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 listeners and also the four individual and dynamic diverse comic talents who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We have the irreplaceable Paul Merton, the irrespressible Julian Clary, the unstoppable Derek Nimmo, and the unpredictable Clement Freud. They are going to exercise their wits and their verbal dexterity as they try to speak on the subject I give them in Just A Minute without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Will you please welcome all four of them. Beside me sits Linda Cobley who is going to keep the score. She'll run her stopwatch and blow the whistle when 60 seconds are up. This particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the magnificent and beautiful Theatre Royal in that wonderful city of Bath. And we are appearing before a wonderful wonderful warm Bath audience. And we're going to begin the show this week with Derek Nimmo and the subject we have on the card in front of me is service. Derek tell us something about service in this game starting now.

DEREK NIMMO: In 1949 I started my national service in Port Said, in Egypt, which wasn't terribly pleasant because we were sleeping in a tent. But we went across to Farmagusta where I served gallantly with no actual anger at all with Number 9, Wireless regiment. Sometimes you can't get very good service in restaurants these days. I go and complain. I go through to the kitchens actually. It is the best thing to do. I went in to one the other day and there was a chap, the cook. He'd taken out his teeth and came round the edge...


NP: Julian you challenged.

JULIAN CLARY: He said day twice.

NP: Yes he said went twice as well.

JC: Went and day twice.

NP: Yes. Well listened Julian. There are 33 seconds available starting now.

JC: It's not only cars that need a service. I need a service every six weeks. I need my oil changed and my tyres pressed to check that everything is in order and nice and plump. It costs about 56 pounds down at my local garage but you do get a greasy man in overalls thrown in which is a boon! I recommend it to everyone. Another form of service which I enjoy is colonic irrigation. And er that costs 45 pounds but it's worth it.


NP: Hah! Paul Merton's challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Repetition of pounds.

NP: Yes. I'm afraid you mentioned the pounds before.


JC: Oh stop!

PM: Oh well, if you want to hear more about colonic irrigation!

NP: It was a repetition of the word pounds so it was a correct challenge. Paul you get a point for that and you have the subject. You have six seconds available, service, starting now.

PM: Well I suppose when we think of service we like the idea of somebody looking after us to their best ability...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton who naturally has taken the lead at the end of the round. And Paul will you begin the next round. the subject, missing letters. tell us something about those in this game starting now.

PM: The letter that informs me I have been made a knight of the realm seems to have disappeared somewhere within the bowels of the Post Office. Equally the missive telling me that I have won several...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of telling.

NP: Yes.

PM: Informing the first time.

NP: Oh, incorrect challenge Paul so you keep the subject. Forty-eight seconds available, missing letters, starting now.

PM: Well I'm glad that I have...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of well.

NP: Oh that's a toughie isn't it? He did say well before yes. If you're going to challenge on those little words? I hope you'll resist the temptation but on this occasion I have to be fair within the rules of Just A Minute and say he did repeat well. Forty-eight seconds available, missing letters, with you Derek, starting now.

DN: I noticed there was some missing letters on one of the posters advertising a play here the other day. It said Shopping and F then three asterisks and i-n-g. I imagine that the missing ones were a-s-t. Because I can think of no other reason why this would be put up in this marvelous wonderful theatre where...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes. I agree with that hesitation Clement. So you have a correct challenge and a point and 31 seconds now on missing letters starting now.

CF: I went to the attic in search of the alphabet and found P so the missing letters were a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y and z.


NP: Ah, Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition, w.

CF: You thought well was a tough challenge!

NP: Well was a wicked challenge. Twelve seconds Derek on missing letters starting now.

DN: So I went into this very old Anderson shelter and I found some very old letters from the Red Cross asking me to buy a spitfire during the war, and I hadn't seen these for some 35 years. I'd laid them...


NP: So it was Derek Nimmo, speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. He's equal now in the lead with Paul Merton. Clement your turn to begin. The subject: night at the opera. Will you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: This conjures up visions of Donald Sinden and Don Giovanni, John Gielgud, Cosi fan tutti...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: No it doesn't! I don't have either one of those visions!

NP: Clement I disagree with the challenge, you have 52 seconds, night at the opera, 52 seconds, starting now.

CF: There was rather a good Marx Brothers film called Nights at the Opera. Groucho, Harpo...


