NOTE: Alfred Marks's last appearance, although clips of him are heard on the 40th anniversary special.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away it is my pleasure to introduce to you the four bright scintillating and erudite personalities who this week are going to Just A Minute. Well we have three of our regular panellists, Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo and Kenneth Williams. And in the fourth seat, the guest chair, we welcome Alfred Marks. So would you please welcome all four of them! Regular visitors in our audience will know that the creator of the game, Ian Messiter usually sits beside me, and occasionally blows his whistle when 60 seconds is up, and also keeps the score. Ian unfortunately can't be with us, but I am fortunate because I have beside me lovely Anne Ling to do that job for me. I'm going to ask our contestants to speak for just one minute on the subject I give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And according to how successful they are they will win or lose points. And let's begin the show this week with Kenneth Williams. The subject to start with is magic, something which you have in abundance. Would you talk on the subject of magic starting now.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: Magic makes me think immediately of Robert Houdin, who was described by Orson Welles as a genius who introduced the vanishing bird cage trick to the world in the 14th century. And the theatre matinee, may he rot and perish! On the other hand, it could be magic to hear Judy Garland sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Oh to me, there is such an extraordinary aura of the miraculous about that woman. Magic is the only term that can be applied. On the other hand, Ella Fitzgerald doing Solitude, well that I would think as magic as well. Almost as magical as my own...


NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.

DEREK NIMMO: Repetition of magical.

NP: No, he didn't repeat magical. He repeated the word magic.

DN: No.

NP: He's allowed to repeat magic because it's on the card.

DN: That was magical.

NP: You didn't repeat magical, did you?

KW: I don't remember now! It's a long time ago, isn't it.

NP: No I don't think you repeated magical and so you keep the subject Kenneth and you have five seconds to go starting now.

KW: When you see someone like, you know, the escapologist actually getting out of all that extraordinary...


NP: That bell went!

KW: Is that Anne Ling blowing right?

NP: That was Anne Long blowing. She's no experience with the whistle yet. She was so nervous she almost swallowed the whistle actually! But your 60 seconds is up and so Kenneth you were speaking when the 60 seconds came and the whistle went, and you gain an extra point for doing that. And at the end of that round you have two points, in fact you're the only person to have any points at all. So let us move on to the next round and it is Peter Jones, and the subject is the perfect murder. Peter there are 60 seconds as usual and you start now.

PETER JONES: Well for a murder to be perfect of course it must be quite painless. And the person, the victim, mustn't know that they're being murdered or even hurt in any way. And needless to say, they mustn't be discovered. A lot of murders have happened that nobody has ever actually found out about, because they don't know that the people have died. People are walking about now who um...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: I think so, indeed there was. And there are 34 seconds left for you Derek to talk about the perfect murder starting now.

DN: Talking about committing the perfect murder, is you won't know you've actually committed it until you're dead...


NP: And Alfred Marks has challenged.


NP: Committing he said.

DN: Committing.

NP: Committing the perfect murder, and commit.

AM: Did he? Yes. I see.

NP: That's all right, it's nice to hear from you Alfred.

AM: Well I just want you to know I'm here.

NP: Yes. And...

AM: What with Big Mouth on my right, and Big Mouth opposite, there's nothing... at least I can push a buzzer, at least I can do that.

NP: And you did it very well Alfred.

AM: Thank you very much.

NP: And there are 29 seconds left with another point for Derek and he keeps the subject of the perfect murder starting now.

DN: So I put into my pocket this tin of cyanide. And I crept along a long alleyway at a level 47 on a Tuesday night. On the fourth door on the right-hand side, I turned the handle and entered the house. Going up the staircase there was an elderly widow...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Well I mean, you see, it's absolute crap! Because I mean he said the fourth door on the right entered the house. Well I mean he's in a block of flats, if it's the fourth door on the right, so how can he enter a house?

NP: I quite agree, if he was along the corridor, he must already be in the house...

KW: Exactly! In the corridor, he said, didn't he! I mean he's misleading and therefore comes under the heading of deviation! Deviation! That's what I was trying to say, yes.

