NOTE: Sheila Hancock's 50th appearance, William Rushton's last appearance.


ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Peter Jones, Sheila Hancock and William Rushton in Just A Minute. And as the Minute Waltz fades away, here to tell you about it is our chairman, Nicholas Parsons.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Thank you, thank you very much indeed, hello and welcome to Just A Minute, and I would like to take this opportunity right away on behalf of all of us here of wishing everybody a very happy Christmas. And I'm going to ask our four panelists to speak again if they can for 60 seconds on some subject I will give them without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. And we'll begin the show this week with Peter Jones. Peter the subject is crackers. Can you talk on that for Just A Minute starting now.

PETER JONES: Well I have known a number of crackers over the years. One of them lived in Ilford Comb and another one was resident in Nottingham which is a city famous for that type of er person, I think. And there was a pub there where er well I...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: There were an awful lot of ers.

NP: Kenneth you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that and so you take over the subject now and there are 40 seconds left on crackers starting now.

KW: Well this can be a slang term denoting insanity or a mild form of scatterbrained idiocy. And it can be one of those things you pull at parties and out fall little bon mots and party pieces and plastic little bits which are delightful and cause howls of laughter and giggles around the table. Oh the joy of seeing the holly up! And the lovely pieces of paper with the silver tinsel round...


NP: William Rushton has challenged.

WILLIAM RUSHTON: I've never seen holly up a cracker!

NP: It depends on your cracker! I bet they're up Peter Jones's! William, what actually is your challenge then? Hesitation, repetition or deviation?

WR: Yes indeed! And in that order!

NP: William hasn't played the game so often, but after his triumphs of last time I thought he might have been a bit more specific...

WR: Deviation will suffice.

NP: Yes well I don't think, it was a devious thought but he wasn't deviating from the subject. But it was a very nice challenge. Let's give William Rushton a bonus point for giving us such good value with the challenge but leave the subject with Kenneth Williams and crackers is with you for 10 seconds starting now.

KW: Out of it I usually find a delightfully coloured paper hat and I put it on...


NP: Sheila, yes?

SHEILA HANCOCK: We've had lots of paper. We had bits of paper coming out with bon mots...

NP: Yes that's right, we've had the paper before Kenneth and so a correct challenge...

KW: Very nice of you to remember these things dear!

SH: Yes well!

NP: Very nice when we start a new game...

KW: Keeping her adrenalin flowing, ain't she? Straight out the knife box ain't she, she's that sharp!

NP: Five seconds Sheila for you to talk on crackers starting now.

SH: I once had a little cat called Crackers, because he did somersaults and chased after ballas of wool...


NP: The whistle tells us that 60 seconds are up and whomever is speaking at that moment gains the extra point. On this occasion it was Sheila Hancock and at the end of that round Sheila Hancock has got two points and Kenneth Williams has got two points so they're equal in the lead. William Rushton has one, Peter is yet to score and Kenneth it's your turn to begin. The subject: my best day ever. Will you tell us something about that if you can remember it starting now.

KW: My best day ever I suppose was of deep humility when I did become another kind of human being. That person who is subliminally conscious of a deeper motivation to a life than was hitherto ever experienced. In the middle of Ceylon a huge great earthquake like thing called Elephant Rock reared its head and up there on the top there I met a Tibetan who told me one of the great secrets of the universe. He said that when the setting sun shone its golden rays upon the Schweredegon pagoda a deep truth would be revealed...


NP: Peter Jones you challenged.

PJ: Hesitation, he hesitated!

NP: There was a hesitation with only three seconds to go and we were all chuckling! That's why he's been called! Peter three seconds for you on the best day I ever had starting now.

PJ: It is of course yet to be! Next week I hope...


NP: Well Kenneth did extremely well, but alas! Peter got in with three seconds to go. He got the point for speaking when the whistle went and he's now equal in the lead with Sheila Hancock and Kenneth Williams. Sheila the next subject is the perfect guest. Would you tell us something about him in 60 seconds starting now.

SH: The perfect guest would be somebody who would give me the end of Kenneth's story! Because I'm dying to know what the monk actually said! However I also like people who don't demand anything of you and just enjoy themselves. I hate people who leap to their feet and say "can I help you with the washing up?" Because invariably I don't do it anyway! I leave it till the next morning! And all it does is give me great feelings of guilt that I'm not er doing it...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: I'm afraid dreadful hesitation there!

NP: You have a correct challenge Kenneth and you have 35 seconds on the perfect guest starting now.

KW: The perfect guest is someone who remembers that everything in your home was bought with your own sacrifice and your hard work! It's not someone who grinds their feet into your carpet. It's not...


NP: Sheila Hancock has challenged.

SH: As far as I know Kenneth's never allowed anybody to go into his house in case they put ash in his ashtray!

NP: Yeah but...

