NOTE: Tony Slattery's first appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello my name is Nicholas Parsons and as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome the four exciting and diverse personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. Well, we welcome back Clement Freud, Wendy Richard and Paul Merton who have played the game a number of times. And someone who's never played the game before, we welcome Tony Slattery. But would you please welcome all four of them. This particular edition of Just A Minute comes from the beautiful and ancient Theatre Royal in the delightful and old city of Bury St Edmonds. And we have a wonderful Suffolk audience ready to enjoy it. And sitting beside me sits Anne Ling who keeps the score and also blows her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And I'm going to ask our four players of the game to speak if they can on the subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. And we're going to begin the show with Clement Freud. Clement would you talk on the subject of briefs starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: My favourite poster came from the Southworld Theatre which was then a cinema. And it said "forthcoming attractions: the seventh veil with briefs". In those days briefs were short films and there was really no performance in any cinematrographical...


NP: And Wendy Richard challenged, Wendy, what was your challenge?

WENDY RICHARD: Just a slight hesitation.

NP: Yes, a stumble which is a hesitation...

WR: I don't really want to talk about briefs!

NP: I'm sure you've got some good things to say about them Wendy. And you've got a point of course. And you have 39 seconds left to tell us something about briefs starting now.

WR: Years ago when we were doing Are You Being Served, this is long before I had my little cockateel, Henry, whom you've heard many times mentioned on this programme...


NP: Ah, Paul Merton has challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Deviation from the subject of briefs.

WR: I was getting back round to it! I was just filling them in on the local colour! That's all!

PM: Well, we were talking about this cockatoo called Henry who I...

WR: It's a cockateel!

PM: A cockateel? He'd be a cockatoo if I got my hands on it!

NP: I think Wendy you hadn't really got onto the subject of briefs quick enough!

WR: I was ...

NP: I have to be fair within the rules of the game, so Paul you have a correct challenge, you have the subject, you have 29 seconds, briefs starting now.

PM: My hobby is knitting briefs for cockateels because these birds need to be protected from our cold winter climate. They sometimes feel draughts around certain particular parts of their anatomy which could be well protected by a good solid pair of British briefs. The kind of briefs which helped win us the Second World War! When Hitler looked...


PM: Did somebody buzz?

NP: Yes Clement Freud has challenged you.

CF: Hesitation.

PM: Oh no!

NP: No!

PM: I'm riding the laughter surely that's echoing around the building!

NP: I mean the people in Bury St Edmonds obviously do laugh far more vociferously than elsewhere. I do think to be fair to him he was riding the laugh. So...

TONY SLATTERY: I'm sorry, Nicholas, riding the laugh? What's....

NP: Have you never ridden a laugh Tony?

TS: No!

NP: You just ignore them do you?

TS: Well...

NP: Or don't you get any?

TS: No that's right, I model myself on Sale of the Century!

NP: You don't look old enough!

PM: But you look old enough though!

NP: I think we should go back to playing Just A Minute and er you have five seconds to tell us more about briefs starting now.

PM: Briefs can come in many different sizes. There is large....


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point and on this occasion it was of course Paul Merton who naturally has a strong lead. Paul would you take the next round, its codswallop. Will you talk on the subject of codswallop starting now.

PM: A codswallop is an expression meaning rubbish, I suppose. If I was to say I walked all the way from London today and I left at midday and I got here at 4, that would be regarded as codswallop. Baron Munchausen was known for his tall tales. These again could be referred to as codswallop. People would say to him "Baron, you talk a load of..."


NP: And Clement has challenged.

CF: Two barons!

NP: Two barons.

PM: Yes! Two barons.

NP: So repetition, a point to you Clement. You take the subject, 40 seconds left, codswallop starting now.

CF: Very few people realise...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

CF: I was riding a laugh!

PM: No, no, no.

NP: Clement I think you were actually riding a silence! Paul you have the subject back and you have 38 seconds. Another point of course, codswallop starting now.

PM: In my old school we used to play this game which consisted of hitting each other across the face with deed fish. It was called codswallop. And what fun we had in that junior school ...


PM: ...as we would queue up to go into our geography lesson. Somebody would suddenly produce a haddock...

NP: Oh Clement Freud you challenged. I didn't see the buzzer go. But your light came on. Yes?

