starring KENNETH WILLIAMS, DEREK NIMMO, PETER JONES and RAY ALAN, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 20 February 1979)


ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo and Ray Alan in Just A Minute. And as the Minute Waltz fades away here to tell you about it is our chairman Nicholas Parsons.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Thank you very much, hello and welcome to Just A Minute. And as you've just heard we welcome back Ray Alan who did so well last year when he appeared against our three regular tough competitors of the game. And once again they're going to try and speak if they can for on a subject that I will give them. And they're going to try and do it without hesitating, without repeating themselves and without deviating from the subject on the card. And we begin the show with Kenneth Williams and the subject is simplicity. Kenneth can you tell us something about simplicity in 60 seconds starting now.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: This is very welcome in any sphere. But especially I think we all want to see at present in humour. One thinks of the under-graduate saying to the poacher who's got this rabbit by the hind leg, "ah, is that your own hare, or is it a wig?" Now there is an example of simplicity. Because you see if we are going to become circumvoluted and obtuse, obscurantist some might say, then of course communication becomes increasingly difficult. Because what we all want by way of simplicity is direct contact with each other. And if one can do it with a smile, a chuckle, a jest, then it is doubly welcome. I wish that I on this game one day could by simple methods, reach the 60 minute limit and have everyone say...


NP: Well Kenneth you certainly reached the 60 second limit, I don't think any of us want you to reach the 60 minute limit!

KW: I don't think anyone wanted the subject of simplicity!

NP: Well you demonstrated it beautifully, you kept going, you were about three or four minutes from speaking. But you did it so successfully, the audience showed their appreciation. You get a point for speaking when the whistle went which tells us that 60 seconds are up and an extra point for not being interrupted. So you are not only in the lead at the end of the first round, the only person to have scored, the only person to have spoken. So let's get on and hear from somebody else and we'll hear from Derek Nimmo for the next round. Derek, the subject is Joe Miller. Would you tell us something about him in Just A Minute starting now.

DEREK NIMMO: Joe Miller was a comedian from the 18th century who is I believe buried at St Paul's Churchyard in Covent Garden. He died, and after his death his jokes were collected together by a friend of his, and published as Joe Miller's Jokebook or The Wits Verdi Mecem. As you rummage through some of these stories they seem to be singularly unfunny in the 20th century. But in their time they produced hilarity and mirth throughout many parts of this fair land of ours. I'd like also perhaps to recall one of his jokes. It takes place...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PETER JONES: Repetition of jokes.

NP: Yes you repeated the joke I'm afraid, the word.

DN: Joke, I said, and then jokes.

NP: No you did talk about jokes before.

DN: Joe Miller's Joke Book and then I said jokes.

NP: Well the audience seem to think that you are right Derek, so I must therefore bow to their superior judgement and say that it was an incorrect challenge. So you have a point for that and you keep the subject and there are 23 seconds, sorry, 27 seconds left starting now.

DN: The particular yarn that I would like to illustrate takes place in ancient Rome. And there was Caesar, was seen to be bringing in, down the Vear Apia, a collection of slaves. And one of them looks extraordinarily like...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Deviation.

NP: Why?

PJ: Well it's nothing to do with Joe Miller.

NP: I think he did establish it was one of Joe Miller's favourite jokes. Fourteen and a half seconds for you to continue with Joe Miller starting now.

DN: I was first introduced to the works of Joe Miller by Frank Muir who was a great devotee of his. And the tale that I was going to, if I had been able to, finish for you, was one which in latter days has been replaced exactly the same character...


NP: So on that occasion, a very unusual edition of Just A Minute, but that's the great fun of this game, it's never the same two weeks running. Derek Nimmo kept going with the same subject he started with, he did have interruptions, but as they were, none of them, correct, it means that he got a lot of points and one for speaking as the whistle went and he's now in the lead. Peter Jones, we're now going to hear from you, the subject is pound. And will you tell us something about that in 60 seconds starting now.

PJ: Waiter, is this egg fresh? I don't know sir, I only lay the table! That's the type of joke that Joe Miller used to have in his book.


NP: And Kenneth Williams has challenged you.

KW: Yes, because it's nothing to do with the subject, you see.

NP: Of pound.

KW: Precisely.

NP: Exactly! It's a pity because we all loved the joke Peter.

PJ: Well I know, yes!

KW: I don't see it's a pity at all! He ruined my dear friend, Derek Nimmo's lovely joke...

NP: Yes!

KW: Lovely joke about the Roman slaves! Absolutely ruined it was...

