starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, JOSIE LAWRENCE and JACK DEE, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 2 February 2009)

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 this week four distinguished and definitive performers who this week are going to play Just A Minute, as i ask them to speak on a subject I will give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four distinguished individuals are, seated on my right, that delightful comedian and great exponent of this game, Paul Merton. And seated beside him the one who brings such erudition to the show, the veteran player of the game, Clement Freud. And seated on my left, two who have not played the game quite so often. That lovely actress, singer and performer and comedian as well, Josie Lawrence. And seated beside her, a wonderful stand-up comedian and now a very fine established actor, Jack Dee. Would you please welcome all four of them! Beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me keep the score, and she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Radio Theatre in the heart of Broadcasting House, that fine edifice in Portland Place. And we have a fine cosmopolitan audience drawn from all sections of London and maybe beyond because we don't know, they haven't told us where they come from. And they're dying for the show to start so we'll begin the show with Paul Merton. Oh Paul here's a tricky one. The subject is my secret vice. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: My secret vice is in fact extremely secret. If it was to become publicly known then the audiences would lose respect for me. They would look at me as an individual that had no strong moral fibre. My secret vice is to secretly follow celebrities around the streets. I have been through Nicholas Parsons' dustbins than you have had more hot dinners! In fact I know that Mr Parsons has...


NP: Oh Clement challenged.


NP: I know.

PM: Didn't I say Nicholas the first time?

NP: You did say Nicholas Parsons.

JOSIE LAWRENCE: Nicholas Parsons.

PM: Did I?

JL: Nicholas Parsons.

NP: Yes.

JACK DEE: You did.

NP: And then you repeated Parsons.

PM: Okay. And that is repetition so Clement gets a point for that, takes over the subject and there are 37 seconds still available Clement starting now.

CF: My secret vice is losing in Just A Minute. I repeat myself...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: That's not a secret! They make the scores public at the end of every show. That's what I tune in for!

NP: Have you, have you got a challenge within the rules of Just A Minute?

PM: No. Have you?

NP: No. I haven't.

PM: What are you talking about then?

NP: But I don't have to challenge.

PM: Oh don't you?

NP: I only judge on them.

PM: No, I don't, no.

NP: You don't know. All I'll tell you there is because the audience enjoyed your interruption, we give you a bonus point for that. But Clement was interrupted so he keeps the subject, having got a point for being interrupted and there are 32 seconds still available Clement, my secret vice starting now.

CF: I am a definitive player of this game of this game, as anyone who has heard the results after 60 minutes or is it only half an hour, will have noticed. I think...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Somebody should have challenged.

NP: I know!

PM: That would have involved listening!

NP: I think they're somewhat inhibited by your presence and your gravitas that you bring to the show. So you actually pressed your own buzzer so have you got a challenge for yourself?

CF: Being boring, I think!

PM: Well if we start challenging for being boring, the whole show will sound like...


NP: Well all right...

PM: You wouldn't be safe, I can tell you that much!

NP: I can tell you this, you're on form tonight, Paul!


NP: Josie what is your challenge?

JL: I'm going to challenge him because he wants somebody to!

NP: Well I can't give you a point for that! But he did hesitate.

JL: Yes he hesitated.

NP: Right Josie...

JL: That's what he did.

NP: You have the subject, you have my secret vice, not mine, that's the subject and you have 21 seconds starting now.

JL: I have many vices. I like smoking, drinking, parties, bathing in tubs of melted chocolate. But my secret vice I keep under my bed. I take it out, I put it on the table and I clamp my boyfriend's head with it. I love my vice but I have to keep it secret or else people would think it is strange...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Josie Lawrence so she has two at the end of the round, Clement has two, Paul has one, Jack is yet to score, in fact he's yet to speak actually. But wait till it happens! Josie we'd like you to start the next round and the subject is dinner ladies. Can you tell us something about dinner ladies in Just A Minute starting now.

JL: My school dinners were... oh bugger!


JL: My, my heart was beating so fast!

PM: Is that an exotically named local dish?

NP: Strange name for a dinner lady!

JL: Sorry.

NP: Clement, your challenge?

CF: Hesitation?

NP: Of course it was a hesitation, after what she said and did. Poor darling! You should have carried on and they may not have noticed it.

JL: I know.

NP: Clement you've got the subject of dinner ladies, 57 seconds starting now.

CF: I suppose anyone who has a title, and serves school meals, could be called a dinner lady. I prefer calling them dinner women.


CF: I think that's about all.

PM: A natural conclusion.

NP: A natural conclusion.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: I think he was waiting for a laugh that didn't come, actually. But Paul, a pause therefore hesitation, 47 seconds still available...

