QI (2003) s16e16 Episode Script


1 This programme contains some strong language APPLAUSE Good evening! Welcome to QI where, tonight, we're going positively postal.
And what's landed on my doormat tonight is absolutely first class.
Registered mail - it's Matt Lucas.
Hello, everyone.
Thank you.
Handle with care - it's Holly Walsh.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING This way up - it's Susan Calman.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING And please do not leave unattended, he may be removed and destroyed without warning - it's Alan Davies.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING Right, let's hear your buzzers post-haste.
Matt goes Please Mr Postman, look and see Like that.
Holly goes I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter This is all very mellow, isn't it? Susan goes I gave a letter to the postman And Alan goes Postman Pat, Postman Pat LAUGHTER Postman Pat and his black-and-white cat APPLAUSE ALAN HUMS ALONG Oh, dear, and straight away some letters have gone missing.
Can you fill in the blanks here? Who is that, first of all? That's Tony Blackburn.
It is Tony Blackburn.
Is this like a game of hangman? Do we guess letters? You can if you like.
LAUGHTER But I'm not going to tell you where! You won't tell me where? Right, er I'll use P Po Pois good.
Postcodes! Postcodes! But there's not enough letters but postcodes! Yes, I use W1 Oh! Oh! W, and do you use your postcode? Postcode.
When did we start having postcodes? Anybody have any idea? '60s.
'60s, no.
It's earlier than that.
'20s? '30s? So, a man called '40s? LAUGHTER '50s? This guy is Sir Rowland Hill, he first had the idea, 1857.
What? I know! He divided London into postal districts, but the actual postcodes that we have were not generally introduced in the UK until, in fact, the year I was born, 1958.
Shut up, Sandi! What, me being born? '58? Shut up! Why? You're the '70s at least, if ever I saw you! And tonight's winner is LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE But people didn't use them, so, Tony Blackburn That dates from 1980s, that's 22 years after they'd been officially introduced.
Why did people not use them? Because they didn't know them? Er, no, it wasn't.
Well, sometimes, I don't know my own postcode.
You don't know your postcode? You know the way your mind works when you get older that you think of a different postcode where you once lived? No.
LAUGHTER Sometimes you get mixed up.
How do you fare with passwords? Well, I've got a document called "Passwords" on my computer! LAUGHTER And in that document are all my passwords.
Yes, but presumably your computer is password protected Yes, but I know that one.
so you can't get into that document.
I know the password to that one because it's my name! LAUGHTER So, anybody breaking into your home cos you're on QI at the moment .
just put your name in and there's a file marked Passwords and you're off and running.
She can't remember where she lives, so That's true.
Maybe we could get the burglar to ring you and tell you where it is.
Right, OK, I want you, please, to tell me what three words describe exactly Alan's current position.
Is it - full of regret? That's very good - full of regret.
Any other thoughts? Three words.
Is what you're doing there deliberate, or is that just the way you sit? I was just sitting on my hands, that's all.
Oh, is it - sitting on hands? So, it could be.
So, in terms of where he is, his exact location, the only correct words are, in this exact order, joke, proof, value.
It's Alan's precise current address according to one of the most exciting things I've ever heard of, called what3words.
This is a British company, and they have divided the Earth's surface into squares which are three metres by three metres, so there's 57 trillion squares in total, and they have assigned each one a unique three-word code.
Now, what's amazing about it, you only need 40,000 words in order to make the system work.
It was launched in 2013.
It operates in 25 languages and it has already been adopted by actual countries.
So, in Mongolia and the Ivory Coast, they're the first to adopt it as the official address system.
So, if you have a look here, Bingerville in Cote d'Ivoire - glitter.
stepping is exactly that point.
San Francisco - actors.
print is exactly that point.
cans - California, USA.
But what about all the floors of the building? How does that work? It would just be the square that you are in.
So, the square goes all the way up? Yeah.
But what it means is that, for example, if an ambulance is called or something, you can be pretty specific about exactly where you need to go.
So, the Eiffel Tower - shut.
The front doorstep of Buckingham Palace - sound.
The top of Ayers Rock or Uluru - snake.
gymnast! Sorry, I, I I, I.
er Is the air being let out of you? I can I can see the fascination.
Could you just put the little thing in the side again now? It's popped out.
Pop it back in.
