NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners not only in this country but throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented and colourful personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. And on my right we welcome back with great pleasure, that fine exponent of this game, that lovely comedian, Paul Merton. And sitting beside him is somebody who has played the game more often than anybody else and always gives great value, that is Clement Freud. And seated on my left, we have a lovely comedian and fine broadcaster and writer, Marcus Brigstocke. And beside him we have that lovely comedienne and also writer, Jenny Eclair. Will you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak if they can on a subject that I will give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Trudi Stevens, who is going to help me with the score, blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Playhouse Theatre, in that ancient city of Salisbury. And we have a fine Wiltshire audience come from all corners, corners of the county to cheer us on our way. As we start the show with Paul Merton, who better. Paul, the Druids. Why not, seeing where we are? Tell us something about the druids Paul, in Just A Minute starting now.

PAUL MERTON: Ah the Druids, we are close to Stonehenge, this may be why this subject has come up. As we think of Summer Solstice Day, the little Sun pops its head over the horizon, and a Druid who were an early form of hoodies, gather around and then watch the golden globe as it traverses across the sky. To be a Druid is a very important thing. It's very difficult to become...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.


NP: Yes you had very important and very so forth. So Clement you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that, you take over the subject of the Druids, there are 39 seconds available starting now.

CF: Anglesey was a very good place for duh, Druids...


NP: Clement you've challenged yourself.

CF: Why didn't anyone challenge?

NP: For the simple reason Clement, that you got in first!

CF: No, I... I waited.

NP: And you challenged yourself. So what I'll have to do is say Clement, what is your challenge?

CF: I'd like Paul to go on because he, I was really interested...

NP: So what we'll do is give Clement a point for his generosity, and we hand the subject back to Paul and tell him that there are 36 seconds left...

PM: Clement's never liked me! He's never liked me!

NP: I think this is a new form of playing the game!

PM: Yes!

NP: So you get the odd point and then you let everybody else do the work!

PM: Yeah exactly!

NP: So 36 seconds Paul, on the Druids starting now.

PM: My father became a Druid in 1958, there was something about the uniform that he found immensely attractive. He was a supporter of Fulham Football...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JENNY ECLAIR: His Dad wasn't a Druid, he used to work on London Underground.

PM: Yes.

JE: You're not allowed open-toed sandals!

PM: But...

JE: There's health and safety, Paul!

NP: Jenny I'm sure that you can still work on the Underground and be a Druid.

PM: Yeah.

JE: Part-time Druid?

NP: No you can be a full-time Druid, but you don't have to express your religious beliefs on the Underground, you just do it...

PM: He always said that the Piccadilly Line was a divine mystery! He always said that!

NP: Jenny what we'll do is I'll give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the interruption but Paul was interrupted so he keeps the subject with another point of course and he has 28 seconds now on the Druids starting now.

PM: It's extraordinary to have 28 seconds left on Druids. I have to be very succinct about what I'm saying now because the panoply...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE: There's a repetition of very again.

NP: Yes he said very before.

MB: Yes.

NP: Well listened Marcus. So Marcus you're in on the...

MB: Well no, hang on, because I don't really want the subject either. I'm sort of quite enjoying it coming back to Paul every single time and watching him slowly run out of angles on it. No I'll take it!

NP: I think you should.

MB: Okay.

NP: We think you should.

MB: Right.

NP: Twenty-two seconds, you've got a point anyway for your challenge and you have the Druids starting now.

MB: There are still plenty of Druids around today. You will find them at the Glastonbury Festival where they gather to fill their tents with liquid, mud and water...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Slight hesitation.

NP: Yes, enough for me to give it to you Jenny.

MB: I had a flashback to the last time I was at Glastonbury!

NP: Jenny you had a correct challenge, you take over the subject, the Druids, 12 seconds available starting now.

JE: Apparently it takes 20 years to learn how to become a Druid. There are so many other hobbies you can have that you can get into...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I don't know if Druids would see their belief as a hobby!

JE: It depends how part-time you are, it depends whether you've got a full-time job on the London Underground!

NP: Paul, I'm inclined to agree with you. The Druids, I mean the sincere Druids would not see it as a hobby.

PM: No.

NP: There might be some, as Jenny said, who see it as a hobby, as a part-time hobby.

PM: Really?

NP: Yes.

MB: The ones that just Druid at the weekend!

JE: Yeah!

NP: So I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to Jenny on this occasion and I will try and redress the balance later if I can, and tell her Jenny you still have four seconds, the Druids starting now.

