QI (A series)

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QI Series A
QI Complete Series 1 DVD.jpg
The front cover of the QI Series A DVD, featuring Stephen Fry (right) and Alan Davies (left).
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 12 + unbroadcast pilot
Broadcast
Original channel BBC
Original run 11 September 2003 (2003-09-11) – 23 December 2003 (2003-12-23)
Home video release
DVD release date 6 November 2006
Series chronology
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Series B

This is a list of episodes of the first series of QI, commonly referred to as Series A, the BBC comedy panel game television show hosted by Stephen Fry and starring Alan Davies.

The first series started on 11 September 2003. Although not mentioned at the time, all of the questions (with the exception of the final "general ignorance" round) were on subjects beginning with "A" (such as "arthropods", "Alans" and "astronomy"). Every series since has continued the theme: the second series' subjects all began with "B", and so on.

The dates in the lists are those of the BBC Two broadcasts. The episodes were also broadcast on BBC Four, generally a week earlier (as soon as one episode finished on BBC Two, the next was shown on BBC Four).

Pilot[edit]

The pilot of QI was never broadcast on television, being released as an extra on the Series A DVD. While the basic format of the show was in place, there were a few significant differences when compared to the standard format. Not the least of these was the more generic set, which didn't contain the large video screens behind the panellists (although the lighting did cause it to change colour throughout). In addition, the electronic buzzer system had not been in place, forcing the panel to call attention to themselves with various props including a squeak toy and a miniature horn. This was also the only episode to have specific sections within the programme (except General Ignorance), and the only in which the scores were read after each round as opposed to only at the end of the programme.

The theme tune on the original tape that was passed to BBC commissioning editors was the Herman's Hermits version of Wonderful World. However, the regular theme tune subsequently composed by Howard Goodall is present on the DVD version after the show's makers were unable to obtain the rights to the song.

Panellists
Names
  • Bobo Fing is a language spoken by 10,000 people in Mali. Not to be confused with Bobo (a language of Burkina Faso) or Gogo (spoken by a million in Tanzania).
  • King Arthur's lance was called Ron, short for Rongomyniad. His helmet was named Goosewhite, his armour was called Wygar and his war cry was "Clarence!" His sword "Excalibur" isn't actually called "Excalibur, the original name is "Caliburn".
  • 'Butter hamlets' are small tropical fish which can be found in 10 different colours. Ichthyologists and unsure of whether these different colours belong to various species of the fish, or whether there are a fewer number of species that simply come in a range of colours. They are also simultaneously male and female and mate by intertwining with one other.
  • Tim is the 6th most popular name for a baby boy in Germany. In 1992, the French Government relaxed the laws on what French children could be legally christened and the following year, the most popular name for a baby French boy was Kevin. (Forfeit: Adolph — because Stephen's card was spelt like that and Alan who said the answer was thinking "Adolf" as in Adolf Hitler, the penalty was reduced to -8 points)
  • Richard Gere's middle name is Tiffany. (Forfeit: Gerbil)
Scores at the end of the first round: Alan - 25, Bill - 15, Kit - 35, Eddie - 31
History
Scores at the end of the second round: Alan - 45, Bill - 68, Kit - 80, Eddie - 46
Lingo
  • Guessing the meanings of Dutch words.
    • Pronk - Flaunt
    • Sloot - Ditch
    • Kloof - Gap
    • Lonk - To Ogle
    • Oog - Eye
    • Wanklank - A discordant noise
  • "Tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog moesten veel Nederlanders tulpenbollen eten", is Dutch for, "During the Second World War, many Dutch people had to eat tulip bulbs", which is a true fact.
  • The word "Thespian" means "Awful" in Greek, as in "Awe inspiring." It also means, "Divine".
Scores at the end of the third round: Alan - 77, Bill - 107, Kit - 95, Eddie - 96
General Ignorance
  • The largest mountain in the world is Mauna Loa. Mount Kilimanjaro is higher than Mount Everest because it raises straight out of the African plain, whereas Everest is just one mountain on top of lots in the Himalayas. Also, as Kilimanjaro is on the equator, it is further away from the centre of the Earth as it is an oblate spheroid. (Forfeit: Mount Everest)
  • Black boxes are orange. They were black until 1955, when people realised that they were never able to find them in a wreckage.
  • Dolphins are eaten in Genoa - which is not true anymore. The dish called "Mosciamo" is made of tuna, as dolphins are protected species in Italy for many decades.
  • Scuba diving is illegal off the coast of Greece, mainly because most of the country's antiquities are underwater.

