NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: 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, our thousands, our millions of listeners actually, because it's not only in this country but we do go throughout the world. But also a huge pleasure to welcome four wonderful, exciting, delightful, talented, exuberant and somewhat dysfunctional sometimes players of the game. Who are going to once more, to pit their wits, their verbal ingenuity, their humorous ingenuity against each other as they try and speak on the subject that I give them and also try and do that without hesitation, repetition and deviating from the subject. And those four delightful people are, sitting on my right, Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And sitting on my left, Graham Norton and Linda Smith. Please welcome all four of them! And beside me sits Janet Staplehurst, she is going to help me keep 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 Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in that delightful town of Guildford. And for those who are interested in memorabilia, the Yvonne Arnaud, one of the most brilliant actresses on our stage in the past was one of the regular ah panellists on a forerunner of this show which was called One Minute Please. And from that was spun Just A Minute. I thought you might be interested in that before we go on. It's left you absolutely cold, you couldn't care less! So let's get on with Just A Minute which is much funnier than One Minute Please. And we begin the show with Clement Freud. Clement, the subject is answering back. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.



NP: Paul you challenged immediately.

PAUL MERTON: Well not immediately. I, I...

NP: You waited a bit.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: I think you're correct actually. What we do there, because we enjoyed Clement's response, it was very clever and very sharp, we give him a bonus point for that.


NP: Yes! So we start off with one bonus point, but Paul's challenge was correct so he gets a point for a correct challenge, and he takes over the subject of answering back and there are 57 seconds starting now.

PM: Answering back is generally a good thing because we must challenge authority. If we take this programme for example, Nicholas is a superb chairman, who occasionally makes a mistake in his judgement. It hardly ever happens, I think the last one was about four minutes ago! And it's extraordinary how he manages to stand in front of the audience as the show begins, and announce himself in stentorian tones, and they stand back aghast! They daren't answer him back...


NP: Um Linda challenged.

LINDA SMITH: Two stands.

NP: Yes.

GRAHAM NORTON: Linda Ears Smith! Wow!

NP: Yes Linda a correct...

LS: And also I get a little frieson when they go "ooohh".

NP: Oh dear, that sets you alight, does it?

LS: It certainly does.

NP: I must try that afterwards in the wings! The ah...

LS: Not on a first date Nicholas!

NP: Correct challenge, 30 seconds available, answering back starting now.

LS: Answering back is something that you're told not to do when you're a child. You'll be asked a question, what do you think you're doing. You try to answer this inquiry and immediately get shouted out. Someone will say "don't answer back". Well what a ridiculous thing to do. How are you supposed to respond ? With silence, I suppose that would be called dumb insolence, wouldn't it. You just can't win...


NP: Ah Paul challenged.

PM: Ah repetition of you, the word...

LS: Yeah.

NP: You, yes you did come in.

LS: It was like a festival of you, wasn't it. It was like a competition to see how many times I could say the word you. And I'm just glad someone's had the guts to stop me!

NP: Yes he let two go but after that he couldn't...

LS: No, I need boundaries! I need boundaries!

NP: Paul another correct challenge and four seconds available, tell us something about answering back starting now.

PM: Supposing Adolf Hitler hadn't been stood up to? Because in this country we made sure...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton who now has a strong lead at the end of the round. And Linda will you take the next round, the subject is the long arm of the law. So tell us something about the long arm of the law in Just A Minute starting now.

LS: The long arm of the law refers to a policeman's ability to always get their man. I'm very keen on the long arm of the law if it takes the form of detective shows on television. I love a murder. In fact any show sponsored by Lerdammer cheese...


NP: Graham you pressed your buzzer first.

GN: Ah repetition of show.

NP: Yes, you talked about show...

LS: Well yes you get more than one!

GN: Yes!

NP: So Graham you had a correct challenge...

GN: I do.

NP: You have the long arm of the law, you don't have it, but you have the subject, and no, no, there are 44 seconds starting now.

GN: In Ireland when I was growing up, families would decide one son would become a priest, and then another one, a policeman. That child would have a large weight tied to its arm, and as it grew up, one would become much longer than the other one. And then they'd be excellent at catching villains, even around corners! And the bends of lanes, for Ireland is a rural place...


GN: Oh!

NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of Ireland.

NP: Yes Ireland, yes.


GN: I hear you people! Yah! Aha!

NP: Clement has the subject so correct challenge, another point of course, 12 seconds, the long arm of the law starting now.

CF: The long arm of the law is rather a dated phrase, referring to the times when policemen caught thieves.



NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a hesitation there.

NP: There was, yes, he made his point, so um and he paused because the audience applauded. So I will be very generous on this occasion and say that, give Clement a bonus point. Because they did enjoy the point he made. But Paul...

GN: In a rally sort of way!

NP: Paul had a correct challenge so he gets a point for it...

GN: Vote now!

NP: Paul a correct challenge, four seconds, the long arm of the law starting now.

PM: In 1963 Peter Sellers made a marvellously comic film written by...


NP: And Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now in the lead ahead of Clement Freud, Linda Smith and Graham Norton in that order. And I'll give a bonus point to anybody who can say another person who was in that film, The Long Arm Of The Law.

LS: Nicholas Parsons!

NP: Yes! She's got a bonus point. Yes.

LS: I mean, nominally Peter Sellers was the star... you stole it from under his nose.

PM: No I challenge that, I don't think you were in The Long Arm Of The Law.

NP: I had a very small part as a policeman in that.

PM: Did you? The Long Arm Of The Law?

NP: In The Long Arm Of The Law yes.

LS: He was the long arm! He was one of the great arm actors of the British...

PM: Are you...

NP: I was playing one of the long arms of the law...

PM: Are you sure you're not mixing it up with Two Way Stretch?

NP: No.

LS: I think he should lose a point for patronising the chairman then! Are you sure? Now have you had your dinner Nicholas?

NP: Graham...

GN: Yes?

NP: The subject is how to get a six-pack. Will you tell us how to...


NP: You can see that these subjects have all been specially chosen for who to start with.

GN: Yes!

NP: Tell us something about it in Just A Minute starting now.

GN: The best way to get a six-pack is to go into an off-licence or shop and say "can I have a six-pack please?"

NP: And Paul challenged.

PM: He was thorough.

NP: He was thorough yes.

PM: But hesitation.

NP: But there was a hesitation.

GN: Not really enough for a minute, I felt. Ah I filled as much as I could, but that's it really.

NP: Yes so...

GN: Some subjects just don't stretch! I did all I could!

LS: God knows you did Graham!

GN: Yes!

NP: The facial way that Graham plays Just A Minute is worth seeing. So...

GN: Write for a ticket!

NP: Yes! Paul Merton you had a correct challenge. And you have 52 seconds to tell us something about how to get a six-pack starting now.

PM: Well as Clement will now demonstrate, it's really about exercise. Now if I can ask you first of all to touch your toes, and up again, yes, feeling the burn there? (starts laughing)


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes indeed.

PM: He wasn't doing the exercises Nicholas.

NP: I know, but it's not very good on radio actually.

PM: Oh okay.

NP: All that visual stuff. So Clement you have the subject of how to get a six-pack, you have 41 seconds starting now.

CF: I think Graham Norton gave a very good analysis. But I would like to add that if you went into an off-licence and could only get five or seven bottles of beer, the addition or subtraction of an extra one would permit you to get a six-pack. I thought I would mention this because...


NP: Wait a minute, Paul challenged.

PM: Well I think this is deviation because it's all about bottles of beer, but I think a six-pack is generally considered to be made out of tins, six cans. Six cans of beer, that's your six-pack, not six bottles of beer.

NP: No, it isn't, it's not to do with either of them, it's to do with your muscles.

