starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, GRAHAM NORTON and FRED MacAULAY, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 8 February 1999)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons and as the Minute Waltz fades away once again it is my pleasure to welcome the many listeners throughout the world and also the four exciting, distinctive and individual personalities who this week are going to play Just A Minute. It's a great pleasure to welcome back one of this country's most outstanding and popular comedians whose flights of comic fancy take us onto a different plane and that is Paul Merton. We also welcome back a young performer who is now doing so well and also becoming one of our most popular performers whose outrageous comedy leaves us gasping and that is Graham Norton. And we welcome back the longest playing member of Just A Minute whose humourous writing amazes us with its observation and that is Clement Freud. And we also welcome back one of Scotland's most talented comedians who brings a distinctive Scottish flavour to our show and that is Fred MacAulay. Will you please welcome all four of them. And once again I am going to ask them all to speak on the subject I will give them and they will try and do that for Just A Minute if they can without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Elaine Wigley who's going to help me keep the score. She'll hold her stopwatch and blow her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Pleasance on the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival. And before us we have a typical hyped up over excited Fringe audience who are going to egg us on our way as we play this amazing game. And let us strat the show with Graham Norton. Graham the subject is breakfast in bed. I'm sure you've experienced it many times. Can you talk on the subject, 60 seconds, starting now.

GRAHAM NORTON: (Speaking very very slowly, drawing each word out) Few things in life can bring me as much pleasure as lying back in bed and stuffing my face. Cramming things into my mouth on the pillow is a rare treat for me, I can assure you. Sometimes...


NP: Oh, and Paul Merton has challenged.

PAUL MERTON: Is the tape running at the right speed? Because I think people listening at home will think their batteries have....

NP: You can't ask anybody to jerk up his speech when he's ....

PM: Well...

NP: ... that is his normal delivery. No, no, Graham, you keep going in your own way...

GN: I will!

NP: ... and your own style and that....

GN: Yeah!

NP: ... was an incorrect challenge so you get a point for that. You keep the subject and there are 37 seconds available starting now.

GN: Breakfast in bed seems to me not to make much sense...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.


NP: Why?

CF: He's not speaking the way he did!

NP: Give Clement Freud a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge but Graham was interrupted do he gets a point for that. he keeps the subject, there are 34 seconds still available Graham starting now.

GN: Breakfast in bed, delicious! But then you have to get up. Why not have dinner in bed! then you just fall asleep amongst the dirty dishes! Relax and enjoy it all! For inf the morning you have to remove yourself...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Slight deviation I think. Inf morning.

GN: Poetic language! It's a Scottish colloquialism isn't it.

PM: What does it mean?

GN: It means in the. In the. The taxidermist said would you like to put it back inf boot.

PM: And he was from Scotland?

GN: Yes!

NP: You have a point and you have the subject. You have 17 seconds breakfast in bed starting now.

PM: I like to go to bed with a gingerbread man that when you wake up in the morning you can start slowly nibbling him. I like to first of all take the first...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Repetition of like.

NP: Yes. You liked it too much.

PM: Did I?

NP: Yes you did. And Clement a correct challenge, nine seconds available, breakfast in bed, starting now.

CF: If you should stay in a hotel and find kedgeree on your pillow, coffee with milk on your sheets and croissant on the blanket....


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle blows gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Clement Freud and he therefore is in the lead at the end of the round. And Clement it's your turn to begin. The subject: Dutch uncle. tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: I don't know whether I've missed anything but Dutch uncle is not really an expression I know. Dutch elm disease, Dutch cap, Dutch treat, certainly all those. An avuncular Netherlander I would go along with. But I suppose a Dutch uncle is someone who disapproves of all those, a man who is mean with it. I've never much liked people who came from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and all those unpleasant towns the Eurostar goes to...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Oh there is a deviation there because Eurostar doesn't go to them.

NP: I didn't hear that Graham.

GN: Sorry. Eurostar the train?

NP: Yes.

GN: It doesn't go there.

NP: No it doesn't you're quite right. It goes through Brussels. You're quite right. It goes...

