QI (2003) s17e06 Episode Script

Quests: Part I

1 CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Good morrow, noble kinsfolk.
I bid you welcome to the fair realm of QI, where this day we sally forth upon a quest with our knights quadruple.
All hail the valiant and mighty Sir Phillip the Jupitus.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE The gallant and audacious Sir Alan de Carr.
- Thank you.
Thank you.
- CHEERING AND APPLAUSE The quiescent and fearless Lady Alice Levine.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And a KNIGHT on the tiles, Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE But hark, list ye to their knightly noises.
Sir Phillip the Jupitus goes FANFARE, HORSE GALLOPS AND WHINNIES Sir Alan de Carr goes GENTLE LUTE MUSIC ARROW FIRES, MAN GROANS Oh! Lady Alice Levine goes GENTLE PIPE MUSIC, SWORDS CLANG And Alan goes # Night fever, night fever We know how to show it Right, draw your swords and prepare for combat.
I can't actually move with this on.
It looks nice on you, weirdly.
- Don't call me Weirdly.
- Oh, sorry.
LAUGHTER Halfway through the show, he's going to go, "Oh, I feel drained.
" Phill looks like he's got a wind machine on him.
LAUGHTER I saw a Labrador with its head out of the car window looking just like that.
LAUGHTER You can take them off, darling.
Well, how did they wear glasses in the olden days? - They hadn't invented glasses in the olden days, darling.
- Oh.
You see, I'm going to struggle on this show.
Shall we start the show and do a question? So, what's this man's name? - Is it Don Quixote? - Ah.
No.
FANFARE Yes, darling? Don "Quix-ote".
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE - So - X is a "ch" sound, isn't it? It is, well, the X is a "sh", technically, cos he was speaking old Castilian in the book.
- And it should be Don "Qui-sh-otay".
- Qui-sh-otay.
But I think we can say "Qui-ho-tay", don't you think? What, is Don short for something, like Donald or Donna? - No, it was more of an honorary title.
- Oh, really? - Like the Don.
- Yeah, like the Don, yeah.
- Oh, right.
- But "quiche-o-tea", that sounds like an Irish order.
"I'll have quiche o tea.
" - Quiche-o-tea.
- Yeah.
Actually, technically, he's not called any of those things, because the protagonist in the book is called Alonso Quijano.
So Don Quixote is a name he makes up for himself when he loses his marbles and assumes the character of a medieval knight.
Lots of people argue it is the world's first modern novel.
Where do they argue? - They In the literary world, my darling.
- Oh.
He wrote it in prison, actually, which seems to be a good place to write a book.
And it was an immediate and roaring success.
In the novel, Don Quixote goes mad because of reading.
It used to be believed that reading, or what they called excessive contemplation, was incredibly bad for you and it caused the most astonishing range of illnesses.
So if you read too much, you could get all of these things, according to Dr Robert Burton.
All caused by reading too much.
It's like the menu in a gastro pub.
LAUGHTER I feel like I'm in an exciting new hipster coffee bar.
"Oh, I'll have the colick, please.
Two shots.
" The top ten names in England in 2035.
"Oh, yeah, so Gout and Wasting are at camp, but Colick's at home.
" LAUGHTER Can I just say, though, it's so nice to be with another Alan, because Alans? They're going It's like the white rhino, they're going extinct.
There's only me, you and Alan Titchmarsh going.
Did you know that? Like, there's no other Alans.
You'd think with me being on the telly, there'd be a few more, but sadly not.
I love you very much, Alan, but I think you being on television is not going to encourage the breeding of children.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Meow! Backstage she went, "Alan, I know it's your first time on, "I'll be very kind and very lovely.
" It's like being back in the playground.
Why don't you stamp on me glasses while you're at it?! LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE What do you suppose a collective for Alans is? I wonder what the collective? A pride.
A pride.
- Are you happy with that, darling? - Yeah.
- OK, fantastic.
I'm pleased.
