Thursday, 31 May 2007

QI E07 Recording Review

*This is episode E03 in the Autumn transmission order.

Recording seven of twelve for series E has now been and gone and with it came some regular guests and one new one...but I'll add that information in the 'hidden' part shortly...

The warm up was thankfully done by the regular Stephen Grant who certainly seemed on fire tonight - he even seemed to get a bit longer than normal which is great!

For some reason the studio seemed particularly cold again this evening - was the first thing Alan Davies mentioned as he came in...I can't believe there's a good reason for making it as chilly as it has been the last few weeks or so as it's never been an issue in previous years...

Now onto the more spoilery bits (if that's a word). I've been instructed to disguise anything that could potentially ruin the enjoyment of the TV programme however I doubt anything I could say would do that...

Tonight's guests were Phill Jupitus, Jimmy Carr and a QI newcomer, Johnny Vegas. The theme was Eating - what a great theme!!

Some of the topics discussed (in no particular order) were spaghetti, snails, popeye, rabbits and constipation.

Once again Stephen did an introduction and ending for the Vodcast...this time was while doing an impression of one of the guests!!

It was another long recording tonight with it not finishing until just after can make up your own minds as to whose fault it was for the overrun...

QI Fanatic is back tomorrow (if he gets in!) so I'll leave his blog in his capable hands...

Bye for now!

Saturday, 26 May 2007

QI E06 Recording Review

*This is episode E06 in the Autumn transmission order.

The 6th Episode
marks the halfway point in this series. It's all going far too quickly! I felt that this recording was slightly better than the last although I'm sure that other people's opinions will vary.

U-Girl (a member of the QI Forum) brought us all some very tasty flapjacks which were all consumed well before we went in. A huge thank you to U-Girl.

A new guy called Phil is now managing the queue for QI (may just be on Friday's though) so everyone cut him a bit of slack as he's new to all of this (he'll hate me for saying that if he reads this).

Gordon Southern did the warm up again last night. I was rather disappointed because he repeated word for word what he had done on Thursday. Although Stephen Grant does repeat some of his warm up sketch (we can't expect a whole new one every night) he does use the audience well so that the regulars get some new material. Fortunately Stephen says he is back next week. Hurrah!

Alan Davies got his phone out and filmed the audience as well as Stephen Fry. He claimed that he would put the video up on YouTube. Keep an eye out for it and post a comment if you do find it. YouTube is a big place of course! BTW, Alan Davies is not Welsh (although you probably knew that already).

Now for the spoilers. Remember to highlight the text below if you want to read it. Skip towards the end if you want to know something quite interesting about the blog. The first paragraph includes the details of the guests only.

The guests were Dara O'Briain, David Mitchell and Phill Jupitus. That means that we've made it through to the sixth episode with only one new guest in the series! All of the guests, as well as Alan, performed well with plenty of good laughs. I thought it was one of the better recordings even although it was one of the longest ever recordings (episode 2 of series D was longer but only very slightly). Technical issues at the start held things up slightly.

The theme of the episode was Europe. Subjects included; Belgium, Poland, Monasteries, Syphilis, Bananas, Bank Robbers, EU Laws (in a "call my bluff" round), Manakin Piss, Liechtenstein, Mountains, the EU Flag, Sir Walter Raleigh, the German National Anthem, German Wine, Economics and Notebooks.

Stephen Fry had a very lengthy rant about Windows (Stephen is well known for the fact that he uses a Mac). Surprisingly David Mitchell didn't jump into the conversation. However, I am sure that it will fail to make the final cut, or perhaps I will be surprised.

Props were used through out the episode, including a hard hat, flags, sausages and a nice statue for Stephen.

I was very amused when one of the panellists mentioned this blog (not by name) and even more specifically the reviews that I am writing. It's nice to know that Dara O'Briain is reading the blog. If Phill Jupitus is reading I can tell you that it's just a notebook and pen. No blackberry! If you had looked hard enough you would have spotted me writing my notes discretely in the front row. I'm a little disappointed in myself for not sticking my hand up and plugging the blog.

