QI (G series)

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QI Series G
QI - Series G ,The Best Bits.jpg
QI best of Series G DVD.
Starring Alan Davies
Guest panellists
Country of origin UK
No. of episodes 16
Original channel BBC
Original release 26 November 2009 – 16 April 2010
Series chronology
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Series F
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Series H

The seventh series of QI, the BBC comedy panel game television show hosted by Stephen Fry, started on 26 November 2009. As each series of QI is based around a letter of the alphabet, all episodes in the series had themes beginning with the letter "g". Series G was the first in the show's history to be aired in its entirety on BBC One, beginning its run on 26 November 2009.


Series G featured a total of 16 editions, plus an extra two compilation episodes, making it the longest series yet,[1] and was the first to be broadcast in its entirety on BBC One. As with the previous series, extended "XL" editions were also shown on BBC Two soon after the normal broadcast. Because of scheduling issues, this only began with the fourth episode. The first episode eventually had its "XL" edition aired some time after the original, but episodes 2, 3, 15 and 16 did not have their XL editions aired until the series was first shown on the digital channel Dave.

Nine new guests appeared in this series; Jack Dee, John Hodgman, Barry Humphries, Lee Mack, Graham Norton, Sue Perkins, Jan Ravens, David Tennant and Sandi Toksvig. Another significant first is that episode 2 featured four guests instead of the usual three (with regular Alan Davies also present).

Accompanying the recordings was a little game Stephen Fry had set up for his Twitter followers posted via AudioBoo. The object was to decipher a word the audience had shouted.

In Australia, this series being currently broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation flagship network, ABC1, on Tuesday nights, and then placed on iView, the ABC's online viewing site after the airing, expiring after 2 weeks.

Episode 1 "Gardens"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 26 November 2009
  • 20 March 2010 (XL edition)
Recording date
  • 11 June 2009

As part of the "Gardens" theme, the set was decorated with trees and the inner part of the QI magnifying glass became a garden with flowers in it.

  • Animals are used for do nothing gardening. Examples include using ducks for paddy fields, and using carp to purify water.
  • The panellists are given four tools that were used by gentleman gardeners in the 18th & 19th century.
    • Alan was given a walking stick that contained a hidden saw blade, which would be used to cut stray tree branches.
    • David was given a hoe, which with a leather cap on top could be used as a cane, then with the cap removed could be used for weeding.
    • Rob was given a bottle that was used to grow straight, uniformly shaped cucumbers. It was invented by George Stephenson, the inventor of the locomotive.
    • Dara was given a shaker, out of which seeds would be dispersed through the different sized holes.
  • The best place to discover a new life form is in your garden (forfeit: the rainforest). In 1971, biologist Jennifer Owen conducted a study in her house in Leicester and discovered 533 species of ichneumon wasp in her back garden, of which 15 were new to Britain and 4 were new to science.
  • The vegetarian spiritualist Charles Isham believed that real gnomes would be attracted to Garden gnomes. (Forfeit: Phwoarr! (said by Rob when a bikini-clad gnome was displayed))
  • An American drug manufacturer called Eugene Schieffelin suggested that every species of bird named in Shakespeare's works should be represented in America. The only bird species that wasn't already there was the starling, so he released 100 into Central Park, and in consequence there are now 200 million in North America and have since become a major pest in the country.
  • The Grocers' apostrophe is an apostrophe placed where it shouldn't be, such as "potato's."
  • The difference between an apple and a pear is that apples float, whereas pears sink because they are denser.
General Ignorance
  • The carbon which makes up the wood in a tree comes from the air (forfeit: earth).
  • Australian spiders remain dangerous although no one there has died from a spider's bite since 1981, when antivenoms were introduced.
XL Extras
  • Stephen asks the panel to draw what they think the first novelty teapot looked like. They looked like fruits and vegetables, like cauliflowers and pineapples. The first date from the reign of Queen Anne in the early 18th century.
  • If you go into a shop to get one or two items and you come out with a load of stuff, then you have been subject to a Gruen transfer, named after Victor Gruen. Supermarkets are carefully laid out to increase the chance of sales.

Episode 2 "G-Animals"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 3 December 2009
Recording date
  • 8 May 2009
  • In the book Gargantua by Rabelais, it is suggested that a goose would be a good alternative to toilet paper.
  • The reason why giraffes have long necks is so they can fight other giraffes (forfeit: to reach tree tops), a single swipe with the neck can kill a rival giraffe. They don't use them to reach the tree tops, as they have to bend their necks in order to eat.
  • The commonest form of death for mountain goats is falling off mountains. Despite being nimble, secure and sure-footed, they tend to fight with each other a lot.
  • In World War I, seagulls were trained to identify the periscopes of enemy submarines and crap on them, to blind the lens. This failed because the birds couldn't distinguish between British and enemy submarines.
  • Camels blow out their soft palate, known as the palatinus diverticulus or gula to attract females. The camels with the most testosterone have the biggest gulas.
  • Goldfish can tell the water pressure with their pressure sensors, similar to what humans have in their ears.
General Ignorance
XL Extras
  • Gerbils let us down in the War on Terror because although they can smell terror they cannot detect terrorists. Gerbils can smell terror in adrenaline so people thought of having a cubicle that people walked through which had a fan that blew your smell towards a gerbil in a cage. The gerbil would then press a button to show that the suspect was frightened. It didn't work.
General Ignorance
  • The people who stopped flying the Jolly Roger in 2003 were British Navy submariners. When submarines were first used by the navy generals they thought they were an unfair way of fighting. The crews played up to their roguish roles and flew Jolly Roger flags in a pirate-like way after successful missions. It was stopped because it was feared that the crews were glorifying war. Also the navy wanted to make subs more secret so they stopped flying the flags.

Episode 3 "Games"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 10 December 2009
Recording date
  • 15 May 2009
  • Each panellist is given a Bang! banner gun during the first question.
  • Game theory, a concept devised by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, but also by Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash, Jr.. Stephen tries to demonstrate this by asking Alan what his best strategy would be if he were in a truel with Phill and Sean (both better shots than him) over Liza (forfeits: shoot myself; shoot Liza). The theory has been applied to business and economics; for example, in tobacco advertising was banned in America, it actually ended up saving the manufacturers money.
  • Ouija became the most popular board game in America in the early 1970s, but went out of fashion in 1972 because of the film The Exorcist. Parker Brothers still own the rights to all ouija boards. Only one-third of people nowadays use the ouija board to contact the dead. During World War I, it was used to give messages to troops abroad.
  • During World War II, the "Scallywags" were a secret unit of the Home Guard, the word referred to them being assassins: they were trained in assassination techniques in case of a German invasion of Britain. Their job was to kill Germans and also make sure that Winston Churchill wasn't removed, as it was believed that someone like Lord Halifax might try to take over.
  • Gladiators were either vegetarians or vegans. A mass grave of gladiators was found in Ephesus and gave all indications that they didn't eat meat, they were known as barleymen: from "horeardii", meaning "eaters of barley".
  • Since 1633 all Venice gondolas have to be black, any decoration on them is allowed, but the body has to be painted black.
  • Card counting is actually not illegal, but a way of playing the game well. It was devised by Ben Campbell, whose MIT Blackjack Team used the skill to win money at blackjack.
  • In poker, the easiest way to tell if someone is bluffing is to try to spot their tell, which normally involves blinking. Gamblers usually try double-bluffing to faze an opponent.
General Ignorance
  • Greyhounds are actually blue in colour, not grey. The word "greyhound" is derived from "grighound", which means a "bitch hound".
  • Mussels which don't open are safe to eat. Food writer Jane Grigson wrote a book on seafood in which she created the myth that you should throw them away if they don't open. Ones which are open are likely to be dead.
  • At the beginning of tournaments, Roman gladiators never said anything (forfeit: "We who are about to die salute you"). Only prisoners of the Emperor Claudius were believed to have said "We who are about to die salute you".
XL Extras
  • The contest that can end in either a checkmate or knockout is chess-boxing.
  • The first prize in the Mayan ball game tournament was to be sacrificed to the sun god. The captain would have their heart removed and burnt. The game was played for 3000 years, firstly around 1400 BC. In 700 AD King 18-Rabbit changed the rules so the losing team was sacrificed.

Episode 4 "Geography"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 17 December 2009
  • 23 December 2009 (XL edition)
  • 14 April 2010 (ABC1 airing/iView upload)
Recording date
  • 14 May 2009
  • Every year 300,000 insurance claims made are blamed on faulty Sat-navs (forfeit: "Are we nearly there yet?").
  • Genghis Khan is buried next to a baby camel, as the grave had to be anonymous and mother camels know where their babies have died.
  • The Chinese invented the teacup because they liked drinking tea over other drinks, and as a result never manufactured glass. Europeans invented glass firstly to make wine glasses, which led to the invention of, among others, the lens, spectacles, beakers and flasks, which increased intellectualism.
  • In 1851, James Wyld installed a 60-foot high scale model of the Earth in the middle of London. It included all the land masses and all the seas and mountains, built to scale and perfectly inverted. It was situated in Leicester Square between 1851 and 1862, originally to coincide with The Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park.
  • The Arctic Highlanders (otherwise known as the Inughuit or Polar Eskimos) got their cutlery from meteorites (forfeits: Sheffield; IKEA).
  • The "father of geography", Alexander von Humboldt was taught the language of the Ature by a parrot, forty years after the last person who spoke it died (although they were slightly inaccurate, as no-one living could say what they were exactly).
General Ignorance
QI XL Extras
  • It is believed that the Mongol hordes amounted to 2,000,000 people, but they managed to kill 50,000,000 of their enemies. Their main advantage was that they had short bows that could be easily carried around in the saddles of their horses, which they would ride on for days.
  • The world's driest lake is the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, famous for being the place where land speed records are set: so flat that you can actually see the curvature of the Earth. The world's smallest mountain range is the Sacramento Mountains of California. The world's wettest desert is the Sonoran Desert.
  • Glaciers (otherwise known as ice flows);
  • One has been found that is 250 miles long, 60 miles wide, and one mile deep.
  • The bits that break off from glaciers are known as calves.
  • They can travel up to 65 feet a day, although one in Pakistan did seven and a half miles in three months.
  • One was spotted on a mountain near Uganda and the Congo.
*The only things that live in glaciers are ice worms, which live on red algae. In one glacier they found more worms within than there are people living on the planet.
  • Since 1856, the United States has the legal right to seize any territory where there is a supply of guano (forfeit: oil), which is the droppings of birds who have eaten anchovies in Peru. In the 19th century guano was as valuable as gold: it was used as a very rich fertilizer.
    • Note: Technically this episode should have been won by the Audience as they scored for answering this question correctly. Since Alan was awarded the victory, however, it did not survive the cut for the standard length show, only making the XL edit.
  • In the James Bond novel, Dr. No, Dr. No dies at the end.
"I leave you with..."
  • Mr. Fry quotes Ambrose Bierce as saying, "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography." According to critic, editor and historian S. T. Joshi, however, no record of Mr. Bierce's having said this exists.

I’ve looked high and low through my electronic archive of Bierce’s writings (c. 4.5 million words) and have never come across this. I’ve found numerous attributions to Bierce on the Web, but believe that Paul Rodriguez [...] is probably the originator.[2]

Episode 5 "Groovy" (Christmas Special)[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 24 December 2009
  • 29 December 2009 (XL edition)
  • 21 April 2010 (ABC1 airing/iView upload)
Recording date
  • 28 May 2009
  • The studio is decorated with silver Christmas decorations and the buzzer sounds are Christmas tunes.
General Ignorance
  • The Beatles album Help! features the group spelling out NUJV (forfeit: "Help") in flag semaphore on the front cover. The photographer Robert Freeman wanted to spell out HELP, but he didn't like that arrangement visually.
  • There is no connection (forfeit: drugs) between the songs Puff, the Magic Dragon and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
  • Robert Burns did not write Auld Lang Syne, it was a traditional song that he had written down. It was first mentioned in 1724 (although "Old Long Syne" was fairly different before Burns adapted it), 35 years before Burns was born. This was introduced by Stephen's Burns Unit Joke (forfeit: (the joke) isn't funny). It seems that the original tune was written by Italian musician David Rizzio. Nowadays the Italian version of the song is called "Valzer delle Candele" (The Candles' Waltz).
QI XL Extras

Episode 6 "Genius"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 1 January 2010
  • 2 January 2010 (XL edition)
  • 28 April 2010 (ABC1 airing/iView upload)
Recording date
  • 21 May 2009
  • Each of the panellists are seen wearing stereotypical 'nerdy glasses' at the start of the show, whereas Alan has some coke-bottle ones.
  • The nostrils control your ability to do certain tasks. By blocking the left nostril you should be better at being able to do visual and spatial things, whereas, if the right nostril is blocked, you should be better at being able to do verbal things. According to the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory, the right nostril makes you more emotionally negative as well.
  • Graham's number, a number devised by Ronald Graham, which is so big that all the material in the universe couldn't make enough ink to write it out, but scientists know that it ends in a "7"
  • Children find IQ test easier is because they do more problem solving in life than their parents did.
  • Geniuses might be bred through eugenics, a form of selective human breeding, which was also used by the Nazis.
  • The first animal to be cloned was a sea urchin, which was cloned in 1885 by the German Driesch.
General Ignorance
QI XL Extras
  • There is no proof that making babies listen to music like Mozart makes them brainier.
  • The Last Supper is decaying badly because Leonardo painted it on dry plaster. The bottom of it was destroyed, so a door was put in at the point where Jesus' legs would've been.
  • Tongue rolling has nothing to do with genetics. There is a similar connection with the connection between the smell of your urine after eating asparagus. It used to be known as "housemaid's despair".
General Ignorance

