WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, JOHN SERGEANT and RHOD GILBERT, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 5 September 2005)
NOTE: Rhod Gilbert's first appearance, John Sergeant's first radio appearance.
NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!
NP: Thank you, 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, not only in this country but throughout the world. And also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented, individual, exuberant, perverse, interesting players of the game. Seated on my right, we have Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And seated on my life, it's Rhod Gilbert and John Sergeant. Would you please...
RHOD GILBERT: Did you say seated on your life then, Nicholas?
NP: Was I deviating from the language as we understand it. And seated...
NP: Right, yes...
RG: Yeah, seated on my life is wrong!
NP: It's deviation. Give him a point before we start! And seated on my left, Rhod Gilbert and John Sergeant. Please welcome all four of them! And once again they're going to demonstrate their verbal dexterity, their humorous ingenuity and their comic invention, as they try and speak on a subject that I give them, and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Janet Staplehurst, who will help me keep the score, she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the major venues of the Pleasance of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. And we have a lovely packed, excited, Festival Fringe audience in front of us dying for us to start. So we begin with Clement Freud. Clement the subject is how to present a weather forecast. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
CLEMENT FREUD: I think the most important thing when presenting a weather forecast is to concentrate on the weather, rather than on yourself. The fact that I have won the Lucozade, the Orangina and the Ironbrew Award at the Edinburgh Festival is as nothing...
JOHN SERGEANT: I thought there was a slight hesitation there.
NP: No no, he was going with great style John.
JS: Are you sure? From where I was, he seemed to be hesitating.
NP: No no, I know you're a long way away but he was, no no... he was going with his usual Clement style. So incorrect challenge I'm afraid so Clement you have a point and you have 44 seconds...
CF: What was the subject?
PAUL MERTON: Don't tell him!
NP: So you were talking...
PM: Let it be a lottery!
NP: You mean to say you were talking before, and you didn't know the subject, and that was brilliant. Anyway the thing is, Clement you've only been playing the game for about 38 years and you do know that I always repeat the subject before you start again.
CF: Ah good.
NP: Yes right. So you have 44 seconds to continue on how to present a weather forecast starting now.
CF: Weather is almost crucial. People want to know, whether they live in Plymouth or Cornwall, if they...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: I think there was a slight hesitation.
NP: That was a hesitation, yes.
NP: So Paul...
CF: Between words, was it?
NP: ... you have a correct challenge...
NP: And you have a point for that and you have 38 seconds available to take over how to present a weather forecast starting now.
PM: Isobars are very important. You want to put them on the map where the wind's coming in so then people know whether their hat's going to blow off or not. If I was walking down the street, and I said to somebody, "ah it's going to rain in approximately 45 days", everybody would say that's ridiculous. You can't possibly forecast from that distance. But now they can because they've got a satellite in outer space which is a special satellite-like thing...
NP: I don't think there's any other word for satellite!
PM: I found that out, I found that to my cost!
NP: Yes right! So John yes that was a correct challenge, we recognise that one, and you have 18 seconds, how to present a weather forecast starting now.
JS: I think the key thing is to make a mistake like Michael Fish did. He was rather casual about the matter of a hurricane. He did, if he'd taken the hurricane more seriously...
NP: I should explain to our listeners that John Sergeant has only played the game once before. Rhod Gilbert has never played it before. So he's...
RG: That much is obvious!
NP: But Paul, that was a correct challenge yes...
PM: Repetition of hurricane.
NP: Of the hurricane. Eight seconds, how to present a weather forecast starting now.
PM: The sleet was coming down at the horrendous rate. I tuned on to the radio and I heard this man say in a deep sonorous voice...
NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton, so he's naturally in the lead at the end of the round. And Rhod Gilbert, we'd like you to take the next round. The subject is very topical for up here in edinburgh, my ideal tattoo. You can take the subject anyway you like of course, you have 60 seconds starting now.
NP: Sorry, yes...
RG: Who did that?
NP: Rhod the point is, in this game you have to start immediately, otherwise it's hesitation.
RG: Oh I was just going to have a little think about it!
NP: I know! You're not even allowed to, you have to have your little thinks...
RG: This is an ideal tattoo, not just any old tattoo, Nicholas! You've got to rule out the others first!
NP: You see, what I always do is give you the subject and then I pause and then I say you start now, and that's your thinking time.
NP: Clement's challenged, I'm sure he's generous enough to say you, first time you've ever played the game, first time you've ever spoken on the show. So we give you the benefit of the doubt, we won't charge anything but start again and say, well you are, you have 59 seconds, um...
RG: That kind of worked out for me then!
RG: You're right, it is a supportive environment Nicholas.
CF: He started too soon!
NP: He started too soon. Right Clement, we give you a bonus point because we enjoyed your interruption. Which makes up for the correct challenge that you had earlier on. So I'm always very fair as you see. Rhod the subject is my ideal tattoo...
RG: How long have I got this time?
NP: Wait a minute! Don't get too keen now. Fifty-nine seconds starting now.
RG: My ideal tattoo, I don't think I would have a tattoo, they sound incredibly painful. But if I were to have an ideal tattoo, it would be some staring unblinking eyes on my eyelids. So when I shut my eyes in a situation which was perhaps boring, I could doze off. This would allow me to give the impression that I was staring with great interest to whomever might be talking at that time. This would have been useful when I was growing up in school, possibly university, now more so with my girlfriend, or perhaps at a...
NP: Paul's challenged you.
NP: There was a hesitation then.
RG: They laughed at it! I think you're losing them Paul!
PM: While they were laughing, you stopped talking!
RG: That's kind of what I meant as well.
NP: ... this is the most frustrating game for any comedian because you have to ride your laughs...
PM: You can ride them, or you can saddle them up!
NP: You have to go through them, you can't afford to wait and nurse them.
RG: All right.
NP: Paul your challenge? Hesitation.
NP: You have 32 seconds, my ideal tattoo starting now.
PM: I would love to have a great big heart on my arm which expressed my admiration for the wonderful Nicholas Parsons. To Nick, my heart is yours...
NP: Clement challenged.
CF: Ah two hearts.
PM: I don't care, I mean every word of it!
NP: In spite of your generosity, I've still got to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute and say Clement, a correct challenge, 23 seconds, my ideal tattoo starting now.
CF: My ideal tattoo was the Edinburgh tattoo! Hurrah!
NP: And Rhod you challenged.
NP: Well done!
CF: It's quite different for me, I was riding a non-laugh.
PM: They're the hardest laughs to ride, aren't they.
NP: Rhod didn't get away with it, Paul got the subject even when Paul, Rhod did it last time. So Rhod, Rhod you got him on his own petard there and there are 17 seconds on my ideal tattoo starting now.
RG: Well as I said earlier, my ideal tattoo would be this pair of unblinking eyes on...
PM: I think the clue is in the phrase "as I said before"!
NP: No if you get the subject back, you can't reprise the material that you had before.
NP: I know. In another subject you can, but not in this one, I'm afraid.
NP: So Paul, 13 seconds, my ideal tattoo starting now.
PM: The best tattoo I ever saw was here in Edinburgh in 1978. And what a tremendously fascinating event it was. I got there early, because there was a big queue of people, and I wanted to make sure I had a good front seat...
NP: Clement challenged.
CF: Two goods.
PM: Oh yes, two goods.
NP: Two goods yes, I got there early, good front seat yes. Oooh! And Clement you got in with one second to go. It hasn't won you any friends but you've got the subject, another point, my ideal tattoo starting now.
NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went and he's gained an extra point for doing so. He's now equal in the lead with Paul Merton at the end of that round. John Sergeant, will you take the next round, the subject is what I can do in 10 seconds. And you have 60 seconds in which to tell us starting now.
JS: My memoirs as some discerning listeners may know, were called Give Me Ten Seconds. So this is something I should know a great deal about it. The title comes from an instruction I would give to those people behind the scenes at ITN. If for example I was being interviewed by Sir Trevor McDonald on News At Ten, I would be given at some point a warning about how close we were coming to the end of the item. Someone would shout a number between nine and 11, when there was, when there was one sixth of a minute to go. I would not come to a grinding halt because that would be unprofessional, but I would bring my thoughts together, I would focus my ideas, in other words, I would shut up...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: There were three I woulds.
PM: One after another.
GROANS FROM THE AUDIENCE
PM: I would do this, I would do that.
JS: Well I don't...
PM: I know you're very disappointed but what can I do? I mean...
NP: He's right, we let one I would do, or two go...
JS: Yeah but...
PM: We let one go because that's not repetition!
NP: You know what I meant, we let one, one repeat go.
PM: Oh one, yes.
NP: One repeat go, but the second repeat, you couldn't bear it and um, he did go, he had a very good innings there. You had 45 seconds John. Very very, that's wonderful! Paul you had a correct challenge, you have 15 seconds on what I can do in 10 seconds starting now.
PM: I can listen to Clement Freud's mobile going off next to me as he appears on Radio Four's Just A Minute here at the Fringe. I hope it's that and not a life support machine because basically it's wonderful. I can do in 10 seconds, I can prepare a very bad egg. It won't be edible...
NP: So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained the extra point. He's now got the lead ahead of Clement Freud, then Rhod Gilbert and John Sergeant in that order. And Paul your turn to begin, the subject is Scottish slang. Sixty seconds and you start now.
PM: A useless object is known as a Nicholas. It's one of those things of Scottish slang. If you see something in the street that has no discernible role in life, you call it a Nick, what I said before. In the meantime Scottish slang is best pronounced like this. (goes into Scottish gibberish) which is roughly have you got a bowl of cherries. If you go into any shop in the Royal Mile, you will find many people, ah ooh, oh that's a funny word. But somebody must because otherwise I'll be talking all night.
NP: That was a gen...
PM: That was a word, it means has everybody got a seat.
NP: That's right, no, it was a very generous gesture on your part. And John picked it up first, John Sergeant, you challenged first, what was your challenge?
JS: My challenge is, well, deviation and hesitation. Double challenge.
NP: No you don't get two points, only one.
JS: All right.
NP: Which one do you want?
JS: I think deviation.
NP: Yes it was, yes, I don't know what he was deviating from but anyway it was quite right.
PM: Good decision! Good decision from our chairman! He doesn't know why but he's giving it as usual.
NP: He paused John, he stopped and handed it over. Anyway 33 seconds, Scottish slang with you starting now.
JS: Scottish slang can be heard sometimes on the Royal Mile if you listen very carefully. Go up to people late at night and see where they're saying (speaks in Scottish dialect) The test of whether it is Scottish slang is quite simple. Does it have any discernible meaning? And the answer of course is no. You can...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Well, it was a hesitation there as well, you see.
NP: I think he slowed down on his normal pace of speech. But I don't think, I've got to give the benefit of the doubt on occasions. I give it to you John on this occasion. I don't think it was... And so, so you have 15 seconds to continue on Scottish slang starting now.
JS: The point of slang, any sort, is to make sure the person feels different. And that is brilliantly exemplified in Scottish slang. When somebody says "och aye the new", what they're really saying is I'm proud...
NP: Clement challenged.
NP: Can you ah, I must explain to our listeners, we're all looking at Clement Freud now and wondering what the hell he's talking about!
PM: Give him the benefit of the doubt!
CF: Sounded like deregiste from here!
NP: He does speak rather quietly. Could you sort of project a bit more John, so they can here.
JS: I'll certainly try and do that but I thought I said...
NP: No John, benefit of the doubt, och aye the new is not, well I don't think it's slang actually but they didn't get you on that. But that doesn't matter, right, four seconds starting now.
JS: The important thing is to make sure that you use Scottish slang at the right...
NP: Ah John Sergeant was speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point, and with other points in the round he's now equal with Clement Freud in second place, two points behind Paul Merton. Rhod...
NP: The subject is the etiquette of queuing. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
RG: the etiquette of queuing. Yes trick ah, oh God!
RG: Can I start again please?
NP: Yes it's up to John because he challenged first.
RG: John can I start again please?
JS: Well I think, I mean this is difficult, what do the audience think?
SHOUTS OF "YES" FROM THE AUDIENCE
JS: Well that's it, I don't go against the audience!
NP: So John gets a point because it was a correct challenge, but Rhod keeps the subject, 58 seconds, the etiquette of queuing Rhod starting now.
RG: Queuing is a very tricky business. There are several things that you must not do whilst queuing. For example do not when queuing in a butcher's shop in your village on a Friday morning, never look down the, breathe down the neck...
NP: John challenged.
NP: Yes, and so you have got in anyway John.
JS: I'm sorry.
RG: No that was just a change of track.
NP: And you have 46 seconds, the etiquette of queuing starting now.
JS: The etiquette of queuing is a deeply neglected subject. I don't know people go on about why we should worry about...
NP: Rhod challenged.
RG: Repetition of why.
NP: Yeah. I will say one thing Rhod, you have got this audience 100 percent behind you.
RG: That's what you get for being rubbish!
NP: And they, you now have 39 seconds to try and continue on the etiquette of queuing starting now.
RG: Yes, never breathe down the neck of somebody in your local butcher's shop on a Friday morning in your village...
NP: Oh! Paul challenged.
PM: We have had a lot of that before.
NP: We have.
RG: Was it from me?
PM: Local, local butcher's shop on a Friday morning.
RG: Yeah well, it's a bit of a routine.
NP: So Paul another point to you and 34 seconds, the etiquette of queuing starting now.
PM: If you want to go to, understand the finer parts of queuing, you must go... oh!
NP: Oh there you are Rhod, you got it back again.
RG: Repetition of go.
NP: That's right yes. Rhod can I ask you not to get quite so close to your microphone.
RG: You can ask me what you want.
NP: You were almost eating it then.
RG: That's how keen I am.
NP: You were thinking about the, the butcher's shop. So you're back with you, the etiquette of queuing Rhod, 30 seconds starting now.
RG: Whilst queuing at a cashpoint, trying not to breathe down the neck of the per...
RG: There's no butcher's shop in that!
NP: No but there was breathing down the neck.
RG: Okay but I changed location!
NP: Well you can't do that in Just A Minute, you've got to stick to the same location and the same words, and different words right.
RG: That's what I've been doing.
NP: I'm afraid you stick to the same words, you must stick to different words. Paul, another point to you, 26 seconds, the etiquette of queuing starting now.
PM: You're queuing up in a butcher's shop and somebody's trying to breathe down the back of your neck, one Friday morning in Wales. You must turn to them and say "how dare you, do you realise that your breath..."
NP: Rhod challenged.
RG: Repetition of you.
NP: Yes there was a...
PM: Oh come on!
NP: Rhod I must tell you we usually let little words like that go.
RG: You might do!
NP: On this occasion...
RG: I'm in no mood for charity now!
NP: On this occasion only, as you're new to the game, and Paul is very generous the way he plays it, I will let you have the benefit of the doubt, well not the benefit of the doubt, it's a correct challenge. But please resist in future, 16 seconds, the etiquette of queuing starting now.
NP: I'm afraid I have to give it against you Paul.
RG: You looked at me and said "I give it against you Paul"?
NP: I know I did.
RG: That's very confusing.
NP: I know it is very confusing, you've got me very confused.
RG: Right! So who are you going with?
NP: Because you've got the audience with you, you're making a lot of mistakes and they're being generous and I must now allow...
GROANS FROM JS AND THE AUDIENCE
NP: Listen, he's a lovely contestant and that's why we've got him here.
RG: I've never seen this happen before.
NP: He's won the audience. Paul you've won a point, you have 15 seconds, the etiquette of queuing starting now.
PM: If one stands in front of the other person that is in front of you, then inevitably you will find yourself...
NP: Rhod challenged.
RG: Repetition of front. You can't let that go.
NP: You can, you stand, if you stand in front of somebody who is in front of you.
PM: Oh yes.
NP: Yes right.
PM: You don't have to let it go Rhod. Have you been to show business before?
RG: Is that somewhere you can go?
NP: Try to keep back a bit from the microphone, mike, if you can. And 10 seconds with you Rhod, the etiquette of queuing starting now.
RG: I had an Uncle Barry who loved to queue. Sometimes he would just turn up outside something and stand alone and start a queue. That's how all the great queues had started...
NP: Oh! John yes?
JS: Repetition of queue, he said queue twice. That's not part of the subject.
NP: Ah it was queue and queuing is on, the subject on the card.
RG: Yeah, queuing's on the card.
NP: You can repeat the words on the card but you repeated the word queue.
JS: That's right, sorry.
NP: It's the way we play the game.
NP: Those are the rules.
JS: You've got to be tough now, I was so charitable earlier on, look where it got me!
NP: You've got lots of points John, and you've got in with three seconds to go on, the etiquette of queuing starting now.
JS: The etiquette of queuing could be so important particularly to young...
NP: Well let me give you what the situation is points wise. It's all very very close which is very interesting actually. Rhod Gilbert is only just in fourth place. He's only one point behind Clement Freud, who is only one point behind John Sergeant who is only one point behind Paul Merton. So in that order of sequence they are all doing very well. And John, it's your turn to begin and the subject is handbags. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
JS: Surprisingly I do not have a handbag. I find that a briefcase works just as well for keeping all those odd bits of string and out of date coins. But I did know, a long time ago, in a galaxy far away, a star politician who was very good at using, yes, handbags. She had lost of them and was of course Margaret Thatcher. Instead of clipping her Ministers around the ear which in public would be frowned upon, she used to metaphorically handbag them, and she gave this phrase to the dictionary and the lexicon of British politics, the handbagging. I was...
NP: Clement challenged.
CF: The subject is handbags, he's now said handbag four times.
NP: He's said handbags is the subject, he's said handbagged and handbagging. He hasn't actually repeated anything.
BOOS FROM THE AUDIENCE
CF: Oh, did you get a boo.
NP: I think they were booing you actually Clement.
CF: No! Poor decision!
PM: This lot will boo anybody!
BOOS FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: Rhod you pressed your buzzer.
