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Series 1, Episode 3

Transcript by: Sarah Falk

TRANSCRIPT

Stephen
Hello and welcome to QI, the programme that's tough on boredom and tough on the causes of boredom. Let's meet this evening's magistrates of mirth. Clive Anderson . . . Bill Bailey . . . Meera Syal . . . and Alan Davies.

Now, the rules are simple; the questions are hard. The scoring is my business. Each of you is equipped with an electronic gavel. Meera goes:

Meera
[presses buzzer, which plays a light banging noise]

Stephen
Clive goes:

Clive
[presses buzzer, which plays a medium banging noise]

Stephen
Bill goes:

Bill
[presses buzzer, which plays a heavy banging noise]

Stephen
Alan goes:

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bouncing ping-pong ball]

Stephen
Oh, dear.

Fingers and palms on buzzers, please. What is the longest animal in the world? Or which is the longest animal in the world, if you prefer?

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bouncing ping-pong ball]
[stares at his buzzer in delight]

Stephen
Alan?

Alan
I . . . Now, I . . . The first thing that came to mind would be a really long snake . . . 

Stephen
Mm hmm?

Alan
But I think that even the longest snake . . . it wouldn't be as long as a really, really long sea animal like a whale, or something like that.

Stephen
Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "BLUE WHALE".

Stephen
[holds up card which reads "BLUE WHALE"]
It's not the blue whale.

Alan
It's not the blue whale?

Stephen
No. It was too obvious an answer, and I'd hoped you wouldn't rush headlong into it.

Bill
[presses buzzer, which plays a heavy banging noise]

Stephen
Bill, Bill, Bill?

Bill
The common or garden domestic cat.

Alan
[holding hands apart] It's about that long, though!

Bill
[coughs] Yes. But when you stretch 'em out! . . . [stands up and pretends to be a cat being forced up under the arms] Have you ever held a cat up under its arms like that? It's massive.

Alan
But a blue whale would be longer than that!

Bill
Yes, yes . . . But in its class!

Stephen
In its class.

Alan
If you held a blue whale up –

Bill
Yes.

Alan
 – you'd have to stand on a tall building and – [sways arms in pendulum arc] – swing it for hours.

Clive
[presses buzzer, which plays a medium banging noise]
It's a tapeworm inside a blue whale!

Alan
[pointing at Clive] That's very good.

Stephen
Brilliant –

Clive
That's got to be it. Sorry.

Stephen
Brilliant thinking, but no.

Bill
I . . . [presses buzzer, which plays a heavy banging noise].

Stephen
Yes?

Bill
Yes.

Stephen
Let's forget the buzzers. Just forget it.

Bill
Forget the buzzers. Off the buzzers now.

I would hazard a guess and say the, erm, the Portuguese Man-of-War.

Stephen
Oh, now, do you know, I'm gonna give you five points, 'cause you're so much in the right class of animal.

Bill
Ah! See?

Stephen
It is a jellyfish.

Bill
A jellyfish.

Stephen
Yeah. It is a jellyfish.

Bill
With very long tendrils that stretch for many, many miles.

Alan
Long-down long?

Stephen
No, across, actually. Are any of you familiar . . . [to Alan] And down, I mean, they . . . they . . . they do both –

Bill
Yes.

Stephen
 – because they use them and they whip people with them. . . . Are any of you familiar with a Sherlock Holmes story called The Lion's Mane?

Bill
Ah.

Stephen
Do you remember it?

Alan
[makes face of outward recognition] . . . No.

Stephen
It's about a man who's seen staggering from the sea with this extraordinary network of welts, of . . . of . . . as if he'd been whipped or had a . . . had a red-hot net put onto his back, and he gasps and as he dies he goes, [hoarsely] "The mane, the lion's mane!" Just like that. That's how it's written.

Bill
Right.

Stephen
Holmes was retired by this point and is keeping bees on the Sussex Downs.

Alan
Was he?

Stephen
Yeah. He, er, he discovers –

Alan
Against their will?

Stephen
They loved it. They loved being kept by Holmes.

The Lord Chancellor under . . . under John Major –

Alan
Under duress?

Stephen
 – was a man called Lord, er, Mackay of Clashfern.

Clive
Yes.

Stephen
[to Clive] You'll remember him, as a lawyer yourself.

Clive
Charming man.

Stephen
Er, yeah, so, he was one of the . . . a member of the Wee Frees, that rather particular, er, sort of Low-Church Scottish sect.

Meera
The Wee Frees?

Clive
He was thrown off, though. He was thrown out.

Stephen
The Wee Frees. He was thrown off.

Clive
He went to a . . . a funeral of a Catholic –

Stephen
He was soft on homosexuals.

Clive
No, he went to a funeral of a . . . a judge who happened to be a Catholic –

Stephen
Oh, that's right.

