QI (2003) s17e09 Episode Script


1 Welcome to QI, where it's the perfect time of year for a Quizmas Quiz.
Just look at the crackers I've pulled.
Your starter for ten, Sara Pascoe! Come on down, Josh Widdicombe! He's good but he's not quite right, Johnny Vegas! And my pointless friend, Alan Davies! Let's hear their buzzers.
Sara goes # Hark! how the bells Sweet silver bells # All seem to say "Throw cares away.
" Aw.
Josh goes # Oh how they pound Raising the sound # O'er hill and dale Telling their tale Johnny goes # Gaily they ring While people sing # Songs of good cheer Christmas is here And Alan goes Merry Christmas, you filthy animal.
Let's start with a little stocking filler, especially for Alan.
60% of the world's Christmas decorations are made in China, in a single town there.
China gets the name from the Qin dynasty, which invented candles in about 200BC.
So, my seasonal starter is, what did the Qin make their candles from? Bear in mind, this is a present for you, Alan.
This is an absolute gift, this.
What did they make their candles from? Blue whales? Yes! Shut up! I thought it was going to go off.
Yeah! Finally! Not necessarily blue whales.
Whales, generally.
- Oh, well, that'll do.
- Whale fat.
But you get not only a blue whale bonus, you get this festive cheer! CHEERING Slightly alarmed.
It tailed off into something quite menacing.
It's Quizmas, so we're going quizzing.
Has anybody had a bad quizzing experience? I've had a few.
Oh, have you? Like what? Well, about four years ago, my mum got really jealous of her twin sister, who was doing very, very well at Trivial Pursuit.
And she said, "Can I ask the next question?" And what she asked was, "Why have you've done nothing with your life?" Yeah, what category is that? - Is that literature? - Wow.
- Wow, that's terrible.
- Yeah.
It ruined the quiz.
I would imagine that had a fair impact on the family as well? Oh, yeah, yeah.
Josh, any bad quizzing experiences? I found out a family thing at a pub quiz.
That's not your mother? Tie-break's a tie-break though, isn't it? So, I've always been told that there's this guy I'm a descendant of called Sabine Baring-Gould, who wrote the lyrics to Abide With Me.
That's the claim to fame in the family? - The claim to fame in the family.
- OK.
And it came up in a pub quiz.
I was like, "Here we bloody go! Watch out here.
"Sabine Baring-Gould.
" And it wasn't him! And the whole thing had been some lie passed down in the family.
No?! And people are like, "That's not even a name!" That's a firm of chartered surveyors, isn't it? - I used to host a quiz.
- Right.
I worked at a pub.
There was no internet, so I had to go to the library every week .
and fundamentally work out of children's atlases to set the questions.
And I asked a question one week, and it was, "Where on the body would you find the clavicle?" Which is the shoulder.
But I wrote it down in haste, and said the knee.
And one of the pub teams was a team of ambulance drivers.
They virtually had me up against a wall, shaking me, telling me I was an idiot.
But, then, three months later, it was the Christmas quiz, so you got outside teams coming to the pub.
And it was brilliant, because in the quiz, you go, "According to the Vegas Medical Dictionary ".
where on the body would you find the clavicle?" And it was just beautiful watching the locals go, "It's the knee!" Josh, this is going to make you feel good.
The elves tell me that Baring-Gould, your relative, did write Onward, Christian Soldiers.
Oh, Onward, Christian Soldiers! - Yeah.
- It's a better song.
It's a bigger hit, isn't it? Do you feel better now? I genuinely feel on cloud nine.
Well, the pub quiz is notorious for igniting furious rows about tiny quibbles.
So, we asked our Twitter followers to send us examples of petty quarrels at pub quizzes.
So, here are a few that they sent us.
What is the act of eating outside called? - Anybody? - Picnic? - Al fresco.
So, I mean, they're both the same thing.
Lots of teams answered al fresco, the quizmaster said a picnic, and there was uproar for at least ten minutes.
This is from Scott Daugherty, who sent us this in.
Here's another one.
This is from a Barker and Jones.
