starring CLEMENT FREUD, TONY HAWKS, JULIAN CLARY and PAM AYRES, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 28 February 2005)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Oh! 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, not only in this country but throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme four clever, exciting and talented players of the game. And seated on my left we have the most talented answer to Oxford comedy and poetry, that is Pam Ayres. And seated beside Pam, we have one of our most experienced and clever players of the game, that is Clement Freud. And seated on my left we have that engaging, delightful comedian who has now become a very clever ballroom dancer, Julian Clary. And beside him another amazing talented comedian and also comedy writer, that is Tony Hawks. And would you please welcome all four of them! And as usual, as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject that I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Sitting beside me is Janet Staplehurst, she has a stopwatch in her hand, she'll help me keep the score, she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have expired. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the magnificent and very large New Theatre in that city of dreaming spires, Oxford. And we have a dreaming but not expiring audience from Oxford who are just dying for the show to get started. So let's begin with Tony Hawks. Tony the subject is the person I look up to most. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TONY HAWKS: The person I look up to most, well, it's worth saying at this point, it's not an easy task to chair a show like this. To sit in the middle of a group of people trying to talk for a minute. And if ever we find someone who can do that competently, I will look up to them a great deal. If I come on this show, every often I look up to Stephen Fry, because he is six foot five or six, I think, and I will always...


NP: Julian challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Repetition of six.

TH: Correct.

NP: That's right. Well done Julian, well listened, Julian had to have a correct challenge, and he gets a point for that of course, he takes over the subject, and there are 35 seconds available, the subject, the person I look up to most starting now.

JC: Well I'm quite big for my size so there's no-one in particular that I look up to. But I do wander the streets looking for men on ladders. And then I cast my eyes up and I go "yoo-hoo", and looking...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: I'm sorry. Yoo-hoo sounded sort of repetitive, but wasn't.

NP: It sounded repetitive, isn't it. It wasn't woowoo, it was woohoo. So...

CF: Yeah.

NP: Clement it was an incorrect challenge. So Julian has another point, he keeps the subject, he has 24 seconds, the person I look up to most starting now.

JC: Being a Catholic, of course the Pope is also someone that I admire greatly as a moral leader. Although on some areas of my life, I find it very confusing that we're not in alignment if you know what I'm saying, if you catch my drift...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of you.

NP: Oh yes.


NP: Yes well you haven't won many friends with the challenge Clement.

CF: No?

NP: But he did say you more than twice so...

CF: He said yoo-hoo and then he said you.

NP: Clement you have got in with nine seconds to go, a point to you and the subject, the person I look up to most starting now.

CF: The person I look up to most, or as I would put it, the person to whom I most look up, although grammatically this may not...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. It was Clement Freud then, he has two points, so has Julian Clary. The other two have yet to acquire any. And Julian it's your turn to begin. The subject is, oh, I don't know why this has been chosen for you, my favourite dance. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JC: Well of course dancing is my life, since my recent success on the BBC1 series Strictly Come Dancing...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of B!

JC: Two Bs.

NP: We're getting too pedantic now.

TH: All right, we'll let, we'll let, I just wanted to just show how picky I could be.

NP: Yes.

TH: But I'd like to waive it because I want to hear what he's going to say on this.

NP: Yeah that's right.

TH: So can I pass, waive...

NP: You can waive and you can pass and I won't give you any bonus points.

TH: Okay then, oh!

NP: So um, so my favourite dance is still with Julian, no points points scored, 54 seconds starting now.

JC: When I take to the floor with my dance partner Erin Bowe, we may take the quickstep, we may do the tango, the passadoble, or I'm particularly famous for my jive! But...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Did he hesitate there?

NP: He did hesitate yes.

TH: Yeah he did.

JC: I was inhaling, but never mind!

NP: You thought about your jive and it suddenly um...

TH: I think he was waiting for a huge round of applause! That tragically didn't materialise.

JC: How do you know what I was waiting for?

TH: Guessed it.

NP: Tony, correct challenge, 41 seconds still available, the subject my favourite dance starting now.

TH: My favourite dance is done by 40 plus blokes at weddings who've drunk too much. And they just do a jig from one side to another, and think that's enough to please everybody. And they also imagine that it might be enormously attractive to the women who have gone to this event as well. And they pursue it for hours...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Three theys.

