WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring KENNETH WILLIAMS, DEREK NIMMO, CLEMENT FREUD and RICHARD MURDOCH, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 19 May 1988)
NOTE: Richard Murdoch's first appearance.
NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!
NP: Hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And once again as the Minute Waltz fades away it is my pleasure to introduce to you the four exciting and provocative and difficult panellists who are going to play Just A Minute this week. Well we have three of our regulars and the chuckles from our audience might indicate to you that Kenneth Williams is of course back. He's never away actually! And we have Clement Freud and Derek Nimmo. And we welcome in the fourth chair our guest, someone who has never played the game before, a most distinguished broadcaster and most talented man. Would you, oh Richard Murdoch! I almost forgot to mention his name. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me Ian Messiter, the creator of the game, who not only keeps the time but also blows his whistle when the full 60 seconds are up. And also I have in front of me all the different subjects. And I'm going to ask each competitor or panellist in turn to speak if they can without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Let us begin the show this week with Clement Freud. And our audience are laughing because already Kenneth Williams is in the mood of the show. Clement the subject is nappies. It seems a good sort of basic subject to start with. But will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute beginning now.
CLEMENT FREUD: It would not be difficult to exhaust nappies in one minute. Nappies are in fact usually white squares of material or paper which are put around the lower body of the baby for the express purpose of collecting urine or excreta which might otherwise stain the carpet or make ugly messes upon the floor. In under-five boxing, the seconds are known to throw in the nappies, rather than the towel, signifying it is the end of the contest. I believe nappies for the moment have lost some of the vogue which they had when my children were born, because you now have nappy services which are made of some new material, not the sort of stuff it used to be...
NP: Dickie Murdoch has challenged.
RICHARD MURDOCH: Well he said stuff rather a lot.
NP: Well actually there was so much laughter from the audience I couldn't hear half of what he said.
RM: Well I can tell you he did.
NP: He did actually because he talked about the baby passed and referred to that as stuff, yes.
NP: Yes quite right. So Dickie, Richard Murdoch, do you want me to call you Richard or Dickie?
RM: I don't mind, even Stinker!
NP: As long as I speak to you, you don't really mind. What a good idea.
NP: Richard there are 10 seconds left, you have a point for a correct challenge and you take over the subject of nappies with 10 seconds to go starting now.
RM: Nappies are sometimes disposable things which when you have used them or when your babies have used them, they can be thrown...
NP: Ah Derek Nimmo challenged.
DEREK NIMMO: Used them.
NP: Yes yes.
NP: Yes I'm afraid.
RM: He's quite right.
NP: Quite right yes. So Derek you've got a correct challenge, a point for that and there's only two seconds to go on nappies starting now.
DN: Disposable nappies are the greatest inventions to wee in...
NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains the extra point. And of course on this occasion it was Derek Nimmo so he is in the lead at the end of the first round. Derek would you take the second round, the subject is space. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.
DN: Space is a continuous boundless expanse going in all directions in an infinite way. So if you travel into it you will never get to the end of space. The concept of space to me is almost terrifying. Living in a world which I know has an end, and being a person that will finish one day, I cannot totally conceive the idea of absolute space. Sometime lying awake on my pillow at night, I begin to dream of a space and I'm filled with a sort of nightmare because I cannot continually go on worrying about it and there's nobody there to help me! And I get spaced out which is another use fo the word space. And then on a Tuesday in July, I find I get on to a bird and up in the heavens I go, grabbing a parachute and dropping down on an umbrella. And there the space, one lands on the ground, is some....
DN: Oh the dreadful punctuation! Why didn't somebody challenge!
NP: Well you certainly have everything in Just A Minute. There was Derek giving us pathos, interesting thoughts, fantasy and also fact. And Kenneth Williams will you take the next round. Kenneth the subject is hiccups. Can you tell us something about hiccups in Just A Minute starting now.
KENNETH WILLIAMS: Hiccups can always be cured if you put the agoraphobic creature into space. And of course this is why Nicholas Parsons loves space, most of it is between his ears as you know...
NP: Clement Freud challenged.
CF: Repetition of space, but I'm sorry I interrupted. I wanted to...
NP: Oh aren't they wicked! Sorry he interrupted! There we are! But show you, yes it was a repetition of space. Anyway I'd have given it against him anyway after what he just said. Clement you have the subject of hiccups and there are 50 and a half seconds going starting now.
CF: It is a very odd thing but I am able to cure hiccups absolutely permanently irrespective of who has them. Sometimes people telephone me and say "I have got hiccups, will you help" and it's jolly difficult to do over the wore. But face to looking at somebody else, I am actually able to make them better...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Repetition of able.
