QI (2003) Episode Scripts

N/A - France

1 Bonsoir, bonsoir, bonsoir, bonsoir, bonsoir.
Bonsoir, mes dames et messieurs! Et bienvenue à QI.
Or "Coo-Eee", as we should properly call it.
Because tonight, tonight we fare forth into our favourite foreign fiefdom, land of fromage, froideur and flageolet, la belle France.
Avec moi, ce soir, je suis delighted to welcome: Le grand legume, Phill Jupitus! Et le bourgeois gentilhomme, Hugh Dennis! Merci.
La femme fatale, Jo Brand! And Babar the Elephant.
But before we laissez les bons temps rouler, les champignons musicales, s'il vous plaît!.
And Phill goes - Hugo va - "Hugo"? D'accord.
Et Jo va I have plenty! And Alan goes Colour me very touched, Alan.
Thank you.
- Can I take my onions off now? - You can take your onions off.
- They are slightly restricting mon tête.
- Yeah.
Of course you must.
Uh, it's "ma tête".
It's feminine.
Minus five.
- I said "mon" because I am masculine.
- It doesn't quite work that way, I'm afraid.
No.
For example; the word vagina is masculine.
Whichever sex you are.
And you're likely to be female if you have one.
So you would say, "mon vagina"? - You'd As it were, yes.
- It makes it sound like a mountain somewhere, doesn't it? - Funny looking mountain.
- I was climbing Mon Vagina.
Many have.
And many have fallen off.
So.
Bon.
Allons-y, mes copains.
Alors, a ce moment ci, je vous donne, des bonus points si vous pouvez repondre en Francais.
OK? Oui.
Very good! Already a bonus point for Hugh.
Non.
Plus tard, nous verrons.
Phill.
Comment ça va? Er - THAT was French.
- That is fluent.
Jo, voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? Er, pas demi! Not half! Excellent! Quatre points! Alain, donne-moi un mot, s'il vous plaît, Un mot pour un mammifère marin qui ne peut avaler aucun plus grand qu'un pamplemousse.
Pamplemousse? What's a pamplemousse? - Ask the audience.
What is a pamplemousse? - I think - What's a pamplemousse? - It's French porn.
- Grapefruit.
- Grapefruit.
Do I? You see, Alan, for the last six years you have yearned for the answer to a question to be, - and it never HAS been - The blue whale.
And that is the answer! I asked you, in my broken French, to name A marine mammal that couldn't swallow - anything bigger than a grapefruit.
- Right.
And that is a blue whale.
Oh, you could have had such pleasure and joy.
Never mind.
Never mind.
I'm gonna show you a picture of some Frenchmen.
And I just want to know, what they're looking for in the swamp? Where they've hidden their cameras, I think.
Does the tide come in really, really quickly there? Is that what it is? The sea is not far away.
We're in Gascony.
In an area of France called Les Landes, south of Bordeaux.
- Je pense que ils cherchent un mouchoir.
- They're looking for a handkerchief? Yes.
That's not 'cause I think they are, but I don't know any other French words than the one for "handkerchief".
Oddly enough, the first three letters of the thing you think they're searching for are correct.
Handjob? - No, no.
You said "mouchoirs".
And it's mou - Moutons.
Moutons is the right answer! They're lookin for sheep.
They are shepherds.
- They are Les Landes shepherds and - No, they are not! Are all the sheep on stilts as well? Is there a French programme called "One Man And His Stilts"? If you see the one on the left, you can see he's got two stilts tied to his legs quite clearly, plus a stick.
The stick is there to make himself a tripod so you could stand still.
But, essentially they can go really fast around this 4000 square mile area of France where their sheep are; they can see their sheep better 'cause they're higher up.
And they negotiate this boggy terrain brilliantly.
And they carried on doing this up to the 20th century.
When the pole finally got stuck right up their arse.
I bet you they were delighted when someone invented the Land Rover, weren't they? I don't know if any French shepherds might be watching Get dogs! - You'd think.
- Might save you a bit of time overall.
- Dogs on stilts.
- Oh, don't get me started! - Tiny dogs, like Corgis, on 18-foot stilts! - Massive stilts! Towering over bigger dogs.
- Yeah! - "At last!" Well, they They tie Then they would Because you know how the little dogs sometimes try - and mount the bigger dogs, don't they? - Oh, they do.
Yeah, they'd take that opportunity straight away.
Well, they'd be too big, so they'd probably mount buses.
Imagine a A - Giraffes.