What is the connection between the word "murder" and the horse Red Rum? Red Rum is murder backwards? Absolutely.
The answer the quizmaster had is "Murder is red rum backwards.
" Their answer that they gave is that the two are anagrams of each other, which is also correct.
But the quizmaster refused to accept it.
- I know.
- That is annoying.
Yeah, OK.
Let's try this one.
Who can spell Fahrenheit? Oh, how they pound - Go.
- Not me.
- I'll try.
- Go on, then.
So, a gentleman called SeaSpaniel once had an argument about how it's spelt.
He is here with us, in the audience.
There he is, right there.
Now, how did you settle how it was actually spelt? I contacted Leiden University and asked them to get hold of an original copy of Fahrenheit's signature.
Do you think it's possible, darling, you were taking it a little bit too seriously? I believe so, and I've calmed down now and I'm on medication.
- Did they write back and tell you? - Yes, they did.
How did you contact them? Well, it was using e-mail, but it was pre-Google.
So, how did you spell it in the e-mail? You know the guy who wasn't Celsius? Well, thank you very much for coming in.
That's fantastic.
Now, tis the season to be jolly, and tonight we have some jolly silly questions.
In fact, we have trawled the QI archives for the silliest questions we've been asked over the years.
This one is from 2006, and it's from a Mr Alan Davies.
Alan, this is the question that you asked in 2006.
Perhaps you would read it out? ALAN CLEARS THROA If you went up into space with a mouse and an elephant, would they both become weightless at the same time? Right.
So, there is you in 2006 asking this question.
I forgot you were in The Wonder Stuff.
So, what do you reckon? You've had 12 years to think about it.
If you went into space with a mouse and an elephant, would they both become weightless at the same time? I would say that yes, they would, because gravity disappears from both of them at the same moment.
If there's no gravity, you basically weigh nothing, so it doesn't matter how big or small you are.
Yeah, but the elephant would be so afraid of the mouse, maybe he jumps.
Elephants can't jump.
Did you know that? Don't mess with his science.
It's one of the reasons why they're afraid of mice.
Alan! Alan! If only the elephant had the foresight .
to stitch a tiny hat for the mouse - Right.
- .
learn to fly Ah! Well, we will come on to flying elephants in just one moment.
I'm so glad, because I know nothing, but I watch a lot of Disney films.
Well, then, this is the show for you.
Er, how many species of elephant are there today? Two.
- Three.
- Yeah, there are three.
There is the Asian elephant.
I got it back! Grabbed it straight back! - Er, there's the Asian elephant - Woohoo! It's harder than it looks.
Ooh! It's got the bloody answer on it.
Come here, sweetie.
Thank you.
There's one Asian kind and there are two African - there's the African forest and the African savannah.
- And there's the space elephant.
- And the space elephant.
Well, we're going to come on to the one with the little hat, - who was called - Dumbo? Dumbo.
How big would Dumbo's ears have to be to enable him to fly? - Ooh, good question.
- Very good question.
I'd say 30 metres either side.
OK, so, we have actually done the maths.
I would say they'd have to be longer at the back.
Er, w-why? - If you look at an aeroplane - Yes.
the wings are in the middle and these at the front.
So they'd need to So, it's not how wide they have to be, it's the depth.
I don't know why you didn't go into something technical for a living.
Come round and I will show you my big book of rejection letters.
Honest to God, the one off Nasa is just "Yeah, you're not allowed to come up, "and you're not allowed to bring your elephant either.
" Seriously, so, the width Yeah, so So, here's the thing.
If they were rigid, they would have to be a 20-foot earspan, is what we've worked out.
But if they were floppy like a hang-glider This is Dumbo.
they would have to measure - and we've done this to scale - OK, they would have to measure 60 foot from tip to tip in order for this to work.
So, if you take that, darling.
So, that's how big, if Dumbo were real, the ears would have to be.
I'll be honest, if they were that big, the mother would reject him.
This is C No, it's Christmas! Alan's being a silly billy.
Honest to God, I've never, ever presented this show looking at an elephant's arse.
It's the weirdest thing.
Right, time for a singsong.