Clive
 – and, er, and so he wasn't allowed back in the . . . the Wee Free church.

Stephen
They don't like popery –

Clive
No. No popery.

Stephen
 – or any smelly objects. Yes, all right. But, er . . . [to continued audience laughter] Awful, awful, awful!

Er, anyway, he was a . . . I won't say a mean man, but he was giving a tea party for some Scottish lawyers: some bread and, er, and toast, and this tiny pot of honey. And one of the lawyers said, "Ah, I see Your Lordship keeps a bee." Kind of amusing, but not rude enough, obviously, for this audience . . . 

Erm, the answer is the lion's mane jellyfish. Its main body . . . 

Alan
[slumps over and pretends to be asleep]

Stephen
The main body or "bell" of the lion's mane is only eight feet across –

Alan
[mimes being violently attacked by an enormous jellyfish]

Stephen
 – but its tentacles are over 200 feet long . . . Alan.

Alan
So you'd be going, [yells into the distance] "Get off, you bastard!"

Stephen
He wouldn't be able to hear you.

Alan
"Come here and try that! Come fight me!"

Clive
So how does it happen in this story? Had somebody scooped . . . scooped it out of the ocean and, er, thrown it at him in this club?

Stephen
No, it had come up . . . it had come up on the, er, on the jet stream, as they sometimes do, as jellyfish do, to Cornwall and to the south coast, 'cause it isn't, er, indiginous to –

Clive
Came up on the jet stream? One of those aircraft?

Alan
The gulf stream.

Stephen
The gulf stream! I'm so sorry. I was thinking of aircraft.

Alan
[shoots a highly confused and dismayed look at Stephen]
[mouths "What did he say?" and raises a hand cluelessly]

Clive
"I'm the longest animal in the world; I'm entitled to a private jet! I need the extra leg room, obviously."

Alan
[spreads his arms and makes airplane noises] He's steering it from the back. [extends his arms as though they were long tentacles]

Bill
"The exits are here, here, here, here, here . . . "

Stephen
Excellent. Very good. And the answer, in the case of the lion's mane, is stinging. A sting that can occasionally be fatal. Erm . . . 

Clive
Occasionally fatal?

Stephen
Yes.

Clive
How many times has it got to be fatal to . . . to matter?

Stephen
Well, it kills some people and not others.

Clive
Oh, I see. Yes.

Stephen
Yes.

Meera
Isn't it true that if . . . to . . . to neutralise a jelly sting, you have to urinate on it?

Stephen
I believe so, yes. Ammonia . . . the ammonia in the urine is supposed to be very good –
 
Bill
So they say.

Meera
So . . . well.

Stephen
So they say. I think it's just an excuse to have fun.

Alan
Another wind-up. "You know what you want to do on that? You want to wee on that."

Clive
Another jet stream.

Stephen
"Another jet stream." Very good indeed. Erm . . . 

So, now, er, a whale, on the other hand, is only about 106 feet long. I say "only" . . . it is, of course, an enormous creature, a blue whale. Erm . . . but what do you think is the largest thing that a blue whale can swallow?

Clive
 [presses buzzer, which plays a medium banging noise]
Another blue whale.

Bill
Surely this, then, would lead one to think you were leading us down a line, there, of a very small thing, because it's so big and it'd be a very tiny thing, but, er, I'd say, er, something huge.

Alan
Kebab.

Bill
Yeah, a kebab.

Stephen
Sideways.

Bill
Maybe it's a . . . Is it a conceptual question? The blue whale, a very vain animal: Perhaps the largest thing it has to swallow is its pride. [gazes steadily ahead of him]

Stephen
Very good. Very good. Or . . . or a very gullible animal. They'll swallow anything.

Meera
They're vegetarian, though, aren't they? Blue whales?

Stephen
No, they're not vegetarian, no. It's –

Meera
Oh, they're not?

Clive
Well, they eat fish, but, you know, that's . . . [wobbles hand from side to side to indicate a point of contention].

Meera
Yeah.

Stephen
Krill, in fact, is the particular –

Meera
And they sieve it. They have a sieve system through their teeth.

Stephen
They do sieve, because . . . because the little krill are very, very small. In fact, it comes from the Dutch meaning "very small thing". Little shrimps.

Meera
It takes ages.

Alan
[mimes being a nonchalant blue whale chomping on a handful of krill]

Stephen
I didn't know you did a blue whale, Alan.

Alan
I was doing a blue whale sieving its krill.

Bill
The krill? Ahh!

Stephen
Everything right except –

Bill
Do you know what, I've never seen that done.

Stephen
Everything right except the hands.

Alan
[repeats the imitation, but attempts to signify huge flippers instead of hands]

Stephen
Very good.

Alan
I reckon they can probably – [presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bouncing ping-pong ball] – get a ping-pong ball down their neck.

