WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, BILL BAILEY and OWEN O'NEILL, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 29 August 2005)
NOTE: Owen O'Neill's first appearance, Bill Bailey's last appearance.
NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!
NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners, not only in this country but throughout the world. But also to welcome to the show this week four talented, exciting personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. It's always a pleasure to welcome back that individual and sometimes surreal comedian, Paul Merton. And sitting beside him on my right, is that enigmatic and charismatic character Clement Freud. And seated on my left we have two who, are of course the veteran of the game, because on my left we have two are quite new to the game. Owen O'Neill has never played it before, a novice of this one and a talented comedian, writer, performer and individual. And beside him there is an amazing musician, actor, writer and all-round good egg, and that is Bill Bailey. Will you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject which I give them, and they will and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating. And beside me sits Janet Staplehurst, who is going to 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 one of the venues of the Pleasance on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. And by the way four of the people here all have shows on this year's Fringe. Except for one, that's Clement Freud who is still working on his. And we have in front of us a wonderful, excited, hyped up Festival Fringe audience ready for us to get started. So let's begin with Paul Merton. Paul, a dream come true, that is the subject. Talk on it if you can, 60 seconds starting now.
PAUL MERTON: Appearing on Just A Minute here at the Edinburgh Fringe is very much a dream come true. When I used to live in the bedsits in the 1980s, those particular places dotted around London. Streatham I lived for quite a few times. I would...
NP: Clement challenged.
CLEMENT FREUD: Yeah repetition of lived.
NP: You lived there too much, you lived in...
PM: You don't have to rub it in, it was eight years!
NP: So Clement a correct challenge, you get a point for that, you take over the subject. There are 50 seconds still available, a dream come true starting now.
CF: A dream come true would mean switching on Channel Four on my television set, and learning the Australians were all out for 18. But it is unlikely to occur because currently they are doing incredibly well. And this is of no interest to anyone because by the time this Just A Minute is broadcast it will be winter and nobody will...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Well deviation because in fact it's being broadcast the day after we make it.
NP: Absolutely, it's being transmitted tomorrow.
CF: Nobody told me!
PM: The Titanic sunk the other day, did you know that? Did you hear about that?
NP: Yes for those in the audience who are interested they can listen to it at six-thirty on Monday the 29th of August. Is that right, the 29th is tomorrow?
MURMURS FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: Thank you very much audience, you're...
NP: Bill you challenged.
BILL BAILEY: Hesitation.
NP: Yes it was. Give Bill a bonus point because we enjoyed the interruption.
NP: Paul you had a correct challenge, you get a point for that, you take back the subject, a dream come true and 27 seconds available starting now.
PM: In the 1960s when I danced in Sir Clement's arms at the Cafe Royale Paris, who would have thought then that all those...
BB: Deviation! (laughs)
PM: We were, we were inspired!
NP: Bill your challenge is deviation?
BB: Well deviation of one sort! I mean...
NP: It was a form of deviation yes.
BB: Is that right? Oh the subsection of each individual...
PM: Clement led! There was nothing funny about it!
BB: All right, sorry! I'll take it back.
NP: BIll it is one of those things when you have to give the benefit of the doubt on occasions...
NP: I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to you...
BB: God bless you!
NP: Because it was a very devious idea. And I don't believe anyway he actually danced in Clement Freud's arms!
PM: You've always been jealous, haven't you!
NP: So Bill you get a point for a correct challenge...
BB: Oh okay.
NP: You have 21 seconds, a dream come true starting now.
BB: Once in Hammersmith in West London I was sitting in a park. And I looked down and there was an eggcup in my hand. And it had lambriscow in it. And I went to sip the wine that was in the vessel, and I just touched it to my lips and I woke up and it was not in fact a dream. I was actually in a park drinking lambriscow...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Sadly, repetition of park.
BB: Park, sorry yes.
NP: Yes, you went back to emphasise the park which is difficult in Just A Minute. But Paul you cleverly got in with two seconds to go, a dream come true...
