Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Everything QI: Quite Interesting

Welcome to the QI: Quite Interesting blog.

Not everyone knows what QI is, especially if you don't live in the UK. Hence, to officially launch my blog I have included here everything that you need to know about this excellent British comedy.

The TV Show

QI started life in 2003 as a comedy panel quiz on the BBC. Stephen Fry hosts the show and Alan Davies is the one member of the panel that appears in every programme. Although it is a quiz, none of the guests are expected to get any of the questions right because they are too hard. Instead, points are awarded for being interesting.

An important feature of the show is the General Ignorance round. This is full of questions that people believe they know the answer to but are totally wrong. Good examples would be "How many wives did Henry VIII have?". The answer is either 2 or 4, but it most certainly is not 6!

The show airs on Friday nights at 10:00pm on BBC2 and is usually followed by the next week's episode on BBC4 at 10:30pm. The show is the highest rating programme on BBC4 and always does very well on BBC2. It is also usually repeated on BBC2 on Saturdays in a varying time slot.

Each series is themed according to a letter of the alphabet, the first series being the A series, followed by the B series and so on.

The Book of General Ignorance

The TV show has given rise to The Book of General Ignorance which is based upon the round in the TV show. It is a list of 230 questions that most people believe they know the answer to but are completely wrong.

The book was written by John Lloyd (the TV show's producer and co-author of The Meaning of Liff) and John Mitchinson (the head researcher for the show). It also features a foreword by Stephen Fry and 4 words by Alan Davies.

The book became a surprise bestseller over the Christmas period, becoming Amazon's number one Global bestseller for Christmas 2006. Its success even shocked the authors and it has sold more than 300,000 copies. The book will go on sale in the USA in 2008 but it can already be bought in Canada.

A follow-up book is already being written called The Book of Animal Ignorance. The title is fairly self-explanatory.


In 2006 a petition was raised asking for the release of the first series of QI on DVD. It was one of few examples where a petition was successful (A Little Bit of Fry and Laurie being the other DVD that was released after a petition of this type). It received more than 1,500 signatures and was a significant factor for the BBC in approving its release.

However, sales over Christmas were poor, although this was largely due to a failure to adequately advertise the release of the DVD. Optimism of further releases of the rest of the series is high.

The series A DVD was preceded by a successful interactive DVD in 2005.

The QI Rolling News

In the last month the QI website began a news feature which endeavours to find the most interesting news there is on the Internet and collect it in one place for your pleasure. I've been one of those hounding down the news and you can read my stories here:

The QI Elves

The researchers for the show are called "Elves". They were first called this by Stephen Fry in the first series. These mythical creatures regularly post on the QI forum where they also do a good proportion of their research. One of the unique features of QI is that fans can easily get an interesting piece of information into the series as a question by posting their sourced research on the website. This has allowed the forum to become a thriving community in itself.

The QI Philosophy

One of the most significant features of QI is that it has developed its own philosophy. When John Lloyd was designing the programme he specifically wished to avoid the "book of facts" type of format. Instead of listing boring information the researchers hunt for the interesting nuggets of information that are so often left out of the classroom or textbook.

Above all QI is about anything and everything that is interesting.


Richard said...

Lovely idea for a blog. Keep going.

QI is absolutely one of the best things on TV and almost single handedly makes the license fee worth paying in little old Blighty.

txdave said...

Interesting comments, but prose too gray--maybe some variety in font/format, some pics, see wht I mean:

good luck