But Cervantes himself had quite an adventurous life.
He was in the Spanish Army, during which he got shot three times.
He's got a sword in him there.
Oh, yes! "Argh! I'll keep writing, don't worry.
" He lost the use of his left arm.
He was kidnapped and held captive as a slave for five years.
He was arrested three times, he was excommunicated three times.
I mean, he really had the most astonishing life.
Is he from Albert Square? That's the sort of CV of someone who's been in EastEnders, - all of those bad things happening to you.
- Nasty Nick, isn't he? - Yeah.
Now, what's the most thankless job in history? It's being a mum, surely.
Yeah.
Don't try and get the mum vote.
We have to say thank you to Mum in our house or we won't get any biscuits.
LAUGHTER What's the worst job you ever had, Alan? I put the raisins into Fruit 'n Fibre.
- Did you really? - Yes.
Yes.
Did somebody else do the apple bits? - You were only in charge of the raisins? - Yeah.
They came in a big box, I tipped it, I didn't put them in individually, like that.
LAUGHTER "I wish I'd gone to school!" Anybody else, a terrible job? I was once working at a record company and someone had a record out with a lyric in it that mentioned Mr Potato Head.
And so I was asked, as a promotional device, to carve faces into 100 potatoes.
LAUGHTER OK.
The most thankless job in history comes from ancient China.
So we're going to go back to 400 to 100 BC.
And there were people called Youxia.
And they were on a constant quest to rescue anybody in trouble and to help the poor.
But they hated being thanked, because they were too modest.
In fact, it was part of their fundamental beliefs that you should never receive praise.
So they are almost the equivalent of the knight-errants, which is what Don Quixote was.
But were they REALLY modest, or were they like, "No, please.
Please don't, please, don't.
"Don't.
Please, no, I can't"? No, no, they had codes of chivalry.
So there was one called Chu Chia and he saved hundreds of people's lives, but whenever anybody thanked him, he couldn't bear it, even when he saved a king's life, he refused to ever see him again, just in case he was thanked.
It was absolutely part of who they were.
There's a period of time in China, it's the 250-year period of Warring States and lots of dynasties were fighting for control.
In the end, the dynasty called Qin finally won, that's Q-I-N, and that is where China gets its name from, from the Qin dynasty.
So you can see this area down here on the left.
That only lasted for about 15 years.
But in these times of untrustworthy government, instability, people turned to these more self-sacrificing Youxia knights to dispense justice instead.
Now, what's the lowest camping experience you can think of? - Oh, my God! - Oh, I was there that year.
- Where is that? - That's Glastonbury.
2006 or 2007.
That was the year when there were police divers going into the tents looking for bodies.
- Oh! - But they didn't find any, so it's all right.
It looks like a cross between camping and a soup from Wagamama's.
- I went to Glastonbury once.
- Yeah.
And I got absolutely paralytic.
I woke up on the floor.
Someone must have trodden on me, because I had two footprints there.
- And someone had stubbed a fag out on my face! - No! - Yeah! - OK - How annoying can I be if I'm lying on the floor? I'm talking about the lowest campsite in the world.
- It is 1.
6km down, inside the deepest cave on Earth.
- Oh! It is in Georgia, the Krubera Cave.
It is obviously not open to your average camper.
- Ah.
- This is a genuine picture from the inside of the cave.
It is 13km long, it is over 2km deep and it can fill with water really fast, - with absolutely no warning whatsoever.
- Oh, my God! Nevertheless, people go camping down inside this cave.
So, in 2018, 56 cavers from seven different countries spent four weeks down inside.
They were sleeping six to a tent, and for fun they would dive down into sumps, which are sort of freezing Oh, God! They're freezing cold passages submerged underwater, and squeeze as far as they could down these extremely narrow passageways.
Four weeks, can you imagine? How much is it for a family of four? - It's not for me.
- What do you mean, it's not for you? You're a perfect size for underground living.
LAUGHTER "I can't get in that corridor.
