NOTE: Nicholas Parsons' 750th appearance, Owen O'Neill's last 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 huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners not only in this country but throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme four dynamic, talented and humorous personalities who are going to play Just A Minute. And they are, seated on my right we welcome back a very clever Irish comedian and a brilliant writer, that is Owen O'Neill. And seated beside him someone who has played the game more times than any of us can remember because he was right from the start, Clement Freud. And seated on my left, a brilliant writer, raconteur and all round good egg, that is Marcus Brigstocke. And another distinguished writer and that is Gyles Brandreth. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Trudi Stevens, who is going to help me keep 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 Hay Festival, at Hay-on-Wye. And we are have a very excited, animated Festival audience in front of us, as we start the show with Clement Freud and who better. Clement the subject in front of me is a month of Sundays. You have 60 seconds starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: If you wanted to become very fat, I can think of no better way than eating sundaes for a whole month. Personally I prefer banana splits. But sundaes can be fashioned of almost any fruit and ice cream, and also concoctions such as jelly. But raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, bayberries, myrtle berries, apples, pears...


NP: Gyles you challenged.

GYLES BRANDRETH: Two of those berries were separate words.

NP: Which ones?

GB: The last two that he mentioned.

NP: No, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, no they're all...

GB: Myrtle berries. And there was one more.

NP: Myrtle berries, you're right.

GB: Yeah.

NP: Myrtle berries are two words.

GB: And there was another berries earlier, you see.

NP: Was there? Well then that's a correct challenge Gyles. Well listened.

CF: But I hadn't said berries, I hadn't said berries on their own before.

GB: Yes you had. Right at the beginning. A whole variety of berries and then you began to list them and you got to the myrtle berries which is two words.


CF: They don't even like you.

GB: It's because I like you so much that I'm hanging on your very lips, on every word.

NP: Well, well picked up Gyles, anyway so you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that of course, you take over the subject, there are 35 seconds available and the subject is a month of Sundays.

GB: A month of sundaes is indeed what Billy Bunter would have dreamed of. "Yaroo! Or Crikey! I say you chaps, the ice cream has just arrived, oh beriberi may be the result if I eat..."


NP: So Clement you've challenged.

CF: Was that a separate word?

NP: No!

GB: In the Oxford English dictionary it is one word, in Chambers there is a hyphen.

NP: And if you're in Africa, of course it is a disease. Right Clement a correct challenge, you have 23 seconds, you take back the subject of a month of Sundays starting now.

CF: A month of Sundays is normally supposed to infer that it's gone on for a long time. Much too much...


NP: Marcus you challenged.

MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE: Yes repetition of much.

CF: Yeah.

NP: Yes indeed yes and 16 seconds are still available for you Marcus to take over the subject of a month of sundaes starting now.

MB: I can think of nothing more awful than an entire month of Sundays. I mean for one thing, there'd be absolutely nothing to read in the newspapers since they're always full of drivel on a Sunday. When they come to the door you open them up and about 15 tons of crap falls down on you...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. And it was Marcus Brigstocke on this occasion so at the end of the round he has two points, Gyles has one, Clement has one, Owen is yet to speak but he's going to start now as he will start the next round and it is Offa's Dyke. I don't know why it makes you laugh, it is a very well-known place. And Owen tell us something about it in this game starting now.

OWEN O'NEILL: Offa's Dyke as we all know is the lesbian wife of the mad Welsh poet Off-his Head. During the 1960s they were thrown out of England for their hedonistic lifestyle and they moved to Hay-on-Wye which was then the gay capital of Paris. And judging by...


NP: Marcus.

MB: Given how much I was enjoying it and how much the audience liked it, I now regret buzzing in at all. However there was something of a hesitation.

NP: No there wasn't! He was going with style and the audience were loving it, no no no no. No I think that's an incorrect challenge so you've got another point, you haven't got another point, you've got your first point, and you've got 41 seconds and you continue on Offa's Dyke, Owen starting now.

OO: Offa's Dyke, they moved from...


OO: Yes that is a hesitation. I just, I just wanted to let Marcus know what a hesitation was like!

MB: Thank you very much.

NP: Yes because once you're interrupted sometimes it's difficult to get going again. This time it was Gyles who challenged first, right hesitation yes?

GB: Yes indeed hesitation.

NP: Right, 37 seconds available Gyles, Offa's Dyke starting now.

GB: I am not interested in the sexual orientation of office friends. The kind of offer that interests me would concern a bogof, buy one get another free. When I look for an offer, it is a bargain I am seeking...


NP: Marcus yes?

MB: Yes deviation, ah, that would not be a bogof if it's get another free, it's a bogaf at that point.

NP: A very clever challenge, 26 seconds, Offa's Dyke with you Marcus starting now.

MB: I have been advised that Offa's Dyke is the thing that divides the Welsh and the English, however I'm not convinced that this is true. I think that Anne Robinson is the main obstacle in that particular instance. However there are also other things that differentiate those...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of things.

NP: Yes you had one of the things before, you had more than one things in that one so well listened Gyles, 11 seconds available for you, Offa's Dyke starting now.

GB: The division between England and Wales is an extraordinary thing. To come...


NP: Owen challenged.

OO: Overacting!

NP: Owen there's nothing about, you can overact if you like, but we enjoyed the challenge so much and so did the audience. We give you a bonus point for that. But I'm afraid Gyles was interrupted, he can overact of he likes. I must explain to our listeners, he really was overacting actually. He was making flamboyant gestures as if he was in some production or show. An incorrect challenge so a point to you Gyles, Offas Dyke with you Gyles starting now.

GB: When I played Hamlet of course, they threw eggs at me. I went on as the moody Dane, came off as Omelette. It was a humiliation, dropping off a dyke...


NP: Well Gyles the audience enjoyed the overacting and you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, you've gone into a strong lead there. You're two ahead of Marcus, three ahead of Owen, and four ahead of Clement. And Gyles we'd like you to begin the next round, a bad apple. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

GB: A Bad Apple is the title of a play that I went to see in Hereford once upon a time starring that great English actor, Sir Donald Wolfett. Before your time Marcus, but a distinguished player of the old school. He played the title role of...


NP: Owen challenged.

OO: I think it was repetition of time.

NP: Yes, before your time.

GB: Before your time's a phrase, contains three words, no repetition within it.

NP: No, no, you repeated the word time.

GB: Oh did I?

NP: Yes.

OO: Yeah.

NP: And the audience agrees. There you are, you see, we have endorsement from the audience, you can't go against them. Or you will be embarrassed.

GB: I don't want to go against them.

NP: Right, Owen...

GB: Very attractive group of human beings, highly intelligent and physically arousing.

MB: Seeing as I'm sitting at the same table, I would like to confirm that Gyles is now physically aroused.

GB: So sweet of you to notice! This never happens at home!

MB: That's why I moved out!

NP: It's amazing that your physical arousement should make the audience laugh. So that's a, I don't know what that says about you Gyles, but anyway, Owen you had a correct challenge, you have 49 seconds, tell us something about a bad apple starting now.

OO: A bad apple obviously spoils the barrel. This is what they tell you and this means that when you have a barrel of apples...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two thises.

NP: This yes.

CF: They were a bit close.

NP: It is a tough one but it is correct. So Clement you have a correct challenge, 42 seconds, a bad apple starting now.

CF: I thought Dyke Van Dick was a bad apple. Really in every way, not a particularly good actor, in far too many shows. Switch on television and there was this bad apple shouting at you. It must surely be time for somebody to blow the whistle.


NP: I'm surprised no-one challenged you for the Dyke Van Dick.

GB: Well it was deviation.

NP: That was definitely deviation yes.

GB: It was also slanderous, I think, on behalf of Mr Van Dyke's lawyers, I interrupt.

NP: But what is your challenge actually?

GB: Deviation, hesitation, a desire for the whistle to be blown, me not having one available and therefore pressing the buzzer.

NP: You only have one challenge.

GB: That's the one Im choosing.

NP: A composite challenge but you're going for deviation are you? All right you have it, 22 seconds, a bad apple with you Gyles starting now.

GB: A bad apple is a horrible person who really spoils everything, ruins ones life. The Parliamentary parties are all loaded with these people. Loyalty means nothing to them. When I was a Member of Parliament, I was faithful, yes...


NP: Owen challenged.

OO: Repetition of Parliament.

GB: No.

NP: No no, he didn't say that before.

GB: Political parties.

NP: Political parties.

GB: And I was a Member of Parliament.

OO: Carry on!

NP: A bad apple, still with you Gyles, and you have, you have only four seconds available starting now.

GB: People say that John Major was a bad apple but he was very sweet. Dressed do well and indeed...


NP: Gyles Brandreth was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's increased his lead at the end of that round. Marcus Brigstocke will you begin the next round, something very topical today, a carbon footprint, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

MB: A carbon footprint is a thing which exercises many of the people here at the Hay Festival. It's very important, if you want to measure your carbon footprint, to travel to America on a large plane where they will then tell you exactly how large it is. You then...


NP: Gyles challenged.

GB: Repetition of large.

NP: Yes you had a large before yes. Large so Gyles another point to you and you have the subject and 45 seconds, carbon footprint starting now.

GB: Getting to Hay-on-Wye today, my footprint was very light because I came by train and I was held up by other passengers it was so crowded. I walked all the way between two rugby enthusiasts who said "er are you the fellow with the silly jumpers? Can't remember your name" and poked me with their fingers. They wished to go...


NP: Owen challenged.

OO: I'd say hesitation.

NP: Yes it was a hesitation there. And you demonstrated...

OO: I know, I know, I know...

NP: Hesitation.

OO: I said slight hesitation.

GB: There was because I was hesitating whether to share with people the full horror of what had happened on this train.

MB: It sounded to me like you weren't sure whether you had actually been poked by their fingers or not.

NP: You were sharing something anyway. So Owen, benefit of the doubt, hesitation, 25 seconds, carbon footprint starting now.

OO: I don't believe there is such a thing as carbon footprint. When I was a lad, there was no such things as an environment...


OO: Thing!

NP: Yes!

OO: I've got a thing about thing today!

NP: Gyles.

GB: Repetition of such a thing.

NP: Yes, you had it, first one in, 19 seconds back with you Gyles, carbon footprint starting now.

GB: Is it real, the carbon footprint? When I was a child, we feared that there was going to be a nuclear bomb...


NP: Owen challenged.

OO: He's just nicked my material! I've just done that bit.

NP: I know. He can still pinch it if he wants to. But Owen we enjoyed your interruption, give him a bonus point. Gyles... I'll tell you one thing Owen, you've got the audience with you and you have a point for being interrupted, and you have 15 seconds, carbon footprint starting now.

GB: As a wee boy we took a piece of carbon paper and cut it out in the shape of a footprint, put it inside the shoe on top of blotting paper, then stepped into it and wondered if we would faint. It was a kind of rumour that went around the school that this is what would happen to you. The origin of the carbon footprint...


NP: Well once again Gyles Brandreth was speaking as the whistle went, and has increased his lead ahead of all the others. And all the others, only three others. Clement Freud will you take the next round, the subject is a trick of the light. Give us some thoughts on that, 60 seconds available starting now.

CF: The light presumably refers to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, often called Coyly or that word in Indian...


NP: Owen challenged.

OO: Hesitation?

CF: No.

NP: I think there was, yes.


OO: Oh I've lost them now completely.

NP: You can lose them very rapidly, actually yes. So tell us something about a trick of the light, Owen, in 50 seconds starting now.

OO: A trick of the light is when you look at someone and you think they're beautiful but they're not. That's what I think it means. I was looking at a man one day and...


NP: And Clement challenged.

OO: Looking.

CF: Looking.

NP: Yes well listened Clement, it's back with you, a trick of the light, 42 seconds starting now.

CF: The great thing about the light and their trick is that when they went to war, they faced backwards. It was not a particularly good trick of the light, but certainly one that outperformed the Duke Of Cornwall's Light Infantry and that of many other regiments. Not the 51st and 105th which of course is the... significant...


CF: That was a hesitation.

NP: Yes and Gyles was in first on hesitation, Gyles, 17 seconds, a trick of the light starting now.

GB: When I got up this morning, I went into the bathroom and looked into the mirror, and thought "oh this really is rather fetching". And my wife came in and said "darling it's a trick of the light, a bulb has gone, you can't see yourself, you are old and ugly". Now I happen to think that 60 is the new 40 and a trick of the light in this particular tent makes me feel...


NP: Yes, talking about a trick of the light, if some of our listeners can hear strange noises, it is not emanating from the players, it's emanating from the wind which is rising in this tent in which we are housed for this show here at the Hay Festival. So what's the situation? Gyles was speaking as the whistle went again and he's increased his lead again. Owen we'd like you to begin the next round, Dorothy Parker, what a good subject to talk on, 60 seconds starting now.

OO: Dorothy...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: There was, there was a hesitation, wasn't there. Have to be fair.

OO: I think it's harsh. Do you think it's harsh, the man in the checked shirt? The audience are on my side, I've got them back!

NP: You have got them back but I still have to play by the rules of Just A Minute, and I did give you the benefit of the doubt on the hesitation against Clement, so I've now redressed the balance, Clement has got it against you now...

OO: Absolutely.

NP: Clement, there are 50, oh gosh, there are a full 58 and a half seconds...

CF: That was the one and a half second hesitation.

NP: Yes, one and a half right, and the subject is Dorothy Parker, we've yet to hear anything about her, so Clement would you start now.

CF: My favourite story about Dorothy Parker is when she went to a party and on the way out, having had an awful lot of drink, she found a bowl of seals...


NP: Oh Clement, Owen challenged.

OO: Hesitation.

NP: It was, he had a jolly good story coming up too, yes.

OO: Did he? Oh well forget it then! Just, just, we're recording it, pretend I haven't said it.

NP: No no no no, when we record, that was a correct challenge, so we give you a point for a correct challenge...

OO: Okay.

NP: ... but I'm going to be generous and leave it with Clement because...

CF: No!

NP: ... we want to hear the story.

CF: No way!

NP: Clement, Clement doesn't want to be generous and keep in then, you have the point Owen and you have 50 seconds, Dorothy Parker starting now.

OO: Dorothy Parker...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

OO: I thought we were talking about Dorothy Parker?

NP: Yeah. And your hesitation is because he started on time.

CF: He didn't hesitate.

NP: Yes.

CF: That was the deviation.

NP: But Clement, each time he started he hasn't always hesitated. So that's not actually deviation.

CF: No very quick.

NP: It's a very good, a very good attempt...

OO: It's very complicated, this game, isn't it.

NP: Right give Clement a bonus point because we enjoyed his interruption but Owen was interrupted, he gets a point for that, he has Dorothy Parker still and he has 49 seconds starting now.

OO: Dorothy Parker was well known for her caustic wit and barbed tongue. She also liked English men. She was married to Parker from Thunderbirds for a long time. And she was also having an affair with Nicholas Parsons and she said he was very good, but he only lasted Just A Minute with hesitation, repetition and deviation. In the 1960s Dorothy Parker got very drunk one night and she went to Nicholas... ahhh! Nicholas Parsons...


NP: Oh right, Gyles you interrupted there.

GB: There was a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation. Tell us something about Dorothy Parker, Gyles 27 seconds available starting now.

GB: Brevity is the soul of lingerie is one of the great sayings of our lovely Dorothy Parker who also chimed...


NP: Owen challenged.

OO: A bit of a hesitation there, I think.

GB: Oh it was a poetic lilt. I was about to go American.

NP: I don't think he actually hesitated within the rules of Just A Minute.

OO: No okay.

NP: He elongated the word slightly.

OO: I wasn't sure when he was going to stop.

NP: I know, nor were we.

OO: He went ahhhhhhhhhhh.

NP: Gyles another point to you, 19 seconds, Dorothy Parker starting now.

GB: I burn the candle at both ends, it will not last the night, but oh my friends, and oh my foes, it gives a lovely light.


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Oh my, oh my.

NP: Oh my, oh my.

CF: It is either hesitation or deviation from the words that were written.

GB: Yeah the real deviation, I've just realised, is it isn't by Dorothy Parker at all!

OO: And...

CF: It was Edna St Vincent Mellay.

GB: Yeah it is Edna St Vincent Mellay.

CF: Yeah.

GB: Could we change the subject perhaps?

NP: No no. They're all showing off their erudition, God, what bright people we have on Just A Minute. Clement, a correct challenge, 13 seconds, Dorothy Parker starting now.

CF: And in the morning with a terrific hangover Dorothy Parker rang for her maid and nothing happened. Eventually she went down to the kitchen and there was a note on the table which said "dear Dorothy Parker, I have left because of the seal. I do not like seals. I would have mentioned this before but didn't think it would come up."


NP: Because we enjoyed the story Clement, we let you go. I didn't, Trudi did. Clement also gets a point because he went 10 seconds over, and nobody interrupted.

MB: The DVD Extras version! Just A Seventy Seconds!

NP: Owen?

OO: Can I do my Dorothy Parker quote? I think it's the best one. She said you can take a whore to culture, but you can't make her think.

NP: So we're moving into the final round, alas.


NP: Oh you are lovely. And the situation is that Marcus Brigstocke who was here when we we were, some weeks ago at Hay-on-Wye, and um...

MB: It's a very very long Festival. Very few people realise how long it is.

NP: And surprising, he's trailing a little because he did very very very well last time. And he came one point behind our winner. And in third place...

MB: How's it going this time?

NP: Well you're trailing.

MB: Yeah.

NP: You're, you're in a very good fourth place.

MB: Oh good! Excellent!

NP: And Clement's in a very strong third place, Owen's in an excellent second place and Gyles is out in a very strong lead. And that's the situation as we move into the final round. And it happens to be, Gyles, your turn to begin and the subject is a mugs game, 60 seconds starting now.

GB: If you are wondering why I am here, then already we have something in common. Because I used to be a politician, and it is politics that is a mug's game. Only idiots go into it because you are humiliated at the end of the road. I was a MP until the people spoke, in my case in no uncertain terms. And I then had to take up collecting royal souvenirs, crockery with pictures of Kings and Queens on. It's a mug's game because there are so many of these Royal bits of trinkery...


NP: Owen's challenged.

OO: Repetition of Royal.

NP: Yes. Royal.

GB: Oh yes, one was with an E and one was without. I was talking about the television Royle family and I was coming on to that and I'd been talking about the Royal Family.

NP: You can wriggle, you can wriggle as much as you like but even, even if that was true Gyles, it is the words which we listen to in Just A Minute, not the spelling.

GB: Aha.

NP: And so Owen, you have a correct challenge and you're moving forward on Gyles, 29 seconds available, a mug's game starting now.

OO: A mug's game is horse racing which I am led to believe that Clement Freud is very fond of, although this particular man sitting on my left-hand side is apparently very good at it and wins lots of money. But as far as I'm concerned...


NP: Marcus challenged.

MB: I think it's a deviation because technically it's the horses that are good at it! Clement is a skilful gambler, I have no doubt at all, but it's the horses that are good at the horse racing.

NP: I know...

MB: Clement on the one occasion where he took part and I'm sorry to even bring this up, Clement, came second. So..

NP: Yes it's quite true, Clement did take part in a race quite a number of years ago. But he came second unfortunately, right...

CF: Hey...

NP: Did you win?

CF: In what?

NP: The race, the race...

MB: The 3-30 at Kempton.

CF: I rode in...

NP: Oh nurse, he's out of bed again! When, when you did your race along many years ago, I thought you came second?

CF: No.

NP: What, did you win?

CF: Yeah. Another man came second.

NP: Oh give him another bonus point, he won! But I must say Marcus, I did feel Owen was conveying it was concerned with betting and it was not just concerned with the horses, so the benefit of the doubt goes to Owen and he has 17 seconds to continue with a mug's game starting now.

OO: A mug's game can also be a game that I used to play when I was a little child, making faces. This is very funny especially when you've.... give a good face to...


NP: Gyles challenged.

OO: I just put a great face out, I just wanted to...

GB: Charming.

NP: So Marcus what was your challenge?

MB: I didn't challenge.

GB: I challenged.

MB: It was Gyles then.

NP: I know he did, it was the end of the show, I thought I'd give Marcus a chance to come in before we'd finish.

MB: Oh I see! Oh my challenge in that case was ah, which was kindly buzzed for me by Mr Brandreth, ever the politician, was a repetition of face.

NP: That's right, yes but...

MB: That was what we meant, wasn't it Gyles?

NP: There's only nine seconds to go Gyles so I thought...

GB: No no...

NP: ... we can definitely be generous on this one...

GB: Of course.

NP: ... and give Marcus a little chance because he is trailing for once which is unusual for him.


NP: Nine seconds...

MB: Don't do that! Now they think I'm simple and pitiable!

NP: He's just coming from doing his own show which went like a riot. Anyway, a mug's game...

MB: Well yes. That was my forte then.

NP: Nine seconds Marcus, a mug's game starting now.

MB: We played a mug's game when I worked at the Little Chef Restaurant off the Junction 36 of the M5 where we would all swap our mugs in the kitchen...


NP: So Marcus Brigstocke brought that round to a close and he got that extra point for speaking as the whistle went. And he's finished up in a magnificent fourth place. But no no, no disrespect because he's triumphed on many occasions before. Just ahead of him was Clement Freud, a little, a couple of points ahead of him was Owen O'Neill, but a few points ahead of Owen was Gyles Brandreth, so you were in the lead, Gyles, so we say this week you are our winner. And so it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, and that was Owen O'Neill, Clement Freud, Marcus Brigstocke and Gyles Brandreth. I thank Trudi Stevens, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle so well. We are grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are also deeply indebted to this lovely Festival audience here in this lovely tent at the Guardian Hay Festival at Hay-on-Wye. And again on behalf of all our wonderful players and me Nicholas Parsons, thank you for tuning in. Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!