starring PAUL MERTON, DEREK NIMMO, CLEMENT FREUD and PETER JONES, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 8 February 1997)

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Hello my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome the four diverse outstanding and experienced players of Just A Minute who are going to partake today. We welcome back Paul Merton and heís joined by three of our other regular players, Peter Jones, Derek Nimmo and Clement freud. Would you please welcome all four of them! And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Pleasance on the Edinburgh Fringe. Beside me sits Elaine Wigley whoís going to keep the score and she will blow a whistle which will tell us that 60 seconds are up. And whoever is speaking then will get an extra point. And Iím going to ask, as usual, our four players of the game to speak if they can on the subject I will give them and as usual they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition and without deviating from the subject on the card. Let us begin the show this week with Paul Merton. And Paul the subject here is the Highlands. A good Scottish subject to begin this Scottish edition of Just A Minute, you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PAUL MERTON: I only learnt to drive a year ago, so the many times Iíve been up to Edinburgh in the past, Iíve not been able to take the car further on and explore some of the beautiful countryside which Iíve seen in various films. Such as The Thirty-nine Steps where Richard Hannay jumps off the Forth Bridge and then goes running through the Highlands and goes round to John Laurieís cottage. And thereís Dame Peggy Ashcroft with his wife there. And she gives him a coat and he slips around the police. And then he finds a man with a missing finger which is not as common as you might think actually. And the bit that was missing was the bottom bit...


PM: The top bit was still there!

NP: Clement Freud you challenged.

CLEMENT FREUD: Two missings.

NP: Two missings yes. Clement you have a correct challenge, you get a point for that and you take over the subject of the Highlands and there are 26 seconds available starting now.

CF: Iím never quite sure where the Highlands begin...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DEREK NIMMO: I am! Stirling is the gateway to the Highlands.

NP: I was told Loch Lomond was, but it doesnít really matter. But I, I donít think you get any points for showing off Derek!


NP: What do you mean, ohh? Itís not one of the rules of Just A Minute. So Clement was interrupted, he gets a point for that, 23 seconds are still available Clement, the Highlands starting now.

CF: There is, Iím told, considerable discussion whether the Highlands start at Stirling or Loch Lomond! And I personally...


NP: Paul, Paul Merton you challenged.

PM: Repetition of start.

CF: No it was beginning before.

NP: No, beginning before.

PM: Oh.

NP: Yes well tried Paul. Fifteen seconds are still available on Highlands still with you Clement starting now.

CF: The Highlands and islands are particularly famous for the malt whisky which is wholly excellent. Perhaps Isla is where the profusion of this liquor comes from, Brewtladdie, Portlikkin, Port...


NP: Whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. It was on this occasion Clement Freud. In fact heís the only one to have scored any points in that round. To negate these letters I sometimes get that say why didnít you correct him, he wasnít Peggy Ashcroft in the film of John Hanniford...

PM: It was!

NP: It wasnít, it was Madeleine Carroll.

PM: Yeah but yeah, she played the blonde one. And the wife of John Laurie was Dame Peggy Ashcroft.

NP: Oh! Thatís very interesting! I thought you were referring to the girl who fell in love with Richard Hannay. So anyway weíve made that quite clear for those who like to make their historical cinematographical notes.

CF: Right!

NP: And weíll carry on with Just A Minute.


NP: And Paul?

PM: What did you say then?

NP: Those who like to make their historical cinematographic notes.

PM: Oh right! I just wandered off for a bit! For a minute, I thought, I thought you were talking gibberish! So I was wrong!

NP: Well I normally talk gibberish...

PM: Thatís what confused me!

NP: I know!

PM: Youíve been going for seven seconds, so I immediately assumed it was rubbish!

NP: You realise now why Paul Merton comes back on the show! Thereís nobody else to who he can be so rude except me! Derek itís your turn to begin, the subject is studs. Will you tell us something... I donít know why theyíve given it to you Derek! But anyway Iím sure you have many experiences, you can tell us something about the subject in Just A Minute starting now.

DN: I think itís a great relief these days, that one so seldom wears white ties and tails, because it is always an absolute nightmare trying to get those studs through a stiff fronted shirt. And the back stud and the front one too. The little things that turned up and always fell off right at the critical moment. Of course Nicholas Parsons was, in his day, a great stud. One...


NP: Paul...

PM: Deviation!

NP: Paul Merton has challenged. Iím dying to know what it is! Yes Paul?

PM: Just for listeners, I think they might like to know exactly when your day was!


DN: It was Tuesday March the 31st of 1904!

NP: Yes that was one of the days! And yes there we are! Paul we enjoyed the challenge, it was...

PM: Mmmm I enjoyed it as well.

NP: So we give you a point for a challenge that everybody enjoyed. But as Derek was interrupted, he keeps the subject, he gets a point for being interrupted, he has 38 seconds on studs starting now.

DN: I think one of the happier things in life would be if one would be a racehorse and won the Derby and then was immediately retired as a three-year-old to stud! And for absolutely the rest of your days, these marvellous mares, the pick of their generation, would present themselves...


NP: Paul you challenged.

DN: Whatís the matter?

PM: It would only be great fun if you were a horse!


PM: Unless you are willing to enlighten us about your particular habits!

DN: I did say youíd have to win the Derby and...

NP: Paul again we loved the challenge, another bonus point to you. Derek was interrupted, another point to him, 22 seconds, studs with you Derek starting now.

DN: Swetenham Studs used to be one of the most successful race establishments in the country, but they havenít had much good fortune recently. I think actually if I was a owner of a racehorse...


NP: Peter challenged.

PETER JONES: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation Peter, 12 seconds studs with you starting now.

PJ: I used to have to wear stiff collars during the short time that I was away at school. And the best way to soften them is to spit on the buttonholes and rub it with a bit of soap...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: Spit on the buttonholes and rub it! Rub what?

NP: Oh I think thatís a little bit too pedantic really.

PJ: Rub the spit!

NP: On the buttonholes. Yes there is more than one buttonhole in a collar, thereís both sides so he must have been spitting on the buttonholes. I donít think that was deviation. So I think that was a very natural thing to do Peter.

PJ: Yes and itís just as interesting as Peggy Ashcroftís appearance in that bloody film!

NP: So a point to you Peter for an incorrect challenge and you keep the subject and thereís only half a second to go on studs starting now.

PJ: I...


NP: So Peter Jones was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, heís now in second place behind our leader Clement Freud. And Peter your turn to begin, the subject explorers. Tell us something about those intrepid characters in Just A Minute starting now.

PJ: I always wanted to be an explorer when I was young. And I wanted to go up the Amazon and look for Colonel Fawcett who was lost there many years ago if you remember. And then the south part of the hemisphere I wanted to explore in the...


NP: Derek.

DN: Repetition of wanted.

NP: He wanted to do both, he wanted to go...

PJ: Oh yes! Thatís right, I did yes.

NP: So Derek a correct challenge, you have the subject, explorers, 45 seconds...

DN: It is so sad that thereís so little of the world actually is to explore. There are only two explorers I have met...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Thereís just as much in the world as there ever was!

DN: Not to explore.

NP: Yeah Iím sorry, I agree with Peter, because even you can go to a place which is well-known but you can explore it yourself for the first time. So you can be an explorer in somewhere, you can be an explorer up here in Edinburgh if youíve never been here before.

DN: Thatís a tourist Nicholas.

NP: But they are still exploring the city because theyíre, first time theyíve visited. So Peter I agree with your challenge, so you get a point of course, the subject, 41 seconds, explorers starting now.

PJ: The nearest I ever got to the South Pole is Dunedin and Invercargill in the southern part of New Zealand. And I must say it was pretty waste, it was a waste...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: Yes. I agree yes, 28 seconds explorers with you Derek starting now.

DN: Wilfred Thessger, born in Abyssinia or Ethiopia if thatís what you like to call it 1912 had his 80th birthday a couple of years ago. He actually was the last of the great explorers. He was the first man across the Empty Quarter. And do you know when he over towards Nizwah he had to make the camels vomit and drink the muck that was then regurgitated to survive. And I feel, along the roads that he travelled...


NP: Well Derek Nimmo with that disgusting story brought that round to an end, gained an extra point for speaking as the whistle went and heís taken the lead one ahead of Clement Freud. Clement your turn to begin, ancient Greece. Will you tell us something about that wonderful place starting now.

CF: The real trouble about ancient Greece is that they were not on the Internet, although they did have one rather smart thing called Widows 95 which was a sort of geriatric dating agency! Ancient Greece had a language which many of us had to learn at school which was called Greek and had letters and numbers which I now forget. Also I need to drink a glass of water so if somebody would buzz me...


NP: A new way of playing Just A Minute! Paul you were the first to buzz.

PM: I heard the man and I buzzed him.

NP: So we, we interpret that as hesitation, 29 seconds Paul, tell us something about ancient Greece starting now.

PM: The best way to soften collars is to get a camel to vomit on them! And they are then...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Deviation.

NP: Why?

PJ: Well itís nothing to do with ancient Greece!

NP: Yes.

PM: Thatís what they used to do in ancient Greece!

NP: I donít think they had stiff collars in ancient Greece.

PM: No! Because camels used to vomit on them!


NP: You can applaud his wonderful comic invention but...

PM: We could learn a lot from them!

NP: There werenít many camels in ancient Greece as well. Thirty-four, I think to be fair because the audience loved it, they gave a big round of applause, a bonus point for what you said, Peter Jones gets a point for a correct challenge, takes over the subject, 23 seconds, ancient Greece starting now.

PJ: Iíve listened to you very carefully and Iím here to tell you that ancient grease is that substance which adheres to the ceilings and walls of restaurants that have not been examined by the health authorities. And itís normally called a greasy spoon restaurant and there are several in this great city among the other eating places which weíve found...


NP: So Peter Jones with points in the round and one for speaking as the whistle went has leapt forward. Heís now in the lead but only one ahead of the other three. And Paul your turn to begin. Paul, a flutter. I donít know if youíre a betting man but tell us something about that subject in Just A Minute if you can starting now.

PM: If you had gone to the bookmakers and placed a 500 pound bet that my next word would be heliotrope, you have just won yourself a substantial amount of money!


PM: Did somebody buzz?

NP: No. Oh yes! Clement Freudís light came on but I didnít hear any buzzer. What did you say?

CF: Itís a deviation, that isnít a flutter. Five hundred pounds is a substantial bet.

NP: Oh! Thereís a betting man talking. Clement correct challenge, a flutter with you, 49 seconds starting now.

CF: I have very little time for flutters. I think if you have a bet, it should be sufficient to give you genuine joy if it wins and poleaxe you in the event of a loss. Lots of people come up and say ďdid you have a little bit to win on that horse or dog?Ē And I spit! And like a camel I vomit on... folk...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes there was, yes.

CF: Where?

NP: You definitely hesitated.

PM: I think he was just clearing his throat to be honest!

NP: I think he was trying to work camels...

PM: In preparation!

NP: I think he was trying to work vomit, camels, spit and stiff collars very cleverly...

PM: I know, same old story, isn't it!

NP: Peter a correct challenge, you have the subject, 24 seconds, a flutter starting now.

PJ: If you feel a flutter in your chest itís very likely that youíre having a heart attack. And the best thing to do is to get a pacemaker as fast as you can. Or at any rate a doctor! If you canít do this then itís best to lie down for a while...


NP: Derek Nimmo...

PJ: ... until the feeling carves you off!

NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Repetition of best.

PJ: Did you hear him, me say that?

NP: Yes you definitely say best.

PJ: Oh yes.

NP: You did repeat it actually Peter.

PJ: Yes.

NP: Yes.

