starring TONY HAWKS, SUE PERKINS, TIM RICE and PAM AYRES, with a special appearance by CLEMENT FREUD, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 27 July 2009)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Oh thank you, thank you. Hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more, it is my huge pleasure to welcome our many listeners in this country, and around the world. But to welcome to the programme this week four exciting, talented, humorous players who are going to display their verbal ingenuity and dexterity as they try and speak on a subject that I give them, and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And those four clever sparks are, seated on my right, Tony Hawks and Pam Ayres. And seated on my left, Sue Perkins and Tim Rice. Will you please welcome all four of them! Seated beside me is Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me keep the score, and blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Radio Theatre in the centre of Broadcasting House, near, quite near the centre, the West One area of London. And now I'm talking to people who live outside the metropolitan area so that they can get their geographical locations right. Oh now there's a perfect subject, Sue, we'd love you to begin the show. And what a subject after what I've just said, twittering. Will you tell us something about twittering in this game, starting now.

SUE PERKINS: Do you like sitting at home in your pants doing nothing? In which case twittering may be for you! The online Twitter website means that people who otherwise have no social skills get to blast to remote disciples the non-events that have been punctuating the last 24 hours. I just made a cup of tea, they blare down the Internet...


NP: Um Tony challenged.

TONY HAWKS: Is that a repetition of Internet in there?

NP: No no.


TH: That man thinks not! That man over there.

NP: She hadn't mentioned Internet before. I think she assumed everybody knew it was the Internet.

TH: Okay.

NP: So Tony that's an incorrect challenge, she's still got twittering and you have 40 seconds still Sue starting now.

SP: Nicholas twitters but he does so eloquently. And he wears a cravat and who can possibly...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: I think that's a repetition of twitters.

NP: Oh yes! The subject is twittering and you used the word twitters a second time. Well listened! Tony there are 36 seconds available, you tell us something about twittering starting now.

TH: There's nothing I like more on a summer evening than to go into thee garden and listen to the birds twittering away. How wonderful it is...


NP: Pam challenged.

PAM AYRES: Well it sounds a bit slow, it's hesitation.

NP: It did yes.

PA: He hasn't got much zest!

NP: No! I think he was drawing, coming to a halt almost.

PA: I think so.

NP: In fact it was so slow I think we could interpret it as hesitation.

PA: Thank you very much.

NP: Yes.

SP: It was sort of roehypnol meets ornithology!

TH: I accept that I wasn't at my best.

NP: You weren't at your normal pace Tony which is the thing, 26 seconds for you Pam to tell us something about twittering starting now.

PA: My mother had a green budgerigar called Joey which twittered reliably, and my... maternal parent...


NP: Sue you challenged there.

SP: There was a hesitation on maternal.

NP: Yes.

PA: How dare you!

SP: I know!

NP: Trying to think of another word for it, 17 seconds, it's back with you Sue, twittering starting now.

SP: Twittering is an essential part of human discourse. It means you've got little to say but who cares?


NP: Tim challenged.

TIM RICE: I think it's a repetition of little.

NP: Yes she talked about little before when you talked about the people who go on...

TR: You were being disparaging about most people, I think.

NP: So Tim we are going to hear from everybody on this subject, which is good and you have 12 seconds, you tell us something about twittering starting now.

TR: I gather twittering is some newfangled thing that people do on the Internet. But it is something that I would really...


NP: Right Pam.

PA: It's a repetition of something.

NP: There were two somethings there Tim. Pam you got in with six seconds to go on twittering starting now.

PA: Round the bottom of the budgie cage...


NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: Now I was going to say repetition of budgie but you know what she said, budgerigar!

PA: I said budgerigar.

SP: I know Pam, don't take out the saber again! Not my eyes Pam!

NP: She said budgerigar the first time and budgie this time. Pam so another incorrect challenge...

TH: What's she going to say this time?

NP: ... so you get a point...

SP: It'll be a cockatoo next time!

NP: So another incorrect challenge, another point to you, four seconds available, twittering starting now.

PA: Was a colourful shower hat like device to catch...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Pam Ayres. And you won't be surprised to hear if you haven't already worked out that she's in the lead at the end of that round. Tim Rice will you take the second round and the subject I've got here is what I keep in my fridge. Tell us something about that intimate subject, 60 seconds starting now.

TR: I'd like to deal with this topic in several stages. First I would tackle the important top shelf. This is usually extremely parky and I only put things in there which I wish to be cold, things like aardvarks...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Was that a repetition of things?

NP: Repetition of things, yes I put things in there, things like.

TR: Sorry.

NP: Tony you have 45 seconds, you tell us something about what I keep in my fridge starting now.

TH: I'm delighted to win this subject, partly because I keep more interesting things in a freezer in a lot of people, having travelled for a long time in Ireland with one...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Did Tony say freezer?

PA: Yes he did.

SP: And it's things we keep in the fridge so it's deviation.

PA: Absolutely.

NP: I don't know. I'm, where does the freezer come in?

SP: Tony mentioned freezer.

NP: No he didn't, he said fridge.

PA: He did, no he did Nicholas, honestly, I picked it up as well, he did say freezer, because I thought, ping! That's wrong!

SP: If you thought ping, that was a microwave!

NP: Everybody has a freezer in their...

PA: Or my email.

NP: Everybody has a freezer in their fridge. Not everybody but most people do.

TH: I'm with Nicholas on this, I have to say.

NP: I don't think within the rules of Just A Minute, you were actually deviating from the subject of what I keep in my fridge. You might have a freezing department, most people do. And you carry on Tony, what I keep in my fridge, 37 seconds starting now.

TH: "What do you keep in your fridge", and I said "shoes", and the man couldn't believe it. And I opened up the door and there they were, two leather things. He said "champagne everyone..."


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: Said, we had a couple of saids.

NP: Yes, the man said, yes, you said, right. Tim listened well, 26 seconds, what I keep in my fridge starting now.

TR: As soon as I open my fridge door and the light comes on, I sing a few selections from Carousel and Oklahoma and then gaze at the bottom shelf. There...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of shelf.

NP: Yes, you talked about the top shelf before.

TR: Well it was a long time ago!

SP: Come on, it's not a long time since you looked at the top shelf!

NP: Yes. So...

TR: Thank you Sue.

NP: Sue you have a correct challenge, you have 17 seconds, tell us about what I keep in my fridge starting now.

SP: I keep a collection of aardvarks in my fridge who are running from Tim Rice for their lives. They know that if they burrow...


NP: Tony you challenged.

TH: There is no fridge big enough for a collection of aardvarks. One aardvark, yes, but a collection of aardvarks? That I can't accept.

SP: No-one disputes that your fridge has a freezer, my fridge is like a walk-in cavern! In fact it is a cavern or an underground lair that I have just put a door on.

TH: Let's just see what Mister Nicholas Parsons thinks!

SP: He'll say I'm wrong, because he always...

NP: It's very easy. I gave you the benefit of the doubt...

TH: I don't like the way this is going!

NP: ... and we have to assume in terms of the surreal which often occur in Just A Minute, that Sue has got a fridge that is as cavernous as the BBC, and she keeps a whole load of aardvarks! You have the benefit of the doubt on this one so it's balance, it's justice which is what I try to dispense. Sue it's with you still, 11 seconds, what I keep in my fridge starting now.

SP: I'm not very organised with my cold produce. But I will say this, there are 40,000 jars of indiscriminate brown sludge, some of which claim to be mayonnaise. I don't know, sell-by date is some time...


NP: Sue Perkins was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that all important extra point, she is now in the lead, one ahead of Pam Ayres and then two ahead of Tony Hawks and Tim Rice. Tony we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is the ark. Will you tell us something about the ark in Just A Minute starting now.

TH: I'm very impressed by Noah, who got a bit of a nod from God to pop out and collect up a lot of animals and put them into an ark, two by another couple. And he did this tremendously well, gathering them from around the place, never questioning the logic of it really because it wasn't going to do that much good in the end. But he nevertheless was a determined figure as I am. I'm not going to give up at 32 seconds, I'm cracking on like that man I spoke of earlier would have done on his ark. Which was made of wood, not balsa like a lot of people believe, but a sturdy other kind...


NP: Oh yes! Sue.

SP: A hesitation.

NP: Yeah.

TH: I certainly don't want to carry on, that's for sure!

NP: That was also obvious as well! So Sue you got in with a correct challenge, 18 seconds, the ark starting now.

SP: Noah was the first conservationist. But the only animals that should never have been let into the ark were humans, bearing in mind that ultimately it was a couple of those and then a few more that would ensure the destruction of the planet. How beautiful it must have been as the last pair of aardvarks entered with Tim Rice pursuing them, knife and fork in hand...


NP: So Sue Perkins was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, has increased her lead at the end of the round, ahead of the others. Tim it's your turn to begin and the subject now is the best advice my father ever gave me. Will you tell us something about that if you can in this game starting now.

TR: When I was very young, my father took me to one side and left me there! But I followed him closely to listen to what he had to say and I've never forgotten those wonderful words. When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark. He sang it to me, he spoke it... on other occasions...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation.

TR: No it was dramatic effect. But never mind! Call it hesitation!

NP: It was dramatic effect and very dramatic, the trouble is in Just A Minute when you are trying to speak, you have to sacrifice all that to keep the fluency of your language going. Ah so Sue correct challenge to you, 42 seconds, the best advice my father ever gave me, Sue starting now.

SP: The best advice my dad ever gave me was don't go outside in daylight without a bag on your head, otherwise there will be repercussions. It's something I've adhered to throughout my 39 years...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: This is just so sad! I would rather you kept that to yourself! This is distressing!

SP: Sometimes radio can be cathartic Tim.

TR: Okay.

NP: So Tim have you a challenge within the rules...

TR: Well it was a kind of, I don't know, I just felt she was telling us too much.

NP: But you can use sadness, you can use joy, you can use passion...

TR: Yes.

NP: You can use flamboyance, you can use anything you like in Just A Minute.

SP: But hey, let's use dance and now!

NP: As long as you keep going and don't hesitate or deviate or um, repeat yourself. Right, 33 seconds Sue, another point to you and the subject, the best advice my father ever gave me starting now.

SP: My father is a marvellous gentleman and in all sincerity the only piece of advice he has ever given me is don't do what I did.


NP: Um Tony challenged.

TH: Well if that was in all sincerity, I have to question what she said before, which I believed to be in all sincerity. And I feel cheated, Nicholas!

NP: Why?

TH: Because I didn't buzz for deviation before, believing that to be the case.

SP: In all sincerity, he said don't do what I did, and what he did was he did go out in daylight without a bag on his head!

TH: Whatever, whatever we say Nicholas, we've heard enough about this family frankly!

NP: What you're saying is, your challenge is, she said the best advice her father ever gave her...

TH: Yeah.

NP: And now it's a different piece of advice.

TH: Yes exactly Nicholas.

NP: It can't be the best advice twice.

TH: Exactly.

NP: So right okay Tony, you have the benefit of the doubt so the best advice my father ever gave me Tony, 27 seconds starting now.

TH: The best advice my father gave me was to be incredibly picky all the time. On shows like this it's a huge advantage, let me tell you. Because people aren't really doing much wrong and we sit here and study every single word they say, and pick away at them. And I'm working on that advice my father gave me all those years ago as he popped me on his knee as he was wont to do. "Tony," he would...


NP: I love the idea of your father putting you on his knee and then giving you advice about how to do Just A Minute!

TH: Yeah I was 32 at the time!

NP: Anyway Tony you were speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point and you've now moved forward. But you're still in second place but you are ahead of Tim Rice and Pam Ayres. Sue's still in the lead. And who's going to speak next? Ah Pam it's back to you to start. Oh the subject, lovely one for you, mother nature. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PA: It is easy to imagine Mother nature as a benevolent figure, her fat arms laden with fruits, vegetables, flowers, nuts, seeds, straddling as she does the silver fish-filled rivers beside green pastures whereupon the cattle graze and multiply...


PA: Who did that?

NP: Who did that? Tony.

TH: That is not easy to imagine!

NP: Tony we, we enjoyed your interruption so I'm going to give you a bonus point for what you said. But I'm going to leave it with Pam because I think, the way, the picture she was painting it was very easy to imagine it all. I had this wonderful picture of...

TH: A fat armed mother nature?

SP: An obese woman straddling a river?

NP: Yeah! Yes!

TH: I'm sorry, I've always imagined a very lithe mother nature.

NP: She was lithe, she had so many things...

TH: Fat armed! Fat armed!

NP: And the audience were loving it!

TH: Popeye mother nature!

NP: So Tony you've got a point for your interruption. Pam gets a point because she was interrupted, 39 seconds Pam, mother nature starting now.

PA: But do not be deceived. Nature red in tooth and claw, look beyond the amiable countenance to the venom-filled fang of the snake, the bloody jaw of the wolf and the ink of the squid...


NP: Tony you challenged again.

TH: Security!

NP: Oh you're wicked Tony! But you've given Pam a breather.

PA: He's interrupted my flow!

NP: You get a point because the audience enjoyed the interruption... mmmm?

PA: He's interrupted the flow of the silver river now, he has!

SP: Yes!

NP: I know darling, but you've got a chance to gather your breath and your ah, and your wits again.

PA: I haven't got much more to say actually!

SP: I want to find out what happens after the bloodied fang of the snake!

NP: Yes but Tony, because we enjoyed your interruption, get a bonus point for that, I think you deserve that. But Pam you were interrupted so you get a point for that and you have 22 seconds to take up the subject of mother nature. Go off in a different direction would you now darling? We can't just wait for it! Starting now.

PA: The survival of the fittest, the predation of the weak by the strong, the abandonment of the runt...


NP: Tim you've challenged.

TR: Well tragically there was a hesitation there.

NP: No there wasn't, it was the same pace she's done the whole of the other thing.

SP: There was a repetition of the, of the, the a.

NP: No and the audience agree entirely with me, don't they!

SP: Making it all right!

NP: They're enjoying this sort of interrupted monologue from Pam, so Pam I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt again...

TH: She's been going about four minutes! It does feel like she's done four minutes already!

SP: Just An Hour And A Half!

NP: See if you can gird your loins and take the subject again in another direction with 12 seconds to go starting now.

PA: The abandon... no I said that!


NP: Yes you did say abandonment before. Tony you challenged first.

TH: Yes repetition of abandonment.

NP: Ten seconds Tony, you wanted mother nature and you've got it, 10 seconds starting now.

TH: It's easy to imagine the thin armed mother nature, as she walks through the forest admiring her work, saying "I did that! Bloody good innit!"


NP: You know I've got to make an observation about this show because you have these subjects and we, they're sort of very haphazard. And sometimes one subject takes off and becomes a classic. I thought that was a wonderful round!

PA: You're very kind!

NP: Tony was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's now taken the lead actually. And Sue we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject is all fingers and thumbs. Can you tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

SP: People that have all fingers and thumbs make great organists but rubbish football players. It's used to describe people who are clumsy...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes there was too many people there, my love.

SP: Yes.

NP: Right so Pam you have a correct challenge, you have got 52 seconds, tell us something about all fingers and thumbs starting now.

PA: A person who is all fingers and thumbs would be inept at tapestry, embroidery, berlin work, drawn thread and kind of things like that...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: There was a sort of winding down, I think, a hesitancy there.

NP: A slight winding down but not hesitation within the rules of Just A Minute. So she has the benefit of the doubt, I gave it to you last time.


NP: It's when they begin to advance towards you, you begin to worry!

SP: Yes! Who'd have thought they could have got the pitchforks through security?

NP: But that low growl from the audience is a bit strange and sinister. No I give benefits of the doubt, I gave it to Sue before, she...

SP: I loved it!

NP: She won on something else. This time Pam has the benefit of the doubt and she wasn't hesitation, 39 seconds with you Pam still on all fingers and thumbs starting now.

PA: And would be more suitable for murdering people or...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: Repetition of people.

NP: Tim you have a correct challenge, 35 seconds, all fingers and thumbs starting now.

TR: All fingers and thumbs is a strange medical complaint. If indeed a person was all fingers and thumbs, and didn't have, for example, a liver, kidney, brain, back, front, knee, ankle, toes...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation.

NP: Yes at last, right, you're in on it. You wanted the subject I think, all fingers and thumbs Sue, 20 seconds starting now.

SP: Pam of course is right. People who are all fingers and thumbs make great murderers if you are going to point someone to death. That is the best way I have found. Just to run at someone with an index finger raised in a stabbing motion. Frightening it can be, they may have a heart attack, I don't know. I'm going to go and try it later because Pam of Ayres has said...


SP: I said Pam.

NP: Tim challenged.

TR: A brace of Pams.

NP: Yes.

TR: A lovely thought!

SP: I can't get enough of them.

TR: Exactly, a lovely thought!

NP: Right but you've got in Tim with three seconds to go on all fingers and thumbs starting now.

TR: The clumsiest person I ever knew was all..


NP: Ah who was speaking then when the whistle went? It was Tim Rice so he has got that extra point. We're moving into the final round and Tim I think it's your turn to begin. Dick Whittington, 60 seconds starting now.

TR: Richard Whittington was thrice Mayor of London. It's all too easy to make cheap jokes about Dick Whittington and his cat, so I will. Dick go...


NP: Sue you challenged.

SP: A hesitation?

NP: NO I don't think so.

SP: No?

NP: No, Tim you've still got the subject, Dick Whittington, 51 seconds starting now.

TR: The real Dick Whittington was in fact a very successful 14th century trader and merchant. And in the reigns of Richard the Second, Henry the Fourth Part One...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Ah repetition of Richard.

TR: What?

NP: Richard.

TH: You started the whole thing with Richard Whittington.

SP: Yeah.

TR: Oh.

NP: He did indeed.

SP: Oh he is good.

TR: That was a different Dick though, Tony.

NP: Forty-three seconds Tony, 43 seconds on Dick Whittington with you Tony starting now.

TH: I can remember when I was six years old, my father popped me on his lap in the theatre and we watched the pantomime. Dick Whittington came on the stage. "Why is he wearing tights?" I said. "That's no way for a man to behave." But Papa, he gave me a short talk on the history of theatre, how it had developed, and the various little methods of ent...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: This is, this is, apart from being extremely boring, isn't really about Dick Whittington, it's about the history of the theatre.

SP: And his father permanently wanting Tony on his knee!

TR: Yes!

SP: How much advice can you get from a man?

NP: Yes he was giving you a talk about the history of the theatre...

TR: He was deviating.

NP: And we really wanted you to talk about Dick Whittington.

TR: Yes.

SP: Could you not afford two seats? Was that the deal?

TH: I was in the theatre watching Dick Whittington...

SP: On his lap?

TH: ... whilst this speech from my father was going on. I think that the theme of Dick Whittington is still with us. What do you think Nicholas?

NP: I think you're quite right.

TH: Aha!

NP: But I was trying to keep it even so we both finish up equal! So Dick Whittington, Tony we're with you, 22 seconds starting now.

TH: I think the current Mayor of London would like to be re-elected three times. But I don't see it happening. Does...


NP: Tim challenged.

TR: Well again, I mean, it's nothing to do with Dick Whittington. But Dick Whittington, the one that Tony's referring to, was only re-elected twice. He was elected once and then re-elected twice. So there's no logical comparison between the current Mayor, were he, well, you know what I mean.

NP: I don't know what you mean but I'll tell you what I'm going to do.

TR: Give me a point then!

NP: Because it's the end of the show and there are...

SP: Nicholas has given up!

NP: I gave it against you last time though you had a certain logic in your challenge.

TR: Yes.

NP: And you have a certain logic, only a certain logic in your challenge now. Tony had the benefit of the doubt last time, you have the benefit of the doubt this time. You have 15 seconds, you tell us something more about Dick Whittington starting, yes you, starting now.

TR: Richard Whittington was born in Glouces...


NP: Sue's challenged.

SP: Repetition of Richard.

NP: Hoisted on your own petard, right. Sue you have a correct challenge, Dick Whittington is with you, 13 seconds to go starting now.

SP: He believed the streets to be paved with gold. We know now that those said avenues are just covered in dog excrement and endless free newspapers...


NP: Tony challenged.

TH: Was there a repetition of covered? He believed them to be covered in gold...

NP: Covered in gold and...

TH: And now they're covered in excrement.

TR: Paved!

TH: No no no, paved and then...

NP: Paved in gold and covered.

TH: Now you see how fair I am?

NP: Incorrect challenge, Sue another point to you, Dick Whittington, six seconds to go starting now.

SP: He had a knapsack possibly with sandwiches in, wrapped in a kerchief which was a thing...


NP: Pam challenged.

PA: Repetition of in.

NP: In?

SP: Oh that's terse Pam! Oh!

PA: I'm a desperate woman!

SP: I never thought I'd have Pam Ayres look at me so keenly and say "I'm a desperate woman!"

PA: I am!

NP: Well do you know what I'm going to do now? Because if I give it to Pam...

SP: Oh dear!

NP: ... there's one second to go, there's only one second to go by the way, it means that we have a joint winner which I always think is much fairer than having an individual winner.

SP: It's like The Matrix, isn't it, when they peel back reality and you see the nuts and bolts working sort of thing! You carve it up how you want, Nicholas! I absolve myself! Have you not filled in your BBC Safeguarding Trust modules?

NP: I'm going to put it to the audience! Would you like Pam to have this last second?


NP: I'm afraid you are the final arbiters. Pam there's one second to go on Dick Whittington starting now.

PA: This...



PA: Oh!

NP: Tim you challenged.

TR: Hesitation.

NP: No! Rubbish! Pam you've got another point and you've got half a second on Dick Whittington starting now.

PA: Richard Whittington...


PA: Oh!

NP: Well I'll give you the final score now. So Tim Rice and Pam Ayres equal in second place. But out in the lead with a massive 18 points each were Tony Hawks and Sue Perkins, our joint winners! So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine and humorous players of this game. I thank Sarah Sharpe who has helped me with the score, and blown her whistle so elegantly. We are grateful to our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are grateful to this lovely audience here in the Radio Theatre. From our audience, from me, Nicholas Parsons, and our panel, thank you. And to our listeners also for tuning in. Be with is next time we play Just A Minute! But before we say farewell, I thought we should do one little tiny thing. Because as you all probably know, one of our regular players, Clement Freud, has left us. And we thought you might like to be reminded, as a sort of final little tie-up to this show, of a clip of Clement Freud speaking on Just A Minute.


NP: Right Clement, a correct challenge, 21 seconds, how I hope my epitaph will read starting now.

CLEMENT FREUD: I think just my name, the date of my death and best before!

NP: Well it deserved the applause and I think you rested on your laurels with that one. One of the best in Just A Minute.


NP: And Clement Freud was on occasions the best in Just A Minute. We will miss him very much. Thank you. Let's give him a final round of applause for all the years he was in the show and his major contributions, Clement Freud!