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Episode breakdownsEdit

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As with some previous series, an ongoing theme in the series was the "Spend a Penny" card. Each episode featured one question to which the answer was "lavatorial", and the panelist who identified the question by raising the Penny-shaped joker won bonus points. Less official was Stephen's parting last words of notorious or famous individuals.

Guests making their first appearance in this series are Aisling BeaCarrie FisherTony HawksAdam HillsLloyd LangfordKathy LetteClaudia O'DohertyLucy Porter and Suggs.

Episode 1 "L-Animals"Edit

Broadcast date
  • 3 October 2014[2][3]
Recording date
  • 12 May 2014
Panellists
Topics
  • The loneliest whale in the world has the highest-pitch sound of any whale that has ever been recorded by a hydrophone; at 52 Hertz. No one knows what sort of species is since, apart from its sound, it has never been identified, but is believed to be either a fin whale or a blue whale, or even an offspring of two different whale species.
  • The form of transport that caterpillar use is each other. They use a clever system of climbing on top of each other and moving at a faster speed depending on how high up they are: the ones of the second layer move double that of the lowest; those on the third move triple that, and so on. As a result, the entire collective move faster than a single caterpillar on its own, as the QI Elves demonstrate using LEGO and stop-motion animation.
  • A sure-fire way of telling two butterflies apart to examine every single property of them, including taste (Forfeit: colours). There are two types of butterflies that, as a result of Müllerian mimicry, look identical. However, one of the species tastes disgusting, and therefore repels birds that attempt to each; the other butterfly that is good to eat as such evolved to look like the one that tastes disgusting to confuse its predators. Another way to tell these two particular butterflies apart is to examine their genitaliaVladimir Nabokov, the author of Lolita, was a keen lepidopterist and collected butterfly penises that he kept in jars and are currently stored at Harvard University. Nabokov wrote the whole of his most famous book on the index cards he used to write his scientific notes.
  • puffer fish on the pull would design a crater decorated with ridgesseashells and tracks meticulously crafted over nine days. Most of these craters, despite the work that is placed into them, are rejected, but if they aren't then the female will lay her eggs in the center to be fertilised and protected by the male, who will look after the infants for six days.
  • QI calls a fish that drives a tank "Alan" (Forfeit: Sir). Alan is a goldfish that, when placed into a specialised tank (designed by elf Alex Bell entirely out of LEGO in a few days), is able to drive it as attached wheels move according to whichever direction he swims; there are simply four motion sensors in each corner that send a message to the motors when they detect the fish in the vicinity. It is based on a construction by Dutch company called Studio Dip who made a much larger version.
  • The thing that has thirty-two brains and sucks is a leech. One experiment with leeches involves filling a condom with blood and rubbing some of these condoms on a frog. Leeches have not evolved to recognise humans splashing through the marshes where they live, but they have evolved to expect frogs. Therefore, the leeches will rush to the condom once placed in their habitat as they can sense the smell of the frog.
  • Spending A Penny: The most energetic thing a sloth does is use a communal lavatory shared by all sloths in the area. The Estación Biológica Quebrada Blanco in Peru, near the Amazontwo-toed sloths were observed hanging above a latrine, dropping themselves down into it, and then scooping up handfuls of human excrement and toilet paper to eat. They would use one hand to scoop out and eat the waste, but when more people came to watch this behaviour, the sloths would climb back into the trees.
General Ignorance
  • cat that never changes its spots is a lionLeopards are the cat that are used in the idiom ("a leopard cannot change its spots"), but leopard kittens are almost entirely covered in spots which, as they get older, shrink. Lions, however, have spots around their whiskers which never change during the lion's lifetime and are unique to each individual.
  • The biggest of the big cats is the liger (Forfeit: Lion, Tiger, Panther), which is the child of lion and tigress; the tigon is the tiger and lioness offspring.
XL Extras
  • Fry asks Millican "if you find a vampire deer, who are you going to call?". Millican correctly spots that Fry is asking about a "vampire deer" rather than a "vampire, dear", to which to answer would be the Natural History Museum (Forfeit: Ghostbusters). The vampire deer is so-named simply because of its sabre-like teeth; the animal original came from China but are now increasingly becoming endangered, and have been since introduced to Cambridgeshire and Norfolk as two of the animal escaped from a wildlife park in the 1930s. It is thought that around 10% of the world's population of this species are now descended from this pair.
  • Many examples of vampire deer skulls are sent to the Natural History Museum as people think they are smilodons are other strange or extinct animals. The Natural History Museum also repeatedly get sent lumps of slag, which are often mistaken for meteorites, or "star jelly", which are usually just frog spawn occasionally mixed with vomit (usually that of magpies).
  • The thing that is horny, comes from Northeast England and hasn't been touched by a man in eight hundred years is the Chillingham white cow. Due to their feral nature, they have not been touched for at least a century, and probably much longer. They have also been quarantined during the last foot-and-mouth outbreakfarmers send them hay using pitchforks in order to feed them. The population dropped to around thirteen due to the harsh winter of 1946-47, but this has since risen again to around one hundred. They are a protected species in Northumberland.
  • The role that twiglets (meaning "little twigs") play in a mugger's lunch is to trick birds. Crocodiles are often mistaken for logs, and therefore place twigs on themselves to further this disguise so passing birds will simply believe that they are a log covered in twigs, which are useful nest-building material. This is a recent discovery and so far the only known example of a reptile using tools.
  • Snakes also lure their prey by pretending to be a worm by wagging their tail in the air, before pouncing on the animal that approaches.
General Ignorance
  • You can tell if a labradoodle is pleased to see you, as with all domestic dogs, by the raising of the left eyebrow. Tail wagging is the most well-known form of expression by it is used mainly for communication between other dogs. If a dog is surprised by someone they don't recognise, the left ear will go back; and if they see an object they don't recognise, the right ear will go forward.
  • Zebroids are zebras crossed with all other kinds of creatures, and the wholphin which is the offspring of a female bottlenose dolphin and a male false killer whale. Only one wholphin exists in captivity but there are many others in the wild.
  • In January 2014 the first ever white ligers were born which could potentially be the biggest big cats ever born.

Episode 2 "Location, Location, Location"Edit

Broadcast date
  • 10 October 2014[4][5]
Recording date
  • 19 May 2014
Panellists
Topics
  • At the exact center of the observable universe, one would find themelves; due to the vast extent of the universe, it id impossible to define a center of what we know of it as yet, and therefore the position at which its looked at may be the center with the field of vision being the radius. The Mayor of Wallace, Idaho, Ron Garitone, proclaimed the meeting of Bank Street and Sixth Street of the town to be the center of the universe on September 25, 2004. Vegas also states that the center might well be the Sun
  • Fry asks "if Vegas and Manford got naked, covered their legs in lard and put their hands on each other's shoulders, what we expect to happen next?". The answer is shin-kicking, a combat sport originating in early 17th century England, becoming particularly popular in Northwest England around the 17th and 18th, with betting also being a part of it, and during which it was called "purring" (other similar variations thereof, such as "parrying"). Today shin-kicking is practiced in the Cotswold Olimpick Games, with umpires called "sticklers", and straw being used to pad their shins. It involves taking it in turns to kick each other in the shins until one gives out, indicated by a cry of the word "sufficient". Skin may be ripped of the shins in the sport, particularly as large clogs with metal blades were used, and thus encouraging lard and the movement of legs to improve the likelihood of kicks being glancing blows. The Shin-Kicking Association of Britain are known as SKAB, and Vegas' uncle was a member.
  • Spanking Roger wooed the ladies by running naked. He was a 6'4 Scottish soldier who ran naked down Kersal Moor and was spotted by Barbara Minshull, after whom several areas in Manchester are named, who noted his well-endowment and married him. However, after the wedding, he practiced infidelity and spent their money on bare-knuckle fightsdragooning whomever he beat. He also fought in the four-year-long Great Siege of Gibraltar, the longest siege in British military history. Upon Minshull's death, Spanking Roger became impoverished but married again and died relatively wealthy. There is still a naked race in Kershal Moor now, and there is a pub in Salford named after him.
  • The people that are short, talks gibberish and is much sought-after in Merseyside are leprechauns. There was a rumour in July 1964 that one had been seen, thus causing children in Liverpool to storm into parks, ripping up plants and causing general chaos for eleven or twelve days, when the practice stopped as soon as it had begun. The exact cause of this remained unknown until 1982, when a man named Brian told the Liverpool Echo that, whilst he was working in the park, some children jeered at him calling him a lephrechaun because he was so short. Brian played along with it, joked that he was a genuine leprechaun, spoke in a mock Irish accent and threw sods of earth at them. The children thus ran away frightened, and spread the story that they saw a true lephrechaun, causing the rumour to grow and therefore possibly resulting in the havoc. This mass-delusions amongst young people happen quite frequently and are known as "children's hunts" According to original myths all leprechauns are male and work as cobblers; the ideas that they wear green and had red hair and beards and other such stereotypical things were 20th century inventions.
  • Spending A Penny: Stevyn Colgan, a QI elf, arrives on stage dressed as a Medieval lavatory attendant; with a large black cape and carrying a wooden bucket. These sorts of people were existed in 12th century London and provided a means for people to defecate without being seen; as they would be shielded by the large cape. One of these men was called Thomas Butcher, and he is known as having been arrested for overcharging his customers.
General Ignorance
  • Frogs legs as a delicacy originated in England (Forfeit: France). There is evidence that the Prehistoric British ate frog's legs around the vicinity of Stonehenge around 8,000 to 9,000 years ago. Toad-eating, as well as three-course meals, consisting of frogs with hazelnuts, a fish course and blackberries, appeared to have been practiced. Today, the French eat between 3,000-4,000 tonnes of frog's legs per year.
  • The panel are given a green sauce or dip seen in Japanese restaurants in the United Kingdom and are asked to identify it. It is actually ordinary horseradish dyed green (Forfeit: Wasabi). Genuine Japanese wasabi takes two years to mature and is considered too expensive to transport, and so British restaurants make this faux equivalent, as wasabi is similar to horseradish.
  • Lab Lark: Fry demonstrates the Leidenfrost effect, whereupon beads of water react in a certain way on specially-shaped heated metal. A saw-toothed metal allows water to flow upwards, for example, and water spins around in a bowl, and even more quickly on a saw-toothed pole. Fry also manages to get a bead of water to travel around a maze.
XL Extras
  • The creator of QIJohn Lloyd, stated in one of his Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows that of the billions of galaxies in the universe, only four are visible from the naked eye.
  • The Big Splat Theory is one of the many suggestions about how the Moon was formed. It suggests that there was a collision between the Earth and a Mars-like planet named Theia, allowing parts of both objects to split off and conglomerate. However, if there were to be true, then parts of the Moon should be non-Earth-like, which is not the case as all of the Moon has been found to be very much like material found on Earth. Another theory was designed by George Darwin, a son of the celebrated naturalist Charles Darwin, who suggested that a chunk of the Earth that was flung off by the extreme speed rotation of the planet at the beginning of its existence; he also suggested that the hole it left may be the Pacific Ocean. Another theory is the Moon was originally a satellite of Venus which was appropriated by the Earth, though many followers of this idea admit that it is probably not true and merely wish to keep it alive for the sake of debate.
  • The London attraction that cost two arms and two legs to enter was the menagerie within the Tower of London. It was started by Henry I in Oxfordshire, but was moved by King John to the Tower where it lasted until 1830, after which it was moved to Regent's Park and became London Zoo. A payment could be made to see it, but one could enter for free provided they brought an animal to feed to the larger exhibits; the Sheriff of London was required to pay fourpence a day in order to feed the polar bears in it. In 1830, a keeper mistakenly allowed two tigers and one lion be kept in the same cage; the tigers had to be kept away using fire irons, but the lion was killed.
  • Black herons use their wings to create a shadow with which they can see into the lakes to catch fish, providing a lure for fish that prefer cooler water.
General Ignorance

Episode 3 "Language & Literature"Edit

Broadcast date
  • 17 October 2014[6][7]
Recording date
  • 2 June 2014
Panellists
Topics
General Ignorance
XL Extras
General Ignorance
  • Odysseus supposedly survived listening to the siren song by having his men tie him to the foremast with his ears open while his crew had their ears plugged with wax. He instructed them to keep him tied until they were a safe distance, in spite of how much he begged to be freed.
  • QI stated in the A series that it is not possible to get lead poisoning from a pencil (In the "Aviation" episode, but has since found to be untrue. While lead was banned from all household products in 1978, pencils made prior to then were covered with lead paint. There have been two cases of lead poisoning from such pencils.

Episode 4 "Levity"Edit

Broadcast date
  • 24 October 2014[8][9]
Recording date
  • 20 May 2014
Panellists
Topics
General Ignorance
XL Extras
  • Lichtenberg figures were discovered by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg who noticed that when people were struck by lightning they end up with a strange fern-like pattern on their body. Electricity running glass produces a similar effect.
  • It takes zero men to crew in a lighthouse nowadays, but it used to be two before an incident in Pembrokeshire involving two lighthouse keepers named Thomas Howell and Thomas Griffith. Griffith died in 1801, and Howell became worried that people might think he was the murderer because of their quarrelsome reputation. Therefore, Howell made Griffith a wooden coffin and tried to preserve the body, which he lashed to the outside of the lighthouse. However, a storm arose, the coffin was smashed, and Griffith's hand started waving as if to beckon Howell. Weeks later Howell was relieved of his duty, but he had gone almost completely insane and was unrecognisable out of fear that he would be suspected of murder as he failed to preserve the body. Therefore, the number was increased to three.
  • One of the most famous lighthouse keepers was Grace Darling; her father kept a lighthouse in Northumberland, and during a storm in 1838, she rowed out to sea to a shipwreck and rescued nine survivors. She was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Humane Society, was sent £50 by Queen Victoria and had poems written about her by William WordsworthAlgernon Swinburne and William McGonagall. Her celebrity status was such that crowds of tourists came to see her and she was sent numerous marriage proposals.
  • In 1986, the Statue's centenary, they decided to give the statue a makeover, and the only part that did not need a makeover was the copper skin, except in the torch. This was because it needed a special technique called "repousse" or "repoussage" and no American artisan could be found to do it, so a French team came over to do it. The problem is that while the United States is a very capitalist country it is also very unionised and the American workforce objected to having to work with the French; during lunches the Americans ate away from them. The French used little hammers or "marteaux" to work on the torch, which amazed the Americans; one Frenchman said: "We did everything by hand. The Americans couldn't believe that the best way to rivet is with hammers. It's cheaper, faster and better, but they will always try to find some machine."
  • The Empire State Building was conceived to be a mooring position where passengers could be landed (on the very top of the skyscraper). One zeppelin did successfully moor there, in forty-and-a-half mile winds, for a few minutes. The mast was originally only constructed to make the building taller than the Chrysler Building.
  • Beavers eat wood and various types of aquatic vegetation. Contrary to popular belief, they are completely vegan and do not eat fish. The beaver dams are entirely for breeding purposes. If a beaver is taken to the middle of a forest and the sound of rushing water is played nearby, it will build a dam despite there being no real water anywhere nearby. The Eurasian beaver became extinct in Great Britain in the 16th century, but reintroduction programmes have been hampered by the belief that they eat fish.

Episode 5 "Lenses"Edit

Broadcast date
Recording date
  • 11 June 2014
Panellists
Topics
General Ignorance
  • No one sat in the middle of the Last Supper, as everyone laid on the stomachs to eat (Forfeit: Jesus). This was common practice in Palestine at the time.
  • No one is in charge of all the ants as they are a self-organising colony (Forfeit: Adam Ant, The Queen). All the Queen does is lay thousands of eggs before dying of exhaustion.
XL Extras
  • Fry shows a fan with a lens in it so one can spy with it.
  • The leopard gecko can also practice autotomy with its tail; the tail will keep moving for a significant amount of time after it is discarded.
  • Centipedes also always have an odd number of pairs of legs, making one with one hundred impossible to find.
  • One would put a leech on a leash for medicinemedicinal leeches have been used for centuries and are still used today. In the Elizabethan era, a leech down the throat would be sued for bronchial problems and a leech through the bowel for intestinal problems. Leeches were placed on the scrotum for strained testicles. Today, leeches are used to encourage capillary growth on severed members.
General Ignorance
  • The type of wine that goes best with a human liver is amarone, according to the writer of The Silence of the Lambs Thomas Harris (Forfeit: Chianti). This was changed in the film out of fear that people would not have heard of amarone and therefore believe it to be a type of biscuit or something similar. Eating a liver, however, can be very dangerous as they are a storage of Vitamin A, which in excess is toxic. Livers can also be regenerated, and a liver taken from a small dog transplanted to a large dog would grow to appropriate size for the large dog.
Mistakes
  • Fry exclaims "mein Augen!" as a supposed German translation of "my eyes!", spoken by the inventor of contact lenses. The correction German would be "meine Augen!" (or alternatively "mein Auge!" ["my eye!"]); "mein Augen!" is nonsense.

Episode 6 "Liblabble"Edit

Broadcast date
Recording date
  • 11 June 2014
Panellists
Topics
General Ignorance
XL Extras
General Ignorance
  • The first man-made sonic boom comes from eating crunchy food (Forfeit: whip). Dr. Teun van Vliet, a Dutch food physicist, spent seven years finding out how crunchiness works. Crispiness appeals to humans as it signals freshness, and for food to be crunchy there must be a brittle fracture which travels at 300 metres per second.

Episode 7 "Lethal"Edit

Broadcast date
Recording date
  • 7 May 2014
Panellists
Topics
  • The panel are given a plastic bag and asked to get a cork out of a bottle without breaking the bottle. Toksvig is the first to successfully do it by blowing the bag up inside the bottle and dragging both the cork and the bag out at the same time. This process is useful for helping save lives during childbirthJorge Odón, a car mechanic from Argentina watched this trick on the Internet and thought it would be useful for helping babies escape the womb; he told an obstatrician, but was thought be a prankster until he found it could work. Originally, forceps and, more recently, a ventouse or kiwi were used, but the Odón Device involves inserting a plastic bag into the birth canal until it is under the infant's chinAir is then pumped into the bag, inflating it around the baby's head, before it is then sucked out without any need for cutting. Babies do not breathe in the womb so there is no risk of suffocation, and the device is so simple that midwives can use it without need for much assistance. There has been a surprising lack of advancement in childbirth given that is a complex natural process, but it also involves mechanics and therefore mechanics may be the best people to help with it.
  • Some lethal uses for a laptop include using to pilot drones, hitting someone over the head with one, or using it as a euthanasia machinePhilip Nitschke invented it to deduce whether someone is sane enough to understand what they are accepting to. The questions are: 1. "Are you aware that if you go ahead to the last screen and press the "Yes" button, you will be given a lethal dose of medications and die?", 2. "Are you certain you understand that if you proceed and press the "Yes" button on the next screen that you will die?", 3. "In fifteen seconds, you will be given a lethal injection... press "Yes" to proceed."
  • There are limits in pharmacies to the amount of medications someone can buy to prevent suicide attempts; Manford tried to stock up on paracetemols in preparation for a tour, but found he could not. Fry also found that the volume of vodka one can buy is restricted for a similar reason.
  • The panel are shown a picture of a antechinus which is about to kill himself through repeated intensive sex (Forfeit: Throwing himself off a cliff). They are semelparous creatures and, during the mating season, the male becomes so full of testosterone that is enters a state of extreme hypersexuality. The male mates with one female for twelve hours, then moves straight on to another to repeat for fourteen days. He does not eat or sleep, uses all of his vital proteins and suppresses is immune system. In the end, he is baldgangrenousstressedinfected and dies.
  • If one person challenges another to a duel, the challenger is allowed to choose the weapons and location, and straws are pulled to find who can attack first. The panel are asked which of the weapons would be the most safe:
    • hot air balloon duel occurred in 1808 between Monsieur Grandpre and Monsieur de Pique over the affections of a lady. Each balloon was armed with a blunderbuss; de Pique was allowed to shoot first but he missed, so Grandpre shot and ended up rupturing the balloon of both de Pique and his second who fell to their deaths.
    • billiard ball duel took place between two Frenchmen Monsieur Lenfant and Monsieur Melfant, who had an argument over a game of billiards. The idea was that they would simply pelt each other with balls until someone won. Melfant was allowed to fire first, and he warned Lenfant that he would kill him with one strike. He did so, and thus won the duel.
    • sausage duel was devised by Prussian pathologist Rudolf Virchow who campaigned against the armament programme of Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck was so annoyed by this that he challenged Virchow to a duel. Virchow, being the first man to isolate Trichinella spiralis, the parasite found in raw pork products, decided to use "sausages" as a weapon: he would inject one sausage with this pathogen and Bismarck would have to pick one of two sausages to eat; if he chose wrongly he would be poisoned to death. Bismarck, as the challenger, decided to call off the duel.
    • The sword is the safest of the weapons, as the duel would actually be won by the first person to draw blood, making a serious injury is much less likely with that than any of the other three.
  • A pint of best in 19th century Norfolk was "just what the doctor ordered" because it contained opium. People in Norfolk had been drinking opium for a long time, then laudanum came along and they drank laudanum with beer, which became known as "Best". Norfolk together with parts of Lincolnshire consumed five-and-a-half tonnes of the concoction, which equalled to more than the rest of Britain combined. This was during the "Great Binge", which had been mentioned on QI on several other occasions previously.
  • Spending A Penny: Sugar-free sweets are not necessarily good for you because they contain lycasin, which can act as a laxative. There is a page on Amazon.com selling sugar-free Haribo Gummy Bears which warns that they: "May cause stomach discomfort and/or a laxative effect," followed by over two hundred and fifty comments from customers detailing the exact laxative effect they have in creative ways.
General Ignorance
  • There are no non-venomous snakes; all of them have venom of some sort, some of it is just in low potencies (Forfeit: Grass snake). Prof. Brian Fry of the University of Queensland showed in 2013 that even snakes which kill by constriction (such as pythons) have venom; some of it is repurposed to act as a lubricant so the snake can swallow more easily, others are just leftovers from evolution. The largest lizard Komodo dragon also kills with venom.
  • Fry asks Davies if he would take a bullet for him (Forfeit: Yes). The answer is no, because it is impossible to jump in front of a person to stop the bullet from hitting them; they simply move to fast (700 miles per hour) for reaction time. Only with a massive amount of anticipation and luck could it happen, though some argue that James Brady "took a bullet" during John Hinckley, Jr.'s attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan.
  • People fall over when just after being shot simply because of what they have seen in movies (Forfeit: Because they've been shot, The impact). The FBI Firearms Training Academy state that people do fall over after being shot, but only when they know they have. Many people who do not realise they have just been shot do not fall over. The phenomena happens regardless of the type of weapon.
  • Fry asks if it is wrong to eat people. This a frequently discussed moral dilemma, but the fact is that cannibalism is not illegal in the United Kingdom, but murder is. This means that you can eat someone without breaking the law providing that they were already killed. People may donate organs to be eaten, and placentas are often used for cooking. There is a special three-pronged fork for cannibalism.
XL Extras
  • The idea of suicide booths have been devised in science fiction, such as in the film Soylent Green and the television show Futurama. It is thought that in the futuresuicide will become a much more natural and accepted idea.
  • The quoll has a similar semelparous system to the antechinus: the male subjects the female to bouts of copulation that can last 24 hours, with plenty of biting and screeching. Afterwards the male loses weight, becomes anaemic, and the scrotum shrinks, fur falls out, and he become infested with lice, and dies within a week or two.
  • The first ever female air passenger was in a hot-air balloon. Élisabeth Thible was an opera singer who dressed up as Minerva and sang operatic arias as the fire was fed and the balloon took off. Unfortunately, when she landed, she sprained her ankle.
  • The reason one would resupply the enemy with bullets is to prevent them from destroying famous monuments. During the 19th century, Greece was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. During the Greek War of Independence, a rebellion led by figures such as Lord Byron, the Ottomans were pushed back to the Acropolis, where the Parthenon is. The Ottomans ran out of ammunition, but the 70,000 pieces of marble that make up the Parthenon were held together by sheets of lead and iron, so the Ottomans then started to melt down these to make more shot. The Greeks were so anguished by the taking apart of their ancient landmark that they decided to give them ammunition to prevent them from destroying more of the building. Fry tells this story rather impassionedly as he is a fierce campaigner of the return of the Elgin Marbles.
  • Liquid aniseed acts on dogs the same way catnip acts on cats.
General Ignorance
  • The fastest mass extinction lasted 60,000 years. It happened around 250 Ma ago at the end of the Permian and is colloquially referred to as the "Great Dying". One could argue that the current mass extinction caused by human activity is even faster, but that is still ongoing.
  • Professional cricketers have stopped using bowling machines because the best batters watch the action of bowlers to uncover in what way the ball will be released, and therefore judge spinspeed and other such properties.
  • In 2003, a German computer technician named Armin Meiwes killed an ate a fellow engineer named Bernd Brandes. Meiwes cut of Brandes' penis and they both attempted to eat it together, before Meiwes, with Brandes' permission, stabbed and froze the corpse of Brandes to eat later. Meiwes tried to bite off Brandes' penis, but later had to cut it off with a knife. Brandes tried to eat his own severed penis raw, but found it too chewy; it was then fried in saltpepperwine and garlic but later found to be overcooked and so fed it to a dog. The rest of the body was then eaten over ten months. He was first found guilty of "killing on demand" but was retried and been convicted of murder.