PJ: Yes because he was...

KW: Stone dead!

PJ: He was rabbiting on, you see, so long.

KW: So are you! Just because you're named after...

PJ: Actually I told my joke in very few seconds! How many seconds was it?

NP: It illustrated simplicity...

PJ: Exactly!

NP: ... and Joe Miller's jokebook, but you didn't speak on the subject of pound.

PJ: No! Quite! Well I was coming to that. There's plenty of time left!

NP: Well as long as you don't come to it in the next round Peter, you'll probably be all right!

PJ: Yes!

NP: But...

PJ: It's nice to have Ray Alan with us, he doesn't interfere!

NP: Well he hasn't got Lord Charles here to work him, does he? For those of you who live abroad and haven't seen Ray Alan, our guest, he does have a beautiful puppet called Lord Charles. Must explain that. And um there are 52 seconds left for the subject of pound for Kenneth Williams who had a correct challenge starting now.

KW: The subject of pound cannot go unchallenged without mentioning Ezra Pound who, of course, as you know, wrote that incredible collection, The Pizan Canteaus. There is a line of his which runs "oh to be in England now that Winston's out!" And we think this had some sort of reflection on the government of the day. Now he was instrumental...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Deviation, that wasn't written by Ezra Pound.

KW: It certainly was!

PJ: I...

KW: I've got a book with it written in it! And I know more about it than you do, you ignorant great fool! How dare you! How dare they put these illiterates against someone of my stature! It's ludicrous! I've come all the way from Great Portland Street!

NP: I don't know why the audience should laugh when you're so disgustingly rude to your fellow competitors!

PJ: Are you, Mr Chairman, you appear to be losing your grip altogether! You shouldn't allow him to insult me like this!

KW: Losing his grip! He never had one! Hahahahaha!

NP: Quite frankly...

KW: I can assure you Pound wrote those lines!

NP: All right Kenneth, we know that. Kenneth you have the subject still, it is pound and there are 24 seconds left starting now.

KW: It has an honourable history, of course, in evra depwois, and of course...


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: Repetition of of course.

KW: Well these are very small things Derek. I mean...

NP: They are small...

KW: Aren't you being rather pedantic?

NP: Yes but...

DN: I'm playing the game!

NP: ... he's also keeping to the rules of Just A Minute and in spite of what he says, I show that I try to be fair-minded and say Derek that's a correct challenge, you have 19 seconds on pound, starting now.

DN: North of Napperby Station I was driving into the pound, 40,000 head of cattle. The dust was er hanging red and low...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes, Peter you have 11 seconds on pound starting now.

PJ: I shall never forgive Harold Wilson for assuring me that the pound in my pocket was worth just as much as it ahd been the day before. And not only me, but all the other people who were listening...


NP: Well Kenneth Williams and Derek Nimmo got points in that round and so did Peter Jones. But the situation now is now that Kenneth and Derek are both equal in the lead and Peter Jones is trailing a little. Ray Alan is yet to score, in fact Ray Alan is yet to speak. But he will do now because he's going to take the next subject, the next round, and it is aptly enough, Lord Charles. So will you tell us something about him Ray in 60 seconds starting now.

RAY ALAN: I can always remember that magic moment when a very young Derek Nimmo came to me and said (in rough Cockney accent) "'Ere! Can you teach me to speak posh like that little woodenhead that you've got with you on your knee?" (Normal voice) And I realised at that moment that Lord Charles was going to be a success. And from that day on a lot of people in this country have learnt to speak better. They have learnt to drink more. And I personally have a great debt of gratitude to that little character because without that person with me I would never have been to Buckingham Palace, the House of Lords, Poplar and Wapping and indeed, this is quite true, and indeed also...


RA: I...

NP: Derek Nimmo...

RA: Yes I did, two indeeds.

NP: Yes!

RA: And I knew I had when I did it! And if you hadn't have buzzed, I would have done!

DN: Then you might have scored a point then, as well, you see.

NP: Yes!

DN: If you'd challenged.

NP: Quite a good little trick that! So Derek you challenged on?

DN: Repetition.

NP: Yes, all right, I have to be sure because it might be a bluff. I never know with you!

DN: Oh? You probably weren't listening so you wouldn't know!

NP: There are 15 and a half seconds for you Derek on Lord Charles starting now.

DN: Lord Charles Spencer Churchill inherited from an American aunt one million pounds...


NP: Ray Alan challenged.

RA: Deviation.

NP: Why?

RA: The Lord Charles he's talking about hasn't got a pole in his back!

