NOTE: Graham Norton's 50th appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, 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, throughout the world. And also it's a huge pleasure to welcome four exceptional, exuberant and exquisite players of this game. Seated on my right, we have that very popular and brilliant and wonderful comedian, Paul Merton. And sitting beside him we have the very erudite, clever and the most senior member of our team, Clement Freud. And sitting on my left we have that very popular, loveable and sometimes outrageous comedian, Graham Norton. And sitting beside him representing the distaff side we have someone, a comedian who is just as lovely as she is funny, and that is Linda Smith. And would you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am 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 help me with the score, she is going to blow a whistle when the 60 seconds is up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the delightful Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in the marvellous town of Guildford. And as you can hear we have an enthusiastic theatre audience, drawn from many areas of the fine county of Surrey, who have come on to show their enthusiasm. As we start the show with Paul Merton. Paul, the subject on the card is pulling someone's leg. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Pulling someone's leg is another way of saying you're gently teasing somebody. For example, the microphones weren't working particularly well when we did the sound check for this programme, but now they're... (goes silent for 10 seconds)


PM: And there was half a pound of mince left at the end of the show! I've always taken that as a parable for our modern times. Indeed if you look today at the state of the church, you can see that the Archbishop of Canterbury when he said just before... (goes silent again)


NP: Clement has challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition!

PM: He's right! He's right. I said e-ecumenical twice.

NP: Yes.

PM: I can't even say it once now!

NP: But I think his challenge is on the fact that you hesitated on your pausing. And by the way...

PM: I didn't hesitate at all! I was straight in there!

NP: Ah the silence then, there was a repetition of the silence.

CF: There was a repetition of microphone failure!

PM: Am I to be blamed...

NP: That's what I was trying to say...

PM: ... if the BBC is no longer up to running a radio show?

NP: But I should explain to our...

PM: You can remember radio before it had microphones, can't you Nicholas?

NP: Absolutely!

PM: You had to open the window in the studio and shout!

NP: Clement you had a correct challenge and you get a point for that of course, you have 21 seconds still available, tell us something about pulling someone's leg starting now.

CF: Sartorially pulling someone's leg is absolutely essential if one trouser leg is longer than the other...


NP: Linda challenged.

LINDA SMITH: Oh no, but I immediately suddenly realised what a fool I was!

NP: Why?

LS: Because he repeated leg...

NP: Yes.

LS: ... which he is totally entitled to do.

NP: He's entitled, because you can repeat either the subject...

LS: I know!


NP: ... or any of the words.

GN: Yeah Linda! What were you thinking?

LS: I'm not, I'm not going to give you, I'm not going to give you excuses, there are no excuses!

NP: But Linda...

LS: It was just wrong!

PM: There was, there was a bit, there was a bit of a gap between his two legs!

NP: But Linda I don't mind that you challenged because it was lovely to hear from you.

LS: Thank you.

NP: And let's everyone know that you are here and with us, in good spirit. Ah but it was an incorrect challenge...

LS: Oh I've still got all my faculties!

PM: Yes!

NP: I know, yes! And so Clement gets another point and he has 14 seconds to continue, pulling someone's leg starting now.

CF: The other way you could shorten pants would be simply to take them to Marks and Spencers...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we not have other before. Repetition of other.

CF: No. Never.

PM: You had the other leg.

NP: You had the other leg, yes, you had the other leg.

CF: Right leg and left leg.

PM: Definitely, definitely definitely had other.

NP: Yes Clement is one of the best bluffers I know, but on that occasion even he couldn't resist a smile. So he's given himself away and Paul you have a correct challenge, you have the subject back, eight seconds available, starting now.

PM: The Spanish Inquisition were notorious for stretching people's legs. They'd get hold of you on the rack, and they'd pull you, one stretch at a time...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Ah repetition of pull.

PM: No.

NP: No, no.

CF: Not pulling.

NP: He'd pull you one...

CF: He said pull before.

PM: No, no.

NP: No, no, no.


CF: You keep out of this!

NP: Get you on the rack and pull, I'm just going over a quick quick retracks in my mind of the whole thing...

PM: Is anyone taping this?

NP: Exactly! We have a radio engineer in the van called Martha who I think...

CF: Let him, let him have it!

NP: Let him have it?

CF: Yeah!


PM: Good challenge! Good challenge!

NP: I think he deserves it. Paul, the subject and one second to go with another point of course for incorrect challenge, ah pulling someone's leg starting now.

PM: Ronnie Corbett's never been the same since!


