NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners, not only in this country but around the world. But also to welcome to the programme, four individual and talented players of this game. And seated on my right, we have that delightful actor, comedian, writer, all-round good egg and performer, Marcus Brigstocke. And beside him, we have a man who is not only a writer but a journalist and ex-politician, that is Clement Freud. And seated on my left, we have another ex-politician, also a prolific writer, presenter, and that is Gyles Brandreth. And seated beside Gyles Brandreth, we have that lovely Irish comedian from the Emerald Isle, Father Ted and other credits to her name, and a very fine writer as well, that is Pauline McLynn. Please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Charlotte Davies, who is going to help me keep the score, she will blow a whistle when 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the delightful Mermaid Theatre down on the edge of the Thames. And we have a wonderful cosmopolitan London audience in front of us ready for us to get going. So let's start the show with Clement Freud. Clement the subject, very apt, mermaids. Tell us something about mermaids in Just A Minute, starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: I loathe mermaids! I have in the flat in which I live a notice which says no hawkers, canvassers or mermaids. Which I think is absolutely right. They don't pay any charges or rates, they can't even open their legs...


NP: Gyles you challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: I felt there was a slight hesitation but maybe I was premature.

NP: No no no, he was just getting up steam.

GB: Ah, sorry, because of the steam, I couldn't see his lips move!

NP: You haven't played it... all right, give him a bonus point, we loved the remark he made. But Clement, an incorrect challenge, so you have a point for that, you keep the subject and there are 46 seconds available starting now.

CF: There are a number of things which you shouldn't give a mermaid for Christmas. Like a bicycle...


NP: Marcus you've challenged.

MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE: Yes there was a hesitation after...

NP: Definitely was a hesitation, he thought of the bicycle and the mermaid on it, and he came to a halt. Marcus there are 38 seconds still available, the subject is mermaids and you start now.

MB: The only thing I know for sure about mermaids is that they make the most useless girlfriends. It is enormously difficult to find a sensible place to take a mermaid out for dinner. The reason being that they will only eat fish and...


PAULINE McLYNN: Fascinating!

NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Yes they, they, they don't only eat fish! I know several carnivorous mermaids!

NP: Well we...

CF: And I know of mermaids who won't eat fish at all.

MB: Well I wish I had their numbers.

CF: Because she thinks it's cannibalism!

NP: Now this is...

MB: Fair enough!

NP: One of these impossible decisions to make. Because I don't have any personal experience of mermaids, and I don't think anybody else in the audience has. But I'll tell you what we do Clement, we did enjoy your interruption so we give you a bonus point for that. But Marcus was interrupted so he keeps the subject, and there are 22 seconds still available, mermaids, Marcus starting now.

MB: Yes I'm beginning to wish that you had given the subject to Clement, because I feel rather sad to know that there are mermaids out there...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Nicholas did give the subject to Clement. So it's a deviation. I’m beginning to wish you had given the subject to Clement, the programme meant...

NP: He meant the subject to Clement after that challenge.

GB: Yes he didn't, he didn't specify that, I'm just...

PM: This programme could turn ugly! Couldn't it!

NP: No no, he was referring to that last challenge. So unfortunately Gyles I can't give it to you on that occasion. Marcus you've got another point, you've got the subject you don't want! And there are 15 seconds, mermaids starting now.

MB: Of course the Mermaid Theatre is named after the one mermaid that successfully swam up the Thames without dying of the pollutants that exist in the water here, and turning into a very nasty brown and pulpy mess...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Marcus Brigstocke and with the other points in the round, he's got a strong lead at the moment, just ahead of Clement Freud, Gyles Brandreth and Pauline McLynn in that order. And Gyles will you take the next round, the subject, infamy. Tell us something about infamy in Just A Minute starting now.

GB: I am Anglo-Welsh, my parents burnt down their own cottage. And therefore infamy has been part and parcel of my heritage since my birth. Indeed my very name, Brandreth, has been the subject of infamy, because if you look up in the Oxford English Dictionary, you will see that the definition is a substructure of piles. Indeed one of my forebears, who was the notorious Jeremiah of the same ilk, who in fact was the last person to be beheaded for treason. Hence the infamy going back for several generations. In my own circumstance, my career began with an instant of infamy, that was indeed most shaming. Because I was a young actor in a live radio programme playing a detective. My only line was to say "that was the chair Schmitt sat in when he was shot". But unfortunately my diction at the time was poor. And as a consequence of this, my infamy led to my not being employed, almost for a generation. I went on to feel...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Ah he said generation.

NP: Yes you did say generation before.

PM: Actually he said indeed twice earlier, but it was so good, I didn't interrupt. Wasn't that terrible! I just wanted to know more about the Brandreths.

NP: I know, that was very sporting of you Pauline. But Clement, a correct challenge, and you've naughtily got in with only eight seconds to go, because Gyles went for 52 seconds. I think we need a round of applause for him.

PM: Yeah!

NP: Clement a point to you, and infamy is with you, eight seconds starting now.

CF: Infamy comes from the word famous, and it means extreme vileness, absolutely nastiness of all kinds. Infamy...


NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's now moved forward, he's equal with Marcus Brigstocke in the lead. Gyles Brandreth who went so magnificently just then, has still only got one point. It's not a fair game really, is it? Pauline who has been lovely already but hasn't got any points at all. Marcus it's your turn to begin, will you take the subject now of my New Year’s resolution, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

MB: Mercifully for me, my New Year's resolution has also been ratified by the United Nations so it means not only will it be ignored by the international community, I also don't have to adhere to any promises that I will be making to myself or indeed to anybody else. But my New Year's resolution for the coming year is to clear out my garage. It's actually a lockup that exists in Fulham. But it's full of old props from various shows I have done, a lot of which need to be got rid of extremely quickly. The main reason being that I'm rather embarrassed about, ah, a number of them...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: I think that was hesitation.

NP: Yes I think we interpret that as hesitation.

MB: The word er!

PM: Yeah!

CF: That gave it away.

NP: Clement you've got in with 22 seconds available, my New Year's resolution starting now.

CF: I once made a New Year's resolution that I would give up smoking, drinking and going out with women...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Deviation, that's three New Year's resolutions.

NP: You could say that that was his New Year's resolution but there were three collective things within it. So I will give you a bonus point because the audience clapped and they seemed to enjoy it.

MB: Really? I'm not sure why.

NP: Well I give them out willy-nilly, that's my nature. And Clement you were interrupted so you keep the subject, 16 seconds, my New Year's resolution starting now.

CF: I had thought that doing that would make me lived longer, but it just seemed as if it were more a long time. New Year's resolutions are pretty stupid things to do, because by the second of January you have forgotten what they were and decided to...


NP: So Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went, gained another extra point. And he's moved now alongside Marcus. They're both in the lead, ahead of the other two. And Clement we'd like you to take the next round, the subject, the rat race. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: I've never been to a rat race. I've been to a cockfight. But I presume rat races has a rat wearing a jacket and a colour...


NP: Pauline challenged.

PM: I just thought the grammar was terrible! So I'm going to say that that was deviation. How about that?

NP: You worked so hard to work something out, didn't you.

PM: I did. I'm desperate to get on the points board as well.

NP: I know, it doesn't matter, it's lovely to have you here darling.

PM: Thank you.

NP: Never mind.

PM: The token woman!

NP: I don't, don't think his grammar was all that bad, not colloquially speaking. So Clement Freud, an incorrect challenge, the rat race is still with you, and there are 50 seconds available starting now.

CF: In the 15th and 16th centuries in Ireland, there were a huge number of rat races, from Limerick to Coleraine, go where you would, and rats would come out of their traps, carrying a jacket maybe and...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of jackets.

NP: Jackets yes, also a rat can't get out of a trap usually, I mean they usually get caught. Um so Gyles, correct challenge and you have 39 seconds available, the rat race starting now.

GB: The rat race, I love it. At birth I put my children down for a table at the Ivy. I don't believe any of this nonsense, namby-pamby stuff of the work-life balance. I believe in the rat race, ruthlessly...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Two believes.

NP: Oh yes you do believe.

GB: I do believe! I'm proud of this! I don't mind! Who cares about points?

NP: Well...

GB: I know you're right, the rat race, I do care about points! I got that wrong, I do, I care about points.

NP: Clement another point to you and 25 seconds, the rat race starting now.

CF: The mouse contest is terrific, I think better on the whole than a rat race. I have often watched these occasions in East Anglia, Ipswich, Norwich, Cambridge, you name it, I have witnessed a... rat...


NP: Gyles your challenge?

GB: I sense there was a hesitation.

NP: You didn't even sense it, it was there. So nine seconds for you, the rat race starting now.

GB: Dick Whittington is an extraordinary pantomime which features a rat race in good productions...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Yes I'm sorry, deviation, there's never been a good production of Dick Whittington!

GB: Oh yes there has!


NP: Oh no there hasn't!


NP: That got you!

PM: What have you done?

MB: For that reason!

NP: Well I think that challenge of yours hasn't won you any friends Marcus! And I'm not going to allow it because...


NP: I've been in no less than three productions of Dick Whittington.

MB: So...

PM: We rest our case!

NP: Ohhhh! Ohhh Pauline!

PM: How could I? I did it for a cheap laugh!

NP: I know.

PM: I'll...

NP: And I'll show you how generous I am, because you got your laugh, I'll give you a bonus point.

PM: Oh thank you, I could do with it at the moment!

NP: There we are. So who challenged, it was Marcus, an incorrect challenge, Gyles was interrupted, two seconds on the rat race starting now.

GB: The rat race is the most formidable thing in the history of the world!


PM: Oooooohh!

NP: So Gyles Brandreth was then speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point and he's creeping up on Marcus Brigstocke which is a rather invidious thing to do, and then Clement Freud is still in the lead one ahead. Pauline has a point or two and um...

PM: One point I've got, I can see it from here!

NP: Gyles it's your, I think you should take the next round, nice and topical for us all, London Bridge. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

GB: When I took part in the London bridge championships I opened with a blinder, playing three no trumps. The event took place at the Lake Navajo which is now the home of London bridge. In 1962 a misguided oil tycoon, thinking he was buying Tower Bridge, incorrectly purchased London Bridge and had it transported over to the United States of America to Arizona where this competition took place. And I have to say that the cards that I was given...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Why does he have to say that?

GB: Because it is, hard as it may seem, people won't believe this, we are paid a modest fee and therefore there's some element of compulsion in the contract!

NP: Yes I quite agree Gyles, you have to keep going somehow or other, don't you.

GB: Yeah.

NP: So if you want to bring out those phrases, you're entitled to do it. Clement they enjoyed your challenge so you get a bonus point for that, but you haven't got the subject. Gyles was interrupted, he keeps the subject of London Bridge, 35 seconds starting now.

GB: London Bridge was falling down, and a slight inclination of the cranium is as adequate as a spasmodic movement of one optic to an equine quadruped utterly devoid of any visionary capacity, as the guy said to me when we were halfway across it and really unnerved me because I thought, if this man is going to go on talking like this, I will have to commit suicide! Throw myself into the River Thames. But how foul it looks because there are these creatures that are half Jordan, half tins of sardines...


NP: Yes Clement you challenged first.

CF: Two halves.

NP: Two halves yes, half tin and half that. There speaks an experienced player of the game, they listen and pick up every word.

GB: Oh yes they do, is it relevant that two halves make a whole.

PM: I was just waiting for him to continue with the song because if he had done London Bridge is falling down, a little bit of repetition coming up, I thought! But no!

NP: Clement a correct challenge, you have 10 seconds, tell us more about London Bridge starting now.

CF: London Bridge is falling down is a song that I am unable to sing, mostly because I have no music, but also because I simply don't believe it.



NP: Oh no, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, before the whistle went, Gyles you pressed your buzzer and challenged. Your light came on, what's your challenge?

GB: There was a hesitation.

NP: A long hesitation.

GB: There was a long hesitation. He was waiting for the applause, the whistle, all that he thinks is his due!

NP: No I'll tell you, there was a full second to go on London Bridge, with you Gyles starting now.

GB: London Bridge, historically...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Was there a bit of a hesitation?

NP: No!

MB: I think there was, I think there was.

CF: Marcus agrees.

NP: It was a good try Clement, but of all people who come in more rapidly than anybody else, it's Gyles with his proliferation of speech. Gyles you have half a second on London Bridge starting now.

GB: Fast flows the River Thames...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point. He's moved forward, he's two behind Clement Freud our leader. And he's two ahead of Marcus Brigstocke who is in third place and they're all a few points ahead of Pauline McLynn and Pauline you are going to take the next round, the subject, how apt for you, my darling, the Blarney stone, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: In case nobody's noticed, I am of course Irish. And we are said to have been born having already kissed the Blarney Stone because we can talk at an international level on behalf of our country. This isn't true, I have kissed the Blarney stone, but...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Repetition of kissed.

NP: You kissed it too much.

PM: You can never, you can never kiss enough, can you? That's what I think. That shouldn't be allowed at all, no.

NP: I'm afraid it was a repetition so Marcus you've got 44 seconds, you tell us something about the Blarney stone starting now.

MB: I've snogged the Blarney stone with tongues! And my girlfriend was extremely angry because she claimed that my lips had become incredibly cold because it's very near to the sea. And the waves crash up over the Blarney stone and indeed...


NP: Pauline challenged.

PM: Not true, it's a deviation. The Blarney stone is in Blarney Castle and it is far from the sea.

MB: Oh I know that, but they were particularly high seas!

PM: No no! No you're just leading the people astray, and again it's the youngsters that I worry for, who will be going out with impossible...

NP: You have put him right historically and geographically. So you have the subject back, you have a point for that for a correct challenge and you have 29 seconds, the Blarney stone, Pauline starting now.

PM: When I kissed the Blarney stone, I noticed...


NP: Oh darling, darling, you said it before!

PM: Kissed!

NP: Yes!

PM: I can't get away from the kissing, can I?

NP: I know. So kissed, you got in first Marcus, 27 seconds, the Blarney stone starting now.

MB: Having not known where the Blarney stone was, it makes the ah relationship...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: The ah.

NP: Yes there was, the ah relationship.

PM: He has trouble with the relationship with that word!

MB: I was trying to give a slightly Irish lilt to what I was saying. The ahhhhh...

NP: There we are.

MB: That's fine.

NP: (in Irish accent) Well there we are, it's the Blarney stone, isn't it. Twenty-two seconds for you Gyles...

MB: Apparently it's in Somerset!

NP: (in Irish accent) I played Irishmen, I played once with the Abbey Players, would you like to know that.

PM: Oh no! Could they have not got just a really bad Irish actor to do it?

NP: (in Irish accent) No Pauline I can tell you, there were so many bad Irish actors around, they wanted someone who was a little bit more genuine like, you see. (normal voice) So Gyles, correct challenge, you have 22 seconds, the Blarney stone starting now.

GB: When Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde visited Blarney Castle, and attempted to have physical contact...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Repetition of Castle from...

NP: No no no...

GB: I haven't said Castle before.

NP: It was Pauline said Castle before.

MB: Oh.

NP: Pauline said Castle, not....

MB: You're quite right, sorry, I'm still smarting from not knowing where it was.

NP: So Gyles you have another point for an incorrect challenge and you keep the subject, six, 18 seconds, the Blarney stone starting now.

GB: He advised against physical contact with the Blarney stone because he believed it would lead to disease, the illness in question being logorrhoea which results in actually making much too much of your lang...


GB: Oh yes! Oh blast!

NP: Clement you...

GB: Oh no! No!

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Natural phrases come out, and they're repetition.

PM: He's so adamant isn't he, it's like me and the kissing, it's his downfall.

GB: Yes, with you it's the kissing, with me it's too much!

NP: Does that go on in real life with you too Pauline?

PM: The kissing? Oh yes definitely.

NP: Oh I'm looking forward to the hospitality afterwards!

PM: It's that or flashing my boobs at people, you can choose. You can choose later.

NP: I'll have both if you don't mind!

PM: Oh my poor mother.

NP: Clement you have a correct challenge, the Blarney stone, and five seconds available starting now.

CF: My relationship with the Blarney stone is wholly platonic. I have stroked it, sent it Christmas presents...


NP: So Clement Freud with points in the round including for one for speaking when the whistle went has moved forward and he's now just in the lead, ahead of Gyles Brandreth and Marcus Brigstocke and Pauline McLynn in that order. Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject is Maid Marian. Tell us something about that delightful lady in this game starting now.

CF: I think Robin Hood made Marian. She was his bit on the side. In the 13th or 14th century, ah, the...


NP: Marcus yes.

MB: I'm afraid there was a hesitation.

NP: There was an er yes, so Marcus, correct challenge...

MB: Infectious Clement, I'm sorry.

NP: Forty-nine seconds, you tell us something about Maid Marian starting now.

MB: I've never met her, but I have spent a fair bit of time in Sherwood Forest looking for her. I believe her to be an...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of her.

NP: Yes.

CF: Her her.

NP: Never met her and looking for her.

PM: Well when you've made Marian you just can't get enough of her, can you. He's gone back there again and again.

NP: Correct challenge Clement, 43 seconds, Maid Marian starting now.

CF: There was in that brotherhood a man called Friar Tuck, which I always thought was a spoonerism. But actually...


CF: Never mind!

PM: It seems unfair to buzz that, doesn't it, because it was so beautiful!

MB: I feel deeply ashamed that I buzzed that but there was, there was hesitation while we all enjoyed...

NP: I know.

MB: Working out exactly...

NP: He made his remark and got the laugh and almost retired on it. But anyway you got in with a, it was hesitation so I have to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute. Thirty-three seconds, Maid Marian with you Marcus starting now.

MB: In the recent BBC drama of...


NP: Oh! Clement...

MB: No!

NP: Yes!

PM: Oh that is so cruel!

MB: There it was and I walked right into it.

NP: No there's the old hand at the game, he spots these things immediately, BB yes. Clement you're in with 31 seconds...

PM: So cruel!

NP: ... on Maid Marian starting now.

CF: The British Broadcasting Corporation did a series on Maid Marian. And I can't remember who played the part, although I certainly auditioned for it.


CF: And that's about all I have to say.

NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Yes hesitation.

NP: Yes he hesitated, 17 seconds Marcus, Maid Marian starting now.

MB: In the recent televised drama, they gave Maid...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Drama.

NP: What drama?

PM: He said earlier.

GB: Earlier he said it was the BBC drama...

NP: Oh yes. Right you did.

CF: No no.

GB: Yes he did.

CF: I buzzed him on BBC before he said drama.

GB: No.

NP: Clement is quite right, he said drama after the buzz went. So it was an incorrect challenge.

CF: Do I get a point?

PM: Controversial! Controversial!

NP: Marcus you have another point too, and Maid Marian is with you, 15 seconds starting now.

MB: Look my point is simply this. She's an extremely pretty girl but she has got a rather thick neck. Now that is fully understandable given the fact that she is also the night porter...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Three shes.

NP: There were too many shes. We often let two go, but three...

CF: Yeah.

NP: Yes.

MB: Yeah.

NP: Right Gyles, you've got in, four seconds, Maid Marian starting now.

GB: The actor John Wayne's real name was Marion Morrison and it was because as a child, he was teased cruelly...


NP: So Gyles was speaking as the whistle went and got the extra point. He's now equal with Clement Freud and they're both behind our leader Marcus Brigstocke. As we move into the final round and Marcus it's your turn to begin so will you take the subject of whippersnappers, 60 seconds starting now.

MB: At fetish parties, it is considered extremely bad manners to turn up with a camera. However some people do and they're always inclined to click photographs of people whipping each other. They...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of people.

NP: Oh yes.

CF: I don't want whippersnappers.

MB: Well neither did I, it's very embarrassing, the ah...

NP: You've got whippersnappers...

CF: Can I sell it?

NP: Can you what? Anybody want to make an offer, he wants to sell it.

GB: What does he want to sell?

NP: The subject.

GB: Oh.

PM: Oh.

NP: It's all gone deadly quiet. I'm sorry, I was trying to make a bit of a humour, it doesn't work, we'll carry on. Clement you have 49 seconds, whippersnappers starting now.

CF: You need a camera and a whip.


PM: Who could blame him for hesitating there?

NP: Right Clement, Gyles you challenged.

GB: There was a hesitation.

NP: I think there definitely was, there was a halt. Forty-eight seconds, whippersnappers starting now.

GB: Whippersnappers are ruling the world. The Prime Minister now goes about dressed in orange makeup looking like Dale Winton on speed, entirely so that he can look juvenile...


NP: Pauline you challenged.

PM: Just on behalf of Dale Winton, I have to say that as far as I know, he has never taken speed.

GB: Looking like Dale Winton would look on speed.

NP: He did mention looking like it.

PM: All right, all right.

NP: So I think it's an incorrect challenge.

PM: As Clement would say, I just like to say hello!

NP: Darling, you've been helloing quite a lot, you've got quite a lot of points. And 36 seconds for you Gyles on whippersnappers starting now.

GB: Even the Pope is younger than Sir Clement Freud. When it has come to this, we have to accept that our globe is being overrun by these whippersnappers, who may have youth on their side, but they don't have the experience and maturity, wisdom and sense of timing that is the gift of the former Member of Parliament for Ely, one of the wisest and most physically attractive mature men that I have ever come across. When I use that phrase of course, I don't mean it literally, I mean it entirely figuratively. And I'm so sorry that I've mentioned that now because obviously this particular item will have to come out and I was about to actually hit the 60 second mark...


NP: So the final situation is Pauline actually came from fairly well nowhere point wise, but not in talent, but and she finished up in a magnificent fourth place. But she was only four points behind Clement Freud who was in a very truly great second place. And I say he was great, because he was only two points behind, and this is very fair and very apt. Gyles Brandreth and Marcus Brigstocke who are both equal in first place so we say these are the joint winners this week! It only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Marcus Brigstocke, Gyles Brandreth, Pauline McLynn and Clement Freud. I thank Charlotte Davies, who has helped me with the score, and blown her whistle with great aplomb whenever the 60 seconds have elapsed. We thank our producer Tilusha Ghelani. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience here in the Mermaid Theatre in Puddledock who have cheered us on our way magnificently. From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons and the team, good-bye, tune in again the next time we play Just A Minute!