Where's Sandi? "Sandi, get down there, will you, tell us if there's any sumps?" Be like Stuart Little, we'd get you a little car.
"Go and find the interesting things underground, Sandi.
"And make sure you come back, "we'll have a lovely bit of cheese for you.
" So I was listening to that flight of fancy and you went "cheese", and I thought, "Oh, I WOULD come back for cheese, darling.
" The deepest point of the cave is called the Terminal Sump.
- Oh.
- Oh, dear.
- And nobody knows how deep it is.
- I've got one of those.
LAUGHTER Only my doctor knows where it is.
Well, I know a Ukrainian diver who could go and have a look.
There's a man called Gennady Samokhin, and he holds the record for the deepest dive so far.
52 metres down to the Terminal Sump.
Why would you do that? IN STRONG ACCENT: "I do not want to go any further down here.
"Sandi, Sandi, go further.
"Where is Sandi in her tiny car?" LAUGHTER Camping as a pastime.
First documented, when do we reckon? - Early Victorian.
- Early Victorians.
It's British, so, yeah.
- Is it? Yeah, it is.
The Victorians absolutely loved it.
There was a great boating craze, so it was up and down the Thames, and some boats even converted into floating tents.
The person we have to blame is a British tailor called Thomas Hiram Holding.
He is regarded as the sort of father of lightweight camping.
As a boy, in 1853, he and his family went across to the United States by pioneer wagon, across the prairies, and he absolutely loved it and has inflicted it on the rest of us for all eternity that we have to go camping.
Somebody that wears a pussy bow is not genuinely camping.
No.
Like, I feel like he's got an inflatable mattress in there, - he's got heaters, he's got a hot water bottle.
- Mojito.
A little Mojito, yeah.
He rather hilariously produced the Camper's Handbook and under meal suggestions, he provides recipes for blancmange and lobster salad.
Oh, just come out! LAUGHTER I can remember getting a vegetarian cookbook in the '80s and it had a crisp sandwich in it.
LAUGHTER It's not much of a tent, is it? But he has rowed there on dry land, which is quite impressive, so LAUGHTER Tide's out.
You say that's not much of a tent, he sold it to Eeyore just after this photograph was taken.
Camping these days can get seriously IN-TENTS.
- Ah! - Come on! - Ah! - Goodnight.
- OK, moving on.
From the deepest quest on Earth to the highest.
What do Everest summiters come down with? I was offered the chance to walk to Base Camp.
And I did one day's training on Hampstead Heath and declined.
They say Hampstead Heath is harder.
So if you can do Hampstead - You have to talk to the dog walkers.
- Oh, the dog walkers.
- Urgh! But there's only a fortnight in May and a fortnight in October when you can even go to the top.
And the rest of the year, it's 400mph winds and minus 60.
- Why would anyone go up there? - I thought you were going to say it's all school groups, it's inundated.
If you do get permission to go, you have to queue, and people get really bad-tempered.
There are many fights that break out as people are waiting.
What do they come down with? - A yeti.
- A black eye, by the sounds of it, if everyone's like Oh, a fridge magnet, something like that? LAUGHTER - One of those pens with something that slides.
- Yeah.
A climber! - There's a Sherpa in a bra.
- He's at the top, he's down again.
"Sir Edmund.
Wow!" "You can see his Hillary.
" LAUGHTER The Tibetans don't call it Everest, they call it Qomolangma, and they employ, in fact, 30 porters.
Their sole job is to carry poo down the mountain.
- Oh! - Yes, to special pits further down the mountain.
You're not allowed to leave your poo up there? Well, no, in fact, if you do climb up now, the Nepalese government, they require you to bring down 18lb of rubbish, uh, that includes other people's poo, or you will lose your 4,000 deposit.
Just over 26,000lb of human excrement is dumped at Base Camp.
- Will the poo ever overtake Everest? - That's what they fear.
"We can do this! For Comic Relief.
" But the Nepalese porters who carry it all down, they are astonishing.
