Friday, 28 September 2007

Exclusive Review - The Book of Animal Ignorance

The Book of Animal Ignorance by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson is available to pre-order from

The Book of Animal Ignorance is quite different from its predecessor, the Book of General Ignorance. The few people that disliked the first QI book complained that its question and answer style made them feel stupid (although the fact that so many people bought it seems to suggest that people quite enjoyed this). You won’t get that feeling when reading the latest edition from the QI team.

The book has lost the question and answer style of the book of general ignorance. Instead it has been organised into two-page sections, each concerning one of 100 animals, organised alphabetically. Hence the focus has drifted away from the ignorance and over to the animal. However, that does not mean that the book is any less interesting.

For someone who religiously watches the TV show which the book accompanies, this book is far more rewarding. The first book lifted much of its material from the general ignorance round in the show. That which hadn’t been seen by viewers of the show, probably hadn’t made the cut. For this book it is clear that a considerable amount of extra research has been done.

Since much of the research has been done exclusively for the book, you can begin to perceive some of the themes that preoccupied the authors and their elves. The etymology of animal names is a clear example. Understanding how an animal was named gives a fascinating insight into what we believed we knew about the animal in the past and how our relationship with it has changed. The mouse is an excellent example:

“The very name ‘mouse’ ultimately derives from the Sanskrit root mush, which means mouse and also to steal. Hence wherever we went thereafter – on foot, in carts, or by ship – the little thief kept us company.”

There’s also a very strong focus on evolution and how natural selection produced some of the stranger animals in the book. This makes for some interesting discussion, especially for those animals that have existed in isolation for so long.

If the book makes a reference to barbs, spines, nails or unfolding like a Swiss army knife then something about male genitalia is probably about to follow. The topic of animal reproduction and their reproductive organs is something this book doesn’t shy away from. It certainly makes for intriguing discussion. Both men and women will find that this book will create feelings of varying degrees of supremacy and inadequacy. However, one must disagree with the claim that “if the Nine-banded armadillo were human its penis would be 4 feet long”. If it were human then it would have a human sized penis.

Accompanying the section on each animal is at least one picture drawn by Ted Dewan. Reading a book as interesting as this, it would be easy to rush onto read about the next animal without glancing at these excellent illustrations. Don’t! These pictures don’t just illustrate what is described in the text but also include some of the most interesting pieces of information in the book. They range from mechanical drawings (Ted Dewan trained as an engineer) to illustrate an owl’s ability to move its head around 360 degrees, to the life-like drawing of a catfish. Some will set you laughing out loud like the sketch of a brown bear wandering around a supermarket. Also, don’t miss the extra facts and quotes in the grey boxes. The best one accompanies the section about humans.

“Human beings, who are unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so” Douglas Adams.

The book includes at its start a foreword by Stephen Fry, a ‘forepaw’ by Alan Davies (which is far bigger than his contribution to the first book) and an introduction by the authors John Lloyd and John Mitchinson. All three are well worth reading and avoid skipping straight into the main text. As they explain, QI is as much a philosophy as a TV show and animals are the bread and butter of interestingness. A quote from Henry Beston in the book:

“In a world older and more complex than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the sense we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time.”

The amazing illustrations, the tireless research by the elves and the philosophy of QI have combined to create an excellent book. You can dip into it and be confident that you will always be rewarded with something you didn’t know. I sincerely suggest that you take up the author’s invitation to “come down to the waterhole of ignorance and wallow with us for a while”.

Daily Telegraph QI Column - week 34

This week's column follows on with more animal related facts. Click here to read the column.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Biography 11: Jo Brand

In our penultimate focus on QI panellists, we bring you the fabulous “ladygirl” that is Jo Brand.

Josephine Grace Brand was born on 3rd May 1957 in Hastings, East Sussex. At school, she took piano lessons and had a bad experience with playing the violin. By the age of 16, she was going out with a heroin addict and, after being told by her family to get her act together, she soon left home. She had been slim up until this point, but not long after, the weight crept on; she made up with her parents, ditched her boyfriend and moved to London.

Brand's mother was a social worker, and Brand herself worked as a psychiatric nurse in her late 20s at the South London Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital. Three things spurred her to begin a career in stand-up comedy: her weight, the lack of female comics on the circuit at the time, and her agent Malcolm Hardee, whom she was romantically linked with for a while. Acquiring the stage name "The Sea Monster", she soon became central to the British alternative comedy movement, working London alternative comedy clubs, and appearing initially on the Saturday Live television show in the early 1980s.

In 1993, she began her transition into mainstream comedy when she hosted her own series on Channel 4, Jo Brand Through the Cakehole, co-written with comedy writer and partner Jim Miller, who by then was already her main stand-up writer. Around this time, she was living in the Elephant and Castle area of London. Though it was a rough estate, many comedians, when the London Comedy Circuit has closed down for the night, would often venture there for after hours drink and drug-fuelled sessions of board games. Such comedians included Mark Lamarr, Jeff Green, and Alan Davies.
More recently her humour has softened and she has been a guest on such television shows as Have I Got News For You and Never Mind The Buzzcocks. She has had several solo television series, and presented shows such as Jo Brand's Commercial Breakdown. In 2003, she was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy.

In 2004, Jo appeared in a special episode of What Not to Wear, where fashion gurus Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine gave her a makeover. As a fan of Countdown, she achieved an ambition when she was asked to appear in the show's Dictionary Corner as the celebrity guest. She later became a friend of host Richard Whiteley. Following his death in 2005, she attended his memorial service at York Minster. She appeared again on Countdown in "Dictionary Corner" in February 2007.

Jo has a close association with Comic Relief. Perhaps against her better judgement, she took part in the first celebrity version of Comic Relief does Fame Academy and then in 2007 in Comic Relief Does The Apprentice.

On 25 March 2007, Brand appeared on reality television show Play It Again where she was required to learn how to play the organ in just four months. This was in preparation to perform at the Royal Albert Hall on the largest pipe organ in the British Isles.

Despite rumors to the contrary she turned out not to be a lesbian but after reading it in the newspapers for so long, she started to believe it. She has described men as "fantastic – as a concept". Brand is a big fan of Crystal Palace Football Club, and has sponsored the match ball for games in the past. She also once delivered a guest lecture on the subject of Psychiatric Nursing for the University of Derby Psychology Society. The lecture was reportedly highly ironic.

As the only regular female panellist on QI, Jo has had to compete with the men for laughs, but has still flourished with her self-deprecating humour. She has thoroughly deserved her place as the most frequent guest on the show. Jo will return on several occasions for series E.

Monday, 24 September 2007

"QI in America" Petition Milestone

Warm greetings to you from the States!

I'm happy to report that, following the start of the new series, and thanks in part, I'm sure, to our new place of honor at the top of the QI Talk forums, the "QI in America" petition reached 1000 signatures this morning.

And the numbers are still quickly rising! If you're new to the game, click through to go to the text of the petition, and to its homepage. We've no limit to the number of signatories for household, so if you know your family and friends would be interested, do pass along the word. Bonus elf points for leaving a quite interesting comment along with your signature. x

Sunday, 23 September 2007

QI E01 Review - Engineering

Read the recording review here.

This was the fourth episode to be recorded in May and one that I have particularly fond memories of because I was a production guest and following the episode I went to the green room.

One of the funnier features of this episode was the train that was used to send sweets to the panellists when they got a correct answer. Of course the use of toffees wasn't very wise. In rehearsals Roses' chocolates were used and these could be consumed far quicker than the mastication intense toffee. As a consequence, Rob Brydon really did struggle to get his words out whilst the toffee was stored in his cheeks like a hamster. The other guests kept their sweets until the end so that after the show they could throw them into the audience.

There was a rather interesting introduction for the Elephant in the Room card. Perhaps what wasn't mentioned is that playing the card comes with a points penalty if an elephant isn't the answer. This was the downfall for Bill Bailey who achieved one of his worst ever scores.

There was one very significant section missing from the show and it wasn't included in the vodcast either. Now this was the funniest moment in the entire series for me but discussing it with Piers Fletcher after the show, he described the fact that such jokes are funny because they just keep going. Hence fitting it into the show was unlikely because it would take up so much time.

However, one mustn't forget that the thirteenth episode will be a clip show formed entirely from unbroadcast material. Piers' hints that the last one on the show is hilarious makes me wonder if this is it. Hence I shall reveal nothing more about what happened that was so funny. You'll have to wait until after Christmas to see it though.

The QI vodcast which accompanied this show included some extra unbroadcast material so I sincerely suggest that you go check it out here. It's 7 minutes long. Extra features include the London Eye, Darwin Awards, Vaseline and Alan's comments about fans wanting photos. The decision to make a vodcast only came about during the series so you'll note that the early recordings' intros and outros were filmed after the recording. That's the case for Bill Bailey's intro here, although later shows will have a selection that involves the audience and Stephen.

This episode was an unusual second place for Alan. He has won three episodes before but 2nd places are rare. Only in episode A07 has Alan been second until now. I know how Alan does in the rest of the series, but I won't be spoiling that for you. I didn't even write notes of the scores!

Edit: News just in (20:30 24/09/07) QI E01 was the highest rated programme on BBC2, Channel 4 and 5 over the entire weekend (Fri-Sat).

Next week's review for E02 will be presented by MinervaMoon, our USA correspondent who made the trip to the UK to watch the recording.

(Don't forget this Friday, the exclusive review of the Book of Animal Ignorance)

Friday, 21 September 2007

QI Blog EXCLUSIVE and More News

Next Friday (28th September) you will be able to read an EXCLUSIVE advance review of the new QI Book; The Book of Animal Ignorance. The review will include some brief extracts. The book will be published on Thursday 4th October. Pre-order here.

Also, from this Sunday you'll be able to read a review of this week's episode of QI. Since the show will have been broadcast (twice including Saturday repeat) there wont be any whited out text for the spoilers.

Don't forget to watch episode one (E01) of QI tonight on BBC2 at 22:00 and episode 2 (E02) on BBC4 at 22:30. Following the show you'll be able to watch the QI Vodcast on the BBC website.

(Note: this is the fourth post today, read on for more news)

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 33

There's a special column this week about Animals. Some good hints at what you'll get from the QI Book of Animal Ignorance (see above to read about the exclusive on this blog next week). Click here to read the column.

The QI Petition Needs Your Signature!

The QI petition to get BBC America to show QI in the USA has now been going just over a month. It has now received over 850 signatures and it is still growing! However, it needs more signatures to be a success and now that the new series is about to start plenty of new people will need to learn about the petition. Please sign it by clicking here and do your bit by spreading the word to your friends, family and online.

New Cover for the QI Annual

Similarly to TBOAI, the first cover that I posted for the Annual was only a draft. This one is the real deal. It draws heavily on the style of the Dandy.

ComedyBox - QI News - Episode 1

ComedyBox, the brainchild of QI producer John Lloyd has launched the 'QI News' a sketch based roughly around QI with interesting facts thrown into the mix. You can watch the show by going here.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

QI Annual Front Cover

Here it is in all of its glory. Note that contributors to the annual include Clive Anderson, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, Chris Donald, Alan Davies and Stephen Fry.

Biography 10: Phill Jupitus

Phill Jupitus, the second most frequent guest on QI, becomes the focus of this week's blog.

Phill's career in entertainment began in 1984 when he quit his job in a DHSS job centre to become 'Porky the Poet'. For the rest of the 80's he focussed on his performance poetry and moving into the music industry. This included supporting Billy Bragg in the Red Wedge tour and directing a couple of music videos, one of which was nominated for a Brit award. These experiences have certainly been valuable to Phill's comedy career.

Only in 1989 when Phill quit his job at Go! Discs did he begin to concentrate on a comedic career. Whilst he earned his reputation on the London comedy circuit and TV show warm ups, Phill continued to dip back into the music industry. In 1995 he started a show on Greater London Radio which would last until 2000. However, his true break into comedy came courtesy of Never Mind the Buzzcocks on which he has been a team captain since its creation in 1996. His music knowledge made him the ideal man for the job. The show gave him regular TV exposure that fledgling comedians like himself could only dream of.

During the late 1990's Phill had two UK tours. The first Jedi, Steady, Go was a comedic retelling of the Star Wars trilogy. The second called Quadrophobia discussed his many fears like arachnophobia as well as near-death experiences.

Phill made his first appearance on QI in the series A Christmas special (A12) and he been a panellist on 16 occasions. This included 5 in series D, the most of any guest in one series. Jupitus is well known on the show for his impressions of the 'upper-class Fry' which are performed with a superb toffs' accent. Despite the frequency of his appearances he has only won one episode (B03).

Perhaps the reason that Jupitus has been so successful on QI is his renowned improvisation skills. Phill tours with the Big City Improv a comedy troupe that asks the audience to provide subjects around which they create sketches on the spot. He also makes regulars guest performances on the radio 4 show I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.

