NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome our many listeners, in this country and of course around the world. But also to welcome to the programme, four talented exponents of this game who are going to show their spontaneous verbal ingenuity and dexterity as they try and speak on the subject that I give them and do that without hesitation or repetition or deviation. And those four are, seated on my right, Marcus Brigstocke and Clement Freud. And seated on my left, Pauline McLynn and Gyles Brandreth. Will you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Charlotte Davies, who is going to help me with the score, and blow the whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the lovely Mermaid Theatre in Puddledock on the edge of the Thames, built by Bernard Miles many years ago, and now a thriving theatre. And we have a thriving throbbing London audience here. And Gyles we're with you to start and the subject is white elephant. Sixty seconds beginning now.

GYLES BRANDRETH: White elephants are things that really are more trouble than they are worth. Their origin comes from the albino white elephant of the orient. The King of Thailand would give them to servants he didn't like because they were so expensive to maintain because people worshipped them, that the aforementioned slaves would...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: It was called Siam at the time.

GB: No, not at all, I don't think that.

NP: I think to be fair to Gyles, he was referring to Thailand as we call it now. But as you said it was at that time called Siam. We will give you a bonus point Clement, because I thought it was an interesting and amusing interruption.


NP: And Gyles what are you looking for.

GB: I'm interested that you don't know that Thailand and Siam are completely different places, they're not the same thing at all. They're not, the King of Siam is not the King of Thailand. Two different people. The King of Thailand went to visit the King of Siam on occasion. Oh yes.

PAULINE McLYNN: Are you sure about that?

GB: Oh yes I'm bluffing! Nicholas had no idea!

PM: We never guessed!

GB: He never guessed! He never guessed! And you could see the fear in his eyes! Can I stop the programme? I almost got away with it, then he was thinking back, I saw The King And I, surely Deborah Kerr didn't dance with, was it the King of Siam?

PM: It was Yul Brynner.

GB: Was Yul Brynner Thai? No, he was American surely!

PM: Wasn't he the King of...

NP: Gyles, look, in a minute I'll take the whole subject away from you! I'm always fair within this game. Clement gets a bonus point because they enjoyed what he said...

CF: Thailand is now called Rutland!

PM: I'm very confused now!

MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE: I've been there and the rutting is excellent!

NP: Gyles you have the benefit of the doubt and 44 seconds and you begin now.

GB: I used to wear colourful knitwear on television, and my jumpers were, in a way, white elephants for me. Mixed with albatrosses, because these are a curse, because of the cost of maintaining these in the wardrobe...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: I'm sorry to be a stickler, but repetition of these.

NP: Yes there were two these, these, these things.

MB: There was a factual inaccuracy as well, I think you said brightly coloured jumpers, that doesn't even come close!

NP: I think you are right on the other one, but I wouldn't have given it to you if you had challenged on that. But you have got in on these and you have 32 seconds to tell us something about white elephants starting now.

MB: The white elephant is now a stall at many a... fete where you can buy rubbish...


NP: Pauline you challenged.

PM: You know, I was going to let him off, but there was a long er before fete.

NP: There was a long er, there was a definite er.

MB: I'm tempted to claim it's a linguistic foible!

NP: No Pauline, you've got in with 28 seconds, tell us something about white elephants starting now.

PM: My brother is a very good golfer, and he wins a lot of prizes for said game. And he always gives me whatever he wins. I have a whole ugly shelf full of white elephants...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Ah repetition of wins.

CF: Yeah.

NP: Yes.

PM: Repetition of what? I just heard the er that you said at the beginning of that.

MB: Yeah ummmm.

GB: Wins.

PM: Wins, okay.

MB: It was repetition of wins.

NP: Wins yes, he was winning too much. But they did enjoy what you said afterwards when you came back to him about the er.

PM: Give us a point, go on!

NP: Give her a bonus point.

PM: All right, go mad!

