WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring KENNETH WILLIAMS, DEREK NIMMO, PETER JONES and WILLIAM FRANKLYN, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 7 July 1984)
NOTE: William Franklyn's first appearance.
ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo and William Franklyn 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, thank you very much. Hello and welcome to Just A Minute. And if I sound a little hoarse today, it is because I do have a head cold. But otherwise I'm very well and our four panellists are fighting fit as usual. And as you heard we have three of our regulars, Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones. And we welcome as a guest for the first time to play the game, Bill Franklyn, William Franklyn. And as usual I will ask them to speak if they can on the subject that I give them, they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition, or deviating from the subject. And let us begin this show with Kenneth Williams. Kenneth, the subject is my gambit. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.
KENNETH WILLIAMS: Reed De Lopez was a Spaniard who used this as an opening in chess. It derives from the Italian in fact. It means to trip up. That is the derivation of the word. And consequently if you have as a conversational gambit, to somebody who is there, and they say whatever it is, you know, they are supposed to reply.
KW: And then you say "sarif..."
NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.
DEREK NIMMO: Repetition of say.
NP: Yes you did repeat the word say.
KW: Did I do that?
KW: How extraordinary!
NP: And William Franklyn...
KW: That's quite unlike me!
WILLIAM FRANKLYN: And you very nearly woke me up too!
KW: Yes well there you are.
NP: They're dropping off. Bill nice to hear from you. Derek I agree with the challenge so you get a point for that, you take over the subject of my gambit starting now.
DN: Of course a frightfully good opening gambit for this game is to suck up to the chairman! And pretend that he's an awfully jolly, rather distinguished, intelligent fellow. So if I was asked to talk about my...
NP: Peter Jones has challenged.
PETER JONES: Deviation.
PJ: Well I think you are an intelligent fellow. I don't think there's any need to pretend!
NP: So you're sucking up to me as well?
PJ: Well in my own particular way!
NP: So what do we do Peter, because it wasn't strictly speaking deviation but we enjoyed the challenge. Let's give Peter Jones a point for that, a point to Derek Nimmo because for being interrupted. And he keeps the subject of my gambit and there are 18 seconds left starting now.
DN: It is when you sacrifice the pawn, possibly to a bishop, to establish an opening gambit in the game of chess. There are many kinds, the emperor's green gambit, the red Russian gambit, Colonel Bogey's gambit, Uncle Frederick Holstein...
DN: And that to any chess lovers, was an absolute load of rubbish.
NP: I know! Absolute rubbish!
DN: Rubbish it was, I hadn't a clue what I am talking about!
NP: I know! But for those who maybe not know the game too well, you can repeat the word on the card more than once or twice. But not more than five times. But nobody challenged Derek, he kept going till the whistle went which tells us that 60 seconds are up. And whoever is speaking at that moment gets an extra point. So Derek Nimmo has a strong lead at the end of the first round. And Peter Jones will you take the next round, the subject is keeping a room tidy. You have 60 seconds as usual starting now.
PJ: The important thing is about keeping a room tidy, to have somewhere to put everything. And then you just er put it there.
NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.
KW: Well he "just er put it there".
NP: You erred and repeated and erred.
NP: Kenneth you have the subject, 51 seconds are left, keeping a room tidy starting now.
KW: The only way to do this is to decide on a place for everything, and keep it down to the minimum. Then you don't get involved in low dusting, which can lead to a lot of back trouble. I can tell you about orthopaedics that would make your hair curl! And the other thing, you must remember of course is to bundle it neatly. Put your socks into the drawer and twist them into a nice...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Three intos.
NP: Yes you were into the drawer, and twist them into. Bit of a tough challenge but it's correct. So Derek has the subject, another point and 21 seconds, keeping a room tidy Derek starting now.
DN: Now Kenneth Williams does keep a room tidy, because he lives in a whitewashed cell like King Philip of Spain. And anyone who has been to that particular establishment will always remark on how amazingly neat, tidy and well cherished his establishment is. Because he has, ladies and gentlemen, a tidy mind. Isn't that something we would all want to have...