NP: Whoever is speaking in this game when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton, he has the lead at the end of the round, ahead of Clement Freud. Graham Norton and Linda Smith have yet to score. But Graham it is your turn to begin.

GN: Right.

NP: And the subject we'd like you to take is my idea of heaven. Tell us something about that...


NP: Oh they're eager to know!

GN: I know!

NP: They must have rather strange minds!

GN: I know!

NP: But let us find out. You have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

GN: My idea of heaven is to curl up with a good book, in a giant nest made out of Gloria Hunniford's hair! Mmmm! I believe she uses Apple shampoo, fragrant! I'm loving it! Flicking the pages, I nestle down. Oh there's a sensation, I think she's having a thought. There's a pulsing beat in her head! Goodness, Gloria, stop it, I think to myself...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of Gloria.

NP: Gloria, yes.

GN: Thank God for that!

NP: You might say you can't have too much of Gloria but...

GN: That's true! That's true! I could say that!

NP: But in this game unfortunately it's repetition. So Paul a correct challenge, 37 seconds available, my idea of heaven starting now.

PM: If one is to wander in the realms of the sense, then perhaps to lie on a beach, eating a chocolate biscuit, drinking a glass of cider, and having your toes massaged by some native boy called Simon. What a wonderful treat this would be, as you lie underneath the coconuts...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Repetition of lie.

NP: Yes that's right, he was lying on the beach...

GN: I'm not sure if it's true, but it sounds right, doesn't it!

NP: So Graham you got the subject back, you have another point, in fact you've got your first point. And um...

GN: He couldn't leave it!

NP: No, anything for a laugh! Right 19 seconds my idea of heaven starting now.

GN: My idea of heaven would be to sit in the audience as Amanda Holden read Ulysses aloud! Oh that talented actress...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: That wouldn't take very long, would it! Just reading Ulysses aloud, that's it!

GN: I think it would take Amanda quite a long time!

PM: Oh!

NP: I think he meant the whole novel, Ulysses, by James Joyce.

PM: Really?

NP: Yes.

LS: Oh I thought...

NP: Not just the word.

LS: I thought he meant Ulysses Aloud, the boy band.

NP: Anyway it was a lovely thought Paul, but it was an incorrect challenge. So Graham you have another point and you have eight seconds on my idea of heaven starting now.

GN: My idea of heaven would be to cycle down a long hill towards an ocean, oh look, there's a wave...


NP: So Graham Norton got an extra point, the whistle went, he's now got three points, Paul Merton has three points, Clement Freud has three points. And Linda you haven't got any yet so start the next round and the subject is green fingers. I believe you are a bit of a gardener, aren't you? I thought so...

LS: You'll have to wait and see.

NP: Well we'll have to wait and see, I'm sure the subject's been chosen specially for you...

GN: It's quite tense, isn't it!

LS: That's for me to know!

PM: Oh for God's sake, just tell us!

LS: You'll have to wait for the book, My Gardening Hell!

NP: We're building up the tension as green fingers goes with er, with Linda and 60 seconds starting now.

LS: Green fingers, if you have green fingers, it means that you're wearing very cheap jewellery. I usually try and avoid this. When people say green fingers, they mean that someone is good at gardening, they have a way of coaxing plants into life. Not dying as my partner tends to cause ah living...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes.

LS: Was it? I was building tension, I thought, really.

NP: So green fingers Paul is with you and 40 seconds available starting now.

PM: I grow triffids at home which are great until they start walking, and then they can't find them. One went to the High Street and borrowed a video, Blockbuster I think was the name was of the shop. Sat back home, watched The Midnight Cowboy, took it back the next day, Dustin Hoffman, marvellous film, 1969. Green fingers, wonderful, I love to get into the garden and get my hands into the soil, and think to myself "when's the gardener turning up..."


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Repetition of into.

NP: Yes, ohhh!

GN: Oooohh!

NP: Oooohh yes he's quite right.

GN: Guildford is reeling!

NP: Yes, small word, but you did repeat it, into, into the garden...

LS: Harsh but fair!

PM: Yeah!

NP: That's well summed up Linda.

GN: Yeah! We've all learned a lesson there, haven't we Linda? Yeah.

NP: Clement you have a point, you have the subject, 22 seconds, green fingers starting now.

CF: Until I approached the parsley bed, there were absolutely no herbs at all in our garden. And it's thanks to my green fingers, we now have herbaceous borders that would outwit, outplay, outperform...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I don't know that a herbaceous border can outwit anybody! If I saw an herbaceous border offering me a cheap villa in Spain, I don't think that I'd go for it! I don't think, I don't think I'd be sitting in Madrid three years later saying I rue the day I ever took a business deal with that herbaceous border!

NP: Yes.

PM: It's deviation, herbaceous borders can't outwit anybody! A tulip, now there's another thing!

NP: Paul you're, you're in great form and we absolutely love it. But I think, my, as I...

PM: Oh Nicholas, no, you're not going to say, you're not going to tell me you were once outwitted by an herbaceous border?

NP: I gained the impression, I gained the impression that what Clement was trying to say was that the quality of his herbaceous border outwitted the other ones of his rivals and friends.

PM: But that's just nonsense!

NP: Clement justify it, otherwise he'll have it.

CF: I think that was an admirable analysis!

NP: You're going to have the benefit of the doubt on this occasion Clement.

CF: We have a fine chairman!

NP: Yes!

PM: Benefit of the doubt?

NP: Yes. I give this out on occasions as you know and I try to rebalance the situation if I think it comes up in your favour some other time.

PM: Okay.

NP: Clement carry on, eight seconds, green fingers starting now.

CF: Rhododendrons, tulips...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I'm sorry, I can't let this go! I want the challenge again!

NP: Yes, on what?

PM: I don't think you can be outwitted by an herbaceous border!

NP: If...

PM: Go on, go on, give me the benefit of the doubt!

NP: If I had an herbaceous border and you had an herbaceous border, and I came and saw yours, you'd say "my herbaceous border's outwitted yours".

PM: You're right, I'm wrong! Security!

LS: So is this a sort of crime-solving herbaceous border?

PM: You hear it on Gardener's Question Time, don't you? "Dear Gardener's Question Time, my herbaceous border has recently bought a Volvo car without my knowledge!"

LS: Yeah, "dear Gardener's Question Time, my herbaceous border has recently beat me at chess!"

PM: Am I the only person here whose herbaceous border was in the final of Brain Of Britain, 1983?

NP: I have to stick by what I understand...

PM: Oh well!

GN: We're all lost!

PM: Doesn't the real world come into this? Your understanding and what passes in the real world are two different things!

NP: Well I have to give judgement in your favour sometimes, and sometimes it's equally difficult because you're very semantic with things. But I will leave it with Clement. He doesn't get a point for that by the way...

CF: Why not?

NP: ... because he interrupted...

CF: Why not?

NP: Oh well he wants his points, give him one. Ah six seconds left Clement, green fingers starting now.

CF: Basil, mint, and rosemary would have shrivelled had it not been for my manipulation...


NP: So ah Clement speaking as the whistle went, and with the benefit of the doubt from the chairman on a very debatable point has moved forward into the lead. And Clement it's also your turn to begin. The subject is the commuter belt. Tell us something about that subject starting now.

CF: The commuter belt is an Icelandic folk dance. It's rather like hokey cokey, only it is practised by large numbers of Icelandic people...


NP: Yes Graham?

GN: Oh I think, oh I don't...

NP: Yes Icelandic.

GN: Repetition of Icelandic I feel, yes.

NP: That's right, Icelandic dance and Icelandic people.

GN: Except am I wrong?

NP: No no, you got it right, right, don't apologise.

GN: I feel awful!

NP: Forty-eight seconds available, the commuter belt with you Graham starting now.

GN: The commuter belt around London has now become so large, it is only of interest to Eamonn Holmes! He studies it each morning, the reports from the M25, that's a big road all around the capital, oh come see it, provincial folk! And, well we live here, we can talk about it, we know what it is. They...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: I wish I hadn't though. But it was repetition of...

GN: No! Stop!

LS: No I won't! No, um, it was repetition of we.

NP: Yes.

LS: I know it's a very small word, isn't it.

NP: I know but he did say it...


NP: Audience, it is the game! To be fair to you Linda, it wasn't just one or two wes, it was three or four wes.

LS: Oh!

NP: A complete wee-wee and ah...

LS: Just a stream of them, wasn't it really!

GN: Now back to green fingers!

PM: Is it hesitation, repetition, deviation and incontinence? Is that what we're... Is that what we're voting for?

NP: How long did it take you to work that one out? That was good!

PM: About 12 years!

NP: Linda you have got the challenge and you have 26 seconds on the commuter belt starting now.

LS: The commuter belt, Guildford I suppose would be seen as being in the commuter belt. Meaning that people live here and go somewhere else, for example London, to work, and come back to Guildford when they feel a bit sleepy...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of Guildford.

NP: Guildford, yes.

LS: But can you have too much of Guildford?


NP: You can have too much of playing to the audience though! Clement a correct challenge and 13 seconds available, the commuter belt starting now.

CF: In Iceland, the Icelanders on St Magnus Day grate...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: He said Iceland before.

NP: No, Icelandic.

PM: Icelandic.

NP: And he said "but in Iceland", and I thought he said "the Iceland" something.

PM: No, Iceland and Icelanders.

GN: Icelanders!

LS: No, he said Icelanders secondly, but I thought he said...

NP: Oh he repeated Iceland then, did he?

PM: No no, he didn't, he didn't say Icelandic, that was what he said before.

GN: Yeah.

PM: He hasn't repeated.

CF: I'm lucky I brought my solicitor!

PM: And we're bringing an herbaceous border as an expert witness!

NP: You won't let this one lie, will you!

PM: No!

NP: The next time we record Just A Minute, it'll come up again! Right, ah so the subject is herbaceous borders, no, it isn't...

GN: We've had that one!

NP: It is the commuter belt, eight seconds with you Clement starting now.

CF: I'm not sure where the commuter belt is because it keeps moving, further and wider and longer away from the centre of the city...


NP: So Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's improved his lead at the end of the round. Graham Norton and Paul Merton are equal in second place, Linda's just trailing them a little. And Paul it's your turn to start and these subjects are all thought out before we begin the show. And it's very strange this one should come up now, and I'm a bit nervous of saying it! It says how to treat the chairman. And you have 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Regulo eight! I think Nicholas is a wonderful chairman, he is superb. He turns up every week to do this recording, Just A Minute. Nobody asks him but they can't get rid of him! What a fantastic man he is! He has pursued a career in show business and he's nearly there, you know! He only needs another couple of appearances and he's there, that's his Equity contract all sorted out. Nicholas's reputation...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Um quite a lot of he.

NP: Oh!

GN: Quite a lot of he?

LS: Yes, said he quite a lot of times.

PM: Right, that might be repetition. Would that be repetition Nicholas?

NP: Yes it was, but I think we're going to be careful of these small words.

LS: Okay yeah fair enough.

NP: I gave it to you the last time Linda...

LS: Yeah fair enough.

NP: But I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to Paul...

LS: And it was lovely!

NP: ... in order to redress the...

LS: And we'll always have Guildford, won't we!

NP: ... in order to redress the balance of er, which I gave to Clement earlier on against you. So you have the benefit of the doubt, you have an incorrect challenge, you have 37 seconds, how to treat the chairman starting now.

PM: I first saw the chairman appear on stage in a Ray Cooney farce, in this very theatre. In fact I say it was written by that mag... er ahhhh!


NP: Clement challenged yes?

CF: Hesitation.

PM: Hesitation yes.

NP: Yes hesitation yes yes, we have to have it in case you come up with something else. So Clement you have a correct challenge, 31 seconds starting now.

CF: I think when to treat the chairman would be a much better question than how to treat the chairman. And the answer would be infrequently. And if you were to say is that one word or two, I think you have... a point...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes. So you have the subject back Paul, you have 16 seconds starting now.

PM: Nicholas's career is...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: He said Nicholas before.

NP: I know, you did mention my name before.

PM: No, but the second one, Linda buzzed halfway through "Nicholas's" so, my first Nicholas's.

CF: I buzzed halfway through that Nicholas�s!

PM: But I had one Nicholas...

CF: I want the benefit of the doubt!

PM: Give him the benefit of the doubt! Give him the benefit of the doubt!

NP: They'll do anything to get the subject, won't they! Right Clement, you have it, 13 seconds, how to treat the chairman starting now.

CF: You take him to the theatre and buy him sweets, and ply him with extraordinary goodies in the interval, like Mars Bars, Milky Ways...

NP: Oh God!

CF: ... and ice creams flavoured with...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes indeed there was, yes.

PM: Yes.

NP: I was...

CF: I thought she'd dropped her whistle!

NP: No!

CF: I thought I'd been going on a bit!

NP: You see I must explain to our listeners, they watch um Janet beside me, and when she picks the whistle up, she knows there's only about half a second to go, so he ran out of steam. But it wasn't, there was a second to go on this occasion. So Paul got in first and you have half a second on how to treat the chairman Paul starting now.

PM: Herbaceous borders!


NP: So at the end of that round, Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went. And he's now in second place still, just a little way behind Clement Freud, a little way ahead of Graham Norton and Linda Smith in that order. And Graham it's your turn to begin, the subject now is fairy tale endings. Tell us something, something about fairy tale endings, 60 seconds starting now.

GN: I have long had a deep seated interest in fairy tale endings. My investigations of fairy tale endings have meant that I have probed many of them. Many would say sticking my nose in where it wasn't wanted! But I won't be stopped. My intellectual curiosity is insatiable! On and again and more words like that, I look...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Ah two ands.


