QI (2003) Episode Scripts

N/A - History

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Welcome, welcome, and thrice welcome to the home of highbrow know-how that we call QI.
Tonight, we'll be groping down the back of the great sofa of history, to find those tasty morsels that other historians have so carelessly discarded there.
And to accompany me on my quest, I have the postmodern Rob Brydon.
THUNDEROUS CHEERING AND APPLAUSE The pre-classical David Mitchell.
MORE CHEERING AND APPLAUSE The Pleistocene Sandi Toksvig.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And our very own bowl of primordial soup, Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Each panellist is equipped with a suitably historic buzzer.
So, as we stroll off into the mists of time, let's start with something nice and easy - name a henge.
Now, look, come on Seahenge.
Aaah! ALARM AND BELLS There is a Seahenge, but it's not a henge.
Oh, right.
It's a word with the word "henge" in it, as "spigot" has got the word "pig" in it, but it isn't a pig.
You see? So, the word "henge" in it, that's wrong? I think you're wary enough, for good reasons.
Yeah, you didn't get me there.
A henge is a specific thing.
What is a henge? You have two of them on the side of a door, or on the top of a window.
WEST COUNTRY ACCENT: I'll do you a nice henge, sir, yes.
A hedge bent on revenge, that's what it is.
It's a very old form of economic investment - a henge fund.
Wahey! It's not that either.
It's one of those archaeological words.
There's a specific meaning, an embanked area outside with ditches on the inside, right? And Stonehenge is the other way round, so it's not a henge.
Even though the name henge comes from Stonehenge.
A henge is a word for something that's like Stonehenge, but not including Stonehenge? Basically, yes.
It was just Stonehenge.
Was the word "stone" named after Stonehenge? Yes, you're safe with the stone.
Maybe Stonehenge was just a noise they came up with for Stonehenge, which luckily gave them a word for two common sorts of things.
Probably the noise when they put those top ones up.
GROANS AND SQUEALS People right up until the 20th century were quarrying it.
They would actually set fires on the lintels, the top bits, to crack the stone and take it off and build things with them.
Nowadays it's cordoned off.
Yes, it is, rather, isn't it? Except the Druids.
They can do what they want.
How long have Druids been celebrating religious services there? 1970.
Since the beginning of the 20th century.
There's no evidence that Druids had anything to do with Stonehenge.
So why did they get all these concessions of access to Stonehenge? In 1905, when they started doing it, Stonehenge was private property.
It didn't belong to anybody except the owner of it, and then Chubb in 1915, who went to a lunatic asylum nearby, bought it in 1915 For his wife.
You're quite right.
Yes, he bought it for his wife at auction.
Yeah, and three years later she gifted it to the nation.
Re-gifted? Yes, re-gifted.
Well, it must have been hell to clean.
Those top bits.
So, the Druids have access to it, so presumably, I mean, they can't all have parked miles away.
They must have little stickers in their windows with a little Druid sign on it, which also gets them into Klu Klux Klan meetings.
Yes, they've just got to straighten up their headdresses.
They can park near the burning cross.
There was a mention you made there of Seahenge.
What is Seahenge? So that's not a proper henge either? No.
Seahenge, isn't it some bits of old and knackered wood that occasionally become visible when the tide is out.
That's it, 55 bit of old oak in Holme-Next-The-Sea in Norfolk coast which was only discovered quite recently.
Carhenge, does that mean anything to you? Yes, I do know what that is.
Yes? Well, I'll guess.
It's that AUDIENCE TITTERS You started really confident, then it just slid away from you there.
It's probably not right, I'll give it a go.
I think I know what it is.
It was featured on the inner liner notes of Bruce Springsteen's album The River, in particular reference to the song Cadillac Ranch, it's all these Cadillacs that have been It's not, is it? Yes, it is.
It is, it is! All these cars have been stuck in the ground.
And sprayed with grey paint.
Yes, it's in Nebraska.
It's interesting, though.
That obviously looks quite a lot like Stonehenge, considering it's made of cars, but you can't help feeling he could have made it look more like Stonehenge if he'd used something else to make it with.
It was a memorial to his father.
Was he killed in a car accident? Does the name Alfred Watkins mean anything to you? He wrote a book called the Old Straight Track in the 1920s, and he posited something that he called leys.
They're spiritual lines Yes, people, apparently wrongly, call them ley lines.
They're wrong to do that.
Whereas people who allege they exist aren't wrong to do that.