NP: But Marcus you have a point for a correct challenge, you have white elephants starting now.

MB: I once rode a white elephant while I was visiting Thailand. And it had its...


NP: Pauline challenged.

PM: Deviant behaviour, so I want to say deviation. It's the romantic in me, I'm sorry.

NP: I don't know whether he rode a white elephant or not. It's quite possible that he did actually ride a white elephant in Thailand.

PM: I hope he didn't, I think it's against the law, I really do!

NP: It's very unlikely so I'll tell you what we'll do, we'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

PM: Oh right, I'm sorry now of course, because I hardly have anything to say on it!

NP: We'll say that we don't believe he did ride a white elephant. So Pauline you have deviation and you have 14 seconds...

MB: I've got a picture of it! Ummm I mean...

NP: All right give him a bonus point for that because...

MB: .... not on me, one doesn't tend to carry around that sort of thing! But...

NP: No, Pauline has the benefit of the doubt definitely...

MB: Yeah.

NP: And she has 14 seconds, white elephant starting now.

PM: I think anybody's house is full of white elephants, isn't it. You're given...


NP: Marcus.

MB: I think that's very unlikely, you'd have to live in an enormous house, certainly the elephant that I wrote, factually, ahhh, once I'd covered it in talcum and made it a white elephant, ah, wouldn't have fitted into anybody's house.

NP: But that's being factual. We'll give you a bonus point as they enjoyed your interruption. But actually white elephants are things that you don't want and have still got in the house, that's what you were referring to. All those things that are white elephants, objects.

PM: Yes.

NP: Absolutely. Right and you still have the subject Paul, 10 seconds, white elephants starting now.

PM: I dread Christmas, because I know that everybody is going to give me crap that I don't want and I'll end up with... white elephants...


NP: Gyles challenged.

PM: Oh no! Do you know I was so busy scoring points that I, I forgot and I'll save it for again.

GB: And can I say that I'm challenging on her behalf?

NP: All right, if you're going to be generous like that.

GB: I'd like to give her a little buzz if I may.

NP: Well there's only four seconds to go...

GB: Four seconds is more than enough, she will find!

NP: So Pauline you have four seconds to enjoy yourself and engage with these four fellows up here as you go on white elephants starting now.

PM: White elephants are...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: I'd like her to have another point.

NP: Right!

PM: I can win this you know, at this rate....

NP: Yeah you could at this rate, right!

PM: I'm getting these buzz points!

NP: There are now one and a half seconds on white elephants starting now.

PM: I would like to buzz around a white elephant as it...


NP: Pauline McLynn was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And she got a lot of other points in that round. And Marcus it's your turn to begin so will you take the subject of holiday snaps. Will you talk on it for 60 seconds if you can starting now.

MB: I often wish that I carried my holiday snaps around with me, for no other reason than to verify many of the things that have taken place on adventures that I have had around the world. I think amongst the most dramatic holiday snaps that I have ever had would be ahhhhh...


MB: Ohhhhhhh!

NP: The audience applaud, what were you just about to say Marcus?

MB: Ah I can't remember, the length of the er beforehand...

NP: So Gyles you challenged first.

GB: It was hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes, we grant you that, you have a correct challenge so you take a point for that, you take over the subject and there are 43 seconds available, holiday snaps starting now.

GB: Never mind holiday snaps, in our family we got for full-blown holiday rows, that's what we like, mostly about the way the photographs are taken. My wife who I'm trying to persuade to start shaving her legs, it's part of our mid-life crisis, is very keen on taking photographs of scenery whereas I...


NP: Marcus you challenged.

MB: Repetition of photographs.

NP: Yes you mentioned photographs when you started.

PM: Is your wife shaving her legs on the front and back because that is the sign of an affair, I can just tell you.

NP: Pauline I don't think they have many hairs on the back of their legs.

PM: Ladies?

NP: Yes.

PM: Oh look, I'll show you later! Poor Nicholas!

NP: I'll give Pauline a bonus point, we did enjoy what she said. Marcus you had a correct challenge and you have holiday snaps and there are 27 seconds starting now.

MB: I'm quite sure that the most exciting holiday snap that I've ever had was when I broke my leg skiing. It was a clean snap right through the middle...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of snap, the word on the card is snaps.

NP: He didn't say snap the first time, did he?

GB: Yeah.

PM: He did actually.

NP: The snap I had.

MB: I think I did.

PM: Ohhhhh!

NP: The snap.

MB: Yes.

PM: Ohhhhh!

MB: That's exactly the right noise, thank you!

NP: So Gyles you cleverly listened and cleverly got in with 19 seconds on holiday snaps starting now.

GB: The sound I have just been hearing remind me of the holiday snaps I took of erupting Vesuvius. The picture is not very good...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Vesuvius hasn't erupted within your lifetime so it's a...

GB: Oh!

PM: Unless he's got a portrait!

GB: I'm so flattered by that, I'm going to go along with that! I don't mind.

NP: Very very clever...

PM: Unless he's got a portrait in the attic, I think Marcus is right.

NP: He is right darling, I know that.

PM: I just had to speak up just to remind you I'm here.

NP: Yes.

GB: I'm afraid this isn't correct because Vesuvius last erupted in 1953 and I know...

PM: Don't believe a word that that man says! We know that he lies!

NP: No Marcus, I agree with you, you have 11 seconds on holiday snaps...

GB: Is there a website where people can actually post these things into you so that you can read about it later?

MB: Yes there's a picture of me riding a white elephant...

NP: So Marcus you have 11 seconds on holiday snaps starting now.

MB: I have an underwater photograph of myself standing on the bed of the sea holding a piece of bread which is being nibbled at by several fish. Unfortunately they also took...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: I just wanted to say hello.

PM: That's the side of Clement I love.

GB: He likes to say hello, you notice, in second 58.

PM: Yeah.

GB: That's when he chooses to say hello.

NP: Anyway the audience reaction was enough to justify me saying Clement you have a bonus point, because they enjoyed what you said. But Marcus was interrupted so he continues with holiday snaps with three seconds to go starting now.

MB: I never lost a finger to these vile and unpleasant...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. It was Marcus Brigstocke who has got a strong lead at the end of that round. Pauline will you take the next round. Here's a good subject for you, last man standing. Sixty seconds starting now.

PM: When I was a student which was some time before the tractor was invented, a big...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: It certainly wasn't!

PM: Oh you old smoothie! My husband may listen to this while making horrid love to me. I'm going to start shaving my legs, I am!

NP: Gyles...

GB: It's a deviation from the truth, the point is...

NP: It's a deviation from the truth, but she was speaking colloquially and sometimes...

GB: Well so was I when I was talking about Vesuvius!

NP: I know you were, so Pauline you have the benefit of the doubt and you keep the subject, last man standing, 55 seconds starting now.

PM: When I was younger it was a badge of honour to be the last man standing. For years I challenged for the title. And eventually when I was the last man standing I realised that it was an entirely sexist sort of a thing because I could never be a man, no matter how I tried. And sometimes I would whip out my manliness and compare it with the other boys. But I realised that it's just not the same as theirs. And in fact my man would never stand...


PM: I'm so sorry about that, I've just even turned myself completely...

NP: Actually darling...

PM: .... green at the thought of that.

NP: Pauline you've been challenged.

GB: Deviation, hesitation.

NP: Which do you want?

GB: Well it depends what she's offering!

NP: I want to know within the rules of Just A Minute what your challenge is, for I may agree or disagree.

GB: My challenge actually was hesitation.

NP: Yes all right, you can have hesitation. Gyles she did hesitate, there are 27 seconds, tell us something about last man standing starting now.

GB: You will recall the famous last words of General Sedgewick at the Battle of Spotsilvania. They couldn't hit an elephant...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Deviation, I don't recall them at all.

NP: Yes Gyles...

MB: You said I would and I don't.

GB: This, no but this is the point of the story, that I was the last man standing. You were there but you didn't recall them because you were no longer standing. I was coming to that.

MB: But you said that I would recall them and I simply don't. And as Clement rightly says, I wasn't there.

NP: Right so he was speaking metaphorically which you're allowed to do in Just A Minute in going on. But if you challenged him for the fact of the Battle, I think you might have got closer to deviation. But you didn't so Gyles you still have the subject, 22 seconds, last man standing starting now.

GB: On the 33 bus travelling from Hammersmith to my home...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: I want to challenge him on what you said he had... done before but I wasn't listening very carefully!

NP: Give Clement another bonus point. Gyles you were interrupted, you have 20 seconds, last man standing starting now.

GB: Also on the Tube, I find I am the last man standing. Because all the other blokes have managed to be sitting there, squatting with their legs wide apart looking grotesque. And extraordinary Australian people are there with backpacks, knocking...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes there were too many people.

GB: I suppose so yes that is the problem with the Underground. Too many people.

NP: Yes Clement you got in with a correct challenge, and you've got six seconds, last man standing starting now.

CF: The last man standing is a sort of distant relation of the first man sitting, a great friend of mine. I...


NP: Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went. He's now moved forward, he's equal with Gyles Brandreth in second place. They are one point behind Marcus Brigstocke who is in the lead and they are three ahead of Pauline McLynn. Clement will you take the next round, the subject is three of a kind, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: Three of a kind is a poker term among others.... If you...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: I felt there was a hesitation.

NP: There was.

GB: I was really interested to hear more but I felt there was a hesitation.

CF: I'll tell you more.

GB: Tell me later.

CF: Yeah.

GB: I'd like that.

NP: I do have to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute, I'm afraid it was a hesitation Clement.

CF: But nobody in the audience noticed.

NP: No! Give Clement another bonus point for that. Right, Gyles correct challenge and 55 seconds starting now.

GB: At school I was in the same class as the Balls sisters, they were three of a kind. Ophelia was my favourite. She was something of a goer. It was that lovely lassie who introduced me...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: She was, she was.

NP: She was, she was, you said she was...

PM: Oh she was, so she was!

NP: Clement you've got back in, 43 seconds, three of a kind starting now.

CF: A pair is the lowest combination which, in the game I mentioned previously, counts for you. Then two pairs...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: No sorry, it was a false, it was a wrong 'un. Pair and then two pairs.

NP: Pairs, that's right yes.

MB: There is a slight deviation because high card... I'm sorry! I've been hit! But.... unbelievable. No-one at home knows, I have just been attacked by Sir... physically attacked by Sir Clement Freud!

PM: He struck you!

NP: So Clement it was an incorrect challenge again so you are continuing with 34 seconds on three of a kind starting now.

CF: A straight followed by a full house would be other combinations of playing cards which you might well confuse the enemy or the people with whom you are playing. Three of a kind could also refer to a family, like triplets, one of which could be identical...


NP: So Marcus you challenged, and you're still trying to work out...

MB: Yeah, I'm write... I've written the whole thing down and I think it's deviation because...

NP: I would have him for hesitation if I were you.

CF: Too late.

MB: No, deviation, how could only one of them be identical?

NP: One of them could be identical to one of the other two.

MB: No! No that... two of them would have to be identical.

NP: No.

MB: Those are the rules of being identical.

NP: There would be two identical ones, there would be two identical ones then and one who wasn't identical.

MB: I'm sorry? There could be two identical ones and what?

NP: One, one who was not identical.

MB: Yes but...

NP: It's different.

MB: Yes I know it's different! But you can't, you can't call that third one different just because they are. But Clement said one of them could be identical, and at least two of them would have to be identical.

NP: Well if one of them was identical, then one of the other ones must look exactly the same, which means they're two...

MB: Yes!

NP: ... and there's one...

MB: My point exactly!

NP: I know! And I disagree with it! Clement I think, I give you the benefit of the doubt, you have a correct challenge yes...

MB: Even Clement can't believe it!

CF: I haven't...

NP: One of them is identical to one of the other two!

MB: Yes, which means, if they're identical, that one of the others must also be identical! That's how identical works!

NP: No, I'm going to put this to the audience! If you agree with Marcus, will you please cheer for him. And if you disagree with Marcus, will you all shout for me. And will you all do it together now.


NP: Marcus I actually think the audience agree with you. So... I disagree with the audience. But I'm always magnanimous in these situations and the audience has spoken, the final arbiters. So Marcus you have the subject and 14 seconds starting now, three of a kind.

MB: I once won 40 quid with a hand of three of a kind. Unfortunately it was not whilst I was playing poker. It was actually on a bet over which of the...


NP: Pauline challenged.

PM: I think he said actually twice, did he?

NP: Yes you did mmm.

MB: I don't think I did.

NP: Well I'm prejudiced against you now so...

MB: Yes although interestingly if I had said it, I suppose the second actually would have been identical to the first one? Or a unique second... it's so hard to tell, isn't it.

NP: No you didn't say it, I was being naughty there. Right so you have a point and you have six seconds available starting now.

MB: There are few things in life more pleasing than winning a large amount of money from your friends...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: He said amount of money before.

NP: You had amount.

CF: Forty quid he said.

MB: That's not identical!

NP: No!

MB: That's an amount of money! I can't believe I have to explain this to you! That's an amount of money.

NP: Well Clement was being very generous and said it was 40 quid and not money, so it's an incorrect challenge.

MB: Yes.

NP: Right. So...

MB: Thank you.

NP: Isn't that right Clement?

CF: No.

NP: Why not? What are you saying then?

CF: I want a point!

NP: Give Clement a point, he's working so hard for it. And Marcus you have a point for an incorrect challenge and two seconds on three of a kind starting now.

MB: When I won that...


NP: Well I'm glad that round is over!

GB: So are we, because we missed virtually all of The Archers!

NP: Yes...

PM: It's nearly identical every episode, it's all right!

NP: I must say if we'd kept all that running, yes we could have gone into The Archers, couldn't we. But I think people would have said that's identical. Gyles will you take the next round, my greatest extravagance. Tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

GB: My greatest extravagance is probably my chest-wig which comes complete with matching underarm toupees. I have a problem with my hair. When I was a member of Parliament, I decided to go grey overnight to show my loyalty to John Major. And later when William Hague became the leader of my party, I began to go bald. I was only...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Repetition of began.

NP: Began you were saying, you began twice...

CF: No.

NP: Yes, began to do this and began to do that. And 40 seconds with you Marcus, my greatest extravagance starting now.

MB: I suppose my greatest extravagance, if pushed, would be an island that I own in the middle of the Caribbean. It's only five or maybe six acres, but I enjoy it. It's somewhere to spend the odd weekend. It does cost me quite a lot of money, but then I was born extremely rich. And I'm very glad about that because it has meant that I can take holidays there and have pictures of me riding about on white elephants, feeding fish underwater great loaves of bread and occasionally my fingers as well. So it does take up a lot of my time, but as I'm happy to...


NP: Pauline challenged.

PM: I think he said a lot twice.

NP: Yes you did say it.

PM: And he said a lot too, I'd like to compliment him on that, but the actual phrase a lot.

NP: That's right darling, you don't have to justify it.

CF: Well you're not going to be asked to his island!

PM: No!

MB: No!

PM: So not!

NP: And Pauline you cleverly got in with three seconds to go on my greatest extravagance starting now.

PM: My greatest extravagance is razors which shave my legs front and back...


