NOTE: Clement Freud's 400th appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more, it is my pleasure to welcome our many listeners in many parts of the world, particularly of course in the British Isles. And also to welcome the four exciting and talented players who this week are going to join me for this game. We welcome the irreplaceable Paul Merton, the irresistible Peter Jones, the irrepressible Clement Freud and someone who hasn't played the game quite as often as those three and that is the irredeemable Greg Proops. Will you please welcome all four of them. And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject I will give them and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Beside me sits Jane Gibson. She's going to help me keep the score and she will blow a whistle, vehemently we hope, when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the pleasance of the Edinburgh Fringe of 99. And in front of us we have an enthusiastic hyped up Fringe audience to cheer us on our way. And we begin the show this week with Greg Proops. Greg, the subject we have here, very apt I think for this time of year, the end of the century. Can you talk about the end of the century, 60 seconds, starting now.

GREG PROOPS: The end of the century will mark 100 years have passed. Here in Scotland the Y2K problem is a very serious one. For it is the day when all the deep fries will go code yellow. The city of Edinburgh will mark the end of the century with a very and splendid ways. For one thing they will note that the century has passed. And at the same time...


NP: Paul Merton you challenged.

PAUL MERTON: There was a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation, yes yes. So you get a point for that, you take over the subject which is the end of the century. There are 28 seconds available and your time starts now.

PM: There is a great deal of controversy about when the actual end of the century is. Some people believe that the year 1999 marks the end of the century whilst other people say "well I don't...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes there were too many people.

PM: Was there?

NP: Yes. So Clement a correct challenge, a point to you and 15 seconds, you tell us something about the end of the century, starting now.

CF: Rather as in snooker, I've never achieved a break, so have I never made a century at cricket. I've got into 70s, 80s, nearly 90s, through the slips, third man, boundary, for six...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Clement Freud and with the other point in the round he is naturally in the lead, ahead of Paul Merton. And Peter Jones, your turn to begin. The subject, school days. Tell us something about school days in this game starting now.

PETER JONES: Oh I had wonderful school days until I was sent to boarding school. But in the first 10 years of my life I went to the grammar school in Wem, Shropshire. Lovely city, little town, I mean. And er they had a huge er playing field with a stream going through it from one end to the other. And there were sticklebacks and all kinds of er river insects in it where I er used to enjoy catching. And then we’d have a little ship which we'd put in at one end and it went down to the other. And some of the masters were terribly interesting because they'd been in the Great War, this era I'm talking about now, the... what's the matter?

NP: Keep going!


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Hesitation..

PJ: You were...

NP: They were laughing so hard Peter.

PJ: People interrupting! I didn't have a fair whack of the whip.

NP: I think everybody was so intrigued with the idea of you going to school with sticklebacks.

PJ: Oh, very interesting.

NP: Well you didn't have a fair crack but you kept going for 46 seconds.

PJ: Yeah I could have gone on longer though!

NP: Paul do you mind, I know you can be generous.

PM: No no that's fine.

NP: Because because because he maintains he was put off and he did go for 44 seconds. You have another 16 seconds, tell us more about your school days Peter starting now.

PJ: The masters were awfully nice...


NP: That's a... Paul?

PM: Repetition of masters.

NP: You said masters before. But Peter Jones does get a point for being interrupted last time and Paul gets a point for a correct challenge. He has 14 seconds now to tell us something about school days starting now.

PM: I remember my nursery school very well. During the break that we used to have around about lunchtime the kids were encouraged to get on these little hobby horses. And I always got the one that had chipped blue paint. The others were quite brightly painted, there were reds and yellows...


NP: Paul Merton, speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point as well as another one in the round. So he's now ahead of Clement Freud in that order. And Clement it's your turn to begin. The subject is my most embarrassing purchase. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

CF: I think the most embarrassing purchase I ever made was a season ticket to watch Plymouth Argyll play at Home Park. They are the most pathetic football team there's ever been. Finally they realised their own incompetence and now if they get a corner, they do a lap of honour! Having purchased this right to go to their home matches every Saturday, also in midweek...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Well the first team doesn't play home matches every Saturday. They play home and away, home and away, home and away.

