Sunday, 15 November 2009


QI's researcher James Harkin (aka Eggshaped) is going where no elf has gone before; on a round the world trip to find interesting facts for the H series. His itinerary includes Hungary, Hispaniola, Hawaii, Hong Kong & The Himalayas. You can keep up to date with his journey via his new blog: He would also welcome any suggestions for interesting locations to investigate so feel free to comment on his posts.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

At last...the dates for series G of QI!

As posted on the QI Forum and Twitter, the G series of QI will begin on Thursday 26th November at 9.30pm on BBC1. It will run for five weeks in that slot, the last of which will be on Christmas Eve and presumably be the Christmas Special.

After that, episode 6 airs on Friday 8th January at 8.30pm on BBC1. The remaining episodes will then air on Fridays for consecutive weeks. No information yet about which episode is the first, which order any of them are in, or the possibility of QI XL editions on BBC2. Not yet, anyway.

In a nutshell then, the airdates are:

Episode 1: Thursday 26th November, 9.30pm, BBC1

Episode 2: Thursday 3rd December, 9.30pm, BBC1

Episode 3: Thursday 10th December, 9.30pm, BBC1

Episode 4: Thursday 17th December, 9.30pm, BBC1

Episode 5 (Christmas Special): Thursday 24th December, 9.30pm, BBC1

Episode 6: Friday 1st January, 9:30pm, BBC1

Episode 7: Friday 8th January, 8.30pm, BBC1

Episode 8: Friday 15th January, 8.30pm, BBC1

Episode 9: Friday 22nd January, 8.30pm, BBC1

Episode 10: Friday 29th January, 8.30pm, BBC1

Episode 11: Friday 5th February, 8.30pm, BBC1

Episode 12: Friday 12th February, 8.30pm, BBC1

Episode 13: Friday 19th February, 8.30pm, BBC1

Episode 14: Friday 26th February, 8.30pm, BBC1

Episode 15: Friday 5th March, 8.30pm, BBC1

Episode 16: Friday 12th March, 8.30pm, BBC1

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Save the Date: QI to be Broadcast in Australia!

A heads up to all Australian friends of QI:

ABC1 is due to air QI for the first time on Tuesday, 20 October at 9:30 PM, and presumably each Tuesday night thereafter.

The first episode to air will be Flotsam and Jetsam from the "F" series, featuring Rob Brydon, Andy Hamilton, Charlie Higson, and our perennial favourites Stephen Fry and Alan Davies.

Please be sure to tune in to show your support!


Saturday, 3 October 2009

According to Alan Davies via Twitter...

...the new series 'G' of QI won't be starting until December. And when it does, it will be on BBC1, and on a Tuesday. No news yet on whether this will be the regular QI or the extended QI XL versions, as done for series 'F', or indeed whether QI XL will appear on BBC2 or at all.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Coming in November...the 'G' QI Annual

I haven't posted in a while, so here is a bit of news: a little peek at the new QI Annual, coming in November.

A gargantuan gallimaufry of G-ness that gambols gamely between Galaxies, Gods, Gravity, Gin, Gnus and Gravel--with all our favourites and some surprises--from QI's new BBC1 series showing this autumn:

* Clive Anderson on Gordons
* Rowan Atkinson's Gambling tips
* Bill Bailey's Air Guitar Tutorial
* Craig Brown's G-acronyms
* Jimmy Carr's Guide to Grooming
* Chris Donald of Viz on Geordies, Grocers and Garden Gnomes
* Chef Rowley Leigh's Greedy treats
* Golden Grahams by Graham Norton

...and Ronni Ancona and Rob Brydon in the next installment of their photo luv story.

Illustrational Genius from Jonathan Cusick, Cherry Denman, Ted Dewan, Geoff Dunbar, Beano's Hunt Emerson, Phill Jupitus, Spitting Image's Roger Law, Matt from The Daily Telegraph, Tony Husband and Nick Newman of Private Eye, Katie Scott, Adrian Teal, Robert Thompson, and more.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

New Book by Former QI Elf

Adam Jacot de Boinod, a QI elf during Series A who amongst other things revealed Albania's love of eyebrows, has written a third book about obscure words.

However, whilst his first two books, The Meaning of Tingo and Toujours Tingo were all about words that exist in other languages that do not exist in English ("Tingo" is a word in the Pascuense language of Easter Island meaning "to borrow things from a friend's house one by one until there's nothing left") his third book, The Wonder of Whiffling is collection of long-forgotten words in English.

Amongst the words included in this new book are:

* Fornale: To spend one's money before one has earned it.

* Cagg: A solemn vow or resolution not to get drunk for a certain time.

* Petrichor: The pleasent smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell.

* Bowerbird: A person who collects an astonishing array of - often useless - objects.

The Wonder of Whiffling is published by Particular Books and will go on sale on 24 September.

You can pre-order at Amazon and Play.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Series G - Sneak Preview

For those of you who cannot wait any longer without seeing something both new and quite interesting, the BBC has posted a preview clip of one of the episodes in Series G on its press office website.

In order to see it, click here, go to the carousel and click the QI entry.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Series G - General Guide

Yesterday saw the last episode of QI Series G being recorded, thus seeing the completion of the shows longest series yet, consisting of sixteen editions stuffed full of quite interesting G-related topics, not to mention good gags, glorious guests and General Ignorance.

As well as being the longest series, there are also some quite interesting guests. Nine new faces have appeared on the show. These include three women, two of whom are the first lesbians to appear on the show, our third American guest, our second Irish guest, our second Australian guest and our first Dane. It also sees a guest who has not appeared since Series A. This series also sees the first time where QI is played by more than four panellists.

Here is the list of episodes, in order of recording date:

1) G-Animals: Bill Bailey, Sean Lock, Sandi Toksvig and John Hodgman.

2) Gravity: Barry Humphries, Bill Bailey and Rich Hall.

3) Gothic: Jimmy Carr, Jack Dee and Sue Perkins.

4) Games: Phill Jupitus, Sean Lock and Liza Tarbuck.

5) Gifts: Clive Anderson, Jimmy Carr and Jan Ravens.

6) A Galimaufrey of Gingambobs: Phill Jupitus, Hugh Dennis and Andy Hamilton.

7) Green: Danny Baker, Bill Bailey and Jeremy Clarkson.

8) Greek: Phill Jupitus, Clive Anderson and Rich Hall.

9) Groovy (Christmas Special): Bill Bailey, Lee Mack and David Tennant.

10) Girls and Boys: Ronni Ancona, Sandi Toksvig and Jack Dee.

11) Geometry: Rob Brydon, Johnny Vegas and David Mitchell.

12) Genius: David Mitchell, Dara Ó Briain and Graham Norton.

13) Germany: Jo Brand, Rob Brydon and Sean Lock.

14) Geography: Jo Brand, Rob Brydon and Jimmy Carr.

15) Gardens and Groceries: Dara Ó Briain, Rob Brydon and David Mitchell.

16) Greats: Jo Brand, Sean Lock and David Mitchell.

It is expected that the series will start sometime in the autumn.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Products, Recordings and Other Updates

Quite a lot has been going on since the QI Talk blog has last been updated, so I thought it was time to give everyone the latest news.

Series G

QI's seventh series is currently being recorded. Out of the sixteen episodes to be made, seven have so far have been recorded. The details are written below in white so as not to spoil it for those waiting for them to be broadcast. Scroll over the text to read it.

Episode 1) G-Animals: With Bill Bailey, Sean Lock, Sandi Toksvig, and John Hodgman (that's right: four guests!)

Episode 2) Gravity: With Barry Humphries, Bill Bailey, and Rich Hall.

Episode 3) Gothic: With Jimmy Carr, Jack Dee and Sue Perkins.

Episode 4) Games: With Phill Jupitus, Sean Lock, and Liza Tarbuck.

Episode 5) Gifts: With Clive Anderson, Jimmy Carr, and Jan Ravens.

Episode 6) A Gallimaufry of Gingambobs: With Phill Jupitus, Hugh Dennis, and Andy Hamilton.

Episode 7) Green: With Danny Baker, Bill Bailey, and Jeremy Clarkson.

The other recordings will take place on May 26th, 28th, 29th, June 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 11th, and 12th.

You can find out more information from the QI Forums and the British Comedy Guide.

The Museum of Curiosity

The second gallery of The Museum of Curiosity is currently open. The radio "spin-off" to QI, hosted by QI's creator John Lloyd (Professor of Ignorance at the University of Buckingham), now has a new curator, Sean Lock. Three episodes have been broadcast and the series is currently on the BBC iPlayer.

The Museum is also planning to expand. The people behind the show are to open a new website of the series soon, which will include a forum and podcasts, and will even allow users to donate their own exhibits.

You can listen to the new series on BBC Radio 4 on Monday evenings at 18:30, with repeats on Sundays at noon. You can follow the show on The Museum's Blog or at the British Comedy Guide.

Quite Interesting Products

Some new QI goodies are soon to be made available.

The QI Pocket Book of Animals - Following on from the pocket version of The Book of General Ignorance, a new pocket version of QI's second book, The Book of Animal Ignorance has just come out. You can buy it from Amazon and Play.

Advanced Banter (Paperback) - The paperback version of QI's book of quotations is to be published on 3 September 2009, according to Amazon and Play.

QI: The Book of the Dead - The new, fourth book published by the people behind QI to be published on 1 October 2009. Split into 42 chapters, The Book of the Dead will contain sections such as "People who died Penniless", "The One-Legged", "Only Children", "People who failed at School", "Those only Remembered by a Single Quotation" and "The Last People to Know Everything". You can pre-order the book from Amazon.

Secret Britain: The Hidden Bits of Our History: Written by Question Wrangler Justin Pollard, this is a follow up to his previous books The Interesting Bits and Charge! which look at all the quite interesting bits in the history of Britain. The book is listed on Amazon and will be released on 1 October 2009.

The QI Annual 2010: The third QI annual is currently in the making, and will feature a range of G-related topics. Contributions will come from Stephen Fry, Alan Davies, Rowan Atkinson, Jeremy Clarkson, Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus, Jimmy Carr and many more. To be released on 5th November, 2009. Per-order from Amazon.

My Favourite People, 1978-1988: Alan's first book! QI's resident panellist and stud muffin has written a memoir of his life growing up in the 1980s. You can find more information about the book here.

QI is also hoping that to make a game for the Nintendo DS, but it is not known if and when it will come out. Sadly, no details are yet known concerning DVDs of any more QI series; Series D is the next one that should be due for release.


QI, along with several other related shows and people, is now on Twitter. For those wanting to know information about the shows as they are recorded, these links will let you know live from the scene. He is a list of some quite interesting tweets you may wish to follow.

QI - @qikipedia

The Museum of Curiosity - @Curiositwitty

QI Telegraph - @QITelegraph

Stephen Fry - @stephenfry

Alan Davies - @alandavies1

John Mitchinson - @Tewlop

Justin Pollard - @JustinPollard

Katie Scott - @katiescottscott

Dan Schreiber - @Schreiberland

Jonathan Paul Green - @jpgdesign

Friday, 6 March 2009

QI & MoC Recordings

We can announce that the G series of QI is to be extended beyond the normal run of 12 episodes to a minimum of 16. Recordings of Qi are currently scheduled to take place on the following dates at the London Studios:

May 8th, 9th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 26th, 28th, & 29th
June 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 11th & 12th

Bookings for tickets can be made via as tickets are made available.

Meanwhile the Museum of Curiosities, presented by the creator of QI John Lloyd on BBC Radio 4 will be returning for a new series later this year. John Lloyd will be joined by Sean Locke who will be tacking over from Bill Bailey as the series' co-presenter and the museum's curator. Recordings will be taking place at the BBC's Broadcasting House on Oxford Circus on the following dates:

March 30th & 31st
April 6th & 13th
May 4th & 19th

Tickets can be booked online here or by ringing 0370 901 1227.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Episode 12 & QI News

Episode 12 of QI in the F series will not be broadcast at the previously advertised time due to a clash with BBC1's Comic Relief in Red Nose Day on 13th March. It is currently unclear whether it will be broadcast in QI's old BBC2 slot or the following week on BBC1.

Meanwhile in other news, QI's move to BBC1 continues to create international interest from producers wishing to replicate the format. Following the start of the Dutch series there are now ongoing negotiations regarding the sale of the format to be shown in France. If QI is adapted to a conventional prime time format for French broadcasts it will probably be converted into a 2 hour long show.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Dutch QI episode 3 "Lust and Love"

Not content with just two people's opinions of the new Dutch QI, we decided to go a find a third one. This week The Great Prickly of Pear provides us with her opinions of the third show in the new series.

This episode was all about "Love and Lust", with guests Claudia de Breij, Ronald Goedemond, Silvester Zwaneveld, and of course Thomas van Luyn. I think that this show was the first in the run to really shine in terms of the comedy. It hasn't only been Arthur Japin (much improved this time) that needed to get used to his role, but the guests as well. The programme has placed too much emphasis on being funny in the early shows. As a result the guests try to answer the questions by leading off with a joke. That created plenty of forfeits, but it didn't lead into much banter. This time however, the panellists tried to answer the questions directly, and the resulting klaxons led into discussions that created a much funnier show.

So this episode was funnier that the previous ones. But was it more interesting? The answer to this question is, sadly, no. Once more, about half of the questions had come from the "real" QI. That makes it less interesting for the fans who've also watched the original. Also, the panellists are not encouraged to be interesting, even if an interesting anecdote is loosely connected with the question. It is quite clear that the panelists are only expected to contribute to the laughter and not the interestingness.

There is also a problem with the way the questions are posed. The question about fans that was asked in the Christmas special was also asked during this episode of the Dutch version. The panelists were asked to show how they thought "I'm already married", for example, would look. Obviously this lead to some funny answers, but how and where and why this fan-language was invented was omitted. This difference in style really demonstrates the lack of interest that the producers pay towards the subject matter's interestingness.

However, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that this has transpired. The original QI was born out of the rather noble ideologies of John Lloyd, whose primary concern was creating an interesting show (which was supposed to be targeted at Radio 4 before he was persuaded to put it on TV). The Dutch QI has been bought from the BBC as a comedy show; maybe we shouldn't expect the producers to aspire to anything other than that?

One final niggle is that the questions lack linguistic elegance. The writers of the original seem always to do their utmost to write beautifully, making full use of Stephen's oratory skills. However in the Dutch version the question are simple. Maybe this has something to do with the different cultures. There's no eloquence in Dutch.

But why am I complaining that the Dutch version differs from the original? Does it matter that the intro isn't the same; that it isn't as interesting; that the cards Arthur Japin has in front of him don't look as good? QI is broadcast on Nederland 1, which produces cheap viewer-ratings-conscious entertainment, although all the public channels in the Netherlands work like that. Given that environment, QI is a beacon of light in the dark ocean that we call General Ignorance.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

QI F Series Broadcast Schedule

The full broadcast dates for the remainder of the F series:

16th January - Fight and Flight (Pam Ayres, Sean Lock, Johnny Vegas)

23rd January - France (Jo Brand, Hugh Dennis, Phill Jupitus)

30th January - Fakes (Marcus Brigstock, Jimmy Carr, Sean Lock)

6th February - Fingers and Fumbs (Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus, Dara O Briain)

13th February - Fashion (Clive Anderson, Rich Hall, Reginald D. Hunter)

20th February - Future (Rob Brydon, Sean Lock, Ben Miller)

27th February - Flora and Fauna (Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, John Sergeant)

6th March - Film (David Mitchell, John Sessions, Emma Thompson)

13th March - Food (Jimmy Carr, Rich Hall, David Mitchell)

Friday, 9 January 2009

F Series Starts Today

Don't forget that the first episode of the full run of the F series starts tonight at 9:00pm on BBC One. Tonight's episode is about "Flotsam and Jetsam", with guests Andy Hamilton, Rob Brydon, and returning for only his second episode, former plasterer Charlie Higson.

You can catch an extended edition of the show tomorrow (Saturday) evening on BBC Two at 10:30pm with an extra ten minutes that wouldn't fit into the Friday show.

Also, you may be interested to learn that the Radio 4 series The Museum of Curiosity, starring QI creator John Lloyd and comedian Bill Bailey in a QI-inspired search for the universe's most interesting things, is now available for purchase in the form of an audio CD. You can order it from Amazon here.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Dutch QI Episode 2 - War

This week's review is brought to you by Peti.

Last Saturday was the day that VARA broadcast the second episode of the Dutch series of QI, and your reporter was installed by the television at 22:00 sharp.

Let's start at the very beginning with the opening credits. They are not a copy of the original: there is a different theme – not as catchy as the one Howard Goodall composed – and they show a supposedly comical animation of host Arthur Japin and panellist Thomas van Luyn travelling through interesting parts of history and having information put in their heads. It's a bit cheesy for my taste, but it highlights one of the major differences between the original programme and the Dutch version. The focus is on being funny more than on being interesting. As Japin opens the show "This quiz is all about interesting answers. We give out the most points for nice stories and funny anecdotes." What is this? Is interesting the same as funny now?

The set designers have borrowed heavily from the British version, with the panellists sitting around a big "Q" with a lower case "i" in the middle. The big Q seems to be scaled down, so the panellists are sitting much closer together, although it may simply be that it is recorded in a smaller studio. Behind the guests are two large screens used to a similar effect as the British version for displaying the klaxon answers and videos. The klaxon is quieter, or as one of the panellists said, "It's like I've hit the jackpot!"

For the second episode, the panellists sat with Japin and Van Luyn were Diederik van Vleuten, Lenette van Dongen, and Richard Groenendijk. It's good to see that the producers are employing good comedic talents instead of the usual selection of minor actors and television presenters that usually appear on Dutch panel shows. I do really like Van Vleuten and Groenendijk had some of the most amusing answers and stories.

The second episode of the Dutch QI was all about war. Lovely! Some of the questions, like in the first episode, were taken from the BBC programme, like the "kamikaze pigeons" and the number of soldiers under the command of a centurion. However, some of the questions haven't appeared in the broadcasts of the British version so it would seem that they are making an attempt at some original research. For example, one of Saddam Hussein's sons produced a cola drink with a Pepsi logo on it, and SS personnel had their blood type tattooed in their armpits. My favourite was that Napoleon gave his soldiers yo-yos because he thought it was good for the blood flow.

One question concerned a "secret weapon" employed by the ancient Greeks. Van Luyn: "Homosexuality. The ancient ones did that, the younger ones not so much, they thought is was a bit yucky." He goes on mocking hoplites and their stylish outfits, but it turns out his answer was right: there were armies of homosexuals. Plato suggested in his "Symposium" that if two lovers would fight, they would try to protect each other. This is followed by the inevitable mocking of homosexuality.

Groenendijk: "How did they fight? Pulling each other hair?"
Van Luyn: "Throwing handbags."
Groenendijk: "With beautifully styled hair. No, watch out for my hair!"
Van Luyn: "Throwing Gucci shoes."
Groenendijk: "So that was the secret weapon of the Greeks. But were the enemy soldiers all straight? So they turn out to be stronger. If it takes too long for us, we don't finish things."
Van Dongen: "I just have to watch the Eurovision Song Contest now!"

The programme has all the elements: good comedians, interesting facts, gay jokes...So why is it just not as good as the original? Obviously, it doesn't have Stephen Fry, the host of hosts. Also, the entertainment value is rather reduced if you know the answers to the half the questions, because they've been copied from the BBC series. But there are two major problems. One of them I mentioned before: the object of the Dutch QI is not to discover interesting facts. The object seems to be to let the comedians tell "funny anecdotes", and that's just wrong! Points are for interesting facts, whether they're relevant or not. The comedians are supposed to be funny; it's their job. The second problem is the way Japin hosts the show. He's no Stephen Fry, but he doesn't have to be. I just have a problem with him just being there to read up questions, and judge the answers. He is just a bit too serious and stiff. Now, since this is the first time he's done anything like this, it makes sense. I just hope he grows into his role.