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. And also to welcome to the programme four clever, ingenious, talented, humorous characters who are going to try and speak on a subject that I give them and show their verbal dexterity and ingenuity and theyíll try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four are, seated on my right Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And seated on my left, Marcus Brigstocke and Jenny Eclair. Will you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Trudi Stevens, who is going to help me with the score, she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Playhouse Theatre, in that fine cathedral city of Salisbury. Jenny will you begin it with family values, that is the subject, there are 60 seconds available and you start now.

JENNY ECLAIR: I donít think my family has any values. They certainly donít value yours truly, in fact theyíve got a curfew out against me. Iím not allowed back in my house...


NP: Paul challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Can you have a curfew out against you? Is a curfew against you?

NP: Well the curfews are...

JE: Theyíve taken one out against me...

PM: How can they take a curfew out?

JE: They went to the police and they got one out!

PM: Do the police just hand out curfews that you can go along, you can probably get them at the post officer, can you? A curfew?

JE: Yeah!

NP: I think Paul, that ah we all knew what she meant...

PM: Yeah.

NP: ... and I think Iíll give her the benefit of the doubt and say yes you can have a curfew out against you Jenny, and you have 51 seconds on family values starting now.

JE: Yes Iím not allowed to live where I live, oh dear!


NP: Invariably that happens. You stop the flow and the next time you repeat something. Paul you challenged first.

PM: Repetition of live.

NP: Yes you have 48 seconds Paul, you have a point there for a correct challenge, take over the subject of family values and you start now.

PM: Family values are of course exactly set by the family that has the values. If we look at the Munster family, a popular childrenís television programme in the 1960s, we saw that the head of the household was Frankensteinís monster. The grandfather was a kind of vampire Dracula-like figure. I seem to remember there was a small boy called Butch who was a werewolf. Now the particular comedy of this show evolved around the fact that although these people looked very strange, they actually behaved in a very normal fashion, and couldnít understand why the rest of society...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of show, I let him go on a bit.

NP: Yes you did say this particular show and right at the beginning you mentioned The Munsters which was a show. Right Clement you listened well, you have the subject which is family values, 18 seconds available starting now.

CF: I have a wife, five children and 16 grandchildren, let me try and give you a valuation though I havenít very recently gone to anyone for a new assessment. My... wedded...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well it was a long my, I thought it was a bit of a, sort of a hesitation.

NP: I think there was a definite hesitation Paul. So you have the subject back, family values Paul, four seconds starting now.

PM: I remember the first time I went to my secondary school and people looked at the blazer I was wearing and said ďwell you obviously come from a very poor family indeed...Ē


NP: In this game whoever is speaking as the whistle goes gains an extra point. It was Paul Merton so he has got a strong lead at the end of the round. Marcus Brigstocke will you take the next round...


NP: ... or start the next round, the subject is gadgets. Tell us something about gadgets in this game starting now.

MB: Iím a big fan of a gadget, in fact I used my sacknav to drive here from London this evening, which is why we arrived in Salisbury by way of Aberdeen. But nonetheless I use all my... oh no! Curses!


NP: Jenny has challenged.

JE: He used the word use twice, use use.

NP: Yes that is why he hesitated, right.

MB: I lost my tongue, unravelled!

JE: Yeah thatís weird when you do that.

NP: So Jenny you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that, there are 48 seconds available, gadgets starting now.

JE: I am not a gadget girl. Women can do most things with a nail file and some tweezers. I canít be doing with having to...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: If a woman has say, an ingrowing toenail or something like that, thatís not really something that a woman can do with just a nail file, is it? I mean most of them would be inclined to bite them off, wouldnít they/

JE: I will admit on national radio I have gouged my foot with my mouth.

MB: Have you?

JE: Yes. Iíve self harmed, Iíve bitten my own toenails...

NP: Jenny Jenny, taking at face value that challenge, you couldnít put up a shelf with a pair of nail file and tweezers.

JE: Why would I have to?

NP: Because you said...

JE: Nicholas! Look at me!

NP: You made a statement saying you could do pretty well anything with a nail, a woman could do pretty well anything with a nail file and tweezers.

JE: Now youíre confusing me.

MB: Yes.

JE: I could put up a shelf in a dollís house with some tweezers...

NP: Oh donít letís go down that route.

JE: No.

NP: I think in other words, what Iím saying is that Marcusís challenge is in fact actually correct. In other words he has the benefit of the doubt, if I get a chance to redress the balance later, I will do so.

JE: Thank you.

NP: And itís gadgets back with you Marcus and there are 41 seconds available starting now.

MB: Some of the gadgets in my house never get used at all. For example, Iíve got a record player that is supposed to turn the music that I have on vinyl disc into things that I can play through my computer. Unfortunately I donít know how it works. I paid for it and that was a good thing, I suppose. But itís sat on the shelf for the last two years and I feel a little ashamed seeing as I begged my wife for one for about three...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two fors.

NP: Yes there were two fors. So you got back in Jenny.

JE: Two fours are eight yeah.

NP: And youíve got back in with 15 seconds to go, the subject is gadgets starting now.

JE: Canít be doing with the fact everything needs recharging. Every single...


JE: Oh no!

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: No I donít know actually. Did she say everything and every?

NP: She said everything and every.

PM: Mmmm.

NP: Everything is a word.

PM: Yeah. Yes thatís right, thatís what I was buzzing for but...

NP: No, buzzing for the every, so Jenny you got another point, 10 seconds starting now.

JE: My mobile phone is a s gadgetry technological as I can get. Sometimes I pick it up thinking it is the television remote control, point it at the box, say come on, turn it over...


NP: So Jenny Eclair was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so and sheís gone forward into the lead, just ahead of Paul Merton and then Marcus Brigstocke and Clement Freud follow.


JE: One fan!

NP: Is that your mother or your daughter?

JE: Thatís the man who is prepared to put up shelves for me!

NP: Clement Freud would you begin the next round, the subject is my party trick. Tell us something about it if you... you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: My best party trick, which I used to play with my older brother was for both of us to go into a room, each with a bottle of whisky. And when we had finished our beverage one of us went out and knocked on the door and the other had to guess who it was.


NP: Oh what a brilliant story, right! You were challenged naturally Clement, but I think you were quite happy to be challenged because you got the big laugh, a brilliant story! We give you a bonus point for that because we really enjoyed the story. But Marcus you challenged.

MB: Yes I did, I wanted to know who was there?

NP: You can have a bonus point for that but have you got a serious challenge within...

MB: Oh the serious challenge was there was a hesitation.

NP: Hesitation right so Marcus you have 39 seconds still available and the subject is my party trick starting now.

MB: (in impression of CF) My party trick is the impression that I can do of Clement Freud. It isnít exactly...


NP: And Clement you challenged, I wonder why.

CF: Repetition.

NP: Of what? What is your repetition in this show?

CF: I speak like that!

PM: He does, he speaks like that, donít you? You speak like that, he speaks like that.

JE: It was like an echo!

NP: But actually it wasnít a repetition of anything within the rules of Just A Minute. So Clement though we enjoyed your interruption so Clement gets a bonus point for that and Marcus you get a point because you were interrupted, um, yes thatís right. And you have my party trick still and 34 seconds starting now.

MB: My party trick at university was to stand on a table and pull both of the pockets of my trousers out and then undo my fly and see if anyone thought it looked anything like an elephant. Unfortunately I was knocked off the table on several occasions and...


NP: Jenny youíve challenged.

JE: Challenging on two fronts. It didnít look like an elephant at all, and he said table twice.

NP: Yes he did indeed. I thought you were going to say, challenge him for boasting. Jenny you have a correct challenge, you have a point, you have 19 seconds and the subject is my party trick starting now.

JE: My party trick used to be putting both legs around the back of my neck. Canít do it any more. These days what I do at parties is disappear as if in a puff of smoke. Canít bear being at places where your mates are supposed to have so much fun, etcetera. So what I do is get the night bus home and Iím in bed by 11, thatís...


NP: Jenny Eclair was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and sheís now increased his lead, ahead of Marcus Brigstocke, Clement Freud and Paul Merton in that order. And now the next subject that has come up is tautology. Paul and itís your turn to begin, so will you begin on tautology, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: The only ology I was taught at school was biology, and I suppose I know a little about the birds and the bees and the bison and the unicorn and these various stories filtered through my young scholastic brain. I wasnít very good at the other sciences. Oh no I did sociology as well but thatís not really one of those things I just mentioned. I wrote up an essay about a horizon documentary I had seen on the radio when I hadnít seen it on the radio, it was a TV show...


NP: Right Marcus you challenged.

MB: Well there was a small deviation, in as much as he saw something on the radio.

NP: Not only a small, I think it was a complete deviation, because he never mentioned anything about tautology. Every other kind of ology but not tautology.

CF: That is tautologous.

PM: I was taught just by nuns. Does that count? Does that count at all?

NP: So Marcus a correct challenge, you have a point for that of course, you have 38 seconds, tautology starting now.

MB: I am beginning to wish that I had never buzzed on account of I am not entirely clear what a tautology is. However I think that...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well I know exactly what a tautology is. If he hadnít buzzed me, I would have told everybody here exactly what tautology is. Iím an expert, Iím an expert on the subject.

NP: Well why didnít you tell them before?

PM: Iíve only just remembered it!

NP: Thirty-two seconds, Tautology Marcus starting now.

MB: My understanding of it is that you say more or less the same thing twice which makes it a very fitting subject for Just A Minute although it does make it very difficult for me, particularly given that Iím not totally certain that thatís actually the right definition of it. However if I were to say to you...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of say.

NP: Say, you had said say, before yes.

MB: Yes.

NP: Paul you have now got tautology, tell us all about it, you say you know, 17 seconds starting now.

PM: Nicholas Parsons, national treasure! That would be saying the same thing twice because when we look at our esteemed chairman, we think to himself, surely there must be a field somewhere in England we can put him! Dig him up, bury him down in the ground and in time someone will come along in 500 years time and say ďoh I donít know what it is Tony but heís wearing a striped blazer...Ē


NP: Oh yes I donít know whether Iíll be wearing a striped blazer or not when I go underground. But anyway Paul you were speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point. You move forward, youíre one behind Marcus and two behind our leader Jenny Eclair. And so I, I donít want letters from people telling me, as if I didnít know, tautology is when you say, express something, not repeating it, but you express the same thing in different terms of phrases, different words.

PM: Right, can you give us an example?

NP: Yes, um, wait Iíve got one for you. They followed one by one in quick succession.

PM: I see.

NP: See?

PM: Somebodyís saying no over here.

NP: Is that right?

JE: He returned his library books back to the library.

NP: Yes.

JE: Is that one?

NP: That is a bit of a tautology.


PM: No, thatís not a tautology.



JE: Ah!

PM: Is there a coach party from somewhere? Are you together?

JE: At this moment in time.

NP: No no, thatís just ghastly English.

JE: Isnít it ghastly.

NP: Itís a case of expressing the same thing in two different words or phrases.


PM: Yes.

JE: Oh we like it! Thatís the best one!

NP: Iím a bit miffed now, I thought mine was quite good.

JE: Iím so sorry Nicholas.

NP: Thatís all right, it doesnít matter. Jenny itís your turn to begin or weíd like you to begin. The subject that weíd like you to start with now, oh what a lovely subject, Oscar Wilde. Tell us something about that great man in the time available starting now.

JE: Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin. Didnít make old bones, died younger than me, thatís tragic! He wrote many things including poems, plays, books. Most importantly you will remember The Importance Of Being Earnest...


NP: Marcus remembered.

MB: Yeah I know it was a wrong challenge.

JE: It was important...

MB: Important and importantly.

JE: Yeah. I know, I tried to trick you!

MB: Yes and you did!

JE: Yeah that was my good trick.

NP: Yes, Jenny incorrect challenge, you have another point, you have Oscar Wilde, you have 45 seconds starting now.

JE: A handbag! Oh please give me that part, itís about time! The Picture Of Dorian Gray, thatís a good one. He wasnít gay, you know, but apparently he um married...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: He were, he was gay.

NP: Yes, Iím afraid thatís why he went to prison.

JE: Yeah but he was happily married as well and had two children.

PM: Is that a tautology...

JE: He was bi! Bi!

NP: A sexual tautology, Paul said.

JE: Yeah.

NP: No no, the fact that he was gay doesnít prevent him also being married and having a family. So Clement is correct and so he has the point, 33 seconds on Oscar Wilde, Clement starting now.

CF: In John Betjaminís poem about his arrest,
Mister Wilde we have come for to take you
To where felons and criminals dwell
And we hope, sir, that you will come quietly
Because this is the Kirduggan Hotel.
I think the most interesting thing that Oscar Wilde said was ďapproval of what is approved of is as false as a well-kept vowĒ. I mean, he did write wonderful things, he was brilliant, he was homosexual...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Yes challenge on deviation, Iím not sure that he was brilliant. No no, I mean Iíll tell you why, wait a minute Radio Four!

JE: Thereíll be letters!

MB: Relax!

PM: Wait a minute? What do you think this programmeís called?

NP: With the greatest respect Marcus, this isnít a discussion programme.

MB: No.

NP: You have five seconds, you can now tell us within Just A Minute why you think he wasnít great starting now.

MB: Oscar Wilde challenged Lord Queensberry to a fight. Now this was the man who invented boxing!


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Itís deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: He didnít challenge Lord Queensberry to a fight.

NP: No it was the other way round.

PM: And Lord Queensberry didnít invent boxing.

NP: No.

MB: Yeah but other than that, how was it?

PM: It was good! Very good!

NP: The rules of boxing were named after the Marquis of Queensberry, but he didnít challenge him, it was the other way round.

MB: He wasnít a Lord either, he was Marquis.

PM: Yeah.

MB: Excellent! If you get three within one four-second section, do you get back in somehow?

NP: Clementís got the subject and one second to go, Oscar Wilde starting now.

CF: Oscar Wilde has a son called Vivian.


NP: So Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. Itís very very close here, in fact only one point separates them all, in ascending order, itís Paul, Clement, Marcus and Jenny.

JE: Am I winning?

NP: Youíre in the winning, youíre in the lead my darling.

JE: Hah!

NP: Marcus will you begin the subject is spring clean. Tell us something about that distressing subject starting now.

MB: One of the hardest things about cleaning a spring is getting the cloth caught on one of the coils. However to clean...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two ones, one of the, one of the springs.

NP: One of the springs, one yes, one of the most difficult things.

JE: Sorry Marcus, Iím out to win this one.

MB: Oh fair enough.

NP: Spring clean Jenny, youíve got another point, you have the subject and there are 55 seconds available starting now.

JE: Youíve got to get yourself organised. Starting with bin liners, tidy round the house, take a load of rubbish down to the charity shop, pop to the supermarket, get your basics, cloths, polishers, bleaches, etcetera. Come home, change into something that you donít mind getting grease all over because you will have to do the cooker and the airing cupboard. Donít let yourself get distracted...


JE: Drat!

NP: Paulís challenged.

PM: Deviation, there shouldnít be grease in the airing cupboard!

JE: You havenít seen my airing cupboard!

PM: Well itís deviation, if youíve go grease in the airing cupboard.

NP: No as I understand it...

PM: Have you got grease in your airing cupboard, have you Nicholas?

NP: No.

PM: Oh havenít you?

NP: Well there might be, there might be some on the hinges.

JE: Yes! Yes!

NP: But you know, the point, the point, no Iím not trying, the point is, I understood it was quite clear. There was grease on the cooker, of course she hasnít got grease in the airing cupboard.

PM: It sounded like she did though, didnít it.

NP: Well she had to keep going with the rules of Just A Minute, there was a lot of pressure on, the other three are waiting to come in and challenge...

PM: Excellent chairman! Excellent chairman! Best one weíve got! Best one weíve got!

NP: Itís the only one youíve got.

PM: Thatís what I mean.

NP: No I give the benefit of the doubt, Jenny you still have the subject...

JE: Thank you Nicholas.

NP: Spring clean, 31 seconds starting now.

JE: Itís so easy to get side-tracked. In your study, reading old love letters, Iíve got boxes of those, hours upon days spent on my knees...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Yes deviation. I mean, I know Jennyís talking about deviating from spring cleaning, but itís still basically a deviation, isnít it.

NP: Well yes, because you donít spring clean your love letters. I mean, you read those...

JE: Blow the dust off them.

NP: I gave you the benefit of the doubt last time...

JE: Itís Marcusís turn.

NP: Marcus youíve got it this time, spring clean is back with you Marcus, and there are 21 seconds starting now.

MB: I cleaned out my shed the other day, it was full of the most useless things including a record player that I made my wife buy for me and Iíve never really worked out how to use the blasted thing. I also found a man that we employed six years ago, his name is Keith and he was taken on as a gardener. He died sadly and there he was sitting...


NP: Paulís challenged.

PM: There was quite a few hes.

NP: Yes a lot of hes there.

MB: Yeah Paul, we couldnít help but giggle when we saw him!

PM: Yeah!

NP: Paul youíve got in with three seconds to go, spring clean starting now.

PM: When spring comes I open up the windows of the house, I get the Windolene in my hand and I spray it...


NP: So theyíre still very close point-wise. Clement is now in fourth place, one behind Paul, and he is one behind Marcus and Marcus is one behind Jenny Eclair. And we go over now to Clement Freud to begin. Clement, oh this is an interesting subject, what frightened me as a child. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: I what frightened me most as a child was Nicholas Parsons. We, he and I, went to school together. And there was nothing about him, just terrifying to look at, to listen to...


CF: To to, Iím sorry.

NP: Jenny you challenged.

JE: Two tos, to to to, yes.

NP: Yes to, yes, to to.

JE: And anyway you werenít scary at all, you were a sweet little golden-haired child.

NP: Thank you darling.

PM: And you still are!

NP: I canít give bonus points for this, even though I would like to. And the audience...

MB: No no no, the producer told me it was best to keep you sweet during the show.

NP: Jenny, 45 seconds, what frightened me as a child starting now.

JE: Snakes under the bed, my parents separating which they never got round to, and them finding out how badly I had dome in my maths exercise book. Remember when there was parent teacher evening and I had ripped a page out because I had got naught out of 10. I was so scared because they were really worried about something that was wrong with my brother and he was fine in the end. But anyway i thought they donít need any more worry, Iím going to rip this page out...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: Two worrys.

JE: Yeah! But look at me, Iím rocking, this real childhood trauma thing!

NP: All right Jenny.

JE: I ripped up the page and I tried to flush it down the toilet and it wouldnít go and I had to get it out of the toilet and I buried it in the back garden, I got so upset! I was just trying to spare them!

NP: My darling, what a tortured...

JE: Yes!

NP: ... youth you must have had.

JE: I know.

NP: Oh dear.

JE: Iím glad Marcus has taken it off me because I was getting a bit upset.

NP: You were going very very fast as well. Marcus you had a correct challenge, you have a point, you have 24 seconds, what frightened me as a child, starting now.

MB: What frightened me as a child was the idea of being expelled for a fourth time, because I thought that my parents really wouldnít cope with that. The first one was for setting fire to the goal posts on a football pitch. I didnít enjoy the game so I thought with only ah, thing at one end...


NP: Clement, Clement challenged.

CF: Ah hesitation.

NP: Yes a definite er there. Clement we are back with you, what frightened me as a child, nine seconds still available starting now.

CF: Lessons were very frightening. History, geography, algebra. And I think what was particularly frightening was the fact that one learnt huge things one had no use for...


NP: So Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point and heís moved forward, but he is still in third place but itís all very very close. And actually we are moving into the final round.


NP: You are lovely here in Salisbury. Let me give the situation. Paul for once is trailing, he is in fourth place but only one point behind Clement Freud. And he is three points behind Marcus Brigstocke and four behind Jenny Eclair. Jenny is in the lead, one ahead of Marcus and then Clement in that order. Right, letís start the last round, Paul, we are back with you, the subject is a battle-axe. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: Itís a rather old fashioned sexist term, I suppose, for dominant older women. the actress Peggy Mount used to specialise theatrically in playing battle-axes. In several farces in the 1950s she would be the mother-in-law or eventually the heroís best friend. They would shout from the rooftops and demand to know why things werenít being done in the way that she wanted them to. If we look at the comedian Les Dawson, he used to specialise in playing female roles, often taken from this very popular music hall act in the 1940s and 50s...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of 19.

PM: 1940s, I said 1940s and 50s.

NP: Yes you did.

PM: I did.

NP: Yes and the audience were listening.

PM: Yeah, just as well somebody is, isnít it.

NP: Paul an incorrect challenge.

PM: Oh thank you very much. How did you arrive at such a wise decision!

NP: Yes, youíve still got a battle-axe and 27 seconds starting now.

PM: If you go to Battle in East Sussex where the great battle took place, you will find an axe buried in the field. The guides will say to you ďcome through, half price for children, and full for adultsĒ. And as you walk towards the epicentre of this great fight, you see it lying there, the handle is sticking out of the ground...


NP: Marcus has challenged.

MB: I think itís a repetition of ground.

PM: Everybodyís asleep! Who knows! Everybodyís sitting there stunned! I donít care, just blow the whistle! Just get this bloke off, who knows! In the name if God, say yes and give it to somebody else! Because we havenít got a clue!

NP: The thing is though Paul, that weíre all so carried away with the dramatic way in which you presented it and all the gestures that went with it...

PM: Yes.

NP: I think we werenít concentrating on the words quite so much.

PM: No! Thatís a good way of putting it!

NP: Yes!

PM: It was so good we all fell asleep!

NP: So Marcus gets a point for a correct challenge. Paul you started with the subject, why donít you finish with the subject, youíve still got six seconds to go on a battle-axe starting now.

PM: If I ask you now to think of the great battles that lie ahead, we must each have our axe. We must hold it up to the sky in a...


NP: Well now itís time for me to give you the final score. And oh what a fair result. Clement has done so well whenever he has appeared but he finished in fourth place. It was a brilliant fourth place, he was only two behind the one in second place. And the one in second place was Paul Merton who is often out there in the lead, and he was only one behoind... behoind?

MB: Itís caught on, that Wiltshire accent, hasnít it.

NP: (in Wiltshire accent) Right Iíll finish in a Wiltshire accent then. He was only one behind, there are two people out in the lead there...

PM: Wiltshire?

NP: (in Wiltshire accent) No no, Wiltshire, all right, Iím more Glaswegian, I realise that because my motherís family comes from there...

JE: Nicholas, who won?

NP: What?

JE: Who won?

NP: A very fair result, we have equal winners, Marcus Brigstocke and Jenny Eclair! We do hope youíve enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to thank our four delightful 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 such aplomb when the time was up. We thank our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And finally we are very indebted to this lovely audience here in this fine city of Salisbury who have cheered us on our way at the Playhouse Theatre. So from them, from me Nicholas Parsons and our panel, good-bye, thank you for listening, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!