There seems a good chance that I wont be able to provide either of the reviews next week. It'll be Andrew that will be standing in for at least one of the reviews (I don't know which yet).

Update: My home internet is down! There a good chance that it wont be back by Saturday so even although I'll be at the Friday recording it may fall to Andrew to do both of this week's reviews.

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 16

Column number 16 is all about Prisons. Have a read here.

A review coming up this afternoon hopefully.

Friday, 25 May 2007

QI E05 Recording Review

*This is episode E10 in the Autumn transmission order.

It finally happened!
Episode five of series E was the episode with the 50th guest (finally a new person in the series). Read on to find out who it was (it was a special person too).

I didn't get a good look at the queue last night so I can't tell you how many failed to get in. I was amazed that Loose Women turned away some people though!

Gordon Southern was Stephen Grant's replacement last night. His performance was good and it's nice for the regulars to get a different performance (but we missed Stephen). The audience was suitably warmed up for the show.

A few things that may interest you (they wont be in the final cut). The audience was filled with guests from a school that Fry has been doing a documentary with. Also, the brother and sister of Douglas Adams (a good friend of the producer John Lloyd before he passed away) were sat in the audience.

Stephen Fry has revealed that he is taking Zyban, not as an antidepressant but to help him quit smoking. However, he said that it was having some interesting results with regards to his manic depression.

Lets get straight into the spoilers. As always, highlight the text if you want to read it, otherwise scroll down to the end for some Quite Exciting News. The first paragraph includes details of the guests.

The guests for Episode 5 of Series E were Sean Lock, Phill Jupitus and Charlie Higson. Higson is QI's 50th guest excluding the pilot and Alan Davies. For those that remember, Higson was the plasterer to whom Fry referred to in a story about himself and Mr Hugh Laurie in a previous episode. Charlie certainly produced a good performance in the show. All of the guests hit a large number of klaxons, although Charlie recovered most of his points before the end. The large amount of audience participation in this episode continued.

The theme of the show was England (all of the guests had English flags although Alan promptly switched his at the start of the show to a Welsh flag). Subjects included; Manners, Lakes, Athelstan, 2 Fingers, Eton, Jumbo, Bestsellers, Trades, Nutters, Bedford, Bluebirds, Elizabeth I, Counties, Swans and the Oxford History of England.

The show was good, although I have to say that I felt it wasn't quite up to the par of the first 3 that I saw. That said, I blame the lights which were left on to illuminate the audience that gave me a headache. I suspect that the two best laughs in the episode may fail to make the final cut. The one about Glenn McGrath's wife may not make the cut because his wife had cancer (unknown to Stephen) and McGrath has been known to be very angry when the joke is repeated. The other about the abuse of elderly people probably contained too much unbroadcastable content and whilst it was hilarious, I couldn't help but think of the Panorama episode on the subject.

Stephen revealed that the 5th series will be accompanied by Vodcasts (he needed to do the intro and outro for them at the end of the show) containing extra content much in the same way as the Graham Norton Show uses them. That'll be another thing to look forward to in the Autumn (A whole series, a DVD, two books and now a vodcast. These QI people really are spoiling us).

I am lucky to be able to travel to London again today to see tonight's episode so come back tomorrow for the next review.

Monday, 21 May 2007

BAFTA Results

Unfortunately Stephen Fry didn't win in either of the two categories where he was nominated. Whilst it is obviously a shame that Stephen didn't win, congrats must go to Johnathan Ross (recently a panelist on the show) for winning the Entertainment Performance award.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Fry Up For BAFTA Tonight

A quick reminder that Stephen Fry is up for the Entertainment Performance BAFTA tonight so make sure that you watch it live on BBC1.

We all wish Mr Fry the best of luck this evening.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

QI E04 Recording Review

*This is episode E01 in the Autumn transmission order.

The fourth episode
was hilarious, certainly the funniest that I've seen so far this series. I also have a lot more to tell you about at the end, so keep reading.

