NOTE: Mike McShane's first appearance, Rhod Gilbert's last appearance, Sarah Sharpe's first appearance blowing the whistle.

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 in this country and throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting and talented players. And they are, seated on my right, that delightful and exceptional comedian and a great exponent of Just A Minute, that is Paul Merton. And seated beside him the man who has played the game more often than anybody else, Clement Freud. And seated on my left, we have two fine comedians. One who has played it only once before and he is a great stand-up, that is Rhod Gilbert. And seated beside him, we have somebody who has never played it before, a lovely comedy performer, Mike McShane. Would you please welcome all four of them! Thank you! Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me with the score, and blow the whistle when the 60 seconds is up. And as usual I'm going to ask these four players to speak on a subject I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Pleasance, one of the venues here at the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh. And we have in front of us a wonderful excited Fringe audience dying for us to start the show. So let's begin with Paul Merton. Paul, oh yes, here's a nice topical subject, how to get an audience. You get audiences very easily, but tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: One of the easiest ways of getting an audience is to appear on Just A Minute. This is the 701st recording ever and I think that merits a round of applause that should last a minute. Let's hear it!



NP: So Clement, you're what...

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

CF: Of Paul's encouragement.

NP: Repetition of what, of applause?

CF: Paul was encouraging to applaud.

NP: But that was a visual thing, it's not a verbal thing, we work in the...

CF: Well we're trying...


NP: So Rhod, you so pressed your buzzer then.

RHOD GILBERT: Judging by the way that you were trying to get Clement to applause, I'm going to say applause, repetition of applause.

NP: But...

RG: You said to Clement, "of what, applause" as if you were going to give him a point for that.

NP: I was, but he actually, you can't have retrospective challenges. Clement has challenged and I disagree with his challenge.

RG: Oh.

NP: So Paul has a point, he keeps the subject and there are um 42 seconds left Paul starting now.

PM: Another way to do it is to come from the Fringe in year one and work all the way throughout your career, come back year after 12 month...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of come.

NP: Yes, you came to the Fringe and come back again. Come to the Fringe, come back again. I have to be so careful because sometimes they look shocked and surprised, and it's to bluff me! You couldn't have heard that Nicholas. I did hear it and Clement you have a correct challenge, you have the subject, you have 35 seconds on how to get an audience starting now.

CF: How to get an audience is the plural of how one gets an audience. And the very best way, if nobody has bought a ticket, is to go to a nursing home or lunatic asylum and get people to come from all over the unemployed...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Deviation, this can't be the best way. To get an audience? To go to the nursing home or an insane asylum.

NP: Yeah...

PM: I mean, I admit looking at this lot, you could easily be tempted to think that!

NP: No Paul, entirely agree yes, deviation. It's not the best way. The audience endorsed your challenge so you get a point again for a correct challenge and there are 18 seconds still available, how to get an audience starting now.

PM: It's quite tricky because Edinburgh at this time is full of performers all seeking the same audience. There are only so many people who come to this magnificent city at this time of year to experience the joy and wonders of all the arts and their great flow, whether they be jugglers, tightrope walkers, stand-up comedians, improvisers, poets, all human life is here...


NP: Yes in this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And it was Paul Merton. Clement Freud's got one, and the other two have yet to speak but there's plenty of time. And oh, a lovely subject for you Clement, Scottish cuisine. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

CF: Scottish cuisine is based on heather, haggis, harris tweed and haddock. not necessarily in that order. I am particularly keen on clutee dumplings which Scottish cuisine, ah, luxuriates in...


NP: Mike you challenged.

MIKE McSHANE: I did. I thought he got cuisine, he got cuisine twice.

NP: Cuisine is on the card, you're allowed to repeat the words on the card.

MM: Oh!

NP: Yes, darling boy, he also said er, which is hesitation.

CF: No no no.

MM: Oh I thought that was Scottish for and.

NP: I can't help you, can I.

MM: No!

NP: So I don't know what to do. Ah Rhod you've challenged?

RG: Well can I do another one of my retrospective ones?

NP: No no. I'll tell you what we'll do, we'll give you a bonus point because we love your retrospective ones.

RG: Thank you.

NP: And we give you a bonus point because you tried so hard but failed.

MM: Thank you, Darth Parsons!

PM: I can't help but think we're devaluing the bonus point here! If we're giving bonus points for abject failure, it's an upside down world Nicholas.

NP: But I think...

MM: Why not? My President's been getting great bonus points for abject failure!

