starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, GRAHAM NORTON and FRED MacAULAY, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 6 September 1999)

NOTE: Jane Gibson's last appearance blowing the whistle.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome the many listeners we have throughout the world and also the four talented extrovert and brilliant players of the game who have assembled to perform in the show this week. They are Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Fred MacAulay and Clement Freud. And will you please welcome all four of them. As usual I'm going to ask them to speak on a subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Beside me sits Jane Gibson who's going to help me keep the score and when the 60 seconds are up she will blow in magnificent fashion a whistle. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the lovely Kings Theatre in the heart of the great city of Glasgow. I'm also part by the way of Music Live here in Glasgow which is lovely to be here for that. Paul Merton is going to begin the show this week and the subject is speakeasy. Paul give us some thoughts on that subject, 60 seconds as usual, starting now.

PAUL MERTON: A man goes up to an ice cream van and he says (in hoarse strained voice) "I'll have a double vanilla ice cream." And the owner says "do you want raspberry syrup with that?" (strained voice) "Yes." "Crushed nuts?" (hoarse voice) "No, laryngitis."


NP: A brilliant gag! A brilliant gag! It deserved the applause! But Clement why did you challenge?

CLEMENT FREUD: He repeated ice cream. But I wanted to let him get to the end of his story.

NP: Yes he did, no, very sportingly you let him repeat the word so he could get the gag out. Clement you have a correct challenge, you get a point for a correct challenge of course. There are 47 seconds available, the subject is speakeasy and you start now.

CF: Speakeasies were bars in America during the Prohibition. And people found if they drank enough alcohol they got all the effects of drunkenness. It was hugely encouraging. It was called speakeasy because you had to speak...


NP: Ah, Fred MacAulay you challenged.

FRED MacAULAY: Yes there was a hesitation I thought.

NP: And your thoughts are correct. I agree with you. There are 29 seconds available, Fred you have a correct challenge, you have a point for that, speakeasy's with you, starting now.

FM: I think if they sold alcohol in these premises then it was a misnomer! Because speaking isn't very easy when you're drunk, slurring is. It should have been called a slur easy! Because that's much better when you've had a few drinks! You've got it! If it was in Glasgow it would be called the speak difficult because you wouldn't be able to form a sentence! And you'd just stand there saying "ahhh I'll have another pint because I've had a grand old time! You looking at my pint there, pal?"


NP: Whoever is speaking as the whistle goes gains an extra point...

FM: I'm the only Scot here and I'm the one who is stereotyping us! I do apologise for that!

NP: (in Scottish accent) Don't worry, I can do it as well!

PM: That's a comfort!

NP: Fred MacAulay you were speaking as the whistle went, you gain an extra point for that. So you have got the lead at the end of the round. Graham Norton would you take the next round. The subject is tying the knot. Will you tell us something about tying the knot in this game starting not.

GRAHAM NORTON: People often ask me why the lovely talented Liz Hurley is often surrounded by seamen (pronounced like semen). And I can tell you it's because they all share a deep interest in tying knots! The seamen obviously on their boats...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: An awful lot of seamen!

NP: So Paul a correct challenge, repetition. Forty seconds are available for tying the knot with you Paul Merton starting now.

PM: If you walk around the streets of Portsmouth you will find that they are full of discharged seamen because the Royal Navy lets people go from the ship. But tying the knot is a peculiarly vicious form of contraception. What you've got to do is the fallopian tube is snipped and tied at the end and I'm not referring of course to the male organ here. The tubes that I was referring to of course are...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two of courses.

NP: Two of courses.

PM: Was there really?

NP: Yes. Children listen to this show but I don't think they'll understand all that.

GN: They will! We were chatting about sailors tying knots!

NP: I don't think many children know about fallopian tubes.

GN: Oh in fairness, I see what you mean.

NP: Yes right.

GN: Though on some level, on some level they have experienced it!

FM: And if there are any children listening, if you ever are in Fallopia, I can recommend....

NP: Right! Now who challenged? Clement Freud you had a correct challenge, you've got 14 seconds, tying the knot, starting now.

CF: When I was in the boy scouts, tying the knot was considered hugely important. Reef knot, sheep bend, sheepshank...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: A couple of sheep there.

NP: One, sheepshank is one word.

PM: Is it?

NP: Yes.

PM: I thought it was an illegal practice these days! You can't do it on the Isle of Man I know that!

NP: I think it's a practice but I don't know if it's illegal! Clement an incorrect challenge so you have five seconds on tying the knot starting now.