This time I didn't enter through either of the main doors. For this episode I entered through the front of the building and reported to reception. Of course that means that I don't really know what was going on in the queue last night (if someone wants to add a comment to this post, please do). Stephen Grant told me that fewer people were turned away on this occasion, just over a hundred. That's still a lot. However, a reliable source told me that Stephen's figure for the first show was not accurate. It wasn't 300 people who were turned away but 500 (which is about the same as the capacity of the studio). Considering that not all the tickets issued would have been used, you can see that the whole audience and more is double booked.

Stephen Grant's warm up was cut short last night. The audience were required to produce the sounds for the buzzers in a future episode (the audience of the second show on series D were also required to do this) which cut down his act. We'll look forward to his return and I am intrigued by how his stand in will perform next week.

Now for the spoilers. You should have worked out what to do by now, just highlight the text below if you want to read it. The first paragraph lists the guests if that is all that you want to know. If you want to, skip down to read about the green room.

The guests for EpE04 were Jimmy Carr, Rob Brydon and (as you already know) Bill Bailey. All of them performed excellently, including Alan. Stephen was rather teased for some reading trouble. I'll say no more since I think this might make the cut.

The topic for the evening was Engineering. The subjects (to the best of my memory) included Trains, More Trains, Bridges, Buildings, Tunnels, Facades, Nukes and AI.

Stephen had a toy train in which he placed sweets to send to those that got questions right. Alan delighted in sending his sweets to the audience (toffees are not ideal whilst you're on stage) although they never made it past the second row.

After the show me and my guest (Lucwhostalking on the QI forum) headed into the green room. If you don't know, a green room is where all of the stars and such hang around before and after a show (there's also a bar with free drinks). For fairly obvious reasons much of what is said in the green room should stay there. However, I can tell you that everyone on the show (with the exception of [highlight:] Jimmy Carr) was there as well as many of the elves. I had a very good chat with John Lloyd (the producer) as well as Flash (an elf) and James (Eggshaped) who most of you will know either from the forum or the posts that he has added here.

Now it is fair to say that neither Luc or me have ever experienced anything like the green room before and we were both rather out of our depth. Hence I didn't have much of a chance to chat with any of the guests in the short time I was there before I needed to catch the last train home. However, it will certainly be something that I remember for a long time.

Andrew will be back next week with one of the reviews (I don't 100% know which one yet).

I'll also add that next weekend (Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th May) UKTV Gold 2 is doing a marathon of QI with 18 episodes over the two days. If you get that channel, don't forget to watch. There are details at the bottom of the blog.

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 15

This week's column in the Daily Telegraph is all about Doctors. Have a clicky here.

BTW this is the 50th post on the blog (not very exciting really, I should have planned it better). So a quick thanks to all the regulars who have been reading the blog.

I'll add a review of Friday's recording later this morning (before you all watch the cup final) including a quick note about the green room (although I could only stay for an hour so I'll ask my guest to add a comment about the rest of the evening).

Friday, 18 May 2007

QI E03 Recording Review

*This is episode E11 in the Autumn transmission order.

Episode 3
means we are a quarter of the way into the series. This episode was excellent (for more reasons than one, which I will come to later).

Once again we entered through the back entrance. I suspect that this will be the case on every Thursday when HIGNFY is recorded. I arrived earlier this week so that I could be right at the front. That meant that I was in the first row (with plenty of leg room) so I also managed a quick chat with Stephen Grant and Flash (one of the elves). Once again a huge number of people were turned away.

James, also known as Eggshaped who did the post earlier in the week, was not having a good time with the screens. That may have been punishment for being a little naughty with one of his "factoids" (I'll come to this again in the spoilers section). One assumes that it was the third occasion that he had spelt Kendal as Kendle.

Stephen Grant did another great warm up last night. Yet again he was aided by the presence of an American and someone with a rather peculiar laugh/cackle. Next week Stephen is doing stand up in Brighton so he wont be available for the two recordings next week. Tonight will be his last recoding until E07 (assuming that other engagements don't prevent his return).

Now it's time for the spoilers. Once again it has all be whited out so speed to the end if you think these details will ruin the show for you. Highlight the text below if you want to read it. Please note that in this week's review I discuss some parts of the show in far greater detail than last week. The first paragraph only contains details of the guests.

The guests were Dara O'Briain, Doon Mackichan and Jimmy Carr. Dara and Jimmy were firing on all cylinders (as was Alan, like always). I personally didn't feel like Doon performed as well as the others. However, these things always change when the show has been cut down for broadcast.

The theme of the evening was Endings and the subjects that I can remember were Grant, Trees, Great Yarmouth, Trains, an Island, 4 Minutes and Poles. However, I was very pleased to see not one, but two subjects that I had previously researched on the forum come up on the show. I've never seen a subject of mine in a series (I only joined the forum 5 months before the last series was recorded) so it was a pleasant surprise.
The two subjects were the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility (link) and the shooting of "cowards" in WWI (link). There was also a special member of the audience although I wont say who. The second of the two, being such a morbid topic, may not make it past the cut because there were few laughs. Still, it remains a good piece of GI.

James was a little naughty when he was writing the factoids on the screens before the start of the show. He added the factoid that Edison's last breath is stored in a test tube at Henry Ford Museum. Flash even came down to meet us and point the fact out. We should have guessed. The factoid was of course false and when the audience gave the answer, we were duly klaxoned.

The recording was brilliant. It was great to meet up with some friends and have such a fun time. I simply can't wait for tonight. Of course I shall add the review as early tomorrow as possible.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

QI Repeats on BBC2

Repeats of QI series D are starting on BBC2 tonight at 10:00pm. The repeats will run for the next 6 weeks. However, do remember that QI will be shown in the unusual Tuesday slot instead of its regular 10pm Friday slot.

Don't forget to come back for the reviews of this week's recordings. I can't wait to see the Bill Bailey recording on Friday!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Elving Away Behind the Scenes

Hi, Eggshaped here.

As you will know if you’ve been following this blog for the last few weeks, the recordings of QI have begun; and what a great few shows we have had so far.

I thought I’d give you a very brief insight as to what an elf does on the day of a recording (or at least what I do). As our work is mainly question research, you may think that we have a relaxing one when we’re filming – but actually there’s a lot to be done during the day.

I personally arrive some time in the early afternoon, though other elves do arrive earlier, and immediately get a copy of the day’s script (that is, the script which contains the day’s questions, the notes on Stephen’s cards, and some of the links between questions – other than that QI is, of course, unscripted) and head up to our office. The elves’ office is lush. It’s a huge room containing plenty of computers with a massive window overlooking the Thames; it even has its own balcony which will be great if the weather bucks up in the next few weeks!

The filming process begins with a warm-up with some stand-ins. Stephen asks them the questions in the same order as the show, this helps the technical peeps get an idea of how things will work, gives us an idea of how the questions will go, and gives Stephen a chance to familiarise himself with the questions.

After that, the guests will come in for their warm-up. This gives the techies a chance to test microphones and see if the guests’ clothes are camera-friendly; it also gives the guests a chance to get into the swing of things. Of course, we don’t want the guests to know the evening’s questions and answers in advance, so the elves come up with 5 brand new warm-up questions for each show. It’s a shame that sometimes the guests come up with brilliant material based on these questions which never sees the light of day!

After that it’s time for dinner, and the audience are just beginning to make their way in. While the audience arrive we like to keep them amused with a number of “factoids” which come up on screens around the studio, which I will usually type up. The screens are connected to a laptop into which I manually type the facts, I usually print off a couple of lists of facts from the QI database which I supplement with ones of my own: those of you who come to lots of shows will notice quite a few repeats of my fave facts – but hopefully I’ll try to keep them pretty fresh.

The warm-up (usually Stephen Grant) begins, and the elves take their place in the gallery (which, if you are looking at the set, is to the left, behind the curtains) where we are watching the show with a couple of laptops. We’re listening carefully for any factual errors which creep in or any questions which are asked by the guests. While it would be nice if we knew the answer to every question (we do pretty well from our original research) you can’t always predict which way a question will go, so we often will find ourselves googling away.

Stephen has got a screen in his desk which we post corrections or facts to. He also has an earpiece which he uses to communicate with the director. You'll notice he uses that when he does pickups at the end.

