JAM:PMerton,CFreud,SHancock,DMitchell
WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!

starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, SHEILA HANCOCK and DAVID MITCHELL, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 9 March 2009)

NOTE: Clement Freud's final appearance.


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!

THEME MUSIC

NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, 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 around the world. But also to welcome to the programme this week four talented, humorous, clever individuals who are going to display their verbal ingenuity, their cleverness with words, with language and humour, as they try and speak on the subject that I give them, and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four bright individuals are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Clement Freud. And seated on my left, Sheila Hancock and David Mitchell. Would you please welcome all four of them! And seated beside me is Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me keep the score, run the stopwatch, and 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. And we have a really hearty audience here so we're going to begin the show this week with Sheila Hancock. Sheila the subject we've got here is agony aunts. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

SHEILA HANCOCK: I've always been very suspicious of this idea of agony aunts. I actually think it's an office full of people, not one person. Because they couldn't possibly deal with all those different subjects. I also enjoy Pamela Stephensonís agony common, common...

BUZZ

NP: David you challenged.

DAVID MITCHELL: Well I think it's, it slipped into a language I don't speak.

SH: Yeah! It's called just-a-minutese.

DM: Hesitation.

NP: That's right yes, she was hesitating. David you have a correct challenge, and the subject is agony aunts, you have 42 seconds starting now.

DM: I don't have any aunts as my parents are both only children. So I have never known the...

BUZZ

NP: Paul challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Both your parents are children?

NP: Only children.

PM: They're only children? They never grew up? It seems to me a harsh judgement! They may not have had your education, but there's no need to talk of them like that.

NP: It's a lovely thought Paul but he was conveying that they were only... what did you say?

DM: I was, I was saying...

NP: That they were only children.

DM: I was, I was, yeah...

NP: If somebody, somebody doesn't have any brothers or sisters, they're called only children.

PM: Yes.

CLEMENT FREUD: Could be called orphans.

DM: Yes. Well yeah they could be called orphans if they were also orphans. Or of their name was Orphans! Morning Orphans! Morning! Alphonse and Orphans, two brothers.

NP: So Paul, actually we did enjoy your interruption, so we give you a bonus point for that one. But David you were interrupted so you get a point for that and you take over the subject of agony aunts and there are 36 seconds starting now.

DM: No aunts never came to my Christmases and caused agony by being snarky about the way...

BUZZ

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Snarky?

NP: Yes, snarky.

PM: Did you say yes snarky?

NP: No no I just said snarky. It's a lovely word. No, I think you can create words.

PM: Oh okay.

NP: Edward Lear was always creating lovely new words.

PM: Yes.

NP: And so did Lewis Carroll.

PM: Yes.

NP: And I think David Mitchell's entitled to do the same thing.

PM: Okay.

DM: Thank you very much.

CF: He came up with snarky!

PM: Yeah snarky. We're allowed to make up words now, that's good news, isn't it. That's going to save a lot of trouble later on, I can tell you! I'm writing a few down now!

NP: You've heard of Lewis Carroll, you've heard of The Hunting Of The Snark.

PM: Heard of it? I live it! It's a daily struggle, as far as I'm concerned, just getting down to the shops!

NP: If Lewis Carroll can tell us about The Hunting Of The Snark...

PM: Yeah?

NP: ... then David can take that word and call it snarky.

PM: Okay, fair enough.

NP: And so he's...

DM: Thank you very much.

NP: You have an incorrect challenge again David and you have 30 seconds to continue with agony aunts starting now.

DM: The other thing that agony aunts means is those people who write for newspapers and try and give advice. I have sent letters many times to these people, asking about how to put up shelves or...

BUZZ

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Have we had people before?

NP: Yes you did.

DM: Yes, it's such a useful word.

NP: I know! You did say it before.

DM: I should have said snarks or something!

NP: Paul a correct challenge, 19 seconds, agony aunts starting now.