BOOS FROM THE AUDIENCE
PM: Sorry, you can boo all together, it doesn't matter. I'm quite sensitive, it doesn't matter.
NP: Two seconds, a dream come true starting now.
PM: As I wallowed towards the great fields of...
NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton who you must realise has now gone into the lead at the end of that round. Bill Bailey is following him, then Clement Freud, then Owen, in fact Owen is yet to speak, but there is a chance yet.
OWEN O'NEILL: Hello.
NP: Hello. Right. Give him a bonus point for the hello. Um and being up in Scotland we have to have some Scottish subjects. So Bill will you take the next round.
NP: The subject is the tartan army and the time, oh sorry, 60 seconds, time starts now.
BB: The tartan army is a term which is commonly used to refer to the travelling band of Scottish football fans. But it also could refer to a combat operation that were clad in such apparel which would offer little or no er camouflage...
NP: Owen you were the first to challenge.
NP: Yes there was a definite er.
BB: My normal speech pattern! I'm a bit...
NP: Yes so Owen, good to hear from you, great, 43 seconds are available, tell us something about the tartan army starting now.
OO: The tartan army is also a band of people that used to follow the Bay City Rollers around in the 1973s. Seventy-threes?
PM: Don't repeat! Don't repeat!
OO: No! Don't repeat! Ahhh! Oh yes that's right.
BB: That's right.
NP: Um you've got to watch it. Clement you challenged first, I think we know the challenge.
NP: You take over the subject, 36 seconds, the tartan army starting now.
CF: Eighteen seventy-three was a terrifically good year for the tartan army. But not as 1912 which excelled. People wearing kilts in tartans, sporrans...
NP: Bill challenged.
BB: Tartans? Repetition of er, er er.
NP: The ar in tar?
NP: I think it's a very clever and ingenious try but I can't allow it Bill.
BB: Is it? Oh all right.
NP: But we give you a bonus, they enjoyed the er...
BB: Oh thank you.
NP: ... the interruption, it wasn't exactly a challenge.
BB: Oh I see.
NP: So Clement you...
NP: Ohhhh! You try running the game without appearing pompous on occasions! Right...
NP: Clement you therefore had an incorrect challenge and you had 23 seconds to continue with the tartan army starting now.
CF: What is so uplifting about the tartan army is their enthusiasm has absolutely nothing to do with the competence or otherwise of the Scottish football team. Whether they concede three, four, five or six goals without any response, the chaps from the tartan army cheer and drink...
NP: Owen challenged.
OO: It's deviation, ah Scotland have actually won a game in the last year.
NP: Well they have won a game, but I think the point he was making Owen was that...
OO: Was that they were really bad! And I think the Scottish people here are going to get very angry in a minute.
NP: But Clement doesn't mind that.
NP: He enjoys confrontation. I think actually it was a good challenge Owen but basically...
CF: On this side...
NP: It was a good challenge but I'm not going to allow it.
CF: On this side we thought it was crap!
NP: So Clement you have another point and you have four seconds on the tartan army starting now.
CF: In the regular army...
NP: And Bill's challenged.
BB: Regular. Repetition of ah egular.
NP: Oh Bill you're trying too hard!
BB: All right sorry, I'll take a point of.
NP: No no we don't take them away, we just add. Three seconds, the tartan army starting now.
CF: Sergeant, lieutenant, captain, colonel...
NP: So Clement Freud keeping going till the whistle went gained the extra point. And with a little help from his points here gained a number of points in that round, and he's now in the lead ahead of Paul Merton and Bill Bailey. And Owen O'Neill, it's your turn to begin and the subject is how to greet an ex. You have 60 seconds as usual and you start now.
OO: The best way to greet an axe is to jump wily out of the way. Because it is very dangerous when this particular implement comes into the room, especially if you have not used it before. You can grab the axe in both hands and spread your, your legs very wide, wily, and you can wear a pair of gloves...
OO: I, I said spread your legs wily which is right actually.
BB: Oh was it?
OO: If I was challenged for that point.
NP: What was your challenge Bill? You were the first to challenge.
BB: Yes wily, I was going to say wily, you can't have, deviation of wildly but maybe...
OO: You can spread your legs in a wily manner.
BB: In a wily way.
PM: Yes of course you can.
BB: What, so somebody's not aware of it?
PM: Yeah absolutely.
BB: Disguised as an old woman?
OO: That's exactly what I meant.
NP: You mean it was wily because it was provocative and encouraging?
BB: All right, well fair enough.
NP: Well if that's your justification, I will allow you to have it. You get a point...
NP: You keep the subject, 39 seconds, how to greet an ex starting now.
OO: How to greet an axe, you can spread your legs wily...
NP: Owen you mustn't repeat things.
OO: Oh I see. Oh I thought I had another go.
NP: Yeah but you can't repeat what you already said in this round.
OO: Ah right.
NP: You can repeat it in another round.
NP: You can, that will work into another subject.
NP: Put it in but not in this round.
OO: Well you'd better let me off again because I didn't know that.
NP: Well as you didn't know, it's the first time, I'm sure Paul is always very sporting. We'll allow you to go back to where you were which was 33 seconds wasn't it. How to greet an ex, er, sorry, 39 seconds starting now.
NP: Paul you challenged.
PM: Ah hesitation?
NP: Yeah he didn't start that time.
OO: That's right yeah.
OO: Well done Paul.
NP: So Paul another point to you, 33 seconds on how to greet an ex starting now.
PM: The best way to greet an ex is to spread your legs widely and say "Sir Clement, at last we meet after all these year. Who can forget that dance at the Cafe Paris? Oh it was wonderful. You were resplendent in your tuxedo, and I was there in a 1950s cocktail dress..."
NP: Clement challenged.
CF: I thought he was in my tuxedo!
NP: Actually Clement, he did establish quite early on that you were taking the male role, when you were talking before.
PM: Yes, in another round a long time ago.
NP: Yeah but therefore it is an incorrect challenge.
NP: Because you were in the dress, weren't you Paul?
PM: That's right.
NP: Right, 18 seconds, how to greet an ex Paul starting now.
PM: I suppose it all depends on how the relationship broke up. If you were the one that dumped, or if you were the dumpee...
NP: Ah Clement challenged.
CF: Two if you weres.
NP: That's right, if you were, if you were. So Clement you got in with 12 seconds to go on how to greet an ex starting now.
CF: Well you don't say "hello ex", if you remember who she was. What you tend to do is you say "surely this is a familiar face that I see before me. What is your inside leg measurement..."
NP: So Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's increased his lead slightly over Paul Merton followed by Bill Bailey and Owen O'Neill. And Clement it is also your turn to begin. Keeping on the Scottish theme now, what I love about the Scots. You've already said about the tartan army, let's hear about the other side of the coin, 60 seconds starting now.
CF: What I love about the Scots is their total un-Welshness, the fact, the fact that they are hardly Irish at all, and that we in Lowestoft and Yarmouth look up to them. Because after William the Conqueror landed at Hastings, the acute Angles turned north and got here whereas the obtuse ones went straight on to Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall. What I love about the Scots is the fact that they ah have harris tweed...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: There was a hesitation there.
CF: Yeah there was.
NP: Yeah there definitely, yes, and 29 seconds for you Paul on what I love about the Scots starting now.
PM: It's the way they talk to American tourists without actually taking the piss out of them which I think is a fantastic achievement. When somebody from the States comes up and says "hey have you got the MacLennan pattern?" And some guy without a moment's hesitation just grabs it off the shelves and says it's this one. And I think it's beautiful. As you see them walking up the Royal Mile, resplendent in the tartan, glittering in the sunshine...
NP: Clement challenged.
CF: Two tartans.
NP: Two tartans.
NP: Tartan was the other subject, tartan army.
NP: Yeah this is...
PM: Stupid isn't it.
NP: No it wasn't.
PM: Wasn't it?
NP: No in fact you went, you went very well for a long time.
NP: Just to remind people who don't know, you can, and Owen you particularly...
OO: Right! Oh dear!
PM: is Owen not knowing particularly?
NP: No no...
OO: That's repetition because you told me that before.
NP: No, you can repeat the words on the card.
NP: At any time, right, so Paul, an incorrect challenge, Clement, eight seconds, what I love about the Scots starting now.
PM: No that was a correct challenge I think.
NP: Yes that's right, but who's it to then?
PM: Ah Clement, you said incorrect, it was a correct challenge of Clement's.
NP: But I was giving him the subject so I'm just obviously got incorrect and befuddled.
BB: Can you repeat the whole thing? What I love about the Scots, can you repeat any part of that...
NP: What are you, do you want me to repeat exactly what he said?
BB: What I love about the Scots, Scots I love about the what, Scots I love, what what what.
NP: You can say what I love about the Scots and why they meet... I'd repeat everything that Paul Merton said, but it would be utterly boring if I did.
BB: You could set it to a hip-hop soundtrack.
PM: Yes Nicholas has had a hip op!
NP: If I knew what it was I wouldn't be laughing so much.
BB: Mmmm MT Nizzle.
NP: Clement it was a correct challenge, I will actually give you the subject and there are seven seconds on what I love about the Scots starting now.
CF: What I love about the Scots is the certainty with which they tell haggis from harris tweed. I'm always unsure...
NP: So Clement Freud got another point, speaking as the whistle went and others in the round. He's just two ahead of Paul Merton and three or four ahead of Bill Bailey and Owen O'Neill in that sequence. And Paul it is your turn to begin, the subject is tongue twisters. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
PM: The game you play at school I suppose. Several tongue twisters like Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper. Nicholas nibbles nougat nostalgically. These are the kind of things that you hear from children. Tongue twisters were invented by Professor Tongue who lived in 19th century Bavaria and had an unfortunate speech impediment. See that's the way I pronounce, the way that he would have done. He would have preferred to have said something a little closer to how English language to be pronounced. He was the most extraordinary figure. He would wander down the High Street late at night, his tartan glintering in the sunshine...
NP: Oh Bill you challenged.
PM: Yes it's an old Scottish word. (in Scottish accent) Aye they'll be glintering in the gloaming tonight!
BB: Glintering in the gloaming.
NP: So you think that's a deviation from...
BB: I think that's a deviation from the actual word.
NP: No, deviation from English as we understand it.
BB: Is it?
NP: And from the actual word, yes all right.
BB: Oh all right then.
NP: No no no, I'm with you...
BB: All right then, you can have it, all right yeah, I'll give you that one.
NP: I'm giving it to you, I don't want the subject.
NP: I wouldn't know what to do it if I had it anyway. I can't get any points, you can. Right, 24 seconds Bill...
NP: Yes you.
BB: Oh right, I got it! Yes!
NP: Yes. Gosh, how much, how often do I have to say it?
BB: I don't know, it's so a complicated game!
NP: Is your hair covering your ears?
BB: It is, yes.
BB: The beard muffles up my speech.
NP: The subject is tongue twisters and you have 24 seconds starting now.
BB: Tongue twisters include words such as round the ragged rock, the ragged rascal ran...
NP: Clement challenged.
CF: Repetition of ragged.
BB: Which includes two words which are the same. I was hoping you weren't going to spot that particular mistake.
NP: I know, but Clement did, he's played the game too often. Clement you have the subject and 18 seconds on tongue twisters starting now.
CF: You know, it depends very much on your tongue. Because some words twist tongues the way others don't. I shot a hippopotamus with bullets made of platinum because if I used leaden ones, his hide be bound to flatten 'em is not necessarily a tongue twister but...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: It's not a tongue twister.
CF: It twists some tongues.
PM: Clement said it's not necessarily a tongue twister. Deviation. Very good chairman! Excellent chairman! Very good! Shrewd! Shrewd as a knife, aren't you!
NP: I'm blushing...
PM: Shrewd as butter, this man, shrewd as butter.
NP: No I think actually, I must be fair to him on this occasion, give him the benefit...
CF: That's unusual!
