WELCOME TO JUST A MINUTE!
starring KENNETH WILLIAMS, DEREK NIMMO, PETER JONES and BRIAN JOHNSTON, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 29 October 1983)
NOTE: Peter Jones's 200th appearance, Derek Nimmo's 200th appearance, Brian Johnston's last appearance.
ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones and Brian Johnston 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. Hello and welcome to Just A Minute. And as you just heard we have three of our regular players of the game, and we welcome back to this series for the first time after his success as a guest once before, Brian Johnston. As usual I will ask them if they can speak on the subject that I give them, and try and do it without hesitation, repetition, or deviation. And as Brian was so successful when he came as a guest last year, Brian, would you like to begin this show. And the subject that Ian Messiter has thought of is getting dressed on the beach. Will you tell us something about those in the game starting now.
BRIAN JOHNSTON: Well I’ve just come back from Australia. And if you get dressed on the beach, they will think you are crazy because no-one has anything on at all. So the answer is that you go there in your bathing drawers, and you keep them underneath your trousers, you take your trousers off, you then go into the sea...
NP: Derek Nimmo has challenged.
DEREK NIMMO: Well he has took his trousers off twice.
NP: Yes. You must have had two pairs of trousers, Brian.
BJ: (laughs) I did, that’s right.
NP: Which is devious anyway. So um I’m afraid Derek has a successful challenge, he gets a point for that, he takes the subject, there are 47 seconds, getting dressed on the beach Derek starting now.
DN: Of course it’s quite different getting dressed on an English beach because it’s always freezing cold. And ah there are lots of...
NP: And Peter Jones has challenged.
PETER JONES: Hesitation.
NP: There was a er-ah, hesitation. You have a point, correct challenge, the subject, and 40 seconds, getting dressed on the beach starting now.
PJ: Well I think it’s something that one shouldn’t really do. Because beaches are places where it’s nicest to let things hang out, and let the wind and the rain, or whatever it is, sand, blowing into the bulges, crevices of anything, protuberances which you have ah with you when you’re...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Well happily, a hesitation before it got too disgusting!
NP: We like the way you put it Derek. And you have the point and the subject, and 20 seconds, getting dressed on the beach starting now.
DN: The best way is to get a very large belltent with a good flap. And then you can go inside it and put on your knickers, pantaloons, whatever you happen to be wearing, black tie, white tie and tails. And off you go on to the sand and everybody will say “what a very snappy dresser for a beach”. And that’s what I like to do, particularly if I’m at Frinton...
NP: When Ian Messiter blows his whistle, it tells us that 60 seconds are up. And whoever is speaking at that moment gains an extra point. It was Derek Nimmo who has the lead of course at the end of the round. And Kenneth Williams, will you take the next round. The subject, confidence tricks, 60 seconds starting now.
KENNETH WILLIAMS: They come up to you and they offer you something which looks as though it’s a bargain. And of course, poor fools. I was one of them on one particular occasion. I actually parted with good money for this watch and it looked to me to be gold. And when I got it back, it all turned this funny colour. And I showed it to a bloke who was in the trade, jeweller as a matter of fact. And he said “it’s copper, mate, you were done”. It was a confidence trick, you see. I’ve seen people doing it in Oxford Street. They say “these perfumes come from the House Of So-And-So-And-So-And-So...
LAUGHTER FROM NP, DN, BJ AND THE AUDIENCE
KW: Well I was frightened, I was frightened of saying, you know, the men’s names because you mustn’t advertise on the radio.
NP: I know. And then you would have been had for deviation because you mustn’t advertise. You were caught on your own petard. Yes Derek, you challenged, and I think all the audience know what the challenge was.
DN: I think they probably do.
NP: Yes, So-And-So, and four sos and 25 seconds for you on confidence tricks starting now.
DN: Of course, in a way, I suppose the new member of the panel is something of a confidence trick. Because he’s supposed to be a working fellow, and to my knowledge, he’s never done a day throughout the whole of his life. He just...
