starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, TIM RICE and ROSS NOBLE, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 7 August 2006)

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, not only in this country but around the world. And also to welcome to the show this week, four individual talented skilled players of the game. And they are, seated on my right, someone it is always a pleasure to have on our show, one of our most outstanding comedians, a master of improvised and ad lib comedy, Paul Merton. And sitting beside him we have that veteran player of the game who brings his own idiosyncratic dry wit to the show, that is Clement Freud. And seated on my left, we welcome back after a long absence, another amazing comedian who has his own individual approach to ad lib improvised humour, and that is Ross Noble. And seated beside him we have that master of words and language, one of this country's finest lyricists, Tim Rice. Please welcome all four of them! Thank you, thank you. Beside me sits Charlotte Davies, who is going to help me keep the score, and blow a whistle when 60 seconds is up. And as usual I am going to ask our four players of the game to speak on a subject that I give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Pavilion Theatre in that amazing delightful resort of Bournemouth. And we have a wonderful audience who have struggled through the heat and everything to come here and squeeze into this vast auditorium and cheer us on our way. As we start the show with Paul Merton. Paul the subject, apt for where we are, plain sailing. Tell us something about that subject in this game, starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Plain sailing, I suppose, is what all people on the sea look to do. You head towards the horizon, knowing there are no obstacles ahead of you, and you think to yourself, ah, the sea is so...


NP: Ross Noble challenged.

ROSS NOBLE: Repetition of sea.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes you did say the sea before yes, so that's a correct challenge Ross. You've been away a time but you get back into the game. You get a point of course for a correct challenge and you take over the subject, there are 49 seconds still available and you start now.

RN: Plain sailing can be avoided with outlandish costumes. By not wearing clothes from Marks and Spencers, if you simply place sequins all over your body and then dance as if you are at a mardi gras style event, people are not going to...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: But all the sequins would fall off! You've got to stick them on, you can't place them on, then start dancing, you'd have all the sequins on the floor. You know that, Nicholas, don't you!

NP: I do know that but at the same...

PM: You've danced on sequins.

NP: Absolutely, I wear them all the time.

PM: Yeah.

NP: The ah, I've got some on underneath my shirt now! But the, but Paul it's a lovely idea, but maybe he has a potential particular way of keeping his sequins on.

PM: Yes that could be true.

NP: So I don't think it was deviation. So Ross, an incorrect challenge, a point to you, you keep the subject, 36 seconds, plain sailing starting now.

RN: When I'm plain sailing I like to smear myself with glue, just on the off-chance a tiny little glittery item should be thrown by pirates at me...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well you can't stick glue just on the off-chance! This stuff sets really quickly! You've got to put it on when you know you need it, not on the off-chance. On the deck in the blistering sun with glue on!

NP: Well he's putting it on and he wasn't actually deviating within the rules of Just A Minute. He can put glue on himself whenever he wants! Within this game. I mean it may be bizarre, it may be ridiculous, it may be outrageous, but it isn't deviation...

PM: He's not doing it right! He's putting the glue on...

NP: Paul, I think you're, I think you're working...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: I think on behalf of Tim Rice and me, good evening! In case we don't get a look in!

NP: You will get a look in, don't worry about that. Paul you're struggling very hard, I think...

PM: I know, you don't have to tell me that!

NP: The audience enjoyed your interruptions...

PM: Well some of them did.

NP: So I will do what I think you want, I will give you a bonus point for the audience reaction.

PM: Okay I'll shut up then.

NP: But Ross gets a point for being interrupted, he keeps the subject, 27 seconds, plain sailing, Ross starting now.

RN: Segal tar is one of the things that you can use if you don't have the aforementioned substance whilst plain sailing. That can be applied on many different...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of applied.

NP: Yes you applied before. So you've applied your hearing to that and you've got in well before the end, 17 seconds are still available, you've got a point Clement, you have plain sailing starting now.

CF: Plain sailing is fairly unusual, plain flying is the sort of thing that I believe in. Recently sitting in a Boeing 746...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a pause there.

NP: There was a hesitation Paul, so you've got back in again on the subject you started with which is plain sailing and you have eight seconds to go starting now.

PM: When Christopher Columbus stepped on board his ship and pointed it towards the distance, he suddenly thought to himself, I will discover a place...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point, on this occasion it was Paul Merton. So he at the end of the round has got three, so does Ross Noble, Clement has one, Tim is yet to speak. And Tim we would like you to start the next round. A nice topical subject, sand banks. A rich thought, but a lovely thing on the beach. Please talk about it, 60 seconds starting now.

TIM RICE: Sandbanks has an extremely interesting history. Way back in Viking times, a load of hairy Danes appeared. And seeing sand and banks, they decided that the place they had landed should be called Pool. They proceeded from Pool to...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of Pool.

NP: Yes you said Pool and then, should be Pool, and then you said Pool, didn't you?

TR: No. It's always worth trying to lie!

NP: No, Clement...

PM: So good they named it twice!

NP: It's still repetition within the rules of Just A Minute because it's not on the card. So Clement, a correct challenge, 44 seconds available, tell us something about sand banks starting now.

CF: When Christopher Columbus set out, he brought...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: I thought that there was a gap there that you could drive...

NP: There was a long gap yes.

TR: Drive a truck through actually.

NP: And he waited for something which didn't come. So you've got in there and you've got 41 seconds...

RN: Christopher Columbus drove a truck?

PM: The first truck driver in America!

NP: That's right, ah I think we're going too far into the realms of the surreal at the moment. Forty-one seconds Tim, sand banks starting now.

TR: Sandbanks today, however is an extremely posh place, frequented by exxxxxxceptionally...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Ah hesitation.

NP: We call that hesitation.

TR: Cobblers!

NP: Yes.

TR: It was dramatic effect! There was no gap.

NP: It was very dramatic but it doesn't work in Just A Minute. You have to be coherent and fluent, otherwise...

TR: And boring!

NP: ... someone will jump in. And on this occasion it was Paul Merton, another point to him, 36 seconds, sand banks starting now.

PM: Sandbanks of course is one of the great old English names. I was lucky enough to be at Sandbank House just the other day where the Duke of Sandbank entertained...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: Repetition of Sandbank.

NP: Yes because it's sand banks on the card.

PM: Don't you know his brother?

NP: You made a deliberate point of saying Sandbank...

PM: Yeah.

NP: ... and then for some reason you deliberately repeated it.

PM: Yes! It's an odd kind of policy, isn't it! It's up for review!

NP: It doesn't work in Just A Minute.

PM: It doesn't work in Just A Minute, no!

NP: Twenty-six seconds, back with you Tim, sand banks starting now.

TR: Shortly after these chaps from that country just north of Germany had done their worst in the area, another horde of invaders...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Is that a repetition of area? It was a posh area before.

NP: That's right. Well done, well listened Ross. So you've got in on sand banks as well and 18 seconds to go starting now.

RN: I have to be very careful walking on sand banks because the water makes it look like I'm Jesus, on top, performing one of his many miracles. Man's the time...


NP: Oh yes Clement?

CF: Repetition of many.

NP: Many miracles, many the time.

RN: Oh yeah I see!

NP: Clement you got in on sand banks with seven seconds to go starting now.

CF: I have never been to sand banks, but I believe there is a railway station which occasionally gets trains as...



NP: Ross you challenged.

CF: About 25 seconds!

RN: There was a hesitation there.

NP: Just before the whistle, your light came on so I can accept that.

RN: That was a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes, because he knew he'd said something incorrect.

CF: No I didn't! No I never.

NP: Where is the railway station at Sandbanks? I just thought there was a ferry over there. Is there a railway station?

CF: Mmm.

NP: There's no railway station is there?


NP: There you are! Absolutely! I've been there so I know. Right...

PM: That must be very difficult for the trains then.

NP: It must be.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So Ross you've got in on a hesitation with half a second to go, sand banks starting now.

RN: Big sand...


NP: So Ross Noble then was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and with others in the round he's now taken the lead, just ahead of Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Tim Rice, in that order. Ross will you take the next round. The subject, oh it's so apt in this show, a mental block. Will you tell us something about a mental block in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

RN: A mental block is a good way to describe a sphere. If you look at it people will say "that's a mental block". It has no edges to it at all and it's like...


NP: Tim you challenged.

TR: He was falling apart at the seams.

NP: Yes he was but I think...

RN: I was demonstrating what it's like to have a mental block. So I was playing the game in my mind, you see.

NP: So Tim a correct challenge, a point for that, 50 seconds available, a mental block starting now.

TR: A mental block is one of the most horrendous things that can happen to any...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: No, being attacked by tramps, that's actually... a really angry drunken one, you know.

NP: Ross...

TR: That as well! I said one of the most horrendous things.

NP: It doesn't matter, Tim, within the rules of Just A Minute you are all right. They love what you said Ross, we give you a bonus point for what you said, the audience applauded, Tim gets a point because he was interrupted, because he was correct within the rules of Just A Minute. You carry on, 47 seconds available, a mental block starting now.

TR: I remember going after a tramp once and he wasn't too pleased. He attacked me viciously, bringing on a mental block. I said to him "good sir, are you aware that with your jaunty..."


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: I don't think you call tramps Sir!

TR: I do!

NP: Clement you can call anybody Sir if you wish.

CF: Not if you are a Sir as Tim is! The tramp would be entirely confused.

NP: Right, one Sir is challenging another Sir here. The ah...

RN: He might have been a knight that had fallen on hard times.

NP: The point is...

PM: It shows a lack of personal self-esteem though if you're calling tramps Sir.

TR: Hear hear, you're right.

NP: I think you can call anybody Sir if you do it...

PM: What about the Queen?

NP: That would be very embarrassing, you get a bonus point for that, Tim...

PM: She's the only one I can think of though!

NP: ... you can call anybody Sir if you wish, it might help you, it may not, it doesn't really matter, it may be your way of handling people when you come, encounter them. You have another point, you have the subject still, 36 seconds, a mental block starting now.

TR: A nervous Shakespearian actor in his first play had one line, and it was "it is" which came after a question, "be that yon Lord Hereford approaching over the hill?" I don't know how I'm going to tell the other half of this joke without repeating that line...


NP: Paul.

PM: And the nervous actor says "is it?"

NP: That's right.

PM: That's the punchline that Tim couldn't say because it repeats is and it.

TR: I realise that...

NP: When you started it Tim...

TR: ... it's not the best joke to tell on this programme, was it!

NP: Every joke usually has a bit of repetition in it, because you use it for emphasis in humour generally yourself. I knew the joke and I thought how the hell is he going to get out of this one!

TR: Thank you, thank you sir.

NP: Paul you have a correct challenge and you have 19 seconds...

TR: Hang on! Hang on! What was the challenge for? Just remind me.

NP: What was the challenge?

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, correct. Nineteen seconds Paul, a mental block starting now.

PM: So I said to the Earl of Sandbank, "I've completely forgotten your last name." He said "actually it's Sandbanks." I said "well that's a bit of a change because I've been calling you by the singular rather than the plural." He said "that's no problem, have a cucumber sandwich." And at that point who should suddenly walk in than Danny La Rue, tor, talking...


NP: Ross you challenged.

RN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was, but once again...

RN: What was the subject again?

NP: It's a mental block.

RN: Oh that's right!

NP: That's right. Very well played Ross, you started with the subject, and your mental block is now released I hope, you have five seconds available starting now.

RN: Sometimes if you have a mental block, you can't remember faces which is terrible if you're performing a face transplant...


NP: Paul.

PM: Well I was going to say repetition of face but it was face and faces so I think that's a wrong challenge.

RN: All I have to say on that subject is God bless you, sir.

NP: How generous of you.

RN: I'm not calling you a tramp!

PM: No.

RN: I was paying you respect for you.

PM: Indeed, indeed.

NP: Ross, Paul has very generously given it back to you so you get a point for being interrupted and you have half a second on mental block starting now.

RN: Who would have thought...


NP: At the end of that Ross Noble has increased his lead, ahead of Paul Merton, Tim Rice and Clement Freud in that order. And Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject, a bull in a China shop. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: The reason why most China shops have notices stating "no bull" is entirely because they think that these male cows are going to do damage to the china...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: Well it was hesitation but I was going to have a go anyway, um, on male cows, because they're not! You can't have a male cow.

NP: All right, you made your point Tim...

CF: I didn't...

TR: Sorry?

CF: .. want you to have it, I was just explaining...

PM: What is this, The Archers? What's going on?

NP: Tim it's a way of keeping going but you have him on hesitation, so you now take over the subject with 48 seconds, a bull in a china shop starting now.

TR: Extremely gripping would be the situation of a Chinaman in a bull pen. But I digress and I wish to go straight back...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: If he digresses, that's deviation.

NP: Yeah deviation. You have to be awful, awfully careful what you say Tim, because otherwise, that is, you've admitted your fault. Thirty-seven seconds for you Ross, a bull in a china shop starting now.

RN: The problem isn't the bulls, it's the matadors. Because they attempt to swing their big capes around the place. The bull only takes out the china on the lower levels whereas those fellows in those tight trousers, they tend really...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of those.

NP: You had a lot of those in your dissertation then.

PM: Those fellows in them those trousers.

NP: Those trousers.

RN: I should have said them, shouldn't I.

NP: Yes.

RN: I'm a fool to myself.

NP: It sounds so easy but it's so difficult, 25 seconds Paul, a bull in a china shop starting now.

PM: One of my maddest business schemes is to put a bull in charge of a china shop in the Strand. I gave him 600 pounds worth of petty cash, I came back the next day, and would you believe he hadn't sold one single plate but...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Yeah I'd believe that.

NP: Clement they enjoyed the interruption, we give you a bonus point for that. Have you a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

CF: He asked...

NP: But Paul you get a point for being interrupted, you keep the subject, a bull in a china shop, 14 seconds starting now.

PM: Much more successful was the giraffe in a tupperware store. But the bull in the china shop had no idea how to work the cash register. His little hooves pressed...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Repetition of cash. Petty cash.

NP: Yes. Well listened Ross. And once again you've got in just before the whistle, one second to go Ross on a bull in a china shop starting now.

RN: I've often thought...


NP: Ross Noble was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, and has increased his lead. But he's still closely followed by Paul Merton and then comes Tim Rice and then Clement Freud in that order. They've all got points and Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject, Max Bygraves. I think he's fairly local. Anyway talk about Max Bygraves in Just A Minute, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Yes I believe Max Bygraves is a resident of Pool these days. I went to see him at Victoria Palace in a show called Singalonga-Whatsit. And it was fantastic, I really enjoyed it. I can still remember...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Wasn't it Singalonga-Warriors?

NP: Yes.

PM: No, Singalongamax it was.

NP: Singalongamax.

PM: But I couldn't say Max because of Max Bygraves so I said Singalonga-Whatsit.

RN: I just thought he was talking about singing to, you know, cheesy snacks!

NP: No he hadn't gone into...

RN: Deviation because it wasn't the name of the show.

NP: It's too late because that was your second challenge.

RN: Ah okay.

NP: Your first challenge I can't allow.

PM: Funny enough, he was singing to little packets of cheesy snacks! It would have been a much better title than Singalongamax but there we are.

NP: You've got the subject still with a point, 52 seconds, Max Bygraves starting now.

PM: Keep London tidy, eat a Pygmy. That was one of his jokes, I seem to remember. But another one as well, there was a man standing at the airport waiting for his daughter to come home. And she comes down the steps of the aeroplane and she's got this sort of African um...


NP: Tim yes?

TR: Er gave it away, the hesitation.

NP: Yes.

PM: Yeah I was trying to remember, trying to recall...

NP: I know, you were going right back into the past with Max's jokes, and some of his jokes did go back into the past, didn't they. Ooohh! Tim you've got a correct challenge, 41 seconds, Max Bygraves starting now.

TR: Max Bygraves is a magnificent comedian and record-maker who had a lot of hits, starting way back in the 50s with songs like Cowpunchers Cantata, Gilly Gilly Austenfeffer...


TR: That's all one word!

NP: No it's a hyphenated word.

TR: The entire point of that song is that it's one word.

NP: No it isn't.

TR: Yes it is.

NP: Look at the sleeve of your collection of 78s, you'll see it's written as two words or a hyphen. Clement listened well, he got in first. Clement you have the subject, 31 seconds, Max Bygraves starting now.

CF: I once met Max Bygraves at Liverpool Street Station and we er went via...


NP: Ross.

RN: Sorry there was a bit of a hesitation.

NP: I know, it's wicked isn't it, but Ross, it is correct...

RN: But I want to find out what they were up to!

PM: It's the world of speed dating!

NP: We'll find out later! Twenty-six seconds, Max Bygraves, Ross starting now.

RN: Max Bygraves is one of the things you'll often hear an undertaker say to his young apprentice. "Go over there Max, buy graves." Because we can't afford to have them dug so he will go out and he will invest in these holes...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: He will, he will.

NP: He will, he will, he will.

RN: And he will.

NP: And he will. Clement you have a correct challenge and you have Max Bygraves back with you, 13 seconds starting now.

CF: So Max Bygraves and I, Mount Nessing, Margaretting, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Colchester, Mark Stetwell. The train stopped at each of these places. And we talked. "Max," I said. "Clement," said he...


NP: So at the end of the round Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went. He's moved forward, he's now just beside Tim Rice, they're both together in third place, just behind Paul, Paul's just behind Ross who is in the lead. And Tim we'd like you to take the next round, how to flirt starting now.

TR: Get your kit off, doll! That's the way to give people a decent flirt. Follow it up with quoting some wonderful lyrics such as the magnificent Johnny Mercer song, Moon River. I'd like to give you a little snatch of that wonderful libretto right here and now.
(sings) Moon River, wider than a mile,
I'm crossing you in style, some day.
(speaking voice) I think you have to be subtle in these matters, a discreet wink rather than getting your...


NP: Ross challenged.

RN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes and he knew why, 26 seconds, how to flirt starting now.

RN: Make eye contact, that's what they say, but that means just look. Don't actually put the pupil against the other person, especially if you've never met them before. It can freak out a lady, especially in a frightful situation...


NP: Tim has challenged.

TR: Two especiallys.

NP: Two especiallys.

RN: Oh yeah.

NP: So Tim there are still 12 seconds for you to tell us more about how to flirt starting now.

TR: Often you'll find that shining wit, and that's not a spoonerism is something that can be really helpful as far as flirting is concerned. You can captivate the object of your desire by the sheer length of the...


NP: So Tim Rice was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, and he's moved forward. He's now equal in second place alongside Paul Merton. Clement Freud is just behind them, but out in the lead still is Ross Noble. And we're moving into the final round. Now we've got a very topical subject Ross to finish this show on and it's your turn to start. It's fake tan. I don't know whether you've resorted to it but talk on the subject, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

RN: A lot of celebrities go for the fake tan. In fact Dale Winton is so range, if you lick him he cures scurvy! I am often out there on the high seas making sure that I...


RN: What what?

NP: Tim challenged.

TR: He's, I mean, a great start but then it fell away badly.

RN: They were clapping!

TR: Yeah you were talking drivel. I could hear what you were saying, no-one else could.

RN: Well unless you've got taped proof!

NP: So what is your challenge?

TR: Deviation, he was rabbiting on about the sea, I couldn't hear it really.

NP: It didn't really matter. He kept going, none of us could hear it because the laughter was so loud. You were sitting beside him so maybe you think you heard it. I think I have got to give the benefit of the doubt to Ross.

TR: Sir you are right.

NP: Ross you have the subject still, 47 seconds, fake tan starting now.

RN: What you can do is smear gravy all over yourself. Unfortunately this has been tried and one person was licked to death by the Bisto Kid...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of licked.

NP: Yes of licked.

RN: What what?

CF: You licked Dale Winton.

NP: You licked Dale Winton.

RN: Whoa there! Easy! That was never proven!

NP: No it wasn't proven but you used the word licked in relation to Dale Winton...

RN: Didn't I lick, didn't I lick him?

PM: Yeah.

RN: If you lick Dale Winton, it's a cure for scurvy.

NP: No, licked.

RN: Licked to death by...

NP: Licked is repetitious. It's a tough game and Clement's played it quite a long time. He has...

PM: What's interesting is the fact that Ross isn't bothered about the fact that he licked Dale Winton. It's just, it's just whether it's in the past tense or the present tense! That's the only thing concerning him!

RN: Yeah! Pretty much!

NP: It was the look on his face actually because you could almost get the recall of the flavour. It was very worrying, on his face.

PM: On his face?

NP: On Ross's face...

PM: Oh right.

NP: ... with the thought of licking Dale Winton. I think we should move on, I really do. Ross I'm fed up with this, you have the subject, go on, 32 seconds, fake tan with you Ross starting now.

RN: Oh it's me is it? I see...


NP: Tim.

TR: Deviation.

NP: It wasn't deviation, it was hesitation. Bad luck! Another point, so it's back with you Paul, you have a go, 31 seconds starting now.

PM: It's very difficult to get yourself a good fake tan that will fool every single person. I remember walking through Spain one year, I was desperately lost one year. I said to the bus driver "this isn't above Walmansthow..."


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: If he was walking, why would he be saying to a bus driver?

PM: He could walk though.

NP: The bus had stopped and he said to the bus driver "how do you get there?"

PM: Yeah, the bus driver said "look, it's my 20 minute break, I'm just surrounded by dunes, I don't know where I are."

NP: Right there we are.

CF: It always says you shouldn't talk to bus drivers.

NP: I think that's only in Tanzania...

PM: Yeah.

NP: But give, give Clement a bonus point because they enjoyed what he said. Paul you still have the subject, 23 seconds, fake tan starting now.

PM: Hollywood film stars specialise in the fake tan. They want to look as orange or as brown as they possibly can. Take for example Farrah Fawcett-Majors. She was a big celebrity in the 1970s, but she was completely looking like something Mister Jaffa might have produced on one of his farms out in California. It was the most extraordinary thing. I don't know why I married her in the end. Fifteen years, we had a terrible time, we lived in Walmansthow, there's repetition for you and...


NP: Well Paul Merton finished that subject, there were 23 seconds to go, but he went for 45. That's because I stopped the whistle being blown in order to see what pressure can go on. But put Paul under pressure and he goes onto the realms of the surreal which is delightful. You got a point for speaking as the whistle went, and you finished in second place.

PM: Lovely!

NP: Tim Rice and Clement Freud were equal in third place, only just behind Paul. Paul was a few points behind Ross Noble so Ross, you have returned to triumph, this week you are our winner! It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Ross Noble and Tim Rice. I thank Charlotte Davies, who has helped me keep the score, blown her whistle elegantly. 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 in this very hot Theatre here, the Pavilion down in Bournemouth. They have cheered us on our way. Thank you audience. From them, from me Nicholas Parsons, and our team, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!