starring KENNETH WILLIAMS, DEREK NIMMO, PETER JONES and JEAN MARSH, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 23 September 1974)

NOTE: First show produced by John Lloyd.


ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones and Jean Marsh 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 indeed, hello and welcome to Just A Minute. Well once again our four contestants are going to compete against each other, and try and speak for 60 seconds on some subject that I will give them without hesitation, without repetition and without deviating from the subject on the card if they can. And we'll start the show this week with Kenneth Williams. Kenneth can you talk on the subject of sparklers for Just A Minute starting now.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: Well I was at a birthday party recently. And instead of candles on the cake, it was sparklers. And a very pretty sight it made. And they offered me a slice of it. But I was afraid while it was being cut of being burned by these bits that were coming out of these aforementioned sparklers, yes sparers. And I'm allowed to say that twice because it is on the card, isn't it. And the other thing of course sparklers always makes you think of is jewellery. Diamonds often have this appellation attached to them. One thinks of the Eustace diamonds, one thinks of the...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DEREK NIMMO: Repetition of diamonds.

NP: Yes you repeated the diamonds twice.

KW: They're a girl's best friend, aren't they.

NP: Got away from the sparklers and went on to the diamonds. Derek you have a correct challenge, you have a point for that, you have 23 seconds, the subject is sparklers and you start now.

DN: I remember a little concert party in Prestatton in North Wales that I used to be taken to by my aunt Beatrice, who lives there. And there was a group called the Sparklers who used to play most beautifully all the time. They had lovely hats on, Pero hats and bumbles going down the jumpers...


DN: What?

NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: Repetition of hats.

NP: Yes you had too many hats for these sparklers. Nine seconds are left Peter, you have a correct challenge, a point and the subject and you start now.

PJ: I can remember the smell of the bonfire at my old school, and the roasting potatoes and these sparklers. People running about hither and thither, and round about the...


PJ: Oh dear!

NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes, which tells us that 60 seconds are up, gains the extra point. Peter Jones was doing it on that occasion so he has a lead at the end of that round. Derek will you begin the next round, the subject is the three witches. Will you talk about them if you can, 60 seconds starting now.

DN: The three witches, well first of all of course there's which W-H-I-C-H. Which way are you going today, a derogatory word. And then there's witch meaning a sorcerer, worshipper of the devil. And then spelt with a Y it can mean wytch-elder, or wytch-elm or wytch-hazel. But I suppose if one really thinks of the three witches, one goes back to the Bard, to Shakespeare, to MacBeth! The three weird sisters, frightfully unlucky to talk about them in any theatre.
Double ditto, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Oh I'd love to play one of those parts. I'd play it with great long hair and a great voice, make noises like that...


NP: Jean Marsh has challenged.

JEAN MARSH: He said play twice.

NP: He did say play twice.

DN: Oh yes I did, quite right, jolly good, very good.

KW: Oh it's obvious what she's doing! She's getting in right on the end of it! There's only a few seconds to go! She's getting in on the end!

NP: Well that's very good if you don't play it as often as you do Kenneth.

KW: Oh yes that's true!

NP: Jean the subject is the three witches. You have a point for a correct challenge, you have five seconds left starting now.

JM: Round the corner from my house there's a marvellous pub called The Three Witches.


NP: At the end of the round Derek Nimmo, Jean Marsh and Peter Jones are all equal in the lead. Peter will you begin the next round. What I would like right now. That is the subject that Ian Messiter's thought of, would you talk about it or round about the point for Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: I would like this roof to be pushed back and the sunshine to pour in on everybody and the fresh air. And then a fanfare of trumpets which would precede the sound of the Coldstream Guards Band, marching down the aisle. It would liven the whole place up! Then a dozen waiters with trays full of ice cold Australian beer which would be distributed free to everybody who wanted some. And I would...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Deviation! He's got no right to plug Australian beer on this game! It's disgraceful isn't it! Deviation!

NP: I think he's got every right because the programme is very popular in Australia. He wasn't deviating from the subject Kenneth, so he gets a point for that and there are 29 seconds for you to continue with the Australian beer, anything you like.

PJ: Then when we had drunk enough of it, we would push the seats to the walls and all dance madly to the band of the Coldstream...


DN: The Coldstream Guards came in again!

NP: Well some would say you can't have too much of a good thing, but I'm afraid in Just A Minute you can if you repeat it. There are 22 seconds left for you Derek now on what I would like right now starting now.

DN: Well I would like the Royal Marines and the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders to come in with trays filled with champagne and great bottles of Alka-Seltzer for us to consume afterwards, and the toast and marmalade and crumpet for tea...


NP: Kenneth Williams.

DN: ... and jellied eels. Who's doing the buzzing?

KW: I am! I am!

DN: Why?

KW: You're not allowed to advertise. The BBC charter doesn't allow it. You can't mention Alka-Seltzer. It's a patent name.

NP: You mentioned it as well.

KW: Oh did I?

NP: So he was deviating by doing so, so we give you the subject Kenneth and there are seven seconds on what I would like right now, starting now.

KW: Would be to be taken in a dirigible. Nothing could be more beautiful than to float silently over the Earth's surface...


KW: Yes! That means I've got a point, doesn't it. Yes I've got a point.

NP: You've got two points.

KW: Yes.

NP: You got another one for speaking when the whistle went. You are in second placed, equal with Jean Marsh, one point behind Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones who are equal in the lead.

JM: That's the same as being last, isn't it!

NP: So Kenneth your turn to begin again, the subject Kubla Khan. Would you talk about him if you can in Just A Minute starting now.

KW: Well I suppose the line that comes to mind is the Coleridge. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan's stately pleasure dome decree. One thinks of him in this rather cultivated fashion whereas when we realise he was a descendant of Genghis, who we are told by historians, gunned to death millions of people and had these pyramids of skulls as commemoration of the event. Well I don't think that kind of thing can possibly be approved of in decent company. We don't want these sort of people about. In fact the whole tribe I would consign cheerily to oblivion. This is where all this wickedness rightfully belongs, to...


NP: Jean Marsh has challenged.

JM: Wickedness twice.

NP: Yes you're right Jean, and you have the subject of Kubla Khan and there are 10 seconds left starting now.

JM: When I lived in Stoke-Newington, next door to me resided Rashida and Kubla Khan, who owned the Star of India restaurant and became great friends of mine...


NP: Well your friends gave you an extra point for speaking as the whistle went Jean, and you're now in second place, one point behind our leader Derek Nimmo. Derek your turn to begin, the subject, floral dancing. Can you talk about that for Just A Minute starting now.

DN: Floral dancing, yes, what a lovely subject on a warm day like today. Now the nicest kind of floral dancing I have ever seen was on the Indonesian peninsula on an island called Bali. An absolutely beautiful magnificent place. And there in a village called Auberd they do a lovely floral dance. I'm sounding like Kenneth Williams, aren't I. But...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Deviation, he's mentioned Kenneth Williams, and I'm nothing to do with floral dancing! I don't want the impression to go about from you that I go about covered in flowers and doing dancing!

NP: Kenneth I agree with your challenge, you have a point, you have 36 seconds on floral dancing starting now.

KW: All I know is what that song says.
I felt so lonely standing there
For I could only stand and stare
For I had no maid with me...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

KW: In a wee Cornish town or something with a floral dance. It goes (sings) all together with a flora dance, all together, hahahahahaha! Charming little song about a floral dance, isn't it.

NP: But you were challenged...

KW: Why?

NP: ... before you go there.

KW: Apropos?

DN: Stand, stand.

NP: You did say stand twice. Thirty seconds for you Derek on floral dancing starting now.

DN: And these girls came in with jasmine flowers behind their desks to do a dance called the Labbonn which is very beautiful. Now also as Kenneth Williams said...


NP: Jean Marsh has challenged.

JM: Beautiful twice.

NP: You get a point Jean, and you have 21 seconds on floral dancing starting now.

JM: The only official floral dancing is as Kenneth Williams drew attention to. The one in Cornwall which takes place in Madagissy. It happens on the...


NP: Peter Jones.

PJ: It takes place in Helstom, it doesn't take place in Madagissy.

KW: How do you know? What right have you got? That's mot ungallant! She's a lady! That lady's been all over Cornwall! She knows more about Cornwall than you've had hot dinners!

PJ: I've spent lovely holidays in Cornwall.

JM: They put it about that it goes on in Helstom, but it really goes on...

NP: But doesn't it also take place elsewhere, even though it is traditionally associated with Helstom.

JM: It actually started in Madagissy.

NP: Ten and a half seconds for you Jean on floral dancing starting now.

JM: It is a fertility rite practised by the maidens of the aforesaid village, in order to attract the young gentlemen in July...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Do they know this in Madagissy?

JM: Yes! That's why it's got such a large population!

KW: Oh!

NP: Give Peter Jones a bonus point for a good challenge, and we leave the subject with Jean Marsh who has two seconds to continue with floral dancing starting now.

JM: They swathe themselves...


NP: Peter Jones it's your turn to begin, the subject is why I am not winning at the moment.

PJ: Oh! Hahaha!

NP: To be perfectly fair Peter, you're only two points behind our joint leaders. So would you talk on that subject for Just A Minute if you can starting now.

PJ: Well I'm not winning because of course I can't really play the game. And it's my opinion that if Shakespeare and Milton and Ivor Novello were taking part in it, they would repeat themselves and wander off the point in a delightful way just like I do. Because you see, it is a natural thing to say the same thing for effect, to pause for a moment to er supplement that...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Er.

PJ: Yes quite right.

NP: Yes Derek gets a point and 32 seconds on why, oh this is interesting. The subject is Derek why I am not winning at the moment.

DN: Well I play chess by correspondence. And why I am not winning...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Well he is winning at the moment.

NP: You're perfectly correct. What were you going to say Derek?

DN: You didn't listening to what I was saying.

NP: What was...

DN: I play chess by correspondence, and why I'm not winning at the moment in my game of chess.

KW: Ah brilliant! Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

NP: Yes. Right Derek you've got the subject back, there are 27 seconds left on why I am not winning at the moment starting now.

DN: I'm a rather gloomy fellow, I don't have many winning ways I'm afraid. And that's why I'm not winning at the moment your affection, the hearts of the audience. That is...


NP: Jean Marsh has challenged.

JM: Deviation, he has extremely winning ways! And is very much loved.

NP: Yes!

DN: Quite right!

NP: The audience judgement which has made Derek smile...

DN: What a creepy thing to do! She's got herself a point though, hasn't she!

NP: She gets a point and 19 seconds on why I am not winning at the moment starting now.

JM: I am not winning at the moment because according to Kenneth Williams, I am not very prettily dressed. He reproved me when I arrived...


NP: Derek Nimmo...

KW: Deviation, this is going to make me look like a blackguard in the eyes of the public!

JM: Well you did!

KW: You're maligning my character!

NP: But Derek Nimmo actually challenged.

DN: Well Jean is winning at the moment because she got that last point.

NP: No she's behind actually, you are one point ahead of her.

DN: Oh am I? She's winning now!

NP: So she gets a point and she's in the lead now with you. So she has to continue with the subject, it's very interesting, for 11 seconds if she can, why I am not winning at the moment starting now.

JM: Why I am not winning at the moment is an absolute lie. Because in fact I am either in the lead or the co-lead with Derek Nimmo. And so I should be...


NP: Derek Nimmo's challenged.

DN: Two leads.

NP: There were two leads.

JM: Oh yes.

NP: Co-lead is hyphenated, it's not fair, is it really?

JM: No it isn't, co-lead.

NP: But I'm afraid you did use the word lead twice.

JM: Oh okay.

NP: So that is the game.

JM: I had no idea.

NP: And Derek Nimmo got in with three seconds to go starting now.

DN: The subject is why I am not winning at the moment...


NP: And Derek got a lot of points in that round, including one for speaking as the whistle went, so he definitely is winning at the moment. Two ahead of Jean Marsh, five ahead of Peter Jones, and Kenneth Williams. Jean your turn to begin, the subject, getting the best out of your radio. Can you talk on it for Just A Minute starting now.

JM: Getting the best out of your radio is very simple. As long as you buy the Radio Times and the Listener, in order to know exactly what's on. Once you have purchased these same journals, flick... through...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: No! Rotten...

JM: Rubbish!

NP: Rubbish, yes.

DN: Yes thank you.

NP: Forty-seven seconds to continue Jean on getting the best out of your radio starting now.

JM: The best way to get the best out of your radio is to switch on at 6.15 twice a week and then you will hear the most erudite and entertaining programmes on the radio. it is on Channel Four, and one night...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Nothing is on at 6.15 twice.

JM: It is!

NP: What?

JM: I didn't mean that, I was referring to two separate programmes. There's something on at 6.15 every night, and I didn't say listen every night. I meant listen twice a week.

PJ: I see yes, all right.

NP: If you listen twice a night, you might get the best ones.


NP: Kenneth Williams, by the way, the laugh there, he was consoling Peter Jones beside him by giving him a gentle little chuck under the chin. Jean Marsh you have another point and 31 seconds for getting the best out of your radio starting now.

JM: To get the bets out of your radio, you must listen to Twenty Questions, if only to hear Peter Jones' amusing and commanding way with his panel. Almost as good as Nicholas Parsons with this. Another night that you must listen is...


NP: Kenneth Williams.

KW: Deviation, this is just flagrant flattery. I've never heard anything like it! She's just getting round the lot of you!

PJ: I thought it was very sound!

DN: She's got round me already!

PJ: Very sound! Particularly when she said...

NP: I thought it was very intelligent actually.

PJ: Yes.

KW: Oh I see!

NP: You know, most, most discerning, most discerning thing that I've ever heard on the programme for a long time. Didn't care for the first bit about Twenty Questions! But after that she was... Jean you continue for 13 seconds on getting the best out of your radio starting now.

JM: I have five radios and none of them work very well, because I'm always having accidents with them. Like one I left in front of the fire and it melted. And I called my father...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: That's nothing to do with getting the best out of it.

JM: Oh yes it is!

NP: It's getting the worst out of it.

JM: No no, it isn't. Because I took the best out of each radio, you see, and made one good radio out of the lot!

KW: Brilliant!

NP: I will do now what I did to Peter recently. I will give Jean Marsh a bonus point for a brilliant wriggle, give Peter a point for a good challenge and the subject and there are five seconds Peter with you now on getting the best out of your radio starting now.

PJ: Well if you can melt it all down and make something else out of it altogether, that's probably the best thing you can do...


NP: At the end of that round, Jean Marsh, with her five radios and her praise of all chairmen on radio and everything else managed to get quite a lot of points, and she's now one ahead of Derek Nimmo. Kenneth it's your turn to begin, the subject is the time I forgot myself in public. Why on earth do this wicked audience laugh so loudly? Why should they assume that when you forgot yourself in public it was outrageous? I don't know. Anyway that's the subject Kenneth, can you talk on it for Just A Minute starting now.

KW: As an actor, the thing you can never forget in yourself is the ability to reproduce the thing which you have retained in your memory bank, so to speak, planted originally by the author. Now occasionally I have forgotten these precepts. And I call to mind when I should have said "are you not moved by action and victory?" That came out as viction and actuary. That was done in public, therefore I am fulfilling what is on the card. That is to say it must have been witnessed in a place attended by the populace of whatever town one is in fact in at the period in question...


NP: Well something that hasn't happened for quite a long time. By hook or by crook and by sheer style and determination, doggedness and impersonation and vocal...

KW: Dexterity!

NP: Dexterity and ... Kenneth Williams kept going for the full 60 seconds. And so he gets a bonus point and two points...

KW: And have leapt into the lead, you mean?

NP: You have leapt but you are still in fourth place.

KW: Oh!

NP: But we've had good measure from you Kenneth. And so we now move on to Derek Nimmo to begin the next subject and the subject is a good line. Can you talk on that Derek for Just A Minute starting now.

DN: A good line is very important if you're going fishing. Particularly it is made of nylon which is terribly good, you know, these new ones that are made, these lines that are made from the aforementioned material. Because when you throw them in, and you catch your salmon on the end, you can bring it up on to the bank, and then take it home, it's very important to have a good line. Mind you, one of my favourite lines too is the one that goes from London to Liverpool, the railway line. It's where my Mummy lives and she always likes me going home to see her and I give her a cheery wave. Hello Mum here I am again! And she says "Derek, it's nice". That is for me a very good line. Also of course one could try and shoot a very good line with someone as delectable as Jean Marsh. Everybody's sucking up to everybody tonight! So I may as well And she would try and have a good line, but I would say to her "oh you tartan clad beauty! You're a beautiful damson from the Highlands, a clever witty authoress, those lovely..."


NP: Jean Marsh has challenged you.

JM: I'm not from the Highlands, it's deviation.

NP: I must point out to our listeners that the reason Derek talked about a tartan clad beauty is because Jean Marsh is dressed in a tartan. It looks like a Royal Stuart tartan to me. Is it?

JM: Oh I don't know, dear!

NP: But Jean I agree with your challenge so you take over the subject, you have five seconds on a good line starting now.

JM: Derek Nimmo's suit has a really excellent line and my wife doesn't understand it...


NP: And she got the extra point for speaking when the whistle went. She's now got quite a strong lead at the end of that round. She's four ahead of Derek Nimmo, and seven ahead of Peter Jones and Kenneth Williams. Peter your turn to begin. Peter Jones, I don't know whether you are Welsh originally. But we have a subject here, the unpronounceable Welsh names. Can you talk on the subject, for the subject or about the subject for Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: (long Welsh name) Now that's the only bit of Welsh I know, and it isn't a place name. Now I don't think some of the Welsh people can pronounce the names themselves! And if they can, how can one ever check up? They just blabber on about something, you know, about multi syllables. I have actually repeated myself, I think...


NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.

DN: He's a self-confessed repeater.

NP: I wouldn't confess it Peter. They either may not notice it or they'll be generous and let you get away with it.

PJ: Well it seemed to be rather boring anyway!

NP: Derek I agree with your challenge, 34 seconds, unpronounceable Welsh names starting now.

DN: Well my aunt Beatrice who lives in Prestatton in north Wales always teaches me, or tries to teach me to speak...


DN: And I've repeated myself too.

NP: Peter Jones.

PJ: My foot slipped on the er thing.

NP: Your foot slipped? Is that what you have on your buzzer? Your foot?

PJ: Yes. My thumb slipped on the er buzzer, you know. Mistake.

NP: Well I would just say something. After all he might have slipped up in some way.

PJ: Well a very funny thing happened to me on my way to the theatre.

NP: Well I would have said repetition of Aunt Beatrice. She comes into nearly every programme.

PJ: Oh yes? All right, repetition of Aunt Beatrice.

NP: Well I'm afraid he hadn't repeated it in this round.

PJ: Oh no well then, I shouldn't listen to the chairman, of course.

DN: Derek you have 36 seconds to continue on unpronounceable Welsh names starting now.

DN: It's all those Ls that make it so difficult, isn't it really. I can't do it frightfully well. But when I was going once from Bangor to Anglesea, I noticed by the wayside a road sign pointing to the left. I followed the pathway down to this little village. And there was an old man there called Dai Jones. Very nice, remarkable old boy, long white moustache and whiskers, very attractive blue sparkling eyes. Celtic, obviously so, interesting...


NP: It's one thing you know, if you can mange to keep going so quickly with clarity, often it's difficult to hear whether the person has repeated themselves or not. Which Derek did very admirably. And I'm afraid we have no more time to play Just A Minute this week so I'll give you the final score. Kenneth finished alas in fourth place even though he did this magnificent piece about um, I've forgotten what it was now, but he did it very well.

PJ: Forgotten already you see!

NP: And anyway Peter Jones did extremely well, but he was a few points behind Derek Nimmo but Derek came with a flourish at the end to finish only one point behind our guest who has returned again and triumphed over the three chaps, Jean Marsh! We hope you've enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute and will want to tune in again. Till 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 John Lloyd.