But we can show you some ley lines which may make you think again.
Each one of those letters represents something.
Yeah, it's certainly challenging my scepticism.
If each one of these letters represented a stone circle or a henge of some kind, it would be quite a coincidence, because you would need to get above the ground to get them that shape, but actually, this map was drawn by someone who was deliberately poking fun at ley lines, because this is nothing less than a representation of Woolworths stores in Britain.
As he says, you can't rule out the possibility that Woolworths used aliens to get so exact and perfect a geometrical shape.
It does look like if you folded it one more time you'd get a frog.
Yes! It looks quite origami.
Surely there are more, or were.
There are 800.
So he's been very selective in his choice of Woolworths stores.
Whereas, people who believe in ley lines aren't? According to archaeologists, Stonehenge isn't really a henge at all.
So, I have a thing that I want to show you.
This might help in decision-making.
Have a look at one there.
Pass one along.
There you go.
It's a bowl.
It's a replica of an original ancient British bronze bowl that was discovered in Northern Ireland.
It's very like a bronze bowl.
It's very like a bronze bowl.
It has got a hole in it.
Has yours got a hole in the bottom? Yes.
They've all got holes in the bottom.
That's a very ancient British use, it must be said.
You know what I'd use this for? Tell me.
If I were enjoying some salted pistachios at home, while watching the Emmerdale omnibus .
I would use this to deposit To kill yourself.
To kill yourself! I'm joking, of course.
I would use it to deposit the shells.
And would the salt run out of the bottom hole? Yes, it would, and I would use that to encourage slugs.
I would make a trail of the salt to encourage them to their death.
Do you think that's what ancient Britons used to use it for? I think I'm close.
Except it would have been Crossroads rather than Emmerdale Farm? Yes.
Would you like me to demonstrate how would you use it? Yes! I have one here.
It's a slightly bigger one.
I have a large vase Where's the fish gone? And if I put it in here, what's going to happen? Yeah, great.
It's going to sink.
But the point is, it takes a set amount of time to fall to the bottom, and you could call that time a minute, or something.
You could give it a name and make it a time unit.
Suddenly, you've got a way of repeating a consistent length of time.
Almost all civilisations have developed different ways of measuring a unit of time they can predict.
Not necessarily to tell the time of day, which you could say when it's noon, but, "I will see you in two" let's call it a bowlington.
When it hits the bottom - bang.
Go! Yeah, go, exactly.
So, if you're playing hide and seek, you'd say, "I'll give you a bowlington," OK? And then you just drop it like that.
It's called a water clock, or a water thief, it is called a Ah, that's slightly different.
Is it? Yes, that's a Greek thing, that's a clepsydra, which is a water thief.
They used it the other way round.
They had a bowl with a hole in it, but they perched it above and they measured out the amount of water that dropped out through the hole.
What other early clocks do you know about? Candles, marked off.
Yes, do you know who was said to be the inventor of the candle? It's a legend.
Alfred the Great, they say.
Though not very reliable, to be honest.
No, he burnt those cakes.
Yes, exactly, you see? Very difficult to strap to your wrist, as well.
Do you know about explosive sundials, you might call them? The sundial alarm clock? It uses a lens, so that when the sun hits the lens, it points a beam at a fuse, which tracks all the way to a cannon and fires a gun at exactly noon.
Can you get one of those, Stephen? That's a fantastic way to wake the children.
In a hail of bullets.
"You're going to school!" Pp-pp-pp-pp-pp! Dance! Yeah, that would do it.
We've got time telling by looking, by seeing something, the sun's shadow, for example, on a dial, and by listening to a drum or a gun going off, but the Chinese, God bless them, they managed to use another sense.
Is it something that goes off in a certain amount of time when starts to stink.
Sort of, they just had gradated incense sticks, joss sticks, so that it would burn for an hour, and it would smell of sandalwood, and then it would go through another band which smelt of rose or something so you could tell what time it was.
"Oh, it's the rose-smelling time, it's that hour.
" That's rather sweet.
"Oh, it's cinnamon, I must collect the children.
" Yes, exactly.
You talked about the clepsydra, the Greek one that was like a bowl.
But there was a much more subtle Greek machine.
Have you ever heard of a really remarkable Greek computer? The watch.
Sort of.
It was much more than a watch, though.
It was discovered in 1901 by sponge divers.
It's known as SpongeBob? SpongeBob Square Pants.
An antikythera.