CF: And you got a badge which was sewn onto the arm of your jacket. And you wore it proudly...


NP: Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so and he has taken the lead at the end of that round. And Clement it's your turn to begin. The subject is the West Lothian question. That got an unexpected response! Well they're obviously deeply involved in it up here! And there are 60 seconds as usual, tell us something about it starting now.

CF: The West Lothian question was one put by Tam Dalziel, whose name is spelt D-A-L-Z-I-E and then the third letter again. And I'm not going to bother you with it hugely at this moment because there are so many West Lothian questions. Is there toasties still for tea in Octamucdy is a West Lothian question.


NP: Fred MacAulay challenged.

FM: Deviation, Octamucdy's not in West Lothian.

CF: If it were in West Lothian, people would know. It's because it's not in West Lothian that people want to know whether there's still toasties in Octamucdy!

NP: A very fine effort to justify it Clement but I disagree so...

CF: What do you mean you disagree?

NP: Well no I think Fred's got a correct challenge and I'm going to give him the subject.

CF: You mean people in people in West Lothian can't ask about the provision of tea in Octamucdy?

NP: They can ask about it! But you conveyed that Octamucdy was in West Lothian. Or at least to my mind you did. Thirty-six seconds, 36? Yes that's right! On the West Lothian question with you Fred starting now.

FM: A more...


NP: Clement Freud.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation, yes. Oh that's right, your light came on Paul right. Yes it was a hesitation. The West Lothian question with you Paul, 34 seconds, starting now.

PM: I was watching a quiz show and the contestant was coming up to the final round. And he was suddenly facing the West Lothian question. How many people in West Lothian are there who own their own cars? The person sat there for a moment and said "can I phone a friend?" So they contacted a pal by telephone who happened to live in West Lothian and they decided to tell them that the answer was 147. So the person who was in the television studio...


NP: Paul Merton was then speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point for doing so. He's equal with Fred MacAulay in second place, Clement Freud is one point ahead in the lead. And Paul Merton your turn to begin. Oh I say! This is interesting! The lifecycle of a mayfly! Will you tell us something about that particular subject, 60 seconds as usual, starting now.

PM: Eight o'clock in the morning: born. 9.15: puberty. 10.30: become a regular listener to Radio Four. This is the average lifespan of the mayfly. It is a curious insect that only has one day in which to spread its wings to find the appropriate sexual partner. Sometimes they find another mayfly. Sometimes it's a human being...


NP: And Graham Norton challenged.

PM: Two sometimes.

GN: Yeah a lot of sometimes. Was it perhaps sometimes and something else sometimes?

NP: Yes he repeated sometimes.

GN: It's quite a long word.

NP: It's a long word. You repeated it and we haven't heard from you for ages.

GN: Hello! I was writing postcards! Sorry!

NP: The lifecycle of a mayfly is with you Graham and there are 36 seconds starting now.

GN: To call it a life cycle seems a tragic misnomer! The poor mayfly scarcely has time to mount a bike, never mind learn how to ride it and go for a cycle through the countryside with a basketful of kittens and onions round its strange insect neck! I...


NP: Yes?

PM: Deviation. The mayfly doesn't have a neck!

GN: It's a little insecty thing connecting its little insecty head to its insect leg.

CF: It doesn't ride a bicycle either!

NP: It doesn't ride a bi...

GN: That's what I was saying! I was saying why...

NP: He was going into a world of fantasy about the bicycle. But I agree, I mean his head is attached to the body, so you can say it's a form of mayfly neck there....

GN: I think so!

NP: Yes and I agree! So I...

GN: The sadness is there will be letters!

NP: Graham I disagree with the challenge...

GN: Good!

NP: You get a point for that and you keep the subject, the lifecycle of a mayfly, 17 seconds, starting now.

GN: The mayfly spends its entire lifespan attending the funerals of relatives. This seems unfair! You get one day and it's on the go for flowers, where do we go afterwards? Is it tea? Coffee? Sandwiches? I don't know!


NP: So Graham Norton got points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went. And Graham Norton it's your turn to begin. The subject: the shortest night. Tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

GN: The shortest night I ever spent was in Bandon county Cork where I was heading out on my bike. And I was adjusting the saddle. what they didn't tell you was if you did that to the thing you sit on it broke the brake cable. Poor design, I feel! Er, I particularly...


NP: Fred MacAulay challenged.

FM: I think er is a hesitation.