- A corgi on stilts, knobbing a bendy bus.
- "Imagine if you will" - I was a dream, wasn't it? There was a famous shepherd who walked to Paris and climbed the Eiffel Tower in his stilts, and then walked all the way to Moscow in 58 days, in his stilts.
- What a remarkable man! - Wasn't he? In 58 days? 58 days he walked to Moscow.
That's 1,830 of your puny English miles.
However, now you can go to Les Landes and you can see them dancing in their stilts; it's a tourist attraction.
Until the early 20th century, they used stilts to herd their huge flocks, in country that was too rough and boggy to have tracks.
Now, what did French country people like this do in the winter? They got "Nurse!" "Nurse!" "She's out of bed again.
" Jo.
Jo Brand.
II'd like to quote a man that I met in the Aran Islands just off Galway, and I said to him, "What do you do in the winter?" And he went, "Fishing and fucking.
" Nice.
So, is that possible? You'd have to find a lady who was wearing stilts, for a start, wouldn't you? Would be very difficult.
- That is a major problem.
- Or, a lady in a first floor window.
Wow.
Are you tempted? "Oh, here they come again, the bastard shepherds.
" No, it's very extraordinary.
Again, until very recently, a lot of French country people did this ex Not Not extraordinary for certain animals, but pretty extraordinary for humans.
- Hibernated.
- Did they hibernate? - Hibernated, yes.
- Oh.
I mean, not true hibernation Their body temperature didn't drop and And so on But they essentially kind of slept.
They would wake up once or twice, have a biscuit, and go back to sleep again.
They would Did they, erm, have to go in a cardboard box with a lot of straw? - Lot of shared bodily warmth.
- You got them out in March and had a look and looked underneath: "Oh, no.
Not ready yet.
" So they They didn't hibernate "as such"; they were students.
Basically.
Basically, yeah, that's true.
They all crammed together for body warmth.
"Ooh, Lorraine Kelly's on! Quick, get up.
" Can I just That is a really shit life, isn't it? You spend six months of the year on stilts, and the rest of it, you're asleep.
It is tough.
As long as the other six months you're watching Lorraine Kelly, pas de problème.
Well, there you are.
So French peasants used to hibernate in rural France until well into the 19th century.
Now, what were 80% of French people unable to do in 1880? - Count.
Add up.
Do sums.
- No, we're in the wrong Wrong discipline, as it were.
- Write.
Read.
- Write their own name.
They Well, they couldn't write their own name and they couldn't read their own, most of them, but more importantly, if they could read and write 80% of them didn't read and write in? - French.
- Exactly.
That's odd.
A hundred and A hundred and twenty-odd years ago, 80% of French people did not speak French.
It was not the majority language of France.
What did they have? All kinds of regional dialects? All kinds of regional Not just dialects, but languages.
- Like the Basques.
- Those people in Les Landes, they probably spoke sheep, didn't they? A "stilted" version of it, yes.
Yeah.
Very good.
Hey.
They spoke Occitan.
Breton, of course.
- OXY-tan's what you put on spots.
- It is, yeah.
It does sound There is something called that, isn't there? - It used to be a language you knew.
- Yeah.
Particularly acne-ridden area of France.
Franco-Provençal.
Erm, Flemish.
Basque, of course.
They were some of the major languages which were completely unrelated to French, and this is a sort of map of linguistic areas of France here.
And there were fifty at least, er, dialects, and hundreds of sub-dialects, so le bon Français, as they call it, proper French, was only spoken by 20%.
Where did they speak Flemish, then? Up the Up near the Belgian border.
Wallonia.
What's the difference between a Belgian kiss and a French kiss? Go on.
A Belgian kiss is like a French kiss but with more "Flem".
Hey! Very good.
Why, thank you.
Are we accurately representing the French? I don't Don't think we are.
I'm wearing ladies' knickers; that's probably a more accurate representation.
Are we more accurately representing the cast of the film 'The Wild Geese'? Yeah, special forces.
- "Broadsword calling Danny Boy.
" - Now, that's not The Wild Geese.
That's very good.
Excellent.
Man has gone That's what you do when you're playing Germany.
- I can do one from The Great Escape.
- Go on.
"Let me come with you.
I can see; I can see perfectly.
" Very good.
Donald Pleasance to a T.
Jo, have you anything to offer from the world of war films? Mary Poppins? "Get back to work, you slag.
" Maybe I'm thinking of the porno version? "Mary Popshot".
I've seen that.
Oh, dear.
"Mary Pops In".
