Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Dutch QI Episode 1

Since QI is making its first foray abroad, we here at the QI Blog want to keep you up to date about the new series in The Netherlands. Hence we have some new reporters to introduce to you. This review of the first episode is written by Douchegordijn:


In general, Dutch remakes of British comedy programmes tend to be painful to watch. The Dutch Never Mind The Buzzcocks is quite horrible, and although our version of Have I Got News For You is very popular, I haven’t the faintest idea why. This is why I concluded a long time ago panel-quizzes were just not suited for Dutch humour. Last Saturday, I was proven wrong.

ARTHUR JAPIN: How do guide dogs navigate in a city?
RONALD GOEDEMONDT: Guide dogs usually wear out a couple of blind people before they know the city. They start with five blind people, which they leave at places across the city. These blind people are lost, and you can hear them scream, "Where am I? Where am I?" These lost people are the navigating points for the guide dogs. They think: "Oh, that’s Harry who’s lost at the cathedral. Here we go left." It’s not that difficult.

They decided against beginning with an A-series, opting for a theme per episode instead. The theme of the first episode was "senses". The participating comedians were Diederik van Vleuten, Ronald Goedemondt, Jetty Mathurin, and recurring panel member Thomas van Luyn. The Dutch version of QI is still very much a work in progress. Usually the comedians were able to come up with a couple of decent anecdotes or witty jokes. They were, however, still searching for the best way to deliver them. Sometimes the jokes or stories seemed a bit forced, but I still found myself laughing out loud a lot.

Host Arthur Japin is no Stephen Fry. At the moment, his prompter skills aren’t good enough. When he’s presenting, you can hear he’s reading the prompter aloud. He’ll probably get better at this, though. He is a lot more bitchy than Stephen and when the contestants are making fun of him, you often see a him looking very much "not amused" (JAPIN: "I had a dog who would do anything for me. He’d get the newspaper, carry my groceries…" GOEDEMONDT: "…write books…"). However, there were moments when Japin demonstrated some strong comedic skills. It proves that even without Fry, the format works.

The editing of the programme was sometimes a bit strange, and this will be one of the areas that needs to be targeted if the show is to become a lasting success. At times, they editing gave the impression that the contestants came up with the correct answer very quickly, which is a bit strange with impossible questions like these. This created the feeling that the show was scripted even though it isn’t.

The Dutch version of QI is not up there with the English version yet, but that’s not a really fair comparison, because the first episode of QI had the same feelings of being a little forced. I found the first episode quite enjoyable, and I think the show can grow to something very good, especially for those who don’t watch the English version.

The opening credits from the Dutch version.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Dutch QI

A Dutch version of QI will begin broadcasting in the Netherlands on the 27th December. Details are thin on the ground at the moment but we do know that it will still be called QI and it is presented by Arthur Japin, a popular Dutch author and regular guest comedian Thomas van Luyn. This is the first time that QI's format has been sold abroad.

Some parts of The Netherlands already receive the British QI because some parts of the country receive BBC TV broadcasts from over the channel. More details if and when we get them (unfortunately the language barrier has prevented us from learning about this until now).

Edit (18/12/08):

Thank you very much to the people who have added a few comments about the Dutch show. To reiterate those comments, there may well still be tickets to recordings. Unlike the British version it would appear that the Dutch version is being produced with a much shorter edit time so if you're in the Netherlands you might have a chance to go and see one. The website you want is here. Also, for non-residents of the Netherlands, you may find that the show is available outside of the country here after it has been shown (much like iPlayer). Lets hope for some English subtitles.

In the meantime, we'd love for someone who's fluent in Dutch and English to get in touch about writing some reviews of the show when it airs towards the end of this month. Obviously we'd prefer fans of the British version who can give us a comparison between the two. If you're interested send us an email and we'll get in touch.

Friday, 12 December 2008

QI F Series Broadcast Dates

News just in, we now have confirmed broadcast dates for the rest of the F series. The Christmas Special will be broadcast on 22nd December on BBC1 at 21:00. The remaining ten episodes will be broadcast every Friday on BBC1 at 21:00 followed by an extended edition of QI on Saturday on BBC2 at a time yet to be confirmed between 21:00 and 22:00.

A full list of dates and times as they are currently know (with the exception of the Christmas special we don't yet know which show is which).

  • 22nd December 21:00 BBC1 (Fire and Freezing)
  • 9th January 21:00 BBC1
  • 10th January BBC2 (Extended QI)
  • 16th January 21:00 BBC1
  • 17th January BBC2 (Extended QI)
  • 23rd January 21:00 BBC1
  • 24th January BBC2 (Extended QI)
  • 30th January 21:00 BBC1
  • 31st January BBC2 (Extended QI)
  • 6th February 21:00 BBC1
  • 7th February BBC2 (Extended QI)
  • 13th February 21:00 BBC1
  • 14th February BBC2 (Extended QI)
  • 20th February 21:00 BBC1
  • 21st February BBC2 (Extended QI)
  • 27th February 21:00 BBC1
  • 28th February BBC2 (Extended QI)
  • 6th March 21:00 BBC1
  • 7th March BBC2 (Extended QI)
  • 13th March 21:00 BBC1
  • 14th March BBC2 (Extended QI)

Friday, 7 November 2008

F Series

Apologies for the huge gap between updates to the blog. Things up in York have been hectic with the QI society's first new intake of students.

Anyway, if you've not heard already, the first episode of the F series will be broadcast next Friday at 10:00pm on BBC2. It will be the Children In Need special starring Roni Ancona, David Mitchell and Sir Terry Wogan. Unlike previous years this episode is a one-off. The rest of the series will kick off with the Christmas special in December and the rest of the series will follow throughout January. A broadcast schedule will be avilable here as soon as we get it.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

QI C Series DVD - A Review

The third series of QI is now available on DVD. Here's a review of what you'll find on it.

