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 throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme four talented and skilful players of the game, who have come together to show their verbal ingenuity and dexterity, their comic inventiveness as they speak on a subject that I give them, and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And seated on my left, Julian Clary and Pauline McLynn. Will you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Charlotte Davies, who is going to help me keep a note of the score, and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from Greenwich Theatre. Let's begin this show with Clement Freud. Clement, the Dome. Tell us something about the Dome in Just A Minute, starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: A dome is a hemispheric structure, traditionally, architecturally, ahhhh...


NP: That's the effect the Dome has on everybody!

CF: Yah!

NP: Julian you challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: Hesitation I'd have thought.

NP: Yes it was hesitation so you have 53 seconds available for the Dome starting now.

JC: The Dome is a triumph of architectural design. But what are people going to do with it, we wonder. I know, we could play table tennis there. I'll be the red bat, you can be the blue bat and we can...


NP: And Clement challenged.

CF: Bat.

NP: Too many bats. Clement you've got the subject back, you have a correct challenge, a point of course, the Dome is with you now, 42 seconds starting now.

CF: It is coptic, baltine, and St Paul's, the British Museum are fine examples. Now in Greenwich there is a Dome which was erected for the Festival of Britain in whenever it was. And I remember the first occasion because everybody was stuck in the Underground stations...


NP: Paul challenged.

PAUL MERTON: I don't think this was for the Festival of Britain!

NP: No it wasn't.

PMe: That was 1951.

NP: That was 1951. The festival of Britain was 1951.

PMe: Yeah. Yes. So deviation.

NP: It was deviation yes. Clement it was an incorrect statement and Paul Merton had a correct challenge and he has the deviation with 21 seconds to go starting now.

PMe: Of course the Labour Party were blamed, but I believe it was the Tories that first came up with the idea of the Millennium Dome. And there it is indeed, striking in the er...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Stumbling, generally hesitating.

NP: That's right, we call that hesitation Julian. So you have the subject everybody's so far speaking on this one. And you have a point, nine seconds still available, the Dome starting now.

JC: It's a dreadful thing. I think it's an awful mistake that it was ever built in the first place.


NP: Paul challenged.

PMe: This is deviation, a minute ago he said it was wonderful. Now he said it's...

NP: I know he was, yes.

JC: I've had a rethink!

PMe: Is he allowed to do that?

NP: I think, yes, yes, actually it's devious from what he said before.

PMe: Yeah wasn't it just.

NP: On the other hand he can change his mind, can't he.

PMe: Can he?

NP: Yes I would have thought so.

PMe: All right.

NP: I think I have to give you the benefit of the doubt.

PMe: Yeah.

NP: I'll try to redress it if I can later. Five seconds, the Dome with you Julian starting now.

JC: The good thing about it is that you can see it from an aeroplane...


PMe: Well hang on! It's good! It's bad! The good thing! I don't know! There's no consistent line here at all!

NP: No no this time...

PMe: Knock it down, celebrating it, what's going on?

NP: No it's all right Paul, you made your point...

PMe: He's all over the place!

NP: You have it!

PMe: Oh thank you.

NP: Right, and you have three seconds and another point of course, the Dome starting now.

PMe: Think of an upside down wok and that is the Dome...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton and you won't be surprised to hear at the end of that round he's got a strong lead over the other three. And the next subject is, oh it's a lovely subject, malapropisms. Julian will you start us off on this one, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

JC: Like an alligator on the banks of the Nile is a fine example of a malapropism although...


NP: Pauline challenged.

PAULINE McLYNN: It's not, the line you're thinking of is like an allegory on the banks of the Nile.

NP: That's correct.

PMc: An alligator might well be sitting on the banks of the Nile.

NP: You made your point, darling.

PMc: Sorry! I'm just banging it home, you know! I'm learning from Paul Merton!

NP: You've learnt, you, you're displaying your knowledge as well. Well done, you have a, you have a point for a correct challenge. I should explain to our listeners this is only the second time that Pauline McLynn has played this game. And so she's thrilled to be in with the subject and there are 55 seconds and a point of course, malapropisms starting now.

PMc: My Dad used to drink in a bar called Brennans on the docks, in Galway. And he had a friend who once accused my mother of having her metropause! That same guy tried to tell us a story once about buying a sack of potatoes but he didn't have any money, so he also was looking for some colloberel with which to swap them. He was a marvellous man for malapropisms, of course...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of man.

NP: Oh yes.

PMc: Oh you can't have enough of them really, can you.

NP: Correct challenge, Julian, 33 seconds, tell us something about malapropisms starting now.

JC: I once saw Hilda Baker up at Lewisham Concert halls, obviously before she died, and she was very big on malapropisms. And she came out, and she said "what are you incinerating?" Which amused me, no end, and she also said things like...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Two saids.

NP: He said, she said. Clement, correct challenge, malapropisms and there are 18 seconds starting now.

CF: Mrs Malaprop was a character in Sheridan's The Rivals, and liked using long words and got them wrong because she had hardly any intelligence at all. Ah she preferred...


NP: Paul challenged.

PMe: He had an ah there, which is essentially hesitation. You know, ah, hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation definitely. So you have malapropisms and you have six seconds starting now.

PMe: Hilda Baker, as Julian mentioned, was famous for this. She'd say there I was, lying prostitute on the ground. And that was one of hers, everybody roared...


NP: On this occasion Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point, and with others in the round, he's increased his lead at the end of the round. Pauline it's your turn to begin, and the subject is how to improve your self-esteem, you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PMc: I think the only true way to improve your self-esteem is to trash other people. I believe if you belittle the other person so much you'll start to feel better about yourself. Another way of improving your self-esteem is to buy clothes that are at least two sizes too big. In that way you can say "oh look at this, it's hanging off me" and people will say "you have lost so much weight, you look fantastic!" Thereby improving your self-esteem. I find if I make up a CV...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: That's her second I find.

NP: Yes, you were finding too much.

PMc: I just search in life so much, too much, too much!

NP: I know! But they love what you said, you had them hanging on the edge of their seats.

PMc: I gave some good tips there, didn't I!

NP: Yeah you did, yes. Clement a correct challenge, and you've got how to improve your self-esteem, 29 seconds starting now.

CF: A very good way of improving your self-esteem is to become a serial suicide bomber. It is quite extraordinary that if you say "this is my third go", how impressed people are. There are obviously other ways of improving your self-esteem, like buying larger clothes and making people think that you have lost weight...


NP: Pauline challenged.

PMc: Strictly speaking he's repeating ah a tip that I gave there earlier, isn't he. I know, not in the same words, but same subject. You know what I mean?

NP: The trouble is within the rules of Just A Minute...

PMc: Ah!

NP: ... you can repeat what other people have said.

PMc: These rules! These rules need to be looked at! That's all I'll say, after all these years they need to be looked at!

NP: Clement it was an incorrect challenge so you get a point for that and you keep the subject, seven seconds, how to improve your self-esteem starting now.

CF: Perhaps the very best way of improving your self-esteem is to listen to what other people say, and when their challenges are accepted, you get a point...


NP: Clement at the end of that round you were speaking as the whistle went, you gained that extra point. And you're now just two points behind Paul Merton who is in the lead, Julian Clary and Pauline McLynn are following equal. And Paul your turn to begin, the subject is my life as a tattooist. I don't know whether this is something that others know about but we've never heard about. But tell us something about that side of your life if you can starting now.

PMe: Well clearly I've never worked as a tattooist so as soon as I begin to talk on the subject, somebody can get me on deviation. I opened my first booth on Blackpool Pier in 1978. I've tattooed all of the stars, Jim Davidson's arse, Ton Cruise's head, I've done the lot. You look at Shirley Bassey, there's no skin left on that woman! She's one great big tattoo. From the front you can see St Paul's Cathedral, when she bends over you can see the Acropolis! What a woman! When she's going though Hey Big Spender you can just move her bra strap there and oh, you can see Big Ben. It's wonderful! It's always on time as well, how she manages to do that, I have no idea. Another one for it is Michael Aspel. When you see him on Antiques Road Show, you wouldn't know. But underneath his hair has got a thing that says Hell's Angels Suicide Squad, which he had done in 1968 when he first hosted a Miss World contest. Of course, lots of us remember Nicholas Parsons in the old days and I wonder what happened to him! It's amazing isn't it, when you look at all the people around today. If you look at Julian Clary, a wonderful figure of a man, but did you know that if he bends over you can see, well I'd shouldn’t really go into that! What expert scrutiny is extraordinary. Bruce Forsyth has actually got the Brooklyn Bridge from one side of his nipple to the other, and it's fantastic. When he gets up at night, I don't know what I'm talking about, how long is this going on...


NP: For someone who has never been a tattooist, that was brilliant! I was very naughty there Paul, I took the whistle out of Charlotte's mouth and ah...

PMc: Please! Not in front of the children!

NP: And you went for 75 seconds. So you get a point for speaking...

PMc: That's about average all round, isn't it Paul!

NP: Pauline! You get a point for speaking when the whistle should have gone.

PMe: Yeah.

NP: And you get a bonus point for not being interrupted and you get another point for speaking for an extra 15 seconds. And... it was a real tour de force and one of the great moments of Just A Minute and you increased your lead at the end of the round Paul. And Clement will you take the next round, the subject is a recipe for disaster. Sixty seconds starting now.

CF: I would say that a recipe for disaster is to give a pound of meat to Anthony Worral-Thompson and watch him blow it! There are other recipes for disaster that I could go on, mentioning people you see on cookery programmes. Take for instance half a pound of hall spice and you have a disaster because...


NP: Julian Clary challenged.

JC: Repetition of pound.

NP: Yes a pound of... Right so Julian, well listened, 38 seconds, a recipe for disaster starting now.

JC: My mother once made a chocolate cake using Bisto, and Aunty Tess was the first person to have a mouthful and she said "mmmm very nice dear". And then the three children, myself and my sisters Frances and Beverley filled our gobs, and we all spat it out on the floor. My mother said "eat it, you ungrateful little brats" and...


NP: Paul challenged.

PMe: Repetition of mother.

NP: There was, repetition of mother.

JC: Oh yes.

NP: My mother and a recipe for disaster is with you Paul and there are 17 seconds starting now.

PMe: If you give Nicholas Parsons the contents of a bottle of whisky, then dress him in women's clothing, and set him out on the streets of Carlisle on a Friday night, and you've got some idea how he spent his last weekend! What a recipe for disaster, I had to go down...


NP: It's a recipe for getting a cheap laugh and a round of applause, right! Paul they loved it and you kept going...

PMe: It wasn't a cheap laugh at all!

NP: Oh right.

PMe: I think we're telling people what it's really like up here!

NP: An expensive laugh because you increased your lead at the end of that round. And Julian it's your turn to begin, the subject is the London Marathon. It's just happened recently, not long before this recording...

JC: Oh that sort of marathon?

NP: You can take the subject in any way you wish, 60 seconds are available starting now.

JC: Yes I was there jogging away like the rest of them. But never again! All those sweaty bodies and vests every colour of the rainbow. I know it raises a lot of money for very worthy charities. But in future I will spend my marathon Sunday afternoon doing something a bit more constructive like a crossword puzzle or a sudoku which may take me a bit more time than the actual...


NP: Paul.

PMe: Well we've deviated, we're wandering away from the subject of the Marathon, we're talking about...

JC: I was just weaving my way back to it.

PMe: Oh yes.

JC: Which may take me longer than the marathon!

PMe: Yes yes yeah.

NP: Thirty-six seconds, the London Marathon still with you Julian starting now.

JC: The thing to do is to eat a banana before you go because that brings up your...


PMe: It brings up your banana levels!

NP: Yes! Clement you challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: That was a hesitation. Yes Clement you have 30 seconds now, the London Marathon starting now.

CF: When people say how is it possible that you, at your age, can do the Marathon, I have to tell them that I have the body of a boy of 18. In... in my refrigerator!


NP: Paul challenged.

PMe: I was going to say deviation, but I do know that Clement does have the body of an 18-year-old boy in his refrigerator, so... I've seen him! Simon! I remember that party round at Clement's place, and he said "the drinks are in the fridge and by the way, say hello to Simon. He's an 18-year-old boy I keep in there."

NP: Right, you actually challenged before he said about the keeping in the fridge.

PMe: I know.

NP: But anyway, 19 seconds, the London Marathon starting now.

PMe: I've got a new boyfriend at the moment. He lives in Clement's fridge, but I've dug a tunnel so I get in the back of that particular implement, and there we are, we kiss amongst the ice cubes! And...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: It's deviation.

NP: Why?

JC: Well what's he talking about?

PMe: I kiss the boy behind the ice cubes.

NP: Yes he's gone off into a world of fantasy which is actually utterly devious. If you want to interpret...

PMe: Just a minute! This 18-year-old boy wasn't devious when he was Clement's, now I start, I start kissing him and then it's devious!

NP: I know.

CF: Actually he...

PMe: You've never liked Simon, have you? Have you? You've never liked him! He's never liked Simon!

NP: This is an impossible game to judge on in a way. If he's in his fantasy mode, is he allowed to go and have anything? Or do you allow him...

CF: Actually he's dead!

PMc: Don't say he's dead! (wails)

NP: Simon's dead.

PMe: Clement you could have broken it to me in a better way than this! I thought he'd gone quiet!

NP: Paul Merton gets two bonus points. One because what he was saying, one for that extra remark. Julian you get a correct challenge of deviation so you get a point for that, you take the subject, 12 seconds available, the London marathon starting now.

JC: Fill your jockstrap with fresh fruit is my tip if you're going to run a marathon. And I have the name Simon across my back which is...


NP: Paul challenged.

PMe: You liar! You don't know Simon! Simon's my friend!

NP: But he's dead!

PMe: Oh don't rub it in! I'm trying to forget about that! For God's sake! Are you inhuman?

NP: I think Just A Minute's gone into a realm that it's never approached before. We're stuck in the fantasy world. So Paul...

PMe: He doesn't know Simon! He's talking about Simon and no-one knows him!

NP: Right! Another bonus for Paul because we enjoyed what he said. A point to you because you got a correct challenge...

JC: Thank you.

NP: And you have the subject of Simon, no you don't, you have the... In fact let's change it. There's only four seconds to go, talk about Simon for four seconds starting now.

JC: It's a thankless task talking about Simon for four seconds because it's hard to achieve anything...


NP: So Julian Clary was speaking when the whistle went, gained that extra point. And I'll give you the situation then. Paul Merton is still, with all his tattooing and other things he's saying, way out in a strong lead. But Clement Freud and Julian Clary are equal in second place. And Pauline McLynn bringing up a very strong fourth place. And Pauline it's your turn to begin, my family. Tell us something about my family in this game starting now.

PMc: I'm quite nervous talking about my family tonight because some of them are here in the audience. But I would have to say, like everybody else's, mine are a shower of bastards! There's no doubt that my family say some of the horriblest things to me that anybody in their right or wrong minds would attempt. When I was growing up, my brothers liked to call me Hooknose or Veruca Head. And as a result, I don't have any vanity, I'll tell you that for nothing. They are my feet of clay, so much so that I have agreed with my husband that our children, which would be my family, my new family, are such an ungrateful shower of brats that we've decided not to have them! That will teach them a lesson!


NP: Paul challenged.

PMe: Repetition of shower.

NP: You said it at the beginning, and you said it again...

PMc: I...

PMe: It's rather an unusual word so...

PMc: Well the way I use it, anyway, the way I mangle it, it's unusual...

NP: Yes and you kept going for 31 seconds!

PMc: Oh darn!

NP: So the audience applause means you're entitled to an extra bonus point. Paul had a correct challenge, he was listening well. You did have the shower in your own family at the beginning, and then your unborn family had a shower as well. And 19 seconds are available for my family with you Paul starting now.

PMe: My family are a rather extraordinary bunch of people. Take for example my father. He is... oh!


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation.

PMe: Yes.

NP: Hesitation Clement, correct, 13 seconds are still available, you tell us something about my family starting now.

CF: I have a father and a mother, five children, 15 grand-ditto. And they're really very nice people, all of them. I put their addresses and their place of birth into my diary. This is extremely boring and...



NP: No, wait a minute, Pauline challenged. Yes Pauline?

PMc: Their.

NP: Yes, repetition of their.

PMc: Their this, their that.

NP: Well listened Pauline, you were right on the ball there. And you have got in with half a second to go...

PMc: Half a second!

NP: And you have my family starting now.

PMc: I’d like to apologise to my family...


NP: So Pauline McLynn was speaking as the whistle went, and gained that extra point. And she's joined Julian Clary and Clement Freud in second place. They're still trailing Paul Merton who is still in the lead. And the next subject is, and I'll just get the cards out. Ooohhh, catchphrases. Yes Paul will you start us on this one, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PMe: Catchphrases are a useful device in comedy, because if you say the same thing over and again, people recognise and respond to it. Julian Clary appeared in a show called Sticky Moments that I co-wrote with him. And one week we decided to do a catchphrase, which was basically Julian would say "it's not..."


NP: Yes! Clement you challenged.

CF: Julian was repeated.

NP: Yes Julian was repeated, yes, 45 seconds, catchphrases, Clement starting now.

CF: I do not have a catchphrase.


NP: Paul challenged.

PMe: Well that's a lot of nonsense! Give us it in cash! That's your catchphrase, at the end of the show.

NP: Clement you have the benefit of the doubt...

CF: I have a point!

NP: And you have a point, yes. Give him another point for an incorrect challenge and he has 41 seconds, catchphrases starting now.

CF: I like Bruce Forsyth best. He says "nice to see you" and I can't tell you what else goes on because it would be a repetition. There are all sorts of artists of no great talent who use catchphrases simply so that people will know who they are and won't have to look up the Radio Times cast list and say "I remember the looks of that person but I simply cannot recall what his monicker is." Therefore catchphrases are hugely important... What does he do...


CF: ... before he has a catchphrase...

NP: Paul challenged.

PMe: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation.

CF: I thought the whistle might blow! It seemed to me I'd been going on a long time.

NP: I'll tell you what, Charlotte Davis does the whistle differently to...

CF: Yah, two minutes!

NP: She doesn't put it up to her mouth with about 10 seconds to go like Janet used to do. And you used to watch her out the corner of your eye.

CF: Ah.

NP: Because there is still nine seconds to go Paul, because you had a correct challenge on catchphrases starting now.

PMe: Arthur Askey had a huge number of catchphrases which was extraordinary because he was a little man. I remember he used to say "thank you very much" which is something he got off a Liverpool...


NP: Pauline challenged.

PMc: I think he said the word used twice.

NP: Yes but he didn't say "thank you very much". He said "I thank you".

PMe: Yes that's right.

PMc: So both repetition and lies?

CF: I think Nicholas...

PMc: That's what I'm calling him on.

NP: So Pauline you are amazing. You've got in once again with half a second to go. Catchphrases starting now.

PMc: I once had a catchphrase...


NP: So at the end of that round, and I might tell you by the way, we're moving into the final round which will follow. Oh yes, well what a wave of warmth and sympathy came there. And maybe relief, I don't know.

PMc: It's a fine line between an audience and a hostage situation.

NP: I know.

PMc: And they know it now!

NP: No, they can't get out! In this situation at the present moment Pauline McLynn who was only second time she played the game is in a very strong second place alongside Clement Freud. They're only one point ahead of Julian Clary, but out in the lead, a very strong lead is Paul Merton, as we move into the final round, and I think it should be, it's called parental advice. Clement would you start us on this one, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: I never got a lot of parental advice. I remember once when I was at prep school in Devon, my mother sent a telegram saying "stop worrying, letter follows". And I think anyone...


NP: Paul you did press your buzzer.

PMe: Mmmm!

NP: Mmmmm!

PMe: Well hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes. And he...

PMe: And I should point out that Clement told me to buzz!

NP: Because he's...

PMe: So I did!

NP: He was satisfied with a laugh and that's enough. Right 44 seconds are available, parental advice Paul, with you starting now.

PMe: Whatever you do, always be happy. That's what my Dad said to me... (starts laughing)


PMe: If only!

NP: Oh right! So Julian you challenged.

JC: That was another sort of hesitation.

PMe: Yes.

NP: He broke up at the thought of it, didn't he. And you've got in on parental advice with 39 seconds to go Julian starting now.

JC: When I was 16, I followed my father's advice which was to join the Army. And after a couple of hours of drilling on the forecourt, I quite got the taste for it. I did find the uniform...


NP: Paul challenged.

PMe: Drilling? Drilling on the forecourt?

JC: Yes.

PMe: In the Army?

JC: Yes. Have you never been?

PMe: Parade ground yes. Forecourt?

JC: The fore, fore...

PMe: Like a garage? Forecourt? Training on the forecourt?

JC: No, there was a forecourt.

PMe: Get up men, we're training on the forecourt! No!

NP: No they do traditionally drill on the drill, parade ground.

PMe: Yes that's right.

NP: But it could possibly be that when Julian joined up, at that particular establishment to which he went, they didn't have a drill ground. So they said "right chaps, we're going to do it here on the forecourt."

JC: That's what happened!

NP: Whether that's true or not I don't know, but it's perfectly possible...

CF: And he's never looked back!

NP: You never looked back. So you have the benefit of the doubt Julian and you have 26 seconds, parental advice starting now.

JC: When they showed me into the dormitory, they said "which bunk, top or bottom?" I said "let me get unpacked first!" And then we passed into the proper drilling area, and so the work...


PMc: Much as I'm enjoying the drilling, it's, it's just repetitive, drilling.

NP: There's too much drilling yes.

PMc: And I'm enjoying it but we have to call a halt somewhere.

JC: I thought we did.

NP: You have to get in and talk on it Pauline, which you've done, with 14 seconds available, parental advice starting now.

PMc: I wish James Thurber had been my father, because the parental advice he would have given was to never eat anything bigger than my head. Or my mother ever told me was never lick a steak knife...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of never.

NP: Never, never. So Clement you have got the subject back again and you've got four seconds available, parental advice starting now.

CF: My parents took me into a baby changing room which I felt very badly about...


NP: Well Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He moved forward a bit, he finished up in second place. He's just ahead of Julian Clary and Pauline McLynn, in, well they were together almost equal in third place. But out in the lead, with quite a number of points more than the rest was Paul Merton so we say this week Paul, you are our winner! So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Pauline McLynn and Clement Freud. I thank Charlotte Davies, who has helped me with the score, she's blown her whistle elegantly for me. And she's also, our producer Claire Jones, we are indebted to her for her skill and her expertise. And we are deeply indebted to Ian Messiter who created this lovely game. And we are grateful to this lovely audience here at Greenwich Theatre who have cheered us on our way. And from our panel, and from me Nicholas Parsons, don't forget, tune in the next time we take to the air and we play Just A Minute! Until then good-bye!