QI (2003) s16e09 Episode Script

Pubs - A Christmas Special

1 Hello! Welcome to the QI Christmas party.
We're all gathered at the QI Arms for a good old-fashioned festive shindig.
Let's see who's joining me round the old Joanna tonight.
First of all, our mate Josh Widdicombe.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE The life and soul of the party, Cariad Lloyd.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Cor blimey, he's a laugh, it's Noel Fielding.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And our favourite regular, it's Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Now let's hear their jingle bells.
Josh goes Jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way.
Cariad goes Ding dong merrily on high In heaven the bells are ringing.
Noel goes Just hear those sleigh bells jingling Nice.
Ring ding-a-ling-a-ling too Ding-a-ling-a-ling a ding dong ding.
That's got some funk.
Alan goes Time, ladies and gents, please! Go on, clear off.
Ain't you got no homes to go to? As it's Christmas, we may have some P series pigs in the show so, if you spot a question that is about pigs, do not forget to play your porker.
There he is.
OK? Meanwhile, here is a special Christmas treat.
We've got a piano player in.
Play it, Sam! MUSIC: Hark The Herald Angels Sing Oh! Fantastic! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Do we all love that tune? AUDIENCE: Yes! What was it written for? AUDIENCE: Christmas! KLAXON This is why we don't ask the audience questions.
It wasn't written for Christmas.
Does anybody know who wrote it? Elton John.
Anybody know the tunesmith? Mr Tunesmith? Felix Felix Tunesmith? Felix Mozart.
Mendelssohn.
Mendelssohn! Felix Mendelssohn.
It was originally written not at all for Christmas.
Does anybody know what it was written for? It's not Easter.
Birthday, his birthday A special occasion.
Yes, special occasion.
Wedding, a coronation.
It was the 400th anniversary of the invention of the Gutenberg printing press.
Oh! So the song is called the Gutenberg Cantata.
Why didn't you get that? I don't know what's wrong with you.
Do you know what, I'm not at my best because I was out last night getting hammered because it's the 500th anniversary.
Only three of the printing press manufacturers could read.
I have to say, the man on the left who can't read, he does look like he's trying to pull one of those three, doesn't he? Anyway, what they're trying to read, which is very long, is probably the German title for the song, as the Germans like a snappy title.
Festgesang zur Eroffnung der am ersten Tage der vierten Sakularfeier der Erfindung der Buchdruckerkunst.
Ja, ja, ja.
Thank you very much.
APPLAUSE A festive song for the opening of the first day of the fourth secular celebration of the invention of the art of printing, is the snappy title to Hark The Herald Angels in the beginning there.
That tune was written to celebrate that? Yes.
But the words were written The words are completely separate, so Mendelssohn said he didn't mind what lyrics were put to his rather marvellous tune as long as they weren't religious.
Oh.
Yeah.
Didn't really work out.
Eight years after he died, the words were paired with a poem by probably the most famous hymn-writer in the English language.
Oh, yeah.
Yeah, the big one.
What's his name? Him.
Sylvia Plath.
Cliff Richard.
Charles Wesley.
Charles Wesley.
The Wesley Come on! Yes, the one on the right.
He wrote over 6,000 hymns.
It was kind of his Wow.
Wow.
He was your go-to hymn guy, really.
Yeah.
Although the current wording is by his co-worker, George Whitefield, who wrote them in 1753.
So that's Felix on the left and Charles on the right.
And who are those eight people in the middle? And it's six! How bad is the? I was counting Cariad and Noel.
OK, you are building the world's first ice rink, so you're going to need a rink and some Ding dong.
Josh.
Well, I've never seen the show before, so this can't go wrong, but ice.
KLAXON Oh! Ding dong.
Yes.
Yes! No! Yes! Yes! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Play the pig! Play the pig.
Why do you think you need the pig? Oh.
Ah.
I didn't know I had to show my workings.
Bacon ice.
You don't know the ice is safe to skate on, so they'd slide a pig out .
.
and see if it will go through.
If it's safe for the pig, it's safe for the kids, right? No.
Pigs can ice-skate really well, a few of them.
They go on their back so they screw down into the ice.
What did you say though, Noel? You said Bacon ice.
Yes.
That was quite abstract, I know.
And weirdly is the correct answer.
What?! I feel like I'm the nana at the table and you've just given that to me as some sort of Bacon ice, bacon ice, Nana.
Get another Bailey's for Nana.
The very first artificial rinks, they didn't have the technology to freeze large amounts of water.
It hadn't been invented.
So the ice, in inverted commas, was made of pig fat and salt, so The Glaciarium, which was the world's first permanent artificial ice rink, it opened in Baker Street Bazaar, Portman Square, 1844, was one shilling to get in and one shilling to go on the ice.
Except look at the wonderful kind of notice they've put at the top.
They've put, not-ice! Not-ice! So there was alpine scenery painted on the walls, but you did have to put up with the smell of pig lard.
Basically.
So, yeah.
It would be all right.
It wasn't until 1876 that they developed the technology to freeze large amounts of water.
It was developed by a man called John Gamgee.
He was a vet and an inventor, and he had been trying to find a way to freeze meat so he could transport it from Australia, and he suddenly realised that his technology could be used for recreation.
I bet the pigs sent him some flowers.
Thanks! And he had this wonderful tent off the King's Road.
He had live bands to entertain the skaters.
It only lasted two years, but the technology that he invented is very similar to the system used in ice rinks today.
The only problem was, in the summer, the ice used to evaporate and people used to skate around in a bit of a fog.
They couldn't really see each other.
Exciting! Yeah.
Like Stars In Their Eyes.
I love that bit! Tonight, I'm going to be Torvill and Dean.
Yes! Tonight, I'm going to be Jack the Ripper.
Anybody a fan of Lord Of The Rings? Yes.
Yes.
Yes.
So the guy who came up with the technology, Gamgee Samwise Gamgee.
Yes, very good.
Frodo's best friend.
So Who never let him down, no matter what anyone said.
"I'll stay with you, Master Frodo.
Give me your hand.
" The other one I do I don't know if I fancy you more or less now.
I'm going to go with less.
"Havo dad, Legolas.
" That's, "sit down, Legolas.
" It's definitely less.
Anyway, he's named after That man! No, not after him, after his brother.
His brother was called J Sampson Gamgee Yeah.
And he's the person that invented that surgical dressing where you get cotton wool between two pieces of absorbent gauze.
Oh, yeah.
And so he was known as Sampson Gamgee, and Sam Gamgee, it is most likely that Tolkien got the name from him.
Which is my connection between the hobbits and ice-skating just for you, as a Christmas present.
I love it! Brilliant.
I auditioned for The Hobbit.
What?! Did you? I don't know if I fancy you more or more.
You were nearly in The Hobbit? Yeah, well, I didn't get it.
To be what? The main The hobbit.
Bilbo, you auditioned to be Bilbo Baggins.
I auditioned to be Bilbo Baggins, and the day before I'm going to blow your mind now, but go on, carry on.
.
.
they brought down the maximum height, and my agent phoned me and she said, "how tall are you?" I said, "I'm five foot six and a half.
" "How tall do you want me to be?" That's what you tell them.
Never accept the premise of the question.
Find out what they want before .
.
you say anything.
APPLAUSE So you didn't go? No! They said, "We've brought down the maximum height," but I still qualified.
I was short enough to be a hobbit.
And? I went and .
.
I was dogshit.
I also auditioned for something in that.
Did you? They said, "You'll be four hours a day in make-up in New Zealand.
" "Is that OK?" And I went, "Yes.
" "How tall are you?" "How tall do you want me to be?" I went for the part of Frodo.
Did you? Yeah, and they went, "You're a bit tall.
" "You look more like an elf.
Get out.
" I really wanted an audition! You're the right size and everything! I know! I don't think you'd have been professional on set.
I wouldn't have been.
Yeah, you'd have been like, "Can someone remove this crying woman?" OK, let's have another festive singsong.
We all know the words.
MUSIC: The 12 Days Of Christmas ALL: On the 12th day of Christmas my true love sent to me ALL SING Nine ladies dancing Eight maids a-milking Four calling birds Three French hens BELL AND KLAXON And a partridge in a pear tree.
My kids sing, five golden rings.
Do they? It annoys me, because it's five gold rings.
OK.
And I can't let it go.
I just They go Five Gold! Always believe in your soul.
APPLAUSE Do you sing four calling birds though? Yeah.
Yeah, that would be incorrect.
They should shout at you.
Is that because you're not supposed to call prostitutes that any more? No, the original thing is colly birds.
It means blackbirds, like collier, like coal.
Oh.
It's another word for black, and their presence predates calling birds by about a century.