NP: There were three theys yes, so he let the two go, but he came in on the third. Clement, 21 seconds, my favourite dance starting now.

CF: I think the Sir Roger Decovelly is the longest dance, not my favourite which has got to be the polka or the charleston. I'm particularly keen on dances that come from South America, all parts of Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua, Peru, you name it, I have...


NP: So Clement Freud was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's now naturally in the lead ahead of Julian Clary, Tony Hawks and Pam Ayres. And so Pam Ayres, I think it's time to hear from you and would you like to take the subject. And it's something which I'm sure is close to your heart, chickens. Will you tell us something about chickens in this game starting now.

PAM AYRES: I have kept chickens since I was eight years old. And my favourite hen is called Dorcus, and is a Dorking fowl, a breed introduced to this country by the Romans, and distinguished by the fact that it has five toes instead of the normal four. This would no doubt be a great impediment to the bird had it wanted to take up tap dancing. But when it comes to kicking up a storm in the farmyard, it is dynamite. Now a seriously tragic thing happened to her, because she was attacked by a terrier of the Jack Russell type, and was found in the garden flat on her back, twitching, yes! Upon closer investigation I found great wounds gouged out of her flesh adjacent to the spine. But not wishing to part with my dear friend, I produced my healing hands and puffed and...


NP: Well that was magnificent! Pam who has only played the game twice before has returned in triumph, and started with the subject, finished with it, wasn't interrupted, no hesitation, repetition or deviation, so you get a point because you weren't interrupted, and you get a bonus point for that and a point for speaking when the whistle went. So you're in a strong third place at the moment. And um Clement your turn to begin. The subject, very topical, the Oxford Union. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

CF: The Oxford Union, as opposed to the Union at Cambridge, let alone at Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrew's, Perth, Plymouth, Exeter, Shaftesbury, Bath, is a place where if you are lucky you will sit, have coffee and be offered a job by the Milk Marketing Board...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of you.

NP: Yes. You got him back at his own game, well done Julian. So you got a point for that, correct challenge, 39 seconds are available still, the Oxford Union starting now.

JC: I've very little knowledge about the Oxford Union. It conjures up a vision of posh students sitting around drinking martinis, which may be completely wrong. Are they really unified, that's what I'd like to know. I suppose they have a membership card which they have in their blazer pocket, or their grubby jeans that have never seen a washing machine, but I don't really know for sure. When I was a student at Golsdsmith's University in London, I had a card of course, I had several cards...


NP: Tony challenged.

JC: Indeed.

TH: Ah repetition of card?

NP: Yes there was a repetition of card. All the fingers went on buzzers, Tony's went fractionally earlier, his light came on, and it tells me you've got the subject. Fourteen seconds, the Oxford Union, Tony starting now.

TH: I wonder if the Oxford Union ever goes on strike? Because they ought to, and I'd like to see it happen. It's also quite an honour to be asked to go and speak to them, so I'm told. Clinton went and did it. But I have never got a call, and I sit by the...


NP: Tony Hawks speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point and others in the round. Now he's er, he's coming up, oh he's in third place, and Julian and Clement are just in the lead. Tony it's your turn to begin, the subject, oh ah erudite subject for Oxford, speaking Latin. Tell us something about speaking Latin starting now.

TH: Absquay laboray neehill in toto ad infinitum said latio non solum. I could speak possibly for the whole minute in Latin, such is the ability and the scholarly nature of my mind. But I often wonder why did they teach this subject at school and drive it down our necks, when it's very difficult to find other people who know the Latin for "how much are those doughnuts?" When you're in the bread shop, that's what you need to know, not how Hannibal crossed the Alps and...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: Repetition of how.

NP: Yes, how and know, well done Pam, well listened.

TH: Yes.

NP: So you have the subject Pam of speaking Latin, you have another point, there are 26 seconds available starting now.

PA: When I went to Australia, I might as well have been speaking Latin for all the luck I had in making people understand me. This is because I have an accent from the Vale of the White Horse which is where I come...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Surely not!


NP: What I do on those occasions because people enjoyed Clement's interruption, we give him a bonus point for that. But Pam was interrupted so she gets a point for that, she keeps the subject, speaking Latin and there are 11 seconds starting now.

PA: But I wish I could speak Latin and understand it because then I think you have the key to unravelling baffling words because you...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of because.

PA: Oh blast!