NP: William Franklyn has challenged you.
WF: Yes I really quite find myself remarkable to come in... Tidy, I think you said it about three times.
DN: It's in the word.
NP: It's in the word. You can repeat the word.
KW: It's in the subject, you're allowed it.
WF: Ah well, you see, I've never had the rules!
WF: It's all very well, the new boy arrives in the dormitory and suddenly you get beaten for just being there!
NP: I know, they really...
WF: It's terribly unfair!
NP: I know, yes!
WF: I'll probably spend a lot of this evening just whining! I really will! I'm going to be awfully upset by the end of tonight, I can see that! Sorry, do carry on!
NP: No no no, not at all. No no I'm sure that the audience loved hearing from you Bill and I'm afraid...
WF: That may have been the truth, but I don't think you should probably say it.
NP: But anyway tidy is on the card, you can repeat it, that's one of the rules. I'll give you the rest as we go along. By the end of the show, you might know something about it, mightn't you. Five seconds for you Derek on keeping a room tidy starting now.
DN: A very good daily woman or preferably a wife will keep your room surprisingly tidy if you give them chocolate and...
NP: Well once again Derek Nimmo was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point. And he's got many points in that round, and he's way ahead of Peter Jones and Kenneth Williams in second place. And William Franklyn, you might not be surprised to hear, has yet to score. Derek Nimmo, the subject for you is puffin. Can you tell us something about that in 60 seconds starting now.
DN: Puffin used to be thought to be a flightless bird. But it is always rather like a orc or a sea parrot, it was sometimes called. The unusual thing about this is that old people in ancient times thought that you could eat it during Lent...
NP: Kenneth Williams.
KW: Two thoughts, sometimes thought to be, and they thought to eat it during Lent.
DN: Absolutely right Ken!
DN: Jolly good Ken!
NP: Yes and you have 47 seconds on puffin, Kenneth starting now.
KW: Well how often we used to enjoy hearing on the BBC "here comes Puffin the Mule, always playing the fool!" And I was delighted, I must say...
NP: Peter Jones has challenged.
PJ: Well it wasn't Puffin the Mule, it was Muffin the Mule!
NP: Muffin the Mule, yes it wasn't Puffin!
KW: Well you know, you learn something every day, don't you!
NP: Shows you that Peter Jones and I were watching it and you weren't! You...
PJ: He was too old when that was on!
NP: So Peter you have a correct challenge and the subject is puffin, there are 37 seconds starting now.
PJ: It was actually the nickname of a famous film director called Anthony Asquith, with whom I had the privilege of working no fewer than three times. And I think if he were alive now, he would probably be employing me again because...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Well he wouldn't, would he! I mean that's really... I mean if he'd employed him once, he wouldn't ask for Peter Jones a second time!
PJ: He employed me three times.
NP: He employed him three times, he told us that.
NP: So he might have done it four times as well.
DN: Oh all right, off you go. He employed me once too.
NP: Peter another point, four seconds, puffin starting now.
PJ: I would like to take this opportunity if any other film director happens to be listening to this programme...
NP: Derek's challenged again.
DN: Repetition of film director, I'm sorry.
NP: Yes I'm sorry, well Derek got in with one and a half seconds to go, very cleverly, and puffin starting now.
DN: Puffinbury was my favourite railway track...
NP: Well once again Derek got in before the whistle and has increased his lead at the end of the round. William Franklyn, it's your turn to begin. Have you some idea of the rules now?
NP: Well you have 60 seconds to talk on the subject of alchemy.
WF: Al Chemy was an Egyptian...
NP: Actually, you don't know the rules, that's all right. I say now...
NP: ... so Ian Messiter can then press his watch.
WF: Oh how sweet!
NP: Yes, otherwise we don't get the exact time, you see.
WF: Yes, we're in our starting blocks.
NP: You're in your starting blocks, the subject is alchemy and you start now.
WF: Well Al Chemy was an Egyptian entrepreneur who started life as a builder's merchant in Mercimatruix in the 18th century. And whilst doing the grand tour of Europe with his parents in his early 20s, he found himself sitting at a particularly lengthy mass in Cologne Cathedral. Ah he started to gaze at the fabric of the building...
WF: ... and saw...
NP: Before he sailed, ah stared at the fabric, Derek Nimmo challenged you actually.
DN: Ah I'm sorry, it was a bit mean, but it was a hesitation.
KW: Well I think that's most ungallant! After all Bill's a guest on this show! And I would think if you were a guest on this show, you would want a bit of indulgence, wouldn't you! I think it's a bit much! Very rude! Very rude! Very rude!
WF: What a super chap you are!
KW: (in tears) Well I don't like to see that kind of rudeness, I must say!
WF: Actually I didn't know you couldn't hesitate for breath, as it were.
NP: Oh yes you mustn't hesitate or pause. Yours was a very big pause.
WF: You've got to be a full blown psychotic really to be out here.
NP: Absolutely! Quite neurotic as well as everything.
WF: Well I'll get that at our next encounter anyway. I do apologise.
NP: Maybe, maybe you're a little too sane for the show, but it's nice having you...
WF: No no, I hope to eventually become completely deluded like the rest of you!
PJ: Surely you didn't think we were invited here to give 60 second lectures on particular subjects?
WF: I was invited because everybody else that they knew was in an oxygen tent!
NP: Well on that note, with Kenneth Williams completely overcome by Derek Nimmo's challenge, and Bill Franklyn not knowing the rules yet, and Peter Jones looking there as the other, Derek Nimmo you have the subject of alchemy and there are 37 seconds left starting now.
DN: Alchemists of old were engaged in a perpetual search for the philosopher's stone which they imagined would turn any material into gold. And the result of these many years of looking for the... (laughs) things that I was talking about...
NP: Peter Jones has challenged.
PJ: Repetition of years.
NP: Yes and Peter you have the subject, there are 24 and a half seconds, alchemy starting now.
PJ: I remember that famous play of Ben Johnson called The Alchemist with those great characters, Abel Drugger, and er, two or three others...
NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.
KW: And er.
NP: Yes you couldn't remember the others in time, I'm sorry.
PJ: No, sorry.
NP: Kenneth in on alchemy with 14 seconds starting now.
KW: In alchemy, one of the most famous pieces of apparatus was the Alembic and it is referred to by the bard in an incredible speech about "I will with..." (goes into high speed unintelligible recitation)
NP: So Kenneth Williams was then speaking as the whistle went, got that extra point. He's in third place, just behind Peter Jones, they're both keeping, creeping up on our leader Derek Nimmo, and William Franklyn's still in the rear. And Kenneth it's your turn to begin, the subject is Hindenburg Zeppelin. Will you tell us something about that in the game starting now.
KW: The both of them are interesting as far as Zeppelin was a count, Ferdinand in actual fact, von Zeppelin, who invented this dirigible, a self-propelled balloon. And the Hindenburg was named after the Field Marshal who was President of Germany, and unfortunately in 1932 asked Mister Schickelgruber to become Chancellor, with as we know disastrous results for the rest of Europe. Well the airship itself, well it arrived in America and...
KW: Well I wanted to say that when it arrived in America, they had this terrible accident, you see. And what happened was this radio came on actually on the airwaves saying "she's going, she's going, she's going!"
KW: And you could actually see the thing going.
NP: Yes and of course you couldn't say that because you were actually repeating it four times.
KW: That's right, you see, yes. You're very good, you know, isn't he! You can see why they give him the extra money to be chairman!
WF: Did you notice that I pressed the button?
NP: Yes I did notice...
WF: I just wondered because I haven't got the rules quite straight.
KW: We're not taking any notice of you pressing the button! You're, you're a guest! I mean it's quite inexcusable!