So, from calling birds to pouring pints, how can you enjoy unlimited glasses of beer without getting completely pie-eyed? Is it one of those fake glasses? No.
Real beer, unlimited glasses.
I have half a Smirnoff Ice and I pass out.
I'm out of this equation.
Well, here we are.
We can show you how to do it for real.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome mathematician Katie Steckles.
APPLAUSE Hi there.
Katie, what's the plan? Well, to explain this, I'm going to tell you a joke.
OK.
So the joke goes, infinitely many mathematicians walk into a pub, and the first one orders a pint and the second one orders a half and the next one orders a quarter and the next one orders an eighth and the next one orders a 16th.
And the person behind the bar says, I'll stop you there, and pours two pints and puts them on the bar.
And, if you're a mathematician That's hilarious! Yes, hilarious.
Come on, let's all sound like we know, which we do.
APPLAUSE OK.
I can show you why this is funny.
I've got here a pint OK.
Do you like a pint, Josh? Easy, Josh, easy.
Oh, man, that looks so good.
I've got a half and a quarter and an eighth and a 16th.
I've also got 1 over 32, 1 over 64, 1 over 128, 1 over 256, and I also have this empty pint glass.
And the reason why the person behind the bar pours two pints is because all of these and the infinite chain of following drinks will all fit into that glass, so, if I pour a half into there Right, and then I think, well, I'd better slow down a bit more, I'll have a half of that.
Yeah, so this is a quarter, and that fills half the remaining space.
Can I just ask a quick question? This other one here, is that going begging? The space that's left is a quarter, so I can fit this eighth in there and it fills half the remaining space.
You're having an endless amount of beer, but you're having half as much each time.
Yeah.
And so what have we got down to now? That's one 64th of a pint.
One 64th of a pint.
It's not a common drink order, that.
So you'll never fill the whole glass up? Yeah, it's that common sensation that, no matter how many drinks you have, there's always just a little bit of space left for a little bit more, and it gets closer and closer to two pints, but it will never go over two pints.
If you had infinitely many drinks, it would add up to exactly two pints.
That's one of the nice things about infinite series of things, that you can have an infinite number of things that add up to a finite number at the end.
See, I love that, because the next time I hear that joke, I will actually understand why it's funny.
We say that the limit of this sequence of numbers is two.
That's why the end of the joke is that the barman says, "The problem with you mathematicians is you need to know your limits.
" There we go! Katie Steckles! Thank you, Katie Steckles! APPLAUSE Cheers, man.
Cheers.
Now, from pints to pies.
Here we go.
Right, come on! There's sixpence for you.
Let's have a song.
MUSIC: Sing A Song Of Sixpence How many blackbirds should be baked in a pie? 4 and 20.
KLAXON 4 and 20! That's what it says in the song, Sandi.
Yes, but not baked in the pie - is the mistake.
They were known as surprise pies, and it was a genuine thing.
They used to cook the pastry case and then they would put live animals in so they could emerge at the table, and the idea was to startle them, entertain the guests.
Scare the shit out of everybody! They wouldn't just put birds in.
So there was a chef called Robert May.
He was born in 1588.
And he is Oh, Bobby May, Bobby May, yeah, yeah.
.
.
famous for his elaborate centrepieces, and he put them in together, frogs and birds, and the pie would open and they would fly and jump out.
It's like the Sharks and the Jets! It's a nightmare in there! Frogs and flick knives.
So the whole point was the showmanship of it.
There used to be a thing called bride pie, so before wedding cake, that was the traditional thing to serve at English weddings, and it was just the best food that you had available to you.
And, if a woman had a baby, she'd have a groaning pie.
That's what they used to call childbirth.
They used to call it groaning time.
Right, pies away, please.
Anyone want a pie? AUDIENCE: Yes.
Come on, let's give them the pie.
Go and give the pies out.
Pie, pie! I thought I'd stopped being a waitress.
They're only a pound, they're only a pound.
Mince pie, have a mince pie.
Anybody want a pint of beer? Yeah.
Go all the way up the back.
Does anyone want the beer? They haven't given me some.
Plate? Anyone want a plate? Pig, anyone? CHEERING What a moment that was! I like that you were looking that way, and it went that way.
You didn't get a pie.
You seemed very upset, so I'm giving you some Christmas peanuts.
Thank you.
Once a barmaid, eventually will end up as a barmaid.