RG: Well I've, I've got a different challenge, I think it was deviation.
NP: It's too late now. So John, you've still got the subject of handbags, 26 seconds starting now.
JS: I think one of the advantages the former Prime Minister had is that people thought she had an enormous array of handbags. But there were different handbags for all sorts of quite separate... things...
NP: Yes Paul you challenged.
NP: Yes that is a hesitation. So you got in with 13 seconds to go on handbags Paul starting now.
PM: It's one of the great lines in the English theatre. The Importance Of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, where Lady Bracknell is asked, well, in fact she is referring to a gentleman who has been born in a handbag. And she falls up to her full height and says "a hand..."
NP: Well so at the end of that round, I'll give you the situation because we're moving into the final round alas. Oh!
SHOUTS OF "AWWWW" FROM THE AUDIENCE
PM: That was your chance to boo!
NP: Well you can all come next year so we'll return and do more Just A Minutes in Edinburgh next year.
CHEERS FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: Oh what a lovely audience! They just want to do anything they say. As we move into the final round let me tell you that Rhod Gilbert who has never played it before but he has done extremely well so far and he's got just one point behind Clement. And Clement's a couple of points behind John Sergeant, who, it's really only the second time he's played it. Paul Merton is just in the lead and he takes the final round which is, we're keeping the Edinburgh theme going here, my favourite spot in Edinburgh. Sixty seconds Paul starting now.
PM: There is a dark dank cellar deep beneath the bowels of this magnificent city, where, every Saturday night Nicholas Parsons dances in a naked flame to restore his vitality. He's actually 408, and you wouldn't know it to look at him! He doesn't look a day over 95...
NP: Clement challenged.
CF: I think you would!
NP: What is your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?
CF: Deviation from the truth.
PM: So Nicholas you have to decide whether you look 486 or not. Not out.
NP: No, I think, humorously yes, people do think I'm 408, but ah I think logically you're right Clement. So you have my favourite spot in Edinburgh and 44 seconds starting now.
CF: If one's favourite spot is the one on which one spends most time...
NP: Rhod challenged.
RG: Well I know it's only a small word, but one three times in the first sentence has got to be bad, doesn't it.
NP: One's and ones.
RG: Oh one's one one, two one, one one.
NP: One one one's, well tried.
RG: There were so many, I lost track, to be honest!
NP: So Clement an incorrect challenge and 40 seconds, my favourite spot in Edinburgh starting now.
CF: Then it is Waverley Station taxi queue on which I have actually ah spent large sections of my life...
NP: Rhod yes.
CF: Yeah that was...
NP: That was hesitation yes. So there are 32 seconds...
CF: Nothing like the hesitation you spend at Waverley Station!
NP: I'd like to be fair to those taxi drivers because I have queued up a couple of times and there was hardly any wait at all. I don't know what happened to you.
CF: Very interesting!
NP: Well you see I'm one of these born...
PM: Nicholas, they drive straight at you, don't they! They drive straight at him!
NP: Right Rhod you had a correct challenge, you'll be pleased to hear and you have the subject of my favourite spot in Edinburgh, there are 32 seconds and you start now.
RG: My favourite spot in Edinburgh has to be the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Festival. It is wonderful, there is no far greater sight to see than a group of middle class English schoolkids in matching T-shirts singing a song about finding a lucky pencil on the ground and picking it up. Once I even saw a group of not so middle class Scottish kids...
NP: Clement challenged.
CF: Middle class.
NP: You had...
RG: Not so middle class!
NP: But you did repeat the word so Clement, 14 seconds are available on my favourite spot in Edinburgh starting now.
CF: I suppose the boil or could it be a carbuncle on the chin of the man who was standing outside my hotel yesterday evening could be my favourite spot in Edinburgh, were I attracted to those sort of facial...
NP: Well that rather unsavoury thought of Clement took him up to the whistle, gained the extra point for doing so and brought the show to a close. Let me give you the final situation. Very very close, very even, very fair. Rhod Gilbert, who hasn't played the game before, he finished in a magnificent third place. John Sergeant who has only played the game once before, finished in an amazing second place. Only two points ahead were Clement Freud and Paul Merton equal so we say they're the winners this week! It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, John Sergeant, Rhod Gilbert and Clement Freud. I also thank Janet Staplehurst, who helped me keep the score, she has blown the whistle so elegantly every time the 60 seconds went. We thank our producer who is Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are very grateful to this lovely Fringe audience here at the Pleasance in Edinburgh, who have cheered us on our way. Hope you've had a great time, hope the listeners have enjoyed it all. Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!