- "Mary Pops In and Out.
" - Yeah, well, quite.
Erm So Please! Let's pull ourselves together.
"It's so nice to fornicate with Mary" Oh, dear.
In 1880, most French people couldn't speak French.
According to a census in that year, only about 1 in 5 residents of what we now call France were fluent in French.
French, famously, has only a quarter as many words as English, so they quite often have to use ours, but sometimes they get it a little wrong and a little lost in translation, so traduisez, s'il vous plaît, er What means 'Un people'? Look at that typical English person.
This programme's really falling backwards.
Absolutely.
- "We in no way confer to stereotypes here on QI.
" - No! "Yes, here is an accountant and, for some reason, Arthur Daley.
" That's not a Frenchman! It's like, "All right, I'll tell you, I've got two fingers for you here, you cunt.
Look at that.
Look at that fucker, look at the cunt in the hat over there, fucking look at him.
" He doesn't look at all French! I dunno.
The white polo neck's quite French.
He's dropped his fag and he doesn't even notice.
- D'you know, I wouldn't be sur - "I can smell burning.
" I wouldn't be surprised if he had a cigarette An invisible cigarette.
But it's been Photoshopped out because the British public aren't allowed to see cigarettes anymore.
The only advert I would agree to do is one for fags.
"They're bloody lovely and you might not get cancer.
" I mean, you know.
That's a very fine slogan.
Excellent work.
It is, isn't it? It's a gamble.
So don't listen to me, listen to sweary Bob.
"Yeah, she's fucking right.
Look, they've Photoshopped this cunt out.
Oi oi.
" "Hatty over there ain't fucking smoking; we do, 'cause it's fucking lovely.
Oi oi.
" He's not French, Stephen, please! Okay! But Let's at least get someone with onions in.
We're no closer We're no closer to discovering what 'les people' means.
Les people.
Oh, the in crowd, the pop The The The kind of The - The hip, now, happening kittens.
- It's even worse than that.
- Oh, the upper classes! - What is our current obsession with in England? - Celebrities.
- Celebrities.
- Celebrities are 'le people'! Pathetic, isn't it? - Oh, merde.
Er, what is What is 'un brushing'? - 'Un brushing'? - 'Un brushing'.
Is it this dental thing, is it, or not? It's not dental, but it is It does involve the The headal area.
Cut your hair.
And someone would do it to you in a salon.
- Lick your hair? - Oh, how lovely.
Somebody licks your hair in a salon? - If you pay them enough.
- I pay for it.
Oh, fair enough.
Erm, no.
"I'll give you 40 quid to lick it.
" Stop It Now.
No, it's "And for 50 quid we'll get a cow to come in and lick it.
" I'm not talking about the hair on my head! - Oh! - Oh, my.
Please Enough already.
- It's a blow dry.
- On my legs, not my bikini line.
Blow dry? Brushing is a blow dry.
And what is 'un relooking'? - A blow job.
- No.
Is it a double-take? An excellent example of the breed, if I may say.
Erm A repeat.
Not a repeat.
It's another thing which was very popular.
There were television shows devoted to Oh, a clip show.
- No, no, no, that's more logical.
- "It's Stephen Fry!" It's It's weird.
It's It's a Is it a sort of reinterpretation of something? Yeah, it's a makeover.
Oh, right.
Well, okay.
A makeover is a 'relooking'.
Is it? 'Un re-looking' is a make-over.
How How does this Un relooking extrême.
Yeah, exactly.
- How does this Académie française allow - It doesn't.
The Académie française would not accept these; they wouldn't go into a French dictionary, but they are used all the time.
Usage in the end is the arbiter final, surely.
Finally, vaseliner.
To grease yourself up, Stephen.
Oh, dear.
No.
Vaseline, no, that's like the two Spanish firemen Hose A and Hose B.
That's my favourite That's my favourite Spanish joke.
Oh, very good.
Hose A, Hose B.
- To butter someone up.
- Yes, exactly right! To flatter, to butter someone up.
Very good.
Excellent.
Excellent, excellent, excellent.
Now, er, this is the original design for a familiar French object.
What is it? Oh! - There's an elephant in the room.
- Oh, no.
How did you find that elephant? That's from the last series! That was like a year ago we were offering bonuses for elephants.
Must've been there for a year, is all I can surmise.
Well Just for cheek I'll give you 10 points.
I think it's brilliant.
Erm Extraordinary.
Erm This This was a design for, er, an object that was going to go in a place where now a more familiar landmark is.
Est-ce que le Tour Eiffel? Non, c'est ne pas la Tour Eiffel.
- L'Arc de Triomphe.
- Moulin Rouge? - Not the Moulin Rouge.
He got it.
- L'Arc de Triomphe.
The Arc de Triomphe.
Where the Arc de Triomphe now is, in l'Etoile at the end of Champs-Élysées, this was a design to celebrate the glorious achievements of Louis XV in the shape of an elephant, as you may have noticed.
Really? Yes.
It was a grand kiosk to the glory of the king, erm And - A kiosk? - Yeah, they called it a "kiosk".
What, selling fags and stuff? It It It was to have a form of air conditioning, and furniture that folded into the walls; a drainage system in the trunk, which would also serve as a fountain.
You could hold balls and banquets inside it.
A drainage system serving as a fountain? Well, kind of, I guess.
There is a large elephant, I believe, in Bangkok; a building in the shape of an elephant in Bangkok, huge building.
But This, sadly, never happened.
Instead, the Arc de Triomphe, which is the largest triumphal arch in the world, was placed a little later, 50 years later by Napoleon to celebrate - which particular triumph? - You see, now, the Arc de Triomphe just looks shit.
Doesn't it? So dull.
It's basically the Marble Arch, isn't it? It's not much more than Wellington's victory arch, but it's bigger.
Do you know what it celebrates? Which victory? Austerlitz.
1880, Austerlitz is exactly right, yes.
Crikey, well done.
Very good.
He's smart.
And in 1919, Charles Godefroy, an aviator, flew this plane through it to celebrate the end of the war.
Bet he was pleased there wasn't an elephant there.
Very.
And unfortunately, of course, Hitler marched there To celebrate the beginning of the war.
Well, kind of, yes, to celebrate his His - Occupation of France - Newfound friends.
Yes, his new friends, exactly.
So the answer was the Arc de Triomphe.
Er, it was planned in the shape of an enormous high-rise elephant with air conditioning, a spiral staircase draining system in the trunk.
Now, then.
What are the symptoms of Paris syndrome? It exists.
Paris syndrome.
There, they had to explain to me who that was.
Yeah.
Is it auditory hallucinations in the third person, knights-move thinking, and an inability to crochet? Wow No.
But very specific, and I like that.
You have to picture the Japanese, who are taught, as many people are around the world, that Paris is the centre of sophistication, elegance, artistry, cosmopolitan élan, and savoir faire And they arrive in Paris, and almost everything the French do is something that Japanese people find very difficult.
Almost everything in the French language in the way it's spoken is to them somehow kind of offensive; plus, they have to walk miles; they've got jet lag; and they suffer from Paris syndrome, and at its most serious, an average of twelve people a year have to be expensively repatriated to Japan.
There is a 24-hour helpline in the Japanese embassy in Paris for Japanese people who are traumatised by the experience, the disappointment, the horror, the offence to their sensibility, of Paris.
- That's extraordinary.
- Isn't that fabulous? That is fabulous.
I think it reflects well on the Japanese, myself.
I don't find it I I definitely had that when I went there.
Yeah.
Miserable bastards.
If you're If you are traumatised by Paris, you're gonna be traumatised by the French medical system, aren't you? Because what the French always do, whatever ailment you have, they give you a suppository.
Up the bottom, you're quite right.
Don't they? 'Cause they want to get it - It's their answer for everything.
- Yeah.
So Paris syndrome is an extreme form of culture shock that affects Japanese tourists.
Now.
Who were described as "a bunch of lunatics and a woman"? Now, now, now.
The words right out of my mouth.
Yeah.
We're in France, still.
In Paris, in fact.
Yes? Is it the first revolutionary committee? Er, Marat and that lot, - all those people? - No, it wasn't.
Nice thought.
The woman's name was Berthe Morisot: does that help? Ah, er, er Who was Berthe Morisot? Er, she was the sister of someone, wasn't she? - She was.
- Was it? She was, erm She was the painter who was, in her own right, erm, an Impressionist painter and And there was a bit of a clue in the, er It was the Impressionists.
The Impressionists generally were described as this.
Now, of course, amongst the most valuable art in the world and amongst the most agreed upon in its lusciousness, but at the time was considered absolutely horrific Horrific unfinished nonsensical drivel, artless in fact and, and valueless and And valueless, and, er, the word "Impressionist" was an insult, er It was given by a By a critic Hello Very nice.
It was just getting really itchy.
Oh, well, we can't have that.
You look like a Greek Orthodox minister, there.
That's exactly what I was looking for.
You were going for the archimandrite look.
It's Archbishop Makarios! I miss Makarios.
Yeah.
Lovely.
Whoops.
Super.
Erm, anyway, yes, er In the world of the Impressionists.
Do you like them? No, well They've made no impression on me, Stephen.
Then, the They've not done their work.
- No.
- No.
The reason I knew the answer to that is because when I was, er When I was 18, when I'd finished my A-levels, about 4 mates and myself went to Paris for a week and went to the Jeu de Paume or wherever the Impressionists museum was at that point, and stood in front of all these pictures by Manet and the kind of views of Rouen Cathedral or Reims Cathedral or something, and started doing that really awful thing of going, "Oh, what tremendous use of light," and at that point I actually did think, not for the first time in my life, I just thought of myself "What a tosser" "I am being.
" And it sort of effectively cured me of that sort of thing.
- We had Mr Bradshaw for art - Yep.
And on the first day, he gave us all This is double art, so it was 80 minutes of art And he gave us each a copy of the Observer Book of Artists and told us to read it in silence.
And really bored, we were all bored and started actually ironically doodling And doing stick men football matches and things like that, and then he said, "Do a size of a postage stamp painting of something you'd like to paint properly," and I did a steam engine.
I was quite pleased with it, but I couldn't, after a while I didn't like it so much, and I did a black line all round it And then I thought it looked great.
Quite dramatic and he came and said there wouldn't be a black line around it, would there? And painted it out.
What? And then I went to an art gallery somewhere one day for no reason other than it was raining, probably, and there was some really famous painter and everything in all of his paintings had a black line round it.
Yes, the famous painter Bradshaw.
I went to, er, oddly enough, to the Louvre, to the Hogarth exhibition, and what they don't like at the Hogarth exhibition is when you go from print to print and you go, "There's Wally! There's Wally!" "There he is!" Really easy to see 'cause he's in red and black and they're black and white.
"Oi oi! There he is.
" You think with Hogarth, the thing he must be most pissed off about is that he's basically remembered for being a roundabout on the A40? No, the A4, isn't it? - All that work.
All that gin.
- Poor Hogarth.
All that work.
I know more about theatre.
Right.
- French theatre people.
Ask me about them.
- Ah, Roger Blin, and Jean-Louis Barrault.
- No, not them.
- Oh, right.
Sarah Bernhardt? We did Genet, Ionesco Yeah, ask me about them.
- I was just saying earlier - Not about the Impressionists.
Jean Genet.
I I A friend of mine was at a dinner party with the novelist Anthony Burgess, and said, "What do you think of Jean Genet?" And he said, "Masturbator and excremental narcissist.
" Fair enough! It's a good thing to have on your gravestone, isn't it? I wish "What do you do?" "I'm an excremental narcissist.
" - Wish I'd thought of that in a seminar.
- Yeah.
That would've gone down a treat.
Do you know what the great influence on the Impressionists was? What really, in a way, kick-started their entire way of painting and looking at the world? Was it alcohol? No, I think that sustained many of them.
It was a complete export.
It's something we've been talking about.
It's Japan.
When Japan opened up again in the 1850s, all kinds of Japanese artifacts flooded into Europe, and the British, but particularly the Parisians, were absolutely obsessed with it, right up to Van Gogh had an enormous collection of Japanese prints.
And they particularly were astonished by the wrappings, the ordinary wrapping paper that was used for objects that came in: combs and hairbrushes were wrapped, and they had this extraordinary way of This rough, simple way of painting and conveying things that completely transported these people.
And how did they reward them? By being rude to them in restaurants and not serving them.
Now, what comes from Paris, has short legs and a big head, wears a permanent grin, and refuses to act its age? President Sarkozy, I think.
Er, no.
Not him.
We're thinking of something that isn't human.
Madame Cholet.
Ah, very good.
Is it a panda or something ridiculous like that? No, it's a Mexican creature and it It It If you think of a Chihuahua.
Er, no.
It's a really nice, crunchy, Aztec-sounding word, like their mountains.
What are their mountains called in Mexico? You know? Popo Popo Popocatepetl.
Popocatepetl.
Cotopaxi, popoca All that sort of names.
This animal has a name like that.
- It's a Haddock.
- Axolotl.
- "Axolotl" is the right answer! Well done, Jo.
- Oh, I'm being so intelligent tonight.
Yeah! - What's come over me? - Oh, five points to Jo for "axolotl".
There they are.
Yay.
Hear hear.
Aren't they cute-looking? They're a species of animal that sort of Branched off from the main.
They stopped metamorphosing.
You know the way a tadpole turns into a frog? Well, this is how This should be halfway through the life of a salamander, but instead, there's a sort of sub-species of salamander that's That decided it liked being halfway through and not turning into a salamander.
But it can be If you inject it with iodine, it will turn into a salamander.
It'll also go bright yellow, presumably, will it? Or not? It will go, er I think it's a tiger salamander; it'll go a rather mottled colour.
So it's a really extraordinary 'cause they're very popular pets, because they've got little cheeky grinny faces.
What a great hobby.
"I'm an axolotl transformer.
I walk around with a syringe full of iodine looking for axolotls.
" "Salamander! Salamander! Salamander!" And they have other extraordinary properties that make them very interesting.
They heal without scarring, and if you cut an arm off, it grows a new one.
Because in a sense, they're almost made of stem cells so they teach scientists an enormous amount - about the way stem cells work, because - And they unbelievably cheerful.
They They're so cheerful, and they Partly because they can regenerate.
They're like the cheerleader in Heroes, aren't they? That's essentially right.
They are, exactly that.
They're like her.
If you inject her with iodine, she might become a salamander.
That'd be an interesting - She might well.
- Season 3.
Yeah, season 3.
They're popular pets, especially in Japan, oddly enough.
I bet they're not smiling when they get there, are they? No.
They come from Mexico.
There's one particular lake Well, two, but one One of them's dried up, and the other one is now a series of canals and things.
It's under Mexico City and in the 19th century, six axolotls were taken to this French scientist who examined them, and almost all the axolotls in the world that are used as pets and everything are descended from those six.
Oh, they breed them, do they, and you can buy them in - They're very popular - The Paris equivalent of Loot.
They're very popular pets.
They They live underwater, and they're cheerful, as you see.
And have they all got dreadlocks? Well that's the ferny bit I mentioned, and it is ferny, isn't it? - Well what does it do? - It's Those are the gills.
- External gills.
- Right.
Yeah.
Yeah.
My ears are starting to look a bit like that now.
Now.
Axolotls, was the answer.
A species of salamander that have refused to grow up.
Most of the world's surviving population are descended from six that were imported into a Parisian lab in 1863.
Napoleon once said, "An army marches on its stomach.
" Why would you want a Frenchman by your side in a fight? There is a Frenchman.
Give you five points if you know who that Frenchman is.
That's André the Giant.
It is André the Giant, you're absolutely right.
He was a well known - He was a A wrestler.
- Wrestler.
And also starred in an excellent film called? The Princess Bride.
The Princess Bride, you're right.
- Points to you, I think.
- Trivia points, yes, but not real points.
Excellent.
Which is his normal body colour? Ehrm, I think He's going for a party at Judith Chalmers' house in one, and then in the other, he's going round the Smurfs.
Yeah.
I'll give you 50 points if you can tell me who used to drive him to school when he was a boy.
- Was it, er - President Sarkozy.
- John Wayne.
- Vanessa Feltz's aunt? No.
It was a Nobel Prize winner.
And Who's in Wisden, as a cricketer.
Allons, on ne peut pas, pourquoi? En attendant Godot.
- Oh, Beckett? - Samuel Beckett.
Is in Wisden? Yes, he is in Wisden.
The only Nobel prize winner in Wisden, I believe.
What's he in Wisden for? He was a fine cricketer in his day.
In Ireland, er, as a young man.
He was an excellent cricketer.
- What was it? - The Mick doesn't play cricket, Stephen.
It's in It's in And what did he used to do to André the Wrestler? He He used to drive him to school.
And he had this condition, André, which meant that his growth hormone couldn't be stopped, and so he had 13-inch wrists, for example.
- He was huge.
- He was really huge.
But we use him as an example of - a French soldier, which he wasn't, really.
- A French soldier, so But why would a French soldier be a good person to have by your side? Are they good at fighting? Well, that's really the point.
Yes, they are.
Despite their reputation for being miserable cowards Always losing.
Yeah, er, for always losing, they didn't.
It seems, according to Niall Ferguson, the historian, of the 125 major European wars fought since 1495, the French have fought in 50, more than Austria, which was 47, and England, 43.
And they achieved an impressive average.
Out of a total of 168 battles fought since 387 BC, they've won 109, lost 49, and drawn 10.
Ste Stephen That's pretty good.
Put Put the glasses back on.
- Yeah.
- Just pop them back on.
Now people flicking over the channel may suddenly think that they're seeing a Benny Hill retrospective.
"Hello, viewers!" There's a touch of that.
Oh, if only Henry McGee was on tonight, what a show you'd have.
Yeah.
"We are speaking with Mr Fred Scuttle.
" "Yes, we are sir! I've been hosting quizzes" "For some 20 years! My father used to build concrete barriers to stop cars.
" "Bollards?" "It's true, sir!" We miss him, we miss him dearly.
The world needs Benny.
Anyway, that's That's the point, despite What did Groundskeeper Willie famously call them? Ah, "cheese-eating surrender monkeys".
"Cheese-eating surrender monkeys.
" And despite that reputation for not being In fact, there was a time when if you Googled "French military victories", er, Google returned 'cause someone had written a very clever little programme inside it They returned "Did you mean: 'French military defeats'?" It was extremely unkind.
They've had a bad recent record, though, haven't they? I mean - Well, some - If you're going from 387 BC, but Obviously Napoleon ultimately lost a lot of victories on the way, but then we got the cane out of the cupboard and we gave him a damn good thrashing.
Erm, and that was, er Now.
Le jeux sont fait, rien ne va plus.
Nous sommes arrivés à le point in le show where the TGV of savoir-faire hits the brick mur of "je ne sais quoi", avec le rond qui s'appelé "General Ignorance", so fingers on buzzers.
Alain.
What did the Romans like to wear? - The Romans.
- Togas.
Er, sandals.
They wore sandals.
Sandals.
They did wear sandals, but togas Although they did wear togas, they expressly did not like wearing them.
They were huge and unwieldy "I'm sick of this thing.
" They They actually Augustus the emperor had to pass a law making Romans wear them within the Forum, because he didn't like them not wearing them, but they were huge things; they were vast and they were very hard to put on.
You had to keep your left arm up in order for it not to slip off you, and they were totally unwieldy.
That is a toga, that - What? - Semi-circle, sort of Oh, good grief.
That Mandarin slice, there, is a toga next to a human being.
It's a great semi-circle of material.
That's a man windsurfing.
We had a toga party at my house in 1982.
And I'm sure you used much more convenient togas.
Sheets.
- Sheets, exactly, à la - Duvet covers with a hole in.
My friend Danny, only had a pink sheet with "Pontin's Holidays" embroidered in the corner.
How stylish.
- He did not get off with anyone.
- No.
I could imagine.
I laughed all night every time I thought of it.
Would they have different tog ratings of toga for the, like, winter? Big old Romans just like Well, they had the toga pulla, which was the dark toga, and they had the toga picta, which was a patterned toga, and they had the toga candida, and, er, "candida" is the Latin for "white".
But the toga candida was worn by those who were entering an election from which we get the word? - Candidate.
- Candidate! - Points! - Comes from that.
Points.
Definitely a point or two for that.
Now, why do racing cyclists shave their legs? Well, I hesitate to say "for aerodynamic purposes".
You may well have hesitated, but you still said it.
That's what the do in that film Breaking Away.
I love that film.
You should know, because haven't you You've done the Tour de France, haven't you? I've done a leg of it, yeah, but I believed that it was for the reason Alan said, and I'm not gonna let the buzzer go off again.
No, no, it won't twice, don't worry.
- You're safe there.
- Is it a sweat thing, then? Not quite that, it's It's a sort of odd series of reasons, it appears, but there's absolutely no aerodynamic advantage, and they know it, apparently, because they all obviously have their doctors and scientists helping them.
Swimmers, of course, they have a 2% advantage by shaving in water.
But the main reason given is that it makes it easier to clean out a wound, is one reason; sticking plasters stay on better and pull off less painfully; they also, cyclists, have their calves massaged an enormous amount It also looks far better in stockings, - once you've finished.
- And it's more comfortable on a shaved And, yes, you're right, personal aesthetic considerations may also be a consideration.
It's a part of "le look".
Erm, Austrian cyclist René Haselbacher had his shorts ripped off in the 2003 tour and it emerged that he shaved the whole area, as you can probably see.
Rather a Brazilian - Oh, hello.
- But still designer stubble.
How odd is that? Shaved from neck to toe.
It's a shame it doesn't make any difference, 'cause I've been using the fact that I didn't shave my legs as an excuse for going five hours slower than the guy who won.
Yeah, sorry, what did Which stage did you do? I did what was the It's There's There's an open stage every year Where An amateur stage.