Where were you a barmaid? Oh Hobbit Town.
The worst pub ever.
The police drank in one corner and the National Front drank in the other.
For about a year, I worked as a journalist, and we used to drink in a pub that was half journalists and half crooks.
Not easy to tell the difference, to be honest with you.
And there was a bloke called Charlie, and Charlie was definitely a crook, and I said, "Oh, Charlie, how are you?" "Haven't seen you for a couple of weeks.
" He said, "No, I've been up the nick.
" And I said, "Oh, what was the charge?" He said, "Murder one.
" I said I said, "All right.
Did you do it?" He said, "No, but I owed them one.
" Er And he said, "While I was waiting for the charges" "to come through, my arsehole was going like that.
" I haven't seen him for ages.
I don't know why we didn't stay friends.
I really hope he turns up on the next series of Bake Off.
"I've changed my ways.
" "I've turned my life around.
" "I'm going to make you an entremet.
" Now "As Paul and Prue came over, me arsehole's going like that.
" "I thought, these frogs and blackbirds won't stay in this pie.
" Every time I feel slightly anxious, I always think of that.
Imagine knowing that there's a man out there and, every time you feel anxious, you think of his arsehole.
OK, let's try another musical interlude.
Sam.
MUSIC: O Christmas Tree OK, let's try again.
We all know the words to this one? ALL: O Christmas tree O Christmas tree SINGING TAILS OFF KLAXON I only know it in German.
In German, how does it go in German? O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum Wie treu sind deine Blatter! That was very good.
Danke schon.
Yeah.
APPLAUSE Do you know what that means? Wie treu sind deine Blatter? I thought it was, how lovely are your leaves? That's how we caught all the German spies in the war.
He'd play the start and they couldn't help themselves.
"O Tannenbaum OK, it's me.
I'm a spy.
" So we sing it in English as, "How lovely are your branches.
" No, it's the pine needles, isn't it? How faithful are your leaves, is what it actually is.
That's why I know what leaves is in German.
Why do you know it then? Because they taught it to us in German at GCSE.
And then, for French, we had to learn the birthday song.
Oh! Quelle est la date de ton anniversaire? Quelle est la date de ton anniversaire? Janvier, Fevrier, Mars Janvier, Fevrier, Mars.
I can't go beyond that.
I only got a D.
A tannenbaum is a fir tree, but we now think that it's a wonderful song about Christmas.
It wasn't at all.
So the evergreen branches, they represent constancy and faithfulness, because they never change, and it's a folk song about a faithless maiden contrasted with a faithful tree.
They didn't teach us that.
They just said it was about a tree.
Christmas is the best time to sing we joyous all together, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la.
Hit it, Sam! MUSIC: Roll Out The Barrel THEY CLAP ALONG Yes! It's general ignorance time, gentlemen, please.
OK, remind me.
How long have we got? What is the legal drinking up time after last orders in England? So I always think it is, it's around 22 minutes.
22 minutes.
LAUGHTER There isn't one, right? There isn't one at all.
There used to be.
There used to be a legally set time, so at first it was ten minutes, then it was 20 minutes, but now it's up to the landlord's discretion.
Yeah.
That is true, I have to say, only in England and Wales.
In Scotland, there is a 15-minute drinking up period that is still in place.
Oh, when they start putting the stools on your table Oh! Yeah.
That's what I used to do! Blazing lights on and no music, and someone saying, "Get out!" I used to wipe around their pint as well.
Also spray that stuff, cleaner stuff, right by the pint.
In their eyes Who thought of 24-hour licences? Tony Blair.
It was a joke proposed by the Monster Raving Loony Party as a way to beat binge drinking.
So, to stop binge drinking, we'll have it that you can drink 24 hours a day, and it did in fact become law in 2005, and one judge said that alcohol at this availability was going to breed urban savages.
And, in fact, that didn't happen.
Both alcohol consumption and alcohol-related crime has fallen since the act.
There's a brewery called Black Iris Brewery, it's in Nottinghamshire, and in 2017 they tried to organise a piss-up in their brewery, and they failed to get the appropriate licence, so They held it in a pub down the road instead, and the event was renamed A Piss-Up Near A Brewery.
Let's take a quick peek at the top of the Christmas tree.
How many wings does an angel have? Jingle bells.
Depends.
That's not really an answer.
That is, I don't know.
Renaissance, they just tend to have two.
KLAXON I said Renaissance angels.
Ding dong ding.
ALAN IMITATES ELVIS: Uh-huh-huh! "Well, Sandi, it's like this.
" "The angel in my house had four wings.
" Four.
Well, you could be right, but it rather depends on the kind of angel.
That's the main thing that I said! I literally said it depends on the kind of angel.
There's two kinds of angels in the Bible with wings, the seraphim and cherubim, so seraphim have six wings and the cherubim have four.
There is no angel in the Bible that has two wings.
Oh.
Oh, sorry, you meant actual angels.
Actual angels.
I do apologise.
I was talking about representation.
This is the woman happy to talk for hours about the home life of the hobbit.
That's real, Sandi.
It's very different.
It's based on fact.
So the seraphim, that's the highest in the angel hierarchy.
That's the sort of fiery main ones.
They're described as, "Above it stood the seraphims.
"Each one had six wings.
"With twain he covered his face and with twain he covered his feet "and with twain he did fly.
" So he was like, woohoo! And then also flying.
Yeah, yeah.
"I'm shy! I'm a shy angel!" The cherubim have got four wings as well as they also have four faces - man, lion, ox and an eagle.
The bit I am not sure about, so you get Gabriel, you get Gabriel in Islam as an angel of revelation, but there is a Hadith that he had 600 wings.
I would have thought that would be tricky to operate.
Mmm.
He had a hang-gliding business.
Right, I'll tell you what I fancy to finish off, a good old-fashioned game of pool.
What are we going to need to play a good old-fashioned game of pool? Ding dong.
Yes! Chalk, two cues, table, balls KLAXON Yeah, no.
No cues, no table.
So it's the old-fashioned game of pool.
Do you get a pig and some balls and then you put a little bit of truffle on the ball, you get drunk and you see what happens? I love this idea, but no.
Although you are not far off with the barnyard animals.
So, in the 19th century, a pool room was the place where you bet on horse-racing, and it came from the word "pool," so that's the kitty of money that everybody contributed to, so the winner would take all, and billiard tables were installed in American pool rooms to keep the punters entertained between races, and that is where they get the name from.
But the first game was a medieval game, it was a French game called jeu de la poule, game of the hen.
So players took turns to throw things at a chicken And the first person to hit the chicken won.
So the word "pool" comes from the French word for chicken.
Wow! So it was the winnings - you'd get the chicken.
Can I ask, when you say throw things at the chicken Yeah.
.
.
what do you mean by things? Whatever it was that you wanted to throw to hit the chicken.
An egg.
Yeah.
It could be an egg.
An egg would be perfect.
So the prize I came first! The prize is the chicken, so I thought we'd give it a try.
Have we got a chicken? Yeah.
We have our own QI chicken.
Please bring on the chicken.
MUSIC: The Birdie Song OK.
So you've all got balls to throw at the chicken.
Off you go.
Let's go and hit the chicken.
Hit the chicken, hit the chicken! Yes, Noel! Yes! Noel, you're totally scoring, Noel.
I think Noel's on the most Oh, no? Chicken is down! Chicken is down! Well done, chicken.
APPLAUSE DROWNS SPEECH He's going to sue, that chicken, because he fell over the set.
I mean, he should sue and we should back him up.
Yeah.
If this is Prue Leith in here, I'm going to shit myself.
Your arse is going like that at the moment.
He's not going to sue us, he does look exhausted, because he's our chief elf, James Harkin, so thank you very much for being our chicken.
APPLAUSE Right, let's see who has won the prize poulet.
Fourth colly bird, with minus 25 Oh, noJosh.
I knew it.
Third French hen, with minus 14, it's Alan.
How did I get minus? Second turtledove, with minus two, Cariad! And our partridge in a pear tree, with seven points, and therefore taking the chicken home .
.
is Noel! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Come on.
Do you want to sit on my knee, or you all right? Yeah.
No? There was a weird lack of trust there, Noel.
I've never fingered a chicken, I'm sure.
Ever! Let's wind up with a song to celebrate the invention of the printing press.
Gather round, everybody.
Play it, Sam! MUSIC: Hark The Herald Angels Sing ALL: Hark! The herald angels sing Glory to the new-born King Peace on earth, and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled Joyful, all ye nations, rise Join the triumph of the skies With th' angelic host proclaim Christ is born in Bethlehem Hark! The herald angels sing Glory to the new-born King.
Merry Christmas, everybody! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE