Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

April 17, 2009

some magic Clement bits

The BBC asked me to help pick some magic Clement quotes for the tribute clips.

Here's the list I sent back... a reminder of how funny he was...


this show was on the first JAM cassette - the show's broadcast date was 2 January 1993
includes this classic line on the subject of records

"The great thing about Virgin Records is that they have no holes in them. "


this show was on the Silver Minutes tapes released in 1992 - the original show was broadcast on 18 April 1981 and came as you can imagine after a dispute with Nicholas - the subject is "cheek"

CF: Cheek is when someone of diminished responsibility goes to the British Broadcasting Corporation and elects to be chairman of a panel game. On the basis that he might have some idea of how to control people whose multi-syllabic words he doesn’t understand, whose meaning he is unable to comprehend and whose hours and time he is unable to keep. I’ve now said unable three times, and because nobody’s interrupted me, only...
NP: Peter Jones has challenged.
PJ: Well, I’m not interrupting because I’m enjoying it!


In the same year, this is a classic example of Clement going the whole 60 seconds (he does it three times in this show) - but this shows him timing the payoff for the last second - 14 March 1981, subject is the best putdown I ever heard

CF: The best putdown I ever heard was exceedingly short, as are all good putdowns. And in a game in which you have to waffle for 60 seconds, and best being not a word that one can conditionalise in any way, I will have to give you the build-up to this putdown, in order that the short sentence with which I will end my speech may not be outside the rules of Just A Minute. It was a summer evening in Aberdeen. It was raining slightly and the mist was coming down from the hills. And at the banqueting hall in the Royal Station Hotel, the head waiter nudged the main speaker and said “functions are about to begin, it is up to you to open your mouth”. And Mister Gladstone, who was there on this occasion, was introduced at such very great length by so boring a man that when he was finally told “and now we come to the Prime Minister to give his address”, the aforementioned gentleman said “Ten Downing Street...”



This is one of his better lines which he used a few times - for example on 1 March 2004

CF: My favourite proposition used to be people saying to me “will you come upstairs and make love to me?” And now I have to reply “one or the other”!


This is another great line from 9 January 1993.

CF: I’d like to tell rather a nice story about Gascoigne who is known as Gazza, a footballer who plays for Lazio and when Gazza played his first game for Lazio, the coach said to him "do your best and we’ll pull you off at halftime". And Gazza said "oh that’ll be a change, at Tottenham they gave us oranges".


This is from 12 January 2004 on "poetic licence"

There was an old man from Japan,
Whose poetry never could scan,
When asked reasons why,
He replied with a sigh,
“Well you see it’s like this, I always try to get as many words into the last line as I possibly can.


This is a good quicky from 14 March 2005 - it was on the 40th anniversary clips programme last year

NP: And we begin the show with Clement Freud. Clement, the subject is answering back. Sixty seconds as usual starting now.


Another quick clever remark, subject is queuing at the supermarket 31 July 1982

"I don’t mind queues to get into a supermarket so much, but resent deeply that once you are in there, they make you stand in a queue to get out."


I like this too - from 11 March 2002

NP: Paul the subject now is the best way to win a bonus point. That is the subject, it’s your turn to begin so you start now.
PM: The best way to win a bonus point is to flatter Nicholas! Let me show you how it works. Mister Parsons, you are a wonderful chairman! I can’t imagine how this programme would survive without you!
NP: (laughs) Clement Freud challenged.
CF: I can!


This is from last year at Edinburgh - 18 August 2008

CF: The highlight of my day this morning was when I walked into my hotel lift and inadvertently hit a woman quite hard into the front with my elbow, and we were both startled, and I said "if your heart is as soft as your bosom, you will forgive me," and she said "if your willy is as hard as your elbow, I'm in Room 264."


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