NOTE: Pam Ayres's last television appearance.


NICHOLAS PARSONS: Thank you, thank you, hello and welcome to Just A Minute, this excting,demanding and sometimes outrageous game in which I ask four guests to speak on a subject I give them, and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Let us now meet the four talented performers who are going to play the show today. And we welcome back two old favourites of Just A Minute, Wendy Richard and beside her the lovely Peter Jones. And on my left that very talented wordsmith Pam Ayres, and beside her that talented comedienne Linda Smith. Please welcome all four of them. And they are going to display their verbal ingenuity and dexterity on a subject I give them and they will win or maybe lose points as we keep going. Wendy Richard begin the show today. Mumbo jumbo is the subject. Can you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

WENDY RICHARD: A lot of people think the scripts we have to work with in television are mumbo jumbo and I must say I fully agree with most of them! On this programme you have to talk mumbo jumbo but you have to keep the mumbo jumbo going for 60 seconds. Sometimes I find this easier than at other times. Mumbo jumbo is the speciality...


NP: Pam you challenged.

PAM AYRES: I think that Wendy said times twice.

NP: She did say times twice.

PA: I believe so.

NP: That was a repetition...

PA: Sorry about that Wendy.

WR: That's all right.

NP: You've no need to apologise, that's part of the game!

WR: Look! If she wants to apologise to me, let her! It's a matter between each other! It's nothing to do with you Nicholas!

PA: I've been well brought up and polished Nicholas!

NP: Yes! And Wendy sometimes is so warm and generous and flattering. And other times, well Pauline bursts out doesn't she? Right that was a correct challenge so Pam Ayres gets a point for a correct challenge...

PA: Oh thank you!

NP: She takes over the subject which is mumbo jumbo and she has 43 seconds to take it over starting now.

PA: At home I have a large stuffed legless unicorn bought from a radio station in Brighton for 13 pounds...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: Well she stumbled which I think could be interpreted as a hesitation.

NP: Yes it is interpreted as a hesitation Peter...

PA: Oh damn!

NP: So Peter Jones has a correct challenge, he gets a point for it, takes over the subject, it's mumbo jumbo and there are 32 seconds left Peter starting now.

PJ: It's really the language of bureaucrats in Whitehall though it is often imitated by businessmen who send out circulars to shareholders and others instructing them what to do if and when. And it's terribly boring to try and interpret or make English out of it. I wouldn't er really...


NP: Pam you listened well.

PA: Hesitation.

NP: That was hesitation. Another point to Pam Ayres and the subject back with her, and 13 seconds, mumbo jumbo starting now.

PA: The particular animal which I was describing previously is a unicorn, and it's gold...


PA: Oh damn!

WR: You said unicorn before!

NP: You got out of it by saying the creature I described earlier and than you mentioned the creature! Oh it's a frustrating game! But Wendy got in first, seven seconds on repetition, a point to you Wendy...

WR: It's not on repetition, it's on mumbo jumbo.

NP: I know! I gave you a point for repetition, you have the subject of mumbo jumbo, you have seven seconds starting now.

WR: I'm very good at talking mumbo jumbo. I spend most of my life speaking mumbo jumbo, especially on this programme...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle blows gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Wendy Richard so she's in the lead alongside Pam Ayres at the end of the round. And they can repeat the subject on the card but not too often! Wendy Richard started, Peter Jones, you take the next round. Hitch-hiking. Tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: Well it's a means of getting from one place to another without really exerting yourself all that much. It's wearing on the thumb and the forearm sometimes if you're trying to point the way. But it's easier if you have a piece of card. The... oh!


NP: Pam you got in first, yes, hesitation. So you take the subject of hitch-hiking, 46 seconds starting now.

PA: Some years ago while desperately strapped for cash, I sent away for a booklet which instructed a person in the art of writing romantic fiction. I had decided to prostitute my talent by writing such material. And one of the things which it made clear at the outset...


NP: Peter you've challenged.

PJ: Yes I did. Deviation.

NP: Deviation, yes. It was a long time, you'd been going for quite a while and never mentioned anything about hitch-hiking.

PA: I was coming to it though Nicholas...

NP: I know...

PA: I was getting there!

NP: I know but you didn't get there quick enough for Just A Minute.

PA: Okay I'm sorry.

NP: No don't apologise because that's part of the fun of the game. Peter a correct challenge I grant you for that, and you have a point of course for that. And you take over the subject which is hitch-hiking and 27 seconds available starting now.

PJ: Get a piece of cardboard as the kind of... oh well...


