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 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! And seated beside me is Janet Staplehurst, who is going to help me keep the score, and 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 that lovely city of Exeter. And we, we have an enthusiastic Devonian audience here, who love their city, that's why they cheered and laughed then, but they're longing for us to get on with the show. Gyles, the subject, New York. What a subject! Sixty seconds, starting now.

GYLES BRANDRETH: New York isn't Mecca, it just smells like it, said Neil Simon, the distinguished New York playwright. The Bronx, no thonx, quoth Ogden Nash, the celebrated poet, who actually hailed from Baltimore. New York, New York, it's my kind of town...


NP: Paul challenged.

GB: It's on the card so you can repeat New York.

NP: No you've been challenged.

PAUL MERTON: That's exactly it, I heard New York, New York, I woke up, pressed the buzzer... I hadn't really been listening, you know...

NP: Because of your humorous contribution, you get a bonus point for that one. But you get a point Gyles for being interrupted, New York, and there are still 43 seconds available starting now.

GB: To New York I'll always say thank you so much New York, because it was on the steps of the New York Public Library...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: That's repetition, we've had eight New Yorks.

NP: We've had eight New Yorks now. I think that's too many. We did once before, when actually Clement was in the show and he took me to task on it, because I did actually say if we have more than five or six New Yorks...

GB: We've only had four because the full address is New York, New York.

NP: You've actually mentioned New York, you've mentioned New York six or seven times.

GB: I won't mention again but it is the subject!

NP: It's too late now, benefit of the doubt to Clement, he has the subject, 39 seconds, New York starting now.

CF: When New York twinned with Totness, many of us were extraordinarily pleased, proud and felt encouraged that so small a Devonshire town should have an arrangement of reci...pricocity...


NP: You obviously prefer recipricocity rather than the real world! Right, Gyles you challenged first.

GB: Yes a combination of hesitation leading to deviation.

NP: We interpret that as hesitation.

GB: Good.

NP: Twenty-four seconds, New York back with you starting now.

GB: It was on the steps of the library in this great city that a beautiful girl who came from Manhattan introduced me to the wonders of the fi... Swiss kiss...


NP: Tony challenged.

TONY HAWKS: How are you spelling that? Fi-fi-foo-er, no, I think that's a deviation.

GB: I was going to explain that she had a slight speech impediment and she... had been brought up in Brooklyn!

PM: You were making fun of her then!

TH: Yeah!

GB: I wasn't, I was kissing her.

PM: Oh I see.

TH: Big breath!

NP: I think if you were going to do things like that, you should establish before you do that that she had the impediment and then do it. Tony, benefit of the doubt...

TH: Thank you very much.

NP: You have the subject, you have 16 seconds, New York starting now.

TH: New York was originally New Amsterdam. And they had shop windows with girls in, and coffee shops where you could go in and smoke all sorts of illegal substances. And they thought we'd better get rid of this, let's make it New York and put a minster in! And they did that, it was terrifically popular but the...


NP: So Tony Hawks was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And Tony it's also your turn to begin, we'd like to hear from you on the subject of pegs. Tell us something about pegs in this game starting now.

TH: One of my big banes is the fact that there is such a computerised world we live in now, m-pegs are sent to me on my little thing which I have on my desk, electronically thing, I've already called it a...


NP: Gyles has challenged. Gyles you challenged.

GB: Repetition of thing.

NP: Yes too many things there. Right, 46 seconds, pegs is with you Gyles starting now.

GB: Of all the Pegs I've known, and that includes Mount, Ashcroft, Archer and various other ladies by the name of Peggy, I suppose my favourite was Peg Balls. She came from a wonderful family, of three sisters...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry, isn't that a sexual practice? Isn't it?

NP: Oh the imagery you create Paul!

PM: You know all about it Nicholas.

NP: Yeah I know all about it, I er... well at my age you have to. Now listen, have you a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: No, I just, I woke up again, heard Peg Balls!

