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 the many listeners that we have, not only in this country but throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme this week four experienced and talented players of the game, who once again are going to show their expertise as they try and speak on a subject that I give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And seated on my right, we have that ever popular and original comedian Paul Merton. And sitting beside him we have that veteran player of the game, the witty Clement Freud. And seated on my left we have that engaging and loveable comedian, Graham Norton. And seated beside him we have the delightful and clever comedienne and writer, Jenny Eclair. Please welcome all four of them! 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 Harlequin Theatre which is in that cultural oasis in the centre of the delightful town of Redhill. And we have a red-hot Redhill audience in front of us, just started. So let's begin the show with Paul Merton. Paul, the subject in front of me here is bling. Tell us something about bling, a very modern phrase in this show, starting now.

PAUL MERTON: It's a word that's come about in the last 10 years or so. I suppose bling means a lot of jewellery, over-festooned with the stuff. So it's dripping from your ears, and other parts of your body...


NP: Jenny Eclair.

JENNY ECLAIR: Well he said yours, your three times. I thought I'd let it go when it was just twice. But on the third time, I thought, why! Why should I! It's only the first round, isn't it!

NP: Well it is a tough challenge but it is an accurate one Jenny. So we have to say for a correct challenge, you get a point, you take over the subject which is bling, and you have 50 seconds starting now.

JE: I've got nothing against bling, it's just sometimes I prefer to keep things classic. A simple necklace round my throat works every time. I think it depends what sort of person as to whether one can get away with bling. Lady Mayors and Mayoresses, those chains, they're a bit blingy, aren't they! Ah black wrappers, they...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was there an um?

JE: Yes.

NP: Yes we did have an um yes, so he is getting a tough one back. Paul you have a correct challenge, a point to you, 30 seconds still available, bling starting now.

PM: Brian Ling was my best friend at school. What an incredible chap he was! He trained a wombat to play table tennis in the dark! And what an extraordinary thing it was to see, because every Saturday you used to go up to Mister and Mrs Ling's house and you'd say "is Brian's home nearby..."


NP: Clement challenged.

PM: Yeah, Brian's and Brian.

NP: No it's a clever ploy of playing the game. Fifteen seconds Paul with you, another point, starting now.

PM: If you drop a selection of dinner plates out of a window, the noise they will make if they land on the pavement is bling. Because there is something inherent inside that particular piece of crockery which makes that noise, and you know which it is...


NP: Ah Graham challenged.

GRAHAM NORTON: Repetition of noise.

PM: Oh could be.

NP: Yes indeed there was. Sharp-ears Norton! You got in with only one second to go! Very clever, you haven't won many friends but you've got the seconds, and you've got a second on bling starting now.

GN: I could talk about bling all day...


NP: So at the end of that round, Paul Merton and Graham... by the way in this show, if you don't already know it, whoever is speaking when the whistle goes, gains an extra point. So Paul Merton has two, Graham Norton has two, Jenny has one. And Jenny will you take the next round, the subject is brothers-in-law, Jenny, starting now.

JE: I've only actually got one brother-in-law. Six foot two in his stocking feet, grey hair, about late 60s. I'm lying...


JE: He's only 52!

NP: Graham challenged.

GN: What was that about? There was a little hesitationy thing going on.

JE: Well I don't know, I forgot how old he was, and then I said he was 62 and I stumbled because I thought he would kill me!

NP: Well I'm sorry, you said it now, it was going out national, it's going out all over the world now...

PM: What's his name?

JE: His name's Sir Michael.

PM: What is he, a pair of underpants, what are you talking about?

JE: He's a High Court judge.

NP: Is he?

JE: Yes, which is very useful when I'm in the court on another trumped-up shoplifting charge!

GN: It's just as well. given his name is Sir Michael, because it's hard to be a builder or a carpenter with a name like that! What pretentious parents! We'll name him Sir!

NP: Graham...

GN: Yes?

NP: You have a correct challenge so you take over the subject of brothers-in-law, 53 seconds starting now.

GN: It strikes me that brothers-in-law are one of the least perky bits about getting married. I always think, bad enough that you have to deal with your own family, but you have to deal with someone else's...


NP: Jenny...

GN: Oh I know what I did!

NP: Yes.

JE: Shall I tell you again?

GN: Yeah go on.

JE: Two deal withs.

NP: Two deals yes. So Jenny you got the subject back, you have 40 seconds still available, brothers-in-law starting now.

