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 our many listeners throughout the world and also the four exciting exuberant attractive players of the game who are going to compete this week. We welcome back two great comedy performers of the younger generation that is Paul Merton and Tony Hawks. And we have two great comedy performers of a former generation, who have been with the show since it first began, and that is Peter Jones and Clement Freud. Would you please welcome all four of them. And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on the subject I give them and they will try and do that as usual without hesitation, repetition or deviation from the subject. Beside me sits Jane Gibson who's going to help me keep the score and she will blow her whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Grand Opera House in this wonderful ancient city of York. And before us, and everybody knows we have a very exuberant Yorkshire audience in front of us. And we're going to begin the show this week with Tony Hawks. Tony the subject that I have here is the wrong number. Tell us something about the wrong number in Just A Minute starting now.

TONY HAWKS: I hate it when you call someone up and say "is that Michael?" and they reply "I'm sorry but you've got the wrong number". What are they talking about? I haven't got the wrong number. I've got the same number I always had! They've got the wrong number. That's why I can't talk to my mate Mick! Okay, I dialed the wrong number but they don't actually say that! That's a little irritation that I'm glad I shared with you. It's quite important to get the right number if you can. They say two's a company, three's a crowd, 80,000 is a Wembley Cup Final and it's not ideal for an intimate evening. So you want to get the right kind of atmosphere.


NP: And Clement Freud has challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of right.

NP: Right. He did say right before. So Clement there are 24 seconds available starting now.

CF: When fire broke out I went to the telephone and dialed 987. It was the only thing I could do because the number between six and 12 is something I couldn't repeat.


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PAUL MERTON: It's a bit vague isn't it, the number, the number between six and 12. There's several numbers between six and 12. Ten, 11, you haven't said those.

NP: He didn't indicate that. He indicated to me that it was one of the numbers between six and 12 that he didn't want to repeat.

PM: But when he said the number, you thought he meant the numbers?

NP: I thought he meant... I have to make these difficult decisions. I thought he meant the number which followed nine on this 999 call which he was endeavouring to call because he wanted the fire brigade to come. So I do think he made it clear to me that that was the particular number he was trying to avoid which was nine. So I give him the benefit of the doubt and say...

PM: Well the only doubt was in your mind!

NP: And that's been in doubt for many years but I've still got the job! But Clement you have the benefit of the doubt, you have an incorrect challenge and a point for that. You keep the subject, nine seconds are available, the wrong number starting now.

CF: When you go to a Chinese restaurant and you order a dish by number ...


NP: Ah, Tony Hawks challenged.

TH: I just want to know who came when he rang 987?

NP: Occasionally what I do when we have a lovely er comment like that, I give them a bonus point because we enjoyed it, in which of course it was Tony Hawks, a bonus point to him. Clement was interrupted so he gets a point for that. He has three seconds to continue, the wrong number, starting now.

CF: They say the long number which is...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point and on this occasion it was Clement Freud. Peter Jones would you take the next round? Sticking my neck out is the subject. It's a good subject. Please talk on it if you can, 60 seconds as usual, starting now.

PETER JONES: Well it comes from sort of gallows humour. You may remember Dr Samuel Palmer, the poisoner who not only was a member of the medical profession but also killed people by giving them poison. And he was eventually hanged. And when he climbed the steps of the scaffold and put his foot on the trapdoor, he said to the hangman "are you sure this is safe?" A lot of people on the scaffold put their heads forward...


NP: Tony Hawks has challenged.

TH: Repetition of scaffold.

NP: You had the scaffold before Peter.

PJ: Yes, I'm afraid I did.

NP: Yes you...

PJ: It was so long ago!

NP: Tony a correct challenge, a point to you, 21 seconds, you tell us something about sticking my neck out starting now.

TH: I'm always sticking my neck out. For instance not that long ago during the Wimbledon fortnight I put 100,000 pounds on Tim Henman to win. And we all remember what an exciting event that was! And I just can't remember whether he did it or not.


NP: Paul you challenged, Paul Merton.

PM: Repetition of remember.

NP: You can't, you remembered too much, I'm afraid. Yes, Paul you have a correct challenge, you have the subject now, sticking my neck out, and you have eight seconds starting now.

