NOTE: Helen Lederer's final 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 around the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting, talented and humorous players of this game. And we are delighted, seated on my right, to welcome back that outstanding comedian and fine player of Just A Minute, Paul Merton. And seated beside him we have a veteran player of the game who contributes so much wit to the show, that is Clement Freud. And seated on my left, we have that outrageous and delightful, charming comedian, Julian Clary. And seated beside him, we have someone who has never actually played the game before, and that lovely comedian and writer, Helen Lederer. Will you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject that I will give them, and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And beside me sits Sarah Sharpe, 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 Radio Theatre in the Broadcasting House, London. And we have a wonderful, delightful, cosmopolitan audience who are dying for us to begin the show. Let's start the show with Paul Merton. Paul here's a good subject to begin with, dressed to kill. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: In the case of Brutus, he pulled on his toga, put on his sandals, grabbed his knife and set off for hitting the back of Julius Caesar in the pantheon. Which of course was in Greece, what am I talking about Rome. Brutus's...


NP: Clement challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation.

PM: There was actually. I didn't know what I was talking about.

NP: I know.

PM: I found I was talking beyond my education. It's a frightening thing!

NP: No, no, but that was a Clement Freud correct challenge so you get a point for that Clement. You take over the subject which is dressed to kill, and there are 46 seconds available starting now.

CF: You are usually told what coloured tie to wear. Black, white, green, blue occasionally. But dressed to kill is an extraordinary thing to ask people who come to a reception which you may give to don, wear, put about their shoulders, glove, feet, socks. And dressed to kill...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah there was a hesitation, I think he was running out of steam completely. Paul, a correct challenge so you have the subject back which is dressed to kill, there are 21 seconds available starting now.

PM: It's a phrase that has been around for a long time, dressed to kill. I suppose it has a relation in the phrase the lady killers...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of phrase.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes that's right, well listened Clement, repetition...

CF: Could somebody else have it, do you think?

NP: All right, well it wasn't...

CF: Maybe Helen challenged.

NP: What about Helen who has never played the game before? And presumably you get a point because you are coming in for the first time. And I'll tell you one thing right away Helen, you've got that audience 100 percent with you. Right now, and you know probably more about this than the fellows. Tell us something about dressed to kill, 16 seconds starting now.

HELEN LEDERER: As a new girl, I know it's best not to peak. But dressed to kill is a strange concept when trying to impress people. There is a rumour that Graham Norton was loaned a smoking jacket, upon which he had to put it out...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Helen Lederer who has now got two and she is way ahead of all the rest in the first round. Julian will you take the next round or start the next round. The subject is two left feet. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

JULIAN CLARY: I was once a finalist in a BB, oh that's a mistake!


JC: How awful!

NP: Julian you've challenged yourself actually.

JC: That was a spontaneous spasm. What I meant to say was British Broadcasting.

NP: I know, I know what you wanted to say. But as you challenged yourself I have to ask you what was your challenge?

JC: It was repetition, I'm fairly sure!

NP: And hesitation. Well it's a correct challenge. So I suppose by the rules of the game, I have to give you a point for that.

JC: I will accept it, thank you.

NP: And also congratulate you for listening so well. And you still have the subject, two left... don't continue to play it this way because it might undermine the whole structure of Just A Minute.

JC: I could just play with myself, couldn't I!

NP: So you still, you've got 57 seconds still and you've got another point because you had a correct challenge there, two left feet starting now.

JC: Craig Revell-Horwood said that I had two left feet. I was outraged! My one left foot is very attractive and I wouldn't mind having two of them. I've got lovely toes that taper down in a perfectly shaped form and the arch has been much admired when I take my socks off at parties, which is the sort of place that I go to on a Friday night with the chums. After we've been binge drinking we all go back to Bert's and we take off our shoes and we wriggle our toes...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Was there a repetition of take off? Socks...

NP: Yeah you've been taking off a bit too much. But they enjoyed, the audience enjoyed all the taking off. And Paul you've got in with a correct challenge, another point to you, 28 seconds are available, two left feet starting now.

PM: Julian, the show that he appeared in was Strictly Come Dancing on British Broadcasting Corporation television. And he was a fantastic contestant. Not only because he was terpsichorean brilliant. But his quips to the panellists as judges that sit there in judgement...


NP: Helen challenged.

