WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, GRAHAM NORTON and RICHARD MORTON, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 15 March 1999)
NOTE: Richard Morton's last radio appearance, Elaine Wigley's last appearance blowing the whistle.
NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!
NP: Thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons, and as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome all the many many listeners we have throughout the world, I can tell you. And also to welcome the four exciting, talented and individual players of Just A Minute who have joined us for this particular edition of the show. We are delighted to welcome back an individual and outstanding comedian, Paul Merton. And also a lovable and outrageous comedian, Graham Norton. And the talented and distinctively Scottish comedian, Richard Morton. And the distinctive and multi-faceted humorist Clement Freud. Would you please welcome all four of them. I am going to give them a subject on which I'm going to ask them to speak and they will try and do that for Just A Minute if they can and they have to try and do it without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Beside me sits Elaine Wigley who will help me keep the score. She'll hold the stopwatch and she will blow her whistle when 60 seconds are up. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Pleasance on the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival. And in front of us here we have a delightful, attractive and exuberant Fringe audience who are going to encourage us on our way. And we'll begin the show with Clement Freud. Clement the subject is a can of worms. Can you tell us something about that subject in Just A Minute starting now.
CLEMENT FREUD: A can of worms is a gastronomic item which has to date escaped me. I wonder whether... lugworms... really... shouldn't get a much better press than they do. Um... worms in common with headlice, dung beetles and cockroaches are allowed...
NP: Paul Merton you've challenged.
PAUL MERTON: Hesitation.
NP: I agree with the hesitation. So Paul you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that and you take over the subject of a can of worms and there are 39 seconds left starting now.
PM: I had to take back a tin of baked beans at the supermarket the other day because it was well past its sell by date. I opened it up and there was a load of maggots inside. I said "this is a can of worms you're selling me here!" they said "well what do you expect, there's more meat in it than you'd normally get!" I said "Listen here! I'm going to start a fight!" So I did and I took 'em to court and I won! Several years after that I found myself walking through the district of Paisley which is, as you know, is near Glasgow. And I was wandering around when suddenly a man came out of the shadows holding a can of worms. He gesticulated to me in a rather strange manner. And I was tempted to follow him down these labyrinths of these dark alleyways into a very strange area where I suddenly saw the worms burial ground...
NP: Well done! Well, Paul Merton not only took the subject but took it at pace and kept going and kept changing the phraseology so he didn't repeat himself. Speaking as the whistle went so he gains an extra point for that and at the end of that round you won't be surprised to hear that he's the only one who's got any points. And Paul, we'd like you to take the next round, the subject, black comedy. Tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.
PM: It's a particular form of humour, black comedy, that looks at the darker side of life. One prime example of this would be the Mel Brooks film, Young Frankenstein, made in the early 1970s, that featured the monster recreated by the mad doctor. And there was a rather charming graveyard sequence I seem to remember, that was rather fun. Marty Feldman...
NP: Richard Morton you've challenged.
RICHARD MORTON: (in Scottish accent) Repetition.
RM: Sorry, I'm actually from Newcastle, Nicholas, but you said I was Scottish, so I had to go (in Scottish accent) repetition. And er if it's all right...
NP: So Richard, have I got to actually introduce the whole show again?
RM: No, no, no...
PM: Richard's prepared to come from Scotland for the purposes of the show!
RM: Yeah! Yeah! If you want to move the border down to the Roman wall, that's okay, I don't mind. That's great! Sorry about that Swedish accent everybody I put on there. But Paul actually repeated the word rather.
NP: He did!
RM: Rather, he did it twice!
RM: You rather did!
PM: That's not like me!
NP: No, but it was correct, so Richard Morton you have a correct challenge and it's lovely to have somebody from Newcastle on the show. And we love to hear, black comedy is the subject by the way, correct challenge, you have a point for that, 38 seconds available starting now.
RM: Black comedy of course is very big in Scotland with many comedians like Chick Murray from Glasgow coming out with marvelous macabre dark sort of jokes, putting them into his stand-up act and making him very successful. Scottish audiences of course like dark comedy...
NP: Clement Freud challenged.
CF: Repetition of of course.
NP: Oh yes! Yes that gets one of those sort of reactions!
RM: Well, if it's going to be like that!
NP: Get him! But it is a correct challenge within the rules of the game. I have to abide by that so Clement you have a point for that, you have 24 seconds still available on black comedy starting now.
CF: I like Bill Cosby best.
NP: Paul Merton you challenged.
PM: Ah hesitation.
NP: Yes actually, yes I think you would interpret that as hesitation! I think it was just about that. So another point to you Paul, black comedy, 19 seconds available starting now.
PM: There is a production that tours round the country called The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And our chairman Nicholas Parsons was once desperate enough to appear in it, in a pair of fishnet stockings, where he would parade around on stage, in front of people who'd paid good money to see this. And he would regale them with what he liked to think was his whimsy...
NP: We have some Rocky Horror fans in the audience actually!
PM: It's a black comedy isn't it!
NP: Black comedy! There we are! With black tights, and black fishnet tights and high heel shoes! But that's only for the finale. Ah...
PM: That's what he wears going to the theatre!
NP: Paul you kept going with your description of black comedy, or Nicholas Parsons in his high heel shoes until the whistle went, so you have gained that extra point. And pros and cons, that's the subject, Richard. Go on it if you can for 60 seconds starting now.
RM: Pros and cons, of course, means the good and the bad, the easy or the difficult. It's a judgement or a decision that we make and decide in a contingency way, in our minds when we are faced with a situation that is so difficult. We just talk rubbish like I'm doing now! Hopefully someone will take pity on me and buzz...
NP: And Clement... Graham Norton.
GRAHAM NORTON: It was just a mercy interruption!
GN: It was sort of the panel game equivalent of pet rescue! I just came in!
NP: Ah Graham...
NP: ... Norton, 43 seconds is available to tell us something about pros and cons starting now.
GN: Pros and cons are similar yet different. Pros make you pay for something you want. Cons remove money from you for things you don't actually need! Conmen... you see rather clever! I don't know how I thought of it myself! However, that's really the end of the only thing I can think of to say about that...
GN: Oh thank God!
NP: Clement Freud challenged.
CF: Well that's it, isn't it!
NP: You've had a similar challenge to the other one before that Graham had for Richard. So 18 seconds for you Clement, pros and cons starting now.
CF: People believe that some of the most beautiful prose was written by Edna St. Vincent Millay, although Katherine Mansfield has her admirers. Moving smoothly to cons, these tend to be confidence tricksters, evil men who...
NP: Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so. And he's moved forward, he's still in second place behind Paul Merton our leader. Graham Norton it's not only your turn to begin, oh, I'm sure this has been chosen for you. Fashion victim.
LAUGHTER FROM CROWD
GN: I like that! I haven't said a thing already! Marvelous!
NP: No! I would say to our listeners that Graham is probably looking the most elegant and most fashion conscious dresser of anybody...
GN: Can I, can I just say that coming from you Nicholas, that's very scary!
PM: Somewhere there's a deck chair with a coat shaped hole in it!
NP: That's because I'm wearing a sporty stripy blazer! Which actually...
PM: As modeled by Anthony Eden!
NP: Which I'm not allowed to wear on television because it's what is known as strobes, it all goes like that...
GN: That's what they told you!
NP: Anyway Graham, he's wearing an outrageous check shirt with a sort of suede type jacket with a pocket. I don't know whether he's a fashion victim or not, but he will talk on the subject for 60 seconds if he can starting now.
GN: I'm put in mind of Sandra Rhoades, poor sad creature! She technically is not a fashion victim, more a fashion fatality! She is the catwalk equivalent of a road kill! The squashed hedgehog of haute couture! Some spiky bloody mess on the street would be more attractive than one of the bizarre kaftanesque things that she puts over her head in the morning. Does she not have a full-length mirror in her house? And as for the strange doodlings she places upon her very own head, I can't understand it at all! You do sort of think it's crueler to test that on her than an animal! I don't...
NP: Well Graham you have not played the game as much as others but my goodness me, you have got the knack of it! You went with style and panache and verve, and you kept going for the full 60 seconds, you didn't repeat yourself, didn't hesitate and you did not deviate. And at the end of 60 seconds you gain that extra point for speaking but you get a bonus point for not being interrupted. Congratulations again! Clement your turn to begin, the subject, the full shilling. Tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.