NP: So frustrating! Who buzzed first? I didn't watch! Whose light came on?

PA: I fear it was me!

NP: Was it you Pam?

PA: I think it was!

NP: You were trying to save him from something worse weren't you. Yes! Was it hesitation?

PA: Oh yes hesitation.

NP: Yes hesitation! Right! Twenty-two seconds, hitch-hiking is with you Pam starting now.

PA: The book of instructions which I purchased explained that in most romantic novels the commencement was that a woman's car had broken down at the roadside and she...


WR: You're still deviating you know dear! And I think you've mentioned book...

PA: Well she was just going to start! She was just going to stand out there like this (waves her thumb in hitch-hiker style) I was embellishing it...

WR: If you're going to write a book like that, they would have lost interest by the time we got to the chapter where she stood there with her thumb up!

NP: I think if you haven't played as often as the others, you do get to the subject a little more rapidly than that! Within a second yeah.

PA: Right.

NP: So Wendy I agree with the challenge of deviation and you have 10 seconds to tell us something about hitch-hiking starting now.

WR: I personally have never been hitch-hiking. I think it is a rather dangerous occupation and not one I would recommend to young ladies, especially those younger than I...


NP: Wendy Richard was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, and she's equal in the lead now with Pam Ayres. Peter Jones follows and then it's Linda Smith. And Pam Ayres your turn to begin. The subject, nightmares. I think you've had a few of those in your time from what I'm told of your private conversations! Tell us something about, tell us something about nightmares in this game starting now.

PA: It is normal for most people to have occasional nightmares. And it's only when they become too frequent that assistance should be sought. Sometimes it is a symptom of a person's tension and anxiety and it comes through in the form of nightmares. But other causes can be at the root of the matter. For instance, if you have eaten too much for your supper that evening or indeed have drunk too much. I myself the other day...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Repetition of too much.

NP: There was too much...

PA: Oh thank you!

NP: Of the food and drink yes.

PA: Oh okay.

NP: Don't mean okay! Don't worry! You did very well, went for a long time and in fact you went for 36 seconds. No 26 seconds I'm so sorry, my arithmetic's going. But Peter you have 34 seconds in which to take over the subject of nightmares having got another point, and you start now.

PJ: Most actors experience nightmares. And it involves being on the stage and not knowing a line of what you're supposed to say. Or even perhaps the name of the play in which you're appearing. Or the channel show, I mean channel, whatever it is...


NP: Linda Smith?

LINDA SMITH: Just a general bit of confusion.

NP: I know he was definitely confused there. So we interpret that as hesitation. So Linda, a correct challenge to you, a point of course, and there are 19 seconds, nightmares, starting now.

LS: Nightmares can be terrifying things! You wake up in a cold sweat! Your duvet's all over the auction, and the pillow's soaking and you just don't know what has been happening to you and then you...


NP: Peter?

PJ: I wasn't quite clear... Did she say all over the auction?

NP: She did say all over the auction, I don't know what she was talking about.

PJ: Do you sleep at Sothebys?

LS: Don't you?

NP: They let it go for so long. That was just a slip of the tongue but she kept going...

LS: Well it wasn't a slip of the tongue. It was a, it was just a figure of speech...

NP: I know...

LS: ... that an old lady I know used to say. It's all over the auction!

NP: No but I think that's deviation...

LS: Is it? I thought it was a bit of colour!

NP: It did add a lot of colour but it was incorrect within the rules of Just A Minute. So Peter another correct challenge, another point and there are eight seconds, nightmares, starting now.

PJ: Very often if the actor goes to prompt corner to enquire what is the name of the piece he is trying...


NP: Peter Jones kept going till the whistle went, gained an extra point for doing so, and he's taken the lead at the end of that round. Linda Smith it's your turn to begin, the subject, mobiles. Tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

LS: Mobiles, an abbrieviation of mobile phones, are an abomination, a blight on civilisation. I particularly dislike men with mobile phones on trains who make futile calls...


WR: You had two mobile phones.

NP: Yes. Unfortunately the subject is mobiles and you said mobile phones.

LS: No, I said, no, I said mobiles and then mobile.

NP: Yeah but you mentioned the word phones twice.

LS: Did I?

NP: Yes mobile phones. Yes. So Wendy listened well and got in...

LS: Have I had my dinner?

NP: I think you're back in the auction house somewhere. So Wendy you have 51 seconds to tell us something about mobiles, starting now.