Episode 7 "Girls and Boys"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 8 January 2010
  • 9 January 2010 (XL edition)
  • 5 May 2010 (ABC1 airing/iView upload)
Recording date
  • 29 May 2009
  • Up until the 20th century, baby boys wore pink and baby girls wore blue. Boys at that time were also referred to as girls. In 1900, Dressmaker Magazine said "The preferred colour to dress young boys in is pink. Blue is reserved for girls as it is presumed paler and the more dainty of the two colours, and pink is thought to be stronger". In 1927, Princess Astrid of Belgium caused controversy when she gave birth to a girl, as "the cradle had been optimistically outfitted in pink, the colour for boys". It was believed that blue was more serene and paler, hence it was used for girls. Up until the mid-15th century, all children were referred to as girls. Boys were known as "knave girls" and girls were known as "gay girls". Only in recent times, has "boy" referred to a male child;before that it meant a servant.
  • At the moment, it's believed that the best way to get a baby girl is to have a low-calorie diet. A study was done and out of 100 people who had had a high-calorie diet, 56 gave birth to a boy. Women who had at least one bowl of breakfast cereal a day were 87% more likely to have a boy than women who ate no more than one bowl a week. On average, women who had boys had roughly 400 more calories daily than those who had girls. Women who were infected with Hepatitis B were 1½ times more likely to have a boy. The only known certain way is by embryo selection, which is popular in America and Thailand. It costs around US$18,000. Aristotle believed that the diet of the mother and the sex position at conception made the difference. Anaxagoras thought that boys and girls came from different testicles, so if you tied up one testicle, it would guarantee you the other one. The Talmud suggest lining up the bed north-south before sex, if you want a boy. The French suggest wearing boots to bed would get you a boy.
  • The reason that there are fewer female guests on QI is because women laugh less at other women, despite the fact that they laugh more than men, although audiences in general laugh more at men. It is believed that men make prats of themselves more often than women, although Lucille Ball and Goldie Hawn are two examples of women who can do that. As stand-up comedy was getting more popular during the 1980s, women portray women, but men didn't portray women, so women treated themselves as a minority, even though they are 51% of the population. Germaine Greer famously said, "there are only two things that women don't do as well as men, and that's design dresses and cook" considering that nearly all the great chefs and couturiers are men, whereas it was the traditional role of women to cooks and sew.
  • In China, Nü Shu is a form of writing devised in Jiangyong County, Hunan Province. It was a writing form that only women could understand. Since, women in China were not taught properly at all, they needed a secret code of writing. Nü Shu is a phonetic type of writing. When a woman in one of these secret friendship groups got married, they were given a book in which they would leave some blank pages, so they could write their secret thoughts down, which only women could read. They would send them, because they could never meet in their groups often, because they had bound feet. Foot binding involved breaking all the bones in the feet of 5 year olds, so they could wrap their feet round themselves and then have them wrapped up to be around 3 inches. The feet of many would rot and many died of gangrene. This went on for around 1,000 years. They would also write using tapestries.
  • The panelists are shown a picture of an animal. The animal is half hen, half cockerel. It was a result of a freak accident known as bilateral gynandromorphic hermaphroditism. All the cells on one side are male, the other side are female, which has never happened in humans.
General Ignorance
  • It's impossible to tell a woman from a man just by looking at them. It was believed that the easiest way to tell them apart was by the fact that women don't have Adam's apples, but they do. Even so, a good ladyboy can imitate just about any female characteristics.
  • Men are better at map reading than women because of grey matter and white matter (forfeit: they're not). Using MRI scans on men and women with equal IQ, they found that men use 6½ times more grey matter than women, whereas women used 9 times more white matter than men. Grey matter is central to processing information for intellectual thought, such as map reading and mathematics. White matter connects the processing information to emotional thought such as language speaking and multitasking.
  • The prize money given out at Wimbledon is unfair to male competitors (forfeit: nothing (is unfair about it)). When it began in 1884, the ladies' winner got a 20 guinea silver flower basket and the men's champion got a 30 guinea gold trophy. In 2006, Amélie Mauresmo won £625,000 for playing 142 games, whereas Roger Federer got £655,000 for playing 202 games. The women therefore got more money, because the short matches allowed them to play in doubles tournaments as well. The rate per game in 2005 was £1,432 per game for the top 8 women, whereas the top 8 men got £993 per game. The prize money is equal in terms of money, but not equal as the men have to play more tennis.
QI XL Extras
  • The most violent women in history are the Amazons of Dahomey, now known as Benin. They were a group of female warriors whose job was to protect the king. They were nominal wives of the king, but they were celibate. They were chosen for being aggressive, but their husbands could nominate their wife, if he thought she was a nag. They carried a switchblade that was capable of cutting a man in two. Some sources say that they were turned into men and made to despise women, whereas others say that they were venerated and had slave girls with them carrying a bell, while men had to avert their eyes.
  • The connection between grannies and killer whales is the menopause. Killer whales are the only other animals apart from human that have a massive gap between menopause and death, hence the happy and active lives they live. Killer whales are also matrilineal, so the females keep the life cycle going, as they provide most of the nutrition.
  • There was an urban myth during the 1940s that the Nazis disguised themselves as nuns with hairy hands during World War II. It was believed that they would parachute in and people in Britain were told to watch out for nuns from the South coast coming up on buses, trains or the London Underground on their way up to the Scottish Highlands. Their cover would be blown when paying fares, because it revealed the hairiness of their hands and forearms and in some cases, a tattoo of Adolf Hitler on their arm. Other ways to test if soldiers were German was to make them speak English, especially some very odd surnames, such as Featherstonehaugh (pronounced "Fanshawe"), Cholmondeley (pronounced "Chumley"), Berkeley (pronounced "Barkly"), Mainwaring (pronounced "Mannering") and Belvoir (pronounced "Beaver").