Stephen
Yes. "Ping-pong ball" is right.

Alan
An egg. Something like an egg.

Stephen
Egg . . . You're on the right – you're on the right lines. Nothing –

Bill
A lobster.

Stephen
Nothing bigger than a grapefruit.

Meera
Really!

Clive
Oh, right.

Stephen
They have tiny, tiny throats and they . . . can't expand them much. Well, they're the same size as their navels. About the size of a . . . a small side plate.

Clive
So they could be a supermodel. That's kind of the same diet, isn't it?

Stephen
Basically.

Alan
A grapefruit.

Clive
Except they're very fat.

Stephen
Except that they do eat three tons of krill every day.

Clive
Yes. It's odd, isn't it, 'cause they have the biggest brain in the world, don't they, the most enormous, and . . . but all they do with this huge brain is to lie in the water with their mouth open, sieving little bits . . . little bits of food.

Stephen
Well, they –

Clive
So they're not really exploiting their brains.

Stephen
They call to each other covering 10,000 miles, their voices can be heard. That's pretty impressive.

Clive
What? On their mobile phones?

Bill
No, I've never heard a blue whale! Never.

Stephen
Have you listened?

Bill
I . . . well . . . [cups his hand to his ear]. 10,000 miles underwater

Stephen
Yes.

Bill
 – but six feet up to the surface? Nothing.

Alan
There's a blue whale about a mile away going, "All right, I'm only here! Shouting . . . !"

Bill
Whale song is very indulgent jazz.

Stephen
Do you think?

Meera
Yeah.

Stephen
Free-form?

Bill
[makes noises representing a mixture of scat and whalesong]

Stephen
I think we're being very mean on them.

Clive
Scat. Yeah.

Stephen
Do you know, their tongues –

Clive
That's not jazz; it's blues, anyway.

Stephen
Their tongues are heavier than a whole elephant. Just one t— . . . blue whale tongue is heavier than a whole elephant.

Bill
Blue whale tongue?

Stephen
Their hearts are about the size of the average small family van. Or "SVU".

Clive
Family van?

Stephen
Yes, family van, pick-up thing. Yeah.

Bill
SUV.

Alan
But when they have babies –

Stephen
Yes? Now there's an interesting thing, their genitalia. I have . . . Give me the length of a blue whale's penis.

Bill
The size of a Nissan Micra.

Clive
"Give me the length of a blue whale's penis?"

Meera
[waves her hand dismissively in Stephen's direction]

Stephen
I know what I'm saying! Give it to me now!

Clive
I . . . To be honest, I don't think I could manage quite that much, Stephen!

Stephen
Ah, you've disappointed a man. Well, a blue whale –

Alan
[holds out his right arm] That long. About that long.

Clive
Yeah.

Alan
An arm's length.

Stephen
Oh, my dear fellow, it's 16 foot long! 16 foot long.

Clive
Oh, dear.

Bill
16 foot?

Stephen
16 foot-stroke-feet.

Bill
Flaccid?

Stephen
Well, no . . . flaccid or nonflaccid, it doesn't actually . . . They don't get erections.

Clive
Well, you wouldn't, would you? It would take a long time.

Alan
You'd faint!

 Stephen
Out of sympathy for the missus. Mrs Whale.

Clive
Yes.

Alan
[extends arms in front of him in representation of a whale erection in progress]
[dizzily] "All the blood's in me cock!"

Stephen
You have to think of yourself, don't you, Alan, not of Mrs Whale.

Clive
Yeah.

Stephen
It's Mrs Whale, I think, that would suffer most.

Alan
Well, I'm sure Mrs Whale's got an enormous vagina!

Stephen
It's certainly big enough to take 16 feet.

Alan
Like someone's living room.

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
You'd have to knock through your living room to get the car . . . 

Bill
As big as a Dixons?

Stephen
What would you say a blue whale's testicle contained, in terms of, er, erm, fluid ounces, or if you prefer –

Alan
I don't know, but I wouldn't like to be in the way.

Stephen
 – well, not metric. Quite. Don't give me metric. Each testicle?

Clive
Each . . . We're talking a liquid measure?

Stephen
Yes, liquid.

Clive
So we're talking gallons?

Stephen
Yes.

Clive
Sort of 20 gallons.

Meera
Yeah, 20 gallons, I'd say.

Stephen
Oh, you do exaggerate. It's seven gallons.

Alan
Higher!

Clive
Seven gallons!

It's 21 . . . It's 14 gallons, both, of course. Yes.

Alan
Double.

Stephen
And if they're having an orgy it's greatly more. If they're having a party.

Clive
Yes.

Alan
Are they like a couple of medicine balls, then, or . . . ?

Stephen
The testicles only weigh 22 pounds each, actually, oddly enough, which in human terms would be pretty pathetic. It would make ours like . . . weighing like a broad bean or an individual bean.