  • 2 Disks
  • All episodes from the C series, as broadcast.
    Deleted scenes including questions cut from the show and bloopers.
  • Commentary on all episodes. 
  • A compilation of all of the buzzers from the series.
  • Peter Cushing featurette including QI's remix with Alan Davies and the original version by the Jellybottys and a new remix by the band. Plus a short audio feature about the discovery of the band which Alan mentions in the show.
The first thing that presents itself as you start the DVD menu is a backdrop of cumulus clouds in a late evening sky. I was almost expecting some Monty Pythonesque animation to emerge onto the screen when floating into the foreground comes a cuckoo clock where the dial has been replaced with the backdrop to the QI set with 5 little puppets sat around a QI style desk infront. Meanwhile some fairly pleasant music performed by a brass band plays. The menu doesn't really present itself as a theme that I would associate with the show but it's all very safe and won't offend anyone like the A series menus did.

Now if you're buying this DVD or reading this blog there is little point in me insulting your intelligence by telling you what a great show QI is. Therefore I'll skip straight to discussing the extras. Most striking about these are the several hours of audio 'commentary'. Use of the word commentary here is quite loose since it does not accompany the programme as it does on many other DVDs. Instead the commentary is restricted to briefer discussions (approx 15 minutes) focussed around several topics discussed in each show. I am pleased to say that this really cuts down on the faff that people associate with DVD commentaries. You really mustn't be embarrassed to listen to all of them since you'll learn plenty from the experience.

A key topic for each show is a discussion of the "retractions" where the elves got something wrong in their research. If you are a member of the QI forums then you should be aware that there are several name checks associated with the retractions. Most of the other topics discussed are the questions that failed to make it past the cut into the shows. If you watch QI for the interestingness then these discussions should prove of great value to you. As is explained in the commentaries, not everything can illicit a comedic response and it ends up on the cutting room floor.

One of the key extras that most people buy DVDs for are the outtakes. You'll certainly find a good measure of them here on disk 2. It is slightly irritating that the bloopers have been intermixed with the additional material (usually whole questions that were cut from the show for time). However, you'll still find some very cheeky laughs (in more sense than one) in all of the additional scenes.

Perhaps the strangest aspect to the DVD is the Peter Cushing extra. The QI remix that is advertised on the front of the DVD (and which you can view online from the link in the last post) is a little bit of fun. Still, I'm not sure I can agree with the assessment that Alan's rendition of the song was the funniest moment in the series. However, I'm sure that plenty of people will have been curious about the band that performed the song from Whitstable and the inclusion of the original is rather entertaining.

The C series DVD is well worth buying if you haven't already. There are some classic moments in this series and the extras, especially the commentaries, are great. I hope you enjoy it as I have.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Some QI Things

Firstly, my sincerest apologies for leaving you all in the dark for so long. There hasn't really been that much for me to talk about recently but we're now entering the build up for the next series and also Christmas. All this means that there will soon be lots for you to spend your hard earned cash on so that you can squeeze every last ounce of enjoyment out of QI.

Here's a run down of what you can expect:

1. September 1st

It's probably the most anticipated release from QI of the lot amongst the fans of QI. The best thing is that it's already on the shelves. This one really can't wait for the Christmas list.

Check out this video to get an idea of some of the slightly more surreal contents of the DVD.

Order from Amazon.

2. October 1st/November 17th

Last year Stephen Fry jetted off to the USA for a tour of all of the 50 states to form a 6 part series that will air on the BBC this Autumn. The accompanying book goes on sale on October 1st and the series will be available on DVD from November 17th.

Pre-order the book on Amazon.

Pre-order the DVD on Amazon.

3. October 2nd

Justin Pollard - QI's resident historian releases the second of his quite interesting books this Autumn. I probably can't beet the blurb from amazon so here is what it's all about:

"It is a book about the smaller tragedies and triumphs of war - toilets that sink U-boats, unsporting attacks on Christmas day, armies that stop for tea, bombs on renegade balloons, drunk generals, blind kings, blind drunk generals, circular warships, and all the joy and misery that such things bring with them. "

Pre-order from Amazon

4. October 2nd

Have you ever been at that ever important dinner party or social gathering and embarrassed yourself when you just didn't have the right words to mind? Or perhaps you've committed a terrible faux pas when you were the only one that didn't know who originally said that amazingly funny line? Well if so then this book isn't just for you but a whole lot of other people too.

QI: Advanced Banter is more than 450 pages of funny and humorous quotes organised into an A to Z of 250 useful topics. You'll never be found wanting again when the moment is right for the witty one liner.
Pre-order from Amazon.

5. October 30th

Wonders of the Ancient World is Justin Pollard's second book to be published in the space of a month. Back in the days of the Romans and the great Greek poets, lists of the great wonders of the World were rather popular. Historical figures ranging from Antipater of Sidion to the Roman geographer Strabo created such lists but none of them had the luxury of travelling the world with the freedom that we have today. This book could quite easily be a travel guide for the time traveller who plans to visit all of the great wonders of the world in the past. But for the rest of us this book is a brilliant journey of the imagination to see the sights that would have adorned the ancient lists if only Boeing had decided to build the 747 a couple of millennia earlier.

Pre-order from Amazon.

6. November 6th

This one truly is primed for your Christmas list. If last year's annual is anything to go by then you really will have a whole year's worth of reading material here. As with the 2008 edition there will be lots of sections written by QI's many varied comedic guests and researchers, and potentially a few little snippets from the QI forum members.

* If you're hunting for it on the book shelves later in the year, do note that this is not necessarily the final version of the cover.

Pre-order from Amazon

7. January 8th 2009

The CD of the first series of The Museum of Curiosities, starring QI's John Lloyd and Bill Bailey will be available early next year. No album cover as yet, but that would give away who won the competition to design it.

*This post was edited on 01/09/08

Monday, 25 August 2008

QI Recordings: Behind the Scenes

Hi there. As some of you already know I’m a student of media and hoping to work in London one day. Through a series of delightful coincidences I was offered the chance to come down and have a look at how QI is made from a floor-managers perspective.

I arrived at the production office at precisely 12pm. After being given a special pass I was shown through the maze of corridors leading to the QI offices (and almost knocking poor Paul O’ Grady off his feet for which I do apologize). Having arrived in the office I was greeted by several members of the team and then it was down to business. I was shown the script and how the fact cards are produced.

One of QI's researchers (known as Flash to members of the QI forums) then led me through to have a look at the studio, which looked great. After being given a radio microphone I assisted the team with some sound effects that they were making (You’ll have to wait for the 11th recording to air to find out what they were). The whole process was fun, if a little messy. Then it was time for the first rehearsal . 5 stand-ins sit on set and read through the script as if it was Stephen and the guests themselves. This allows the video (VT) operators time to check their audio and visual effects and make sure they all appear on screen properly.

After a quick lunch it was time for the second rehearsal with Stephen. This is the time that Stephen Fry has to familiarize himself with the questions when the entire script is read through again.

The third rehearsal involves Stephen and the 4 guests, however it is NOT the same script that will be used when the audience are in. These are just a few teaser questions to warm the guests up and to allow the wardrobe staff to select shirts for them. It was made very clear to me that it is essential that the clothes don’t clash with the set or make the guest look too “washed-out”.

Dinner was provided for all of us after the fourth rehearsal, Fresh vegetable kebabs, hot rice and a delicious raspberry tart for afters. I was able to have a quick chat with the guests whilst we ate, and everyone was quite looking forward to the show. The guests then vanished off to their dressing rooms for make-up, whilst I nipped outside to see a few forum friends. I was then called back in to help with the set before the audience came in.

Despite what the audience saw on the night, a floor manager is a very busy person during the day. My main tasks when the audience were seated was placing the guests notepads up on set and making sure that the space behind set was free of obstacles. Then the show begins. When Stephen's microphone broke halfway through the show we had to call up for some sound engineers, they remedied the problem swiftly. By now I knew the script off by heart, having read it and watched it being rehearsed so many times in the seven hours before the show. However, the recording itself is an entirely different entity. There is such a huge transformation from a script of questions to what you see on the show.

All in all, I really enjoyed my time working as a crew member. The team have gave me priceless experience that will help me through my HND and I must wish a massive thank you to all of them.


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

QI Series F, Episode 11 Recording Review

Hello everyone, apologies for the late reviews but we just couldn't post them up in the wrong order now could we? I'm back with the review of the penultimate recording. Now as some of you already know I was allowed backstage on this to get a better insight as to how the show is made, there will be a review of that coming very soon..

Having spent the majority of the day inside the studio I didn't get a very good look at the queue, however I did nip out and talk to a few familiar faces from the forum. It was also nice to have Stephen Grant back doing his magnificent warm-up.

Onto the spoilers!

Tonight's theme was "Fame and Fortune" The guests were David Mitchell, newcomer Emma Thompson and returning from the earlier seasons John Sessions. The designers had added a lot of flourishes to the set for this episode. The centre of the Q was decorated with red carpet and red rope barriers surrounded the bottom half of the symbol. Two large BAFTA style "happy and sad" faces sat either side of the screens facing inwards towards Stephen. If that wasn't enough, two giant Oscar statuettes either side of Stephen. However they bore shields rather than the traditional swords due to copyright issues.

Topics for discussion included Marlon Brando, patents, Stanley Gibbons, foleys, double F, Carnegie Hall, Oscars, publicity stunts, Greek statues, cheese, hedgehogs, Shakespeare, headlice (Stephen Fry and much of the audience began to scratch his head when the topic was discussed), flu vaccines, depression, and film. The lineup was perfect, John Sessions was on top form and I really hope that his brilliant impression of Alan Rickman will be included in the final edit. Another moment that will hopefully make the cut is the banter between Emma and Stephen regarding bikini-line waxes and anal bleaching! Watch out for Luvee Alarms and Teacher's Pet awards as well.

The show went very well and then I was off into the Green Room once more to chat with the stars. I also met QI Fanatic (Lord and master of the blog) and Glenn (Known to forum members as Gluben).

I'll be back in a few days with the final episode review! Ciao for now!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

QI Series F, Episode 10 Recording Review

I apologize even more for not having done this review weeks ago; it is ever exams and ever shall be exams. Exams will be the death of me, just as they were the birth of me. That strikes me as somehow not quite right, but I can't remember a life without them. Forgive a drowned woman.

This review is for the QI recording of 5th June, 2008.

We saw, upon entering the studio, that the set was dappled with tiny Pudsey bears, and a giant eyepatch had strung its way across the circular backdrop. It was clear that we had a Children in Need special in store for us, even though the episode isn't going to be able to be broadcast for months yet. Gordon Southern provided us with the warm-up, which was interrupted part of the way through when a life-sized Pudsey entered the room. Pudsey was guided to a seat in the audience, after choosing a woman to displace (Gordon, ominously: "Pudsey has chosen his bride."), and Guy, the floor manager, directed a small bit of film in which the bear we all love enthusiastically waved his telephone number above his head.

That finished, Pudsey left the audience and took the seat to Stephen's left, and this is where the spoilers begin.

Stephen came on (to tumultuous applause and cheers, as always; there is no one who doesn't love that man), and introduced the two other mystery guests: David Mitchell and Ronni Ancona. The show started--buzzers demonstrated and guests introduced--with no indication that Pudsey wasn't going to be a permanent panellist. Very soon, however, Stephen was interrupted by a booming voice from off-stage, and in walked . . . Terry Wogan. Let it not be said that QI is not apropos. Terry took Pudsey's place at the desk so that the show could really begin.

The theme of the day was "Families", and the first topic discussed was old wives' tales and what they are associated with. Stephen disclosed that he has a novel way of preventing macular-degeneration-by-shortness-of-zinc, but his method might not be for everyone. The next discussion centered upon one of the most popular fads of the early 20th century, which was followed by a question on foundling wheels. Some Jelly Babies were brought out during the course of the next question, although the panellists declined to share with the audience. Then came a topic about Tarzans of film; Ronni Ancona was asked outright to do impressions of Jane-as-various-people, for which she was taken aback at first, but rose to the challenge admirably, starting with a pitch-perfect impression of Renee Zellweger.

Further topics discussed: Relatives of famous people, Micronations, Dan Dare, the Eurovision song contest ("It's united the nations of Europe!" Terry stated loudly; "Has it, arse . . . it's divided east and west!" Stephen shot back), the Swiss Family Robinson, boomerangs, kangaroos, lions manes, and a specific mathematical proof.

Although Terry Wogan would seem to be a rather unexpected choice of guest, he rose to the task wonderfully and was very funny, and took many opportunities to verbally spar with David. He did sneak in one long Children (are) in Need(!) speech in the first third of the show, but it was well-received by the audience. Ronni Ancona's return to guesthood was also very good; when she had something to say, whether joke or anecdote, it was unerringly sweet. She kept a running tab throughout the show of how many times something particularly racy was mentioned, pondering the appropriateness of the jokes for a CiN special. Although QI does not usually hesitate to be ribald, many of the more risqué jokes are going to have to be dropped in order to be shown on the night. The innuendo alone could have made up an entirely separate show! Despite the necessary lack of knob gags, it was a great recording that will no doubt yield a tight and extremely entertaining cut.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

QI Series F, Episode 9 Recording Review

It was quite an achievement in the end that anyone was there to review this recording. Applause store is hard enough to get tickets out of and at this stage in the series the production lists are pretty much fully booked now.

Having taken my seat the warm-up soon got underway. Stephen Grant is still touring with his Edinburgh previews so enter Ben Norris again. His performance is too repetitive for the regulars but some of the jokes are still good (the panda joke continues to get a very big laugh). Stephen Grant will be back for the last two recordings next week.

As usual Stephen Fry walked onto the set to huge applause and sat down in his seat to give his usual introduction. It is at this point that I should explain that my guest at recording this week was Tom Scott. He is possibly someone that the readers of the QI blog will be familiar with. He co-founded the official website for the UK leg of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Indeed he has recently been elected to the post of the Student Union President at the University of York - mainly by virtue of the fact that he campaigned as his pirate alter ego Mad Cap'n Tom. However, his greatest association with QI comes from a video that he made last December in which he attempts to remove his fingerprints using a pineapple because it was something claimed on QI in the last series. Having delivered his usual introduction, Stephen declared that we had a very important person in the room "Tom Scott, where are you?"

Tom was of course rather surprised, I had only told him that he would be able to come about 6 hours before the recording when he was still in York. Stephen quickly explained Tom's video to the audience and his attempts to remove his fingerprints. Tom explained how the experiment had failed and then it was time to introduce the guests so time for the spoilers:

The guests this week were Clive Anderson, Rich Hall and newcomer Reginald D Hunter. The topic of the night was fashion, so whilst the set had not been decorated with anything special for this show, Alan was wearing a very chique outfit. The topics discussed included; haircuts, engagements, the Duke of Wellington, trousers, head wear, bollocks, canals, macaroni, month, Michelin and balls.

Justin Pollard had invited his friend - a Romanian mathematician - to come to the show and bring a rather remarkable object with him. You'll have to watch it in the autumn to find out what that item was. At the start of the show the panelists were given the task of picking a catch phrase that they will attempt to popularise by repeating through out the recording. Alan went with "Has your mother sold her mangle", Clive Anderson decided to use "Who are you?", Rich chose "Dumber than a bag of wet mice" and Reginald used one from back home "Do what you do best". It's recommended that you try to start using them now so that you're ahead of the game when all your friends are repeating them after the episode airs.

That's my last recording review this series, Mandibles returns next week with a rather special review. She will be heading behind the scenes to get a closer look at how the show is produced.

The QI Test

On Tuesday I attended the first of 5 run-throughs of a new show being produced by QI called the QI Test. In attendance were several forum members including Andrew, Neotenic, Mr and Mrs Tetsabb and Smiley_Face.

Upon our arrival we were soon shepherded down to the basement studio, not a particularly large room and certainly not somewhere that you could fit an audience. There were 16 chairs placed in two concentric semi-circles. After we were introduced to Justin Gayner (one of QI's senior elves - in experience and not age I should add) we all sat down and got to business. The format of the show was explained to us and we began playing the game.

This unfortunately is where things get a bit vague. This was the first of five run-throughs before a proper pilot is produced and pitched to the BBC. There will likely be some big format changes anyway so what I could say here wouldn't be that informative. Plus, for obvious reasons, the producers will not want the format ti be known to the public until the time is right. What I can probably tell you is that in its current guise there is a very inventive take on the pun at the heart of QI's name (the IQ test) but frankly that's probably something you'd already worked out for yourselves.

After the show there was some quick chat and then we headed over to the pub where Justin Pollard (historian, author and QI elf) joined us for a few drinks. I was quite impressed by the idea for the QI Test, it definitely has the potential (and a show at this stage of development can have nothing more than that) to become very entertaining viewing. I am pleased to say that when the show does come to fruition, you'll be able to hear about it first on the QI blog.

P.S. A review of Wednesday's recording will be available Friday.

