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 in this country, and of course around the world. But also to welcome to the programme this week four dynamic, talented, diverse personalities who are going to show their skill 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 those four are seated on my right, Paul Merton and Charles Collingwood. And seated on my left, Jenny Eclair and Stephen Fry. And will you please welcome all four of them! Seated beside me is Sarah Sharpe, who is going to help me with 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 heart of Broadcasting House. And we are beginning the show this week with Stephen Fry. Stephen here's a subject for you, a perk of my job. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

STEPHEN FRY: Well a perk of my job that I am happy to be able to expand on now and share with an audience is that I have reached a level of celebrity which means that I am now a member of the Grand Lizard Council which actually runs the world. Not only David Icke knows about this. Many politicians, princes, dukes...


NP: Paul has challenged.

PAUL MERTON: I didn't see you at the last meeting. You mentioned it didn't you Nicholas? Do you remember mentioning it?

NP: I know, I know, I remember, yes. Because I was there before you, wasn't I?

PM: Yes you were, you were doing the catering!

NP: I remember how much you ate as well.

PM: Exactly. This is true.

NP: Paul you have the subject as well as a point of course, 43 seconds, a perk of my job starting now.

PM: I used to think that a perk of my job when I was working on a show called Room 1-0-ditto that I would meet people I always wanted to be associated with. Spike Milligan came on the very first series that I did, and I used to listen with...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Well he started with I always used to...

NP: That's right.

SF: ... and then said I used to.

NP: Used to, so you repeated used to, yes.


SF: Hang on!

NP: A moment ago you were shouting for him, now you're groaning.

SF: Aren't they fickle, they're ever so fickle.

NP: They're so fickle.

JENNY ECLAIR: Oh they can turn!

NP: Correct challenge Stephen so...

PM: This isn't put on for your benefit, you know!

NP: So 29 seconds Stephen, correct challenge, you get a point for that of course, a perk of my job starting now.

SF: A perk of my job very seriously, ladies and gentlemen, is that many years after first striving to make it in this business we call show, I was first allowed...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Two firsts.

NP: Yes.

SF: Oh very good. Vey good, very good, absolutely right.

NP: So Jenny well listened, correct challenge, a point to you, 20 seconds are still available, a perk of my job starting now.

JE: A perk of my job is that I haven't really got one! Hurrah! I'm unemployed and I can do what I like. Go to yoga class, why don't I instead of just standing in front of the fridge, shovelling food into my face...


NP: Charles challenged.

CHARLES COLLINGWOOD: That was a hesitation. Really she was really saving, fighting to speak, weren't you.

JE: I was choking Charles.

CC: Choking.

JE: Because I'm a professional, I was trying to keep going!

NP: Charles, I am, I am in the layout of this show closer than you are to her.

JE: Yes.

NP: And she was choking a bit, but she was keeping going and getting her words out.

JE: Yes.

SF: She kept going like a trooper.

CC: But I was feeling sorry for her. I mean she was choking for God's sake Nicholas!

NP: But she wasn't, she wasn't hesitating.

CC: No, she was dying, old darling! That's much more serious than playing a game!

JE: Charles, Charles, that's another perk of my job, I am used to dying.

CC: Do I get it now?

NP: No you don't Charles, I'm sorry.

CC: Do I get a bonus for simply...

NP: No!

PM: You can't get a bonus for suggesting somebody else is dying! There has to be certain limits!

NP: So Jenny an incorrect challenge, 10 seconds are still available, a perk of my job starting now.

JE: A great perk of my job is working with all these marvellous people who I don't have to see again tomorrow. Because you know, it's just a once-in-a-blue-moony kind of thing. I wouldn't want to see these old losers...


NP: So Jenny Eclair was speaking as the whistle went, and whoever does that in this game gets a bonus point and it was Jenny of course. And she is now in the lead at the end of that round. Yes right she is one ahead of Paul Merton and two ahead of Stephen Fry...

JE: Say that again! Who am I ahead of again?

NP: You're in the lead, my darling.

JE: In front, ahead of Stephen and Paul.

NP: Yes.

JE: I don't need to do anything else in this show.

NP: Jenny will you begin the next round, oh, do you know anything about this, shopping on-line, 60 seconds starting now.

JE: I don't mind shopping on-line. I've bought holidays to locations such as Africa, America, Germany, France, Holland, Tunisia, Scandinavia and also...


JE: Oh it was such a good idea.

NP: Right, Stephen you challenged.

SF: Well there was a hesitation there, I felt.

NP: There was a hesitation.

SF: It was a good list! Was it true?

JE: Do you know what? No!

SF: Oh!

NP: The thing about listing I've discovered in this game is there comes a point where you cannot go on listing. You have to change and go to some more...

SF: Clement, Clement was the master there, he could go on forever, couldn't he.

NP: Clement was the master. No he was always very clever...

SF: He did suddenly stop.

NP: He'd come to the end of his list and go into something else.

JE: That's what I was going to!

NP: Right so 60, 45 seconds for you Stephen on shopping on-line starting now.

SF: Okado is one of the rather weird names of an on-line shopping service. There are many others of course. Amazon is well known, far too celebrated for me to expand on it much further. Howmever play-dot-com is another site...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: Well it was howmever he said.

SF: It is a real word.

JE: It's deviation from howmever.

SF: Whomever and howmever, they're both poetical uses of the word. I promise, look it in a dictionary! Whomever, howmever. I wouldn't have said it otherwise. It's a nice, I've always said it, my favourite!

JE: But I'm at a disadvantage having not been educated at all.

SF: Ah well I'm sorry. I had literally no idea. Howmever, howsomever in fact.

JE: I'm hoping you might catch some of my thickness by osmosis and halfway through the show crack up completely.

NP: No I think he was....

PM: How are you speaking English? Is it sheer guesswork, every word?

SF: You're doing jolly well in that case!

PM: You're doing all right actually.

JE: I'm getting really hot.

NP: I'm sorry Jenny...

JE: Howmever.

NP: An incorrect challenge and 31 seconds Stephen, shopping on-line starting now.

SF: It's a terribly tempting business really isn't it, because it's so easy to tick and click and order. That checkout, it's so...


NP: Jenny you challenged.

SF: Oh hello, two orders.

JE: That was a terrible hesitation.

SF: Yeah it was, awful! I didn't yeah

JE: Howmever!

SF: Howmever.

JE: I'm willing to take the subject on.

NP: Jenny, we're back with you Jenny, tell us more about shopping on-line, 22 seconds starting now.

JE: It's great because you can pretend to be at work and actually you're looking at the bedding in the White company, thinking I might get that, oh look, Mr Josephs is coming up, let's click back to my secretarial work. Can you tell I've never actually worked in an office in my life, I'm making this up. But sometimes you know when you con yourself and you try to write a book...


NP: So Jenny Eclair was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And she's maintaining her lead, one ahead of Stephen, two ahead of Paul Merton, and a few ahead of Charles Collingwood and there we are...

JE: It's giving me asthma! I'm getting so excited by the prospect of having won two rounds, I'm actually having respiratory problems! Charles you save me...

CC: I knew you weren't well, you see! I was trying to help you and I could have had the subject then!

PM: You could have had the subject.

CC: I had a lot to say about shopping on-line but I'm not going to now.

NP: That's the toughness of the game. And who's going to begin? Paul Merton?

PM: Yes.

NP: Will you begin the next round.

PM: Yes.

NP: The subject is Granny's cooking, Granny's cooking, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: I knew neither my paternal grandmother nor my maternal, so I don't really know anything about the cooking.


PM: I mean one died in about 1951 and the other one was about 1932.

NP: Charles you got in there.

CC: Yeah because he stopped.

NP: That is hesitation.

CC: He doesn't care about the subject. You can tell, can't you.

PM: No I don't...

CC: He doesn't want to talk about it.

PM: I care passionately but I just...

CC: I want to talk about Granny's cooking for about 54 seconds. Is that right Nicholas?

NP: You're in there Charles...

CC: I'm ready!

NP: Fifty-four seconds, Granny's cooking starting now.

CC: My grandmother spent a long time in India. When she came back to England, we always had curry. Her flat smelt so much of spices and gorgeous textured rices and chutney and little spoonfuls of yum-yum which I would put on the...


CC: Oh! Isn't yum-yum one word?

NP: It may be hyphenated, but I think in Just A Minute it is a repetition.


CC: No wonder I'm passionate.

PM: I know! It's harsh news, isn't it, harsh news.

NP: I mean some spell it with a hyphen, some don't.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So Jenny you challenged first, you have the benefit of the doubt...

JE: Thank you.

NP: You have Granny's cooking...

CC: Go on Jenny, good luck!

NP: You have 37 seconds starting now.

JE: I had one Granny who could cook. The other was rubbish. Cooking Nana, right, she was a meat and potato pie queen. I remember when my grandad died, at the funeral, she was lashing out the lamb and spud and red cabbage...


NP: Charles you challenged.

CC: Hesitation.

NP: Yeah.

JE: Yeah because I was slight, I was going emotional about, about the red cabbage and meat and potato pie.

PM: You're lucky to have such precious memories.

NP: Charles, Granny's cooking, 24 seconds starting now.

CC: I wish Paul had been my brother and the same age as me because we could have shared a granny. And he would have enjoyed the food that my Granny was cooking...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Don't you patronise me! Making me offers of half a granny!

CC: Well you could have had two Grannys.

PM: Poor Paul, he never had a Granny, have half of mine!

NP: So what's your challenge within the rules of Just A Minute Paul.

PM: Um, within the rules of Just A Minute, none. Within the bounds of human decency, plenty.

CC: I was offering him so much...

PM: Which half am I going to get?

CC: You're going to get, you're going to get her cooking. You poor thin little thing. I've done sympathy for Paul now, let's move on!

NP: Paul we enjoyed your interruption...

PM: Yes.

NP: So you get a bonus point for that. Charles it was an incorrect challenge so you have a point for that, you have Granny's cooking still, 14 seconds starting now.

CC: Granny's cooking is the finest we can fetch, because when...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: What do you mean, fetch? I mean, I didn't have a grandmother, we never had to fetch her cooking! We couldn't fetch her, never mind the cooking! What's this fetching the cooking business?

JE: Howmever, howmever, Charles might have gone to Granny's flat and fetched a basket of cooked curries...

CC: Oh Jenny!

JE: To bring back to...

CC: You're absolutely right.

NP: I'm sorry, let's not take this any further. We've gone far enough on that, I mean...

SF: I'm fetching up here!

NP: Ah right Paul, correct challenge, 10 seconds, Granny's cooking starting now.

PM: Family lore tells us it was magnificent food. She would wander in from the kitchen with a couple of dumplings in her hand and frozen peas would lay...


NP: So Paul Merton was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. It's very even now between them all. Charles has got four, Stephen's got five, Paul's got six and Jenny's got seven. Stephen I'm sure this is something around your area of knowledge and information, blogging. It's your turn to begin so would you tell us something about blogging in this game starting now.

SF: Well the word blog is a contraction of weblog. And blogging really is a kind of logging. It's basically a form of diarising or journal keeping, but on-line, on the web if you prefer. (goes into deep voice) It was coined about seven years ago, I don't know why my voice does that. And it's taken on an enormous popularity...


NP: Paul's challenged.

PM: Has Stephen been channelled by the ghost of Elvis Presley? What's happened there? (does Elvis impression, then returns to normal voice) What's going on? Are we having a seyance, Just A Seyance? What's going on?

NP: I should explain to our listeners, that peculiar laugh is coming from Stephen actually.

PM: It could be coming from Glenn Miller! We don't know!

SF: (laughs) I'm sorry, it's the only way I can keep going, is to be odd, sorry! When I was a boy I used to come and watch Kenneth Williams doing this, you know...

NP: He used to go into different voices.

SF: And somehow you absorb it, listening over the years, of subtly having, I don't know, I just think, I'm sorry...