JE: Modern Druids are called neo-Druids. And Marcus is absolutely right, they do tend to gather...


JE: Yes!

NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Jenny Eclair. Jenny at the end of that round you're in the lead, four, two two to Paul and Clement, and one to Marcus. And Clement will you take the next round, the subject is a poor relation. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

CF: In a metropolitan public house there was this Englishman, a chap from Scotland, someone from Wales, and an Irish Republican supporter. And the reason I am doing this so badly is to explain what a poor relation of a totally hopeless joke sounds like.


NP: Paul has challenged.

PM: You've succeeded! hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, Paul correct challenge, you have 36 seconds and you have a poor relation starting now.

PM: Barbara Windsor doesn't see a penny the Queen gets, and I think that's terrible! She's her own sister!


NP: Marcus you challenged first.

MB: Well yeah, ah, hesitation.

NP: Yeah hesitation, as he...

PM: I just wanted to make that point.

MB: Yes.

PM: I didn't want to make it as humorous remarks.

NP: You got your laugh and you decided to retire on it.

PM: I did yeah, I won't live long on that one, will I!

NP: Marcus, a poor relation is the subject, 30 seconds are available and you start now.

MB: I like cheese. I always have. I'm a big fan of the stuff and I've felt for a long time now that edam is a poor relation to all of the other delicious dairy spheres that one is able to buy. Ghastly, waxy, beastly thing that it is, coming from Holland I think it does, although frankly...


NP: Jenny you challenged.

JE: Oh well he just started stuttering and losing it...

NP: So we call that hesitation.

JE: Yeah.

NP: Yes indeed, it does come from Holland, but that dried you up, right.

JE: Are we talking about cheese or poor relations?

NP: You can do what you like darling, the subject is a poor relation and you have 10 seconds starting now.

JE: I felt like so much a poor relation last time I did Just A Minute. Paul and Julian Clary were talking about their country estates. I had to go to the bathroom to have a quiet sulk on the lavatory because I don't have a second home.


NP: So in this game, if you can get in towards the end, it pays dividends, because then you're speaking when the whistle went as Jenny was doing again and she's increased her lead at the end of the round. And we come to Jenny to begin, oh Jenny, I don't know if it's anything close to your heart but it's just my dentist. Tell us something about my dentist in this game starting now.

JE: My dentist is a very nice fellow. Goes by the name of Philip, up on Denmark Hill in south-east London. I'm meant to go and see him every three months but guess what! Sometimes I cancel! Last engagement I phoned up and said "listen, I've got appalling flu!" He thought I was lying. I'd like to say now on national radio Philip, if you're listening...


JE: Oh I know exactly what I did, I know exactly what I did.

NP: What?

JE: I don't want to be told!

NP: You don't want to be...

JE: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

NP: I have to be told because I have to hear from Paul.

PM: Repetition of Philip.

JE: Yes.

NP: Of Philip.

JE: Yes but he's a very good dentist.

NP: Is he, right. Well I think it's too far for me to go to Denmark Hill.

PM: You could send them by post!

NP: You are a wicked so-and-so! You really are! I...

PM: You'll be doing it Monday!

NP: But to show you how fair I am, as it was such a wonderful reaction you got to your joke, I will give you a bonus point for it. I come here to suffer the slings and arrows of that outrageous fortune that brings me into this hot seat. Paul a correct challenge, Philip was too much for us all, 41 seconds, my dentist starting now.

PM: My dentist is Simon Godley who is also an actor. But I haven't seen him for a while. So I've got to give him a ring. So if you're listening to this, can you contact me because I can't keep keep phoning you. I said keep keep.


NP: Marcus.

MB: He ended up saying keep four times.

PM: Yeah, only three of them were wrong.

MB: Yes that's right.

PM: Thirty-three seconds are available Marcus, my dentist starting now.

MB: My dentist seems like a reasonable chap but he's very inclined to encourage me to spend a little bit of time with the hygienist who is a fearsome bully and a thug. She's a massive woman with huge upper body strength who spends the entire period of the session driving...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: There was a little hesitation.

MB: Yeah.

NP: Yes, I suppose if you judge the pace at which he goes there was. And it's ironic that Clement should be the one who... So we give him the benefit of the doubt on this occasion so Clement, 18 seconds, my dentist starting now.

CF: My dentist lives at 22 Wimpole Street, London...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: No, I, when you, sorry, it was a wrong challenge. When you said the number 22 I visualised the two numbers and thought it was a repetition. Of course it isn't...

NP: No no.

MB: ... because 20 and two are quite different words.

NP: Yes.