CF: The English shilling is a rather outmoded piece of currency. But the full shilling was worth 12 pence, or 24 hapennies, or twice that number of farthings. There was something called the Queen's shilling which many thought was the going price for a homosexual relationship but was actually money which recruiting officers gave young men in order to fight in the Army for...
NP: Paul Merton challenged.
PM: Well he said they joined the Navy, therefore it was a homosexual practice! That's deviation! We all know what they get up to in the Navy!
NP: So the challenge was?
PM: Oh God!
GN: Give it up!
PM: Get the tape and just spool it back! It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.
NP: It doesn't really matter.
PM: It would take too long to explain.
NP: Too long to explain. So an incorrect challenge then, we'll say, and Clement you continue for 28 seconds for the full shilling starting now.
CF: There used to be a woman called Mrs Shilling who was a milliner who wore...
NP: Paul challenged.
PM: Deviation, she's still alive! She's a proud Shilling!
CF: I meant her mother!
PM: But she's still alive... her mother?
PM: Well I'm not... Her mother's still alive, and her grandmother!
RM: She's never died in...
NP: Actually he wasn't strictly deviating from...
CF: Yes I was!
NP: No you... Just when I defend you for once Clement! All right...
CF: Yes I was!
NP: Gertrude, you didn't actually say Gertrude Shilling...
NP: No, you just said Mrs Shilling and there are many Mrs Shillings in this world and I'm sure many of them are alive and kicking, probably listen to this programme! Paul you have got the subject at last, and 23 seconds available, the full shilling, starting now.
PM: I wonder if it's one of those phrases like he's not the full shilling, he's a sandwich short of a picnic, the lights are on but there's nobody at home. It's that kind of colloquialism which we use about people who aren't all there. When I look round at this marvelous audience sitting in front of me I can see several candidates for people who aren't the full shilling. For example there's a man at the back there, he's looking very oddly...
NP: So Paul Merton once again kept going until the whistle went, gained that extra point for doing so, and has increased his lead at the end of the round. And Paul it's your turn to begin, it is deja vu. Will you tell us something about deja vu in Just A Minute starting now.
PM: I'm sure I've had this subject before! As I was saying, the experience of deja vu. You may be sitting reading a book when suddenly an image comes into your head of being in that same position with a piece of paper in your hands with typed words on it. You think "I have done this before, I have lived a life... before..." (starts to giggle)
NP: Graham Norton you challenged first.
GN: In fairness it was repetition!
NP: Yes it was.
NP: Graham there are 33 seconds left, deja vu is with you starting now.
GN: I recall watching an American film, very frightening, scared me! And it contained a teenage girl. And after one of her friends was killed in a similar way that all the other people she knew in the college, she screamed "oh no, it's like deja vu all over again!" And...
GN: Thnak God!
NP: Richard Morton you challenged.
RM: I just couldn't get to the end! It was scaring the life out of me! Really! I think it was repetition though, he had a little breath there. Was there a little tiny breath there?
NP: A breath is hesitation actually.
GN: Well I breathed twice!
RM: I did mean hesitation, I just didn't use the word. Yeah you were just going to get the denumon, just as the knife was coming down...
PM: I think if it's deja vu you can't help but have repetition!
NP: Yes but he hesitated....
PM: Oh I see!
NP: He hesitated...
PM: Oh I do beg your pardon!
NP: And he got muddled between hesitation and repetition, hasn't played the game as much as you...
PM: Oh I see!
RM: I'm from Scotland, you know...
PM: Are you?
RM: Yes! Can't you tell by my accent Paul?
NP: Right so the... The first Tynesider who's ever been adopted by the Scots! Seven seconds are available for you Richard on deja vu starting now.
RM: I've always wondered what indeed the French use for the term deja vu. Because if that's their phrase for it, then what do they...
NP: Clement Freud?
CF: I just thought it would be nice to press this buzzer.
GN: Was it?
CF: No! Disappointing!
NP: Disappointing! So Richard you have a point for an incorrect challenge, you keep the subject, there is half a second left, deja vu starting now.
RM: Quelle demage!
NP: So Richard Morton gained that extra point for speaking as the whistle went, and he has moved forward and he is in second place now behind Paul Merton. Clement Freud it's your turn to begin, the subject is gear. Tell us something about gear starting now.