CF: On and again and.

GN: Oh yes yeah! Mmm-hmm.

NP: Yes a very pronounced and, so I have to give it to him. Right...

GN: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

NP: Clement you have 28 seconds, fairy tale endings starting now.

CF: And the unicorn said "you have been so nice to me, and given me such extraordinary delicious provender, that you and your father, mother, uncle, aunts, dog, cat, horse and gerbil will live happily ever after". And I sincerely trust that each time you open this book, you will read it to all your family and blow your whistle!



NP: Well on that occasion Clement Freud actually forced a whistle out of Janet!

PM: (laughs) It's a good trick if you can do it!

NP: Yes! And you've got the whistle, and you've got the point, and you're in a good strong lead ahead of Paul Merton, Graham Norton and Linda Smith in that order. And she's still in fourth place, but she, she... no, no, Linda hasn't played the game for quite as recently as the others. Linda, last time you were here, it was about two years ago, you won. But you've got to get the feel of it again, haven't you really.

LS: No, I've played more recently than two years. That's the trouble, everything seems a long time ago to you now Nicholas.

NP: I was saying that to be kind, my darling...

LS: Guildford was all fields then!

NP: But anyway you're in a very strong fourth position.

LS: A strong last, yes!

NP: And not very far behind Graham Norton. Because we're moving into the final round by the way, and it's Clement Freud's turn to begin and the subject is the perfect snack. Clement tell us something about that in this game starting now.

CF: Saint Paul in his letter to the Philippians to which, as far as I know, he never got a reply, wrote about the piece of cod that passes all understanding. Which I think is probably the perfect snack. Although today, I believe that I would produce a persimmion milk shake. You can go to a greengrocer now and buy...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: I think it's persimmon, not persimmion.

NP: Yes it is persimmon.

CF: You can do both. Depends entirely...

GN: Guildford is so posh! They're going "yes yes she's right"!

LS: Yes we had one in a pavlova the other day, and it was definitely persimmon. What, persimmions are a little bit bigger, are they?

NP: Well the audience at Guildford have endorsed that you have a correct challenge. And I wouldn't go against the audience at Guildford because...

CF: No, no...

GN: Their chauffeurs will beat us up afterwards!

NP: So what we do is we have a correct challenge, a point Linda, a bonus point to Graham for that...

GN: Yeah! Why not!

LS: Let's all have a bonus point!

GN: Yeah! Yeah!

NP: You can have a bonus point because it won't make any difference to the result, darling!

LS: Oh!

PM: Yeah! That's right!

NP: And you have another point for a correct challenge...

GN: But it won't make any difference!

NP: A correct challenge. In fact give her two points because she's lovely! And you have the subject of a perfect snack starting, oh wait, the number of seconds, 33, starting now.

LS: The perfect snack, to me the perfect snack is a meal between the size of a proper dinner and nothing. Something that is tasty and perhaps toasty. Mushrooms on toast is a lovely snack, especially with some black pepper, and perhaps a little garlic. Mmm, yum, I'll only say that word expressing deliciousness once, otherwise I might be tempted into repetition as I have been so very tragically often this evening. Another snack...


NP: So Linda Smith was then speaking at last as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And with other points in that round really has leapt forward. And in the final analysis of the points scored, she... (chokes on laughter)

LS: Choking on your own lies!

NP: In the final analysis of the points scored, she has overtaken Graham Norton and she...

GN: Oh! It's all very funny now, isn't it! Oh "give her a point! Give her a point!"

NP: Yes!

GN: "It doesn't matter!"

NP: Yes! And only, only one point ahead... this is...

GN: I earnt my points! Not many of them!

NP: I should explain to our listeners there's a great deal of visual comedy going on here! Graham's face was a picture, and that's what they were applauding. So give him a bonus point for his face!

LS: It's a great one for radio, isn't it!

NP: So now he is equal in third place with Linda Smith. But they were only two points behind Paul Merton, whose contribution was always, as ever, outstanding. But Clement with his erudition and cleverness got most points. So we say this week Clement Freud, you are the winner! We have no more time to play Just A Minute, so it only remains for me to say thank you to these four wonderful players of the game, Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Linda Smith and Clement Freud. I thank Janet Staplehurst, for helping with the score, she's blown her whistle so delicately. We thank our producer-director who is Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this lovely game. And also we are greatly indebted to this lovely audience, this cultured audience here in the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford who have cheered us on our way. Thank you from our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, and the panel, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes! Yes!