starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, JENNY ECLAIR and DARA O'BRIAIN, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 14 February 2005)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Oh yes! Yes! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, 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, in this country and of course throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented and diverse personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. They're going to display their verbal ingenuity and creative intelligence as they try and speak on a subject that I give them and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And they are, sitting on my right, Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And seated on my left, Jenny Eclair and Dara O'Briain. And would you please welcome all four of them! Thank you. And seated beside me is Janet Staplehurst, she is going to note the score down for me, and 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 recently refurbished Watford Palace Theatre. And we have a beautifully refurbished Watford audience to cheer us on our way. As we begin the show this week with Dara. The subject to begin with is what I was like as a baby. And we thought that was a lovely subject for you. So would you go on it now, 60 seconds starting now.

DARA O'BRIAIN: Well physically I was quite similar to how I am now, to be honest. Ah there was a lack of hair...


NP: Paul challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Your poor mother!


NP: You mean your mother gave birth to a 20 stone... (dissolves into laughter)

DO: Not even close, all right!

NP: I know but it got a laugh, didn't it! Right, so Paul you get a bonus point for your lovely interruption. But Dara was interrupted so he gets a point for that. And he has 56 seconds to continue on what I was like as a baby starting now.

DO: I admit I wasn't 18 and a half stone at the time. But nonetheless I was still bald, and cute pasty faced kid. The differences are possibly more interesting. I was blonde at the time and blind apparently, which babies are for the first three months or so. Or at least fairly useless when it comes to, you know, video games, and picking and mixing the correct cocktail, and stuff you want your child to do around the house. The ah mother's always found this...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of mother.

NP: Yes your mother came into it before. Ah...

DO: Well she had a fairly strong role to play in the whole ah...

NP: (laughs) I know but you can't repeat her in Just A Minute if you've already used the word before. So Clement you come in with 35 seconds on what I was like as a baby starting now.

CF: I have absolutely no idea.



NP: Ah I think, because of the strength of the applause, I know you dried up completely. We'll give you a bonus point for that. But Paul got a correct challenge, I know what it was.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes Paul, you have, and a point of course for a correct challenge, what I was like as a baby, 33 seconds starting now.

PM: I was very similar to Clement Freud, apparently, as he is now. My mother tells me that as we look at this famous knight sitting next to me, I was the spitting image of him. Apparently when I was seven months old, I turned to her and said (in impression of CF) "I..."


NP: Dara you...

DO: There were two apparentlys there.

NP: There were two apparentlys yes. Yes unfortunately. So anyway it's back with you Dara, 19 seconds, what I was like as a baby starting now.

DO: I suppose it is a reworking of the old Oscar Wilde phrase that every child's tragedy is that they look like Clement Freud when they arrive back. And Clement Freud's tragedy is...


NP: Clement your buzzer went first.

CF: Repetition of Clement.

NP: Yes and you challenged on your name. You have a point for a correct challenge, 11 seconds, what I was like as a baby starting now.

CF: I met someone the other day who remembered what I was like as a baby. I wasn't going to talk about this but now it's come into the open. I was an adorable baby, everybody...


NP: So Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. And Jenny it's your turn to begin, the subject is punk. Will you...


NP: Don't laugh! Punk, Jenny, tell us something about that in the game starting now.

JENNY ECLAIR: Punk came to live in St Anne's where I was a teenager in about 1977. Nobody knew really what to do. A few half hearted attempts were done to pierce a safety pin through a pencil case but not through a nostril, you know. That would have been mad...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of through.

NP: Yes through yes.

JE: Ah two throughs.

NP: Two throughs yes. So Paul you have 45 seconds, you tell us something about punk starting now.

PM: As Jenny says, it was a phenomenon of the late 70s. I wasn't particularly interested in punk music at the time, and I don't think I am now really. I was more into the films of Laurel and Hardy. I was a strange boy growing up. I was about 19, 20, the sort of age you would expect for somebody to suddenly get excited about The Clash or The Sex Pistols, people like that. But I really wasn't that interesting in their way of doing, because I just thought...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Ah deviation of grammar.

NP: Can you elucidate, what was it?

CF: I wasn't that interesting, he said.

PM: That doesn't sound like me, at all!


PM: You've mixed me up with somebody else there, Clement!

NP: I think he was trying to say "I wasn't that interested", and it may have come out as interesting.

PM: Yeah.

CF: Because he said interested before.

PM: Yes I was trying to avoid saying interested again.

NP: Oh I see. Right.

PM: Yeah.

CF: So it was a deviation of grammar.

PM: So it was a clever clever thing that I did there Nicholas.

NP: It was a clever thing you did. But you failed to achieve your aim.

PM: Now it's been explained to you, yes!

NP: I was about to give you a bonus point, but I've changed my mind!

PM: Shame!

NP: Oh right Clement...

PM: Do I get the bonus point?

NP: No!

PM: Oh!

NP: Oh I'm never unkind, of course you can have a bonus point. Clement you have 23 seconds on punk starting now.

CF: The letters P, N, K and U can only spell punk. Look at them as often as you like, and there's no other word...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Knup! One of the biggest cities in Norway!


PM: You've been there, Nicholas, haven't you? You've played Knup!

NP: Absolutely, yes yes! I was a huge success over there!

PM: Yeah!

NP: They didn't understand a word that I said...

PM: No.

NP: ... but it was very successful.

PM: You walked on and they said "look at that knup", and that was you, wasn't it!

NP: I've been known as the biggest knup in the business, actually!


NP: And I think you who said it about me. Anyway it doesn't matter.

PM: So deviation, you can get more than one word out of punk, knup.

NP: No no, it's not a word, you wouldn't find it in the Oxford English Dictionary. And I've read it from A to Z, so I know.

PM: Did you find out who did it, in the end?

NP: No!

PM: You read the dictionary, A to Z...

NP: Paul I'm going to give you another bonus point, but Clement was interrupted so he gets a point for interruption, and keeps the subject of punk, and there are 14 seconds starting now.

CF: I've never quite understood the attraction of punk. I've looked at many people with extraordinary bits of metal through parts of their body, and it hasn't enhanced their beauty in my eyes...


NP: Ah Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's moved forward, he's two ahead of Jenny Eclair and Paul Merton who are still equal in the lead, in second place, and then Dara in third place I suppose. I mean I suppose because if they are equal in second place, he can't be in fourth place, he must be in third place. I've never really worked that one out and I've been in the show now for nearly so many... it doesn't matter, I don't know why I've brought it up. Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject is swings and roundabouts. Tell us something about that delightful children's attraction in this game starting now.

PM: It's a metaphor for life, I suppose. What you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts. But is that really true? The first swings and roundabouts that I ever remember were at the back of the Council flats where I grew up in Fulham. They were not particularly good swings and roundabouts. The swings didn't swing, the roundabouts didn't round about. And I don't know really what was the point of them. I suppose they were there as a...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: He supposed twice.

NP: He did suppose at the beginning, yes.

PM: Yes I did, I was getting quite deep there.

NP: Yes, 38 seconds for you Jenny, swings and roundabouts starting now.

JE: After smoking, the Government will ban swings and roundabouts. They are lethal, especially if a roundabout is manned by a maniac 14 year old boy, old enough to know better. Pushing it too fast, kids flying off, impaling themselves on railings. As for swings, without crash helmets? Have we gone mad, eh? Paul was right when he said it was a metaphor for life. It's the sort of thing my mother says, it means that whatever comes round will get you in the face next time. And however you're feeling, if you're up...


NP: So Jenny Eclair was speaking as the whistle went, and she's moved forward. She's now equal with Clement Freud in the lead, they're both two points ahead of Paul Merton, and three or four ahead of Dara. And Clement it's your turn to begin and the subject is the super-hero I would most like to be. The super-hero I would most like to be Clement, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: I think PT Barnum of circus fame is the super-hero who I most admired. He was once acquainted of the death of a man shot from a cannon in his big top, and said "this is grave news, it will be hard to find a man of the same caliber!" But perhaps my, my definition of a real super-hero would be a mixture of The Inkspots, Janet Street Porter, and Eminem.



NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Ah hesitation.

NP: There was hesitation.

PM: On Eminem.

NP: Yeah I let you go on Clement, because there was a huge reaction and you couldn't exactly go through it, it was too good not to nurse it a bit.

CF: Ah.

NP: But that...

CF: Can I have a point?

NP: No.


NP: All right, give him a point, that's all right.

CF: The man in the fourth row would like me to have a point!

PM: Yeah! There's a man in the fourth row who is being quite vociferous.

NP: Vociferous, yes. There's more than one actually. But anyway give him a bonus point, he loves his bonuses. Paul you have the subject and you have a point for that of course, the super-hero I would most like to be, starting now.

PM: The super-hero that Nicholas would most like to be, he confided it to me just before the show started was Captain Continent. I said "what exactly do you mean by that?" And he started to delve into all aspects of his private life that I think we should leave where they are. The super-hero that I would most like to be would be a man who could travel faster than time, because I would love to be able to travel so fast into the future...


NP: Yes Dara you challenged.

DO: That has to be a repetition of travel.

NP: It was a repetition of travel, well listened Dara. And you have five seconds...

DO: Oh this could go hideously wrong, couldn't it!

NP: The super-hero I would most like to be starting now.

DO: The super-hero I would most like to be was a character called The Thing in Marvel comics particularly because it seemed like...


NP: Dara, you see how much you're loved in Watford! They want you to do well. And you are doing well, you got another point for speaking as the whistle went, you moved forward, very rapidly. You're still in fourth place but you have moved forward. That was a bit unkind because he's actually only two points behind Paul Merton, and Paul always does well on this show. And he's only one point behind Jenny Eclair and Clement Freud. And so it's all very close, and Dara it's your turn to begin. And the subject is a good education. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

DO: Very recently Prince Charles stepped into the education debate in a slightly controversial way by saying that basically the point of a good education was to turn the entire country into an Indian caste system of some description where everyone should know their place. Frankly I didn't think it would take 14 years, just point it out to them on their way in, and then send them out on their way. The, I was educated in...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of way there.

NP: Yes there was way in...

DO: Yeah.

NP: ... and way yes, way yes. So Paul you've got a correct challenge, you have 42 seconds, tell us something about a good education starting now.

PM: I've admired good educations from the outside, and wondered what it would be like to have one. Unfortunately the school I went to, Wimbledon College, turned comprehensive the year I went there, and decided to put me and a bunch of other boys right at the end of the hall. And we never really learnt anything. I came away from that school with three O-levels and two...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two schools.

NP: Yes, the school that you went to and the school at the beginning.

PM: Yes.

NP: Wimbledon. And 26 seconds Jenny for you, a good education starting now.

JE: Similarly to Paul, I had a lousy education. My fault entirely, just stopped listening! Couldn't be bothered! Put my head down on the desk, fell asleep, dribbled for seven years! I know nothing! Ask me a question, I won't be able to reply!


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: What's the capital of Peru?

JE: Oh I know this one! Lima, Lima!


NP: It's very difficult, I think Paul should get a bonus point for setting the situation up. Jenny thinks she deserves one because she said Lima. And Dara thinks he should have one because he wrote Lima down for Jenny to say!

JE: That's fair!

NP: And Clement obviously feels he deserves one because he didn't say a word! But Paul you have the bonus because you set it all in train. And ah 11 seconds are left for you Jenny on a good education starting now.

JE: When my daughter was approaching five and I had to choose her primary, I looked around. And the one I went for was the er headmister...


JE: Headmister!

NP: Dara challenged.

JE: Sorry yes, mess of words.

DO: Hesitation.

NP: That was hesitation yes and you've got the subject.

JE: You're learning, aren't you!

NP: Dara, you, you, you're getting...


NP: Save it, save it because you're getting the feel of this particular game. Because you got in with two seconds to go. And you have two seconds on a good education Dara starting now.

DO: Well the features of a good Irish education are...


NP: So Dara is really moving in leaps and bounds. Another point for speaking as the whistle went. He's now only one point behind Paul Merton and Clement Freud who are equal in second place, and only two points behind who is Jenny Eclair.

DO: So actually, I'm still last is what you're saying! I'm just a far more respectable class of last!

NP: You're in a brilliant fourth position.

DO: Thanks.

NP: And er, I won't say any more! The ah, Jenny it's your turn to begin, the subject is the Queen of Sheba. A little moment to think about it my love, and now off you go, 60 seconds starting now.

JE: (slowly) The Queen of Sheba was a character from the Bible who had to travel a vast distance to...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: No need to do this at dictation speed!

NP: There's no need to...

PM: There was a lot of hesitation.

JE: There are people taking notes in the audience! I'm only trying to help.

NP: She hadn't quite got as far as hesitating.

PM: Okay.

NP: She was going very slowly, unlike Jenny. We've got the two speed vocalists on this side, and the slower ones on the right. Jenny, an incorrect challenge, 53 seconds, the Queen of Sheba starting now.

JE: Had to go and visit Solomon and ask him questions, possibly about the capital of Peru! He proved himself as a ...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: What?

CF: Peru was not a country while the Queen of Sheba was...

PM: Yeah that's right, it wasn't.

NP: It wasn't, Peru did not exist in those...

JE: No, of course not.

PM: It was part of Islington in them days! Part of Islington!

NP: So Clement, a correct challenge, 43 seconds, tell us something about the Queen of Sheba starting now.

CF: I seem to remember she appears in Bibble which you can get in your bedside cabinet when you stay in a hotel...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well this is a wilful mispronunciation of the word Bible isn't it.

NP: Yes.

PM: So it's deviation from how we would normally pronounce the word Bible, Bibble.

NP: I agree with that challenge.

PM: Yes yeah.

NP: So you have a point and you have the subject, and 36 seconds starting now.

PM: It's one of the finest pubs in Fulham. If you go in and you ask for George, he'll always take you around the back. Because there's a lovely room there just behind the rear of this...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two behinds.

PM: Back. Back, behind.

JE: Oh I'm sorry Paul. I'm wrong, I'm wrong, I'm wrong, I do apologise.

NP: Yes, backs and behinds may be synonymous in your world Jenny. But incorrect challenge Paul, 28 seconds, the Queen of Sheba starting now.

PM: When I think about the Queen of Sheba I think...


NP: Oh! Yes once you're interrupted, sometimes you lose the flow. Right, but Clement you challenged first, I think, I think. Twenty-five seconds, the Queen of Sheba starting now.

CF: The Queen Of Sheba was a horse which ran at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle in, I think it was, 1986 or could have been the season after that. Two and a quarter miles was his exact distance and a great weight carrier, The Queen Of Sheba...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: This male horse was called The Queen Of Sheba? I mean that's just unfair to dumb animals! That's deviation.

NP: It just shows you how the whole thing was so devious.

PM: Exactly.

NP: He made the whole thing up.

PM: Yeah.

NP: You know, two and a quarter miles in that particular year, you could have challenged on any of those things.

PM: Yeah.

NP: But you waited till he got the sex wrong.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Which was very shrewd because you got in with nine seconds to go, the Queen of Sheba starting...

CF: I, I protest!

NP: You mean it was, it was a colt and still called by a female name?

CF: I've met plenty of male Queens!

PM: But how many...

NP: How many...

PM: How many were actually from Sheba? That's what I want to know!

NP: Yes, the Queen of Sheba's with you Paul, and nine seconds starting now.

PM: If you look to the Bible, you will find that the Queen of Sheba is described in a rather unusual way. Let me take you through exactly what it says. If you look...


NP: I was looking forward to that Paul. I thought you were suddenly going to quote the Bible to us.

PM: No, I've no idea!

NP: Right so you were speaking when the whistle went, you've ah taken the lead, you're two ahead of Jenny Eclair and Clement Freud, equal in second place, and you are three or four ahead of Dara O'Briain. It's all very close. As Paul, it's your turn to begin. Oh sorry I've got a hiccup. I've got rid of it. And ah that's what I love about...

PM: That's the kind of man you're dealing with here!

NP: I know but it's all, it's all...

PM: Somebody else would be out the back drinking water out of the wrong side of the glass! But not Nicholas!

NP: It's all comic grist to the mill, that's what I say.

PM: Absolutely, he gets a hiccup, he gets rid of it.

DO: You're the only man in history who's had a singular hiccup!

NP: Ah but I can control it by my stomach muscles, you see.

PM: Really?

NP: It doesn't, the demonstration won't be very good on radio, so I won't go any further.

PM: But it'd be a memory for the front row though, wouldn't it!

NP: The hiccup was actually embarrassing for the front row here in the theatre. Paul it is your turn to begin, what not to say when you meet the Mayor, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: "I like your beard" would be inappropriate in Watford because there's a lady Mayor here called Doreen, apparently somebody told me just before the show.


PM: Not called Doreen? What's her name?



NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of Doreen.

NP: Yes.

PM: That's not her name?

NP: What is her name?


NP: Doris?


NP: What?


NP: Dorothy!

PM: Dorothy!

NP: Dorothy, if you're out there somewhere...

PM: Sorry, I voted for Doreen! What happened to her?

NP: My, my money went on Doris. So Dorothy, if you're out there, I'm sorry. But it's all meant with the greatest of good fun. Clement you had a correct challenge on repeat of Doreen and you have 52 seconds to tell us something about what not to say when you meet the Mayor starting now.

CF: "Mea culpa" would be a silly thing to say. "Hello Dorothy" would be very much more sensible... I said would twice...


NP: I know! And you challenged yourself?

CF: I challenged myself for repetition.

NP: So Clement, I have to ask you, what was your challenge?

CF: Repetition of would.

NP: Repetition, correct. So it's a correct challenge, I have to give you a point for that. But please don't make a habit of it, otherwise it could make a nonsense of the game, couldn't it.

PM: We leave that in your capable hands!

NP: You're lovely Paul! You know, I love working with you! You can always be relied on for a few of those. Forty-three seconds, still with you Clement, what not to say when you meet the Mayor starting now.

CF: I think the very last thing to say when you meet the Mayor is anything political. Because once one is a Mayor, politics go out of the window. You are a Mayor for all your people, be they Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Socialist. Even Labour and New, that party again. "Hello Mayor" is nice if you don't want...


CF: Yes.

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Bit of a hesitation there.

NP: Well after saying "hello Mayor", I think... I'm sure there'd be an awful pause, wouldn't there. Yes there was a pause Paul, so you have 19 seconds, what not to say when you meet the Mayor starting now.

PM: When you meet the mare, you shouldn't say "your name is the Queen of Sheba" because that won't go down very well. Because in fact that nomenclature prefers to live with the male horse, that lovely proud animal as it strides across the ground, four legs swinging out from every corner...


NP: Dara, just a minute. Dara challenged.

DO: That must be deviation.

NP: Yes.

DO: Ah...

PM: Is a mare not a horse?

NP: No.

PM: Don't tell me you only just got it.

DO: Ah I only just got it so I retract my interruption there.

NP: Right so you retract your challenge, in other words you were, Paul was interrupted. So he gets a point for that, five seconds, what not to say when you meet the Mayor, Paul starting now.

PM: I once met the Mayor of Melbourne. She came up to me and she said that...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two shes.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes.

PM: Very good.

NP: That's why he hesitated. Jenny you cleverly got in with one second to go, what not to say when you meet the Mayor.

JE: I'm not going to worry about it, because let's face it, she...

NP: Darling darling, I haven't said now yet. I was trying to pull you back from the microphone, you were almost eating it.

JE: I know!

NP: And you just... and er, and it, it, it actually doesn't come over very well on radio. So without swallowing your microphone, could you now for one second tell us what not to say when you meet the Mayor starting now.

JE: You should never say cluck!


NP: So Jenny Eclair speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point. It's, it's, it's neck and neck between these three, Clement Freud, Jenny Eclair, and Paul Merton. And we're moving into the final round, alas!


NP: Oh you're so sweet out there, you really are. But we've enjoyed it as much as you, I can assure you, but in quite a different way of course. The ah, let me give you the situation as we go into the final round.

PM: I think we can well imagine the situation, thank you!

NP: Well no, I have to give it to the people who might have just tuned in.

PM: Yes.

CF: Give it to them, yeah.

NP: Yes, Dara O'Briain is only just in fourth place, no, no, he really is!

PM: He is only just.

NP: He's only three points behind Jenny Eclair and Clement Freud who are equal in second place. Paul Merton is still in the lead. And we begin the last round with Dara O'Briain. And the subject is modern art, something I'm sure close to your heart Dara. Tell us something about it in this game starting now.

DO: Many people find modern art particularly challenging. The medium is often the issue, neon for example, and those strips of it. Often people find it to be pushing them away. They go "why, why do we have to..."


NP: Oh! Why why did you do it, why? But that's the way we speak isn't it. And Jenny you challenged first.

JE: I did yes.

NP: Why why yes.

JE: Why why did he say why so many times?

NP: Because he was emphasising it.

DO: I said it twice.

JE: That's all it takes!

NP: I should explain to our listeners by the way, he was referring to the modern art here in this new refurbished Watford Palace Theatre which is hanging from the ceiling like a lot of rather undigested spaghetti! Jenny a correct challenge and you have modern art, 50 seconds starting now.

JE: I adore modern art. The madder the better, because it makes people hop up and down with rage and write letters to The Daily Mail about Tracey Emin, who I personally adore. Do you know once I was...


NP: Dara challenged.

DO: That's repetition of adore isn't it.

NP: Yes.

JE: Yes sorry I got too chatty.

NP: Adores modern art and she adores Tracey Emin, and a lot of others do as well. And um 37 seconds, back with you Dara, keep it going, you might yet win! Starting, starting now.

DO: I find I need to be guided through modern art, because frankly I'm not sure what they're rebelling against, I've missed so much of it. So I walk around galleries with one of those large head sets jammed to my ear as if it was some massive walkman, with somebody's voice slowly explaining the significance. Sometimes in your ears, the person on the other side is just an actor reading a script. I was in a museum once in China where Roger Moore was the voice. Now this Bond had clearly never been in Asia in his life, was sitting in a studio somewhere in London, leafing through a catalogue of fancy cars, just reading a description of art he'd frankly never set his eyes upon. His eyes...


NP: So Dara O'Briain kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He started with the subject, he finished with the subject, He was interrupted. And he gets a number of points but not enough to win. But he has finished in a brilliant fourth place! He's only one point behind Clement Freud who was only one point behind Jenny Eclair. But they're both a few points behind Paul Merton, so we say Paul this week you are the winner! So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four lovely and delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Jenny Eclair, Dara O'Briain and Clement Freud. I also thank Janet Staplehurst, who has helped me keep the score, she's blown her whistle with great aplomb when the 60 seconds was up. And we also thank our producer-director, Claire Jones. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience in the Watford Palace Theatre who have come here to enjoy themselves and cheer us on our way. From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, and from the team, thank you, good-bye and tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!