NP: No no no no you did say at the beginning tongue twisters are not only the ones that Paul established, ragged rascal and Peter Piper picked a peck of, and all that. But also you have to twist your tongue to get it round...
CF: Good chairman!
PM: Very good chairman yeah.
NP: To get it round those sort of poems which you did. And you keep the subject with two seconds to go, tongue twisters starting now.
CF: Round the ragged rocks.
NP: (laughs) I don't know whether Paul challenged before the whistle or not. I think he did.
OO: Got under the wire I think.
NP: Did he? Did he?
NP: I'll ask the audience, did he?
SHOUTS OF "YES" FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: You're all prejudiced, aren't you.
PM: There was a hesitation.
NP: There was a hesitation before, before, before he finished it.
CF: I was waiting for the whistle.
NP: I know.
OO: Yeah exactly!
PM: If you look it up in the dictionary, it's called hesitation.
NP: Right, you have to blow it again. So Paul you have half a second on tongue twisters beginning now.
PM: Waiting for the whistle...
NP: Right now we move on and it's Bill's turn to begin and the subject is cat's whiskers. Will you tell us something Bill about cat's whiskers in this game starting now.
BB LOUDLY CLEARS THROAT
BB: Wait, wait, wait, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
NP: What's the matter Bill?
BB: Sorry I've got a hairball.
NP: Well have a drink of water...
NP: ... and start again. The veterans are on my left and the novices are on my left. I always say now, give you a chance to take a breath, the subject is tongue twisters, there's 60 seconds starting now.
NP: What, what's the matter?
BB: No, repetition of a time slip in the...
BB: A gap in the time in...
NP: What's the matter then?
OO: It's cat's whiskers.
NP: Oh what did I say?
PM: Tongue twisters.
OO: Tongue twisters.
NP: Tongue twisters, oh it wasn't the subject, was it, yes.
OO: See! See! Eh! No wonder I'm confused!
NP: Listen when you've got four fellows coming at you like that all the time! It can be very confusing right.
PM: You love it, don't you!
NP: Oh I revel in it yes. Right there we are so...
PM: It gets you out of the house, doesn't it.
NP: So there we are Bill...
BB: Was it the cat's whiskers, did you say? Or cat's whiskers in general, all cats?
NP: No, it's the cat's whiskers.
BB: The cat's, all right.
NP: The cat's whiskers.
PM: So the you can say as much as you like.
BB: The cat's whiskers.
NP: Yes Bill, the cat's whiskers, 60 seconds starting now.
BB: The cat's whiskers is a term often applied to something which is absolutely marvellous. Something like the badger's nadgers or...
NP: Owen challenged.
OO: I want to know what the badger's nadgers are. It's a repetition.
NP: It was of something.
BB: Yes sorry yes.
NP: Well done Owen, you have 55 seconds on the cat's whiskers starting now.
OO: The Cat's Whiskers is a pub in Dublin very near where I live. It's a lovely place to go for a drink on a Sunday afternoon. There are no cats allowed into the pub and this is because ah there is no litter bin...
NP: Paul you challenged.
PM: It was a hesitation.
NP: A definite hesitation, yes right. So Paul the cat's whiskers is with you and there are 45 seconds starting now.
PM: In the 1970s, The Cat's Whiskers was a rather rough discotheque in Streatham in South London. And you would walk past it at your peril late at night. You would see punters drunk, bloodied, being thrown back in because they still had some money to buy a big pint of beer. And it was run by criminal activities. You used to meet a scout...
NP: Clement challenged.
CF: It can't be run by criminal, criminal activities.
PM: Of course you can.
CF: It could be run by a criminal activatus.
BB: Well it's a pronunciation thing is it then was it.
NP: I suppose technically you're right Clement, it's a bit pedantic.
PM: Wonderful chairman! Wonderful chairman!
NP: So benefit of the doubt to you Clement which you say you rarely get. You have a point, you have 25... well criminal activities, he's right, you can't be run by criminal activities. Run by criminals.
CF: That's what I said.
NP: I know that's what you said. I was trying to satisfy Paul Merton.
PM: When did, you were what? When do the biscuits come round?
NP: You were trying to bluff me out of my decision.
NP: So Clement you have 25 seconds on the cat’s whiskers starting now.
CF: I'm not terribly fond of cats so to say that something is the cat's whiskers and imply thereby that it is perfect, excellent, wonderful, without any complaint by anyone who could make against it seems to me ah philologically fallacious...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Sadly hesitation.
NP: There was an er in there Paul, ah Clement.
NP: Yes right.
CF: I was, I wasn't listening.
NP: I know, I know.
PM: You weren't alone there!
NP: So Paul you have the subject back, you have 10 seconds, the cat's whiskers starting now.
PM: They are designed to be on the side of the cat's head so the creature can judge distances. If you see a feline walking towards a gap between a door and a wall, the whiskers will tell...
NP: Well Paul Merton was speaking then, gained that extra point and he's now only two behind our leader Clement Freud, and he's a few ahead of Bill Bailey and Owen O'Neill. Oh! I got a hiccup then, it's gone, we will carry on.
PM: It sounded like you'd been punched by a pygmy! Oooh!
NP: Oh well, being radio I just let them know all that's happening all the time.
NP: Because it is a spontaneous show, we keep going irrespective, right. So Bill Bailey and Owen O'Neill as we go into the last round are equal in third place, a few points behind Paul Merton who is in second place and he is two points behind our leader Clement Freud. And Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject is mail. So can you tell us something about mail starting now.
CF: I get quite a lot of mail every day. But one's I least like are...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: I thought there was a slight hesitation there.
NP: I think there was Paul yes.
CF: A bit early for that.
NP: So he was trying to think about the mail he got. And hesitated. And there are 55 seconds for you Paul to continue, no, to take over the subject of mail starting now.
PM: Mail comes in many forms. There's the newspaper, there's chain or there's the sex. First of all let's talk about men. Aren't they the most marvellous wonderful creatures on God's good earth? I can see women nudging each other now saying I wish I was a bloke. But you can't be, ladies. Because your chromosomes aren't in the right order. Look at Bill Bailey, he started off as Linda, hasn't done him any harm. A wonderful individual, he can play the bassoon under water. It's a good trick if you can do it. Nicholas Parsons I think is the most wonderful example of male that we can see today in this great country of ours. When we look at our esteemed chairman, we think to ourselves, God, is that the time. But no, he's marvellous because his judgements are so wise and wise and erudite. And beside me I have Sir Clement Freud, knighted for his services to the knitting industry, in fact he should have been knitted but he wasn't. In fact it was a wonderful occasion when he bent down before the Queen and said "I think you're sitting in my chair", and indeed she was. And she got up and walked down the corridors of Buckingham Palace, holding her head held high. Meanwhile there's Owen O'Neill, fine individual, the best version of teenage ninjas we've ever had...
NP: Well a very well deserved round of applause for Paul Merton who went, how many seconds did he go for? He went for 55 seconds there, right up to the whistle there, gained that extra point for speaking as the whistle went and I'll give you the final situation. Bill Bailey and Owen O'Neill as they didn't speak in that last round finished...
OO: We didn't get a chance to speak.
NP: You didn't get a chance to speak, no.
NP: But what a wonderful contribution you both made.
OO: Oh thank you.
BB: Thank you very much.
NP: You've both got to come back again after...
NP: ... you've had a bit, a bit more practice.
OO: Yeah I need a lot more practice! Yeah!
NP: And Clement Freud was in the lead until then two points ahead, but Paul got two points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went. So a very fair final decision, winners are, if we have a winner, but it's Paul Merton equal with Clement Freud! That is all we have time for. It only remains for me to thank our four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Bill Bailey, Owen O'Neill and Clement Freud. I thank Janet Staplehurst, who helped me with the score, she has blown her whistle most charmingly. We thank our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are very grateful to this lovely Festival Fringe audience here at the Pleasance up in Edinburgh, who have cheered us on our way with such aplomb and, oh, we do love you all. Anyway from our lovely audience and from me, Nicholas Parsons, thank you very much. Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!