JE: I see my brother-in-law most days, when he walks around the corner to pick up his fags...


NP: And Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of brother-in-law.

NP: Yes, because you said, the subject is brothers-in-law...

JE: Oh!

NP: And you said brother-in-law before.


JE: Well I think you can see whose side the audience is on. I find...

NP: You're just realising the experienced players of the game...

JE: Yes.

NP: ... are very sharp at picking these things up.

JE: Yes.

NP: Thirty-five seconds for you Paul on brothers-in-law starting now.

PM: It was a famous comic novel by...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: I haven't said anything for a while. Also that was hesitation.

NP: It was hesitation so Clement you've spoken now to some effect, you got a bigger laugh when you didn't speak! But ah...

PM: There's a lesson there!

NP: Thirty-two seconds available, you tell us something about brothers-in-law starting now.

CF: I can't remember how many brothers-in-law I have, per capita...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: I think it was yes.

PM: Yeah so do I.

NP: So you got it back, a similar hesitation, 28 seconds, brothers-in-law back with you Paul starting now.

PM: It was a hit film in the 1950s starring Iain Carmichael and, I believe, also Nicholas ah Parsons was in that movie, wasn't he...


NP: Yes Paul, Clement...

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes he stumbled on Parsons didn't he.

CF: I know.

PM: I suddenly remembered your performance!

NP: It was as good as that applause. Yes it was one of the biggest roles I've ever had at the cinema.

PM: That's right yes.

NP: Yes it did very well.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Great fun.

PM: Will they be having you back at any point?

NP: Well I'm still waiting, it was about 40 years ago so I'm...

PM: Well that's an indication then isn't it.

NP: Yes! Clement's getting itchy so we'd better get moving. Brothers-in-law is with you Clement, 21 seconds starting now.

CF: I'd like to mention a few films of the 1950s in respect of which the producer, director and...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Deviation, only because I thought the subject was brothers-in-law and he's just talking about films of the 1950s Nicholas.

NP: Brothers-In-Law was a film of the 1950s.

JE: Oh!

GN: I didn't know that.

JE: Was that the one you were in?

GN: If only someone had told us! Who was in it?

JE: Ah! That one!

NP: It was in my raw youth, and I had a...

JE: Oh that kind of film, was it?

NP: Oh no, very romantic, very romantic role, but it wasn't as raw in that. It was much more delicate in those days. So Clement, correct challenge, you have another point, 14 seconds, brothers-in-law starting now.

CF: I think I will leave it where I have been.


NP: Paul has challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was. He left it and ah you came in...

PM: He stopped yeah, he stopped.

NP: Eleven seconds, brothers-in-law starting now.

PM: It was perhaps as a radio adaptation that it came into its own. Richard Briers played the lead character, Roger Thursby, I think, was the name. And what a fantastic...


NP: Yes, Paul Merton again speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. He's now increased his lead, he's ahead of Clement Freud in second place, Graham Norton and Jenny Eclair in that order. And Graham your turn to begin. And Jenny's collapsing with laughter at the moment. I have to explain these things to our listeners because they can't see it. And Graham...

GN: Yes?

NP: How to keep warm this winter, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

GN: I think Redhill is a lovely place. But it has to be said, if you want to keep warm this winter, perhaps the quickest thing to do would be to leave it! Yes I have just returned from Cape Town, where I found God had left the central heating on. And it was very nice indeed. Get on a plane, go to the southern hemisphere, that is the best way to keep warm this winter. Or alternatively, much excitement, pause, yes, get a dog! I just did, oh it's lovely! His name is Bailey, he's a labradoodle, yellow in colour, mmm-mmm-hmmm- hmmm. Oh repetition...


NP: So Paul your challenge?

PM: Repetition of mmm.

NP: Yes! You...

GN: I sort of walked into that one, didn't I!

NP: I know! You can't do that sort of mmmm mmmm, right. So Paul you have the subject, there are 22 seconds available, how to keep warm this winter starting now.

PM: If you're an Eskimo, then keeping warm in winter is essential. What you have to do is ensure that you have all the snow around you, heated to absolutely room temperature, and then you sit near a cup of water. And what I do is I make sure that my overcoat and jumpers and the central heating system are all on at the same time. It's the only way to do it. If you've got a log fire, chuck them...