Erm, one last question on aquatic animals, here. What do you think, erm, you could teach an octopus?

Viewscreens: Picture of an octopus.

Alan
What –

Stephen
[at greens] There's an octopus.

Alan
What could I teach an octopus?

Stephen
Well, yeah, what can . . . 

Alan
I've seen an octopus.

Stephen
Yes? Good.

Alan
I went scuba diving.

Stephen
I've seen one on a plate in a restaurant in Greece.

Alan
They use the ink to make risotto.

Stephen
Yeah. They do.

Meera
Do you know how octopuses mate?

Stephen
Tell, tell.

Alan
With difficulty.

Meera
They mate with their third right arm.

Alan
Do they?

Meera
Yes!

Clive
We all do that.

Meera
Yeah, quite. [pointedly moves away from Clive in her seat] . . . Erm, yeah, they use their third right arm to transfer the sperm to the female, which is kind of handy, 'cause it leaves the other seven free to hold the kebab and the remote control.

Clive
Is it right they've got a brain per tentacle, or am I making that up?

Stephen
You're not making it up, Clive. It's . . . it's . . . it's a matter of some debate amongst students of . . . of the octopus.

Clive
Oh, I'm glad to join in, then.

Stephen
It doesn't have a, sort of, discrete separate brain. But some people believe that it needs such extraordinary, erm, neural power in order to control the thousands of different suckers separately, which it can do, that the . . . the sort of intelligence is located somewhere, not exactly a brain, er, as we know it. But they are very bright and they can be made to recognise colours. But there's a particular trick they can be made to do, which is quite impressive.

Clive
And this is what we need to teach it?

Bill
Right.

Stephen
Yeah, which it can be taught.

Bill
Play the drums. Play the drums?

Stephen
It can . . . No. That would be so good.

Bill
[pretends to play the drums with multiple appendages]

Alan
Assemble a drum kit really quickly.

Stephen
It can unscrew . . . I'm gonna give you . . . It can unscrew the lid off a bottle or . . . or of some sort of container.

Alan
Can it?

Stephen
Yes. And it can take up to ten seconds or an hour, depending on how tight the lid is.

Clive
Yeah.

Stephen
But the odd thing about octopuses –

Clive
So it's like girls. Girls can't do that either.

Stephen
Yes. They loosen it first, as you well know. Erm . . . 

Clive
That's the one thing men can do now. Women can do everything else, apart from open jars.

Stephen
Yes.

Clive
And once . . . once women work out how to do that, we're finished.

Stephen
That's true.

Clive
Now you've got octopuses to do it, you don't need . . . 

Stephen
We're doomed as a . . . as a sex.

Erm, the odd thing about them is they don't have very good memories, so they have to learn every day. So scientists can teach them, but they have to teach them each time how to do it. And they'll . . . they'll pick it up quickly, but the next day, the same octopus will forget it.

Meera
They've got three hearts.

Stephen
And they've got three hearts. I'll give you five points 'cause that's quite interesting and true.

Meera
It is.

Stephen
Very good.

Meera
Because if you cut one of the tentacles off, it will still reach for food.

Alan
So you could keep it in the kitchen; take the lids off all your jars. Would that work?

[Start of Round 2]

Stephen
Now, next question. What begins with A, has six C's and no B's? Clive.

Clive
Er, well . . . Er, is it the W—

Stephen
It begins with A.

Clive
Is it the Welsh alphabet? I'm only guessing. You haven't mentioned the L's, which are –

Stephen
No L's mentioned; that would . . . that would be the clincher.

Bill
No B's.

Alan
No bees, as in bzzz . . . 

Bill
No "bzzz". No bees like that, so –

Stephen
Ahh.

Alan
Is it six seas, as in the ocean?

Stephen
Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!

Bill
Six seas. Begins with A.

Stephen
Ooh!

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bouncing ping-pong ball]

Clive
It's America. There are no states in America beginning with B, and then there are six C's. There must be. California, there are two Carolinas –

Bill
Mexican Sea!

Clive
 – Connecticut. I think there are six. So I think I've come up with the right, though possibly also wrong, answer. But I'm dreadfully pleased with it. I don't care if I get any points or not. I'm just –

Stephen
No. You don't get points, but you certainly get the admiration of us all.

Clive
I'm not feeling admiration.

Stephen
No, you . . . you were better at it, but . . . but on the other hand, let's turn our attention to the question.

Alan
Antarctica.

Stephen
Brilliant. Thank you very much indeed. Is the right answer. Antarctica. Quite right.

Meera
[to Clive] You were so close.

Clive
I think I'm right. I'm not accepting it.

Bill
Ah, but that's not strictly true, is it, because, of course, you have the, er, the Antarctican ice bee.