PM: In my career as a professional tortoise impressionist I used to stick my neck out every Wednesday at the Alhambra Bradford...


NP: Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went with his tortoise shell coming out like that, gained that extra point, and he's now equal with Tony Hawks in second place, Clement Freud still in the lead. And Clement it's your turn to begin, the subject is testing times. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: In a commercial chicken plant testing time is when the giblets are put into a bag inside the animal. And DNA is the only way you can be sure that the heart, liver and neck within the carcass of the bird are actually those of the plumaged animal in question.


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Sadly repetition of animal.

NP: Sadly? I was delighted you stopped him! I mean... Paul I agree with the challenge, 34 seconds, testing times, starting now.

PM: When I sat my A level history at a retake which is repetition I suppose, but I did it because I hadn't passed the first time. And I'm afraid to say, I'm admitting it now, I cheated in my A level history exam...


NP: Oh! Clement Freud.



NP: Oh right! Peter you challenged then. Why?

PJ: Well he repeated it.

NP: I know but Clement got in first.

PJ: Oh I didn't hear that.

NP: I'm so sorry! I'm afraid Clement got in first, 22 seconds, testing times, Clement, starting now.

CF: What have you given me the point for?

NP: Because you challenged first.

CF: What did I challenge for?

NP: No...

PM: Is it soup tonight?

NP: No... I'm allowed to make one complete mess-up, I wouldn't use the word cock here because it's, it's in Yorkshire. Of course I did then, I made a complete mess of the whole thing. It was Paul Merton who challenged Clement Freud, and... Wasn't that right?

TH: That definitely is a cock-up!

PM: No, no, no, no, I was speaking and I challenged Clement!

NP: Because you were talking about the testing times you had at school trying to get through your A level history at the second attempt...

PM: Right.

NP: So I was listening! And you pressed your buzzer Clement and so you came in first and so I was correct and somebody's winding me up! So...

PM: Oh, you work on clockwork at last?

NP: So Clement what was your challenge?

CF: Repetition of A level.

NP: Well the audience realised you were correct. So Clement you have 20 seconds, take back, testing times, starting now.

CF: When South Africa, Australia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, and any other nation which wishes to play international cricket play at Lords or the Oval, it is a test...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Didn't we have two plays there?

CF: No, playing and play.

NP: Played the first time. Or plays. So ....


NP: Oohh yes?

PM: There's a few people out here who don't think that's the case. Does anybody record this because we could play it back and work it out from that?

NP: Paul it was an incorrect challenge, seven seconds still on testing times Clement, starting now.

CF: So testing times have to do with...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: I think it was a hesitation. So you got in with four seconds to go on testing times starting now.

PM: The Wright brothers...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: That was hesitation!

NP: Rubbish! He hadn't even been going for half a second!

CF: Repetition of my hesitation!

NP: There was a second and a half, I've got it in front of me on my little stopwatch. You have three and a half seconds on testing times Paul starting now.

PM: Two chickens walk into a pub and the first one says "excuse me, I would like a large...


NP: Well it was testing times for Paul Merton. And Paul it is your turn to begin. The subject is a close shave. tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: First there was the razor, then the twin blade...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: First there was the beard!

NP: Peter it was a lovely lovely comment but he didn't, I mean, he didn't actually deviate in that sense Peter. But we loved the comment so a bonus point to you, a point to Paul Merton because he was interrupted, 56 seconds available Paul, a close shave starting now.

PM: I have a three bladed instrument at home that cuts beautifully. It's a recent invention. You may have seen it advertised. And I heartly recommend it because the technology tells...


NP: Tony Hawks.

TH: How do you heartly recommend something?

PM: Heartly?

NP: Heartly. You did say heartly instead of heartily.

PM: Dit I?

NP: Yes...

PM: Just because I've got a speech impediment, I don't...

NP: They are so...

PM: I don't see why it should count against me!

NP: They are so keen to get their points! But I suppose you could say that was a deviation from English as we know it and normally speak it. I agree with your challenge Tony...

TH: Thank you Nicholas.

NP: A close shave, 46 seconds, starting now.

TH: I had a close shave about a year ago. I was travelling...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Clearly it wasn't today!

NP: That's a nice comment! We'll have another bonus point over there to Paul Merton. But Tony you keep the subject and a point for being interrupted, 42 seconds, a close shave, starting now.

TH: I was making my way by train to a place called Anock where we were going to do a recording of Just A Minute. And I failed to get off the train at the right...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two trains.

NP: Two trains. It's a pity because it's a good story. Tell it at the end! Clement, a correct challenge, 30 seconds available, a close shave, starting now.

CF: Sir Henry Newbolt wrote about a close:
There's a breathless hush in the Close tonight,
Ten to make and a match to win,
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
I won't go on much with it but a Close is a piece of territory which is enclosed, probably by a fence or some other...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: We haven't quite established a close shave.

NP: No! We're now talking about a Close, a little close that's there...

CF: I was coming to the shave in a moment!

PM: Well you only have a minute Clement!

NP: You went... So I give it to Paul and tell you you have eight seconds Paul, a close shave starting now.

PM: Aboard Apollo 13 the three astronauts there could be described as people experiencing a close shave. If you saw the film you will know they are...


NP: Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so and has increased his lead at the end of that round. Tony Hawks your turn and the subject is a long one but it's a delightful one I think, the best way to eat spaghetti! Sixty seconds, starting now.

TH: This is something of a moot point! Because there are lots of ways obviously to eat spaghetti. And someone might argue one was better than the other. I think someone might say by having it on the body of a beautiful woman and eating it off her would be the best way! My feeling however...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Too messy!

NP: Oh, I don't know, er...

PM: Oh you don't know?

NP: Might be messy but it's not deviating from the subject, so...

PM: Well I don't think it's the best way to eat spaghetti!

TH: Well you ought to get out more!

NP: Well if you're, if you're an international toyboy like Tony Hawks then obviously this is one of his fetishes, and to him it's the best way, so I have to go with that idea Tony, another point to you, 43 seconds...

PM: Did you say international toyboy?

NP: Yes! Forty-three seconds.... He's started to work out already! The best way to eat spaghetti Tony starting now.

TH: And the beauty of it is you don't have to do any washing up either! Unless you really want to of course! You could make that fun too! I went to an Italian restaurant many years ago. It was quite embarrassing I have to say...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Did you take this woman with you?

NP: Your mind's been working overtime like mine Peter! Peter, a bonus point to Peter because we enjoyed his comment then. But Tony wasn't deviating from the best way to eat spaghetti, 32 seconds for you Tony with another point starting now.

TH: And I wanted to impress her so I could take her back to my flat and do something interesting with spaghetti. However eating it in the formal manner which I was on this occasion, some of it got caught in my teeth. And I was also trying to suck it up...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of eating.

NP: Yes he was eating a bit too much. Yes it was and some of us were getting indigestion actually. Sixteen seconds for you Peter to tell us something about the best way to eat spaghetti starting now.

PJ: Well just prod it with a fork and twirl it around until you've got a neat ball at the end, and then try and transfer it carefully to your mouth whereupon you can chew it to your heart's content. And if it's aldente as it should be it takes slightly longer than if it's soggy...


NP: So Peter Jones was then speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point for doing so and he has leapt forward in that round. He's still in fourth place but he is only one point behind Tony Hawks, he's only two points behind Clement Freud. But out in the lead still is Paul Merton. But Peter it's your turn to begin. The subject is a moonlight flit. I don't know whether you've done one but tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PJ: No I haven't done one and I wouldn't dream of it because if you flit at moonlight then everybody can see you! It's a ridiculous, a ridiculous time to leave! Much better to wait until it's got quite dark! Only a matter of a few days and then you can slipout into the pantechnicon or whatever vehicle you've engaged to take your belongings and wait until the landlord or proprietor of the establishment that you're trying to get away from is asleep and then go! That's the best thing to do. I can't say much more about it but er...


NP: Clement Freud came in first which we presume is hesitation or have you got any other challenge?

CF: Charity.

NP: We know because you went for 30, 23 seconds and we enjoyed it. So a moonlight flit is now with you Clement, 23 seconds available, starting now.

CF: I think the most important thing about a moonlight flit is to have reasonable food in hand for the journey. And spaghetti is excellent! The best way to eat spaghetti is...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of beautiful woman. Sorry, of spaghetti.

NP: Of spaghetti, yes, right. Paul a correct challenge, 10 seconds, a moonlight flit starting now.

PM: Well of course there was no lock on the outside toilet door so I didn't know what to do. So in the end I happened to find a torch and I realised that I had borrowed it off the man next door and in fact...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Grammar.

NP: What grammar?

CF: You don't borrow off.

NP: Paul it was an incorrect challenge, in speech that's how we go. And you have half a second to go on moonlight flit starting now.

PM: And there...


NP: So Paul Merton has increased his lead at the end of that round. And Clement Freud, it's your turn to begin. The subject now is summer season. Tell us something about summer season starting now.

CF: The extraordinary thing about our summer season be it Ascot, Lords, Wimbledon, or Henley, is that it rains. It is wet, damp, sodden, go where you will! Keats the poet wrote: "Season of mist, and mellow fruitfulness". He was not referring to summer, it was... the season after summer...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation I'm afraid.

NP: I think so Paul yes. So you have 39 seconds to tell us something about summer season starting now.

PM: The summer season is the best time to spot Tony Hawks, international toyboy, as he wanders up and down the boulevard catching the eyes of the ladies, playing a bit of tennis in the park, perhaps wandering out on the links and playing the ancient game of golf. What a wonderful figure he cuts! The women look at him, their hearts beating in their breast! They can't believe it! Is it Tony Blair? Who?


NP: Oh what a pity you had to repeat Tony because they were enjoying it, weren't they? Eighteen seconds, you tell us something about summer season Tony Hawks starting now.

TH: I did a marvelous summer season in Blackpool. Whilst...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Boasting!

NP: It's never been one of the rules of Just A Minute that you're not allowed to boast!

PJ: No, but who else would say "I did a marvelous summer season in Blackpool"!

NP: Anybody who can say he's an international toyboy could boast about that he's had a marvelous season! So Peter we enjoyed the challenge...

PJ: Well he doesn't claim to be one! All he has claimed is to eat spaghetti off beautiful women's bodies!

NP: Well if that's not boasting I don't know what is!

PM: It might be that he might not have any plates! It might be a plea of poverty!

NP: Anyway you're allowed to boast in Just A Minute if you can get away with it. Fourteen seconds, summer season, with you Tony starting now.


NP: And who's challenged? Paul?

PM: Deviation, he's never done a summer season in Blackpool!

NP: I don't think he has either!

TH: I...

NP: I don't know for sure!

TH: Well hang on, I... for the sake of argument I have!

NP: All right.

PM: For the sake of argument you haven't!

TH: Yeah but I mean, I, you, oh, all right I haven't!

NP: Paul Merton you have a correct challenge, 13 seconds, summer season, starting now.

PM: I once went to see a show at Blackpool, about 1983. It starred Lenny Henry and David Copperfield, not the American magician but an English comedian who was then appearing quite a lot on television. And it was a fantastic show! It was a...


NP: Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And Peter it's your turn to begin. The subject, the shambles. Tell us something about the shambles in 60 seconds starting now.

PJ: Well I've heard of them and I believe they used to house the abattoir for York. And it must have been one of the most attractive attractions that they had in this town which is renowned for its bawdy houses, and dens of anniquity of all kinds. And I guess people used to flock to this, to see the animals being slaughtered and then perhaps take bits home and cook them and er as far as I remember...


NP: Clement you challenged.

CF: Was that hesitation?

NP: I think it was hesitation.

PJ: Was it?

NP: Yes.


NP: The audience don't think it was. So Clement do you wish to forgo your challenge?

CF: Yes.

NP: All right. You've won this audience back in a flash Clement. And they want Peter Jones. Will you continue having got another point, for 26 seconds, on the shambles, starting now.

PJ: These gambling dens and places that I mentioned were always fronted with very respectable looking houses. So that er only people in the underworld of whom I know very few. But they knew that er things were going on inside including this er ritual slaughter that happened. And er I suppose it appealed to some people...