NP: But the audience enjoyed it so much, I think it was so humorous, you get your bonus point for that. Pegs, 34 seconds starting now.

GB: She had sisters as it happens called Ophelia and Crystal. But what I remember most about the family was the way that they got together and did the washing of a Monday, and took the pegs out of the basket, they were wooden ones and plastic ones and they got the line, and they applied the pegs along the...


NP: Tony, yeah Tony you challenged.

TH: Well actually the audience were quite slow there, weren't they! They suddenly went oh, there was a joke about 15 seconds ago. He did say wooden ones and plastic ones. Repetition of ones.

GB: Oh!

NP: Wooden ones and plastic ones, so Tony, a point to you, pegs, 18 seconds starting now.

TH: It is said that you can't get a round peg in a square hole, but in the...


NP: Clement said what?

CF: By whom?

NP: A lot of sages have said that, and a lot of very ordinary people have said it. No I don't think you can get a, it's a saying that describes a situation but it's also actually a correct fact. So why did you want to know who said it? Give him a bonus point, that's what he's working for. Thirteen seconds Tony on pegs starting now.

TH: My favourite kind of pegs is the ones that you get in the board game cribbage. I love playing this and I do, of an evening...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation.

TH: Yes.

NP: He struggled on his cribbage there.

TH: Yeah.

NP: Eight seconds, pegs with you Gyles starting now.

GB: When I played the part of Long John Silver, I was offered legs of this kind. And for me to be appearing legless is a bit strange for I do not drink at all as you can imagine...


NP: So once again Gyles Brandreth was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's one ahead of Tony Hawks, and two or three ahead of Paul Merton and Clement Freud on, equal on the third position. So on my right they're trailing a little, on my left they're going great guns. Paul would you take the next subject, Elvis impersonators. It's something in your genre I believe, you admire the man, but talk about them, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: (gives Elvis impression of him mumbling unintelligibly) That's how Elvis Presley used to speak and of course lots of people make a fortune by impersonating him. He has one of those voices that is quite easy to do, very distinctive. A bit like Tom Jones, once you've heard it, you know exactly who it is that is singing. Elvis impersonators started come into their own shortly after the main man himself had died. Suddenly there was a gap in the market. People wanted to hear the old Elvis tunes but they didn’t have Elvis around any more. New York, New York, New York...


PM: So good they named it three times!

NP: But you can't say it three times in this round.

PM: No.

NP: So Tony you challenged first.

TH: Yes.

NP: Yes repetition.

TH: Yes.

NP: And there are 31 seconds, Elvis impersonators starting now.

TH: (in Elvis voice) Well it's one for the money, and...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry that was just awful!

NP: It was not only awful, it was a definite hesitation.

PM: Absolutely.

NP: So Paul you have the subject back, Elvis impersonators...

PM: I think we should all, I'd like to hear Clement's Elvis impression!

NP: No you got in legitimately, he might yet get there yet, 29 seconds, Elvis impersonators Paul starting now.

PM: There was a guy who lived in Swansea who was a Sikh and he was the rocking turban Elvis. This is back in the 1980s. I remember seeing him, he used to appear on television quite a lot. He was a very funny act and...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Repetition of very.

NP: Yes.

TH: I think two verys.

NP: There was two verys there. Eighteen seconds, back with you Tony, Elvis impersonators starting now.

TH: I love listening to Steve Wright in the afternoon on Radio Two. I know I shouldn't perhaps mention that, but he does have a very good Elvis impersonator on there. There's a little slot called Ask Elvis, and I listen to this and whoever does it, I don't know who it is, is quite...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was there a repetition of listen?

NP: Yes there was, I like to listen to Steve Wright in the afternoon and you were listening again. Four seconds, you've got in Paul on Elvis impersonators starting now.

PM: Undoubtedly my favourite...


PM: Elvis song...

NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Ah repetition of song.

TH: It's very impressive, the way you buzzed before he said it was fantastic!

NP: He buzzed before he said it! It was determined to get in on this!

