NOTE: John Browell's first show as producer.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: In the 1970s, Just A Minute settled into a recognisable format, based on Ian Messiter's original premise. Kenneth Williams who appeared in every show, had now settled into a confident way of playing the game. And when he was in full flow, his adrenaline pumping, he was extremely funny. In fact Kenneth is the only person that I've known who, as he so ably demonstrated in the show, could be extremely rude to someone, and make it sound so entertaining, no-one took offence and the audience always laughed. One of the innovations that Ian Messiter introduced shortly after Kenneth joined the show in 1968, was to give him a specialist subject in one round. It would be something about which Ian obviously knew Kenneth was well informed, and which allowed him to show off his knowledge and erudition. Kenneth loved this! And his voice took on a different tone when starting one of these 60 second dissertations. This ploy was not really far on the other three players however, should one of them happen to win the subject. It also had its humorous moments. If Kenneth through hesitation or repetition lost the subject within a few seconds, he became so frustrated at having lost the opportunity to expound on a topic about which he knew such a lot, that he would throw a mini-tantrum and often go into a sulk. Of course he did it in such a way that the audience laughed. But I knew we had lost him for a few minutes. This is where another responsibility of my role as chairman came into play. I had to be a little bit of a psychologist as well as a diplomat, and coax him back into the game. Whilst all the players of Just A Minute are very professional in the way they play the game, they're also keen to show off their talent in a highly competitive situation. This is one of the reasons they sometimes argue with me, but I always treat it as good fun and never adopt a dictatorial attitude. When Kenneth became aggressive he could be difficult to handle. Sheila Hancock who also took part in the edition we're about to hear is one of the few women who was not intimidated by him. It helped that she knew him well, and also that she was a strong person, a very good player of the game, and less competitive than some of the men. Peter Jones, by now a regular, was slowly developing his style which was also less aggressive than the others. His evolving technique was to wait for those moments when he could come in with a typically dry witty comment. The fourth player in this programme was Alfred Marks. It was the first time he had appeared in the show, an occasion always daunting to any performer, however talented. And when Kenneth Williams is on song, it can be quite overwhelming. Alfred was a very experienced character comedian, and about halfway through the show, he found his best way of competing was to utilise his skill with foreign voices and gibberish. It worked very well and produced some good laughs. So with four diverse personalities, all contributing in different ways, this programme first broadcast in November 1976, certainly qualifies to be part of Just A Classic Minute.


ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Sheila Hancock, Peter Jones and Alfred Marks in Just A Minute. And as the Minute Waltz fades away, here to tell you about it is our chairman, Nicholas Parsons.

NP: Thank you, thank you very much, hello and welcome to the first in our new series of Just A Minute. And as you've just heard from our announcer we welcome back two regular players of our game in the first show of the series, Kenneth Williams and Peter Jones. And we're delighted to have back someone who we'd love to be a regular because she's so good at the game, Sheila Hancock who's courageously stepped into the arena to do battle and she does it very well with these tough fellows. And somebody who did so well last year, we couldn't resist asking him back, looking as lovely as ever Sheila Hancock, and equally lovely Alfred Marks.

SHEILA HANCOCK: What are you talking about?

NP: So I remind you that they're going to try and speak if they can for Just A Minute on some subject that I will give them without repetition, without hesitation and without deviating from the subject which is on the card in front of me. And by the way they are allowed to repeat the subject on the card. We'll begin the show, we'll begin the series with Kenneth Williams. Kenneth what a good subject to start with, what I put into life. Would you talk about that for Just A Minute starting now.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: With guts, gusto, rumbustiousness. These are the essential ingredients for a life that is going to have energy. We've got to give it plenty of guts and go!


NP: Sorry, on your guts, Sheila has challenged.

SH: Repetition of guts.

NP: Yes.

SH: He started with guts and he finished with guts.

KW: Oh I see.

NP: You were a bit too gutsy Kenneth. You spoke for 12 seconds so that means there are 48 seconds left and Sheila gets the point for a correct challenge. She takes over the subject of what I put into life and she starts now.

SH: Well sweetness and light I should say was the chief feature of what I put into life. Gentleness, kindness, tolerance of all these awful people in this game, bearing the dreadful heat of this studio, so therefore I have a certain amount of forebearance. Wit...


NP: Ah Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I think there was a hesitation.

SH: Well before saying I had wit I had to hesitate, didn't I.

NP: She was running out of nouns that end in I-N-E-double S I think. Thirty-two seconds are left for what I put into life Kenneth, you get a point for a correct challenge by the way, and you start now.

KW: Perhaps it was put most beautifully by that brilliant man who wrote
I have been so greater love,
I have filled my days so proudly,
With the splendour of love's praise
Aprey the calm and the astonishment and desire,
Inimitable, and still content oer dear names,
And menus to cheat despair.
And that surely is what comedy is about! We recall the time when Ibsen said....


NP: Ah Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: He's told us what comedy is about but he hasn't, he deviated because he should have been talking about what he puts into life.

NP: Yes I think in a way you were...

KW: What do you think I'm doing sitting here for putting into life? For comedy! Therefore it's totally relevant, you great nit!

PJ: But you admit...

KW: I mean I've never heard such rubbish!

NP: But Kenneth I don't think it is irrelevant because you didn't establish...

KW: What am I here for? I ask you!

PJ: Well, that's another question!

NP: I think you had deviated from the subject on the card...

PJ: Of course he was!

NP: ... because you had not established this was what you put into life. You were talking about comedy...

PJ: That was what it was about, he said!

KW: Oh, well I'm not going to argue, I'm not going to demean myself to argue!

NP: That'll be a change, won't it?

PJ: There's got to be a first time for everything!

NP: Oh well I see we're starting off in usual form! So um Peter I give you a point for that, the correct challenge and there are 13 seconds left for what I put into life starting now.

PJ: I think perhaps what I put into life is appreciation. Now Kenneth Williams is an acquired taste and I'm still trying to appreciate even him.


NP: Ah Sheila.

SH: No that was a mistake. I thought it was appreciate and appreciate but it wasn't.

PJ: No it wasn't.

NP: Well I'm afraid he gets a point for that for a wrong challenge. You did press your buzzer and the light came on.

SH: I put into life a certain generosity so I've given him a point.


PJ: Wait a minute, wha, wha, wha, waht?

NP: It's all right Peter I've given you the point.

PJ: So why is she rabbiting on like that?

NP: Because everybody seems to rabbit on in this game, you know.

PJ: I thought I got the subject back.

SH: Yes you did, get on with it!

PJ: What are you talking about?

NP: You haven't got it back, you haven't lost it.

PJ: That's how I lost the chairmanship of Twenty Questions, going on like you are!

NP: Four seconds left for what I put into life starting now.

PJ: I walk along the street...


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

ALFRED MARKS: Yes it's a deviation. But it happened in the last break. Because I know Peter Jones very well, he's a thorough gentleman and he deviated from that gentlemanly aspect by talking to Sheila Hancock, this lovely lady on my right, in the manner he did! And I don't care if it costs me a point! I had to say that!

KW: Yes hear hear! Hear hear! Yes you see, the audience agrees!

SH: Alfred you'll get used to it! They always talk to me like that on this game!

AM: Then I'm leaving!

NP: Well Alfred it was very nice to hear from you but it hasn't got you very far in the game...

AM: No?

NP: No...

PJ: He's minus one at the moment isn't he?

NP: No you get another point for a wrong challenge.

PJ: Oh I see.

SH: It's really more of a chat show than a quiz game this, isn't it?

NP: So three seconds left, what I put into life, Peter, starting now.

PJ: And I look in the windows of the shops and at the faces of the people...


NP: Well Ian Messiter blows his whistle when 60 seconds is up and whoever is speaking at that point gets an extra point and on this occasion it was Peter Jones and you won't be surprised to hear that Peter's got a strong lead at the end of the first round. Alfred Marks will you begin the second round for us. It is what I get out of life. Would you talk about that for Just A Minute if you can starting now.

AM: The subject what I get out of life cannot possibly be divorced from the previous one which was asked of my colleague over there, Mr Kenneth Williams, the well known articulate erudite wit, raconteur and would-be sex maniac, he didn't pass the physical unfortunately. Now it said as he sows so, S-O shall he reap. And it is what you put into life. You can't put anything in other what you get out as the thespian said to the cleric. And what I get out of life is pleasure. Call me hedonist if you will. I don't go for jogging and running and playing billiards and snooker. I'm strictly an outdoor hate, I hate outdoors...


AM: No that's all wrong, I'm sorry.

NP: Sheila Hancock's challenged.

AM: What? Yes!

SH: A kind of combination, between repetition and hesitation.

AM: And boredom!

NP: Of what.

SH: Hate hate.

NP: What are you going to go for?

SH: I'll go for repetition of hate.

NP: Yes I will give you that, I don't think he hesitated. He waffled an awful lot.

AM: Yes.

NP: He didn't hesitate. And Sheila you have a correct challenge on hate. And there are 17 seconds left and you have the subject, what I get out of life starting now.

SH: What I get out of life is a great deal of hard work tempered by the occasional moments of joy.


NP: Ah Kenneth.

KW: You can't get hard work out of life. You can put hard work into life but you can't get it out. Therefore she was, she was deviating.

NP: I think that's a good challenge.

KW: That's a very good challenge isn't it? That's true! Yeah! You're a very good chairman! I'm going to crawl like mad in this show!


PJ: Well I disagree with that because...

KW: Oh you shut your row! Nobody asked you! He's always trying to get his oar in, have you noticed! Twenty Questions mentioned just now! Now we're going to get it! This is the chairmanship, the verdict challenged.

NP: Peter just what were you going to say?

PJ: Well I was going to say that Alfred had established I think that you get out of life what you put into it. So if Sheila had put hard work into it, it's reasonable to assume she got hard work out of it!

NP: Ah Peter would you like to change places or would you like to shut up!

PJ: Well I don't mind really, what would you like to do? I don't mind, I'll come up there!

NP: So for the moment I disagree with what you've said, I agree with what Kenneth has said and he has the subject. There are 11 seconds, what I get out of life starting now.

KW: A shared bon homie as the French call it....


NP: Peter...

KW: How dare you interrupt me!

PJ: You've got to speak English! It's not a foreign broadcast! You've got to speak in the English language!

KW: Bon homie is in the English dictionary!

PJ: How do you know?

KW: Because I looked it up!

PJ: Oh!

SH: When?

NP: It's also in the French dictionary as well, but it doesn't matter...

KW: It is in the English dictionary. And Fowler who edited the OED said it should be pronounced in Anglicised fashion because to do otherwise would be to perform an athletic feat with your mouth that would only succeed in embarrasing your collogiter!

NP: Right Kenneth, Kenneth we don't doubt you for a moment, but all that happens when he jumps in like that is that you get an extra point for a wrong challenge.

KW: Oh good!

NP: And we do know that you read dictionairies!

KW: Thank you! Yes!

NP: We do know that you're well informed!

KW: Nice! Lovely fellow!

NP: Eight seconds on what I get out of life starting now.

KW: Most pleasure from the very young. How delightful it is when we attend the parties, when the balloons are banged, and the sweet cakes are brought out...


NP: Well on that occasion at the end of that round Kenneth Williams was speaking when the whistle went, he gained an extra point and Sheila Hancock's going to begin the next round. The subject is my wellies.

SH: Oh.

NP: Would you tell us something about your wellies Sheila in Just A Minute starting now.

SH: Yes as a matter of fact I boast two pairs of wellies. The tatty ones I wear in the country shuffling around in mud and snow and puddles. I have another pair that have high heels and I wear in London. But they unfortunately rub my heels...


NP: Kenneth has challenged.

KW: Two pairs, I had a tatty pair and the other pair.

SH: Yes.

NP: Yeah that's right. There are 41 seconds left and my wellies is the subject starting now.

KW: Mine are particularly prone to give me abrasions and I therefore don two lots of hosiery. I don't want to mention the other word lest I later be accused of repetition. Now in very wet weather or snow and slush these are the only way...


NP: Ah Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Well slush is the same as wet weather.

NP: But it's a different word!

PJ: Yes but it's terribly boring! Listening to all that!

NP: It might be boring but it wasn't deviating from the subject.

PJ: No? All right. If you insist.