Episode 8 "Lovely"Edit

Broadcast date
Recording date
  • 3 June 2014
Panellists
Topics
  • The panel are givens selections of foods considered to be aphrodisiacs: Widdicombe is given chocolate, Bea is given oysters, Hawks is given champagne and Davies is given a potato. Potatoes are considered aphrodisiacs because, upon their introduction to Ireland, the population increased dramatically. However, this is considered simply because it caused less starvation rather than any increase in sex drive. There is evidence to suggest that pretty well every food has at some time by some culture considered to have aphrodisiac-like properties, but none of them are shown to affect the limbic lobe; the part of the brain thought to affect the genitalia; and it is very hard to prove whether aphrodisiacs work, given that the sex drive is a very complex psychological property. Alcohol certainly reduces inhibition, but it doesn't necessarily enhance performance.
  • Napoleon's ex went out with the Duke of Wellington. Napoleon seemed to have a liking for women with the name Josephine: in addition to his wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, he had two mistresses named Josephina Grassini, who was an opera singer and dancer, and Josephine Weimer, an actress. Just before the Battle of Waterloo, Wellington, then the British ambassador in Paris, seduced both women in 1814 and 1815. Weimer compared the sexual performance of the two, and said that Wellington was better. After the war had ended, Wellington was presented with Napoleon's sword, three paintings of him, and a painting of his sister Paulina Borghese. Napoleon also commissioned a large statue himself which was bought by Britain and given to Wellington along with No. 1 London; the statue is currently on the stairwell of Apsley House.
  • Tent cobweb spiders would bite their arm off to get their leg over (Forfeit: Me). The female is a hundred times bigger than the male, whose front two legs act as sexual organs and are called pedipalps. In order to get a better chance of mating with the enormous female, he spins some silk, ties it around one of his pedipalps and pulls it off to make him 44% faster. After mating, the female will then suck the male dry.
  • The advantages of having a goat as a nanny is that they supply milkNanny goats are named as such because they fed foundlings who were not fed by wet nurses, straight from the teat. It was the healthiest option before pasteurisation. The goats had been observed to be caring for their assigned infants, as they seek them out and even push back their coverings of their beds to give suck. Goats were used because in the days they were used, it was thought that the mother who breastfed who pass on their traits through the milk, making "loose women" unsuitable; some other parishes used donkeys as they were thought to have a "better moral reputation" and reverred since they carried Jesus during Palm Sunday. Upon the syphilis outbreak of the 16th and 18th centuries, it was thought that mercury was a panacea; and thus babies who were syphilitic suckled on goats that were fed mercury thus poisoning goats and babies.
  • Puritans wanted lusty young men to get into the sack to prevent them from having sex. Bundling was a practice used by puritans so allow intimate relations to occur during courting without temptation. Sometimes, a board was put between the pair as well, which goes under the quilt.
  • Spending A Penny: The horror first shown in Psycho was a toilet (Forfeit: Shower). It was the first time that a toilet had been seen flushing. The film took thirty days to shoot of which seven were devoted to the shower scene.
General Ignorance
XL Extras
  • Norman Douglas wrote a book called Venus in the Kitchen which included such things as almond soupsow's vulva and trussed craneGalen proposed that foods that cause flatulence were more likely to be aphrodisiac; a belief that stayed until the 18th century. In Elizabeth times, stewed prunes were served for free in brothelsSt. Jerome banned beans out of fear that they would increase sex drive in women, particularly nuns; and frog juice was considered an aphrodisiac in Peru.
  • The thing you wouldn't like to get on St. Valentine's Day is a vinegar valentine. Sending Valentine cards was very popular particularly in the Victorian era, but alongside love letters some Victorians since what can almost be described as hate mail. They had insulting messages which varied depending on the recipient; some grocers were accused of cheating their customers, for example. In addition, many of these arrived without a stamp making the recipient liable for the cost of postage. Most people who received these tended to discard them, meaning they are highly prized with collectors. Fry describes this as any early form of trolling.
  • Fry shows a Valentine's card with a moustache attached which had the message With heartiest greetings and best hopes that she'll soon get another - With a man attached. This is similar to the practice, also popular in Victorian times, of sending locks of hair as an affectionate statement, but on a far more extreme level.
  • Octopus tentacles act independently from each other and have no way of knowing what the other arms are doing. The only thing an octopus sucker will not stick to is an octopus leg, to prevent tangling.
  • Underpants were put on frogs by Lazzaro Spallanzani to further understand reproduction. He knew that eggs were fertilised after they were laid by the female, so he deduced that if he prevented the male from expelling semen then the eggs would remain sterile, which was what happened. Thus, he deduced that sperm was necessarily for conception. He also performed artificial insemination on a spaniel, the first to recognise that bats use echolocation, and experimented on snail regeneration by cutting off the heads of 423 and observing that only a fifth regrew their heads. He tested the power of gastric juices by putting fruit in a cheesecloth bag, lowering into his stomach on string and brought it back up to see the result.
  • Half the brides in London went to prison because that was where weddings took place. Many priests were sent to debtor's prison, but as being in debt was not an offence for which you were defrocked, they retained their right to marry. Therefore, poor couples went to priests in prison as they would be cheaper and it would go towards their repayments. These were ended by Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act 1753. After that, people went to Gretna Green for runaway weddings.

Episode 9 "Ladies and Gents"Edit

Broadcast date
Recording date
  • 13 May 2014
Panellists
Topics
  • Fry asks why women should not be allowed to vote. At the time of the suffragette movement, there was much opposition to the idea of female enfranchisement partly from socialists as the suffragettes only wanted votes for women who owned property. In addition, there were plenty of women who opposed the idea of votes, with the slogan No Votes Thank You, The Appeal of Womanhood. The premise behind this was that because women were not involved in politics they should not participate in it in any way. There was another section of the suffragettes called the "suffragists" who supported the Liberal Party. The suffragettes were a very militant movement, with one of the more famous extreme demonstrations made by Emily Davison, who stepped out in front of King George V's horse at the Epsom Derby and was trampled. However, it is generally accepted that she did not commit martyrdom as her purse, now collected in the British Library, has a return ticket. There was also a belief at the time that female education should be disallowed as it was thought that if their brains grew too much, their wombs would shrink; one professor used the fact that more educated women had less children as evidence for this. Winston Churchill said in 1905 that "nothing would induce me to vote for giving women the franchise".
  • The Rational Dress Society, led by Constance Wilde, the wife of Oscar Wilde, which opposed the extreme corsetting of women that continued in Victorian fashion and had led to poor health and fainting amongst women.
  • Spending A Penny: Sound Princesses are electronic devices that produce the sound, lasting twenty-five seconds, of a flowing and refilling toilet. These are used in Japan to disguise the sound of urination without the need for flushing the toilet (thus saving water) and assisting with paruresis. The panel are all given handheld versions that come in three colours: pink with a little heart "for the inner girl in every woman", baby blue with a ribbon "for that free and fresh feeling" and a white Save The Earth variation that is unisex.
  • Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe, considered the best locksmith of his time, hated it when people did not flush his lavatory, and thus designed his cubicle to lock once it was entered and only unlock after it was flushed. George Bernard Shaw was one person who argued for female public lavatories to be built; most early theatres did not have women's lavatories and is a problem that exists to this day.
  • Diseases that one can catch from toilet seats include hepatitisdysentryfungal infectionspuerperal fever and viral gastroenteritis. However, these diseases can only enter the body is the toilet seat is touched with the hand and then the hand is placed in a "soft entry point" such as the nostrils and mouthHand washing is an easy way to avoid getting these diseases. The myth that STDs can come from lavatory seats was spread by doctors as they believed more people would come forward with these diseases if they thought there were alternative ways to catch them other than sex workers.
  • The panel are asked to complete suggestions from agony aunts:
    • "There is no more harm in a kiss than a loaded revolver." (from Alley Sloper's Half Holiday in 1911)
    • "Kidney troubles, coughs, colds, toothache and neuralgia, diarrhoea, and stomach catarrh are frequently brought on by paddling." (from Mother and Home in 1910)
    • "If your friend is too fat she should do rolling exercises on the floor (Forfeit: Try being on Bake-Off)." (from 1928)
  • It is impossible to name an Anglo-Saxon swear word as the only one who wrote in those times were under Holy Orders (Forfeit: *%$#). One Viking swear word is known: rassragr was considered so rude to call another person that the addressee would entitled to kill the man who insulted him or, if he did not die, the man who swore would be expelled from the community.
General Ignorance
  • The story of Lady Godiva riding through Coventry naked (Forfeit: Rode naked through the town) was written in the 13th century two hundred years after she had lived, but Roger of Wendover who was notorious for writing mistruths and gossip. The story is that Godiva's husband, the Earl of Mercia, had put large taxes on the people of Coventry which she thought was unfair, and thus the Earl said that he'd remove them if she rode naked through the city. She did do, with the locals obediently staying indoors while she did it, with the exception of Peeping Tom.
  • Nobody knows what Mary Magdalene did for a job (Forfeit: Prostitute); she appears in all four Gospels, but at no point is referred to as a sinner. She was sometimes confused with two other women: Mary of Bethany and an unnamed sinner from the Gospel According to Luke who washed Jesus' feet with her hair. In the 6th century Pope Gregory the Great confirmed this confusion by saying in a sermon that all three people where the same person. This was official for over one thousand years but was corrected in 1969.
  • Nothing especially significant happens nine months after a blackout (Forfeit: There's a baby boom). In 1965, a blackout occurred in New York City and many people including The New York Times said a baby boom had occurred, but this was disproven by research and The New York Times admitted that their story was false.
XL Extra
  • Women first voted in a British election in 1867 (Forfeit: the 1920s), with the first women to vote being Lily Maxwell from Manchester. The law at the time said that only ratepayers could vote, but there was no law considered to disallow women as they did not believe that women would turn out to vote (just as there is no law to disallow rabbits from voting). A law to disallow women from voting was brought in the following year.
  • mother-in-law can become slightly more helpful if they die. A study of 6,753 deaths in the family amongst CEOs found that they caused a statistically significant fall in the profitability of their companies, with the exception of mothers-in-law who cause a slight but statistically insignificant profit. Only 14.5% of men in the United States is over six feet but 58% of American CEOs are of that height. In addition, CEOs, despite their usually massive payment, have no effect on the performance of their companies. A report in 2013 found that between 1993 and 2012 40% of the United States' highest paid CEOs had either their companies bailed out, had their companies charged with fraud, been fired for poor performance, or have overseen the death of their companies. Laws on equal pay for equal work when it comes to sexual discrimination did not arrive until the 1970s, but in the UK women still only get 58p for every £1 a man earns.
  • The first agony aunt was John Dunton, who wrote a twice-weekly periodical called The Athenian Mercury. Most of the advice was originally literarypoliticalscientific or religious but a woman then started sending him questions about relationships, and so he started a spin-off called "Reasonable questions sent in to us by the fair sex". This ended up becoming the world's first women's magazine known as The Ladies' Mercury, but this only lasted one month. He advised one woman who was lonely to got to the docks to find a sailor for company. Another woman asked for: "the opinions you have met concerning the capricious and extravagant humours of women" to which Dunton replied: "The word "capricious" is used to signify the extravagant humours of most women, because there is no animal they resemble more than a goat". However, Dunton used to dress up as a woman to avoid tax and debt.
  • The seventh-most common cause of death amongst the crews of German U-Boats during World War I was being killed by British sailors in drag. The Germans used "cruiser protocols" which designated that if they approached a merchant ship, they would rise to the surface and give the crew time to abandon ship before they fired at it. The Royal Navy therefore decided to disguised some of their warships as merchant ships and had the crew to dress up as women; when the Germans surfaced and called for the crew to head into lifeboats, the British captain would then shoot down the U-Boat. Fourteen submarines were sunk in this way.
  • The HMS M2 in 1927 was the first submarine to carry aeroplanesseaplanes could be stored in the submarine's hangar. However, the hangar was once opened too early causing the submarine to sink.
  • If there was a maths test between men and women, then the women would perform worse because they learn that women are not as good at maths than men. This phenomenon is also displayed with Asian people, who are also stereotyped to be good at maths: when Asian women are told they are competing against Asian men, they average around 60%; but when the same women are told they are competing against European men they average around 80-90%.
  • Retailers say they attempt to increase gender neutrality in their toys, but there are still toys aimed at either boys or girls, such as a blue toolbox and a pink toy handbagLEGO has a pink box of bricks aimed at girls.

Episode 10 "Lying"Edit

Broadcast date
Recording date
  • 3 June 2014
Panellists

Special Award of -39 points was rewarded to 'Shouty Man' (a member of the audience who constantly heckled the answers)