Stephen
If you did, then the question would be meaningless.

Bill
Yes.

Stephen
I wouldn't put it beyond you to go now to Antarctica with a bee in a matchbox and photograph it, just so you could get a point.

Bill
[pretends to hold up a bee in a matchbox and poses for an imaginary camera]
You see?

Stephen
You worked out the thrust of the question: bees, as in "buzz, buzz, buzz", and seas as in oceans. It is bordered by the Ross Sea, the Davis Sea, the Weddell Sea, the Bellingshausen Sea, the Lazarev Sea, and the Amundsen Sea, but not one, as I say –

Bill
One tiny bee.

Stephen
 – \ not one little member of the 92,000 hymenopteran bees and wasps exists or has its being in Antarctica.

Alan
The what bees?

Stephen
They . . . they form part of the group Hymenoptera.

Alan
"Hymen"?

Stephen
It means "wedding" in . . . in Greek, and, er, there was a myth about the bees officiating at the wedding of, er, Zeus, which I told you about a few weeks ago, and I remember you being very bored by it then. I'm disappointed that you haven't remembered.

Bill
The bees in charge of a wedding?

Stephen
They . . . they catered for the wedding.

Bill
What? Mainly honey-based cakes?

Stephen
How they came up with . . . They came up with honey. They invented honey specifically for him.

Stephen
Now, let's shake the snow off our slippers and address ourselves to the rather Clivey subject of Andersons. According to the website AmIAnnoying.com, Clive Anderson is 17% less annoying than the continent of Antarctica. Andersons are quite common; it's the 13th commonest surname in the English-speaking world. But are they quite interesting? Let's start with an easy one.

Viewscreens: Four-way splitscreened picture of four Clive Anderson, Pamela Anderson, Gillian Anderson, and Hans Christian Andersen.

Stephen
Alan, who's the odd one out: Clive Anderson –

Alan
Yes. Clive Anderson.

Clive
 – Pamela Anderson, Gillian Anderson, or Hans Christian Andersen?

Alan
You see, now, Clive isn't . . . hasn't done any topless modelling . . . 

Clive
Well, I'm sorry to . . . I'm sorry to stop you right there.

Alan
 . . . or sci-fi . . . or play-writing . . . 

Clive
[at viewscreens] When was this picture taken? Because I appear to have exactly the same shirt on there . . . Years ago I had the same shirt.

Alan
Is Pam— . . . Now, Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish writer of children's stories. Gillian Anderson, actor, she's English. Pamela Anderson isn't.

Stephen
Is she?

Alan
Yes.

Clive
Isn't she American?

Stephen
The one who's in X Files?

Alan
Yes. Born in London, yes.

Stephen
Really? Very good.

Bill
She was the only one whose wedding bees catered at.

Clive
You always get an odd person out. Anyone can be an odd person out.

Stephen
Well, I know. You . . . Rem acu tetigisti, you've hit the nail on the head.

Clive
'Cause Hans Christian is always the odd one out because he's . . . he's dead, and none of the rest of us are at the time of this recording.

Bill
Yeah.

Stephen
And he spells "Andersen" with an "e" instead of an "o".

Clive
He spells it like Arthur Andersen, but he doesn't boast about that anymore.

Stephen
No, quite.

Clive
Erm . . . Pamela is the only one who videoed her honeymoon, so she's the odd person out. I'm the odd one out because I'm here, and Gillian Anderson, bear with me on this, is the odd . . . is the odd one out because she's the only one who isn't an odd one out.

Alan
Pamela Anderson's the odd one out.

Stephen
Why? For why? Tell me.

Alan
Because she has . . . [hesitates for several seconds] . . . sunglasses on.


Stephen
Big tits. Go on, say it. You know you want to.

Alan
No!

Stephen
No? All right. Sorry, it's just me. I don't even like big tits.

Alan
I was not going to say she's the odd one out 'cause she's got big tits!

Clive
Her career –

Stephen
No, let me –

Alan
She's American.

Clive
She's Canadian.

Alan
Is she?

Bill
Hans Christian is the only one without a range of swimwear. [gestures knowledgably to Clive]

Stephen
Help us out here, Clive.

Clive
Yes, my range of swimwear hasn't really gone down terribly well, 'cause I cater . . . they're largely aimed at the blue whale market. I can't explain why, for the moment, but . . . 

Stephen
Boasting.

Bill
Vegetarian? Are you vegetarian?

Clive
Er, I'm not vegetarian, no.

Stephen
Ah! Ah!

Meera
But the others are. Yes, yes, yes.

Clive
So, clearly, they all are.

Meera
Everyone else is, I think.

Stephen
They're vegetarian. The other three are vegetarians.

Clive
Right.

Stephen
Although, in the case of Andersen, obviously, Christian Hans, er –

Clive
Pamela Anderson never eats meat, are you saying?