CF: Repetition of school.

NP: Yes. There was too much rep... I was enjoying it so much I wasn't even looking! But Clement yes, 26 seconds starting now.

CF: It is a little known fact that codswallop is actually a single word. It is not hyphenated. There is no apostrophe. It is simply codswallop and in scrabble it counts for about 48 if you get a double and a treble under the right letters. The meaning of the word is nonsense...


CF: ... rubbish...

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of word.

NP: Yes it was a repetition and you have seven seconds to talk on codswallop starting now.

PM: It is an old English word that is used by old English...


PM: Awww!

TS: Aha!

NP: Tony Slattery has got in with his first challenge! And he's never played the game before but he's got in with three seconds to go. So he's learning very fast! Tony the subject is codswallop, and you have only three seconds starting now.

TS: Down the front of the Chippendales pouches they put a substance...


NP: So Paul Merton with his codswallop got quite a few points in that round. Tony was speaking when the whistle went, got the extra point. He's equal with Clement Freud in second place and Wendy it's your turn to begin. Wendy Richard will you tell us something about freeloaders, you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

WR: There's nothing worse than a freeloader. There used to be one such person who sometimes joined our company in our local and one night much to the amusement of everyone else in that establishment two of the chaps picked this person up and turned him upside down and shaked the money out of his pockets to get him to buy a drink! Freeloaders have a habit of nipping off to the gents or the ladies because they come in either sex... when it is their turn...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes it's when she said they came in either sex! She didn't know how to follow ...

WR: I thought I might have got a laugh there so I was getting ready to ride it!

NP: Paul you challenged and you have 30 seconds to tell us something about freeloaders starting now.

PM: I've spent my life as a freeloader and I'm proud of it! I haven't bought a drink since 1968!


PM: I was riding a laugh!

NP: Wendy, you've challenged.

WR: Well I thought it was a hesitation.

NP: Yeah! Wendy... it's all right, you don't need to do my job for me audience... It was hesitation so 21 seconds for you to tell us more about freeloaders starting now.

WR: Every licensed establishment has their freeloader. You see them standing back with their...


NP: Tony Slattery's challenged.

TS: Yes there was a slight hesitation.

NP: There was...

TS: Loath as I am as the new boy but I think it was. And I want to jump in now and again.

WR: I'll see you in the car park later.

TS: As you wish!

PM: That's very decent of you!

NP: I think she was...

PM: Should we form an orderly queue or...?

NP: You see what happens to the new boys don't you Tony?

TS: Yes.

NP: Fourteen seconds for you to tell us something about freeloaders, Tony Slattery, starting now.

TS: Interestingly enough the word freeloaders also refers to a type of light industrial farm machinery which is used to levitate a bull on top of a cow just prior to mating...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation. How can you levitate a bull? You can lift it up but you can't levitate it!

TS: If I may spring to my own defence that is a perfectly allowable synonym for lift. Levitate. I don't think the challenge is valid, I have to say.

NP: I don't know...

WR: I think he should have just have buzzed him for leviation!

NP: You have another point and you have one second remarkably to talk on the subject starting now.


NP: And somebody's challenged him!

PM: Hesitation!

NP: Yeah!

TS: No! That's not allowed!

NP: So Tony has another point! I wouldn't worry Tony that's another point for you and you have half a second on freeloaders starting now.

TS: Bulls!


NP: Well it's the first time Tony Slattery has played the game and already the level of the standard of entertainment has already lessened. But Tony got a lot of points in that round and he's now in second place only one point behind our leader Paul Merton. And Clement it's your turn to begin. Charlie's aunt. How apt! Because I'm sure everybody in Bury St Edmonds knows that Charlie's Aunt, that classic farce by Randall Thomas first started at this very Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmonds. Clement Freud...

PM: You were in it weren't you?

NP: Some people say it's the only reason I got the job, so that they can get a few laughs. Clement, the subject is Charlie's Aunt, 60 seconds starting now.

CF: It is an extraordinary coincidence that I should be asked to speak on the subject of Charlie's aunt, here at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmonds where Charlie's Aunt was first...


NP: Wendy Richard has challenged.

WR: No, I'm sorry! You're going to start listing again, aren't you!

NP: No, he...

WR: I could see it coming over you Clement!

NP: Wendy there's no list involved!

WR: No, I could see it...

TS: What side does Clement list to?

WR: He wanted to list, I could see it coming on!

PM: Are we allowed to be psychic in our challenges?

NP: I think Wendy's still fazed out by the offer she made to Tony Slattery actually. Wendy we haven't had a list and I don't know what will happen if we do but that is not a viable challenge. So Clement gets another point and he keeps the subject, 49 seconds, Charlie's Aunt, starting now.

CF: In 1892 Charlie's Aunt was produced in this very theatre and...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of theatre.

NP: That's right, he did say the Theatre Royal before. Yes that's right. He knew it! He should have gone on, tried to bluff you out like he usually does. Thirtynine seconds are left for you Paul to tell us something about Charlie's aunt starting now.

PM: Charlie's aunt was a wonderful woman! She could levitate a bull on a cow like nobody's business. you show her a bull and a cow and what...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Repetition.

NP: Yes. You have the subject back of Charlie's aunt Clement. Another point and 32 seconds starting now.

CF: I've always been a bit suspicious of playwrights who give characters names like Lord Fancourt of Babberley because the whole idea is to get a laugh at the ludicrous nature of the nomenclature when in fact fun ought to be in the script and not in the description of the dramatis personare. Charlie's Aunt I have seen in many places throughout the world and a very good laugh it has been, much funnier than levitating a bull....


NP: Paul challenged before you got to the levitation there.

PM: Repetition of laugh I'm afraid.

NP: Yes it was a good laugh and you had a good laugh. Two laughs Clement and Paul's got in with four seconds on Charlie's Aunt starting now.

PM: Edith was her name. She used to go down to the pub on a Friday night and entertain the...


NP: Tony Slattery it's your turn to begin, the subject is the crown jewels. Will you tell us something about those gems starting now.

TS: There was once a film called Lady Godiva in which it was postulated that fake crown jewels were in fact more lustrous, more shiny and more generally wonderful than the crown jewels themselves. A lot of people agree with this. There was an occasion at the ah, royal... oh I'm just talking gibberish!


TS: I challenged myself there, I'm terribly sorry!


NP: Tony I'm afraid before you challenged yourself, Wendy had already challenged you.

TS: Yes.

NP: Wendy what was your...

WR: Repetition.

NP: Yes what of?

TS: Just about everything!

NP: You had three mores right at the beginning but they let you go on it just to be kind.

TS: Oh that's nice of you, thank you very much.

NP: You said more this and more that!

TS: That's very sweet of you. It'll be extra fun in the carpark Wendy later on.

WR: Hahahahhahaha!

PM: That's a very dirty laugh, isn't it?

TS: It is!

NP: What I want to know is are we allowed to come and watch?

PM: We were rather hoping you might make the coffee Nicholas.

NP: I might tell you the last time I worked with Tony Slattery he described me as a sexual hand grenade!

PM: From the First World War!

WR: This programme has really gone down! We never have this trouble with Peter Jones!

NP: No! You haven't made an offer like that to Peter Jones! Wendy you have a correct challenge and you have 40 seconds...

WR: I've forgotten what it is now!

NP: I'm going to tell you. It's the crown jewels and you start now.

WR: I remember as a child being taken to the Tower of London to see the crown jewels. Ooh I thought they were wonderful. They were so glisteny and the gold was gleaming. They look unreal but because they are so genuine if you see what I mean.


NP: Tony Slattery.

TS: Sorry this is a genuine query. Can one challenge on drivel? I don't know.

WR: We never challenged you when you were drivelling!

TS: Yes point taken.

NP: I quite agree Wendy. You made your point and you keep the subject. Another point to you, 21 seconds, crown jewels starting now.

WR: The memory of this marvellous sight, the crown jewels has stayed with me ever since. Even though I have paid visits back to the place where they are kept the queue of people waiting to see the crown jewels is far too long and would take such an age to get round to see the crown jewels. There was once a film...


NP: So Wendy Richard was speaking then as the whistle went and got an extra point but she's still in fourth place. Wendy it's your turn to begin, the subject is records. will you tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

WR: We have a CD for those sorts of records. I tried to put one of those records on the other day and couldn't work out why it wasn't playing. Apparently I had it on upside down. You see they're not like ordinary records. They only have the writing on one side of the record. And if you're like me on a Sunday afternoon it's a very easy mistake to make. Apart from that the other sort of records are people who do things or collect things and have more of such objects than anybody else and this lot are going to let me go on for 60 seconds.