This year Phill has moved into a new medium. He has co-written and starred in the play Waiting For Alice. In the play which ran at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, he and Andre Vincent play Tweedledee and Tweedledum from the book Through the Looking Glass. Both Andre Vincent and Phill Jupitus claim that people regularly confuse them for each other, hence why they hit on the idea of playing twins. The play focuses on the 69 years they have been waiting for Alice to turn up for them to perform their part. The two of them take it in turn to play the the two different roles, switching for each performance. Jupitus claims that the play was largely the idea of Vincent but that his poetic background gave him the skills to produce the strong script.

Phill will return for another 4 episodes of series E of QI. His first episode will be E03 to broadcast on 5th October.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 32

Last week QI went BIG. Now it's going small. Check out the QI column here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

QI Interactive DVD Release Date

The (second) QI Interactive DVD to be called "QI Strictly Come Duncing" will be released on November 19th. You can now pre-order the DVD on here. Also check out this post about the research for the DVD.

Biography 9: Rich Hall

This week is the turn of the American comedian who can explain biscuits and gravy, and wizards at roundabouts (but not the Clangers), Mr Rich Hall.

Rich was born on 10th June 1954 in Alexandria, Virginia. He drifted into street performing to pay off his student debts (at one stage, he supposedly faked his own death to avoid the payments). His original act was based around getting various passers-by to act out famous horror movie scenes. By this time, he had already worked on a newspaper and had also, rather bizarrely, been commentating on donkey basketball games. He soon quit that to pursue a career in comedy, at first touring with a stand-up act supporting the group Talking Heads.

He made his first appearance as a writer and performer in 1980 on the sketch comedy TV series Fridays. He then went on to appear in Not Necessarily the News (the American version of Not the Nine O’clock News) and Saturday Night Live (with the recurring character Robert Latta). He made further debuts on chat shows like the Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien where he won two Emmy awards). In 1986, he had his own Showtime channel special, Vanishing America, which was turned into a book with the same name. According to one interview, by 1990 he had been in the comedy business for 11 years. In the same year, he hosted his own talk show on the Comedy Channel, entitled Rich Hall's Onion World.

It was in these 1980s shows that he invented the term "sniglet", described as “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should”. He collected and published five books of examples of sniglets. As well as this, it has now been widely considered that he was the inspiration for the character Moe Szyslak from The Simpsons. This was later confirmed by creator Matt Groening.

Rich then began to gain momentum and popularity in the UK, where he now lives. This began with appearances in panel shows like QI, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Have I Got News For You (in the latter, he had to perform in an edition following the September 11th 2001 attacks). He also gave a memorable performance on Top Gear, where he successfully managed to make a song about a Rover 25 car, much to the enjoyment of the audience and Jeremy Clarkson. His popularity has spread further, becoming a panellist on the Irish show Don't Feed The Gondolas and Australian shows like The Glass House and Spicks and Specks. He regularly appears at the Kilkenny Cat Laughs comedy festival and at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In 2004, in the Jack Dee series Live at the Apollo, he achieved recognition for his comments about Tom Cruise’s acting skills.

In 2000, Rich won the Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe alongside regular band The Black Friars. He played the character called Otis Lee Crenshaw, who is Rich’s uncle and a much-convicted country music singer. As Crenshaw, Rich has released several albums and performed a concert movie called ‘London, Not Tennessee’. In 2000 Rich also won the Time Out Comedy Award and an Adelaide Fringe Festival Award. In 2004, he published a book of memoirs, entitled Otis Lee Crenshaw: I Blame Society, and has recently finished a screenplay for a film based on the book, written for the director Mel Smith.

In 2006 Rich wrote and acted in a play called Levelland at the Edinburgh Festival. He has had three BBC series, Rich Hall's Badly Funded Think Tank, Rich Hall's Fishing Show in 2003, and Rich Hall's Cattle Drive in 2006, as well as a one off programme about the 2004 American Presidential Elections, Rich Hall's Election Special.

Rich is one the most frequent panellists on QI and has always sat in the same seat, on Stephen’s immediate left. His clash of cultures with Stephen and his grumpy but twisted sense of humour ensures his popularity, and we look forward to seeing more of Rich in future QI episodes.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Series "E" Transmission Dates

Mark those calendars: Series "E" of QI will begin airing on 21 September at 10:00 pm on BBC 2!

There will be 13 episodes: 12 recorded shows and one compilation. According to Piers Fletcher, of (among other claims) a-post-on-this-blog-a-couple-of-days-ago fame:

The 13th (compilation) show features all unbroadcast material taken from the other 12, but I don't think you could describe it as coming from the cutting-room floor because that implies that it's stuff that didn't make the cut, whereas the opposite is the case: we've loaded it up with some of the best material, especially the bits where Stephen loses control.
Order of transmission:
  1. Engineering
    Bill Bailey, Rob Brydon, Jimmy Carr, and Alan Davies
  2. Electricity
    Jo Brand, Rich Hall, Sean Lock, and Alan Davies
  3. Eating
    Jimmy Carr, Phill Jupitus, Johnny Vegas, and Alan Davies
  4. Exploration
    Bill Bailey, Rich Hall, Sean Lock, and Alan Davies
  5. Everything
    Clive Anderson, Jeremy Clarkson, Vic Reeves, and Alan Davies
  6. Europe
    Phill Jupitus, David Mitchell, Dara Ó Briain, and Alan Davies
  7. Espionage
    Clive Anderson, Jo Brand, Vic Reeves, and Alan Davies
  8. Eyes & Ears
    Jimmy Carr, David Mitchell, Phill Jupitus, and Alan Davies
  9. Entertainment - Children in Need special
    Bill Bailey, Pudsey Bear, Jo Brand, Jeremy Clarkson, and Alan Davies
  10. England
    Charlie Higson, Phill Jupitus, Sean Lock, and Alan Davies
  11. Endings
    Jimmy Carr, Doon Mackichan, Dara Ó Briain, and Alan Davies
  12. Empire
    Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Sean Lock, and Alan Davies
  13. Elephants
    All the best bits that couldn’t be squeezed into the E series (without any elephants).
There will also be BBC-style video podcasts to accompany many of the episodes, so watch this space for news on where to find and watch them.

The TV listings at the bottom of this page have now been updated to include the expected transmission dates for the E series. E series reviews have been updated to include their new episode number.

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 31

The QI column this week looks at anything big. Click here.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Cutting Masterpieces

Piers Fletcher here, jack-of-several-trades on the show. QI Fanatic thought you might want to hear about the editing process on the show.

The edit is very key. What you see on the screen is the 30-minute distillation of at least 90 minutes' material. I know those guys seem just razor-sharp and button-cute on the show, but, trust me, if you and I had an editor following us around cutting out two-thirds of everything we said, we'd all sound like Oscar Wilde. So, imagine what it's like when you take someone who sounds like Oscar Wilde in the first place, and then edit him to be even sharper and quicker than he already is - you end up with the best conversationalist you ever met: Dorothy Parker or Melvyn Bragg, or the Queen of Sheba or somebody.

Or … Stephen Fry. And that's it, in a nutshell.

The topical panel shows like HIGNFY and Mock the Week need to edit on the fly, recording and editing a show a week, but at QI we record all twelve and only then go into the edit suite. First, we get a transcript of the whole recording, from which we make a 'paper cut', a first stab at cutting fairly big chunks out of the recording - bits which clearly didn't work or where there were technical problems. Then we go into editing suite in Soho with director Ian Lorimer and edit wizard Nick King (who moonlights, literally, as an astronomical photographer - check his work at and work through what's left. We aim to cut each show down to about 35 minutes on the first pass, and then we go through it again to trim it to 29 or so, and then again to take out all the coughs and splutters.

The main work is done on that first pass. Sometimes there are painful decisions to be made; we almost always have to cut something we love. The criteria are fairly obvious: if it's interesting and funny, it's in, if it's neither interesting nor funny, it's out, and if it's either interesting or funny but not both it's up for argument. However, in the next series there will be a compilation show at the end of the series with unbroadcast material from all but one of the episodes. That plus a 7 minute online vodcast after each episode has made some of the decisions to cut sections easier.

It's all done digitally, of course, and Nick works the machines with unbelievable speed and skill. Even so, it takes us many weeks to complete all twelve shows - in fact we're only now delivering the E Series to the BBC so that it can start on the 21st September.

I have to say, however long it takes it always feels like time well spent.

Monday, 3 September 2007

E Series and Stateside

Two pieces of great news to report this evening. The first is that QI series E will start on Friday the 21st September on BBC2. The first episode will be Engineering. This was the 4th episode to be recorded and you can see the review here.

The second piece of good news is that The Book of General Ignorance, released in the US on the 7th August, is selling very well. It is now in the top 100 books on the bestsellers list. If you are in the US you can buy it here. It recently received a very good review in the NY Times. Obviously we can only hope that this will translate into more progress for the QI Petition.

Finally, this is the 99th post on this blog. When I wrote the 50th I promised something special for the 100th and I wont disappoint. On Wednesday I will be posting an exclusive look behind the scenes at the post-production process for the show as written by head elf Piers Fletcher.

Biography 8: Bill Bailey

It’s time to gander in awe at the part troll and confused hippy that is Mr Bill Bailey.

Mark "Bill" Bailey was born on 24th February 1964. His father is a doctor, but he shares Bill’s passion for comedy. He spent the majority of his childhood in Bath. He attended King Edward's School, where he tried to “study everything”. He was once told that his ideal job would be a “museum curator” or a “member of the diplomatic service”. He excelled in music, and it was while at school that he was given his nickname Bill, when a music teacher once sang the song "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey". Bill started a punk rock band called the "Famous Five”. However, he is a classically trained musician and he received an associateship with the London College of Music.

Bill began touring the country with other comedians such as Mark Lamarr and Phill Jupitus. In 1986 he formed a double act, the Rubber Bishops, with Toby Longworth (later Martin Stubbs). They achieved a certain amount of success on the club circuit, partly due to their rigorous schedule. According to comedy folklore, after one reviewer criticised his act for its lack of jokes, Bill returned the following night to perform a set composed entirely of punchlines.

In 1994 Bill performed the show Rock at the Edinburgh Fringe with Sean Lock. It was later serialised for the Mark Radcliffe show on BBC Radio 1. He confessed in an interview with The Independent that after this he almost gave comedy up to do a telesales job. He persevered, however, and went solo the next year with Bill Bailey's Cosmic Jam. The show was very well received and led to a recording at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London which was broadcast in 1996 on Channel 4.

In 2001, Bailey began touring the globe with Bewilderness, which became a huge success. It was released on DVD the same year, and the show was broadcast on Channel 4 that Christmas. He premiered his next show Part Troll at the Edinburgh Fringe in the summer of 2003. It has toured all over the UK as well as in America, Australia and New Zealand, and was released on DVD in 2004. As part of the show he contributed to another punk rock band, a Kraftwerk spoof called Augenblick. In March 2007 his stand-up was recognised by Channel 4 which declared him the 7th greatest stand-up comedian of all time.

Although Bill had made TV appearances as early as 1991, his break into TV came in 1996 after he was nominated for the Perrier Comedy Award. The nomination was enough to get him noticed, and in 1998 the BBC gave him his own television show, Is It Bill Bailey?

Over the next few years, Bill made guest appearances on shows such as Have I Got News For You, Room 101, Des O'Connor Tonight and Coast to Coast. When Sean Hughes left his role as captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2002, Bill became his successor and has been there ever since. Other television appearances include Jonathan Creek (opposite Alan Davies), 15 Storeys High and several interviews on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.

In 2000, he starred in the Channel 4 sitcom Black Books as Manny Bianco. Three successful series of six episodes were made. He also starred in the sitcom Spaced, in which he played comic-shop manager Bilbo Bagshot.

Bailey’s film credits include British comedy film Saving Grace, and also voiced the sperm whale in 2005's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie. He also had two minor roles as a police receptionist in the 2007 film Hot Fuzz.

Radio performances include two episodes each of The 99p Challenge, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, and Just a Minute. Bailey is closely involved with the radio show presented by QI producer John Lloyd called The Museum of Curiosities. A pilot has been produced and the first series has been commissioned for early 2008.

Bill is amongst the most popular guests on QI and despite missing a whole series last year due to his US tour, he is the fourth most frequent panellist. Bill featured in the pilot which he won and he was the only guest in the pilot to return. However, Bill has so far won only two shows both in the C series. This perhaps shows his willingness to play along and give klaxon answers.

Bill is now preparing for a UK tour named Tinselworm planned for November, and an Australian tour for the following year. Additionally, Bill is planning to put himself forward as Britain's Eurovision entry in 2008, as a result of several fan petitions encouraging him to do so.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 30

This week's QI column is all about things two. You can go read it here.

Also take note that another error by the brilliant editors on the Telegraph website now means that there are two columns labelled for week 25 and two for 28. Of course this means that the column is actually in week 30 despite this week's being labelled as 28.