HL: I am merely querying the meaning of the word terpsichorean. I know I'm a bit ignorant.

NP: It's a, it's a Greek word for dance.

HL: I knew that and I'm so glad to have that clarified. Full apologies, Paul.

NP: And terpsichorean is the adjectival version of it.

HL: I thought that as well, yah!

NP: So, well I'm glad you feel happy about that Helen.

HL: It's good to learn.

NP: Right, Paul it was an incorrect challenge, so you have another point, you have 15 seconds, to continue with two left feet starting now.

PM: I never remember the traumatic times because I can't afford to. My tortoise had two left feet. I took him to the vet. Already a slow animal was being tortured by snails whizzing past him. His two left feet were holding him...


NP: Right so Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's now in the lead, two ahead of Helen, and three ahead of Julian and Clement. Right, Helen would you begin the next round, the subject is interior designers. Tell us something about those people in this game starting now.

HL: Interior designers are a strange breed, some of whom are housewives who go on a course for one day possibly, to learn mumbo-jumbo about the varied aspects of fabric formation. I personally have a passion for textures, velveteens, trysell, viscose and crepes. And can identify an Allegro Hicks from, not a Nigella Lawson but a Laura Ashley. Akin to those food enthusiasts we all have at our dinner table, who ask "is this a Delia?" when consuming a cock...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of Delia.

NP: Yes.

HL: Didn't I say Nigella? I'm sure I said Nigella, no, sorry, take it on the chin, I'm going mad!

NP: It was deviation because Delia is food and not interior design.

HL: I take that point.

NP: So Julian a correct challenge, you have the subject, you have 24 seconds, interior designers starting now.

JC: I went out with an interior designer once and he gave my interior a very good seeing to. However coming round to my place, and plumping up my cushions, feeling my curtains and passing judgement on the shade of my walls. It didn't last long. His name was Patrick. I said that you interior designers are all the same, because I'd been out with one many years prior...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Went out with one, did we have the phrase before.

JC: Yes I think so.

NP: Yes you had, but not in this round, did you? You went out with somebody else in a different round.

PM: Oh no! I'm thinking of something Julian said 20 years ago!

NP: It was a correct challenge and you have one second. Ooohh! Gain no friends, but you've got the subject, one second, interior designers starting now.

PM: Interior designers...



NP: Wait a minute! Clement you challenged just before the whistle.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Oh shut up!

CF: Seemed like quite a long wait to me.

NP: Give Clement a bonus point.

CF: And a Delia!

NP: Give Clement a bonus point because we enjoyed what he did but actually Paul it was incorrect. You didn't hesitate and you kept going to the whistle went and so you have another point because of that and one point for speaking when the whistle went, and ah Clement itís your turn to begin. The subject is oysters, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: Oysters are often thought to be an aphrodisiac which I don't personally believe. Although I had a friend who ate an oyster and had a stiff neck for weeks afterwards! Oysters come from many places, not only in England, but in Scotland, in the new world. Australian and American oysters are incredibly well known and delicious. They are mollusks, they are both female and male...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Repetition of they are.

NP: They are, that's right, they are mollusks and you said they are before.

CF: They are!

NP: So well listened Julian, you have a correct challenge, you have 29 seconds, oysters starting now.

JC: I once did a tour of New Zealand and I had oysters, 12 of them, every morning for my breakfast. They slip down nicely with a bit of toast and they put a spring in my step. After breakfast, I would...


NP: Helen challenged.

HL: There were two breakfasts.

NP: There was.

HL: But maybe thatís okay?

NP: No no no. It's perfectly okay to have two breakfasts, but not in Just A Minute, because that's repetition. So you have a correct challenge, well listened Helen and you have 17 seconds, tell us something about oysters starting now.

HL: I've never liked oysters because they are slug-like, formless, without skeletal aspects and womb aspects...


HL: Oh!

NP: Julian.

JC: Sort of hesitation, tripping over words.

NP: And aspects yes.

HL: It was awful, sorry.

NP: Right so hesitation and repetition, eight seconds, Julian with you again, oysters.

JC: You can buy... oysters...


NP: Helen you challenged.

HL: There was a hesitation.

NP: There was yes. Six seconds on oysters with you Helen starting now.

HL: I know oysters are considered posh. And once when I was in a restaurant...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I don't know if oysters are particularly considered posh. They're sort of, they're more or less a seafood, it doesn't belong to any class system. You don't get cod sort of going "oh don't go near the oysters, they're very snooty!" No, I don't think oysters are posh. They have gone through phases where they've been eaten by posh people and poor people...

NP: Yes that's what I mean.

PM: But oysters themselves aren't posh.

NP: Ah yes that's a very good interpretation. Yes.

HL: Sorry to interrupt but I was just saying considered posh.

PM: Did you say that?

HL: I said considered posh. I'm sorry to go on about it, bang on.

NP: Having been a little bit generous to you before, I think I must be fair to Paul because that was a good challenge. Oysters in themselves are not posh, they are available for anybody no matter what their social background. So Paul you've got in with two seconds on oysters starting now.

PM: I once shared a bucket of oysters with Prince Philip...


NP: Right Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, has increased his lead at the end of that round. But Julian and Helen between them got quite a few points and they're in second place equal. Then there's Clement Freud. Paul it's your turn to begin and the subject we have in front of me now, I don't know which way you are going to take this. The person I dread sitting next to me on the train. So could you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: The person I dread sitting next to me on the train is the driver. Because It means that I'm sat in the wrong part of the train. Otherwise the grim reaper coming down the corridor and saying (deep voice) "is this seat free?" (normal voice) would also be a bit of a worry. I don't really know if he speaks like this, this tall representation of death. But the sceptre in his hand, the skeletal face, the gleam in his eye as he looks down at me and says "you'll never get past Redhill". We all know that fear in our blood as we board one of these locomotives going from Westminster...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: You don't board a locomotive, you board a carriage which is pulled by a locomotive.

PM: I did say I was sitting next to the driver.

NP: I know. Clement a correct challenge, you have the subject, 31 seconds starting now.

CF: I dread sitting next to people who have been eating oysters and feel that they are posh as a consequence. Like Prince Philip who has shared many buckets of those delicious mollusks that have no sex but can be both male and female...


NP: Helen what's your challenge?

HL: Deviation.

NP: Deviation, he'd gone off the subject of the person he's sitting next to. And would you take the subject over, 12 seconds, the person I dread sitting next to on the train starting now.

HL: Once when I was returning from Bristol, I looked along the corridor and saw to my horror five people dressed in fluorescent leisure wear...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: This is five people, it's not one person.

HL: I was just leading into the singular, setting up the...

PM: Oh right then, I'm prepared to wait.

HL: Thank you.

NP: Incorrect challenge, another point to you Helen, the person I dread sitting next to on the train starting now.

HL: One person opposite me possessed a play station...


NP: So Helen Lederer was then speaking as the whistle went, gained a number of points in the round, and she has leapt forward. And she's now only one behind our leader Paul Merton, and then comes Julian Clary and Clement Freud in that order, equal in third place. Julian we're back with you to begin and the subject we'd like you to take now is the gherkin. Sixty seconds... there's nothing particularly funny in that. Weíre delighted if you want to laugh at anything we say because it does help towards the fun of the whole occasion, doesn't it. Thank you. The gherkin, Julian, 60 seconds starting now.

JC: I've never been inside the gherkin, but a gherkin has been inside me. They're delicious. As I understand it, it's a huge rather glamorous...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of inside.

NP: Yeah, that's right, he did say inside and he couldn't have got the laugh without saying it twice, which is a pity. There we are so Clement, correct challenge, 53 seconds, the gherkin starting now.

CF: The gherkin is what the French call a cornishaw, and the Germans cuccar, which is cucumber. And is an integral part of a sauce tartar which is a mayonnaise...


NP: Helen challenged.

HL: I'm really sorry to jump in but because I'm learning as I go, I sense that deviation might be appropriate. Because we are talking about vegetables and cooking as opposed to public buildings.

NP: There is the Gherkin, the building in the city of London.

HL: But that's not interesting.

CF: It's not part of a sauce tartar!

HL: Sorry!

PM: It's probably worth clarifying that in case somebody's taking it down as a recipe! It's probably worth clarifying!

NP: Yes! Clement you have an incorrect challenge, a point for that, of course, 40 seconds still available, the gherkin starting now.

CF: If you buy a tin of gherkins it is very sensible to keep it once you've opened it in the refrigerator. Otherwise the malt vinegar or whatever acidity accompanies those pickled... I said pickled before...


NP: Julian challenged.

CF: I should have challenged.

JC: Repetition of pickled.

NP: That's right yes, well and 25 seconds for you Julian, back with you, the gherkin starting now.

JC: The gherkin in this city for all its loveliness, is peopled by the people responsible for our financial...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was because you thought you had slipped up and you hadn't.

JC: I thought I had said people twice.

NP: No, you said it's peopled by the people.

JC: Oh I shot myself in the foot!

NP: Those elegant left feet you were talking about before.

JC: Yes.

NP: Yes so you did actually hesitate so Paul is correct. He has the gherkin and he has 16 seconds starting now.

PM: The gherkin omelette is my favourite of all egg dishes. The recipe is simple. First of all you take the first three floors of the building, put it in a frying pan over medium heat for about 45 years until the concrete is eldente. Then you get hold of a magnificent piece of cheese, you throw it in the pan...


NP: So Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's increased his lead again ahead of Helen Lederer, Clement Freud and Julian Clary in that order. And Helen we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is wearing glasses. I should explain to our listeners, I actually wear glasses so I'm a bit nervous the way this is going. And you start now.

HL: Once when I was young my sister wore glasses which she didn't like. This gave me great pleasure. Once... oh no!


NP: Julian you challenged.

JC: Repetition of once.

NP: Yes. Don't draw attention to it darling, sometimes they can let it go. Fifty-two seconds for you Julian on wearing glasses starting now.

JC: Wearing glasses can be a boon if you want to avoid eye contact with shifty looking people. It helps of course if they're tinted glasses. Ordinary see-through wouldn't help in that respect. I once wore a lovely pair of rimmed um...


NP: Oh!

PM: Well he heard the word rimmed and seemed to go off somewhere else!

NP: You're quite... I think he didnít know...

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah I don't think he knew where to go actually.

PM: Oh I think he knew, he just...

JC: One can't be too careful now!

NP: Right so Paul, correct challenge, another point to you, 35 seconds, wearing glasses starting now.

PM: I've been wearing glasses since I was 19 years old. I wasn't particularly vain about it. Because I couldn't see properly I put them on and life suddenly became transparently obvious...


NP: Helen challenged.

HL: There was a subtle P sound before the word transparent. But it's up to you.

PM: A subtle P sound?

HL: Yeah. It went like this...

PM: We must take our comfort breaks where we can!

CF: Yeah!

HL: It went like this, p-transparent. But not as obvious.

NP: No Helen, it was a lovely try, but it wasn't correct. So Paul you still have the subject and 28 seconds, wearing glasses starting now.

PM: The monocle has always been considered a rather posh spectacle but if you put two of them together, then it becomes glasses. Whoever invented these magnificent things that able to make see all the...


NP: Helen you challenged.

HL: I know you'll tell me off for being posh and everything...

NP: I never tell you off Helen! Go on! Give us your challenge.

HL: I'm able to make see. When I did my O-level English, wouldn't have been allowed in the exam.

NP: That's all right, darling, it was deviation from grammar as we understand it, or English as we normally speak it.

HL: Thank you.

NP: So you have a correct challenge and you have wearing glasses and you have 16 seconds starting now.

HL: I wanted to wear glasses so much when I was a child. I went to the opticians and lied that I couldnít see the letters. I won the test by being granted pink plastic peeper covers. This did not look well with my hair band, hair grip...



NP: You were very lucky there because you actually finished and you were challenged as the whistle went. So you get the benefit of the doubt and say you get that extra point for speaking as the whistle went. And so Helen you move forward and you're still in second place behind Paul, ahead of Clement and Julian. And Clement we're back with you to begin and the subject is, oh this is nice, my bedtime routine. You tell us something about all the intimate things we reveal in this show, well we hope they'll be intimate. Sixty seconds starting now.

CF: As you get older, your bedtime routine becomes increasingly complicated and takes more time. I brush my tooth first. And have a bath. Wash my hands.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a slight hesitation.

NP: There was a slight hesitation.

CF: At my age a routine takes a while.

PM: Yes.

NP: Right, my bedtime routine is with you Paul now, 46 seconds starting now.

PM: They invariably say I, okay... oh I said wrong!


NP: Julian.

JC: Well do you call that deviation? Breakdown? Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, hesitation, 44 seconds for you Julian on my bedtime routine starting now.

JC: My bedtime routine takes precisely one hour and 45 minutes. I slip upstairs, waving to the assembled throng below. Then in the bathroom I take off my outer garments, slip into a negligee and then begin the cleansing process. I start like Clement with the aural area, everything must be fresh and flossed and pristine...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Not like Clement!

NP: Clement we'll give you a bonus point because we enjoyed the interruption. So incorrect challenge and another point to you Julian. And my bedtime routine is still with you, 18 seconds starting now.

JC: Once finished in the latrine, I lay myself spread-eagled on my queen-size. "Yoo-hoo", I say to the boyfriend, "you can come in now". He huffs and he puffs, by the time he...


PM: That was a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation.

JC: I was building up the drama.

PM: Yeah!

NP: Paul you had a correct challenge, you have my bedtime routine, and you have five seconds starting now.

PM: My bedtime routine invariably consists of saying to Nicholas "shall I turn the light off now?" And he...


NP: Turn the light off now! Right yes, so what's happened? Paul's got another point, speaking as the whistle went. He's moved forward, he's in a strong lead. He's ahead of Helen Lederer and then Julian Clary and Clement Freud, one point separates those three, but a few ahead is Paul Merton. I think we're into the final round. Oh let me give you the, oh I've given you the situation. And Julian it's your turn to begin, the subject we'd like you to start with is chippies. Tell us something about chippies in this game starting now.

JC: When I'm out on the lash with the boys, we always round off the evening by going to the chippies, where you can get a mouth-watering saveloy and some chips to go with it. Slasher is always first in the queue. And he likes it hot and steaming. And it's so misty in there, sometimes you might mistake it for a sauna. But no, it's the chippies.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: No I don't think he hesitated.

PM: I thought the bit when he went (does deep sigh).

JC: That was after you buzzed.

PM: Oh was it, oh? Psychic challenge!

NP: No no no, I think he was, he was, to my mind he was keeping going fairly well.

PM: To your mind?

NP: Yes.

PM: It's become a lottery then, has it?

NP: You wicked so-and-so! Show you how generous I am Paul, because I think they enjoyed that particular remark of yours, we give you a bonus point. But...

CF: He needs one!

NP: Yes! He needs it yes, right, but Julian incorrect challenge, you have another point, you have chippies and you have 35 seconds starting now.

JC: Go to the chippies up north and theyíll say "do you want gravy with that?" "Oh," I say "how disgusting, get me out of here!" I went straight from the chippies to the train, I went down south to another chippies...


NP: Helen challenged.

HL: Trying not to apologise, there were two wents. I know they're small words.

NP: You went, you went, and you went, right. Helen, well listened, you've got another point, you've got the subject of chippies, you have 25 seconds starting now.

HL: We weren't allowed to have fat fries in our house, because we were posh, Paul will be interested to know...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of we.

NP: Oh we.

HL: Probably.

NP: Too much we, yes.

HL: Probably, sorry.

NP: No no no...

CF: And were.

HL: All right!

NP: Don't rub it in! It's the first time she's played the game and she's ah doing very well.

CF: Very well!

NP: Yes very well. She's still ahead of you! And, but you have a correct challenge Clement, 19 seconds, tell us something about chippies starting now.

CF: The French have a number of ways of frying potatoes which we would call chips, sold in chippies. They are pompeur neuf, alumet, fritte, gou fritte and ah...


NP: Paul?

PM: There was a hesitation there.

NP: A hesitation? There was actually a dramatic pause. So you have three seconds, bring this show and this round to an end, and we're going to hear from Paul on chippies as we go to a resounding finish to this particular edition of Just A Minute. Chippies, three seconds Paul, starting now.

PM: Around the old Labour Exchange you see carpenters...


NP: So let me give you the final score. Clement Freud who has often succeeded in coming out on top in this show finished actually in a very strong fourth place. It was a magnificent fourth place. He was only just behind Helen Lederer, who did extremely well, finished in a very strong third place. Only one point behind Julian who has triumphed once or twice in the past. But the man who has triumphed before and has managed to triumph again, is paul Merton so congratulations Paul. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Julian Clary and Helen Lederer. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, and blown her whistle so delicately. And also we thank our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are grateful to this lovely audience here at the Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House who have cheered us on our way magnificently. From our audience, from me, Nicholas Parsons, and the team, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes! Yes!