Episode 8 "Germany"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 15 January 2010
  • 16 January 2010 (XL edition)
  • 12 May 2010 (ABC1 airing/iView upload)
Recording date
  • 5 June 2009
General Ignorance
  • Evelyn Waugh wrote Brideshead Revisited (Forfeit: Evelyn War, taken as mentioning the war (Sean))
  • German Shepherd Dog were known as Alsatians from 1918 until 1977, mainly because at the time people resented anything with the word "German" in it.
  • The Munich Oktoberfest is held mainly in September, although it is occasionally partly in October, depending on how the months are arranged.
  • Although the song My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music has the lyric "schnitzel with noodles", they are never eaten together. Although there is a possibility that the popularity of the song has meant that some people now eat it.
QI XL Extras
  • There are some words for which there is no literal translation in the English language, so words are borrowed from other languages.
    • Schadenfreude means "pleasure in the misfortune of others".
    • Gemütlichkeit means "cosiness". It's mainly used in Austria and Bavaria. "Gemütlich" people are also said to be very kind to their neighbours. In 1973, a British man sued a holiday firm because he didn't receive any "gemülichkeit", as promised and he won. It actually set a precedent in English contract law.
    • Zugzwang is a chess term that means that you are forced to move, even though it might weaken your position, because in chess, you can't skip your turn after your opponent makes one.
    • Zeitgeist means "spirit of the age", or "time spirit/ghost".
  • The panellists are shown a ghost-like object, a SPUK, which is a device that is put on the underside of the toilet seat, and when it's raised it give off a voice message which tries to force German people to sit down on the toilet seat to urinate, rather than stand up. SPUK is an acronym for StehPinkler Unter Kontrolle. "Stehpinkeln" in German means to stand urinating, whereas "Sitzpinkeln" means to "sit urinating".
  • In Germany, they have a thing called the "Nacktputzservice", in which naked German students are hired to do hoovering and housework. It originated from the Freikörperkultur (or FKK), which meant "free body culture". It was widespread in Germany until Hermann Göring put a stop to it during the 1930s, when he trained the police to stop people from going round naked. But, since then German hikers near open areas in Switzerland and Poland just like to go round naked. The Swiss and Poles both find it disgusting. There are designated nude beaches in Germany, and the Englischer Garten in Munich has a designated nudist area, as well as Berlin's biggest park, the Tiergarten. (Forfeit: don't mention the war (Sean))
  • Uncle Wiggly Wings was a pilot who helped children during the Berlin Airlift in the Cold War. The Russians had sealed off all transport routes to West Berlin in 1948, when it was under Allied control in the centre of the Russian Sector. The whole city was cut off from the rest of the world for a year, so the British & Americans dropped food from planes to help the people below. One pilot gave 2 kids some chewing gum and promised he'd return and give them some more candy. The next day he wiggled his wings and dropped chocolate and more and more children kept coming, and it became a mass propaganda coup, which became known as "Operation Little Vittles". The sweets came down in little handkerchief-style parachutes. 2,223,000 tons of supplies were dropped during the airlift. (Forfeit: don't mention the war (Sean × 2))
General Ignorance
  • In Germany, at 11:11 on 11 November every year, the Germans celebrate the start of their Carnival, which lasts all the way up to Ash Wednesday. It starts off quietly through November and December, partially due to Christmas, but by the time the Mardi Gras arrives, everything is in full flow. The word "carnival" doesn't mean "goodbye to meat", as believed, but actually means "to remove meat from your diet", from the words "carne levare". (Forfeit: don't mention the war (Alan))

Episode 9 "Gallimaufrey"[edit]

The full episode title "A Gallimaufrey of Gingambobs", means "an absurd medley of testicles".

Broadcast date
  • 22 January 2010
  • 23 January 2010 (XL edition)
  • 19 May 2010 (ABC1 airing/iView upload)
Recording date
  • 4 June 2009
General Ignorance
QI XL Extras
  • Stephen introduced the panelists using Georgian slang. "Gravy-eyed" means runny eyes, "Glimflashy" means an angry person, "Whiddle my scrap" means knowing someone's game or to see what people are up to. This leads to a game of Call My Bluff.
    • A "gentleman of three outs" is either a) a person without wit, money or manners, b) a person who owned three outhouses, which would be a mark of status in the 18th century, or c) a genteel description by Punch of the highwayman Jonny Tripplearse. The answer, correctly guessed by Alan was a).
    • "Grog Blossom" is either a) the mould inside a barrel of beer that you have to clean out before you can use it again, or b) pimples that were grown on peoples' faces after drinking too much. The answer, incorrectly guessed by Andy & Hugh, was b).
  • It's believed that 20% of people have difficulty getting up in the morning, because they are either larks or owls. If they were a lark, they'd sleep at dinner parties and if they were an owl, they just can't get up. It's believed that young children and old people are larks, whereas teenagers are owls. There are many other methods of getting up, the MIT invented an alarm clock that when you pressed the Snooze button, it runs away and hides, and it's programmed to go to a different place every day, so it always changes. There is also an alarm clock in the shape of a dumbbell, and it doesn't shut up until you've done 30 reps with it. There is also one that has an online connection, and every time you press Snooze, money is donated to a political cause that you hate.
  • The Goldilocks effect works on the theory that Goldilocks liked everything "just right". It's used in business, you have 3 items, the first one is unbelievably expensive, the second is a quarter of the price, but just as nice, and the third is very cheap, which makes people go for the second one. The best use of the Goldilocks effect is with airfares. A standard Transatlantic economy seat is £500, business class is £3,500 and first class, where you get a full-size bed and have food whenever you want would cost £8,000. So, people would think that the perks of business class would be reasonable compared to first class, even though it costs 7 times as much as economy.
  • The snail telegraph was a form of communication. A Frenchman called Benoit had an idea that when 2 snails mated, they had a telepathic power, which meant that no matter how far away they were, they could always transmit thoughts to each other. So, he raised money and then glued 24 snails in a dish and labelled them all with letters of the alphabet and then he labelled the mates of the snails on another dish and sent it to New York City, so the mate of the one in New York City would be able to receive the message from the other one in Benoit's lab. Unfortunately, this pasilalinic-sympathetic compass with "escargotic" vibration was proven not to work at all.

Episode 10 "Greats"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 29 January 2010
  • 30 January 2010 (XL edition)
  • 26 May 2010 (ABC1 airing/iView upload)
Recording date
  • 12 June 2009
  • Despite all the claims, many of the world's greatest dictators weren't short, and there is no proof that shorter people are more power-hungry than taller people, otherwise known as the Napoleon complex. Napoleon was above the average height at 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m). The reason many think he was short was because of the depictions by British cartoonist James Gillray. While there were totalitarian leaders who were fairly short, such as Joseph Stalin (5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m)) and Francisco Franco (5 feet 4 inches (1.63 m)); other notorious dictators were fairly tall, such Idi Amin (6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m)), Fidel Castro (6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m)) and Mao Zedong (5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m), above average height for a Chinese person).
  • Theoretically, everyone in Europe is descended from the 8th-century king Charlemagne, as he lived a very long time ago and had many children (See: Six degrees of separation).
  • The Great Fire of London cleared the city of the old buildings so that new ones could be made by Christopher Wren, such as St Paul's Cathedral (forfeit: cleared the city of plague). The plague had already gone by the time of the fire.
  • The Great Train Robbers, following the robbery, went to a farm and played Monopoly using the stolen money, leaving their fingerprints all over the set.
  • For 300 years since its discovery in 1535, every sample of the Giant tortoise taken to Britain was eaten by the ships crew, as it was said to be better than anything anyone had ever tasted.
General Ignorance
  • Catherine the Great died in bed (forfeit: on the loo) after suffering a stroke while on the toilet.
  • In cold weather, most of your heat escapes from your arm or leg (forfeit: your head), if exposed.
  • The lingua franca (or everybody's second language) of Ancient Rome was Greek (forfeit: Latin).
  • 43 different men have been President of the United States, as Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms. (Forfeit: 44 — since the forfeit was taken from Barack Obama's speech, Obama himself was given the forfeit of −10 points.)
QI XL Extras
  • The Great Disappointment was the name given to the supposed Second Coming of Jesus. The American William Miller carefully scrutinised the Bible and it suggested that Jesus would return in 1844 and scourge the world and clean the sanctuary, that was according to Daniel 8:4. Over a million Millerites believed him and sold everything they had to prove this belief. One man even threw himself off a barn believing he would be scooped up and saved. Unfortunately, Jesus didn't return and it became known as "The Great Disappointment". Many more well-known religions have branched off from Millerism, including the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which was founded by a former female Millerite, and currently has 15 million adherents in America. Another man, Charles Russell founded the Jehovah's Witnesses, which held the belief of the Apocalypse, as depicted in the Book of Revelations. Nowadays, there is a new movement, known as the Rapture, that believes that when Jesus returns, everyone will escape from their bodies and leave their clothes behind them. A book by Edgar Whisenant that was released in 1988 and called 88 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1988, sold 4 million copies, although it of course didn't happen, but there is now a website called www.raptureready.com, which has millions of hits and tells of ways to prepare for the Rapture and to protect loved ones who don't make it, such as by being stung by enormous wasps. (Forfeit: Have you been talking to my husband? (Jo))
  • Cheese tastes better when it's grated because it then has a wider area to connect with the tongue and the cheese has a more intense flavour. When Parmesan is grated, it smells of vomit, mainly due to it having butyric acid and isovaleric acid in it, which are also found in body odour.
  • If a giant panda does a handstand in front of you, it is trying to tell you that you're on its land. Because they eat for 12 hours a day, they don't have much time for rutting or fighting, so they urinate to mark out their territory, and they prefer to urinate while in the handstand position, and the higher up a tree that the urine lands on, the more dominant it is.