KW: Yes! I'm afraid that's right! A good repetition there.
NP: You said able for and you were able again. So Derek listened well, got in with 29 seconds on hiccups starting now.
DN: It's an involuntary closure of the diaphragm and so the glottis and the moment of breathing produces this curious nice which is a hic and then a cup, which you cannot always cure very easily indeed. And if only Mister Clement Freud or Sir as we have to call him now, I'm so sorry, had been there to visit the late Pope when he was stricken down by the Vatican for over three weeks, hiccuping every day and all night with nuns trailing around him...
NP: So Derek Nimmo really is putting style and panache into this edition and has gained more points in that round and has increased his lead again. Richard Murdoch will you take the next round, the subject is greens. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.
RM: Greens, there are many kind of greens. There are of course human greens such as Grahame Greene, Hughie Green. And there are those things you putt on on golf courses. Now the greens on my golf course are beautifully smooth and true. You never see such a thing as a worm cast which does tend to deviate the ball when you're trying to put it into the hole. And the greener the grass, the nicer it is to play on. Because I am very fond of golf, and I play quite a lot of it and it's not always that I can get on to the green in two shots you see. Sometimes I get on to the green... (starts laughing) and I have been known to take only three putts. Once I actually took two putts and that was when... I've rather repeated the word putt, haven't I? So I'll...
NP: Ah Richard, Richard Murdoch you've... So Richard Murdoch you challenged yourself.
RM: Yes well it was getting a bit boring, wasn't it!
NP: I think that very enterprising. So you were obviously challenging for hesitation, repetition and deviation?
NP: So give him three points! And you keep going if you can with two and a half seconds left on greens starting now.
RM: Ah greens...
NP: You've been challenged.
RM: Cabbages and things like that...
NP: Clement Freud.
NP: I'm sorry, he challenged you Richard.
RM: Oh I heard it!
NP: You didn't start quick enough I'm afraid.
RM: Oh I didn't? Right.
NP: But actually as in that round you made so many other mistakes I don't see why on earth I should give that one against you. Give that one to him as well. So Dickie you've got one and a half seconds on greens starting now.
RM: Greens are all...
NP: I do feel that as he started with the subject he should have finished with it as well.
RM: Thanks very much.
NP: And you got an extra point actually for speaking as the whistle went and with no help from the chairman of course, you won a tremendous number of points in that round Dickie. You're equal...
RM: They've been at it for 21 years! I've only been at it for three minutes!
NP: I know! But you're equal in the lead with Derek Nimmo. Fantastic! Derek it's your turn to begin, the subject is odd facts. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.
DN: An odd fact is the expression red herring which derives from the fact that in years gone by they used to drag across the countryside some of this stinking fish to put the hounds off the scent and therefore they couldn't catch the fox. This could be used by the anti blood sports people today. Another odd fact could be the expression "tell it to the Marines". Now this arose because during the reign of King Charles the Second, a mariner returning from the Antipodes or some such place, discovered a flying fish, told it to his Monarch and he would not believe the fellow, until he summoned in front of him one of these gallant soldiers that served on the sea. And he verified that he had seen this particular kind of aquatic monster and...
NP: Well an apt person to take odd facts, Derek Nimmo, kept going with the subject from start to finish.
DN: Well actually I could have been challenged, because I said the Antipodes and they hadn't been discovered in sixteen hundred and eighty.
NP: That got a very marvellous reaction from the audience, obviously they're deeply impressed with your historical knowledge. But Derek you began with the subject, you finished as the whistle went, a point for speaking as the whistle went, a bonus point for not being interrupted. Two points at the end of that round, you're two points ahead of Richard Murdoch who is in second place, but now in third place is Clement Freud, two points behind. And Kenneth Williams is in fourth place but Kenneth takes the next round, and the subject is faux pas. Can you tell us something, something I'm sure you've never been guilty of Kenneth. But would you talk on it starting now.
KW: Well faux pas is a French expression, faux meaning erroneous, pas as in pace, so a wrong step. We can all make such errors. A lady wrote about me on this programme, saying apres la deluge instead of le. Well I wrote back and said to her, Doctor Johnson faced with the same problem apropos the definition of pastern, was asked by an inquirer, "how come you got it wrong?" And he said "ignorance, ma'am, pure..." and then repeated that word. This is a kind of good thing to do when you commit the faux pas, is to own up and say well yes, all right, I made a mistake. A man who never...
NP: Yes once again an edition of Just A Minute to treasure because in quick succession we've had two of our regular panellists take a subject and finish with the subject without being interrupted. And Kenneth did it in great style on faux pas. A point for speaking as the whistle went, a point for not being interrupted. Clement Freud your turn to begin, the subject is air stewardesses. Will you tell us something about those in this... why do you laugh? You've obviously got experiences with air stewardesses which you should keep to yourselves. Clement will you talk on that subject starting now.
