Sunday, 11 March 2007

Quite Interesting Errors

One of the cornerstones of the QI philosophy is that people know less than they think they do.

However, QI's elves are not omniscient beings. Like any human, they are also capable of making mistakes. What makes them elven? They know their frailties and actively encourage others to expose them.

Here is a short list of some of the mistakes that have been made on the show. It's far from a comprehensive list, so please add some other errors in your comments.


In episode 1 of the B series, Stephen said that there is no Welsh word for the colour blue. That was plain wrong; the word is "glas".


On QI it was said that Berwick-upon-Tweed remained at war with Russia until 1966. However, the town was made part of Great Britain by a clause in an Act that imposed the Window Tax during the war. Although it was repealed within a year, the clause making Berwick part of the Great Britain remained on the statute books. Therefore the town was included as part of Great Britain when the peace treaty was signed at the end of the Crimean war.

Florence Nightingale

The nurse, well known for her actions in the Crimean War, did not invent the pie chart. William Playfair invented it nearly two decades earlier in 1801. He also invented the line and bar charts.

Piccadilly Circus

QI was right when it said that the statue in Piccadilly Circus is not Eros (the God in Greek mythology responsible for Love, Lust and Sex). However, it certainly isn't the Angel of Christian Charity. The statue is
Anteros (the Greek God of requited love) which was named by Sir Alfred Gilbert. The myth that it is the Angel of Christian Charity is believed to have come about when people insisted on mistaking Anteros for Eros (who many believed was not a fitting memorial to the Earl of Shaftsbury).


QI has repeated on several occasions (also in the book) that the Earth has more than one natural satellite. This refers to NEOs (Near Earth Objects) . However, they do not orbit the Earth and therefore they are not Moons. In fact they orbit the Sun on a similar orbit to the Earth. This error has been the subject of considerable debate on the QI forum.

Thanks to Gaazy, Jimherbert, Dr Bob (twice) and Saint Micheal who were the original users that posted these mistakes on the QI talk forum.


Freddie & Hollie said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on our blog, you are quite the QI fan! We like these bits where they got it wrong...they're only human after all.

Anonymous said...

Fry said the first man in space was (either Alan Shepard or John Glenn, I can't remember which). Pace, Yuri Gagarin.

rrpostal said...

I remember being very smug about catching them in a mistake once where it was a commonly held folk inaccuracy. I've been sitting here staring at my monitor for 10 minutes and can not remember what the error was. I find this ultimately much more frustrating than QI falling for the error to begin with! Grrr.

Anonymous said...

in Episode 12 of seris B it is claimed that animals were not depicted in Chriat's Nativity untill after St Francis of Assisi. However, this is clearly not true. As simple google of 11th century nativity comes up with plenty of examples. Here is one: