NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute.


NP: Hullo, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more, it is my pleasure to welcome the four intrepid and experienced players of the game who are taking part this week. We welcome back two of our most senior players of the game, that is Clement Freud and Peter Jones. And we welcome two other regular players of a different generation and that is Paul Merton and Kit Hesketh-Harvey. Would you please welcome all four of them. Beside me sits Elaine Wigley who is going to keep the score and blow her whistle when 60 seconds are up. And as usual I'm going to ask our four players to speak on the subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. This particular recording is coming from the new Radio Theatre in the centre of Broadcasting House. And Peter Jones will you begin the show this week. Big bang theory, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PETER JONES: Well it's the way that several scientists describe the creation of the universe. The big bang theory, they call it. And it was also given to the er change...


NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey challenged.

KIT HESKETH-HARVEY: There was an er.

NP: An er. Yes which is hesitation. So Kit, you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that. You take over the subject, the big bang theory, you have 47 seconds starting now.

KHH: As one walks through Trafalgar Square in the heart of this great metropolis, coachloads of Japanese tourists descend and say "can you tell me any theory how we find big bang?" And you point to the Houses of Parliament. And there it is in all its radiant beauty erected by Nicholas Pugass I think he was called, or Puginn, I'm not quite sure...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition.

NP: Of q?

CF: Pukinn and puginn.

NP: A repetition of pu anyway. So Clement you have a correct challenge and you take over the subject of the big bang theory, 26 seconds are available starting now.

CF: If you inflate a large brown paper bag and bang your fists against it, compare the noise it makes to a hydrogen bomb and a grenade thrown into a lavatory basin you will very soon come to a big bang theory and decide which one made the most noise. It is not a particularly sensible thing to do, nor is this I believe a very brilliant...


NP: He just kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. Kit Hesketh-Harvey, your turn to begin. Would you take the subject of Dracula and tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

KHH: He was purportedly the ancestor of our own sweet and gracious Princess Michael of Kent, a very unfair accusation to level. He was biographised by Bram Stoker...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Biographised?

PJ: A good word!

NP: Well it was a good word on the spur of the moment to keep him going! We usually say you're deviating from English as we understand it or as it is written or spoken. we give that as a deviation. And Paul you are correct, 46 seconds, Dracula, starting now.

PM: In the first Dracula film starring Bela Lugosi there is an exchange of dialogue which I've always treasured because I think it's very funny. But in the film it's meant to be horrific. And they're staying at a country house and Van Helsen comes up to Dracula and says "there has been some informal talk amongst the house guests. We notice you cast no reflection in the looking glass." To which Dracula replies "I don't feel very well."


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of film.

NP: No, he said feel very well.

CF: No, no, right at the beginning, I...

NP: Oh yes you are right yes.

CF: I let him finish the story.

NP: You mentioned film twice. A very clever challenge and a very sporting one. You let him go so we got the story out. And you challenged for repetition of film, correct. Clement, 16 seconds, Dracula, starting now.

CF: I do tend...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Two thirds of a second pause.

NP: No he got going before actually, only half a second. I was looking at my...

PJ: Only half?

NP: Yes. Peter we can't challenge as rapidly as that! Dracula's still with you, 15 and a half seconds, Clement, starting now.

CF: I do...


NP: Peter Jones.

PJ: Another half second, that makes a second!

NP: Peter you're so keen to get in on Dracula, we all...

PJ: Well I want to part of the whole thing you know!

NP: Thirteen seconds...

PJ: I look ridiculous just sitting here and never speaking!

NP: Peter I agree with your challenge and you have Dracula with 13 seconds to go on it starting now.

PJ: I always wanted to play Dracula when I was in Rep because the idea of wearing these fangs and sinking them into the neck of some attractive young lady always appealed to me. Because I always played comedy parts...


NP: Clement Freud, your turn to begin. The subject: spying. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: I wasn't really going to talk about this but some 25 years...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation. He said he wasn't going to talk about it. And now he's started talking about it!

NP: I think the audience applause endorses the shrewdness of your challenge so we give it to you Paul, 55 seconds on spying starting now.

PM: Well I think the subject should be given back to Clement.


NP: Clement Freud, you challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes. Are you two having your private game going just to get points between each other? Fifty-two seconds on spying with you Clement starting now.

CF: This was not a subject I had been going to raise, but having been given spying I thought it was possibly time to relate an incident where a man came up to me and said "we should very much like you to join M15". As a consequence I went to ...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes, collapse actually! Thirty-one seconds, spying is back with you Paul starting now.

PM: A couple of years ago I was asked by MFI to spy for them. And they were particularly keen to find out more about a certain Swiss furniture maker that was importing put together wardrobes at a price that they couldn't match quite frankly. And they wanted to know how it was done. So I had to disguise myself as a Dutch sea captain with one leg. The other one was wooden which was made out of one of those units you put together and had a drawer which came out of the side of it where you can put your socks and underpants. But that's a...


NP: Well you should have done more spying! It's hysterical! Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And at the end of that round he's equal in the lead with Clement Freud, then comes Peter Jones and then Kit Hesketh-Harvey. And Paul Merton, it's your turn to begin. The subject is fortune telling. Will you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PM: Crystal balls! Tealeaves, tarot cards! The lines on your hand! These are all perfectly acceptable methods for people who claim to be fortune tellers. They will tell you about your future which I suppose is quite good. There's no point in telling them about your past because you were there when it happened. They will say you will meet a tall dark stranger or I see a long journey across the sea. Of course, it's all rubbish! We have Mystic Meg on the television at the moment who pops up just before the National Lottery and she says "I see the colour blue" in the winners life. You know everybody's got a bit of that colour in their life I suppose haven't they? I mean well you could say that's the tablecloth or the wallpaper or the teapot that Aunty Nellie gave to us just before she died in that tragic hang gliding accident off the Empire State Building. I have never had my fortune told because if it was true I wouldn't like to know...


NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

KHH: We must have had two trues haven't we?

NP: Yes we have.

KHH: Lots of trues, yes, that's it.

NP: Yes, and Kit you cleverly got in with five seconds to go on fortune telling...


NP: What do you mean aw? It was rather clever of him! This is the most prejudiced audience we've had here! Fortune telling with you Kit starting now.

KHH: I once had a Chinese fortune cookie which told me "You will burn your hand on liquid biscuit" as he put...


NP: So Kit Hesketh-Harvey was then speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point for doing so, and he has moved forward into third place. But he's only one point behind Clement Freud and Paul Merton and one point ahead of Peter Jones. Peter Jones, it's your turn to begin, the subject, growing old. Can you tell us something about that and reassure us starting now.

PJ: How nice that they've singled me out to talk about this particular subject! One of the disadvantages is that one's old friends are no longer with us. Many of them have passed on and dropped off the twig or whatever you call it. On the other hand there are people who weren't very nice to one in one's youth who also have gone on to a better place. Now I'm very grateful to the BBC because they don't recognise age as such in, on the radio. Because here we are in Just A Minute and there seems no limit to the er...


PM: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation, yes. When you thought about the limit. And 27 seconds, growing old, Paul, starting now.

PM: Of course it's something that we do every day in the way that spring comes before summer, and autumn is the bit before winter...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition.

NP: Yes it wasn't one of your most inspired goes I must say!

PM: No! I was trying to avoid not saying the same thing twice...

NP: I know!

PM: But I picked another word and said that twice instead!

NP: Seventeen seconds Clement on growing old starting now.

CF: I went to Maurice Chevalier's 80th birthday party in Grass in Provence and he made a speech on the subject of growing old. And he said people ask me how it is to be the age I am and I say think of the alternative!


NP: Clement Freud kept going until the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And he's now in the lead at the end of the round. Kit Hesketh-Harvey, it is your turn to begin. The subject is quangoes. Will you tell us something about those strange and more modern phenomena starting now.

KHH: It's a marvelous word for scrabble of course. If you can get the beginning of it onto the triple word score, you'd be up and away! It also sounds like the name of a fruit drink that's in a fizzy bottle, a mixture of quince and mango! But principally it's a little furry animal that was introduced by the Tory Party in about 1976 and has proliferated! Somewhere between a coypu and a jackal I think. They er manage to ring them, they find their er particularly apparent in the Counties where the wives of tweedy Conservative MPs who have nothing better to do flit from quango to quango making heaps and heaps of money...


NP: And Clement Freud challenged!

KHH: Heaps and heaps! Oh dear!

NP: Which is your challenge?

CF: The fizzy bottle I don't like!

NP: So what is it?

CF: Ah, deviation. You can't have a fizzy bottle!

NP: Oh! Very clever yes! And 26 seconds are available for you Clement on quangoes starting now.

CF: There was a time before I grew old when I knew exactly what q-u-a-n-g-o stood for.


PJ: Well he just seemed to come to a halt!

NP: He did come to a halt!

CF: I said all I wanted to say!

NP: And you got in first because that's hesitation. And 15 seconds are left for you to tell us something about quangoes starting now.

PJ: Well it's little groups of people who are not elected by the public who decide on various important things to do with our lives. They interfere, they make...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of they.

NP: I know, it's a tough one, isn't it? But it's correct! Four seconds for you on quangoes Paul starting now.

PM: Quick, undress angel never go outside sunbathing!


NP: Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's now equal in the lead with Clement Freud. And equal in second place are Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Peter Jones. Clement Freud, it's your turn to begin. The subject: muscles. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game, starting now.

CF: Muscles I'm sure most of the audience know is the name by which Nicholas Parsons is known in the trade. It is also actually a by valve molesque which you eat especially when there is no R in the month because mussels don't really get too good when the water is too warm. You eat them primarily as a first course or maybe if you have huge patience or...


NP: Peter Jones you challenged.

PJ: Repetition of eat.

NP: Yes that's right Peter, well listened. Repetition of eat, you eat them and...

CF: What on earth else would you do with them? Take them to a massage parlour?

NP: That's a perfectly valid comment but in, in Just A Minute you can't repeat a word. You repeated eat I'm afraid Clement. Peter got in with 32 seconds on mussels starting now.

PJ: Well you can stuff them with different items I suppose if you're really keen on it but I would hesitate to er...


NP: Someone pressed their buzzer but no light came on so...


NP: Oh Paul's got in now.

PM: That was hesitation.

NP: Paul, 22 seconds, mussels, starting now.

PM: I've never had very strong muscles particularly. I used to be quite good at football and so the muscles in my legs were quite well developed. But I never had the muscles in the upper body. I'm no good at lifting things. I think you're always willing to pay somebody enormous amounts of money to do that kind of heavy task. I get so frustrated if somebody says to me as I'm walking down the street, "give us a hand with this coffin and get it in the back of the car" because it's not my job.


NP: Paul Merton once again was speaking when the whistle went, gained that extra point. Paul, it's also your turn to begin and the subject is lodgers. Will you tell us something about that subject in Just A Minute starting now.

PM: There's this 88 year old man who goes to the doctor and he says "I'm thinking of getting married and my bride to be is only 21. What do you think I should do?" And the man that he went to see said "well, my advice is get a lodger in". So six months later the old man's walking down the street and sees the medical practitioner coming towards him and he says "hows the wife?" "She's pregnant." "How's the lodger?" "She's pregnant as well." Now that kind of sums up what a lot of people think about lodgers. They seem to have a rather shifty reputation. It's a rather strange position to be...


NP: Oh Kit challenged.

KHH: Two rathers.

NP: Yes, there were two pregnants two but nobody...

PM: Yeah I know!

NP: Kit, 26 seconds on lodgers starting now.

KHH: There is the story of a very considerable comedian whose initials may or may not be NP who was so generous that he went down to the docks every single night and brought back to his lodgings on tour Polish seamen with whom he would discourse, late, late...


KHH: Oh gosh! Saved by the bell!

NP: Yes Clement you challenged.

CF: Late, late.

NP: Late, late.

CF: Yes.

NP: Eleven seconds on lodgers starting now.

CF: "What part of Poland do you come from?" he asked these navigating easten European gentlemen a sthey removed their upper and outer garments for the greater facility of an actor whose name may well have held the initials...


NP: Ah Clement is now back in the lead with Paul Merton, and Peter Jones and Kit Hesketh-Harvey are still equal in second place. And Peter, your turn to begin. The subject: fleece. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PJ: I remember being in a theatrical company for a long time in a small town where the inn was called The Fleece and we used to go there for lunch. And it was awfully expensive so I thought the place was really very aptly named. The only redeeming feature was a waitress called Martita and she was extremely attractive. And if I'd had my way with her, I mean if I'd um...


PJ: Been able to...

NP: Peter, Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

KHH: I was saving him from getting more flustered than he already was.

PJ: I'm not flustered! And wasn't at the time!

NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey had a correct challenge, 33 seconds, fleece, starting now.

KHH: One of the greatest legends of course is of Jason and the golden fleece. And you'll remember when he was starring in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamboat he was accused...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two amazings.

NP: Fleece is with you Clement and there are 22 seconds left starting now.

CF: Hey there Mister you better mind your sister coz the fleece in was one of my favourite songs of the early post war American musicals. I'm not sure what sort of fleece was in at the time but it could well have been the golden fleece which was the ship that took the children of the King of Thieves to wherever...


NP: Clement Freud is back in the lead again. Kit Hesketh-Harvey your turn to begin. The subject: vanity. Vanity, will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

KHH: It's up there with the other seven deadly sins isn't it? Sloth and lust and avarice and gluttony and all those things. I'm particularly vain about my bottom. I'm rather proud of it. I slap it against the shower wall 36 times every morning to keep it pert and trim. It's something I learnt from Richard Gere....


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: This isn't vanity! It's sado-masochism!

NP: It might be sado-masochism to you but...

PM: But to you it's a way of life!

NP: You've got to say I do feed him wonderful cues don't I? There we are! But the point is to my mind Kit established that however outrageous his behaviour it was his way of keeping trim and being vain. Forty-three seconds on vanity starting now.

KHH: I'm delighted to have been afforded this opportunity to discourse at further length on my posterior which was so famous that as a penniless undergraduate I used in fact to model for life classes. This particular portion of my academy is now hanging in the Tate Gallery...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition of anatomy.

NP: You had anatomy before.

KHH: I'm sorry!

NP: Don't apologise! It's just that someone gets in. It's Peter Jones and he has 30 seconds. You tell us something about vanity Peter starting now.

PJ: It sounds rather a long time to talk about vanity. I wasn't listening terribly attentively to this business in the shower but one does try naturally to look one's best as one er....


NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey, you've got it back again.

KHH: He was trying!

NP: He was trying yes. You've got the subject back again, 15 seconds, vanity, starting now.

KHH: Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of course says vanity of...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: It's his third of course!

NP: You did say of course before.

KHH: He's quite right isn't he. I must get rid of this of courseness.

NP: I know! Peter Jones used to do it a lot but...

CF: No, Peter Jones always began with well.

NP: No that's right! Kenneth Williams...

CF: Kenneth...

NP: Kenneth used to say it. Is that right?

CF: Kenneth said of course.

NP: Yes.

PJ: When we get back from Memory Lane could we get on with it!

NP: Eleven seconds are left for you Clement on vanity starting now.

CF: There is a very good American magazine called Vanity which has features on food...


NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

KHH: Deviation, it's Vanity Fair.

NP: It's Vanity Fair I think.

CF: No, that's a different magazine.

NP: We have one American in the audience, is that true or not. I... oh so do we. Thank you very much. We brought you specially along... Kit I agree with the challenge, five seconds are left, vanity starting now.

KHH: Which was reported by King Solomon himself although later they found out it wasn't, vanity of vanities...


NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey got a lot of points in that round, including one for speaking when the whistle went. He's leapt forward, he's just behind Paul Merton. Clement Freud is just in the lead and Peter Jones is just in there as well. And Clement Freud your personality is now hopefully going to shine on myths for 60 seconds starting now.

CF: It is a myth that you can use Just A Minute to tell a joke because it is simply impossible unless you have awfully nice people who are not going to challenge you. Mr, Mrs and Myth is the sort of awful 20th century definition of someone who can't make up their mind whether or not they are married. Um....


CF: I think I'll stop there!

NP: Kit you got in yes, 34 seconds...

KHH: Hesitation.

NP: ... on myths with you Kit starting now.

KHH: One of the more bizarre myths is that where Zeus described himself as a swan and went down to a girl called Leda and I can only say later removed the feather...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two laders.

NP: Laders. I mean I know it was a different word you were using...

KHH: Yes.

NP: But it's radio so it is as it sounds.

KHH: That's very complex.

NP: It's repetition.

KHH: No, that's fine! Lederhosen is out as well then isn't it which is a shame.

NP: Twenty-five seconds back wuth you Clement... I think he saved you from something...


NP: And you've challenged again Kit. Hesitation.

KHH: Yes.

NP: Well done you've got the subject back. Twenty-five seconds on myths starting now.

KHH: Another one of course is in Wagner's ring which has already been referred to tonight where Sigmund no stop it, Sigmund...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of Sigmund.

NP: Sigmund yes. He said stop it and then started again, 16 seconds for you Paul on myths starting now.

PM: Nicholas Parsons is an extremely well-loved entertainer that the British public have taken to their hearts over the last 65 years. This of course is a myth.

NP: Aw!

PM: Because he is more...


NP: I hope you were applauding the whistle and not what he said. There we are, there we are. Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point, and he's in second place just behind Clement Freud. Kit Hesketh-Harvey's right on his heels. Peter Jones is not far behind them. We're moving into the last round and the subject is big ears. And Paul Merton, it's your turn to begin.

PM: Elephants have big ears so they can hear ants running towards them. In the wild the elephant and the ant are natural enemies and it's not rare to see them locked in mortal combat. The same can be said of the bee and the antelope. these two at first completely discred... disprit....creatures...


NP: Kit...

KHH: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, yes. So big ears is with you and you have 40 seconds on big ears starting now.

KHH: The famous pachyderm who had no truck with ants of course was Dumbo to whom big ears were a marvelous asset. We wept didn't we? We laughed, we sobbed, when we saw him leave...


NP: Peter Jones, you challenged.

KHH: We we we.

PJ: Repetition of we.

NP: That's right yes, so Peter...

KHH: We we we in a long trail.

NP: ... you're in on big ears with 29 seconds left starting now.

PJ: Yes I think the Prince of Wales has got rather large ears. And while I'm on the subject his eyess eem to be too close together!


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: Did I?

NP: You challenged yourself.

PJ: Oh did I....

NP: Hesitation.

PJ: What?

NP: Peter you hesitated and you challenged yourself. I think that was brilliant.

PJ: Do I get another point?

NP: So it's a correct challenge. Have another point, yes.

PJ: Ah well, that's very good.

NP: Now you know why I'm in charge and you're not, you see.

PJ: Quite!

NP: Because I can give him a point and you can't! So Peter you very cleverly listened to yourself there and challenged yourself. You got in, another point to you and you have 12 seconds on big ears starting now.

PJ: Well as I was saying earlier...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I'd like to make an incorrect challenge!

NP: What is your incorrect challenge?

PM: Um, too much red!

NP: Peter, an incorrect challenge, you have another point.

PJ: Ah thank you!

NP: And 11 seconds on big ears starting now.

PJ: Well as I was saying earlier...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I think I made a mistake!

NP: Yes. Nine seconds on big ears with you Peter starting now.

PJ: You see you've been on this show for such a long time and the BBC never...


NP: Kit Hesketh-Harvey challenged.

KHH: Peter's absolutely right. He has been on this show for hours and hours!

NP: So your challenge is what?

KHH: Incorrect, I'm sorry!

NP: Peter, you're doing well! Five seconds are left on big ears starting now.

PJ: Like one of those leaves...


NP: Paul Merton you challenged twice!

PM: Repetition of office furniture.

NP: You're still stuck in the MFI when you were spying!

PM: Oh drat!

PJ: I didn't say office furniture, I said cat food.

NP: Well you've got four seconds to continue on big ears after another incorrect challenge starting now.

PJ: And I'm very pleased that you are still with us! Because if you were not I should probably been er...


NP: You gained more points in that round than anyone's ever gained in one round of Just A Minute! And it's my duty now to give the final score! Which is a very interesting result because Paul Merton and Kit Hesketh-Harvey were equal in second place. But they were only one point behind joint winners because Peter came from nowhere to finish up alongside Clement Freud as our joint winners. So it only remains for me to say on behalf of our four outstanding players of the game which is Peter Jones, Paul Merton, Clement Freud and Kit Hesketh-Harvey. I also want to thank Elaine Wigley for blowing her whistle so well and keeping the score for me, and also Ian Messiter for creating the game and thinking up the subjects and for Anne Jobson for producing and directing the show. From all of them, and from me Nicholas Parsons, it’s goodbye and we hope you will tune in again the next time we take to the air to play Just A Minute. Until then from all of us, goodbye.