QI Series F, Episode 8 Recording Review

Yet another guest reviewer today. Hello! I'm Kate -- long-suffering friend of MinervaMoon's, and watcher of QI. I will be reviewing the recording of May 29th, or at least, what I can remember of it. Memory like a sieve, me!

This recording's warm up comedian was Tom Price. Lovely chap, and definitely NOT a paedophile (this is a joke based on his skit, not a standard disclaimer).†

On to the show itself, where I will try not to ramble too much:

It was the Christmas episode, the title of which was "Fire and Freezing", so the set was decorated with snowflakes, two trees and some fake snow (or cocaine as Stephen dubbed it). The guests, Dom Joly, Clive Anderson, and Rob Brydon (and, of course, Alan and Stephen) came out in assorted winter hats and stripy scarves looking lovely, as Stephen managed to point out at least three times (plus commenting on Rob's "chocolatey wells of love")! The buzzers were songs on the theme of fire, and Alan's was a specially made recording of Alan Sugar telling Alan he was disgrace.

Dom made a very good debut and I'd be glad to see him make some more appearances. Clive was, if I remember rightly, also very good, and Rob was on fire (not literally, although it would fit with the theme). There were some jokes about the fact that the show will be aired many months in the future: Gosh, remember when it rained on the 100m at the Olympics? Gosh, remember when it rained on the 200m? Gosh, remember when it rained on the shotput? Etc. . . .

The guests all had fans, and were following rules of fan-etiquette or something to flirt and send each other coded signals. There was also lengthy discussion of smoke signals, firemen and smoke. I should stop now though because this runs the risk of being really rather long as more things come back to me.

† Sarah notes: He didn't introduce himself with "Hello. You may remember me from such roles as P.C. Andy from Torchwood." But he should have.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The Museum of Curiosity 2nd Series

The Museum of Curiosity has been commissioned for a second series. The radio 4 comedy is loosely based on QI and stars John Lloyd (QI's creator) as the professor and Bill Bailey (a frequent guest) as its curator. Guests are asked to contribute an item to the museum. Items already added to the museum have included silence and the Battle of Waterloo.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

QI Series F, Episode 7 Recording Review

This recording was the first outing of the Quite Interesting Society at the University of York, so whilst I was writing this review I also had the minor concern of getting 10 students to the recording on time. After what turned out to be a 6 hour drive from York to London (due to traffic on the M1 and central London) our two cars arrived outside the studio at 7:18, and we walked into the studio as the floor manager was giving the safety briefing. We ended up seated all over the place, I myself was sat on a chair in front of the curtain at the back of the studio. It was by far the worst seating I had ever had in that studio but it was still better than sitting on the far side of one of the wings.

Before I could get the notepad out, Ben Norris strolled on to warm-up the audience. It was a competent skit but if I'm to be honest the adrenaline was only just wearing off from having been minutes from turning round and heading straight back to York; I wasn't precisely concentrating at the time.

Stephen Fry walked on and I was rather pleased that my request for him to shout out the society was successful. There was a quick wave from our scattered members and Stephen told us to "get a life" (fair comment) and told the audience about York's claim to fame - the largest plastic-bottomed lake in Europe.

After Stephen had introduced the guests there was some quick banter about how he was stalked by Courtney Love and a rendition of "Peter Cushing Lives in Whitstable" it was soon time to start the tape rolling for the recording. Thus here begin the spoilers:

The guests for this recording were Jimmy Carr, David Mitchell and Rich Hall. This episode will be one of a minority this series formed only from regular guests. The topic of the episode was Food. The topics of oysters and fruit machines introduced a running joke into the show about oral sex and this was probably how this episode will have become one of the funniest of the series (not that one is in a position to judge having seen only two of them).

Other topics discussed included; tongues, yakult, tape worms, crabs, Scottish drinks, oysters, melons, Russian service, chips, muscle, teeth, snakes, cheese, cake and the Internet. David Mitchell was given two Teacher's Pet awards throughout the recording.

After the recording we all headed into the green room where we were all introduced to Stephen Fry and Alan Davies plus a number of the elves. After enjoying the free bar (except for the drivers) it was then time to head back home. The dawn had come before we were in our beds.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

QI Series F, Episode 6 Recording Review

Hello, I'm Erin. MinervaMoon, through whose awesomeness I was able to go to two QI recordings during the week I was in London,[1] asked me to do this review so she doesn't completely die from exams. I, being done with that sort of thing for the time being, agreed.

This is the review for the Tuesday, May 20 recording. As at the May 12 recording, Rufus Hound did the warmup. This was my second time at a QI recording, my first time having been the day before. I had a brilliant time both nights, and am already going through withdrawal and fantasizing[2] about moving to the UK.

[Footnote 1: All right, the main reason I went was to go to QI.]

[Footnote 2: Sorry for the spelling -- I'm an American.]

Now for the spoilery bits:

The guests for this episode were Jimmy Carr, Jo Brand, and John Sergeant, whose surname I hope I am finally spelling correctly. It was John's first time on the show, and yes, Stephen did bring up his resemblance to Jo.

The theme was "Flora and Fauna," and the center of the set was decorated with grass, flowers, and two garden gnomes.

The show began with a question about camellias (Stephen was wearing one). The answer involved a really precious line from Stephen (for which Jo made fun of him) that I hope makes the edit. Other subjects included flea circuses, tree-dwelling fish, flamingos (repeating some information from series B episode 2), naïve rhinoceroses, frogs and toads, fairy rings, more frogs, lice and the animals they live on, ferrets helping to build aircraft (segueing into ferrets and trousers), the fastest thing in nature, slugs, peacocks, albatrosses (Alan told the "albatross burger" riddle), and mushrooms. So it was mostly fauna rather than flora, but there were a few good plant questions.

Thanks again to MinervaMoon for giving me the opportunity to see QI and for entrusting me with the writing of this review.

