Qi m series

Qi m series DEFAULT

QI Series 20 is yet to be announced by BBC Two





19 Seasons

296 Episodes

Stephen Fry’s replacement Sandi Toksvig gives this veteran game show new character and the critics and viewers love her wit and timing

Current Show Status

QI Series 20 — not renewed yet

Aired Thu 10/7/2021Sugar & SpiceSeason 19: Episode 5

Airs Thu 10/14/2021SensationalSeason 19: Episode 6


Season 19Season 18Season 17Season 16Season 15Season 14Season 13Season 12Season 11Season 10Season 9Season 8Season 7Season 6Season 5Season 4Season 3Season 2Season 1

#NameAir Dates
1Sick Sep 9, 2021
2Secrets, Spies & Sleuths Sep 16, 2021
3Shady & Shaky Sep 23, 2021
4Sideshows, Stunts & Scavenger Hunts Sep 30, 2021
5Sugar & Spice Oct 7, 2021
6Sensational Oct 14, 2021
7Spooky Oct 21, 2021
#NameAir Dates
1Rude May 28, 2020
2Ruff and Reddy Jun 4, 2020
3Road and Rail Jun 11, 2020
4Restaurants Jun 18, 2020
5Rubbish Jun 25, 2020
6Ridiculous Jul 2, 2020
7Revolutions Jul 9, 2020
8Reflections Jul 16, 2020
9Radioactive Jul 23, 2020
10Rest and Recreation Jul 30, 2020
11Roaming Aug 6, 2020
12VG: Part One Aug 13, 2020
13Rejoice! A Christmas Special Dec 23, 2020
14Rogue Jan 14, 2021
15Random Jan 21, 2021
16Rock 'n' Roll Jan 28, 2021
17VG: Part Two Feb 4, 2021
18R Animals Mar 27, 2021
#NameAir Dates
1Quirky Sep 6, 2019
2Quintessential Sep 13, 2019
3Quarrels Sep 20, 2019
4Queasy Quacks Sep 27, 2019
5Questions and Qualifications Oct 4, 2019
6Quests: Part One Oct 11, 2019
7Quests: Part Two Oct 18, 2019
8Qanimals Oct 25, 2019
9Quizmas Dec 24, 2019
10Quiet Jan 3, 2020
11Quaffing Jan 10, 2020
12Quagmire Jan 17, 2020
13Quills Jan 24, 2020
14Queens Jan 31, 2020
15Quantity and Quality Feb 7, 2020
16Quads and Quins Feb 14, 2020
17VG: Part One Feb 21, 2020
18VG: Part Two Feb 28, 2020
#NameAir Dates
1Panimals Sep 10, 2018
2Peril Sep 17, 2018
3Piecemeal Sep 24, 2018
4Parts Oct 1, 2018
5Public & Private Oct 8, 2018
6Pictures Oct 15, 2018
7Picnics Oct 22, 2018
8Plants Oct 29, 2018
9Pubs - A Christmas Special Dec 18, 2018
10Pain & Punishment Jan 11, 2019
11Potpourri Jan 18, 2019
12Procrastination Jan 25, 2019
13Phenomenal Feb 1, 2019
14Pathology Feb 8, 2019
15Past Times Feb 15, 2019
16Post Feb 22, 2019
17VG: Part One Mar 1, 2019
18VG: Part Two Mar 8, 2019
#NameAir Dates
1Ologies Oct 20, 2017
2Organisms Oct 27, 2017
3Oceans Nov 3, 2017
4Over and Ova Nov 10, 2017
5Odorous and Odious Nov 24, 2017
6Odds and Ends Dec 1, 2017
7Opposites Dec 8, 2017
8Operations Dec 15, 2017
9O Christmas Dec 26, 2017
10Origins and Openings Jan 5, 2018
11Objects and Ornaments Jan 12, 2018
12The Occult Jan 19, 2018
13Omnishambles Jan 26, 2018
14Oddballs Feb 2, 2018
15Occupations and Offices Feb 9, 2018
16Overseas Feb 16, 2018
17VG: Part One Feb 23, 2018
18VG: Part Two Mar 2, 2018
#NameAir Dates
1Naming Names Oct 21, 2016
2North Norse Oct 28, 2016
3Nosey Noisy Nov 4, 2016
4Noble Rot Nov 11, 2016
5Not Nearly Nov 25, 2016
6Night Dec 2, 2016
7Naked Truth Dec 9, 2016
8Non Sequiturs Dec 16, 2016
9Noël Dec 22, 2016
10Nature/Nurture Dec 30, 2016
11Nonsense Jan 6, 2017
12Noodles Jan 13, 2017
13Naval Navigation Jan 20, 2017
14Numbers Jan 27, 2017
15Next Feb 3, 2017
16New Feb 10, 2017
17VG: Part One Feb 17, 2017
18VG: Part Two Feb 24, 2017
#NameAir Dates
1Medley of Maladies Oct 16, 2015
2Military Matters Oct 23, 2015
3M-Places Oct 30, 2015
4Miscellany Nov 6, 2015
5Maths Nov 20, 2015
6Marriage and Mating Nov 27, 2015
7Middle Muddle Dec 11, 2015
8Merriment Dec 25, 2015
9Messing with Your Mind Dec 29, 2015
10Making a Meal of It Jan 8, 2016
11Menagerie Jan 15, 2016
12Medieval and Macabre Jan 22, 2016
13Monster Mash Jan 29, 2016
14Messy Feb 5, 2016
15Mix and Match Feb 12, 2016
16Misconceptions Feb 19, 2016
17VG: Part One Mar 4, 2016
18VG: Part Two Mar 25, 2016
#NameAir Dates
1L Animals Oct 3, 2014
2Location, Location, Location Oct 10, 2014
3Literature Oct 17, 2014
4Levity Oct 24, 2014
5Lenses Oct 31, 2014
6Liblabble Nov 7, 2014
7Lethal Nov 21, 2014
8Lovely Nov 28, 2014
9Ladies and Gents Dec 5, 2014
10Lying Dec 12, 2014
11Lumped Together Dec 19, 2014
12No L Dec 25, 2014
13Lucky Losers Jan 2, 2015
14Little and Large Jan 9, 2015
15Long Lost Jan 16, 2015
16Landmarks Jan 23, 2015
17VG: Part One Jan 30, 2015
18VG: Part Two Jan 31, 2015
#NameAir Dates
1Knees & Knockers Sep 6, 2013
2Kit and Kaboodle Sep 13, 2013
3K-Folk Sep 20, 2013
4Knits & Knots Sep 27, 2013
5Kings Oct 4, 2013
6Killers Oct 11, 2013
7Knowledge Oct 18, 2013
8Keys Oct 25, 2013
9Kinetic Nov 1, 2013
10Keeps Nov 8, 2013
11Kinky Nov 29, 2013
12Knights and Knaves Dec 6, 2013
13Kitchen Sink Dec 13, 2013
14Kris Kringle Dec 27, 2013
15Kitsch Jan 10, 2014
16Kaleidoscope Jan 17, 2014
17VG: Part One Jan 24, 2014
18VG: Part Two Jan 31, 2014
#NameAir Dates
1Jargon Sep 14, 2012
2Jam, Jelly and Juice Sep 21, 2012
3Journeys Sep 28, 2012
4Jack and Jill Oct 5, 2012
5J-Places Oct 12, 2012
6Joints Oct 19, 2012
7Journalism Oct 26, 2012
8Jumble Nov 2, 2012
9Jeopardy Nov 9, 2012
10Jungles Nov 23, 2012
11Jumpers Nov 30, 2012
12Justice Dec 7, 2012
13Jobs Dec 14, 2012
14Jingle Bells Dec 21, 2012
15VG: Part One Dec 28, 2012
16VG: Part Two Jan 4, 2013
17Jolly Jan 11, 2013
18Just the Job Aug 25, 2013
#NameAir Dates
1I-Spy Sep 9, 2011
2International Sep 16, 2011
3Imbroglio Sep 23, 2011
4Indecision Sep 30, 2011
5Invertebrates Oct 7, 2011
6Inventive Oct 14, 2011
7Incomprehensible Oct 21, 2011
8Inequality Oct 28, 2011
9Illness Nov 4, 2011
10Inland Revenue Nov 11, 2011
11Illumination Nov 25, 2011
12Intelligence Dec 2, 2011
13VG: Part One Dec 16, 2011
14VG: Part Two Dec 23, 2011
15Ice Dec 29, 2011
16Infantile Dec 29, 2011
17Immortal Bard Apr 27, 2012
18Idleness May 4, 2012
SThe Making of QI Sep 10, 2011
#NameAir Dates
1Hodge Podge Sep 17, 2010
2H Anatomy Sep 24, 2010
3Hoaxes Oct 1, 2010
4Humans Oct 8, 2010
5H Animals Oct 15, 2010
6Happiness Oct 22, 2010
7Horrible Oct 29, 2010
8Hypothetical Nov 5, 2010
9House and Home Nov 12, 2010
10Health and Safety Nov 26, 2010
11Highs and Lows Dec 3, 2010
12Horses and Hunting Dec 10, 2010
13Holidays Dec 17, 2010
14Hocus-Pocus Dec 24, 2010
15Hypnosis, Hallucinations & Hysteria Jan 7, 2011
16History Jan 14, 2011
17VG: Part One Apr 25, 2011
18VG: Part Two May 2, 2011
#NameAir Dates
1Gardens Nov 26, 2009
2G Animals Dec 3, 2009
3Games Dec 10, 2009
4Geography Dec 17, 2009
5Groovy Dec 24, 2009
6Genius Jan 1, 2010
7Girls and Boys Jan 8, 2010
8Germany Jan 15, 2010
9Gallimaufrey Jan 22, 2010
10Greats Jan 29, 2010
11Gifts Feb 5, 2010
12Gravity Feb 12, 2010
13Gothic Feb 19, 2010
14Greeks Mar 5, 2010
15Green Mar 26, 2010
16Geometry Apr 2, 2010
17VG: Part One Apr 5, 2010
18VG: Part Two Apr 16, 2010
#NameAir Dates
1Family Nov 14, 2008
2Fire and Freezing Dec 22, 2008
3Flotsam and Jetsam Jan 9, 2009
4Fight or Flight Jan 16, 2009
5France Jan 23, 2009
6Fakes and Frauds Jan 30, 2009
7Fingers and Fumbs Feb 6, 2009
8Fashion Feb 13, 2009
9The Future Feb 20, 2009
10Flora and Fauna Feb 27, 2009
11Film Mar 6, 2009
12Food Mar 20, 2009
#NameAir Dates
1Engineering Sep 21, 2007
2Electricity Sep 28, 2007
3Eating Oct 5, 2007
4Exploration Oct 12, 2007
5Europe Oct 19, 2007
6Everything Etc Oct 26, 2007
7Espionage Nov 2, 2007
8Eyes and Ears Nov 9, 2007
9Entertainment Nov 16, 2007
10England Nov 23, 2007
11Endings Nov 30, 2007
12Empire Dec 7, 2007
13Elephants Dec 14, 2007
#NameAir Dates
1Danger Sep 29, 2006
2Discoveries Sep 29, 2006
3Dogs Oct 6, 2006
4Dictionaries Oct 13, 2006
5Death Oct 20, 2006
6Drinks Oct 27, 2006
7Differences Nov 3, 2006
8Descendants Nov 10, 2006
9Doves Nov 17, 2006
10Divination Nov 24, 2006
11Deprivation Dec 1, 2006
12Domesticity Dec 8, 2006
13December Dec 15, 2006
#NameAir Dates
1Campanology Sep 30, 2005
2Cummingtonite Sep 30, 2005
3Common Knowledge Oct 7, 2005
4Cheating Oct 14, 2005
5Cat's Eyes Oct 21, 2005
6Cockneys Oct 28, 2005
7Constellations Nov 4, 2005
8Corby Nov 11, 2005
9Creatures Nov 18, 2005
10Cleve Crudgington Nov 25, 2005
11Carnival Dec 2, 2005
12Combustion Dec 9, 2005
#NameAir Dates
1Blues, Beetles, Baguettes Oct 8, 2004
2Birds, Bills, Brothers Oct 8, 2004
3Bombs, Bats, Bagpipes Oct 15, 2004
4Birmingham, Bhutan, Baldness Oct 22, 2004
5Bears, Bulbs, Bamboo Oct 29, 2004
6Beavers, Bulges, Bacteria Nov 5, 2004
7Biscuits, Ballet, Baboons Nov 12, 2004
8Bees, Barnacles, Basketball Nov 19, 2004
9Butterflies, Blackberries, Bernards Nov 26, 2004
10Bills, Bens, Buildings Dec 3, 2004
11B Major, B Minor, B Flat Dec 10, 2004
12Birth Dec 17, 2004
#NameAir Dates
1Adam Sep 11, 2003
2Astronomy Sep 11, 2003
3Aquatic Animals Sep 18, 2003
4Atoms Sep 25, 2003
5Advertising Oct 2, 2003
6Antidotes Oct 9, 2003
7Arthropods Oct 16, 2003
8Albania Oct 23, 2003
9Antelopes Oct 30, 2003
10Aviation Nov 6, 2003
11Arts Nov 13, 2003
12Advent Dec 23, 2003
BBC Two officially renewed Between The Covers for Series 3 to premiere in November 2021
Sours: https://premieredate.news/tv-series/2364-qi.html


Series 1
1x01   Danny Baker, Hugh Laurie, John Sessions
transcribed by Sarah
1x02   Bill Bailey, Rich Hall, Jeremy Hardy
transcribed by Sarah – annotated
1x03   Bill Bailey, Meera Syal, Clive Anderson
transcribed by Sarah
Aquatic Animals
1x04   Jo Brand, Howard Goodall, Jeremy Hardy
transcribed by Sarah – annotated
1x05   Rob Brydon, Rich Hall, Gyles Brandreth
transcribed by Sarah
1x06   Jo Brand, Howard Goodall, Danny Baker
transcribed byFraser
1x07   Jackie Clune, Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr
transcribed by Sarah
1x08   Linda Smith, Clive Anderson, Sean Lock
transcribed by SarahandJosie
1x09   Jo Brand, Dave Gorman, Jeremy Hardy
transcribed by Sarah
1x10   Rich Hall, Julia Morris, Peter Serafinowicz
transcribed by Sarah
1x11   Bill Bailey, Linda Smith, Richard E. Grant
transcribed by Sarah
1x12   Sean Lock, Phill Jupitus, John Sessions
transcribed by Sarah
Advent Christmas Special

Series 2

2x01   Jo Brand, Bill Bailey, Sean Lock
transcribed by Sarah
2x02   Jo Brand, Phil Kay, Rich Hall
transcribed by Sarah,Dorothy, and Nick
2x03   Phill Jupitus, Clive Anderson, Rich Hall
transcribed byFinlay
2x04   Jeremy Clarkson, Barry Cryer, Jeremy Hardy
transcribed by Vanessa
2x05   Bill Bailey, Jimmy Carr, Jo Brand
transcribed by Sarah – annotated
2x06   Annika Rice, Sean Lock, Bill Bailey
transcribed by Sarahand Nick – annotated
2x07   Rich Hall, Dara Ó Briain, Arthur Smith
transcribed by Sarah
2x08   Rich Hall, Jo Brand, Fred MacAuley
transcribed by Michael– annotated
2x09   Rich Hall, John Sessions, Josie Lawrence
transcribed by Aaron
2x10   Phil Kay, Clive Anderson, John Sessions
transcribed by Vanessa
2x11   Sean Lock, Linda Smith, Mark Gatiss
transcribed byJosie
2x12   Rich Hall, Phill Jupitus, Mark Steel
transcribed by Sarah

Series 3

3x01   Bill Bailey, Rob Brydon, Rich Hall
transcribed by Sarah – annotated
3x02   Andy Hamilton, Doon Mackichan, Arthur Smith
transcribed by Sarah – annotated
3x03   Jimmy Carr, Sean Lock, Rory McGrath
transcribed by Sarah – annotated
Common Knowledge
3x04   Alexander Armstrong, Jeremy Clarkson, John Sessions
transcribed by Sarah – annotated
3x05   Jo Brand, Rich Hall, Sean Lock
transcribed by Sarah – annotated
Cat's Eyes
3x06   Bill Bailey, Phill Jupitus, Rory McGrath
transcribed by SarahandKate – annotated
3x07   Jeremy Clarkson, Rich Hall, Sean Lock
transcribed by Sarah
3x08   Bill Bailey, Phill Jupitus, David Mitchell
transcribed by Sarah
3x09   Bill Bailey, Andy Hamilton, Helen Atkinson Wood
transcribed by Vanessa
3x10   Clive Anderson, John Sessions, Mark Steel
transcribed by Sarah
Cleve Crudgington
3x11   Clive Anderson, Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus
transcribed by Vanessa
3x12Bill Bailey, Dara Ó Briain, Phill Jupitus
transcribed by Sarah

Series 4

4x01   Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, Sean Lock
transcribed by Sarah
4x02   Clive Anderson, Vic Reeves, Arthur Smith
transcribed by Sarah
4x03   Jeremy Clarkson, Neil Mullarkey, Liza Tarbuck
transcribed by Sarah
4x04   Ronni Ancona, Rory Bremner, Phill Jupitus
transcribed by Sarah
4x05   Clive Anderson, Sean Lock, Andy Parsons
transcribed by Sarah
4x06   Jimmy Carr, Phill Jupitus, John Sessions
transcribed by Sarah – annotated
4x07   Jo Brand, Julian Clary, Dara Ó Briain
transcribed by Sarah
4x08   Jonathan Ross, Rich Hall, Phill Jupitus
transcribed by Sarah
4x09   Andy Hamilton, David Mitchell, John Sessions
transcribed by Sarah
4x10   Graeme Garden, Phill Jupitus, Johnny Vaughan
transcribed by Sarah
4x11   Roger McGough, Vic Reeves, Mark Steel
transcribed by Sarah
Denial and Deprivation
4x12   Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus, Jessica Stevenson
transcribed by Ian
4x13   Jo Brand, Rich Hall, Dara Ó Briain
transcribed by Sarah

Series 5

5x01   Bill Bailey, Rob Brydon, Jimmy Carr
transcribed by Sarah
5x02   Jo Brand, Rich Hall, Sean Lock
transcribed by Sarah – annotated
5x03   Jimmy Carr, Phill Jupitus, Johnny Vegas
transcribed by Sarah
5x04   Bill Bailey, Rich Hall, Sean Lock
transcribed by Sarah
5x05   Phill Jupitus, Dara Ó Briain, David Mitchell
transcribed byAmanda
5x06   Clive Anderson, Jeremy Clarkson, Vic Reeves
transcribed by Sarah
5x07   Clive Anderson, Jo Brand, Vic Reeves
transcribed by Sarah
5x08   Jimmy Carr, Phill Jupitus, David Mitchell
transcribed by Sarah,Trina, and Dorothy
Eyes and Ears
5x09   Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Jeremy Clarkson
transcribed byGuillaume
5x10   Charlie Higson, Phill Jupitus, Sean Lock
transcribed byJosie
5x11   Jimmy Carr, Doon Mackichan, Dara Ó Briain
transcribed byIan
5x12   Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Sean Lock
transcribed by Sarah
5x13   Compilation Episode
transcribed by Sarah

Series 6

6x01   Ronni Ancona, David Mitchell, Terry Wogan
transcribed bySarah
6x02   Clive Anderson, Rob Brydon, Dom Joly
Fire and Freezing
6x03   Rob Brydon, Andy Hamilton, Charlie Higson
transcribed bySteve
Flotsam and Jetsam
6x04   Pam Ayres, Sean Lock, Johnny Vegas
transcribed bySarah
Fight or Flight
6x05   Jo Brand, Hugh Dennis, Phill Jupitus
transcribed bySarah
6x06   Marcus Brigstocke, Jimmy Carr, Sean Lock
transcribed byGlenn
Fakes, Frauds, and Fakirs
6x07   Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus, Dara Ó Briain
transcribed byTrina
Fingers and Fumbs
6x08   Clive Anderson, Rich Hall, Reginald D. Hunter
transcribed bySarah
6x09   Rob Brydon, Sean Lock, Ben Miller
6x10   Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, John Sergeant
transcribed byGlenn
Flora and Fauna
6x11   David Mitchell, John Sessions, Emma Thompson
transcribed bySarah – annotated
Films and Fame
6x12   Jimmy Carr, Rich Hall, David Mitchell
transcribed bySarah

Series 7

7x01   Rob Brydon, David Mitchell, Dara Ó Briain
transcribed byGlenn
7x02   Bill Bailey, John Hodgman, Sean Lock, Sandi Toksvig
transcribed byGlenn
7x03   Phill Jupitus, Sean Lock, Liza Tarbuck
transcribed byGlenn
7x04   Jo Brand, Rob Brydon, Jimmy Carr
transcribed byGlenn
7x05   Bill Bailey, Lee Mack, David Tennant
transcribed byGlenn
7x06   David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Dara Ó Briain
transcribed byGlenn
7x07   Ronni Ancona, Jack Dee, Sandi Toksvig
transcribed byGlenn
Girls and Boys
7x08   Jo Brand, Rob Brydon, Sean Lock
transcribed byGlenn
7x09   Hugh Dennis, Andy Hamilson, Phill Jupitus
transcribed byGlenn
7x10   Jo Brand, Sean Lock, David Mitchell
transcribed byGlenn
7x11   Clive Anderson, Jimmy Carr, Jan Ravens
transcribed byGlenn
7x12   Bill Bailey, Rich Hall, Barry Humphries
transcribed byGlenn
7x13   Jimmy Carr, Jack Dee, Sue Perkins
transcribed byGene
7x14   Clive Anderson, Rich Hall, Phill JupitusGreeks
7x15   Bill Bailey, Danny Baker, Jeremy ClarksonGreen
7x16   Rob Brydon, David Mitchell, Johnny VegasGeography
7x17   Compilation EpisodeCompilation – Part 1
7x18   Compilation EpisodeCompilation – Part 2

Series 8

8x01   Jack Dee, Phill Jupitus, Ross Noble
transcribed byTai
Hodge Podge
8x02   Bill Bailey, Gyles Brandreth, Sue Perkins
transcribed byTai
8x03   Danny Baker, Sean Lock, David Mitchell
transcribed byTai
8x04   Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, Jack Dee
transcribed byTai
8x05   Sean Lock, Ross Noble, Ruby WaxH-Animals
8x06   Rich Hall, Andy Hamilton, Phill JupitusHappiness
8x07   Chris Addison, Sean Lock, Dara Ó BriainHorrible
8x08   John Lloyd, Sandi Toksvig, Johnny VegasHypothetical
8x09   Bill Bailey, Danny Baker, Eddie IzzardHouse and Home
8x10   Jeremy Clarkson, David Mitchell, Ross NobleHealth and Safety
8x11   Rob Brydon, Fred MacAulay, Sandi ToksvigHighs and Lows
8x12   Clare Balding, Jimmy Carr, Dara Ó BriainHorses and Hunting
8x13   Bill Bailey, Rob Brydon, Rich HallHolidays
8x14   Lee Mack, Graham Norton, Daniel RadcliffeHocus Pocus
8x15   Ronni Ancona, Phill Jupitus, Robert WebbHypnosis, Hallucinations, and Hysteria
8x16   Rob Brydon, David Mitchell, Sandi ToksvigHistory
Sours: https://sites.google.com/site/qitranscripts/transcripts
  1. Sellersville pa hotels
  2. Sc dss adoption registry
  3. Gifts for watermelon lovers
SeriesEpisodesOriginal BroadcastDVD ReleasePilot1 N/A[1]6 November 2006 1 A12 September – December 2003 6 November 2006[2]2 B12 October – December 2004 17 March 2008[2]3 C12 September – December 2005 1 September 2008[2]4 D13 September – December 2006 N/A 5 E13 September – December 2007 N/A 6 F12 November 2008 – March 2009 N/A 7 G16[3]November 2009 - March 2010 3 June 2010[4]8 H16[3]September 2010 – January 2011 5 September 2012 Comic Relief1 March 2011 N/A 9 I16[3]September 2011 – May 2012 N/A Sports Relief1 March 2012 N/A 10 J16[3]September 2012 – July 2013 5 March 2014 11 K16[3]September 2013 – January 2014 N/A 12 L16[3]October 2014 – January 2015 N/A 13 M16[3]October 2015 – March 2016 N/A 14 NOctober 2016 - February 2017
Sours: https://qi.fandom.com/wiki/List_of_episodes

Series / QI

"Welcome to QI, the showoff show that sits at the front of the class shouting 'Me sir, me, me, me, sir, me!', while other quiz shows are snogging behind the bikesheds."

Stephen Fry

BBC2 comedy Panel Show. Debuted in 2003 and has aired 17 complete series as of fall 2020. Each series is named for a letter of the alphabet and the topics for all the episodes within a series begin with that letter. The 19th series ("S") is currently airing.

Standing for "Quite Interesting", the show is hosted by Sandi Toksvig (currently also hosting the revival of the quiz show Fifteen to One), who replaced original host Stephen Fry at the start of the "N" series. Each episode features four panelists, one of whom is always Alan Davies. The other panelists vary from week to week, but a number of recurring guests have appeared over the years. The pool of frequent guests has changed over time, but currently includes Aisling Bea, Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, Victoria Coren Mitchell, Phill Jupitus, Cariad Lloyd, Jason Manford, Sarah Millican, David Mitchell, Sara Pascoe, Holly Walsh, and Josh Widdicombe. While the panel is mainly composed of comedians, famous names in other fields have turned up, such as Sir Terry Wogan, John Hodgman, BRIAN BLESSED, Greg Proops, David Tennant, Daniel Radcliffe, Dr. Ben Goldacre, and Carrie Fisher.

The host asks questions on the topic of the week — the first few series had no specific theme per week, and their episode titles have been applied retroactively; it was not until Series D that the "topic of the week" really came to the fore. The guiding principle, as indicated by the show's name, is that knowledge should be interesting, and a sufficiently interesting answer will be awarded points even if it's completely wrong. Conversely, an answer that is both incorrect and uninteresting (i.e., if it's the answer anybody would have given) will cause a klaxon to sound and the contestant will forfeit 10 points, with a few exceptions (for example, Fry stated that claiming carbon dioxide makes up most of the air we breathe would have cost 3000 points). There are, consequently, two major types of question in QI: obscure questions that give the contestants an opportunity to make interesting guesses before the host reveals the real answer, and questions whose answers seem obvious but are not, such as "How many moons does the Earth have?". As panelists have been getting wise to the latter type of question, there has arisen a third type of question: the "double bluff", where the seemingly-obvious answer actually is the correct one, though not always for the reasons one would expect. Forfeits are also occasionally given for obvious jokes (such as Danny Baker being klaxoned in the very first episode for making a "New Balls, please" joke in response to an aside from Fry about a man being killed on a tennis court as a result of a botched castration) and for certain episode-specific rules (such as a "Don't Mention The War" rule in "Germany").

Davies is the butt of a lot of the jokes on the show (last on the introductions and getting a funny comment, last on the buzzer sounds and getting a corny buzzer sound, being more likely than the others to get the klaxon and usually coming last, although he has the record for most show wins), and acts as a sort of foil for the concept by getting the more obvious answers (i.e. the ones the audiences at home are likely hollering at the TV) out into the open to be trounced.

As with all good Panel Shows the points are almost entirely irrelevant and merely provide the Framing Device for the comedy. The researchers ("QI Elves") nonetheless check that everything is as correct as it can be, often sending messages to the host about things they've discovered while the programme is recording (especially if the guests have sent things onto a very distant tangent to what the question was actually about, which happens quite often).

This show can lead to some amusing tangents. It's also very educational. One of the interesting things is how much comedians turn out to know about obscure subjects — for instance, Rory McGrath spouting the Latin names of birds, or Vic Reeves turning out to be an expert on pirates. Also, this is a post-Watershed show and things have a tendency to get very "naughty" very quickly.

Some series have a once-(or twice)-an-episode feature with a name linked to the series letter. These have included:

  • Series "E": Elephant in the Room - A bonus for identifying where the elephant is in this week's questions (that is, one question would have an answer somehow involving an elephant).
  • Series "F": Fanfare - particularly clever answers are heralded with a fanfare sound effect and bonus points. This ended up only appearing in one episode (it was edited out of all the others).
  • Series "G": Guest appearance - Stephen would announce that if the panellists wished to argue some unlikely-sounding piece of information, they could do so with [an expert on the subject] who just happened to be sitting in the studio audience.
  • Series "I": Ignorance - Or as expressed in the show "Nobody Knows". Bonus points for identifying the question to which nobody knows the answer.
  • Series "J": Two semi-regular features - the "Jolly Jape", as Stephen performs a sciencey trick; and the "Jubious Theory", where Stephen discusses an "out-there" theory about a topic.
  • Series "K": The "Knick Knack" which is basically the "Jolly Jape" from series "J".
  • Series "L": "Spend a Penny" - Where at least one answer will be "lavatorial" and the guests must use their penny to guess which one it is; and the "Last Words", where Stephen closes the program by recounting interesting last words spoken by historical figures. Also, occasionally, a "Laboratory Lark" appears; a science demonstration like the "Jolly Jape or "Knick Knack".
  • Series "M": "Magic Trick" - Stephen Fry performs a difficult magic trick on the rest of the panel. This culminated in him receiving a membership to the Magic Circle at the end of episode M08, "Merriment." Ironically, most of the tricks shown in the subsequent montage hadn't actually aired yet, as "Merriment" was shot towards the end of the series but shown earlier (out of necessity as it was that year's Christmas Episode).
  • Series "N": "Nerds" - While not in every episode, Sandi has frequently brought in guests from the Festival of the Spoken Nerd troupe to demonstrate various scientific concepts; she has also frequently included a random Scandinavian-themed fact (the "Randi Scandi" for short) to go along with the episode's topic.
  • Series "O": "Objectionable Objects" - Sandi gives a prize at the end of each episode to the winner, which has so far included knock-off watches and a pair of earrings made out of penis bones.
  • Series "P": "Pig" - A joker similar to "Elephant in the Room", but instead of an animal-shaped card, there is a stuffed pig which the panelist must throw in order to claim the bonus. (This only appeared in three episodes, suggesting it was either edited out of the rest or only intended to be an occasional feature.)

Individual episodes sometimes have a bonus related to the episode's theme: For example, in the episode "Hoaxes", the panelists could get a bonus for spotting the "quite interesting" fact that was, in fact, a hoax and not a true fact. Others have special forfeit rules: panelists had points deducted for mentioning "the war" in "Germany" or for dropping F-bombs in "Fingers and Fumbs". Still others play with the set design (such as "Denial and Deprivation"; the set was stripped down almost to the bare walls) or have the participants show up in unusual clothing (such as "Night"; Sandi and the panelists wore pajamas and bathrobes).

The show has spawned several books (including four QI Annuals), two DVD games (A Quite Interesting Game and Strictly Come Duncing), an Oxford club an iPhone app and most recently The Board Game. There's also an official Twitter account, maintained by the elves (note the location), which provides trivia and links to Quite Interesting things. The first thirteen series are also available on DVD in the UK.

Researchers for the show host a spinoff podcast called No Such Thing As A Fish, which got its own televised spinoff in No Such Thing as the News (which is basically the same as the podcast except there's a camera and the facts under discussion are at least tangentially related to current events).

The show originally ran for the first five series on BBC4, with repeats on BBC2. It was then moved to BBC One starting with Series F in January 2009, after its repeat airings on BBC4 and & Dave became those 2 channels' highest-rated shows. However, the show then moved to BBC2 beginning with Series I. The latest five episodes are also available via BBC's iPlayer.

In February of 2015, BBC America aired episodes 4, 3, and 9 of the "J" series', then it disappeared from the schedule as quickly as it appeared. Series I, J & K are currently available to stream on Hulu, in the half-hour format only. Netflix also streams the show in the 45-minute format.

On 14 October 2015, it was announced that Stephen Fry was stepping down as the host, now that filming for Series M had completed. Regular panelist Sandi Toksvig replaced him for subsequent series. Alan Davies continues to be a permanent panelist (and resident fall guy) on the show.

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This show contains examples of

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  • Accent Interest: The host and panelists sometimes show interest in the accents of other panelists. When Ross Noble made a remark about rounded triangles and proposed a "Toblerone-Rolo combo", Phill Jupitus commented that "Toblerone-Rolo combo" spoken in a Geordie accent is his new favorite sound. When there is an American on the panel (usually Rich Hall), sometimes their Eagleland qualities will be pointed out or played up, including their accents.
  • Accidental Misnaming:
  • The Ace: Sandi Toksvig, who wins virtually every time she's on the show and still manages to be very interesting and humorous. Perhaps that's why she was the choice to take over the show.
  • Actor Allusion: Among others, Stephen's occasional "baa"-ing, and:

    Stephen: Where might you bump into the world's biggest drip?i.e. someone who is weak or cowardly
    (picture of Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster appears on-screen)
    Stephen: Oi! No!

    • When the topic of butlers comes up in "Jobs", the panel discusses Jeeves at length.
    • Again in the "Illness" episode of series I. Naturally, this time it showed Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, along with some of his staff.

      Stephen: Who the hell is that?

    • A picture of Stephen from Wilde shows up in "Empire", much to Stephen's embarrassment.
    • When David Tennant appeared on the show and was gesturing with his pen, the other contestants asked if it was his sonic screwdriver and made sound effects for it and ducked out of the way whenever to was pointing in their direction.
    • They've also brought up Jonathan Creek a few times;

      Alan: I look like the character, I'm not actually him.

    • And of course, when Daniel Radcliffe guest-starred, they made the whole episode about "Hocus-Pocus" and made quite a few references to Harry Potter. As Daniel had apparently done some research into real-life tricks and the history thereof, the net effect was to rig the game in Radcliffe's favor.
      • Radcliffe's buzzer was a clip of someone shouting "Expelliarmus!"
      • On the other hand, he got some Potter trivia wrong; on being questioned about the rules of Quidditch, he stated that capturing the Golden Snitch automatically won the game for the catcher's team, which is not true. (Catching the Snitch ends the game, and gives the catcher's team 150 points, so the net effect is usually a win, but there is at least one canonical example of the catcher's team losing.)
      • And then he was decapitated, so fair's fair...
      • Also a bonus for Alan Davies, who was able to put his aforementioned "experience" as a magician's assistant to good use.
    • A Never Mind the Buzzcocks-style identity parade occurred when Phill Jupitus was on the panel in the episode "Indecision".
    • Whenever Jeremy Clarkson is on the programme, expect at least one reference to or question about cars and motor vehicles, if not a direct reference to Top Gear itself.
    • In "Ice", BRIAN BLESSED's first appearance, Sean Lock appropriates Blessed's most famous line from Flash Gordon.
    • In "Immortal Bard", the Shakespeare episode, a question on Lord Byron leads to Stephen referencing a joke he once used in a monologue called 'The Letter' for Footlights Revue.

      Stephen: He had from birth a pronounced limp. L-I-M-P, pronounced 'limp'.

    • In "Jingle Bells", when Stephen brings out a jingling johnny:

      Phill Jupitus: You were supposed to not bring any props from The Hobbit back!

    • In the 11th series episode "K-Folk", Stephen claims that he didn't get an invitation to Alan's wedding, then suddenly remembers the truth:

      Alan: I did invite you, but you were abroad! You were filming an episode of Bones!

    • A double example for Jeremy Clarkson and Jimmy Carr in "Kings":

      Jeremy: Red diesel for farmers, which you aren't allowed to put in your car, and I don't. (aside glance at audience)
      Jimmy: Evading tax, Jeremy. It's a slippery slope.

    • A Producer's Allusion took place in Season D Episode 4; when discussing the village of Didcot, Stephen commented that a Didcot is in fact, "the tiny oddly-shaped bit of card which a ticket inspector cuts out of a ticket with his clipper for no apparent reason. It is a little-known fact that the confetti at Princess Margaret's wedding was made up of thousands of didcots collected by inspectors on the Royal Train." He then commented that this was not actually a fact, but a quote from The Meaning of Liff, co-written by QI creator and producer John Lloyd and Douglas Adams. Lloyd slipped the "fact" on Stephen's teleprompter.
    • During "Kris Kringle", a football originally smuggled into the trenches for one of the Christmas truces of World War I was presented to Stephen by a soldier named Tony Robinson. He is indeed nicknamed Baldrick, and Blackadder references ensued, including the requisite baaing.
    • Also during "Kris Kringle", Brendan O'Carroll wore a jumper which had Santa's body but not head on it (making it look like Santa had O'Carroll's head). The Christmas Special of Mrs. Brown's Boys (which O'Carroll is best known for, and which aired a few days before "Kris Kringle") featured the same Visual Pun with Grandad and Baby Jesus.
    • In "Ladies and Gentlemen", Sue Perkins gets the klaxon during a question about weight loss remedies for making an obvious joke about The Great British Bake Off.
    • In "Literature", they did a round based on the quiz show Only Connect, which is hosted by Victoria Coren Mitchell, who was on the Qi panel that week.
    • Of course there would be references to Star Wars during Carrie Fisher's appearance in "No-L". Funnily enough, the cast was obviously trying very hard not to reference Star Wars for a while, until one inevitably slipped through and Jimmy Carr quipped "And how is Chewbacca these days?"
    • When John Barrowman appeared on the R season episode "Rude" and a question about shuttlecocks came up, he started playing with shuttlecocks like they were Daleks.
  • Aerith and Bob:

    Stephen: The names of the ravens that live in the Tower of London are Gwillem, Thor, Hugin, Munin, Branwen, Bran, Gandalf and Baldrick.

    Alan: And Dave.

  • All Gays Are Paedophiles: Guests poking fun at Stephen's homosexuality will often do so on the premise that he seduces pubescent boys, in true Ancient Greek fashion. Stephen has even made such jokes himself.
  • Anticlimax:
    • Stephen gets tripped up....

      Stephen Fry: They say of the Acropolis, where the Parthenon is... that there are no straight lines!

      Jimmy Carr (uninterested): Do they? Hm.

      Alan Davies: What-ever!

    • Whenever someone steels themself for the klaxon... and actually gets it right.

      Stephen: Where does the saying "saved by the bell" come from?

      Jack Dee: Oh no, I know what's going to happen now, it's gonna be... I'm gonna get the klaxon for this, is it boxing? Is it a boxing reference?

      Stephen: ...Yes. note The klaxon answer was people putting bells on graves in case they were buried alive

    • In the I series episode "Immortal Bard", one question was "Can you name the Scottish Play?" After much hedging, Bill Bailey shouted "Macbeth!". Stephen simply answered, "Yes," adding that the klaxon would have sounded if they suggested that you shouldn't say the name "Macbeth" on stage.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?:
    • Non-sequitur answers and strange associations abound. Alan is usually good for these, e.g. observing that sperm can survive for several hours outside the body — "so you should leave the telly on if you're going out."
    • And, of course, there have been several accidental subversions, in which the insane non-sequitur has been the right answer, or very close to it.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: Stephen gets a case of this after hearing Trevor Noah engaging in some Xhosa tongue-clicks.

    Stephen Fry: You've seduced me. Not that you wanted to, I'm sure.

    Sandi Toksvig: (After Trevor finishes singing) See, you don't know me well, Trevor, but I'm on the turn, I'm telling you.

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:

    (on using horses to catch electric eels)

    Stephen Fry: And the poor horses, of course, often had heart attacks and died of fright and drowned and got very upset, so it was rather mean.

    Jo Brand: "Got very upset"?

    Stephen Fry: Yes. "Distressed" is the word we use with animals.

    Alan Davies: "I don't like it in the water w' the eels! Oowwwwwwwwwwwwww!"

  • Ascended Meme: The buttered cat paradox is discussed in series H's Hypothetical.
  • A-Team Firing: Discussed in "Military", with Jeremy Clarkson claiming that AK-47s are so horrendously inaccurate that two groups firing at each other would never hit anything they were aiming at.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Alan, frequently, but there's also Stephen's example of something not to say in answer to the interview question "what is your greatest weakness" - "I just can't conce- oh look, a squirrel!"
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: Used as props in the "Games" episode, during a question about applying game theory to a three-way duel.
  • Bathe Him And Bring Him To Me: Joked with when Alan tries on the scold's bridle:

    Alan (imitating Stephen): Have him scrubbed and brought to my room.

    Stephen: Actually, don't bother to have him scrubbed.

  • Batman Gambit: In "Ologies" the panelists were asked to put blindfolds on, taste a glass of wine and then say what type of wine it was (red or white). Alan lifted his blindfold and said 'Red' to a red-coloured wine, only to get a klaxon - the producers had deliberately put red food coloring in a glass of white wine because they thought he'd peek.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: In-Universe use of this trope
    • Questions are set up so that reciting one of these is the obvious answer is a common means of tripping up the panelists in the "General Ignorance" round.

    David Mitchell: Why do these films always forget to put their most famous lines in?

    • It happens in the actual series as well: Alan quotes the song about Peter Cushing (namely "Peter Cushing Lives in Whitstable" by The Jellybottys) as "Peter Cushing lives in Whitstable, I have seen him on his bicycle, I have seen him buying vegetables, Peter Cushing lives in Whitstable", when it's actually "Peter Cushing lives in Whitstable, he goes shopping on his bicycle, you can meet him buying vegetables". After the popularity of the song grew, thanks to its mention in the series, the Jellybottys released a synth remake with Alan's lyrics.
  • Behind the Black: Used in the "Killers" episode to introduce a "Knick Knack" that was enclosed in a sizeable box. The camera closed in on Stephen as he announced that it was time for the Knick Knack, then cut out to show that the box was now in place beside him, and he reacted as if it had suddenly appeared.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Stephen can't stand willful or apathetic ignorance. Naturally, Alan Davies pushes this button whenever he thinks it might be funny.Lee Mack not only found it in Series H but practically danced on it, exasperating Stephen with his insistence on giving an incorrect answer.
    • On one occasion, Stephen crossed over into genuine apoplexy; after enduring a seemingly endless run of stupid jokes from Alan (e.g., "What's orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot!") Stephen countered with one of his own: "What's red and silly? A blood clot". Alan groaned in response. Stephen exploded: "OH DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT! YOU FUCKING PIG-EYED SACK OF SHIT!"
    • David Mitchell is a man of many berserk buttons. Stephen tread on one with a double-bluff question about "The Man with Two Brains" — leading to an increase in double bluffs and other provocations whenever David is on the panel.
    • Phill Jupitus refuses to believe that the sun sets before we actually see it set.

      Phill: I hate this show!

    • Rich Hall flat out denies the notion that there is another moon. The funny thing is, Earth really does only have one moon. The 'moons' cited in the show were actually Near-Earth Asteroids - they have a 1:1 resonance with Earth and occasionally come close, but they -don't- orbit Earth. Cruithne is only occasionally affected by Earth's gravity, making it a quasi-satellite.
    • Sean Lock generally develops a strange kind of annoyance whenever there is a "genius" panel member on board with him, like Rory McGrath or Ben Miller.
    • While he will not say who, Stephen has gone on record to say that one guest actually asked for the questions before filming to keep from looking stupid.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Stephen is generally a Gentleman Snarker, who only gently ribs on panellists when they miss the point, then repeats the answer and explains patiently. Unless you go too over-the-top in Epic Point Missing, and he pulls out the big guns. See: explaining the 'i before e' rule to Lee Mack in "Hocus Pocus":

    [Stephen has been asking for words that break the 'i before e' rule and Lee has been suggesting "ceiling" for some time, twisting Stephen's words every time he tries to explain it doesn't fit:]
    Stephen: Are you completely incapable of rational thought?! You cannot be that stupid. You cannot be that stupid!

  • Big "YES!": Stephen often does this when a panelist gives the right answer to a tricky question immediately.
  • Bilingual Bonus: When Stephen introduces the host of the Swedish version of the show, he says he knows "Enough Swedish to order from a hotel room." Then, he sends a message to all Swedish QI fans:

    Stephen: Ursäkta, den get ni sände till mitt rum har spruckit, och ni glömde vispgrädden. Gräsklippare! note "Sorry, but the goat you sent to my room has ruptured, and you forgot the whipped cream. Lawnmower!"

  • The Blind Leading the Blind: In "Just the Job", Sandi Toksvig points out how ridiculous it is that she and Stephen Fry are discussing the mechanics of heterosexual sex.
  • Blind Shoulder Toss: Alan occasionally does this when the guests are given cards to interact with. In particular, he threw away his diagram of a tongue map after learning that its theory is now discredited and did the same with a silhouette of an elephant after incorrectly labeling its knees (the joints of an elephant's front legs are considered elbows).
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: When Stephen concludes the story of "the durable Mike Malloy", Jimmy Carr notes that the audience expressed sympathy when Mike Malloy was ultimately killed by sticking a gas hose down his throat, but all the other murder attempts were apparently fine. He concludes that the audience members have an "interesting morality".
  • Blunt "Yes": Prone to happen when a panelist guesses the right answer in a flippant or joking manner.
  • Borrowed Catch Phrase: In "Lucky Losers", after explaining that this week the winner will be the person with the lowest score, Stephen borrows and mangles a catchphrase from I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, noting that answering correctly means points, and "points mean bad surprises".
  • Brand Name Takeover: In "Knees and Knockers", Stephen discusses a couple of examples, namely the Klaxon brand of car horns (an error this show has made often) and Velcro, which is referred to as a "hook and loop fastener" by the company. That said, as far as he's concerned, it's velcro.
  • Brand X:
    • "As you can see, here we have some ordinary green washing-up liquid. We're not allowed to mention it's Fairy... uh, its name."
    • Stephen gives a home recipe for waterproof sand which mentions applying "a very well known spray which you're recommended to apply to suede shoes, and which might be named something like GotchScard..." He also manages to entirely avoid mentioning Magic Sand, which is a trademark itself.
    • Since Sandi Toksvig became the new host, she asked the guests to bring her a Danish gift. She received a QI "Danish interlocking children's building set."
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • In the episode "Infantile", Stephen asks what was the longest-running attraction at Coney Island.

    Alan Davies: Is it an elephant?note There was a famous elephant-shaped building at Coney Island; it served as a hotel and later a brothel, and it (not the Statue of Liberty) was the first thing immigrants saw on their way into New York while it stood, but it only existed for about 11 years—1885-1896—before burning down.
    Stephen Fry: No.
    Dave Gorman: A bearded woman, or—
    Stephen Fry: No.
    Lee Mack: Was it a bearded elephant?

    • In the "Film" episode, Stephen asks, "What's the good thing about having a British accent in Hollywood?"

      Alan: You're always a villain.

      John Sessions: Or gay. Or a gay villain.

    • When the "Gardens" episode derails into a debate on what to do with a dying honeybee, the three options proposed are giving it honey, killing it, and killing it with honey.
    • In the Series J Christmas episode, "Jingle Bells", after Alan says "Dave" for the umpteenth time, Stephen comments, "One day the answer may be 'Dave', one day it may be 'Blue whale'. I look forward to the day when we have a blue whale named Dave and you don't get it."
    • Rob Brydon on what could conceivably make snails fly:

    It could be a bat. Or a bird. Or some strange hybrid of bird-bat.

  • Breathless Non Sequitur: Stephen will do this after questions, occasionally too fast for the panellists to react.
  • Brick Joke: Happens very often. Fry or the panellists will discuss a topic, then move on, and later, someone will mention it again.
    • "Cashier number four, please."
    • And the Call-Back in a later episode, with "Cashier number one, please." "Cashier number two, please." "Cashier number three, please." "I am very sorry for the severe delay to the 8:17 service (rest inaudible due to laughter)"
    • In series F, we hear part of "My Old Man's a Dustman" in the episode about Families, and then in the episode about fashion, we hear it continue from where it left off.
    • In the France episode, when the designs of a large elephant-shaped building originally meant for the site of the Arc de Triomphe, Alan somehow pulls out the "Elephant in the Room" joker from the prior E-shaped series, much to the surprise of Stephen.
    • Rich is in such disbelief at hearing the earth has two moons that in every appearance he has made since, when a question about THE moon comes up, he automatically asks "Which moon we talkin' about here?" And then he shows up again for the I Series

      Stephen: What direction does the moon—

      Rich: Which moon are we talking about?

      Klaxon: WHICH MOON

      Rich: This show is getting tough.

    • A two-way brick, depending on whether one goes by order of recording or order of airing. In the series E episode "England", immediately after introductions, Alan swaps the English flag in front of him for a Welsh flag, to Stephen's dismay. In the "Europe" episode (which was recorded later but ended up airing before the England episode), Alan reveals that he has no actual Welsh roots, and he and David Mitchell trade flags (swapping Alan's Welsh flag for David's English flag—David actually is Welsh on his mother's side, and as his father was born to Scottish parents in Liverpool, he has repeatedly said he prefers to be called "British" over "English" or anything else).
    • A shorter one-episode one: In "Gravity", Stephen mentioned people betting to be the first to have sexual intercourse on a balloon. Later when he discussed shooting bullets vertically to the air, Alan imagined one of them hitting a couple suspended in the air.
    • In "Intelligence", Stephen mentions that job interviewers would ask odd questions, like, "How many piano tuners are there in Britain?" Near the end of the episode, he asks the question to the panellists.
    • In the "Jargon" episode, Victoria Coren reveals she had an anxiety dream about appearing on the show, in which Stephen asked her the question, "Why was the March Hare so important to the Aztecs?" Stephen laughs it off but then asks it as the final question. And even more hilariously, he gives her an answer that makes some sense and accuses Victoria of being a witch.
    • In the Series seven episode "Germany" Rob Brydon goes on at length about his fondness for wearing long socks. In the eighth series episode "History", when the panel discusses the Bayeux Tapestry, Rob points out one figure on the tapestry, supposedly King Harold, and says, "May I just give the seal of approval to his wonderfully long socks?"
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Stephen does this frequently (and utterly uncannily) with a multitude of accents and regional dialects from all over the world. Some of the other panellists dip into this as well, and examples of both are below:
    • Alan Davies does a Mexican Spanish accent... badly. The cartoonish manner is hilarious and deliberate though, and he does pretty much the same accent for his German, this being his Stock Foreign Accent.

      "Ello I'm from Meghikooh."

      "Ze pink Polenta, I lav eet!."

    • Panelists sometimes try Scottish. "I've got to say, Stephen, it's been a bewildering array of Scottish accents!"

      Lee Mack: Do you like my Scottish accent by the way?
      David Tennant: Oh, that was a Scottish accent?

    • A very Camp German accent by Stephen Fry for the ridiculousness "Mein Handy!"
    • Stephen briefly does a Russian accent when he talks about the space race between the U.S. and Soviet Union. "And not once did [the Soviet Union] make the suggestion that they thought America hadn't done it. They never said, 'No, we know this was hoax.' "
    • In "Landmarks", Stephen does an "appalling Nigerian accent", and Alan tries to.
    • Phill Jupitus does a rather uncanny Eddie Izzard.
    • Dara Ó Briain calls Stephen out on his attempt at an Irish accent while discussing the proper way to serve a pint of Guinness. "The town I was in wasn't actually set in a movie from the 1950s."
    • In "Film and Fame", John Sessions did an uncanny impression of Alan Rickman from Die Hard: "Mister Takagi will not be joining us for the rest of his life."
    • Stephen Fry once did an impressive Vincent Price impression as well.
    • Alan's Australian accent is surprisingly good. Stephen's isn't too shabby either.
    • In "Middle Muddle", Stephen discusses the narrow pavements of Knutsford and adopts an upper-class brogue to mock the reasoning behind them, but:

      Jimmy Carr: I know you think you're doing a voice, but that is how you talk.

  • British Teeth: Subverted in the first episode of series M. According to the OECD, British children have the best teeth in the world.
    • Emma Thompson mentioned the stereotype of the British having bad teeth in "Films and Fame" while discussing the Evil Brit trope, while Stephen Fry recalled the Book of British Teeth from The Simpsons.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: A Ghanaian funeral custom (being buried in coffins that can look like anything you want) was discussed in the Series G episode "Gothic":

    Jack Dee: It's just one final chance to be a bloody nuisance to everyone, isn't it? "I want to be buried in a 15-foot fish." Oh yeah, great. That's so easy to achieve. You've always been a pain when you're alive, and now you're dead you're worse.

  • Buffy Speak: On occasion. Notably from the Season F episode "Fingers and Fumbs":

    Stephen: What do we measure feet in? note referring to human feet as opposed to feet as a unit of measurement
    Dara: You measure them in the slidey thing.
    Stephe: What is the unit?
    Dara: A fraction of the slidey thing. note The correct answer is 'Barleycorn'.

  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Alan Davies:
      • He got a forfeit for his answer to "How do you do?"
      • Many times Stephen hooked his buzzer to the klaxon.
      • In one second-series episode, Stephen posed the question "What was quite interesting about the birth of Julius Caesar?", demolished Alan when he gave the obvious-but-incorrect answer, and then admitted that as far as the question-setters knew the correct answer was "Nothing at all", and he'd only posed the question to see if Alan would fall for it.
      • The same thing happened again in Series E with a question about getting impressed into the army.
      • Even the one time Alan had control of the questions, turning the tables on Stephen, he couldn't escape this; Stephen actually got the first question right, prompting the most crushed expression of disappointment you've ever seen from anyone on the part of Alan Davies.

      Alan (deflated): This isn't going to work...

      Jimmy Carr: "I can't wear these, he's got a mole on his face!"

      Stephen Fry: Oh God, help.

      Stephen Fry (detailing the Royal family's Christmas): At 5 PM the whole family has a cup of Earl Grey, except for the Queen, who has her own Indian blend...

      Jo Brand: Is it Twinings? note Stephen appeared in a series of TV commercials for Twinings Tea

      (Stephen head-desks)

    • Colin Lane in 'Landmarks'. Stephen and Alan both make fun of Australian Internet speeds, and Australians in general, to Lane's annoyance. But then Colin wins the episode, and celebrates by dancing on his desk.
    • On at least one occasion, David Mitchell has had to sit and receive demerits for wrong answers not just given on QI but that were also presented as true answers on the radio program The Unbelievable Truth which he hosts.

    David: So is this whole round just setting me straight for that show? Because radio shows don't have the same budget, so there's fewer people... if you want to kill off the medium, that's fine, but it brings a lot of people a lot of pleasure.

  • Call-Back: Becoming more regular as the series becomes longer.
    • Alan often repeats things that have been covered in earlier episodes (as if to prove to Stephen that he has been listening).
    • Rob Brydon made mention of his long socks in the H series, something he'd introduced the previous series.
    • Early in the J-series the panellists are discussing "minced oaths", with Bill Bailey giving the example of "Shut the front door!". Later in the series, he exclaims this in disbelief at Stephen's claim to be able to produce a square bubble.
    • The "how many moons does Earth have" question has been asked at least four times across all series, each time with a different answer.
    • "Knowledge" had Stephen giving contestants points (or taking them away) based on new knowledge that had occurred since the episodes first aired. It included several callbacks to previous answers. Because Alan is on every episode, he ended up with a ridiculous score and won.
    • "Lethal" had Stephen telling a story involving "that building whose name I sometimes have great difficulty pronouncing... yes, the Acropolis, where the Parthenon is..."
    • In "Mildly Military", Jeremy Clarkson, to his loudly-expressed indignation, is called out on a fact he stated on the show eleven years earlier, with Stephen explaining that somebody had recently written in with a list of counterexamples after seeing a repeat of the episode.
    • Call Backs are starting to appear accidentally as the series ages; increasingly, a guest will bring up an interesting fact and then realize they heard it off the show several series ago.
    • In "Miscellany", they made an impressive stockpile of callbacks and in-jokes, as jokes made in earlier questions would reappear towards the end. By the last question, it seemed all previous ones had been referenced again.
  • Camp Gay:
  • Can't Believe I Said That: Stephen apologising for misidentifying the "language" the Flowerpot Men speak (which was Oddlepoddle, not flobbadob).

    Stephen: Flobbadob actually means 'flowerpot' in Oddlepoddle. (beat) I cannot believe I just said that.

  • Captain Obvious: Many obvious types of answers can trigger the klaxon, but this method, if used creatively, can be used as a way of avoiding the klaxon:

    Stephen: How do you tell if someone is lying?

    Sean Lock:What they've said turns out not to be true.

    Stephen: Do you know the difference between a frog and a toad?

    Alan: Spelling.

    • Or just for humour:

      Stephen: What's the ideal way to kiss a Frenchman?

      Alan: [uncertainly] With their... consent?

      Stephen: What can you teach an oyster?

      David: ...Not to get its hopes up?

    • From "Danger":

      Stephen: What's three times more dangerous than war?

      Jimmy Carr: Three wars.

    • On the subject of pilots' lunches:

      Stephen: Now, why do I say lunches?

      Bill: Because there's more than one...

    • On the subject of atoms:

      Stephen: What's the difference between a hydrogen atom and a grand piano?

      Jeremy: Well, size, shape...

      • And another one from Jimmy:

        Stephen: What do bees do better than dogs?
        Jimmy: Make honey?

    • On the subject of anteaters:

      Stephen: How big is a dwarf anteater?

      John: A dwarf anteater is exactly the same size as a dwarf anteater.

    • On beavers:

      Stephen: How might you tell the sex of a beaver?

      Alan: The male would have a penis.

    • More than just avoiding the forfeits, because these answers generally get acclaim from the audience, they probably earn some points as well.
    • Played with on one occasion when Stephen asked the panel what a Bongo was while avoiding "the obvious answer". Dave Gorman replied that, since the obvious answer would be a kind of antelope, Stephen was referring to a percussive instrument. Stephen, surprised, remarked that they'd thought the obvious answer would be the percussive instrument. Dave then pointed out that his answer was made the obvious answer since Stephen had introduced the round with "This round is all about antelopes."
  • Casting Gag: The producers often hire people associated with one of the questions, or is at least knowledgeable at the theme of the episode, such as Clare Balding in Series H's "Horses and Hunting", a well known figure in horse commentary (her family is even associated with the sport!), while Professor Brian Cox (a well known physicist) was on Series I's "Incomprehensible" where one of the questions was planet-related. Seems to be a way to keep the conversations on the right track in the episode.
  • Catchphrase: Series F looked at some famous catchphrases, including "Has your mother sold her mangle?" Stephen noted that they themselves didn't have a catchphrase, and gave the panellists the task of coming up with one, eventually landing on "My bottom is a treasure house."
    • A case can be made for Stephen's "good evening good evening good evening..." spiel, his "and I use the word <x> quite wrongly", "Oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear" or a loud cry of "Ohhhhhh!" in response to the buzzer, or Alan guessing the blue whale.
    • Every now and again there are Shout Outs to Stephen's character'sVerbal Tic catchphrase on Blackadder, "Baaaa!" Phill Jupitus is usually the one to instigate these.

      Phill: What kind of a hellish quiz is this? [as Stephen] "What one's the odd one out? None of them! Baa. Baa. Baaaa."

      Stephen: Hey. Is that me?

      Phill: That's you.

      Stephen: Oh, bugger you. I don't sound like that. (sounding exactly like that) "Baaaaaa. Baaa."

    • Alan's demanding cry of "Points!" combined with arms thrown in the air whenever he gets something right.
    • Alan guessing "Dave" for any person's name, regardless of gender.

      Stephen: What I'm looking forward to is when we have a blue whale named Dave and you don't get it.

    • Although it's never actually pointed out, both Bill Bailey and Alan Davies have a habit of saying "Shut the front door" when they have trouble believing something, as a PG version of saying, "Shut the fuck up".
    • In series M Stephen started saying "Oh my actual, oh my actual" when he was about to announce the scores.
    • Stephen occasionally says "It's good that you're trying" in a rather patronising tone whenever a panelist gives a particularly stupid (or just downright weird) answer to a question.
    • Sandi, in her tenure as host, has begun to loudly proclaim, "Moving on!" when the banter goes far off in one direction.
    • "A wild stab in the dark!" Said by Stephen in response to a particularly off-the-wall response.

      Stephen: What was the second commonest cause of death for women up to the year 1800?

      Phil: Kestrels!

      Stephen: Bit of a wild stab in the dark...

    • Bill Bailey has a habit of saying, 'who's funding this research?' in an exasperated tone, whenever unusual experiments and studies in animal behaviour are brought up.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Stephen opens episode eight of the G series, "Germany," with "Goooooo... ten Abend! Guten Abend, guten Abend, guten Abend und Willkommen to QI..."
  • Cheaters Never Prosper:
    • Averted in "Noel", when the panel plays "Are you there, Moriarty?", a parlor game involving attempting to hit another person whilst blindfolded. Alan cheats outrageously by taking his blindfold off, and mercilessly thrashes poor Josh Widdicombe, but Sandi still declares him the winner after the game.
    • However, in "Ologies" the crew took Alan's cheating into account: the panelists were blindfolded and given wines to identify which had been tampered with in some way (such as being at an unconventional temperature). Alan's was a white wine dyed red because they expected him to peek.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The panelists' buzzers have often been used as the punchline of a joke. Alan's "'ELLO DARLIN'" to answer the question "how do you get a girl?" in "Girls and Boys", Rob Brydon uses his to go back in time after a terrible pun in "Holidays" and Brian Cox's "All rise" in "Justice" in response to an innuendo.
  • Christmas Episode: Once every series, except for Series C where they purposely omitted a Christmas episode to avoid the klaxon. Since the G series the Christmas show will usually include a Special Guest: G Series was David Tennant (Doctor Who), H Series was Daniel Radcliffe (the Harry Potter Saga), I Series was BRIAN BLESSED, K Series was Brendan O'Carroll (Mrs. Brown's Boys) and to the delight of everyone L Series featured Carrie Fisher (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).note  Carrie was filming in London for the aforementioned film.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Jo Brand. Nearly all the smart-ass answers to the question get buzzed, except hers, which no one could have thought of. More recently, however, she has been getting the klaxon. When the panel was asked, "What was the Great Disappointment?", Jo answered, "Have you been talking to my husband?" This was the forfeit answer, word for word.
    • Similarly, Rich Hall has won a lot of games by barely saying anything except to crack the occasional joke, which earns him a couple of bonus points while everyone else wallows in huge negative numbers accumulated in earnest attempts to answer the questions.
    • Johnny Vegas regularly gives complete non-sequitur answers. Of course, on this show, he is sometimes pretty close to the right answer anyway.
      • As evidenced by the time he suggested that Kellogg's invented cornflakes to prevent masturbation - and was astonished to discover he was right.
  • Sandi Toksvig subverts this from time to time, by giving answers that at first glance seem like it's drug-fuelled, but actually make sense and often correct. Examples would be when she answered "What use is a goose?" with "Is it toilet paper?" François Rabelais indeed wrote in Gargantua and Pantagruel that the best thing to wipe your behind is a goose's neck. And it is the answer Stephen was looking for. and "What's the best way to get a [baby] girl?" with "Swimming badges." note What she meant was sperms are like swimmers, and "boy sperms" are fast but die quickly while "girl sperms" are slow but can endure. No points there though; the answer is diet.
  • Bill Bailey occasionally drifts into this territory.

    Stephen: What is the largest living thing on earth?

    Bill: France.

  • Rhod Gilbert has quite a lot of these moments, such as speculating that the average Welsh person is short because "we've got hills to stand on", insisting that Denmark only gets about an hour of sunlight per day, and forgetting his own age.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: When asked about Anglo-Saxon swear words in an L series episode, Sue Perkins gets the klaxon several times in succession by firing off a bunch of curse words, most of which were bleeped out.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Stephen has had his moments, including provoking wary panellists into accidentally giving the forfeit answer or giving Alan, a vegetarian, sweets coloured with carmine, a red pigment produced from cochineal insects.
  • Sandi has her moments, for example in "Organisms" giving a forfeit for someone saying that otter-hunting hounds hunt otters, as otter-hunting was banned and they were retrained to hunt mink. She then asked what the otter-hunting hounds hunted again, and forfeited mink too as mink-hunting was also banned (they now hunt rats).
  • Comically Missing the Point: Often, usually in the service of the Rule of Funny.

    Alan Davies: The red squirrel can't live with the grey squirrel.
    Stephen Fry: Ebony and ivory are together on my piano key... board, so why can't they be?
    Alan Davies: What, you mean a kind of squirrel-fur keyboard?
    Rob Brydon: That's barbaric. Are you saying you want pianos clad in the pelt of a squirrel?

    Stephen Fry: The total weight of microbes in the ocean is equivalent to 240 billion African elephants. (...) 35 elephants made out of microbes for everyone on the planet, so each of us have got 35 elephants made of microbes surrounding us.
    Matt Lucas: I never knew - you learn a lot on this show - I never knew that the ocean was made out of 35 thousand billion elephants. I've really been educated.
    David Mitchell: No wonder elephants are endangered, when you think of the number who've been drowned, to create a mat of them under the sea. That's probably why the trunks - they were trying to evolve snorkels.
    Stephen Fry: Oh dear. I can see that I've not explained myself very well.

    • On the episode "Killers", Stephen attempts to explain the concept of measuring risk in "micromorts" - ie, a one-in-a-million chance of dying suddenly. The given examples of things that increase your risk of death by one micromort are smoking slightly more than one cigarette, drinking half a litre of wine, living in New York City for two days, and eating a thousand bananas (because bananas are very slightly radioactive). Sandi Toksvig uncharacteristically struggles with this concept.

    Sandi: But how does the thousandth banana kill you?

    • Stephen once mentioned that eating a diet of only rabbit will kill you. The rest of the panel proceeds to constantly misinterpret this as "if you eat rabbit, you will die", despite Stephen's many attempts to correct them that it's only if you eat nothing but rabbit.
  • Compelling Voice: When Stephen wants to demonstrate the properties of miracle fruit to the other panelists, he tells them to put the pill they've been given into their mouth. Everyone does so, and Sue Perkins notices that she doesn't even question her actions when Stephen tells her to do something like that.
  • Condescending Compassion: What Alan accuses the audience of in "Jobs".

    Stephen: There are no minus scores.

    Audience: Oooooh...

    Alan:Patronising bastards. I've had points before!

  • Conspiracy Theorist: While discussing Moon Landing conspiracies, Sean Lock proposes his own theory: NASA killed Michael Jackson. NASA spent a lot of money on a literal Moonwalk and were angry that when people hear Moonwalk, they think of Michael Jackson. Lock also mentions that the date of Michael's death was close to the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.
  • Continuity Nod: Rich Hall still resents the "How many moons does the Earth have?" (Two) question from Series A and has made reference to it as late as Series I: "Which moon are we talkin' about?" It is unsure as to whether he will continue with it as he received a forfeit for it. See Brick Joke above.
    • In one of his early appearances on the show, Dara Ó Briain impresses Stephen by quoting a fact about the triple-point of water (strictly speaking, the temperature at which there exists a pressure - about 612 Pa - at which water can exist as solid, liquid, or gas at both that temperature and pressure - but Dara puts it as "the lowest temperature at which water can exist in all three states," which would be true of most substances, but is false of water, since high pressures at low temperatures can cause ice to become liquid, although this he isn't called on). One series later, Stephen asks Dara to repeat the fact, but this time it earns him a forfeit; members of the audience had written in because the Kelvin scale (which is defined by the distance between the triple point of water and absolute zero, so the number is exact) had been revised since Dara had studied physics at school, so that the triple point was no longer 0°C, but 0.01°C.

      Dara: How many members of your audience were sat at home thinking "It's just a comedy quiz show, but I'm not letting that fecker get away with it!"

  • Contractual Genre Blindness: It's often Alan's job to deliberately give the obvious-but-wrong answer, just to get it out of the way. There have been some occasions where another panellist fell into this by deliberately giving forfeit answers — sometimes because they've already racked up a high negative score, and sometimes (as with Robert Webb) just for the heck of it.
    • Sue Perkins seems to revel in getting the klaxon.
  • Conversational Troping: Occurs in Series H "History" with Stephen, Alan, David Mitchell, Sandi Toksvig, and Rob Brydon digitally edited into a photo of a combat squad. David (whose face was in a somewhat goofy expression) mused that he would be killed off early, while Sandi supposed she would be the woman brought along just to work the radio, but gets forced into flying a plane. Stephen would be the herofrom the First World War, Rob gets killed off right before the end (just when you think he'll make it), and Alan survives the whole thing.
  • Corpsing: "Just the Job" includes a clip of Radio 4 newsreader Charlotte Green going to pieces when a piece about the (very silly-sounding) oldest recording of the human voice was directly followed by an obituary.
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*: Stephen is very fond of this.
    • In Series B, Josie Lawrence talks about how St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things and guarantees he'll help you.

      Stephen: A-bullshit!

    • And on David Tennant's appearance, after answering a historical question right:

      Alan: It's all the time-traveling he does, he knows something about every era.

      Stephen: (cough) He's acting.

  • Could Say It, But...: Often attempted to avoid the klaxon... seldom works.
  • Country Matters: Sarah Millican complained that her spellchecker corrected the C-word to "Cynthia", which happens to be her mother-in-law's name ("you're lucky it's not the other way around"). Stephen pointed out that as Greek doesn't have a 'Y', and upsilon is pronounced 'u', the correct pronunciation of the Greek name would be a lot closer than you might think...
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: Occasionally when Rich Hall or Reginald Hunter is on. In the Series D Children in Need special, subjects in the second half of the episode included The Clangers and Oliver Postgate; Bill & Ben, The Flowerpot Men; the "Crazy Frog" ringtone; Newcastle accents; and Terry Wogan. Right before the end, Rich, having been silent for about ten minutes, buzzed in just to say, "Ever since the Clangers I've been lost. The last picture I recognized was the KKK, and that's pretty sad."
    • Exaggerated in series B when Stephen asks Rich to explain the American concept of biscuits and gravy.

      Dara: Oh, traveler from an arcane land...

  • Creator Cameo: John Lloyd, the show's creator and original producer, made an appearance on the panel for the 100th-Episode Special in Series H.
  • Creepy Children Singing: For unknown reasons, all the buzzers in "Middle Muddle" are of children solemnly singing children's songs. On hearing his, Jimmy Carr promptly points out that it sounds like the soundtrack of a horror film.
  • Crossover: The show's eagerness to correct past mistakes apparently reaches to other shows. In an episode in Series F, helpless David Mitchell can only sit and listen as Stephen debunks several of his facts from The Unbelievable Truth. Stephen, Alan and the producer John Lloyd later participated in a New Year special of TUT.
    • In "Literature", they did a round of Only Connect while its host, Victoria Coren-Mitchell, was on the panel.
  • Crowd Song:
    • They say of the Acropolis, where the Parthenon is...
    • Stephen told the audience to sing the German national anthem. They sang the opening bars of the German national anthem as Deutschland Über Alles, but since the contemporary German anthem's lyrics are only the third stanza of the Deutschlandlied, this got them a penalty of -100 points. Although at the original recording, the audience genuinely didn't know the incorrect version (or the correct version, come to that), and those who did were too shy to speak up, but the forfeit flashed up anyway and they recorded the audience singing the song in the retakes.
    • David Tennant leading "Auld Lang Syne".
    • From "Journalism", the panel sings Gold by Spandau Ballet, to a very confused Stephen.
    • From "Quests II", Holly Lloyd and Susan Calman led the audience in a chorus of "Any Dream Will Do".
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: There have been a few people on the show who, in making a purposely surreal response to a question, accidentally included the right answer:
    • Johnny Vegas, that cornflakes were originally conceived as an anti-masturbatory agent.note The monk who invented them believed that urges to masturbate were a symptom of general poor health, and that by eating healthily one would thus avoid them.
    • Phill Jupitus, that Iceland is Europe's biggest producer of bananas.
    • Ross Noble, that a round triangle that makes a square hole is called a Reuleaux triangle. (Pronounced "rolo"—Ross proposed a "Toblerone-Rolo combo.")
    • Sandi Toksvig, suggesting that Japanese War Tubas were precision hearing aids.
    • Nina Conti, that a wooden sticklike device she found in her desk was a suppository.
    • Jack Dee in "Illumination":

      Stephen Fry: Tell me something quite interesting about the original geishas.

      Jack: They were all men.

      Stephen: Yes!

      Jack [disbelieving]: Oh, God!

    • Jo Brand saying the animal that dreams the most was the platypus.
    • Sandi Toksvig again, that chainsaws were invented as childbirth aids.
    • Alan Davies saying that the Gilbert's Atomic Children's Chemistry set contained Uranium.
  • Cultural Posturing: This exchange:

    Reginald D. Hunter: I'm not just trying to offend London, I'm trying to offend the UK in general, but I feel that any country that can produce Marmite, they started later than everybody else in trying to make food taste good.

    Stephen Fry: This from the country that has spray-on cheese?

  • Cutting the Knot:
    • Done by Alan Davies to the interlaced telephone directories in the 2011 Christmas special: having been told that the friction between the pages cannot be overcome by any force a human can produce, Alan simply thrashes about with the books until they fall apart.
    • When Stephen brings up a hypothetical situation of being lost in Epping Forest, as a lead-in to a discussion on pathfinding in the wilderness, Alan insists that you can just listen for nearby traffic.
  • Dan Browned: As Rich said, "a lot of it's lies," especially by going too far in the opposite direction of "common knowledge." It can also be a toss-up whether they expose an urban legend as a fraud or simply repeat it verbatim. Sometimes they later correct themselves on-show (often by forfeiting a previously-correct answer), and sometimes they leave it for the DVD or not at all. For instance:
    • Cruithne is identified as a terran satellite, which even at the time astronomers did not believe it to be, but a "quasi-satellite," a solar body with a close orbit, but distant enough to only weakly feel our gravity. It's also mispronounced, and corrected on-air to a slightly better mispronunciation.
      • The series has re-addressed the question of how many moons the Earth has no less than four times, and if anything their answer has gotten more wrong each time:
      • Two moons: the other is Cruithne. It's actually an asteroid that orbits the Sun, but occasionally crosses Earth's orbital path.
      • Five moons: The Moon, Cruithne, plus three more: 2000PH5, 2000WN10, and 2002AA29. Again, these are asteroids that have a similar orbit with the Earth around the Sun.
      • 18,000 moons. The above mentioned plus thousands of extra asteroids. Such objects may occasionally fall into Earth's gravity for a short time before escaping. In particular was mentioned RH-120, which again orbits the Sun but occasionally makes close approaches to the Earth.
      • There are no moons. The Earth and the Moon are both planets, and form a binary system. This one is not as obviously wrong as the others, but nevertheless is a minority and eccentric scientific opinion.
      • Despite claiming to be acting "on the latest info from the scientific community," none of the above mentioned objects were ever considered to be permanent satellites of the Earth, much less moons. On the other hand, Stephen does admit they're claiming these things "just to confuse you."
    • Sedgwick is wrongly said to have died mid-word.
    • Alan is told there's no Welsh word for blue. There is, and it corresponds exactly, unlike such words in many languages.
    • Stephen at one point "corrects" Jimmy Carr (in a rather patronising manner) for saying that marsupials are mammals, which they absolutely are.
    • Pretty much everything that Stephen says about Mithras in December is completely wrong.
    • Stephen, describing three-strike laws, implies that the California law he describes applies across the US, and says a crime constitutes the third strike "no matter how trivial," even though, trivial as these crimes often seem, it must be a felony. (In fairness, there is another law that makes any theft by a convicted thief a felony, so some people have been sentenced to 25-to-life for what would be a petty theft (less than a year) anywhere else.)
    • The show at one point addresses a letter calling them out for spreading an urban legend about the Flowerpot Men.
    • Stephen says of the Acropolis, where the Parthenon iiis, that there are no straight lines. He corrects this in a later episode; while curving pillars to make them look straight from certain vantage points is seen in some ancient buildings, the Parthenon is not one of them. (See entasis)
    • Discussed in "Jingle Bells" when Stephen claims the twelve days of Christmas end on January 6th and is corrected by Danny Baker.

      Phill Jupitus: Oh, the chatrooms will be ablaze now...

    • The show claims that the Hundred Years' War started when Eleanor of Aquitaine left Louis VII of France and married Henry II of England. Rather odd, given that the Hundred Years' War happened more than two centuries after Louis and Eleanor divorced, and was declared by the English monarch, Edward III.
    • The show claims that one instance of ejaculation within the Sherlock Holmes canon is ambigious as to whether said exclamation is from Holmes or Watson. However, given the actual context of the story, Holmes realizing that Hugh Boone and Neville St. Clair are the same man, it's clearly Holmes ejaculating all over the place, not Watson.
    • More cases and possible cases can be found here.
    • Eventually, this was acknowledged in "Knowledge" when talking about the half-life of facts. In fact, the panelists were given back the number of points that would statistically be owed to them over the years. Alan was awarded 737.66 points.
  • Dark Horse Victory: In Death, the audience wins.
  • Daydream Believer: Bill Bailey, during David Tennant's guest appearance, jokingly insisted Doctor Who was a documentary when Stephen called it a work of fiction. Tennant played along and confirmed that it was all real. "Don't listen to the bad man." And then (at Stephen's prompting) he started waving his pen around like a sonic screwdriver.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • In "Birth", the Christmas episode of its series, Stephen allowed Alan to ask the General Ignorance questions while he attempted to answer them.
    • Prior to "Holidays", three of the panelists took a trip to an H-named place at Stephen's expense. For the first part of the episode, they presented quite interesting facts about their destinations while Stephen commented passively. Alan didn't go anywhere; he was in detention.note He did actually do a presentation at the recording, but it was cut for time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rich Hall, most notably.

    Stephen: What is the only man-made artifact visible from the moon?

    Rich: (buzz) Which moon are we talking about, here?

    • And:

      Stephen: What do you call a group of baboons?

      • Oddly enough, he was in the right area as the answer turned out to be Congress.
    • Graeme Garden, of The Goodies and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue fame.
    • David Mitchell snarks a lot, too.
    • Jack Dee keeps (or tries to keep) a scowl on his face at all times.
  • Demonic Dummy: In "Inventive", when ventriloquist Nina Conti starts talking about "Doll Heaven", the Vent Haven Museum in Kentucky, the screens display part of its collection. Sean Lock panics, and later wonders which one murdered the most people.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:

    Stephen: Battology means pointlessly repeating the same thing over and over again. Battology means pointlessly repeating the same thing over and over again.

    • The buzzers in "Idleness", which all used the same sound effect. Even Alan's, but his (unlike the others') didn't actually sound until it was released.
  • Depth Deception: David Mitchell's bungled "giant tortoise" joke was a play on this. Probably funnier watching him screw it up than it would've been if he'd just said it.
  • Derailed for Details: Dara Ó Briain's "Twelve Frenchmen and Twelve Mosquitos" story.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?:
    • After Sean Lock's suggestion that you could put cheese in your pants when entering a sauna and "re-shape" it when you leave...

      Stephen: [trying to get his attention] Sean... Sean. Sean, you're not alone; there are people here.

      Alan: You're saying it out loud, you're not thinking it.