- And you do - And you're allowed to join in? You do Well, you do it two weeks before they do it - Right.
- So it's 8000 of us.
And by the end, there were 4000 of us left at the end of it.
I started in 2400th place, and I finished in 3400th place.
Oh no.
- You mean 1000 people overtook you? - So I was passed I was pounced By 1000 people, and it took me It took 11 hours to do this stage.
The winner The winner of the actual proper stage when they did it the next week was a guy called Vinokourov, I think his name was.
He did it in five hours, but he was using someone else's blood and he was He was thrown out the stage that night for blood doping, but it took me nine hours - Someone else's blood! - It took me nine hours To catch up the bloke with the one leg.
Oh, Hugh! Well, I'm full of admiration for you, Hugh.
I mean, it's absolutely wonderful.
Now, why do Spaniards lisp when they speak? Because the king lisps and everyone copied him.
There's always a delay.
Yeah, there is no evidence whatsoever for this; and if it were true then they would lisp all the time.
They wouldn't say "Espania"; they'd say "Ethpania", but they don't, except in There are very small areas where they lisp on the "s" as well, but that's considered very bumpkinish in Spanish, so it's just somehow one of these stories that's got around that isn't true at all.
Do you know that story about Arnold Schwarzenegger? When they'd made Terminator, and they did a German version of it, and he said, "Can I please dub it back into German because I speak German?" And they said "no", because he's Austrian and he sounds like a farmer.
"Now where's John Connor? We're looking for John Connor.
" "I'm from the future!" "Hasta la vista, baby!" It's a hell of a thought.
"I want your jacket.
" Well, it certainly has nothing to do with sucking up to the king.
It isn't technically a lisp, but a feature of pronunciation in Castile, no different from the curious northern British pronunciation of bath and grass; or, if you prefer, the curious southern pronunciation of bath and grass.
Talking of kings, what did they call the man who won the Battle of Hastings? Harold.
Oh, no.
They called him - Oh no, he lost, didn't he? - Yes.
- What did they call the man who won? - William the Conqueror.
Oh, no.
No, the We call him William the Conqueror; - what did they call him in the day? - He was called William of Normandy, I think.
William le Conqueror.
But the fact is, no, the word "William" didn't exist at all as a name at the time of the conquest.
He was known as Guillaume Bâtard, William the Bastard, in fact, was how he was universally known by the other French.
It wasn't as rude to call him that.
The bloke on the left appears to be riding a llama.
I mean, that's definitely a horse on the right And he's got a parrot He's a random pirate who's arrived in the middle.
"Well, I arrived on a busy day here in Hastings.
" "Who's that doing the embroidery over yonder? Get my good side.
" As you might see in the top left corner, the word William is kind of developing; it's become "Wilgelm".
- Wilgelm.
- That was "Will 6 Elm".
- Wilgeml - "Normanno".
I like that.
- Normanno.
- Yeah, is it Normany or? Is that like medieval text speak? They never put the whole thing in; they just put, you know, "c u l8r".
We have been "conquRd".
"We've invaded Britain.
LOL.
" O-M-G.
Very good.
So They have indeed.
Erm, that's basically the point.
But all the Norman names, all the Saxon names, disappeared within 50 years of the invasion.
All the Earwigs and Ethelreds and all those sort of names disappeared, and it became Hugo and Robert and Richard and William Became the most popular names.
William One in every seven men in England was called William within 50 years of William's conquering of England.
Anyway, nobody called him William.
The French called him Guillaume le Bâtard.
As for the English, er, there was no equivalent name in Anglo-Saxon, so they just probably referred to him as "the bastard".
But sacre bleu! And zut alors, it is that time, ladies and gentlemen.
Garçon, l'addition, s'il vous plaît.
And I have the scores right in front of me.
Here is the damage.
Well, well, well, well, well, well, well.
We have an outright winner, ladies and gentlemen, with fifteen clear points, it's Hugh Dennis! Wow.
In second place In second place with cinq, it's Jo Brand! Not bad for a girl.
In third place with minus deux, it's Phill Jupitus.
But with a magnifique minus trente-neuf, minus thirty-nine, Alan Davies.
Well, there you have it.
Then it remains for me to wish you au revoir, à bientôt, adieu, and to say thank you to Jo, Hugh, Phill, and Alan.
I leave you with the perfect French-baiting headline from the Daily Telegraph of 1929: "Great Storm in Channel, Continent Isolated".
Salut maintenant.
Merci.