WR: They've done it to me before!

NP: Paul has challenged you.

PM: Repetition of things.

WR: Don't do that! You nearly woke up Clement!

PM: I think we've lost the first three rows out there!

NP: Yes, repetition of things. You have a correct challenge Paul, 19 seconds to tell us something about records starting now.

PM: There are some people who dedicate their lives to getting into the Guinness Book of Records. They will push a pea up a mountain higher than anyone has ever done before or they will eat a copious amount of baked beans, a far greater lot than anyone has ever previously...


NP: And Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Two evers.

NP: Yes it was going ever so and so.

PM: That's true.

NP: And you got in with two seconds to go on records Clement starting now.

CF: The great thing about Virgin Records is that they have no holes in them.


NP: We're all riding the laugh at the moment! Saved by the bell or the whistle on this occasion Clement. He got an extra point for speaking as he went and Clement it's your turn to begin. the subject is garden gnomes. Will you tell us something about them Clement in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: I've never quite understood why garden gnomes should be such objects of mirth like mothersinlaw or gorgenzola but say garden gnomes and people laugh or titter...


NP: Wendy Richard challenged.

WR: Were there two laughs?

CF: No.

NP: No.

WR: I beg your pardon Clement. I am suitably humbled.

NP: No, no, no, I don't...

TS: I don't think there were any laughs actually.

NP: He's riding for a fall. Right 48 seconds for you Clement going on garden gnomes starting now.

CF: It is to the great credit of this government that garden centres are allowed to open on a Sunday...


NP: Tony Slattery's challenged.

TS: Well simple deviation from the truth. The idea of this government having any credit at all is just monstrous!

NP: What a difficult choice, I'm not going to make a political decision!

TS: No! You want your knighthood don't you!

NP: Right!

TS: Oh! Well would you say that!

NP: Clement 43 seconds for you to continue on garden gnomes starting now.

CF: Garden gnomes...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I think there was a hesitation yes. There are 41 seconds left for you Paul, garden gnomes starting now.

PM: I got made...


NP: And Clement Freud challenged.

CF: That wasn't very quick either.

NP: No. But it was definitely quicker than you.

CF: That wasn't the point.

TS: Lets let Pauline decide in the carpark!

NP: Forty seconds for you Paul still with garden gnomes starting now.

PM: Just before...


NP: And Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: He was very quick that time.

NP: Give Clement a bonus point because we liked the challenge and a point also to Paul because he was interrupted and 39 seconds Paul to continue on garden gnomes starting now.

PM: I got married at the end of last year and amongst the wedding presents that I received was four garden gnomes.


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Grammatical. Amongst the presents I received were, not was.

PM: I think we've already established that I did metalwork!

NP: A very difficult decision to make because we are allowed to be very colloquial when we speak in this show so I think I'll give the benefit of the doubt to Paul and tell him to continue with 31 seconds left on garden gnomes starting now.

PM: George, Paul, John and Ringo are the names of these garden gnomes. They sit at the end of the garden looking up at...


NP: Tony Slattery challenged.

TS: It's probably incorrect but garden twice? That's all right, is it?

NP: If it's in the subject on the card you can repeat it again.

TS: I see. Forgive me.

NP: And the word garden is part of garden gnomes.

TS: You're not wrong there!

NP: No, but I was explaining it very simply to you because I know...

TS: Thank you, thank you. Right! It's war!

NP: Yes. Right.

PM: It wasn't like this on Sale of the Century was it? It was all "I'll have the kettle for five pounds, the toaster for four.."

NP: You must be a lot older than you think because that's off the Open Sale which was dropped after two or three years.

PM: It was, yes! I wonder why!

TS: Thanks for that!


WR: Come on Nicholas, get on with the game!

NP: We won't charge any points for that.

TS: Thank you.

NP: Paul Merton has still got the garden gnomes at the bottom of his garden apparently and 21 seconds starting now.

PM: Some people do kidnap garden gnomes if that is not too ungrammatical for you. They hijack these particular creatures out of people's gardens and...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: The third people.

PM: No, people's.

CF: People, people and people's.

NP: You...

CF: The third.

TS: People with a possessive apostrophe is different from peoples, isn't it?

NP: Clement I agree with your challenge, you have 12 seconds ...

PM: I didn't understand it!

NP: ... on garden gnomes...

PM: But that's my fault!

NP: Oh you worked too hard at your metalwork, that was the problem.

PM: I know!

NP: Garden gnomes with you Clement starting now.

CF: Smith, Jones, Robertson, Cartwright, and Williams are good names for garden gnomes. I think rather better than the Christian ones described by Paul Merton who called then Ringo, George...


NP: So Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went. He got the extra point. He's still in second place, he's still three points behind Paul Merton who is still in the lead. then comes Tony Slattery, a few points behind, and then a little behind him is Wendy Richard. And we're moving into the last round. Oh you might be interested to know that in that last round we had a record number of 10 challenges. It's never happened before, 10 challenges.

CF: Very interesting!

PM: Can I just go and phone my wife about that!

TS: Extraordinary! Do you have some hot sweet tea? I feel faint!

NP: I do like to throw out these little gems occasionally because I'm confident of the reaction I will receive! Paul, the subject is matches. Will you tell us something about those in this game starting now.

PM: If you look at an ordinary matchbox you will see written on the side something like average contents 54. Sometimes it will... aw!


NP: Tony Slattery got in.

TS: A bit of a hesitation there.

NP: A bit? A huge hesitation.

PM: Yeah I was wandering down a huge area of repetition I suddenly realised!

NP: Tony you have 52 seconds to tell us something about matches starting now.

TS: Sometimes the content can be 32 matches. Sometimes it can be...


NP: And er...

TS: Oh my God! That's dreadful!I do apologise for being...

NP: Don't apologise!

TS: I do apologise for being crap! But I'm getting the hang of it!

PM: It's a bit late, it's a bit late in your life to suddenly start apologising!

TS: That's right, yes! Good point! Ladies and gentlemen Paul has his hair done at BNQ.

NP: Clement you have a...

PM: At least I don't buy my shirts at Colourblind Are Us.

NP: Oh dear!

TS: This from a man, this from a man who's wearing one of Wincie Willis's jogging outfits.

NP: I now realise listeners why I made that slip of the tongue earlier on when I was talking about William Bligh of the Bounty because I looked at Tony Slattery and he's wearing a Mounties shirt and of course that's why I said William Bligh of the Mountie and I wish I hadn't bothered to mention that. It won't mean a thing to anybody!

PM: You mean to say there were 10 challenges in the last round? Ten?

NP: Absolutely! Clement Freud we're with you, 48 seconds to tell us something about matches starting now.

CF: There's a dreadful hush in the Close tonight,
Ten to make and a match to win,
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in,
It is not for the sake of a rivven coat
Now that was all about matches, it is written by Sir Henry Newbolt, the poet who so far as I know never came to Bury St Edmonds, but was a pretty good chap and sometimes challenged eight or nine times in a round but perhaps 10 was too often. Matches are games played between two teams, cricket, football, rugby, even badminton, squash and tennis matches have occurred. And Suffolk is a wonderful county for such matches. In Warweswig, Dunnage, Thistleton and ...


NP: Wendy Richard challenged.

WR: He's listing, I told you.

PM: No that's, no, that's, Wendy did challenge for that about 20 minutes ago.

NP: I know.

PM: She was right! She was right!

NP: She was right yes. You are psychic Wendy definitely. But I'll tell you what we'll do. There's two seconds to go and I think it would be very nice for you to finish the show. So Wendy we give you the last two seconds on matches starting now.

WR: I don't use matches. I have a cigarette lighter. I think matches can be dangerous.


NP: We have no more time as I warned you to play Just A Minute so let me give you the final score. Of course Wendy Richard who's always a joy to have on the programme finished in fourth place. She was a little way behind our first time player of the game, Tony Slattery who tried to play the standard of play down and achieved it magnificently. And then came Clement Freud who hasn't had an offer yet from Wendy Richard and she was only one point behind the one with the most points who we adjudge to be the winner and it was tonight Paul Merton. We hope that the listeners at home have enjoyed listening to this particular edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to thank our four delightful and talented panellists and also Anne Ling who sits beside me to keep the score and also Ian Messiter and also our producer Sarah Smith and from me as well, Nicholas Parsons, thank you for listening.