This is a list of episodes of QI, the BBC comedy panel game television show hosted by Stephen Fry.
The first series started on 11 September 2003. Although not mentioned at the time, all of the questions (with the exception of the final "general ignorance" round) were on subjects beginning with "a" (such as "arthropods", "Alans" and "astronomy"). The following four series continued the theme: the second series' subjects all began with "b", and so on.
The dates in the lists are those of the BBC Two broadcasts. The episodes were also broadcast on BBC Four, generally a week earlier (as soon as one episode finished on BBC Two, the next was shown on BBC Four). Aside from Alan Davies and not adding clip shows, there are six guests that have appeared in ten or more episodes (out of 61), they are Jo Brand (18), Rich Hall (16), Phill Jupitus (16), Bill Bailey (15), Sean Lock (14) and Clive Anderson (10). Excluding the Pilot there have been a total of 51 different guest panellists in the four series to date. The fifth series began to air on BBC Two on 21 September 2007.
Disclaimer: Some facts stated during the series have since been found to be incorrect, in some cases due to a mistake and others by becoming outdated. Where possible these entries have been highlighted.
C Series (2005)
Episode 1 "Custard, Cardiff and Campanology"
- 30 September 2005 (BBC Two)Panellists:
- Alan Davies (-25 points)
- Bill Bailey (-5 points)
- Rob Brydon (-16 points)
- Rich Hall (Winner with 8 points) Buzzers:
- Bill - A bus's bell
- Rob - Men singing "Bread of Heaven"
- Rich - A dog howling ("How is that a bus?" - "It's a dog being hit by a bus")
- Alan - Children singing "The Wheels on the Bus"Topics:
- The 2002 Ordnance Survey map of Great Britain, the most detailed map of its kind, sells on CD-ROM for £30,000 for every town, or £4,990,000 for the whole country.
- Tangent: Amongst the famous actors from Port Talbot are Rob, Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and Michael Sheen.
- Tangent: The etymology of the word map, from the word mapa, the Latin for napkin.
- Tangent: Stephen thought that he and his brother invented the word "fuck", so they were surprised when their mother said it to them. Rich first said "fuck" to his father, after his father peeped round his door and said "Shut the door, dad, I'm trying to fuck in here!"
- Tangent: John Bunyan denounced bellringing along with dancing, playing tip-cat, and reading the history of Sir Bevis of Southampton.
- Tangent: In the film Gladiator, the Roman Emperor played by Joaquin Phoenix was called Commodus.
- Tangent: Alan's confusion over Emperor's names and champagne names.
- Tangent: Stephen's inability to answer Alan if all the stars were round.
- Tangent: Rich's attempts to make Stephen bluff the "QI Audience" into believing anything said by him.General Ignorance:
Episode 2 "Crime, Cuisine and the Contents of the Queen's Handbag"
- 7 October 2005 (BBC Two)Panellists:
- Alan Davies (-4 points)
- Andy Hamilton (Winner with 5 points)
- Doon Mackichan (-2 points)
- Arthur Smith (-6 points) Theme:
- Opera - a 50 point bonus was offered to any contestant who could break a wine glass using only the power of their voice. It is almost impossible to achieve.Buzzers:
- Doon - A woman singing coloratura
- Arthur - An opera singer (extract from 'A te, o caro' from Bellini's 'I puritani')
- Andy - A man singing in a deep voice
- Alan - A long howl by a dogTopics:
- Doon swam the Channel in 1998; Captain Webb was the first man to do so in 1875, he was smothered in goose-fat in order to insulate himself.
- Tangent: Captain Webb died in 1883 attempting to swim across the river at the foot of the Niagara Falls.
- Tangent: Fry's various anecdotes on the Scottish accent.
- Ordeal by bean is an (outlawed) Nigerian tribal custom whereby accused individuals are forced to eat a lethal strain of bean. (Forfeit: Mr Bean)
- Tangent: 95% of baked beans are eaten in Britain.
- A hairdresser called Big Beard Wang regularly shaved his pussy, because his pussy was Chairman Mao. (Mao in Chinese meaning cat)
- According to one survey, the age people would most like to be is 17. From a man's point of view, a woman's perfect age is said to be half his own plus seven.General Ignorance:
- How big is a platypus? - Alan used his hands to measure the size of a duck-billed platypus, which brought up the forfeit "About This Big" on the screen. A platypus, technically speaking, is a genus of beetle, not to be confused with a duck-billed platypus. The latter has no nipples, but instead sweats milk. (Forfeit: About This Big)
- Tangent: The echidna is the only other mammal, apart from the platypus that lays eggs.
- Tangent: Just before Stephen Fry read out the points, the contestants attempted to break their glasses. Alan Davies appeared to succeed, but Doon Mackichan revealed that he had cheated. Stephen then revealed that Alan was trying to break sugar glass, and smashed one over his head. Arthur Smith threw his into the 'QI' logo in the centre of the studio. It was fortunate he did, as his was real glass. (Doon threatened to sue).
Episode 3 "Chickens, Cormorants and Cardigans"
- 14 October 2005 (BBC Two)Panellists:
- Alan Davies (-9 points)
- Jimmy Carr (-12 points)
- Sean Lock (0 points)
- Rory McGrath (Winner with 88 points) Buzzers:
- Sean - A builder's drilling machine
- Jimmy - A fire alarm
- Rory - A police car's siren
- Alan - Noise and the speaker from the House of Commons shouting "Order! Order!"Topics:
- The commonest bird in the world is the domesticated chicken.
- Tangent: According to the Kinsey report, 1 out of 6 men in Iowa has had sex with a chicken.
- John Napier, inventor of the decimal point and logarithms, kept a black cockerel which he used as a ploy to catch a thieving servant. He would hide the cockerel in a darkened room and ask all his servants to stroke it, but they didn't know he covered the cockerel in soot, so the innocent ones would stroke it and have dirty fingers, but the guilty one would pretend to stroke it and have clean hands. Napier supposedly invented the machine gun.
- Tangent: The Piccadill ruff.
- Tangent: The Finnish word saippuakuppinippukauppias is the longest palindrome in the world.
- Tangent: Rory's knowledge of all the atomic numbers.
- Tangent: Rory and Stephen discuss Latin bird names.
- Tangent: The door at 10 Downing Street is the only door that can only be opened from the inside.
Episode 4 "Cheating, Caravans and Cuckoo Clocks"
- 21 October 2005 (BBC Two)Panellists:
- Alan Davies (-52 points)
- Alexander Armstrong (Winner with 93 points)
- Jeremy Clarkson (0 points)
- John Sessions (-10 points) Buzzers:
- Jeremy - A firework
- Alexander - A hippo groaning
- John - A humorous jingle based around the word "fruity"
- Alan - A cuckoo clock (and a gun shooting the cuckoo)Tasks:
- The panelists were asked to keep their own scores. An extra 100 points would be awarded for any contestant who recorded their score absolutely accurately. Alexander Armstrong was the only person who accurately recorded his score (-7) and therefore received 100 points bringing his score up to 93.
Jeremy thought his score was -29, John thought his score was 7 and Alan thought his score was -85½.Topics:
- Tangent: George Eyser won six gymnastic medals at the 1904 games despite his left leg being made of wood.
- Tangent: Cricket at the 1900 Summer Olympics: Britain beat France in the 1900 Olympic Games in cricket, although the French team was actually made of British Embassy officials.
- Many riders competing in the 1904 Tour de France were disqualified because of receiving illegal tows from motor vehicles during night races. Maurice Garin was disqualified for taking a train through part of the route.
- Challenger, Tornado, Typhoon, Mustang, Laser, Marauder, Hurricane, Starquest, Apache, Buccaneer, Jetstream, Superstorm and Cobra are all makes of caravan. (Forfeit: Tanks, Fighters, Helicopters).
- Patriot, Gladiator, Dagger, Javelin, Merlin, Archer, Arrow, White King and Excalibur are all variants of parsnip. Boris Pasternak's surname means parsnip in Russian. Jeremy grows his own parsnips in a field near where he lives. (Forfeit: Missiles).
- The first creature to be sent into space was a fruit fly. (Forfeit: Monkey, Dog)
- Tangent: 65% of diseases found in humans are paralleled in the fruit fly.
- The fruit fly has the largest sperm of any organism, with an uncoiled size of around 20 times its own length (5.8cm).
- Tangent: The sperm is the smallest cell in the human body, and the ovum is the largest.
- Tangent: The Swiss have the highest motorcycle and gun ownerships in the world. Jeremy was once pulled over in Switzerland, because of his car exhaust, but the policeman took no notice of his gun on the passenger chair.
- Tangent: The guillotine was last used in 1977, when a one-legged French criminal was executed, Alan tried to gain extra points by claiming it was last used in 1960 in Vietnam, before Stephen corrected Alan.