CF: Not necessarily.

NP: Oh right.

PM: Yes but it's called that because a six-pack resembles a sort of ...

NP: Yes I think you're right actually.

LS: They don't resemble bottles, do they because it's not big at one end and then thin at the other.

GN: But...

NP: I think that...

GN: But if your stomach looked like cans end-on, that wouldn't be attractive either.

PM: That's lovely.

GN: Is that nice?

PM: Yes lovely.

NP: I think you're right Paul...

LS: Except little wrinkles all the way down.

PM: Yeah!

GN: Or like a dog with teats!

PM: Yeah!

NP: Ah Paul I do think in the, in the realm of beer you are correct.

PM: Yeah.

NP: And not to do with bottles, it's with tins.

PM : Yeah.

NP: And so if there's any benefit of the doubt you certainly have it.

PM: Right.

NP: And you have 24 seconds on how to get a six-pack starting now.

PM: I have never really been one to pursue the body beautiful as you can tell by looking at me now. I have let nature take its...


NP: Ah Graham, Clement challenged.

CF: Two Is.

NP: Oh! Oh!


NP: You haven't won any friends with that challenge.

PM: Just because...

GN: Just A Minute Ninja!

CF: I wasn't doing this for popularity!

NP: But it is a correct challenge Clement, so I have to give it to you, 17 seconds, how to get a six-pack starting now.

CF: How to get...


NP: Oh!

PM: Hesitation.

NP: I thought he was rather slow off the mark.

PM: Yeah I thought so, didn't you. I thought so as well didn't you.

NP: Somebody who is in like that, it's the first time he's...

PM: You could have parked a bus in that, couldn't you! I made myself a ham sandwich in the middle of that, made myself a ham sandwich!

LS: Well I thought Harold Pinter was playing the game!

PM: Yeah exactly! Do you know, for a minute I thought I'd gone deaf! Do you know that!

NP: Ah Paul, yes you have a correct challenge, 16 seconds on how to get a six-pack starting now.

PM: It used to be my hat size. So you'd go into the off-licence, you'd say "I'll have one tin of Guinness". Then you'd have a think about it, you'd think "yes I will have another..."


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Repetition of you.

NP: Yes. You go into an off -licence and you say...

PM: Oh you.

NP: Yes but let's, let's resist the Is and the yous from now on.

GN: Back off Linda! Back off!

LS: Well it's two more letters than Clement's word, wasn't it! I.

NP: Yes it was, but you got in correctly.

LS: Oh I did?

NP: And therefore you have a point and eight seconds, how to get a six-pack starting now.

LS: How to get a six-ah-pack couldn't be...


NP: Graham.

GN: Deviation.

NP: Why?

GN: She's not on the subject, she's talking about how to get a seiz-pack.

LS: Well we're Europeans now. I think a seiz-pack is quite acceptable in...

NP: I think we call that stumble a hesitation.

GN: Yeah it was hesitation as well!

NP: Right so Graham you have the subject, six seconds, how to get a six-pack starting now.

GN: Here in Guildford, you stride into the shop and say "a six-pack of pot pourri please..."


NP: Ah Paul, Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry we did, we did have shop before.

NP: I know at the very beginning you said...

PM: Off-licence or shop.

GN: Oh you're quite right! No, no, store, did I say store.

PM: No!

GN: Supermarket?

PM: Off-licence or shop.

GN: Ah, shoppe with an E? In Guildford...

PM: Shoppe with an E...

GN: That's how you spell it here.

PM: Yeah.

GN: Oh yeah the correct spelling here, ye olde shoppe!

PM: Yeah yeah.

LS: Ye olde...

GN: I just pronounced it shop...

LS: Yeah.

GN: ... for listeners abroad.

NP: Yes.

LS: That's right, ye olde tenants extra shop!

NP: No, but sorry Graham, I do have to listen and you did say shop.