CF: Gigha is a Hebridean Island which is just west of the Mull of Kintyre. You would overflow Arrin and on the way to Ilah, possibly Colinsay, there is Gigha, spelt G-I-then the first letter again-h-a. It's a particularly pleasant land mass and I would recommend that everyone go there. The place is about the same size as this audience so that you would be extraordinarily welcome! I haven't myself been there but noticed it on the map! Gear is also a word used for clothing, apparel, the sort of trousers, shirts, shoes, socks, ties that predominantly young people now wear on all occasions. They say "look at my gear" and one regards, one does, as asked. And I find it really pretty appalling, I mean sad, the sort of designers...
NP: Well it is very rarely that we have somebody who starts a subject and finishes it without being interrupted. This happened twice on this show already. And he kept going till the whistle went and got a point for doing so, and got a bonus point for not being interrupted. And he's now gone into the lead just ahead of Paul Merton. And Paul it's your turn to begin, the subject, the endurance test. You have 60 seconds as usual.
PM: If you were an ordinary punter up here at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and you decided to see 10 shows a day for every single 24 hours of the particular thing that's going on up here, you would need to have the stamina of a workhorse, because there are over 500 shows, there are thousands of performers, there are 14 pints of beer to drink every hour. It's extraordinary the amount of effort and work you'd go to just to be simply...
NP: Graham Norton challenged.
GN: It seems quite... but there was repetition of hour.
NP: Yes, there was their hour and shows as well.
PM: That's it, I'm going home!
NP: Graham you have...It wasn't worth it, don't laugh please! You have 34 seconds to tell us something about the endurance test starting now.
GN: The endurance test that enters most of our lives most frequently is...
NP: Clement Freud?
CF: Repetition of most.
NP: There were two mosts, most frequently and most of our lives.
GN: Oh yes!
NP: Clement, 28 seconds, tell us something about the endurance test, starting now.
CF: The very first gramophone record which I ever had and went to school with was called There's No-one With Endurance But The Man Who Sells Insurance. He's everybody's best friend, you may follow him and get him, but remember, he will bet him, for he gets us all in the end! Nobody much listened to it, so it never became one of the discs in the top 10. Because in those halcyon days of my youth, there was no such thermometer of success...
NP: Clement Freud illustrating his success at playing this game because he kept going till the whistle went, gained that extra point and has increased his lead at the end of the round. Richard Morton would you take the next round, my favourite figurine, can you tell us something about it in Just A Minute starting now.
RM: My favourite figurine is a small plastic figure of Top Cat, the Hanna Barbera cartoon character, which I bought in New York about five years ago at FAO Shorts, the toy shop. And it reminds me of happy childhood memories, sitting in front of the television watching what I now consider to be a very sophisticated and witty animated TV series from the late 50s and early 60...
NP: Graham Norton you challenged.
GN: Repetition of TV.
NP: Yes, yes...
RM: Did I?
NP: Yes! I'm afraid so.
RM: This is harder than it looks, isn't it?
NP: Yeah! Graham a correct challenge, my favourite figurine is with you, there are 39 seconds available starting now.
GN: My favourite figurine was entitled The Balloon Lady, and belonged to my grandmother whose name bizarrely and truly was Nellie Graham! I kid you not! The figurine sat on her sideboard and was dusted regularly, God love her, because she knew that a tidy home is a happy place you live in! And... the figurine thing...
NP: Richard Morton you challenged.
RM: Yeah that was hesitation. But Graham I never knew that your grandmum had sideboards! You've got your grandmother's sideboards!
GN: The figurines in them! Lovely!
NP: Richard you have 11 seconds to tell us more about my favourite figurine starting now.
RM: Whereas in the late 70s and early 80s the other cartoons I felt had lost the early sophistication and wittiness that had them... oh I said that before, didn't I?
NP: Paul Merton challenged.
PM: He said it before and I'm not going to let him get away with it!
RM: I said that before and you got in again! Deja vu!
NP: Three seconds, my favourite figurine, Paul, starting now.
PM: I'm making it...
RM: Don't do it please! I never win anything! Let me win!
NP: What's your challenge?
RM: Just that I wanted to win that one and Paul was going to get it. No, you're right, I'm being silly!
NP: No, no, I'm afraid because you challenged, it was an incorrect one, Paul gets another point...
RM: Oh you!
RM: You've got your own show, what more do you want!