- Tangent: Only 3 people attended Charles Babbage's funeral.
Episode 5 "Cat's Eyes, Camels and Centurions"
- 28 October 2005 (BBC Two)Panellists:
- Alan Davies (-18 points)
- Jo Brand (-28 points)
- Rich Hall (3 points)
- Sean Lock (Winner with 12 points) Buzzers:
- Sean - A deep inhale through a stuffy nose
- Rich - A hacking cough
- Jo - A sneeze
- Alan - A camel groaningTopics:
- Women have been shown to be able to "smell fear". Animals can smell the fear of each other but not of another species.
- Tangent: Female mosquitoes bite you and suck your blood, but not the males.
- Tangent: The tiny carrot museum in Berlotte, Belgium.
- Tangent: Why children aged around 2 go off vegetables.
- Tangent: The Gobi toad lives in the desert and waits every 7 years for rainfall and then they mate and go back into the desert.
- Tangent: Stephen gave Prince Charles for his wedding present coffee made from Cambodian weasel vomit.
- There is no word for a Roman who was in charge of 100 men. Strictly speaking, centurions were in charge of 83 men, although it was normally between 60 and 80. (Forfeit: Centurion)
- It is suggested that Nero played the bagpipes while Rome burned down. It was impossible for him to have played the violin as it didn't exist until the 14th century. He blamed the Christians for the Great Fire of Rome. (Forfeit: Fiddled While Rome Burned)
- Elephants used to be caught by Ethiopian elephant catchers who would capture one, disable it and use it as a breeding animal. Methods used to frighten elephants included setting fire to oil-covered pigs and setting them at the elephants.
- No animals are mentioned that have short memories. (Forfeit: Goldfish)General Ignorance:
- A Myoclonic jerk is a sensation of falling during the prestages of sleep used in early stages of evolution to prevent gravity from removing the creature from trees.
- The largest lake entirely within Canada is the Great Bear Lake. None of the Great Lakes are entirely in Canada, so none of them count. The deepest lake in Canada is Lake Manitou, which has an island inside it, and in that island there is a lake. That makes it the largest lake that's in an island that's in a lake in the world. (Forfeit: Who Cares?)
- Botts' dots is the name for "cat's eyes" in California. They were created by Dr. Elbert Botts. Unlike Percy Shaw, he received no money because he was working for the California Department of Transportation at the time.
Episode 6 "Cockneys, Catfish and Coal"
Pin The Tastebud On The Catfish: Each of the panellists was given a catfish and told to put stickers on where they thought the catfish's taste buds were. The answer is that a catfish has thousands of taste buds all over its body.Topics:
- Tangent: Kudzu is the only plant measured in mph in its growth.
- Tangent: The Member of Parliament for Chelmsford West is called Simon Burns, but since he got a third at university, his nickname is "Third-Degree Burns".General Ignorance:
- Tangent: Ian Fleming also claimed in the James Bond novels that homosexuals couldn't whistle, and in You Only Live Twice, Tiger Tanaka says that 14 year-old Japanese sumo wrestlers were massaging the appropriate organs, the testicles would re-enter the body by the inguinal canal that they originally descended from.
- Humans have between 9 & 21 senses. (Forfeit: Five)
- The oldest man in the Bible is Enoch, as "the Lord took him" and he is therefore not dead. (Forfeit: Methuselah)
Episode 7 "Chihuahuas, Cheese and Constellations"
- Tangent: Henry Ford was an Anti-Semite and a supporter of the Nazis.
- S.O.B. is an air travel term meaning Souls on Board.
- Tangent: Jeremy's experience of eating whale with a seal flipper with some grated puffin as a starter. He claimed it was 'exactly' like licking a hot Turkish urinal.
Episode 8 "China, Corby and Coffee"
- 18 November 2005 (BBC Two)Panellists:
- Alan Davies (-40 points)
- Bill Bailey (-8 points)
- Phill Jupitus (-9 points)
- David Mitchell (Winner with 0 points) Theme:
- The panellists' names in Chinese and their meanings
- Alan - Lazy great slave child/2 dozen blue combs
- Stephen - stiff fragrant husband come/private suite bend over pipe
- Bill - Shabby plum shellfish texture/low hedge sad hedge
- Phill - vulgar dwarf skin couch/bend over hedge master ruffian foetus
- David - Slack slave rotten dynasty/fry borrows narrow spoon
- There are no inventions from Corby that begin with the letter "C". The famed "Corby" trouser press was invented by a man called John Corby. Corby is also the largest town in Europe without a railway station. (Forfeit: Trouser Press)
- Tangent: Corby's high Scottish population and the size of its Rangers Supporters' Club.
- Non sequitur: Stephen presents Alan with an Alan Potato Head.
- Tangent: Nominative determinism.
- The Chinese invented the toilet, toilet paper, chess, acupuncture, fireworks, abacus, decimal system, drilling for oil, fishing reel, flamethrower, helicopter, horse collar, iron plough, lacquer, mechanical clock, hot air balloon, negative numbers, parachute, printmaking, leaf maps, rudder, seismograph, stirrup, suspension bridge, umbrella, water bomb and whisky. Non-Chinese inventions include the Rickshaw, Chop suey and the fortune cookie, which were all invented in the United States.
- Tangent: MSG and umami.
- Tangent: The urban legend that the hooves of mounted statuary indicate the circumstances of the subject's death.
Episode 9 "Chimpanzees, Chromosomes and Cuttlefish"
- Tangent: The number of chromosomes to each animal as no relation to their genetic make-up or the C-value paradox of each animal.
- Tangent: The Adder's tongue fern has the most number of chromosomes at 1,320.
- Tangent: Male bonobos practice penis fencing while hanging upside-down from the branches of trees.
- Tangent: The plural of octopus is octopuses or octopoida, but not octopi. An octopus the size of a volleyball can fit into a soft drink can.
- Tangent: Marie Curie and her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie (the second woman to win a Nobel Prize) died of leukaemia, while her husband Pierre died after being hit by a runaway horse.
- This is also where part of the cuttlefish was hidden: Marie Curie's photo appeared on the screens in sepia tone, which was originally created using a pigment coming from cuttlefish. The Italian word for cuttlefish is sepia. However, this was not spotted by the panellists.General Ignorance:
- Cuttlefish prize - Alan shouts out "cuttlefish" when the picture of Florence Nightingale appears in sepia tone.
- Most tigers in the world are in private hands in the United States. (Forfeit: Asia, Zoos)
- Silly, Billy, Chilly, Pussy, Pissy, Corny, Punchy, Misery, Messy and Prat are all places in France. (Forfeit: The Ten Dwarves, made by an audience member who lost 45 points according to Stephen, although unlike in future episodes, this wasn't mentioned at the end of the show.)
- Tangent: Bill recalls making a trip to a French town called "Bitche".
Episode 10 "Corks, Cats and Carbon Dioxide"
- Tangent: Lord Nelson had his arm amputated by a saw, an incredibly painful operation as there was no anaesthetic; though legend holds that he claimed the worst part was the saw being cold, so surgeons have pre-warmed surgical saws for their patients' comfort ever since.
- Tangent: The South Africa national cricket team once picked a one-legged Norwegian for their team during Apartheid, rather than pick an able-bodied native black person.
- Cleve Crudgington invented the champagne cork opener. (The original question was what did Crudgington do with corks? - to which a forfeit was prepared for Alan of "Rams them up his arse", that he only just avoided more out of luck than judgement).
- Tangent: Krug means beermug.
- Luvvie Alarm: Stephen starts telling a story about his Champagne allergy at a party given by the Duke and Duchess of Westminster but is embarrassed into giving up.
- Tangent: Boutros Boutros-Ghali means "Peter Peter-Expensive".
- A list of Scottish inventions and discoveries include rubber tyres, adhesive stamps, Australian national anthem, Bank of England, bicycle pedals, breach-loading rifle, Bovril, cell nucleus, chloroform, cloud chamber, cornflour, cure for malaria, decimal point, Encyclopædia Britannica, fountain pens, fingerprinting, hypnosis, Hypodermic syringes, insulin, kaleidoscope, lawnmower, lime cordial, logarithms, lorries, marmalade, matches, motor insurance, paraffin, piano pedals, postmarks, radar, reflecting telescope, savings banks, screw propeller, speedometer, steam hammer, raincoats, tarmac, teleprinters, tubular steel, typhoid vaccines, ultrasound, United States Navy, UST, vacuum flasks, wave powered electricity generation and wire rope. Others that aren't Scottish include kilts, which are Irish and Danish, Hogmanay, which is French and whisky is Italian and Chinese. (Forfeit: Television, Haggis)
- Tangent: Alexander Graham Bell (who as we found in Series "A", Episode 11, didn't invent the telephone) helped invent a hydrofoil that travelled at in 1919 and a metal detector that tried to find the bullet lodged into President Garfield, but it was confused by his bed springs, so he died.
- Tangent: Charles Darwin collected all the worms from his garden and placed them on his snooker table and then got his son to blow a bassoon at them, to get to know them more as he didn't know too much about them.
- Tangent: The bootlace worm is the simplest organism to have a separate mouth and anus.
- Examples of berries are the banana, tomato, orange, lemon, grapefruit, watermelon, kiwifruit, cucumber, grape, passion fruit, papaya and pomegranate. The only berry fruits that end in "berry" are the gooseberry and the blueberry. (Forfeit: Blackberry, Strawberry, Raspberry)
- The second actor to portray James Bond was Bob Holness. (Forfeit: Sean Connery, David Niven)
- According to Buddha, "a person should wander lonely as a rhinoceros". (Forfeit: Cloud)
- Tangent: John's brother was nearly killed after being chased by a crocodile in a circus in Londonderry.
Episode 11 "Clowns, Cuckoos and Cinderella"
Each of the panellists also have a swazzle for amusement purposes.Topics:
- You have to swallow 2 swazzles to become a professor of Punch and Judy.
- The difference between phobias & fears are that phobia are irrational and fears are rational. (Squirrel Forfeit - Alan)
- Tangent: Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns and the fear of squirrels is sciurophobia.
- Tangent: The Road Runner is a cuckoo.
- Tangent: Coconut milk is the mushed-up flesh found in the coconut.
- A Cheeselog is another name for a woodlouse. (Squirrel Forfeit - Clive)
- Tangent: Clive is the President of the Woodland Trust.
- The Emperor Charlemagne had a party trick using a tablecloth made of asbestos, in which he threw it onto a fire. Asbestos means "inextinguishable". The town where the most asbestos is mined is called Asbestos.General Ignorance:
- No-one goes gathering nuts in May, because hawthorn blooms. (Squirrel Forfeit - Alan, Clive & Phill)
- A custard pile is another name for a cock. Cockfighting was Britain's national sport for nearly 2,000 years. Every village in Britain would have a cockpit. The word "cockpit" is derived from the word "cock". (Squirrel Forfeit - Phill)
- Aeschylus was killed by a falling tortoise that was dropped by an eagle. (Squirrel Forfeit - Phill)
- Tangent: Croesus.
- Tangent: In the Chinese version, the slippers are made out of gold, in Germany, they are made of silk and gold and in the Scottish version, they are made of rushes.
- Tangent: Perrault added the Fairy Godmother, the Ugly Sisters and the mice.
Episode 12 "Catastrophes, Cosmonauts and Coconuts"
- Tangent: The Duff-Gordons allegedly bribed the crew members of a lifeboat to survive.
- Tangent: Why pistachio ice cream is green and vanilla milkshake is white.
- Tangent: Coconuts kill 10 times more people than sharks do every year.
- Examples of true nuts are walnuts, butternuts, hickory, pecan, wingnuts, chestnut, beech, oak, stone oak, tanoak, hazelnuts, filbert and hornbeam.
- Rolls-Royce test their aircraft engines for the effects of bird strike with chickens fired from a cannon.
- The inventor of the theory of relativity was Galileo and it was known as the Galilean invariance. (Forfeit: Einstein)
- Three-quarters of the people accused of witchcraft in England were acquitted. (Forfeit: They Were Burned)
- ''Tangent: peter cushing lived in whitstable when alan did and a ocal band wrote a song about itGeneral Ignorance:
- Pine is a technical example of a softwood. (Forfeit: Balsa Wood)
- If you cut an earthworm in two, it becomes two halves of a dead worm. (Forfeit: You Get Two Worms)
- Tangent: There is a type of flatworm called a planaria, which was discovered by a man called T. H. Morgan. 1/279 of it could regenerate into a full planaria.
- Doubt Card (Bollocks Answer): Neil Armstrong and the Mr Gorski story – told as a fact but then shown to be the fictional answer. Alan correctly used his doubt card for this.
- The triple point of water is actually 0.01°C, a correction from a previous episode as pointed out by viewers. Apparently those viewers forgot to explain that "Celsius" had been thrown out back in 1948 (six years before the triple point was fixed at 0.01°C) along with "centesimal" in favour of the third name in use then, "degrees Celsius". (Forfeit: 0°C)