NP: I think two first-time players of the game deserve a little bit of encouragement like that, and so what we do is Clement, we leave it with you and say there are 44 seconds still available...

CF: Do I get a point?

NP: Yes, you get a point for being incorrectly challenged.

CF: Ah. But not a bonus point?

NP: No, not a bonus point on top of it.

CF: For being incorrectly challenged twice!

NP: All right, because they enjoyed that comment of yours, you get a bonus point as well.

PM: So I get this right, everybody in the last challenge...

NP: And because we enjoyed what you just said as well, another bonus point to Paul. So isn't that fair?

PM: Yeah that's fair.

NP: I do love to be fair in the game, right, Scottish cuisine is still with you Clement and there are 44 seconds available starting now.

CF: Get a pound of oatmeal and spread it on a kitchen table with a flat knife, add boiling water, salt, sugar, yeast...


NP: Mike you challenged.

MM: Oh hesitation?

NP: Hesitation, definitely yes. He was going very slowly, there was a definite pause in between some of those words wasn't there. Mike can I give you a bit of a tip?

MM: Yes.

NP: Keep your hand on your buzzer, all the time, like that.

MM: Okay.

NP: Because by the time you rush to get it, someone else will have challenged.

CF: Why don't you take his buzzer and buzz it for him?

PM: Actually I wouldn't mind getting a drink. You could have my buzzer, let me know how I get on when I'm not here.

NP: So you have 33 seconds available, on Scottish cuisine starting now.

MM: Haggis which is called Scottish cuisine has always been the consolation prize of food. I've always felt that the idea that Scottish...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was there a slight hesitation?

NP: There was a hesitation I'm afraid.

MM: Yes.

NP: Paul, correct challenge, 24 seconds available, you tell them something about Scottish cuisine starting now.

PM: Scottish beef is absolutely wonderful. I love it. When I come to Edinburgh I make sure I get hold of a piece of meat that's been hanging for 28 days, marinaded in raspberry ketchup. What is...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: It's marinated.

MM: How can it be deviation?

PM: But you have no problem with raspberry ketchup.

NP: But I think if you use raspberry ketchup, you wouldn't marinate it, you'd marinade it.

CF: No, marinade is a noun.

NP: Yeah.

CF: And marinate is the verb.

NP: That's right yes.

CF: People get it wrong and Paul got it wrong.

NP: So...

CF: In the interests of grammatical excellence I pressed my buzzer.

NP: You were quite right because I know people at school do listen to this and...

PM: Do they?

NP: They help to instruct the pupils in the use of language and so forth. And therefore maybe I should give you the benefit of the doubt and say, another point, 12 seconds are available, back with you Clement, Scottish cuisine.

CF: If you are listening to this and you are at school, I suggest you go on hearing Paul Merton.


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: I'd like to make that dream come true! Hesitation.

NP: Yes hesitation of course, he generously passed it back to you and you've got five seconds on Scottish cuisine starting now.

PM: If you walk the streets of Edinburgh early in the morning, you'll catch...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: You'll get arrested!

PM: For walking the streets? Oh I see what you mean!

NP: Clement I definitely think that deserves a bonus point so give Clement a bonus point. Paul was interrupted, he gets a point for that and he's got one second left on Scottish cuisine starting now.

PM: The aroma of oats...


NP: So at the end of that round Paul Merton is in the lead, he's got three points ahead of Clement Freud. Mike McShane has got two points, Rhod's got one, both of those were generously from the chairman and, but Mike we'd like you to start the next round. Keep your hand on your buzzer still though! And the subject is the highlight of my day, 60 seconds starting now.

MM: The highlight of my day in Edinburgh begins in the evening when I go to the Royal Oak Tavern which is a folk music pub around the corner of Southbridge. It's a fantastic place, good beer, fantastic music, and cheery people who are drunk beyond belief...


NP: Rhod you've challenged.

RG: Was there a repetition of fantastic?

NP: There was a repetition of fantastic. Well listened Rhod, so you've got a point which you've earned, and you've got 45 seconds...

MM: Live it up, Schreiner!

RG: Only 45 seconds, he said!

NP: Only 45, if you haven't played the game before, 45 seconds can be very long. But anyway...

RG: I've played it before, it's nothing!

NP: Well, you've played it once before...

RG: Played it once before. Three years ago.

NP: Yes it's a quick return visit by popular request. And, no, lovely to have you Rhod, and 45 seconds, tell us something about the highlight of my day starting now.

RG: The highlight of my day has to be interrupting the legendary Mike McShane on the leg... oh gosh!