PJ: So he may have deprived many people suffering from heart attacks of the means of saving their lives!


NP: I think the audience applause is saying give Peter Jones a bonus point. But Derek Nimmo got a correct challenge so he gets a point and he has seven seconds on a flutter starting now.

DN: I did have a flutter, it was before I had my quadruple bypass some 10 years ago. And I did go immediately to the Princess Grace...


NP: So Derek Nimmo speaking as the whistle went has moved forward, heís still just behind Peter Jones our leader. And Derek your turn to begin, the subject, Scotch. Oh what a lovely subject. Sixty seconds starting now.

DN: Now the Englishmen often makes a tremendous mistake and talks about people being Scotch instead of Scottish. But what the correct reference is to is that noble drink, that honey coloured lictar of which great people all over the world...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Lictar?

DN: Hannibal Lector!

NP: Yes.

PM: Sounds part of a sleazy tabloid headline!

NP: I think definite deviation from the English language as we understand it. Scotch with you Paul, 48 seconds starting now.

PM: I donít particularly like spirits. I donít drink much Scotch. Occasionally Iíve had it with a glass of water, mixed in with it. A lot of people say you shouldnít do that but I understand thatís what the connoisseurs do when they are drinking Scotch, they mix it with water which is an exact repetition of what I just said (laughs)


PM: Word for word!

NP: And Clement Freud was first in. So you admitted word for word...

PM: Paragraph!

NP: Yes! Clement pressed first, heís got in on Scotch with 33 seconds to tell us about it starting now.

CF: Philologically it is also correct to use the word Scotch in respect of salmon, er smoked fish of that ilk is Scotch and not Scottish. Ah there are two ways in which...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes indeed. Yes right, Scotch is back with you for 20 seconds Paul starting now.

PM: How do they get that egg that goes in there, thatís surrounded by bread crumbs? I can only assume that they thread into the outer surface and miniaturise the particular thing that comes out of a hen into the middle of it there. And then there you are, you have a marvellous dish which is called a Scotch ovoid! And the thing I like about it is you...


PM: ... can drink it with the most beautiful...

NP: Iím sorry, with one second to go you were challenged by um Clement Freud.

CF: Deviation. (laughs) Itís not called a Scotch ovoid!

NP: Oh dear! We all know what he meant but he didnít...


NP: Ooohh! The audience have said it was a clever way of not saying Scotch egg because he couldnít repeat it, the word, and we all understood it. So we give you the benefit of the doubt, Paul and you keep going on Scotch egg with one and a half seconds starting now.

PM: Ovoid! Ovoid! Ovoid!


NP: Oh! So at the end of that round Paul Merton has taken the lead alongside Peter Jones. And Paul, your turn to begin, megabytes. Tell us something about those in this game starting now.

PM: Esther Rantzen, Ken Dodd, Janet Street Porter. What do these three people have in common? An enormous set of choppers. When they bite into something it truly is a mega-bite. They start by what ah bah...


NP: Clement yes we recognise what happened, we interpret it as hesitation, 42 seconds, megabytes with you starting now.

CF: If you watch the Lottery programme on a Saturday, you will see just before they announce the numbers a woman called Mystic Meg who tells you who might win. And sheís ex...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Deviation, no mention of megabytes so far.

NP: No there hasnít, heís talked about Mystic Meg.

CF: Meg!

NP: I know what weíre leading to but I agree with Paul...

PM: What are we leading to?

NP: I donít know but it sounded to me...


NP: But I, I, I assumed these megabytes has got something to do with Mystic Meg. And he hasnít yet established that. And thatís why Iím agreeing with your challenge but I have to justify my agreement because otherwise I will not only get letters but I will get harsh looks from the other team members of the team here. Itís not a team, actually itís a competition, theyíre working on their own. Megabytes...

PM: I think somebodyís working you though, are they?

NP: I know, Elaineís doing a wonderful job. How she does it with both hands on the table, I donít know.

PM: Thereís something deeply unpleasant going on!

NP: Blushes donít come over well on television and...

PM: Or on radio!

NP: Yes!

PJ: My advice to Elaine is keep your hands on the table!

NP: Paul to continue with Just A Minute and megabytes, I agree with your challenge which came some time ago and you have 26 seconds to take over the subject starting now.

PM: I...


PM: I donít know anything about them!

NP: You lost immediately to Clement Freud. Clement, 24 seconds, megabytes starting now.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: Yes thatís right, youíve got the subject starting now!


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Hesitation yes! Twenty-one seconds, megabytes Paul starting now.

PM: Itís a...


NP: Who challenged? Derek Nimmo.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: No indeed, he didnít! Paul, another point, 20 points, megabytes starting now.

PM: Twenty points! That is...

NP: Twenty minutes! Oh er, who...


PM: I canít talk about it for 20 minutes!

NP: Hesitation?

PJ: Yes!

NP: Right! Nineteen seconds on megabytes with you Peter starting now.

PJ: Well youíve heard of sound bites. Megabytes are a rather longer version of that. In fact they creep into the area of monologues and instead of the short clip ah...


NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.

DN: Hesitation.

NP: There was an er there Peter.

PJ: Yes there was yes.

NP: So we interpret that as hesitation. Six seconds left, megabytes starting now.

DN: You have noticed that nobody wants to really talk about megabytes because actually we know nothing about them at all...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of actually.

NP: Yes. You did say actually.

DN: Itís the first time Iíve spoken!

PM: But it was in that bit.

NP: Whatís that?

PM: You said actually twice.

NP: No you havenít said it in this round.

DN: No I havenít...

PM: No I...

DN: I generally say actually! I havenít said it in this round.

NP: And you can repeat words in a different round that youíve used before, but not in this round. That isnít repetition. So an incorrect challenge, youíve got one second left on megabytes Derek starting now.

DN: Megabytes are a very interesting...


NP: Thank goodness that round is finished! Now at the end of that round Paul Merton got quite a number of points so heís increased his lead. Derek Nimmo has moved into second place alongside Peter Jones and Clement Freud for once is trailing a little behind them. Derek your turn to begin, the subject, cheek. Will you tell us something about cheek in Just a Minute starting now.

DN: Do you know it really is the most extraordinary coincidence because just before the programme started I was talking about cheeks with Sir Clement Freud. In fact we were reminiscing about a visit to a little island called Hoitoi and he was given the Garufa fish there and into the fish he plunged with his...


NP: Paul Merton challenged.

PM: Repetition of fish.

NP: Yep.

DN: Absolutely right! Well done! Well listened! Well listened!

NP: Another point to...

PJ: Into the fish he plunged?

DN: Well he plunged with chopsticks!

PJ: I donít know! Itís worse than the camels!

NP: Right, another point to Peter, we enjoyed that. And but Paul has the subject, a point for a correct challenge and 44 seconds on cheek Paul starting now.

PM: I well remember the old Fred Astaire song Dancing Cheek to Cheek and it was one of those films that starred him and Ginger Rogers that RKO used to make quite a lot of in the 1930s. And they were seen a a very good dancing couple from the big silver screen. A programme I used to like as a child was The Clitheroe Kid starring Jimmy of that name because he was a cheeky little schoolboy. I didnít realise at the time he was actually 85 and a midget, but you donít know when youíre 11 years that these sort of things are going on. And I used to enjoy that programme immensely. It was very well written and very...


PM: Oh!

NP: Ohhhhh! Peter you challenged.

PJ: Well heís got away from cheek altogether! There was a Clitheroe Kid and all these figures from the past.

NP: He also repeated very.

PJ: Oh he did?

NP: Yes.

PJ: Well...

NP: Which is what I thought you were challenging for. I mean er...

PJ: Yeah well that was my first choice! I er changed my mind in mid-air!

NP: So Peter you have a correct challenge, seven seconds, cheek starting now.

PJ: They cut the cheek off cowís heads and make it into a kind of brawn though this is forbidden...


NP: Right! So Peter Jones gaining points, also one for speaking as the whistle went has moved forward, heís now equal min the lead with Paul Merton. And weíre moving into the final round. And just behind them, only three points Derek Nimmo, and then just behind him Clement Freud. It could be anybodyís contest though again, are the points important? To the players yes, but not I think, to the listeners.

PM: Weíre wasting our time then!

NP: Peter would you start the final round. Ferreting, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

PJ: This is a sport, so-called, Iíve never actually indulged in it, but it involves putting ferrets down holes and trying to pe er...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes it was yes. What were you trying to do with those ferrets?

PJ: Paralyse the rabbits.

NP: Paralyse the rabbits!

PJ: Well as soon as they see a rabbit, they canít move really. Theyíre frightened to death.

NP: Oh I thought they ran out the other burrow, their escape hatch.

PJ: Well if there is one. But I mean er...

NP: Donít you know that every rabbit makes an escape hatch, so they have three or four...

PJ: How long have we got on this?

NP: Paul, a correct challenge, 50 seconds, ferreting starting now.

PM: In country fairs up and down the United Kingdom during the summer, you often see people sticking Nicholas Parsons down their trousers. And this is regarded as a rather cruel sport these days because the poor creature doesnít know where it is at the best of times. Never mind being encased in some particular tweed legging...


NP: Derek challenged.

DN: Well I must challenge on the grounds of deviation. I canít imagine you being pushed down some tweed trousers.

NP: Iíve enjoyed it actually! Specially some of the people who were wearing them! The um, no actually I agree itís a very devious thought and a very devious idea...

PM: Are you denying it?

NP: Right Derek, 31 seconds, ferreting starting now.

DN: Iíve been trying to shove ferrets down molehills but they wonít go, theyíre too big. And I canít get them little, only ferrets will work with rats and rabbits, and jolly good they are. So if you have any problem with those particular vermin, give me a ring, 37352...


DN: What?

NP: Ah three, Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of three.

NP: Three-seven-three. So Clement, 10 seconds are left to tell us something about ferreting starting now.

CF: The most important thing about ferreting is to have a ferret. And these are most engaging animals, they really have a sort of... yellowish...


NP: Peter Jones has challenged.

PJ: Hesitation.

NP: Yes I thought there was a little hesitation. And Peter youíve cleverly got in with two seconds to go on ferreting starting now.

PJ: You can also describe somebody...


NP: Who challenged? Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Deviation.

NP: Why?

CF: He didnít say well. He always says ďwellĒ before he says anything!


PJ: I only have two seconds you know! I couldnít hang about!

CF: Well!

DN: You could have said well well!

NP: (laughs) The audience applause indicates that you deserve a bonus point Clement. But Peter was interrupted so he gets the point for that and he has one second on ferreting starting now.

PJ: Searching and looking for something...


NP: So as I said a little while ago this was to be the last round, so let me give you the final score. Itís a very interesting situation, they all contributed so much. They all gained a lot of points. But for the contributions the points were that Clement Freud for once finished in fourth place, one point behind Derek Nimmo who was just behind Paul Merton. But in that last surge forward that Peter Jones rushing to the tape, he got there ahead of all the rest so this week with most points Peter we say that you are the winner! A popular win and you have to come to Edinburgh to achieve it Peter. But nonetheless, it only remains for me to say thank you to our four outstanding players of this game, Paul Merton, Clement Freud, Peter Jones and Derek Nimmo. I also thank Elaine Wigley. Iím sorry I made her blush halfway through the show but she kept the score magnificently, blew her whistle most delicately. And smartly. We also thank our producer Anne Jobson, we thank Ian Messiter for thinking of the game and er also keeping us again like he does. I also must thank this wonderful delightful audience in the festival Fringe in the Pleasance here in Edinburgh. And from me Nicholas Parsons and from all of us until we take to the air to play Just A Minute once more, good-bye and thank you.