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.