[Erin, you're brilliant. Thank you and you're welcome. Sarah]

The QI Annual 2009

The next QI Annual 2009 has now been placed on amazon for pre-order here. Following on from the success of the first QI annual which covered a range of subjects beginning with “E”, this annual will cover “F” topics. The synopsis given by amazon claims that topics covered in the Annual will include ferrets, Fiji, Finland, fish, flags, flamingos, fleas, floods, flowers, fog, food, football, forests, fossils, Freemasons, fungi, fur and furniture.

It is not yet known who will contribute to the guide, but chances are it will be come from a range of QI guests, panelists and crew who wrote for the Annual last year with some extra contributions from those newly arrived to the QI world.

The QI Annual for 2009 is to be released on the 6 November 2008, and is to be 96 pages long (because 96% of the universe is missing). Currently priced at £12.99.

P.S. QIfanatic gives his apologies to the delays in posting the QI reviews this year. A busy exam schedule for a number of the reviewers is making life difficult.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

QI Series F Episode 5 Recording Review

This review is written by Ian Dunn, QI’s faithful newshound.

This was my first time at not just a QI recording, but also my first time at a TV recording. This is mainly due to the fact that I come from Stockton-on-Tees, which for those who are not British is located in the north of England (where there be dragons). As a result, I have to get the train down from Darlington and book a hotel for the night, which makes the fact that most TV and radio records are free somewhat less significant.

My brother and I got into the studio at around 18:45, after talking to some of the people also waiting including other members of the QI forums. Stephen Grant was doing the warm-up again, taking the fun out of a Norwegian and an Austrian, but then it was revealed that some Americans were also there and the heat was took off the previous two. Stephen Fry then came out and played to us a recording on his iPhone featuring a rather bizarre and very rude Australian phone call.

But now, onto the content of the show. Tonight’s guests were Sean Lock, Johnny Vegas and yet another newcomer – the poet Pam Ayres. This makes Pam the fourth new guest of the series so far. The theme of the episode was “Fight or Flight”. Stephen put on an RAF captain’s cap, and the panel were wearing flying goggles and scarves. Sean was also wearing a very tight shirt, but this has nothing really to do with overall costume. The buzzers, instead of being pressed, were operated by joysticks. Topics covered in tonight’s episode were parachuting, spitfires, fish, fighting animals, boxing, ducklings, hot-air balloons, Viking sailors, rockets (and in General Ignorance) manned flight, the armed forces and knights.

Pam Ayers was certainly an interesting guest and gave a lot of quite interesting information. However, it could be said that she lacked the comic abilities of Sean and Johnny, but then again she is not a comedian by trade, but a poet. Like in his first appearance, Johnny was clearly dominating in his presence. Sean and Alan were their usual selves, although quite interestingly, Alan was the subject of one of the questions.

The recording was an interesting experience for a first timer. For starters, the stage was much smaller than I imagined, although it could well be the case that it was just Stephen and Johnny dwarfing the stage with their collective size. The other thing I noted was the seating. I do not know if this is familiar to those who attended previously recordings, but there is not much foot-room for the audience. I ended up with cramp.

After the show, my brother and I went into the Green room, which was a place of celebration as it was John Mitchinson’s birthday, who was presented with a birthday cake. I got chatting to members of the cast, crew and with fellow members of the QI talk boards. I was in conversation with John Lloyd – or to be more accurate, I talked and I had the feeling that I was going on a bit too long. If you’re reading this John, I apologise if I did.

It was a wonderful night as a whole and I hope to able to do more reviews if I come down to Series G. Thanks to those who allowed me to create this review. Remember: keep an eye out on the QI News section of the website for updates.

QI Series F Episode 4 Recording Review

A quick apology for the delay to this review, things are very hectic up in this northern QI enclave with two trips being planned for society members to watch the recordings coming up.

I arrived at the studio at 4:30pm having travelled all the way from York (early departures now a must given the disaster of one trip to the Museum of Curiosities caused by train delays). I passed the time catching up with several friends from last year's recordings, waiting until they were moved in through the gates before I disappeared in through the main entrance at the front of the building.

Stephen Grant returned tonight to give his classic warm-up. It's now the 9th time that I've seen him at QI (probably about the 12th time I've seen him overall) but I still laugh. It's a testament to Stephen's quality that he gets a laugh from the regulars who know his routine as well as he does. He's just released the DVD from his Edinburgh show last year and he deserves a shameless plug. Stephen Fry then came on and introduced the guests in his characteristic fashion, thus it is time for the spoilers:

The guests were Phill Jupitus, Jo Brand and another new-comer of Radio 4 fame, Hugh Dennis. The set was not dressed but the theme was obvious from the moment that the lightning was tested. The set was draped in the glow of the red, white and blue - France was the night's topic. Things started a little on the slow side, at least in part due to each panelist being asked a question in French. Will the French be offended if that section is subtitled in the TV show? Things moved on swiftly however and with hilarious results. Tripods, sleeping, languages, the Arc De Triumph, Paris Syndrome, puffs, soldiers, anthems, (and in GI) romans, cyclists and Hastings were all discussed. There was a tangent into the topic of Mary Poppins although this is a family orientated blog and I will mention no more.

Hugh Dennis gave an admirable performance but given his pedigree in panel shows (MTW, The Now Show, HIGNFY) that was to be expected. The series has already taken on the characteristic of having many more new faces than the last but the results have been positive so far.

Ian Dunn - a new author on the blog - will make an appearance soon to review the 5th episode. I myself shall not be reviewing another until next week so in the meantime please enjoy the reviews and the recordings (if you're one of those lucky people that lives near London).

Sunday, 18 May 2008

QI Series F, Episode 3 Recording Review

Sorry to be so disgracefully late with this review, but both qifanatic and I are absolutely overwhelmed with coursework and exam revision. His review for the fourth episode will come imminently, he promises. Since I'm supposed to be doing physics now, I thought a review would be the proper thing to get started on. If you're the kind of person who understands this logic, what are you doing reading this review? Don't you have exams to revise for?