Episode 11 "Gifts"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 5 February 2010
  • 6 February 2010 (XL edition)
  • 1 June 2010 (ABC1 airing/iView upload)
Recording date
  • 19 May 2009
  • The panellists are given bags of items that are seized by American customs. Items include counterfeit money, a handkerchief covered in any amount of human fluids, Spam, seeds, a lottery ticket, a Cuban cigar, shoes that have been to a farm in the last month, a hessian bag and a Kinder egg. You could go to prison for 2 years for bringing in a lottery ticket. The hessian bag isn't allowed, because it's made of hemp. The most confiscated item is a Kinder egg as children may choke on it. Alan notes that the panellists were actually supplied with Creme Eggs, and not Kinder Eggs. Only people with one arm can carry a switchblade.
  • The word for people who don't laugh is agelastic. Examples given were Isaac Newton, who only laughed once in his whole life, Joseph Stalin, who never laughed according to Marshal Zhukov, Jonathan Swift and William Ewart Gladstone. Whereas Anthony Trollope couldn't stop laughing, he actually died giggling. There are theories of laughter: the superiority theory, the sudden glory felt when someone else suffers; the incongruity theory, when the logical dissolves into the absurd, and the relief theory, which was Freud's idea, relieving inhibition to forbidden thoughts and feelings, which leads to Jimmy talking about his book, The Naked Jape, which was about theories like that from around the world. Animals can't laugh.
  • The oldest joke in the world was "There was an absent-minded professor who was on a sea voyage when a storm blows up and his slaves are weeping in terror. He said, "Don't cry, I have freed you all in my will"". That joke depicted the Abderites as being rather stupid. The Greek joke book, the Philogelos has this joke inside it: "An Abderite asks a eunuch how many children he has, the eunuch replies "None, Duh! I'm a eunuch!", then the Abderite says..." The punch line of that joke is actually missing. Another old joke is a Sumerian one from 1900BC, which goes "something that has never occurred since time immemorial – a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap." An old English one is "What is the most cleanliest leaf amongst all others? – Holly leaves, because no-one will wipe their arse with them."
  • A scold's bridle was a torture device for women who gossip or were malicious and spiteful. A more common punishment is the cucking stool, wrongly known as the ducking stool. The male equivalent was barratry. There are hardly any records of them being used. 50 of them still exist today. The studio has the one that currently resides in Walton-on-Thames.
  • "What do you get if you cross a caterpillar and a butterfly?" (Forfeits: butterpillar, caterfly) There is a theory put forward by Donald Williamson called hybridogenesis stating the butterfly and the caterpillar are of different species. Normal starfish start life as a small larva with a tiny starfish inside. They grow and separate and the larva degenerates. Williamson found the Luidia sarsi differs with the larva living for months as an independent animal. He reasons there is a chance of creating a double species, since "sperm and seed" have been mixing in the sea for millions of years, so these new species could be created once every million years.
  • 1% of American adults are in jail, roughly 2.3 million, or 1 in every 99.1 adults. More than twice as many as South Africans, more than three times as the Iranians, more than six times as the Chinese. No society in history has imprisoned more of its citizens than the United States. The United Kingdom is ahead of China, Turkey and India, with 148 prisoners per 100,000. In the USA, they have the three strikes law, which gives a life sentence for anyone's third crime, no matter how trivial, providing they have 2 serious crimes against them already. So, a man called Leandro Andrade is serving 2 consecutive 25-year terms for shoplifting 9 videotapes. Another man, Kevin Weber, got given 26 years for stealing 4 chocolate chip cookies. One in 30 men aged between 20–34 are in jail, and for black males, it's 1 in 9. There are more 17-year-old black people in jail, than in college. 5% of the world is American, and 25% of all prisoners are American.
General Ignorance
QI XL Extras
  • The box of chocolates given by Gordon Brown to George W. Bush was immediately destroyed. Under the guidelines of the United States Secret Service, any food or drink is immediately destroyed, such as the £150 box of Charbonnel et Walker given by Brown to Bush. The Prime Minister of Qatar gave him a £650 box of chocolates, the President of Iraq gave him an assortment of nut pasties and 3 lb of live shamrocks from Bertie Ahern given to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day were all destroyed. The QI office rang Downing Street to ask if they were aware of this, they didn't reply. Brown gave Barack Obama an inedible ornamental penholder made from the Victorian anti-slaver HMS Gannet. In return, Brown was given 25 American classic DVDs, not including, as Jimmy hoped, Who's Nailin' Palin? Some believe that the discs were actually Region 1, which meant that Brown couldn't watch them unless he had a hacked DVD player. It's believed that the only reason these pointless presents are given out is because of protocol.
  • The world's cheapest cheapskate is the dance fly, which give gifts in the form of silk or a balloon wrapped in the male's anal secretions. One of the species, the Rhamphomyia sulcata, which captures an insect, sucks out its innards completely and then wraps the empty shell and gives it to the female, but by the time that the female unwraps it, he's mated her, then scarpered. In the insect kingdom, some male insects pretend to be females, so they can receive a gift from a male and just have it for another female.
  • Luigi Galvani from Bologna discovered that electricity works through frogs, hence creating the term galvanization, which meant that humans worked with electricity. His star pupil toured England in 1803 and astounded the Royal College of Surgeons with what he discovered. He convulsed the body of the murderer George Forster, just after he'd been hanged. Electric rods were attached to Foster's mouth and ear, which led to the jaw quivering and one eye opening, then when a rod was placed up his rectum, the whole body convulsed, so it looked like reanimation. The experiment proved that the nerves use electricity to make the body work, rather than pneumatic power as previously thought. Mary Shelley saw this to prove that electricity created life, but oddly, in her book Frankenstein, electricity isn't used, only in all the film representations of Frankenstein is it used. Galvanized buckets are coated with zinc to avoid corrosion, it has nothing to do with this form of galvanization.
  • The Emperor of China hated pigeons because they used to steal the rice from his rice granaries. Enemies of the Emperor would train pigeons to fly to the granaries and steal as much of the rice as they could and fly back, then they would be fed water and alum to disgorge the rice, which could then be washed. They could get 50 lbs of rice from 100 pigeons. It's unknown if they were ever caught.

Episode 12 "Gravity"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 12 February 2010
  • 13 February 2010 (XL edition)
  • 8 June 2010 (ABC1 airing/iView upload)
Recording date
  • 9 May 2009
  • Note: This is the first time Alan has been a joint winner, and also the first time that Rich Hall has sat in a different seat to his usual one (on Stephen's immediate left). Up until now, only Alan has sat in the same seat, apart from when he swapped places with Stephen in the series B Christmas Special.
  • Theoretically, you can get to anywhere on Earth in exactly 42 minutes and 12 seconds, by burrowing through it. The speed would be the maximum velocity as determined by gravity
  • Aristotle believed that heavier objects fell faster than lighter objects, but this theory was disproved by Galileo Galilei who did experiments using ramps (Forfeit: dropping cannonballs from the Leaning Tower of Pisa)
  • George Biggin and Letitia Sage flew in a hydrogen balloon from Southwark to Harrow, during which time they became the first members of the mile high club. Vincenzo Lunardi, an Italian who brought ballooning to Britain, was going to go up with Biggin & Sage, but he thought the basket would be too heavy.
  • A gossypiboma is something left inside you by a surgeon after he has done an operation—normally cotton, lint or sponge. (Forfeit: mind your own business)
  • When you shoot a gun in the air, the bullets land in a different place, so the shooter would never be hit, as even a small blast of wind would move it away from the gun. A test was done on a floating platform, where 500 bullets were shot in the air and only 4 landed on the platform. A typical 7.62mm bullet fired vertically can reach a height of nearly 2.5km, meaning it would take 17 seconds to reach top height, then take another 40 seconds to come down, if it were going at a speed of 70 metres a second, which would cause serious cranial injuries. If you had a bullet in one hand and a gun facing horizontally at the same level in another, both bullets would hit the ground at the same time, if fired at the same time. The reason is that they both have the same force working on them: gravity. The only way this couldn't happen is if the bullet were fired at 5 miles per second, which means it would leave the Earth and never return into the atmosphere, or if the bullet went far enough, because then the curvature of the Earth would mean it had further to fall. There are many practical applications to this in the laws of physics which say it must be the case.
  • The guns on HMS Belfast, which is permanently moored in the River Thames, are aimed at Scratchwood Services on the M1.
General Ignorance
  • The daily recommendation of wine could be dispensed by a cloud the size of a bus. The daily limit of wine is 250ml.
  • A gunslinger's revolver has 5 bullets (forfeit: six). Wyatt Earp said that despite the existence of six chambers in a revolver, the 6th chamber is for safety: the hammer could rest on it, so you couldn't discharge by mistake, because the six-gun had no safety catch.
  • The red juice that comes out of a steak when you cook it is myoglobin (forfeit: blood), which is used to operate muscles.
QI XL Extras
  • An underwater weighing machine would be used for the most accurate form of weighing body fat (Forfeit: whale weigh station). If you're under 20% fat, then you're not obese. For women, it's 30%.
  • Even though bicycles have been around for over a century, the physics of bicycles has been poorly understood. When you want to turn left on a bicycle, you turn the handlebar slightly to the right, known as countersteering.
  • The Fosbury Flop was created by Dick Fosbury as a better technique for completing a high jump. The previous techniques were the straddle, the Western roll, the Scissors and the Eastern cut-off. In the 1968 Summer Olympics, he performed this new technique and won the gold medal. The reason why every high jumper now uses the Fosbury Flop is because of the way the centre of gravity works. When doing the Flop, your centre of gravity is under the bar, whereas if you did the Scissors, your centre of gravity would be 30cm over the bar. So, by having a lower centre of gravity, you have more height in exchange for no extra effort. The other thing the Flop did was change the landing material from a sandpit to a cushion. The records have stood for a long time. The male record was set in 1993, while the female one was set in 1987. The male long jump record between 1935 and 1960 was held by Jesse Owens.

Episode 13 "Gothic"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 19 February 2010
  • 20 February 2010 (XL edition)
  • 15 June 2010 (ABC1 airing/iView upload)
Recording date
  • 14 May 2009
  • Alan Davies (joint winner with −17 points) 12th win; the second time Alan has won consecutive shows
  • Jimmy Carr (−28 points) 15th appearance
  • Jack Dee (joint winner with −17 points) 2nd appearance, 1st win
  • Sue Perkins (−26 points) 1st appearance
  • The panellists are shown a picture of a grotesque (forfeit: gargoyle). The difference between a grotesque and a gargoyle is that gargoyles are used for draining and guttering in Gothic buildings. The word gargoyle comes from the French gargouille, meaning throat, the same source as the English word "gargle".
  • The Goths were originally from Scandinavia, who defeated the Vandals, a German tribe, where we get the word "vandal" from. Goth has tended to mean other things though, such as the cathedrals, which were called "barbaric" during the Italian Renaissance, as it was used as an insult for anything that wasn't classic, because they were perceived to be the people who destroyed Rome and therefore civilisation. Gothic literature has tended to be referred to as "macabre". Carpenter Gothic is a form of craftsmanship famously depicted in the Grant Wood painting American Gothic, which showed a house, now known as the American Gothic House in the town of Eldon, Iowa. The main feature of Carpenter Gothic is the pointed Ecclesiastical star on the top, which resembles a Gothic arch. If a Goth is "emotional", they're referred to as Emos. Emos want to kill themselves, whereas Goths want to kill everyone else.
  • The painter who painted Sunflowers was Vincent van Gogh, pronounced faŋ ˈxɔx (forfeits: Van Goff; Van Goth; Van Go). The Dutch pronunciation was given by Arthur Japin, a famous novelist, who is also the presenter of the Dutch version of QI and was in the audience. Stephen and Arthur talk about the Dutch version, as well as Thomas van Luyn, who is the Dutch equivalent to Alan in the show.
  • The whole planet's population of 6.8 billion could turn into zombies, otherwise known as a zombie apocalypse, within 38 days, using geometric progression and exponential growth to work it out. The word "zombie" comes from Haiti, where they got the venom from a pufferfish to make them appear sort of "dead". It was first discovered by Wade Davis, an ethnobotanist in the 1980s, but his theory that it put people into a sort of "zombie trance" isn't universally accepted.
  • In Accra, the capital city of Ghana, people are buried in elaborate coffins made into whatever shape you wanted, like a fish, an aeroplane, a mobile phone, a Bible or even a car. They cost up to US$400, which is nearly a year's wages to some Ghanaians. It's only been a tradition in Ghana for the last 50 years or so.
  • The best way to make sure your family never forget you after you die is to make a lifesize replica of yourself. The Japanese artist Hananuma Masakichi was diagnosed with tuberculosis in the 1880s, so he knew he was going to die, so he made a life-size replica of himself that matched him exactly, with every hair from every pore on his body included, as well as his fingernails, toenails, teeth and having glass eyes made in place of real ones. It was so lifelike, that people couldn't tell which was the real one and which was the fake. It eventually went into Robert Ripley's Odditorium in Los Angeles, but it got injured in an earthquake in 1996, and is awaiting restoration.
  • In the 1960s, ⅔ of all Americans who accidentally lost a limb came from the same town in Florida. The reason was insurance. There were 50 occurrences in the town which had a population of just 500. Most claimed they were shot off by hunting rifles. Other claims included accidentally firing someone climbing a fence.
General Ignorance
  • When a heartbeat monitor flatlines, it means you have tripped on a cable and pulled it out. (Forfeit: You're dead)
  • After the Vietnam War, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was occupied by a soldier who had died in Vietnam (forfeit: nobody knows). His family had heard that "the Unknown Soldier" had died in a helicopter crash, and their son had also died in the same helicopter crash, but through DNA testing, it was proved that he was "the Unknown Soldier", so his remains were exhumed. It's believed that there never will be another "Unknown Soldier", because all British & American soldiers are DNA profiled. The original "Unknown Soldier" was first done simultaneously in Britain & France after World War I in 1920. In Britain, there were 4 bodies and the general pointed at one and he became "the Unknown Soldier". That particular soldier was given a state funeral at Westminster Abbey with full military honours and was entombed with a Medieval crusader's sword from the Royal Collection in the presence of a guard made up of 100 VC's. The guests of honour were 100 women who had lost their husbands and their sons during the war. The Cenotaph, made by Lutyens is dedicated to the soldier as well.
  • The phrase "Saved by the bell" is a boxing term. There is no proof of the myths about people who tied a bell to their toe, but they have been found not to be true, although many people do fear premature burials, such as in the Edgar Allan Poe book, The Premature Burial. (Forfeit: buried alive)
  • Mozart's burial wasn't a pauper's funeral in Vienna as many believe, although only members of the aristocracy were buried in tombs or vaults. His funeral cost 8 guilder and 56 kreuzer. Mozart had a pet starling which he buried in 1784, and its whistling inspired the principal theme of the last movement of Piano Concerto K453.
QI XL Extras
  • In a graveyard, burying a person under a broken column means that they died young. Other symbols include a broken chain which symbolises a loss in the family and apples represent sin. The lichen that grows on graveyards is looked at by scientists as an indicator for pollution. The main reasons they do it is because you can roughly tell the age of the lichen on the gravestone because of the date and graveyards are not normally sprayed with chemicals, so they remain unaltered, and because it's considered bad to spray them with pesticides.
  • The Vampire Squid from Hell, Latin name Vampyroteuthis infernalis, has the biggest eyes of any animal in comparison to the size of its head, if it were put into a human, the eyes of a human would be a foot wide. Because it lives so deep in the sea, its defence is not ink, but a stream of blue bioluminescent orbs, which dazzle its enemies.
  • The toughest way to become a mummy is by self-mummification. In the old days, they used to remove the brain through the nose by turning it into a liquid mush. A Buddhist sect called Sokushinbutsu use self-mummification. To do this, for 1,000 days, a priest would eat nuts and seeds, while taking part in vigorous physical activity, so he'd have no body fat. Then for another 1,000 days, he's eat just bark and tree roots and then drink a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree, which would cause him to vomit and lose bodily fluids. Then he'd be locked inside a small stone tomb with just an air tube and a bell while doing the lotus position. He'd ring the bell every day to prove he was alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the tomb was sealed. Then after another 1,000 days, the tomb was checked and if it was successful, he was deemed to have reached enlightenment. Since the 19th century, it's not done any more, as it is now an illegal form of suicide.
General Ignorance
  • If the beat on an electrocardiogram has flat-lined, it means that the cable has been pulled out (forfeit: you're dead). Fibrillators are used for arrythmia, not to start up the heart again, as depicted in many movies.

Episode 14 "Greeks"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 5 March 2010
  • 6 March 2010 (XL edition)
Recording date
  • 26 May 2009
  • This is the third instance of a complete panel appearing twice. Anderson, Hall and Jupitus all appeared together in episode 3 of series B.
  • The Audience were only announced as winners in the XL version, as the fact that won them their 10 points was cut from the initial broadcast.
  • Rich Athenians had to sponsor a Greek battleship (if your property was worth 70 times more than the average wage of a skilled worker). The only way to get out of it was by finding someone richer.
  • According to Herodotus, before a Spartan went into battle they had a new haircut, which meant that they were preparing for mortal combat.
  • The word gymnasium comes from the Greek word "Gymnos", meaning naked, hence "gymnasium" meant "a naked place". During the Ancient Olympic Games, the competitors performed naked and used a pouch called a kynodesme to keep their penis in.
  • Baron de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, won his own Olympic gold medal in poetry. There were all kinds of artistic events but they were stopped as it was felt it defeated the point of amateurism.[3]
  • Olympic gold medals are made of at least 92.5% silver (forfeits: gold, chocolate). They are gold plated and they do have six grams of gold in them, but they haven't been made entirely of gold since 1912.
  • If you bite a gold coin and a toothmark is left, then it's a fake coin, because other metals were used in making gold coins but for counterfeits lead was used, and that did leave an impression.
  • Sewage could be used to create alien life, because most faeces produced in space is jettisoned rather than taken back to Earth. Arthur C. Clarke had a theory known as "Toilet of the Gods", which suggested that humans might even be descended from the poo of another civilisation. A lot of the junk in Earth's orbit was found to be covered in faecal matter.
General Ignorance
  • Meteorites that have just crashed on Earth would be too cold (forfeit: it's hot).
  • The instant you get sucked into a vacuum you have only the amount of air left that you exhale to survive (forfeit: instant death). You could survive with no long-term problems, but only if you stay in for only a couple of minutes. Gases escaping from your body would make you instantly defecate, projectile vomit and urinate.
  • The country that has weekly news broadcasts in Latin is Finland (forfeit: Vatican City). The show, called Nuntii Latini has a 5-minute broadcast every Friday at 1:55pm, then again on the local radio in Helsinki. Radio Bremen in Germany also do four and a half minutes of Latin news a month.
  • Because of health and safety reasons, flowers are now thrown at the end of Greek dinner parties instead of (forfeit) plates. Greek restaurants can obtain a licence to throw plates.
QI XL Extras
  • A Roman orgy is not as debauched as a Greek symposium. A Greek symposium was a place mainly for drinking, as opposed as to what it means today. A Roman orgy wasn't really a place where mass sexual intercourse took place.
  • A 'Greek ideal' was a person who seemed to symbolise the "perfect" Greek person, determined by a few factors, one of them being the wrist measurement. Each of the panellists gave their wrist measurement and the one closest to the Greek ideal was Clive.
  • The panellists are shown a theory which tries to prove the existence of God;