The antikythera is an extraordinary device.
Look at it.
That's Ancient Greek.
Do you know what it can tell you? It can determine the course of the sun, the moon and the known planets.
When you enter the date it calculated the positions.
An achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact that they believed the solar system was geocentric rather than solar-centric.
Stephen, you've been watching QVC again.
It does look like it.
It does look like something you would get on there.
It subdivided the year into 365 days, including a leap year every fourth year, it was able to predict eclipses of the moon and the sun, as well as the appearance of the zodiac signs in the sky.
And this is from the Greeks? The Ancient Greeks, around 180 BC.
It kept track of the Olympic Games, which year was an Olympic year.
Discovered by sponge divers? Don't you find it odd that there's just as much water where sponges grow as there is anywhere else? That is odd.
You weren't a guest on that particular show, it was an early QI.
Do you know a peculiar property of sponges? No.
It is amazing.
You put a sponge in a liquidiser, it will obviously turn into a hideous coloured mess and then settle down, it will reassemble itself into a sponge.
But, more amazingly, put two sponges in, and it will settle itself into its two original sponge shapes.
So they're essentially like Terminators? Exactly, exactly, but Terminator 2.
It's evil, isn't it? Definitely evil.
We should definitely, I think, destroy all sponges, shouldn't we? That's only natural sponge, not the one you get at Halfords? No, no.
So it's proper real sponge, like the Body Shop sort of sponge.
Yes, that kind.
I'm going to do that as soon as I get home.
I think they have to be alive.
The dried-out ones won't count.
So where would I go to get a sponge? The Adriatic for the Aegean Sea would be a good place.
Well, what time is it now? There's your problem.
They'd probably pay you to go to Greece, given their economy.
So had the sponges stolen that clock? What where they are doing with it? Well, I think it had been dropped off a ship, it was undersea.
If they've got these powers, we don't need them to have access to our technology as well.
You said the divers found that.
Sorry, I genuinely thought you said they were kind of creating that from the sponges No! I've been sitting here going, "How the hell did they do that?" What, you thought in Ancient Greece, the greatest timekeeping technology was possessed by the sponge divers? Well, that's how it appeared to me over here.
But moving on to more modern timekeeping pieces, there was a recent discovery, or invention, I suppose you would call it, of the most accurate clock yet devised.
Is it the atomic It's a new optical clock, accurate to one second in 3.
7 billion years, but what is the point of having an incredibly accurate clock? You'd have to know when SpongeBob Square Pants is going to start.
There are some ready meals that you need to time exactly.
Well, how does GPS work? I don't know.
Satellite, various satellites.
You send a signal from your GPS device, there have got to be at the least three, usually four or five satellites that receive your signal, and the difference in time it takes to get from one satellite to the other and the other, which is milliseconds, allows them to calculate your position to within ten metres.
So they built this clock so your TomTom will work.
No, this one you'd be within a metre, if not less.
You would be able to have aeroplanes landing without humans, traffic on motorways without humans driving, because it's so accurate.
Any transaction over the internet uses what's called packet switching, which means that the information is broken up into packets and they're reassembled at the other side, but each side has to be exactly synchronised, otherwise the message is nonsense.
So the caesium atomic clocks are not just for, "Gosh, look how accurate," but it's in order to make all this technology work.
That's rather pleasing, isn't it? I preferred it when it was more relaxed.
Who was the king that had Sandringham time, was it Edward VII? All the clocks were set half an hour earlier, so that everybody got up for hunting.
I read this once and I thought, "What a marvellous idea.
" On New Year's Eve, for years, I used to reset the clocks during the day.
At nine o'clock, it look like it was midnight, and I'd say to the children, "You've stayed up, isn't it marvellous? Well done.
" And put them to bed.
It was fantastic.
There's accurate time and there's Bergsonian internal time, which is the time in which things can seem to take a lifetime in your own head, and things can go fast.
Don't they say that the amount of time that something seems to take is in terms of a percentage of how long you've been alive? Time speeds up, the older you get.
I had an aunt in her 90s and she'd say, "It CAN'T be breakfast again.
" She was astonished by the idea.
The Queen Mother, everything after 1964 was just a sort of blur.
She must have thought, "My horses are definitely getting quicker.
" It was an ancient British clock, one of the ways we told the time when being accurate to a billionth of a second didn't seem so important.
Talking of time, it's time for a picture round.
Here's a very famous image, so you can bank a few points.
How was it made, what is it? It's not a tapestry.
You've learnt.
Firstly, it wasn't made in Bayeux.
Bayeux is in France, this was probably in Kent.
Do we know who by? The Normans commissioned it, but sort of Saxon embroiderer ladies did it.
Yes, absolutely right.
It's one example of why women's history has completely disappeared, because women tended to make things like this phenomenal piece of work, but they didn't sign it.
So we don't know the names.
We know the name of the man who commissioned it, but we don't know the names of the women who made it.
The lack of signature is one of the reasons why women's history has disappeared.
It's remarkable.
You're right to say it's an embroidery, It's absolutely not a tapestry.
A tapestry is all one material with the different colours woven in at the weaving stage.
This is a woven piece of cloth that is then embroidered.
It's so typical.
The women do all this embroidery and the man goes, "Nice tapestry.
" I know.
It's very absurd.
"Couldn't make us a cup of tea, could you?" "My hands are raw.
" Is the word "tapestry" named after the Bayeux tapestry but they decided to make it mean something LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Can you tell the British from the French in that picture? Are the British the four-legged ones at the top? I should say English rather than British.
The English would be the ones not on horses.
That's pretty much true.
The other giveaway is moustaches.
Some English fighters were on horses.
But the British The English - I'm allowed to say English, I'm unused to saying English - had the moustaches.
Harold's housecarls, plus they tended to have battle-axes rather than the lances and things.
Great comedy hats.
They're rather extraordinary.
They're like party hats, they've got a bit of elastic under the chin.
It was done by the same person that did Mr Benn.
It's a very similar style, isn't it? Yes.
"Suddenly the shopkeeper appeared.
" I wonder if they are specific blokes that the women doing the embroidery knew.
"Who you doing?" "I'm doing Reg.
" "Look at the way he held his axe.
He was lovely before they cut him to bits.
" Their mail, their suits of reinforced defensive clothing, Harald Hardrada had a long one which apparently couldn't be penetrated by a spear and was known as Emma.
Was that based on a particularly aloof woman who couldn't be penetrated? APPLAUSE One's bound to wonder.
I didn't know until someone told me this recently that quite a lot of the names that we use, or Christian names, we call them, came from the Normans and that invasion.
They completely changed the country.
Yes, including William, and the first few kings.
John, Richard.
Robert, lots of them.
Is it not when we start to change the language completely, is it not when we get beef instead of cow? Because we had two words each time, exactly.
We could use the English word for the animal, cow, and the French word, boeuf, for the food.
The British word sheep, and mouton, mutton, can become what you eat.
You eat the mouton, you eat the beef, but the animal is the cow.
But why? The Saxons herded them and knew them as animals, and the Normans just feasted and ate them because they were the upper class, so would use their word for it.
The only time they saw a cow was when it was on a plate in front of them.
Quite a lot of what we know about the Bayeux Tapestry, we don't know, because it's not from Bayeux and it isn't a tapestry.
But how can you tell which one Harold is in the Bayeux tapestry that's not a tapestry or from Bayeux? Isn't there a bit of a dispute about whether he's the one with the arrow in his eye, or someone else? Is it like on Facebook, when you run the cursor over it, you get tagged.
And it says, "You are also in this photo," and it'll have the other people.
It's not dissimilar.
There are three tags, all meaning him.
"Harold Rex interfectus est," which means Harold the King is killed.
They tell the story narratively from left to right.
They could all be Harold, or only one of them could be Harold.
It's impossible to tell.
We don't know that he'd an arrow in his eye.
It's a much later story.
So is it like a cartoon? Like one of those books you used to flick.
Although not successful in embroidery, I think.
No It's a cross between that and Where's Wally? Yes, there's a hint A hint of Where's Wally? So the one with the blue shield, he's got an arrow in his eye He has.
People have always ASSUMED that was Harold.
So if it's a journey, it's, "Got an arrow in my eye, I'll just get on this horse for a rest" Continuity! "Where's my shield?" .
and then the horse has disappeared! "I'm dying.
" And they've cut his head off on the right Yeah.
I can't see the arrow in the eye.
It's not come out very well.
I blame bad embroidery.
You can see him holding the end of it He can't have been that ill though, because he seems to have had time to change his socks.
It probably is "I'm dying, get the death socks!" LAUGHTER Stephen, can I point out Can I give the seal of approval to his wonderfully LONG socks? LAUGHTER Rob Long-Socks(!) APPLAUSE Oh, dear They are long.
Yes - it's probable that it's NOT the same person repeated.
The other theory is that he's only one of those and maybe he's the LAST one - under the horse, almost, cos that's where "interfectus est" - "is killed" The point is, we just don't know.
That's good.
So we know how we spot the Englishmen, by their moustaches, the Bayeux Tapestry isn't a tapestry - isn't from Bayeux - and you shouldn't believe anyone who tells you they know HOW Harold died.
However, you CAN spot the Englishmen by their moustaches.
On the subject of English gentlemen with moustaches, could you give us your impression of the average World War II British LAUGHTER Oh, dear.
the average British World War II fighter pilot? You look hilarious on the end! LAUGHTER That is a character Someone has got to write a sitcom around David Mitchell's character.
You look like you're posing with a very successful team of kind ofnovelty Air Force - you've just agreed to have your photograph taken with them, for your birthday.
I know you're not, but if they'd invented gaydar instead of radar LAUGHTER .
I'm sorry to say that would mark high.
LAUGHTER "I'm ordering these helmets for my wife's birthday" I think in this war film, I think I die about two-thirds of the way through.
It breaks the heart of the audience - and inspires the hero.
Everyone goes and kills a load of Germans as revenge for my death.
And I'm the old First World War hero with a gammy leg who runs and watches them come back, and cries I don't think Alan dies.
I think you make it through.
I think I die.
You THINK I'm going to live, and then right near the end, I die.
Like Von Ryan's Express - as I'm running towards the train, I get shot at the end.
I'm the plucky woman who was just supposed to do the radio, who's been forced to fly one of the planes.
You look as if you could, with your sergeant stripes.
I look rather fine.
But how did the pilot talk? That's the thing.
we've got a lovely team today who will be furnishing you with the easyKiosk LAUGHTER Scratchcards Minstrels "Clean up in aisle three.
" Yes.
LAUGHTER But what sort of people? Well What sort of PEOPLE? Yes.
Quite posh KLAXON I think you'll find you're wrong.
LAUGHTER That's the odd thing - they so weren't.
Only 30% of all British fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain went to public school.
And of that 30%, they were mostly MINOR public schools, and of the Eton, Harrow, Winchester or the top 13, there was only 8%.
Just the actors that played them were posh, then? That's the point! In the war films during and after the war - your Kenneth Mores and your David Nivens and so on - they spoke like that.
Did the Germans know we were sending up the lower classes(?) LAUGHTER SHE MIMICS A GERMAN "Here comes someone who has got no manners vatsoever!" LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE But there's your Richard Todd on the left, who's playing "Your actual" Richard Todd.
Guy Gibson I think, and there's David Niven from A Matter Of Life And Death, by the look of it.
And that's how people thought of them, with the moustache and I mean, 30% of them having gone to public school is more than the percentage of the population.
Yes, you're absolutely right So they're a bit posher than But "posh" IS the first word that comes to mind - when 70% were state educated, not privately educated.
But they didn't speak like Jordan or something, did they? LAUGHTER No, nobody did then.
ROB MIMICS JORDAN "There's no way we're gonna drop the bombs "over that lot!" LAUGHTER "It's a real bloody mess dahn there!" LAUGHTER "Right, let 'em go "Look at that!" LAUGHTER APPLAUSE Oh, dear 20% of all the pilots were in fact not even British Polish? Quite a few were Polish and Czechoslovakian, but also from the Dominions, the Empire and the Commonwealth.
Canada and New Zealand and Australia particularly of course.
And South Africa also.
There's one sitting on the plane at the end there, he's obviously hoping for a ride.
LAUGHTER "Is this right? "Is this where you go?" "I'M ready!" "I find you get a better view from here" What about modern pilots? Is it any advantage for THEM to posh up their accents? Yes - isn't it something that it's more reassuring for people? Yeah The classic British Airways pilot is CLIPPED, POSH VOICE: "Welcome aboard" Nowadays, you've got your Virgin, Buzz and Go, and those guys sound like they're on Radio Top Shop They do! LAUGHTER DJ VOICE: "Good morning to you, ladies, "gonna get this little baby airborne soon as I can "First of all, check out Lily Allen.
" LAUGHTER And they tell you the Christian names of the other Why?! You don't need to know that.
I was on a British Airways flight about six weeks after 9/11, and everybody was a little bit tense about flying out of New York - and tragically, the plane directly in front of us took off and crashed.
I don't know if you remember, it was a flight going to the Dominican Republic.
Anyway, we all deplanedand after about 12 hours we were allowed back on to the flight.
Anyway, the pilot came on and he said, "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, this is the delayed flight to London.
"I know many of you are seasoned travellers and "probably don't watch the safety briefing, but perhaps today" LAUGHTER Usually Australians get it right - I was on an Ansett flight from Perth to Adelaide, and he started off by saying "We're on our way to Adelaide.
If Adelaide is not your "final destination, now would be an ideal time to deplane.
" He started talking about the safety, then "But that's enough yakety-yak from me.
"It's time to push some service down the aisles and some scenery past the window.
" LAUGHTER I thought that was very good.
Australians are good at that kind of thing.
Now, accents You're absolutely right, people do like what they consider to be an authoritative and reassuring voice from a pilot.
72% of people interviewed felt at ease if a pilot had a WHAT accent? People like Scottish accents Right.
Edinburgh in particular.
HE TALKS LIKE BILLY CONNOLLY "I don't think THA would be very good" But a nice, respectable Edinburgh would make you feel Miss Jean Brodie.
That's right.
That would be fine.
You could sit down on the plane, hear "Ding-dong" HE MIMICS RONNIE CORBET "Ha-ha This is not the one about the aeroplane" LAUGHTER "that crashes in the river, it's not that one" What about a Geordie accent? 65% of people said a Geordie accent would make them feel more or less comfortable? He can serve the drinks.
"He can serve the drinks"?! Ooh I don't want him flying the plane.
Well, funnily enough Very friendly But they're likely to be chatting too much and then they'll just crash into earth.
65% said they don't mind a Geordie, they'd like a Geordie.
Very popular for a call centre.
What about Brummie? 76% said they would or wouldn't ROB: Oh, no.
I'm afraid to say that they would NOT like It's easy to sort of think, "Sounds like a victim" You know.
"Doesn't sound incompetent - sounds unfortunate.
" LAUGHTER And I think I don't want a skilled pilot, I want a lucky pilot(!) Exactly! The posh voice Could be an idiot, but he's lucked his way through life.
LAUGHTER Then he screws all the stewardesses, and his wife never finds out Yeah, I want HIM flying.
LAUGHTER And 83% of men and women polled said they'd be more likely to trust a male or a female pilot? Oh, male.
Must be.
I'm afraid so.
I'm sorry to say.
There we are.
So that's your flying done for the moment.
Despite the stereotype of the Battle of Britain pilots being posh young chaps fresh from the better public schools and varsities, the great majority were in fact state educated.
Now we're engaged in mortal combat perhaps you can tell me which side Yorkshire was on in the Wars of the Roses? Well, it's the white rose, is Yorkshire.
It's not the counties though, is it, it's just the erthe royal houses.
That's the point exactly.
Yorkshire had no more to do with the House of York than Kent or Norfolk.
It's the Duke of York versus the Duke of Lancaster.
Yes, exactly.
The point is that most people who lived in Yorkshire where Lancastrians, in fact.
They favoured the Lancastrian cause.
But now of course, people in Yorkshire very much associate with the white rose and the Yorkists.
Well - because it's become a symbol of the county, and the cricket match between the two counties is known as the Roses Match and so on.
There are other things called "Yorkshire" that aren't particularly Yorkshire, can you think of one? Pudding? Yorkshire pudding is not a thing that was invented in Yorkshire - although people in Yorkshire Hello? Oh, yes - this was really annoying.
They're trying to say that - like you can't make you know, champagne outside the Champagne region or Stilton outside a certain region - that you wouldn't be allowed to make something and call it a Yorkshire pudding outside Yorkshire Which is basically entirely an idea cooked up by people who manufacture those horrible frozen Yorkshire puddings.
You're right to be angry.
Yes, it's called a protective designation of origin - a PDO - and champagne as you say has it, and Parma ham You can't call it Parma ham unless it comes from Parma.
But making Yorkshire pudding one of those would be like making a SANDWICH one of them.
Yes, you had to come from Sandwich in Kent You had to go to Marks & Spencer's in Sandwich, for the authentic sandwich.
Give me some other British PDO-protected foods.
There's one I think I think Stilton is one.
Where must it come from? It CAN' come, for example, from Stilton.
No, that's quite right.
The town of Stilton - the cheese is named after it because that's where the cheese was sold, not where it was manufactured.
So the designated area that you make it in was bits of Leicestershire, I don't know Anyway, Stilton's not in it.
Mostly round the Melton Mowbray area.
What about pork pies? Melton Mowbray pork pies.
I guess you can't call it a "Melton Mowbray" pork pie.
I don't know if it's a PDO.
Did you know the chairman of the Pork Pie Association is vegetarian? LAUGHTER I didn't know that.
Yes, I interviewed him.
He brought pork pies for us to try, and I said, "Go on then, tuck in.
" And he said, "No, thanks very much, I'm vegetarian.
LAUGHTER That's very peculiar.
Yeah, it's weird.
What What?! LAUGHTER He's angry now! No, I am absolutely Surely What's this man DONE with his life?! LAUGHTER You can't on the one hand say it's wrong to eat animals, and then dedicate your professional life to the marketing of ground-up pig.
LAUGHTER You've got a point! It's just a sort of pacifist nuclear weapons manufacturer! Not all vegetarians are vegetarians because they don't agree with the slaughtering of animals - some just don't like the taste.
Maybe he thought it was a job of being chairman of pork pie hats Yes.
Or of lying Or of lying.
Yes, telling porkies.
He thought he was being a spy.
"I'm going to tell porkies! Tell pork pies.
" "I'm going to destroy the pork pie business from the inside.
" LAUGHTER Well, there you are.
The fact is more Yorkshire folk supported the Lancastrians than the Yorkists.
Scotch whisky! Thank you.
LAUGHTER The question will no doubt DAVID: Any minute now.
On the subject of making a bit of noise, what might you use these for? Oh, those are fantastic.
Aren't they great? If they're mobile, they look like giant tubas Tubas is a word that was used, they were called war tubas Sirens? Air raid warnings? No.
Is it an over-large hearing aid? Yes.
What?! Yes.
LAUGHTER APPLAUSE Was it for hearing enemy aircraft? It's like an ear trumpet.
You can hear enemy aircraft coming towards you.
And by setting the angles, they could determine not just the distance but the direction.
Wheel it down to Dover, you can hear 'em in France.
That's the idea - like sound mirrors.
They had sound mirrors as well, which were largely made of metal but usually of concrete.
These are Japanese, as it happens.
The Japanese used them to detect aircraft coming in.
We had nothing quite as enormous as that, but there have been yokes you put on your shoulders Look at that.
And it's extraordinary how much they did give you a slight advantage.
Well, it looks silly, but I find myself more and more, as I enter my 30s now LAUGHTER .
doing that.
And it makes a hell of a difference.
Take them away, David.
Now - hello, Da Not yet! LAUGHTER Hello, David, it's lovely to see you.
Now try them.
Sorry, what? LAUGHTER Put them there.
OK, yeah Hello, David Ouch! LAUGHTER You see? Practical proof.
He's misunderstanding for comic effect, but it'sit's true.
LAUGHTER Hello, David, lovely to see you It does quite genuinely work.
ALAN: It makes it sound different.
ROB: It sounds much better.
If you do it Now, that's very disorienting.
That's quite nice.
And when you talk to yourself with them, you almost fall over.
So don't talk to yourself like this.
Also, you look like an idiot.
Yeah I feel like I'm in front of myself.
ROB: Yes I think what's nice is it also has a nice warming effect on the ears.
LAUGHTER It's really a win-win-win-win-win, isn't it? Yes, I find it very comforting.
And also it means you can't hear all the horrible things people behind me are saying.
You'd have to reverse it, like that Shut up, shut up, shut up! LAUGHTER Oh, you bitch! LAUGHTER Miaow! Get back in the knife drawer, Mrs Sharp! Perhaps the really clever thing is the fact that you can get the range and elevation from the slight difference in time, like what we were saying about clocks.
Our own ears receive the same sound, but at slightly different times, cos one is nearer than the other.
I mean, it's minuscule.
It's enough for the brain to process it and know that the sound is coming from there, not there.
And some animals, like the barn owl, have this to an extraordinary degree.
Their ears are actually inside a kind of sound dish - that's what the round shape is in the owl's face - and they've got one high, looking down, and one low, looking up, and they're able therefore to tell with extraordinary precision from something they hear, exactly where it is.
So nature, as always, gets there first.
So - yes, Japanese war tubas were mobile acoustic locators that helped to find enemy aircraft in the days before radar.
And so time's winged chariot glides us gracefully towards the crack of doom that is General Ignorance, or in this case Generals Ignorant - because let's see what we really know about some of the greatest military leaders from history.
Fingers on buzzers.
What animals did the Carthaginian general Hannibal use to defeat King Eumenes of Pergamon in 184BC MELLOW NAUTICAL MELODY Elephants.
did he use to defeat WHO?" King Eumenes of Pergamon.
Right Him! Him, there he is.
Is he defeated(?) Horses? Tigers, lions, leopards, mice Bacteria.
Birds, eagles LAUGHTER Snakes! Snakes I don't think of that as an animal, really.
He put them in earthenware pots, threw them at the enemy and onto their ships.
Really? What a great idea.
Snakes On A Plane, almost the first example of it.
How did Snakes On A Plane come about? Do you know? ROB: Snakes On A Plane? Yes, the film.
People had more money than sense, and er LAUGHTER Maybe Supposedly a group of scriptwriters were trying to think up the stupidest names - like a pub game - and someone said, "Snakes On A Plane!" and they said, "Do you know, that's so crap, it's good.
" It would be scary to be on a plane with lots of snakes, though.
I liked the film Is it good? Quite scary.
The key would be whether the plot that leads to the snakes being on the plane is believable or not.
Well, they get out of a thing in the hold.
Oh, well, that sounds all right to me.
Yes! And they're snakes, so they can get through tiny cracks.
They come up the loo! Oh! Ooh Anyway.
Yes LAUGHTER Hannibal defeated the Pergamese by bombing them with pots full of snakes.
Now, who succeeded Harold as King of England in 1066? Is there a trick to it? No - it's just you need to name the person who succeeded Harold as King in 1066.
DAVID: Don't trust him! The trick is to know the answer.
I don't trust you.
At all.
Is it the bastard, then? Who's the bastard? Oh, dear KLAXON See? You see?! It wasn't a trick.
Did England cease to exist in some way, or was it changed in name? There was another Saxon claimant who was nominally king for 45 seconds, or something Well - for a few months, yes.
Edgar Atheling.
ROB: Ah.
And er, he was 15 years old.
But Saxon kings were How did you become a king if you were a Saxon? Did you have to be nominated? You had to be from one of the five or six families and then you'd be elected.
By what, by votes? They would vote for you? Yes.
Edgar the Aetheling.
15 years old.
But of course William had won the battle, and so he came after him and he tried to fight - he couldn't raise an army, he went abroad He didn't lead a very successful life.
He was 15, so he wouldn't have been able to do anything.
Edgar the Aetheling WAS proclaimed king after the death of Harold, and reigned for two months before William was crowned.
Why did Julius Caesar wear a laurel wreath? GRANDIOSE FANFARE Was it because he was bald? Yes, is the right answer, absolutely right.
He was very vain.
According to Suetonius, his baldness was a disfigurement of which he was deeply ashamed, and so he chose the laurel wreath as one of the things he had a right to wear, and wore it all the time.
"The laurel wreath is going to do wonders for you, Julius "What it's going to do is take attention away from your baldness.
"Now, they come in a variety of colours and styles - "we're going to start your off with a very simple, traditional one.
" He was also supposed to have invented the comb-over, cos Suetonius He invented the comb-over?! LAUGHTER I shall quote you Suetonius in translation.
"He used to comb forward the scanty locks "from the crown of his head, and of all the honours voted for him "by the Senate and people, none did he receive more gladly "than the privilege of wearing a laurel wreath at all times.
" He must have looked like a '60s footballer who'd come through a hedge! LAUGHTER It would be like leaving your Christmas cracker hat on all year.
LAUGHTER So, with that display of general incompetence, we reach the end of recorded history.
All that remains to see is who has learnt its lessons, and who is condemned to repeat its mistakes endlesslyon Dave.
LAUGHTER And taking their place in history tonight with a magnificent plus 2 points is Rob Brydon! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Happily dancing to the music of time in second place with minus 4, it's David Mitchell! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE But hanging grimly on to past glories with minus 27 is Sandi Toksvig! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And finally, sadly no more than a forgotten obscure footnote with minus 29, Alan Davies! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Well! That's all from this historic edition of QI, so it's goodnight from Sandi, Rob, David, Alan and me.
I leave you with Winston Churchill's remark to Stanley Baldwin in the House of Commons.
"History will say that the right honourable gentleman was wrong," he remarked.
"I know it will - because I shall WRITE the history.
" Goodnight.