NP: Well the Lord, you can take Lord Charles, the subject, anyway you like. You can talk about a different Lord Charles.

RA: I just wanted the pleasure of pushing the buzzer. I haven't pushed it yet.

NP: Yes I'm sorry. It was a nice try Ray but you can take the subject any way you wish and he was talking about another Lord Charles. So he keeps the subject with four seconds to go starting now.

DN: Ray Alan, I think is a totally superb ventriloquist. When I see him working Lord Charles...


NP: So Derek Nimmo was speaking as the whistle went, gained the extra point and others in the round and has increased his lead. Kenneth Williams the next round is with you and it is the subject of grant. So will you tell us something about that subject or him if you like in 60 seconds starting now.

KW: A very exciting subject it is! Ulysses Grant defeated Robert E Lee! Where you might ask? I'll tell you! The decisive battle of that Civil War was at Richmond, after which he was made full General in the United States Army, and later higher honoured indeed with the Presidency! Then a curious thing occurred. He became a sleeping partner in a bank. And two rather grateful people absconded with the lot! And he was penniless! What a situation to be reduced to! Once a great and noble figure, now a rag and bone man! But they said "oh we can't have this! What about a whip-round?


KW: And they had...

NP: Peter Jones.

KW: Who's, who's challenging!

PJ: He wasn't a rag and bone man!

NP: No, he never became a rag and bone man...

KW: I mean when you're reduced to nothing, what are you? What are you? You're just a load of rag and bone, aren't you!

NP: Yes a load of rag and bone would be different to a rag and bone man!

KW: Well I'm not accepting your definitions on everything! You think you're some literateur!

DN: You've got to be fair...

KW: The cheek of these people!

DN: Ken, Ken, you've got to be fair, I mean Nicholas Parsons, he's been reduced to nothing, but he's not a rag and bone man!

NP: I get reduced to nothing by...

KW: You know he comes in on that last bit just to get a point. You know very well...

NP: Yeah...

KW: ...what he's up to! You're not a fool are you!

DN: Oh no! Can we put that to the audience as well!

KW: Are you going to let him get away with this type of cheek trickery?

NP: No I just love the way you all carry on. You reduce me to a rag and bone man, and I am a fool. Or if I give a right decision to you, I'm a genius. But it doesn't really matter! I have decided that Peter's challenge was correct and he has five seconds to take over the subject of grant starting now.

PJ: Three grants I know, Joyce, Cary, and Arts Council. And of those three...


NP: Peter, Peter Jones is now equal in second place with Kenneth Williams, a little behind our leader Derek Nimmo who's going to begin the next round. And the subject for you Derek is helicopters. Will you tell us something about that in 60 seconds starting now.

DN: I much prefer flying in helicopters to fixed wing aircraft because you have tremendous manoeuvrability. Now a friend of mine has just purchased one called a Jet Ranger, which is a particularly nice six seater helicopter. He keeps it in a place called Port Piper which is just in Sydney Harbour. And you go down the steps from his house, just past the swimming pool, over the lawn and get into the helicopter, which then takes off, and you chopper over the lovely Harbour Bridge and away...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of harbour

NP: Yes there was.

DN: Very well listened Peter.

PJ: Thank you very much!

NP: And also...

PJ: Took a bit of doing!

NP: Very well said Peter, 34 seconds for...


NP: Derek Nimmo?

DN: Repetition. I just said that! Very well said Peter, I said. You repeated...

NP: There are 34 seconds for Peter Jones on helicopters starting now.

PJ: The helicopter was virtually invented by Leonardo DaVinci. And if you went to the exhibition at the Royal Academy a few years ago, you may have seen a diagram of it, because it was a kind of air screw, he drew. And if someone had been able to provide the right materials and could have... taken the... bird...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: I thought he was hesitating quite frankly!

NP: And you were right Kenneth. So you have 12 seconds to talk on the subject of helicopters starting now.

KW: The great thing about them is they create a tremendous amount of wind. And...


KW: ... you have to keep low down...

NP: Ray Alan has challenged.

KW: What! What!

NP: What was it Ray?

RA: There was a hesitation.

NP: There was indeed.

RA: A very long ...

KW: Hesitation! What are you talking about?

RA: You hesitated...

NP: After all that wind...

KW: I don't know why they invited him on this show!

RA: After the wind there was a hesitation, I'm sorry!

NP: Kenneth after you let all that wind out there was a hesitation. And there are three seconds, well you got in just before the whistle, well down Ray, no, there are two and a half seconds on helicopters starting now.

