NOTE: Richard Herring's first appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, 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 not only in this country, but around the world. But also to welcome to the show four talented, exciting and humorous individuals who are going to display their verbal ingenuity, their way with words and language, as they try and speak on a subject that I give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. And they are, seated on my right, Paul Merton and Janey Godley. And seated on my left, Richard Herring and Sue Perkins. Please welcome all four of them! And seated beside me is Sarah Sharpe, she is going to help me keep the score, she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Pleasance Grand in the Pleasance Complex in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. And we have a highly hyped-up Festival Fringe audience here. Yeah They are really raring to go. So let's start the show with Sue Perkins. Yes Sue, oh a very popular subject to begin with, what I love about Edinburgh. Tell us something about that, it's not funny, it's a serious subject, something in this game, 60 seconds starting now.

SUE PERKINS: What I love about Edinburgh in August is that you can drink a bottle of Buckfast in a small darkened room watching a post-feminist interpretation of Equus, and feel you are living the dream! It is a city that aspires to the most complicated greatness that life can lay in front of you. The architecture, the extraordinary cobbled streets, the stink of hops. I hope it is that said substance. I was told that as a child and believed it. It smells more like a tramp's underarm. However I have concurred it must be something to do with the alcoholic effluent that pumps forth from the chimneys beyond, nestling in the quaint valleys. You can see the sea, you can stare at the gorgeousness unfolding in front of you, the glittering silver of the rooves, the...


NP: Paul challenged.

PAUL MERTON: We did have a lot of thes.

NP: And the was a correct challenge Paul, so you get a point for that of course. You take over the subject, 13 seconds are still available, what I love about Edinburgh starting now.

PM: It's the well thought-out tram system that I get so excited about. If you talk to any taxi driver they are absolutely euphoric in their praise for this magnificent scheme...


NP: Right so at the end of that round, Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. So he's got three points at the end of the round. Richard Herring will you begin the next round. Rather weird subject this, putting up a tent in the rain, can you tell us something about that in this game starting now.

RICHARD HERRING: In 1985 I was entrailing around Europe with Jeffrey Quigley, a schoolmate of mine and we were camping and backpacking around. And ah when we got to...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: It was an er, it was a hesitation.

NP: There was a definite er there I'm afraid.

RH: It's harder than it looks, isn't it!

NP: It's much harder.

RH: Was that, was that 45 seconds like Sue did? I think it was just about, was it?

SP: Yeah!

NP: It was 10 seconds! So there we are, 50 seconds are still available Sue, putting up a tent in the rain starting now.

SP: Guyropes are a problem, they slip away from you. You have to peg them in the ground. I've no idea what I'm doing...


NP: Richard you challenged.

RH: I think that was a hesitation on the, on the no there, it was a little noooooo.

NP: It was a very little slight one.

RH: Yeah.

NP: But if we went on every little hesitation like that I don't think there would be a show.

RH: She did it to me!

SP: Yours was a full-blown er!

NP: Yours was a full-blown pause!

RH: Yeah.

NP: Sorry Richard no, I mean you can try hard again next time, I might be generous with you.

SP: I will, I know nothing about camping so hold that buzzer tightly! Because it's coming I think.

NP: Right so Sue a point to you, 45 seconds, putting up a tent in the rain starting now.

SP: It reminds me of a family holiday on the Gower Peninsula where we had been promised a static that didn't materialise. Not that it was of the Fourth Dimension and needed to do so, it's just that they hadn't booked it. So there we were, on tarpaulin waiting for my Dad to arrive to put the top bit on, roof I guess you'd call it. And there we were, the elements exposed...


NP: And there we are Janey.

JANEY GODLEY: And there we were twice.

NP: And there we were, that was repetition, well listened Janey. And 26 seconds available Janey, you tell us something about putting up a tent in the rain starting now.

JG: I remember we went to Glastonbury and it rained so hard that I thought I was going to have to put a boat up in the rain instead. I waited and waited... ohhh!


NP: Ohhhh!

JG: If you're going to do two words, do them together, it makes the point.

NP: That's where this game slips you up if you're not an experienced player of the game. Sorry Janey but Sue got in first, 17 seconds, putting up a tent in the rain Sue starting now.

SP: It's best done in a hurricane, than the fun really starts. You can see the sheeting whipping around your face as you pray for more clement atmospheric conditions which will never come. It's British summertime, therefore we know the sun will never be present and putting up a tent in the rain is the only option for those of us...


NP: As I said before, whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gets an extra point and it was Sue Perkins on this occasion. She is now one ahead of Paul Merton and Janey has got one, Richard's yet to score. But Janey would you begin the next round, looking innocent. I don't know if you know much about this, would you please talk on the subject starting now.

JG: Looking innocent is quite difficult for me because I happen to have the most guilty cheeky angry difficult face possessed on one woman from Scotland...


NP: Richard challenged.

RH: That was a repetition of difficult there.

NP: Yes.

RH: A little bit earlier on.

NP: Difficult you said...

JG: Oh did I? That's quite difficult.

NP: And you repeated difficult, I'm afraid Janey.

JG: Yeah. I'm not having a very good day am I.

NP: Yes yes, it's all gone very quiet in the audience. So Richard you've got in with a correct challenge, 52 seconds, looking innocent starting now.

RH: Looking innocent is very difficult for Janey Godley because she ah is the kind of person...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: It was a full-blown er.

NP: I'm afraid your full-blown ers do creep in Richard.

RH: They do! I'll have to watch out for that.

NP: But it is the first time you've played. I only mention that for any listeners at home so they know, 47 seconds, looking innocent with you Sue starting now.

SP: I've always looked innocent, I look like, I've repeated that, let me buzz myself.


SP: So do I get a point? I don't know, this is a new...

NP: You challenged yourself.

SP: I do, I challenge myself.

NP: And what is your challenge?

SP: My challenge is I, well, a bit of both. I repeated I've and ah...

NP: Yes well that was a correct challenge.

SP: Thank you. Do I get a point?

NP: You get a point for that correct challenge.

SP: Do I get to continue? Do I also get to continue the subject?

NP: You keep the subject, yes, because you got...

SP: I'll make a better job of it this time!

NP: But please don't make a habit of this...

SP: Sorry!

NP: ... because it'll destroy the whole structure of the game!

SP: I won't! I won't! I can see there'll be a terrible flaw if I keep doing that!

NP: Forty-four seconds Sue, looking innocent starting now.

SP: Janey Godley was skulking around the bins looking innocent. I didn't believe a word of it! I knew she's been up to no good! That pixieish visage she'd got does belie a terrible evil spirit, lurking as she does...


NP: Janey challenged.

JG: Lurking.

SP: Yeah.

NP: Yeah lurking.

JG: And I don't possess an evil spirit! It's just called Scottishness!


NP: You could have applauded louder on that one. Janey you have 32 seconds, tell us something more about looking innocent starting now.

JG: A man came into my bar one day. He asked for a bottle of whisky. Quickly I gave...


NP: Janey challenged. Oh you've done the same thing.

JG: I never touched it! It's the evil spirit!

NP: Your light came on Janey.

JG: I'm sorry, I didn't, I must have just given it the flick.

NP: Look I'm not going to make a habit of this, but I can do what I did to Sue just then...

JG: Sorry.

NP: Say it was a correct challenge and give you a point.

JG: Yeah.

NP: All right, what, what's your challenge, by the way?

JG: That um I've just got a twitchy finger!

NP: Say hesitation and I'll give you a point.

JG: Hesitation.

NP: Right, you've got a point, right.

JG: Thank you.

NP: You keep the subject, there are 27 seconds with no twitchy fingers around, looking innocent starting now.

JG: There is no way anyone can look innocent when they're handing a gun right against someone's head which happened to me one Sunday night in the east end of Glasgow. There was music playing, there was angry people, punk rockers, bikers, strange people, the gun...


NP: Richard challenged.

RH: People, repetition of people

NP: There was a lot of people around Janey yes.

JG: There was, there was quite a lot of them.

NP: Yes.

SP: It was to be fair, a very heightened situation and we should probably take that into account!

JG: Yeah! There was a gun involved...

NP: We were carried away, we were absolutely transfixed with them! We wanted to hear the payoff, maybe give it to us later. But Richard you had a correct challenge, you have 14 seconds still available, looking innocent starting now.

RH: Looking innocent is something you only do when you are guilty, because people who are innocent don't look innocent, they just carry on having a normal face. So it's a thing that someone who is suspicious and has done something wrong will tend to do in this kind of way so...


NP: So Richard Herring was then speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point, and at the end of the round Paul Merton, Janey Godley and Richard Herring are all equal in second place behind Sue Perkins. Paul will you begin the next round, the subject, the pickled onion. Tell us something about that, 60 seconds are available starting now.

PM: You most often see pickled onions in chip shop jars. They are there in the glass full of pickle and onion. I don't know why people pickled onions. I suppose it's because preserved ohhhhh!


PM: Pickled onions! I haven't come all the way here to talk about pickled onions!

NP: No it's not an easy subject.

PM: Not an easy subject is it.

NP: No no.

PM: Especially if you can't say it!

NP: You've slipped up there. Sue you've challenged first, the pickled onion and there are 50 seconds starting now.

SP: I love a pickled onion, and also a polite egg, though you don't get so many of those in fish and chip shops recently. There's something tart, sour, inviting about biting down into one of the allium family and exploding with its vinegary goodness on your chops...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Sorry, did you say a polite egg?

NP: She did, she said a polite egg.

PM: A polite egg?

SP: A polite egg, it's a Croydon expression for a pickled egg.

PM: Oh fair enough!

NP: No, I think it's deviation.

SP: It's true!

NP: We all thought you meant to say pickled egg, and it came out as polite egg, which was a lovely thought, but it's, I think it's deviation. Paul you have 36 seconds, the pickled onion starting now.

PM: Polite eggs are like complimentary chocolates! They say "how are you?" Doctor Joseph Pickle looked at the onion and thought to himself...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Repetition of pickle. He said pickle previously in the first...

PM: Did I?

NP: Pickled is on the card, that's what you can't repeat.

SP: Yeah pickle.

NP: He said Doctor Pickle.

SP: Yes. I sense I'm losing ground!

NP: Paul you have 27 seconds, the pickled onion starting now.

PM: Sarcastic Cornish pasties I won't mention. But the pickled onion was an extraordinary invention. The aforementioned medic that I mentioned before looked at the onion and said to himself, "how can I preserve this magnificent piece of God's bounty? I know! I shall put it into a jar, not any ordinary container, no. This will be something... of course I said jar again!


PM: I said jar again. I couldn't resist the joke.

NP: No you couldn't resist the gag! You got the laugh too, but unfortunately you paused and Sue came in. What's your challenge?

SP: Repetition of jar.

PM: Yes.

NP: Yes you're right. The pickled onion, four seconds Sue starting now.

SP: The jaunty...


NP: Who challenged?

PM: I did, hesitation.


NP: No! You got your boo. I'll tell you what, because you were so clever then, the audience, you played for your boo and you got your boo...

PM: Yeah!

NP: Give him a bonus point.

JG: Yeah!


NP: Sue you were interrupted...

PM: These violent mood swings! Very difficult to cope with! Boo! Yeah!

SP: It's a bipolar sort of...

PM: Yeah!

NP: Sue you were interrupted, you get a point of course for an incorrect challenge and you have the pickled onion still, three seconds starting now.

SP: The jolly walnut sits next to the egg...


NP: So Sue Perkins is rushing ahead like that. She's still in the lead ahead of Paul Merton and followed by Richard Herring and Janey Godley in third place equal. Sue it's your turn to begin. Would you take this interesting subject, shabby chic and talk about it, 60 seconds starting now.

SP: Shabby chic is the term used by the Sunday Times style magazine to describe wealthy people who want to look like rough sleepers. There seems to be a bizarre trend amongst the aristocratic to wear clothes that look as if they have been sourced from a bin. And therefore wander about with a cravat smelling of wee. And sporting a jauntily held...


NP: Richard you challenged first.

RH: There was a hesitation.

NP: There was a hesitation. Right so Richard there are 38 seconds still available, you tell us something about shabby chic starting now.

RH: I don't think I can talk about shabby chic for 38 seconds because I know...


NP: Sue's challenged.

SP: He's already admitted he can't talk about it for 38 seconds!

NP: Yeah but he can still try.

SP: He's deviating from commitment!

NP: No it's an incorrect... a lovely try, we enjoyed what you said. Not quite enough reaction to get a bonus point but I'm afraid um...

RH: Is there enough, little enough to take one point off Sue?

NP: No, we don't take points away but you get a point for being interrupted.

RH: Right.

NP: And you keep the subject, shabby chic, and there are 34 seconds starting now.

RH: I know an awful lot about being shabby, not much about being chicful if that is a word which it clearly isn't. But in any case I'll go around... wahhh!


RH: I told you! I told you!

NP: Yeah!

RH: I had five seconds maximum.

JG: Yeah.

NP: You came in first Sue. Your challenge?

SP: Ah hesitation.

NP: Yeah hesitation, repetition, deviation, right, 25, no, I didn't mean that harshly. That was the first time you played it, that was just an instinctive reaction, I do apologise Richard. Right, 25 seconds Sue on shabby chic starting now.

SP: Imagine Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen in a typhoon and the end result is shabby chic. The faded regency fop with clothes hanging in tattered folds around his midriff. All that is left of the former dandy, cut down in his prime, by a freak...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we have dandy before?

NP: No she didn't say dandy.

PM: Didn't we?

NP: No.

RH: Beano it was.

PM: Oh beano yeah.

JG: And was there a wally?

NP: Right so an incorrect challenge Sue, shabby chic is still with you and 10 seconds available starting now.

SP: I'm not a fashionable person. I don't know why I've told 700 people staring at me, it's patently obvious. Look at what I'm wearing. I've never been called shabby chic or anything approximating to that...


NP: So Sue Perkins was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, and has increased her lead. And Richard Herring, we'd like you to begin the next round, the subject now. Something we all know a bit about, free papers. I don't know how strong you feel about them, but 60 seconds to talk about them starting now.

RH: The best things in life are free. Whoever said that clearly had never read The Metro. That is a joke that I have stolen from Viz magazine which is a periodical...


NP: Janey challenged.

JG: Just a wee hesitation.

NP: No it was a definite hesitation, it's all right darling.

JG: I know, but he's my friend!

NP: Fifty-one seconds Janey, free papers starting now.

JG: When you sit on a train and you see a new free paper, you sit there and you look at it, and you wonder to yourself...


JG: Why did I say sit twice?

NP: Richard's challenged.

RH: It was a mistake, I thought there was a repetition of sit.

JG: I've got, I've got repetitions disease today, haven't I.

NP: No you didn't repeat anything darling.

PM: Sit.

JG: Sit, I did.

NP: Oh you did sit?

RH: Okay.

JG: There's a voice in my head going repeat repeat, I dare you to repeat.

NP: Richard challenged and withdrew it, that's why I thought it was wrong.

RH: Yeah.

NP: Right, 46 seconds for you Richard on free papers starting now.

RH: In the capital city where we have The London Light and also another free paper which is called ah the paper...


NP: Sue.

SP: Ah hesitation.

NP: Hesitation?

SP: Hesitation of the, er, because he mentioned...

RH: I'm allowed to say paper though, aren't I?

NP: No you can say it yes.

SP: And you also repeated.

RH: Yeah I know.

NP: You repeated... don't let's have a discussion, let's get on with it! Forty-one seconds available Sue, free papers starting now.

SP: Whenever I think of the free papers on the Tube, I also consider the millions of trees somewhere in Brazil felled to provide us with news of Peter Andre and Jordan while we are commuting to work. Whatever happened to the idea that the odd paper could be bought at a store which particularly vends said items, instead of them being thrust upon you by ner-do-wells who are so terrifying in their commitment to putting these free rags into your face. I don't like them simply because there is no news in said newspapers. It's merely a chain of adverts and a picture of a kitten, much as I love cats. They're very cute! I don't necessarily want to see them every single morning on my...


NP: So Sue Perkins was again speaking as the whistle went and got that extra point and has increased her lead ahead of Paul Merton, Richard Herring and Janey Godley in that order. And Janey...

JG: Can my subject just be repetition? Just I get to say the word cacophony over and over again and then if I actually inadvertently break away from repeating, that's when I get a point.

PM: If the subject is cacophony, that's better than repetition.

JG: Yes that's true.

NP: And over and over is also repetition.

JG: Yeah I know.

NP: Right so Janey here's a nice subject for you, mum's the word, 60 seconds starting now.

JG: A man once put something into my hand, winked and said "mum's the word". I looked down, it was a hot sausage summer which is normally in Glasgow a difference from a deep fried Mars Bar. Taking this item I ran all the way down the street, met a small monkey, passed him the item and said "mum's the word". He then pitched himself on to a bus, ran really fast, climbed up a mountain and took the said hot sausage...


NP: Richard challenged.

RH: Just deviation from the real world, is that anything?

JG: It certainly is! But I got so far without repeating something, I was happy!

NP: But but Richard, you know you can go into the world of fantasy in this show. Some of them do...

JG: Yeah, at the end of the whole thing, he passes it to his mum and he says...

NP: No wait a minute darling, save it! Save it, save it, save it! Because I'm not going to allow the challenge. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

JG: Oh perfect!

NP: Because I love, I love it when we go into the world of fantasy. Right, and mum's the word, still with you Janey and 35 seconds starting now.

JG: Opening a purse, I saw some cash in it. I quickly put it in my pocket, winked at myself and said "mum's the word". At that moment I heard a scream and a Scole sandal flying towards me. It was in fact my mother who could hear items of hers being opened from a far far distance...


JG: I did it again!

NP: That is one of the problems...

JG: But it was a good story!

PM: It was, yeah.

SP: It was a good story!

NP: But it was far far...

PM: What happened to the monkey?

JG: It's very sad, I don't want to tell you.

PM: Oh okay.

SP: How fast did it run?

NP: Richard, a correct challenge, far far, definite repetition. Mum's the word with you Richard and you have 18 seconds starting now.

RH: My mum was doing a crossword and said to me "the clue is... mother.."


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Ah hesitation.

NP: I'm afraid there was, so you have mum's the word Sue, and you have 13 seconds starting now.

SP: Mum is the word if the question is who is going to do my laundry when I come home after 20 years smelling. And she's there to provide every single facility that one could wish. It's the best word in the world, the person who brings you in...


NP: So Sue was again speaking as the whistle went, got that extra point and has increased her lead at the end of the round. Paul Merton we're back with you, would you begin the next round, the subject is a skeleton in the cupboard. Sixty seconds, you've just written it down, have you, right.

PM: Yeah yeah.

NP: A skeleton in the cupboard, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: My favourite ride at the fun fair was the ghost train. I particularly enjoyed getting on the little thing that goes round and seeing, suddenly, a cupboard in front of me and a skeleton comes whirring out at you. And I always used to have nightmares about this particular form of entertainment, a skeleton in the cupboard. I wonder how many of us here actually do possess such a thing at home. Is there a mass murderer sitting amongst us who maybe had a polite egg too many once, who went out on a murderous spree and started collecting these victims from here there and everywhere. A skeleton in the cupboard, some dark secret that looms in our past that if it was to become generally known people would be astonished, and hurt. They would say "I thought this was a proper show, I thought this was Just A..."


NP: Ohhhhhh!

PM: That's all right, no, it's fair, it's fair!

JG: He did say I thought twice.

NP: Yes.

JG: And I'm so glad I have somebody who repeats as much as me!

PM: Yeah.

NP: But that was wonderful Paul, you went for what, 17 from 60, that's er...

PM: Forty-three.

NP: Forty-three yes.

PM: It used to be in the old days, didn't it.

NP: Yeah.

PM: Before we had horses. Do you remember? It's always before we had horses Nicholas.

NP: Oh you are wicked! Right so Janey you had a correct challenge, yes he did repeat something and 17 seconds, 17 seconds on a skeleton in the cupboard starting now.

JG: A skeleton in the cupboard is more frightening than having a gun fall out of the cupboard which once happened to me a long time ago. I never thought that it would happen but it did...


NP: Sue challenged.

SP: Hesitation. I do that with regret because a lot of guns are coming towards Janey! That's the second gun today, out of a cupboard, from a man in her face. She's all over that! She's a walking crime statistic!

JG: CSI Godley!

SP: Yeah!

NP: Your challenge is hesitation?

SP: Hesitation.

NP: No she didn't hesitate.

SP: She repeated happen.

NP: I know but you didn't, that wasn't your first challenge.

SP: You are a silver fox! Messing!

NP: That, she did repeat happen but she challenged... so I mean your first challenge was hesitation which was incorrect so benefit of the doubt goes to Janey and she still has the subject, nine seconds, a skeleton in the cupboard, Janey starting now.

JG: A skeleton in the cupboard is much better than ever having a blacmange fall out of the cupboard...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we have much better before?

NP: Yes.

JG: Yes we did. But I was keeping in the theme of repetition.

PM: Oh I see. It's going very well.

JG: It is! I'm pleased! I'm pleased as pleased with it!

NP: So Paul, repetition, you have a correct challenge, five seconds still available, a skeleton in the cupboard starting now.

PM: Next to the tea caddy there was a skull. Its eye socket there... oh I've said there three times!


NP: You were lucky that your drawing attention to your repetition came after the whistle. So Paul you were actually speaking as the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so. And you have leapt forward. You're still in second place but you have leapt. So let me give you the scores as we go into the final round. Richard Herring and Janey Godley are equal in third place. They're one point behind Paul Merton who is quite a few points behind Sue Perkins who is still in the lead. And Sue actually it is your turn to begin again and the subject we've got here is applying makeup. You have 60 seconds starting now.

SP: As the audience can see, I apply makeup only in the dark with a trowel and strimmer. That has suited me for years and provides the look I have made entirely my own. The mahogany cheeks akin to Aunt Sally in the famous children's show Worzel Gummidge. The eyes decked with mascara as if a million spiders have lazily walked across my eyeballs. How delightful I look at night when the cold harsh lamps illuminate the strange stretchy face that's been daubed with paint. Because I don't understand it, it's not a world I recognise. I know women are supposed to and everything and be shabby and chic at the same time. Nonetheless I require something more of my life than the application of tawdry cosmetics, often tested on poor animals. For me it's a life of the mind. Why paint-decorate the entire time when you can read a book and find about the entire vista of the universe...


NP: Well what a way to bring the show to an end! Sue started the subject, finished with the subject, didn't hesitate, repeat anything or deviate. And you've got not only a point for speaking as the whistle went, and your effort only gets you one extra point, for not being interrupted. But let me...


NP: Well actually I could give her five extra points and it wouldn't make any difference to the final score. But let me give you the final situation. Richard Herring and Janey Godley, Richard hasn't played before, Janey has a bit. They finished up in third place equal, a very very creditable third place, it really... Paul Merton who often wipes the floor with others and comes out on top, but he came up in a very strong second place. He was only just ahead of Richard and Janey. But out in a very strong lead as you can imagine and with that great flourish at the end it was Sue Perkins. And so Sue you are the winner this week! And so it only remains for me to say thank you to these four delightful players of the game, Paul Merton, Janey Godley, Richard Herring and Sue Perkins. I also thank Sarah Sharpe who has helped me with the score she kept, blown her whistle beautifully after the 60 seconds had elapsed. We are grateful to our producer Claire Jones. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. And we are also grateful to this lovely audience here at the Festival Fringe who have cheered us on our way in true Festival Fringe manner. So from our lovely audience, and from me, Nicholas Parsons, and the team, thank you very much. Tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!