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 pleasure to welcome our many listeners, in this country and of course around the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting and talented personalities, who are going to speak with humour and eloquence and style and wit on a subject that I give them, they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four intrepid players of this game are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And seated on my left Tony Hawks and Gyles Brandreth. Will you please welcome all four of them! As usual I am going to ask them to on a subject I will give them, they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating. And beside me sits Janet Staplehurst, who is going to help me with 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 Northcote Theatre, in the delightful city of Exeter. And we have, we have a delightful Devonian audience here, some of them have come from way outside the boundaries of this county, but they're all eager to get the show going. So we'll begin with Paul Merton. Oh Paul, a nice topical subject, grockles. You'll have to explain why it's topical, but talk on the subject, 60 seconds, starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Well as I understand it, it's a term for tourists. Basically everybody who is not in this theatre is a grockle. As it goes, it seems to me, is it's a term of abuse, or is it perhaps something meant kinder. I don't know.


NP: Gyles you've challenged.


NP: There was a hesitation yes, he wasn't sure.

PM: Yes.

NP: So Gyles you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that of course, and there are 48 seconds available, tell us something about grockles in this game starting now.

GB: Do you recall the lawyer who couldn't tell the difference between arson and incest and set fire to his sister? Well I had a cousin who couldn't tell the difference between a grockenspiel...


NP: Tony you've challenged.

TONY HAWKS: Ah repetition of difference.

GB: Oh!

NP: Ooooh!

GB: Oh!

NP: Oh yes!

GB: Razor sharp!

NP: Tony, correct challenge, 41 seconds available, grockles starting now.

TH: We, the performers, are grockles here this evening. Not born and raised in Exeter, as we perhaps should have been. Such a fine place it is too, always good to grovel...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I'm sorry, it would have been awfully inconvenient for me to have been born in Exeter, because my mother's never been to Exeter! She's never been here! She'd like to come but she's never been.

NP: So what is your challenge within the rules...

PM: It's deviation, it's not easier for me to have been born in Exeter. That's what Tony was saying. Or do you think it would have been?

NP: Well it would have been if your mother was here?

PM: Yeah but she wasn't. That's my point, you see.

NP: I think it's a very semantic point, I don't know whether, how to judge on that. I think I have to give the benefit of the doubt to Tony because he was only making a supposition, on the basis that none of us come from this part of the world, so it would be more difficult for us to come here. So you have the benefit, Tony, keep the subject...

TH: Thank you very much, I'm thrilled.

NP: You get a point for that, keep the subject, 31 seconds, grockles starting now.

TH: I'm not a grockle myself so I cannot judge the feelings you must feel. When someone comes in like me and starts wandering around Newton Abbot and saying "this is ghastly!" That is not...


TH: ... the sort of thing I do. You see I did a bit of research before the programme, touched a bit of a nerve, I see, little bit of research always...


NP: Clement has challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of bit.

NP: Yes there was too much of a bit. Oh they're sharp in the audience too! You reminded them it was a repetition. And Clement we're going to hear from everybody in this first round on the subject of grockles, 10 seconds available Clement starting now.

CF: In Widdecombe Fair, Peter Brewer, Jan Stuer, Uncle Tom Cobley, they were all grockles. The one thing they had in common was the grockley...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes in this game gains an extra point. It was Clement Freud, he has two, so has Tony Hawks. Gyles has got one, Paul Merton is yet to score. But Tony you take the next round, the best way to spend St Valentine's Day. Oh isn't that nice! Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

TH: The best way to spend Valentine's Day is to book a romantic restaurant, candlelit perhaps with a violinist playing, but not do what I did last year and do it when you're single! It is fantastically embarrassing to sit there in view of all the other couples kissing and cuddling whilst you read The Evening Standard...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Deviation, there couldn't be other couples, given he was there on his own!

NP: Oh! That's very true, and yeah, grammatically technically correct. Gyles...