    • Sarah Millican, after enthusiastically remarking that a whale having a penis-like organ in its mouth "sounds great!"
  • Die Laughing: Discussed in the XL version of "Happiness"; the only person they could come up with who'd died laughing was the man who laughed for 25 minutes and had a heart attack at an episode of The Goodies.
  • Digital Head Swap: Guests will have their heads put onto various background images for humorous purposes. The most common response is "I don't remember that picture".
  • Dirty Old Man: In "H-Anatomy", Gyles Brandreth kept coming up with excuses to take Sue Perkins' hand, by "demonstrating" various ways to shake hands, etc. She quickly grew both irritated and creeped out by it.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Repeatedly invoked by Bill Bailey, who uses his biro as a pipe whenever he's impersonating an upper-class type.
    • And many panellists (including, eventually, Bill Bailey himself) have produced real pipes from under the table, using them much the same way.
  • The Ditz: Alan Davies, dear God, Alan Davies! This is likely at least partly an act, as he has noted on his Twitter that the producers like it when he plays the idiot, though he also notes this isn't difficult to do.

    Jimmy Carr: How can you get it wrong after he's got it right? That is extraordinary. You were literally saved by the bell! He buzzed it and got it right, you couldn't say the stupid thing, and you went there anyway! You were amazing!

    • This is especially true in the first three series; in series D Alan wised up a bit and started performing better (though still below the "expected" average). Alan reached a peak in Series G, when he won three shows in a row (Episodes 4-6), tied for first place in a further two (Episodes 12-13), and to finish up won Episode 16 with the highest score (21) all series, and indeed the highest score since Series D.
    • All of them play at it sometimes, though, just for laughs. Or at the very least throw out completely nonsensical answers that are still somehow related.

      Stephen: What should you not drink if you're dehydrated...?

    • Johnny Vegas went on record in the QI Genesis special that he was attempting to be dumber than Alan on the show. He STILL has a better win percentage than Alan.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: On being told that giant anteater "hugs," like bear hugs, are fatal to humans, Alan suggested that this was the problem.
  • Don't Explain the Joke:
    • In Series F, "Fingers and Fumbs":

      Stephen Fry: In 1819, a German travel guide to London said, "The kiss of friendship between men is strictly avoided in Britain, as inclining towards the sin regarded in England as more abominable than any other." (beat) Queue-barging, presumably. (general laughter) That, or sodomy.

    • "Dictionaries" has an Overly Long Gag of this type which Stephen uses to run an unsuccessful joke of Rory Bremner's into the ground and stomp on it repeatedly, effectively making it funny again.

      Stephen: 'Eyyy, no, no, when I said "eye," I meant "e-y-e," and you thought, possibly for comic effect, but if so, disastrously, that I was saying "I," and that wasn't what was happening at all! It was completely something else! It was one of those laughable misunderstandings! And I use the word "laughable" quite wrongly. So, erm, anyway...

    • In "Jolly", the panel are presented with a variety of joke shop items to play with; Alan goes on an extended tangent with a fake dog turd (including putting it into his mouth and slowly revealing it) before Rob Brydon says (pretending to have an earpiece) "Actually, Alan, I'm just getting a... just getting a message, there's been a bit of a mix-up, apparently." After the audience reaction, Alan then exclaims "This is a real one!"
  • Don't Try This at Home:
    • In Series G, this warning accompanied a demonstration of the correct pronunciation of "van Gogh".
    • In "Electricity", Stephen attempted to give this warning after demonstrating that gherkins glow when a large electric current is passed through them, but went off on a tangent and ended up saying that you should live your own life and not do things (or avoid doing things) just because some person on the TV told you to.
    • Inverted when discussing custard as a non-Newtonian fluid.

      Stephen: Children, whatever you do, please, please, try to walk on as much custard as you can.

    • In "Jeopardy", the following exchange preceded a demonstration of how to produce hydrogen gas by pouring hydrochloric acid on galvanised nails:

      Stephen: I'm supposed to tell you not to try this at home.

      Ross Noble: Right, try it in someone else's home.

    • Inverted in "Keys". Stephen asserts that bodily reflex will protect one from damage if one attempts to walk at high speed into a wall. On being invited to demonstrate this, he declines, but suggests that the audience try it at home.
    • In "Origins and Openings", Sandi asks Susan Calman if she has ever set fire to Angel Delight. The ensuing conversation establishes both how wonderful it is to see and how no one should do it at home.

      Josh Widdecombe: Tomorrow morning, the supermarket's gonna be like "Angel Delight suddenly got popular!"

    • In "Bills" Stephen asks viewers not to try throwing cats out the window, not because it's bad but "because of the mad letters I get from f*cking cat people"
  • Double Entendre: Oh so very much.
    • It's not French for innuendo either, as Sean Lock found out the hard way in the episode "Imbroglio".
    • Jimmy Carr lampshades the use of double entendre in the question, "Why did the inventor of the decimal point encourage his servants to stroke his cock?"

    Alan: "Cock" is not his penis.
    Stephen: You're right. It's a cockerel; it's a rooster. He was an extraordinary man, John Napier. He... he wore black, and a lot of his neighbors thought that he was somehow in league with the devil. And he had this jet-black cock as his constant companion.
    Jimmy: Did he do that purely for double-entendre? ... "Have you seen my massive black cock?" Etcetera. A hit at dinner parties in Edinburgh.

  • Dramatic Thunder: Near the beginning of an episode in Series D, as Stephen announces the theme of the night — Death.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Victoria Coren, in her first appearance, admitted that she had an anxiety dream the night before airing where she was on the show and Stephen Fry asked her, "Why was the March Hare so important to the Aztecs?" Flustered, she answered, "Did they worship it?" which gave her the forfeit of "Worship It". Later in the show, as the final question, Stephen gets to ask her the very question after the QI Elves did some digging, and discovered that the Aztecs worshipped rabbits, specifically jackrabbits which are a type of hare.

    Stephen: (pointing) Burn the witch!

  • Dubtext: In "France", a picture of a French man was edited to remove his cigarette. This made it look like he was flicking the V sign at the camera for no reason.
  • Dude, Not Funny!:
    • In "Landmarks", Alan joked that the reason Nigerian email scams use bad spelling and grammar is to con Australians. Colin reacted by throwing things at Alan.
    • Irish Aisling Bea pretends to get upset when Stephen mentions the Potato Famine.


  • Eagleland: As usual, 80% of Rich Hall's gimmick.

    Rich: [after half an episode of silence] Ever since The Clangers I've been lost.

    [audience laughter]

    Rich: The last picture I recognized is the KKK, and that's pretty sad.

  • Edited for Syndication: QI XL is a long edit that still drops points, however, and at least once dropped a forfeit (in "Health & Safety," when Alan says "you big gorilla, you," the klaxon can be heard coming in, but is not shown). One presumes that even more than this is normally cut.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The show was initially split into rounds of questions on various subjects. The B series changed this so there were two rounds, one on one subject and 'General Ignorance', but the show didn't take its current format until around series D.
    • In early episodes, Stephen Fry had a stack of cards on his desk with the episode's forfeit answers printed on them, and when the klaxon sounded he would hold up the corresponding card to demonstrate that the question-setters had genuinely anticipated the answer. Or rather, in practice what happened was that when the klaxon sounded he would spend a chunk of valuable running time shuffling through the cards to find the right one so he could hold it up, which probably explains why the cards were abandoned.
    • The show was also much more explicit in the awarding of points, and much more free about it, too.
    • As Alan Davis mentioned in a documentary, panelists didn't really know how to act when the show was getting started. They didn't know if this was a serious quiz show and they should try to get the answers right, if they'd look stupid if they got it wrong, or if the points really mattered, etc. It was only later when people realized the show was more about being funny and interesting rather than being correct that it really hit its stride. Also at the start, presenter Stephen Fry was not the national figure he is now (the show itself contributing to his growth in fame).
  • Epic Fail: Sean Lock's final score of -76 in the 'Germany' episode was singled out by Stephen as "possibly a record". It still stands as the lowest score achieved by a guest panellist.
    • The actual record is the "Children in Need" special in Series D, where Stephen Fry multiples all the scores by a million as a gesture of generosity to mark the occasion. The upshot of this is that Alan Davies finishes the show with -29,000,000 points.
    • Alan also got -84 in Series C, in the episode Cleve Crudgington.
    • Not to mention -144 in the Differences episode, after a -150 point penalty for suggesting "Randy" as Gandhi's first name.
    • Assuming Alan's above score of -29,000,000 was actually just -29, for the entire series, Alan is currently on a score of -2180.
    • Occasionally guests have epic fails relating to their props. In "Just the Job", Alan was consistently unable to make a slinky walk down some steps. In "Kinetic", Danny Baker defied Stephen's assertion that two hands brought together while holding a broom would always meet at its center of gravity; his broom kept falling over.
  • Erotic Eating: Perhaps not intended when Aisling Bea was given an oyster to eat, but the implication wasn't lost on the panel (although the question was on aphrodisiacs).

    Aisling: It's bigger than I'm used to.

    Josh Widdicombe: I'm definitely taping this episode, I'll tell you that much.

  • Exact Words:
    • Rich Hall tries to use this to score points in one of his first appearances.

      Rich: So, wait, we get points for being interesting?

      Stephen: That's right.

      Rich: In some parts of the world people use linoleum as currency.

      Stephen: That is interesting. Is it true?

      Rich: ...You said it was interesting, right?

    • At the end of one episode, Stephen says, "I'll leave you with this quite interesting thought. [sits quietly for a moment, smiling to himself] ...Good night."
    • In the episode "Quiet", Sandi Toksvig said that the buzzers were 'appropriately quiet.' Except for Alan's, all the buzzers played recordings of someone shouting "QUIET!"
  • Everyone Has Standards: Jeremy Clarkson found the idea of squirrel "kings", stuck together by matted tail fur so they can't move and ultimately starve to death, to be "the funniest thing I've ever heard", while the audience "aww"ed in sympathy. When he found out it usually happened to baby squirrels, that touched a nerve.
  • Exotic Entree: The giant tortoise, which is currently endangered (and therefore a protected species) largely because it's so delicious.
  • Expospeak Gag: But of course...

    Stephen Fry: What makes up more than 70% of the internet?

    Jimmy Carr: Phwoo... Is it... It's my personal collection, isn't it?

    Stephen: Of what?

    Jimmy: Of gentleman's special-interest literature.


    Stephen: I think it knows what you're talking about.

    • The three men responsible for creating a QI-shaped Crop Circle for the "Hoaxes" episode were credited as 'cerealogical motif wranglers'.
    • In "Imbroglio", after a discussion of Frank Skinner's song "Three Lions" and the fact that in heraldry lions are referred to as leopards, Stephen concluded that the song was named "based on a lamentable terminological inexactitude, or lie."
  • Eye Remember: Discussed in "Opposites" particularly the historical origins of the trope.
  • Fearless Fool: Alan's role on the show, at least at first, was to jump in with obvious (or silly) answers and not be afraid of looking stupid.
  • Flat "What": Stephen (of all people) delivers one when Bill Bailey tells him that a man was caught in a machine, went through a hole the size of a CD, and survived.
  • F--: In the "Nonsense" episode, Sandi Toksvig mentions how her school had three grades for swimming: A, B, and C. She was an F.
  • Foil: Alan to Stephen, naturally.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: An ominous tolling bell was added to the opening music of the "Gothic" episode.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • In "Knowledge", Stephen explains that in deference to the concept of the half-life of facts, the panelists will be awarded points based on the likelihood of their seemingly erroneous answers given in previous episodes having since been proven correct. Jimmy Carr immediately congratulates Alan on winning, which proves to be an astute prediction: Alan leads the final scores by almost 700 points.
    • Subverted in "Lucky Losers", where Stephen declares that the panelist with the lowest score shall win, causing Danny Baker to congratulate Alan in advance. However, thanks to the producers conjuring up a massive "Blue Whale" bonus for giving that as a right answer, Alan ends up with the highest score by a considerable amount.
  • Foreign Queasine: In "Invertebrates", Stephen presents the panel with a variety of insect-based candies, including a lollipop with ants in it, scorpion brittle, and chocolate-covered ants. In an attempt to show the panel that they are the way forward, he tries a chocolate-covered ant, but soon has cause to regret it.
    • Played with in the Series I Christmas episode "Ice": After eating some ice cream, which they speculate might be made from breast milk, the panel is told that it's fox testicle ice cream... and they continue to eat it. Then, when they're told that it's not actually made from fox testicles, Ross Noble feigns disgust.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": Alan's buzzer in "Infantile":

    For sales inquiries, press 1. For customer service, press 2. For two hours of irritating music, press 3. For more options, press 4. For fewer options, press 5. To speak to one of our operatives, emigrate to Mumbai.

  • Full-Name Ultimatum: In "Invertebrates", Stephen admonishes Jimmy Carr by calling him "James Carr!"
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": In "Journalism" Ross Noble regales the tale of his father's epically failedViking Funeral.

    Stephen: The word dignity doesn't come to mind here, does it.

  • Funny Foreigner: Rich Hall, as an American comedian on a British programme is one of these by default, although he is perfectly willing to play this trope straight for laughs.
  • Fun T-Shirt: After taking the reigns, Sandi appeared in a variety of jumpers, some of which were festooned with such odd phrases as "Scotland Yard", "Oh! Yeah", and "BLONDES".
  • Fun with Acronyms: In her first show as presenter, Toksvig told the panellists that the first question she asked would be 'very simple', and proceeded to ask: "WHO is offended by what?". Cue panellists making it harder for themselves by failing to spot that the 'WHO' was an acronym, specifically for the World Health Organisation. note  The answer to the question "WHO is offended by what?" was that the World Health Organisation felt certain decades-old disease names may be insensitive or may give a wrong impression nowadays, such as the notion that Spanish Flu could be only caught by going to Spain.
  • Fun with Subtitles: A world record discussed in "Little and Large" was broken by somebody else between recording and broadcast. A subtitle was added to point out the new information, adding "Don't you hate it when that happens?"
  • Gasp!: Alan actually says "Gasp!" on learning that the age of consent in Vatican City is twelve. As well he might.
  • Geeky Turn-On:
    • When Jan Ravens gives "Diogenes the Cynic" as an answer...

      Jimmy Carr: Phwoar. You've seen this show before, haven't you? I think I'm slightly aroused.

    • Stephen is accused of this a few times as well. After David Mitchell shows detailed knowledge of a French chef, he gets a teacher's pet fanfare:

      Jimmy Carr: I don't want to burst your bubble, but Stephen's pupils have gone ten times bigger.

    • And after Rory and Stephen's discussion about Latin bird names:

      Jimmy: I believe, Rory, that you have pulled.

    • Professor Brian Cox's extensive knowledge of the Large Hadron Collider.

      Stephen: It- it's giving me an erection.

    • Phill Jupitus gets a moment that might count in the "Europe" episode.

      Stephen Fry: Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit für das deutsche Vaterland! Danach lasst uns alle streben brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!

      Phill Jupitus: I have an erection.

    • Trevor Noah's knowledge of the Xhosa "click" language in "Killers" manages to get this reaction from both Stephen and Sandi Toksvig.
  • Genius Ditz: Alan Davies in later series.
  • Genre Savvy: Witness any moment when Stephen Fry asks a seemingly straightforward question... only for an awkward pause to ensue as no one wants to give the obvious answer because they think it's a trap.

    Stephen: What do you call a slug with a shell?

    (dead silence)

    • By the by, apparently it's a shelled slug.
    • Also, players comment on how the obvious answer is often the wrong answer.

      Clive Anderson: Even I can work out that when you know the answer, never give it, 'cause it's always the one, it's the one they're hoping we'll say.

    • A related phenomenon is people spotting the trap, but giving the wrong answer anyway, just to get it out of the way: Sue Perkins is particularly fond of doing this. Also, it's not unknown for people to give a "wrong" answer, expecting the klaxon, only to find out their answer is the correct one.
    • In the Series G episode "Greats", Sean Lock deliberately gave an answer he knows cannot possibly be correct (or rather, not obvious-but-wrong, but unobvious and definitely wrong) to avoid setting off the klaxon.

      Stephen Fry: What was the lingua franca of ancient Rome?

      Sean Lock: Eh, Dutch.

    • The contestants themselves wonder how far they need to take this trope, as one Series G episode had Stephen asking the team how old they were. Cue silence and an exasperated Dara Ó Briain wondering how the obvious answer could possibly be wrong. The correct answer, by the way, is between seven and ten years, as the body's cells are in a state of constant regeneration.
    • Defied to hell and back by Robert Webb in "Hypnosis, Hallucinations and Hysteria", where he repeatedly trips the klaxon with utterly delighted childish glee.
      • A contestant who's already taken a number of forfeits may also defy this if they feel they have nothing else to lose. Jo Brand has, in a couple of episodes, given answers specifically to trigger the klaxon after racking up a huge negative score.
    • In series H and onward, the contestants would sometimes spot the obvious answer, with one announcing that they'll take the hit and get it out of the way.
    • The klaxon gets in on this when it starts predicting what the panelists will say if they've said the same thing a few times. Namely, Rich Hall triggering it by answering, "which moon are we talking about?", and Jo Brand triggering it by answering, "my husband" (a Running Gag through her whole career).
      • The time she triggered it by saying "Michael Winner" (a Running Gagthat episode) is not an example of the klaxon predicting contestant tendencies, however; the forfeits are set up before the episode begins. The reason it got triggered is that Winner had gotten food poisoning a few years back, and her answer that time was in reference to that incident.
    • And sometimes, the panellists will question whether the question itself is valid. Sometimes, this will even be the case.

      Stephen: Why are so many great men short?

      David:[skeptically] Are they really?

      Stephen: David... you hit the nail on the head.

    • In Series J, Stephen Fry started employing a rather evil trick of sneaking in these questions into nonchalant chats with the panellists:

      Stephen:[casually] For evolutionary reasons, they stored the fish in their beak, assuming you believed in evolution, of course. Speaking of evolution, who was that naturalist on the Beagle?

      Phill: Charles Darwin, of course.

      *KLAXON*(What, Charles Darwin, you mean?)

    • Using this, evil Alan Davies manages to trick another contestant into a penalty.

      Stephen: What would be the best way for Tarzan to get around the jungle?

      Alan: He gets around by swinging... what does he swing on, Greg?

      Greg Proops: Vines?


  • Gentleman Snarker: Mr. Fry himself, of course.

    Fry: What do you suffer from if you're afraid of heights?
    Alan Davies: Vertigo.
    Fry: No. It's all Alfred Hitchcock's fault, but vertigo is not a fear of heights; it's a specific condition of dizziness... most people who have a fear of heights have a particular phobia. What's the name for it?
    Alan Davies: Heightaphobia.
    Fry: Yes — usually we use Greek, don't we, though?