NP: Um, Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Oh it's very picky but it was called Night at the Opera.

NP: It was called A Night at the Opera but it doesn't really matter. But it was not, you're quite right, it was not Nights at the Opera. A Night at the Opera it was called. But....

CF: Different film!

NP: Night at the opera with you Paul starting now.

PM: Well as Clement said it is indeed perhaos the most famous of all Marx Brothers films made in 1935 by the film company called MG...


NP: Clement Freud.

CF: Two films.

NP: There were two films I'm afraid.

PM: I was thinking about the other M actually!

NP: Thirty-eight seconds, night at the opera Clement, 38 seconds, starting now.

CF: Metro Goldwyn Mayer actually is what Paul Merton should have said. Talking about night at the opera, um...


NP: Um, yes Paul let's hear it.

PM: Um that was a sample of Harpo's dialogue! Hesitation!

NP: Yes that's right, 29 seconds, night at the opera starting now.

PM: Well it was a very successful...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: He said well again.

PM: That was in the last round! That was in the last round!

NP: It was in the last round he said well.

PM: Yeah didn't say it this time.

NP: Twenty-eight seconds, night at the opera, with you Paul, starting now.

PM: I went to see a...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Didn't say well! He usually says well.

NP: All right! Give Clement a bonus point for that, Paul gets a point for being interrupted, keeps the subject, 26 seconds, night at the opera, starting now.

PM: About 20 years ago I went to see a production of The Magic Flute by the English National Opera. I found it quite an amusing show. The people around me were hissing and looking at me very strangely because I dared to laugh at some of the jokes which I think are inherently there within the opera. It's known as a comic opera so why don't people laugh? That's what I was thinking to myself. But it's strange that people who go to opera...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes. You had too many people at your opera I'm sorry Paul. So Derek cleberly got in with four seconds to go on the subject. Night at the opera, Derek, starting now.

DN: When someone gets stabbed in the back and instead of dying sings...


NP: So Derek Nimmo speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's in second place just behind Paul Merton and just ahead of Clement Freud. And then comes Julian Clary who will begin the next round. And Julian very apt for this beautiful city of Bath, pump room. Tell us something... Why they should laugh before you begin Julian I have no idea! But please tell us something about the subject in this game starting now.

JC: Pump room is somewhere obviously where you can go to pump in private. George Michael would have been good to find himself in one of those but it wasn't to be. In the 17th century people would just pump wherever they were, wherever they were standing. They would just get on with it. Nowadays of course though these little private chalets where you go in. generally you go in one at a time but sometimes it's quite crowded in there. When there was a blackout in 1985 it was...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah I think there was a little hesitation there. You said the blackout and...

JC: And I'd repeated as well.

DN: I was riveted actually.

NP: Thirty-two seconds for you Paul on pump room starting now.

PM: I remember walking into a pump room that services the Tower Bridge in London. If you go into that particular establishment you find a great big engine and a massive pump pumping away in the corner. It is the most extraordinary piece of technology. Yeah I think it's only been open for the last 10 years or so though because before that people had no idea how the monument that I referred to in our great capital city actually opened when ships came through. People thought perhaps it was a bloke with a great big wheel that used to turn it or was it, um...


NP: Yes, you kept going so well but with five seconds to go Clement challenged. Pump room starting now.

CF: The pump room in Bath is famed for serving syllabub and posset. Also delicacies...


NP: So Clement was then speaking as the whistle went. He's now just behind Paul Merton who's still in the lead. And Paul, your turn to begin. The subject: the pictures. Well we've had a reference already to the cinema. Let's have the pictures now. Sixty seconds starting now.

PM: My most memorable early experience of going to the pictures was the saturday morning pictures. I used to love the series thay used to show, mainly from the 1940s. There was one called Captain Marvel which I loved. It involved an American rather weedy individual who had to say the magic word shazam and then immediately transformed himself into this caped superhero. It was one of those episodic films where you had to go back week in and er seven days afterwards to find out what actually happened. And it was a bit of a con because you'd see at the end of one particular episode the car going off the cliff. You'd go back to see what happened and then you'd see that there was no car going off the cliff...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of see.

NP: Yes you were seeing too much I'm afraid.

PM: Yes.