WR: You get some very pretty mobiles nowadays for baby's bedrooms. They hang just over the cot. I've seen mobiles in the form of frogs, penguins, clowns, elephants, coloured balls, and fairies. These mobiles move in a most attractive fashion and keep the infant occupied and so hopefully quiet and gradually send it to sleep. The other word that mobile could mean would be one of those dreadful telephones that seem to go off at the most awkward moment. I think they should be banned from most public places and certainly when you are in a restaurant or even a studio, then the mobile should be switched off. Getting back to the other sort of mobiles, I myself have one with geese. I'd forgotten about that one. And then I've got one with...


NP: Linda you've challenged.

LS: Lot of ones.

WR: Yes.

NP: There was a lot of ones, there was that one and this one. And do you know Linda, you've cleverly got in one second to go...

WR: Thanks Linda!

NP: Yes! Right! But you weren't to know because you haven't got a clock that you can see up here! One second for Linda Smith on mobiles starting now.

LS: Mobiles as...


NP: Well Linda got an extra point then for speaking when the whistle went and she's moved forward. It's all pretty even stevens at the moment as far as the points. Peter Jones and Wendy Richard are both in the lead just ahead of the other two. And Wendy your turn to begin. At the end of the day. That's the subject, talk on it if you can, 60 seconds, starting now.

WR: At the end of the day when I come home from work all I want is a nice cup of tea, to get into my own bed, all nicely tucked in all the way round because I don't like duvets. And then put on the television, hopefully in time for the 9.00 News and then I watch Frasier and fall fast asleep. If I'm lucky I manage to see the end of my favourite programme but sometimes I drift off before. So at the end of the day that is my ideal finish for a working long hours.


NP: It was riveting, wasn't it! And to think your favourite programme's Frasier, and you fall asleep half way through it.

WR: I get very tired Nicholas! It's talking to people and listening to them all day!

NP: Linda you challenged first, hesitation, 24, 26 seconds, at the end of the day, starting now.

LS: At the end of the day is a very annoying expression that people use. It's so meanningless. At the end of the day! At the end of the day it gets dark and you go to bed! And that's about all you can draw from it! That's the only conclusion to be ... brought about...


WR: I think she was hesitating.

NP: She was hesitating yes. So Wendy you got back in on the subject and there are 11 seconds for you starting now.

WR: At the end of the day, just kneel and pray, thank you Lord, for my work and play. These words are from a well known poem, the author of which I cannot remember...


NP: So Wendy Richard speaking as the whistle went gained an extra point and she has incraesed her lead at the end of the round. And Peter Jones, please take the next round. It is busy lizzies. Tell us something about those in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: They're very fast growing pot plants and er millions...


NP: Pam?

PA: I'm sorry I thought it was a hesitation, I'm not...

NP: It was, he said er very definitely.

PA: Well I thought so.

NP: He said er, right! So that was definitely hesitation...

PA: It's a bit of a cut-throat game this, isn't it?

NP: It is a bit! But I think you're all playing with such gentlemanly and gentlewoman penache that you're most polite and courteous to each other, apologising to each other every time they get a correct challenge! Fifty-six seconds, busy lizzies with you Pam starting now.

PA: The busy lizzie is a succulent fleshy type of plant and I don't like it very much. I don't wish to sound like a snob at all in horticulture because I don't believe I am...


NP: Ah...

LS: Several don'ts.

PA: Ah!

NP: Yes...

PA: Yes I suppose it was!

NP: So Linda a correct challenge, you've got 43 seconds to tell us something about busy lizzies starting now.

LS: Busy lizzies are not my favourite plant although they are quite useful. Because they will tolerate really quite deep shade and they come in a variety of colours. Pink, red, white, pinky white, er, whitish pink, er...


NP: Yes?

WR: Er!

NP: No wonder she erred because they don't come in all those colours!

WR: I tell you what, you can get striped ones now!

NP: The leaves, the leaves are striped, they're sort of...

WR: No, you...

LS: On busy lizzies?

WR: ... can get... Listen, I can talk about this in my 60 seconds, but...

NP: All right, well talk about it, you've got the subject, you've got 30 seconds available, busy lizzies, starting now.

WR: I like busy lizzies or impatients as they are known. I plant my window boxes and large troughs out with busy lizzies. I try to do the house of the... the house...


NP: Pam you challenged.

PA: Yes hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes. You tell us something about busy lizzies, 19 seconds starting now.

PA: I do not wish to sound like a snob because I don't...


WR: You said snob before.

NP: You said snob before.

PA: Did I?

NP: But you remembered Wendy, you got in with 15 seconds starting now.