CF: A season ticket...

PM: Do you understand how this game works?

NP: That was a clever challenge of deviation....

CF: No it isn't.

NP: Why not?

CF: Because a season ticket allows you to see the second team who play...

PM: He hadn't established that though had he Nicholas?

NP: He hadn't established that, no, he hadn't established it. So I'm in a possible dilemna. I'm going to antagonise one or the other, whatever decision I make.

PM: Antagonise Clement!

NP: Right! Paul was listening well, has a correct challenge for deviation. Thirty seconds, my most embarrassing purchase Paul starting now.

PM: Well undoubtedly it was a flat I bought at the height of the property boom in 1988. And if I live for another 35 years it might just about make up the equity that it had then. A lot of people got caught out by this. They purchased property that they thought at the time was...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition.

NP: Of what?

PJ: Purchase.

NP: Purchase is on, one of the subjects.

PJ: Oh is it?

NP: Yes. I'm sorry. I know you've only been playing the game for 33 years Peter but you can repeat the subject or any one of the words if it's a phrase, like my most embarrassing purchase.

PJ: Yes.

NP: So what a pity! An incorrect challenge so Paul another point to you and 15 seconds on my most embarrassing purchase starting now.

PM: Possibly another contender for the most embarrassing purchase I ever made was a jumper I bought in 1976. It was a hideous...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of 19.

NP: Yes. So Clement you listen and you get back in again and you have got the subject back again. Another point of course. My most embarrassing purchase and there are only five seconds to go starting now.

CF: The purchase I made at Timothy White, the chemist...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well deviation, it's Timothy Whites.

NP: Actually you're right, it is!

CF: The shop is called Timothy White...

NP: This could be an individual chemist in the country, all right. I gave it against you last time, I give you the benefit...

CF: Well you were foolish last time!

NP: I'll be foolish again Clement and give it to you. And so you have the benefit of the doubt on this occasion, so we've got even justice there. You have another point and you still have the subject and you have one second, my most embarrassing purchase starting now.

CF: I shan't talk about it!


NP: So at the end of that round Clement Freud and Paul Merton are equal in the lead. Paul it's your turn to begin. The subject, the black sheep of the family. Can you tell us something about the black sheep of the family, the subject that is, starting now.

PM: Well I suppose it's a phrase that means somebody who doesn't quite fit in. The black sheep of my family is Uncle Rufus who is currently doing 35 years for kidnapping milkmen all across the south east of England. This was something he specialised in doing. He would phone up United Dairies and he would say "your employee is now under my control. I have hypnotised him to kill the Prime Minister". And you would see these poor unfortunate men walking around the town centre with hollow eyes, vacant expressions, wandering to themselves "I must shoot Tony Blair". And that is the reason why he got in trouble with the authorities. And the police came up to him and they said "what do you think you're doing? You can't go round putting these people under the influence, under a trance, their families are so worried about them. These individual dairy workers that you have taken into your head to put into some sort of strange brain pattern where they don't know what they're doing and they walk about...


PM: Who challenged?

NP: Greg Proops you challenged with half a second to go.

PM: Oh no!

NP: What is your challenge?

GP: He said doing three times! Repetition.

NP: Well Greg you are correct but he actually went for 59 and a half seconds. Anybody who can do...


NP: What's your challenge?

PJ: Well I challenge him for hesitation, because he should have challenged after the second one!

NP: Peter I could say the same to you, you could have challenged after the second one! What I'm going to do is, because if someone goes for the full 60 seconds they get a bonus point for not being interrupted and one for speaking as the whistle went. So we give two points to Paul Merton already...

PM: Oh that's very kind!

NP: For what he almost achieved. And Greg you had a correct challenge so you have half a second, a point for a correct challenge by the way, the black sheep of the family, half a second starting now.


NP: And you've been challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: No, another point to Greg Proops. A quarter of a second, the black sheep of the family with you Greg starting now.

GP: The black sheep of the...


NP: Greg Proops gained points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went and has leapt forward and he is still in third place. But it's his turn to begin and Greg the subject now is glad rags. Tell us something about that in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

GP: Back in the 50s and the early 60s there was a baseball player called Leon Big Daddy Wagner. He was known for his sartorial splendour, not only on the field of play, but off as well, where he was of course decked out each day in an outfit that can only be described as pimpin or Macon if you will. And I don't think you will by your sullen stubborn reaction to me in the face of the word Macon...


NP: Yes Peter you challenged.

PJ: Repetition of Macon.

GP: After I said it twice!

PJ: Yes!

PM: It couldn't be repetition if you said it once!

NP: So Peter a correct challenge. You have glad rags and you have 30 seconds starting now.

PJ: I haven't got very many glad rags because I'm not often glad. But I do have one or two things in the trunk upstairs which I put on when I'm trying to celebrate...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: He lives in a flat!

PJ: What has that got to do with it?

NP: Peter says what has that got to do with it Clement? It gives you...

CF: How can you have a trunk upstairs if you live in a flat?

NP: Because there might be a storage space in the block of flats where he keeps his trunk.

CF: No...

PJ: And I'm not always at the flat!

NP: So Peter...

PJ: Yes! I know!

PM: We're seeing the ugly side now!

NP: Not necessarily the ugly side, the glossy side I think! Peter an incorrect challenge, you have a point for that, 19 seconds to continue on glad rags starting now.

PJ: And it's a satin dressing gown which was modelled on Noel Coward's original which he was photographed in many times, about 1925-6 and 7, 8 even I don't know. But it was quite er...



PJ: ...Oriental.

NP: Clement challenged with quarter of a second to go. What was your challenge?

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Oh I have another impossible decision to make here! I'm going to assume that the whistle was blown quarter of a second late so that the, and so actually Peter was technically, speaking when the whistle blew. And so Clement endorses my decision, Peter technically you were speaking when the whistle went. You get an extra point for doing so and what is the situation at the end of that round? So Peter has leapt forward, he's now equal with Greg Proops in second place, third place, behind Clement Freud and Paul Merton in that order. And Paul you begin the next round. The subject, the glitterati. Tell us something about them in this game starting now.

PM: Well I suppose it's a term that refers to an elite. People who are considered sexy or successful. If you look at the panel assembled in front of you here now, this possibly is the finest example of the glitterati that you will find during the Edinburgh Festival. Can there be a more potent...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: I agree yes. The glitterati with you Clement and 42 seconds available starting now.

CF: The glitterati is Gary Glitter's email address and I use it pretty frequently. Gary Glitterati...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of Gary.

NP: Yes. And Glitter. Ah there is...

CF: Glitter is all right because it's...

NP: No Glitterati is the subject.

CF: It's one of the words.

NP: It's part of one of the words!

CF: That's right!

PM: Are we allowed to repeat letters that are in the words?

NP: If you want to be argumentative...

PM: If it's the glitterati can you say he?

NP: Thank you Paul...

PM: That's a good new rule! I like that rule!

NP: No you had a correct challenge Paul and you have a pointand you have 32 seconds still. Tell us more about the glitterati starting now.

PM: The glitterati consider themselves very lucky people if they spend the weekend at Nicholas Parsons' country retreat. This is where the glitterati from four corners of the globe gather every Saturday and they decide that they are going to worship the man...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: The globe is round! There are no corners.

PM: Are you saying Clement you've never heard the phrase four corners of the globe?

CF: I'm saying that unless you are a member of the Flat Earth Society...

PM: Which I am! Membership number 6742!

NP: And as we have to keep going colloquially that is a well known phrase! From the four corners of the world. And therefore we do accept the fact you can say the four corners of the globe as well. I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to Paul. So you still have 17 seconds, yeah 17 seconds, the glitterati starting now.

PM: I've got a square football at home. It's like an ordinary one except it hasn't got so round as the ordinary ball that you would normally present...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of ball.

PM: Football, ball.

CF: Yeah. Foot ball, ball.

NP: You're starting a whole new rule, you're trying to press this one in. I'm not going to let you get away with it! No, football and ball are two separate words and you are allowed to use them in Just A Minute. So Paul still nine seconds for you on the glitterati starting now.

PM: Let me take you back now to Hollywood in the 1920s. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford I remember, respectively, king and queen of their realms. And Charlie Chaplin...


NP: Paul Merton speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point and has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Greg Proops, your turn to begin. The subject, duck. Tell us something about duck in Just A Minute starting now.

GP: Duck is one of the most tempting dishes you will find here in the regional cuisine of the Scottish Highlands. It is often served after being beaten by the rake so that there is no flavour left to offend the palate of the Scottish people. It is then liberally doused with salt which is the only spice known in this area. If the duck survives this it is served promptly to a family of meeps and tatties, not as a side dish but to the children themselves, who represent the vegetables hitherto mentioned. Turnips...


GP: Oh I don't know.

PM: Slight hesitation.

NP: Paul Merton, another correct challenge, 19 seconds, you tell us something about duck starting now.

PM: One of my favourite versions of duck is the duck that is served at Chinese restaurants with that lovely fatty skin. I like to wrap it up in a pancake with little bits of sprout and perhaps some plum sauce. And as its wound up in the flour, it tastes so beautiful on the tongue. It melts away into your taste buds and you think "I'm in heaven...


NP: Paul's advert for crispy duck kept us going, whet all our appetities and increased his lead at the end of the round. And Peter Jones back to you to begin. And the subject, the best of a bad bunch. Take that subject any way you wish and tell us something about it in this game starting now.

PJ: Well if you look at a bunch of bananas and try to find the best one then it's usually one that's served, that's got a lot of black on it. Because it means that it's ripe and sugary. And I think I would choose that one...


NP: Greg challenged.

GP: I'm going to say repetition of the word one.

NP: Yes he did use the one quite a lot. Yes.

GP: I know it's the loneliest number but in this case it's been joined by several other ones!

NP: Correct challenge Greg! You tell us something about the best of a bad bunch, 43 seconds available, starting now.

GP: Aha! When I was in high school...


NP: Peter challenged.

PJ: Hesitation. Well he said "aha".

NP: You could have had him for repetition of ha!

PM: No, wait...

NP: But haha is not er!

GP: I was actually naming a popular Norweigan group of the 80s!

PJ: I see!

NP: You see right! You've had so many benefits of my doubt over the years Peter that you shouldn't look like that.

PJ: No! I'm very happy because I didn't want to go on talking about bloody bananas!

NP: Greg it was an incorrect challenge, you have 39 seconds, the best of a bad bunch, starting now.

GP: There were many kids at the school who made my life a constant torment. David Grunmeyer, Darrell Levins, their names were legion. And as I strolled across the playground, they would often take me off of my feet and butt-drag me across the lawn. This was a pastime that they enjoyed greatly and that I found to be rather annoying in that it made your bum hurt, 1, and 2, it ruined my delicious pink corduroy pants that my mother had made me. When I say trousers....


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: A hesitation.

NP: Yes I think there was a slight hesitation then Clement, so you have a correct challenge...

CF: There was a hesitation!

NP: Anyway the best of a bad bunch is with you Clement, nine seconds to go starting now.

CF: If you have a bunch of daffodils and jonquils and among those you find a forget-me-not, in my opinion that is the best of a ...


NP: Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went and gained an extra point. He's gained more points. He's moving up on our leader Paul Merton, he's still in a strong second place, followed by Greg Proops and Peter Jones equal in third place. And Clement your turn to begin, the subject: an old fashioned look. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.

CF: In Greek torture it was customary to stick a radish up the fundamental. And the person to whom this was done was often thought to have an old fashioned look. Perhaps my idea of an old fashioned look is if you drink an old fashion which is a cocktail consisting of bourbon, whisky and vermouth, usually shaken with ice, and sometimes elongated with soda water, and provided you imbibe a sufficiency of these cocktails there is no reason why the expression on your face should not be designated as an old fashioned look. Having four, five or six of these potions would cause you to have an old fashioned look squared or trebled, possibly even cubed. It is an extraordinary thing that the intake of much vermouth and...



NP: With half a second to go Paul Merton...

PM: Repetition of vermouth.

NP: There was a repetition of vermouth, yeah. You've got in, it was so brilliant wasn't it. I will do to you Clement, show how fair I am, what I did with Paul Merton...

CF: Yes I want the 59 and a half second option.

NP: Exactly! So give Clement two points, one for speaking when the whistle should have gone quarter of a second earlier and one for not being interrupted. But Paul did come in with a correct challenge, so you have another point Paul and you have half a second on an old fashioned look starting now.

PM: Isambard Kingdom Brunell!


NP: So Paul Merton with more points there and also Clement Freud. And we're into the last round. And Paul it's your turn to begin. Oh yes this is a lovely subject, because we talk about hesitation and repetition and deviation in this show. These three crimes of the rules of the game must not permit. But no-one's ever spoken on the subject of deviation. So Paul take deviation. And talk on that subject for 60 seconds if you can starting now.

PM: To deviate from the norm I think, is generally a good thing. It wouldn't do for us all to be the same. Imagine if the British Isles consisted of people who behaved like Clement Freud! What a happy go-lucky nation we would be! Skipping joyfully through fields of buttercups with permanent grins on our faces! Tourists would know it as the land of the happy people with no cares and sighs in their heart as they gaily trip up and down the high streets and byways of this wonderful kingdom of ours. I think deviation is another way of saying that you're not going to conform to what people consider to...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: He repeated happy.

NP: Yes you did.

CF: It was some time ago, I wanted to...

NP: I know you did! So Clement you have deviation. Sorry that's rather badly phrased wasn't it. The subject of deviation, 22 seconds available, starting now.

CF: If you were to marry or cohabit with a goat and...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Not suitable for Radio Four!

NP: So what is your challenge Peter within the rules of Just A Minute?

PJ: Obscenity!

NP: Well actually he wasn't deviating within the rules of Just A Minute. But we did enjoy the challenge so much Peter! We give you a bonus point...

PJ: Why, I don't want charity!

NP: This isn't charity Peter, this is a bonus!

PJ: Oh it is!

NP: Yes because the audience loved your remark so much you got a bonus....

PJ: They probably wanted him to go on!

NP: H is going on actually!

PJ: Yes he is!

NP: In fact you got two laughs so give him two bonus points, why not! The others have got two bonus points on occasions. That's because we love to hear your remarks! But deviation is still with Clement Freud and 15 seconds available and Clement gets a point for being interrupted, starting now.

CF: And that quadruped with whom you shared accommodation was of the same sex as you, that would be deviation. I'm not sure that I have much else to say but when I went to Boot the chemist...


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: You seemed to want me to challenge! I don't know! Shall I go on? Do I have the subject?

NP: You have... If you give me the challenge of hesitation, yes.

PJ: Yes hesitation.

NP: Right then! Well listened, well listened Peter yes! And as this is the last round it's delightful to hear from you!

PJ: Very good!

NP: We did hear from you earlier on with your remarks.

PJ: Yes!

NP: But you have two seconds to tell us something about deviation in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: It's a small town in Montana!


NP: So Peter Jones very aptly brought that particular round and this particular show to a close. The final situation was that Greg Proops who hasn't played the game for a long time finished in fourth place. Peter Jones was in third place, only just behind Clement Freud. But a few points out in the lead was Paul Merton with most points. So this week we say Paul you are our winner. It only remains for me to say thank you to our four exciting players of the game, Paul Merton, Greg Proops, Peter Jones and Clement Freud, for all their marvellous contributions. To Jane Gibson sitting beside me blowing her whistle so adequately and vehemently like that. And Chris Neill our producer who does such a magnificent job and also Ian Messiter who created the show. And also we do thank this lovely audience here at the Pleasance in the Fringe in Edinburgh for encouraging us on our way. From them from me Nicholas Parsons and our four panellists, thank you, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute. Till then goodbye.