They use something called a namlo, it's a sling that goes across the forehead.
And on average, the male porters can carry 90% of their body mass.
And there's female porters as well, they can carry 66%.
There's one porter who can carry twice his own body weight.
Hillary went back to the Himalayas lots of times after climbing Everest.
- He led an expedition - For a poo.
He led an expedition to look for the Abominable Snowman.
- Did he find it? - He concluded that it didn't exist.
- No? - No.
But the Nepalese government has yeti hunting rules.
You have to pay for a permit, is the first thing.
You have to photograph or capture it, you're not allowed to kill it.
And you have to turn it over or turn over the photographs of any - sightings whatsoever.
- I like the idea that Edmund Hillary's there at the press conference.
"And this is what we're looking for.
" And there's a bunch of Sherpas in front of him who'll go, "Oh, you mean Keith.
" LAUGHTER He's saying, "And you see, no hat.
"This is how you can tell the yeti.
" Or the centre parting, do you think they saw lots of ones with little side partings, like, "That's not the one I'm looking for.
- "I want the one with the curtains.
" - "If we cannot find the yeti, "we will settle for the lead singer of Herman's Hermits.
" Now, how did Britain's greatest national treasure get here? Taxi.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE What do you reckon? What's Britain's greatest national treasure? - Crown Jewels? - It is to do with the Crown Jewels.
The Cullinan Diamond.
World's largest diamond ever found.
- Oh, Christ! - It looks like a molar.
Like a Fox's mint.
It's about the size of an orange.
So if you imagine the average diamond is about the size of a seed, and you compare that to the Cullinan Diamond, it was absolutely massive.
It was discovered in 1905 in the Cullinan Mine in South Africa.
Probably the most valuable object in the world at the time.
Now, as you said, it is in the Crown Jewels.
And so obviously they want to get it to London.
So did they just, someone had to pocket it? Well, what they did was, they wanted to make sure that it was safe, so they rather ceremoniously put it in a package and they locked it inside the safe of a steam boat and there was a team of detectives making sure this huge thing was absolutely safe.
In fact, that package was a decoy and the diamond arrived in London safe and sound by registered post.
- No way! - Don't you love that? They just thought, "Oh, stick a stamp on it, it'll be all right.
" I'm very glad that you said that, because I just imagined a poor man walking all the way down the Mall going STRAINED: "I've got a delivery for the Queen.
" Well, it was taken immediately to King Edward VII, to inspect.
In fact, the diamond went unsold for two years and the government of Transvaal, eventually they bought it for the equivalent of £15 million today, and they wanted to give it as a gift to the King, but the government wasn't sure.
But Churchill was the Colonial Secretary and he said, "Absolutely, we need to take this.
" And because everybody was so grateful in Transvaal to him for doing this, Churchill was given a replica.
He used to put it on a silver plate and show it off at dinners to guests.
I like the idea that you'd take it to the King and the King would inspect it, but I'm presuming he doesn't know loads about the diamond.
No.
I mean, what's he looking for? I don't know.
I would have taken it to David Dickinson, because he knows.
That's his He knows a bit more, doesn't he? What about HS Samuel and you're like, "Is that a good 'un?" Of course, you did have to find somebody who was good with diamonds, and the people who really knew about it was the Asscher brothers in Amsterdam.
And again, they made a big song and dance out of it.
The Royal Navy took a box across the North Sea.
In fact, Abraham Asscher took the diamond, put it in his pocket and caught the train and went by train and ferry all the way with that.
"Tickets, please.
" "Oh, shit!" His brother, Joseph, studied the diamond and he planned the cut for weeks and weeks and weeks.
Four days before making the initial groove, he did a thing with the cutting knife and the knife broke, rather than the diamond.
I mean, it really was a massive thing.
He spent nine months cutting it into nine major diamonds and 96 what they call brilliant.
"What do you want it to say? How do you spell it? Argh?" So Cullinan's I, which is the Great Star of Africa, that is at the top of the sceptre.
And Cullinan's II is in front of the Imperial State Crown.
They are the major components.
That ruby there is Black Prince's Ruby, the largest one in the world.
Not cut properly, just given a bit of a polish.
Now, onto the quest for true love.
Who would be interested in this dating profile? That's basically me.
KLAXON BLARES LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE - Is it a human? - No, obviously, it's not a human.
Bald Bolivian creature beginning with a Q? - It doesn't begin with a Q.
- Well, it's in the wrong series.
- It is.
But we are on a quest to find this creature a mate.
It is a frog.
- A frog.
- So this is a very sweet story, OK? This is the story of Romeo.
A Sehuencas frog.
So he has been living in a tank in Bolivia, in the Cochabamba Natural History Museum.
And it was thought that Romeo was the last one in his species.
So the last one in a species is called an endling.
And in 2018, his conservationists set up an online dating profile for him on Match.
com in an effort to find him a mate.
And here is the video that they made for their search.
Hi, there.
I'm Romeo, a Sehuencas water frog from Bolivia.
I'm a pretty simple guy.
I tend to keep to myself and love spending nights at home.
I also love eating.
Then again, who doesn't? Ah, who could resist, right? Who could resist? - They are good friends to do that.
- Didn't want to do it himself.
- Yeah.
- It's embarrassing to do it for yourself.
- They're good mates.
Get your friends to do it.
SPANISH ACCENT: "Miguel, could you do a video for me?" "Hey, why don't I put you catching a worm? "And come out under the rock.
You get your worm.
" "I have the tiny arms at the front.
"It is not possible for me to hold the phone.
- "And in the" - HE CROAKS - "Say what you want me to say.
" - Yeah.
"Write it down on a big piece of paper and hold it behind a phone.
" - The thing is, it worked.
- Loads of frogs started turning up.
A toad in a frog bra.
LAUGHTER "Hello.
" They went out on a frog-finding expedition, they found three males and two females.
And he has now been paired with a female, - who they have obviously named? - Juliet.
- Juliet, exactly right.
"Si, because I am called Romeo.
"This photograph was taken of me at my modern jazz dance class.
" LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE "When you dance in Bolivia, you must never smile.
" Here is the thing, is that you're completely wrong about Romeo's personality, cos they put him with Juliet, and she's really energetic.
She loves to swim, she eats a lot, she keeps trying to escape.
"She is driving me up the wall! "She is climbing out of the tank!" Yeah.
He's very "Eating my worms!" He's very shy.
He doesn't like her.
There's no such thing as shyness.
That's an affectation.
He doesn't like her and he's acting as if he's shy.
LAUGHTER Only one final challenge remains for our gallant knights as we trepidate into the treacherous kingdom of General Ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, please.
Which is the closest planet to Earth? GENTLE PIPE MUSIC, SWORDS CLANG Alice? Mars? KLAXON BLARES Not Mars.
Anybody else? Venus? KLAXON BLARES - The moon? - No.
KLAXON BLARES Generally? - Mercury? - Yes, absolutely right.
It is Mercury.
But it's not how we normally think of it.
So the minimum distance between the Earth and Venus is 24 million miles.
If you have a look at this, this is how we generally think of it.
That's very near, isn't it? It is in sort of space terms.
The minimum distance to Mars is 34 million miles, and to Mercury it's 48 million miles.
So you would imagine that it all goes like that and everybody stays in the same line-up.
However, that is not how orbits work.
So let's have a look at this video, which explains it a little bit more.
Initially, it looks as though Mercury is the furthest away, but the way the orbits function is that Venus often is right the other side of the Sun, making it really, really far away.
And there's a guy called Oliver Hawkins and he wrote some computer code to try and work this out.
And he found that the planet that spends most of the time closer to Earth than any other is Mercury.
- So it's closest to Earth 46% of the time.
- Oh.
Venus was closest 36% of the time and Mars only 18% of the time.
I think I did say all of that.
Yeah.
LAUGHTER - Anybody have a mnemonic to remember the planets in order? - Yes.
It's Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.
Thank you, darling, that's perfect.
That is the order and Pluto doesn't count, it's actually a Disney character.
Yes That is the order of the planets and one is often taught it at school.
So "Many Volcanoes Emit Mulberry Jam Sandwiches Under Normal Pressure.
" Or, "My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets.
" I couldn't get past Vagina, though.
I've got "Moist Vagina Expected Might Just Steam Up Nightie.
" LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE So, weirdly, that's probably the one I'm going to remember.
LAUGHTER Anybody else? Alice, have you got one? Mine's quite depressing.
OK.
"Mum's Vacant Expression Means Jane Sulks Unless Noticed.
" Wow, you were a jolly girl at school.
Yes.
My favourite is, "Mary's Virgin Explanation Made Joseph Suspect Upstairs Neighbour.
" LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Worth pointing out, of course, - that Pluto is no longer regarded as a planet.
- No, not there.
It's now a dwarf.
What is the name of this sword? - Excalibur.
- It isn't.
KLAXON BLARES - That's the first one he got.
Excalibur's the one later.
- Yes.
From the Lady of the Lake.
- The one he pulled out of the stone is called Terry.
- Oh! Yeah, you're right about Terry the sword.
- The sword in the stone is likely called Clarent.
- Clarent? Clarent, and it's a sort of peace.
He pulled it out of the stone shortly before buying his first pair of trousers.
- They're quite a fit, aren't they? - That's what they're all laughing at.
LAUGHTER And we end with the quest for eternal life.
So, Sir Alan of Carr, your final challenge.
Oh, OK.
FANFARE Upon yonder table lies the chalice of eternal life.
Prithee, select the one true Holy Grail and bring it to me.
- Oh, OK.
- Yeah, good luck.
- Is this my hat? - Oh, yes, of course it is.
I'm meant to look like Indiana Jones, I look like Charlie Hungerford from Bergerac.
Do you know what I mean? LAUGHTER - Right, what am I doing? - Right, so, you are looking for the Holy Grail.
Which one are you going to select? What's that Indiana Jones one, where he thinks that Jesus's cup - would be the golden one, but it's the modest one, innit? - OK.
So what do you reckon? Well, I think it's the wooden one.
KLAXON BLARES Here is the thing, you should have picked the tray.
The tray is the Holy Grail.
A grail was most likely a serving dish.
So would you please bring me the tray? And none of the cups whatsoever.
Has it got one of those beanbag padded bottoms? - Oh, I love those.
- If I could have that, please, darling.
- The word grail - What, like? - Thank you, sweetheart.
It comes from the Latin, gradale, grail, and it means a deep platter that you would serve food on during medieval banquets.
It gradually evolved from the sort of Middle Ages onwards into people thinking it was a larger vessel with an elaborate cover, and then a drinking cup.
Traditionally, the idea is it gives immortality to the drinker, although the Bible gives no special significance to the chalice that Jesus uses to consecrate his blood wine.
Well, I'm afraid you picked wrong, but you look very fetching in the hat.
I would love to see a camp Indiana Jones.
Something terrible happens, he goes SHE SHRIEKS A grail actually looks like this.
Which means a holy grail looks like this.
AUDIENCE: Ah! I'm working my arse off here, people.
Which brings us to the scores.
- In first place, with minus 1, it's Phill.
- Phill! APPLAUSE In second place, with minus 7, making a fantastic debut, it's Alan Carr! APPLAUSE - Thank you.
- In third place, a surprising minus 15 - Alan.
- Oh! - APPLAUSE - Third! And in last place, with minus 18, it's Alice.
APPLAUSE And so, farewell to my noble knights, Alice, Alan, Phill and Alan and me.
Till we meet again, let us dwell upon this questing quotation from the late great Knight of the Realm, Sir Terry Pratchett.
"So much universe, and so little time.
" Goodnight.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE