WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring KENNETH WILLIAMS, CLEMENT FREUD, PETER JONES and SHEILA HANCOCK, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 15 February 1972)
ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud, Peter Jones and Sheila Hancock 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, thank you very much indeed and welcome once again to Just A Minute. And once again I’m going to ask our four competitors to speak if they can for just one minute on some unlikely subject without hesitation, without repetition and without deviating from the subject on the card in front of me. And according to how well they do this they will gain points or their opponents will gain points. And that’s how we play and let’s begin the show this week with Kenneth Williams. That’s gone down well with the audience! Kenneth the subject that Ian Messiter’s thought of is my life so far. Can you talk to us about my life so far starting now.
KENNETH WILLIAMS: To be strictly factual, it has reached its 45th year and I have been blessed with great wisdom. I suppose this has been due to my development and the wise guidance of those counsellors who have come to my aid on so many occasions. Some joyously happy! And some dreadfully sad moments in my life. And of course this has been developed largely because of the day I stood on the stage and gave this incredible audition. They said “who do you do?” And I said “Mabel Constanteros in a bush hat”. They said “that’s marvellous, give us an idea.” And I said “well I’ll come on in my bush hat” and they said...
NP: Clement Freud has challenged you.
CLEMENT FREUD: I don’t know how many bush hats he was wearing!
NP: He certainly had more than one bush hat!
NP: Your bush hat came in twice. So that was a correct challenge for repetition of bush and Clement Freud therefore takes over the subject, having gained a point and there are 18 seconds left Clement, my life so far, starting now.
CF: When I went into this soft furnishing shop to ask for a Chesterfield the man suggested a divan. And I said “no, the one over there”. And he said “that is so-fa which will last you a very long time”. My life...
NP: Sheila Hancock has challenged you.
SHEILA HANCOCK: Deviation, do you buy Chesterfields in soft furnishing shops? I thought you bought material and curtains and cushions?
NP: Oh I ...
KW: Certainly, yes.
NP: ...think it is positive, after all you do find some strange things in all kinds of different shops. But I think it’s possible to find a Chesterfield.
SH: I would have called it a furniture shop where you bought a Chesterfield, not a soft, it might be a hard Chesterfield...
KW: Yes Im afraid Sheila’s right, I’m afraid she’s absolutely right!
NP: Yes well all right...
PETER JONES: Because they were named after Lord Chesterfield! Who worked very hard!
KW: (gabbles on loudly and quickly agreeing with Sheila)
NP: Have you all finished? I would have thought a Chesterfield was a very soft piece of furnishing, even...
SH: No I’ve got a very hard Chesterfield...
KW: We’re not concerned with what you might have thought, we’re concerned with what ‘s fact!
NP: All right! When there is a disagreement among the four members of the panel like this, the four contestants I do the only thing possible, I bow to the, bow to the superior intelligence and wisdom of our delightful audience and say you be the final judges...
PJ: You’re crawling! You’re not bowing at all!
NP: Well I will crawl to our delightful audience! If you agree with Sheila’s challenge will you cheer and if you disagree will you boo, and will you all do it together now.
CHEERS AND BOOS FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: I think the hoorays had it just.
KW: Yes! They all had it, that’s right!
NP: Sheila you got in with only four seconds to go, which is very clever, you have a point for a correct challenge and you have my life so far starting now.
SH: It has been a preparation for what is to come. I have gained experience...
NP: That whistle which is so elegantly blown for us by Ian Messiter tells us that 60 seconds is up. And whoever is speaking at that particular moment gains an extra point. And on this occasion it was Sheila Hancock so she has a lead of one at the end of the first round. Peter Jones will you begin the next round...
PJ: Yes certainly I will!
NP: Good, I’m glad, I’m glad you... Right Peter what a delightful subject for you, unblocking the drain. Can you talk to us about unblocking the drain for 60 seconds starting now.
PJ: Well Ian Messiter obviously chose this subject with the idea of bringing down the level of the game from the pinnacle of Kenneth Williams’ oratory, the beautiful white ivory towers, down into some area of the subbasement where the drains are situated! I’m going to treat this subject metaphorically. Let us think of it rather as a clearing of the way. A renewing of ourselves, ready for that great moment which must come to us all when... the...
NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.
NP: That I’m afraid was a hesitation, you have a correct challenge, you have a point Kenneth and you have 22 seconds for unblocking the drain starting now.
KW: I have done this frequently. You take hold of this...
NP: Peter Jones has challenged. Why?
PJ: Repetition, he said he’d done it frequently!
LAUGHTER FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: All right so we give Peter Jones a point for...
KW: I wouldn’t! It’s a rotten joke!
NP: I never said for a joke, I was going to say for a clever challenge. But as you didn’t actually deviate from the subject on the card and it’s not repetition of any word, we don’t give it against you Kenneth, you keep the subject and you have 18 seconds left starting now.
KW: And you pour down the boiling water with a combination of this caustic soda. The result is a kind of explosion. I rush out of the room in fear and trembling because the stink is appalling. And all these terrible maggots and all the germs that are down there lurking like mad. They’re lurking round their...
NP: Well Kenneth Williams...
KW: I’m equal with her! Go on! Tell me I’m equal with her!
NP: I was about to say that Kenneth Williams was unblocking the drains when the whistle went, so he gained some points. He’s equal with Sheila Hancock...
NP: And for once Clement Freud’s in last place.
KW: Oh you’re in last place! How about that! Oh lovely!
NP: But there’s only one point between all of you. Clement Freud your turn to begin, the subject, seeing your friend off at the railway station. Can you talk to us about that for 60 seconds starting now.
CF: Seeing a friend off at a railway station is a particularly good subject about which to talk. Because it is long. Seeing... a... friend... off... at... a... railway... station. And you have to find out very carefully which railway station. It could be Marylebone, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, possibly even Baker or...
NP: Peter Jones, yes?
NP: Yes indeed yes, he got this lovely idea of going through all the stations, he suddenly realised that some of them also had the word Street in them. So Peter, a correct challenge, a point to you, 32 seconds for seeing a friend off at a railway station starting now.
PJ: It’s a... the title...
NP: Clement Freud has er challenged you.
NP: Yes I’m afraid that was a hesitation Peter, Clement has the subject...
NP: Why do you laugh at other people’s misfortune?
KW: Well he was crowing, having got in and then he went and made a mistake himself!
NP: We all laugh when you...
SH: He’s never been known to crow!
PJ: I’ve never crowed!
NP: Crow or not, Clement, Clement Freud has the subject and there are 31 seconds for seeing a friend off at a railway station starting now.
CF: Seeing a friend off at a railway station...
CF: ...is a nice... friendly gesture...
NP: Peter Jones has challenged again.
PJ: He’s slowing up to a point of hesitation!
NP: Yes but he hasn’t yet reached it! Clement Freud has another point and there are 24 seconds for seeing a friend off at a railway station starting now.
CF: Passing through the ticket barrier, there are the choice of platforms. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine...
NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged, why?
CF: ...as they’re jokingly called...
KW: Deviation because if you’re seeing a friend off, you wouldn’t have any choice. There’s only one platform they’re leaving from! They couldn’t be leaving from half a dozen!
NP: Yes, you still have a choice of platforms at a railway station, he said...
KW: You’re seeing a friend off. You’re not looking over the...
NP: Yes but he did not say, he did not say you’ve got a choice of platforms for your friend to go off from.
CF: The train might have left sideways!
NP: I disagree with the challenge Kenneth, well tried.
KW: More fool, you! You don’t know what side your bread’s buttered at! Wait till I get you outside!
NP: All I know is I try to be as fair as possible and that’s the best way to butter my bread. Clement has another point and there are 18 seconds left for seeing a friend off at a railway station starting now.
CF: London termini have refreshment kiosks at which you can entertain friends and...
NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged again.
KW: Deviation, nobody would go to a railway station to entertain their friends!
APPLAUSE FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: Kenneth I think the audience have demonstrated that everybody’s in sympathy but...
SH: Clement might!
NP: ...nobody would deliberately go to a railway station to entertain a friend at a railway kiosk!
SH: It’s just the sort of macabre thing he would do actually! Come and have a party on St Pancreas Station!
NP: You see the difficulty I have in decisions. One might say well Clement Freud has such macabre ideas he would try and entertain his friends at a railway station kiosk. But I think the sympathy’s with you on this one Kenneth so I agree with your challenge. You take a point and the subject and there are 12 seconds left starting now.
KW: Well of course you say “bon voyage, my darling! And would that I might plant...”
KW: I haven’t finished! I was going to say I might plant an English kiss upon thy cheeks, because I frequently plant them on people...
NP: But before, before you managed to plant anything, Peter Jones challenged you.
KW: What on?
NP: What was your challenge Peter?
PJ: Well you wouldn’t say “my darling” to a friend.
KW: You don’t know my friends, dear!
LOUD LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE FROM SH AND THE AUDIENCE
NP: What do you say to your friends Peter?
PJ: I don’t know but that particular endearment would suggest that they are more than friends!
KW: They are, dear! Yes! We may do! They should never have had him on the show! I don’t know why they asked him!
NP: We want to know what else you’re planting on British railway platforms, Kenneth. And you have six seconds to tell us starting now.
KW: Don’t eat your egg sandwiches on the way because your breath will smell. And always leaves the most displeasing odour. So always eat something fresh...
NP: Well Kenneth’s kiss on his friends’ cheeks and eating egg sandwiches put him into the lead at the end of that round!
KW: Quite right!
NP: I’m glad that got the spontaneous round of applause we all expected!
APPLAUSE FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: And Sheila it is your turn to begin. Going from the subject of seeing a friend off at a railway station, the subject is now simply my friends. Sheila can you talk to us about my friends starting now.
SH: Well I frequently call them “my darling” whether they be very good or very bad. I often meet my friends on railway stations as well. I have a friend called Maureen who looks after me and is a dear. I have three sometime friends on this programme, depending on whether they’re going to buzz me on this or not...
NP: And they would! Kenneth Williams?
KW: Well I think it’s a deviation, because it’s grossly unfair to say that we’re sometimes her friends. We’ve stuck by her through thick and thin! I knew her, I knew her when she was in the gutter! Don’t worry, dear! I knew her when she used to go round London on a moped! That’s a fact!
SH: You used to ride on the back!
KW: That’s not to be said in public! What a thing to say! Oh!
NP: I thought you might...
SH: It’s true!
KW: Shut up, letting on about that! I’m going around with a hire car now! I’m trying to put it on a bit!
NP: Kenneth what was your challenge? That we are still her fiends? That you’re still her friend?
KW: Yes. sometime friend is a deviation insofar as we remain her friends.
NP: Oh it’s a very subtle point...
KW: That’s true! I will give it up!
NP: (laughs) You have... you have made my life very much easier by doing that! Sheila an incorrect challenge so you gain a point, 39 seconds left for my friends starting now.
SH: It’s an interesting fact that I came in to the life without any friends when I was born, and I will probably go out of it without any... oh...
NP: Clement Freud has challenged first.
NP: Yes there was a hesitation.
SH: Without, without.
CF: After oh.
NP: Because you repeated it, and then you hesitated, you see.
NP: You might sometimes get away with it because they miss it or generosity. No all right, 30 seconds for you Clement on my friends starting now.
CF: When Mark Anthony said “my friends, Romans and countrymen”...
NP: Kenneth Williams why have you challenged?
KW: Deviation, Mark Anthony didn’t say “my friends”.
NP: What did he say? Come on!
KW: Just friends.
NP: Friends, yes. He might have said “my friends”...
PJ: He might have said “my darlings” if he’d been with Kenneth!
KW: Don’t you put your in! I meant your oar in! Isn’t that funny! Isn’t that funny the way you go wrong on this programme.
NP: This is another one of those impossible situations because in Shakespeare’s play he says, you know, “friends, Romans, countrymen”...
KW: Yes so he didn’t say it right, so I get a point.
NP: Yeah but was Clement Freud quoting then or not?
KW: Yeah he said when Mark Anthony said. He just said Mark Anthony! What are you talking about?
NP: I think from the way he said it, it was obvious that he was definitely quoting and he misquoted. So therefore it is er Kenneth Williams has a point and 25 seconds for my friends starting now.
KW: They have come to me unsought! But the good God gave them to me! They came like the gentle rain from heaven upon my fevered brow and all at once a great vision appeared! And I...
NP: Sheila Hancock’s challenged you on your great vision.
SH: When have your friends come from heaven on to your brow?
KW: This is... you are an ignorant clot, you know!
SH: Well you were quoting a bit of the quality of mercy...
KW: (screams) This is Emerson! My friends have come to me unsought, the good God gave them! That’s Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson!
KW: (screams) An author with which you obviously are not familiar! You’re never heard of him!
SH: Neither are you!
NP: Ladies and gentlemen of the audience and our listeners who are still...
KW: There’s no ladies and gentlemen this audience!
SH: He’s an ignorant twit!
NP: You now know why Sheila Hancock said...
SH: My sometime friends!
NP: ... her sometime friend Kenneth Williams! He sometimes is...
KW: (crying) How rotten of you to throw those words back in my face!
NP: You were throwing it up in Sheila’s face...
KW: (screeches) She interrupted me in full flow! I’d started on the waters! I was launching on the waters of oratory! Wasn’t I! I was launching myself there! I was throbbing with it!
NP: I know you were...
KW: And now it’s all ruined!
NP: You’ll get going again, we’ve every confidence in you! You gained a point in the process and...
KW: He’s crying! Look at him!
NP: He’s bored!
KW: Oh thank you! That’s nice! That’s encouraging! That is nice, innit!
NP: (laughs) You, you’ve been bored before now!
PJ: I thought he was praying!
NP: Anyway let’s get on with the game. Kenneth Williams has a point for an incorrect challenge and he has 12 seconds left for my friends starting now.
KW: They come to give us the sympathy and...
NP: Sheila Hancock has challenged.
SH: They’ve come before!
NP: They’ve come before and they’ve come again....
KW: Oh, in this round?
NP: Yes they have.
KW: Not in this round.
NP: They have.
CF: Yes, twice in the last sentence!
NP: They’ve been coming very often in this round I’m afraid. Sheila has a point and there are nine seconds on my friends...
KW: She’s just doing it to get in before the nine seconds! That’s all she’s trying to do!
NP: I know, I know! And that is part of the game!
KW: Oh it’s disgraceful, innit!
NP: Sheila Hancock, you have nine seconds, my friends starting now.
SH: Clement, Kenneth, Peter, Nicholas, Ian, David, John, Frederick, Peter...
NP: Clement Freud has challenged, why?
CF: Deviation, they’re all men.
NP: I can believe that Sheila Hancock has plenty of men friends.
KW: That’s the way she deviates! Exactly! Yes!
NP: I wouldn’t call that devious. If they were all women friends I might think that was devious. They’re all male friends, undevious and quite natural and normal. Sheila has another point and starts now.
SH: I couldn’t possibly exist without them...
NP: Well after that tumultuous round Sheila Hancock gained the extra point for speaking when the...
KW: By cheating! By waiting until I’d done all the spadework! One should, one should admit it!
NP: You got points because you got incorrect challenges...
KW: Yes! But that’s poor recompense! It’s poor recompense!
NP: Is it poor recompense that you’re still in the lead?
KW: Oh that’s very good.
KW: That is nice!
NP: And you’re one ahead of Sheila who’s in second place. And Kenneth the subject is now with you, something that I’m sure you can talk about, what Gladstone said in 1888. So before you completely collapse will you try and tell us what Gladstone said in 1888, in Just A Minute, starting now.
KW: It was an extremely long time, one whole year! And of course, he could have said loads and loads of things. But one thing we do know is he was a great Liberal Prime Minister. And lost his seat, I mean that is to say, he lost the Premiership...
NP: Sheila Hancock has challenged you.
SH: He did lose both times.
NP: Yes it was very definite.
SH: Lost and lost.
NP: Lost and lost. So Sheila...
KW: Oh well, I’m not doing that sort of thing, listening to people’s mistakes! I think we ought to be supported!
NP: I’ve been very far with you Kenneth so far and that time Sheila got in with a repetition of lost, she gains a point...
SH: You’ll get it back because I have no idea what he said in 1888!
NP: You’ve got 40 seconds to try and tell us something of what he said Sheila starting now.
SH: My girl, you should change your ways and leave the streets and become pure and good. I will help you. Come to my house and I will teach you how to become a good woman...
NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.
KW: Two goods.
NP: Yes there were two goods, yes. So you’ve got it back just as Sheila said, with great panache and tenacity and acute listening. And you’re in there still with a lead, there are 28 seconds on what Gladstone said in 1888 starting now.
KW: Well he certainly did say to a leather merchant “why don’t you make a bag that would suit the things that I have to carry instead of making them flat?” And this bloke said “well, I’d be delighted to accommodate you dear! Just step right in the shop and have a look around, tell me the shape you’ve got in mind!” And he said “well it would begin at the top quite thin, and then bulge a bit so I can get all the bulky bits down there”. He said “what are the bulky bits...”
NP: Clement Freud has challenged.
CF: Repetition of bulky bits.
NP: There were too many bulky bits I’m afraid yes.
KW: Have you seen a Gladstone bag?
NP: So Clement has another point and he has three seconds for what Gladstone said in 1888 starting now.
CF: My friends, Romans and countrymen...
NP: Clement was waiting for the opportunity to get back and say that anybody could have said that at any time and he decided that Gladstone said it. And so speaking as the whistle went he gains the extra point. He’s crept up on Sheila, and Kenneth is still one point ahead of Sheila and still in the lead at the end of that round. Clement Freud it is your turn to begin, and the subject is my favourite humorist. Can you talk to us about him for 60 seconds starting...