NP: Well tried. There are 18 seconds left on my wellies Kenneth starting now.

KW: The other use to which they could be put is shoved under a drainpipe and thus you collect water which in these times of emergency...


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: I don't know of many drainpipes that would take a full sized welly. One could put a galosha underneath there...

KW: I don't care what drainpipes you're familiar with mate! You don't know anything about my drainpipes! You've never been round my place! What a nerve! Sitting there pontificating about drainpipes! You know nothing about them! What do you know about plumbing! What, you couldn't even change a washer! Look at him! He's gone white! He sits there, what a nerve!

PJ: You've obviously touched a...

KW: You've interrupted one of your great pundits! I know more about plumbing than you've had hot dinners!

PJ: You've touched on a very sensitive area there Alfred!

NP: You're being rude to everybody now!

KW: How dare you!

NP: But you haven't deviated so you have 12 seconds to continue on my wellies starting now.

KW: Me? I continue with it?

NP: Yes.

KW: But I had no idea, I was unprepared....


NP: Yes, Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: You mean my challenge was not accepted?

NP: Yes your challenge is accepted, what is it?

AM: I said that was deviation, you see.

NP: No that was hesitation just then.

AM: Hesitation just then.

NP: Yes that's right yes, so you've got the subject.

AM: I would like, you will have noticed I kept terribly quiet during that haraunge...

NP: I know, you were very hurt, I could see that.

AM: Well no it's not that, but if my writers were here, I'd certainly have an ad-lib.

NP: We get on with the game now. There are 10 seconds left. Alfred Marks has the subject and there are 10 seconds left, my wellies, starting now.

AM: It is not commonly known but welly is an abbrieviation for Wellington which was named for the Duke of, who had them made for him during a battle, because he was walking through snow, slush, rain...


NP: Well Alfred Marks was then speaking when the whistle went, he gained the extra point. He's got other points in the round and he's moved into third place ahead of Sheila Hancock. Peter Jones is now in second place but Kenneth Williams has got a strong lead.

AM: What a way to treat a guest!

SH: Yes!

NP: Peter Jones your turn to begin. The subject, sewing. Would you talk on that for Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Well Bothamley the famous or infamous, um....


NP: Kenneth Williams.

KW: Hesitation, I'm afraid.

NP: Yes, I'm afraid there was.

PJ: Yes I did.

NP: I kind of wondered why he dried. Ah there are 47 seconds on sewing starting now.

KW: I visited the orthopaedic hospital quite recently and had some extremely difficult sewing done on my own body. And it is something which I shall be everlastingly grateful! In fact people who have said to me afterwards "where is the scar?" have great difficulty in locating this. Because the peripheral surgery carried out was so delightfully miniscule that it would take the trained eye or indeed a telescopic view to make out where it originated and where it did not.


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of where.

NP: Yes I'm afraid there was. Peter you have the subject back and you have 20 seconds left, sewing, starting now.

PJ: Well this man I were telling you about earlier was a crook and he was in prison...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Repetition, he's told us about him earlier.

PJ: Yes but I didn't mention his name!

NP: Actually Kenneth he didn't tell us anything because you challenged him after three seconds!

KW: He told us he was called Bothamley and that he was infamous or famous or something! He was a crook anyway!

NP: He only told us about three seconds and you interrupted him...

PJ: Exactly!

NP: ... and got the challenge. Anyway he wasn't deviating from sewing so he keeps the subject and there are 17 seconds left starting now.

PJ: He was serving his time in Shrewsbury Jail sewing mailbags and a visitor said "Are you sewing Bothamley?" and he said "No, reaping". Which I think is a rather delightful little anecdote about one of the most colourful characters of the early part of this century, who took his needle...


NP: You gained an extra point and you're only one point behind our leader, who's still Kenneth Williams and Kenneth we're back with you...

PJ: Our leader!

SH: He's not my leader!

KW: You shut your row!

SH: You make him sound like some jewel...

KW: Come on, come on, Nick, you're doing very nicely!

NP: Am I?

KW: You're doing lovely! Take no notice of them!

NP: How long will that last from you?

KW: No, you'll be all right, go on!

NP: Right! The subject specially thought up for you I'm sure by Ian Messiter, Maximillan the First, Duke of Bavaria.

SH: Oh! No!

NP: Now our budding historian Kenneth Williams will talk on that for Just A Minute if he can, starting now.

KW: Well he was a member of the Vittlesbach line. They were about 1200 to 1918. He was the leader as I understand it of the Catholic League and got his comeuppance from Ferdinand the Second through helping to defeat Frederick the Winter King who was married of course to that delightful woman Elizabeth of Bohemia whose son was Rupert who was that incredible cavalry commander and a daughter, Sophia who married George the elector of Hanover. Well now that of course did lead to a great raising of the fortunes of the dynasty because eventually they controlled the whole of the upper Philatenate and became the grand kingdom of Bavaria with the title not of dukes but of monarchs. Then there you see that gave rise in turn...


NP: Sheila Hancock's challenged.

SH: I'm going to regret this! Hesitation!

NP: Well he stumbled didn't he! Whether a stumble's a hesitation or not? This is one of those....

SH: Well it always has been in this game!

KW: No you're quite right, you're quite right Sheila. She's playing the game and after all she is a lady! And therefore...

SH: Is a stumble not a hesitation?

NP: When such generosity comes from Kenneth Williams all I can say is I'm sure you're right Kenneth!

SH: He'll get me back immediately because I know absolutely nothing about the Duke of Bavaria!

NP: Well, we'll soon find out...

KW: Well why did you challenge?

SH: Because you hesitated! I had to do it! It's in the rules!

NP: You didn't have to!

KW: You mean you're opening a trapdoor for yourself!

SH: Yes! It's the story of my life Kenneth! You should know that!

KW: You're a very brave girl!

NP: You have 13 seconds Sheila to stand...

SH: How many?

NP: Thirteen seconds are left to stand up to that trapdoor on Maximillan the first, Duke of Bavaria, starting now.

SH: Maximillan the First, Duke of Bavaria was a very fine man, a Catholic, a true and honourable member of that faith. And in fact fought very hard on behalf...


SH: (laughs) Wheeeee! So I...

KW: Most brilliant bit of hanging it out I've ever heard!

NP: Yes absolutely marvellous. Whether she knew he was even Catholic or not...

SH: Well he said he was a Catholic and I...

NP: So she picked out one thing, he was a Catholic, and just went on about what a good Catholic he was! Very clever Sheila! You deserve that point when the whistle went and you're now in third place....

KW: And why were you saying Bar-very? Bar-varia? Why were you saying...

NP: I never said Barvery!

KW: You said Bar-varia.

NP: Bar-varia.

KW: Why did you Bar? It's Bavaria! There's never been any bars on it!

SH: Oh! Don't be pompous!

KW: I'm only telling you for your own sake!

NP: You keep your Bavarias and others will have their....

KW: I'm only telling you for your own sake!

NP: You were talking about bon homie recently, the Anglicised pronunciation, and the Anglicised pronunciation is Bar-varia.

KW: Bar-varia! Really!

NP: Yes!

KW: Well that's news to me! I never knew that! Of course we learn something every day don't we!

NP: You ought to look it up in the dictionary when you get back and find out!

KW: Mmmm....

NP: Alfred Marks...

AM: I must say you're absolutely right, I have my car parked in Har-nover Square!

KW: Har-nover Square!

AM: You're quite right Nichol-arse!

NP: All right Alf, now it's your turn! Alfred Marks we're back with you. The subject is topical for us over here, water sortages, oh....

SH: Come on!


NP: Oh you see how I've started.

AM: Hesitation? Oh! Doesn't count!

NP: Water shortages!

AM: Oh!

NP: You have Just A Minute to talk on water shortages starting now.

AM: The proverb says every cloud has a silver lining. This should properly be attributed to an east end tailor making suits for the angels! However for those of us in this septic isle, the water shortage is not a funny subject at all. And if you think that we're suffering here may I tell you that during the last war I was a very proud member of His Majesty's Royal Air Force and was stationed in the Western desert where I supported the Eighth Army known as the desert rats. And there we were rationed to water, one half water bottle per man per day and that's a repeat...


AM: Oh I'm sorry I started!

SH: Oh, it was so interesting!

KW: No, it was very good! Go on!

AM: Thank you.

NP: Sometimes if you keep going with enough panache they overlook it or forget it.

AM : Yes.

NP: But Sheila did challenge so what's your challenge Sheila?

SH: I challenged, I challenged, because it was a repetition of per, per...

AM: Per, yes!

SH: Like a pussycat! But I'll do it badly so you can get it back.

AM: Well actually it's a Birmingham per which means two!

SH: Keep your finger on the trigger and I'll give you a quick repetition!

NP: There are 29 seconds Sheila for water shortages starting now.

SH: Well, I'm very lucky because I've got a natural well in my garden. So I have in fact been watering my garden!


SH: There you are!

NP: Alfred's got it back!

AM: Yes, yes, it was a repeat, wasn't it?

NP: Yes it was!

AM: Thank you Sheila!

NP: And there are 23 seconds left, and water shortages is back with you Alfred starting now.

AM: And there where we were rationed, water was so precious that even Hitler was known to say to his General Romnel (starts to rant in German gibberish in a very good Hitler impression)


AM: (continues Hitler rant)

NP: Oh sorry you were, Alfred, Alfred, you were challenged by Peter Jones!

AM: Was I? Oh!

NP: (Spouts a little German)

PJ: Yes! Repetition of that! Whatever!

NP: I'm going to put this to the audience!

AM: No, no way!

SH: No!

NP: Did Alfred Marks repeat himself on his German gibberish! And if he did you cheer for Alfred! He didn't! All right, you don't even have to cheer, you're all booing! Alfred they think you didn't repeat yourself. You keep the subject, you have four seconds, water shortages, starting now.

AM: Even Mussolini was known to say to his troops (starts Italian gibberish)


NP: Ah well an interesting situation is developing in the score because Alfred got a lot of marks in that round including one for speaking when the whistle went. He's moved, well it's... Sheila's one point behind Alfred, he's one behind Peter Jones and Peter's still one point behind our leader Kenneth Williams. Sheila Hancock your turn to begin. The subject, curry.

SH: Oh!

NP: Will you tell us something about that hot subject in Just A Minute starting now.

SH: Well talking of it as a food, I get enormous masochistic pleasure out of eating curry. The hotter the better! It does in fact make me very... ill the next day...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: Hesitation, I'm afraid!

SH: I was going to say something....

AM: You had a mouthful of curry! It's not easy!

SH: I was going to be indelicate but it doesn't matter!

NP: It's in the Bible! so I wouldn't worry!

PJ: What, the curry?

SH: No, the way it makes you the day after!

PJ: Oh really?

AM: A great wind came upon Jerusalem.....

NP: Forty-nine seconds are left for curry and Kenneth Williams has the subject starting now.

KW: The Madras curry is particularly hot and I would advise anyone starting off with the Oriental foods to be very careful about taking that particular dish. On the other hand there are lovely things which always accompany it like popadoms and ladies fingers. And for a sweet what better after the curry than bindi ....


NP: Alfred.

AM: That was a definite hesitation!

NP: Well Kenneth does go rather slowly sometimes. I don't think he hesitated then! He was on the edge of it but I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say Kenneth you didn't hesitate but don't go any slower or you will! And there are 23 seconds left on curry starting now.

KW: Fawning and sycophancy can be roughly called currying favour and this is done in many government departments in England. There is a lot of crawling going on and I want to know why I'm not in on it! Nobody's pushing me! Now I should be! I've tried to curry favour with more people than....


NP: Er, Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: Favour.

NP: Yes repetition of favour!

KW: All right I'll give it to you! I'm generous! I don't mind!

NP: You can't do anything else Kenneth, he has got it legitimately!

KW: He's got nothing legitimately!

NP: There are three seconds left just before the whistle goes. Alfred Marks is in there on curry starting now.

AM: (Indian gibberish)


NP: We're all waiting for Alfred Marks to do a round in English!

AM: It may very well happen.

SH: It's because you told us about these foreign broadcasts..

NP: You've moved up again Alfred, you're two points behind our leader Kenneth Williams but you're also in second place, you've overatken Peter Jones. But Peter's starting the next round. The subject is a lot of bother. Peter having had some curry there's a lot of bother and that's the subject, Just A Minute, starting now.

PJ: Well it sounds to me like a typical English understatement describing some huge and monstrous calamity that has occurred to the person speaking it. And it's the kind of thing that er these ah ...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: He went er, a hesitation.

NP: Yes I would agree Kenneth.

PJ: Yes it was yes.

NP: There are 47 seconds left Kenneth and you now take over a lot of bother starting now.

KW: It happened to me once on the football field, a considerable amount of bother, and they came around me and said "you're not playing the game". And I was affecting at the time an impersonation of Winston Churchill. And was using my pencil as symbolic of a cigar, do you see. And quite funny I thought....


NP: Sheila Hancock has challenged.

SH: I suggest he's deviating. What is he doing with a pencil being Winston Churchill while playing football?

NP: I think he was trying to establish he was causing a lot of bother on the football field but I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt because I gave him the benefit last time Sheila and tell, say that you have 27 seconds left, the subject's a lot of bother, starting now.

SH: Well there are so many things in life that are a lot of bother. Getting your hair done! Phoning the electricity board!


NP: Alfred Marks has challenged.

AM: Well it doesn't apply to me at all! It's deviation! No bother at all!

NP: I would have thought Alfred, it would have been a lot of bother to have got your hair done!

AM: No! On the contrary! No, not at all! Put a basin round it and that's it! They work from the top down!

NP: What is your challenge?

AM: It was a comic challenge really! I just wanted to tell the audience I'm bald!

NP: You have got something at the side.

AM: Sorry?

NP: You have got something at the side. You're not a...

AM: Don't tell the wife, for God's sake!

NP: You're not a complete Kojak.

AM: No, not complete, I'm sort of a Ko!

NP: Right, 21 seconds, a lot of bother Sheila starting now.

SH: In fact I have now reminded myself making a telephone call at all is a lot of bother. You invariably get a crossed line which is in fact rather fun. Then you try again and you get that mmmmmm noise which means that it's a wrong number.


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: You get a crossed line and then you get a wrong number, that's two you gets.

NP: Yes.

SH: Right you wait! If you say is twice now, I'm going to challenge!

NP: Oh there were two words Sheila! Be fair! It was you get. Not just one.

SH: All right!

NP: There are six seconds Kenneth on a lot of bother starting now.

KW: I had it when I was fire watching and I was called upon to shove the sandbags on these incendiaries and I did it with tremendous balance....


NP: Well once again Kenneth Williams was speaking when the whistle went and he got that extra point and all that's happened is that it's increased his lead. But I've also received a message that we have no more time to play Just A Minute. So let me give you the final score. Sheila Hancock and Peter Jones finished equal in third place, they had seven points apiece. and only one point ahead was Alfred Marks who hasn't played quite so often and did very well with all his foreign characters that he introduced to the game. But he was four points behind this weeks winner, Kenneth Williams. We hope you have enjoyed the first of the series and we'll be with you again next week. Until then from all of us here goodbye.

ANNOUNCER: The chairman of Just A Minute was Nicholas Parsons. The programme was devised by Ian Messiter and produced by John Browell.

NOTE: There is an exchange in this programme which was recounted in one of Kenneth Williams's famous letters and is currently on the BBC Website! For the record and an insight into both Williams and Nicholas Parsons, here is what KW said about it in a letter to a fan, 8 October 1976, from The Kenneth Williams Letters, edited by Russell Davies.

"For the Just A Minute recordings I get 35 pounds and Parsons gets MORE! I mean! It is infuriating! The BBC said it was policy to pay the chairman a higher rate! Last week at the recording he kept pronouncing Bavaria as BARvaria. I said 'why do you keep saying Barvaria when everyone knows it's Bavaria' and he replied 'Because Barvaria is correct' and I said 'well, we learn something every day don't we?' to the audience, and in the next sequence Alfred Marks said 'When I was walking through HARnover Square the other day....' and got an enormous laugh. Parsons was furious. I tackled him about it after the show: 'Do you really believe that Barvaria is correct?' and to my astonishment he replied 'Of course I don't but I had to say that after you had drawn attention to my mistake in public.' If you can understand THAT you can understand Parsons."