"Antelopes", sometimes called "Africa", is the ninth episode of the A Series of QI. It was first broadcast on BBC Four on 30 October 2003, and aired on BBC Two a week later. It was the first episode in which there was a tie for second place. The episode was preceded by "Albania" and followed by "Aviation".


Numbers in brackets mark appearances - e.g. "(2)" means "(second appearance)".

  1. Dave Gorman (1): 20 points
  2. Jo Brand (4): 15 points (joint second)
  3. Jeremy Hardy (3): 15 points (joint second)
  4. Alan Davies (9): 10 points


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  • Apart from the obvious, a bongo is a rare type of antelope. They are prized by poachers and there only believed 100 left in the world.
  • The bongo-player of T. Rex was Steve Peregrin Took. He was a hippie named after a character in The Lord of the Rings. Marc Bolan was obsessed with the novels, but he was dyslexic, so his wife had to read them to him.
  • In South Africa, there is a pastime called Bokdrol spoeg, which is Kudu dung spitting. A kudu is a type of antelope.
  • Alexander the Great:
    • was a "short, left-handed, epileptic, Albanian bisexual with a very high-pitched voice". His father was Philip of Macedon, a Macedonian.
    • introduced to Europe the banana, crucifixion, sugar, cotton and the ring-necked parakeet.
    • washed his hair in saffron, which at the time was as rare as diamonds and more expensive than gold.
    • was embalmed in honey.
    • was taught by Aristotle, for three years in his teens.

(Note: This is an error. Alexander the Great was half-Macedonian and half-Epirotian. He had no (known) Albanian ancestry. There are no ancient historical sources that says that Alexander was left-handed, epilectic or that he had a very high pitch voice. Some historians believe that Alexander's height was around 5'7".)

  • 85,000 to 140,000 Crocuses go to make a kilogram of saffron, and is still known for its high price. Top-grade mancha saffron retails for about £8,250 per kilogram.
  • Aristotle thought that flies have four legs and that mucus was brain–matter.

(Note: This is also an error. While Aristotle did have erroneous views on the role of the brain ([1]) he knew that the number of legs on flies were 6 ([2]).)

  • The word "auricle" refers to the ear, from the Latin auris. Vincent van Gogh, after cutting off half of his own ear, presented it to the prostitute that had spurned his affection.
  • Butterflies have ears on their wings, grasshoppers and cicadas have ears on their abdomens, crickets have ears of their forelegs, but snakes do not have ears.
  • The okapi can clean its own ears with its tongue.
  • The enormous ear-like growths that Galileo discovered in 1672 were the Rings of Saturn, as he originally described the planet as having "ears", as he could not discern their true nature using a telescope of the time. The Rings are 170,000 miles wide and 328 feet thick.

Note: While 1672 is the date that Fry gave during the episode, Galileo's first observations of the rings of Saturn occurred in the year 1610, and he died in 1642.

General IgnoranceEdit

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  • The first King of England was Athelstan[1] from 924 to 939. Athelstan was Alfred the Great's grandson. Alfred the Great was only King of Wessex.
  • Aristotle claimed that hedgehogs had sexual intercourse face-to-face,[2] with the female lying on her back. This belief was held for many years, but it is now known that they mate in the conventional position used by nearly all animals, with the female hedgehog relaxing her spines so the male can climb on, although the male has to bite the female's neck as the spines become slippery. Male hedgehogs also have a barb on their penis.
  • The most dangerous creature in history is the mosquito, having killed half the humans who have ever died (45 billion out of 90 billion). However, one could argue that in fact the human is most dangerous creature, since humans have certainly killed a sizable amounts of humans and caused the extinction of many different species, and the common housefly is also responsible for many human deaths.
  • The Lords of Shouting are a group of 10,500,000 (in fact, it is 15,500,000) angels that sing to God every morning, according to the Jewish faith. They are led by Jeduthun, the "Master of Howling".
  • Samson's hair was cut off by a servant of Delilah.[3]


  1. Alfred the Great
  2. Very carefully
  3. Delilah
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