NP: Brian Johnston.
BJ: I thought we were meant to speak the truth in this game!
NP: No you can say whatever you like. But that was deviation, wasn’t it?
BJ: Well he was deviating, it wasn’t true what he was saying. I’ve worked very hard all my life.
NP: Exactly Brian!
DN: You’ve just spent all your life enjoying yourself! And I feel so cross about it!
LAUGHTER FROM BJ AND THE AUDIENCE
NP: If he has such ability that he can make his work look as if he’s enjoying it, what a great artist he must be! Brian you have a correct challenge, you have the subject and 13 seconds on confidence tricks starting now.
BJ: Well I must admit that my whole life has been a confidence trick. Because as Derek said, I do enjoy everything I do. I go to the box, I describe the cricket, I stay there, I have a drink every now and again and...
NP: Well Brian Johnston had...
DN: If he, if he’d been truthful, he’d have told us about the, the cakes that he eats as well, wouldn’t he really.
BJ: (laughs) That’s right, yes, chocolate cake.
NP: They’re sent in, aren’t they, by your admiring listeners.
DN: Well that’s another one of his confidence tricks that he...
BJ: No, we give them to the other commentators, and they can’t speak, and they spit all the crumbs out! It’s an old trick. (laughs)
NP: I know, I know, you do it, and you have to take over, Brian! And anyway Derek your turn to begin and the subject bell, book and candle and you begin now.
DN: Bell, book and candle. That is the popular expression given to the rites of excommunication in the Roman Catholic Church. The priest would first ring the bell, as though for a funeral. He would then take the book and close it firmly, and blow out the candle. The reason being, of course, the bell represented death, the book, closing it, as I have already said and nobody’s challenged me...
NP: (laughs) Brian?
BJ: We’re closing again there.
NP: Yes that’s right, yes he told you, didn’t he?
DN: I did say close the first time, it was a deliberate trap. I said closing the second time. And book is on the card.
SHOUTS OF “YES” FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: Closing and close. Wait a minute.
DN: Yes I did.
NP: The first time you said...
DN: That was why I was waiting for the challenge when they didn’t. It was a confidence trick!
NP: I think actually Derek you are right. No, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you have 33 seconds on the same subject, starting now.
DN: Bell Book And Candle is a frightfully jolly play, written by, I believe Mister John Van Druton. It starred in the West End, the lovely gorgeous Lilli Palmer, Mister Rex Harrison who was married to her at the time, before he married a very charming woman who is now...
NP: Peter Jones challenged.
PJ: Repetition of married.
NP: Yes he was married and he married...
PJ: Which is what Rex Harrison actually did!
NP: It wasn’t marrying before, it was definitely married twice. I agree Peter, 21 seconds for you on bell book and candle starting now.
PJ: Yes it ran night after day at the theatre in about November. And it starred, as Derek has very aptly put it, Rex Harrison who had also appeared in another famous play called French Without Tears at an adjacent theatre, not very far away from the aforementioned one in Charing Cross Road...
NP: Peter Jones kept going till the whistle went, gained two more points. He’s just behind Brian Johnston and two behind Derek Nimmo in the lead. And Peter you begin the next round, the subject is omens. Will you tell us something about those in 60 seconds starting now.
PJ: They are really signs, aren’t they, of something which is to come. Bad ones might include, say, vultures on your roof. You might get the impression if you saw these birds hovering about, that something very unpleasant was going to happen to you. Likewise a good one might be Billy Cotton Junior standing in the garden with a contract under his arm, as you get up in the morning...
NP: Brian Johnston challenged.
BJ: He no longer has power to give you contracts. He’s now in charge of satellites or something. He has nothing to do with contracts at all.
NP: Ah but you see Brian, within the context of the game, you can keep going. If Billy Cotton Junior was standing in his garden with a contract under his arm, it would be a good...
BJ: He wouldn’t be in the garden though.
NP: It would be a good omen, wouldn’t it.
BJ: Well yes. All right.
NP: I mean, thank you for trying. I mean it’s marvellous, that’s what you’re here for. But I have to try and be fair always and I think Peter still has the subject, and 34 seconds starting now.
PJ: It might be a bad omen of course, if you didn’t...
NP: Derek Nimmo.
DN: Repetition of it might be, the third time.
NP: Yes, it might be, that was the third time.
PJ: Really, was it?
NP: Yes, we let it go the second.
NP: And 32 seconds for Derek on omens starting now.
DN: Of course one of the things that people really thought was a frightfully bad omen was when William the Conqueror landed in England and fell flat on his face. People said “what a bad omen”. But he very cleverly said “no, this augurs well, it means that I’ve saysed this land with both hands”. Which was pretty nippy thinking or a confidence trick, whichever way you like...
NP: Kenneth Williams.
KW: I’d like someone to explain to me what “saysed” means.
DN: Saysan, saysan is the word to seize, seizen.
KW: Oh I see, it’s old er French Saxon.
DN: It was a very long time ago.
NP: And you’re saying, you’re challenging for deviation on correct...
KW: From English.
NP: Yes and you have a correct challenge, and you have the subject Kenneth, and there are 11 seconds on omens starting now.
KW: Why they call it birds to be omen, is because it dropped a load on the men, just when it was supposed to be delivering the messages. Because it was a carrier pigeon and every time he looked up, people said “what are you doing?” They said ‘waiting for it”. He said “blimey, you’re asking for it!”
NP: So Kenneth got two points in that round, and he’s still in fourth place. But he’s, he’s only two points behind Brian Johnston and Peter Jones, and four behind Derek Nimmo, our leader. Brian, you begin the next round, the subject is limericks. And will you tell us something about the subject in Just A Minute starting now.
BJ: I’m not very fond of limericks, possibly because I can’t make them up. I find it very difficult to get the two middle lines. And the last line is always a bit too...
BJ: Two lines.
NP: Peter Jones has challenged.
PJ: Repetition of line.
DN: No, it was line and lines.
NP: Line and lines.
BJ: I said line and lines.
NP: That’s right, you’re, you did, two different words there. And we have to listen very carefully. So you have another point for a wrong challenge, 51 seconds on limericks Brian, starting now.
BJ: Very often the end is very rude and something you couldn’t mention here...
NP: Kenneth Williams has...
KW: Two verys.
NP: Yes you said...
NP: You said you find it very difficult before, and now this was very, yes.
NP: So Kenneth has the subject of limericks and there are 47 seconds starting now.
KW: There was a young lady of Ryde,
Who ate a green apple and died,
The fruit fermented,
Inside the lamented,
And made cider inside her inside!
LOUD LAUGHTER FROM BJ AND THE AUDIENCE
NP: Brian Johnston.
BJ: Inside her.
NP: I do think you did repeat the word inside.
NP: Thirty-seven seconds Brian with you starting now.
BJ: Some lyrics... oops!
NP: I know, isn’t it rotten! It’s so difficult playing...
BJ: My teeth!
NP: Thirty-five seconds on limericks Derek starting now.
DN: There was an old poof of Khartoum
Who took a lesbian up to his room
They lay on the bed
And suddenly said
“Who does what, with what, and to whom?”
VERY LOUD LONG LAUGHTER FROM NP, BJ, KW, PJ, DN, AND THE AUDIENCE
DN: (barely speaking for laughing) I couldn’t go on! I mean it was very...
MORE LOUD LAUGHTER FROM EVERYONE WITH KW’S CACKLE PROMINENT
DN: Oh dear! I’m sorry, can I go on? Mister Chairman, can I continue?
NP: Lord, I’m sorry, just a moment. Lord Reith, turn in your grave. Brian Johnston challenged you, we’d like to know what it was Brian.
BJ: Well there were two whats.