The show ends, hopefully a great success, and we make our way to the green room where the show is discussed and the bar is slowly emptied.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Another Exclusive Tomorrow

We really are spoiling you lot. Tomorrow Eggshaped will return to tell you just what the elves are up to behind the scenes at the recordings. He'll reveal everything from the Afternoon's research and the warm ups to the factoids on the screens and the frantic googling during the show.

Come back soon for another exclusive!

Saturday, 12 May 2007

QI E02 Recording Review

*This is Episode E04 in the Autumn transmission order.

Recording 2 of 12 of Series E took place yesterday evening at The London Studios near Waterloo and it was even better than the first one! Once again the queue was huge (even though the weather in London was quite cold and wet!) and was snaking round the corner by 17:15 (90mins before doors opening time!). I would have to assume that some people got turned away again although I have no figures today as it wasn't mentioned...

Further to 's comments yesterday regarding the 'new arrangements' for entry I would like to add that it is quite normal to go in either entrance and even if entering by the door near the toilets I would always recommend getting your seat before using the toilets - wouldn't it be awful if you thought you were in only to find that by the time you got to the studio it was full?!

Eggshaped's factoids before the start of the recording were once again brilliant. He kindly added a message to wish JoM's fiancée a happy birthday.

No QI tattoos were revealed last night however there were 4 members of the Alan Davies Appreciation Society who had to make sure that they sat in the right order due to their t-shirts having "Alan", "Davies", "Appreciation" and "Society" on the fronts!

Once again the brilliant Stephen Grant was there to warm us all up - he should be there for most of the series - good stuff!

[any large gaps below are due to the text potentially being considered a 'spoiler' - please use your mouse to highlight those areas to make them visible]

Now for a brief mention of the actual recording period which was significantly shorter than the recording 1...finished around 21:10 and even though I had to wait for almost everyone else to leave before getting out I was on my way to Waterloo by just after 21:20 which was over 20mins earlier. The guests were Sean Lock, Rich Hall and Bill Bailey and the theme of the show was exploration - the host and guests were even dressed appropriately for jungles anyway!!

I'm sure most of the audience will agree that barring the 'space porn' miming hilarity that took place the star of the show was the manikin bird however you'll have to wait a few months until the show is broadcast before you see what that's all about!

I believe QI Fanatic is going to the next 2 shows so I'll leave this blogging business to him for them however I'm sure I'll be back in due course!

Friday, 11 May 2007

QI E01 Recording Review

*This is episode E02 in the Autumn transmission order.

first recording in a new series is always an exciting experience, even if the cast and crew are a little anxious about the performance. Last night's recording was no exception, but everyone had a brilliant time.

My suspicions have been confirmed. People are queuing even earlier this series. I arrived at five to five (an hour and fifty minutes before doors open) and the queue was already from the gates to the front of the building. Stephen Grant announced that more than 300 people had to be turned away. Applause store really are overbooking these shows. Applause store received more than 23,000 applications for that single recording of QI. It is their most popular show by a long way. Obviously demand is far outstripping supply.

New arrangements for entering the studio appear to have been introduced. The audience entered the studio through the back door instead of the side door. This may have been something to do with the HIGNFY recording that was taking place at the same time. It is something to take into consideration if you're planning to meet someone in the queue as this may not be possible when they have been moved in through the gates. There was one small benefit. You can find your seat before you go to the toilets!

Stephen Grant did a brilliant warm up as per usual. He was aided by the presence of Sarah (aka Minerva Moon, who writes the transcripts for the show) since the fact that she is American gave him plenty of material to work with. Another member of the audience (known as Mandibles to forum members) was given the opportunity to show off the QI logo tattooed on her left arm. This included a trip onto the stage to show Stephen Fry!

Alan Davies (as so many of you want to know), now has shorter hair compared to the last series. It is reminiscent of his Jonathan Creek days. We also learnt before the recording started that he has an intolerance of almonds. However, he has no problem with marzipan!