TH: I mean, in an English class, that's a fantastic challenge! On an entertainment programme it's a bit disappointing!

NP: No no Gyles, it's perfectly correct, a very interesting and clever challenge. So you get the point, you get the subject, you have 40 seconds, the best way to spend St Valentine's Day starting now.

GB: On the 14th of February 1984 in a television studio run by a breakfast station called TVAM, I attempted the longest ever screen kiss with the lovely Anne Diamond. This oscillatory marathon was brought to me I noticed by a wonderful film starring Regis Toomey and Jane Wyman in which they puckered up...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: I want to hear about Valentine's Day.

NP: I think he was associating kissing, which is love and affection...

TH: He hadn't even mentioned Valentine's Day.

NP: Yes he did.

PM: Yeah.

TH: Did he?

NP: He said right at the beginning it was Valentine's Day.

TH: Oh I made a mistake.

NP: With whatsername.

TH: I apologise.

NP: And so Gyles, an incorrect challenge, a point to you, 23 seconds, the best way to spend St Valentine's Day starting now.

GB: This was a memorable St Valentine's Day because just as we were retrieving our moment of apotheosis, we were interrupted by live coverage of President Brezhnev's funeral, which unfortunately was taking place in Moscow...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: You can't have live coverage of a funeral!

GB: Yeah, the coverage, the coverage was live. Indeed we went on to discuss the whole question of the kiss of life and whether it was appropriate under the circumstances.

NP: I think you're trying to justify yourself. The way you got in on other couples, I think Clement's entitled to have that one.

PM: Are we to assume that the TV director made a decision that you kissing Anne Diamond wasn't as exciting as Leonid Brezhnev's funeral? And so they cut to Moscow as soon as they could?

NP: Well I could imagine that could happen so... Clement you have a correct challenge, you have 12 seconds, the best way to spend St Valentine's Day starting now.

CF: Make up a poem. Susie hates me...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was there a hesitation there?

NP: There was a hesitation there.

CF: Where?


PM: I'm sorry, is that the local dialect? What's that? What's going on over here, it's not pantomime, you know.

NP: I think they were endorsing your challenge.

PM: Were they?

NP: Yes. So you have 10 seconds on the best way to spend St Valentine's Day starting now.

PM: Standing...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Hesitation!

NP: I will give you a bonus point for cheek and for the fact that the audience applauded you. But it was utterly incorrect so Paul has another point as well for an interruption, and nine seconds on the best way to spend St Valentine's Day Paul starting now.

PM: Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot begin that movie as jazz musicians. But when they witness a murder, committed on St Valentine's Day...


NP: Well at the end of that round Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went. He's now equal in second place with Gyles Brandreth, they're one point behind our leader Clement Freud. And Tony is just behind them. And Gyles we'd like you to take the next round. I don't know why we'd like you to take it because the subject is plastic surgery. And from my knowledge of you, I don't think you've had any but can you talk on it starting now.

GB: This morning I got up and wandered into the bathroom, saw the mirror, looked at it and thought "yes, rather tasty, attractive in its own way". Then unfortunately I popped in my contact lenses and suddenly a late middle aged man appeared. And I thought but ah, my wife is right overall. If she concedes that she will start shaving her legs, I will indeed begin on the alterations that are required. Plastic surgery is necessary. I am going to commence at the neck. At the moment I'm just using cellotape to keep the skin pulled back. And then when I have triumphed there, I am going to move f-lower down, because unfortunately my...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Move f-lower down?

NP: F-lower down.

GB: Yes. Because the way my body hangs down in pleats, it's a matter of f-lowering and f-lowering!

NP: They enjoyed your attempt to justify it Gyles, but it was incorrect, it was deviation from English as we understand it, that's what I mean to say. Twenty-five seconds Paul, plastic surgery starting now.

PM: You wouldn't believe it but there is two members of this panel here tonight who have had plastic surgery. I wonder if you can guess who they are.


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: He seems to have left a big gap for them to guess in!

PM: Yeah! I was hoping they might jot it down!

TH: I think we call that possibly hesitation.

NP: It was hesitation because nobody's going to guess. I don't think anybody has! Well it's not me, I can tell you! They're all looking at me because I'm the oldest! Sixteen seconds, plastic surgery with you Tony starting now.

TH: It's difficult to believe but I used to be incredibly ugly. But I went...


NP: Gyles has challenged.

GB: It's impossible to believe!

TH: Fair call, it is!

NP: So that's deviation, yes I don't think, you're a very handsome fellow, I don't think you were ever incredibly ugly.

TH: But I was going to tell the story of the brilliant plastic surgery.

NP: I know you were but you said you were once incredibly ugly, and I don't believe that. Gyles I consider that to be a correct challenge.

TH: That's the most magnificently charming way to turn down my appeal.

NP: It is, it is, but it's true.

TH: It's so nice that I...

NP: I have to be accurate.

TH: I have to accept your unreasonableness because you're so lovely.

NP: It's a pity because I know you were being modest. Eleven seconds with you Gyles on plastic surgery starting now.

GB: Jordan is a personal friend of mine. I am not speaking of the river or the country, but of Katie Price, a gorgeous creature who has had a nip here and the odd little bit of suction there. She's had them enlarged...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. He's moved forward, he's one ahead of Clement Freud and Paul Merton equal and then Tony Hawks, it's all very close. And Clement we'd like you to take the next round, the subject is having a knees-up. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: The words of the song, I seem to recall are Knees up Mother Brown Knees up, MB Knees up, knees up, don't get the breeze up Knees up, and the same woman who came earlier in the verse. I would like to...

NP: Oh wait a minute, sorry, Paul has challenged. I never heard the buzzer go but your light has come on.

PM: I haven't.

NP: What's that?

PM: No I didn't.

NP: You didn't press it?

CF: I'd like the point!

NP: Well you were interrupted even if it was for me, and the audience clapped. So we give you the bonus point Clement and you have, he loves his bonus points, 45 seconds still, having a knees-up starting now.

CF: I would like to make an official statement. On the 5th...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: I think there was a pause before the official statement.

NP: There was, he made his announcement of an official statement and then...

PM: I thought there was a dramatic pause in there.

NP: It was a dramatic pause.

PM: I wanted to hear what the statement was going to be.

NP: If in Just A Minute, we waited for dramatic pauses we'd never get on with the show.

PM: No that's true, that's true.

NP: And also...

CF: I might as well go!

NP: You can keep going with style and aplomb, Clement. You don't have to have the benefit of the doubt on those sort of things. Forty seconds with you Gyles, having a knees-up starting now.

GB: When I was a Member of Parliament, I was invited to an old people's home for a knees-up. This was something of a misnomer because all I could see was the clatter of zimmer frames as I came in, and every single one of the knees was firmly placed where they should be, not actually up but down...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: You can't see the clatter of zimmer frames!

GB: Oh!

NP: Actually Clement, I don't think you are right. You do hear the clatter but you can observe it...

CF: No you can't see clatter.

GB: I'm afraid these people were severely hard of hearing, I felt it would be discourteous to suggest one could hear it.

NP: I think actually Gyles, to be fair to Clement, I gave it to you on other couples earlier on which was a grammatical inaccuracy with which Tony indulged in. And so Clement we'll give you the benefit of the doubt there and say yes, having a knees-up with you now, 27 seconds starting now.

CF: I shall no longer make a personal statement.


NP: Tony challenged, yes.

TH: Can you be challenged for being in a bit of a sulk?

NP: No I think he was going for another laugh...

TH: Yeah a hesitation though.

PM: I want to hear what his personal statement is. One minute we're going to hear it, then we're not going to hear it. It's driving me mad!

NP: Well we'll hear it, we'll hear it at the end of the round.

PM: Okay.