GN: I know, I'm so sorry, I have got to listen! It's my job, they pay me, I must hear it!

NP: Yeah so I have to interpret as well. So Paul, correct challenge, two seconds, how to get a six-pack starting now.

PM: Sylvester Sallone for the movie...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Who's Sylvester Sallone?

NP: Linda it was given against you because you slurred on a word and it didn't sound correct. So I have to give it against Paul...

LS: Absolutely, my (unintelligible) and beans!

NP: Yes there we are, you have the subject back with half a second to go, how to get a six-pack starting now.

LS: How to get a six-pack is...


NP: So Linda Smith speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. And she's now in a very strong second place alongside Clement Freud, they're just ahead of Graham Norton, and just behind Paul Merton in that order. And Paul your turn to begin and the subject now, my favourite yoga position. Oh they're anticipating something here. Tell us something about that Paul, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: My favourite yoga position is the lotus. Let me demonstrate it for you.


PM: Yes that's right, I actually have my left leg behind my ear! And if you notice now, Clement's doing exactly the same. Over to you! (pauses) Yes notice he is...


NP: Clement has challenged.

CF: I was doing as I was bid. Over to you, and I buzzed.

NP: Over to you and...

CF: He said "over to you".

NP: Yes and you buzzed, so what is your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

CF: Um... lack of disobedience!

NP: That is not one of the rules.

CF: Could be.

NP: Anybody could have had him for hesitation but nobody did.

PM: No, nobody did, isn't that funny.


NP: Linda, it's too late.

LS: Hesitation.

NP: Too late now. So Paul, I must explain to the listeners, he was demonstrating during that long pause. The sound hadn't disappeared, the BBC do keep their sound going all the time.

PM: Yep.

LS: Due to the unique way it's funded!

NP: Yes!

PM: It is true that if the licence fee doesn't go up, only half our words can be broadcast! Just the vowels!

NP: So Paul you have the benefit of the doubt, you have the subject still, 37 seconds, my favourite yoga position starting now.

PM: Undoubtedly yoga can promote a marvellous feeling of self-esteem and confidence. It takes maybe 20 minutes in the morning, and again in the evening, to settle down, meditate, clear your thoughts away from your brain and allow your consciousness to sink down somewhere into the middle of your solar plexus...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: That's nonsense!

NP: I have to judge on this, I think metaphorically speaking, we all knew what Paul was saying. But technically speaking, and we are playing with words here, Linda you are correct. So we have to give you the benefit of the doubt...

PM: You've just dismissed centuries of eastern religion there!

NP: No that's what they say...

LS: Well I look forward to the letters!

NP: Right! So 18 seconds for you Linda on my favourite yoga position starting now.

LS: My fravourite yoga position is called...


PM: Was that fravourite? Pronunciation of words, I think we had a fravourite there.

LS: Yeah! That's actually the yogic pronunciation.

PM: Oh don't talk to him about yogic pronunciation.

NP: No no I will be fair. Twice I've given it against people who did not get the correct pronunciation because they were deviating from the language as we usually pronounce it or speak it. So I've got to be consistent on this and say Paul you have the subject back, 16 seconds, my favourite yoga position starting now.

PM: One leg crossed over the other, staring...


NP: Graham's challenged.

GN: Repetition of leg.

NP: Yes you talked about your leg behind your neck at the beginning.

PM: Yes! I did.

NP: Well listened Graham, you've got 13 seconds, you tell us something about my favourite yoga position starting now.

GN: My favourite yoga position is the yawning lamb. It's quite exhausting and (laughs) you can end up...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: No, there was no hesitation.

CF: You can't giggle in the middle of a word!

GN: I was speaking!

LS: I found that rather charming!

NP: He giggled through it, but he giggles through a lot of his words.

GN: Someone's got to!

NP: I give you the benefit of the doubt...

LS: It's Graham of the laughing voice.