Anyhow. This is the review for the episode that was recorded on 12 May 2008.

The warm-up for this episode was conspicuously Stephen Grant-less, as the busy bee is working hard on his Edinburgh show. Instead, the audience was prepped by comedian Rufus Hound, a newbie to the QI scene, who nevertheless performed admirably. Since my friend had flown in from the States to be there for the week's recordings, I willingly submitted us to get picked on as part of the obligatory "oo-er, who's from overseas?" bit. Mr Hound did his best to cut us down, but I think we scored the last laugh by refuting his contention that we would have backstage passes were we that impressive (which we did, so I think it can be said that we are).

Is this the part where we make the text unreadable for the spoilery bits?
[Ed: Yes, you clod.]
[Ed 2: Only joking. That wasn't really Ed.]

The theme of the show was "Fakes and Frauds", or something along those lines. The guests were Sean Lock, Jimmy Carr, and newcomer Marcus Brigstocke. Each of the panellists had a mask of a different panellist to hold up (in a fraudulent way, you see? You see?) while they were being introduced, but this caused some problems when they were called upon to demonstrate their buzzers; they all kept their masks up and didn't know whether to be themselves or the person they were impersonating. The first 15 minutes of the show were one hilarious disaster after another: The viewscreens started displaying weirdly, and then the buzzers refused to light. Marcus suggested to Jimmy that he "hit it with the flat of the hand!", so Jimmy slammed his palm into his mushroomoid . . . which accomplished nothing. They got a man in from backstage, and finally, everything worked properly until the end.

There were close to 20 questions and activities over the course of the night, and it's a real shame that they all won't make it into the final cut. Topics discussed included freak shows, snake oil (which, someone should inform Stephen, is not made of wank), sword swallowing, false memories, rhubarb jam, Archimedes, margarine, and Cock Lane. I know, you just can't wait. Tangents included the origins of Fanta ("Nazi Coke", according to Jimmy), and deliberate slagging-off of the channel Dave simply because it would be hilarious if they had to air it (Alan). There was a running joke concerning the "pig-faced lady", a topic from the first question. A lot of great banter from the guests made it an excellent recording, and although Marcus came behind the rest of them in points (was I not supposed to say that? [Ed: *facepalm*]), he did very well for a first-timer.

Looking forward to the rest of this series; it's shaping up to be a good 'un.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

QI Series C DVD - Release Date

QI's C series will be available on DVD from the 1st September. It is already available to pre-order on amazon here. There is however still a space on your shelf for the D and E series, but if you want the opportunity to get your hands on them then the commercial success of these DVDs is crucial, make sure that you encourage your friends to buy the DVDs as well.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

John Lloyd Interview

Back in February John Lloyd, producer of QI, came to the University of York to give an interview in front of 250 students in order to launch the Quite Interesting Society. Watch the interview in these two videos below:

QI Series F, Episode 2 Review

Lo and behold Mandibles is back with another review for the show.

Having arrived at the studio I enjoyed a chat with some forum friends whilst basking in the sunshine. My bucket of M&S Cornflake crispy bites seemed to go down well and the time flew by until we were moving into the studio. Well done to Matthew of the Applause store who managed to get the queues separated. However, I noticed that a large crowd of Priority members had decided to hang around at the middle of the normal queue until Matthew arrived. They were allowed to join the priority queue before the priority members waiting patiently in line nearer the back were seen to. This maybe something to watch out for in future.

Once again Stephen Grant did a fabulous warm-up and the special C series DVD preview was played.

Onto the fantastic spoilers!

The theme of tonights show was "Future". On the QI set there were 2 large rockets and two pointed paper lights that changed colour from red, blue, yellow and green. These sat either side of Stephen's chair whereas the rockets were at the left and right of the set near the screens. The guests tonight were Sean Lock, Alan Davies, Rob Brydon and a NEW guest Ben Miller (whose startling resemblance to Rob Brydon was not overlooked). Topics covered included Rockets, futuristic languages, speech, time travel and aliens. I was very impressed by Ben Miller's knowledge of advanced physics and time travel and he was awarded a special F series fanfare from Stephen. The interaction between the guests was brilliant, especially between Ben and Rob. One particularly tender moment between them will hopefully make the edit of the show.

I noticed that there were not as many production guests as there were the previous night but all in all it was a very funny show and very interesting.

Thanks to QIFanatic for allowing me to review the show, hopefully it won't be the last one I do!

Bye for now!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

QI Series F Episode 1 Review

Hi there folks,
Sorry it has taken me so long to post up these reviews. Only just got back from London. Anyways here goes with my very first QI Review!

The very first recording of the series is always an exiting event and this was no different. The entire queue was buzzing with anticipation as they waited outside. I wasn't in the queue due to being on the production guest list but I did go up front to say hello to some friends from the forum. There were quite a few production guest alongside myself and we were led into the studio at about 6.45pm to take our seats.

Stephen Grant was once again the warm-up for the show. I noticed a lot of new material from him and he was on top form. His warm-up went on for a fair bit longer than usual due to some mysterious happenings behind the curtain. Soon we found out what the wait was for - an exclusive peek into the C Series DVD. Our response to the extra was to be measured to see if they would include it in the show, I hope they do. The QI set was completely bare of props or items giving us no clue as to what the theme of the show was.

On with the spoilers!