RA: My first ride in a helicopter was over the...


NP: So Ray Alan has scored his first points in the game. Not only one for a correct challenge but also one for speaking as the whistle went. But he is, alas, still in fourth place. And Ray you're going to begin the next round and it's very apt after what has gone before because the subject is waffles.

RA: Waffles?

NP: Waffles! We've heard a lot of waffle, you can eat a waffle, but would you talk on the subject in 60 seconds starting now.

RA: I do like waffles, of course. I'm referring to those you can eat, and I get a great kick out of watching them being prepared. But the waffles that I can think of are those that are concerned with dear old gentlemen that I can refer to, perhaps actors. AE Matthews was an experienced waffler. He would start a subject and then waffle on to something else, and then waffle back again. And he did this throughout his professional life. He was definitely the great waffler. He went on...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Repetition of waffler.

NP: Yes...

RA: Yes I did actually.

NP: You can repeat waffles but you can't repeat waffler...

RA: I'm sorry, I know! It's so sad!

NP: But you did very well!

RA: I'll get used to it! It will come to me eventually!

NP: Yes! Twenty-three seconds are left on waffles Peter starting now.

PJ: Well the great thing with waffles is that you must have the right mixture of batter. You can either make it with a batter or get eggs, milk and sugar and er mix it yourself...


NP: Derek Nimmo.

DN: And er.

NP: And er, yes I'm sorry Peter. there are 11 seconds Derek, waffles, starting now.

DN: Yes AE Matthews was indeed a wonderful waffler. I worked with him when he was in his 90th year, near to his death. And I remember him saying he used to look in the Times every morning and if he wasn't in the obituary column, he used to get up. I...


NP: Well Derek Nimmo speaking as the whistle went gained that extra point and has taken the lead, one ahead of Peter Jones and Kenneth Williams. And Kenneth your turn to begin, the subject, fear. Will you tell us something about that in Just A Minute starting now.

KW: I beg your pardon?

NP: Oh to use one of your expressions, get the cloth out of your ears! Or whatever it is you say.

KW: I'm very sorry, I do most humbly beseech your pardon.

NP: That's quite all right!

KW: I did not hear the subject.

PJ: No, the battery's flat, isn't it! Yes, bang his breast pocket, it'll be all right!

NP: So having tweaked his battery up a little, Kenneth, the subject was fear. Can you repeat it so we know you've got it?

KW: Fear, yes.

NP: Right you have 60 seconds starting now.

KW: This is something that we're all beset by at some point in our lives. Indeed we would not be human if we did not experience this situation. It's always caused by some sort of instability. A baby not properly supported will cry out in fear. It is not doing it to annoy or be irritating. It is a...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Deviation because a baby could be crying because it's wet!

NP: this baby could be crying because it was frightened...

DN: Oh I see!

NP: ... and I think that was the point he was making, so Kenneth, 32 seconds on fear starting now.

KW: I experienced this myself when I came up through the gravetrap once and the door closed on my feet. Well can you imagine! Omalet serli visage! (Getting fastaer and faster, dissolving into a babble) I felt like a was living in a luxury flabber block with a dangling chandelier...


KW: I meant, I meant to say...

NP: Yes you did!

KW: ... the luxury flapper, the luxury block of flats, but it came out wrong.

NP: I don't think many of them understood what you did say anyway! Derek your challenge?

DN: Well deviation and hesitation...

NP: Yes!

DN: ...and general sort of rubbish!

NP: Seventeen seconds on fear with you Derek starting now.

DN: Franklin D Roosevelt in his inaugural speech said "there's nothing to fear but fear itself". What wise words to deliver to the depressed nation of America at that particular moment in time. John Steinbeck, moved by this most...


NP: Well there Derek Nimmo got in again just before the whistle and spoke as the whistle went, gained an extra point and increased his lead over Peter Jones and Kenneth Williams, and Ray Alan trailing a little still. Derek your turn to begin and the subject is how to deal with a blocked drain. As we know this is one of your regular pastimes, obviously Ian Messiter's thought of this subject specially for you. You have Just A Minute on which to talk about it starting now.

DN: How to deal with a blocked drain. Well if the drain contains food, I think a very good way of dealing with the problem is to send down a quick ferret. Pop it down the drain, and it'll go down and gnaw its way through. If you have a ...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Deviation, you couldn't possibly get a ferret through the plughole! It's completely misleading these charming people here! They're all going to go out and get a ferret, hoping that it'll help them with their waste matter, and moreover, goodness knows what it's going to do for the listening public! I dread to think what's going to happen on the World Service! They'll all be purchasing...