NP: He, er, you said er.

GN: Er.

NP: Yes, er.

GN: Er.

FM: Er.

GN: Er.

FM: Er.

GN: It's a technical term for bike cable.

NP: Fred I agree with you, 39 seconds for the shortest night starting now.

FM: Contrary to popular belief the shortest night doesn't happen in June. It usually haaaaaaah curs!


NP: Clement Freud challenged. Yes?

CF: Hesitation.

NP: I think actually he rather cleverly got away from happens and he rather elongated occurs into a strange sounding word but he didn't actually hesitate to my mind. So I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. An equally divided decision amongst the audience! You will note that I always redress the balance in fairness if there's another opportunity later. So you have the benefit of the doubt Fred, 35 seconds available, the shortest night starting now.


NP: And Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: No. You have another point Fred MacAulay. You have 34 seconds starting now.

FM: And...


NP: And yes?

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: He didn't hesitate!

NP: Give Clement a bonus point because we enjoyed the challenge but Fred you've still got the subject and a point for being interrupted. You have 32 and a half seconds starting now.

FM: It happened in November when I was in Dublin and I had 50 minutes sleep which must be the shortest night I've ever had. I was out having a dark substance which appeared in a glass and it was liquid with a white top. I think they call it stout because that's what it makes you after you've had eight pints! I woke up fif...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Was that hesitation?

NP: Yes it was hesitation. Clement a correct challenge, it was hesitation on that occasion and you have 11 seconds, the shortest night, starting now.

CF: When Her Majesty conferred a knighthood on Gordon Richards the jockey, he became without much doubt the shortest knight of the year.


NP: Well I'm glad you got that comment in Clement because it was well worth the applause and you also spoke as the whistle went, you gained the extra point, and you have increased your lead at the end of the round. And it's also your turn to take the next round. The subject is bangers and mash. Tell us something about that exotic subject in Just A Minute starting now.

CF: I think the Trade Description Act would be...


NP: Fred MacAulay challenged.

FM: I just wanted to make an incorrect challenge to give Clement a point.

NP: To redress the balance!

FM: Yeah absolutely!

NP: So Clement you have a bonus point from Fred Macaulay...

CF: A bonus point?

NP: What's that?

CF: I don't have a bonus point.

NP: Yes you do.

CF: I have a point for a wrong challenge.

NP: And you have 57 seconds to continue on bangers and mash starting now.


NP: And Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Sudden death!

NP: That was hesitation. Fifty-five seconds available, bangers and mash with you Paul starting now.

PM: To my mind it's the most wonderful meal ever created! I remember when I was about seven years old my mother used to make bangers and mash, particularly with gravy. I don't think there's anything like it! There's a shop in London that specialises in selling all kinds of different bangers made of lamb, nuts in May. All kinds of different recipes are used...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Repetition of different.

NP: There was a lot of different there, yes.

PM: Was there a lot of different?

NP: Thirty-six seconds, Clement, another correct challenge, bangers and mash is back with you starting now.

CF: Bangers are called bangers because they have skin which under heat explodes causing a bang. You...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Not in my kitchen! That doesn't happen does it?

NP: Well it does...

GN: Whoever heard of sausages exploding?

NP: Yes if you put...

GN: I'd cook them more often if they did that!

NP: If you put them on too strong a heat and cook them too quickly they will explode. They will burst open and they're delicious then! Clement you have 29 seconds still available on bangers and mash starting now.

CF: Mash is called mash because you get potatoes and mash them. Normally having previously boiled them with salt in water, you get a fork and wield it until the tubers are entirely pureed. A very good work I think for mashed! Now but currently mash is incredibly popular in restaurants because people know that it's fattening, that it's bad for them. You can have roast at one time...


NP: So Clement Freud kept going till the whistle went, gained the extra point, and with other points in the round he's got quite a strong lead now. But Fred MacAulay it's your turn to begin now. The subject is this: What I'd be doing if I wasn't doing this. It's an interesting subject. Can you talk on it in this game starting now.

FM: Well given that this is a recording, then what I'm doing when I'm not doing this, you can phone me up and ask me! And if it's the 12.00 recording that you're listening to then I'm digging the garden. If it's the Sunday repeat then I'm lying down, not through having a hangover, it's because I hurt myself gardening. Um...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Two gardens.

NP: Yes you were doing too much gardening, I'm afraid. What I'd be doing if I wasn't doing this, Paul, that's the subject, it's with you, 41 seconds, starting now.

PM: I'd be hitting the night spots of Glasgow with Nicholas Parsons! We'd pick up a couple of prostitutes, get some bottles of whiskey and really show Glasgow how to enjoy itself! We'd be painting it red! We'd be saying to Brandy and De Delilah...


NP: Clement challenged. They loved the idea of that dissipated image you created but Clement had a correct challenge of hesitation and...

CF: No I didn't.

NP: What was, what was your...

CF: Repetition of Glasgow.

NP: Oh that's right, you can have repetition of Glasgow as well if you want but it was...

CF: Okay, hesitation then!

GN: No go with repetition, please yourself!

FM: No, because I think her name actually is De Delilah!

PM: Yes! She's got a speech impediment that makes her 15 quid cheaper! I said to her once "why, why, De Delilah?"

FM: Is that the night you saw the light in her window?

PM: Well that's one way of putting it!

NP: Twenty-seven seconds is with you Clement on what I'd be doing if I wasn't doing this starting now.

CF: If I wasn't doing this I would go into a telephone booth and ring West Lothian and ask whether they still sell toasties in Octamucdy.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes it was. He got it off his chest and that was enough! So Paul you have a correct challenge of hesitation, 14 seconds left, what I'd be doing if I wasn't doing this, starting now.

PM: Rather like Fred when this show goes out I will be sitting back perhaps with a cup of tea in my hand listening to the wonderful witty repartee that passes for light entertainment on this verago of a show. It is a wonderful pleasure...


NP: Paul Merton kept going until the whistle went, gained that extra point. He's creeping up on the leader Clement Freud but he is ahead of Graham Norton and Fred MacAulay. And Paul Merton it's your turn to begin. The subject is chancing my arm. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PM: One night when I was in the middle of the woods this mischievous pixie appeared from around a tree trunk and asked me to dive into the flame of eternal youth. And I thought "hello!" So what I did was, rather than risk my entire body, I chanced my arm into the fire and that is why this particular limb here is 15 years younger than the rest of me! And sometimes when I get lonely it comes in very handy because I can pick up the phone and dial my friends on that particular instrument, the telephone, and speak to them, no matter where they are, whether in West Lothian or Octamucdy, it doesn't matter, I can contact them telephonically and say "how are you? What's life like where you are?" and they say "things are good, not too bad, thank you very much". One particular pal of mine, he was somebody who liked a bit of a gamble, and one year during the Grand National, he decided to bet on the fact that there would be a false start. Unfortunately it wasn't in the year where there was a beginning that wasn't what it should have been. He had gambled on the...


NP: Well a well deserved round of applause because it's a tough game and to do that without hesitating, repetition or deviation for one full minute and not be interrupted. He gets a point of course for speaking as the whistle went and a bonus point for not being interrupted. And Paul Merton you have crept forward but you're still just trailing our leader Clement Freud. Clement Freud, it's your turn to begin, the subject is penny pinching. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: Penny pinching is an expression for mean, miserly, tight fisted, parsinomious, or parsinimious as some people pronounce it. There is...


NP: Graham Norton challenged.

GN: Yeah, I thought he hesitated.

NP: He did hesitate, yes Graham. So you got in with 47 seconds on penny pinching starting now.

GN: In Kansas there is a Glasgow. Much smaller than this lovely city! And yet it is quite quiet. But it gets very busy once a year. When rather like...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: You haven't established penny pinching yet.

NP: No.

GN: I was coming in a second.

PM: Oh I see!

NP: Yes but you do have to, in Just A Minute, considering you've only got 60 seconds, get into the subject much more rapidly than that or else you'll be accused of...

GN: Shall I, shall I do that then?

NP: No you can't!

GN: Curses!

NP: A good try, a good try! No I think that's deviation, you had been going for quite a few seconds. Penny pinching is with you Paul, 33 seconds, starting now.

PM: There used to be a game that you would see at the fun fair where you dropped a penny through the slot onto this moving table effect thing. And the idea was to knock further coins off this ledge on to some other coins beneath...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Coins.

NP: There were more coins than there should have been there. So 19 seconds is with you, penny pinching, Clement, starting now.

CF: There's some who talk of having not two pennies to rub together. And it is the most extraordinary thing...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Isn't it two hapennies to rub together?

NP: Yes it is, it's two hapennies.

CF: I said there are some who talk of not having two pennies to rub together.

PM: Well those people are guilty of deviation!

NP: Yes!

PM: And if they were here I would tell them!