DN: If it was a terrace, it would be the fourth door on the right.

KW: You said in a corridor, you turned the door, one of the doors on the right.

NP: Yes yes. Kenneth I agree with your challenge, another point to you...

KW: Thank you! Yes!

NP: And the perfect murder is with you...

KW: Yes!

NP: And there are eight seconds starting now.

KW: The perfect murder is committed, I'll tell you exactly. You inject a load of air into their veins and of course by the time it gets...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: You don't inject a load of air! That can't be right, can it?

NP: Well I don't know. What to you is a load, it might be different to what is a load to Kenneth.

PJ: Well a load of air, I mean...

NP: I think...

PJ: A bubble or something...

NP: I think it was Kenneth's flamboyant phraseology...

PJ: Are we to make allowances for that every time?

NP: We have to make allowances some time, and on this occasion we do, because I think he just meant injecting air and there are three seconds left for you on the perfect murder Kenneth starting now.

KW: That oxygen means...


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: Well it's not really a challenge, just to, actually confirm that I'm here, you know. So as I haven't said very much, could you keep the volume down a bit, it keeps waking me up. Could they talk a bit quietly please, do you mind?

NP: Kenneth as you were interrupted, it's counted as a challenge and it's an incorrect challenge, you do get another point. And you have one and a half seconds on the perfect murder starting now.

KW: Which of course starts the heart from beating but nobody would be able to detect...


NP: And when Anne blows the whistle, it tells us that 60 seconds are up. And who was speaking then? It was Kenneth Williams who started with the subject and finished with the subject. So at the end of the first round he has two points, in fact the only person to have any points at all. Let's move on to the next round, Derek Nimmo, would you take the next subject which is soul. You have 60 seconds as usual and you start now.

DN: Oh how kind of Ian Messiter in his infinite wisdom to give me a subject as appropriate as soul. Because only yesterday I flew back from South Korea, and Seoul is the capital of that country. And what a wondrous 36 hour trip I had, having presented Mister Leslie Phillips there in a play called Man Most Likely. You’ll remember that gentleman because he is the one Mister Kenneth Williams shaved most intimately in one of the early Carry On films. And any of you who saw that would have laughed a great deal. I thought it was a huge hoot. But sole can be little fish that swim in the sea. And...


NP: Alfred you challenged.

AM: Total deviation.

NP: Absolutely, I mean you got right away from Seoul...

DN: Sole are little fish that swim in the sea!

AM: Oh no no no!

NP: No you were talking about...

AM: Leslie Phillips is not a little sole!

KW: What's wrong with talking about Kenneth Williams? It should be the subject! I thought it was brilliant!

AM: No you see, he was talking about Leslie Phillips, and Leslie Phillips has hardly been called a small sole! Maybe a large crab!

NP: He's got his way, plugging one of his productions that he has over there! Right away from the subject of sole, even the capital of South Korea. So Alfred I agree with you, you have a correct challenge and there are 20, no, 19 seconds left starting now.

AM: Just before this show started, I was in what is laughingly called the Green Room here at the studio. And Derek Nimmo collared me and started telling me about this trip he'd just had from Seoul...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: I know but it's the first time he's spoken on the subject.

AM: See?

NP: He was already...

AM: I've just woken up.

NP: He's just woken up. He's already been inhibited by the fact that he had to come in there.

DN: Sorry.

NP: On this occasion I'm not going to allow it, I'm going to be generous to you Alfred, let you continue, 15 seconds on sole starting now.

AM: Derek Nimmo was telling me...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Derek Nimmo's been repeated far too much!

NP: He did actually repeat Derek Nimmo.

AM: Did I? Yes.

NP: If you say it previously you can't repeat it again.

AM: Oh I didn't know, you see I'm quite new to this.

NP: I know you are fairly new, but this one I couldn't let go.

AM: Oh I see.

NP: I have to give it to him.

AM: Oh good! Well done! Fine!

NP: Yes!

AM: Rightio! Fine!

NP: So you have got two points, Derek's got the subject back of soul...

AM: Right!

NP: There are 13 seconds left...

AM: Right!

NP: Shut up Alfred!

AM: Oh sorry! You try borrowing another quid off me! Right!

NP: Derek, with you sole starting now.

DN: In Seoul in 1979 they discovered a tunnel which had been bored from the north Peninsula...


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: Boring!

NP: What I like to do on occasions like this is as it wasn't a legitimate challenge within the rules of the game but it was a super challenge, we give you a bonus point Alfred for that delightful challenge...

AM: Thank you very much. You can have the quid then in that case!

NP: We leave the subject with Derek Nimmo and there are eight seconds left starting now.

DN: In 1898 when the Japanese conquered the country, they destroyed most of what was old Seoul. But...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of 19.

NP: Nineteen?

PJ: Yes he gave a date earlier on!

DN: 1898, the first one was 19...

NP: It was a different century actually Peter.

PJ: Was it?

NP: Yes.

PJ: Oh a repetition of teen!

NP: Actually it would be teenth wouldn't it? It was a good challenge, a good try. I'm afraid I leave it with Derek, three seconds, Seoul starting now.

DN: The Olympic Games will take place there in two year's time and everybody's enormously excited about it and they've got all sorts...


NP: So I think we're getting it together now at last. So um what is the score yes? It's Kenneth Williams still in the lead, he's just one point ahead of Derek Nimmo, Alfred Marks is there with two points and Peter Jones actually has yet to score. But that can change. Alfred will you take the next round, over Niagara in a barrel. Would you tell us something on that subject starting now.

AM: Probably one of the most stupid ways to travel Niagara is in a barrel. And some years ago on The Two Ronnies show, it was suggested that for the sake of publicity, Ronnie Corbett should go over Niagara in a biscuit barrel! And he said no, I refuse to, Now I have been fortunate to go over Niagara, A, in a cable car, B, in a small plane. Never ever in a barrel. I look forward to that very much because I'm an adventurous sort of a person. I do believe that historically, only one person has ever gone over Niagara in a barrel. And I...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of person.

NP: Yes I'm afraid you did repeat the word person before.

AM: Yes probably did. He probably had somebody in the barrel with him!

NP: Yes! Even more devious.

AM: Yes.

NP: Peter you have a point, the subject and 31 seconds, over Niagara in a barrel starting now.

PJ: Well anybody who does go over Niagara in a barrel must be pretty desperate for publicity. It's a wonderful example of someone going over the top, ah, in my opinion...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: I heard an er in my opinion.

NP: It was the audience erred, they thought it was a very bad pun.

KW: He said er in my opinion. I'm not talking about the audience, I'm talking about his lines.

NP: I don't think it was enough to be a real hesitation. No no, he was, I think it was a sort of elision of words really.

DN: He's getting senile, Ken! You haven't caught up with it!

NP: No no, I want to be generous to Peter as well. No Peter, you keep the subject, over Niagara in a barrel, and there are 22 seconds left starting now.

PJ: It's not very safe because quite often the barrel breaks when it lands in the water at the bottom...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: Well it was the same one that Kenneth challenged for and I didn't allow that so I won't allow yours. So Peter you continue with over Niagara in a barrel with 16 seconds starting now.

PJ: I suppose there may be fibreglass barrels that ah...


NP: I wish Alfred had challenged!

KW: I bet you didn't hear that! Just because you haven't got your ear trumpet with you!

NP: If Alfred, if Alfred had challenged then, I still wouldn't have given it.

AM: I think I buzzed at the same time as somebody else?

NP: Yes it was Derek who got in positively.

AM: Oh unfortunately.

NP: Right Derek, so you have the subject of over Niagara in a barrel and there are 13 seconds starting now.

DN: So I fill the barrel with polystyrene, lots of foam, got into it, got somebody to bang the top of it...


NP: Alfred.

AM: If he filled the barrel with all the stuff, he couldn't possibly have got in!

NP: Very very well thought out yes! Deviation! And he did repeat got, but that's incidental. And sometimes people write to me, I don't know why. There are eight seconds left for you Alfred, there are only seven on over Niagara in a barrel starting now.

AM: I dug out all the polystyrene and all the foam that Derek Nimmo had put in the barrel. I clambered in and attempted this feat of going over Niagara in a barrel...


NP: Well Alfred Marks started with the subject and got it back before the end, got another point for speaking as the whistle went. And at the end of that round Kenneth Williams and Derek Nimmo are equal in the lead, but only two points ahead of Alfred Marks and Peter Jones. So it's a close contest this week. And we're back with Kenneth and your turn to start. The subject is Barnum. Will you tell us something about that delightful man starting now.

KW: I only know that he ran this museum in New York, and introduced freaks, because he thought that would help people to come. You know, more of them would actually join in the fun. And one of them he put on was this General Tom Thumb. The title of course would have to be in inverted commas, but the man was a very famous dwarf. And this was how he made...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: No he wasn't a dwarf, he was a midget.


KW: You shouldn't, you shouldn't clap, you shouldn't clap. He's completely wrong, the man was a dwarf.

AM: No.

NP: And the whole point about his shows was, and General Tom Thumb was the most famous dwarf, he wasn't a midget at all, that's quite a different matter.

AM: No he was a midget...

KW: You great fool!

AM: He was a midget.

KW: He wasn't! You don't know anything about it!

AM: Shut up!

NP: You know there is a difference between a dwarf and a midget?

KW: Of course I do.

NP: Yes.

PJ: It's a very small difference!

KW: He wasn't! He wasn't! As a matter of fact it may interest you to know that I got it from the Encyclopaedia Britannica that General Tom Thumb was a dwarf. And if you think you know better than the Encyclopaedia Britannica...

NP: No I don't...

KW: ... I've got news for you!

NP: Well no I don't think that I know any of that better. But what I do is when there is this discord between our panellists, i always bow to the superior wisdom of our audience...

KW: You can bow to the superior wisdom of me!

NP: I'm going to let our audience be the final judges. Now if you agree that he was a dwarf, then you all cheer for Kenneth Williams...

KW: How ridiculous! What do you mean ask the audience if he's a dwarf? How do they know?

NP: And if you disagree you all boo...

KW: How do they know whether General Tom Thumb was a dwarf or not? Half of them have never even bothered to investigate the matter! What a ridiculous thing to ask them to pronounce upon! You can ask them to say is the studio too hot and they can all say. Or you can say is it too cold and they can reasonably say no.

NP: Kenneth you have...

KW: You can't ask them to pronounce on General Tom Thumb being a dwarf or not! They don't know, do you?


NP: There you are! They do know! So right, you have had far more air time than your opposition in putting your case so you put your case admirably and the audience can judge. And it will be very fair because only you've spoken on behalf of the dwarfs! And if you agree, then you cheer for the dwarfs, and you boo for the midgets and you do it all together now.


NP: It's a draw! So we're not going to give any, we leave the subject with, with Kenneth and he continues with no points scored on Barnum starting now.

KW: About 1847 he decided to go clean. I think that's the best sort of expression to use because he stopped all of that unorthodox stuff and presented Jenny Lynn who as you know was a very fine singer. She used to do these ballads and bits out of operas and things like that. And then he piled up a lot of money and went into partnership with a man called Bailey. This wasn't in fact until the last few years of his life and we must remember that though the partnership is what became famous...


NP: So Kenneth Williams started with the subject of Barnum, and in spite of interruptions finished with the subject of Barnum. Peter...

PJ: Yes?

NP: Your turn to begin, the subject is decoys, Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Well when you mention the word decoys, I think of those artificial ducks that people who shoot put on the water to attract the birds so that they can get a better shot at them. I don't think it's at all fair just like they blow these whistles which are supposed to imitate the mating calls of our feathered friends. And it does seem to me, really, pretty poor, that they in spite of having the best form of equipment in the form of guns, rifles, or whatever it is, double barrelled things that they have, they have to have these decoys. Because it doesn't seem fair. A bird after all is...


NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.

DN: Repetition of fair.

NP: Yes you did say it wasn't fair before, right at the beginning.

PJ: Well it isn't!

NP: No! So Derek Nimmo has a correct challenge so he takes over the subject of decoys with 19 seconds, no, 24 seconds left starting now.

DN: Well in Papua New Guinea there is a local cannibalistic tribe nearby so they tied to a stake this little midget. And they thought this would be sure to attract to this end and capture him and therefore they'd be able to attract all the cannibals that I was just telling you about. This is totally untrue and I don't know why I'm talking about it...


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: Well I think he said cannibals twice.

DN: No, cannibalistic and then cannibals.

AM: Is that what he said?

NP: Yes but he was deviating, wasn't he.

AM: Of course he talked about midgets. I mean really, you know, that was having a very sly dig at my friend Kenneth here, and I thought it was very unnecessary! Kenneth made his point beautifully! You were right Kenneth, he made his point beautifully.

NP: Right so Alfred...

AM: Thank you very much.

NP: You have the subject of decoys, six seconds starting now.

AM: I haven't much sympathy for decoy ducks but I do have the same amount of feeling for human decoys. During the war they were very famous...


NP: So at the end of that round Derek Nimmo is equal in the lead with Kenneth Williams, but Alfred is only one point behind and then comes Peter one point behind him. And Derek Nimmo your turn to begin, the subject, contract. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: There's a very old theatrical superstition that if you find a piece of cotton on something, and you wrest it off, that means that you're going to get a contract, obviously a contract from some future employer who wants your services as an actor performing at some theatre or another around the country, possibly in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs for instance. But in fact it usually starts in...


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: More than one dwarf! He said seven dwarfs, repetition of the dwarf.

NP: The thought is...

AM: Had he said Snow White And The Dwarf And The Others, I'd have passed it! But I can't let that go.

NP: You may have passed it, but actually in Just A Minute it is what you say...

AM: Really?

NP: ... and not the repetitious thought...

AM: Really? It's slowly becoming the dwarf show isn't it. But fine, okay, I stand corrected. Fine.

NP: Derek Nimmo's managing to keep it up rather cleverly. Anyway Derek there are 37 seconds left, the subject is still contract and it is still with you starting now.

DN: A contract might read, this is between Intercontinental Entertainment of sifteen shitsbury...


DN: (laughs) Oh I think I said something most unfortunate! I think I'd better wash my mouth out!

NP: So Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: It was a deviation.

NP: Yes and hesitation and everything else! So Peter you have a point and you have contract and you have 32 seconds starting now.

PJ: I remember the very first contract I had from the BBC which was a long time ago. And... they had...


NP: Alfred has challenged.

AM: It was a long time ago, he hesitated very badly.

NP: He did hesitate yes Alfred, you have contract and you have 19, 24 seconds starting now.

AM: One of the sweetest moments of my life was when my daughter was born and she is now well into her 20s. However at the tine of her birth she received a contract from Val Parnell, the then impresario of the London Palladium, which is absolutely true, booking her for when she was 21 years of age. And that came and he went! So it didn't happen I'm afraid. However it remains one of the dearest things of my life and if he...


NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.

DN: Repetition of life.

AM: Life, happiest day of my life.

NP: Yes life yes.

AM: Absolutely, I quite agree with you Derek.

NP: Yes and you've done that wicked thing of getting in with only one second to go Derek on the subject of contract, one second starting now.

DN: I managed to contract measles...


NP: So we're back with Alfred Marks now, your turn to begin, oh what an interesting subject. Income tax inspectors. Do we have any in the audience? Deathly silence!

AM: There's one.

NP: We have one! We've got an income tax inspector in our audience. And Alfred is now going to tell us you something about them in Just A Minute starting now.

AM: We may only have one in the audience but I am assured there are many many who listen to us...


AM: Of course it's a...

NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Many many I'm afraid.

AM: It could hardly be called a repetition, can it? I mean when you say many many...

NP: Well I know.

AM: ... and not really.

NP: I mean they would say you can't have too much of it.

AM: Too much of it, yes, absolutely, I quite agree with that.

NP: They get too much out of us, don't they. So you did say many many...

AM: I did indeed yes.

NP: ... which is wrong in Just A Minute. So we've got 55 seconds still to go, Derek Nimmo has got the subject of income tax inspectors starting now.

DN: I was... flying to New Zealand and when I...


NP: Peter challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was Peter, yes. Let's hear from you on income tax inspectors Peter Jones, and there are 53 seconds starting now.

PJ: Some years ago an inscome tax inspector arrived...


KW: It came out as insome, insome.

PJ: Quite.

NP: You can see how they all...

PJ: What is the challenge?

NP: What was the challenge? Alfred you challenged.

AM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation.

PJ: No, no hesitation at all.

NP: It was a glug glug glug.

PJ: No there wasn't, I just mispronounced a word.

AM: Mispronunciation.

PJ: Well that's not a challenge.

AM: That's not a challenge.

PJ: No.

AM: No. I still think it was a hesitation, but I'm not going to reforecast it.

NP: I think so too and Alfred has got the subject of income tax inspectors and there are 50 seconds starting now.

AM: There are many income tax inspectors who are...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of many again.

NP: Yes you said many many before, that's the third time.

AM: Oh that's... just testing! Just testing!

NP: Derek got the subject back of income tax inspectors and there are 47 seconds left starting now.

DN: At the Intercontinental Hotel in Auckland, this letter was waiting for me...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: He mentioned the Intercontinental Hotel before.

DN: No I didn't.

NP: Not in this round.

PJ: No, in another round. He's advertising isn't he!

NP: If you mention it, it's what you say in this round.

PJ: Oh I see yes.

NP: So that was an in...

PJ: So I take that back then!

NP: It's too late now, you've said it. Derek gets the point and there are 45 seconds on income... that's about the right time to spend on income tax inspectors I think, 45 seconds starting now.

DN: From Mister RG Clare of the Inland Revenue Department, claimed that I owed him 5000 dollars from a er...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: A correct challenge and Peter has income tax inspectors starting now.

PJ: This inspector visited me at my home, unannounced and without any letter, he didn't er...


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation again yes, these inspectors are really getting through to us. Thirty-two seconds for you Alfred on income tax inspectors starting now.

AM: This man went up and saw his income tax inspector and said "I have problems". And the income tax inspector said why. And he said well, "I'll tell you. I have a house in Weighbridge costing a million pounds. It costs me 500 thousand a year to keep up. I have a yacht in Cannes. I have a shooting loft in Scotland." And so the income inspector said "what is the problem?" He said "I'm only earning 50 quid a week". And it goes to prove of course that income tax inspectors are very thoughtful and very kind and wonderful people if you go to them and tell them the truth. I started off by saying there were a few income tax inspectors, if you listen...


NP: Well Alfred Marks was speaking as the whistle went, gained that all important extra point and not only did he bring that round to a close, but he brought the show to a close because we have no more time. Let me give you the final score. Ah we have an equal third here, Kenneth Williams and Peter Jones, giving us their tremendous good value as usual, but not gaining quite as many points, finished in third place. Alfred Marks our guest starting very hesitantly, then with income tax inspectors triumphed and finished in second place just two or three points behind this week's winner who was Derek Nimmo! Thank you, well I do hope you've enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. By the way you might be amused to know that at the BBC this show is now referred to by its initials of J-A-M, jam. So we hope you've enjoyed this jam session. And it only remains for me to say on behalf of Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo, Alfred Marks and Kenneth Williams, also the creator of the game Ian Messiter, and our producer Edward Taylor, and myself Nicholas Parsons, thank you for listening and we hope that you will want to join us again the next time that we have a jam session! Until then from all of us here good-bye!