NP: And I should think there were. In that situation there were more than a few.
DN: Oh right!
NP: But Derek, I think you’ve broken new ice in the realms and history...
NP: ... of broadcasting, and if you want to write to us about them, please address your letters personally to Derek Nimmo because you will get a personalised reply. With another limerick perhaps. Brian you have the subject of limericks and there are 25 seconds left starting now.
BJ: What I was trying to say before is that it’s very difficult to finish some limericks such as...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Repetition of difficult.
NP: Derek you’ve got the subject back and there are 21 seconds on limericks starting now.
DN: There was a young lady from Coleville,
Who set herself down on a moles hill,
The inquisitive mole,
Stuck his nose... (starts to laugh) I’m sorry!
LONG RIOTOUS LAUGHTER FROM DN, NP AND THE AUDIENCE
DN: (barely speaking for laughing) I’m giving up! May I retire! I mean... (still laughing) before I’m made forcibly redundant!
KW: I think he, I think he illustrated Brian’s point about difficult to finish a lyric!
NP: Yes that’s right, yeah definitely. Yeah I think some of them shouldn’t have been started actually! But Peter Jones, I’m pleased to say, got in on this round because we get one from him. So Peter, yes, a correct challenge, I don’t know what for but it sounded good! It came to a shuddering halt, we’re delighted to say. Twelve seconds on limericks starting now.
PJ: There was a young man of Torbay,
When sailing to China one day,
Was lashed to the tiller,
By a sex crazed gorilla,
And the Far East is a very long way!
LOUD LONG LAUGHTER FROM KW, NP AND THE AUDIENCE
NP: Well I think that was one of the funniest rounds in Just A Minute, ever! Don’t you! And they all got points in it, I’m pleased to say. We heard on limericks when they all spoke. And Derek is just in the lead, ahead of Peter Jones and Brian Johnston and Kenneth is just in fourth place only. Kenneth your turn to begin, the subject is Victorian parlour games. Kenneth you have 60 seconds as usual starting now.
KW: One of these is very amusingly recounted by Whettingrow-Smith. And it consisted of the room being darkened, the contestant given a tail which is in this sidian blackness he was supposed to attach to a donkey. Now the result very often was falling about for those concerned, because it didn’t land up in the position which strictly speaking could be called correct. And consequently little anonymous postcards were received by this poor man who had failed so lamentably in his predestined course. Which of course in that period was looked upon with grave disfavour such as...
NP: Well if anybody wished to complain about the speed at which Kenneth goes, all I can say is I think it needs good skill to keep up that particular pace of delivery for 60 full seconds which he did. So as he wasn’t challenged, he gets a point for speaking as the whistle went, and a bonus point for not being interrupted. Well done Kenneth. Peter Jones begins the next round and the subject is scuba diving.
PJ: Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Well I don’t see why you shouldn’t really use this sort of gear with the tanks of air...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Hesitation, with the er.
NP: Yes I think so.
DN: Or was it air?
NP: No it was an er. Fifty seconds Derek on scuba diving starting now.
DN: Well the first time that I went scuba diving, I left Sydney, flew up to Rockhampton, and then caught a small aeroplane over to the island of Brampton, put on my scuba diving equipment. Gosh, one felt brave with a little dagger down one’s leg. And into the water I plunged, with butterflies floating over ahead as I mentioned. And then I saw coral as I had never witnessed it before. All manner of beauty, barimundi, which I’m sure Mister Brian Johnston would know tremendously well because he travels a lot to the Antipodes. And angelfish, they I suppose are the...
NP: Peter Jones has challenged.
PJ: Repetition of fish.
NP: Yes there were more than a few fish around, I’m sorry Derek.
DN: That’s what you look for when you go scuba diving!
NP: Yes I know but I’m afraid you can’t repeat it in Just A Minute.
NP: So 14 and a half seconds on scuba diving with you Peter starting now.
PJ: A complete set would be very useful, I think, when riding a bicycle in the centre of London. Because you’d be able to breathe air instead of carbon monoxide and you would be a greater deal safer from the health point of view...
NP: Brian Johnston.
BJ: I may be very ignorant. Has this got anything to do with scuba diving? Riding through the streets of London?
NP: Well he talked about the equipment, you see.
PJ: Yes, diving in and out, between the buses! And I wish this man wouldn’t keep interrupting me!
NP: He hasn’t played it as often as you! Yes and he did, he did take the scuba diving equipment so I think he was still on the subject. And there are two seconds with you still Peter on scuba diving starting now.
PJ: I can really recommend it...
NP: Peter Jones has now moved forward. He’s still one behind our leader Derek Nimmo, one ahead of Brian Johnston, and Derek Nimmo is only two behind Brian. And Brian begins the next round and the subject is decimalisation. Can you tell us something on that subject Brian, in the game starting now.
BJ: I was never very good at mathematics and decimalisation is something I simply could not do. Because I was used to vulgar fractions and those sort of things, I used to add them up, I used to divide, I used to multiply. But now...
NP: Peter Jones has challenged.
PJ: Well I don’t want to talk about decimalisation, but he can’t keep saying “used” like that.
NP: No, you did say “used to” three times I’m afraid Brian.
BJ: Yes mmmm.
NP: Yes. Forty-eight seconds, 47 seconds on decimalisation Peter starting now.
PJ: Or alternatively four point seven, kind of, by the decimal system, it could be if you multiplied it by 10. Because everything goes in that particular number, one-oh, or stroke zero, point.
NP: Yes Derek?
DN: Well he seems to have stopped so I would say hesitation.
PJ: Well I stopped at the decimal point! That’s what you’re supposed to do.
NP: Yes Brian, you challenged, what was your...
BJ: He had a couple of points again, like he had two whats before.
NP: That’s right. But Brian your light came on at some point but there was no buzzer. So I think you have to press a bit harder.
BJ: Oh yes it was because he hesitated, but I hesitated too, so I don’t press hard enough...
NP: Sorry, so Derek actually got in there with a correct challenge and there are 32 and a half seconds, decimalisation Derek starting now.
DN: With decimalisation I feel awfully sorry with a name like Halfpenny who are now presumably called Point-Five-P. Because I think that’s a terrible thing to have to carry through life. The first attempt in England at decimalisation was in fact in 1849, when they brought in the florin, named after the Florentine coin of the same name. And it’s jolly interesting that at that moment, they thought of that as being one tenth, you see, of the current pound. If we’d only started all those years ago, we wouldn’t have had all this boring trouble we’ve had more recently, would we? And I think that’s...
NP: So Derek’s got another point, speaking as the whistle went, increased his lead. But he’s only two ahead of Peter Jones, and just ahead of Brian Johnston. And Kenneth is bringing up the rear quite strongly, and he begins the next round. Kenneth the subject, Venice. That lovely city, would you tell us something about it in Just A Minute starting now.
KW: It was in Venice in the Hospital Englaze that Baron Corbeaux was rescued after what had been appalling as an illness, and the place was visited by the Queen! It was Alexandra and she stopped at his bedside and said “how are you?” He said “I haven’t had a cup of tea! The place is awful! The meals revolting!” And she had a whip-round amongst the ladies-in-waiting and produced 19 pounds, which I think, you know, was extraordinarily generous. And whenever I’m in Venice, I think of this little incident. I Los love going to sit in St Mark’s Square which Henry James rightly called the drawing room of Europe. Sit there and see all those incredible people pass by. I saw Dirk Bogarde there, I couldn’t believe my eyes! And Eve Arden! I don’t actually know her, but I did get her autograph on an old copy of The Times...
NP: Well in spite of sitting twice in St Mark’s Square which is repetition, he kept going, they didn’t pick him up, until the whistle went. He got a point for speaking then and a bonus for not being interrupted. And he is still in third place. But he is only two behind Brian Johnston, four behind our leader Derek Nimmo, who begins the next round. Snaps, that is the subject Derek starting now.
DN: I remember getting a telegram when I was at Adelaide Cricket Ground from Mister Brian Johnston saying “hello Nimmers, Blowers and Johnners arriving tomorrow”. And when they got together, we looked at each other and said “snaps” because we both had... Melbourne Cricket Club ties on...
NP: Oh Peter Jones challenged.
DN: Not quite Melbourne!
APPLAUSE FROM THE AUDIENCE
NP: I must explain to our listeners that that round of applause was for a lady who was forced to leave because the programme had gone on so long. And maybe it’s just because Derek Nimmo started to speak once again, and she’s now returned to a thundering round of applause. And...
DN: I don’t know what we’re playing really. Are we going to start again now?
PJ: Well you’ve played that game before. One lady goes out of the room... and everybody has a drink and you have to guess who it was!
PJ: And the winner goes out and joins her!
NP: And in Just A Minute, if a member of the audience is cut short, they are allowed to leave. But if the panel feel like that they have to somehow keep going. And um Peter Jones you have the subject of snaps...
NP: Oh he didn’t, it was Brian Johnston who challenged.
PJ: No, I, I challenged.
NP: Peter, that’s right yes, what was your challenge, that’s right.
PJ: I did.
NP: Yes what was it?
PJ: Repetition of both.
DN: One, one was Botham.
PJ: No it wasn’t! Rubbish! Absolute rubbish!
NP: Anyway Peter you have a correct challenge and there are 42 seconds...
DN: You’ve no idea! You have no idea whether I said both or not!
NP: You’d got to this thing about mo-bo-bo-bo-mo-mo and it all came out saying bo... (goes into full on gibberish for about 10 seconds). And the audience loved it but you did commit one of the crimes of Just A Minute. And Peter Jones got in with a correct challenge and there are 42 seconds on snaps with you Peter starting now.
PJ: When Robert Benchley arrived in Venice, he sent his wife a telegram saying “streets flooded, please advise”. Now this has nothing at all to do with Snaps, one of my favourite little Jack Russell puppies. And we called him that because he had these little white...
NP: Derek Nimmo challenged.
DN: Repetition of because.
NP: Rubbish! You did say because before, I’m afraid Peter.
PJ: I said because before?
NP: Yes you did.
KW: What’s this dog, what’s this dog got to do with it?
NP: He was a Jack Russell called Snaps.
KW: He didn’t say so!
NP: No, he said, yeah, I said the subject of snaps...
KW: You’re saying so! You’re putting words in his mouth! And he don’t know where they’ve been!
NP: Especially if I borrowed them from you! So Derek you have seven seconds on snaps starting now.
DN: Standing in this bar in Amsterdam, I said to this chap, “what’s that bottle over there?” And I thought he said “snaps” but it wasn’t quite that actually. Anyway he poured some and jolly nice it was. I took a photograph...
NP: Well that was certainly one of the longest rounds in Just A Minute. And I now have to give you the final score. Well they all scored a lot of points and they all deserved them as well. Brian Johnston coming back as a guest, not having played the game for a year, did remarkably well. He finished in third place, alongside Kenneth Williams. Both of them gave great value. They were a little way behind Derek Nimmo. He finished one point behind this week’s winner, that last final flourish on that snappy performance from Peter Jones, took him into the lead, our winner this week! We accept the applause for all of them, because it’s not so much how many points you get, but the way you play the game. And they’ve given great entertainment. It’s lovely to be chairman of this show, when we’ve got such talented people. I hope you’ve enjoyed their talent and enjoyed the show, and want to tune in again same time next week when we take to the air, and we play Just A Minute. Till then bye-bye.
ANNOUNCER: the chairman of Just A Minute was Nicholas Parsons, the programme was devised by Ian Messiter and produced by Pete Atkin.