Topics
  • Lab-Lark: Hills and Pascoe are presented with a large piece black cloth and an opaque screen. They place their hand under the cloth and on the side of the screen they could not see; on the side visible to them is a clearly fake rubber hand. Whitehall and Davies stroke both the fake and real hands with brushes. Eventually, both Hills and Pascoe are tricked into thinking that the fake hand is part of their body; a fact further proved when the fake hands are hit with mallets causing reactions of pain and shock. This is because the brain has a mental map of the human body from birth that can be easily fooled into thinking parts are there when they actually are not. People with prosthetics (such as Hills, for example, who has an artificial foot) react when their false limbs are hurt as if they feel genuine pain when in fact they feel nothing. Some people who lose limbs describe feeling itches in limbs they do not have.
  • Spending A Penny: The panel are shown a chamberpot, which is designed to appear as a collection of English literature. This would be kept in a French bathroom, as the French liked to insult England by pretending to defecating onto their books (Forfeit: Library). In Japan, there is a got-to-go briefcase, which is a toilet disguised as a briefcase and is complete with toilet paper, a cup holder, a vanity mirror, a hand sanitiser and a newspaper to look through.
  • The noseless lemur is badly named because it is not a lemur; in fact it is a fish. The fossil was discovered by Pedro Scalabrini, an Italians-born Argentine naturalist, who in 1898 gave a fragment to palaentologist Florentino Ameghino. Ameghino, who was very nationalistic, despised the fact that naturalists such as Charles Darwin claimed that all primates originated in Africa, and thus wanted the fossil to be proof that at least one lemur evolved in South America. In 2012, it was proved that the fossil was actually that of a fish.
  • The panel are played a section of the rap song Prisencolinensinainciusol by Adriano Celentano. The lyrics in the song are gibberish which are meant to sound like English. It was a success, reaching No. 1 in Italy, and reached the top ten in FranceBelgium and the Netherlands. In 2011, London-based filmmakers Brian Fairburn and Karl Eccleston made a film called Skwerl, which is also just gibberish sounding like English, and has over 12 million views on YouTube.
  • The panel are given some carrot-flavoured lollipops, except for Davies who is given a whole carrot on a stick (Forfeit: Seeing in the dark). These were made during World War II to encourage people to eat more carrots; indeed, carrot icecream was also made, and the fallacy that carrots help with night vision has also produced partly to keep encouraging people to eat them and also to convince the Germans that it was this that was allowing night-time bombing raids rather than airborne radar.
  • The "what the hell effect" takes many forms. One form, illustrated by Pascoe, is related to dieting and substance abuse and describes a situation where breaking a diet is easier once one tiny mistake is made: for example, when someone cheats a diet by eating one biscuit, they finish the entire packet thinking they may as well because they have broken the diet as it was. Another was studied by Dan Ariely of Duke University and relates to exams; when one person cheats, the rest of the class joins in. He found this on people who were solving maths problems for financial rewards: the scores inflated not by a few students cheating a lot, but lots cheating a little. People who scored higher on psychological tests for creativity are more likely to behave dishonestly.
  • Cheating and lying has been observed in other primates. Koko, a gorilla that learned sign language, ripped a sink off of a wall and signed that a cat had done it. Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee that was also taught sign language, lied to get out of sign-language lessons by saying that she needed to go the toilet when in fact she did not.
  • Nearly everyone overstates their abilities in terms of drivingcharity donating, and their relationship skills. This was shown in a study when couples were asked the percentage of housework they did, and found that the total added up to around 130%. However, according to the Institute of Child Study at Toronto University, lying at early stages of life are found to be more intelligent than those that do not, as they are more creative.
General Ignorance
XL Extras
  • The point of pink, or magenta is to be used in printing, as it is a primary colour in the CMYK color model. However, it is shown as being in between blue and red; the two extremes of the visible colour spectrum, so it should not exist despite the fact that it does. The human eye has rods which deal with darkness and light, and cones which deal with colour. Humans have three cones, but dogs only have two hence their poor, but not incomplete, colour vision, whereas birds however have four cones and can see ultraviolet.
  • "Two up" is a game played on ANZAC Day in Australia (the only day it is legal) with old-fashioned pennies. Two coins are flipped, and bets are placed whether two heads, two tails or one head and one tail will land. The person winning the money leaves the room and is allowed thirty minutes before someone is allowed to try and steal the winnings.
  • The first platypus brought back to Britain was considered to be a hoax; in the 16th and 17th centuries, many creatures were faked by explorers and the platypus was considered to just be another obvious example. George Shaw was the person who examined it and he copiously sought for stitches around the beak because he simply refused to be believed that they were real. It was only until thirty years later that they were concluded to be genuine.
  • The first kangaroo sent back to the British Museum was actually propped on all-fours because no one had described to the curator how it stood.
General Ignorance

Episode 11 "Lumped Together"Edit

Broadcast date
Recording date
  • 20 May 2014
Panellists
Topics
  • Each of the buzzers play songs (Carr has "Lola" by the Kinks, Ancona has "Lay Lady Lay" by Bob Dylan, Mitchell has "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen and Davies has "Little Willy" by The Sweet), one of which has been investigated by the FBI; the panel are asked to guess which it is. The answer is Mitchell's song, which was suspected for having very lewd references: the lyrics "Ah, on that ship; I dream she there; I smell the rose; Ah, in her hair." were mistaken for "And on that chair; I lay her there; I felt my boner; In her hair".
  • Lab-Lark: Fry and the panel make their own lava lamps using a tube for tennis balls and a mixture of vegetable oilwater colouring and Alka Seltzer placed over a electric light. The inventor of the lava lamp was Edward Craven Walker, who directed nudist films, one of which was the first to be on public release. He was very open to nudity, opening one of the largest nudist colonies in Britain, and said of his invention, "It starts from nothing, grows possibly a little feminine, then a little masculine, then breaks up and has children. It's a sexy thing".
  • Franz Liszt was a composervirtuoso pianist and conductor who was the equivalent of Tom Jones and Justin Bieber in his day, with women being known to faint, throw their underwear and be restrained by their husbands his performances. He also had numerous affairs, one of which was Lola Montez who also helped cause a revolution in Bavaria due to her relations with Ludwig I. He also had an affair with Olga Janina, a former pupil who became so obsessed that she tried to stab Liszt and commit suicide. However, he later became an abbé.
  • The owner with the world's largest love handles is the beluga whale, and they use them to help with swimming (Forfeit: Eric Pickles). They have no dorsal fin, and are hunted by various people in the Arctic because whale blubber is rich in Vitamin C.
  • The sperm whale is recognisable because of its large head, the use of which is unknown but is thought to assist with its diving into very deep waters.
  • The panel are given a riddle: "All that we caught, we left behind, and carry away all that we did not catch" - the answer is lice. This is a famous riddle because it was given to Homer; The Oracle of Delphi informed the writer that he would die on the island of Ios and should beware the riddles of young children. Homer, being a travelling minstrel who sang his epic poems, did go to Ios and was told this riddle by some fisher boys, and was so shocked by his realisation that this meant his death that he slipped, cracked his head and died. However, Homer was a legendary figure and it is unknown if he even existed.
General Ignorance
  • The amount of Sparta that died at the Battle of Thermopylae was 299 (Forfeit: 300). There were 300 Spartan soldiers defending the narrow coastal pass, plus the warrior king Leonidas I, so there were really 301 Spartans fighting. The two who survived were Pantites, who was sent to deliver a message to the embassy in Thessaly, however return believing him to be the only survivor and hanged himself in shame. The other, Eurytus could not fight due to an eye infection. In reality, there were Athenians fighting against the Persians as well as they were allied at the time. The closest to a contemporary account of the battle is from Herodotus but he was born four years after the battle, and he estimated that around 5,000 Greeks soldiers fought in the entire battle.
  • No type of bird was kept by the birdman in his cell in Alcatraz was a (Forfeit: Canaries). Robert Franklin Stroud kept canaries in his previous prison, but was transferred to Alcatraz and was not allowed to keep them. The cells of Alcatraz were actually poorly guarded simply because swimming to the shoreline would be so difficult due to the currents around San Francisco Bay.
  • No one can know for certain who the first person to put a filling between two slices of bread and eat it, but due to the long history of the staple food (dating 30,000 years BC) it is inconceivable that it could only have happened as early as the 18th century (Forfeit: The Earl of Sandwich). Hillel the Elder, a rabbi from the 1st century BC who started a Passover custom of putting chopped nutsapplesspices and wine between flatbreads. According to the official biographer of the Earl of Sandwich, the sandwich was not invented as a result of his gambling, but his Ministerial work: he was Postmaster General and First Lord of the Admiralty.
XL Extras
  • The company which sells lava lamps is Mathmos, a reference to the film Barbarella (it was to a seething lake of lava beneath the city Sogo). Duran Duran also got their name from the film.
  • Fry asks about he could be sure he would have dreams about scantily-clad women. This is a reference to 19th century French aristocrat Marie-Jean-Léon, who found that if he painted a picture of a woman all day and then had orris root placed in his mouth while he slept, he would have lucid dreams to this effect. Psychologist Richard Wiseman stated that one can have lucid dreams by checking their watch as often as you can, making sure to look at the numbers throughout the day. This will result in having dreams during which one will check their watch but will not be able to focus on the numbers, forcing one to recognise the fact that they are dreaming. Lucid dreams occur in about half of people, and are more common in gamers.
  • The panel are shown a picture and asked how many leaves are in it. The answer is five (Forfeit: Six) as one of the objects that looks like a leaf is actually an insect, specifically an organism from Southeast Asia and Australia Phylliidae, which has evolved to look like a leaf to avoid being eaten by birds, although an inadvertent result of this is that they get nibbled on by caterpillars. There is also the satanic leaf-tailed gecko which looks like a leaf in Autumn. There are also leaves that grow on other trees only recently discovered to other organisms that have disguised themselves to look like the leaves of a tree that tastes unpleasant due to the fact that it is very nutritious.
  • The Forty Elephants hid their loot in specially made clothes (Forfeit: In their trunks). These people were a gang working between the 1700s to 1950s and came from Elephant and Castle. They used specially made muffs and false hands to attack many different shops at the same time to hold lavish parties at the end of the day to celebrate.
  • In 2013, the second tallest elephant in India was arrested for murder and hanged.
  • The Exeter Book is a 10th-century Anglo-Saxon book from Exeter which contains ninety riddles all of which are filled with innuendo. One is: "My stem is erect. I stand up over the bed, hairy somewhere down below. A peasant's daughter lays her hand on me, seizes me, red, plunders my head, confines me in a stronghold. Wet be that eye." - the answer of which is onions. Another is: "A curiosity hangs by the thigh of a man under its master's cloak. It is pierced through in the front, it is stiff and hard, and when the man pulls up his own robe above his knee he means to poke with the head of his hanging thing that familiar hole of matching length which he has often filled before." The answer is "keys".
General Ignorance
  • The Spanish word "alcatraz" is actually borrowed from Arabic, like many words (such as Alhambra), due to the Moors. It means "gannets", but used to mean "pelicans", and the prison is named after the latter. The word, in Arabic, means "the sea eagle". Hot showers were allowed in Alcatraz, but cold showers to prevent the prisoners from acclimatising to the cold water. There are stories of escapes from the prison but no confirmed cases.

Episode 12 "No L" (Christmas Episode)Edit

Broadcast date
Recording date
  • 10 June 2014
Panellists

Episode 13 "Lucky Losers"Edit

Broadcast date
Recording date
  • 6 May 2014[28]
Panellists

Note: as the theme of the episode was "Lucky Losers", the winner was announced to be the contestant with the fewest points.

Topics
General Ignorance
  • The day that is added to a leap year is 24 February (Forfeit: 29 February), which is added in so the original 24 February becomes the 25th and so on. It is this way because the Roman calendar was divided into three, meaning when it was discovered that a year is 365.25 days they added the extra day into the division that ended at 24 February. This fact is further evidenced by the fact that in Denmark, 24 February is the day that women can propose to men.
  • World War II began in at least 1937, or possibly earlier (Forfeit: 1939). It is a very Anglo-French idea that it began at the Invasion of Poland, as the Second Sino-Japanese War had been going on for two years beforehand. Some also count the Spanish Civil War as being an aspect for the Second World War.
  • The length of an Olympic swimming pool is 50.02m (Forfeit: 50m). According to FINA, they are made that size to make room for the sensor pad that each swimmers have to press upon completing a lap.
XL Extras
General Ignorance
  • It is impossible for a human to beat a T-rex at arm wrestling (Forfeit: Yes, Easily). While the arms of the dinosaur seem very spindly and weak, their muscles could lift 400lbs, whereas the most powerful humans could only lift 150lbs.

Episode 14 "Little and Large"Edit

Broadcast date
Recording date
  • 27 May 2014
Panellists
Topics
  • The largest native land animal that can be found all-year round on Antarctica is the Belgica Antarctica midge (Forfeit: Humans, Penguins). Humans are not native to Antarctica, and penguins spend three-quarters of their time at sea, making them not entirely land-dwelling.
  • The world's biggest gasbag at the time of recording was the hot air balloon used by Felix Baumgartner in his record breaking parachute jump, which was larger than the Statue of Liberty. Baumgartner broke the records for exit altitude, vertical freefall distance without a drogue, and vertical speed without a drogue. The first record was since broken by Alan Eustace in October 2014, though the Austrian still holds the second two as Eustace used a drogue, and he was the first person ever to break the sound barrier unaided.
  • The LZ 129 Hindenburg burst into flames at the Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst in New Jersey, with the cause of the accident still being debated. Despite being full of hydrogen there was a cigarette lighter in it that has chained to a wall, and the passengers had to wear special shoes that caused static electricity.
  • Lab-Lark: Blue whales could be used to blow up balloons at birthday parties, since a single breath from a blue whale could inflate 1,250 balloons. The panel are then asked to inflate large plastic bags using their own breaths, which Porter successfully does by one breath from a distance. This is much more useful than numerous breaths directly into the bag due to the Bernoulli Effect.
  • The person who said: "The most beautiful girl or woman in the world would be a matter of indifference to me, but tall soldiers: they are my weakness" was Frederick William I of Prussia (Forfeit: You did). He was the father of Frederick the Great and founded the Potsdam Giants, an infantry regiment made entirely of soldiers of above-average height; the tallest of which is James Kirkland, who was over seven feet tall. His macrophilia stretched to the point where he would pay tall women to have sex with tall men to produce tall sons, and would kidnap tall men and conscript them. If he was depressed, 200-300 of his Giants, preceded by turbaned Moors with cymbals and trumpets, with the Grenadiers' mascot, a large bear, to march in front of him. This would occur in his bedroom if he was bedridden. The regiment continued after his death, and indeed lasted a hundred years after it was made.
  • Sir Billy Butlin, the founder of British holiday camps, was such a little devil because he was a member of the "Devil's Dwarves" of World War I. Conscription was not applied to men under 5'3, but Edward StanleyLord Derby, created a bantom brigade for such people. Their nickname arose because they had a reputation for misbehaviour. Henry Threadgould, a member of the battalion, was 4'9 and possibly the shortest person ever to serve in the British Army.
  • The thing that highly respected Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev had that was twice as large as Nobel laureate Anatole France was the brain (Forfeit: Penis): Turgenev's brain was 4lb 6oz, while France's brain was 2lb 4oz. It is often considered that bigger brains are a sign of intelligence, but in this case both men were exceptionally talented and the reason for France's smaller brain size is not understood.
  • Humans can feel things that are incredibly small, as was proved by scientists in 2013. They designed an incredibly smooth surface with minimal friction and discovered that fingers can feel things that are only thirteen nanometres high; the size of a single molecule and ten times smaller than a bacterium (which humans luckily cannot feel). Vibrations from the friction are what humans feel; the scientists created invisible wrinkles of sixteen different heights and the smallest detectable ones were seven thousand times thinner than a sheet of paper.
General Ignorance
XL Extras
  • Fry hands out platform soles of varying heights which will work to make the panel level. Hans Hemmert created an artistic piece in 1997 called Levels in which people worse soles which would make everyone appear 6'6. The panel then recreates the piece: Osman (6'7) bends down slightly while Davies (5'11), Fry (6'4), Porter (4'11) and Jupitus (6'0) all stand on their corresponding platforms.
  • GIMPS is searching for prime numbers. The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search has been going since 1996 using computers from all over the world trying to find the largest primes and Mersenne primes in the world (a Mersenne prime is one that is one less than a power of two: 3 is Mersenne, for example, but 5 is not). The longest Mersenne prime discovered so far at the time of recording is 17,425,170 digits long. The results of this search will, mathematicians hope, assist with further understanding of prime numbers as a whole.
  • The Goliath tank had no driver because it was remote controlled. These were used by the Germans in World War II as demolition vehicles. Another remote controlled explosive device was the Davy Crockett which was a portable nuclear launcher to be mounted on a jeep developed by the Americans during the Cold War. The bombs were 75lbs each and 2,000 were deployed in Europe between 1961 and 1971 to intimidate the Soviet UnionSpecial Atomic Demolition Munition, backpack nukes, were also developed, which though small had bombs more powerful than Fat Man. These were deployed in Eastern EuropeKorea and Iran, but none were actually used.
  • Spending A Penny: The best way to get shit out of a tank is to fire it out of the barrel. This was done by the Russians in the T-34s, as patented by Aleksandr Georgievich Semenov from St. Petersburg. It was entitled the "Method of Biowaste Removal from Isolated Dwelling Compartment of Military Facility and Device for its Implementation" which was described, "The military psychological positive effect takes place: comprehension of the facts of delivering and distribution on enemy equipment and uniform, as well as the opportunity of informing other soldiers and the enemy about it".
General Ignorance
  • The world's second largest film industry is based in NigeriaBollywood is the largest, and Nollywood comes second, above Hollywood. It was founded by Kenneth Nnebue in 1992 when he purchased a large number of blank VHS cassettes from Taiwan and he decided he could make a larger profit if he put something on them. He then produced and wrote a film named Living in Bondage, which is about a man who achieves power and wealth by killing his wife but has the ghost of his wife come back to destroy his happiness and sanity. It became a success, selling 750,000 copies, and caused many people to join into making films. By 2014, thirty films a week are now turned out in Nollywood.

Episode 15 "Long-Lost"Edit

Broadcast date
  • 16 January 2015[31]
Recording date
  • 7 May 2014
Panellists
Topics
General Ignorance
  • The far side of the Moon is coloured turquoise because of the Earth's reflection. On a horned moon or a new moon one can see this reflected light. The Pink Floyd album has sold over 50 million copies.
  • For the fifth time, the question: "How many moons does the Earth have?" is asked. Some people believe that the answer could be none, as the Moon fulfils many of the qualities of a planet as laid down by the International Astronomical Union in 2006 (the same rules ruling out Pluto) (Forfeit: One; One, the Moon). The definitions are that a planet has to orbit the Sun, has to be massive enough to have its own gravity to make it round, and has to have cleared its neighbourhood of smaller objects. While the Moon has not cleared the Earth, the Earth has likewise not cleared the Moon, and therefore the two together could be cast as a binary system. The Sun's gravitational effect on the Moon is twice that of the Earth.
  • Lab-Lark: Fry pours some water into a glass and then places a sheet of paper over the top of it, before turning it upside down. The paper sticks to the glass, so no water falls out. The panel then repeat Fry, proving it easy to do. Fry then removes the paper, yet the water still remains in the glass, seemingly defying gravity, before taking a sip out of the glass to prove it to be free of any lid; but when the panel try to repeat this they all fail.
XL Extras
  • The Guinness Book of Records lists the longest-running experiment as the Pitch Drop Experiment at the University of Queensland, which began in 1927. It was designed to prove that pitch is, in effect, an extremely viscous liquid. It has proved successful, as one drop has fallen every ten years, though none has ever been observed. The eighth was recorded by a webcam, but it broke and thus was not played back, while the ninth occurred while the apparatus was being adjusted.
  • Queensland has a severe problem with invasive cane toads. They can be licked to act as a hallucinogenic.
  • The thing with a long tail and loses the long jump is Belarussian long jumper Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova, who made a 6.9m jump at the 2011 World Championships but ended up recording 6.74m due to her ponytail landing in the sand as well. As a result, she ended up 4th when she would have won the gold medal.[32] There has been very little progression in development of the long jump, with the exception of the fact that it was previously a standing jump whereas now running is allowed. The one technique that was outlawed was conducting a somersault in the air to improve distance. The mistake made by these people was doing it off-season, as Dick Fosbury left his Fosbury flop (which would have also been banned) for the actual Olympics.
General Ignorance

Episode 16 "Landmarks"Edit

Broadcast date
  • 23 January 2015
Recording date
  • 13 May 2014
Panellists
Topics
  • Even though the American Civil War ended in 1865, the death of the last pensioner has not happened yet. The last veteran was named Albert Woolson and died in 1956, aged 109, and the last widow died in 2008 was named Maudie Hopkins and in 1934 married an 86-year-old veteran named William Cantrell. In 1927, a 21-year-old woman named Alberta Martin (who died in 2004) married an 81-year-old Confederate veteran who died in 1931. Martin then married her step-grandson, but the actual pension of $876 per year is still being given to the children of veterans, who are still alive.
  • The last thing one would like to see on the London Underground is a public execution, though they used to exist there right up to the first Underground trains. People travelled to Newgate (now the Old Bailey), some of whom came by the Tube, to see the last execution who was of Michael Barrett. Barrett was a Fenian who many people believed innocent of his crime, placing a bomb outside Clerkenwell Prison as a diversion to allow another Fenian to escape. It was believed that a gang did it, but Barrett was the only one who was caught and arrested despite the little evidence.
  • The Spanish Prisoner scam was the original version of the Nigerian Prince scam, and involved letters being sent by people claiming to be Spanish prisoners requiring ransom and would supposedly pay the sender back thousand-fold once out. In 1914, the year Nigeria was founded, the British ambassador to Nigeria wrote to the Nigerian colonial offices warning them about the Spanish Prisoner scam, and thus it is possible that Nigerian criminals got the idea. The scams deliberately use spelling mistakes and poor grammar to ensure that less intelligent people reply to their emails419 baiters are people who deliberately waste the time of scammers who pretend to have fallen for their emails but have not in reality. Article 419 in Nigerian law covers those kinds of crimes.
  • The aviation techniques of the concrete arrows allowed pilots to know which way they were travelling, as they followed large concrete signs on the ground across the United States. These seventy foot long arrows occurred every ten miles across the country, but was stopped in 1933 due to advances in the radio. An additional aid involved painting the names of towns on large buildings.
  • During World War I the French designed a replica Paris fifteen miles to the north on another stretch of the Seine, in order to trick the Germans out of bombing the genuine one. The replica included a fake Gare du Nord and moving lights to suggest moving trains, though it was never completed.
  • The military leader commemorated by a Norfolk oak was Adolf Hitler (Forfeit: Nigel Farage). Everyone who won a gold medal in the 1936 Summer Olympics was given a sapling of an oak, and the one in Norfolk is the only one left in Britain. Most Americans got rid of theirs, though Jesse Owens kept his four; one still survives in his old training school in Cleveland while another was given to his mother.
  • Spending A Penny: The panel are shown some film footage from 1902 of a British coronation and are asked who the man with the beard is. The answer is that he was a French lavatory attendant (Forfeit: Edward VIIGeorge V), who went on to become one of the biggest film stars in the world. He played Edward VII in a film adaptation of the event, filmed by George Meiles who planned to film the actual event but his equipment was too loud and thus was not allowed; the only surviving footage was of the King in the carriage. The adaptation actually went better than the genuine event, where the elderly and almost blind Archbishop of Canterbury Frederick Temple first put the crown of backwards, and when she knelt down to swear fealty to the King he could not get back up. According to a letter sent to QI by Meiles' great-great-granddaughter Pauline, Edward VII enjoyed watching the film.
General Ignorance
XL Extras
  • Drug traffickers train camels to be drug mules by leading them down the preferred route and only feeding them once the journey is over. Over time, the camel remembers the route and will not need human intervention. Some of these journeys have been from the Red Sea to Morocco.
  • Forest swastikas were planted by supporters of the Nazis throughout the existence of the Third Reich. There is one in Kyrgyzstan, possibly planted by German prisoners of war, while another existed in Brandenburg which used larches that turned yellow at a particular time so it was only visible for a brief period. In mordern journey any support for Nazism is illegal so it was cut down in 2000.
  • In a fight between Chuck Norris and Communism, Norris would probably win as culture and entertainment have been known to be effective in political change. Of the things that Communist dictators did, particularly in the case of Nicolae Ceaușescu, was to prevent all Western culture permeating their borders so their citizens did not see how successful the Western Bloc was. Censorship was so great that even in Tom and Jerry cartoons if a fridge was opened the scene would be cut so the fridge being full of food was not seen. However, one woman named Irina Margareta Nistor imported over 5,000 movies and dubbed them (albeit not using a different voice between characters including JawsThe Godfather Part IIThe Shining and many action movies. Apart for Ceaușescu, Nistor was the most famous person in Romania for a whole generation, although she never revealed her true identity at the time. A documentary about her named Chuck Norris VS Communism is currently in production.
  • Spending A Penny: Going to the lavatory is helpful for avoiding being eaten by a Big Bad Wolf. There is an obscure 1870 version of Little Red Riding Hood in which Red Riding Hood is asked by the Wolf to perform a striptease, throw her clothes in the fire, and then get into bed. At this point, the girl finally realises that the Wolf is not her grandmother, and therefore to escape she asks to go to the lavatory. Despite the Wolf asking her to stay, she leaves. Another version, collected by Charles Perrault, Red Riding Hood merely goes to sleep and is eaten. In the 11th century there was a similar fairytale written called The False Grandmother, but in that story instead of a Wolf there is an ogre who kills the grandmother and uses her intestine as a latch string on the door, and when the girl enters the house she eats her grandmother's dismembered teeth and drinks her blood by accident. Likewise, in the original story of The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo CollodiPinocchio kills Jiminy Cricket with a hammer, then later robbed, beaten, has his legs burned off, and is ultimately hanged by a cat and a fox by being smug.
  • If someone meets a wolf in the wild the thing to remember is that a single one is safe. Given that wolves are pack animals, they only hunt when they are together. A wolf pack is easy to identify given that their howling can be heard from far away.
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