Stephen
Now . . . ! Now!

Clive
I'm just . . . I'm just checking the facts here!

Stephen
Bill, what was the unforgettable achievement –

Bill
What?

Stephen
 – of John Henry Anderson, the Great Wizard of the North?

Bill
John Henry Anderson?

Stephen
Yeah.

Bill
Known as the Great Wizard of the North?

Stephen
Yes.

Bill
Why do you look at me as if you think I might know that?

Stephen
Well! Have a bash.

Bill
The Great Wizard of the North. Well, I suppose it could be wizard, wizardry, as . . . as in some sort of Ku Klux Klan grand-wizardry sort of thing –

Alan
Masons.

Bill
 – but then they were . . . they were grand wizards, weren't they, rather than great wizards.

Stephen
Yeah. Yes.

Meera
Sub-wizards.

Bill
I don't know.

Clive
Was he a Freemason?

Stephen
No. To be honest, I don't know whether he was a Freemason.

Clive
Yes.

Stephen
I don't know his cock length; I don't know his hair colour. I'm sorry. Erm, but –

Clive
Right. So he hasn't met you, Stephen!

Alan
Is he alive . . . Is he alive or dead? Animal, vegetable, or mineral?

Stephen
He's . . . he's well dead. We’re talking 18th century.

Bill
It . . . He was a . . . a wizard, of, like, a sporting wizard?

Stephen
No.

Bill
Like a spin bowler, or perhaps a very, very good putter of the ball.

Clive
He used to turn –

Stephen
No.

Alan
Cast spells.

Clive
Turning princes into frogs, frogs into princes, that kind of wizardry?

Stephen
Well, that sort of thing, in the way normal people actually do.

Meera
A conjurer.

Stephen
A conjurer, that's right.

Meera
Magician.

Bill
Ah.

Stephen
And he did the first of a very famous trick, that's . . . that's really it.

Clive
Indian Rope Trick. That must be it.

Alan
Find the Lady.

Meera
Saw the lady in half?

Stephen
No.

Bill
The hat, the rabbit.

Stephen
Yes!

Clive
The hat and the rabbit.

Meera
The hat and the rabbit!

Stephen
He was the first person to pull a rabbit out of a hat, so there you are.

Bill
Ah!

Stephen
There you are.

Clive
Well, I think –

Stephen
Very impressive. He was the finest magician ever to come out of Scotland. He was legendary throughout the 19th century, er, Europe. He was born in the 18th century. . . . It was his in—inexhaustible bottle was extremely popular, er, which produced any drink requested by members of the audience, and the great gun trick, in which he seemingly was able to catch a bullet fired from a musket. He advertised himself by leaving pats of butter around hotels reading, "Anderson is here", a little stamp that he had to press –

Clive
I've tried that as well.

Stephen
Isn't that good? Did it work?

Clive
No.

Stephen
So you're providing both the . . . the announcement of your arrival and the lubricant in one happy go. But, er . . . 

Now, Meera. Meera, Meera, Meera on the . . . on the panel. What, er . . . What did Hans Christian Andersen have in common with Joseph Stalin, very specifically?

Meera
I know bits about Hans Christian Andersen. He was a weird fellow.

Stephen
He was well weird.

Meera
A very weird fellow. Erm, he was an agoraphobic.

Stephen
Correct. Two points for knowing that.

Meera
And . . . and apparently, The Ugly Duckling is a . . . is a great gay parable, 'cause he was gay.

Stephen
He was well gay, yes. Yes, he was well, well gay.

Meera
Well gay.

Stephen
Well. A big, big butter user. Erm –

Alan
"ANDERSEN WAS HERE!"

Meera
'Cause no—nobody knows the original ending of the story, when the duckling goes off to do musical theatre, but, you know –

Stephen
Yes.

Meera
 – it's clearly a gay parable.

Stephen
And he worked in . . . in ballet. He was just slightly too clumsy and, er, big to be in ballet, but he . . . he adored the ballet, which . . . not in itself is a sign of being gay, though, let's face it, it is.

Erm, and, er . . . he, er . . . He fell in love with the son of a . . . of a friend, who . . . who . . . who married, and his body was actually buried, er, w—w—with this . . . this, er, boy he fell in love with and this boy's wife, until the family decided it was a bit of a stain to have this threesome in the grave going on forever. Er, so the –

Clive
This grave is a bit crowded.
 
Stephen
Yes, so they were removed. But he was a sad figure. Erm, he was . . . It says on my card he was a friend of Dickens. It's not quite true, actually, 'cause he . . . he, er, and Dickens had a bit of a row.

Alan
"Friend of . . . Friend of Dickens"? Is that a euphemism?

Stephen
[with air quotes] "Friend of Dickens"! Yes. That's enough of that. Er, Dickens got very tired of him. He stayed at Dickens's house and wouldn't go. He was just the . . . the guest that wouldn't leave.

Alan
"I'm exhausted, Hans! Will you leave? And take your butter with you!"

Stephen
"Hans, off!" It's where the phrase "hands off" comes from.

Clive
Yes.

Stephen
And also "What the dickens?" Yeah.

But, er . . . Well, no, it's a very peculiar thing he had. A very specific thing. They were both the offspring of a cobbler and a washerwoman.

Clive
The same one?

Stephen
No, dear. Then they would be brothers, wouldn't they? Erm, er –

Clive
Well, we're trying to get a link between them.

Stephen
No, as, er . . . as Meera said, for a very, very well-designed ten points, Andersen survived to become a tall, gangling, gay, vegetarian writer of fairy tales, who suffered from dyslexia, agoraphobia, and the fear of either being burned or buried alive. But some 128 years after his death, the discriminating voters on AmIAnnoying.com still rate the tortured Hans as less annoying than his cuddly namesake Clive.

[Start of Round 3]

Stephen
Now, finally, to a magnificently magisterial morass of memory loss, as I remind you that "general ignorance" of the law, or anything else, is no excuse. Fingers on buzzers, please. What did Atlas carry on his shoulders?

Alan
 [presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bouncing ping-pong ball]

Stephen
Yes?

Alan
The Earth, the globe.

Stephen
Oh, Alan! Why, why, why do you always do this?

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "THE WORLD".

Stephen
[holds up card which reads "THE WORLD"]
No, in Greek myth, erm, Atlas, who was one of the Titans, er, who rebelled against, er, Zeus, the king of the gods, er, was punished by Zeus by being made to carry the sky, the heavens. But, erm, he is often shown holding the globe, most famously on the cover of a collection of maps by the Flemish cartographer Mercator. Er, the volume became known as "Mercator's Atlas", and the name stuck, and the image of holding up the Earth.

Alan
I've always seen pictures of him with the Earth.

Stephen
On atlases.

Alan
As child I thought, "Where are his hands on the Earth?" You could go and find his hands!

Stephen
So, what provides more than 50% of the Earth's oxygen?

Alan
 [presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bouncing ping-pong ball]

Stephen
And it's Alan in there first.

Alan
Trees, greenery.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the word "TREES".

Stephen
[holds up card which reads "TREES"]
Oh, Alan, Alan, Alan, Alan! Oh, dear, oh, dear. Every time, headlong.

Clive
[presses buzzer, which plays a medium banging noise]

Alan
Is it not?

Stephen
Not trees.

Alan
They eat carbon dioxide.

Stephen
They do provide oxygen, but not 50%.

Alan
And they –

Clive
 [presses buzzer, which plays a medium banging noise]
I think it's the British Oxygen Company. I think they've cornered the market.

Alan
The oceans! The oceans . . . 

Clive
The plank— . . . the plankton stuff.

Stephen
[wobbles hands from side to side] Sort of plankton, it's like –

Bill
Worms. Algae!

Stephen
Algae, yes. Exactly.

Clive
Algae. Algae. Well, you know –

Stephen
Which is a kind of plankton, algae. Yes, absolutely right. Yes, these single-cell plants live across the surface of the earth's oceans and generate far more oxygen than, than, er . . . than . . . than trees give us. Some scientists say as much as 90% of the Earth's oxygen.

Alan
I've got it in my pond. I get rid of it.

Stephen
No!

Alan
Yeah.

Clive
Don't do that!

Stephen
Think how many people you'll kill by doing that.

Meera
Yeah.

Stephen
You might just as well go around with a pillow and clamp them to old ladies' faces. You bastard! Unbelievable!

Bill
Killer of –

Stephen
Mature trees, by comparison, actually use more oxygen than they produce.

Where is the driest place on Earth?

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bouncing ping-pong ball]

Stephen
Yes?

Alan
The Sahara Desert.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "SAHARA DESERT".

Stephen
Oh, my God! Unbelievable!
[holds up card which reads "SAHARA DESERT"]
Minus twenty points for the Sahara Desert. Bless you, Alan. No.

Clive
[presses buzzer, which plays a medium banging noise]

Stephen
Yes?

Clive
It's a couple of counties in North Wales. On . . . Especially on a Sunday, you can't get a thing.

Stephen
You cannot get a drink, no. Not there.

Clive
They're . . . they're very –

Alan
Australia.

Stephen
No, not Australia. You didn't say the Atacama Desert –

Clive
No.

Stephen
 – where it hasn't rained in Chile in the Atacama Desert for 400 years, but there is a place drier than that.

Bill
The moon!

Stephen
No . . . no, on Earth.

Meera
Yeah.

Bill
Oh, I'm sorry.

Clive
You're . . . you're gonna be right one day, when that moon comes crashing down. You're gonna be vindicated. [raises fist] "Haha! I was right all along."

Bill
That moon, that's dry . . . .

Stephen
It's so dry.

Bill
Cor, it's dry.

Stephen
It's called the Dry Valleys region, and –

Bill
The Dorito.

Clive
The Dry Valleys.

Stephen
The Dry Valleys region, and the continent has . . . has come up in discussion, er –

Alan
America.

Clive
Australia.

Bill
Pringle.

Meera
Africa.

Stephen
Even more . . . 

Bill
Detailed.

Alan
Antarctica.

Stephen
Antarctica, thank you very much indeed.

Clive
Antarctica?

Meera
Really?

Stephen
Yes, isn't that surprising?

Clive
It is.

Stephen
That's . . . that's surprising.

Clive
Well, I'd like to give you ten marks for that, 'cause I think that's truly interesting.

Stephen
Thank you, and it is quite interesting, yes.

Meera
How can that be –

Stephen
Thank you so much. Finally.

Meera
How can that be dry, because that's snow there and snow is just water, frozen?

Alan
Snow's wet.

Stephen
Listen . . . Listen, and I will tell you. The fact is the average annual rainfall is less than two inches, about the same as the Sahara, but it contains coastal valleys known as the Dry Valleys, in Antarctica, that are free from ice and snow, and which haven't seen rain for two million years. So it's a long way clear of its closest contender, the Atacama, parts of which haven't recorded rain for a mere 400 years. The Sahara is lush by comparison, Alan, lush.

Clive
Two million years?

Stephen
"Lush" is often shouted at you, I know. I'm going to shout it again.

Clive
Has there . . . has there been one of those, sort of, rain-catching things there for two million years?

Meera
Yeah, how do they know?

Stephen
Absolutely, yeah.

Clive
And Michael Fish going checking it every couple of millennia.

Alan
"Nothing!"

Stephen
They have ways of putting little cores into the Earth, to . . . to check. It gets 250 times as much rain as the Atacama, er, er, actually, the Sahara. As well as the driest, Antarctica is, of course, er, not only the coldest place on Earth; it also lays claim to being . . . being both the wettest and the windiest too. Er, 70% of the world's water is found there in the form of ice, and its wind speeds are the fastest ever recorded on Earth, about 200 miles per hour.

Now, how long, team . . . How long is a day? In hours.

Alan
 [presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bouncing ping-pong ball]

Stephen
Yes?

Clive
Oh, no!

Alan
[pauses, index finger poised]

Clive
[into the silence] Don't do it, Alan!

Meera
Don't say it.

Alan
Slightly . . . 

Clive
There's no B's in a day.

Alan
 . . . less or more than 24 hours.

Stephen
Correct! Correct. It is . . . it is absolutely spot on. 15 points.

The day, as in a single rotation of the Earth about its axis, is never exactly 24 hours long.

Alan
[scoffs] Of course not. [rolls eyes]

Stephen
It varies slightly every day. Astonishingly, it can be as much as a whole 50 seconds longer or, as you rightly and eruditely said, shorter, depending on the season. Even averaged across a year, a day is still not quite 24 hours, as measured on an atomic clock.

Bill
The moon, again, you see . . . The moon is . . . the gravitational pull of the moon, which alters the Earth's rotational axis. So what happens is that time is added on and . . . and goes out of sync with the atomic clock. So the International Earth Rotation Service has to actually dictate when seconds are added to the time.

Stephen
There is, indeed, a leap second. You get a leap second.

Bill
The leap second, in fact, yes.

Stephen
Exactly right. It's called a leap second. Quite right.

Bill
That's actually quite . . . quite interesting.

Stephen
I'll give you five points for actually knowing what you're talking about. Very good indeed. Very good indeed.

Bill
Yes, thank you very much.
[coughs, exaggeratedly prudish]

Stephen
Now, erm, let's have a look, if we may, now, at the – oh, dear me – scores.

Clive
I haven't got any points.

Meera
I think you have.

Stephen
Oh, shush your mouth for once, please, Clive!

Stephen
All right. Let's start, sadly, at the bottom. With minus twenty, it's Alan Davies.

Alan
[to the audience's applause] Thank you very much.

Stephen
In third place, with ten points, Bill Bailey. In second place, with nineteen points, it's Meera Syal. So, Mr "I have no points Clive Anderson" Anderson is the winner with twenty-six QI points.

That's it from QI for this week, and thank you very much indeed to Meera, Clive, Bill and Alan. In an evening when we've discovered that, er, deserts can be made of ice and that Andersons are by no means always annoying, I ask you to give your verdict on this thought of Rita Mae Brown's: "If the world were a logical place, then men would ride side-saddle." I don't know what that means, either. Good night.