sheíd booked Shirley Bassey three times. And she gave me a list of celebrities, she seemed not interested in anybody else, including me! And she was going on about it, saying it was a collection, it was her hobby in other words really. Booking these people who had left cars, some of them very expensive and elaborate cars, in...


NP: Ah Libby Purves challenged.

LP: Two cars?

NP: Two cars, yes Libby.

PJ: Oh yes.

NP: Twenty-one seconds for you on getting booked starting now.

LP: When they wish you to appear on this programme, they phone you up and say ďoi, doing anything Wednesday, darling?Ē To which you reply...


NP: Tim Rice challenged.

TR: Nobody said that to me!


NP: Well they would be afraid of the reaction of they had!

TR: I donít know, it could have been...

LP: I said ďyouĒ, meaning ďoneĒ, meaning me.

NP: No, Iíll tell you what weíll do, though itís probably deviating in a certain sense, she wasnít deviating from the subject, she was making a very good story. Yours was such a delightful challenge...

TR: Yes.

NP: We give you a bonus point for that, but leave the subject with Libby. Getting booked, starting, oh how many seconds for you? Ah 13 seconds starting now.

LP: The way to avoid getting booked by a traffic warden is very simple. I adopt the method as follows. Do not drive a car. Refrain even from owning any such vehicle and then you will...


NP: So Libby Purves was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that all important extra point, and is still in the lead, one ahead of Tim Rice now. So our two guests are out ahead of our two regulars. Peter Jones begins the next round and the subject is my last train set. Will you tell us something, will you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

PJ: Well I havenít yet possessed it. Iím looking forward to getting my last train set. It will be quite elaborate. I shall have a maze of railway lines all over the floor. And I shall be drunk with power, in charge of all these trains...


NP: Um Kenneth Williams.

KW: All over the floor, all of these trains. All, two alls.

NP: Yes there were two alls.

PJ: Two alls.

NP: Two alls.

PJ: Yes.

NP: So anyway it was a correct challenge so there are 42 seconds for you Kenneth to talk about my last train set starting now.

KW: My last train set had one of the engines with LMS written on it. And my father worked for that great company, and called it ďthe Ďell of a messĒ! And he said the wind on the ...


KW: ... were very difficult to negotiate unlike the GWR...


NP: Right so Kenneth Williams speaking as the whistle went gained another extra point. And heís now equal with Tim Rice in second place, one behind Libby Purves who is in the lead, and Peter Jones in fourth place. Kenneth your turn to begin, Polibius is the subject and can you tell us something about it in the game starting now.

KW: Well he was one of a thousand Archian nobles taken prisoner by the Romans during the great conquest of Macedonia. Now he found his way to Rome and then instead of captivity, he was befriended by a charming fellow called Skipia, one of the great Patrician families had had him as his heir, you see. So off they went together on various campaigns, one of which was Carthage. Well he wrote voluminously about this and there were 47 historical accounts by Polibius. Now then, they none of them exist to this day. Now how is that? Well, you might say, why canít we read these nice books now? Theyíve all gone, theyíre derelict you see, and nothing remains. Like Plato, a lot of his stuff isnít saved with us. And Aristotle, you might say the same thing about him. Whereís...


PJ: Deviation!

NP: Peter you had the temerity to challenge. Why?

PJ: Well deviation, heís talking about er Aristotle.

NP: I never thought that anybody would get an audience in hysteria on the subject of Polibius! Thatís genius! What was your challenge Peter?

PJ: I just said, it was er deviating. Talking about Aristotle and all that.

NP: I know, but he was comparing them with Polibius.

PJ: With who?

NP: It gets a laugh every time you mention it! Itís going to be called the Polibius Show!

KW: Well poli, poli, you see, poli, poli is many, poli is many, polytechnic, many learning for there. Poli means many and bius is gifted, it means very gifted. Weíd say now Mister Giftful I suppose, or Mister, Mister Giftsome, there is a ...

NP: I donít think Iíd ever say Mister Giftsome or Mister Giftful.

KW: Wouldnít you?

NP: No, I think itís a new word youíve coined... (laughs) But they love you talking about Polibius so youíre going to continue for another eight seconds...

KW: You mean you donít accept his challenge?

NP: No, itís you!

KW: Oh I see.

NP: Starting now.

KW: Well in 210 BC which is an interesting period for Roman historians because you must remember...


NP: Libby Purves challenged.

LP: He said Roman before.

NP: Yes he said Rome before, but this was Roman he said that time.

LP: I think he said Roman before.

KW: No, I said the Roman invasion, I must admit, it was Roman invasion of Macedonia. I do admit, I do admit, I do admit that, yes! Weíll see what Libby Purves, how eloquent she can be on Polibius!

NP: Well it wonít be much of a challenge for her, because sheís only got one second in which to talk on the subject!

KW: Oh!

PJ: Thatíll probably about exhaust her knowledge of it!

LP: Wait and see!

NP: Ah Libby you have one second starting now.

LP: He wore a green trilby!


NP: So in spite of Kennethís erudition and entertainment in that round, heís still in second place behind Libby Purves, heís just ahead of Tim Rice and a little way ahead of Peter Jones. And Tim begins the next round and the subject Tim is a sure laugh. Will you tell us something on that subject in the game starting now.

TR: The best way I know to guarantee a laugh is to go on and on about this very funny character named Polibius who lived back in the second century or third century BC. He was a Greek chap who wandered around with a chap called Skipio...


NP: Libby Purves challenged.

LP: Itís terribly boring! Nobodyís laughing! Therefore itís deviation because Polibius is not a sure way of getting a laugh. Or weíd all have been laughing.

TR: I havenít got to the punchline!

NP: I think weíve proved the fact that if Kenneth Williams talks about Polibius, itís a sure way of getting a laugh. I mean they were hysterical...

LP: But if Tim Rice talks about him, they leave the room....

NP: The lady over there had to be carried out to be revived. No I disagree with the challenge, Iím sorry Libby. So Tim you keep the subject of a sure laugh starting now.

TR: I think I will lay off the subject of this well-known... South Eastern European gentleman...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I agree Kenneth, so 44 seconds are left for you on a sure laugh starting now.

KW: A sure laugh is when you say to the lady ďare you having another?Ē and she says ďno, itís just...Ē



KW: And she says ďno, itís just the way my coatís done up!Ē I had to stop, I mean I canít be challenged...

NP: (laughs) No, that particular lady in our audience was actually having another. And so a mild hysteria swept through our audience. So I think the only fair thing is not to charge any points from that, and let you continue on a sure laugh with 40, no 38 seconds left starting now.

KW: A sure laugh can definitely be obtained by the removal of trousers. This does amuse a lot of people, especially in farce where gentlemen are caught in the bedroom in a compromising situation with a knock at the door, heralding the arrival of someone who must never see them in such appallingly undignified conditions. And people love it, when they see them squirming and pulling the shirt down to cover their appalling embarrassment. And the same thing applies to the kick in the rear. Now then when that occurs, always it gets a big laugh...


NP: And another sure laugh is when Kenneth Williams takes over the subject and keeps going on it for as long as he did and gets that extra point. And heís now in the lead, equal. Equal with Libby Purves. And you couldnít care less, could you. But Peter will begin the next round, and Peter the subject is rambling. Can you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

PJ: I remember the man who raised this to an art form. It was Milton Hayes who preceded Oliver Wakefield as a sort of idiot on the radio, talking about politicians, walking about in Rolls-Royce cars...


NP: Tim Rice has challenged.

TR: Um several abouts. Certainly two very recently, towards the end of that fascinating paragraph.

NP: Yes there were.

PJ: Yeah there were, there were.

NP: There were, Iím afraid.

PJ: Quite right.

NP: Forty-five seconds for you Tim on the subject of rambling starting now.

TR: Rambling conjures up a host of wonderful images. I often feel like a tramp myself. I love wandering around the grounds...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: Oh Iím sorry, I thought he said wandering twice, but I donít think he did. I beg your pardon.

PJ: I thought he did, Kenneth, as a matter of fact.

NP: I thought he did too.

KW: Oh I thought he said wandering twice.

NP: So Kenneth you have the subject...

KW: Oh good! I was right!

NP: ... of rambling with 38 seconds starting now.

KW: Well the comedian that Peter Jones mentioned immediately sprang to my mind, I must admit, when rambling came up as the subject. Because he always said ďwomen in tight pink, and men in pink tights, going around, showing their versatility...Ē


NP: Libby Purves challenged.

LP: Pink twice.

NP: Yes there were two pinks.

KW: Oh what a shame!

NP: Yes! So Libby weíre into the last round and itís almost equal out in the lead. And there are 26 seconds for you on rambling starting now.

LP: I have learnt a good deal about rambling from listening to Kenneth Williams. In his metaphorical hiking shorts, he moves along the ridgeways of metaphor and sound...


NP: Tim Rice.

TR: Well I thought we were going to get two metaphors there.

NP: You didnít, you got metaphorical and metaphor.

TR: I know.

NP: So Libby keeps the subject, another point to you and there are 17 seconds on rambling Libby starting now.

LP: He passes through the leafy glades of Litotees and the long...


NP: Tim Rice.

LP: He was looking at me! Itís not fair!

NP: No it was such a clever dissertation, trying to not only speak in the game, but also give the analogies as you went, was just, I think a bit too demanding. But well tried! Twelve seconds...

LP: It is when Kennethís looking at you like that!

NP: Tim, 12 seconds for you Tim Rice on rambling starting now.

TR: Rambling can take many many forms...


NP: Ah Libby Purves.

TR: Can I go home?

NP: I wouldnít, youíre in the lead. And Libby has got a correct challenge...

PJ: How did he get in the lead with a technique like that?

NP: Because you have been rather quiet on this particular occasion. Last time he was our guest you won handsomely.

PJ: Ah thank you very much.

NP: Youíve been, youíve been, youíve been very...

PJ: Defused yes yes.

NP: ... self-effacing and modest on this occasion. Libby you have nine seconds on rambling starting now.

LP: Rambling can only take one form and that has been brought to perfection by Kenneth Williams. When he speaks...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: Iím afraid I have to challenge, you mentioned Kenneth Williams before.

NP: Yes and we canít have too much of Kenneth Williams.

KW: And you canít name me twice in the same subject.

PJ: Itís not like you to stop her mentioning your name!

LP: You un, ungrateful hound!

NP: So Kenneth you have a correct challenge and you have the subject of rambling and there are only three seconds left starting now.

KW: As Rambling Sid Rumpo, I used to say ďletís stop by the wayside...Ē


NP: So Kenneth Williams got the subject just before the end, kept it until the whistle went, gained an extra point and has finished up in a strong position. Libby Purves, our guest this week, nearly won. She was only one point behind Tim Rice, our other guest, who finished up a joint winner with Kenneth Williams! So we do hope youíve enjoyed listening to Just A Minute, we hope youíve enjoyed watching it in the audience as much as weíve enjoyed performing it and playing it to you. Until you tune in again at the same time next week, and listen to us all again. Till then from all of us here, good-bye!


ANNOUNCER: The chairman of Just A Minute was Nicholas Parsons, the programme was devised by Ian Messiter and produced by Pete Atkin.