The kids have been playing with it.
Oh, no.
Just stick it back in.
I don't mean to be old-fashioned ALAN IMITATES POPPING Yeah? This seems to be overcomplicating things.
Where do you live? Number 25, glittery.
It's just You wouldn't need the 25, even.
Just glittery.
coffee? The thing about it is that you couldn't confuse it with anywhere else in the world.
You say that, but people pissed in a cab "What's your address?" "It's glittery.
" And then, next thing you know you're dropped off at, like, an airport in Nigeria.
We have actually written, using the what3words system, to the British Embassy in Mongolia, and we sent them out some time ago.
I have to tell you, they've not arrived yet, so "The fuck's that?" "I don't know.
" I think the.
that is just outside of, um OK.
Now, why would you give your postiea rocket? To get your letters into space? OK, that's nice.
I like that.
Are you allowed to post a rocket? Are you allowed to post a rocket? Yeah.
I suppose, if it's not combustible in any manner.
I know you're allowed to send a gun but you can't send it with ammunition.
Same thing as PIN numbers, you can send a credit card but you can't send the PIN number with it.
That's true.
And, in fact, you can send a toilet but not with a poo in it! LAUGHTER This is one of my favourite dinner-party questions.
OK, go.
If you had to get a gun by midnight tonight, who would you ask? No, it's really good way Seriously, what kind of dinner parties do you? You have to work out who of your friends would have the contacts to get you a gun by midnight tonight.
So, well, I mean, I have friends who hunt.
Could it be a hunting gun? Yeah, just got to kill someone.
Sandi would just have someone killed.
She wouldn't She'd keep her hands clean.
Yeah, you're right.
I would have people for that.
You'd never be Like, if something happened, you'd be like, "Oh, have you read in the papers? What a tragedy.
" Yes.
Yeah! It's never occurred to me that I might want a gun at all.
It's a bit like asking me where I'd scoredoscoresdrugs? Is it scoring? OK, which friends would be able to score drugs for you by midnight tonight? Again, I've got no-one.
I've got a few friends on HRT, then I run out! LAUGHTER All right, well, who would you shoot, then? It's not who I'd want to shoot - that's a completely different dinner party! Does no-one else just sit down with a Nigella Lawson cookbook and a silky dressing gown, and make some squid? OK? That's what I do when I have a dinner party.
She could get you a gun, Nigella.
She'd get you a gun.
In a heartbeat.
It'd be like a musket .
made out of icing sugar.
Try that at a dinner party.
Someone goes, where would you get a gun? Just go, "Nigella Lawson.
" Like, a literal rocket, or a telling off? Thank you for getting back to the point.
Why would you give your postie a rocket? So you were heading in the right direction about sending it into space.
The idea is to send the post very, very quickly.
Very fast indeed.
In about 1824, Sir William Congreve, he invented the Congreve rocket, which was a form of military artillery.
He attempted to deliver mail from Tonga to Samoa by rocket.
He looks remarkably stoical considering he's been shot eight times.
Not looking good for him.
He looks actually like he's standing behind that costume.
Yes, it does, doesn't he? You know who he looks like? He looks exactly like this guy off Grindr, and I don't fancy him, but he is nearby.
Ah, the romance of it! He tried to send mail from Tonga to Samoa.
It had limited success.
There's possibly a few letters With a rocket? .
still in the taller trees in Tonga.
So people forgot about sending post by rocket for 100 years.
Then, in the 1930s, a German engineer called Gerhard Zucker - and there he is, Gerhard - and he toured Germany demonstrating his rocket post.
It sends a single grape.
"We will get these grapes" ".
to ze other end of Germany in record time!" "Bring the grape forward.
One grape only!" So the whole thing was billed as a fantastic rocket.
It was going to be five metres long, it could travel 400km at a height of 1,000 metres, speed of 1,000 metres per second.
In fact, it was just a huge metal container attached to eight fireworks.
And weirdly, nobody in Germany was interested.
So he came to Britain in 1934, and he announced he was going to do a one-minute rocket post between Dover and Calais.
And so the British Government thought this was marvellous and they went to the Outer Hebrides to test the idea.
And he loaded his rocket with 1,200 letters, including one to the King, King George V.
This would never get past health and safety now, would it? It was between the two islands of Harris and Scalpay.
The whole thing blew up.
And government officials stood and watched burning parcels rain down on the beach.
He was deported back to Germany .
as a threat to the income of the Post Office and the security of the country.
He was then detained by the Germans for co-operating with the British.
It has a happy ending, he served with the Luftwaffe in World War II.
So there's a happy ending.
That's nice.
For centuries, people have tried to send mail by rocket, but it's never taken off.
GROANING LAUGHTER Now, what is the most useful thing you can do with this? These are some pieces of the Oh! Toilet paper from the '70s.
Do you remember this? Izal toilet paper.
Oh, yeah.
Do you remember it? Yes.
We had that in our primary school.
We had it at school.
It didn't so much wipe as just move the poo, didn't it? To redistribute it.
It was like having your arse sandpapered.
It was unbelievable.
So, postal service, we're doing.
What is the most useful thing that you might be able to do with this? Wrap up a parcel in it? Can you send it to a prisoner and they can use it to roll drugs in? I feel you are so close to a life of crime.
It's true, man.
You could make a Camberwell carrot out of one of these.
Can you eat it? No.
Why would you want to eat it? Well, I was just thinking it was more Let me try, let me try, I've never tried.
You've never tried weed? Have a bung on that, man.
Do I breathe it in? Breathe it in, keep it in.
Hold it in, hold it in.
Don't breathe out! Don't breathe out! It'll start coming out of your eyes.
APPLAUSE Yeah, man.
Now you'll see pixies.
Has anybody got any chocolate? Come on - post, people.
Can you write on it? You can.
It has a shiny side and it has a flat side.
And you could use it.
Why might you want paper like this? Very lightweight.
Air mail.
Airmail, exactly right.
It was a terrific substitute for airmail paper.
And indeed, when I was at boarding school, I couldn't afford airmail letters.
My parents lived in New York and I was in England, which was as far as they were able to send me.
And we all used to write home on Izal paper because it was cheaper than airmail paper.
We used to use loo roll at my boarding school.
On a Saturday night, when everyone came in from a rave, they used to get a loo roll and roll it out to the length of the corridor, and then, if they thought you were pissed, they'd make you walk along it to see if you could walk in a straight line.
And if you couldn't, you'd get in serious trouble.
Where did you get the drink from? I was really happy if I got an Ovaltine.
That's astonishing.
Drugs, drink, guns.
Why did they do this to us as children? Because this scarred me.
Every visit to the toilet was painful and horrific.
Why did they do that to us? Was it to deter us from doing number twos at school? Because almost everyone I know was like, "I'm not doing that at school.
" You'd wait till you get home.
But if you didn't go home for three months, it was a bit tricky.
APPLAUSE Now, this is nothing really to do with the show, except that I thought it was entertaining.
Susan, what is one of the tricks you can do because of your height? I can stand up completely straight in the back of a black cab.
So LAUGHTER I thought we'd see if you can fit in a pillar box.
APPLAUSE Just want to see if you can stand up inside a pillar I'm way too tall! Can you fit in there? I'm standing up completely straight.
APPLAUSE Right, carrying on! LAUGHTER You've got to get in one of those and just do it That would be a very, very funny Candid Camera.
OK, so, here is my question.
Could I What would happen SUSAN GIGGLES .
if you posted yourself to Number 10 Downing Street? I'll let you out now.
SUSAN GIBBERS Are you all right? Well done, Susan, well done.
APPLAUSE Would you get delivered to Number 11 and a card put through the door saying there's a parcel? Yeah, get left on the porch.
Do you think anybody's ever tried posting yourself to Number 10? People must have done.
Gordon Brown used to, in the old days.
In 1909, two suffragettes posted themselves to Number 10 Downing Street because they could not get an appointment to see the Prime Minister, Mr Asquith.
They posted themselves from the East Strand post office and they were escorted by a messenger boy, you can see him on the left, there, AS Palmer.
But the gentleman who's come out from Number 10 has refused to sign for the human letters, and so the two women, Miss McClelland and Mrs Solomon, were returned to their office at the Women's Social And Political Union.
But, obviously, they got the photographs.
The Post Office played a huge part in the suffrage movement.
So, members of the Women's Social And Political Union, including the Pankhursts, they would smash windows in post offices, they poured acid into pillar boxes, they set fire to postboxes.
They put pepper into letters, sent them to anti-suffrage MPs.
And in tribute to them, you locked a woman in a letterbox.
I did! But you did not pour acid in the postbox.
There was no acid at all.
Now, then, give me your best impression of a 19th-century poster girl.
Susan's is rather good.
Is it this? Is it this? So, they were called banner ladies, they were late 19th-century human billboards.
She's covered in food! Yes, well, so, she's obviously from a bakery.
She's even got bread on her head.
Everything she's doing is advertising the bakery that she's involved with.
The one on the left there is all household goods.
I love her hat.
Are you sure she's not advertising magnets? Look at that hat! It's a loaf as a hat.
I know.
That is the best thing I've ever seen in my life.
There were people who had light bulbs hanging off them, dolls, bed springs.
They could be covered in pretzels, like that woman there.
What about pet shops? Did they advertise with all sorts of cats and dogs? Hanging off you.
Sometimes, advertising can be just "wearing".
LAUGHTER Now, for one in the posterior.
Who gave Hitler a kick in the backside? Have you ever actually kicked someone up the arse? I can't reach.
Have you? I once kicked my brother up the arse.
And it was It's so pleasing.
Do you know what? You look so nice, and there's a streak, a streak of violence a mile wide.
A kick up the arse is a very pure thing when it goes right.
Anyway, who gave Hitler a kick in the backside? Himmler? Goering? Goebbels? Was it Hitler, Himmler, Himnler, Hivler, Hickler? Er, no.
So, his personal physician was called Dr Theodor Morell, and he gave him daily injections in his bottom throughout the course of his career.
So it started with just, you know, your basic vitamin supplements.
But over the years a cocktail of drugs - in fact, he became unbelievably reliant on a very complex and potent cocktail.
One of the substances he was given, it came in little gold-foiled packets, and was called Vitamultin.
And Hitler gave a packet to Himmler, and he secretly ordered one of the SS physicians, Ernst Gunther Schenck, to have it tested in the lab, and it contained methamphetamine - crystal meth.
Dr Morell kept a record of the drugs that he gave to Hitler - it included belladonna, caffeine, cocaine, adrenaline, morphine, testosterone and E-coli bacteria extracted from human faeces.
Did they all have to have their hair just cut up a little bit higher than him, so they'd look a little bit more stupid? A little bit.
Very strange.
"Your hair's a bit too low.
" "I think you should go higher with your hair.
" "Yes, Fuhrer.
" ALAN IMITATES BUZZING I don't have a medical degree.
But I have watched a lot of Casualty, but I am not qualified.
But even I know that injecting bacteria from human faeces into someone is not a positive thing.
Well, apparently, it kept Hitler fresh, alert, active and immediately ready for the day.
Cheerful, talkative, physically active and tending to stay awake for long hours into the night.
You could do that with a simple Mars bar.
Then the Allied forces bombed the factories that produced Morell's drugs, so not only was Hitler losing the war, he was coming off drugs at the same time.
That is a Mosquito, that's a twin-engined fighter bomber made entirely of wood.
Is that right? I think so.
You were so confident there! That was brilliant.
I think it had a wooden frame or something unusual about it.
I remember, because we had an Airfix one in our house.
Well, maybe just the Airfix one was made of wood! Did you know the Titanic was completely made of tin?! Weirdly, him taking these drugs was inspired by the 1936 Olympic Games.
So you would think that's a lovely thing about unbelievable fitness.
But the successful use of the American amphetamine Benzedrine at the 1936 Olympics encouraged Germany to develop its own methylamphetamin.
It was called Pervitin.
I got a pervy-tin.
It was a It's a tin of perverts.
35 million tablets were ordered and given to the German troops before the advance on France in the spring of 1940.
It even made its way into confectionery.
There was a brand of chocolate called Hildebrand chocolates, and women were recommended to eat two or three a day.
You would be able to get through your housework in no time at all.
With the added effect that you would lose weight.
The thing is, they're not wrong.
If you do housework on speed, you will do it quicker.
Not very well, though.
You'll be done by 9.
30, but the house'll be a wreck.
My favourite Daily Mail headline from 2017 was - "Doing less housework is making women fat.
" GASPING It had everything going for it! A source of Hitler's power was, frankly, a pain in the arse.
Now, it's time to queue at the last window to pick up the oddly-shaped package that is General Ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, please.
Which country invented the queue? GASPS, MURMURS Now, you see No, no! No-one's going to say Susan? I'm going to say Belgium.
Because? LAUGHTER Because why, darling? I went to Belgium.
And they all seemed very polite.
No, the first written example we have of queueing comes from the bread lines in the French Revolution.
So the French.
Oh! I was going to say French, because "queue" sounds French.
It is, indeed.
I was really close with Belgium, though.
It's wrong.
Close, but wrong, that's what we're going to say about it.
It's closer than China.
Susan Calman, close but wrong.
It was an Irish revolutionary known as Wolfe Tone, and in his 1796 diaries, he is basically the father of Irish republicanism, and he talked about the petty princes of Italy are, as the French say, "en queue pour faire la paix.
" It is an excellent metaphor taken from a crowd who stand one behind another in order to be served in their turn as the poor of Paris, for example, are at the bakers.
My favourite story about a queue - 2018, Amazon opened its first queue-free shop.
So, the idea, you scan your phone as you walk in, and there are video cameras and sensors which watch as you take items off the shelves.
They charge you automatically and you don't have to wait in line to check out.
On the very first day that people went to visit, they queued for two blocks to get into the shop.
What's the most unrealistic thing about this picture? Yes? Thatbra.
That is a pointless bra.
I don't know what that's doing for her, really.
She's done a pump out of her front bottom.
LAUGHTER APPLAUSE Only a man with children would call it a pump.
Or, indeed, a front bottom.
What is the most unrealistic thing about this picture? She's got her eyes open.
People are allowed to have their eyes open underwater.
But if she's in the sea, you wouldn't have your eyes open.
Yeah, but she's a merlady.
She's a merperson.
Well, she's not a merperson.
I mean, it's a woman dressed up as a merperson.
OK, I need you to imagine it's a merperson.
Well, you didn't say that! OK.
So, the most unrealistic thing for you is that it doesn't seem like a real merperson? We don't have a picture of a real merperson.
So, if you think about the classic depictions of mermaids, try and think about how fish swim.
So, when fish swim, they have their tail in the same plane as their body and they move their tails from left to right to propel themselves.
Most depictions of merfolk show them just like that, with the tail fin perpendicular to the plane of the body.
A lot of whales have that, don't they? Well, this is the thing.
If mermaids swam like fish, then they would have to swim on their sides.
They'd swim like a mammal, a mermaid, wouldn't they? Right, so, if they're going to swim like a whale or a dolphin, they're mammals, not fish.
However, most merpeople are depicted with scaly and shimmery lower halves, which is a fish characteristic.
And not the smooth skin of a cetacean - so, a whale or a dolphin.
And so either - this is what really irritates me - the tail orientation is wrong and a merperson is half fish, or the scales are wrong, and the merperson is half cetacean.
You can't have it both ways.
APPLAUSE I am not going to invite you to my dinner parties.
So, your point is, just to be clear, that they shouldn't have scales if their tail's like that? You can't have it both ways.
You can't have it both ways.
You can't have it both ways? Well That's not what were talking about! And this has really upset you, hasn't it? Yeah.
It's my show, I thought we'd talk about it.
They've got to be mammals for the singing and the luring on to the rocks, right? That's not true, I've been seduced by a couple of fish in my time.
The point, though, as I understand it Uh-oh! .
in order for SNIGGERING What? Well, your understanding of things has been lacking tonight.
They were sirens, the mermaids.
Sirens, weren't they? Right? The more attractive part of the person Nee-naw-nee-naw! The most attractive part of a person is this bit.
So the key is that I've always been looking at the top bit.
And nobody's paid attention to how wrong the bottom half is.
OK, um Mermaids are completely unrealistic unless they're half whale or they're bottom feeders.
Right! LAUGHTER Which brings us to the scores.
First past the post with 10 points, it's Matt! Thank you very much.
Thank you.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Very proud, thank you.
Posting an excellent 8-points score, in second place, it's Alan! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE In need of a bit of a postmortem, with minus 5, it's Holly.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING Sounding the Last Post - minus 5.
5 - so close, so close, Susan! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE So, it's thanks to Holly, Matt, Susan and Alan, and it's time to leave you with a final postscript.
These comforting words from Gracie Allen - "The President of today is just the postage stamp of tomorrow.
" Goodnight.