NP: So Derek got in first, 22 seconds left, the pictures with you Derek starting now.

DN: It's interesting that in 1911 when from the Louvre the Mona Lisa was stolen for the next six months until it was recovered more people went to see the empty space than ever went to see the actual picture.


DN: I don't know what that means...

NP: Julian you challenged.

JC: He repeated see.

NP: So well listened Julian. And you have 12 seconds to tell us something about the pictures starting now.

JC: I don't often go to the pictures because I don't like people sitting behind me...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of I.

NP: Oh, I think you can tell from the audience reaction they do not want me to allow that challenge. Julian I'm not going to allow the challenge, you have nine seconds and a point of course to continue on the pictures starting now.

JC: Unless you're sitting in the back row by an exit there will be punters behind you who are probably going to breathe and exhale all over you. Then as you breathe in...


NP: So Julian Clary was then speaking as the whistle went and gained an extra point for doing so. Clement will you take the next subject. It is heavy weather. Can you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

CF: It would be very difficult to weigh weather. But sleet, snow...


NP: Paul challenged, yes.

PM: No weather!

NP: No weather. Hesitation, 54 seconds are left, heavy weather Paul starting now.

PM: I suppose you could measure weathers in terms of atmospheres. Low thunderous cloud would create a rather heavy atmospheric within the place that you happened to be. There is something about the weather that charms and pleases us. Because the sun has come out in the last couple of days and suddenly everybody's walking around with a slightly brighter smile on their face. You can see it in hot countries where their temperaments are Latin. Over here our temperament...


NP: Ah Julian he did say temperament and temperaments.

PM: Yes!

JC: I know, he's looking all pleased with himself! Hush my mouth!

NP: No, no, you're right to be keen. But I'm afraid he managed to say temperaments instead of temperament. Twenty-seven seconds still available for you Paul on heavy weather starting now.

PM: There used to be a jazz group called Weather Report which were particularly popular in the 1970s and some of their music could be described as rather heavy. One track I think lasted about 11 minutes and 57 seconds long. And a lot of people...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: You can't last so many minutes and so many seconds long.

NP: Aw!

CF: It's a grammatic deviation.

NP: Yes I agree. It's deviation from the normal grammar that we use but...

PM: Oh well if you're going to start challenging on that I might as well shut up!

NP: The point is we do allow colloquialisms in this show. But if someone challenges within the rules of Just A Minute it is a correct challenge of deviation. So on this occasion if he's going to challenge in that respect, I.. others didn't, he did. So I say 13 seonds available for you Clement on heavy weather starting now.

CF: It's extraordinary how many people listen to the weather report on the British broadcasting service or the many other channels which radios which used to be called wireless sets pick up daily if not nightly...


NP: So Clement Freud speaking as the whistle went has now moved into a lead, equal in points and alongside Paul Merton. And Julian Clary your turn to begin. The subject: doodles. I don't know whether you're a doodler or not. Can you talk on the subject? Sixty seconds starting now.

JC: Doodles was the name of Barbara Cartland's favourite Pekinese. she adored this little dog because it would roll over and she would scratch its stomach and its eyes would pop out and she could wear them as earrings when she went about her business making her many television appearances and opening supermarkets which she does on the quiet because she needs the cash. She doesn't get out as much as she used to. It's nice for her! She takes her handbag with her and in that handbag she's got her...


NP: Oh! They love it when you doodle away but I'm afraid you repeated the handbag, Derek got in first, 32 seconds, doodles with you Derek starting now.

DN: Doodles are rather aimless things and that's why during the last war bugs were called doodle-things, because they went in a very random way over the countryside.


DN: Nobody knew where they were going...

NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Didn't he have in the middle of that repetition of things?

DN: No.

NP: Yes. Yes you did. There you are. The audience was listening as well. Twenty-three seconds for you Paul, doodles, starting now.

PM: There is a science, in fact it's nothing of the kind, called graphology, where people are meant to be able to define character from the various marks you make across pieces of paper. But the trouble is you can't find any two experts in this particular art who agree on what the loop on a g means. And so if you were look at say somebody drawing a spaceship on a pad and you say ah well can I work...


NP: So Paul Merton with his doodles kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point and has gone back into the lead. Derek Nimmo will you begin the next round and the subject is crescent. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

DN: I suppose where we are now one immediately thinks of the glorious Royal Crescent designed by... young...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, he forgot the designer momentarily. Fifty-four seconds are avialble for you Julian on crescent starting now.

JC: The crescent moon is my favourite lunar phase. It's absolutely beautiful and it hand sin the sky like perfume I always say. But then I take a lot of drugs! The full moon is also quite spectacular and I know if you live in the country it's a real boon because it lights up the roads otherwise you can't see where you're going in this part of the world.


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of moon.

NP: Yes.

CF: Some time ago.

NP: Yes.

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

NP: Oh Clement, 32 seconds for you on crescent starting now.

CF: Crescent is technically the English name for croissant which is one of the all time great pieces of bakery. Patisseries from around the world produce these confections which I think probably are best eaten...


CF: ... sliced horizontally...

NP: Ah Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I agree they are probably best eaten!

NP: So what is your challenge within the...

PM: Also I don't think croissant is French for crescent.

CF: It is.

DN: It is.

PM: Is it?

CF: Yeah. But you have the right to think what you will.

PM: I wasn't allowed to do French at school so it's all a mystery to me.

NP: Right...

JC: Did you do Greek?

NP: We enjoyed the challenge because it was rather clever and unusual so we give you a bonus point for that Paul. Clement gets a point for being interrupted, he keeps crescent, 15 seconds available statrting now.

CF: Nash was one of the great Georgian architects whose crescents especially those in the royal city of Bath and also in Regents Park..


NP: Derek Nimmo's challenged.

DN: He didn't build any crescents in Bath.

CF: I didn't say he did.

DN: Yes you did, especially his crescents in the royal city of Bath, you said.

NP: You did convey that he built a crescent here in Bath.

CF: No. Not if you listened carefully.

NP: I think that actually Derek you are correct and you have the subject of crescents, six seconds available starting now.

DN: At the siege of Byzantium Philip actually put the earthworks under the wall and they were suddenly seen...


DN: ...by the light of a crescent moon.

NP: So we have an interesting situation. Derek Nimmo has now moved forward after that last point into second place. Equal leaders are Clement Freud and Paul Merton and Julian Clary is in third place. Paul Merton your turn to begin. The subject: pillow talk. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

PM: I never indulge in pillow talk. But I was once told by Zsa-zed Gabor, the famous actress, that her definition of a housekeeper was somebody who kept the house. And that's how she felt...


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: House.

NP: Yes, house.

PM: Housekeeper is one word.

NP: Oh housekeeper, yes that's right, housekeeper. So sorry yes you're right. Housekeeper is one word.

PM: Yes.

NP: Not even hyphenated.

PM: No.

NP: Sorry well listened...

PM: And may it never be in our lifetime!

NP: And you still, and you have a point, and you have 49 seconds, pillow talk, starting now.

PM: I've got a marvelous idea for a new Channel 5 programme called Pillow Talk, where various pillows get together and have a bit of a chat. Or you could call it Duvet Conversation where things that have been on the bed say "oooh, you'll never guess who I had lying underneath me last night?"


NP: Julian challenged.

JC: Well, it's no good having that idea because it's already been done. There was this show called Pillow Talk years ago. Who used to do it?

PM: I don't know! If you can't remember!

JC: Well I ...

PM: It's time it was revived!

JC: I was on it. You had to get into... I think I got into bed with... Can I say the word Gary Glitter?

NP: Yes.

JC: It was him!

NP: But only, only for the show and not in reality.

JC: No. It was light entertainment.

NP: Yes. Um Julian, yes, he was deviating in the sense that he said he was going to invent a new show called Pillow Talk. And of course a show has already been created called Pillow Talk which you remember. In fact you were on it. So you have the subject and there are 34 seconds, pillow talk, starting now.

JC: I appeared on a show called Pillow Talk many years ago in the early days of my career and I don't believe I got paid. And...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

JC: Take it away!

DN: Lack of remuneration, he didn't get paid. Pause.

NP: What's that?

DN: Pause, pause, pause. Stop.

NP: He did stop. I know.

DN: Yes.

NP: But anybody who didn't get paid in our professionis entitled to pause. But um and er I think as he hasn't paid the game nearly as much as you it was just a mild hesitation. I think we'll forgive him on this occasion and say...

JC: A lovely round of applause!