RG: I hadn't finished saying, I wasn't going to say legendary.

NP: I know, it's so difficult, you think ahead and then the same answer comes out, doesn't it.

RG: Yes.

NP: It's how we all think most of the time. It's why this show is so so difficult. I only say that because some people think it sounds easy. So Paul you challenged first.

PM: It was a hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation, you have 38 seconds, the highlight of my day starting now.

PM: The highlight of my day is undoubtedly when I walk on stage with all the... oh!


PM: I'm lying through my teeth, it's a tremendously horrible experience!

NP: Clement you challenged first, 33 seconds, you tell us something about the highlight of my day starting now.

CF: The highlight of my day this morning was when I walked into my hotel lift and inadvertently hit a woman quite hard into the front. And I apologised to her, explaining that if her bosom, if her heart... I made a mess of that...


NP: Paul challenged you.

PM: Well if that's the highlight of your day, I... hesitation.

NP: Yes and deviation too.

CF: Can I finish that story?

PM: Yeah you can finish the story.

NP: You can finish the story.

CF: Okay, I banged against this woman with my elbow, and we were both startled, and I said "if your heart is as soft as your bosom, you will forgive me," and she said "if your willy is as hard as your elbow, I'm in Room 264."

PM: This programme's just evolved into another, hasn't it.

NP: I think you've taken the whole show off in a different direction.

PM: Room 265, room 265.

NP: No, you were challenged before you got to the end of your story.

CF: Yeah.

NP: And so there are 16 seconds for you now Paul, on the highlight of my day starting now.

PM: Undoubtedly the highlight of my day is going to Clement's hotel...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: The second undoubtedly.

NP: Yes you did say that before. You started off undoubtedly.

MM: That's right, it is.

NP: He did, oh yes.

PM: Does the Underground go under here?

NP: Paul was looking very shocked and surprised but it was a correct challenge, Clement, 13 seconds, you've got back the highlight of my day, and do resist the temptation to go into one of your other stories starting now.

CF: The highlight of my day was thinking about the other stories which I could have told had Nicholas Parsons not asked me not to.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: It was a hesitation. Yes, Paul got in with a correct challenge for hesitation, three seconds Paul, the highlight of my day starting now.

PM: The highlight of my day and I say this without equivocation...


NP: Paul you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. You've increased your lead ahead of Clement Freud, and Mike McShane and Rhod Gilbert are equal in third place. Rhod we'd like you to begin the next round, my patron saint. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

RG: There are patron saints for everything these days, and right now I'm summoning up Geoffrey, the patron saint of deviation, Jane, the patron saint of repetition, and Bungle, the patron saint of hesitation. And hoping that I do not do any of those things for the next 50 seconds or so. My patron saint is the patron saint of Wales, Saint David. Of course he was a frugal man although this is something of an understatement as apparently he lived entirely on watercress. Like an early ecclesiastical Popeye, he devoured tubs of the salady green vegetable I just mentioned rather than cans of spinach. He was a very devout fellow by all accounts. He once, eee I ahhhh!


RG: Oh so close!

NP: Well you went for 39 seconds before you were challenged. And as I'm being very liberal with my bonus points and you, it's only the second time you've played the game, I think we give you a bonus point just for that.

RG: Yeah! All right!

NP: Paul you pressed your buzzer first and it was...

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation so another point to you, 21 seconds available, my patron saint starting now.

PM: There's quite a lot of Irish in me so I suppose my patron saint could be Saint Patrick, the man who went to that blessed isle and drove all the snakes away. Whenever I visit that place, I think to myself, I feel at home. I have many relatives there, although I was born in England, I felt Irishness in my veins. And I look around the green beautiful landscape, the reason why it is...


NP: Paul was again speaking as the whistle went, gained another extra point, has increased his lead. And it's the first time we've discovered about his Irish blood. Can you do an irish accent as well?

PM: (in Irish accent) No.

NP: Paul we're back with you to begin and the subject now is an Indian summer. Something we have not experienced up here in Edinburgh during the Festival. Talk on that subject if you can Paul, starting now.

PM: This summer I went to India to film a television programme. It was a shame as the subject was Peru! Nevertheless, as I wandered around looking at the stately bleurgh bla...


NP: Mike you challenged.

MM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation Mike, 50 seconds for you on an Indian summer starting now.

MM: The Indian summer in the great midwest of America, where I am from in the state of Kansas, is a fantastic and amazing element. It's tornado time and what happens then is the air turns very brown. And when you're playing outside as a child, that occurs and all the birds start chirps...


NP: Rhod you...

MM: You see the improviser going "die"!

NP: Rhod you challenged first.

RG: Yeah well hesitation. Possibly deviation as well.

NP: You only need one.

RG: Oh hesitation then.

NP: You get a point for a correct challenge.

RG: Thank you very much.

NP: And you have 31 seconds, an Indian summer starting now.

RG: What is an Indian summer? I have absolutely no idea. I have never...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Let somebody else have a go then!

RG: By all means!

NP: No no no, Clement we enjoyed your interruption, I'm generous in my bonus points so give Clement a bonus point for the interruption, you get a point Rhod because you were interrupted and you've got an Indian summer still, you have 26 seconds, gird your loins, take a deep breath, think about anything to do with summer and start now.

RG: An Indian summer is supposed to be a good thing although in France they enjoy a Greek summer, and in Spain they enjoy the Portugese variety. And of course in Italy they prefer a Japanese one. I have no idea what I'm talking about right now.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of prefer.

NP: Prefer, you had two prefers.

RG: Oh!

PM: Sorry I saw it as a rescue mission. He said he had no idea what I'm talking about.

NP: Yes.

PM: So I thought I'd help out.

NP: Paul you had a correct challenge, you have 15 seconds, an Indian summer starting now.

PM: Indian summer is a term over here, means a late summer, longer than you might have expected, something that goes into, perhaps, September or October. Many people regard that as the definition of an Indian summer. As I mentioned earlier, I was in that magnificent country some...


NP: Right so Paul was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point again, has increased his lead over Clement Freud, and Rhod Gilbert and Mike McShane in that order. Clement will you begin the next round, ooohh, ghost stories. Tell us something about that subject in this game if you can starting now.

CF: This man was looking for Market Harborough and got lost on the Dartmoor Downs, looking for, I said looking before...


NP: Mike challenged.

MM: Ah looking, repetition.

NP: Yes well done, well listened Mike, you're getting the hang of it now, right. You have another point, you have ghost stories which is the subject and there are 52 seconds available starting now.

MM: In Huntingdon, Alabama, there is a coon dog cemetery down in the deep woods. Many animals have been buried there, the important ones, therefore the hunters that live in that great state. There is often a tale of a haunted hound that bays late at night, bringing chill to the blood of the moonshiners and the tax revenuers who lived in that area. He's called Old Jelly Butt and his dewlaps hang so low that he brushes the ground when he walks making a shuffling noise that strikes fear into the evildoers at heart. My great-grandmother who was a moonshiner...


NP: Oh!

NP: Rhod you've challenged.

RG: Yeah I'm not sure, was there a repetition of moonshiner?

NP: Yeah.

MM: Yes.

RG: Thank you Mike.

MM: You know, moonshine's so nice, you like to say it twice.

NP: I'm glad you brought your friends so that they can confirm the challenges.

PM: I didn't know we had a third umpire, did you know that?

NP: Sixteen seconds available for you Rhod on ghost stories starting now.

RG: I don't really believe in ghosts. It kind of annoys me that they all... damn!


NP: Mike...

RG: I was going to say ghosts and I could have said it again.

NP: Mike you've got in.

MM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation. You've got ghost stories back, you've got 11 seconds, tell us more about this cemetery or something else if you like, starting now.

MM: The autumn leaves would rustle, going late into the night...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of late.

NP: Yes because you were late when you were talking before.

MM: Oh!

CF: You've still got that funny accent.

MM: Oh right.

NP: I'd resent that Mike.

MM: I've got to say, exactly.

NP: What about his accent?

MM: Well it's nice, he's still got last night's dinner rolling round in his mouth. Apparently a lot of plums.

NP: Right anyway, a bonus point for Mike because we enjoyed what he said, but a correct challenge for Clement, he gets a point for that and there are seven seconds available, ghost stories Clement starting now.

CF: Being interrupted by another failed anorexic is always extremely pleasant. My very best ghost story happened in Suffolk...


NP: Right Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's still in second place. He's just ahead of Mike McShane and Rhod Gilbert. But he's a few points behind our leader Paul Merton. And Rhod we're back with you to begin and the subject is customer service. Will you talk about customer service in this game starting now.

RG: Customer services really annoys me. It's one thing that gets on my nerves, because nobody really cares, do they. Companies have worked out that they, er, need to pretend...


NP: Mike challenged.

MM: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation.

MM: Jumping on the word.

NP: Yes There was a hesitation Mike, so you have customer service, 51 seconds starting now.

MM: Once I went to return a pair of jeans to a company store, and when I went to the customer service...


NP: Rhod challenged.

RG: He went and he went again.

NP: Yes he went and he went, 45 seconds with you Rhod on customer service starting now.

RG: My name is Moira and I'm very happy to help. No you are not, you're deeply unhappy, you're doing a pointless job in a meaningless universe, you would rather be sat outside a shop on a bench drinking out of a brown paper bag than doing this particular activity that you are doing right now...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: How much drink could you get in a brown paper bag?

RG: Ask Moira.

PM: It wouldn't be enough to satisfy you, would it really?

NP: Well I think it's possible that somebody on a street who was pretty far gone might...

PM: Have you ever drunk out of a brown paper bag?

NP: No I've never wanted to actually.

PM: Well you should try now.

NP: But I've seen people lying in the gutter who are pretty far gone and they've got a brown paper bag...

PM: That's called our core audience, thank you very much!

NP: I give the benefit of the doubt to Rhod, he keeps the subject and there are 32 seconds starting now.

RG: I stopped at the services on the motorway not so long ago and there was a twee little customer services sign on the way...


NP: Mike challenged.

MM: Services, repetition.

NP: Yes repetition Mike, well listened.

RG: Services is in the title.

NP: No, service, customer service.

RG: In the plural. Ooohh! That's a new low for Just A Minute.

MM: No, just wait till I get back on the mike, I'll make a new low for you.

NP: Customer service Mike starting now.

MM: Hello I'm Janine, I'm here to help you. Please fill out Form P45 and after you're done with that, let me see an eye scan and a fingerprint examination. We'll take you into the refund room where we'll drop your trousers and examine you for our customer potential service. After that you'll be given an ID number and sat in a room for 15...


NP: Rhod challenged.

RG: Room?

NP: Yes.

RG: Was there two rooms?

NP: You had another room.

MM: Room.

NP: Yes you had a room there. You've got in with eight seconds to go on customer service starting now.

RG: I stood in a queue in Marks and Spencers not so long ago, behind a woman who was claiming that she had paid far too much for an outsized bra. If only that was the same for men and their pants...


NP: So our first-time players of the game, Rhod Gilbert, was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's crept up. He's now actually in second place, and Mike is in third place alongside Clement Freud. So a slow start but it's all paying off now. And we're moving into the final round. Paul we're back with you to start and the subject I've got here is forever and ever. Tell us something about that subject starting now.

PM: This 701st recording of Just A Minute will go out from this planet in the form of radio waves and travel across the universe and beyond forever and ever. Somewhere in a distant planet we will see an individual one day arise up, some from of life form that we haven't experienced before. But they'll know how to play Just A Minute. The audience of the earth will look amazed as this extraterrestrial being emerges from his spaceship and says "I was once walking down the street and then I saw, buzz". And somebody says "why did you make that noise?" "Because he repeated that single letter." "That seems a bit harsh", would say the man from outer space. But indeed it isn't because that's the way we play this game on earth...


NP: I'm always fair in this game, when somebody else went for 40 seconds, I gave them a bonus point, and Paul went for 44 seconds, right! Rhod I think you challenged.

RG: Ah it was a little bit of hesitation there I thought, a little bit of a stumble. But if I don't have that, then very early on I think you repeated Just A Minute. But I'm not sure, I wasn't sure if that's allowed. And so I let it go for as long as I could. And then it became intolerable.

NP: You have a correct challenge for your second, your first challenge, I can't give retrospective ones. Sixteen seconds Rhod, on forever and ever starting now.

RG: Forever and ever amen, those are the last words of The Lord's Prayer, which as a child in a little primary school in Wales I had to recite morning and night before we would go home to see our lovely parents where hopefully they would live forever and ever and we would all be very happy in our little pockets...


NP: So this is where I give you the final situation. Mike McShane who has not played the game before, and Clement Freud who has played it more times than he can remember, came together, both contributed fantastically, but both finished equally in third place, seven points behind Rhod Gilbert in his second outing in Just A Minute, finished up in a powerful second place. But a few points behind the man who took the lead, stayed there, and so we say this week Paul you are our winner. Thank you, it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Mike McShane and Rhod Gilbert. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me note down the score, she has blown her whistle very elegantly because this is the first time she's done this particular job! And we are grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani, we are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are very indebted to this lovely audience here at the Pleasance at the Festival Fringe who have cheered us on our way magnificently. Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!