JD: Is my, is my buzzer working? Can I just...


NP: It is, Jack.

JD: Okay.

NP: But don't worry, you will be in there eventually.

JD: I will try.

NP: Dinner ladies with you Paul, and 47 seconds starting now.

PM: It was a sitcom written by Victoria Wood that was very popular about six or seven years ago. Dinner Ladies. It had a whole host of female actresses appearing in it. I don't think Josie actually was in it but she should have been...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: You can't really have a female actress. I mean you are naturally if you are a female...

NP: An actress. That's logical, isn't it. So deviation from correct English as we speak it and understand it. Thirty-eight seconds are still available Clement for dinner ladies for you starting now.

CF: Victoria Wood wrote this and it was a brilliant series, took place about six or seven years ago and I never missed watching it. I do...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: I think there was a bit of a hesitation there.

CF: No, no.

NP: There was a bit of a hesitation.

PM: As well as this whole sense of deja vu! That was in the Green Room where we were just then.

NP: Josie you have another point, 27 seconds available, dinner ladies starting now.

JL: The hall where we used to eat our school dinners, ah, usually...


NP: Jack you challenged.

JD: That was an er. Hesitation.

NP: There was an er, there was a hesitation.

JL: Did I say er?

JD: You did, you said er.

NP: And he was closest to you and he heard it strongest!

JD: Hesitation.

NP: So Jack you're in there.

JD: I'm just glad that people will now know I'm still in the building!

NP: I think your presence was felt even though we didn't hear your voice.

JD: Good! Pleased to hear it!

NP: Twenty-four seconds available, dinner ladies with you Jack starting now.

JD: Dinner ladies get a bad press usually because they cook disgusting food. I used to know a dinner lady at the school I went to who only used to make um...


JD: That was kind of what you did before.

JL: Yeah!

JD: Just to let you know that's not...

JL: That makes me feel better!

NP: Yes.

JL: It was an um.

NP: An um yes, 13 seconds, dinner ladies with you starting now.

JL: My favourite dinner lady was called Betty. She had a purple rinse and wore a sort of paper... back...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: A sort of hesitation there.

JL: Yes it was.

NP: Yes yes, dinner ladies is with you now Paul, nine seconds available starting now.

PM: The dinner lady at school that I loved above all others was Mrs King. She was a beautiful woman and her handling of the potatoes was su...


NP: So Paul was speaking then when the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He's now equal in the lead with Josie and Clement, they've all got four points, Jack's on one. And Clement it's your turn to begin, we'd like you to start this subject and the subject is charisma. Will you tell us something about charisma in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: Charisma is the 25th of December. Being charismatic deals with the 23rd, fourth, sixth and seventh. It also actually describes someone who is special, not like the rest of us, but one who shines, who has a resplendent feature, a singularly brilliant appreciation...


NP: Jack you challenged.

JD: I think it's deviation from the truth, apart from anything. Because I've actually, I've, I've...

NP: You mean it's hesitation, don't you, Jack?

JD: Oh it's hesitation, but I'm picking him up on deviation first Nick. There's a whole host of problems as you say.

CF: Who's challenging? You?

NP: So what is your actual challenge then Jack?

JD: Well it was deviation. Because he said that we don't have charisma, and I've got a lot of charisma.

PM: Yeah.

CF: Where?

JD: You can't, you just can't always see it!

NP: And you're now going to display it Jack with 33 seconds to go on charisma starting now.

JD: Charisma is one of those things that is not possible to fully describe or put your finger on. You know...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Two fullys?

NP: Fully describe or fully put your finger on.

JD: Did I really?

NP: Yes you really did.

JD: Well there you go.

NP: I know you haven't played it very much but I still have to...

JD: I think you'll find I said it charismatically though!

NP: Give Jack a bonus point for that last remark, he earned it. Clement you have a point, and you have charisma back with you with 26 seconds available starting now.

CF: I think to be fully challenging about charisma means knowing what it is about, which none of us do because all of us are...


NP: Josie.

JL: There were two "us"es there.

NP: That's right.

PM: You wait for one us and suddenly you get two along at the same time...

JL: Yeah!

NP: Fifteen seconds for you Josie on charisma starting now.

JL: It's the X factor, it's the certain je nai sai quois when somebody walks into the room. They can be ugly, they can be...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of they can be.

JL: Oh that's true, yes, carry on.

NP: Eight seconds for you Paul on charisma starting now.

PM: (in posh accent) Charisma is the quality that is often put upon a performer by the audience...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: Where's Paul gone?

NP: He didn't hesitate, repeat himself or deviate so he might have...

JL: I was being cruel.

NP: He deviated from his normal voice but that's not in the rules so we can leave it with Paul and tell him he has three seconds still on charisma starting now.

PM: Elvis...


NP: Oh Jack?

JD: That'tition, it's Paul again.

NP: You're making this all so complicated, I don't know whether it's...

JD: I never said it would stand up in court!

NP: I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt because there's only two seconds to go and you haven't played it as often as Paul, and tell you you have two seconds on charisma, Jack starting now.

JD: One of those things that I have always envied...


NP: So it's a very even contest this week. You see there's Jack Dee, Clement Freud and Josie Lawrence all on five points, and one point ahead is Paul Merton. And Jack we'd like you to begin the next round, a good subject for this show, hot air. Will you tell us something about hot air in this game starting now.

JD: Hot air, it's well known, is a substance that will raise, rise higher than...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: Raise, rise.

NP: What do you call that? Hesitation?

JL: Well just cocking it up really.

NP: That's...

PM: You can't really challenge on cocking it up.

NP: That category, it's not a category, you can't have cocking up or...

JL: He went raise, rise.

NP: Yes darling, it was hesitation.

JD: If you'd let me finish the sentence...

JL: That's what I said!

NP: All right...

JD: ... I might have made sense of it!

NP: I'd like to make clear to the listeners, why I'm giving you the challenge.

JL: Yes.

NP: I'm accepting your challenge, I mean, hot air's with you now Josie, with 55 seconds available starting now.

JL: I had a terrible experience once in a hot air balloon. It went right up, but you know that little pully thing that they pull to make the flames come out. Well it didn't actually work, it broke off. There was no hot air coming out. Hot air is something I find particularly difficult to say because on occasions I don't pronounce my Hs. Or I put them the wrong way round and say ot hair. That's because I'm... oh!


JL: I was praying somebody would stop me then!

PM: It's best to give a little wave.

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah.

JL: Yes.

NP: All right, so 33 seconds Paul, tell us something about hot air starting now.

PM: It was the Romans who discovered central heating. It had been there for quite some time but nobody knew what it was. Then suddenly Copernicus started bleeding radiators and there you were! All of the empire was suddenly warm in prehistorical Britain which of course it wasn’t because in fact the...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: No he didn't hesitate. He was going with a flow there.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Talking rubbish but it was a really good... Paul you still have the subject, hot air, 17 seconds starting now.

PM: Like Josie, I too am frightened by the hot air balloon. That is why I have never climbed into a laundry basket that is tethered to one of these things. It then takes you up into the air. It seems insanity in this era of health and safety that people should risk their lives in these hot air...


NP: So Paul Merton again speaking as the whistle went, has moved forward. He's now taken the lead, just ahead of the other three. And Josie we are back with you to start, will you begin with speaker's corner, 60 seconds starting now.

JL: Lots of people will have speaker's corners in their houses, you know, corners where the speakers are put. But the most impressive Speaker's Corner is of course in Hyde Park. It's not a corner, it's actually a paved area. And people go there because freedom of speech...


NP: Jack you challenged.

JD: It was a recognition of people.

NP: Yes there was a lot of people there.

JL: Yeah.

NP: Which of course there are at Speaker's Corner. Jack you've got the correct challenge, you've got the subject of speaker's corner, 46 seconds starting now.

JD: Speaker's Corner is somewhere where you can go in Hyde Park, stand on an orange crate and talk about anything you want to. And people are able to listen to you and heckle you if they want to. But if they don't...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of want to.

NP: Want to.

JD: Yes.

NP: People go there if they want to and they can heckle you if they want to.

JD: I thought I, I thought I'd get away with it, but no.

NP: No no.

JD: It wasn't to be.

NP: Not when you have these sharp experienced players on the right here, 34 seconds for you on speaker’s corner starting now.

CF: The location is Tyburn's Tree at Marble Arch which is indeed on the northwest corner of Hyde Park as aforementioned by both other contestants. One doesn't necessarily need an orange crate. Any colour will do perfectly. And all you may not speak about at Speaker's Corner is the Queen. Ah it is...


CF: It's just worth a bit of reflection.

NP: Josie?

JL: Hesitation.

NP: Definite hesitation yes

CF: Ah!

NP: Josie you got in with nine seconds on speaker's corner starting now.

JL: I disagree, there are many things you can't talk about. You can't be profane and you can't cite...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of can't.

NP: Oh dear yes. You can't be profane and you can't. Yes, it's a tough game isn't it.

JL: We're meant to be friends!

NP: The audience would like you to have it but Paul's got it and four seconds on speaker's corner Paul starting now.

PM: I once saw a mime artist at Speaker’s Corner, he didn't go down particularly well at all...


NP: So Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, and gained that extra point with others in the round, has increased his lead...

JL: He's wiping the floor with us.

NP: What's that, darling?

JL: He's wiping the floor with us.

NP: No he isn't, your contribution is standing out, it's lovely.

JL: I love you!

NP: No it's a team show, you're bouncing off each other which is a great thing. Clement it's your turn to begin...

CF: I love you!

NP: You sometimes have a strange way of showing it!

PM: I never thought that would become public!

NP: There are certain things we do keep under cover. Clement I think we should, before we get too far down the line of embarrassment, this is a subject which I am sure you can go on, the British sausage. And coming up after what we’ve just said, it's somewhat embarrassing as well. So Clement you have 60 seconds if you want it, the British sausage starting now.

CF: In Germany a sausage is called brafwurst. In Austria, viener verstel. Innnnn...


NP: Jack...

CF: Oh I was just getting into it!

JD: That was a hesitation apart from repetition of in and deviation from British sausage.

NP: I can't give you two points Jack. But you have the subject, the British sausage, 52 seconds available starting now.

JD: One of my favourite things is the British sausage, and one of my great disappoint... oh!


NP: Paul.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: I'm afraid so yes, the British sausage is with you Paul, and 47 seconds starting now.

PM: The British sausage, once referred to as the butcher's dustbin, is something that you have to be very careful about. Because obviously, wrapped up inside the skin is all manner of meat that has been minced up, perhaps because initially you wouldn't look at it if it was still in its entire form. We must remember...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repe, oh hesitation.

NP: There was a little hesitation.

CF: We must, hesitate, remember.

NP: Yes so Clement you’re back in with the British sausage, 32 seconds starting now.

CF: Gristle, sand...


CF: There's so much that goes into the British sausage.

NP: They may taste like sand but I'm sure, I mean the food standards people would never allow that to be passed. Just tastes like it. Right Josie you challenged first and you’ve got 29 seconds on the British sausage starting now.

JL: My granddad, Michael Griffin, was a butcher. He worked up in the Midlands for Marsh and Baxters and he was an expert in sausage skin. In fact all my family worked at this place. My grandmother used to link the sausages together once it had been piped in to the skin. I’ve just said skin three times.


JL: But that's a true story!

NP: Darling, don't draw attention to it.

JL: I shouldn't have, should I.

NP: Sometimes they're generous and let it go.

JL: I know.

NP: Because they were enjoying your sausage manufacturer.

JL: It's, it's, um...

NP: It was, it was Paul who challenged.

JD: It wasn't me.

JL: No, it was your charisma that's putting me off.

JD: Yeah yeah!

NP: Ten seconds Paul, the British sausage starting now.

PM: There were about four skins in what Josie was saying, which counts as repetition. The great British sausage is something we can salute. Winston Churchill once said...


NP: So Paul Merton again speaking as the whistle went increased his lead over the others. They're all almost equal actually in second place a few points behind him. Jack it's your turn to begin, the subject we'd like you to take is doodles. Can you tell us something about doodles in this game starting now.

JD: I once ate at a restaurant called Doodles and the gimmick of this place was that you had to draw on the paper tablecloths with crayons that were provided in a small plastic cup. And I found this particularly irritating because I'm not a child any more. And I wouldn't have minded quite so much if the food had been reasonably nice or even edible. But as it happens it was completely disgusting. I...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: That was hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation yes.

JD: I was drawing breath.

NP: I thought you were drawing the food in and it was all regurgitating actually.

JD: We're allowed to breathe on this show, aren't we?

NP: It was unfortunately a hesitation.

JD: Okay.

NP: Thirty-two seconds on doodles with you Paul starting now.

PM: Doodles are crossbreed dogs. They're a cross between a doughnut and a poodle. And they are magnificent creatures. They've got a big round hole in the middle and they're covered in sugar. And they get a ball in the park and people say "oh what a marvellous creature!" And you say "that's a doodle!" And they say "what kind of animal is that" And you say "well what you do is you get hold of the DNA of a particular dog and you give it to a..."


NP: Yes Clement?

CF: You repeated dog.

JL: Yes.

PM: I did.

NP: Right at the beginning you said dog.

PM: Oh yeah.

NP: And you said dog. You picked him up on it and you've got 15 seconds on doodles starting now.

CF: It is actually a bug. During the 1940s doodle bugs would descend...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: Didn't he say bug and bugs? Or is that considered repetition?

NP: No, one is the singular and one the plural, so that's all right.

JL: I'm so sorry Clement.

NP: Unfortunately incorrect, so doodles is still with Clement, nine seconds starting now.

CF: Josie thought that I had used the singular and the plural, and decided to hesitate...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: That was definitely hesitation.

PM: Didn't you, you must have noticed it yourself?

CF: Yeah!

NP: Paul you've got in with two seconds to go on doodles starting now.

PM: During the blitz in the Second World War, my dad...


NP: So Paul was still speaking as the whistle went, and increasing his lead at the end of the round. Clement's in second place and then Josie Lawrence and then Jack Dee in that order. And Paul we're back with you to begin, spontaneous combustion, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Over the last 100 years there have been many cases of spontaneous combustion. It's been rather extraordinary to look through the files and the catalogues of Old Scotland Yard. There was Mrs Betty Wilson of Tamworth Avenue in 1946 who went out to make herself a cup of tea and suddenly exploded into a fireball that took out the rest of Walmansthow. It was an extraordinary event at the time and she later became a chat show host on Channel Nine Television. Her magnificent performance that night shows us that spontaneous combustion...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: What night?

PM: I don't know. It's all made up!

CF: I, I, I take it back.

NP: Well you can't take it back, you just give him a point.

CF: I can take it back if I want to!

NP: All right, give him a bonus point, we enjoyed his comment. Okay Paul you have another point for an incorrect challenge, 28 seconds, spontaneous combustion starting now.

PM: A pair of charred hush puppies lying by a three bar fire. Can there be a sadder sight than that in the country that we now live in? Spontaneous combustion is grabbing so many of our people, and yet no politician will stand up and say anything about it. When Sir Clement Freud was an MP, he was fearless. He was a member of the Liberal Party and you can’t get much more fearless than that.


NP: Jack you challenged.

JD: It was repetition of fearless.

NP: Yes there was, he couldn't resist it. But there are six seconds available, tell us something about spontaneous combustion starting now.

JD: Charles Darwin was a fervent believer in spontaneous combustion, as was William Shatner, who played...


NP: So Jack Dee was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And we’re moving into the final round actually.


NP: You are a lovely audience. And Josie it's your turn to begin and the subject is cat lovers. Are you a pussy cat lover?

JL: I might be.

NP: Oh you might? We'll soon discover, 60 seconds starting now.

JL: Some people think that cat lovers are those sad kind of...


NP: Jack challenged.

JL: I so wanted to...

JD: Oh it was a nice sort of purry hesitation there.

NP: Jack you have the subject, 56 seconds, cat lovers starting now.

JD: Cat lovers are a strange breed of people but they do adore their pets. And I've often seen how they will put out these little hammocks on the radiator inside the house for the cat to live in and sleep in during the day. Obviously cats like to do nothing more than sleep and...


NP: Josie challenged.

JL: Sleep twice.

NP: Yes because you put them out there with their baskets to sleep in and they will sleep again. So Josie you've got cat lovers back, you've got 39 seconds starting now.

JL: He's got long hair, he's ginger and I love him so much more than any man in my life. He sleeps with me, he eats with me, he can talk, play...


NP: Clement challenged.

JL: Oh I said...

CF: Repetition of with me.

JL: Yes.

NP: With me, yes.

JL: It's true though.

NP: I know, that's the tough thing about this game. Clement you have 26 seconds, cat lovers starting now.

CF: I rather dislike cats. I’m fond of gerbils. I can take or leave a goldfish. But cats are, and people who like cats are just not for me. I'm sorry about this. If anybody wants to leave this Broadcasting House Theatre now in protest at my dislike of animal lovers...


CF: Go!

NP: Clement you've challenged yourself again.

CF: I didn't.

JL: I did.

NP: Oh you did, right, what's your challenge?

CF: Can you not tell the difference between us?

JL: Oh he was hesitating.

NP: He was hesitating yes Josie you've got in with four seconds to go. Bring the show to and end with a finale, a burst of cat loving, I don't know what I'm saying really. Some information about cat lovers starting now.

JL: My cat loves catnip and he also follows me...


NP: Well let me give you the final situation. Jack Dee who has not played the game much before, finished actually in a fantastic fourth place. Yes, biggest round of applause for fourth place that we've ever had. And only two points ahead was Josie Lawrence. And she was only one point behind Clement Freud who was in a very strong second place. But out in the lead and he deserves to win, Paul Merton. Thank you very much indeed. It only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Josie Lawrence and Jack Dee. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, and blown her whistle so elegantly. We thank Claire Jones our producer. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are very indebted to this audience here at the Radio Theatre who have cheered us on our way. From our audience, from me, Nicholas Parsons, and the team, good-bye and tune in the next time we all play Just A Minute!