NOTE: Josie Lawrence's first appearance.

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 throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme this week four talented wonderful personalities who are going to play Just A Minute. And they are seated on my right, that extraordinary comedian, stalwart of the show, very entertaining, that is Paul Merton. And seated beside him we have the veteran player of the game who always contributes so much, Clement Freud. And seated on my left, we have someone who is a very amusing and entertaining stand-up comedian and also a very good producer-director, that is Chris Neill. And beside him we have someone who we have been trying to persuade on to the show for a long time. It's her first time on Just A Minute. We welcome the lovely, delightful, beautiful comedian and musical comedy star, Josie Lawrence. Please welcome all four of them! Thank you, and as usual I'm going to ask them to speak on a subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Trudi Stevens, who is going to help me with the score, she is going to blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Montford Hall, here in Leicester. And as you can hear we have a very enthusiastic Leicestershire audience ready for the show to start. And we are going to begin with Paul Merton. But before we do, there's just one thing I want to say. And that is this show is 40 years old now. And this is the beginning of the 41st year shall I say. So we thought it would be rather apt if we began with the subject that is life begins at 40. Paul can you talk on that subject for 60 seconds if you can starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Life begins at 40 is one of those phrases used by 39-year-olds to explain why they haven't got anywhere in their existence. It's something which you often hear people say to each other. "You know, once I was 40, I realised I had to change the direction of my life. I suddenly thought to myself no longer will I work in the civil service, after all I'm now 40! I shall give up that occupation and find myself a desert island somewhere, maybe in the Outer Hebrides where I can go and live..."


NP: Clement has challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: There are no deserts in the Outer Hebrides!

PM: Was I lost?

NP: There might be deserted islands in the Outer Hebrides. But no deserts.

PM: Does that make a difference?

NP: Big difference.

PM: Oh.

NP: Because one is very hot, and it's not very hot in the Outer Hebrides.

PM: Oh I might as well make a note of that. Thank you.

NP: So Clement you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that of course and you take over the subject and it is life begins at 40 and you begin now.

CF: Charles Fortee was very keen on saying that life began there, the pizzas and the pastas, all sorts of foods which you couldn't get at Lyons Corner House...


NP: Chris has challenged.

CHRIS NEILL: Well he's talking about food rather than life, talking about pizzas and pastas and things.

NP: Well he was talking about Fortee, and it was Charles Fortee.

JOSIE LAWRENCE: Sorry, I just buzzed then.

NP: You buzzed? What was you...

CN: What did you...

JL: Well I think food is life!

NP: There you are, I think your comment deserves a bonus point. But Chris what was your challenge?

CN: Well that food, he was talking about food, and the subject is life begins at 40. Now whether it's 40 or Fortee...

NP: Chris I know the way you're going. But he established he was talking about Charles Fortee and he is associated with food, pasta, he was Italian and so forth. I think he wasn't deviating enough.

CN: Okay.

NP: So yes...

CN: Sorry Leicester!

NP: Not at all! He gets a point because it was an incorrect challenge, he keeps the subject and there are 19 seconds available, life begins at 40 Clement starting now.

CF: This is one people say you should live for one score year and 10, because the first two score don't count.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of score.

NP: Yes there was too many scores there.

JL: Gosh yes!

NP: It's all right, no no...

JL: Repetition!

NP: So Paul you have a correct challenge, you have life begins at 40, you have 10 seconds still available and you start now.

PM: I live at number 38 but the people next door...


NP: Chris challenged.

CN: Paul said live before.

NP: Yes you did talk about living before.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Yes.

JL: Gosh it's complex.

NP: Well listened Chris. So Chris you have a correct challenge now, you have none, eight seconds available, life begins at 40 starting now.

CN: Life begins at 40 is something you do not want to hear if you are a fruit fly, for you only have 24 little hours...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Chris Neill and at the end of that round he has two points, Clement has two, Josie and Paul have one. And Clement will you begin the next round, ah yes, big Ben. Tell us something about big Ben in this game starting now.

CF: I seem to remember that big Ben was one of the Flowerpot Men. The other was called little Bill. But fairly well everywhere you go there would be different big Bens like in London there might be a church. In Pittsburgh it is an extremely talented football player who has an almost unpronounceable and certainly unspellable surname. Let me try and give you the nouns and the consonants that make up... perhaps I won't...


NP: Chris you challenged.

CN: A little hesitation.

NP: A little hesitation?

CN: No, a big hesitation.

NP: I agree. You have the challenge, you have a correct challenge, 26 seconds, tell us something about big Ben, Chris starting now.

CN: Big Ben is a stripper I know, he lives in Ashby-dela-Zouch. He's, he's not as much fun...


NP: Oh Josie challenged.

JL: Yes he went he's he's not as much fun.

CN: Yeah I repeated he's.

NP: Yeah yes, you did repeat he. Well listened Josie...

CN: Give it to my friend Josie.

NP: I know, so Josie you've got a correct challenge, you have 21 seconds and the subject is big Ben and you begin now.

JL: As most of us know, Big Ben is actually the bell. And I actually went.... oh bugger!


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Ah...

JL: (laughs) No I know...

PM: Before the charming invitation!

JL: Oh no, no no...

PM: She said two actuallys!

JL: I did, I did.

NP: You did two actuallys! But as it's the first time she's spoken...

PM: First time she's played it, yeah!

NP: First time she's played, well it's the first time she's spoken on Just A Minute...

PM: First time she's spoken, yeah.

NP: ... on the round...

PM: Give her the benefit of the doubt! Give her the benefit of the doubt!

NP: We couldn't bear to penalise her for that.

PM: No no no.

NP: It would be most embarrassing.

PM: Yes it would be yeah.

NP: So we won't take any points away...

PM: No!

NP: Paul must get a point because it was a correct challenge.

JL: Yes.

NP: You must get a point because we love you, and you have 15 seconds starting now.

JL: I used to go out...


NP: Someone challenged? Paul?

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Rubbish! No! He may be a friend of yours but I think he's winding you up!

JL: I know he is!

NP: Yes! So you have a point for that...

JL: Oh do I?

NP: Incorrect challenge yes, and 14 and a half seconds...

JL: Fourteen and a half?

NP: Yes, big Ben starting now.


NP: Chris?

CN: Well that was a hesitation!

JL: It wasn't!

NP: No that was!

JL: I only turned to the mike, I was...

NP: I know darling, you have to get going as soon as I say now.

JL: Right.

NP: Fourteen seconds, big Ben starting now.

CN: Big Ben is the big clock which is attached...


JL: Oh no!

NP: Josie challenged.

JL: he can say big, can't he!

CN: I certainly can.

NP: You can repeat what's on the card, it doesn't matter. Josie didn't know.

JL: No I didn't.

NP: I won't charge anything on that, Chris you carry on, 12 seconds, big Ben starting now.

CN: Big Ben, Big Ben, Big Ben, Big Ben, it's a clock attached to the Houses of Parliament...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: I think that's too many!

NP: Yes we have established in previous shows Clement, which you are aware of, that if you go for too many, then you will be penalised.

CN: Would three have been all right?

NP: Three would have been all right yes, you did half a dozen. Clement, six seconds, big Ben starting now.

CF: Actually Big...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: That was a hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation.

PM: Wasn't it just.

NP: Yes yes.

PM: Wasn't it just, it was, yeah.

NP: And you've been dieing to get in on big Ben so you have four seconds to tell us something about this subject starting now.

PM: Having established...


NP: Josie's challenged.

JL: Paul's shirt's upsetting me!

NP: So what do you want us to do about it? He can't change it! This is radio, we've established it doesn't really matter. I describe the clothes...

CN: I like leopard print!

NP: Yes, unfortunately it's an incorrect challenge, so Paul does actually get a point for that. I can't give you a point for the... all right, I'll give you a bonus point because they liked it, because they enjoyed your interruption. Paul you get a point because you were interrupted, three seconds, big Ben starting now.

PM: Big Ben! Big Ben! Big Ben! That's three times and we're allowed to do...


NP: Well at the end of that round it's all very very close. Clement Freud is trailing a little on three, but Paul, Chris and surprisingly Josie who has never played the game before, are all equal in the lead. Chris you begin the next round and the subject is occupational therapy. There's nothing funny about it, it's quite a serious subject.

CN: It is quite a serious subject and I do have some things to point out, thank you!

PM: That's repetitious.

NP: And you have 60 seconds in which to try and achieve that starting now.

CN: When my occupation was a clerk in the duty office of the British Broadcasting Corporation, listening to people's complaints and queries, my therapy was not to put the phone to my ear, but lay it on the floor and read the paper instead. I couldn't bear the moaning on about Top Gear or East Enders. I remember once a woman rang in and said "where does Kate Adie get her earrings from?" How am I supposed to know? But I thought well, I can't just say I don�t know, so I'm going to say Corby! Corby that's where she gets...


NP: It just shows you that if you want to emphasise to get comedy laughs, you often repeat words. In this case he repeated Corby. Clement you were the first to challenge and you have 33 seconds to tell us something about occupational therapy starting now.

CF: I found it was quite difficult getting occupational therapy because my age prevented me, for instance, from doing the pole vault. Which I know would have been particularly good for me, but too strenuous. I'm unable to run, would not find the right position in which to place the implement for which there is a hole in the ground when you go in for the Olympics, which I was pretty sure I would be selected for...


NP: I think Clement's occupational therapy is playing Just A Minute! And he, he went to the whistle of course, gained an extra point and he's now equal in the lead with Paul Merton. And Josie we'd like you to begin the next round.

JL: Is it me?

NP: Oh I don't know whether this is anything personal to you, but the subject we've been given is the morning after. You have 60 seconds as usual, your time starts now.

JL: The morning after, now the morning after usually means something that happened the night before that was either momentous, historic...


NP: Paul why have you challenged?

PM: Well the morning after doesn't really mean something that happened the night before.

JL: I was going on to explain...

NP: I'm sorry Paul, I was completely with her. I realised the morning after usually occurs after something momentous the night before. Right, Josie it was an incorrect challenge, you still have the subject, you have 51 seconds, the morning after and your time starts now.

JL: I remember...


NP: No! Right, Paul?

PM: I don't dare challenge Josie on anything!

NP: Nothing's ever held you back!

PM: Hesitation.

NP: It wasn't!

PM: It wasn't a hesitation, sorry I've gone deaf then for a moment.

NP: No no no I was sitting beside her, there was a noise coming out of her...

PM: Was there?

NP: ... her very attractive mouth.

PM: She's very nervous, it's the first time she's played the game. But it's about articulation, not noises! It's not noises is it?

NP: It was the beginning of a word but she hadn't quite articulated it.

PM: What, have we got to wait for it to evolve? What do you mean? What are you talking about?

JL: I was saying I.

NP: Yes you'd said I and it wasn't, let's see er...

PM: Let's see what happens, yeah.

NP: I think to be fair to Josie...

PM: Yeah.

NP: I mean, first time, you don't sit on her like that.

PM: No, you don't.

NP: Even if you do know her very well. You have to encourage them first time.

PM: Yes absolutely, always encourage them yeah.

NP: Right Josie there are 50 seconds still available, don't be inhibited by that, I'm still with you completely, the morning after starting now.


JL: I didn't hesitate!

NP: Darling you did hesitate!

JL: I didn't! I breathed in, in order to speak!

NP: I know but...

JL: If I hadn't breathed in I would have gone blue, for God's sake!

NP: But you didn't actually start, what I always do in this game is I say, and I look at you and I say, "the time starts" and you breathe in on that.

JL: Oh.

NP: The time starts, deep breath, now! And off you go.

JL: God in heaven!

NP: It is a difficult game, isn't it.

JL: Yes.

NP: And I let you have the benefit of the doubt the last time...

JL: Well I didn't feel I hesitated.

NP: No, I know you didn't...

CN: Oh shut up! She did!

JL: I didn't!

NP: No on that occasion...

JL: Do you know I've got some brilliant stories about the morning after, and they're all true, and you'll, none of them, hear them now.

PM: No, I'm quite happy for Josie to have the subject back.

NP: No no no, you had a correct challenge Paul, the other time you weren't correct, and you were ah, very disingenuous I think. Anyway so you have a correct challenge there, you can give it back to Josie if you want?

PM: Yes.

NP: All right if you want to.

JL: No!

NP: But you get a point for a correct challenge.

PM: Fine.

NP: Right.

JL: Right.

NP: Paul wants you to have it back.


NP: Take a breath on "and the time starts".

JL: And the time starts.

NP: Right, 49 seconds, and your time starts...


NP: Now!

JL: I remember...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Deviation, she didn�t hesitate!

NP: Paul we give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the interruption, but Josie you didn't hesitate and so incorrect challenge, you get another point for that.

JL: Thank you.

NP: And you still have got the subject and you have 48 seconds, the morning after and your time starts now.


JL: What? Did I hesitate?

NP: Now! Go!

JL: Big breaths! Yep and I'm only thickth-teen!

NP: And you're a trained singer too!

JL: Yes.

NP: So you know how to take your breaths.

JL: It's been said.

NP: You don't need big breaths when you're talking, it's when you're singing.

JL: I beg your pardon! Now go on, I'll remember, sorry.

CN: Nicholas, you so fancy her!

NP: Is it so obvious?

CN: Yes! But it's lovely to watch. In a slightly stomach-churning way!

NP: But I'm still very fair to everybody even though...

JL: Yes.

CN: Yeah, right!

NP: So Chris you had a correct challenge, I can't believe it, there's still 47 seconds left on this subject. Chris it's your chance on the morning after, 47 seconds starting now.

CN: The morning after as we have discovered is mainly about the night before. Not so much the morning after itself, but the time that happened prior to the morning after, the night in... I said night twice.


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: He said the night.

NP: He said the night twice. The morning after is with you Clement with 37 seconds starting now.

CF: The morning after the night before Crew Alexander won a football match, they sing once in a blue moon. And as I have no great tone, am unable to carry a tune...


NP: Chris has challenged, Chris, I'm sorry, Chris has challenged you.

CN: No no no, no I have no challenge Nicholas, I have no...

NP: As the doyen of the show, um, you've decided you won't challenge Clement. And Chris has bowed to that and said he did't challenge you. But you were interrupted so you get a point for that, and 24 seconds Clement, the morning after starting now.

CF: When people die, there is a whole lot of mourning after. You see people all over town, not only here but in Market Harborough and Princess, Risborough. As they are mourning...


NP: Josie's challenged.

JL: There was a slight hesitation there.

NP: There was a slight hesitation.

JL: Market...

NP: Market Harborough.

CF: Princess and Risborough. That has to be because people think it could be one word. Is that what you want?

NP: I think Princess, Risborough didn't follow quick enough after Market Harborough. And that's why Josie jumped in there. It was a sharp challenge but I think you have the benefit of the doubt Josie and you have 12 seconds on the morning...


NP: Ssshhh! Quiet! Otherwise you'll think...

CN: (laughs) They can think for themselves.

NP: Twelve seconds on the morning after starting now.

JL: I recall waking up the morning after a particularly wild evening on the Sacrificial Slab at Stonehenge...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry, Sacrificial Slab?

NP: That's right, Sacrificial Slab at Stonehenge.

PM: Okay, continue.

NP: So why did you want elucidation on that?

PM: I just couldn't hear the word.

NP: Oh right.

CF: I thought she said slag!

PM: Yeah!

JL: Slab! Slab!

PM: There's quite a few of them at Stonehenge!

NP: Is there? Obviously don't know Stonehenge as well as Josie does! It was an incorrect challenge Josie.

JL: Was it?

NP: Another point and you have five seconds still, keep going because you've only got five seconds, on the morning after and your time starts now.

JL: I was clutching a bottle of old English cider and was shaken awake by a druid saying "oy, what the bloomin' heck.."


JL: Yes!

NP: So Josie Lawrence was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and you'll be interested to know that she has actually leapt into the lead! She's one ahead of Paul Merton, and one or two ahead of Chris Neill and Clement Freud. Paul we�re back with you to start, would you take the subject of package holidays and tell us something about that interesting subject in this game starting now.

PM: Package holidays became quite popular in the 1970s. People would go to Spain and Majorca, pop on a plane and there you were. Arrive at the airport at the other end, get off the airport tarmac and walk...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Airport?

NP: Yes, two airports. Airport tarmac and airport.

PM: Oh. Didn't I say airplane first time?

CF: No.

NP: No. No.

PM: No?

NP: Airport, two airports.

PM: Two airports, was it?

NP: Yes yes, I was listening. Had to, it's my job.

PM: They've finally defined it for you, have they? We've been trying to find out for years. They won't tell him, they won't tell him.

NP: Fifty-one seconds Clement, package holidays starting now.

CF: When newspaper advertisements carry package holiday details, they use the word "all-in" meaning the state in which you find yourself at the end of the holiday, rather than anything else. Money is hugely important in a package holiday, up, down, along, sideways...


NP: Chris challenged.

CN: Sorry I'm just a little confused. Money is important in a package holiday, up, down, sideways? What?

PM: Up, down, along, sideways, yeah! Up is important, down is important. Sideways is important.

CF: Where do you keep your money?

CN: I don't keep it up, down or sideways!

CF: Why do you walk so oddly in that case?

CN: Oh we've not found the place I keep it. Sorry...

NP: I don't think we'll go any further because up creates all kinds of images that we don't want to follow. And you can't keep your money sideways and I agree with you.

CN: Thank you Nicholas.

NP: Chris I think it was deviation from um, knowledge as we understand it. Twenty-eight seconds, package holidays with you Chris starting now.

CN: I think we've been given the subject of packered... oh God!


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation sadly.

NP: That was a hesitation. Package holidays Paul, back with you, and 26 seconds starting now.

PM: I've got a packet of cheese at home and I thought to myself why should I be the one that goes on holiday? Why not send this particular comustible so I did. So I sent it...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Comustible?

PM: Yes it's a new word! It's a new word that I said quickly hoping that nobody would notice it.