LAUGHTER FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: I must explain to the listeners that a delightful smirk has come over Clement’s, over Kenneth’s face, because he hopes what Clement Freud will say as he sits beside him. But er Clement what is your favourite humorist in 60 seconds starting now.
CF: My favourite humorist is a small insignificant middle-aged dead Canadian whose name was Stephen Leacock. A man, I think, of enormous humour, panache, inventiveness, style, and creative ability. Among the most exciting things that he wrote was an essay called A Visit To The Bank which encompasses the history of a man attempting to open a credit account at the savings institution in downtown Toronto, all of which is untrue but I would be bound to repeat words were I to emulate correctly the...
NP: Peter challenged. You challenged, why?
KW: No, there was no hesitation dear Peter, no!
NP: We were all fascinated to see how he could keep going...
KW: That’s his rhetorical style, you see!
NP: ... without repeating words...
KW: That’s his rhetorical style! That’s his rhetoric!
NP: It isn’t really, he goes a bit faster usually. But I don’t think he quite reached that point of hesitation...
KW: Very true!
NP: So I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this occasion and say there are 15 seconds Clement for you to continue with my favourite humorist starting now.
CF: So this male human being walked into a financial emporium and addressed the clerk in the following manner. “I should like.” he said, “to open an account”. To which the employee replied, “certainly will you walk this way?”
NP: It was rather devious, that line...
KW: He didn’t tell you the tag line! If I could walk like that, I wouldn’t want an account! (laughs)
NP: That definitely was not Stephen Leacock!
NP: And also he repeated the word account right at the beginning he had this...
SH: I thought, I was waiting for the end of the story because it had all seemed so unfunny up until then. I was waiting for the tag.
NP: Well unfunny as it was, it gained him some extra points, and he’s now taken the lead at the end of that round. Sheila Hancock your turn to begin, the subject, oh so apt for this game, truth. Can you talk to us on truth for 60 seconds starting now.
SH: It’s something that I don’t believe is totally necessary in this life. Contrary to what you are taught when you’re a child, I think it is sometimes very good to tell a white lie in order to preserve people’s feelings. In fact I think it is well-nigh impossible to go through life always telling the truth unless you’re a very nasty person. I mean, for instance, it wouldn’t be kind to go up to Kenneth Williams and say “shut your face” as he often says to me. Although it may be truthful in order to keep him quiet. But ... I think....
NP: Kenneth Williams.
NP: Hesitation yes, the look on your face made her hesitate, that was what it was Kenneth. So you have another point Kenneth for a correct challenge and there are 27 seconds for truth starting now.
KW: Well it has long ago been established of course that it is outside of man. And therefore not controlled by man...
NP: Clement Freud challenged first.
KW: I hadn’t finished! I was to say, I was about to say mankind. You interrupted, you see!
LAUGHTER FROM THE AUDIENCE
CF: In that case hesitation!
APPLAUSE FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: (laughs) Actually it’s a very difficult thing to judge on but I think we must be accurate here. You see the others could have challenged and you definitely said man...
KW: Oh give it to him, dear! Give it! I don’t mind!
NP: If you’ve got...
KW: I’ve got humility dear! I’ll take a back seat!
SH: Are you telling the truth?
KW: I’m not trying to attract attention! I’m not here for my own benefit! I’m here to...
KW: ...play the game, be constitutional! If that’s your verdict, I’ll abide by it!
NP: Kenneth, as Sheila said, are you being truthful?
NP: Anyway the point is this. If you’re going to say mankind you must say it mankind like that and not man... and so Clement has another point and there are 18 seconds for truth Clement starting now.
CF: When I joined the Boy Scouts, the law was... précis...
NP: Peter Jones has challenged.
NP: Yes indeed there was.
NP: He was intimidated by Kenneth Williams!
KW: I’ve not intimidated him! I wasn’t touching him!
NP: Peter you have the subject and there are 13 seconds for truth starting now.
PJ: Take away the facts and bring me the truth, I say. And my small boy repeated these instructions to his younger brother, and brought a jam jar full of tadpoles...
NP: Peter Jones was speaking as the whistle went and so he gained the extra point. And also I’m afraid I have to tell you we have no more time to play Just A Minute this week. And so it remains for me to give you the final score. As you might have guessed from the way things have been going Peter Jones was just in fourth place. Sheila Hancock was only just in third place, only two points behind Kenneth Williams who was only one point behind this week’s winner, Clement Freud! We do hope that you have enjoyed this particular edition of Just A Minute, and from all of us here good-bye.
ANNOUNCER: The chairman of Just A Minute was Nicholas Parsons, the programme was devised by Ian Messiter and produced by David Hatch.