NP: It does give a rather bizarre impression of what goes on in our country...

KW: Precisely! Precisely!

NP: ... to those who do listen on the World Service. I quite agree...

KW: Glad to see we've got a sensible chairman!

NP: Yes! Until the next challenge! Kenneth you have the subject and there are 47 seconds on how to deal with a blocked drain starting now.

KW: What you do is you get one of these rubber suckers and you shove it up and down creating a rhythm, and that loosens the air block. It's an air block most...


KW: Oh dear!

NP: Derek Nimmo challenged. Yeah?

DN: He blocked his air twice!

NP: Yes! You had too much air in your blockage!

KW: What about Ray? Why don't he press his buzzer?

RA: Oh shut up! I'm all right!

KW: You're not pressing your buzzer! You're just sitting there mesmeric!

RA: Well I...

NP: He's enjoying it all!

RA: I just find it so thrilling for me to be sitting next to such an intellectual wit!

KW: Well yes!

RA: Or should it be an intellectual twit? I'm not sure!

KW: It was very nice the first time, leave it at that!

NP: Actually the trouble was Kenneth, as he was sitting next to you and he doesn't usually move his lips very much, everybody thought he was working you then! There are 35 seconds for you Derek on the subject again, how to deal with a blocked drain, starting now.

DN: How to deal with a blocked drain really depends where...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: He said how to deal with a blocked drain very lengthily in his first dissertation and I found it boring then! And now I get bored again! And there's just, there's just so much I can take on this show! I've given my all and what happens? I'm interrupted in my flow! I'm ruined on the suction! I can't get out the thing about wind! I can't get nothing out!

NP: Well I think we should...

DN: Can we get a uniformed attendant in please!

KW: I'll need the kiss of life after this, I can tell you!

NP: Right! Well we give two points to Ray for the brilliant way he worked Kenneth Williams then! Because it sounded quite unlike him, but you never moved a muscle, Ray! Brilliant, brilliant, one of the finest ventriloquists in our country! And Kenneth, Derek Nimmo still keeps the subject and it's how to deal with a blocked drain starting now.

DN: The drains in Spain...


NP: Peter Jones challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Well done! There are 31 seconds Peter on how to deal with a blocked drain starting now.

PJ: Clip a clothes peg onto your nose and then when you've shuffled the cards, deal them in the ordinary way...


NP: Kenneth Williams.

KW: Deviation! There was shuffling cards and sticking pegs on his nose! That's not going to get any brain... drain, drain undropped, I mean, unblocked, the thing, I mean...

PJ: It's how to deal with a blocked drain.

NP: Yes well there we are! I agree with Kenneth's challenge, there are 24 seconds on how to deal with a blocked drain Kenneth starting now.

KW: Shove down hydrochloric acid, turn off the stopcock and ring the plumber straight away! Because the result will be disastrous if you don't! After all pipes are corrosive things and you know as well as I do, what corrosion...


NP: Ray Alan.

RA: Corrosion?

KW: I said corrosive!

NP: He said corrosive before.

RA: Oh I beg your pardon.

KW: Well I mean...

RA: But you did ask me earlier! You see, you kept on at me! You kept saying why doesn't he push his buzzer! Why doesn't he interrupt me?

NP: Why doesn't he...

KW: Because you were shoving that pole up my back!

RA: I did! I'm sorry! I'll take my hand away! I had to take my hand away...

KW: All right, have the subject! All right! Have it! All right!

RA: No I don't want it!

KW: The blocked drain is yours!

NP: Kenneth! Kenneth! As this is the last round and you couldn't win anyway, though you're quite close, and there's 10 seconds to go, let's give it to our guest and let him finish off hopefully with how to deal with a blocked drain with 10 seconds to go Ray starting now.

RA: There's some very strong powder that you can put down the drain and that will unblock it. And the name of it escapes me at the moment but you can obtain it from almost any ironmongers. You can get it...


NP: Well on that solemn note we finish! Let me give you the final score before the time runs out! Ray Alan our guest has got nine points, he's one point behind Kenneth Williams who's equal in second place with Peter Jones, but our winner, three points ahead this week is Derek Nimmo! Thank you very much, we hope that you've enjoyed this edition of Just A Minute, from all of us here, goodbye.


ANNOUNCER: The chairman of Just A Minute was Nicholas Parsons, the programme was devised by Ian Messiter and produced by David Hatch.