PM: I want love!
RM: Well I'll love you, let me win this one thing!
NP: All this audience here is giving you so much, look at their faces! Exuding love towards you Paul! And ...
RM: Do Top Cat's voice and I'll let you have the points! Go on!
PM: Oh you'll let me have the points!
RM: They can't see where my hands are right now, can they?
PM: I didn't realise we had a trainee Nicholas Parsons in our midst! Did you know that, Nicholas?
NP: No, I did not know that, no, no, no...
RM: Not wearing that jacket!
PM: There's a chance that you could be superseded!
RM: Yeah! He's Scottish, you know!
PM: It's not very often that you hear the word super and Nicholas Parsons in the same sentence!
RM: I wish I'd never started this! I'm sorry!
NP: Right, we seed on and there are two seconds available, that's all Paul, for my favourite figurine, starting now.
PM: Picture the scene! You've got a lovely mantelpiece and...
NP: So Paul Merton gained points in that round including one for speaking as the whistle went. He's now only one behind our leader who is still Clement Freud. And then trailing a little behind is Graham Norton and Richard Morton together. We're moving into the final round. It's a pity about that, we're very sad, I'm sure the audience is sad. But there we are, all good things must come to an end, mustn't they. And it's Graham Norton's turn to begin, it's always nice to hear from Graham. So Graham bring the show to a wonderful rousing finish with a great subject. Oh yes, ideal for you, it's shindig. Tell us something about it in this game starting now.
GN: The shindig was a special archaeological excavation formed by archaeologists who had lost their arms in a terrible accident involving film star Clint. They would tie little shovels just above the knee and kneel on the ground, grunting furiously. When they found a particularly rare piece of pottery, unable to clap their hands, they would slap their thighs together with joy. You would hear the Pwaugh! Oh the fields if you were driving along that part of the country. Oh, people would say "that'll be the..."
NP: Clement Freud challenged.
CF: Repetition of people.
NP: Yes there were a lot of people about. You made...
CRIES OF "AWWWW" FROM THE AUDIENCE
GN: Oh no! Please! Thank God!
NP: They were loving it. Shindig, yes, what a lovely interpretation. Clement there are 19 seconds for you on the shindig starting now.
CF: Shindig is a sort of Irish kaylee, what you might call a soiree with a binge on top, in which an awful lot of people drink and dance and clap their hands whether or not joy is there, and make contact generally. I think I've said generally...
NP: Actually Richard you challenged with only half a second to go. What was your challenge?
RM: Did I?
NP: Yes. Well Clement actually told you what he did.
RM: Yeah? I'm just trying to get back in again!
NP: He said he repeated something.
RM: I know, I wanted to hear that phrase again. Soiree with a binge on top.
NP: Oh I see. He did actually repeat something so you have half a second to go on shindig starting now.
NP: Oh no someone else has challenged. Paul?
NP: That's right, Paul. Quarter of a second, Paul...
RM: No my mouth was going, I had shh...
NP: Paul, quarter of a second, starting now.
PM: My mate...
NP: Yes well done. So we have no more time to play Just A Minute. For those interested in the points, let me give you the final situation. Graham Norton in spite of going for nearly two rounds without being interrupted, but it's the contribution he makes which is so wonderful. Didn't get many points...
NP: Great contribution! Richard Morton similar situation, lovely contribution, fewer points.
RM: I've heard that before!
NP: And Paul Merton, great contribution. Clement Freud, magnificent contribution. And with that little bit of a fluff I did at the end brought Paul up equal with Clement Freud. And so very justifiably and I think very fairly, equal winners, Clement Freud and Paul Merton. It only remains for me to say thank you to our four exciting players of the game, Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Richard Morton and Clement Freud. I also have to thank Elaine Wigley for blowing her whistle so charmingly and also helping me keep the score. And we thank Ian Messiter who created this game that we enjoy playing so much and of course Chris Neill our producer and director who keeps us all in order and makes sure it all comes together magnificently at the end. And we thank this wonderful audience here who come to encourage us here at the Pleasance on the Fringe at the Festival in Edinburgh. Thank you so much, you've been lovely. From the audience, from our four panelists, from me Nicholas Parsons, to our listeners, thank you for tuning in, be with us the next time we play Just A Minute. Till then from all of us here, goodbye!