\mbox{Ax. 1.} & P(\varphi) \land \Box\; \forall x [\varphi(x) \rightarrow \psi(x)] \rightarrow P(\psi)\\

\mbox{Ax. 2.} & P(\neg \varphi) \leftrightarrow \neg P(\varphi)\\

\mbox{Th. 1.} & P(\varphi) \rightarrow \Diamond\; \exists x\; [\varphi(x)]\\

\mbox{Df. 1.} & G(x) \iff \forall \varphi[P(\varphi) \rightarrow \varphi(x)]\\

\mbox{Ax. 3.} & P(G)\\

\mbox{Th. 2.} & \Diamond\; \exists x\; G(x)\\

\mbox{Df. 2.} & \varphi\;\operatorname{ess}\;x \iff \varphi(x) \land \forall\psi\lbrace\psi(x) \rightarrow \Box\; \forall x[\varphi(x) \rightarrow \psi(x)]\rbrace\\

\mbox{Ax. 4.} & P(\varphi) \rightarrow \Box\; P(\varphi)\\

\mbox{Th. 3.} & G(x) \rightarrow G\;\operatorname{ess}\;x\\

\mbox{Df. 3.} & E(x) \iff \forall \varphi[\varphi\;\operatorname{ess}\;x \rightarrow \Box\; \exists x\; \varphi(x)]\\

\mbox{Ax. 5.} & P(E)\\

\mbox{Th. 4.} & \Box\; \exists x\; G(x)
General Ignorance
Bonus: Because Alan was in last place, Stephen gave him the chance to switch his points with that of the audience (in a reference to the first question), if he could say why the audience got their points (Odeon Cinemas were named for their founder, Oscar Deutsch).

Episode 15 "Green"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 26 March 2010
Recording date
  • 22 May 2009
  • The projection screen behind Alan and Bill broke during recording, so moved to the other side of the studio for the rest of the show (and was later re-filmed for broadcast).
General Ignorance
  • Male mosquitos do not drink blood, but feed on nectar and fruit juice. Females need blood for the development of eggs.
  • Wind turbines kill bats because the change of pressure damages their lungs if they fly too close (forfeit) kill birds.

Episode 16 "Geometry"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 2 April 2010
Recording date
  • 2 June 2009
  • People who wear striped clothing look slimmer if the stripes are horizontal, not vertical, as many people think. It was even said that a female prisoner asked to have vertical stripes on her uniform to make her look slimmer. It was discovered after research by Dr. Peter Thompson of the University of York.
  • The columns around the Parthenon look straight because they are actually straight. It was originally believed to be an optical illusion due to a thing called entasis, which is where if a column is exactly straight, it looks big from a distance, but it looks spindly if it bows inwards. So, if you make it bow outwards, it looks straight. But, that's what they didn't do. It is also believed that entasis is used on some buildings nowadays to give them more support, but it certainly doesn't exist in the Parthenon.
  • The panellists are shown 2 shapes; a splodgy shape and a spiky shape. One is called "kiki" and the other is called "bouba". Neither of the shapes are associated with the names, but the psychologist Wolfgang Köhler devised this test to see what people who spoke different languages thought when they heard the words "kiki" and "bouba", and everyone said that "kiki" sounded like the spiky one and "bouba" sounded like the splodgy one, a sort of onomatopoeia, as it were.
  • The most successful textbook of all time is Euclid's Elements. Euclid's teachings in the book are mostly about planes and conic sections and all the forms of circles and squares, which basically showed how geometry works, which came in very handy for physics and engineering. Many mathematicians believe it to be the most beautiful of all mathematics textbooks. John Dee, the court magician to Queen Elizabeth I, was responsible for bringing Euclid to the attention of the world. He was also a spy and used 007 as a cipher. Alan got 7 points for knowing that piece of information.
  • The best place to go to look into the future is on the International Date Line. If you're to the left of the line, you're ahead in time compared to when you're on the right of the line. Stephen lost a day when he flew from Los Angeles to Sydney recently. David then claims that if you did that every day, you'd theoretically live twice as long as everyone else, because the trip lasted one day, but in terms of actual time, it took 2 days. The literal best place to go is the Diomede Islands in the Bering Strait. Big Diomede Island is on the left of the line and Little Diomede Island is to the right of the line, so if you look at Big Diomede from Little Diomede, you are looking into the future.
Missing square puzzle.svg
  • The panellists are shown this puzzle and are asked where the missing square is. The answer is that the missing piece was created because the hypotenuse of the triangles are curved, not straight. The small triangle has a ratio of 5:2 and the big triangle has a ratio of 8:3, so neither triangle is similar. One has a slightly dipped line, the other has a slightly "up" line. The eye assumes they're straight, but they aren't. It's known as Curry's paradox.
General Ignorance
  • The best place to punch a shark is in the eye or the gill, not the nose, as many people think, although it is true of dogs though. More people in the world are bitten by New Yorkers than by sharks. 81% of people who are bitten by sharks suffered minor injuries, although people bitten by humans could get rabies or other diseases. As mentioned in QI's A series, more people are killed by toilets than by sharks every year. 120 million sharks are killed by humans every year, mainly just for their fins, so shark fin soup can be produced, which according to Stephen is very tasteless, and chicken stock is used to give it flavour.
  • An octopus has 2 legs, or to be more specific, they use 2 arms while moving underwater, as sort of ambulatory gait, and the other 4 are used for holding food, so it could be said that they have 6 arms and 2 legs.
  • Because of libration, you can see 59% of the Moon from the Earth. Libration is the sort of jiggling effect you get when you see the Moon. Obviously, when there are different phases of the Moon, you see less.

Episode 17 "Compilation Part 1"[edit]

Broadcast Date
  • 5 April 2010
  • A clip show using unbroadcast material from Series G.

Episode 18 "Compilation Part 2"[edit]

Broadcast Date
  • 16 April 2010
  • A clip show using unbroadcast material from Series G.


  1. ^ Lloyd, John (20 August 2008). "QI creator says BBC1 is 'our natural home'". Broadcast. Retrieved 8 May 2009. 
  2. ^ The Ambrose Bierce Site
  3. ^ Footnote: It was mentioned here that in the 1900 Summer Olympics, there was a gold medal for Poodle Clipping where a farmer's wife won by clipping 17 poodles in two hours. This was an April's Fool joke created by The Daily Telegraph in the run up to the Beijing Olympics. QI are now aware of this. Hooper, Andy (15 August 2008). "How Telegraph struck Olympic poodle-clipping gold in Beijing". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 March 2010. , "April Fool (Poodle Clipping)". QI Talk Forum. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2010. .