NP: That's right, it's part of his charm. And anyway it's benefit of the doubt anyway. Six seconds from you still Graham on my favourite yoga position starting now.

GN: My favourite yoga position is the sneezing ferret...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: He didn't giggle!

NP: Give Clement a bonus point for his remark there, he doesn't have to giggle every time. Um but he has another point for an incorrect challenge, three seconds Graham on my favourite yoga position starting now.

GN: My favourite yoga position is the choking snake...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: This is deviation, deviation, because he said my favourite position is the choking snake, he said it's the yawning sheep. I mean he can only have one favourite position.

NP: That's right.

PM: He's had three!

NP: He's had three.

PM: He's had three.

GN: As I find it! At this moment, now I'll change my mind again.

NP: But Graham you didn't establish that you'd changed your mind.

LS: Well we did because he said a different position.

NP: Are you two working together?

GN: Yes we are! Yeah we want to win the car! We're going to split it!

LS: It's the only thing keeping us together in our relationship!

GN: We love games!

NP: Paul you had a correct challenge...

LS: Otherwise it would be a hollow sham!

NP: Ah the audience's mind is in a whirl about what's going on here! Paul half a second on my favourite yoga position starting now.

PM: Considering the Himalayas...


NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained the extra point. He's now got a strong lead who are all almost all three equal in second place, one point dividing, separating each of them. Ah Clement it's your turn to begin, yes, my words aren't coming out very clearly too sometimes. And the next subject is Lewis Carroll. Tell us something about Lewis Carroll in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: If you go to Victoria Station and get a train to Eastbourne, some 20 minutes after Hayward's Heath, you get to Lewis where everyone meets you on the platform in December and sings:
Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about,
Bright and crisp and even...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Isn't it deep and crisp and even?

NP: Yes.

CF: Not the way they sing it in Lewis!

NP: I think in an intelligent town like Lewis, they would get the words correct. So I have to say um Paul, you are, have a correct challenge, 37 seconds on Lewis Carroll starting now.

PM: Deep and crisp and even sounds a bit like a pizza. Lewtis Carroll, Lewt who who?


PM: Lewt who?

NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Deviation.

NP: Yes deviation from English as we understand it and Linda 33 seconds for you on Lewis Carroll starting now.

LS: Lewis Carroll, while undoubtedly a fine writer, also had a strange affiliation with young girls which these days would probably have him...


NP: Oh! Clement challenged.

CF: I thought they were boys. No, that's JM Barrie!

LS: Well, well Clement, well Clement, you're going to have to change that entry in your I Spy Book Of Victorian Paedophiles, aren't you!


NP: Oh I should explain to our listeners, all...

PM: No no no!

GN: Please don't!

LS: In the name of God, don't!

NP: You have 25 seconds Linda on Lewis Carroll starting now.

LS: Lewis Carroll as I implied before would probably have to report to a police station once a week these days. And probably would be...


LS: Oh probably, eh, probably!

GN: Eh eh eh!

LS: Eh?

PM: Repetition of probably.

LS: Yeah do you think?

PM: Yes a little bit.

NP: I'm sure, 18 seconds Paul on Lewis Carroll starting now.

PM: Alice In Wonderland is one of those timeless books that has been adapted many times by the cinema...


NP: Linda challenged.

LS: Oh no, wrong! Give him a point!

NP: What do you think he said?

LS: Because he said time and times and I thought it was time...

NP: I know he does that sometimes.

LS: He does that and he's very devious.

NP: He's played the game really a lot, he just plays the game in a very clever way. Paul another challenge, it wasn't another challenge, but another point, 13 seconds, Lewis Carroll starting now.

PM: Jonathan Miller adapted it for television in the 1960s. I believe Peter Sellers played a wonderful part as the March Hare. And of course it's a production that screams out for character actors. Who can forget Nicholas Parsons as the Cheshire Cat...


NP: So Paul Merton, my publicity agent, was then speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point, and he's got a strong lead. Let me give you the situation because we’re moving into the final round.

LS: Oh!

PM: Quick!

NP: I will give you the situation. Graham Norton is only just in fourth place, but it's a very strong fourth place.


NP: I know it's sad...

PM: Very sad!

NP: Because his contribution is magnificent.

GN: Incredible!

NP: And Clement is only one point ahead of him and he always gives great contribution. And three points ahead is Linda Smith, and she's always fantastic.

LS: And yet...

NP: And yet, you haven't even got to win yet. And four or five points ahead is Paul Merton as we go into the final round...

GN: You don't want this to be the final round, do you?

LS: Can we do another one?

GN: You're going to play the game of your life in this round!

NP: I think that was a barbed comment at my expense Graham, but anyway I'm here to take them. Linda the subject is a wolf, my God how do they come up with these subjects. A wolf in sheep's clothing. These are not designed, these come up accidentally. Ah that's the subject Linda and you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

LS: A wolf in sheep's clothing, a wolf in sheep's clothing has probably ended up that way because they went shopping with a friend who said "yes it looks lovely on you! No it doesn't make you look fat and woolly at all! I've never seen you in anything more wolf-like! It's you!" They'd be better off taking Trinny and Suzanna off the telly, because they would tell them what to wear. "No don't wear that, haven't you got a decent bra, Mister Wolf? What's wrong with you? Stand up straight, stop slouching!" Another wolf in sheep's clothing is Nicholas Parsons here. Innocently luring innocent panellists to a fate...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of innocent.

NP: No, she said innocent and innocently.

PM: Oh really?

LS: Did I?

NP: Yes you did.

LS: See, I didn't even hear that!

GN: (laughs) You were just channelling it, yes!

NP: I was sitting next to you, you did say innocent people innocently.

LS: Thank you Nicholas.

NP: No that's right, and so you have an incorrect challenge, you have 21 seconds still to continue, a wolf in sheep's clothing starting now.

LS: But Nicholas is gallantly...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of Nicholas.

NP: Yes you can't repeat me I'm afraid.

LS: Such a shame!

NP: I know! So Paul, Clement you had a correct challenge then, 19 seconds available, a wolf in sheep's clothing starting now.

CF: I know so little about animals that I am not at all sure whether I could tell a sheep in wolf's clothing from a wolf in sheep's clothing. As a consequence I would very much like someone to buzz me...


CF: Thank you!

NP: Graham you buzzed.

GN: I did.

CF: Thank you.

NP: Yes and what's your challenge?

GN: Ah, that he wanted me to!

NP: So we'll call it, we'll call it hesitation.

GN: We were leading up to a hesitation.

PM: Compassion!

NP: Compassion. Give Clement for his witty comment a bonus point. And Graham has the subject, a point for a correct challenge Graham, a wolf in sheep's clothing, seven seconds available starting now.

GN: It is one of my clearest memories standing behind the school in Band in County Cork. The moon was high in the sky and the flight...


NP: So no more time to play Just A Minute alas! For those interested, because I mean it's the contribution which is so much more important. Graham, great contribution, finished in a brilliant brilliant fourth place. And only two point, one point ahead, only one point ahead of a very strong third place. Clement Freud. And only two points ahead, a brilliant second place. But a few points ahead of Linda, that was Linda Smith by the way. A few points ahead of Linda, in fact, a very strong lead, Paul Merton, so this week we say Paul, you are our winner! Thank you. It only remains for me to say now thank you to these four marvellous players of the game, Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Linda Smith and Clement Freud. I also thank Janet Staplehurst, who has helped with the score, she's blown the whistle beautifully after 60 seconds all the time. And we thank our producer-director, Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this lovely game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here in the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford who have cheered us on their way. We think they've had a good time. We've had a good time. Tune in the next time we all play Just A Minute! And from me Nicholas Parsons, good-bye!