starring PAUL MERTON, DEREK NIMMO, CLEMENT FREUD and TONY HAWKS, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 31 December 1994)

NOTE: Alison Harford's first appearance blowing the whistle.

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 introduce the four talented performers who are going to play Just A Minute this week. We welcome back two of the long-standing players of the game, that's Derek Nimmo and Clement Freud, and two of our other regular but younger members of the show, that is Paul Merton and Tony Hawks. Will you please welcome all four of them. This particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the International Edinburgh Festival and we're playing here in the Pleasance Theatre before a very animated and excited fringe Edinburgh audience. They're getting quite hyped up there! Beside me sits Alison Harford who is going to keep the score and blow her whistle when 60 seconds are up and as usual I will ask the four panelists 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. Clement Freud, would you begin the first round and the subject is tamoshanter. A nice Scottish subject to start with. Will you talk on it for 60 seconds starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: A tamoshanter is an item of Scots headgear which like other Scottish apparel is worn without anything between the skin and the garment.


NP: And Derek Nimmo's challenged.

DEREK NIMMO: Well surely there's hair!

CF: Where?

NP: Clement was referring to the fact that he is a little bit thin on top. But he didn't make it clear that it would on his occasion there would be nothing between the skin and the tamoshanter. So Derek I agree with the challenge, you have a point for that of course. You take over the subject, there are 48 seconds left, tamoshanter starting now.

DN: Tamoshanter is a poem written by the bard of Scotland, Robbie Burns. It concerns a man who went forth and drank a deal of malt whiskey and returned on his horse which was called Maggie and as he passed a particular church, he saw fiends, foul, gross, ghastly, knavish creatures inside the afore mentioned place of worship. And particularly he saw a lady in a cutty sark...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Repetition of he saw.

NP: Yes, he saw, he saw. Clement, I agree with the challenge, you get a point for that. You take over the subject and there are 20 seconds left starting now.

CF: I find it very strange about Tamoshanter the poem. Because having officiated at Burns night dinners over the years, I have never been in a state where I was able to understand one word of what was going on. They seem to speak in a Scots accent....


NP: And um Tony Hawks has challenged.

TONY HAWKS: Repetition of Scots. You said Scots in the first...

NP: In your first, when you were speaking previously you did say Scots. So Tony a correct challenge, a point to you. And there are four seconds left on tamoshanter starting now.

TH: I saw a very nice tamoshanter worn in a fringe show called Kilts Akimbo.


NP: So Tony Hawks was speaking then as the whistle went. And whoever is doing that gets an extra point. So he's now in the lead. Tony would you like to take the second round. We've got a lovely subject here: extra virgin olive oil. Will you tell us about it in this game, 60 seconds, starting now.

TH: I cannot understand this at all. Extra virgin olive oil. Surely this is a slur on the virility of Popeye. Does this make Sweetpea the new Messiah? These questions need to be answered for me! Now olive oil, I like to put it on my dressings and on my salads obviously. It's high on...


NP: Derek Nimmo's challenged.

DN: You can't put olive oil on your dressing! You put it in your dressing!

TH: I think you're right, yes!

NP: I...

TH: You can do it, it's just stupid!

NP: Yes! I think within the rules of the game Derek, we give the benefit of the doubt to you. You take over the subject, another point to you. And there are 30 seconds left, extra virgin olive oil, starting now.

DN: I don't quite see how somebody could be extra virgin. If you're virgo intacta, then that is sufficient, that is a totally sublime state. But to be extra virgin seems to me to be an absolute nonsense. But a particular kind of oil I myself use in a dressing would be sannic vinegar...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PAUL MERTON: We went into Welsh I think there.

NP: He certainly hesitated. Paul you have the subject and you have 13 seconds on extra virgin olive oil starting now.

PM: Whenever I go shopping down at my local supermarket I always buy extra virgin olive oil whether I need it or not. Consequently I have 17 bottles at home and I just don't know what to do with them. Sometimes I decide...


NP: Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point for doing so, and we're moving into the third round. Derek Nimmo would you take the shipping forecast. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

DN: The shipping forecast. That is something one listens to or at least it floats past one's ears, day in, very often day out...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Repetition of day.

DN: Absolutely right!

NP: Absolutely!

DN: Well listened!

NP: Tony, the shipping forecast and there are 52 seconds left starting now.