A Series (2003)[edit]

The first series consists of 12 episodes. Except for the Christmas special, all of them are composed mainly of questions on topics beginning with A. No episode pays specific attention to one theme (again, save for the Christmas special). The titles presented below have been retrospectively applied. In addition, extras and bloopers were provided on the Series DVD (released in 2006). Besides the two regulars, Stephen Fry and Alan Davies, series A saw the QI debuts of Clive Anderson, Bill Bailey, Danny Baker, Jo Brand, Gyles Brandreth, Rob Brydon, Jimmy Carr, Dave Gorman, Rich Hall, Jeremy Hardy, Phill Jupitus, Sean Lock, John Sessions and Linda Smith, as well as the only appearances to date of Jackie Clune, Howard Goodall, Richard E. Grant, Hugh Laurie, Julia Morris, Peter Serafinowicz and Meera Syal.

Episode 1 "Adam"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 11 September 2003 (BBC Two)
Panelists
Topics
  • Adam's navel and the Archbishop of Canterbury's left ear are both purely decorative. Adam couldn't have had a navel, because he was created, not born, so there would be no umbilical cord. The Archbishop of Canterbury was born deaf in the left ear, so it has no function. The Creation of Adam was painted by Michelangelo, who John informed the panellists was born in 1475 and died in 1564.
  • God allowed Noah to eat animals, a right he had previously denied to Adam. Previously, they were vegetarians and told by God to just eat fruit and vegetables only. Some theological authorities believe that the "forbidden fruit" that was eaten in the Garden of Eden, which isn't specified in the Bible, is now believed, contrary to popular belief, to be a banana, not an apple.
  • Christopher Plummer once said of Julie Andrews that working with her was like being hit on the head with a Valentine card.
  • Andrew Graham-Dixon discovered that Caravaggio, who died in 1610, accidentally killed Ranuccio Tomassoni on a tennis court... he was merely attempting to cut off his testicles. (Forfeit: New balls, please)
  • Finocchio (fennel) is Italian street slang for a homosexual.
  • If a Burmese man said that "your department store is open, even on weekends", it means that your fly is open. This was revealed in Andrew Marshall's writings on Burma in The Trouser People which describe Burmese idioms and quote from the diary of Victorian adventurer Sir George Scott.
  • Edward Woodward has four 'd's in his name to prevent it becoming 'Ewar Woowar'.
  • Actor John Barrymore regretted not being able to see himself perform on stage. He also famously said "Love is the delightful interval between meeting a beautiful girl and discovering that she looks like a haddock."
  • Young Giant Anteaters indulge in 'bluff charging', when they jump up and down like a cat and raise one front foot and hop menacingly side-to-side with all the fury of a clogged drain.
  • Anteaters have sixteen-inch (406 mm) tongues, but have mouths as narrow as a pencil.
  • A Giant Anteater's claws are sharp enough to eviscerate a human.
  • Dwarf anteaters are the size of squirrels and are a delicacy in parts of South America.
General Ignorance
  • The country with the highest suicide rate is Lithuania (forfeit: Sweden). It has 52 suicides per 100,000, which is more than 13 times higher than the United States and 6½ times higher than Britain.
  • Caravaggio's real name was Michelangelo. He took the name Caravaggio, because his father, Fermo Merisi, was the chief architect to the Marchese of Caravaggio, Italy. Derek Jarman famously made a film about Caravaggio.
  • The steam engine was invented by Hero of Alexandria, (this is debatable[1]) and was named the aeolipile. The railway was invented seven hundred years earlier by Periander of Corinth. The modern steam engine was invented by Richard Trevithick. When Stephenson's Rocket was introduced, people were concerned that travelling at such high speeds could cause irreparable brain damage, so fences were erected so people wouldn't hallucinate at the "terrible sight".
  • The twenty-third tallest tree in the world is a Giant sequoia called 'Adam'. It's one of the 30 tallest trees found in the Giant Forest in California.