GN: It's dull I know. I'm so sorry I said that out loud.

NP: Graham you have a correct challenge, 29 seconds available, Dutch uncle, starting now.


NP: Oh, Fred MacAulay's challenged.

FRED MacAULAY: Hello. Sorry I arrived late! I just decided to inject a natural Scottish accent into the proceedings.

NP: Fred it was lovely to hear from you. So as we have heard from you we will give you a point for piping up so...

PM: He gets a point for saying hello?

NP: Yes. Nobody has said hello so distinctly on this show for a very long time.

PM: You should have said good evening and get two points!

NP: But Graham Norton was interrupted so he gets another point and he has 28 seconds on Dutch uncle starting now.

GN: I had a Dutch uncle once. I don't know whose uncle it was but he did provide a marvellous breakfast in bed! It consisted of a range of cold meats, none of your teddybear head luncheon stuff for it was quality fine chocouterie. Those that they use...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Teddybear head luncheon stuff?

GN: Yes!

PM: What's that?

GN: It's luncheon meat in the shape of a teddybear's head!

PM: Is it?

NP: A wrong challenge, another point to you Graham. You're running away with this! Six seconds available, Dutch uncle, starting now.

GN: Dutch uncles are great! They bring you that special licquorish that only comes...


NP: So Graham Norton got many points in that round including one for speaking when the whistle went and he has leapt forward and he is now in a very distinctive lead. Paul Merton will you take the next round, the subject: the man who knew too much. tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: In the Alfred Hitchcock film The 39 Steps there is a character played by the actor Wiley Watson called the Memory Man. And he is a pivotal part of the plot. Because the inde... ooh!


NP: Fred MacAulay you got in.

FM: Yes Paul went in ooh!

PM: Which is a Scottish colloquialism for where do I put my luggage!

FM: So er...

NP: We interpret that...

FM: So that would be a hesitation would it Paul?

NP: No, no, we interpret it Fred as a hesitation so you are correct. You have the subject, there are 48 seconds, the man who knew too much starting now.

FM: I don't know who the man was who knew too much. But there was someone who knew quite a lot, that was Albert Einstein, who came to Edinburgh many years ago and did a show at the Fringe called E equals MC cubed. It was experimental, a piece of work that went on to become the letter after D's er equivalent...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: I think so Clement yes. Twenty-eight seconds for you to tell us something about the man who knew too much starting now.

CF: The man who knew too much about the west country encountered the man who knew too much about East Anglia, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Norfolk, Suffolf, Essex, Hedley. Aha the further person replied. Plymouth, Exeter, Yoavil, Chaucer. No, no...


NP: Fred you challenged.

FM: Repetition.

NP: Of no.

FM: No, no.

NP: Well done! And you've cleverly got in with only five seconds to go on the man who knew too much starting now.

FM: Before he became the man who knew too much he was the person who knew just enough and that was...


NP: Fred MacAulay was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. They're trailing Graham Norton and behind is Paul Merton. Fred it's your turn to begin. The subject: the gang. Tell us something about the gang in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

FM: I've been having therapy to forget about them because when I was a boy I was terrified to leave the house because of the gang that stood at the end of our street. And I was afraid to walk past them at night. Some of the girls were massive! They used to, used to put the fear of God into me as I walked down the road. And they would tease me. "Hoy! Person with not much hair!" Because they could look into their crystal balls and see that er...


NP: Paul Merton you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes, 37 seconds are still available, the subject is the gang and you start now.

PM: There was a very popular variety act in the 30s, 40s and 50s called the Crazy Gang. Personally I couldn't stand them. They used to do an awful lot of puns. They consisted of such people as Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen, Nervo and Knox, Houghton and Gold. There were various double acts all grouped together and they would do torturous...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Was that a hesitation?

NP: No it wasn't a hesitation. You missed the repetition but that's too late. Paul you have...

CF: That was not a hesitation?

NP: No it wasn't, no, I don't think it was a hesitation, no. No I think he was... He was going quite well on the gang and he has 19 seconds to continue having got another point starting now.

PM: You walk around the east end of London even today. You will find elderly citizens talking benignly about the wonderful Crays. Oh you knew where you were with Ronnie and Reggie. Usually hanging from a lamppost with a noose around your neck desperately gasping for air! Of course there are some...


NP: So Paul Merton got a number of points in that round including that one for speaking as the whistle went. And Clement Freud your turn to begin. The subject: links. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: Links is a name for seaside golf courses like St Andrews, Troon, Levin St Annes. But it's also...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Well it was a repetition of St.

NP: St Andrews...

FM: Well you're at an advantage being a Catholic.

GN: Because I use that word!

FM: You recognise saints more readily than we do!

NP: You got in very cleverly with 52 seconds...

PM: It's not all that clever is it!

NP: Not so cleverly with 52 seconds available but you have a point of course for that correct challenge and the subject is still links starting now.

GN: My favourite links are the ones on breakfast television where they have to link two very disparate items. For instance, "oh 3000 people just died in a flood. That's sad! Which reminds me how upsetting it is not to have an all-over tan this summer. Here's our beauty expert, Dolly Buhie." These links must be very hard to perform especially so early in the morning. You mightn't even have had your breakfast!


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of breakfast!

NP: Yes, breakfast television, breakfast!

GN: Oh you're a saint!

NP: He's played the game before! Eighteen seconds, links, with you Paul Merton starting now.

PM: I remember watching a man on Irish television. It was just about a couple of minutes to go...


NP: Oh Fred you challenged.

FM: I thought there was a sort of repetition there as you kind of swapped stream from one sentence into another with no link.

PM: No, it was a segway.

NP: I think he did segway, I don't think he...

PM: They can't touch you for it! Somebody open the window!

NP: Paul a wrong challenge, 13 seconds still left, links starting now.

PM: I have walked around some of the most famous golfing links in this country. I think perhaps my favourite and you may disagree...


NP: And that was Fred yes.

FM: Repetition of favourite.

NP: Favourite yes.

PM: Did I?

NP: Right. Fred a correct challenge, links is with you, six seconds available starting now.

FM: I played over my favourite links course the other day and if memory serves me correctly at the first I had a par, second...


NP: So Fred was speaking as the whistle went, got that extra point. He's now equal with Clement Freud and they're both one point behind our joint leaders Paul Merton and Graham Norton. Paul your turn to begin. The subject: the oddball. Will you tell us something about that strange subject in this game starting now.

PM: I recently underwent an intimate medical examination. The doctor examined me very closely and then pronounced that I was five months pregnant! I realised of course that this medical man must be an oddball, an eccentric, somebody who perhaps doesn't fit into the usual way of things. I suppose we've all known somebody in our time who's been an oddball. Perhaps a person at school, a child who maybe didn't fit in with the rest of us. somebody who would turn up for maths lessons wearing PE kit or somebody who would find...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Three somebodies.

NP: Three somebodies.

PM: Yeah.

NP: He let the early one go which I thought was quite sporting.

PM: The first one wasn't repetition!

NP: I told you he took us on to a different plane with his comedy. Yes correct challenge Clement, 26 seconds available, oddballs starting now.

CF: I read the other day that Rod Steiger has actually, has a surname, Rod Nee. And I've never considered that this oddball American film actor should have as his Christian moniker, um, something as common and as...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: I can't listen to any more!

NP: It wasn't one of his most intellectual... Eight seconds, it's back with you Paul, the oddball starting now.

PM: I remember once walking through the middle of a very dark forest when suddenly who should pop out from behind a tree but an extraordinary...


NP: With the points that Paul got in that round, Paul Merton, he's now taken the lead. And Fred MacAulay your turn to begin. The subject: north of Watford. will you say something about that subject in this game starting now.

FM: Or as we call it up here Nicholas, the known universe. Where the air is clear, water pure, sky blue, sun shines, grass is green. What, is someone in the audience trying to help me out? Not only is the grass green but your bogeys are too! Watford...


NP: Oh Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of the grass is green.