TH: Dogger, Cromity, Finestere, Ayr, Shannon. Alll words that you hear on the shipping forecast and they mean nothing to you at all! The most annoying thing I've found about this broadcast is that one can be listening to a radio show that one is enjoying thoroughly and then at the end of it one is subjected....


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: One and one.

NP: The two ones yes. Shipping forecast is back with you Derek and there are 33 seconds left starting now.

DN: North Utsire and South ditto. Those are the two most annoying places that they have on the shipping forecast. I imagine little trawlermen out in Hull and Grimsby, sitting in their boats, waiting for the shipping forecast to come on! It must be the highlight of their day! Because they know they won't drown if they hear it and take the right kind of precautions. Pull in the nets they go, avast and away, and sail back to their home port, to Donaldsway or Ronaldsway and all...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged you.

CF: There were a couple of Ronaldsways there.

DN: No there was only one Ronaldsway.

NP: He didn't repeat Ronaldsway, it sounds like it, he said something else...

DN: Donaldsway.

NP: Donaldsway, which actually is not...

CF: In that case if he said Donaldsway, it's deviation.

NP: I know but it's too late. I was about to say you could have had him for deviation of donaldsway because it's not part of the shipping forecast. But you had him first for repetition, so I think it only fair to give Derek a point and leave the shipping forecast with him with six seconds to go starting now.

DN: I turn on the knob...


NP: Clement Freud.

CF: Deviation of Donaldsway.

DN: You can't have retrospective challenges!

NP: Well there's nothing in the rules which said you can't and I think it's rather clever of him. So I think I'm going to give it to him. so Clement there are five seconds for you to tell us something about the shipping forecast starting now.

CF: I'm always very interested to know how things are in Lundy because hardly anyone lives there....


NP: Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. He's now in second place with Tony Hawks. Paul it is your turn to begin. The subject: telepathy. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: (Silence)


NP: A bonus point to Paul Merton for his telepathy. But what was the message you were getting before I take Derek's challenge?

PM: I think everyone else picked it up Nicholas!

TH: I think it was clearly a repetition of (silence).

PM: That was the pause!

NP: Another bonus point to Tony Hawks. But let's get the chhallenge. Derek you challenged first Derek, what was your challenge? You haven't got one!

DN: It was a total silence! You can't have a total silence!

NP: Within the rules...

DN: Within the rules of the game! Within the rules of the game you can't have a total silence!

NP: Within the rules of the game....

DN: That's a new turn! Maybe I'll allow that one!

PM: I didn't hesitate, I didn't repeat, I didn't deviate! I did nothing!

NP: And we interpret that as hesitation. So Derek...

PM: Well it's only hesitation if you then start.

NP: If we pursue this argument it's going to become so semantic we're never going to get anywhere and the show will never progress. So I'm going to give Derek a point for a correct challenge. And he has 48 seconds on telepathy starting now.

DN: The word telepathy was coined in the last century by a Mr Myers. and it actually means to be able to communicate with another person through a non-normal....


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Sort of, er, hesitation.

NP: A sort of hesitation which I will grant and you have 37 seconds to tell us something, we hope you'll tell us something, about telepathy, starting now.

PM: The Russians have always been very keen on telepathy. At one point they saw it as a secret weapon they could use against the west. They had several people locked away in laboratories trying to communicate to each other via brick walls and that kind of thing. I can't see how useful it could really be because if you...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: How do you communicate via a brick wall?

PM: Did I say via a brick wall?

NP: You did say via a brick wall.

PM: You shout through it then.

NP: No, if there's...

PM: There's a window open then.

NP: If you're telepathic you'd be coming through it. He wasn't using it as a monitor in anyway. I think it should have been true.

PM: Were you there?

NP: No I wasn't but I...

PM: It was actually the Russian Via A Brick Wall Telephonic Communication Symposium of 1948.

NP: I see!

PM: If they get it wrong, it's got nothing to do with me.

NP: I have to get the benefit of the doubt to Derek Nimmo who has the benefit of the doubt with 21 seconds starting now.

DN: I find after 39 years and nine months of marriage that I can communicate with my wife in an extraordinary...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: I think you said communicate in your first...

NP: You did say communicate before in this round. So Tony, a correct challenge, 14 seconds on telepathy starting now.

TH: I am telepathic. For instance I know now that I am going to be buzzed... buzzed... buzzed....


TH: I rest my case.

NP: Clement Freud came through and helped you out. But let's give him a bonus point because that was a clever idea. Clement you have another point for a correct challenge. You take the subject and there are 10 seconds, telepathy, starting now.

CF: Another clever point which hasn't been used before, which would be instrumental in getting me an extra point would be to vomit.


NP: It's not very good radio actually.

PM: It's not very good television!

NP: No!

TH: It's not very good being sat next to either!

NP: But Paul Merton was the first to challenge.

PM: Yes, repetition of point.

NP: Yes that's right. So Paul you cleverly got in with three seconds to go on telepathy starting now.

PM: One of the most wonderful things that I ever personally witnessed....


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: He said things before.

NP: Yes. So Clement you cleverly got in with half a second to go on telepathy starting now.

CF: Yes.


NP: So at the end of that round in which we've had everything including vomit, Tony Hawks is now in the lead just one ahead of Clement Freud, Paul Merton and Derek Nimmo. And Clement it's back to you to begin. The subject is wind power. Talk on the subject please starting now.

CF: Wind power is an anagram of down wiper which is pretty interesting. It is also of course, wind power, a political party, the great strength of which is that if someone comes to your door on behalf of wind power you know instantly by the smell what it is going to be. Well you know conservative, socialist....


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: I think repetition of know.

NP: He did say know, yes. Tony, the subject, 39 seconds are left, wind power, starting now.

TH: Wind power is supposed to be a very environmentally friendly form of generating power. However it does make quite a lot of noise. I know people that have these things on their hills nearby their houses, object to a whining noise which develops...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of noise.

NP: There were too much noise Im afraid Tony yes. And you have wind power back with you Clement and 24 seconds left starting now.

CF: If you drive south along the 101, just before...


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: 101.

NP: Of all the roads you could have chosen that was the one.

CF: It's where the windmills are!

NP: Ah! Twentyone seconds are left for you Derek on wind power starting now.

DN: In the 19th century on the music hall stage in Paris, there was a perdidistah. And he was able by using one of his lower orifices to blow out a candle at a distance of two metres. He used to lean forward on the stage, remove the piece of clothing around this particular hole and actually emit noises and wind power...


NP: Derek Nimmo was speaking, got the extra point. Only one point separates them all. Tony, will you take the next round. the subject: bills. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

TH: it is a source of disappointment to me that Bill's is so much more impressive than mine. I wouldn't mind....


TH: ... if he kept quiet about it but he rings me up and harps on about it all the time, saying "Tony, my one is terrific". His phone bill, of course, arrives....

NP: Oh Derek Nimmo you challenged. There was no sound but your light came on.

DN: Well I challenged quite a long time back really. He waited for a laugh which you're not allowed to do, instead of keeping on talking...

TH: Can you tell I'm a trained comedian?

DN: He got a tremendous laugh.

TH: I get thrown out of the comics union if I talk over a laugh!

PM: He's riding the laugh, that's what he's doing!

NP: We used to try and ride the laugh, I know. With a fringe audience it's very difficult to ride them because they're so vociferous. But Derek you were correct, 38 seconds are left on bills starting now.

DN: When a ship sets port on...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: He hasn't got any laughs!

NP: Don't rub it in!

TH: Sorry!

NP: Right! Derek you have 36 seconds on bills starting now.

DN: The master keeps a copy of the bill of lading. One is given to the merchant and another one is kept behind the dock. Now the thing when you arrive in a port...


NP: Paul Merton.

DN: I'm just building up to my laugh!

PM: I know, I know. Repetition of port I think.

NP: Yes, yes, I think...

DN: Not this time.

NP: Yes, you had port before. Paul, 25 seconds on bills starting now.

PM: I get bills all the time. I don't know why, it's nothing to do with me. They pop through the letter box, I open them, oh dear, there's another 185 quid I've got to spend on something or other which I've already had anyway and I don't remember having it in the first place and that's free because I don't care and I'm very annoyed about it. Phone bills, there's one, 65 pounds...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Well it's rubbish!

NP: It may be rubbish but there's no rule in Just A Minute which says...

CF: There was repetition of one.

NP: Yes there was and pounds and a number of other things. Right. Eleven seconds Clement on bills starting now.

CF: The Kings Williams the first, second, third and fourth are colloquially known as the Royal Bills. And many people will tell you their dates, both of succession...


NP: So Clement Freud has now taken the lead along with of Derek Nimmo, one ahead of Tony Hawks and two ahead of Paul Merton. And Derek your turn to begin. The subject is great walls. Talk about great walls starting now.

DN: I suppose Max Wall must be one of the great Walls. A wonderfully sublime comedian dressed in black with floppy hair, extraordinary boots. He made me laugh more probably than anyone except Tom Walls was a very funny man. Won the Derby with April the 5th with Robinson Hare. And other comedians. And the Great Wall of China. Won Lee as it's known in Mandarin. Won means 10,000...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: Repetition of won.

NP: Yes.

DN: Absolutely but one was wan, w-a-n, and the other was one, o-n-e.

NP: They both sounded the same so that's the way we go in Just A Minute. Thirtysix seconds are left for great walls with you Tony starting now.

TH: The greatest wall that I have ever seen is a wall built by my neighbour, Mr Cooper, in my back garden. He climbed over in the night and started work on it against my er...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of my.

NP: Yes, 28 seconds Paul on great walls starting now.

PM: Well I think the Russians had the right idea. Because in 1948 they tried to get this telepathic experiment via a great wall. And the west were potentially amazed by this. This is an example of someone who is continuing talking even though there is a laugh which I could have rode but I decided to just keep going all the way through. And here's another one again. And now this is wild applause. Perhaps the greatest wall I've ever come across is the one that runs from Great Yarmouth all the way to Moscow. It's little known because most of it is under the water and I'm very well aware that nobody's going to buzz me because they're going to see how long I can speak for without interrupting myself or hesitating or repetition or deviation. Meanwhile the following week I was still talking about this great wall. I think there's something about the way that one brick goes on top of another one that I really enjoy. You know you put the mortar down and you can build it as high as you like. There's a man in Halifax who's built a wall all the way up to the moon. The trouble is he can't use it because he can't find a stepladder long enough. His next door neighbour, he's got the right idea. We have got another recording after this have we?


NP: So Paul Merton was then speaking 30 seconds after the whistle should have gone.

PM: And the rest!

NP: And he not only gets a point for not being interrupted, he gets a bonus point for continuing, so he gets three points on that. It's put him in the lead, he's one ahead of Clement Freud and Tony Hawks. No, all three are equal in second place and one ahead is Paul Merton. And Paul, it's your turn to begin.

CF: Could we have a drug test?

NP: Right Paul your turn to begin. The subject is dates. Will you tell us something about that starting now.

PM: April the 8th. March the 17th. February the 29th. What do all these dates mean? Yes they belong to the great British calendar year. I'm pleased that we can stand up with pride and patriotically say January the 21st and be done with it! There's something about it. Why is it that we love our dates so much? I mean people gather around on Christmas Day, December the 25th, exchange pleasantries...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of 20.

NP: Yes you had the 28th before and now you had the 25th. It's true, don't look so.... Just because you managed to coax this audience into the palm of your hand...

PM: Oh no he isn't.


NP: You've won them over. I've got to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute. Derek's challenge was correct. Thirtythree seconds Derek on dates starting now.

DN: I suppose the most important date of British history for me at any rate was 1453 when we bun the battle or rather lost....


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Did you say bun the battle? Was this the Great Bakery Wars of the 15th century?

NP: It was a bit of the telepathy going through that wall in Russia! He got diverted! But it was deviation from English as we speak it usually. So Paul you have the subject of dates back, 26 seconds left, starting now.

PM: I remember from my history lessons at school, the great buck divide of the 16th century where these articles were... oh!


NP: Derek you challenged first.

DN: Using some of my dialogue! Repetition.

NP: Hesiation, 19 seconds with you Derek, dates, starting now.

DN: 1066 I suppose changed....


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: 66?

NP: No, thats 60 and 6.

CF: Well it's like 25 and 28, I mean if you're going to allow that...

NP: He had the word 20 that he repeated, 66 is a 60 and a 6.

CF: There are two 6s in it.

NP: If you write it down but not if you speak it. Oh they'll twist anything to try and get me. Ther are 17 seconds left Derek. I disagree with the challenge. Dates are still with you starting now.

DN: William the Conqueror landed at Hastings and poor old King Harold copped it in the eye with an arrow. If you go to Bayeux you can see the tapestry depicting this terribly tragic scene. But for England it was a tremendous help. We were governed by the Normans...


NP: Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: I've decided this is deviation...

NP: Yes, he's no longer talking about dates, he's talking about the Battle of Hastings.

TH: Yeah.

NP: And the Bayeux Tapestry. Right. So Tony you've got in with three seconds to go on dates starting now.

TH: The first date that I ever went on was with a delightful young lady called Maria...


NP: We'll never know what Maria and Tony did on that first date....

TH: I'll tell you if you like!

NP: Maybe you should save it. Right...

TH: That's what I thought on the night!

PM: Did it involve any deviation or repetition?

TH: No unfortunately no repetition at all!

NP: Any hesitation?

TH: Oh plenty of that!

PM: You could make it the next subject!

NP: So it's still very close. Derek Nimmo's in the lead, one ahead of Paul Merton and Tony Hawks. And Clement Freud is just behind them. Tony your turn to begin. The subject: nursery rhymes. will you tell us something about that subject starting now.

TH: I listened to a lot of nursery rhymes when I was little. The one that puzzled me the most wa sthe one that started Wee Willie Winkie. I wanted to know what would happen in this rhyme but my mother would never tell me the end of it! London Bridge is falling down was another one which drives... oh this is just boring!


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Just boring!

NP: So he hesitated and deviated. So Clement you have the subject, 44 seconds, nursery rhymes, starting now.

CF: Hickory dickery dock, the mouse ran up the clock, the timepiece struck one and the other two managed to get away. This is about as close as you can get to a nursery rhyme in Just A Minute because on the whole this type of verse is repetitive, devious and pretty boring. Politically many of the nursery rhymes owe their existence to some sort of article or panache or weapon.


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of or, or very very slow indeed.

NP: Yes he was getting slower and slower. Eleven seconds, nursery rhymes, with you Derek, starting now.

DN: Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey, there came a big spider and sat down beside her and she said "piss off hairy legs". That is one taught to me by my 8-year old grandson. It's quite....


NP: Derek Nimmo was then speaking as the whistle went and has moved forward, one ahead of our previous leader, Tony Hawks. Derek it's your turn to begin. The subject is Waterloo. Will you tell us something about Waterloo in this game starting now.

DN: Waterloo is, or... the Waterloo Cup...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: I think there was hesitation yes. Fiftyeight seconds are with you Paul on Waterloo starting now.

PM: I remember once trying to cross the Sahara Desert. There was me and Lou and he was desperate, he was thirsty, he wanted something to drink. And I turned to him and I thought well, I have to water Lou, because you're the person who's carrying all the food supplies and I can't be bothered to take them all the way across the other side of this afore mentioned place which doesn't have much grass so you could say it's a kind of desert....


PM: Why'd I bother doing that?

NP: Right...

PM: The very word I tried to avoid I then voluntarily said!

NP: I know but you're revealing some of the stresses of Just A Minute to the audience. Right, 36 seconds are available for you Derek to take over Waterloo starting now.

DN: The Waterloo Cup is where all the hottest dogs run. It's held outside Aintree. It was founded by a Mr Lid who started also the Grand National. It's held early in February and it's the premier event for of course greyhounds will chase at the Waterloo Cup after one ....


NP: Ah Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of cup.

NP: Yes you had a cup before Derek. So Paul you've got Waterloo back....

PM: I don't want it!

NP: Eighteen seconds on Waterloo starting now.

PM: One of the Kinks best ever songs I think was Waterloo Sunset. A beautiful song written by Ray Davis who at that time was the leader of the afore mentioned group...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of afore mentioned.

NP: Yes. It's obvious that you didn't want it! Clement you got in on Waterloo, 11 seconds are left starting now.

CF: I think one of the very saddest things about the battle of Waterloo was that Kate Adye was not there. But for that it would have been an absolutely sensational...


NP: Finishing on that high note I now have to give you the fianl score because we have no more time to play Just A Minute. It was a very close game and I hate to say there was a winner because I think they were all winners. But Paul Merton, Tony Hawks....

PM: I was the least winner!

NP: ... Clement Freud together equal were the least winners. They were two points behind Derek Nimmo who we say for this edition was our winner. We do hope you've enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to thank our four outstanding players of the game and also Alison Harford who's kept the score and blown the whistle for us so magnificently and also our producer Anne Jobson and also particularly Ian Messiter who thought of the game without whom we wouldn't still be playing it and from me Nicholas Parsons. Until we take to the air once more and play Just A Minute from all of us goodbye.