Episode 2 "Astronomy"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 18 September 2003 (BBC Two)
Panellists
Topics
  • The number of people killed by sharks since records began is equal to just five per cent of the number of toilet-related injuries in the US in 1996.
  • Both tigers and weasels make a 'fuff' sound when they attack. Contrary to popular belief, tigers never roar when they attack, they only roar to tell other tigers where they are. They are mainly solitary animals, who only come together when mating.
  • The best way to escape from a polar bear is to remove one's clothing, leaving items of clothing on the ground while backing away. Polar bears can run at 30 mph and have clear fur, but look white, because the fur reflects all light, and thus appears white, not because it reflects the snow, as Alan incorrectly stated.
  • Rather than using a paper clip, a crocodile clip, a paper bag or a handbag, an alligator can be rendered helpless by placing a rubber band over its jaws. The muscles that are used to close the jaws add to a force of several tonnes per square inch, but the ones that open them are so weak, it can be stopped just by putting a rubber band over its mouth. Bill mistakenly claims that alligators have nipples, which is false, because they aren't mammals.
  • The Earth has two moons (forfeit: one). Cruithne, whose orbit was discovered in 1997, is a 3-mile (4.8 km) asteroid sometimes described as Earth's second moon. Cruithne orbits the Earth every 770 years. The name "Cruithne" has a Celtic derivation.
  • 90% of the universe is unaccounted for; it is believed to be made of dark matter, which is invisible. Even the Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees said it was embarrassing that 90% was unaccounted for.
  • The colour of the universe is beige. In 2002, after observing the light from over 200,000 galaxies, American scientists described the colour as pale green, rather than black with white bits, as we'd see it. Using the Dulux paint range, the colour was a mixture of Mexican Mint, Jade Cluster and Shangri-La Silk. They then had to admit that they got it wrong and the colour was a taupebeige colour.
  • There are eight planets in the Solar System (forfeit: nine). Pluto, discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, does not meet the usual criteria for classification as a planet (although, at the time of broadcast, the International Astronomical Union still considered Pluto to be a planet). If Pluto were defined as a planet by any consistent definition, then all of the asteroids could be counted as planets as well. As of the year 2000, 71,788 were discovered with more discovered every year. Pluto is only twice as big as the biggest asteroid, Ceres, and it's also smaller than seven of the eight planets' moons.
General Ignorance
  • Krung Thep (forfeit: Bangkok) is the proper name for the capital of Thailand. Krung Thep roughly translates as 'City of Angels', like Los Angeles. The ceremonial full name for Krung Thep is the longest place name in the world. Los Angeles is also an abbreviation. Only ignorant foreigners call Krung Thep, "Bangkok".
  • Brides do not walk down the aisle of a church; they walk down the central passageway. The aisle is down the side of the church.
  • The earliest known soup is made from hippopotamus.
  • No man-made objects (forfeit: Great Wall of China) on Earth can be seen from the Moon with the naked eye. Even the continents are hard to make out as well.

Episode 3 "Aquatic Animals"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 25 September 2003 (BBC Two)
Panellists
Topics
General Ignorance

Episode 4 "Atoms"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 2 October 2003 (BBC Two)
Panellists
Topics
General Ignorance