JE: Also, also 22 Wimpole Street is where my gynaecologist is.

PM: It's the same guy. All he does is adjust the chair!


NP: Right so...

MB: Don't send it by post though!

NP: They all got such good laughs, I won't give them all bonus points. But just, in fact give them all a bonus point, why not? Twelve seconds Clement, my dentist starting now.

CF: And he said if I gave his name and address, he would give me an enormous reduction in the price, especially as Jenny Eclair paid... less...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Tragically, a hesitation.

NP: Yes it was a hesitation and you cleverly got in with three seconds to go on my dentist, Paul starting now.

PM: When you go to China you have to have a dental appointment at half past two because that is tooth hurty.


NP: So what's the situation? Paul speaks as the whistle went again, got an extra point. He's increased his lead, he's got twice as many points as Jenny, she's in second place and then Clement Freud and Marcus Brigstocke in that order. And Paul we're back with you to begin, oh a nice intellectual subject, Leonardo Da Vinci. Can you tell us something about that character in this game starting now.

PM: Leonardo Da Vinci was a well-known inventor, not only a painter. He invented the helicopter, the telegraph...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: He didn't really invent the helicopter. He's sort of credited with it, but um I think it's deviation because he didn't actually. It was invented by a Mister John Helicopter.

NP: No it's very difficult to judge on this because he did do some, he was way ahead of his time on mechanics and statistics and science. And he did invent something which would have been a helicopter so can you say he invented the helicopter? Yes probably you do. Benefit of the doubt, I think it goes to Paul. Paul, benefit of the doubt, 54 seconds still on Leonardo Da Vinci starting now.

PM: And Just A Minute! That was a magnificent invention of his because as a radio show it was 400 years ahead of its time. Nobody owned any kind of machine that could pick up this broadcast from the air waves so it led people to look at Leonardo Da Vinci and say "you stick with the painting"...


NP: Clement challenged. Why have you challenged, Clement?

CF: Did I challenge?

NP: Yes you did.

CF: Well...

NP: That little buzzer in front of you, you pressed it Clement and that means you challenged. Had you nodded off and then suddenly woke up?

PM: I don't blame him!

NP: Do you know that is exactly what had happened!

NP: You thought you were calling for the nurse? So an incorrect challenge, Paul we're still with you, 40 seconds on Leonardo Da Vinci starting now.

PM: If you look at his artwork you can see an infinite number of brush strokes and it shows you the amount of time and patience he displayed on every one of his portraits. Why is the woman smiling in that famous picture of his? Perhaps we don't know. Perhaps she had heard a rumour...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Perhaps.

NP: There were two perhapses.

PM: Yeah.

NP: And Clement there are 25 seconds, you tell us something about Leonardo Da Vinci starting now.

CF: In that 15th 16th century period, people were known by where they came from. Rather like Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, so would Leonardo Da Vinci, Vinci being a province of Florence, not particularly well-known, hardly sporting a football club in any league whatsoever. And as um Paul said...


NP: Jenny.

JE: I'm so sorry.

NP: Why are you sorry? He'd erred about four times.

JE: Yeah he, yes, I was quite genuinely interested in what he was saying. But it was...

NP: I know but it didn't sound as if Clement was very interested in what he was saying! He did er so hesitation, Jenny you've got in with one second to go on Leonardo...

JE: Leonardo Da Vinci, Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo Da Vinci!


NP: So Jenny speaking then as the whistle went, she got the extra point. She's moved forward, catching up on Paul Merton who is still in the lead. And Clement your turn to begin, the subject is the King's ear. Will you tell us something about the King's ear starting now.

CF: The King's ear always has been considered very important. Otherwise the Crown would have slipped, and gone right down to it. Look at Prince Charles and I don't think I have to tell you any more. There is an ideal example of someone whose King's ear is going to serve him extremely well, if when he becomes the next King's ear.


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Well there was a sort of hesitation in there.

NP: A sort of?

PM: Yeah a sort of.

CF: No doubt.

NP: No doubt.

CF: No.

NP: Thirty-five seconds available Paul, the King's ear starting now.

PM: It's a rather rundown version of The King's Head, a much better pub. But The King's Ear at least has a dart board and the lady behind the bar knows where the ham sandwiches come from. If you say in the olden days people used to think to themselves, how will we know when the Monarch is here. There'd be somebody positioned at the top of the castle shouting "the King's 'ere!" And everybody would know this and they would run down to the banqueting hall and start eating twiglets...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: He said know twice. How will we know when the King's here...

NP: Yes he did, how will we know when the King's here and how will you know. And we do know that you repeated so 16 seconds Jenny on the King's ear starting now.

JE: The King's ear has belonged to Monarchs including John, Henry, James, Paul... John...


JE: Oh I don't know my Kings!

PM: There was two Johns.

NP: There were two Johns yes.

JE: Yeah.

NP: It was a clever idea, but didn't quite come off Jenny.

JE: One was spelt J-O-N and the other one was spelt J-O-H-N!

NP: Yes.

JE: One was Scandinavian!

NP: I don't think there's even been a Scandinavian King called J-O-N, Jon.

JE: It's pronounced Juan!

NP: Juan is Spanish, J-U-A-N.

JE: I'm really confused!

NP: Right Paul, we're back with you, nine seconds, the King's ear starting now.

PM: If you were a confidante of the imperious figure that sits on the throne, you could say to yourself, "ah, politically I am safe and sound because I have the King's ear..."


NP: Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and has increased his lead again ahead of Jenny Eclair and then Clement Freud and Marcus Brigstocke. And Marcus it's your turn to begin, the subject is treading the boards. We're at a delightful theatre here, a wonderful proscenium arch, and treading the boards, it's a wonderful feeling, takes me back to my youth when I was an actor in repertory. Talk about it if you can Marcus starting now.

MB: Well I don't know that I can really, because I wasn't there in your youth, on account of the fact that I am only 34. But if I were to tread the boards in this particular theatre, I would have to more accurately say I was treading the MDF for that is what we are sitting on with our lovely tables facing this delightful audience in Salisbury. However it would be very nice indeed to, don't clap because I've got a head of steam up now, you might...


MB: ... dowse it!

NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Deviation.

MB: Yes!

NP: The head of steam?

CF: No. Talking to the audience.

MB: They started it, in fairness!

NP: They started it and he's been talking about treading the boards. And you might tread the boards and get a spontaneous round of applause like that and you might ad lib a reply which he did. I thought it was completely within the context of what he was talking about. And I give...

MB: Thank you, well done.

NP: And if you doubt it I have given the benefit of the doubt now to everyone except Marcus. So you got it in spades this time Marcus.

MB: Thank you very much.

NP: You keep the subject with a point of course, treading the boards, 36 starting now.

MB: I should love to play the Dane, not Hamlet, another Dane...


MB: Oh damn! What an idiot!

NP: That's what happens...

MB: What an idiot!

NP: You lost, you lost your flow and you were interrupted and you didn't get it back. Right, Jenny you challenged first.

JE: Two Danes.

NP: Two Danes.

JE: He's very keen to be a Dane.

NP: Treading the boards Jenny and there are 32 seconds starting now.

JE: I have been treading the boards for 25 years, many different surfaces have I trod, grass, soiled carpet, that's because I've done stints in pubs and fields. I do prefer wood beneath my feet, sometimes when I go out on stage I can hear those boards creak and I think oh no, Eclair, you've done it again, larded up! And then I start running round the boards, not just treading them. I'm charging, cantering, trying to lose a bit of weight as I do my act. You see there are many things that, I am one of those women...



NP: A challenge came in on the whistle, the whistle gets the benefit of the doubt so Jenny you were speaking, you got another point for speaking as the whistle went. You're creeping up on our leader Paul Merton, just ahead of, there you are, Marcus and Clement. And Jenny time for you to begin again.

JE: I'll take my finger off the buzzer then.

NP: No you might, yes I think you should. Right, you ready? Oh a lovely subject, the Famous Five. I don't know whether you were fans of them but tell us something about then Jenny starting now.

JE: I was far too hard core to like that kind of nonsense. It was a load of rubbish written by the much maligned English authoress Enid Blyton. I think I can remember their names. Julian, Anne, and Dick, Timmy the dog, and George who was actually a girl but a tomboy-type of laddette back in the 60s. There is some rumour, I've heard, interestingly enough that they are going to bring back the Famous Five as a cartoon the telly. And the characters are going to be sort of my age now, in their 40s, still saving mysteries and murders and you know, it was always diamond heists and jewellery. Kirrin Island do you remember that place. They went to visit their Uncle Quentin, had lashings of ginger beer. I thought he looked very strange that relative. I think, oh I said think twice, but oh!


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

PM: I don't know, I couldn't hear it! She said I said something twice, but I couldn't hear what she said.

JE: I'm not telling you!

PM: No, I'm not asking.

JE: You can guess! Out of all the words in the world, what do you think I said twice?

PM: Aubergine!

JE: That's right Paul!

NP: Actually Paul, I think within the rules of Just A Minute, unless you can tell me what she repeated, I can't accept it.