NP: So Pauline McLynn with the extra point for speaking as the whistle went and other points. We're moving into the final round I'm afraid to say. Let me give you the situation as we do so, because it is extraordinarily close. Pauline McLynn is only just in fourth place, and she's only one point behind Clement Freud. And Clement is only two points behind Marcus Brigstocke and Gyles Brandreth who actually won last time that they were here, joint together. So they're neck and neck as we go into the final round. And Marcus it happens to be your turn to begin, so the subject we have now here is dear diary. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

MB: Dear diary, I would say that about 40 quid was quite dear for a diary, although I'd be...


NP: Gyles challenged. Why? You looked nonplussed Gyles.

GB: Well I am really. Well there was ahhhh....

NP: Right so an incorrect challenge...

GB: I know, I know, I was passing her a note, that was all! And she couldn't...

PM: Shall I read it out?

GB: Well...

PM: Your handwriting is terrible.

GB: It's simply oh-triple seven-three-four-nine-four-one-nine...

NP: An incorrect challenge Marcus...

GB: I'm just gobbling now.

NP: ... 56 seconds on dear diary starting now.

MB: I would be willing to pay up to a hundred pounds for a diary, provided every single page already had its entry written upon it from somebody far more interesting than myself. I'd settle for Sir Clement Freud, to be honest with you...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Me too!

NP: Clement I think you're going to win on bonus points. So we give you a bonus point for that because the audience enjoyed your interruption. But Marcus was interrupted so he keeps the subject, 43 seconds, dear diary starting now.

MB: I have never kept a diary primarily because my sister always stole mine. Nonetheless when I did have them, I was inclined to write little details...


NP: Pauline challenged.

PM: He said I have never kept a diary, and then said however when I did. That's deviation.

NP: Yes that's right, I never kept a diary but when I did.

PM: Yeah. He's a very confused young man, we know this.

NP: I would call that a bit of Irish logic actually.

PM: Yeah yeah, twistie.

NP: But you spotted it right away Pauline so right, a correct challenge and you have 35 seconds, dear diary starting now.

PM: It is a very dangerous thing to keep a diary because people cannot help themselves, they will read it. And your darkest secret. I often write mine when I'm very very drunk which...


NP: Oh Gyles!

PM: Oh yeah!

NP: Very very yes.

PM: Because I am usually very very...

NP: Twenty-four seconds for you Gyles on dear diary starting now.

GB: Dear diary, tonight on Just A Minute I sat next to the delicious Pauline McLynn and there was an erotic charge in the room. She had introduced me earlier...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: I would just like to buzz in to say, will you two pack it in!


MB: I mean, really! Get a room or something!

NP: It's got nothing to do with Just A Minute, right. But Marcus they enjoyed your interruption, you get a bonus point for that. But he didn't commit any of the rules of Just A Minute so he keeps the subject with 17 seconds, dear diary starting now.

GB: Dear diary, you need to know that the Swiss kiss to which I was introduced by the aforementioned maid is a French one through which you yodel. There is a slight aftertaste of elmontale but the Irish sounds which she emitted while we were osculating this were really quite extraordinary. In the room with us were several older men...


NP: So Gyles Brandreth was then speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point. And let me give you the final situation. Pauline McLynn who did so well last time at the Mermaid did even better this time, but she still finished in fourth place. But let's be fair, she's lovely. She only came one point behind Clement Freud who was second place.

CF: Third.

NP: He was in second place, because Gyles Brandreth and Marcus Brigstocke both finished up equal winners!

PM: Identical!

NP: So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful and exciting players of the game, Marcus Brigstocke, Gyles Brandreth, Pauline McLynn and Clement Freud. I also thank Charlotte Davies, who has helped me with the score, she blowed her whistle with great style and aplomb. And also we are grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And also we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are very grateful to this lovely audience who have joined in on occasions but have also supported us and enjoyed themselves. So from me Nicholas Parsons and the team and you, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!