Episode 5 "Advertising"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 9 October 2003 (BBC Two)
Panellists
Topics
  • Gerber baby food was poorly marketed in Africa, leading customers to believe that it contained babies. (This is actually untrue[2]) The tins bore a picture of the baby Ann Turner Cook, later a famous mystery author.
  • The Toyota MR2 provoked much amusement in France, as "MR2" in French was pronounced as merde, which is French slang for "shit". The Ford Pinto is equally amusing to Brazilians, as "pinto" is Brazilian slang for a small penis.
  • Irish playwright Brendan Behan was asked to devise an advertising slogan for Guinness. He came up with "Guinness makes you drunk." (Forfeit: "Guinness is good for you") He is credited with creating "Guinness is good for you", that was actually written by Dorothy L. Sayers.
  • The Ancient Greeks believed that otters killed crocodiles by running into their open mouths and eating their entrails. Like many things said by the Greeks, it isn't true. Raphanizein was an Ancient Greek punishment for adultery that involved inserting a radish into the anus. In those days, radishes were wider, longer and pointier and were hammered in with a mallet.
  • Plato's real name was Aristocles. Plato is the Greek word for "wide", and was given to him because of his broad shoulders. He taught Aristotle.
  • Aristotle believed that buzzards had three testicles. The taxonomical name for a buzzard is "Buteo buteo". There is a sub species called a hobby, which is "Sub buteo". The man who created Subbuteo wanted to call it "The Hobby", but it was refused, so he named it after the Latin word for "hobby".
  • The Ancient Greeks used blackberries as a cure for piles.
  • Ancient Greeks voted for their leaders until they were invaded by Macedonia in 322 BC. Women didn't get the vote in Greece until 1952.
General Ignorance
  • A centipede has between 30 and 382 legs. None has ever been found with 100 legs. It always has an odd number of pairs of legs. The only exception to this is one found in 1999, which has 48 pairs of legs, the nearest to 100 that has been discovered so far.
  • In 1994, 35,000 Americans insured themselves against alien abduction.
  • Purple rhymes with 'hirple' and 'curple' (forfeit: nothing). Hirple means to hobble along, a sort of mix between a walk and a crawl. A curple is the strap that goes under the tail of a horse, which is then attached to the saddle to stop riders slipping forwards.

Episode 6 "Antidotes & Answers"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 16 October 2003 (BBC Two)
Panellists
Topics
General Ignorance

Episode 7 "Arthropods"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 23 October 2003 (BBC Two)
Panellists
Topics
  • Australia was discovered by the Chinese (forfeit: James Cook). When Cook arrived in 1770, he wasn't a captain, he was Lieutenant Cook. He wasn't the first European, as the Dutch had reached it 150 years earlier; he wasn't even the first Englishman, that was William Dampier in 1688.
  • The term Aborigines comes from the Latin meaning "from the origin" and was first used to describe the pre-Roman people. For some unknown reason, the term "Aborigine" has stuck with the Aboriginal Australians, but there are Aboriginal Canadians and you could even call the Native Americans "Aborigines".
  • The word Kangaroo means horse (forfeit: "I don't know") in the Baagandji language of New South Wales. When Cook's expedition arrived in 1770, the Aboriginal settlers there saw a horse, which they believed was what the English called a kangaroo. There is a story that when the first English settlers arrived, they pointed to a kangaroo and asked "What's that?" The reply was "kanagaroo" (sic), which means "I don't know". That comes from the Guugu Yimithirr language, spoken around Botany Bay and was first heard on Cook's expedition in 1770.
  • Homo sapiens evolved from a common ancestor that hasn't yet been discovered, otherwise known as the "missing link" (forfeit: apes). Before that, they evolved from squirrel-like tree shrews, before that hedgehogs and before that starfish. Apes also evolved from this same ancestor.
  • Tanzania's Hehe tribe got their name, because it was their war cry. They were also the best tribe to resist colonisation from the Germans.
  • In Swaziland, there is only one museum and it is bad manners to shield your eyes with one hand and it's forbidden to point at the king's hut. National service consists of weeding the king's millet fields for 2 weeks of the year. The penalty for not showing up is a fine of one cow.
  • The Speaker of the Swazi Parliament was sacked in June 2000, after he stole a cowpat belonging to the king, Mswati III. He took the item from the Royal Kraal, to make a magic spell to aid the people and the king personally, so he claimed in his defence. The King of Swaziland rules jointly with his mother, the Great She-Elephant and he must be greeted with rapturous admiration whenever he appears.
  • Henry VIII wiped his bottom using the hand of the Groom of the Stool. The job was sought after by just about everyone in the Court, mainly for the amount of time spent with the King. Another slightly cushier job was warming his shirt in the morning.
  • Arthropods means a creature with jointed legs. There are over 1,000,000 species of arthropod including butterflies, lobsters, woodlice, cicadas, bees, cockroaches, spiders, scorpions, prawns, praying mantises, crabs, beetles, centipedes, millipedes, crayfish, mayflies, mites, ticks, fleas, earwigs and ants.
  • The male European earwig has a spare penis. It was discovered by scientists in Tokyo who were looking at two earwigs copulating and they noticed that the male's penis was left in the female, but they then saw the male grow an instant replacement. The male's penis is longer than its body.
  • The name given to insects with piercing and sucking mouth parts is a bug.
  • The highest number of legs seen on a millipede is 710 (forfeit: 1000) on the South African millipede.
General Ignorance

Episode 8 "Albania"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 30 October 2003 (BBC Two)
Panellists
Topics
General Ignorance

Episode 9 "Antelopes"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 6 November 2003 (BBC Two)
Panellists
Topics
Note: This is an error. Alexander The Great was half-Macedonian and half-Epirotian. He had no (known) Albanian ancestry. There are no ancient historical sources that says that Alexander was left-handed, epilectic or that he had a very high pitch voice. Some historians believe that Alexander's height was around 5’7”.
Note: This is also an error. While Aristotle did have erroneous views on the role of the brain[3] he knew that the number of legs on flies were 6[4]
General Ignorance

Episode 10 "Aviation"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 13 November 2003 (BBC Two)
Panelists
Topics
General Ignorance

Episode 11 "Arts"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 20 November 2003 (BBC Two)
Panellists
Topics
  • Pigeons do not like going to the movies, because they see the world ten times faster than humans. To them, a film is a slow slide show.
  • It was once believed that a pigeon's arse could be used to suck out the poison from an adder's bite. Pigeons are the only birds that can suck.
  • The ant (forfeit: human) has the largest brain in comparison to its body size. There are 8,000 species of ant.
  • Soldier ants were used in Ancient India as stitches after operations.
  • In Thailand, red ants are poured into open wounds, and they secrete an acid which acts as a pain killer and an antiseptic.
  • A greasy butcher, a hog snout and Gene Pitney are all kinds of apple.
  • Apples and a game played with headless goats both originated from Kazakhstan. It never says in the Bible, what the fruit eaten in the Garden of Eden was, but it is just assumed to be an apple.
  • Both Ulysses S. Grant and John Prescott were charged for speeding. Lord Prescott was banned from driving for 21 days in 2001 after being caught doing more than 100 mph on the M1, where he was fined £200. He had previously acquired nine penalty points on his driving licence. His best excuse that he came up with was that he didn't want his constituents to catch cold waiting for him. "Three Buggy" Grant received a speeding ticket on his horse and buggy in Washington, D.C. in 1869 and was fined £20. He had to persuade the officer that he was guilty. They both also won unusual prizes. Grant won a prize for taming a pony in a circus. The Prescott family came second a competition searching for, "The most typical family in Britain", in Brighton in 1951, but he should have won because the winning family was discovered to be distantly related to the organiser of the competition.
General Ignorance

Episode 12 "Advent" (Christmas Special)[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 23 December 2003 (BBC Two)
Panellists
Theme
  • The general theme of all the questions was Christmas, with the panellists asked to draw a Christmas tree. Alan Davies drew a traditional childlike portrayal of a Christmas tree – a triangular style tree showing (incorrectly) that the branches point downwards.
Topics
General Ignorance

Appearances[edit]

Name Appearances Wins
Alan Davies 12 1
Jo Brand 4 1
Rich Hall 3 1
Jeremy Hardy 3 1
Bill Bailey 3 0
Clive Anderson 2 2
Danny Baker 2 2
John Sessions 2 1
Howard Goodall 2 0
Sean Lock 2 0
Linda Smith 2 0
Gyles Brandreth 1 1
Jackie Clune 1 1
Dave Gorman 1 1
Richard E. Grant 1 1
Rob Brydon 1 0
Jimmy Carr 1 0
Phill Jupitus 1 0
Hugh Laurie 1 0
Julia Morris 1 0
Peter Serafinowicz 1 0
Meera Syal 1 0

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vitruvius described an aeolipile-like device in his treatise De architectura, a century before Hero, and didn't claim to be the inventor.
  2. ^ "Label Fable", snopes.com
  3. ^ http://www.princeton.edu/~cggross/Neuroscientist_95-1.pdf
  4. ^ Aristotle on the mayfly – Evolving Thoughts

External links[edit]