PM: There were no agony aunts in Snarky And Hutch, but what a television show that was! Two cops battling their way through American cities. They needed agony aunts to advise them, yes they did. Claire Rayner, now she was the chief one. She would come on to the set and she'd say "listen, if you're going to get somebody's fingerprints in a pool alley, what you've got to do is prop them up against the wall, shove your hand right up between their arms..."

WHISTLE

NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point, and on this occasion it was Paul Merton who has three points at the end of the round. And David Mitchell also has three points, they're both equal in the lead. Clement Freud and Sheila Hancock have yet to speak. And Clement we'd like you to begin the next round and the subject is after dinner speaking, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: Let me begin by saying that I am still available. And very recently, like last Tuesday, I made an after dinner speech. I will repeat it. Emperor, I said, Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Dukes, Earls, Marquises...

BUZZ

NP: David you challenged.

DM: Slight hesitation between...

NP: Slight hesitation?

DM: ... between various dignitaries? Maybe, maybe just to accord them a sufficient level of respect?

CF: I get lousy audiences like that at my after dinner speeches every now and again.

NP: Well that maybe the pace at which you take your after dinner speeches but you were definitely pausing according to the rules of Just A Minute, Clement.

CF: Really?

NP: Yes so David you have a correct challenge.

DM: Thank you.

NP: And you have, and you have after dinner speaking, 44 seconds starting now.

DM: After dinner, speaking is difficult because of the amount of wine I have drunk. But nevertheless I do my best and try not to be sick on the tablecloth or say offensive things to ladies present. So I suppose the greatest skill in after dinner speaking if you do it professionally like Clement or Gyles Brandreth or the kind of...

BUZZ

NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Two ors.

NP: There were too many ors there. So 25 seconds available for you after a correct challenge Clement, after dinner speaking starting now.

CF: Not forgetting the bride's mother.

BUZZ

NP: Another... Sheila Hancock?

SH: Was that a hesitation?

NP: That was a hesitation, yes.

SH: Yeah.

NP: He waited for the laugh, it didn't come.

CF: I didn't wait...

NP: And so it was a hesitation. Sheila you have a correct challenge, after dinner speaking, 21 seconds starting now.

SH: I loathe listening to after dinner speeches. They're usually rude or boring and I feel sick when I have to make one myself. Although I did once get an award as the best after dinner speaker of the year. Mind you, that award is... ah!

BUZZ

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of award.

NP: Yes.

PM: Sadly! Much deserved, I'm sure!

NP: Yes, Paul you've got the subject, you have six seconds available, after dinner speaking starting now.

PM: The secret of a good after dinner speech is to look your audience firmly in the eye and start fighting!

WHISTLE

NP: Right well Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's just ahead of David Mitchell, then come Clement Freud and Sheila Hancock in that order. David we'd like you to start the next round, it's what I admire about the Romans.

DM: Oh!

SH: What?

NP: I don't know whether it's your subject or your era, but tell us something about it in this game starting now.

DM: What I admire about the Romans is how they manage to live in that very old city where other Romans lived, many years earlier. And they'd try and make it easier for themselves by digging a tube network. But as soon as they got two railway lines underground, international authorities, say from the United Nations, said you must stop doing that, your drilling through the foundations of many temples and destroying thousands of ancient and precious pots. We can't have you continuing to do that.

BUZZ

NP: Sheila challenged.

SH: Did he repeat continuing?

NP: No.

SH: No no.

NP: No, no so an incorrect challenge.

SH: Yeah you got an extra point.

NP: And David you've still got the Romans or what I admire about the Romans, 34 seconds starting now.

DM: And the Council Of Rome replied, "don't you understand, we're trying to get to work! We need to live in this place!"

BUZZ

NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of we.

NP: Oh yes.

DM: Oh yeah.

NP: You can see the response that got Clement! Twenty-seven seconds, with you Clement, what I admire about the Romans starting now.

CF: Polansky and Agramovitch are the two Romans who I know reasonably well. And what Roman does so extremely nicely is direct films, though not in America where he has been summoned and convicted of a crime which disallows him from continuing to work in California or New York which are mainly the two...

WHISTLE

NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now moved into third place, two points behind David Mitchell and Paul Merton who are in the lead equal. Sheila is trailing a little. Paul it's your turn to begin and the subject we've got now is digital radio. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: Well in many ways it's a marvellous invention, digital radio. I particularly enjoy listening to the B... oh!

BUZZ

NP: David you challenged.

DM: Um it, he lost the will to live, I think.

NP: So David you have a correct challenge, digital radio, 53 seconds starting now.

DM: Digital radio is something that we are supposed to be more interested in than in fact we are. Because all it does is deliver the same thing we are used to, radio content, but in a different way. And I don't see why that is so very fascinating. When the postal service moved over from horse and cart to vehicles with internal combustion engines, I don't think people expected to be fascinated by the changeover. But because it helps to sustain companies like Cowrys and Dixons by making us replace perfectly useable radio sets in our houses, we are supposed to be interested and keen to involve ourselves...

BUZZ

DM: Thank you so much! No I'm, I thank the audience for their sympathy but I was dying there!

NP: You weren't, you were going magnificently, but you were going at such a pace you'd got no breath left. So Paul you challenged.

PM: There was a bit of a hesitation there I thought.

NP: No! I don't think so. I mean he was really, trying to struggle to get the words out.

DM: It's the thoughts I was struggling to get out, not the words, but um...

NP: David, 20 seconds for you to continue on digital radio starting now.

DM: I don't see why tuning in through a different form of technology is important as far as a change in the system by which we hear voices which are coming from a long way away. But the important breakthrough...

BUZZ

NP: Paul yeah?

PM: Well it was a hesitation then.

NP: It was, he just didn't know where he was going.

DM: That was, yeah.

NP: We interpret that as hesitation so Paul, you've got in with nine seconds to go on digital radio starting now.

PM: Some music doesn't sound too good on digital radio, something to do with how it...

BUZZ

NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Ah he said some and something.

NP: That is...

CF: And I buzzed before he got the thing out!

PM: I didn't know it was going to be that sort of party!

NP: So an incorrect challenge Paul, you've still got digital radio and five seconds to go starting now.

PM: Beethoven's Fifth Symphony heard on digital radio...

WHISTLE

NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now taken the lead one ahead of David Mitchell. And Sheila Hancock it's your turn to begin, the subject is my ego. Can you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

SH: I had a mouse called Ego because I saw him in the lounge and I said "there he goes!" to my friend who shared the flat with me, and therefore I called him My Ego. He was grey and he had whiskers and little brown eyes and he went (squeaks) like that. And I got quite fond of him really and fed him with cheese and butter and chocolate because mice like chocolate very much...

BUZZ

NP: Oh yes Clement you challenged.

SH: Oh yes yes.

CF: Chocolate.

NP: Too much chocolate you gave him. Clement you got in on my ego and there are 32 seconds starting now.

CF: The word ego is often pronounced egg-oh which I actually prefer. The Ego And The Id, a book for which I get royalties, written by my grandfather, is an extremely interesting volume which I would urge everyone to purchase...

BUZZ

NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: It's not extremely interesting, it's one of the most boring books I've ever read in my life! Deviation!

NP: Well it's a difficult one. I mean he thinks that everybody thinks it's interesting. I mean if you all write something, you like to think that. It's a very difficult one for me to make a decision on.

SH: All right, let him have it!

NP: I'll give him the benefit of the doubt...

CF: No! I want more than that!

NP: All right. So Clement we give you an incorrect challenge and 15 seconds, my ego starting now.

CF: Ego mania is a word which flourishes in our...

BUZZ

NP: David challenged.

DM: I thought a little hesitation.

NP: Yes.

CF: I, I, I have a pause between words! And I've been doing this for some 60 years.

NP: But I must say...

CF: And from someone who's only been here for 10 minutes!

