NOTE: Richard Vranch's last appearance and only radio 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, not only in the British Isles but from the four corners of the world who listen to us on the World Service. But also it's my pleasure to welcome our four exciting, dynamic and diverse guests who this week are going to play Just A Minute. We have three regular players of the game, that is Paul Merton, Clement Freud and Peter Jones. And also we welcome back somebody who's played it not quite so often as our regulars and that is Richard Vranch. But will you please welcome all four of them. Right! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak on a subject that 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 blow her whistle with vehemence 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 before us we have an exciting enthusiastic dynamic Fringe audience, to drive us on our way. And we're going to begin the show this week with Clement Freud. Clement the subject in front of me is something I do only in Edinburgh. This could be interesting, couldn't it! Sixty seconds as usual and the time starts now.

CLEMENT FREUD: Staying at the Balmoral and Caledonian Hotels is something I do only in Edinburgh. As is watching Hibs and Hearts, Watsonians, Claymores, and racing at Musselborough which used to be Edinburgh Racetrack. Ah, the Botanic Garden...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: Repetition of Edinburgh.

NP: But Edinburgh's on the... Peter, I, I have to say this because I know that you've only been playing with me for 35 years...

PAUL MERTON: And how long have you been doing the show?

NP: You can repeat the word on the card, or...

PJ: Yes I know!

NP: .. if it's a phrase...

PJ: But I don't have a card as you do! Otherwise you'd be lost!

NP: Yes that's right! So Peter actually it was an incorrect challenge so Clement Freud has a point for that. He keeps the subject, there are 40 seconds available, something I do only in Edinburgh starting now.

CF: The suburbs of Morningside and Leith where Glenmorringy is made to such very good effect. Waverley Station only four and a half hours north by Great Eastern Railways from Kings Cross in London...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: This isn't really about what, what I only do in Edinburgh....

NP: No...

PM: This is a description of Edinburgh sites and places.

NP: Yes.

CF: You can't see them in Glasgow can you?

PM: You can recite Edinburgh placenames in Glasgow! You can do that anywhere!

NP: No he didn't really personalise it enough, I quite agree. Therefore we call that deviation Paul and you have a correct challenge and a point for that of course, and 25 seconds available, something I do only in Edinburgh starting now.

PM: The one thing I only do in Edinburgh is get a pulmonary embolism which I did in 1987 when I was... I'm glad you find it funny! When I was up here playing the Festival in that year. I'd been playing football with a bunch of people, I fell over, I broke my leg. That then turned into a blood clot that formed in the lung. I also developed Hepatitis A....


NP: Ah Clement Freud challenged.

CF: You could do that anywhere!

PM: So far I've only done it in Edinburgh!

NP: Yes and I agree with Paul that he's only so far, its only happened in Edinburgh...

PM: I haven't done it anywhere else!

NP: Clement but I, I enjoyed your comment. What I do on those occasions, I give a bonus point because the audience enjoyed it as well. So a bonus point to Clement but Paul Merton was interrupted so he gets a point for that. He keeps the subject, something I do only in Edinburgh and there are five seconds available starting now.

PM: Climbing very slowly up Arthur's Seat is something I do every...


NP: Whoever is speaking as the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Paul Merton and with the other points in the round he's in the lead over Clement Freud. And the other two have yet to score. Richard Vranch will you take the next round. It is double agent. Tell us something about double agent in Just A Minute starting now.

RICHARD VRANCH: Well a double agent is obviously the agent that books doubles, that is look-alikes of celebrities. So if someone's organising a garden fete and they'd like to have George Michael there. they phone the double agent who tells them "well, I have no-one who resembles that particular singer from the band Wham but I do have a fantastic Gary Barlow, would you like him?" The answer is no. And so the double agent has the sad task of going to the client...


NP: Oh yes they were living every moment with you! Paul you have a correct challenge...

PM: Which was hesitation.

NP: Oh what is your challenge?

PM: Thank you for your psychic decision!

NP: Yes!

PM: Hesitation!

NP: Yes I think so! Twenty-nine seconds available on double agent starting now.

PM: Well of course it normally means somebody who is spying for the other side. It's somebody like, perhaps...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Two somebodies.

NP: There were two somebodies...

PM: A double agent! Two somebodies!

NP: Well responded but not within the rules of Just A Minute. Double agent is with you Clement and 22 seconds available starting now.

CF: Well it normally means somebody ....


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition of well.

NP: Actually Peter he hasn't spoken in this round yet!

PJ: No but he did!

PM: I did!

NP: But it was Clement speaking then!

PJ: It was?

NP: Yes it was Clement!

PJ: He's disguised his voice!

NP: I know! Nineteen seconds, another point to you Clement and double agent still with you starting now.

CF: A double agent occasionally spies for one side and now and again for the other.


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Ah full-stop.

NP: Full-stop which we say is a hesitation. So Paul you've got in with 11 seconds on double agent starting now.

PM: You get these very good tablets...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: He didn't say well!

NP: He doesn't always say well...

CF: Yes he does!

NP: No he doesn't always say well...

CF: Lately he has been!

NP: As long as you only say it once! Oh they do love arguing! If you only say it once in a round it doesn't really matter! Anyway we enjoyed what you said Clement so I'll give you a bonus point because the audience enjoyed your remark. And Paul you have a point for being interrupted and nine seconds double agent starting now.

PM: For the dishwasher which includes a rinsing agent so as you put this particular merchandise into the machine, it has a dual action. In many ways you could...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he's just ahead of Clement Freud, he's out in the lead. And Paul Merton it's your turn to begin as well, the subject, green fingers. I don't know if you are a gardener or not but tell us something about the subject in this game starting now.

PM: Gangrene is a terrible thing! It's one of the few diseases that I haven't picked up here in Edinburgh. I've had hepatitis A, I've had blood clot of the lung, and a broken leg. But never the afore-mentioned illness that I just referred to...

CF: Which?

PM: What do you mean which?


PM: Is he allowed to do that?

NP: No, of course not!

PM: Is he allowed to ask me questions in the middle of my diatribe?

NP: I must say...

PM: He's ruined my flow, he's ruined my flow there!

NP: They'll do anything to try and get the point. But actually it was Richard Vranch whose light came on first so Richard you're the first to challenge, what's your challenge?

RV: Was there a repetition of illness?

PM: No!

NP: No. He mentioned illness before but he didn't mention..

PM: In another round!

RV: Well, I'm wrong then!

NP: You're... I know! You're wrong, but it was nice to hear from you again, thank you Richard, yes. So Paul still has the subject and another point, and green fingers and 46 seconds starting now.

PM: It's a term usually describe people who are very good at growing plants. Prince Charles has this reputation. Apparently he talks to his flowers and says to them "come up Buttercup, spread your beautiful yellow face to the blue sky. Let me see you embrace the rays of the sun". And the afore-mentioned flower says "oh you're a bit odd talking to me, aren't you?" "I am not odd, indeed I am...


NP: Clement yes you've challenged first.

CF: Two odds.

NP: Two odds, yes, Clement you've got in first, 21 seconds, green fingers, starting now.

CF: I do not have green fingers, I am totally hopeless at gardening. Mainly because I don't know one flower from another with the exception of forget-me-nots which I recognise instantly, and can tell from tulips, rhododendrons, roses...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a hesitation.

CF: I don't know any other flowers!

PM: You were making a rod for your own back there!

NP: Yeah...

PM: Or should I say trellis.

NP: And you got your pruning shears out and snipped away very rapidly! There are only three seconds to go on the subject of green fingers Paul starting now.

PM: If you haven't got a handkerchief and you've got a runny nose, you can often end up...


NP: Well Paul Merton and Clement Freud both got a lot of points in that round and Paul the extra one for speaking as the whistle went. Peter Jones it's your turn to begin. The subject, volcano. Can you explode on that subject with 60 seconds to go starting now.

PJ: No I can't actually explode! But it doesn't seem a very good subject really! But...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why? Why...

CF: I think it's a very good subject!

NP: That is a matter of opinion...

CF: That's my opinion!

NP: So he can have an opinion as long as he doesn't hesitate, repeat himself or deviate. So an incorrect challenge Peter, and you have a point for that of course which is fairly exciting! And you have 54 seconds which is not so exciting to keep going on volcano starting now.

PJ: I know Rossilini made a film about Stromboli, with Ingrid Bergman with whom he was living at the time. And er they made a kind of movie out of it, but it wasn't... I repeated movie once...


PJ: But nobody was listening!

NP: And you, you pressed your buzzer and challenged yourself!

PJ: Yes I did...

NP: Well that was very well listened Peter...

PJ: Yes!

NP: I congratulate you on your perception and say...

PJ: Thank you very much!

NP: ... that you still have volcano and you still have 37 seconds and you start now.

PJ: It can be very nasty becaise all this lava springs out of the earth and a lot of red hot coals, and it pours out the side of the mountain from which it has erupted. And it's not at all pleasant for the people who live there. And there's an island in the south Atlantic I think it is, isn't it, where they had this experience...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: There was a lot of hesitation there Peter.

PJ: A lot?

NP: Well enough!


NP: For a man who hasn't said much on this show you've won this audience over rapidly! You want him to carry on do you?


NP: That's a bit...

PM: Are we to be ruled by the mob?

NP: Yes! Peter they want you to continue on volcano for some reason! Sixteen, 16 seconds to go, and you get a point of course for that, because the audience decided you should continue, starting now.

PJ: I've been in southern Italy, and on the beaches there, there are lots of .. lumps of...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Nine seconds, Clement, volcano, starting now.

CF: There are many disasters in the world, but few... have given me so much...


NP: Richard Vranch has challenged.

RV: Oh a bit mean but was there a hesitation?

PM: We're one step away from somebody producing a rope!

NP: I know!

PM: It's a fine line!

NP: Right! Richard the audience decided you should go for five seconds on volacano, with a point of course, starting now.

RV: In Mex...


NP: Clement... Paul you challenged.

PM: Hesitation I'm afraid!

NP: Another point to you Richard, there we are. You have three seconds on volcano starting now.

RV: Popocatapetl is the volcano in Mexico, the most wonderful country...


NP: And Richard Vranch and Peter Jones have leapt forward with the help of the mob! But they're both equal still in third place!

PM: Good!

NP: And Clement Freud and Paul Merton are still out in the lead. And in case we get letters I think that film Stromboli to which you referred was not with Ingrid Bergman. I think it was Anna Menyani. I just mention that to save the letters coming in....

PJ: Why? You need every letter you can get!

NP: Some letters I welcome but I wouldn't mention them on this programme! Now Richard it's your turn to begin. The subject is gizmos. Tell us something about gizmos in 60 seconds if you can starting now.

RV: Fantastic devices you can buy these days that do jobs you never needed to do before! For example in the kitchen you can get gizmos which peel...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of do.

NP: A minute ago you were all for him, and now! You are the most fickle audience! But it was a correct challenge Peter...

PJ: Yes it was!

NP: Yes! Gizmos is with you Peter Jones, 49 seconds available starting now.

PJ: I've no idea what they are!


NP: Richard Vranch has challenged.

RV: Well that's deviation...

NP: Deviation...

RV: Because he can't talk about them if he doesn't know what they are!

NP: Gizmos is back with you Richard with another point and there are 46 seconds available starting now.

RV: The very first gizmo was made by an Italian, Giuseppe Gizmo. And in his workshop at the back of his hacienda he came up with the thing that did something that no-one else had ever dreamed possible! It was a small black box plugged into the wall, and when you switched it on. it started to flash! Little things came out electronically, aerials, buttons. And still it was uncertain why he had made the thing! But eventually everything became clear!


NP: And Paul Merton you challenged, yes.

PM: It was a hesitation.

NP: A hesitation, yes. Seventeen seconds on gizmos starting now.

PM: I'm quite fond of gizmos. One of the things I've bought recently which I think is a wonderful invention is a CD recording machine. It means that you can put a Compact Disc in it, a blank one, and then record music onto that and you can give it to people as presents and say "here you are". In fact I think I bought one for Richard for his birthday. I said "here's a lovely CD...


NP: Paul Merton gaining more points, including that one for speaking as the whistle went, has increased his lead over Clement Freud at the end of that round. And then Peter Jones and Richard Vranch in that order. And Paul your turn to begin. The subject, the twinkle in my eye. Tell us something about the twinkle in my eye in this game starting now.

PM: Well I'm so pleased to be up here in Edinburgh playing Just A Minute. Many years ago when I lived in a bedsit in the 1980s I used to listen to this programme. And if I'd known then that some time in the future I would find myself on this distinguished panel playing this marvellous invention I would have been so happy and pleased. My eyes, somebody's watch has bleeped, can you turn your watch off please? And there was a bleep in the audience which didn't put me off at all. The twinkle in my eye is still...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of bleep.

PM: This person down here may be a paid agent of Peter Jones!

NP: So Peter you got in with a correct challenge, another point to you, 34 seconds available, the twinkle in my eye starting now.

PJ: Well I think it must be a symptom of yet another disease that poor old Paul has suffered from! Usually through coming to Edinburgh as far as I can understand! He doesn't seem to catch much when he is in London. But then I suppose he's not working very much there...


NP: Richard Vranch challenged.

PJ: What?

RV: Bit of hesitation.

NP: Richard Vranch challenged you.

RV: Bit of hesitation.

PJ: Oh yes! Richard Vranch yes! Really! Hello!

NP: Right Richard a correct challenge, a point to you and 17 seconds, the twinkle in my eye starting now.

RV: I've known you since you were a twinkle in your fathers eye! That's what we say to people who have been with us all our lives! It does imply rather that they were there at the conception! this of course is not to be recommended! And the twinkle in someone's eye should not be confused with the eye in someone's twinkle which...


NP: Richard Vranch kept going until the whistle, gained that extra point for doing so. And I think he was saved by the buzzer or saved by the bell because he couldn't have followed that particular line very easily. And Clement it's your turn to begin. The subject is cellar. Tell us something about cellar in 60 seconds starting now.

CF: The odds against continuing for 60 seconds on the subject of cellar without somebody interrupting are very long indeed, perhaps 33 to 1 but I will attempt. Cellar is a subterranean room, vault, crypt, dungeon, in which you may keep something as lovely as wine, which may be red or white or pink, still or sparkling, and could come from the Rhone or...


NP: Peter you challenged.

PJ: Yes!

NP: What is your challenge?

PJ: Well he's talking about wine or something...

NP: He's deviated, hasn't he?

PJ: Yes he has! Yes! That's one interpretation of it, yes!

NP: So Peter, 26 seconds on cellar starting now.

PJ: Well it can be as Clement er...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Very very slight hesitation.

NP: Which was rather a drawn out slight hesitation!

PM: Yes!

PJ: It was!

NP: Yes, so 20 seconds on cellar for you Paul starting now.

PM: You may remember that remarkable sequence in Alfred Hitchcock's film, Psycho where the lady runs into the house, runnnnnnnnnnnnn....


PM: I hadn't finished the word! I was saying run, I said runs the first time and I said run the second time. A long run I admit!

NP: You said runs and Richard Vranch spotted it and came in very rapidly. Richard, a correct challenge and you have 11 seconds on cellar starting now.

RV: A seller is completely useless unless there's a buyer to buy the thing which he is selling. For example if I have a used car I am the seller and I wish the time cra cra...


NP: So Richard Vranch speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and he has moved forward, he's still in fourth place, only one behind Peter Jones, who is only one behind Clement Freud and he is a few behind Paul Merton. That is the sequence and Richard Vranch, your turn to begin. The subject: what this audience needs to know! Having looked at them and heard them I don't think they need to know anything! They seem to know it all already! But talk on that subject and 60 seconds are available starting now.

RV: What this audience needs to know is where they can go and get a drink after they've finished watching this recording of Just A Minute. And of course, because we're in the city of Edinburgh their choice is almost limitless and furthermore they will not be thrown out into the cold streets at 11.00 because Scotland has proper licensing laws where we can drink all night unlike down south...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of drink.

NP: Yes there was a lot of drink there. He was keeping going under pressure from the audience, encouraging him and applauding their own city. Richard, no it isn't, Richard's lost it, Peter, you've got it and you have 38 seconds...

RV: I've lost it?

NP: Well not lost it completely, you've lost the subject. What this audience needs to know, Peter, with you starting now.

PJ: Well there are at least 200 alternative venues where you can be entertained, apart from coming here. And I strongly advise you to take up one of those invitations! And I think if you just look at the programmes and the things that are stuck on walls, and the magazine here which is full of ghastly looking people, they can be er...


NP: Richard Vranch challenged.

RV: Slight hesitation.

NP: There was yes. Those ghastly looking people and I turned up a picture of Richard Vranch. Ah right Richard, a correct challenge and seven seconds, what this audience needs to know starting now.

RV: What this audience needs to know is that afterwards we will all be going back to the hotel and cramming into Nicholas Parsons' Jacuzzi. It's enormous...


NP: So at the end of that round, Richard Vranch speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point, and now it's an interesting situation. Richard Vranch, Clement Freud and Peter Jones are now all equal in second place just behind Paul Merton who is still in the lead. And Paul, it's your turn to begin. The subject is eating my words. Interesting subject.

PM: Yes it is.

NP: Talk on it if you can starting now.

PM: I've been guilty on occasions of making rash statements which have proved to be wrong. I remember seeing the Sex Pistols on television in a programme called So It Goes in late 1975. And I predicted very confidently to the associated people in the room, I said "that group are useless and will never get anywhere". I...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Grammar. That group is useless.

NP: Clement we've had this before. I know it's deviation from grammar as we understand it, as it is normally written but in colloquially speaking, spoken English we often use those sort of phrases and I don't think...

CF: That group are!

NP: What's that?

CF: That group are!

NP: Yes!

PM: That's what I said!

NP: That's what he said! And if he's going to go in a colloquial way I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and give you a bonus point for a correct challenge but Paul keeps the subject because he can speak colloquially if he wishes. Eating my words is with you Paul starting now.

PM: One year I was very hungry and I ate my diary for 1992. And I found that particularly the adjectives were quite chewy. But when you got to the verbs, oh they were delicious. They could have been cooked beautifully by perhaps one of the finest chefs in the world. The adverbs stuck in the back of my throat! But other than that the vowels were very nice. The consonants gave me a bit of a gyp, I had a funny tummy there. But apart from that I generally think that eating your words is a very good thing to do. Because if you do make these rather over the top remarks and you say "I declare this to be the way that things always are and will be forever in time" people can say "well, how do you know? How...


PM: ... can you... What?

NP: Clement Freud challenged.

PM: Oh grammar was it? Was it grammar?

CF: No.

PM: Oh that makes a change!

CF: Four do's.

NP: There were four do's.

CF: Yes.

NP: Clement you cleverly got in with only one second to go...

PM: Oh no!

NP: Yes! After all your hard work Paul, it's a vicious game! It's a tough game! Eating my words is with you Clement starting now.

CF: Indigestion!


NP: Right! So at the end of that round Paul Merton is still in the lead. Clement Freud is catching up on him, the other two are now a little way behind in third place, that's Peter Jones and Richard Vranch. And we're into the last round. You've enjoyed it have you. Right well enjoy the last round as well because Peter Jones is going to begin it. And the subject is a lovely Scottish one. Neeps and tatties. (in Scottish accent) Oh tell us something about neeps and tatties on this show if you possibly can Peter, you've got 60 seconds, starting now.

PJ: Well I object because I don't think anybody else in this panel has had two subjects thrown at them at the same time! There are two quite distinct items! And I don't see why I should talk about them, it's just like saying cats and dogs as a subject. How can one possibly discuss that?

NP: Do you want me to answer?


NP: Peter you've challenged yourself again!

PJ: Yes!

NP: Yes!

PJ: Well I just um, I um, it's an objection!

NP: You challenged yourself for hesitation!

PJ: There are a number of very unfair things going on! Clement Freud has a much shorter electric wire to the bell than I have!

NP: But you did actually hesitate and you were the first one to spot it and you pressed your buzzer so you got a correct challenge and you have 35 seconds available starting now.

PJ: Do I have a minute for each one?

NP: You better get moving! You've got...


NP: Richard Vranch has challenged.

RV: There was a hesitation there.

NP: There was a long hesitation, yes. Richard Vranch you have a correct challenge, you have 28 seconds on neeps and tatties starting now.

RV: Neeps and Tatties were two of the least successful Gladiators on the ITV programme. They didn't quite make it to the televised heats. Of course the others like Wolf made it there and we didn't really see the full scope of the skills of Neep or Tattie. The merchandising all went to waste as nobody bought a single item! No baseball caps or shirts or trainers embalzoned with the face of Neep or Tattie. But of course neeps and tatties are the...


NP: Well very aptly and very delightfully Richard Vranch who has not played the game as much as the other three brought that round to a close with a resounding round of applause and also brought the show to a close. And we have a very interesting situation at the end because Richard Vranch, Clement Freud and Peter Jones are almost equal in second place... no really, only one point separates all three of them. But a few points ahead of all of those three is Paul Merton and so today we say Paul, you are the winner. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Peter Jones and Richard Vranch. We also thank Jane Gibson for blowing her whistle so magnificently. We also thank Ian Messiter who created the game and Chris Neill our producer and director, and we are also most grateful to this delightful Fringe audience here at the Pleasance in Edinburgh who have cheered us on our way so admirably. From them, from our panel, from me Nicholas Parsons, hope you've enjoyed this show. Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute. Until then from all of us goodbye.