WR: I have lots of busy lizzies in the garden at the rear of where I live. I have got them in all different colours. You can get them in the most attractive variable shaded petals now, ie pink and white stripes. I actually prefer pink...


NP: Wendy Richard speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point and has increased her lead at the end of the round. Pam Ayres your turn to begin. Fish and chips. Are you a fish and chip fan?

PA: I like fish and chips.

NP: Well then that's good. Talk on the subject if you can, 60 seconds, starting now.

PA: I like fish and chips. I remember in our village of Stamford-in-the-vale where I was born with my four brothers and one sister, a fish and chip fan used to come of a Thursday evening. It had a chimney sticking out the top and a hatch at the side. But he did not lower the aperture until he had cooked up the fish and chips. And so we used to queue outside, our nostrils breathing in the fragrant curls of steam that escaped and eventually he would fling wide and expose the interior. And we used to beg him for bits of the crispy stuff off the batter Nicholas, you know what I mean? And he also used to offer for sale chocolate covered honeycomb in large chunks, which was exceedingly hard and damaging to the gnashers. But nevertheless we loved it dearly. Also in Glasgow on one occasion I had fish and chips and haggis! And I recall standing in the street eating this unseemly combination...


NP: So Pam Ayres took the subject of fish and chips and kept going for the full 60 seconds without being interrupted. So she not only gets a point for speaking when the whistle went, she gets a bonus point for not being interrupted so you got two.... Just think all that hard work and all you got is two points.

PA: Well I don't mind, it's the triumph, the feeling of triumph!

NP: The fun of participating as well.

PA: Yes!

NP: Well what has happened well is Pam Ayres has moved into second place just behind Wendy Richard and the other two are trailing just a little bit behind her. And whose turn is it to begin, it's Linda Smith. Linda, my school reports, it's in the plural. Will you talk on that subject, 60 seconds, starting now.

LS: My school reports seem to... er, ah... yeah!


NP: Pam Ayres got in first, yes, she erred immediately. There are 57 seconds for my school reports Pam Ayres starting now.

PA: My school reports are noticeable for their absence. I haven't got a single one remaining from my school days which fills me with grief and sorrow of the most intense kind. My belief is that my mother, having six children received so many school reports into the house that they became to her like confetti, and they had no value...


NP: You challenged?

WR: There was a hesitation. But did you say you had as many brothers and sisters when you were queuing up for the fish and chips as you did with the school?

PA: No my mother had had a few more by then!

WR: It was nothing to do with the bloke with the fish and chip van was it?

PA: No I don't think so! He had a ginger moustache!

WR: Oh!

NP: That was fatal was it?

PA: Yeah I think so, yeah!

NP: Yeah I'm afraid you did hesitate there but that was lovely. So fish and chips... no it isn't, it's my school reports. Well I was still caught up in that story with the fish and chips in Glasgow. With the haggis as well! That must have been... I love haggis but not with fish and chips. With my school reports, it's with Wendy and there are 33 seconds available starting now.

WR: I'm ashamed to say my school reports are abysmal. On every one of them it says Wendy could do it better. Or I should try harder. Or...


WR: Or, or! What's another word for or?

LS: Um or!

PJ: Harlot!

LS: Otherwise you could say...

WR: Harlot! Hahahahahahahah!

NP: What did you say Peter?

PJ: Harlot!

NP: That's another word for it, yes! So Linda yes she was hesitating and my school reports is with you, 21 seconds, starting now.

LS: My school reports have had a marked improvement in my exam results since I left, strangely enough! I don't know why that should be but the kind of comments I used to receive at the end of these documents used to be rather discouraging. Things in the nature of has contributed little to school life, I hope Linda's attitude improves in the future. Well I'm here to say Mister...


NP: Well Linda's school reports kept her going until the whistle went and she gained that extra point for doing so. She's now in third place just behind Pam Ayres, just ahead of Peter Jones, and Wendy Richard is still in the lead. And Wendy it's your turn to begin. Spectacles. Tell us something about that subject in Just A Minute starting now.

WR: I'm extremely short-sighted and I have to wear spectacles. I have about 10 pairs. I have spectacles in varying shades and colours and most attractive frames. But what does annoy when I'm out wearing my spectacles which are slightly tinted, folks stop you and say "oh trying to hide behind those spectacles, are you?" Does it never occur to folk that people like myself could quite well be short-sighted? I've said that twice and none of you have bothered!


NP: Linda?

LS: As I just noticed, she's said that twice!

NP: She generously told you that she'd done it twice and you got in first. And there are 34 seconds available for you to tell us something about spectacles starting now.

LS: Spectacles blighted my youth! I am also very short-sighted and before the invention of contact lenses or my ability to wear them, I used to have to walk around with two cup glass ashtrays stuck to the front of my head! And it was a little undermining to the confidence as a young child. And particularly as...


NP: Pam why have you challenged?

PA: Well I thought it was a hesitation.

NP: Well it kind of was hesitation...

LS: Hands up Pam, it was!

PA: Was it? Oh! Oh!

NP: Yes! Fourteen seconds for you Pam, tell us something about spectacles starting now.

PA: I have written a poem about spectacles. It is as follows:
An old flame came to visit me,
I quivered, it was him!
The years had not been brutal,
He was handsome still and slim.


PA: Oh blow!

NP: I'm sorry, she got that point for speaking as the whistle went. We'd love to hear the end of it! Is it very long?

PA: No it's not very long.

NP: Carry on then!

PA: He... the flame, the ... he... hang on a minute!
The years had not been brutal,
He was handsome still and slim.
The flames of love still flickered
As he stretched his arms out wide,
And with a breathless utterance
I ran straight round the side.
But if I only had my glasses I'd be there!
If I'd remembered where I'd put a pair,
I could be gazing at him now,
Well squinting at him anyhow!
If I only had my glasses I'd be there!

NP: I think she deserves a bonus point for that!

PA: Oh you are kind!

NP: Yes there we are! And what's the situation now? Well she has.. Gosh, she's taken the lead!

PA: Oh gosh!

NP: That bonus point gave you the lead there Pam! And Peter Jones, your turn to begin. The subject, my teddy. I don't know if you were ever the owner of a teddy. But talk about teddies or my teddy starting now.

PJ: Yes I did have a teddy when I was a really small boy. But it was actually a dog! But my parents hadn't told me that it was in fact a bear! And I've had it ever since, because my family retained it and it's in a bookshelf somewhere at home. And I don't know whether it's brought me any luck! I must say I have had quite more than my share...


PJ: What's the matter?

NP: What's the matter! You've been challenged Peter.

PJ: What about?

NP: I don't know. We'll find out from Linda.

LS: I just thought you were looking a bit pleading, as if you wanted someone to challenge!

PJ: No I wanted them no to!

LS: Oh! Well I misread the signals!

PJ: Ah! Well you did!

NP: But you were hesitating there...

PJ: No I wasn't! Absolute rubbish! Why should I hesitate about something that's been with me for 70 years!

NP: All I can do is as this probably we're going towards the end of the show, are you going to be generous and...

PJ: The end of the what?

NP: The end of today's show!

PJ: Oh I see! I thought you meant the series!

NP: No Peter you weren't as bad as all that!

PJ: Oh thank you very much!

NP: So Linda's been very generous and let you continue about my teddy and there are 40 seconds left starting now.

PJ: For instance I've been very fortunate in my family, my mother, father, wife, and now children and even grandchildren. And so not having starved to death in this business which is in fact a miracle I think, in view of my lack of ability to remember where I'm supposed to be at any particular time and er...


NP: Pam?

PA: Hesitation I would say.

NP: If you don't know where you are, no wonder you keep hesitating when you come on Just A Minute!

PJ: Yes! Well I've always been rather tentative in my delivery!

NP: Pam a correct challenge so you've got my teddy and there are 20 seconds available starting now.

PA: I always slept with my teddy bear. I loved him dearly. I had such a er...


NP: Wendy yes that was definitely hesitation...

WR: Just a slight hesitation.

PA: It was indeed.

NP: Thirteen seconds Wendy for you to tell us about my teddy starting now.

WR: I still have my teddy at home. When I first got it I was absolutely terrified of it because it was bigger than myself. But now I am quite used to it because I've grown slightly taller than the teddy! I had several teddies actually, one in the form of a panda, then there was a teddy with brown velvet trousers on...


NP: Oh! So Wendy Richard speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point. And alas! We've no more time to play Just A Minute! Let me give you the final situation. Peter Jones who has excelled so often in this show finished just in fourth place, a very good one. He was a little way behind Linda Smith. But she was behind joint winners today, Pam Ayres and Wendy Richard, today you are joint winners! So we hope you enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute. It only remains for me to thank our four talented players of the game, Wendy Richard, Peter Jones, Pam Ayres, Linda Smith. From them, from me, Nicholas Parsons, tune in next time we play Just A Minute. Until then from all of us here goodbye!