NP: So Peter Jones, much to the audience's pleasure and with the help of Clement Freud, staggered on, shambled on, to the end of the subject of the shambles, and gained the extra point for doing so. But all that hard work only brought you two points Peter. But anyway we loved hearing from you, yes, very nice. So we have time for one more round. And Clement Freud it's your turn to begin, and the subject is a good bedside manner. Would you go on that subject if you can for 60 seconds starting now.

CF: Dr Crippen had a particularly good bedside manner. Never did he visit a patient without bringing chocolates or flowers, sitting on the sofa or chair by the side of the bed, and reciting poetry, asking after the patients children...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: I... It's not to me a good sign of a doctor that he comes around and recites poetry at you!

NP: Or brings chocolates!

PM: I'd expect a physical examination! I think that's deviation! I don't think that's good medical practice!

NP: And also bringing the chocolates, I agree, would not be good medical practice.

CF: But we're not talking about good medical practice.

NP: A good bedside manner we're talking about.

CF: Yeah.

NP: Well that's not a good bedside manner. My father was a doctor, he'd never have taken a box of chocolates to his patient!

PM: He never would do! He was much too good a doctor to do that!

NP: Of course he was! Excellent bedside manner, I...

PM: He was proud of his bedside, you tell him Nicholas!

NP: Yes...

TH: Well I'm actually, I'm with Clement on this one. I think it's a very good bedside manner to turn up... I don't think you should be allowed to get away with it!

NP: What happens if the patient's got diabetes? Bringing chocolates?

TH: Well you get...

PM: Or he's allergic to flowers?

NP: Yes...

TH: If he...

NP: He might have hay fever!

TH: If he can come up with a rhyme for diabetes he's a bloody good poet as well!

NP: Peter...

PJ: Dr Hawley Harley Crippen...

NP: Yes?

PJ: ... of whom I've made a lifelong study never made house visits. Because the patients had to go to his surgery where usually they were operated on for some dental problem because he was primarily a dentist. And in any case his wife Beryl...


NP: Clement Freud you challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Deviation, yes. The deviation because you didn't actually have the subject Peter.

PM: It was good though! Give him the subject so that he can carry on!

NP: Well you won it!

PM: Give it, give it to him.

NP: Give it to Peter all right.

TH: I think it's a great idea just to randomly start talking for a minute! I'm going to do it in my life from now on!

NP: It's a new way of...

PM: I agree with Tony and I've randomly started and I'm carrying on from Tony, so how much longer have I got?


TH: Repetition of Tony!

NP: Tony right! It's a new way of playing the game but you won't get away with it more than once! But Peter they've let you get away with it this time. You got a point then for being interrupted when you hadn't got the subject! And Paul Merton says he doesn't want the subject back even though he's entitled to have it! And there are 33 seconds available for a good bedside manner with you Peter starting now.

PJ: His wife was Beryl Elmore, a third rate music hall singer. But he was having an affair with a younger person. And he managed to show his flair for bedside manners in her company. Because since being able to have a manner that is appealing beside the bed is a tremendous advantage once you get into the bed...


NP: Well that particular flourish of Peter Jones' taking the subject arbitrarily without any permission and going so magnificently and finishing up with that delightful image of getting into the bed having had the bedside manner to seduce a lady from beside the bed brought not only that round to a close, so he got a bonus point for speaking when the whistle went, but also has brought the show to a close. Alas! Let me give you the final situation. Because Peter with that last final flourish he leapt forward and caught up to Clement Freud and Tony Hawks, they're all three equal in second place. But way out ahead by quite a few points this week is Paul Merton so we say Paul you're the winner this week! So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four clever and exciting players of the game that is Paul Merton, Tony Hawks, Peter Jones and Clement Freud. I also thank Jane Gibson for helping me with the score and blowing the whistle so well. We also thank Ian Messiter who created the game and keeps us all so happy playing it, and particularly our producer Chris Neill. And also I'd love to thank this marvelous audience here who've egged us on the way magnificently. We thank you, from the audience, from the panel, from me, Nicholas Parsons, goodbye, tune in, next time we play Just A Minute.