NP: So 23 seconds with you Tony, having a knees-up starting now.

TH: After these recordings we don't go straight home to bed, we panellists. We have a knees-up back at the hotel. What an evening it is! We don't let each other repeat, deviate or do anything like that. We've got buzzers fitted up at the table by the place mats, it's so exciting, we bicker till 4...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: What is he talking about? He's living in some fantasy show biz land there!

NP: We do...

CF: You haven't been invited!

PM: Oh haven't I! I've been told to get on the minibus straight back to London!

NP: No let's be fair, we do have a little hospitality afterwards, but it's not a knees-up. So Paul I agree with your challenge, and you have ah, six, eight seconds on having a knees -up starting now.

PM: One way of testing how well your body is working is to go to the doctor and ask him to apply a simple measure of medicine to the part of your...


NP: Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point, and he is now equal with Gyles Brandreth, one point behind Clement Freud, and one point ahead of Tony Hawks. Clement do you wish us to have knowledge of your statement or not?

CF: No way!

NP: So that's going to be a secret that you're keeping! But let's carry on with the show. Paul Merton, your turn, the subject is over the moon, we go from having a knees-up to over the moon, tell us something about the subject in this game starting now.

PM: It was a phrase that was very popular with professional footballers in the 1970s, when they were asked after the game, "how do you feel", they'd say "over the moon" or "sick as a parrot, Brian". It seemed to be those were the two common things that those professional athletes were able to utter. I think that over the moon is a marvellous expression because it just pictures how high and happy your emotions are. As you soar in the sky, born aloft on the emotion of love, as I look at Clement...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Was there a repetition of emotion?

NP: No, emotions and emotion.

TH: Ah right.


PM: There's that noise again!

NP: He's played the game a lot so I have to listen for these things! It's a Devonian moan!

PM: Is it?

NP: You only hear it in Exeter and places like that. It's very reassuring, but an incorrect challenge Paul, 36 seconds, over the moon starting now.

PM: George Melier was a French cinematographer in the early stages of the 19th century. That's not true, it was the 20th century.


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Both deviation...

CF: There were no cinematographers in the early part of the 19th century.

PM: No.

NP: No that's right, so 30 seconds Clement, over the moon starting now.

CF: I was over the moon...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well I mean there was enough gap there for a personal statement!

NP: Clement I'm afraid there was, I think you had better get this statement ready...

CF: Quite right.

NP: ... because you can use it...

PM: I'm dying to know what it is!

NP: Well he, you'll have to tempt him, you're sitting close to him...

PM: Okay.

NP: Twenty-eight seconds, I don't mean tempt him in that way, I mean just... tease it out of him is what I should say.

PM: I will, I will.

NP: Over the moon, Paul, 28 seconds starting now.

PM: What's your personal statement, Clement?


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Deviation so deviation on what grounds?

CF: Nothing to do with over the moon.

NP: I know but he only said three words.

CF: They were devious words!

NP: He might have been going on to justify that it was something to do with over the moon. I think he's allowed to get started, I really do. Three seconds, ah, three words is really not fair, 27 seconds Paul, over the moon starting now.

PM: It was one of the first films that used stop motion photography and the aforementioned man I mentioned earlier...


NP: Ah...

GB: Repetition of mentioned.

PM: Aforementioned, mentioned.

GB: Aforementioned man I mentioned earlier.

PM: Isn't aforementioned one word?

GB: No, aforementioned.

NP: Gyles you have over the moon, you have 21 seconds starting now.

GB: Hey diddle riddle The cat and the fiddle The cow jumped over the moon The little dog laughed to see such fun...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Well it's not actually hey diddle riddle, it's hey diddle diddle.

GB: The whole point of it is we're leading up to the fact this is a very dysfunctional family. Bedwetting was an essential part of the problem. Hey diddle riddle, I was coming to that.

NP: All right Tony, benefit of the doubt, deviation from the words as we understand them and know them, 16 seconds, over the moon Tony starting now.

TH: I was over the moon to be invited on this show down to Exeter, because I love to grovel to the people down in this area...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Two downs.

NP: Two downs. You were coming down to often.

TH: Yes.

NP: And there are nine seconds Paul, over the moon starting now.

PM: There's a very funny joke which concerns Neil Armstrong. He was on the moon relaying these messages back to the space exploration centre in Houston...


NP: And Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's now taken a lead ahead of the other three who are almost equal in second place. Tony take the next round please, oh a lovely Devonian subject. Clotted cream. Ooohh! They're showing their girth in the audience all right. Talk on the subject if you can Tony, 60 seconds starting now.

TH: If I was offered the choice of a knees-up with Angelina Jolie or Keira Knightley or a lovely clotted cream tea down here, perhaps in Newton Abbot, of course I would pick the former, I'm not an idiot! But I would enjoy the clotted cream tea because it is delicious. The scones are a lovely mixture of biscuit and cake on a plate, never toasted, that would be foolish. Ah the cream is...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: I think er is a kind of hesitation.

NP: It is a hesitation yes, a bit sharp but it was true, he did say er. So right Gyles, you have clotted cream, you have 35 seconds starting now.

GB: In my fantasy life I am a pupil of Greyfriars School created by the great Frank Richards where William George Bunker loves clotted cream teas. "Yahboo oh crikey", he said as the hamper arrives, oozing with jam and butter and clotted creams. Mister Quelch comes in and tries to take these succulent moist products from the boy, there is a kind of violent altercation when the master, swishing his cane, descends upon the child and grabs from his lips the very crumbs covered as they are with gooseberry, raspberry, strawberry and every other kind of unctuous ointment, oh the...


NP: That extra loud round of applause because Gyles was going with such animation and histrionics that it was absolutely overwhelming! We were frightened actually, weren't we!

TH: The St John's Ambulance people are standing by after...

NP: Absolutely! You were speaking when the whistle went, gained the extra point. And what is the situation at the end of the round. I'll let folks know because some people like to hear about the score and the points. Gyles has moved forward, he's now in second place, behind Paul Merton, one ahead of Clement Freud and three ahead of Tony Hawks. And Gyles it's also your turn to begin. Tommy Cooper, tell us something about Tommy Cooper in this game starting now.

GB: Tommy Cooper once said to me, don't worry if your job is small and your rewards are few, remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you! This was not the Tommy Cooper of television fame, but a boy in my class, also called Tommy Cooper, who had an obsession with his namesake. Indeed the child that I knew went around wearing a fez instead of his school cap. And when the Latin master, Mister Stocks, said to him "repeat (recites series of Latin words)" the boy said "ah just like that?"


NP: Oh yes.

PM: There was a hesitation there.

GB: No that was part of the impression, I know, not a very good impression.

NP: You did say er.

GB: Ah just like that! Ah just like that!

NP: Yes!

GB: Ah just like that! Ah just like that!

NP: I know. I think you're struggling out of it now. I must say you do go at paces so your ers are shorter than other people's ers. But I think Paul got in just on the er. So Paul, 33 seconds, Tommy Cooper starting now.

PM: I remember seeing Tommy Cooper's last live performance...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: That was a hesitation.

NP: Yes it was Clement, so you tell us something about Tommy Cooper, 30 seconds starting now.

CF: Tommy Cooper was a tremendous Exeter City fan when it was in the third division south. St James' Park was a place Tommy Cooper never failed to visit. He had clotted cream teas and there was no question at that time of the club being in the conference of Uri Geller or Michael Jackson...


NP: Gyles you challenged.

GB: I felt there was a kind of hesitation.

NP: Yes there was, I was sharp with you on the other one, on the hesitation, gave it against you, I give it you this time, 13 seconds, Tommy Cooper, back with you Gyles starting now.

