NOTE: Elaine Stritch's only appearance, although clips of her are heard on the 1992 compilation, Silver Minutes.


ANNOUNCER: We present Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud, Barry Cryer and Elaine Stritch 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 this week we have two of our regulars, Kenneth Williams and Clement Freud. We welcome back a guest who has appeared a number of times on the show, Barry Cryer. But we also are delighted to welcome a guest who has not played before, sheís had the courage to come and bit her, pit her wits and talent against these three intrepid players of the game,. itís that lovely actress Elaine Stritch. And as usual, I am going to ask them in turn if they can speak on a subject I will give them and they will try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject. Barry the subject is kangaroo pie. Will you tell us something about that in the game starting now.

BARRY CRYER: Kangaroo pie is an Antipodean delicacy, particularly favoured in the outback. First you catch your kangaroo, saving Clementís presence which I am doing for Christmas. The creature should then be placed in a large bucket immersed in a judicious mixture of Australian...


NP: Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KENNETH WILLIAMS: Deviation, you couldnít possibly get a kangaroo into a bucket! Iíve never heard such rubbish in my life! Absolute rubbish!

CLEMENT FREUD: He did say a large bucket.

KW: He said the creature should be placed, how can you place a creature in a bucket?

NP: Especially if you try to do it before killing it!

KW: Oh! He has deviated! Heís deviated!

NP: Which he hasnít killed his kangaroo yet, itís still alive!

KW: Heís still shouting malfeasance!

NP: So Kenneth I agree with your challenge, there are 41 seconds for kangaroo pie with you starting now.

KW: Yes, well you get this, any importer will supply it to you. Somebodyís making an awful lot of rustling noises out there. Please...


NP: Barry Cryerís challenged.

BC: Deviation, rustling! (laughs)

NP: Rustling, rustling noise has got nothing to do with kangaroo pie. So Barry you have 34 seconds on kangaroo pie starting now.

BC: The...


NP: Ah Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

BC: Oh!

KW: Hear hear! Hear hear!

NP: Clement you have 33 seconds on kangaroo pie starting now.

CF: Putting a live...


NP: Barry Cryerís challenged.

BC: Repetition of hesitation.

NP: Considering he hasnít started yet he couldnít...

ELAINE STRITCH: (laughs) Oh this is insane!

NP: Itís a mad game, isnít it Elaine.

ES: Yes it is.

NP: Yeah. Clement you have 32 seconds on kangaroo pie starting now.

CF: Putting a live kangaroo pie into a large bucket is probably the most humane way of making kangaroo pie. Otherwise produced by catching the beast, skinning it, taking off the bones, cutting the meat into small squares, and marinating them, usually overnight in a judicious mixture of malfeasance, herbs, oil, lemon, vinegar and monosodiumglutomate...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: Deviation, malfeasance canít be part of a recipe!

BC: My mother said it could!

KW: It canít be part of a recipe, a judicious mixture of malfeasance? I mean, itís rubbish!

NP: Yes it is...

BC: My mother used to male malfeasance pudding...

KW: These people have come a long way, they want to see something decent! They donít want to sit there and have their intelligence insulted with a recipe consisting of malfeasance.

NP: Kenneth, Kenneth, I agree you canít but...

BC: We wait for Saturday night for malfeasance pudding. Thatís what my mother used to make!

NP: Right...

BC: That was a treat!

NP: Right...

KW: Youíve got malfeasance on the brain, you have!

NP: There are eight seconds for you to take over the subject of kangaroo pie Kenneth starting now.

KW: This would be made most deliciously of course by none other than Elaine Stritch, because she...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: I donít accept that!

ELAINE STRITCH: You donít accept it!

CF: Elaine Stritch is a conservationist of a high order and wouldnít kill kangaroos to make pie.

NP: She might make a pie if someone else killed the kangaroo. We donít know. Would you?

ES: Well I donít know what to do in this game! Iíve never been so terrified in my whole life! They taught me how to play the game or thought they did, and now I have to say whether I would be in a kangaroo pie? Or have anything to do with making it? I would not! If thatís going to clear this game up!

NP: I donít think anything will ever clear this game up!

ES: Well it has nothing to do with loving animals. I donít want to eat a kangaroo!

NP: But Elaine...

ES: Iíd much rather see Barnum! I mean this is ridiculous! When is it my turn?

NP: We give Elaine a bonus point for her contribution to the show and another point for having let me off the hook on my next decision which is that Clement Freud was correct. And er, he er, who challenged who? Itís such a long time ago. Oh yes you said...

CF: I challenged him.

NP: Thatís right. So you go on for another second Clement on kangaroo pie starting now.

CF: You can get it in tins in Melbourne!


NP: So at the end of that round Clement Freud was speaking as the whistle went. And heís gained the extra point. Heís gone one ahead of Barry Cryer, heís two ahead of Kenneth Williams, whoís equal with Elaine Stritch who hasnít scored any points, but she has been given two by the chairman. And sorry Elaine, itís not your turn to speak yet. But um... yes Clement goes next.

ES: All right.

NP: But Clement...

ES: I just feel a little inhibited about interrupting somebody before Iíve made a complete ass out of myself.

NP: I wouldnít be, the rest of them are not inhibited, the audience arenít even inhibited.

ES: Okay.

NP: Nobodyís inhibited in Just A Minute.

KW: Thank goodness they havenít got any buttons!

NP: In future itís going to be called the Mal... (laughs)... no...

KW: Hurry up! Say something! Donít just sit there!

NP: I had a little malfeasance in my throat, I was clearing it!

KW: Oh I beg your pardon!

NP: Clement the subject is what makes me fall about laughing, there are 60 seconds starting now.

CF: One hardly needs 60 seconds to describe what makes me falling about laughing. Because in a word...


NP: Barry Cryer challenged.

BC: ďWhat makes me falling about laughingĒ?

NP: Yes. Youíre going to go on grammar again, are you?

ES: Grammar again!

BC: A slender thread!

NP: It also wasnít the subject on the card. So I think youíve got a very good point there Barry. And there are 53 seconds on what makes me fall about laughing starting now.

BC: Tommy Cooper makes me fall about laughing with his fez, his feet, his face, his...


NP: Kenneth Williams.

KW: Three...

BC: Three ďhisĒs.

NP: Three ďhisĒs. Yes.

BC: Quite right! Quite right!

NP: So Kenneth you have the subject with 46 seconds left, what makes me fall about laughing starting now.

KW: It is unquestionably Frankie Howerd. I remember him talking about going down to Chequers. And he said (in Frankie Howerd voice) "I was trying to get in there to see MacMillan you know, itís a lovely spread heís got there, beautiful place, goes with the job, of course! And he wouldnít come out, I was shouting through the letterbox, but he never appeared!Ē (normal voice) And I thought it conjured up a most wonderful picture of...


NP: Elaine Stritch, you challenged.

ES: I canít hear you!


ES: Or understand you, Kenneth! I really canít! And I think it is a cheek! I meant to say something about Kenneth. He has a wonderful gimmick on this show.

NP: Oh yes!

ES: Well you see he makes one word into a three act play! And, and I think itís the greatest gimmick! And you canít challenge him on it. But that I just take, I really, I donít mean to be unkind or anything but I just couldnít hear...

NP: Oh donít worry, donít be inhibited! Everybody is on this show!

ES: Iíll get, Iíll get used to it if Iím asked back!

NP: He did repeat the word there which is...

ES: Oh that has nothing to do with it!


NP: It has everything to do with it!

KW: You canít help her! You canít help her!

NP: No, you canít help her! Sheís so noble isnít she!

KW: I know, so truthful, itís the truth...

ES: (Imitating Kennethís nasal voice) Now nye doing nyeh nyeh nyan! (Normal voice) And I couldnít understand him and I donít think thatís fair!

NP: Elaine he did repeat the word there three times.

ES: Well yeah of course! That we all know!

NP: So therefore you have a correct challenge and you get a point for that...

ES: What are we talking about?

NP: Iím going to tell you in a moment! You have 26 seconds to try and talk on the subject of what makes me fall about laughing starting now.

ES: Well Iím going to agree with Barry Cryer. I donít think I can ever remember in all the times that Iíve lived in America or in this country, of ever laughing at a comedian like Tommy Cooper. One night I was sitting alone in my ah, room at the hotel and I was watching a television show. And I think one of the strangest things in the world is to laugh when youíre all alone, out loud. I think it really is a er example of really thinking something is funny. So Iím watching Tommy Cooper and he said "I was sitting in a dentistís office the other day" and he said "I was reading a magazine and the dentist, the dentist told, the dentist told me that, ah, the secretary of the dentist... Nobodyís challenging me!



ES: I almost challenged myself! I said... I couldnít believe it!

NP: I know! People have been known to do that and get points for it actually! But Elaine you kept going magnificently for about an hour and a half and, and you fully deserved the point for...

ES: Well anyway I gotta tell you what Tommy Cooper said!

BC: Yeah!

NP: Oh yes!

ES: He said "hah!" and all that business!


ES: And he said "I was sitting in a dentistís office the other day, hahahah!" And then he said "I had to wait two hours, hahahah!" And then there was a long pause and then he said "isnít that terrible about the Titanic?" And I donít know, that takes a lot of explanation. But have you ever read the magazines in a dentistís office? Theyíre old! But anyway I... thatís what makes me fall about laughing, as opposed to this show!

NP: Yes! Elaine you get a point for speaking when the whistle should have been blown by Ian Messiter...

ES: Yes, but I won?

NP: You also get a point for sportingness.

ES: Right.

NP: For being such a great sport which the audience showed their appreciation. And you are now... you might be surprised to hear that you are now in the lead! Alongside Barry Cryer and Clement Freud. And Kenneth Williams isnít far behind which is a dangerous position for him to be! Oh Elaine itís your turn to begin, and the...

ES: Oh itís my turn? Now Iím going to get boring! I can feel it!

NP: Elaine the subject is keeping my figure and you have 60 seconds starting now.

ES: I think keeping your figure is very important, both...


NP: Clement Freud Has challenged.

CF: Itís keeping my figure, not...

NP: It doesnít matter, she can still say ďkeeping your figureĒ and go on the subject. She doesnít have to say ďkeeping my figureĒ, start off with the words on the card...

CF: Direct deviation of the subject!

BC: You cad!

NP: You canít be so ungenerous and ungallant!

CF: We were very...

ES: I got two laughs and youíre mad at me!


NP: You got more than two Elaine! And youíve got another point for an incorrect challenge. Itís so mean, youíd only been going for two seconds. You have 58 seconds to continue on keeping my figure starting now.

ES: Is I think the most important thing in the world. Not only for a man, I mean, a woman like myself, but for, for men. When I was growing up, I think it was one of the most important things in the world to me, to be thin. I was almost to the point of anorexia, because I wanted to be an actress, and I thought that all actresses had to be very very thin. Because someone told me once that when you went on the screen, you put on 10 pounds automatically whether you weighed more, more than that or whether you didnít. And so when I, donít do this to me again because Iím telling to... if I donít play one shot at this, oh, I donít want to deviate either! I want to stay right on the subject! And when I really found out the absolute causes for putting on weight, they really began to bore me as I got older. Because I used to be a very er extreme human being in every thing that I did. And when I liked something, I would eat too much of it. And when I liked something to drink, oh Iím repeating myself all over the place! But itís a terribly interesting point and I donít care!


NP: Well Ian Messiter did blow the whistle then at the end of 60 seconds, itís an amazing long time to talk, isnít it when you

ES: It is! But now really be honest with me! I did, I repeated myself, didnít I?

NP: You did, yes.

KW: The only, the only, I would complain that youíre not decipherable, you canít be heard properly! Youíve got to be like me, you speak very plainly, you see and annunciate! Youíve got to annunciate! Thatís what youíve got to remember!

ES: Ken, but listen! Kenneth!

BC: Tell him! Tell him!

ES: I donít want to go home and have this show broadcast and say "how was I?" and somebody will say "well they were very nice to you". I mean that really isnít going to cut well with me, so I want to be treated just like the rest...

NP: I think...

ES: ... of the gang! Right!

NP: Actually I can tell you something Elaine. Theyíve actually treated you rather toughly because thatís a mean way to treat you what theyíve done...

ES: Right!

NP: They only do that to people that they not only love, but people that they know are good at the game....

KW: We did it to Barbara Castle!

ES: Well all the time I thought it was because I was attractive Nicholas! And Iím going to keep that thought and go home with it! So the hell with all of you!

NP: That actually goes, goes without saying Elaine! I didnít think I had to mention it.

ES: Oh Nicholas!

KW: You sycophantic! Look at him!

ES: Come on, letís go, I want to challenge somebody!

NP: Yes...

ES: I won that point too?

NP: You won that point, but I want to say something in case you werenít aware of it. You can repeat the subject and the words on the card if you wish...

ES: Oh then maybe I did it well?

NP: You did it very well...

ES: Okay.

NP: ... because you didnít repeat them either.

ES: Right.

NP: So Elaine, at the end of that round you have increased your lead, youíre now well ahead of Barry Cryer and Clement Freud, and infinitely well ahead of Kenneth Williams. And Kenneth itís your turn to begin and the subject Ian Messiterís brought along for you now is Quetzalcoatl. Would you talk on that subject for 60 seconds starting now.

KW: Quetzalcoatl is of course an Aztec deity. And the lovely thing about it is that the modern Quetzal takes its name from it, because of itís lovely plumage...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Two lovelies.

NP: Yes Iím afraid so. So Clement you have a point and the subject, and you have Quetzalcoatl starting now.

CF: Quetzalcoatl is not a subject which I would have chosen given a totally free choice. It is one of the few words...


NP: Ah Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: The subject is Quetzalcoatl, not what he would have chosen for a subject.

NP: Yes Kenneth but he was establishing...

KW: No, no, we donít want a load of rubbish like that! Come on! Play the game properly! He was deviating horribly!

NP: I am doing my best...

KW: Heís supposed to be talking about Quetzalcoatl!

NP: Thatís what he was talking about...

KW: He wasnít. He said...

NP: He said he wouldnít have chosen that subject, and that is the subject on the card.

KW: Well itís the subject! Youíre supposed to discuss it, you great fool! I havenít come all the way from Great Portland Street to be made a fool of! To be made a fool of!

BC: Anybody got a volume control?

KW: Yes they have said to me, yes! Youíre quite right!

NP: Clement you continue for 43 seconds on Quetzalcoatl starting now.

CF: Like Equeequee and Albuquerque in New Mexico, it is a word that only has the opening letter appearing once, whereas in the other two as you will have noticed, the 19th letter of the alphabet happens on more frequent occasions. If you go to Brazil... (long pause)



NP: Ken yes?

KW: Well he, hesitation I thought.

NP: Hesitation, he came to a full stop! Yes!

CF: I wanted Kenneth to...

NP: He suddenly realised when he said Brazil instead of Mexico. So you have the subject back of Quetzalcoatl, 21 seconds starting now.

KW: Well of course it was the great ornithologist, Ludwig Koch, who chanced to see the Quetzal in all its great exotic splendour...


KW: ... and they said ďyou have to for sit seven hours in the rain forestĒ. And he said ďIím not going to go wet for a load of bleeding birds!Ē (laughs loudly)



KW: Oh dear, he had to sit there with his umbrella!

NP: Clement Freud challenged you there.

KW: Oh yeah?

CF: It was repetition.

NP: Yes. Of what?

CF: Ha! Ha ha ha ha!

ES: (crying with laughter) Oh God!

NP: Oh dear me! Clement you have a correct challenge and two and a half seconds on Quetzalcoatl starting now.

CF: One of the great problems about tourists in Mexico looking for the Quetzal...


NP: Well at the end of that round, Clement Freud got a number of points including one for speaking as the whistle went, and heís now gone one point ahead of Elaine Stritch.

BC: Nicholas...

NP: The laughter is because of the by-play thatís going on between Kenneth Williams and Clement Freud at the moment.

KW: Iím not doing anything of the kind! Iím blowing a kiss to the producer!

NP: Well I think you should keep your private life off the show! Barry you want to say something?

KW: I want to come back next time, you see.

BC: I just wanted if there any points for spotting that Ludwig Koch was mentioned two weeks running!

NP: Yes but you see, the thing is this audience werenít here...

BC: Thatís why Iím telling them!

NP: It was many weeks, it was many weeks ago when Ludwig Koch came into it...

BC: I think this audience should be told that Ludwig Koch has been...

KW: No, youíre mixing it up...

NP: I should explain to this audience that Kenneth Williams in another programme which went out many weeks ago mentioned about Ludwig Koch sitting in the rain jungle...


NP: And Ian Messiterís blown his police whistle and arrested me, so weíll get on with the show. Um where are we? Itís Barry Cryerís turn to begin, the subject is dice. Barry will you tell us something about that in the game, 60 seconds starting now.

BC: Dice of course is a plural word, die the singular. The great game of chance known in the occasionally United States of America as craps. Casting the... die...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: No I donít think so. He did repeat the word die, but you didnít spot that one. So there are 44 seconds for Barry to continue with dice starting now.

BC: Casting the die has nothing to do...


NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: Repetition of die.

NP: Yes!

BC: I would agree there, I would agree there!

NP: Yes so Clement you have the subject, 42 seconds, dice starting now.

CF: Dice is the airport serving Aberdeen. And as such one of the great growth areas of Scotland. If you get to Dice, itís only nine miles into the granite city which now bounds...


NP: Ah Kenneth Williams has challenged.

KW: Two cities. He said ďthe city of AberdeenĒ and then he said ďcityĒ again.

NP: Thatís right. He did Kenneth and you listened well and 29 seconds left for you to take over the subject of dice starting now.

KW: ďI say, this dice ainít nice!Ē Said a very fat lady at a party to which I was invited. They were throwing it for this game which was called, as I remember, no, now it fails me. But I do...


NP: Barry Cryer challenged.

BC: It failed him! And you canít throw a dice.

NP: Well he was deviating, wasnít he...

KW: Rubbish! Rubbish!

BC: You canít throw a dice!

KW: I was at this party where this woman said ďthis dice ainít niceĒ! Thatís how I always remembered it. And it was a game and I was going on to say about how they played the game and all the rest of it. Oh no, there was no deviation...

NP: I think there was so...

KW: ... I was positively glowing, and the audience were all agog with interest!

NP: Well Barry...

BC: Agog?

NP: In spite of the gog...

KW: They were very titular, thatís why they keep falling forward you see.

NP: Barry I agree with your challenge, you have the subject, there are 11 seconds on dice starting now.

BC: One remembers Sky Masterson in Guys And...


NP: Kenneth Williams challenged.

KW: He says ďone remembers Sky MastersonĒ. I donít remember Sky Masterson at all! In fact as far as Iím concerned, he neednít have bothered to existed!

BC: I said ďone remembersĒ. Are you one?

KW: Well one assumes...



NP: Elaineís been...

KW: You shouldnít be laughing! Thatís rude!

NP: Elaine what did you want to say?

ES: Nothing, I just got nervous!

NP: Barry I agree with your challenge...

BC: I meant ďoneĒ in the sense of I! Thatís all!

NP: Yes you have seven seconds on dice starting now.

BC: Singing Luck Be A Lady Tonight, accompanied by the chorus, the stage swirling with figures, colours and the wonderful...


NP: Well itís turning out to be a close and interesting contest. Kenneth Williams is trailing a little behind Elaine Stritch who is one point behind Barry Cryer, who has now leaped forward to be only one point behind our leader who is still Clement Freud. And he begins the next round, the subject is the most important thing in my life. Will you tell us something about that Clement, in the game starting now.

CF: This is really very boring, because the most important thing in my life is my family. And nobody wants to hear about my family...


CF: I could say ďmy familyĒ several times.

NP: Elaine Stritch challenged.

ES: I do!

NP: Repetition of family, well done Elaine!

ES: Yes!


NP: And you have 53 seconds on the most important thing in my life starting now.

ES: I think the most important thing in my life is the fact that I am sitting here and doing this show and...


NP: Clement Freud has challenged.

CF: Hogwash!

ES: Well I hadnít made my point yet!

NP: So what is your challenge?

CF: Let her continue!

NP: Well she gets a point...

ES: He challenged me, like I challenged him. Because I donít think his family is boring, and he doesnít think that this is the most important thing in my life.

CF: Thatís right.

ES: But he didnít let me finish my point.

NP: No, no, he could have had you for hesitation, but he didnít. So you get a point for an incorrect challenge...

ES: Okay.

NP: Because you werenít deviating and there are 45 seconds on the most important thing in my life Elaine, starting now.

ES: Because I just canít begin to tell you how many things are wrong in my life. But I also, er... in a great, great, a great hurry, that there are things in my life that I am so thankful for. And the most important thing in my life which I understand I can repeat over annnnnnnnnnnd... So Iím going to repeat it again. The most important thing in my life is that Iím sitting here, doing this show and I am healthy and feel marvellous! That is what I think we all should think about over and over and over and over...



NP: Clement Freud challenged.

CF: I wanted her to feel like, like a contestant! Repetition.

ES: Youíre contesting over?

CF: Repetition of over.

NP: Over and over.

CF: Over...

ES: Well go on, tell us about your family!


KW: (still laughing) Nobodyís ever played this game like her!

NP: I know!

CF: Well Iím very glad you asked! Now to begin with, thereís my wife, whose name is Jill, who is an actress. And we have five children called Nicola, Ashley, Dominic, Emma and Matthew. Two grandchildren called Tom and Jack. A budgerigar, a hedgehog. (long five second pause)



NP: He was correct when he said nobody wanted to hear about his family! Because nobody buzzed him when he stopped! Actually he, the 60 seconds was up just as he did pause. So he does get a point for speaking as the whistle went. And I have to tell you that unfortunately weíve come to the end of this hilarious show.


NP: Oh are you sad about that?

ES: Awwwww!

NP: You could stay all night. Well itís been great fun, hasnít it, and itís been lovely having such an unusual and original performer as Elaine Stritch! Because her contribution was...

BC: Hear hear!


ES: Thank you very much! Thank you Nicholas! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


NP: Elaine your contribution has been... yes? Elaine youíve challenged, what was your challenge?

ES: Iíve repeated myself!

NP: Let me give you the final score. Kenneth Williams who sometimes wins and tries very hard to win, but always gives great value, unfortunately finished in fourth place. And...

BC: Iíve lost my title!

NP: Barry Cryer, Barry Cryer, who was with us a number of weeks ago, and er got a lot of practice from that, almost won. But he did finish up one point behind Elaine Stritch, who was in second place, not having played the game before. But she was two points behind this weekís winner who is Clement Freud! Well we do hope youíve enjoyed listening to this programme as much as our audience appear to have enjoyed it in the studio. And certainly as much as weíve enjoyed playing it. And ah we hope that you will want to tune in again at the same time next week, weíll take to the air, weíll play Just A Minute, and who knows what will happen. Tune in, find out. Till then 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 Pete Atkin.