The guests this week were Dara O' Briain, Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus and Alan Davies. Some people in the audience stood up as Phill walked out to show their appreciation of him. The theme of tonights show was Features. Mainly bodily ones seeing as most of the questions were related to fingers, faces and feet. This show contained a special forfeit where if any guest said the word f**k then they would lose 10 points. However, if they took Stephen on in a game of "Paper, Scissors, Stone" and won then they would gain five points back. If they lost then another 10 points would be deducted from their score. The special F series bonus is called "Fanfare". If any guest is interesting enough then they earn themselves a fanfare which is very nice for them.
Other topics covered included French kissing, finger lengths, fancy lizards, face recognition, foreskins, feet size and finger muscles.

The show went off really well and the audience were very enthusiastic. After a few pickups the show was done and I headed into the Green Room. It was an excellent experience for me and being able to chat with Piers, John and the stars after the show whilst enjoying a glass of wine was a perfect end to the evening.

Thanks to QIFanatic for letting me review the show!

Edited for certain corrections x

Reviews (Coming Soon)

A quick apology for the delays to the reviews. Due to commitments QI Fanatic is severely limited in the shows he can attend this year so other authors are taking up the slack. Mandibles, a new author, and a fan so obsessed that she has the QI logo tattooed on her arm (which is now property of QI) will bring the reviews of the first two recordings as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

QI BoAI at the Hay Festival - 2008

In the QI world, the lord overseers Lloyd and Mitchinson are known, in whispered reverence, as "The Two Johns". Apart from their roles in researching/supervising the TV show, they were the dual authors behind the books of General Ignorance and Animal Ignorance, and run the operation whose mission it is to find something quite interesting in everything--even, dare I say, Chelmsford.

I spiel to you because John Mitchinson, who, by his own admission, doesn't "know what to do with this info!", asked me to advertise the fact that the this dynamic duo is going to be making a presentation about "12 suitably interesting beasts" this coming May, at the Guardian Hay Festival in Wales. If that weren't exciting enough for you, they're going to be dressed to the nines . . . as a sheep and a chicken. In order that some sense of mystery should still be preserved, no revelation will yet be made concerning which is the sheep and which the chicken.

The nitty-gritty details:

What?: The QI Zoo: The Book of Animal Ignorance
Where?: The Hay Festival
Which?: Hay-on-Wye, Wales
Who?: John Lloyd and John Mitchinson
When?: Saturday, 26 May 2008 | 7:00 pm
Why?: Does one really need an excuse to dress up in silly costume and educate the masses?

[The Hay Festival 2008 website and schedule.]

Ticketing: Tickets are free to students who apply successfully through this page. When the programme is released, tickets can also be purchased here.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Recording Dates

The following are provisional dates for the full series of recordings for season F which take place in May and June. Please note that the producers reserve the right to change these dates at short notice.

Monday 5th May
Tuesday 6th May
Monday 12th May
Tuesday 13th May
Monday 19th May
Tuesday 20th May
Wednesday 28th May
Thursday 29th May
Wednesday 4th June
Thursday 5th June
Wednesday 11th June
Thursday 12th June

We're still looking for more reviewers of the recordings. Send an email to qifanatic@googlemail.com if you're interested.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Tickets to F Series Recordings

Applause Store are now taking applications for tickets to the first two recordings of the F series. Please note that contrary to previous years, only online bookings will be accepted and it will consequently be harder to get into recordings.

Tickets can be booked here.

Also, due to commitments for several members of this blog, we will be looking for additional guest authors this year to write reviews of the recordings. The reviews have proved to be a very popular part of the blog with several hundred readers. If you intend to be at any of the recordings and are interested in writing the reviews then please get in contact by sending an email to qifanatic@googlemail.com. We are particularly looking for anyone who has experience of review writing.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Quite Interesting Society

Updating the blog has been quite difficult for the past couple of months, which I apologise for. However, I've had good reason to be too busy to write new posts. I have been very heavily involved in the creation of the Quite Interesting Society at the University of York. It is the first student society in the world dedicated to QI.

The Quite Interesting Society was launched at the event "An Audience With John Lloyd" where the creator and producer of QI was interviewed by an audience of over 250 students. The society has already been involved with research for the next series and amongst other activities will be taking trips to the recordings. QI speakers will also be coming to York to discuss interesting topics and there's a chance of one or two comedy gigs too.

Click Here to view QI Soc's website

And finally, a reminder that QI's B series DVD is released on Monday. Don't forget to pick up your copy.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

The Museum of Curiosity

The Museum of Curiosity is the latest creation of John Lloyd, the creator of QI and it's coming to a wireless near you at 6:30pm on Wednesday 20th February for the next 6 weeks. It is a radio 4 comedy based around the principles of QI where a panel of guests will contribute an item to the museum. John Lloyd takes the role of the professor whilst regular QI panelist Bill Bailey takes the role of curator (at his keyboard).

Having seen the show being recorded, I am very confident that this series is going to be a big hit. It could well be radios' VI to TV's quite interesting since it doesn't rely purely on comedic talent but also on notable talents in many fields (Alastair Fothergill, the producer of Blue Planet and Planet Earth for example). However, the show still benefits from strong comedic talent including Bill Bailey himself and panelists like Kevin Day.

Don't forget to listen next Wednesday at 6:30pm on Radio 4.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 50 and 51

Apologies for the delays in updating the blog over recent weeks. The reasons for this should become apparent within the next week. To bring the news up-to-date regarding the column, click here to read interesting moon facts and click here for six based factoids (without a mention of cricket).

Thursday, 31 January 2008

QI Series B DVD

The long-awaited series B DVD will go on sale on March 17th. It is now available to pre-order on amazon. Click here to do so. Hopefully the wait for series C won't be so long.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 49

Apologies for the update on the QI column. Things are very busy at the moment, as will soon become clear. Click here to look to the stars.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 48

The QI Column reaches the half-way point in the tour of the alphabet this week with letter M. Click here.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 47

Check out this week's column for lots fives. Click here.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Daily Telegraph QI Column - Week 46

It's a new year and time for lots of firsts. Click here for this week's column. Happy new year everyone.