NP: The grass is green. This bogey that you had, you were back on the golf course again obviously weren't you. What is the matter? Elaine's trying to tell me something. Oh right. Ah Paul Merton you challenged first...

PM: I'm pregnant.

NP: You know...

PM: You don't phone, you don't write. I'm just the floozy who blows the whistle aren't I?

NP: I must explain...

PM: You were wearing that jacket on that night I remember!

NP: I must explain to our many listeners that I sit beside the lovely Elaine Wigley and she really is a very very lovely creature. And she never speaks on the show but she does gesticulate quite a lot.

PM: It's a cry for help!

NP: She keeps her hands under the table most of the time when she's not.... Sorry to embarrass you Elaine but we all love you very much...

PM: Some more than others!

NP: Paul that was a correct challenge so it's north of Watford still. There are 39 seconds available and you start now.

PM: I remember standing on a station, British Rail it was, at Hamil Hampstead and there was a big poster advertising a particular discotheque which had opened up in a particular town, and...


NP: Clement Freud, yes?

CF: Two particulars.

NP: Two particulars, yes. North of Watford is with you and 30 seconds are available Clement starting now.

CF: If you were a football supporter and had a club in the premiership, the most likely places which you as someone who supports Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Charlton...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation. Nobody supports Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham. They just, they pick one team.

NP: No I think he made it clear that he wasn't talking about one supporter.

PM: Was he not?

NP: No, no I mean...

PM: I thought he said if you were a supporter. That was one supporter.

CF: If you were the sort of person who...

NP: Supported. No I think, I think what he was conveying, it might have been rather colloquially you know, there are a number of people there, they support Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham...

CF: Don't kill it!

NP: I'm justifying my decision Clement, otherwise one of you will have a really strong go at me in some way or other.

GN: Hauteng! Hauteng!

NP: Oh well it's par for the course isn't it. Clement Freud you have an incorrect challenge, you keep the subject, north of Watford, starting now.

CF: Much of great import takes place north of Watford. I would particularly like to draw the attention of this audience to Hamil Hampstead and Berkstead. Also Lowestoft, Yarmouth....


NP: Well Clement Freud with his north of Watford flourish got an extra one for speaking as the whistle went. He's now equal with Paul Merton in the lead. And Graham Norton, it's your turn to begin. The writing on the wall. Graham, go with that subject, I'm sure you can, 60 seconds, starting now.

GN: The writing on the wall is a very long way of saying graffiti. and I remember as a boy looking up and seeing scrawled on a flat surface along the side of a house "Kilroy was here". Oh sweet mystery of life, what did that mean? And how depressing it is to turn on the television and realise the orange thing is still with us! No past tense at all! His great arms like animated garden hoses flap about his head as he runs up and down steps forcing grown women to cry! It must be stopped! I feel that... The subject is the writing on the wall? And so it is said joined up can be difficult if there's a lot of stonework or masonry...


NP: Yes that applause was justified! He took the subject, went with penache, and he does go with penache quite often, and kept going for the full 60 seconds. You not only get a point for speaking when the whistle went Graham, you get a bonus point for not being interrupted and not committing any of the sins or breaking any of the rules of Just A Minute. Well done! He hasn't played as many as some but by gosh when he plays it doesn't he go. But you're still in second place I'm afraid, we still have our joint leaders but no, no, not far behind them, only a point here and there separates them. Clement Freud your turn to begin. The subject: parlour games. tell us something about that in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

CF: The witch in grouse...


NP: I'm going to ask Elaine to be my witness. I've got two lights on at the same time haven't I Elaine? You can speak here if you wish. She's not going to. So whose do I take? I've got Paul's and Graham's, it was a draw...

CF: You take neither! Would be fair!

NP: Neither and give it to Fred! All right Fred you are the winner as a result of that and you have 56 seconds to go on parlour games starting now.

FM: Thank you very much Elaine for being so generous with the points. If only you were as favourable towards me as you were to Nicholas with the other favours that you give out then you could qualify as parlour game in my house any time you wanted to...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: It's not parlour games, talking about Elaine.

FM: But I was just about to get round to the parlour game that I had in mind for Elaine!

NP: He mentioned parlour game just then, just before you challenged...

CF: There's no challenge.

NP: So I think that was an incorrect challenge. And so Fred you can keep the subject and you have 43 seconds on parlour games starting now.

FM: Aside from indoor pheasant shooting which isn't really much fun my favourite parlour game...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation. It's enormous fun! You can't miss them! Keep the window shut and you can hit them with a hammer!

NP: I'll be fair, give Paul a point because we enjoyed the challenge and there was a certain logic, his comic logic to that. But also strictly speaking according to other peoples logic Fred MacAulay was accurate. So he keeps the subject and a point for being interrupted and 37 seconds available, parlour game Fred starting now.

FM: There's a well known Scottish Hogmanay parlour game where you drink a bottle of buckfast with your eight friends and then one of you leaves the room and you have to guess which one it was! Even more difficult however is to guess whether you're one of the remaining seven! Many an hour has been spent on New Years Eve whiling away the...


NP: Oh you did so well! Paul you got in first. Hesitation, 16 seconds, parlour games starting now.

PM: I suppose Just A Minute started as a parlour game. I believe that Ian Messiter the inventor did come up with this particular amusing pastime some years ago, some time in the 40s I think it was. And it started off as a very amusing thing...


NP: Oh, Clement Freud you got in.

CF: Repetition of started.

NP: He did yes right. And you cleverly got in with one second to go Clement. Ooh! You didn't win any friends with that challenge. But you have one second, you're correct, parlour games starting now.

CF: Easy chairman!


NP: So we're moving into the final round of this edition of Just A Minute and as we do for those interested in the points the situation is very interesting because Graham Norton and Fred MacAulay are just trailing in second place together just behind our joint leaders who have been neck and neck throughout that is Paul Merton and Clement Freud. Paul Merton it's your turn to begin so you take the last round, it's relics. Oh God I know which way he'll take that one! And 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PM: What a lovely jacket! Some time in the middle ages there were people who went around offering saints relics. It was mentioned in Chaucer. They were kind of salesmen who tried to pass off pigs bones as the remnants of an old saint or other who had passed away. I suppose a relic is very much like a souvenir that has dated. If we look around us now we can see very many relics from a golden age. Examples we can look at the window here and we see Arthur Seaton and at the top of that particular hill there is a bubble gum wrapper that I left there in 1985 as a memento to myself, a present from the past to me in the future. That's the kind of thing you do when you live alone in a bedsit which is what I did many years ago! It was from about 1979 until about 10 years later that I found myself ensconced in this particular one...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of particular.

NP: Yes it was...

PM: Was that not the last round?

CF: No.

NP: Clement a correct challenge, four seconds available on relics starting now.

CF: Relics are...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I don't suppose there is any chance of a hesitation?

NP: No but you can have a bonus point because we liked the challenge but Clement also gets one for being interrupted so we're in the same situation. There are now three seconds on relics with you Clement starting now.

CF: Relics is an anagram of slicer.


NP: Well on that crossword type note we finish Just A Minute which Clement Freud brought to a close for us. And I'll give you the final score for those interested in the points situation. Fred MacAulay and Graham Norton were equal in second place. They were only just four points behind Paul Merton, but with that last burst, that last challenge, Clement Freud took the lead, he kept it there. Two points ahead, Clement Freud, he is our winner this week. So it only remains for me to say thank you to our four intrepid players of the game, Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Fred MacAulay and Clement Freud. Also thank Elaine Wigley for blowing her whistle so delicately and keeping the stopwatch and the score and everything else that she does in the show which is deeply appreciated. And also we thank Chris Neill who is our producer and director who keeps the show running smoothly for us. And also Ian Messiter who created this game and keeps us all in work and happy. And also this lovely audience here at the Pleasance in the Fringe. You've been delightful, thank you for your warmth and your response. From all the members of the panel and from me Nicholas Parsons, thank you so much. Until the next time we take to the air and play Just A Minute, goodbye.