CF: I've found over the years that air stewardesses who used to be ravishingly beautiful ladies have become increasingly plain and ordinary. And this could be because my eyesight is failing due to age or possibly because airlines are now more in favour of efficiency than they are of beauty. Air stewardess is actually an erroneous appellation because the air is not stewarded by these ladies. It is an airline...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Repetition of ladies.
NP: Yes that is right, you talked about these lovely ladies right at the start. So Derek has a correct challenge and there are 30 seconds on air stewardesses Derek starting now.
DN: Well if he hasn't seen lovely air hostesses, he's obviously been travelling on the wrong airline. Because if he went on Thai International, Singapore Airline, he would see the most glorious...
NP: Clement Freud challenged.
CF: Repetition of airline.
KW: No, he said airline first, and the second time he said airlines.
NP: Yes he said Thai Airline and Singapore Airlines, that's right. He did.
KW: Plural the second time.
NP: Thank you Kenneth. If you, you listen so well, we'll have to do what we did some, some years ago when we all changed round and I went on the panel for a couple of weeks and you took over and it was a disaster! Derek you have another point and 20 seconds on air stewardesses starting now.
DN: Mind you if you do fly with Pan-American they look as if they started going in the air with the Wright Brothers, so elderly are they and decrepit. There's one wonderful one who works for British Plane Company, whose name I can't say because I'd have to repeat one of those things that aren't on the card. But she is known as Tugboat Annie to all her chums. She goes round and she talks to everybody...
NP: So Derek Nimmo speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point of course and other points in the round of course, and he has now taken the lead again. And Derek Nimmo it's your turn to begin and the subject now is Rio. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.
DN: I have a friend who is a carnival queen in Rio. Her name is Lynn McConday. And she is what is known as a junoesque figure. She was a Danish film star before she went over to live in Brazil. And every year she is hoisted on a crane on to the back of the lorry, covered in feathers. And she has behind her a sambit troop, 20,000 strong. No that's a slight exaggeration. Perhaps they're only one should be divided by 10. But they are vast numbers of foreigners at this wonderful post in Rio de Janeiro. And this of course takes place on... Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the...
NP: Richard Murdoch has challenged.
RM: Ah boredom!
LOUD LAUGHTER FROM DN, NP AND THE AUDIENCE
DN: You wait till it's your turn again! My buzzer will be aquiver then!
RM: Well it was getting a bit tedious wasn't it.
NP: It's an extremely good challenge Richard, yes.
NP: Definitely and beautifully timed as well.
NP: Give him a bonus point because I enjoyed it yes. But he also hesitated, I thought that's what you were going to challenge him for.
RM: Yes that as well.
NP: Of course yes, and as you're our guest, you're allowed a second attempt. No don't give him two points, no but just give him the subject. We've given him one point, that's enough Ian. So hesitation, you take over the subject, you have 20... oh no, he does get another point, that's right, it's two points isn't it. Twenty-three seconds on Rio, Richard starting now.
RM: Rio reminds me of that wonderful song that Peter Dawson used to sing. It was all about
I've never seen a jaguar
Nor yet an armadillo.
And it was all about how he rolled down the...
NP: Clement Freud has challenged.
CF: Two all abouts.
NP: Yes it was, there were two all abouts, I'm sorry Richard. So Clement...
DN: The gloves are off now!
NP: You can't be over generous, I am on occasions I know. Twelve seconds for you Clement on Rio starting now.
CF: Derek Nimmo, who knows a lot about travel, tells me that you get to Rio on a greyhound bus which you board in...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Deviation, I didn't!
CF: It's not deviation.
NP: Why isn't it deviation then?
CF: Because I was keeping to the subject, I didn't repeat myself and I didn't hesitate.
NP: But you said that Derek Nimmo told you that and Derek said he didn't tell you that.
CF: You can tell lies in this programme!
NP: Clement you continue with five seconds on Rio starting now.
CF: There are an awful lot of juvenile pickpockets in Rio de Janeiro, and you have notices as you arrive...
NP: Well at the end of that round Richard Murdoch is still in the lead alongside Derek Nimmo. Kenneth, sorry, Clement Freud trails a little, Kenneth Williams trails more than a little, but Kenneth begins the next round. Kenneth the subject is gold. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.
KW: Gold, you can get it from the earth, you go down the mine and dig away and you come up with it. Other people come up with it in rivers and they have these little pans and they sit on these haunches and get it that way. But of course it's a very rare mineral. And if you get one with the stamp of say you know, George the Second, or something like that, then of course it's worth a lot more. Or 18 carat, 22 is very useful. Women love it, I don't know why, they always want gold and diamonds. They love gold with diamonds in it, in fact...
