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Audio Comedy Review


Just a Minute Classic
Clement Freud


Starring: Nicholas Parsons, Clement Freud, Derek Nimmo, Kenneth Williams, Peter Jones and Paul Merton
RRP: £13.25
ISBN: 978 1 4084 7073 2
Available 07 June 2012

Four episodes of the ever popular BBC Radio 4 panel game chaired by Nicholas Parsons, which showcases Clement Freud, one of the series’ key players...

Here we have another selection of recordings culled from the 45 year history of this hugely entertaining programme. Even considering the choice of episodes available it must surely still be an arduous task to select a cross section from across the decades - there can surely be no ‘bad’ episodes.

The compilation begins with the first ever episode, originally broadcast in December 1967, and featuring Derek Nimmo, Beryl Reid and Wilma Ewart as well as Clement Freud. Deviation, repetition and hesitation abound, much of it unchallenged, as the players attempt the game for the first time. Clement Freud is on good form however, particularly on the subject of ‘knitting a cable stitch jumper’.

The second episode comes from December 1976 and Freud’s co-panellists on this recording are Ray Alan, Peter Jones and the inimitable Kenneth Williams. A much more fluid episode with carefully chosen subjects - ‘his Lordship’ and ‘dummies’ clearly aimed at ventriloquist Ray Alan for example. Particular hilarity ensues over ‘hypoboreans’ - a subject that not all players had any knowledge of!

Episode three features Peter Jones, Paul Merton and Derek Nimmo and was broadcast in April 1990. It is interesting to note how much more confident and outspoken Merton has become since this episode - his 6th appearance. More nonsense and occasional facts on ‘dripping’, ‘Tom Keating’, ‘suburbia’, ‘digging the road up’ and ‘burps’ amongst others.

Finally we are given an episode from December 1999 featuring Graham Norton, Linda Smith and Paul Merton. All players are on fine form and there is much argument and banter concerning ‘things to do with an egg’, ‘serendipity’, ‘woofers and tweeters’ and ‘brown ale’.

I doubt if the compiler of this collection trawled through the 547 episodes that featured Clement Freud to select these four examples. Nevertheless, this transpired to be an entertaining and representative reminder of the deadpan monotone wit and verbal skill that was Clement Freud.


Tim Williams

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