GB: Tommy Cooper came from this part of the world, which explains why he was such a remarkable person. Originally born in Wales, his parents migrated to the grockle country where the great man, such an artist...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Two greats.

NP: You said great man before.

GB: I did.

NP: You did indeed.

GB: I did, so great was this man.

NP: So Clement you got in with two seconds to go, on Tommy Cooper starting now.

CF: He was very fond of fish and chips.


NP: So Clement was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's moved forward. I’ve heard we've only time for one more round so...


NP: But as we go into the final round I'm sure you'd like to know what the situation is because it's very even. Paul Merton is just in the lead one ahead of Clement Freud, he's one ahead of Gyles Brandreth, who is two or three ahead of Tony Hawks. So that is the sequence as we begin the last round with Clement Freud and it is how to eat an oyster. Sixty seconds as usual Clement starting now.

CF: The answer is simply with enjoyment. Don't listen to people who say you should swallow it because that is total nonsense. It's like in one gulp taking a sausage, saying that's the way to eat it. Oysters are absolutely delicious if you are of the...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: I don't know actually, I think I'll withdraw, I thought he was hesitating but I don't think he did.

NP: Well he was teetering on...

TH: Did he?

NP: ... hesitation.

TH: Do you think so?

NP: But I've given the benefit of the doubt against him on a number of occasions, he has the benefit of the doubt on this occasion, 42 seconds, carry on Clement, how to eat an oyster starting now.

CF: Given the benefit of the doubt, you should eat two oysters, maybe three or four. As I said, they are I think wonderful seafood which you should never reject if given to you. Don't believe for one second they have any...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: He said believe in the first ah...

NP: Yes, believing yes about...

CF: Believing yes.

NP: Yes so...

CF: Not believe!

NP: Mmmm?

TH: No I think you did say believe.

NP: Clement you were muttering then again.

CF: Yeah I was correcting you but it seems pointless.

NP: Clement it's never pointless, I hate anybody to feel...

CF: Okay give me a point!

NP: I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, I've given it to Clement, I'll give it to you now, how to eat an oyster Tony starting now.

TH: I used to go to how to east an oyster...


NP: Gyles.

GB: Hesitation and deviation from the English language...

NP: Which one do you want?

GB: ... and repetition of vowels... I'd like all three in different ways, but certainly hesitation, he stumbled over it and forced a hesitation upon him. That was deviation of the English language in the way that f-lowering was...

NP: I can't give you three points Gyles.

GB: No, I'd just like one.

NP: I'll give you one.

GB: One point, I'm grateful for that.

NP: Twenty-five seconds, how to eat an oyster starting now.

GB: Than an oyster, there's nothing moister, or more confusing. Because these creatures are neutral in terms of gender. You don't know whether you are consuming a male one or the female one or one that is...


NP: Clement challenged.

GB: One, one!

NP: Too many ones.

CF: Three ones.

NP: Yes so you've got back in Clement, 13 seconds, how to eat an oyster starting now.

CF: Ideally on a bed of spinach with hollandaise sauce made with egg yolk, butter, juice, salt, malted white peppercorns and a sharp knife...


NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking when the whistle went and gained that extra point. And the final situation is that Tony Hawks came only just in fourth place but did extraordinarily well.


NP: Awww! No his contribution was lovely as always.

TH: Housewife's favourite!

NP: Yes! Gyles Brandreth, great contribution, but finishing in third place, one point behind Paul Merton. But Paul was two points behind Clement Freud so we say this week Clement, you are our winner! Right, thank you very much indeed. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Gyles Brandreth and Tony Hawks. I also thank Janet Staplehurst, who has helped me with the score, and blown her whistle so delicately after the 60 seconds. We thank our producer-director Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this game. And we are grateful to this lovely audience, this Devonian audience here at the Northcote Theatre in Exeter who have cheered us on our way. Thank you from the audience, thank you from me Nicholas Parsons, and our panel, tune in again the next time we play Just A Minute!