NP: Yes there was two becauses there, yes.


CF: Boo! Boo!

NP: um audience those are the rules of the game! Clement got in first and he’s got only half a second...

PA: Oh!

NP: That wasn't popular but those are the rules of the game. Speaking Latin Clement starting now.

CF: Essomum...


NP: So Clement with that extra point has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Pam your turn to begin. The subject, taking the first step. Tell us something about it, this subject in this game starting now.

PA: (long pause) Taking...


PA: Ohhh!

NP: Clement challenged.

PA: Ohhhh!

CF: Hesitation?

NP: It was hesitation yes.

PA: Ohhhhh!

NP: But, but I think Clement, as Pam's only played the game twice before, and you've played it for 38 years, I think on this occasion, I give, I give you a point because it was a correct challenge. But Pam gets a point because she was interrupted...

PA: Thank you very much indeed!

NP: Not at all.

PA: I was just taking a deep breath and filling up the lungs so I could have a good go at it.

NP: There's a technique in this game is to fill the lungs as I pause...

PA: Sorry! Sorry!

NP: ... before I say "starting now".

PA: It's very difficult taking the first step if you have any of the disorders to which the foot is prone. These include athlete's foot, bunions, corns, calluses...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of foot.

NP: There were too many feet. Foot foot yes.

PA: Oh blow! Oh right!

NP: I know yes. Tony another point to you, 47 seconds still available, taking the first step starting now.

TH: This is one stall spare... (pauses) No-one's challenged! I'll keep going!

NP: No-one's challenged, keep going yes.

TH: Clearly there was a hesitation but no-one wants to know about it for some...


NP: Julian has challenged.

JC: Hesitation.

NP: Yes!

TH: It was like everyone had just lost interest then.

NP: I know, they couldn't believe you had actually got that quotation back to front.

TH: Yeah well I was just thinking I was going to have to repeat "one" to do it properly and I panicked!

NP: You panicked, yes, it doesn't do to panic. Right Julian you didn't panic, you got in, 40 seconds, taking the first step starting now.

JC: I assume this phrase is some kind of euphemism for bravery. If you take the first step, then the second, third, fourth and so on will be that much easier. I've never used the phrase in my own particular day-to... life...


NP: Pam you challenged.

PA: A hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes. he was looking for another step and slipped up. Right, 25 seconds, taking the first step back with you Pam starting now.

PA: Fallen arches, varucas and excess pronation, all of these conditions of course can be tackled by a qualified chiropodist wielding a scalpel and who can whittle away at afflicted regions of the digits, or as they say in France, le sotte. That beats the...


NP: Well Pam Ayres speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. And she really has leapt forward now, she's only one point behind our leader Clement Freud. And Clement, your turn to begin, the subject, how to behave when you are stuck in a lift, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: I've never quite understood how one behaved when stuck in a lift. I think it depends almost entirely on who else is occupying that lift. If there are a lot of people, then surely one of them must become the leader, and say "give me your food and drink and I will ration it out". But otherwise you introduce yourself. If there's only one person you undress. And there are also... many...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was. I mean I know we have to go through our laughs in this show and Clement did actually hesitate for once even though he had a good laugh. Thirty-two seconds Julian with you on how to behave when you're stuck in a lift starting now.

JC: How to behave when you're stuck in a lift is an unknown quantity. I've never had that experience but I think the same rules apply as in any other walk of life. Best not to scream and shout because you'll then be using up the oxygen which is not in anyone's interests because we've all got to share the facilities. What I wonder, do you do if you feel a call of nature coming on? Do you ask your fellow passengers to turn around, avert their eyes, and ignore the fact? Do you get out a little handkerchief and make a little nest perhaps? I just don't know but you can...


NP: I'm still laughing at the image you created there Julian. And you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. You're equal in second place with Pam Ayres, one behind Clement, and one ahead of Tony Hawks. And Tony your turn to begin, the subject now, hypochondriacs. Tell us something about that subject now in this game starting now.

TH: We were hoping to have a group of hypochondriacs in the audience tonight, but they were too ill to get here! But I am not a hypochondriac myself, I'm like figures similar to Woody Allen, who in his films is nearly always thinking he's got a brain tumour or something like that at the beginning. And I have a friend who believes that the French are hypochondriacs because he says in all the city centres you'll see hundreds of pharmacies. And this is true in fact. And so perhaps these people from France are indeed, and if they're listening, because Nicholas always goes on about how people listen from all over the world to this programme, perhaps they'll write in and tell us, if their arms aren't hurting too much from those wrist strains that they clearly get from throwing boule as they do at the weekend or petanque as it's sometimes called. I never expected to go this long. What a turn-up!


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: He repeated always quite a long time ago but I let him go on!

NP: He repeated always but he let you go...

TH: I wish, I wish you'd challenged me then to be honest!

NP: No he waited, there are eight seconds left and he's got in on hypochondriacs Clement starting now.

CF: If you are a hypochondriac you have a morbid interest in your own life and avoid doctors if you possibly can...


NP: So Clement was again speaking as the whistle went, has increased his lead slightly at the end of the round. And Julian Clary we're back with you to begin, the subject now is the owl. Tell us something about the owl starting now.

JC: I know for a fact that the owl and the pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat. My knowledge, apart from that particular poem, is very limited. I think they glide round in the countryside eating rodents. They've got very big eyes. There's the tawny variety. You might see a snowy one. I believe their features come out in that particular colour, only if they're in the right environment where that particular feature is...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of particular.

NP: Yeah particular yes.

JC: Yes it was.

NP: Too particular there. Right Tony...

TH: It's a shame though because we were learning so much about the owl!

NP: Well you were teaching a lot about Latin.

TH: Yes.

NP: It's a very erudite show! Right, 35 seconds, the owl with you Tony starting now.

TH: Like Julian, I share very little knowledge on the subject of the owl. Except it does like to stand on a branch and look down at the fish when it's fishing obviously. It would be a foolish thing to do if it was trying to jog, or perhaps make a cup of tea. Which they don't do anyway but it filled seven valuable seconds from my point of view. The owl, tawny kind, are obviously that colour. The person that...


NP: Clement challenged?

CF: Why obviously? Explain.

TH: What?

CF: Explain!

TH: Well...

NP: Clement, I don't think it's your position to ask one of the players to explain what they were talking about. Either challenge for hesitation, repetition or deviation.

CF: Ah!

NP: Ah. But to me it was obvious why he said it. And isn't that sufficient? So...

CF: Yes yes mmm.

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

CF: No, not if it's obvious to you!

NP: So no, I think it was perfectly all right. So you have the subject still, another point for an incorrect challenge, 11 seconds, the owl with you Tony starting now.

TH: I once went on a night safari when I was in India near Kerella. And it was fantastic because we did see an owl. And my goodness, what an impression it made on all of us. We were...


NP: So Tony got extra points and has moved forward. It's all neck and neck, they're all very very close. And Pam Ayres it's back with you to begin, the subject now, keeping fit. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PA: I have had it with keeping fit! I have joined many gyms and slogged away...


NP: Julian challenged you.

JC: I'm afraid we had too haves.

NP: Yes, I have had and...

PA: Oh blow!

NP: Yes.


NP: Yes and Clement challenged as well.

CF: Two blows!

JC: You can't have too many of those!

NP: Julian, a correct challenge, 54 seconds, keeping fit starting now.

JC: Keeping fit is all the rage but you don't have to go to a gym which is very boring indeed. Ballroom dancing is an ideal method. You hop around the dance floor, you work up quite a sweat, it's cardiovascular in more ways than one. Or you might just choose to walk the dog which has been my particular method of keeping fit for many years now. Also housework, you see, don't forget the day-to-day chores that you do going...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of day.

NP: Day-to-day.

JC: Day-to-day.

NP: Yes.

JC: Don't look so pleased with yourself!

TH: (laughs) I'm sorry! Sorry!

NP: Ah 29 seconds Tony...

TH: Oh!

NP: ... keeping fit starting now.

TH: I've never quite understood why people drive to gyms, get out, and then get on a machine where they work...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of get.

NP: Get, get out.

TH: Yes.

NP: Yes so 23 seconds with you Clement, keeping fit starting now.

CF: Schools are very keen on one being fit, they said what you usually do in bed is incredibly bad for you and causes you to lose your sight. But most people I know are just... deeply...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: Hesitation?

NP: No no, it wasn't hesitation, it was me who was looking at the audience in shock!


NP: Julian you challenged as well.

JC: Was it deviation?

NP: I think it was but not within the rules of Just A Minute. And he didn't hesitate which was the first challenge. So Clement you have another point, and you keep the subject of keeping fit, and there are nine seconds starting now.

CF: I've never since trusted people who had poor eyesight. I don't know whether it's just me, but gymnasia are places I like to go to a lot...


NP: Right so Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's increased his lead slightly, you're four ahead of Tony Hawks, five ahead of Julian Clary, and six ahead of Pam Ayres. That's the situation as we move into the final round, and actually Clement it's your turn to begin. The subject is eccentricity (pronounced ess-entricity). Tell us something about that delightful subject in this game starting...

CF: I'm sorry, could you say the word again?

NP: Yes, eccentricity (pronounced ess-entricity). It's, it's, it's the...

TH: How are you spelling that?

NP: It's the quality of being eccentric.

CF: Ah!

TH: Are you spelling it with Ss or Cs?

NP: Do you pronounce it eckentricity then?

TH: I pronounce it excentricity.

NP: Excentricity.

TH: Yes.

NP: Well it depends whether you're Scottish or not.

TH: Well look...

NP: If you're educated in Scotland, Scottish people always pronounce it ess-entricity.

TH: We've got 1800 people here, we've got 1800 people here, let's put it to them.

NP: Right...

TH: Hands up if you say ess-entricity? Not looking good for you Nicholas, is it!

NP: If we were doing this show in Glasgow now, all the hands would go up.

TH: Yes.

NP: I was educated up there, we used to talk about essentricity. It was... no, I'm sorry! You want the English version, sorry, I'm not completely Anglicised yet. So excentricity or for those people listening abroad in China and India and all the other countries who take the show, some people do pronounce it essentricity, but it's usually excentricity. And that's what they want on the show and Clement has the subject, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: The town of Essen in the Ruhr district has...


CF: ... its own generating facility which is called Essentricity. And people quite often mix it up with eccentricity which is being off-centre literally, whereas um... it is...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Was there a hesitation?

NP: There was, there was an actual er he put in there. So that's without doubt a hesitation and 36 seconds for you on eccentricity, you can take the pronunciation whichever way you like...

CF: I wish I'd had that.

NP: What's that?

CF: I wish I'd had eccentricity!


NP: I gave you both Clement! But I must say your remark was well received so we give you a bonus point. And you have a point because you've got a correct challenge Tony, you keep the subject, 36 seconds starting now.

TH: In a way we all have to display eccentricity on this show or we can't get through the minute, because we've landed in the deep end with something we don't know what we're going to get, with one minute to talk about it. And we have to ramble about stuff we wouldn't normally cover. Like eggs, I'm not going to do that now but if I was I would... oh I can't be...


NP: So Pam you challenged first.

PA: Well deviation.

NP: Yes everything and hesitation yes.

PA: Yes.

TH: Everything, all of it.

NP: So you have 18 seconds Pam, you tell us something about eccentricity in this game starting now.

PA: Near my home there's a pub, actually it's quite near... oh damn!


NP: Is that what it's called?

PA: Yeah yeah.

NP: Oh Damn! Right! Um Tony you challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of near, I think.

NP: Yes there was a repetition of near.

TH: Yeah.

NP: Right, 13 seconds, eccentricity with you Tony starting now.

TH: I have had an eccentricity generator put in my front room. And all sorts of funny people have started coming in through the front door since I've had it. The guys that want to go to the...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: We had two, we had two haves.

NP: Yes, two haves, so we're hearing from everybody on this last round. And Julian, oh you've got in with two seconds to go, eccentricity starting now.

JC: Eccentricity is a national characteristic...


NP: So Julian was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. An interesting situation at the end of the contest here, if you can call it a contest, it's the fun we have. But everybody scored a lot of points. Pam only just finished in a magnificent fourth place. She was only one point behind Julian Clary, brilliant third place. He was only one point behind Tony Hawks, fantastic second place. But out in the lead a few points ahead was Clement Freud, we say Clement you are the winner this week! Thank you. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Pam Ayres, Julian Clary, Tony Hawks and Clement Freud. I thank Janet Staplehurst, who has helped me with the score, she has blown her whistle with such panache whenever the 60 seconds elapsed. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. We are grateful to our producer who is Claire Jones. And we are also very grateful to this lovely audience in the New Theatre, Oxford, who have cheered us on our way. From the audience, from me Nicholas Parsons, from the panel, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!