NP: Clement Freud challenged.
CF: Two diamonds.
NP: Too many diamonds, yes, you were getting a bit bogged down there Kenneth. So Clement came to your rescue, he gains another point and he takes over the subject and there are 17 seconds on gold Clement starting now.
CF: Im always rather pleased to see a hallmark on a lump of gold. Because it not only shows that it's genuine, but if you've read the book, you can tell what year it was minted in and where it was essayed. And also if you look with care you can gauge the weight...
NP: So Clement Freud moved forward with more points in that round. He's only one behind our joint leaders, Derek Nimmo and Richard Murdoch. Kenneth Williams trails. Richard Murdoch begins the next round. Dickie the subject is fun and games. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.
RM: Fun and games, you can have fun without games, and you can have games without fun. But if you have the two together, it's absolutely hilarious. When I was a small boy, we used to have tea parties. And afterwards we would go into the drawing room, and we would play what were known as parlour games. There was charades, there was sardines, postman's knock which of course I have played lately...
NP: Clement Freud has challenged.
CF: Did they have postmen when he was a boy?
LAUGHTER AND BOOS FROM THE AUDIENCE
RM: Who invented the post?
NP: You see what happens Richard, in this game it doesn't matter who you are, even if you're a guest the first time on, they're in there with their knives aren't they.
NP: And the audience reaction showed you what they thought of Clement's challenge. In fact it was rather strange. They laughed first and then they, they booed him! So he got everything but that's what Just A Minute is all about. So that was an incorrect challenge, Richard and you've taken the lead and you continue with fun and games with 35 seconds left starting now.
RM: Parlour games I was mentioning...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Repetition of parlour games.
NP: You mentioned the parlour before.
RM: I thought... yes all right.
NP: If you've been challenged you can't mention it again.
RM: No, now I know.
NP: So Derek you got in with fun and games, no, you got in on the subject of fun and games and there are 33 seconds left starting now.
DN: I awfully like postman's knock because I stand outside the door and bang on it and in I would go...
NP: Richard Murdoch challenged.
RM: Well I said postman's knock.
NP: Yes Richard but he's allowed to say it. You see...
DN: You don't have the exclusive rights to it!
RM: Well if those are the rules, I'll stand corrected.
NP: Those are the rules.
RM: Yes okay.
NP: He could actually repeat every single word you said if he was memory was good enough.
RM: Yes well I'll un, unbuzz.
NP: So there we are, Derek you continue with fun and games and there are 27 seconds starting now.
DN: I do like to be beside the seaside, because it is there that I have the utmost fun and enjoy wonderful games, particularly on the beach, playing cricket, tennis, volleyball and then bashing into the waves and diving through the sea horses and gathering shells and nuts that float on to the shores from adjacent palm trees. And then the fun really begins...
NP: So before Derek got on to those other fun and games, after he came out of the sea, the whistle went and he has taken the lead at the end of that round, closely followed by Richard Murdoch and Clement Freud in that order. And Clement Freud it is your turn to begin, Clement the subject is ants. Can you tell us something about those little creatures in this game starting now.
CF: Ants are small creatures and are quite extraordinarily busy. Robert Morley, many years ago, came one Christmas with a box in which there were thousands of ants working away. And as the present was wrapped, he said to me, "if you can guess the contents of this, I will give you 10,000 pounds." And we sat down, I opposite him, trying to win this huge sum of money, and opined variously as to the content of what was in the paper which was surrounding the appliance containing the ants. And I was unable to get it. Unwrapped and found this amazing workload of industrious mini-animals with the queen laying eggs, giving messages, sending post from one place to another. And it was the most charming and imaginative gift that anyone has given me...
NP: So Clement Freud took ants, kept going with great dexterity and verbal ingenuity and wit to the full 60 seconds, gains a point for speaking as the whistle went, a bonus point for not being interrupted. But we have no more time to play Just A Minute this week. So let me give you the final score. Well it was a very tightly fought contest. Kenneth Williams finished in fourth place. Out there much ahead of Kenneth was Richard Murdoch, equal alongside Clement Freud, our guest who has never played the game before. And they were only one point behind the man who must be adjudged our winner this week, Derek Nimmo! We do hope, we do hope you have enjoyed listening to this edition of our game. And on behalf of our four panellists, my four delightful guests, and also Ian Messiter who created and devised the game, our producer Edward Taylor, and myself, Nicholas Parsons, thank you very much for being with us to the end, and you'll hope that you'll want to tune in again the next time we take to the air and we play Just A Minute. Until then from all of us here good-bye!