NP: So once again Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, and gained that extra point and has increased his lead at the end of the round. Clement Freud will you take the next round and the subject is cholesterol. Something that affects a lot of people at different times, cholesterol, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: I've never quite understood what cholesterol was, other than you should aim to have a low cholesterol count, rather than a high one. I believe...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Ah he hesitated.

NP: I think he did yes.

JE: Yeah he completely ran out of anything to say.

NP: Well um...

JE: Oh I've just realised, I don't know anything about cholesterol.

NP: No, it is a tough subject, but you've got it, because you had a correct challenge, you have a point, you have cholesterol, you have 50 seconds starting now.

JE: I'm far too young to worry about the nuisance of cholesterol unlike Lulu...


NP: Graham challenged.

GN: Sort of deviation from reality really!

JE: No!

GN: I know it's cruel to do it with an audience, but somebody had to tell her!

NP: No, on the basis that at any time you should be concerned about cholesterol. At any time, it's useful to have it checked.

GN: Thank you, Doctor Parsons.

NP: Thank you. Yes my father was a doctor.

GN: Oooh!

NP: In fact when I talk like that, I sound like my father actually. No I think that was a correct challenge, Graham you have the subject of cholesterol...

GN: (laughs) How awful was that!

NP: Yes, it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter what age you are, it is good to be aware of cholesterol.

JE: But I'm only 29!


NP: It doesn't matter, darling! And when you, when you, and when you...

JE: They're all laughing now.

NP: And when you are 39, perhaps you will go and get it checked. But you don't need to wait you know. Someone's challenged, what was that, who pressed the buzzer then?

GN: It was when she said 29, I felt the impulse to ring again!

NP: Ah Graham, 47 seconds, cholesterol starting now.

GN: Eggs are full of cholesterol which leads me...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Not full! Egg yolks are full.

NP: That's right, well done Clement, yes that's a man who knows his food.

JE: Albumen, the white stuff, the albumen.

NP: Yes that's right yes.

JE: Yeah I just thought I'd like to say the word albumen.

NP: Well it shows that you really are well-informed. And Clement has got in there with 47, 43 seconds on cholesterol starting now.

CF: Steroid alcohol made by the liver is what cholesterol really is. And why we should worry about its height or lowness is beyond me, although Nicholas Parsons' father was a doctor. And presumably died the way elderly people's fathers do, which is why they are no longer here, let alone appearing on Just A Minute at Redhill, which was not a good idea in the first place...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Have we strayed from cholesterol?

NP: I think we have, on to Doctor Parsons and Redhill and er, cholesterol. Right, 16 seconds with you Paul on cholesterol starting now.

PM: Basically it's made in the ear. It travels down the throat and then on to the collarbone where it rests for about four or five years, picking up dirt from the rest of the atmosphere. If you do watch your diet, eat lots of fresh fruit, then you will be guaranteed to lower the rate of cholesterol...


NP: Right so Paul once again was speaking as the whistle went and has increased his lead, he's way out ahead of Graham Norton and Clement Freud equal in second place, followed one point behind by Jenny Eclair. And Paul we'd like you to take the next round, the subject is what every teenager should know. I don't know whether you should know more about that but tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: Spots don't last forever!


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: He's stopped talking.

PM: That's it! That's all they need to know. They don't need to know anything more than that.

NP: Right, so Jenny you got in with 58 seconds to go...

JE: Oh!

NP: Tell us what every teenager...

PM: This should be easy for Jenny because it's only recent memory, isn't it!

NP: Yes, what every teenager should know, Jenny starting now.

JE: Every teenager should know their mother is always right. That's why when we say take your coat, bag, phone, purse, um, the other things that you need...


JE: Oh please let me play!

NP: Oh! Paul?

PM: Is this a new invention, the coat-bag-phone-purse I've not heard about it.

NP: So what was your challenge?

PM: Well that was it but then Jenny moaned in the middle of it, killed the gag completely!

NP: Right.

PM: So hesitation.

NP: Yes you can have her for that because she did say um.

PM: She did.

NP: Mmmm, so Paul...

JE: Umbrella I was saying! Umbrella!

NP: You can have a bonus point for your struggle to get out of that, but normally when you’re talking about that particular, when you're talking about your brolly, you don't say um.... brella.

JE: It's a very posh one, it's hyphenated!

NP: I can only give you one bonus point.

JE: Okay.

NP: Paul you have a point and you have 48 seconds starting now.

PM: Be imaginative, read good books. The person you are desperately in love with now will not be the only such individual in your life. To know that atide.. what was that word?


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes that was a hesitation.

PM: It's these teeth!

NP: Mmmm, 39 seconds for you, what every teenager should know starting now.

CF: What every teenager should know is that the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the...


CF: Squares.

NP: Oh yes, square and squares.

JE: Yes he's right.

NP: Yes that's right, he's played the game a lot...

JE: Yes.

NP: It's the way people get caught out by that one. Clement, incorrect challenge, 31 seconds, what every teenager should know starting now.

CF: On the other two sides. Also Y equals MX plus C is a piece of information without which teenagers would feel deprived and couldn't do. I'm glad the location of Redhill is something available to nearly everyone sub the age of 20, because there is no buzzinger place on the outskirts of London than this magnificent district between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria...


NP: Playing to the audience kept him going till the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's moved forward, he's a bit, a bit stronger second place than before, behind Paul Merton, Jenny we'd like you to take the next round, ah, a good subject for you Jenny, sisterhood. As the sole representative of the distaff side on this show would you talk on the subject starting now.

JE: This is when meant to be women are...


JE: It was just...

NP: Oh Graham give her a chance.

GN: There was hesitation there though.

NP: There was hesitation yes.

JE: My tights are all twisted!

NP: But Graham, I gave you the benefit of the doubt on the cholesterol one because ah when Jenny was speaking so...

PM: You've got to remember Jenny's going through puberty!

NP: So can you be generous and give her the benefit of the doubt...

GN: Of course I can!

NP: ... and let her have a go, because...

JE: I can't remember...

NP: Give Graham a bonus point because not only the audience enjoyed what he did, but also it was technically a correct challenge. Jenny keeps the subject but no points awarded, sisterhood starting now.

JE: Sisterhood is when women ah...


JE: I can't say women!

NP: Oh!

JE: I don't want to do this one any more! I can't, I can't even say min, women!

NP: Ah so Graham your buzzer went first again so at last you've got in on the subject, 56 seconds, sisterhood starting now.

GN: Sister Hood was one of the teachers in my religious school in Ireland. She stood out from the other nuns because her habit was made of leather. What a strange creature she was, Sister Hood, as she squeaked her way down the corridors. She spent a lot of time in the basement, I don't know what was happening down there! Oh she looked flushed when she came back up for PE! Sister Hood was... many things...


NP: Is she still alive to hear this?

GN: Yes she is.

NP: Oh right, I hope she writes to you. Jenny you challenged first.

JE: Just a tiny hesitation.

NP: Yes a definite hesitation.

PM: I can't believe you want the subject back!

JE: I don't! I'm going to try and say women!

PM: Okay!

NP: All right.

GN: Let's see if you can.

NP: Thirty-two seconds, Jenny, sisterhood starting now.

JE: Ladies are meant to be nice to each other but frequently aren't. I've found in my huge experience as both writer and performer that the nastiest criticism heaped upon my head comes from the mouths and pens of girl types. I don't know why this is, I think we're all witches under the skin. That's what sisterhood is, just a coven of seething nasty fiendish females who pretend to be nice but actually aren't. That's the kind of gang I want to belong to anyway. I couldn't think of anything worse than belonging to a sexist sisterhood...


NP: So Jenny Eclair with some help from her friends here was speaking as the whistle went and her sisterhood also kept her going. So she has actually leapt forward and she is now in second place, only three points behind Paul Merton, and two ahead of Clement Freud, and three of Graham Norton. And Graham Norton, we'd like you to take the next round for starters. It's top dogs. Tell us something about top dogs in this game starting now.

GN: You probably don't know this, but recently there was an addition to my household. It was a dog called Bailey. A labrador met a poodle and they loved each other very much. And they made a labradoodle and now it lives with me. The RSPCA have camped outside but they haven't got in yet. No, it's firmly ensconced in my kitchen with a big pile of things for it to play with, and food which sometimes I remember to give it. How it likes me then, otherwise not so keen! Did I tell you it's name was Bailey? I did...


GN: I'm guessing, I'm guessing I had.

NP: Yes, Paul you challenged.

PM: Repetition of Bailey.

NP: And Bailey, yes, 24 seconds, you tell us something about top dogs starting now.

PM: I remember the first year I entered a dog at Crufts and it was the most extraordinary experience because it won best of breed. And ever since then I've had it in kennels out there in the Rygate area. And if you hear howling early in the morning it's me tending to the various dogs that I have there. My favourite cross is between a Yorkshire terrier and a camel, I call it a tamel. It's a magnificent creature, it's got two lumps and very long hair. And you can send it down...


NP: So Paul taking us into the realm of the surreal kept going till the whistle went, gained an extra point, has increased his lead. And Clement we'd like you to take the next round, the subject is wigs. But of an unkind, bit of an unkind subject to ask you to start with but tell us about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: Fornication, for an occasion like this...


JE: Take the point off me, give it to Clement, let him keep going, I'm so sorry!

NP: So he led you into the trap.

JE: Yes yes.

NP: Right...

JE: Like a fool!

NP: So Clement you still have the subject, wigs, and 57 seconds starting now.

CF: Whigs are a political party no longer in common usage, having been overtaken by Liberals, Democrats, Conservatives and the socialists. Whig was spelt W-H-I-G as opposed to a hairpiece which has the same three letters without the second one.


NP: We were rightly applauding your ingenuity in struggling out of that. But Jenny pressed her buzzer and did you have him on...

JE: Teeny tiny pause.

NP: No no it was a definite pause Jenny. So 35 seconds, wigs with you starting now.

JE: Do you know, I've got such lousy hair I've often thought, just get a wig, woman! And then I could be a spy, that would be great. Can you imagine it? I'd have a brunette wig, then I'd pretend to be a gypsy girl dancing in firelight! Oh yes how sexy I would be!


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well... it's, it's a judgement call, isn't it really!

GN: In fairness, it was a question. How sexy would I be?

PM: Yes!

GN: And we all decided in our minds what the answer to that question was!

JE: A dancing gypsy girl!

NP: I don't know, I think Jenny, with the right wig and everything, you could have been extraordinarily sexy!

GN: Just not too close to the fire!

NP: So Paul an incorrect challenge...

PM: Okay.

NP: But we enjoyed your interruption, so give him a bonus point for that. You got a point Jenny for interruption, 21 seconds available, wigs starting now.

JE: Shepherd's Bush market will supply you with any number of wigs, nylon mostly in multitudinous colours, yellow, orange, black, green, grey, brown, purple, all sorts of shades under the sun. Green did I forget that one...


NP: Graham you challenged.

GN: No you didn't!

NP: At the pace at which this show goes, you don't want to recap like that Jenny! And Graham you got in with four seconds to go on wigs starting now.

GN: Men's wigs are terrible! Why do they look like a car-seat cover made of fun fur, cut up on a head...


NP: Right so Graham Norton was then speaking as the whistle went. And we have a situation here where Graham and Clement are equal in third place, Jenny is just ahead of them, and Paul is just ahead of her. So as we go into the final round, it's Jenny, we'd like you to take it. Oh, this is good for you Jenny, my fitness regime. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

JE: My fitness regime has fallen to rack and ruin, what a shame! Thank goodness this is radio and most people can't see what a gelatinous heap I have turned into. The only time I do any exercise these days is when I get furious. The other day somebody gave me a parking ticket. I hopped, ladies and gentlemen, up and down for 20 minutes, shouting and spitting and doing swearing. It was magnificent. When I finished my calves were so much firmer. In the olden days I used to go swimming, but I gave up when I couldn't beat Duncan Goodhew in my local pool. This is a true story. I thought, well if you can't thrash an Olympic athlete, what's the point of getting into the water eh. So I just stopped and then I took up yoga which I thought was easy. Actually it isn't, so I started cheating and I was very mean with my yoga...


JE: Oh!

NP: So Jenny Eclair who hasn't played the game quite as much as the others, and was keeping a nice distance away from the microphone I think, kept going till the whistle went for a whole minute without being interrupted. She gets a point for speaking as the whistle went, and a bonus point for no interruption so she gets two points at the end of the round. Which puts you Jenny equal in second place with Clement Freud, just two or three points ahead of Graham Norton. But two or three points behind Paul Merton. So at the end of the round, at the end of the show, we say Paul Merton, this week, you are our winner! Thank you. We do hope you have enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. And it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Jenny Eclair and Clement Freud. I thank Janet Staplehurst, who has helped me with the score, she has blown her whistle with great aplomb when that 60 seconds elapsed. And we thank our producer-director Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here at the Harlequin Theatre in Redhill who really seem to have enjoyed themselves, cheered us on our way. From our audience at Redhill, from me Nicholas Parsons, and our team, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!