NP: And you have told us and got a point for it, and the subject as well, 12 seconds, penny pinching, starting now.

PM: I remember one night up here in Glasgow with Nicholas Parsons where Delilah was busy, and Penny came out to see us and she was an absolutely beautiful looking woman. I remember our chairman saying...


NP: Oh dear, yes! Clement you challenged.

CF: Repetition of remember.

NP: Yes you did remember too much. I wish I could remember Penny as well as you did!

PM: She sends her regards.

NP: Does she, yes?

PM: She said you left your teeth behind last time!

NP: Clement, back to Just A Minute. You got in with one second to go on penny pinching starting now.

CF: I...


NP: And you've challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: I'd love to give it to you but actually no, he didn't hesitate. You've got three quarters of a second Clement on penny pinching starting now.

CF: Penny pinch...


NP: And yes?

PM: Repetition!

NP: Of what?

PM: The same vowel sound as the one before!

NP: What do I do? Um! I know! Give two bonus points to Paul because we enjoyed both challenges but they weren't correct. Clement's got two points, he'll get another point now and he has penny pinching, half a second to go starting now.

CF: Quark!


NP: Well a lot of points were scored in that round including one for speaking when the whistle was supposed to have gone by Clement Freud. He is still in the lead, just ahead of Paul Merton, and then comes Fred MacAulay and Graham Norton in that order. And we are now moving into the last round. It's very apt that Fred MacAulay should take the last round, it's your turn to do so Fred, and what a lovely Scottish subject we've got for you. A wee dock and doris. I'm sure they all know what it is out there. But will you try and elucidate on that subject starting now.

FM: It is very appropriate that we finish with a wee dock and doris because shortly we all will gen awah! Which is the next line of that particular song. I didn't know if a wee dock and doris was in fact a drink and a chat which is what I think it is. I used to think that docking was indeed an adjective. You could say what...


NP: Paul challenged.

FM: Do let me finish! It's very funny!

GN: It's not me, it's not me!

NP: No it wasn't, it was Paul who challenged first. It was hesitation yes. So Paul can you try and tell us something about a wee dock and doris in 40 seconds starting now.

PM: I remember me and Nicholas taking Doris round this very small dockyard. What a wonderful time we had! The smell of swarfega was still in the idea. Wonderful perfume, she was the cheapest she could get! And I was wearing an aftershave called Midnight in Dockland, a wonderful perf...


NP: Fred MacAulay challenged.

FM: Two wonderfuls!

NP: Yes.

CF: Three wonderfuls.

FM: Three wonderfuls, my apologies.

NP: It doesn't matter...

FM: Repetition of wonderful then...

NP: Yes...

FM: Twice!

NP: But you only get one point for it Fred. And 24 seconds, you take back the subject of a wee dock and doris starting now.

FM: So you could say to the audience here "what did you do last night?" And they may reply: "I had a docking good time down at the Kings theatre."


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

FM: The challenge being not being very funny!

NP: He stopped, so that is hesitation, he did stop, 16 seconds, a wee dock and doris is with you Clement starting now.

CF: It's scans with boiled beef and carrots. (Sings) Wee dock and doris...


NP: Graham Norton's challenged.

GN: I just had to stop it! It's a theatre Clement! You can't just sing wherever you want!

NP: What about hesitation?

GN: Oh and hesitation!

NP: Yes right! So let's hear now from Graham Norton for the last 10 seconds, a wee dock and doris, starting now.

GN: My mother has a picture on the wall of a wee dock and doris. It looks rather like a small doctor and an old drag queen called Doris! I don't know what...


NP: So Graham Norton brought that round to a close, he also brought the show to a close in great style! And alas, in spite of his great contribution he finished in fourth place, just behind Fred MacAulay who had a magnificent contribution, who was just behind Paul Merton who had a great contribution, who was just behind Clement Freud who had a magnificent contribution...

PM: How come everybody else was magnificent and I was great?

NP: Because I was trying to think of a different adjective and not be repetitious. But now let's have a big round of applause for the winner this week, Clement Freud! And it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine exponents of this difficult game and they are Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Fred MacAulay and Clement Freud. We also thank Jane Gibson who's been sitting beside me and blowing her whistle with great style this week and also helping with the score. We thank Ian Messiter who created the game and our producer/director who is Chris Neill. And I also want to thank on behalf of all of us this delightful, warm, enthusiastic, responsive, cultured audience here sitting in the Kings theatre in Glasgow. From me, Nicholas Parsons, goodbye!