Christmas is often a time when you're given the gift of a book, and I was given one called Should I Stay Or Should I Go? by James Ball, which poses some interesting questions raised in songs.
Hopefully we can sort a few of them out.
Have a listen to this.
How much is that doggie in the window? OK, so, how much would a puppy under six months old actually cost from a pet shop in the UK? Four hundred and - Sorry.
- No, it's all right.
I actually said 450! Dammit.
You can't get them from pet shops.
That is the correct answer.
You cannot get them from pet shops, since 2019.
You're speaking to a dog rescuer.
You can only get them now from breeders or authorised rehoming centres, cos the rules changed in 2019.
Let's have another question from a song.
Why do birds suddenly appear? - Is it a feeding thing? - It is to do with feeding, darling.
Birds are able to distinguish rather subtle changes in air pressure, and they may know that a storm is coming and they want to feed as quickly as possible before the weather changes.
That's what it is.
It's to do with that.
Why is it that we never see baby pigeons? What do you think the reason is? They're invisible till they're six months old.
They mature quicker than most species, and they tend to stay in the nest until they're fully fledged.
And, the fact is, honestly, we don't really see baby birds of any kind, really.
We'll see ducks and so on, but, mostly, we don't see baby birds anywhere.
The way you can tell a baby pigeon You do occasionally see them in the streets.
The adults have red-orange eyes - you can see the adult there - and the babies still have dark eyes.
So, that is one of the ways in which you could tell them apart.
They are pretty, the babies, aren't they? Yeah, that's You'd have to be a mother to love that, wouldn't you? My dad used to race pigeons when I was a kid.
Did he win? We're in the presence of professional comedians, ladies and gentlemen.
Alan gave me 20 quid to do that set-up.
Now, here's another extremely silly question submitted in 2011 by, ooh, Mr Alan Davies.
So, there you go, darling, if you could just read the question out.
Thank you so much.
What is the aquatic equivalent of a sheepdog? Any ideas? Well, the closest has got to be a dolphin.
You're right.
From about 1840 to 1930 off the coast of Eden in New South Wales, there was a pod of orcas, a type of dolphin, and they were recorded herding whales towards fishermen.
And they were rewarded with the tongues and lips of the whale.
It became known as the Law of the Tongue.
The indigenous people, the Yuin people, are thought to have cooperated with orcas for, we don't know, perhaps thousands of years.
But it came to an end with the death of the lead orca, who was known as Old Tom, 1930.
But in Laguna in Southern Brazil, there is a group of bottlenose dolphins and they have been collaborating with local fishermen to herd fish since at least 1847.
So, they drive shoals of mullet towards the fishermen in shallow water.
And then they indicate with, sort of, specialised head and tail movements where the humans should throw the nets, and then they share the catch.
And there's about 200 fishermen who are entirely dependent on the dolphins, and they never fish without them.
And there's also dogs that herd fish.
They're called Portuguese water dogs, and they've been used for this purpose for absolutely centuries.
- The Portuguese call them Portuguese fishing dogs.
- Good photo! - Isn't it beautiful? - That dog looks so happy.
What's the shutter speed there, Sandi? It's unbelievably fast.
"You run at me and I'll get you when you're running!" When I go to get my hair cut, I take a photo of him in, actually.
- Actually, that would suit you, darling.
That's very nice.
- Then you could get a little brown beard like he's got as well.
It turns out that there actually are aquatic sheepdogs after all Sort of.
Anyway, not as silly as you thought.
Now, here is another.
It's Christmas, time for Her Majesty's speech.
But what did people sing before there was a national anthem? Onward Christian Soldiers.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Anybody know - God Save the King, when does that come from? I imagine it's Victorian.
I don't think that God Save the King started in Victorian times No, no.
That's a very good point.
Would it be Rule Britannia? Well, they were performed publicly in the same year.
So, God Save the King, it was, first publicly performed in 1745.
But there is a third patriotic song, which is much older.
It used to be more popular than either of those things.
It was called "Britons, Strike Home!" It was written by Henry Purcell in 1695 for a production of a play about I don't know what we say any more, do we say Boudicca? Yeah, Boudicca.
Boudicca is the way forward.
We still say Boadicea in Essex, where she lived.
I expect you've got it right.
It was sung by a Druid to whip up resistance against the Romans, and it used to be hugely popular, this song.
The entire House of Commons sang it spontaneously in 1797 when war was declared by Pitt.
It was played onboard ship during the Battle of Trafalgar.
The last recorded instance of it being played as a sort of patriotic rallying cry is December 1914.
But it's since fallen out of public consciousness.
So, we've got a quick version performed by the Academy of Ancient Music.
Have a listen to this.
Do you like it? You come from a composing family.
In terms of, kind of, patriotic songs - Yeah.
- .
I prefer Three Lions.
I suspect it was written in the kebab house.
At three in the morning.
Fight! Fight and record! OK, so, we are all going to sing.
Here we go.
ALL SING That was really shit.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE It felt like dinner at Nigel Farage's house.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE There you have it, the original national anthem, a song about Druids fighting Romans.
Which brings us to the quizmassy quagmire of quandaries which is our Quizmas General Ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, please.
Why is ice slippery? Oh, good question.
It's the watery bit on top of the ice.
- Oh, yeah.
- That sound right? I think you should probably ask Sandi rather than me.
When your foot goes down, it melts the top bit of the ice KLAXON It's an old theory that it used to melt when you stepped on it or that by stepping on the ice, somehow She's just really yanked him hard.
She's got a lot of life insurance.
There was a theory that if you stepped on the ice, the pressure you exerted melted the top layer and this water is then what you slid on.
You'd have to be stupid to think that.
Well, the pressure would need to be extreme.
We've been talking about elephants - if you put an elephant in high heels, you still could not exert enough pressure to make that happen.
Also, I think you'd be locked up.
I'd like to see an elephant in high heels though.
Yeah, but would you put it in four, like two pairs of high heels, or just two? Do you want to make it sexy, or is it an experiment? There's a team from the University of Amsterdam who may have solved the problem, and they think it's a matter of loose molecules - so ice has a very regular crystal structure.
So, I am going to just You're going to get this, Johnny, and you're going to enjoy it.
A little bit of science, OK? So, the ice that's down at the bottom, each bit Here's a molecule of ice, and it is attached Can you see that? .
to three, it's got three different things that it's attached to.
When you say ice, what you're looking at there are mice.
LAUGHTER The stuff that's down below the surface has got three things that it is attached to.
The stuff that is, sort of, up here - Mickey.
- .
Mickey up here on the surface is only attached to two.
And what that means is they kind of move around.
They don't really stick together.
They detach themselves and reattach themselves in various ways.
And so it is literally like marbles on a dance floor.
And it would be slippery even if you weren't on it.
Now you explain it, Johnny.
When you put your foot in it, it melts a bit.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Now, name an animal that you should leave a carrot out for.
Is it a reindeer? KLAXON No.
So, bad news for children who leave carrots out for Rudolph.
Reindeers find it hard to eat carrots.
They don't have incisor teeth on the upper jaw, so they never evolved to eat them, cos it's not a foodstuff they would find in the wild at all.
Have you heard about the carrot swindle? - Do you know about the carrot swindle? - I don't know about the carrot swindle.
When you go to your self-serve checkout, everything you put on to weigh, you just press carrots.
- Really? - So, you'd be, like, buying an anvil and you'd press "carrot?" - Yeah, so you'll put down What's an expensive vegetable? - Prosecco.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE So, you put everything through as carrots? I'm not doing it, Josh.
I'm a very honest customer.
- Where did you learn this? - From a reindeer.
No - because what they found, the supermarkets, the reason they started to become suspicious was because they were selling millions of tonnes of carrot.
And thousands and thousands of bottles of Prosecco were being stolen So, they started to watch people and, sure enough, people just putting all their washing on the thing, - pressing "carrots" and putting - All their washing?! LAUGHTER People are putting all their shopping on the thing, pressing "carrots" and they've got six bags, they've paid 12 quid Theft from self-service tills has doubled in the last four years.
So, you should not put this information out.
- I'm doing it for Sainsbury's.
- Yes.
But, Alan, when you put your washing on, what should you press? The unrealistic thing about the Father Christmas story is that reindeer don't actually eat carrots.
Now, I think it's time for a cup of cheer.
Who would like a glass of wine? - Yes, please! - Well, if you insist! What a way to fall off the wagon this is going to be.
So, I know you like to know a little bit about wine, don't you, Josh? LOVE wine.
OK, so, how far in advance should you open the wine for your Christmas dinner to make sure it is properly aerated? October.
I would say 15 minutes.
It's intolerable to open a bottle of wine and wait for more than 15 seconds! I can't wait for the Ferrero Rocher round.
Are we allowed to drink this? Yes, darling.
If your mother says it's OK.
LAUGHTER SLURRING: Onward Christian soldiers, everybody! Red wine, it's red wine.
The best way, if you are going to aerate red wine What the sofa smells like.
is not to decant it at all, or indeed aerate it.
What, drink it straight from the bottle? You honestly might as well, is the truth of it.
But if you really and truly wanted to aerate it, what you need to do is to put it in a blender, or do what I've done here, which is I've poured out a bit of the wine, put the cork back in and give it a jolly good shake.
But just leaving it open for an hour or putting it in a decanter or something is actually pointless, frankly.
I like the idea of using your Nutribullet the next morning - "That tastes of wine!" - Lovely! - Lots of people believe that aerating good wine makes it worse.
There was a guy called Emile Peynaud, he's often thought of as the sort of forefather of oenology - so the guy who knows about the study of wine - and said it should be avoided at all costs.
- So, don't bother with it at all.
- Don't even pull over.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Now, with all the drinking we'll be doing this Christmas, we're all going to have stacks of glasses and cups.
So, who fancies a Christmas cup stacking contest? - Yes, please! - OK.
So, take out your stack of cups.
And what you need to do is, you need three cups here and three cups here and six cups in the middle.
So, it's a proper sport, it's recognised by the American Amateur Athletics Union, Junior Olympics.
So, here's what you have to do.
You have to take the stack on the left and make three like this.
Then you have to take the six in the middle and make them into a stack as well, like this.
And then you have to make the stack of three.
So, this is the shape that you should end up with.
And once you've done that, in order to do it as a proper sport stacking contest, you then have to return it to how it was.
But you have to start the same way.
And back like this.
OK? So, are we going have a competition? See who can do this fastest? - All right? - This is so exciting.
Josh, darling, start on the left.
A stack of three, a stack of six, a stack of three.
Ready, steady, go! Three and a six Then you've got to take them down again, from the left to right.
JOHNNY: It won't come out! It won't come out! Josh! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE OK, I think we should challenge you to see if there's somebody in the audience Does anybody want to have a go? OK, the guy who's put his hand up here.
Come and have a go, my darling.
Let's challenge you against Josh.
APPLAUSE - Right, what's your name? - Lee.
- Lee.
Lee, this is Josh.
Josh, this is Lee.
I've got bad news for you, Lee, you're about to get your arse handed to you.
Both put your hands on the board before you start.
Are you ready? Not really.
Go! Whoa, what's going on here?! No! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE You were not quite out the gate there.
I'm not going to lie to you, I dropped my first cup.
Otherwise, I thought we were pretty well matched.
Best of three? OK.
Put your hands on the mat.
No cheating You think that's going to make a difference? I do.
You should be ashamed, Josh! I've ruined Christmas! You should be ashamed of yourself, cheating at Christmas.
Onward Christian soldiers Right, boys, hands on the mat, I'm going to give you best of three.
Are you ready? Go! APPLAUSE Ladies and gentlemen, British champion stacker, Lee Norton! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE My thanks to Josh, Sara and Johnny for coming second, and a happy Christmas to Alan, who comes first but once a year.
Now, what we're going to do LAUGHTER We are all going to sing Merry Quizmas and a Happy Q Year.
Here we go - two, three! # We wish you a merry Quizmas # We wish you a merry Quizmas # We wish you a merry Quizmas And a happy Q Year.
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