NP: It sounded more like Kenneth Williams than ah Elvis Presley actually.

CC: (in Kenneth Williams voice) Yes I know!

NP: Paul we loved the interruption, and so Paul gets a bonus point. Stephen wasn't deviating or doing anything strange, well, you were doing a lot of strange things but, he was still keeping to the subject. Blogging, back with you Stephen, 41 seconds starting now.

SF: Many of you may have heard, you're very fortunate if you haven't, of the microblogging service, Twitter, which has attained some sort of notoriety of late. Tweeting or the sending of miniature blog style objects, 140 characters...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well it's Alec Guinness now! Is he, is he auditioning for somebody tonight? It's Trevor Nunn in the third row!

SF: (in Alec Guinness voice) It is not Alec Guinness. If it were Alec Guinness you would know about it.

PM: (in Alec Guinness voice) Sometimes the Alec Guinness impression can be heard from more than one side of the show.

NP: Anybody else want to do an impersonation?

PM: Yeah go on, do your Prince Albert!

NP: (in German accent) Victoria, I do think it's time that we went to bed!

SF: He was in the room! He was in the room with us!

PM: Exactly!

SF: I could see the ring glinting.

PM: Yeah!

NP: (in German accent) Did you see the glint in Victoria's eye? Oh dear! (normal voice) It's amazing how a simple show like this can get us all hysterical! But it is enjoyable, but Paul, what was your challenge within the rules...

PM: I don't know but I think it wasn't a legitimate one.

CC: Alec Guinness it was.

PM: Alec Guinness.

NP: Alec Guinness yes, it was a good laugh. Give him a bonus point, no no no, it was worthy of a bonus point. But you get a point because you were interrupted...

SF: Oh right, fair enough.

NP: You still have blogging, you have 28 seconds starting now.

SF: I feel rather sorry for many of the BBC foreign correspondents and journalists...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of B.

NP: Yes.

SF: Oh!

NP: BBC yes.

SF: The old, ah, one, what was I thinking of? Carry on, sorry.

NP: No we, if you were really in the shoes or the ...

SF: No I know, double B-C or whatever, yeah.

NP: When, when Kenneth Williams was challenged on that, he went catatonic.

SF: Did he?

NP: Absolutely, he went off the wall, you know. (in Kenneth Williams voice) BBC, no, it's a disgrace! No! This is the way, you've got to have the BBC, oh!

SF: It was so bad, it turned him stage Jewish! It was unbelievable!

NP: Right Paul, a correct challenge...

JE: It's like Opportunity Knocks tonight!

NP: The auditions are over.

PM: Yeah. What was the subject? Blogging? That's a long time ago.

NP: I always give you the subject before you start.

PM: Oh do you.

NP: Yes, what everybody else was telling you. It's blogging and there are 25 seconds starting now.

PM: (in posh voice) As Stephen has mentioned, this is now a very popular pastime throughout the world. I haven't really caught up with it myself. But I do have a computer at home, and sometimes when I turn it on, I think you know, I might have a look at the blogging community, see what they're up to these days. But of course I spend most of my time running the Church of England...


PM: Who buzzed? Who buzzed? Who buzzed?

NP: You buzzed first Stephen, what is your challenge.

SF: Time, he repeated time.

NP: Yes you had another time.

PM: Oh yes.

NP: Yes.

PM: All busted for time.

NP: And Stephen you got in with six seconds to go on blogging starting now.

SF: (in Punch voice) I suppose like many things in the popular world, blogging will one day become unpopular...


NP: Jenny challenged.

JE: He said popular before.

NP: Mmmmmmm.

JE: I'm not sure whether in the rules of the game, obviously I'm just a novice...

SF: No I said unpopular then, become unpopular.

JE: (in Punch voice) Sorry, you were talking in such a stupid voice! I couldn't actually hear! It's not fair.

NP: He is deviating...

SF: You're probably right.

NP: He is deviating from the voice he was using before, isn't he.

SF: Yes that's true.

JE: It was only that I thought he'd said popular twice.

NP: Jenny I'm trying to help you here.

JE: Thank you very much! Yes he has! That's exactly what he was doing!

NP: Right, Jenny, three seconds from you on blogging starting now.

JE: Can't be doing with blogging, it bores me...


NP: So Jenny Eclair was again speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, she's equal in the lead now with Paul Merton, and they're both together one ahead of Stephen Fry, and they're a few more ahead of Charles Collingwood. But Charles begins the next round. Charles the subject is making an impression. You've tried that very hard, very apt this subject should come up now, but Charles, 60 seconds starting now.

CC: (in Tommy Cooper voice) I went to the doctor and said "I broke my arm in three places". He said "don't go to those destinations!" (normal voice) There was me making an impression.


CC: I'm thrilled to get a round of applause because it obviously means you know who I was taking off. I do think that it's important in life and I'm now talking to the younger members of the audience, that when you first go for an interview, you must try and make an impression. And clean polished shoes are the best possible thing that you can have, because...


NP: Paul challenged.

CC: That's rather rude to interrupt because I was, that was a serious point.

PM: I don't know, I suppose I am being pedantic. But clean polished shoes are the best things you can have?

SF: Pants! Pants! You have got to have pants, man!

PM: The address of where the interview is?

CC: This is nonsense! Pants? How on earth is the man giving you a job going to see whether you have got pants on? But shoes.

JE: If you're wearing them on your head, that's not a good impression.

CC: Well you're just being silly now.

NP: Um Charles...

CC: Sorry.

NP: To be fair, clean polished shoes will make an impression.

PM: Yeah.

SF: Yeah.

NP: But they won't make the best impression.

PM: No.

CC: It says making an impression, not the best impression.

SF: Ah!

CC: (in Kenneth Williams voice) Very good, very good! Very clever!

NP: So you have the benefit of the doubt, have another point...

CC: And I have another point!

NP: You have the subject and you have 28 seconds, making an impression...

PM: Are you trying to win your bus fare?

CC: Will you not, how dare you interrupt! I'm about to start!

PM: You haven't started yet.

CC: My bus... my bus fare!


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Repetition of bus.

CC: He didn't say starting now.

NP: I'm sorry Stephen, there was a little confab going here, he hasn't actually started yet.

SF: Oh fine, fair enough.

JE: Why would he need his bus fare? Hasn't he got a bus pass?

NP: Oh!

SF: Oh saucer of milk!

NP: How can you? You're taking on some of the acid that we get from the fellows.

JE: That did make me laugh!

PM: Well that's a start, isn't it.

NP: Now let's get back to Just A Minute.

PM: Yeah.

NP: And Charles it was an incorrect challenge because you have another point for that, 28 seconds, making an impression starting now.

CC: One of the things I have really loved doing is going to the seaside. And when the tide goes out, and the sand is warm and hard, by putting your foot prently down...


CC: Prently?

NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: There really isn't such a word as prently, I assure you.

CC: No there's a lot of words called prently, pruntly and proontly. You know that.

SF: Yeah! If only! It's a nice thought!

CC: And you know that.

PM: They're old Dorset words, arent't they.

CC: Old Dorset words. Prently I went to school in Dorset and we talked about "I'll be there prently"!

NP: Yes.

SF: It's a sweet thought...

PM: It's a school motto, isn't it. It's your old school motto.

CC: Yes.

NP: Stephen you have a correct challenge.

SF: All right, okay.

NP: And 13 seconds on making an impression starting now.

SF: A thing dentists or orthodontal people often do is take a medium of some sort, a plaster of Paris before it is set, and place a pair of gnashers in it in order to make an impression, for making all kinds of different things...


NP: Well we've had so much fun in this particular edition of Just A Minute we haven't got through very many subjects. And we now have time for only one more.


NP: Oh you are lovely! I'm sure you'd like to know the situation as we move into the final round. Charles Collingwood in spite of all his passion is trailing a little in fourth place. Jenny Eclair who was in the lead alongside Paul Merton up till now, has now lost it by one point to Stephen Fry.

JE: No!

NP: But it is Jenny's turn to begin, ah somebody in the audience said something which we didn't catch.

JE: Someone said "Go Jenny! Go Jenny!"

NP: Right well go Jenny...

JE: And I really appreciate it, thank you very much.

NP: I don't know what this means Jenny but I'm sure you can go on it, three things you should know about salt, 60 seconds starting now.

JE: I am the face of less salt in actual fact. The Government hired me to do a campaign encouraging the folk of the land to eat less of that chemical compound, sodium chloride...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Repetition of less, I'm afraid.

JE: Less, two lesses.

SF: Yes.

JE: Well you should eat less.

SF: The face of less salt and less of that.

JE: That's why I was paid, to tell people to eat less salt.

SF: I know, that's the point.

NP: Stephen you have a correct challenge, 50 seconds, you tell us something about three things you should know about salt starting now.

SF: Well three things you should know about salt. It's called sodium chloride or the kind we eat is at least. Also often...


NP: Charles challenged.

CC: A hesitation there.

NP: There was a hesitation...

SF: I know, unquestionably, unquestionably...

NP: Charles you are in on this last subject, 43 seconds, three things you should know about salt starting now.

CC: Can you think of anything harder than to talk about salt and three things you know about it?


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Four things you know about salt!

NP: Yeah so that was good, you get a bonus point for that remark. So Charles you have another point and you have the subject and 38 seconds starting now.

CC: When you cry and your tears run down your face into your mouth, you can taste salt. Salt in a cellar is an extraordinary place to keep it...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: I just feel we are not going to get to three things!

CC: Just give me a chance!

PM: Oh sorry, I've challenged far too prematurely. I'm sure, I'm sure you can taste it when you cry, you keep it in cellars. The third thing... is going to knock us all out! I think it involves the word chips!

NP: Have you, have you got a challenge...

PM: I haven't, sadly, no. Have you?

NP: No I haven't. But it's, but it's not my job to challenge.

PM: Is it not?

NP: No it's not. It's up to me to make the decisions Paul.

PM: Is it?

NP: After all these years, have you not worked that one out yet.

PM: No.

NP: Right so we did enjoy what you said again.

PM: Yeah.

NP: So give him that bonus point, all important, 26 seconds Charles, you got a point for being interrupted, 26 seconds, three things you should know about salt starting now.

CC: The third thing I liked to tell you about is this old sailor boy in Cornwall who was a real old salt. He was a man...


NP: Stephen challenged.

SF: Old sailor boy who was an old salt. Two olds.

NP: Yes.

CC: Ah. Very good, very good Stephen.

SF: So Stephen you got in on this subject, 19 seconds still available, three things you should know about salt starting now.

SF: Something I'm happy to share with you about salt is that our word salary derives from the Latin for salt. Romans were paid in that commodity. It was considered very valuable and for that reason we have ascribed the usage of that nomenclature to our weekly or monthly stipend...


NP: So Stephen Fry was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. Let me give you the final result, my gosh, what an even contest! And what a yo-yoing contest. That's repetition I know, but please forgive me. But Jenny who was leading throughout lost the lead in the last round...

JE: I crashed! I crashed!

NP: But she's only one point behind Charles who with all his passion and salt in the last round there, came forward and finished up in third place. He was one point behind Paul Merton who is now in second place. And he is one point behind Stephen Fry who is the winner this week! A very fair and evenly balanced contest! Only one point separating them all, nine, 10, 11, 12, like that. But as I often say the points are not so important as the...

JE: They are!

NP: Darling, I was going to finish by saying it's the contribution. Your contribution was wonderful, your position was secondary.

JE: Thank you.

NP: So it only remains for me to say, thank our four intrepid players of this game, Paul Merton, Charles Collingwood, Jenny Eclair and Stephen Fry. I also thank Sarah Sharpe who has helped me with the score, and blown her whistle when the 60 seconds was up. 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 in Broadcasting House for cheering us on our way and joining in the fun which we enjoy as much as they do. So from our lovely audience, and from me, Nicholas Parsons, and our lovely panel, good-bye and remember, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yes!