NP: Julian keep going on pillow talk, I'm sure the audience want to hear more about your pillow talk, 25 seconds starting now.

JC: I don't remember much about my appearance but then I've got this problem...


NP: Ah Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Two appearances.

NP: You had an appearance before I'm afraid Julian.

JC: Oh it was repeated.

NP: Repeated yes.

CF: But as he wasn't paid...

PM: There wasn't actually a repeat fee!

NP: Repeat? Well there was a repeat because it was twice he didn't get paid! Um uh Derek correct challenge...

PM: Can you only get paid not once or can you get paid not twice? Pardon my grammar but there we are.

NP: It doesn't matter Paul. I enjoy your grammar. Twenty-two seconds Derek with you...

PM: She sends her best regards by the way.

NP: They craete this fictititious private life for me in the thing. Um Derek you had a correct challenge, there are 22 seconds for you on pillow talk starting now.

DN: A real growth area for pillow talk is of course China. They have over a billion of the devils lying on pillows every night waiting to have a little chat. I try to avoid it myself. I collect ear plugs on British Airways. And so when I go to bed at night I say farewell to my bride, pop 'em in and I don't hear another thing until the alarm goes in the morning very loud, that's why I can hear it above any noise...


NP: Right. Derek Nimmo was speaking as the whistle went then. He's moved forward, he's equal in second place with Clement Freud, one point behind our leader Paul Merton but coming up fast behind is Julian Clary....

JC: That's how I like it!

PM: There's a surprise!

NP: So we've come to the last round and the last subject. The subject's bad hair day. It's Julian's turn to begin. Julian off you go, 60 seconds starting now.

JC: There's no knowing when you might have a bad hair day. Gloria Hunniford has been having a bad hair decade for the past 10 years! It's most unfortunate! But if my hair is very bad then I believe in corporal punishment. I like to keep it in detention, maybe whip it within an inch of its root if it's very very naughty...


NP: Derek challenged.

DN: I'm sorry but very very is repetition.

NP: Very very. No actually you've got to be fair, he did say very very. You can't allow him just to have everything his own way all through!

PM: There is an echo in here.

NP: I know. So Derek correct challenge, 39 seconds, bad hair day, starting now.

DN: If I think of bad hair day I immediately imagine Robin Cook. He must get up every morning and there's bad hair all over his vision. And then he looks up at the top of his head and gosh, what a discomfiture it must be for him. Somebody said to me "what's he going to do when his looks go?" I really don't know. But he must have a lot of bad hair days. And if you go to the average salon...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of go.

NP: Yes you've been going too much, yes. So I'm glad you got in Clement with 15 seconds to go on this subject. It is bad hair day Clement Freud starting now.

CF: I would simply like to state that a bad hair day is better than a no hair day. It's rather like halitosis. If you have no breath at all it is preferable to halitosis.


CF: Halitosis, halitosis.

NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of halitosis.

NP: Halitosis, yes. Paul you've cleverly got in with one second to go on... That was clever. I don't see why you should mock him. Right. Bad hair day starting now.

PM: Bugs Bunny was walking through the woods...


NP: Right. So Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. Let me give you the final situation. Julian Clary who gave such incredible value which this audience here loved and his, I mean it was this special Bath audience who requested you to come back, you know, here.

JC: How kind!

NP: It wasn't this particular lot because obviously we had a different audience when we were here before.

JC: I don't mind coming back, this is where I buy my drugs.

NP: Right...

JC: Paracetimol junior.

NP: Julian you finished only just in fourth place. Derek Nimmo who often wins finished in second place but very fairly because their contribution was so magnificent from all three, out in the lead together were Clement Freud and Paul Merton, so we say they are our equal winners this week. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Derek Nimmo and Clement Freud. I must thank Linda Cobley for helping me keep the score and blowing her whistle so delicately and magnificently. Also our producer Chris Neill who makes sure it all works and comes together and goes out on time. And also the creator of the game Ian Messiter who thought of this and we all enjoy playing it so much. So on behalf of the four players of the game and thank you to this lovely delightful warm vibrant audience in the Theatre Royal in Bath, thank you for the warmth of your reception. We will remember our visit in Bath with great great affection. From all of us here and from me Nicholas Parsons goodbye thank you and see you next time we're on the air playing Just A Minute.