  • Godwin's Law: Itself discussed in the episode on Germany. Stephen describes the law as stating that as every internet discussion or argument continues, the probability of somebody comparing something or someone to Hitler or the Nazis will reach 1, after which the argument is over. Rob Brydon asked whether this law applied to threads where Hitler himself was the topic.
    • Hitler Ate Sugar: Discussed as a common result of the above. As Stephen argues, claiming that things Hitler liked or disliked are automatically bad or good is "a mad argument", whether it be fox-hunting or wearing long socks.
  • Golden Snitch: A few episodes have had certain questions or challenges that would give 100 or even 200 points if done correctly.
    • Inverted by giving certain "obvious but wrong" answers which are deemed incredibly stupid; answering "carbon dioxide" to the question "What is the main ingredient of air?" would have given a deduction of 3,000 points.
    • In a Series L episode, Stephen directly asks Alan what mammal has the most cells in its body, and Alan answers "blue whale" and is awarded the "Blue Whale Bonus" for getting the answer right. However, this is the "Lucky Losers" episode, and the winner that day will actually be the person with the lowest score.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Getting to the level of a Running Gag;
    • "Toblerone-Rolo Combo" [to be said in a Geordie accent].
    • A discussion on the most famous person to have been beaten by a machine at chess led to the statement "Jesus plays chess", which Danny Baker thought would be a good name for an indie band.
    • Stephen thinks that the "Pacific Trash Vortex" sounds like a grunge band.
    • "Anal Wind Expulsion"; "They were on at Download, actually..."
    • When Stephen described The Da Vinci Code as "loose stool water", Alan suggested that Loose Stool Water sounded like a blues guitarist.
    • Bill Bailey says this about "Crunchy Hummus" in Series L.
    • In "Non Sequiturs", they got "Divine Catheter" and "The Horny Menopausal Women" out of a discussion of nuns.
    • In a variant on this concept the panel decides that "wet bottom on the night bus" would make a good title for Sue Perkins' autobiography.
  • Gonna Need More X: In "Kings", when Bill Bailey's crown falls over his head and gets stuck on his neck, Alan remarks that "We're gonna need a bigger king."
  • Government Conspiracy: The episode on "Hoaxes" debunked a number of conspiracy theories about the Moon landings.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The episode on Europe is full of Gratuitous European Languages.
  • Gratuitous French: The episode on France, somewhat predictably.
  • Gratuitous German: The episode on Germany.
  • Hair Flip: Ross Noble after taking his hard hat off in Series H (Health & Safety). Alan tried to imitate, but since his hair is all in short curls...
  • Halloween Episode: Has appeared in series D (Death) and H (Horrible). But not G (Gothic); despite the general themes of the episode, it first aired in February.
  • Hand of Glory: The 12th episode of Series O, "The Occult" had hand of glories (made with gloves rather then dead men's hands). They were not supposed to be burned for OH&S reasons, Noel Fielding took it upon himself to lite his from the many candles around the set.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: In "Jargon", the panel discussed the "ejaculations" in Sherlock Holmes, how Watson ejaculated twice as often as Holmes, an ejaculation once woke Watson up, Mrs. St. Clair's husband ejaculated from his second-floor window, and so on.note In this case, ejaculation means "to exclaim suddenly".
    • In "Justice", Stephen describes an old law forbidding sexual assault in which the actual word used for the activity in question is "meddling". Alan remarks that if the word had retained that meaning Scooby-Doowould have been very different.
    • In "Messy", there's a great deal of fun had discussing what women (and men) of the 18th and 19th centuries kept in their muffs.
  • Hearing Voices: Sean Lock claims he suffers from this, "but I carry on killing."
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": In "Jargon", the panel discussed the "ejaculations" in Sherlock Holmes, how Watson ejaculated twice as often as Holmes, an ejaculation once woke Watson up, Mrs. St. Clair's husband ejaculated from his second-floor window, and so on.
  • Heroic BSoD: In Geometry, Stephen explains that the pillars of the Parthenon look straight because they are straight. But poor Johnny Vegas. Poor, poor Johnny Vegas:

    Johnny: That's not a question! "Why does this man look thin? Because he is." That has taken me on a whole circle... This is why I struggled in school! "If a train travels at 40 miles an hour and leaves at 9 o'clock and arrives in Glasgow at 12 o'clock, how did it get there?" And you're going, "'Cause it did!" ... IT'S VERY CONFUSING! [holds up his notebook with a squiggly line drawn on it] "Why does that look straight?" "Because it's not!" That could have been a question. [draws a straight line] "Why does that look straight? Because it IS! Because it is..." [breaks down sobbing]

    • Phil Jupitus collapsed in despair in "Kris Kringle" after Brendan O'Carroll suggested that Santa Claus isn't real. Stephen managed to mollify him by pointing out that the klaxon went off because Brendan was wrong. Incidentally, the answer to the question at hand (why Forbes removed Santa Claus from their list of the richest fictional people) was that Santa Claus is, in fact, real.
  • Hilarity Ensues: "They say of the Acropolis, where the Parthenon is..."
  • History Marches On: Just a few months after Stephen declared that there was no evidence at all Richard III had a hunchback, his body was discovered and, indeed, he had multiple scoliosis. Likewise, the revisionist view that Richard III was a complete innocent usurped by the evil Henry VIII and besmirched by Tudor propaganda that Fry goes onto declare the truth is generally considered just as inaccurate and unnuanced as the Shakespearian version.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Said word-for-word by Stephen in "Jack and Jill" when asking how many pieces a box of Jenga contains. Alan says ninety, for which Stephen scolds him, because it has to be divisible by three. Erm....

    Alan: I said ninety.

    • One of the Christmas episodes ended with a segment where Stephen offered Host duties to Alan, who accepted and produced from his pocket his own list of obscure, carefully-phrased questions, all of which were asked specifically of Stephen.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Quite a bit, and all played for laughs of course. Aside from the unsubtle flirting between Alan and Stephen, there's a lot among other contestants as well. Most notably, Rob Brydon and Ben Miller kissing in the 'Future' episode of "F" series. And there's the endless innuendo...

    David Mitchell: I like the expression "sleep in with the bananas". It implies that the bananas are asleep as well. Nothing nicer than being woken up by a friendly banana!

    Stephen Fry (brightly): Well, quite.

    • On the subject of Alan and Stephen flirting there was the episode where, if a member of the panel guessed their score exactly right, they would get a prize. Alan's answer, towards the end of the show, to Stephen's question of what that prize was was "We'd have sex." Fry simply made a remark about Alan's wishful thinking.
    • Stephen and Professor Brian Cox. Good Lord. Stephen was probably just happy to have someone on the show who was smarter than him.
    • Phill Jupitus went on record in the making-of documentary as saying that his unofficial role on the show is to be as shamelessly flirtatious as possible with Stephen.
    • From Jumble, the subject of jactitation comes up (when you falsely say you're married to someone). "We're married in comedy, Alan. Comedy and erotic love."
    • Jack Whitehall is someone else who seems to be a magnet for this with Stephen.

      Stephen Fry: You're being very flirty Jack, I quite like it.

  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Richard Osman (6'7") and Lucy Porter (4'11") in 'Little And Large'. Similarly, Osman and Sandi Toksvig (also 4'11") in "Naked Truth".
  • Humans Are Bastards: Alan Davies invokes this trope here.

    Alan: We're bad. No, we are. As a species, we're bad. Don't start giving me Shakespeare's sonnets. We're wicked!

    • In "Jeopardy", Stephen asks what the deadliest creature in Australia is. Ross Noble's Large Ham answer: "Is it man, the most terrible of all the creatures?"
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • "We never use euphemisms, and we think that people who do are complete front-bottoms."
    • In the episode "Ologies", Claudia Winkleman pauses before attempting to answer a question to request that she be spared the klaxon even if she forfeits, because she finds the sound nerve-wracking. The producers agree to the request — by sounding the klaxon and displaying their answer on the screen where the forfeit answer usually appears.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: "We had a Jimmy Glascock at school..."
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Stephen causes some consternation in the panel in "Location, Location, Location" when he asks them to test-taste bowls of what turns out to be pure horseradish. Johnny Vegas claims the unexpected sinus overload has given him superpowers.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": Stephen comments that the people who slept with Queen Nzinga the night before she had you executed might have found that "Mister Tiggy would probably be a bit shrivelly, wouldn't he?"
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This:

    Stephen: Flobbadob actually means flowerpot in Oddlepoddle. (beat) I cannot believe I just said that.

  • I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You: Subverted.

    Alan: What happened to MIs 1, 2, 3 and 4?

    Stephen Fry: Well it's very interesting, I could tell you, but then I'd have to eat myself.

  • Ignore the Disability: In one episode of Series F, the guests were penalized for saying a swear word beginning with F, and in the Series G episode on Germany a similar ban was placed on mentioning "the War" (although the Franco-Prussian War was still fair game).
    • However, Sean Lock was chastised for mentioning Evelyn Waugh.
  • I Know You Know I Know:
    • "Double bluffs" get steadily more ridiculous, until hitting critical mass in the Comic Relief special, which opens with "how many sides - sides, S-I-D-E-S - does a right isosceles triangle have?" Two forfeits ("4" and "6") are hit before the correct answer, and it just keeps going like that, with questions like "How many legs does a spider have?" and "What is the capital of France?"
    • David Mitchell on wearing vertical or horizontal stripes:

      David: I think it just alternates, doesn't it? Because for ages you think, "Okay, vertical stripes make people look thinner." Then you say, "Oh, she's wearing vertical stripes, therefore she must be fatter than she looks." Therefore you start thinking, "Oh, she looks fat because she's wearing vertical stripes," so suddenly, horizontal stripes start making you look thinner, because "oh, she must be thin, otherwise she'd never dare wear horizontal stripes." Then you go, "Horizontal stripes make you look thinner; oh, she must be fat, she's wearing horizontal stripes..."

    • Also happened in "Fingers and Fumbs" and "Hoaxes" (see Kansas City Shuffle for the details).
  • Improbably Predictable: Many of the forfeits come across this way.
  • Informed Ability: One episode brought up "Little Tich", a music-hall performer who inspired Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and whom Stephen Fry proclaimed a comic genius whose name would be remembered when every other comedian on the show would be long forgotten. The panel were unimpressed, pointing out that his name had already been forgotten — neither they nor the audience had ever heard of him — and when a surviving clip of his act was shown, they didn't even think it was all that funny.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Parodied in "Noel": after Sandi shares out a round of Humpty Dumpty, a traditional drink of ale and brandy, everyone immediately pretends to be drunk.
  • Insane Troll Logic: David Mitchell's specialty is pointing these out. Other panelists also occasionally take a turn at it.
  • Insufferable Genius: When panellists get onto a subject they actually know something about, they can sometimes forget to be funny and take the quiz part a bit too seriously — unwilling or unable to follow other panellists (Alan Davies especially) and feign stupidity to a certain degree for the sake of entertainment. True enough, bantermeisters that often do provide intelligent answers can avoid appearing as this by actually providing jokes (e.g. Sandi Toksvig, Dara Ó Briain).
    • Rory McGrath came off as awfully show-offy to many people during his first appearance. There was a question where they were asked the atomic number of a certain element, which Roy McGrath got right... and then continued to list off other atomic numbers without prompting. This was already on top of other things like listing off the Latin names of various animals. Sean Lock got annoyed with him and started to mock him relentlessly: "You're just doing atomic number wheelies now, aren't you?" Eventually even Stephen gets fed up with him, smiling and stating, "You are just beginning to try my patience now."
    • John Sessions was so frequent an offender that he was given a buzzer that consisted of an over-eager child saying "Sir, Sir! I know Sir!" in a series B episode—his third or fourth taping.
      • In the F Series episode "Films and Fame", after he got the first question right immediately, Emma Thompson asked him, "Are you going to be like this all night?"
    • Poor, poor Brian Cox.

      Sue Perkins:(taking notes) How do you spell 'electron'?

      Ross Noble: Is it a wine glass, or more of a tumbler? (Brian was talking about causality using smashing a glass as an allegory.)

    • Even though he's also an actor and comedian, Ben Miller decided to rely mainly on his education in quantum physicsnote He was on his way to earning a PhD but abandoned it to pursue a career in acting in the episode "The Future", much to his fellow panelists' dismay.
  • Irony: Alan is a master of Socratic irony, though Stephen tries to play it down as mere stupidity when he can.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: In an episode in the first series, Alan tells an anecdote about being given a chocolate bar by a nice old lady that turned out (after he'd eaten it) to be well past its use-by date, and "tasted like old ladies' cupboards". One of the other panellists requests reassurance that this isn't a euphemism.
    • Jeremy Clarkson once talked about eating a seal flipper, and described the taste as "Exactly like licking a hot Turkish urinal."
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Hugh Laurie appeared in the pilot episode as a favour to Stephen. Also Emma Thompson in series F.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: A few panellists, such as Jack Dee and David Mitchell, can get laughs from fairly cynical observations.

    Stephen: It was a public execution — the last ever public execution in Britain.

    David: Well, let's say, you know, 'the most recent.' We live in dark times.

  • Japanese Ranguage: Richard Osman responding to Alan's imitation of a Korean accent: "That's just razy lacism and you know it."
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Discussed briefly in "Hypnotism, Hallucinations and Hysteria" with a dog that's supposedly able to hypnotize people.
  • Jesus: The Early Years:
  • Jive Turkey: Occasionally for comic effect, as when Stephen described cheese as "the celebration of what happens when milk goes off big-time stylee."
  • Kansas City Shuffle: In the Series F episode "Fingers and Fumbs", contestants lost 10 points every time they said "fuck", but could win them back by playing RockPaperScissors with Stephen. At the start of the episode, Stephen stated that you should play scissors in such a game, because your opponent expects you to play rock and will play paper. This led to a draw every time as both would play scissors, causing Alan to state "somebody play rock!". And then, in the fourth game, Phill Jupitus exchanged a significant look with Alan — and played scissors, beating Stephen who played paper. Then, in the last two games, Dara and Alan won... by playing rock, Stephen having played scissors.
    • Also with the 'hoax cards' in the episode on Hoaxes, which had to be played when the panelists thought they'd spotted a hoax:

    Sean Lock: I don't know about you, but I'm just going to do it on the first question, then none of us can lose out. We all do it on the first question, we all lose points, and then it's just done. We don't have to worry about it and spend the rest of the show going, "Oh damn, already used my hoax card." What'd you reckon guys, you in for that?

    Danny Baker: We're all gonna say yes, but we're all going to not really do it!

    Alan: I might use it, but when I use it, it might be a hoax!
    • Arguably this is a Kansas City Shuffle on Stephen's part: The actual hoax was the hoax bonus itself: there was no hoax in the episode, which all of the contestants failed to spot.
  • Kick the Dog: Quite literally, in response to the question "What can't remember anything?":

    Sean Lock: My neighbor's dog can't remember when I kick it. It still comes up to me.

    Stephen: Awwww.

    Sean:Yeah, I kick it real hard in the face.

    Stephen: Aw, stop it!

    • When discussing the subject of squirrel kings (squirrels with their tails stuck together), Jeremy Clarkson takes very careful notes.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Stephen Fry actually says this in a D series episode.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Gyles.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: In "Lumped Together", Ronni Ancona's attempts to make a pun about the inventor of the lava lamp drew pained reactions from everyone on the panel including herself.
    • In the "Holiday" episode, Rob Brydon's joke about stamp collecting earned pained reactions from the panel and an expression of abject shame from Brydon himself.
      Rob: I collected stamps for a very brief period like you in my early teens and I gave it up. I thought to myself: philatelywill get me nowhere.
    • Episode 10 of the 'F' series had a pun so bad it was a forfeit answer.

      Stephen: Now, how does a ferret build an airliner?
      Jo Brand: Really weasily.

    • This also happened in "Gravity". In a question about using water displacement to accurately determine someone's BMI, the forfeit was "whale weigh station".
    • In "Groovy", pointing out that a joke was bad was enough to earn a forfeit.

      Stephen: A man goes to the doctor, right. "Doctor, Doctor, I can't stop singing Auld Lang Syne." So the doctor says, "I'll have to send you to the Burns unit." (cue groans) Now, what's wrong with that joke?

      Lee Mack: Is it absolutely terrible?

      **KLAXON**(it isn't funny)

  • Large Ham: Well, BRIAN BLESSED was involved. Whereas everyone else's buzzers were little Christmas bells (with the obvious exception of Alan Davies), his was big massive church bells. And everyone cheered!
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Alan is always introduced this way.

    Stephen (introducing the panel as "four people who look a bit like other people"): Please welcome Tony Blair (Rory Bremner)... Tommy Cooper (Phill Jupitus)... Ruby Wax (Ronni Ancona)... and... Alan Davies.

    • His buzzers will generally count as this as well, such as one Christmas episode - all the guests' buzzers were Christmas songs, his was "Hava Nagila".
  • Literal-Minded: Then and again, for laughs.

    Clive: "Where do you stand on Bovril?"

    Stephen: "I never stand on Bovril. It's a stupid thing to do. But I quite like the taste of it, I have to say."

    • Including this gem:

      Stephen: What's three times more dangerous than war?

      Jimmy Carr: ...three wars.

  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Averted. Of all the BBC Panel Games, possibly bar Mock the Week
Sours: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/QI

M series qi

List of QI episodes

Wikimedia list article

QI (short for Quite Interesting) is a BBC comedy panel gametelevision show that began in 2003. It was created by John Lloyd, and was hosted by Stephen Fry until the end of Series 13 [M] after which Sandi Toksvig took over, and features permanent panellist Alan Davies. Each series covers topics that begin with a different letter of the alphabet; for example, the first series covered topics whose word began with "A". Thus it is referred to as "Series A" instead of "Series One".[1][2]

QI was given a full series after BBC executives responded well to a nonbroadcast pilot[3] and the first episode, "Adam" premiered on BBC Two on 11 September 2003.[4] From the second to the fifth series, episodes aired each week on BBC Two; the second and subsequent episodes were shown first on BBC Four in the time-slot after the previous episode's BBC Two broadcast. When the sixth series of QI began in 2008, the show moved to BBC One and the broadcasting of episodes on BBC Four was replaced in favour of an extended repeat broadcast on BBC Two the following day, titled QI XL. From the ninth series, QI returned to BBC Two on Friday at 10 pm with the XL edition on Saturdays. Lloyd acted as the producer for the first five series. Piers Fletcher became producer starting from Series F.[5]

On 9 September 2021, new episodes for "Series S" began airing on BBC Two. As of 28 January 2021, 265 episodes of QI have aired. This count does not include the unbroadcast pilot, two special episodes, 24 compilation episodes (from "Series G" onwards), and one episode containing outtakes from "Series E".

Series overview[edit]



Series A (2003)[edit]

Series B (2004)[edit]

Series C (2005)[edit]

Series D (2006)[edit]

Series E (2007)[edit]

Series F (2008–09)[edit]

Series G (2009–10)[edit]

Series H (2010–11)[edit]

Comic Relief Special (2011)[edit]

Series I (2011–12)[edit]

Sport Relief Special (2012)[edit]

Series J (2012–13)[edit]

Series K (2013–14)[edit]

Series L (2014–15)[edit]

Series M (2015–16)[edit]

Series N (2016–17)[edit]

Series O (2017–18)[edit]

Series P (2018–19)[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_QI_episodes
QI XL Series M Episode 4 - Miscellany

About: List of QI episodes

  • QI (short for Quite Interesting) is a BBC comedy panel game television show that began in 2003. It was created by John Lloyd, and was hosted by Stephen Fry until the end of Series 13 [M] after which Sandi Toksvig took over, and features permanent panellist Alan Davies. Each series covers topics that begin with a different letter of the alphabet; for example, the first series covered topics whose word began with "A". Thus it is referred to as "Series A" instead of "Series One". QI was given a full series after BBC executives responded well to a nonbroadcast pilot and the first episode, "Adam" premiered on BBC Two on 11 September 2003. From the second to the fifth series, episodes aired each week on BBC Two; the second and subsequent episodes were shown first on BBC Four in the time-slot after the previous episode's BBC Two broadcast. When the sixth series of QI began in 2008, the show moved to BBC One and the broadcasting of episodes on BBC Four was replaced in favour of an extended repeat broadcast on BBC Two the following day, titled QI XL. From the ninth series, QI returned to BBC Two on Friday at 10 pm with the XL edition on Saturdays. Lloyd acted as the producer for the first five series. Piers Fletcher became producer starting from Series F. On 28 May 2020, new episodes for "Series R" began airing on BBC Two. As of 28 January 2021, 265 episodes of QI have aired. This count does not include the unbroadcast pilot, two special episodes, 24 compilation episodes (from "Series G" onwards), and one episode containing outtakes from "Series E". (en)
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  • List of QI episodes#Series A (en)
  • List of QI episodes#Series B (en)
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  • List of QI episodes#Series O (en)
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  • List of QI episodes#Pilot (en)
  • List of QI episodes#Comic Relief Special (en)
  • List of QI episodes#Sport Relief Special (en)
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  • QI (short for Quite Interesting) is a BBC comedy panel game television show that began in 2003. It was created by John Lloyd, and was hosted by Stephen Fry until the end of Series 13 [M] after which Sandi Toksvig took over, and features permanent panellist Alan Davies. Each series covers topics that begin with a different letter of the alphabet; for example, the first series covered topics whose word began with "A". Thus it is referred to as "Series A" instead of "Series One". (en)
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Sours: https://dbpedia.org/page/List_of_QI_episodes

You will also be interested:


For other uses, see Qi (disambiguation).

"QI (TV series)" redirects here. For the Czech, Dutch and Swedish versions, see Qi (disambiguation) § Television.

British comedy panel game television quiz show

QI (short for Quite Interesting) is a British comedypanel game television quiz show created and co-produced by John Lloyd, and features permanent panellist Alan Davies. Stephen Fry was host of the show from its initial pilot, before departing after the final episode of the M series in 2016, exactly halfway through the alphabet, with frequent QI panellist Sandi Toksvig replacing him at the beginning of the N series in 2016.[4]

The format of the show focuses on Davies and three other guest panellists answering questions that are extremely obscure, making it unlikely that the correct answer will be given. To compensate, the panellists are awarded points not only for the correct answer, but also for interesting ones, regardless of whether they are correct or even relate to the original question, while points are deducted for "answers which are not only wrong, but pathetically obvious"[5] – typically answers that are generally believed to be true but in fact are misconceptions. These answers, referred to as "forfeits", are usually indicated by a loud klaxon and alarm bell, flashing lights, and the incorrect answer being flashed on the video screens behind the panellists. Bonus points are sometimes awarded or deducted for challenges or incorrect references, varying from show to show. QI has a philosophy that "everything is interesting if looked at in the right way".[6] Many factual errors in the show have been corrected in later episodes or on the show's blog.

For its first five series shown between 2003 and 2007, which corresponded to the first five letters of the alphabet, episodes premiered on BBC Four before receiving their first analogue airing on BBC Two a week later. From 2008 and 2011, the show was moved to BBC One, with an extended-length edition of each episode often broadcast on BBC Two a day or two after the regular show's broadcast under the title of QI XL.[7] Series G and H saw the regular show broadcast in a pre-watershed slot with the extended edition remaining within a post-watershed slot. Beginning with the I series, the regular show returned to a post-watershed slot on BBC Two. Syndicated episodes of previous series are regularly shown on Dave. In November 2020 a new compilation series titled QI XS started, with a run-time of 14 minutes per episode.[8]

The show has received very positive ratings from critics and has been nominated for multiple awards; QI itself has the highest viewing figures for any show broadcast on BBC Two and Dave.[9][10] Several books, DVDs and other tie-ins to the show have been released, and international versions of QI have been made in other countries.

Format and concept[edit]

Comedian Alan Davies(pictured in 2007) has been a permanent QIpanellist in every series.

The panel consists of four participants: three rotating guests and one regular, Alan Davies, who has the seat to the immediate right of the host.[fn 1] Davies has appeared in every episode, although in "Divination" he was not able to appear at the studio but was still able to play "from beyond".[fn 2] Despite frequent wins, Davies often finishes last due to incurring forfeits.[11]

Questions posed to the panellists are often misleading, obscure, or very difficult. Providing an "obvious but wrong"[12] answer (referred to as a "forfeit") results in a sequence of klaxons, alarm bells, and flashing lights and a score penalty. Davies is often the panellist who gives these answers.[12] In the first two series, Fry produced the given answer on a card to show the panellists, while it also flashed on the large screens behind them (except in the pilot episode and the first show of the first series, when only the cards were used.)[13] In the third series and onward, Fry's answer cards were dispensed with altogether, leaving only the screens as proof that such answers had been predicted.

Because the show's creators expected that hardly anyone would be able to give a correct answer without significant prompting, they instead encourage sheer "interestingness", which is how points are mainly scored.[14] As such, tangential discussions are encouraged, and panellists are apt to branch off into frivolous conversations, give voice to trains of thought, and share humorous anecdotes from their own lives.[14] The number of points given and taken away are normally decided by the host or beforehand by QI researchers known as "The QI Elves". For example, in one episode Davies was docked 10 points for suggesting "oxygen" to the question "What is the main ingredient of air?"[15]

Negative scores are common, and occasionally even the victor's score may be negative. Score totals are announced at the conclusion of the show. Fry has said, "I think we all agree that nobody in this universe understands QI's scoring system."[16] John Lloyd, QI's creator, has, on one occasion, admitted that not even he has any idea how the scoring system works, but there is someone who is paid to check on the scores.[17] According to the Series A DVD, guests are allowed the right of appeal if they believe their score is wrong, but none has so far exercised that right.[14]


Panellists are given buzzers to use in signalling a response, each of which produces a different sound when pressed. For the first three series, the sounds were seemingly random things or followed an arbitrary theme in each episode, such as commonly heard everyday sounds in the Series C episode "Common Knowledge." From Series D onward, all four sounds are based on the particular episode's theme, such as in the Series F episode "Films and Fame" (sound clips associated with well-known movies, with Davies receiving Porky Pig's stuttering "That's all, folks!"). The buzzers are always demonstrated at the beginning of the programme, but are usually given a shortened version for repeated use during the episode, mostly in General Ignorance.[citation needed] Davies "always gets the most demeaning sound" for his buzzer.[18]

Sometimes, the buzzers have unique points to them, such as having questions based on them; in most cases they are usually about Davies' own[citation needed]. For example, one of his buzzer noises in the Series D episode "Descendants" sounded like a Clanger, and the panel had to try and guess what was being said, while in the Series F episode "Fakes and Frauds", all the buzzers sounded like ordinary household objects, but three turned out to be the sound of the superb lyrebird mimicking the noises. In other episodes, they were sometimes changed to suit the theme of an episode; for the Series D episode "Denial and Deprivation", the panellists had to use unique buzzers – two had bells, one flicked a ruler over the edge of a school desk, and Davies squeezed a toy chipmunk – while in the Series G episode "Green", the buzzers were replaced with whistles so the show could be seen to be eco-friendly. On one occasion, points were automatically deducted from Davies' score solely because the buzzer did not match the theme of the episode, or activated the Klaxon.[19]

General Ignorance[edit]

See also: The Book of General Ignorance

In a parody of ubiquitous general knowledge quizzes, the final round is off-topic and called "General Ignorance". It focuses on seemingly easy questions which have widely believed but wrong answers. Whereas in the main rounds of the show, the panellists' buzzer usage is not usually enforced, the "General Ignorance" questions are introduced by the host's reminder to keep "fingers on buzzers". "General Ignorance" was featured in every episode until the I (ninth) series, but featured only occasionally in the J (tenth) and K (eleventh) series before appearing regularly again in the L (twelfth) series. Due to the large number of "obvious but wrong" answers, panellists—especially Davies—usually incur the greatest point losses in this round.[citation needed]

Tasks and themes[edit]

In a number of episodes, either the set, the panellists' clothing, the opening theme, or a mixture of all, are changed to match the episode's theme. For example, in "Denial and Deprivation", the set was replaced with an auctioneer stand for Fry and school desks or side tables for the panellists, and the lighting was stripped down;[20] while in "Health and Safety", the panellists wore hard hats, safety glasses, and bright yellow work vests and Fry wore a doctor's white coat and stethoscope.[21]

In some episodes, an extra task is given to the panellists to complete during the course of an episode, which can earn them extra points. Such tasks have included a drawing contest,[22] or spotting an item on the video screens and waving a "joker" card (e.g. Cuttlefish.) Several series have had a recurring task spanning every episode, often involving the use of a joker card to respond to a question whose answer fit a specified theme. Examples include "The Elephant in the Room" (series E, elephants), "Nobody Knows" (Series I, for questions without a known answer) and "Spend a Penny" (Series L, lavatories).

In addition to assigning tasks, Fry performed scientific experiments or demonstrations during certain episodes. He often did so once an episode in the J, K and L series, where they were called "Jolly Japes", "Knick-Knakes" and "Lab Larks", respectively, and usually occurred towards the end of the episode. Such experiments either used simple objects, various chemical compounds, odd contraptions, or a mixture of all. If an experiment's outcome was too fast to be seen, a short "replay" of it was shown, (sometimes with multiple angles) to reveal precisely what happened.


Veteran comedy producer John Lloydwas the driving force behind QI's creation.

Writer and former BBC producer John Lloyd devised the format of the show, and it is produced by Quite Interesting Limited, an organisation set up by Lloyd. QI was originally seen as being an "Annotated Encyclopædia Britannica ... the world's first non-boring encyclopaedia."[14] As a panel game, it was conceived as a radio show, with Lloyd as chairman.[23] While developing the show with Peter Fincham and Alan Yentob, Lloyd decided that it would work better on television. The three pitched it to Lorraine Heggessey, controller of BBC One at the time. Heggessey passed on the format, opting to commission a similar panel game called Class War, which was never made. When Fincham became controller of BBC One, Lloyd pitched it to him, only to be turned down by his former collaborator. Eventually, he pitched it to Jane Root, then controller of BBC Two, who agreed to develop it.[24] When it was decided that the show would air on television, Michael Palin was offered the job of chairman with Fry and Davies as captains of the "cleverclogs" and "dunderheads" teams, respectively.[23] However, when Palin decided not to take the job, the producers opted to change the format; Fry became the host, with Davies as the only regular panellist.[23][25] Root commissioned a pilot and a further 16 episodes after that, although budget limitations reduced the first series to 12 episodes.[24]

In October 2015, it was announced that Fry would be stepping down as host after Series M and would be replaced by Sandi Toksvig.[25] Fry described his position on QI as "one of the best jobs on television",[26] but that "it was time to move on". According to Alan Davies, Fry quit because the BBC cut the budget, so that three shows had to be recorded on the same day. "For budget reasons, they ended up making him do three shows in 24 hours", Davies said.[27] Toksvig said that "QI is my favourite television programme both to watch and to be on".[28] Lloyd said that Toksvig will be "the first female host of a mainstream comedy panel show on British television",[29] and that although she is very different from Fry, she "will bring to the show the same kind of wonderful thing that Stephen does, the mixture of real brains and a hinterland of knowledge, plus this naughty sense of humour." He also said it will give the show a chance to "do things in a slightly different way".[30]

  • Stephen Fry was the QI Master from the pilot through to Series M in 2015.

  • Danish-born Sandi Toksvig, a regular QI guest (Bantermeister), took over from Fry as QI Master from Series N in 2016.


The QIpanel set, seen empty in 2009, incorporates the QIlogo.

Recordings usually take place over a few weeks in May or June; three episodes are typically filmed per week and sixteen are filmed for each series.[31] Series A–P were filmed at The London Studios, with Series Q onwards being filmed at Television Centre.[32]

In the morning on the day of recording, the studio has to be set up. Seven cameras are used to record QI.[33] To check that images, forfeits, buzzers and lighting are working, the first technical rehearsal is hosted by floor manager Guy Smart with stand-ins for panellists. Fry, who was given the list of questions roughly an hour beforehand,[14] hosted the second technical rehearsal at 2:00 pm.[34] Guests may have time to practise with a set of warm-up questions.[33]

For earlier series, warm-up comedians were used before recording began, frequently Stephen Grant, credited as the "audience wrangler".[35] However, there have been no warm-ups for recent series. Fry recorded and tweeted audience AudioBooms and introduced the guests before the show.[33] Recordings start at either 4:30 pm or 7:30 pm and last up to two hours,[27] although only 30 minutes of footage is used for normal episodes and 45 minutes for "XL" episodes. By 10:00 pm, recording has usually finished and the set has been disassembled.[33] Roughly 16 questions are asked and about half of those make it into the show;[33] about 20% of material researched is used in a QI episode, while other facts may appear in the XL versions, a QI book, on QI's Twitter feed or on their website.[34]

In March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two episodes of series R were filmed without an audience, due to social distancing requirements. Further series R episodes were recorded with a virtual audience via Zoom.[36]

Questions seen beforehand[edit]

The makers of the show insist that the answers are not given to the panellists beforehand.[37] The host is given a list of questions about an hour before the show, for preparatory purposes, but the guests are forbidden to ask for preparatory materials or other help.[14] Alan Davies never does any preparation.[14]

In an interview with the Radio Times regarding the current state of the BBC, Fry revealed that one of the regular panellists insists on seeing the questions before they appear in the show.

"There's only one regular guest who always insists on seeing the questions beforehand and prepares for them. I won't tell you his or her name," he said. "It really annoys me. In fact, one day, I'll make sure that person is given a list from another programme because they don't need them."[38][39]

Following this comment, people asked Fry to come out and say who it was, with several people posting their suggestions as to who it was. Fry later posted on his Twitter account that it was neither Davies nor Rob Brydon.[40]


The research for the show is mostly carried out by seven people called the "QI Elves", a team which has included Justin Pollard, Vitali Vitaliev,[41] Molly Oldfield (daughter of Mike Oldfield), and Jenny Ryan.[42] The "elves" devise the questions for the show, and one is on set during filming who is able to communicate with the host during the show to provide and correct information.[41] Other people involved in researching questions and compiling the scripts are John Mitchinson and Piers Fletcher, known (along with Justin Pollard, Molly Oldfield, and James Harkin) as the Question Wranglers,[41] whose research uses both Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia.[43] The QI website also has a forum.[44]

A QI Elves podcast, No Such Thing as a Fish, began on 8 March 2014. The title is taken from an entry into the Oxford Dictionary of Underwater Life, which was used on the show. The audio from the first episode in which they discuss how they found this fact is used as an introduction.[45] Regular elves are Anna Ptaszynski, James Harkin, Dan Schreiber, and Andrew Hunter Murray, with occasional appearances from Alex Bell and Anne Miller. Schreiber is the host of the show. The theme song is "Wasps" from the band Emperor Yes, which is based on a fact about bees which was used on QI. The song is written as an exchange between the bees, as they defend their hive from attacking wasps by swarming the wasp, and using their body heat to kill the wasps by overheating.[46] A TV show entitled No Such Thing as the News aired for two seasons in 2016, following a similar format based around news stories and current events. In 2018 an online behind the scenes series that followed the podcasters on their UK tour was released called 'Behind The Gills'.[47]


Main article: List of QI episodes

In QI, every series takes its theme from a different letter of the alphabet, starting with the letter "A". Series are referred to by letter rather than number. The first series started on 11 September 2003, and consisted of topics beginning with "A". The second series consisted of topics beginning with "B" and also saw the first attempts to pay attention to a particular theme throughout one episode, e.g. "Birds" (the over-riding theme did not necessarily begin with "B", although the questions always contained an element that did.) The only exceptions to the alphabet system have been the Christmas specials, where the topics are often Christmas-based and do not necessarily correspond to that series' letter (although greater attempts have been made to do so since Series D).[citation needed]

Series D was the first to see all the episodes focus upon a single topic or theme, beginning with the series letter (e.g. Danger), and for each to be given an official title connected to the topic/theme. It also saw Fry modify his introduction of the panellists, by incorporating the theme/topic of the episode, with Davies often getting the "demeaning" introduction. This trend has continued with each subsequent series; episodes from previous series were retroactively given titles. A video podcast (featuring the best moments with some out-takes) was planned to accompany Series E, but this was instead turned into a set of "Quickies" featured on the QI homepage of the BBC's website. As this decision was not reached until after recording, the videos are still referred to as "vodcasts" by whoever is introducing them (usually Fry but occasionally a panellist or even the audience.)[48] The series was ended by a special outtake compilation entitled "Elephants".

Points may be given to (or taken from) the studio audience, and five episodes have the distinction of being won by the audience: "Death", the fifth episode in Series D; "England", the 10th episode in Series E; "Flora & Fauna", the 10th episode in Series F; "Greeks", the 14th episode in Series G; "Next", the 15th episode in Series N; and "Quantity and Quality", the 15th episode in Series Q. The audience's win in "Greeks" was only announced during the XL broadcast as their contribution was cut out of the main broadcast. In contrast, the audience lost the fifth episode of Series E, "Europe", receiving a forfeit of −100 when they incorrectly sang the first stanza of the German national anthem, and the fourth episode of Series Q, “Queasy Quacks”, when they received a forfeit for referring to the first patient in a disease outbreak as Patient Zero. Several others have scored points in certain episodes by making appearances on the set or screens; these have included ASIMO (a humanoid robot) and US President Barack Obama.

A special stand-alone episode was filmed between 1:00 and 2:00 am (GMT) on 6 March 2011 as part of Comic Relief's special 24 Hour Panel People featuring David Walliams, who appeared in various old and new panel game shows throughout a 24-hour period. The shows were streamed live on the Red Nose Day website, and parts of each show were shown during five half-hour specials on Comic Relief. The QI episode featured panellists Sue Perkins, Jo Brand, Russell Tovey and David Walliams. Davies admitted through Twitter that he was asked to host the episode when it was not certain if Fry would be available, but Davies declined. Once Fry confirmed his participation, Davies did not hear back from the production team.[49] Unlike the classic format of the show where most questions follow a subject, this episode was instead an hour-long General Ignorance round.[50]

Guest appearances[edit]

Main article: List of QI panellists

As of 16 September 2021, the following have all appeared multiple times as one of the guest panellists on the show. This list only includes "canonical" episodes of the BBC show. It does not include the unbroadcast pilot, nor the special editions for the Comic Relief and Sport Relief telethons, nor any live stage editions.

Phill Jupitus is the only guest to have appeared in every series to date. Rich Hall has the highest number of guest appearances in a single series—six times in Series B (half of the episodes that year), while David Mitchell has won the most episodes of any guest panellist, with 11.

Bailey, Brand, Carr and Jupitus are the only guest panellists to have made 35 or more appearances.

a.1 Also made an additional appearance in the unbroadcast pilot.
b.12 Also made an additional appearance in the live Comic Relief episode.
c.123 Also made an additional appearance in the live Sport Relief episode.
d.1 Excluding Series N onwards. Toksvig took over hosting duties from Fry from the start of Series N.

International broadcasts[edit]

As of 2011, QI is distributed by Fremantle.[3]

In Australia, QI is broadcast on the ABC. The programme was first broadcast on 20 October 2009 after the surprise ratings success of Stephen Fry in America. The ABC aired QI Series F first, but subsequently, in July 2010, ABC1 began broadcasting QI from the very beginning with Series A.[51][52]QI has also been broadcast on the pay TV channel UKTV.[53]

In March 2010, QI began a run in New Zealand on Prime.[54] On 27 May 2011, Series A of QI was broadcast in South Africa on BBC Entertainment.[55]QI series A-Q has also aired on BBC Entertainment in the Nordic countries.[56]

There have been several attempts to broadcast QI in the United States. US networks that have tried to broadcast the series include Comedy Central, PBS, Discovery Channel and BBC America. Show creator and producer John Lloyd said that one factor in the failure to get the show broadcast is due to the cost. As QI features several images during each episode there are copyright issues. Lloyd said in an interview with TV Squad that: "No country in the world has bought the original show and this is partly a matter of cost. The pictures in the background of the show are only cleared for UK usage, so until the show is bought by a Stateside TV company and the rights cleared for World, the programme (is) unaffordable by smaller countries."[57] Amongst the famous names also to express anger over QI not being shown in the US include comedian John Hodgman, who appeared as a "fifth guest" in the second episode of Series G.[58] In 2013, QI was picked up in the US by the streaming video service Hulu.[59] On 30 January 2015 BBC America announced that they had acquired QI and planned on airing the show, beginning with Series J, on 19 February 2015.[60]

Davies has criticised QI being repeated so often, saying "QI being in a soup of shows on one of these repeat channels ... completely devalues the brand". Davies thought the show would gain more viewers when a new series aired if channels made "an audience wait for a couple of months".[61]

Versions and spin-offs[edit]

International versions[edit]

In 2008, the QI format was sold to the Dutch broadcaster VARA. Also called QI, the Dutch version of the show aired for the first time on 27 December 2008 and was hosted by the writer Arthur Japin with the comedian Thomas van Luyn taking the role of regular panellist.[62][63] Japin also appeared (in the audience) in a British QI episode, "Gothic", explaining how the name Vincent van Gogh should be pronounced. The Dutch series was discontinued after six episodes.

A Swedish version of QI started airing on SVT1 8 September 2012, and was called Intresseklubben. Comedian Johan Wester hosted Intresseklubben, and Anders Jansson was featured as the regular panellist.[64] A second series covering the letter B started airing in September 2013;[65] Series C was recorded in June 2014 and aired in late 2014,[66] while season D was recorded in June 2015 and started airing in August 2015.

A Danish version of QI, called Quiz i en hornlygte aired on DR2 between 2012 and 2013. The show was hosted by Danish comedian Carsten Eskelund. While not directly branded as a Danish version of QI, it maintained some recognisable elements, such as the difficulty of some questions and awarding points for interesting answers as well as negative points for wrong, but widely believed, answers.[67]

The Czech version of QI was first broadcast on TV Prima on 14 August 2013. The programme is hosted by Leoš Mareš, with Patrik Hezucký appearing as a guest in every episode.[68][69]

The QI Test[edit]

The QI Test was a planned spinoff version of QI that was to be broadcast on BBC Two. Created by Lloyd, Talkback Thames' Dave Morely and former QI Commercial Director Justin Gayner, The QI Test differed from QI in that it would have featured members of the public as contestants instead of comedians and celebrities. It would have been broadcast during the daytime schedules. The pilot was not hosted by Fry and was recorded in November 2009, but a series was never broadcast.[70]

Mistakes and fact correction[edit]

Some of the answers on the show have been disputed and shown to be incorrect. In Series A, the show claimed that the longest animal in the world was the lion's mane jellyfish,[71] but this was later corrected in Series C, saying that the longest animal in the world is the bootlace worm.[72]

Members of the public and members of the QI website contact the show to correct information. At the end of the third series, Dara Ó Briain was docked points for having stated, in the previous series, that the triple point of water is zero degrees Celsius, an answer which earned him 2 points at the time.[73] Viewers had written in to say that the triple point of water is in fact 0.01 degrees, and so the 2 points awarded Ó Briain in the previous series were revoked and he received a further deduction of 10 points for "saying a now obvious answer".[74]

Various other retractions are made by the producers of the show on the special features of the DVD releases. The origin of the error may also be explained. For instance, Fry made a mistake when explaining why helium makes your voice higher, in the Series B Christmas special. He claimed that the gas only affected the frequency, but not the pitch, despite them being the same thing; in actuality, the timbre is affected.[citation needed]

Information contributed by a panellist during a discussion, but which has since been found to be false, have also been corrected. In the "Knowledge" episode in Series K it was explained that many facts on the show are later shown to be incorrect. Points were refunded to three panellists who had appeared previously; The largest refund went to Davies, who received in excess of 700 wrongly deducted points.[75] Fry gave some examples of incorrect facts told in previous episodes, such as ones relating to lobster ages,[76] the evolution of giraffe's necks[77] and millipede legs.[78]

More recently, the online forum now includes a "QI Qibbles" blog, which aims to rectify further mistakes in the series.[79]

Notable examples[edit]

Welsh word for "blue"[edit]

The error that has attracted the most complaints to date was made in Series B, when it was claimed that the Welsh language has no word for blue. In fact it is glas.[80] The error was explained on the "Banter" section of the Series B DVD as a mistake on the part of John Lloyd himself (the show's producer).


An episode in Series B claimed that the language spoken by children's TV characters Bill and Ben was called "Flobbadob" and was named after the onomatopoeic phrase that supposed creator Hilda Brabban's younger brothers (after whom the characters were named) gave to their bath farts during their early childhood.[81] However, in Series D, Fry read out the following letter written by Silas Hawkins, the son of veteran voice-over talent Peter Hawkins, who provided the original voices of the characters:

The fart-in-the-bath story was trotted out last year in an episode of Stephen Fry's otherwise admirable quiz show QI. It (the story) first appeared some twenty years ago in a newspaper article, to which my father immediately wrote a rebuttal. This was obviously ferreted out by some BBC researcher. It may be quite interesting, but in this case, it just isn't true.[82]

Fry then apologised and corrected the error, saying "Their language is called 'Oddle poddle'. 'Flobbadob' means 'Flowerpot' in Oddle poddle."[82]

Main article: Flower Pot Men § Controversy

It has later been established that while Hilda Brabban did sell stories about characters named Bill and Ben to the BBC in the 1950s, these bear no resemblance to the Bill and Ben of the Flower Pot Men.[83]


QI has stated it follows a philosophy: everything in the world, even that which appears to be the most boring, is "quite interesting" if looked at in the right way. The website states that:

"We live, they say, in The Information Age, yet almost none of the information we think we possess is true. Eskimos do not rub noses. The rickshaw was invented by an American. Joan of Arc was not French. Lenin was not Russian. The world is not solid, it is made of empty space and energy, and neither haggis, whisky, porridge, clan tartans nor kilts are Scottish. So we stand, silent, on a peak in Darien a vast, rolling, teeming, untrodden territory before us. QI country. Whatever is interesting we are interested in. Whatever is not interesting, we are even more interested in. Everything is interesting if looked at in the right way. At one extreme, QI is serious, intensely scientific, deeply mystical; at the other it is hilarious, silly and frothy enough to please the most indolent couch-potato."[6]

On 28 December 2009, the BBC Radio 4 panel game The Unbelievable Truth, hosted by frequent QI guest panellist David Mitchell, broadcast a New Year's Special which paid tribute to QI. The show featured Fry, Davies and Lloyd on the panel, as well as Rob Brydon, another regular QI participant.[84]

Controversies and criticism[edit]

Content perceived as offensive[edit]

In December 2010, panellists on QI made jokes during a discussion about Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who survived both atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.[85] Yamaguchi had died only earlier that year.[85] The Japanese embassy in London wrote a letter of complaint to the BBC about the content of its quiz show after being alerted to the content when viewers in Japan contacted diplomatic staff.[85] Yamaguchi's daughter also made known how upset she was as a result of the comments broadcast on the BBC.[86] She said that Britain, as a nuclear power, had no right to "look down" on her father.[87] In January 2011, the BBC issued an apology for "any offence caused" to Japan by the incident, recognising "the sensitivity of the subject matter for Japanese viewers".[85] In February 2011, the BBC cited a "strength of feeling" in Japan following its atomic bomb joke broadcast in its decision to cancel the filming of part of its Planet Word documentary in the country,[88] which was due to be presented by Fry.[89]

In February 2011, the BBC received several complaints about jokes made in an episode of QI about Margaret Thatcher. Regular panellist Jo Brand commented that Lady Thatcher sounded like "a device for removing pubic hair". Later, panellist Phill Jupitus shouted "Burn the witch!" when a digitally altered picture of Thatcher, showcasing the Thatcher effect optical illusion, was shown on-screen. Several Conservative politicians condemned the remarks; and Lord Tebbit complained that "Lady Thatcher has been treated like this by the BBC for the past 30 years".[90]

In 2011, an episode of QI featuring Jeremy Clarkson was withdrawn due to controversial comments Clarkson had recently made about people committing suicide by jumping in front of trains. The QI episode did not contain any such statements, but was postponed "to avoid putting Clarkson in the spotlight". The episode, on the subject of "idleness", was broadcast later.[91]

On 11 January 2013, an episode of QI ending with Fry reading a limerick about paedophilia was criticised by viewers, especially as it was broadcast directly before a Newsnight report on Jimmy Savile. The BBC Trust described the incident as "unfortunate and regrettable" and the limerick as "capable of causing offence", but ruled it was not in breach of BBC guidelines.[92]

Gender gap[edit]

Number of female panellists in the first 170 episodes of QI.[93]

  None (38%)

  One (55.9%)

  Two (5.4%)

  Three (0.7%)

The BBC has received criticism regarding the lack of women on their comedy panel shows. As a result, the corporation decided to ban all-male panels on comedy shows in February 2014,[94] with BBC's director of TV Danny Cohen stating in an interview with The Observer that "shows without women are unacceptable".[95] In November 2014, Mirror reported stats revealing that 38% of all QI episodes at that time had featured only men, 55.9% featured only one woman, and only the remaining 6.1% had two or three women, out of a total of three guest panellists per episode (the fourth one being regular panellist Alan Davies).[93] Clem Bastow of The Sydney Morning Herald was supportive of BBC's decision, saying that "left to their own devices, the producers of these shows are clearly failing massively when it comes to putting together line-ups that aren't just endless parades of the same old white men," and noted that this could motivate the producers to uncover some new talent.[96] In 2017, creator of QI John Lloyd commented on BBC's decision, telling the Cheltenham Literature Festival that "arguing a BBC quota for women panellists risked being mere tokenism", while his wife Sarah Wallace—director of QI Limited—stated that female comedians are hesitant to appear on the show.[97]

In April 2014, Sandi Toksvig, who was hosting The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4 at that time, had also criticised BBC's decision saying that "recruiting more female hosts would be a more desirable way of correcting the imbalance." She explained that women would feel more comfortable about participating with a female host, and described the fact that many quiz shows are presented by men as "slightly ridiculous".[98] In 2015, when Toksvig took over from Fry as a host of QI, she told the Guardian newspaper: "If I can show that by hosting a programme like this women neither destroy the social fabric of this country [nor] frighten the horses, it's a very good job." Nevertheless, Toksvig has acknowledged Fry's delicate treatment towards his female panellists,[99] and she herself continues to encourage them to be smart and funny when they appear on the show. In 2018, Emma Cox of Radio Times highlighted a notable difference between QI and other "aggressively masculine" panel shows.[100]

In September 2018, while responding to a question on equal pay at the Women's Equality Party's conference, Toksvig revealed that she receives 40% of what Stephen Fry was being paid as the host of QI, and the same amount as panellist Alan Davies. Talent fees for QI are managed by Talkback.[101][102][103]


You feel like you're at the pub with the funny, clever people, ear-wigging on their slightly tipsy meanderings, rather than standing against a wall while they fire their joke cannons at you. It draws you in, all that familiarity and casual pontification.

Julia Raeside of The Guardian[18]

QI was received very positively by its viewers. It was the most popular programme on BBC Four in 2005,[104] and one of its books, The Book of General Ignorance, became a global best-seller for Christmas 2006.[105][106]

QI has been supported by nearly all critics. Peter Chapman said, "When the schedules seem so dumbed-down, it's a delight to encounter the brainy and articulate Stephen Fry. He excels in this format, being both scathing and generous."[107] Another critic, Laura Barton said, "QI and its canny coupling of Stephen Fry and Alan Davies, which manages to condense tweedy goodness, cockney charm, pub trivia and class war into one half-hour."[108]

Julia Raeside from The Guardian reviewed the show during its tenth series, calling it "still rather more than quite interesting" and complimenting it for being "one of the last truly popular programmes on mainstream television where comedians are allowed to be clever". Raeside noted ratings were still high, as four million viewers in total watched the first J series episode of QI and QI XL.[18] American critic Liesl Schillinger described QI as "Jeopardy! with Stephen Colbert as host, with Steve Martin and Ellen DeGeneres as guests, working off a game board loaded with unanswerable questions."[109]

Matt Smith gave QI Live a positive review, calling it "funny, educational, and ... quite interesting"; Smith noted there was a "great deal of Fry worship" and that, due to high ticket prices, "only the most dedicated Fry fans ... would come to this show". He commented that "much like the television show, your enjoyment of the stage version will be affected by how you perceive the guests", but went on to say that he enjoyed the line-up in the show he saw.[110]


Media releases[edit]

QI has entered a number of different media, and has seen an increasing number of tie-in DVDs, books and newspaper columns released since 2005.


United Kingdom[edit]

The first QI book was 2006's The Book of General Ignorance, published in hardback on 5 October by Faber and Faber. (ISBN 9780571233687)[125] Written by producer and series-creator John Lloyd and QI's head of research, John Mitchinson, it includes a foreword by Fry and "Four words" by Davies ("Will this do, Stephen?".) Most of the book's facts and clarifications have appeared on the programme, including its list of 200 popular misconceptions, many of which featured during the "General Ignorance" rounds. On 8 December 2006, the book "became a surprise bestseller over the Christmas period, becoming Amazon's number one Global bestseller for Christmas 2006."[126] By the end of January 2007, it had sold more than 300,000 copies (and subsequently over half a million[127]), paving the way for subsequent (projected) annual book releases to capitalise on the UK Christmas book market.[126] The Official QI website notes that it will soon be published in 23 countries.[127]

Pocket-sized and audio versions of General Ignorance went on sale the following year. In 2008, a newly revised version was published under the title of The Book of General Ignorance: The Noticeably Stouter Edition. This edition corrected and updated some of the information from the first print, while adding 50 new sections (and extra illustrations) to the original 230. It also included quotes from the series, new "Four Words" by Davies and added a complete episode listing from Series A–F, along with an index.[128]

QI's second book, The Book of Animal Ignorance, was released in the UK (in the same hardback format) by Faber & Faber on 4 October 2007. (ISBN 978-0-571-23370-0)[129] It promised to be a "bestiary for the 21st century,"[130] and contains almost completely new quite interesting facts.[131] The book includes "400 diagrams and cartoons by the brilliant Ted Dewan", another Foreword by Stephen Fry and a "Forepaw" by Alan Davies.[131] This publication has also been followed by a pocket-sized version.[132]

On the Factoids feature of the Series A DVD, John Lloyd mentioned an idea he'd had for a QI book of quotations, under the working title Quote Interesting. This book was eventually published in 2008 as Advanced Banter.[128] Similarly, on the Banter feature of the Series B DVD, Lloyd also previewed the title of QI's fourth book, The QI Book of the Dead, which went on sale on 15 October 2009.[133]

7 October 2010 saw the publication of QI's fifth book—The Second Book of General Ignorance. Written by the same authors, this book covers a whole new series of questions on a wide variety of topics, which promises to prove that "everything you think you know is (still) wrong".[134]

The sixth QI book, 1,227 QI Facts To Blow Your Socks Off, a list of facts, was published on 1 November 2012. James Harkin, QI's chief researcher, co-wrote the book with Lloyd and Mitchinson.[135]

QI's first annual, The QI "E" Annual or The QI Annual 2008 was published by Faber and Faber on 1 November 2007, to coincide with the initial airing of the TV show's E series (ISBN 978-0-571-23779-1.)[136] Succeeding years have seen the publication of F, G and H annuals, concurrent with the BBC show's chronology, though retrospective annuals on the first four letters of the alphabet have yet to be published. The covers, which feature various cartoon scenes starring caricatures of Fry and regular QI panellists, are produced by David Stoten (one of Roger Law's Spitting Image team), who also contributed to the annuals' contents. Many of said cover stars are also credited with contributing content to the annuals, which also provide a showcase for Rowan Atkinson's talents as a 'rubber-faced' comic, as well as the comic stylings of Newman and Husband from Private Eye, Viz'sChris Donald, Geoff Dunbar, Ted Dewan and The Daily Telegraph's Matt Pritchett.[137]


A French edition entitled Les autruches ne mettent pas la tête dans le sable : 200 bonnes raisons de renoncer à nos certitudes ("Ostriches don't put their heads in the sand: 200 good reasons to give up our convictions") was published by Dunod on 3 October 2007. (ISBN 978-2-100-51732-9)[138] It is released as part of Dunod's "Cult.Science"/"Oh, les Sciences !" series, which also includes titles by Robert L. Wolke, Ian Stewart and Raymond Smullyan.[139]


An Italian edition entitled Il libro dell'ignoranza ("The book of ignorance") was published by Einaudi in 2007 and in 2009 the same publisher published Il libro dell'ignoranza sugli animali ("The book of ignorance about animals".)

United States[edit]

On 7 August 2007, The Book of General Ignorance was published in America by Harmony Books. (ISBN 0-307-39491-3) It features a sparser cover downplaying its links to the TV series, which had yet to be broadcast in the US. The book received glowing reviews from both Publishers Weekly[140] and The New York Times, which recommended it in its "Books Holiday Gift Guide".[141] (It subsequently entered the New York Times' "Hardcover Advice" best-seller charts at No. 10 on 9 December,[142] falling to No. 11 two weeks later where it stayed until mid-January, before falling out of the top 15 on 20 January.)[143]


A number of DVDs related to QI have also been released, including interactive quizzes, and complete series releases.

Interactive quizzes[edit]

On 14 November 2005 an interactive QI DVD game, called QI: A Quite Interesting Game, was released by Warner Home Video. A second interactive game, QI: Strictly Come Duncing followed on 26 November 2007, from Warner's Music division.[144] Both games feature Fry asking questions, and then explaining the answers in full QI-mode.

Series releases[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

A DVD release for the first series was the direct result of an internet petition signed by 1,821 people, which persuaded the BBC of the interest in such a move.[145] Series A, was therefore released by BBC Worldwide's DVD venture, 2 entertain Ltd. on 6 November 2006 (as "QI: The Complete First Series.")[146] It contains a number of outtakes as well as the unbroadcast pilot.[146] Sales over the Christmas period, however (in stark contrast to The Book of General Ignorance, which topped the Amazon.co.uk best-seller list), were not as strong as hoped.[126] A lack of adequate advertising is thought to be to blame (and subsequent episodes of QI have since trailed the DVD), and may have factored in the label change for Series B.[126][147][148] Series B was released on 17 March 2008,[147][148] followed by Series C on 1 September.[149] In 2014, a message on the QI site read "Due to a number of copyright issues there are difficulties releasing further series of QI on DVD".[150]

On 14 December 2015, the Network imprint announced on its website that it had made a deal with FremantleMedia so previously unreleased shows could be made available on DVD sometime in 2016; among the list was QI.[151] The DVD sets, released on 8 May 2017, were split into two initial volumes of series A-D and E-G, containing additional features including a 'Making of' feature, interviews and bloopers. Two additional sets, series H-J and K-M are scheduled for release on 23 October 2017.


A box-set of series 1–3 (Series A-C) was released in September 2011.[152] Additionally, a single DVD titled "The Best Bits" containing clips from Series G was released on 3 June 2010.[153] Two years later a three DVD set labelled as "Series 9" was released in August 2012, containing the Series H episodes.[154] The Series 9 DVD title was later changed to "The H Series"[155] and The Series J was released also on 5 March 2014.[156]

  1. ^This DVD was originally released as "Series 9" but later had its name changed to "The H Series".

Online releases[edit]

United Kingdom

United States
Multiple services have made QI available to stream in the United States, including Acorn TV (Series A through G)[167] and Hulu (Series I, J and K).[168]
As of September 2020, only series J-R were available through BritBox.[169]

Other media[edit]

Since 10 February 2007, a weekly QI column has run in The Daily Telegraph newspaper. Fifty-two columns were planned, originally alphabetically themed like the TV series and running from A to Z twice, but the feature is ongoing and was recently re-launched in the newspaper's Saturday magazine and online.[170] A QI feature has appeared in BBC MindGames magazine since its fifth issue, and revolves around facts and questions in the General Ignorance-mould. A weekly QI-linked multiple-choice question is featured in Radio Times, with the solution printed in the feedback section. QI also has an official website, QI.com, which features facts, forums and other information. It also links to QI's internet show QI News, a parody news show which broadcasts "News" items about things which are "quite interesting".[171]QI News stars Glenn Wrage and Katherine Jakeways as the newsreaders, Bob Squire and Sophie Langton.[171]


  1. ^After eighteen years and 257 episodes, Davies was finally placed to the immediate left in the R series episode "Reflections".
  2. ^Alan Davies was absent for the recording of this episode, as he did not want to miss his favourite football team, Arsenal, playing in the Champions League final that same evening. He did however make an appearance through pre-recorded material, which ended with him being 'teleported' to the match as he tested his buzzer.


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