NP: And Clement's sitting next to you...

PM: Has it not reached Leicester yet?

NP: No, but it reached Clement Freud because he is sitting next to you, I agree, deviation from English as we understand it.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So Clement, 19 seconds, it's with you, package holidays starting now.

CF: You're never alone on a package holiday, that's really what it's all about. People.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation there, yes, 13 seconds Paul, package holidays starting now.

PM: Thomas Cook in the 1860s came up with the idea of the package holiday. And soon his fellow citizens flocked to his offices to demand going to see beautiful places abroad. Somebody would say "I want to fly", but of course they didn't say it in those days, because the Wright brothers only invented aeroplanes...


NP: So at the end of that round let me tell you the score, because actually we're moving into the final round. Right as we move into the final round let me tell you that Paul Merton is out in the lead, one point ahead of Josie Lawrence, and about five points ahead of Clement Freud and Chris Neill in that order. So it's still anybod's game, hooray! So the final round, Chris I think it's about your turn to begin, and the subject now is I cannot tell a lie. That's a good subject, try and talk on it, 60 seconds starting now.

CN: I cannot tell a lie, Clement Freud is the best snog I've had in months! He is fantastic! As our beards meet there's a little tingle in the arm and there's a twinkle in his eye. I cannot complain. He may be a few years older than me, but I'm not saying no to that. Also I cannot tell a lie, Leicester is the most beautiful city I have ever visited. It is absolutely true. I have been to Florence, Rome, Padua, Paris. They are all slightly nicer but... oh God!


NP: Well you won a few friends in Leicester then Chris. But Josie you challenged first, what was it?

JL: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation, yes he dried up. And you have 33 seconds to take over I cannot tell a lie Josie starting now.

JL: People think because I'm an actress that I would find it easy to tell a lie, but I cannot tell a lie. When I do my eyes start to flicker, I can't look at the person I'm...


NP: Chris challenged.

CN: It's true, her yes are flickering! It's lovely to behold, but I think she was telling the truth, so in a way it's deviation.

JL: Oh that's a load of codswallop.

NP: No she said her eyes flickered, she cannot tell a lie. She was conveying that she can tell a lie, I mean...

JL: No! I can tell a lie but you can tell when I am telling it.

NP: I know but, but, the subject, you can take it literally and say I cannot tell a lie, and never tell a lie. Or you can say as Chris was demonstrating, I cannot tell a lie, and tell a whole series of lies. So this subject can be taken either way...

JL: Yes.

NP: ... and you were taking it the alternative way to Chris who challenged you. So Chris it was an incorrect challenge, so Chris, incorrect challenge, Josie still has the subject and another point of course, and she has 23 seconds still available, I cannot tell a lie, Josie starting now.

JL: The biggest lie ever told in the world is that that begins with I love you. What does that mean I... was going...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation sadly.

JL: Yes.

NP: Yes.

JL: That's right, quite right.

NP: She repeated right, so Paul...

CN: That's tragic. Is that what you feel?

JL: No I was lieing!

CN: Your eyes weren't going!

NP: Paul you have a correct challenge, you have 14 seconds, I cannot tell a lie starting now.

PM: I cannot tell a lie, I am immensely thrilled to be still associated with Just A Minute. I've been, I've been doing it now since the late 1980s and I'm astonished that it has now reached its 40th year. What better way to mark this whole...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: By doing some other programme!

NP: Clement we enjoyed your sarcasm!

CF: It wasn't sarcasm.

NP: But I thought...

CF: No that was genuine, I cannot tell a lie.

NP: You didn't even challenge, you just interrupted. So Paul gets a point because he was interrupted, he has two seconds on I cannot tell a lie, starting now.

PM: George Washington once said to his...


NP: So as I said a little while ago, that was to be the last round and it was. So I will give you the final score. Chris Neill who has been very successful in the past finished up in fourth place, but a very strong, very powerful fourth place. Clement Freud, who has triumphed many times in the past, in an exuberant third place. Josie Lawrence who has never played the game before came from absolutely nowhere, in fact she has gained more points in her first show than anybody else has ever achieved. But she was two points behind Paul Merton so we say Paul you are the winner this week. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four exuberant players of the game, Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence, Clement Freud, Chris Neill. I thank Trudi Stevens, who has helped me with the score, and blown her whistle so magnificently when the 60 seconds elapsed. And we are also indebted to Ian Messiter who created this lovely game. And we thank Tilusha Ghelani who is our producer. And we also thank our audience here at the Montford Hall in Leicester who have cheered us on our way. I thank they have had a good time. So from our audience and from me, Nicholas Parsons, and the panel, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!