PM: The man's in league with the devil!

NP: I think you said we haven't heard him from in on this round, he was determined to come in on it.

PM: If Clement can give us an Elvis impression in the last three seconds, I'm very happy to hand the subject to him.

NP: Give us an Elvis impression...

CF: We haven't got three seconds.

NP: We've got two seconds.

CF: Yes.

NP: Do it in two seconds. Go on Clement, start now.

CF: Here is my Elvis impression.


NP: By the way, Paul gets the point because he was incorrectly challenged. You won anyway because Paul gave it to you so you've got the point for that and you've also got a point for speaking or trying to speak as the whistle went...

CF: And the benefit of the doubt!

NP: No you didn't! Because you didn't do your impersonation. If you'd done your impersonation, you'd have got a bonus point, but you didn't. You missed out on that one.

PM: Do Eddie Cochrane!

NP: But Clement take the next round, it's early retirement. So tell us something about that in this game starting now.

CF: I am hugely in favour of early retirement. I retired from school when I was eight, went to another from which I retired...


NP: Gyles has challenged.

GB: Repetition of retired.

NP: Yes because retirement is on the card and not retired. So Gyles you got in with 52 seconds on early retirement starting now.

GB: Clement and I both faced early retirement when as Members of Parliament, the people spoke. In my case on one same day 65,000 of my fellow citizens got up with one object in mind, get that bastard out! It was a true form of early retirement but I took it on the chin. The thing that I missed most of course was the House of Commons dining room, where the Conservatives sit at one end of the room, and at the other sit the Labour Party members...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: We had two sits.

NP: You did have two sits.

GB: Yes.

NP: Yes and so Paul listened well, 26 seconds, early retirement starting now.

PM: Well it seems a very fashionable idea these days. People want to retire early, I can understand why. If you're involved in the rat race, getting the same train every morning, the 9 to 5, it can be that you get to the age of around 50 and think to yourself I want to say good-bye to all that. I shall become a penniless tramp. I shall live on the highways...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Two I shalls.

NP: I shalls, you have had, you said to yourself I shall and I shall. Don't look at me like that! I must explain to the listeners he's trying to bluff me out of it again but I was listening and concentrating. Nine seconds Tony, with you, early retirement starting now.

TH: I've taken early retirement from five-a-side football. I've got sick and tired of people coming up to me and pushing me against that wall that...


NP: Right so let me give you the situation. Tony Hawks was speaking as the whistle went and he's doing very well, he's in the lead. And you're three points ahead, no, two points ahead of Gyles Brandreth, three of Paul Merton, and four or five of Clement Freud. And Gyles your turn to begin, the subject is my favourite auntie. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

GB: I'm not entirely sure that my favourite auntie was actually my auntie at all. Although we called her auntie and she answered to that name, she was actually a close personal friend of my father's, and I discovered her once in the potting shed examining succulents and cacti with him. And indeed she became my favourite auntie, because from that day onwards she gave me the most enormous amount of money on an almost weekly basis, under the promise that I would not reveal the fact that I had discovered her and my darling Papa with their hoes in their hands, dug deep in the peat together, because she said it would be a cruelty to my dear beloved Mama...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I think there was a dear before.

NP: Yes you had dear, your dear auntie yes.

GB: It was a bit hard...

TH: Also I didn't want to hear any more!

PM: Doesn't seem proper!

NP: You do realise a lot of school children listen to this programme.

GB: Well actually what I was realising was my mother listens to this programme!

NP: Tony, a correct challenge, 21 seconds, my favourite auntie starting now.

TH: Well Auntie Pauline will be listening to this so I should say that she is my favourite auntie. Indeed the only one that I have, that's interesting for you, I'm sure you'll be thrilled to know that. Auntie...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of that.

NP: That yes, nine seconds, my favourite auntie starting now.

CF: Thinking back into my family, antidisestablishmentarianism is the one that springs to mind, the longest name, the nicest face, the shortest...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: There was a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation after he made his clever remark. Oh and you've got in with half a second to go.

CF: We run a pretty popular game.

NP: Right so Gyles, half a second...

GB: Hautruno I have to tell you was an extraordinary one...


NP: So Gyles was speaking as the whistle went and he has increased his position. He's one, he's just crept up now, he's one behind Tony Hawks who is still our leader. And they are three or four ahead of Paul Merton and ah, who else is playing the game? Clement Freud. Tony Hawks will you take the next round, the subject is newspaper sellers. Tell us something about them in this game starting now.

TH: If you think about it, the greatest newspaper sellers are probably celebrities. Because without them, would the public really go out and buy these newspapers. I looked at the front page of The Daily Mirror the other day. Rio Ferdinand, Love Rat! Could that be important enough to take that place...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: His voice has just suddenly changed.

NP: Yes he's getting on his high horse.

PM: Deviation from his normal speaking voice.

NP: Tony you can use whatever voice you like provided you keep going and there are another 40 seconds, newspaper sellers starting now.

TH: There they are, with their little newspaper stands, the newspaper sellers bellowing to the passers-by, the pedestrians going about their everyday business. Desperately trying to make them have a purchase of their equipment, the stuff they...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Desperately making them have a purchase of their equipment?

NP: That, that, it's not equipment they've got. They're selling their wares, their product, not their equipment.

TH: We all know I was talking rubbish! Let's not rub it in!

NP: So Paul you've got in...

TH: Yes.

NP: ... 25 seconds on newspaper sellers starting now.

PM: There used to be a man who stood outside Mordern Station every night selling the Evening Standard, and he would bellow ee-ee-i-paay-ahhh!


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition.

NP: What of?

CF: You-ray!

NP: No!

PM: I recognise that voice, it was you, wasn't it! Did you sell newspapers outside Modern Station?

NP: I would say actually though it was gibberish, it were not the soo tay, there were, there were not the two same sounds in the gibberish.

PM: That's right.

NP: You know, it's what they used to say it, Evening Star, Evening Standard.

PM: He's doing another one now, it's excellent.

NP: No that was what the Cockney newspaper sellers used to do.

PM: Oh.

NP: Outside the theatres.

PM: Oh really.

NP: You know, when they had the Evening News, the Evening Star and the Standard. (as seller) Evening Star, Evening Standard. (normal voice) Right.

PM: Were you there when the old Queen died?

NP: Yes. Are you talking about theatrical queens or... our dear Monarch? Right, 19 seconds with you Paul, newspaper sellers starting now.

PM: The newspapers are a very difficult business to enter if you don't already own one. Every 24 hours a new issue has to be produced and for the poor news...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Not for a Sunday paper.

NP: Yes you didn't establish it was a daily paper you were talking about Paul, so benefit of the doubt to Clement, and you at last have the subject Clement, newspaper sellers, nine seconds, starting now.

CF: I'm very fond of newspaper sellers because they are, if you look at films or listen to radio plays, always shouting out what appears on the front page...


NP: Right so it's a very even contest pointwise in this particular show. Clement Freud is just trailing a little. He's one point behind Gyles Brandreth and Paul Merton, equal in second place. Tony Hawks is just in the lead. Paul would you take the next round, it's rubies. Tell us something about that precious stone or that lovely girl, 60 seconds starting now.


NP: Tony challenged.

PM: It's what you put in mind, I wasn't sure whether to talk about stones or the lovely girl. I was confused. I don't know...

NP: I don't know, you weren't... so Tony you challenged.

TH: Yes I don't think he said enough about rubies.

NP: No there was a second and a half there. Rubies is with you Tony and 58 and a half seconds starting now.

TH: Of all the girls at my school, Ruby's dress was the finest. Every morning we'd come in, compare all the other ones worn by the other chicks and babes in the playground. But she was quite magnificent in her green outfit that shone so magnificently. How I loved her...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: She's got a green shining dress? Is it radioactive? You can't have a dress that shines.

NP: It can shine.

PM: Deviation, she can't have a shining dress.

TH: You can have a shiny dress.

NP: You can have a shiny dress. There's a lady over there with a shiny dress.

NP: It shines out, you know.

PM: Does it?

NP: Yes.

PM: Oh okay.

NP: You could have had him on another word that he repeated but I won't tell you what it was.

PM: Oh go on.

NP: It's not my job, no, no.

PM: Whisper it!

NP: No, 39 seconds, still with you on rubies Tony starting now.

TH: Imagine the dilemma of Harvey Oswald. Should we let the murder go unpunished or should the revenge...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: We're wandering into that special land again, of absolute rubbish!

NP: Paul, benefit, right, 30 seconds, rubies starting now.

PM: Ruby's a wonderful beautiful stone if you get the chance to collect it, like the name suggest it is red in colour. If you hold it up to the light, it can make even the greenest dress look like a beacon of darkness...


PM: Shining dresses!

NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: Truculence and sulky!

NP: Yes, trying to get back at you but ah unfortunately hesitating in the process. Nineteen seconds, back with you Tony on rubies starting now.

TH: If I was going to buy a ring for somebody and it could happen in the future, who knows, I would in fact purchase a ruby one. Because the diamond is not the thing...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: We were hesitating.

NP: We were yes, and you've got rubies Gyles and you've got nine seconds starting now.

GB: Rubies are mentioned in the Bible more than any other precious stone. Sheikh Mohammed Birashied-al-Makhtoum of Dubai...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: I don't believe that.

NP: Yes!

GB: It's true.

NP: Well I'm surprised to hear it.

GB: Well what is, what other stone is mentioned?

CF: Gold.

GB: No no, I'm so sorry...

TH: All the way through the Bible...

GB: According to the Guinness Book Of Records, rubies are the most frequently mentioned precious stone in the book. Now gold of course is a metal, but it is not a precious stone, which is what I was alluding to. And I was going to explain that Sheikh Mohammed Birashied-al-Makhtoum...

NP: Right keep it because you've justified it, three seconds, rubies with you Gyles starting now.

GB: He gave some to Princess Badrubudrour, the most precious girl in all the world, she was so lovely...


NP: So Gyles was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, they keep changing position rapidly here. Clement is still just in fourth place, behind Paul Merton, and he is two points behind Gyles Brandreth, who is three points behind Tony Hawks. And Clement Freud it is your turn to begin, the subject is the best use for chocolate. Tell us something about that substance and that subject in this game starting now.

CF: I think the very best use for chocolate, if you know someone who is taking early retirement, is to buy an awful lot of the stuff and give it to her in packages and parcels. Hector Blumenthal who has a very nouvelle cuisine restaurant in Bray on the Thames and puts chocolate into all sorts of unexpected things like egg and bacon ice cream with a chocolate sauce. He gives chocolate to...


NP: Gyles challenged.

CF: Quite right.

GB: I think...

NP: That was hesitation.

CF: Yah yah.

NP: Thirty-two seconds, the best use for chocolate starting now.

GB: We feed our pussy cat, Oscar, chocolate, so he can sit by the mouse hole with baited breath. Because the rats and the veals that sink inside the hole...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Was there a sort of hesitation?

NP: There was a sort of hesitation.

TH: Yeah I think...

NP: Enough to give it to you Tony, and 21 seconds, the best use for chocolate starting now.

TH: I thought Willy Wonka had a smashing idea for chocolate, to build a factory out of it...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well it was Roald Dahl's idea.

NP: That's...

PM: He wrote the book, didn't he.

NP: He wrote the book, which is a brilliant challenge, you certainly get a bonus point for that. But let's be fair, Willy Wonka did, in the story, decide to build a chocolate factory. So you have the subject still, but you get a bonus point for your um intellectual interruption and...

PM: How dare you!

NP: Fifteen seconds with you Tony, the best use for chocolate starting now.

TH: There was a quite magnificent episode of The Simpsons, in which Bart found himself in a chocolate world. Everything was constructed of this, what a marvellous use that is, I thought as I watched it. But of course it is just fantasy, not real...


NP: So we are moving into the final round.


NP: Oh what a lovely audience, I hope that means you've really enjoyed it as much as all that. I will give you the situation points wise as we do that. Clement Freud trailing a little in fourth place, but it is very close. He is only two points behind Paul Merton and he is one point behind Gyles Brandreth. But out in the lead is Tony Hawks as we go into the final round which we're going to ask Gyles to begin. I think it's your turn anyway Gyles, the subject is whistle blowing. Tell us something about whistle blowing in Just A Minute starting now.

GB: As far as I am concerned the mistress of whistle blowing is actually in the room with us. One of the loveliest creatures in the world. Her name is Janet Staplehurst! I have had the hots for this whistle blower ever since I first encountered her. I have to tell you that this was not just a cerebral thing, this was also to do with lust. This woman has a body that is quite extraordinary and a eaubeaucherre when her lovely lips approach that whistle. Can I tell you it sends us all into an erotic frenzy! It's the kind of thing that makes Clement Freud glad that he is still alive, just! On he goes hoping that he can sit next to this creature of loveliness who is the personification and doesn't need a bodice of any kind. No she comes with her own natural girdle...


NP: Paul has challenged you.

PM: Sexual harassment!

GB: It's worship! It's worship!

PM: Is it?

NP: Have you a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: No I don't, I'm afraid.

NP: You don't?

PM: I wish I had.

NP: You get a bonus point for your interjection there, because the audience loved it. And Gyles you get a point for being interrupted, you still have whistle blowing and 20 seconds starting now.

GB: The way she performs her whistle blowing is to be seen to be believed. Because the lightness, the subtlety, the way she does it has erudition and a kind, a kind of mystic charm...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Yes a kind of, kind of.

NP: A kind of, kind of.

TH: Repetition.

GB: Yes.

NP: Yes you were getting carried away by your own...

GB: This is quite personal actually.

NP: I think you're having a little sort of...

GB: I am! I am! And I'm on the beta blockers as well, I don't know how this has happened.

NP: Well...

GB: I'm so sorry, I know, the valium will wear off, I know that.

NP: Well I can endorse what you say Gyles.

GB: I know you can, we've been fighting about it for years!

NP: No, you haven't sat next to her as often as I have.

GB: I know I haven't!

NP: I've been beside her for 10 years and I've felt every vibe that you described.

GB: And she's been beside herself for 10 years too!

NP: And it was a repetition so it was Tony, you got in first, 12 seconds, whistle blowing starting now.

TH: Over the years Nicholas has had his whistle blown by the best. But I think we all agree this evening we should pay tribute to Janet Staplehurst on her last evening of whistle...


NP: I should explain to our listeners that that extra long round of applause was because they're in on the secret. Darling Janet Staplehurst is taking early retirement from the BBC, and this is actually her last show. And so we're sending her off with Gyles, with love and aplomb and ecstasy and all the other words. And you have set her forth with now with warmth of applause. We're going to miss her deeply. Let me give you the final score in this edition of Just A Minute. Clement Freud finished in fourth place on this occasion. Paul Merton who usually does extremely well finished only in third place. He was two points behind Gyles Brandreth. Out in the lead with lots of points and lots of points made and lots of points gained was Tony Hawks so we say this week we say Tony, you are our winner! Thank you very much indeed. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, and Tony Hawks, and Gyles Brandreth and of course Clement Freud. I also again we thank Janet Staplehurst, for the way she's kept the score not only today, but for over the last 10 years. And we thank our producer-director Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. We are grateful to this lovely Devonian audience here in the Northcote Theatre in Exeter. From the audience, thank you from me Nicholas Parsons, from our panel, good-bye, thank you for tuning in, but be with us the next time we play Just A Minute!