SH: The only, the only time I ever went he said "don't you dare put ash in my ashtray! Don't you sit there!" So I don't think he ever had any guests, perfect or not!

NP: I know! The thing is Sheila that may be perfectly true but the answer is that Kenneth is still searching for the perfect guest!

SH: That's true! I wasn't it!

NP: And this can be his perfect guest even if he's never been to his house!

SH: That's true!

NP: So he wasn't deviating and he keeps the subject and there are 20 seconds left starting now.

KW: He arrives at the proper time, not late and of course we don't want him early! He also sits absolutely still without moving the feet in this wild and uncontrollable fashion which sets everybody else's nerves on edge. And he concentrates...


SH: Oh dear! Oh Kenneth you shouldn't have said that! You'll be inundated with requests!

NP: Anyway Kenneth kept going with his perfect guest, was also speaking when the whistle went, got that extra point and has now got a good lead at the end of that round. In other words Kenneth you have leapt into a commanding lead!

KW: Ah the result of virtue and hard work you see!

NP: Peter Jones your turn to begin, the subject is balancing the books. Will you tell us something about that in 60 seconds starting now.

PJ: Well I've been trying to do that for many years with the aid of my accountant! But I really can't get anywhere near making the two sides equal. And I'm always getting unpleasant surprises and sometimes visits from the tax people who are always pestering me because things are in a state of confusion. And balancing the books is something that I feel is not natural to an ordinary human being because we are irrational and we can try and save for example 5p by walking to work and then buying something on the way because we happen to see it in a shop window which we wouldn't have done had we been in a taxi! This kind of thing is always causing me a lot of trouble and inconvenience. And the authorities are suspicious. They come from all over the country knocking at the door, sending letters of various colours, blue demands, red, and sometimes registered....


NP: Well that's the first time that's happened for a long time. Someone started with a subject and finished with a subject. He didn't hesitate, repeat himself or deviate, he wasn't challenged so he gets two points. One for speaking when the whistle went and one for keeping going for 60 seconds. Congratulations Peter!

PJ: Thank you very much! That's very kind of you! Thank you so much! Yes, yes!

NP: Kenneth it's your turn to begin, the subject is Cicero. Will you tell us something about him in 60 seconds starting now.

KW: He was a contemporary of Catullus of course who was extremely Epicurean. But Cicero undoubtedly is much more influenced by the stoical school of philosophy which maintains, as he does in his writings, especially on friendship that the true virtue lies in the altruistic, the knowledge that the duty is to be done regardless of whether it gives you pleasure or not. That is to say that morality consists of wrong and right being inalienable and incapable of modification...


NP: William Rushton has challenged.

WR: Is being extravagantly dull anything? I mean it really...

NP: Yes! Extremely dull! And...

WR: That was boring! That was dull!

NP: I really don't know what he was talking about!

WR: More dull than boring! And uninformative and lies!

NP: You see...

WR: I'll throw that in as well! Otherwise splendid!

NP: Cicero who was one of the.... And Cicero was supposed to have written jokes as well. That doesn't sound very funny to me! I think you were going on a bit and I think it was a little bit off the subject...

KW: Well you go on a bit too and you're always dull! But they don't chuck you off!

NP: I haven't chucked you off!

KW: You don't know anything about Cicero anyway!

NP: I know probably as much as you do!

KW: You know nothing! You couldn't name one of the works! Could you? There! You see! That's a cheap trick dropping the pace there, trying to look as though as though he's filling in but I mean he's got no answer at all. Couldn't name a line could you of Cicero!

NP: Yes! Presidium minus equirium oh optim omnes quit! Willie Rushton...

KW: Really! Playing on the radio like that...

NP: ... has the subject...

WR: Cicero was of course best known for his oratory. He was the master of tub thumping. He would stand up in the Senate in Rome in his toga and engage them for hours on some of the most boring dull stupid issues of the day. they would all drop off dead asleep...


NP: So William Rushton kept going then until the whistle. He got an extra point and he's now, he's in third place now...

PJ: I thought he out-bored Kenneth!

WR: I know!

NP: No, no, I thought he spoke rather loud for once. Sheila the subject is compassion. Would you tell us something on that in 60 seconds starting now.

SH: Well I think as I am sitting in fourth place I am deserving of a bit of compassion! And so here I go! It's strange that you should choose this subject because I was thinking only the other day what quality I would most prefer my children to have, and I finally decided that I would like compassion. Because I feel that with that quality the world would be a better place. Because it would mean that each human being would respect one another and not only other people but towards oneself. Because occasionally people are too harsh on their own self and they feel guilty about things which they shouldn't. And children particularly...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: We've had children and people twice.

NP: Yes! I'm afraid we did have children before! It was a very compassionate plea and um you've all gone very quiet anyway! Kenneth...

PJ: Well after all it is Christmas!

NP: There are 24 seconds Kenneth for you to talk on the subject of compassion starting now.

KW: Well one of the most compassionate of course was Saint Francis. I mean the one of Assisi not Xavier. And in a train once a gentleman asked a fellow traveller what was particular about him. And he said "well he talked to the birds and the bees and the animals and he was a friend to everyone". He said "how delightful! Really I've never realised that he was that kind of a fellow!"


KW: And the other man... That whistle ruined it! That whistle ruined it! Because I was telling you that this man said "who was St Francis?" and the other man explained who he was and then he said to the other bloke "where are you from?" and he said "San Francisco!"

NP: Oh I thought you were talking about Cicero still!

PJ: We ought to have a game called Just Five Minutes!

NP: Right! William Rushton we're back with you and the subject is useless inventions. Will you tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

WR: It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. Oh dear, sorry about that, haha! Yes! Um!


NP: Um...

WR: Hesitation, repetition and deviation!

NP: Yes!

WR: Two points! Shall I go on?

NP: You were a bit late! I'm afraid Sheila got in before you! Sheila what was your challenge?

SH: Hesitation!

NP: It was a correct challenge...

WR: Brain damage!

NP: You have 47 seconds on useless inventions starting now.

SH: Actually it appears to me that we are getting an awful lot of useless inventions. For instance I've got some sort of mixer with endless attachments, for instance a potato scraper and a bean slicer...


NP: Kenneth Williams.

KW: For instance twice.

NP: Yes Kenneth, you have 34 seconds on useless inventions starting now.

KW: Well they aren't really useless, any of them, because there's always something someone can do with the odd implement. The only thing that can be said to be truly useless is that thing that fulfills no function at all and of course there wouldn't be any instrument at all that could be described in those terms. No, even if...


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: Instruments, repeated instrument.

NP: Fourteen seconds are left Sheila on useless inventions starting now.

SH: And I find these particular implements that I mentioned before I was rudely interrupted...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of implement.

NP: Yes!

SH: I didn't say implement before.

NP: Yes you did.

PJ: You did say it...

KW: You said it before, yes...

PJ: And you just said you said it before!

KW: You're hoist with your own petard, you are!

SH: I didn't!

PJ: But you just said you said it before, you said the implements that I mentioned before!

SH: But I mentioned them in a different way before!

NP: No you mentioned the word implement!

SH: All right!

NP: You said something about some implement that was attached to it that peeled a potato while doing the washing up.

SH: Didn't!

NP: There are 10 seconds for useless inventions Peter starting now.

PJ: Well I do agree with Sheila that most of them seem to be situated in the kitchen. There are also a vast number of them...


NP: Sheila Hancock challenged.

SH: I don't think most of them are situated in the kitchen!

NP: Well that's your opinion as opposed to Peter's, he wasn't deviating from the subject...

SH: He said he agreed with me that most of them are situated in the kitchen. I never said that and I don't think that!

NP: Did you say that?

PJ: Well that was a, that was an informed guess on my part!

NP: Well if you didn't say it then obviously he was deviating. So Sheila you have the subject of useless inventions with three seconds to go starting now.

SH: You usually have to spend a great deal of time cleaning them.


NP: Kenneth your turn to begin and the subject is 3am.

SH: Oh dear!

NP: That's an offbeat subject isn't it! Can you talk about it in Just A Minute starting now.

KW: I was once told by Reverend Domini that this was the hour at which the human body is at its lowest ebb. And so I think it must be about 3am right now! On the other hand of course it can be if you're at some riotous gathering or Bachanailian orgy so to speak, which I expect all of you crowd are off to at this Christmas period, Greeting people with alcohol, swishing it round to imbibe, then 3am can be a period of enormous hyper tension where the mind is seething with ideas and suggestions as you nudge alongside a fellow guest, and make a suggestion as to how you should mark...


NP: Sheila Hancock has challenged.

SH: Suggestion.

NP: Yeah too many suggestions going on at 3am in the morning! And er...

WR: What a pathetic Bachanailian orgy when nudging is the only... I wouldn't go to an orgy just for a nudge!

KW: Everything's got to begin somehow!

WR: Nudging!

SH: Bachanailian nudge! I like that!

NP: Sheila Hancock you have the subject, 3am, you have 15 seconds starting now.

SH: As a person who suffers occasionally from insomnia...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Insomnia, not imsomnia. So therefore deviation.

SH: I didn't say that!

NP: Oh don't be ridiculous Kenneth!

WR: She might have been saying she suffered from insomniacs! That's all right!

NP: She said insomnia and she has 10 seconds on 3am starting now.

SH: Three AM is a particularly awful time of the night particularly if you are lying next to somebody...


NP: Peter Jones.

PJ: Particularly.

NP: Yes I'm particularly right, and there are five seconds for you on 3am starting now.

PJ: Well it's a rather nice hour I think. Everyone is just waking up and going out...