WF: Two minutes ago I was your close friend!
KW: Yes but I've altered now! I think it was very ungallant of you to interrupt me!
NP: Well actually it was Peter...
KW: After all, I am something of a cult! I'm a known cult, aren't I! I'm one of the biggest cults going!
NP: Listen Kenneth Cult, I mean Kenneth Williams, it was Peter Jones who actually challenged you.
KW: Was it? What a filthy creature! How disgusting!
WF: Well I pressed that thing!
NP: You challenged as well, but your challenge came in second.
DN: Why is Kenneth allowed to work all this overtime?
NP: The audience enjoy it.
NP: Peter your challenge?
PJ: Ah what was the subject, oh yes, it was ah...
NP: It was a hesitation.
PJ: Hesitation yes mmm.
NP: The Hindenburg Zeppelin's with you Peter, 26 seconds are left starting now.
PJ: It's a means of transport that I've always wanted to try, because it's so quiet and gentle, not particularly speedy...
NP: Kenneth Williams.
KW: Well the subject is Zeppelin Hindenburg, and he says it's a form of transport I've always wanted to try. Since the Hindenburg doesn't exist, how can he want to try it? Going on something that doesn't exist?
NP: Because they are actually trying to bring them back, they're now using...
KW: (shouting) No the subject is the Zeppelin Hindenburg! Not airships! It's the Zeppelin Hindenburg and you don't get more than one of them!
NP: Have you...
KW: (shouting) It's a load of rubbish saying that you want to travel in it! It's like just saying I want to be in Noah's Ark!
LAUGHTER FROM THE AUDIENCE
PJ: I would just like to ask a question! May I just, may I just ask, has Kenneth any territorial claims to make in Europe?
WF: He's done a very good job on my right ear hole!
NP: You'll be in the oxygen tent with all your friends in a minute, won't you! He was on about Zeppelins, he hadn't yet got to Hindenburg, he might yet arrive there. Watch it because you could still have him for deviation but not yet. Nineteen seconds still with you Peter, Hindenburg Zeppelin starting now.
PJ: Airship of the Hindenburg type, as I was going to say.
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: He stopped.
NP: Yes he did, 13 and a half seconds Derek, Hindenburg Zeppelin starting now.
DN: In 1918 Hindenburg Zeppelins...
NP: Peter Jones challenged.
NP: Yes, 12 seconds on the subject starting now.
PJ: The danger was the hydrogen which ignited as soon as it arrived in New York. Now with helium as I said...
NP: Well that was a frenetic round in which everybody contributed something. It didn't do my voice any good! Peter Jones has leapt forward including getting an extra point for speaking as the whistle went, and he's one point behind our leader Derek Nimmo. Kenneth Williams has fallen asleep, he's still in third place and Bill Franklyn's still trailing a little. But very nice with us, still contributing. And Peter it's your turn to begin, the subject, getting noticed. Something you need to do in Just A Minute but would you talk on that subject starting now.
PJ: Getting noticed in the press can be a painful experience. I've had a happy one or two, I suppose, when one has been reviewed by distinguished critics like Harold Hobson or the late Kenneth Tynan. But when it comes to humorous comments which have nothing to do with the television programme that one has been taking part in, it can be an extremely unhappy experience...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Repetition of experience.
NP: Twenty-six seconds are left, getting noticed Derek starting now.
DN: I was privileged to be in the audience in Newkey in Cornwall in 1948 when a young stripling with golden hair came on to the stage in The First Mrs Fraser. And he got noticed by me and the whole audience because he was Minion. And can you think of anyone more apt to play that part than Kenneth Williams? He was getting noticed, there at the beginning, the threshold of his great career, an international... did somebody buzz? Oh I see...
NP: Actually just before the whistle went, Bill Franklyn did press his buzzer. What was your challenge Bill?
WF: It was ah...
WF: It was a hesitation, I was going to refer to er this blonde fellow next to me. It was just a piece of history, but I'll throw it in later during somebody else's hesitation.
NP: You can throw it in now, if you like.
WF: No, it was funny, because last night, because I was talking about a play, Brian Matthew remembered seeing this thing as a young juvenile at York Theatre in Row. Right?
KW: Oh! What a turn-up for the book!
WF: As Ricular, right?
KW: Oh if only we'd had that preserved in the archive on film, eh? Wouldn't that make them sit up and...
WF: They've got a new very pretty young juvenile doing it right now.
KW: Have they?
WF: Only a few miles from here.
WF: You should see it.
KW: And thus the word in nick of time brings in his revenges.
NP: And as we're on a nostalgic trip, I might tell you that I was in Rep at Bromley, when Kenneth Williams came round to play in The Shop At Sly Corner. We both acted together in that.
NP: Do you remember that?
KW: Yes, all those years ago!
KW: And I...
NP: And I believe in the audience we have a party from Bromley here. Do you remember that?
SILENCE FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: No they didn't!
PJ: You surely don't think if they remembered it, they'd be here tonight?
NP: Right you got in with half a second to go Bill, so you're going to get your first point.
WF: Am I?
NP: Yes, getting noticed starting now.
NP: So Bill Franklyn scored, but he's still contributing what we love to hear in Just A Minute. And Derek Nimmo's in the lead, Peter Jones follows, and then Kenneth Williams. And Derek begins the next round. Derek the subject is doggerel. Can you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.
DN: Doggerel is a rather messy kind of verse. You might start off with
I know a young fellow called Parsons
Who was always rather keen on committing arson
He wasn't much cop
And he hadn't got a shop
And that was why he always went to, round houses
Because he thought he might find there a bunch of louses...
NP: Peter Jones has challenged you.
PJ: Repetition of because.
NP: Yes he did say because more than once and that was because and so on. Forty-five seconds for you Peter on doggerel starting now.
PJ: Doggerel is the name that poets give to poems written by other people.
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Well he sort of stopped again.
NP: Well he does this, he makes his point and lets somebody else take over.
PJ: Yes I don't think there's any point in flogging a dead horse.
NP: Derek, 37 seconds for you on doggerel starting now.
DN: If you flog a dead horse
It's really rather coarse
And why don't you use a whip
Instead of a battleship
Because Hindenburg balloon
Might seem like an overgrown saloon.
The wonderful Kenneth Williams
Is known to countless millions
Across this fair and globe of ours
I think we all ought to... (starts laughing)
Doggerel is a very difficult thing to talk about actually. If you look at The English Book of Prose And Poems, published by Hennessey in nineteen hundred and twelve, they give a lot of examples of doggerel, one of which I would like to quote to you in about another 45 seconds time, to stop it from being...
NP: So Derek Nimmo cleverly kept going until the whistle went, gained that extra point and has increased his lead. And William Franklyn begins the next round. Bill the subject for you is stage fright. Can you tell us something about that in this game starting now.
WF: The name Yakka Macanute may not be familiar to all of you any more, but it trips easily off the tongue. He was in fact one of the great early American film stuntmen. He doubled for John Wayne in the classic movie Stagecoach. Now when the horses bolted across the desert, our intrepid double climbed between the horses, down through the shafts to get to the lead horse. He was then shot at by...
KW: No, he didn't repeat, he said first of all horses, and the second was horse.
NP: No, Peter has challenged.
PJ: He said double.
NP: He repeated the word double.
KW: No, no, that was...
WF: Doubled! Doubled! With E-D!
KW: You see, you're not listening properly!
WF: You have to pay attention, on the one hand...
PJ: Oh well I...
WF: And if your brain surgeon is on holiday, that's too bad, you'll have to wait.
PJ: I don't think your diction has improved since you were in Newkey in 1911!
WF: No, no, that was ducky Nimmo, not me!
PJ: Oh well!
WF: Wasn't it you?
NP: No it was Kenneth Williams.
NP: It was Kenneth there.
WF: Could I actually continue, because it was a very abusive thought...
KW: Hear hear!
NP: No I disagree with the challenge...
WF: Thank you very much.
NP: It was doubled and double and Bill you have another point...
WF: Gosh you look so pretty!
NP: And you have 41 seconds on...
WF: He was then shot at...
WF: I've got to get out of this start.
NP: I've got to give you now for Ian Messiter to press his little trigger.
WF: He was then...
NP: Wait a minute! Stop!
WF: You love holding his hand!
NP: Forty seconds starting...
WF: A very shaky hand too!
WF: He was then shot at by marauding Indians and dropped between the galloping flanks. After a few moments in this position, he lowered himself on to the vast receding sands hanging on to the traces while his body was beaten, pummelled, roughed up, and generally sandpapered. He could no longer sustain that position. He released his grip and let the pounding hooves pass by his right and left, followed by the churning wheels and axles of the coach. It could be said very reasonably that this man could not possibly ever have suffered from stage fright. It is in fact...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Well hesitation, he seemed to sort of look to the audience...
NP: Well he was looking for a round of applause from the audience.
WF: I didn't get one! It was actually a panic stricken finish!
NP: I know. You see um the thing is they let you keep going quite a bit Bill, because you did repeat quite a few words. It was very dramatic and very interesting. I think you deserved the round actually.
WF: Repeat, were there very many? I..
NP: Sands and all kinds of words.
WF: Sands and sandpaper.
KW: Yes he's right you see. There was no repetition, no repetition at all.
NP: NIne seconds for you Derek on stage fright starting now.
DN: I wandered on to the stage of the Shaftesbury...
NP: Kenneth Williams.
KW: Deviation, if he had stage fright, he wouldn't wander, would he?
WF: Oh very good! I like that!
PJ: He wandered on in shock! You understand the state of shock, I'm sure.
KW: No I've, I've never experienced it.
DN: It wasn't my state I was talking about actually, it was the other actors I was performing with.
PJ: I'm not surprised!
NP: It's a very difficult thing because actually Kenneth's right.
KW: Of course I'm right! Absolutely right! You're a very good chairman, I must say! You really have got your eye on the ball!
NP: So Kenneth you have six seconds on stage fright starting now.
KW: It was devastating when suddenly the fluency which one drew out of the mouth was gone! Out of the...
NP: So Kenneth Williams was then speaking as the whistle went, and as he spoke some of the audience left! And um but ah he's now firmly in third place behind Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo's still our leader. And Kenneth you begin the next round. The subject Kenneth is press. Can you tell us something about that in the game starting now.
KW: The press, what an interesting subject! I never dreamed when I was a youth that I would ever be asked to contribute myself to a newspaper as grand as The Times. But it occurred, the press invited "come along Kenneth", well Kenny actually. "And do a bit for us, review this book about radio comedy". Well I typed away and shot down to Gravesend Road, where the sub-editor said "I'll have to cut an awful lot of this out! You were supposed to do 200, and there's about five more than that here!" I mean I didn't say how many really more, because I would have been accused of repetition. Anyway it duly appeared and people said to me "I had no idea you could actually write and be coherent on paper. You always sound slightly grotesque when you're sounding off on the radio." Everyone said...
NP: So Kenneth Williams not only started with the subject, but he finished with the subject. He brought the round to an end, and alas he brought the show to and end. But he gets one point for speaking when the whistle went and a bonus point for not being interrupted. So another round of applause for Kenneth Williams and let me give you the final score. Our guest William Franklyn who has not played the game before, and let us know that he didn't know the rules, anything like that. But did contribute tremendously to the fun of the show. But he did finish in fourth place. He was a little way behind Kenneth Williams who was just behind Peter Jones, who was a number of points behind this week's winner, Derek Nimmo! We do hope you've enjoyed listening to Just A Minute, and will want to tune in at the same time next week when once more we take to the air and we play this delightful and sometimes impossible game. Until 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.