PM: Fair enough. Can I get back to you once it goes out on the radio?

NP: So Jenny he didn't know what you repeated.

PM: No I didn't, I couldn't hear it.

NP: And you have nine seconds still available on the Famous Five starting now.

JE: The great thing about the Famous Five is that they triggered off gangs all around the neighbourhood. Do you remember, your mates got...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I don't remember. Nobody formed any gangs around my neighbourhood based on the Famous Five! We saw the difference between fiction and real life.

NP: No I think it's quite true. The Famous Five were so popular that a lot of people did emulate them, especially youngsters, and form their own little gangs.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yes they did, yes definitely.

PM: That is true.

NP: Two seconds Jenny, still on the Famous Five starting now.

JE: We used to cut each other's hands and rub blood...


NP: Paul challenged again.

PM: Repetition of used.

NP: Yes you did say used before. So he at last got you on the Famous Five and you've got one second Paul, the Famous Five starting now.

PM: Michael Parkinson was one of them...


NP: Right, what is the situation because we are moving into the final round actually.


NP: Oh what a lovely audience you are! As we do Jenny Eclair has a number of points and she has moved forward, Paul is still in the lead, he's seven, actually six or seven ahead of Jenny, then Clement Freud and then Marcus Brigstocke they're still equal in third place. And Paul it's, the points aren't so important, it's the contribution isn't it. And so Paul it's your turn to begin and the subject is audience participation.


PM: A bonus point to the audience because they picked it up so quickly! And you can take that bonus point home with you audience. And Paul will begin the subject with 60 seconds of course starting now.

PM: Here is a marvellous opportunity for audience participation. I say to them now, the audience here. I like Just A Minute because... off you go!



NP: Right there was hardly any verbal, it was all sort of...

PM: Just turned into a ranting mob!

NP: And Marcus you challenged.

MB: Yes well there was a pause between...

NP: Yeah there was.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Complete hesitation.

PM: Yeah.

NP: A full stop. Marcus you have the subject, it's audience participation, 51 seconds starting now.

MB: I think the last time I had the subject the audience participated without having been invited and threw me quite off what I was aiming to say. Nonetheless I'd like to keep relations with the audience as friendly as I possibly can. And if they feel they would like to participate again I would certainly welcome any assistance that they feel they can offer, particularly on this subject. I've never been terribly good with hecklers. I did once see a comic dying so badly on stage that a man in the back of the room said "there used to be a pool table in here!" And I felt terrible for the poor lad as he suffered and drowned in his own self-piteous confusion and embafflement with what exactly had gone wrong with what turned out to be the most...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of wrong.

NP: Yes.

CF: Yeah.

NP: You had wrong yes. Certainly the audience were disappointed because you had absolutely got them in the palm of your hand there Marcus but...

MB: I'm not! I was gaining speed and running out of air!

NP: I know! I noticed that, you actually speed up as you go along.

MB: Yes yes which makes it much harder.

NP: Much harder. Much harder but what a challenge and you accept it as you go. Um Clement, 14 seconds are available, you tell us something about audience participation starting now.

CF: All I can tell you about audience participation is that when I am on Just A Minute, they boo quite often, hiss, seldom cheer and now and again...


CF: ... now and again they leave!


PM: They've started booing, you're right!

NP: Wait a minute, Marcus you've challenged first.

MB: Well yes deviation, because Clement said they boo, in fact they went "awwwww"!

NP: So what are you saying, it's deviation?

MB: Yeah.

CF: No, I think benefit of the doubt!

JE: I heard two boos!

NP: I'll tell you what I will do. As you were so obviously playing to the audience to get audience participation, and there's only half a second to go, and this is the last round, then undoubtedly the benefit of the doubt goes to you Clement and you have half a second on audience participation starting now.

CF: Half a second.


NP: So let me tell you that Clement's last little flourish brought him into third place. a very good strong third place, just ahead of Marcus who was in fourth place. A brilliant fourth place by the way

MB: Thank you.

NP: And it's the speed at which he goes that almost deserves bonus points. Jenny was in second place, a number of points behind Paul Merton so we say Paul this week you are our winner. It only remains for me to say thank you to our four intrepid players of the game, Paul Merton, Jenny Eclair, Marcus Brigstocke and Clement Freud. I thank Trudi Stevens, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle with great aplomb. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. We are grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And we are also very grateful to this lovely audience in the Playhouse Theatre in Salisbury who have cheered us on our way. From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons and the panel, good-bye and please tune in the next time we play Just A Minute!