NP: Well the situations very close, they're neck and neck, Sheila Hancock, Peter Jones and Kenneth Williams. William Rushton's trailing a little.

WR: I need help!

NP: Sheila your turn to begin. The subject is flat feet.

SH: Ohhhhh!

NP: You sound as if your arches have dropped off!

SH: Yes! They have!

NP: Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

SH: I have suffered all my life from flat feet. When I was a very little girl it was defined as the metatarsal arch which instead of going upwards went downwards. And I spent all my break picking daisies with my toes, which was supposed according to the remedial teacher to cure this said lump. However it didn't and I still crawl around after a day's shopping moaning in agony at these fallen flat feet. And it is a miserable existence! No cure can be found! It's no good sticking the little rubber things under your arches...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Well this is beyond the game! It's become a cry for help! I mean you know the last minute you were describing your insomnia, now you're on about your flat feet! I mean! We can't go on!

NP: It's...

WR: This presents like an old festive tie doesn't it?

NP: Yes! So what is your challenge Peter?

PJ: Oh depressing the audience! Being un-Christmassy! I mean who is in the lead at the moment?

NP: You're all very very close, Sheila's just in the lead.

PJ: Sheila's in the lead already? Yes well there you are you see!

NP: Well what's your challenge?

PJ: Ah repetition of flat!

SH: It's on the card!

NP: It might well be but it's on the card.

PJ: Oh yes!

SH: It's on the card!

PJ: Yes!

NP: You could have said what she did say her fallen flat feet...

PJ: Yes I know but I didn't think it was nice to mention them!

NP: It's the arches that fall, not the feet.

PJ: Ah yes yes.

NP: Sheila you go on with your flat feet I'm afraid...

SH: Ohhhh! How many minutes?

NP: ... having had an incorrect challenge, there are 20, not minutes...

SH: Twenty?

NP: Seconds not minutes!

SH: Oh I must have been talking for longer than that!

PJ: It seemed longer!

SH: It did! It seemed eternal!

NP: Well you were rather flat footing it!

SH: I know!

NP: But try and keep going and you start now.

SH: Despite my flat feet I seem somehow to have struggled to the lead in this game. And I may be talking rather boringly and flat footedly. However I have endeavoured to surpass Willie Rushton, Peter Jones and Kenneth Williams on my two little flat feet. Not so very small actually...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of little.

NP: Yes! There are two seconds Peter starting now.

PJ: I suffered from them as a child! Overcame them with willpower!


SH: Oh dear! Oh!

NP: At the end of that round Sheila Hancock is one ahead of Peter Jones who is one ahead of Kenneth Williams who is four ahead of William Rushton. And William, your turn to begin. Slang. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

WR: Being a Londoner of course the most popular form of slang is cockney rhyming slang. And Cockneys say such stupid things as...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: I'm afraid Cockney twice.

NP: I know! But he's only played the game once before. And give him a chance!

PJ: Well you speak for yourself! I don't want to hear about it!

NP: William can you tell us something about slang with 53 seconds left starting now.


WR: The inhabitants...

NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: I'm afraid hesitation.

NP: I'm going to give it to against you that time Kenneth...

KW: You have to give it to me that time, it must have been one and a half seconds he left out.

NP: Fifty-one seconds Kenneth on slang starting now.

KW: This of course is when words become corrupted and take a form they did not have hitherto. As we have the original expression God be with you, we now have goodbye, and the whole thing has become corrupted. Yes the slang has become orthodox. And very often this happens to a language. It has bippiippp...


NP: Sheila what was your challenge?

SH: Repetition of bipppdiidleip!

NP: It sounded just as what Sheila said, mumbling away! I've just had a message this is going to be the last subject and there's 32 seconds on slang Sheila starting now.

SH: A lot of people disapprove of slang. But despite that I am one of the people that Kenneth talks about who thinks it adds flavour to a language. Little words like crikey and...


NP: Kenneth Williams.

KW: It seemed to be juddering to a halt!

NP: So hesitation?

KW: Yes.

NP: Good, all right! So you have 19 seconds on slang Kenneth starting now.

KW: The slang that proceeds from the kind of thing that Miss Hancock was just discussing and which I cannot within the rules of this game repeat, is a disgrace! And I shall not deal with it because I consider it a matter which is naturally indelicate with this charming and decorous and...


NP: Well as I said a moment ago we were reaching the end of the game so now let me give you the final score. William Rushton returning after only having played the game once before finished in fourth place, a little way behind Peter Jones and he was about three points behind Sheila Hancock and four behind this week's winner, Kenneth Williams. We hope that you have enjoyed listening to Just A Minute. From all of us here, goodbye.


ANNOUNCER: The chairman of Just A Minute was Nicholas Parsons. The programme was devised by Ian Messiter and produced by John Lloyd.