For these reviews, I am going to be including some "spoilers". However, they are going to be "whited out" so as not to spoil the TV show for readers. In order to read this part (should you wish to) you need to highlight the text. The following includes details of the guests and the subjects discussed.

The guests were Sean Lock, Jo Brand and Rich Hall. This is (to my knowledge) the first time that the same three guests from a previous show have all appeared together. Sean Lock, Jo Brand and Rich Hall all appeared together in C05.

Electricity was the theme for the episode. The subjects discussed included: Lightning, Monks, a Bed, an Inventor, Eels, a Strange Picture, Termites, Elections ships and Russian Names. I wont elaborate any more than that. You'll have to wait until the series airs to find out more.

The Elephant In The Room Card is going to be a recurring feature in the whole series. In every episode there will be an answer that involves an elephant. Whoever plays their card at the correct time will earn themselves 10 points.

Overall the recording stood out as a good mix of QI and comedy. There was an ample volume of extremely funny jokes but also some intensely interesting facts and discussions. One that probably won't make the edit was Fry's comparison between Pascal's Wager and global warming but it was certainly an interesting and engaging debate.

Tonight is the second recording. I wont be there but Andrew will be so look forward to his review when he's around.

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 14

It's the start of the E series recordings this week, so it probably wasn't an accident that this week's column is about all things E. Read up on Estonia, Eggs, Earwigs, Etymology, Etna, Errors, Exhibitions, the Eiffel Tower and Executions right here.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

The second interactive QI DVD

Hi everyone. Those of you who read the QI forums (and if you don’t, why ever not?) will know who I am, so I sha’n’t elaborate.

QI Fanatic asked me here to say a little about the forthcoming interactive DVD game. I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with the joys of exam marking for the last couple of weeks, so it’s taken me a bit longer than I wanted to get around to it, but that’s Real Life for you.

Now then, that DVD. Well, it’s out later in the year, and of course everyone who reads this blog will want to have one.

I don’t want to give too much away about just exactly what’s going to be on there, but I can give you a few clues. There will be an option to play against someone else – but don’t panic if you prefer testing your knowledge or lack thereof to be a solitary pursuit, that will be possible too. And of course there are plenty of klaxons lurking. As for what the questions are about, that would be telling – but when we came up with them we tried fairly hard to make sure that all the subject areas you’d expect in a quiz were covered. Therefore, there may or may not be questions about quetzals, qvints, Qatar, quoits, and just perhaps even some things that don’t start with the letter Q.

The fully accredited elves – that’s people like eggshaped, who had something to say right here a few weeks back – are rather busy in the spring preparing for the recordings of the TV series (they start today, as you probably hadn’t failed to notice). As a result QI took on a bit of extra help to come up with the material for the DVD, and roped in three of the more established contributors to the forums as Peredhil (some prefer the title proto-elves). That was really a very exciting moment – receiving a message from Close To The Top asking me if I’d be up for supplying some multiple choice questions. It’s not as easy as it looks, specially since every answer has to be supported by reference to reputable sources – the last thing we want is for someone playing the game to know that we’ve got it wrong, so verification of everything included is essential. But it was fun, and I’m sure you’ll all have fun too when you get to play the game in a few months time!

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Coming Soon!!!

First of all, apologies for the relative lack of posts on the blog in the last couple of weeks. I've been busy sorting out some treats for you all.

Tomorrow is the first recording of the E series of QI at the London Studios. To celebrate the blog will host an exclusive look at the work on the new Interactive DVD that will be released this autumn. All of it will be brought to you by one of QI's newest recruits.

Also, me and Andrew will be writing reviews of all the recordings. As things stand, I will be reviewing tomorrow's recording and Andrew will be reviewing Friday's show (Bill Bailey is confirmed as a guest for that one). Next week I'll be able to make both recordings. I am very excited about next Friday since I will be going as a production guest (so the review will include my experiences in the green room).

Meanwhile, watch out for QI's daily telegraph column (as always I'll post a link as soon as it is added to the website).

All in all, it's going to be a pretty exciting month as far as QI goes.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 13

This week's QI Telegraph column takes a close look at May. Take a look here.