BOOS FROM THE AUDIENCE

CF: Okay, five minutes!

NP: But sometimes Clement, your pauses between words get longer and longer and we interpret that as hesitation.

CF: I hesitated!

NP: So you have a correct challenge David, you have my ego and you have 10 seconds starting now.

DM: My ego is something that troubles me very much, because I'm afraid of going...

BUZZ

NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: From hesitation. He was speaking rather quickly! There was hardly a pause between words!

NP: He always speaks rather quickly. It's very clever to speak quickly in Just A Minute and keep going and not hesitate which is exactly what David was doing. So he has an incorrect challenge, another point David, at this rate you're going to win, you know, with how you're going. Six seconds to go starting now.

DM: My fear is that my ego will lead me to try and take over the world. And the people that have...

WHISTLE

NP: So David Mitchell was then speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point and he has moved forward. He's now in the lead ahead of Paul Merton. There you are, it's all paying off! I don't know how many in the audience you bribed but they're all loving you! Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject is in the stocks, tell us something about that in this game starting now.

CF: In medieval times the sticks was a place where people were tied or fastened for public humiliation or torture or painful...

BUZZ

NP: Sheila challenged.

SH: Repetition of or.

NP: Yes! Forty-nine seconds for you Sheila on in the stocks starting now.

SH: At some village fetes nowadays they put people in the stocks and throw wet sponges at them. Usually the unfortunate vicar. And I think it's vicious. I've seen some really nasty scenes on village greens in the stocks. Amongst my stocks in the garden, I have a few little violets and daisies in the socks, stocks... socks!

BUZZ

SH: In the socks!

NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Ah sort of hesitation, deviation.

NP: Deviation of the socks.

PM: Socks yeah.

NP: Yes.

PM: Several good goes at it though.

NP: Twenty-six seconds for you Paul on in the stocks starting now.

PM: Being in the stocks I remember as being a rather humiliating experience. The year was 1685, I said...

BUZZ

NP: David challenged.

DM: Was there a repetition of being?

PM: Yeah there was.

NP: There was indeed. Well listened David yes, you're getting the hang of this game now aren't you. Nineteen seconds available, you take back the subject David, in the stocks starting now.

DM: In the stocks is a place you donít want to find yourself being. And in fact in the village fetes where people are put in the stocks like vicars nowadays and have sponges thrown at them, I think it's incredibly offensive that that's a reference to a very unpleasant form of medieval torture. And those medieval ghosts...

BUZZ

NP: Oh Paul challenged yes?

PM: Sadly repetition of medieval.

NP: Yes.

DM: It's a tiny little word you need in most sentences though!

PM: But it represents quite a big period of history!

NP: Paul you've cleverly got in with two seconds to go...

SH: Oh dear!

NP: In the stocks starting now.

BUZZ

NP: Clement...

PM: Sorry, I thought I'd give succour to the people who are disappointed that I won that last particular challenge.

NP: Yeah but that's all wrong, because those are the rules of the game and you've played it before. Anyway you were challenged by Clement Freud.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation right Clement, one second to go on in the stocks starting now.

CF: Custard tart.

WHISTLE

NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, moved forward, he's still in third place ahead of Sheila Hancock but trailing Paul Merton and David Mitchell. David is one point ahead of Paul. And Paul it's back with you to begin and the subject now is bugs. Tell us something about bugs in this game starting now.

PM: In the spy stories of the 1960s, I'm thinking of James Bond and perhaps even the books of Len Deighton who wrote a series of novels featuring a spy's... adventures...

BUZZ

PM: I had to do the plural of spy because I'd said spy.

NP: No spee ah, David you challenged first.

DM: I thought there was a little gap after spy.

NP: There was a hesitation yes. You're getting the hang of this game very well now. Fifty seconds available for you to take over the subject of bugs starting now.

DM: There are a lot of bugs around at the moment, and not the sort of flying beetle or insect that we mean when we talk about bugs in the jungle. But viruses that thrive in cold conditions and make people feel ill and unpleasant in a way that doctors just say "well that's some bug, there's nothing I can do about that. Just go away and be miserable or play in the snow" or something similar to that. But I feel that bugs in other countries are more of a problem. Because they can burrow into the skin and lay eggs and make your elbow explode with thousands of tiny spiders coming out, attacking you through the eyes and eating your...

BUZZ

NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of lots, this was right at the beginning.

NP: There were lots of things.

DM: Yes I'm...

NP: And lots of things exploded.

CF: I wanted him to go on for a bit because...

PM: It eats up time!

CF: Yeah I didn't want to talk.

NP: That's wicked, let them do all the hard work and come in towards the end!

SH: Last minute!

NP: Thirteen seconds Clement, with you on bugs starting now.

CF: I don't really a know a lot about bugs except they creep and crawl about kitchens, bathrooms, lavatories. Almost anywhere in a house, look down and you will see a bug. Don't talk to them...

WHISTLE

NP: So at the end of that round Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went, he's moved forward, he's now just two behind Paul Merton. He's five behind David Mitchell who is in the lead still. And Sheila Hancock is bringing up fourth place, very valiantly. And Sheila it's all your turn to begin so would you take this subject now, the language I would most like to speak, 60 seconds starting now.

SH: Well off the top of my head, the language that I would most like to speak is cat talk. I have inherited from my daughter a very odd pussy who makes strange noises. As I go up the stairs he goes "ahhhhhh" as though he is saying things to me that I don't quite understand. And I think they might be important because he is obviously distressed sometimes and he makes a low rahhhh noise at me. And when I go home like after this show, I'll go and he'll be sitting on the step and he will be going rowwwwwwwwww like that at me. I wish I could answer him back. I make the same sound as him but he doesn't like that at all. He puts his head down and his tail up and then he goes sssssssssss like that. Not...

BUZZ

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: It's a repetition of he, there was quite a few hes.

NP: Yes there was a lot of hes, yes there were.

SH: Yes.

NP: But it was lovely stuff. Fantastic, we enjoyed it, we were really in your life there Sheila.

SH: Not really about language but never mind!

NP: Paul you got in with a correct challenge on the language I would most like to speak, 12 seconds available starting now.

PM: I suppose I would like to speak French, but at school it wasn't an option. Seriously I had to do metalwork instead, which struck me as a rather peculiar choice. I cannot speak to people in France but I can make a very bad trough...

WHISTLE

NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now one point behind our leader David Mitchell, and they're both a few points ahead of Clement Freud and Sheila Hancock in that order. David Mitchell it's your turn to begin. Oh a lovely one. You've had some of these in this show, but this one, the subject is a purple patch. Talk about a purple patch in this game starting now.

DM: A purple patch is what I get on my shirt whenever I drink red wine or ribena. And it embarrasses me and makes me feel that I am not a proper human and shouldn't go to meetings and won't be taken seriously. And people will say "but he's no good at home cooking and in general isn't a professional man about town" like I wish I came across. A purple patch also refers to a period of creativity that is particularly intense and impressive. You are a writer, your purple patch would be when you wrote thousands and thousands of words in a day...

BUZZ

NP: Oh Clement challenged.

DM: Thousands and thousands of words!

NP: Yes!

DM: Thousands of words, most of them the word thousand!

NP: And you went for 30 seconds at a tremendous pace. Well done David, but Clement spotted the thousands, he pressed first, 30 seconds to go Clement on a purple patch starting now.

CF: If you have a lot of bugs in your kitchen or bathroom or lavatory or anywhere else, and you get a carpet beater and smash them, you are likely to end up with a purple patch which actually comes out of the carpetssssssss...

BUZZ

NP: Paul, Paul...

PM: Well there was a hesitation after the most beautifully pronounced carpets I ever heard in my life! But there was a hesitation after that.

NP: There was a hesitation as he went into the S, right. Oh the expression on his face was worth it. Um, 12 seconds with you Paul on a purple patch starting now.

PM: Charlie Chaplin's film career from 1916 to 1917 is...

BUZZ

NP: David challenged.

DM: Repetition of 19.

NP: Nineteen-sixteen to 1917. Well listened David, you have eight seconds, you've got back a purple patch, you have eight seconds starting now.

DM: Charlie Chaplin's film career for 1916 to the mid 20s was perhaps the most creative period that he enjoyed...

WHISTLE

NP: So I've just been told we are moving into the final round, this will be it coming up. But before I do, I'm sure you'd like to know the situation. Sheila Hancock who hasn't played the game for a long time but does give great value...

SH: Donít make excuses!

NP: You go for ages, my darling, and then somebody interrupts you, we had all that cat language which was brilliant!

SH: No!

NP: And in second place is Clement Freud, he's a few points behind David Mitchell who is only one point behind Paul Merton who is in the lead as we go into the final round. Paul it's your turn to start and the subject now is my favourite joke, you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: A man goes into a restaurant and he orders a bowl of soup. And the waiter comes over and he's got the bi... oh no, I can't...

BUZZ

NP: You've got, you've got to repeat it! You've got to repeat it!

NP: I know you have, David you challenged first, hesitation we call it, 53 seconds, my favourite joke starting now.

DM: My favourite joke is Boris Johnson. And I think that what's particularly hilarious about him is how he's managed to garner quite a lot of power and soon we will see his malevolent intent. Although actually the more serious and powerful he becomes, the less funny I find him. And so increasingly what becomes my favourite joke is...

BUZZ

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of becomes.

NP: Oh yes, he becomes before, right. Yes Paul, well listened, you got back in on my favourite joke, 31 seconds starting now.

PM: Another favourite joke of...

BUZZ

NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: The subject was my favourite joke.

NP: Mmmmm?

CF: Not another favourite joke.

NP: Oh I think you're being a bit pedantic. My favourite joke can be taken many different ways.

CF: But not as one of my favourite jokes. The subject was my favourite joke.

PM: Yeah I think he's right.

NP: All right Clement, you win the argument, benefit of the doubt, 30 seconds, my favourite joke starting now.

CF: My favourite joke is of an Englishman, Scot, Irish...

BUZZ

CF: It amuses...

PM: Don't they do anything?

NP: I don't know why you did it because Scotsman and Irishman are one word anyway.

CF: It amused me!

NP: Ah! Strangely enough Clement, our principal purpose is to amuse the audience!

PM: Donít tell him that! Don't tell him that!

NP: Right so Paul you challenged first.

PM: It was a hesitation.

NP: Right and you've got my favourite joke, 23 seconds starting now.

PM: Two flies are playing football in a saucer. One says to the other, "practice!" He says "why?" "Because next week we are in the cup!" Now I first heard that when I was seven years old and then it was my favourite joke. I thought that was hilarious for a while, I certainly did. I would tell the other kids in school, "have you heard the one about..." and then I would relate the story and they thought it was absolutely hilarious...

WHISTLE

NP: So Paul Merton brought the show to an end with a flourish there, and let me give you give you the final situation. Sheila Hancock who gives tremendous value, she's so modest. You did, you did trail the others a little in this game.

SH: I am trailing, I am trailing.

NP: We loved your contribution darling, and that's why youíre here. And then came Clement Freud with a, quite a lot of points there and we always enjoy his contribution. And then David Mitchell who has only played the game once before, looked as if he could be the winner at one time, but he did fantastically, finishing in second place. But he was three points behind Paul Merton who is this week, our winner! So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine funny players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, David Mitchell and Sheila Hancock. I thank Sarah Sharpe, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle greatly. We thank our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are indebted to this lovely audience here who have cheered us on our way magnificently. We leave with happy memories, I hope you will do the same. From our audience, from me, Nicholas Parsons, and our panel, good-bye. But tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yeah!

THEME MUSIC