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Series 2, Episode 9

Transcript by: Aaron Chandra
Edited by: Sarah Falk
Special appearance: The research of Miss Falk's professor of Ancient Greek


TRANSCRIPT

Stephen
Well, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, and welcome to another glamour-filled QI night of a thousand stars. Spread-eagled on my casting couch are: Josie Lawrence . . . the stunning Johnny Sessions . . . the gorgeous, pouting Rich Hall . . . and Alan Davies.

Well,
erm, let's see you toy with your globes, girls, and see if anyone rings my bell. Rich.

Rich
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a school bell]

Stephen
And Johnny.

John
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bicycle bell]

Stephen
And Josie.

Josie
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a shop bell]

Stephen
And Alan.

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of Leslie Phillips' "Well, hello! Ding-dong!"]

Stephen
Oh, there we are. Fair enough.

And so, to question one. What eat clothes?

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of Leslie Phillips' "Ding-dong!"]
I dunno; I just wanted to do that.

What eats clothes?

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
Moths eat clothes.

Stephen
Moths?

Alan
Yes.

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

Josie
[raises hand]

Stephen
Oh, no, they don't.

Alan
They make holes in them, though, don't they?

Stephen
Not moths, no. Their larva . . . their little caterpillars do, but not the moths.

Alan
[turns to Josie] You see?

Stephen
You see?

Josie
[presses buzzer, which rings like a shop bell]
[with proud smile] Larva!

Alan
So by the time you see a moth--

Josie and Alan
--it's too late.

Stephen
You very rarely do. They're only a quarter of an inch long, the actual moths. Supposedly, there are fewer of them due to synthetic materials, which they don't eat, and dry-cleaning. If you dry clean something it works as well as a . . . as a mothball.

John
Really.

Stephen
That camphor, naphthalene smell. Yeah.

Alan
I don't think I've ever smelt one.

Stephen
Have you not?

Josie
It's horrible; it's like a dead body.

John
[to Alan] You're too young.

Stephen
[holds up left fist and right fist]
If I've got a mothball in this hand, and a mothball in that hand, what've I got?

Alan
[completely serious] Two mothballs.

Stephen
 . . . A rather excited moth.

John
Oh, right.

Stephen
Um . . . 

Alan
Sorry. I thought you were literally asking!

I've never smelt a dead body either--

Stephen
No. I haven't. I've never seen a dead body. They say--policemen and things--that once you've smelt death--

Alan
It's hideous.

Stephen
--it's just . . . it never gets out of your nostrils.

Alan
But I'll tell you something quite interesting--

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
Is that--[glares at laughing audience] . . . Leopards eat rotting flesh; they don't mind it. Cheetahs will only eat fresh.

Stephen
Oh, really?

Alan
They eat when they've killed, there and then, and they eat as quickly as they can, because otherwise, a lion will come over and have it off 'em.

Stephen
Oh.

Alan
But a leopard will drag something up into the tree and leave it there days on end . . . go back; have a bit more . . . even if it's green and maggoty . . . 

Stephen
[grimaces]

John
There's a new theory about Tyrannosaurus Rex being a scavenger, and not, in fact, going and attacking big hairy-arsed, er, monsters, but waiting until they were dead and rotting like an old stilton--

Stephen
Yeah.

John
--and then eating them . . . 

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
In,
er, Jurassic Park 2, a Tyrannosaurus Rex eats a man who's sitting on the loo . . . 

John
That's right.

Alan
D'ye think that's inaccurate, then?

Stephen
Well, it is, yeah . . . 

John
But he's an accountant.

Alan
[gestures to John] "He's an accountant." [laughs]

Stephen
Well, there you are. Yes, moths don't eat clothes; their larva do . . . their caterpillars.

Anyway,
erm, next question is: Why butterflies?

Rich
Wow, that's a short question.

Stephen
Isn't it? Two words.

Alan
You mean, why are they called that?

Stephen
It doesn't actually mean that, no. It means, why do they . . . why do they exist?

Alan
Why do they . . . Why are they.

Stephen
Yeah.

Rich
I think its evil to, uh, to put a . . . a food in front of, uh, any bug. To name it, like, a "butterfly". 'Cause I would eat butterflies when I was a kid, because I thought they had butter in 'em. And honey bees.

Stephen
There are two theories as to why this--

Rich
And a hamster! . . . 'Cause, you know, you're . . . you're four years old; you don't know better . . . and we were poor.

Stephen
Well . . . ! There are two theories as to why they're called butterflies. One is that,
er, it is from a Dutch word which means "excretes butter"; there was this theory that they actually shat butter, early on. And the other is that it's from, er, Anglo-Saxon . . . that the most common butterflies in England when the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain were . . . were yellow, and were butter colored. It's as boring as that.

But no, the reason they exist . . . they're quite a late addition, as it were, to the . . . to the family of creatures, compared to their closest relations--

Alan
What, the '70s, or something like that? When do they start then, butterfly? They were around when I was a kid.

Stephen
Yes! . . . For a hundred million years before butterflies evolved, moths had been around, and it's generally believed that butterflies were kind-of an evolution from moths, because moths have one big disadvantage. What is it about moths that's different from butterflies; the most obvious thing--

Alan
Night. They go around at the ni—in the night.

Stephen
Yeah. And they get eaten a lot--

Alan
Butterflies go in the day.

Stephen
Yeah, and the . . . and the moths have been eaten a lot by bats--

Alan
[echoing]--by bats.

Stephen
--and so, the idea was that the butterfly--

Viewscreens: Picture of a bat.

Alan
That's a bat.

Stephen
Yeah, that's a bat.

Alan
Seen a moth, there.

Stephen
Yeah. Well, not seeing, but hearing, yeah.

Alan
It's heard a moth.

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
Sensed a moth.
[mimes being a bat, flapping wings and sensing a moth]

Stephen
Sensed a moth, exactly. The precision of their echo-location is remarkable.

John
If you put cotton wool in their ears, they're useless, I mean--

Stephen
Oh, yeah, you're absolutely right.

John
They bounce off the wall like Canadian squash balls.

Stephen
This is how it was discovered. It was actually . . . In the . . . in the eighteenth century, a French scientist put cotton wool in the ears of bats, and wro— . . . and saw that they . . . And so, he posited the idea that they had this extra sense,
er, and then it was poo-pooed, and for a hundred and fifty years, it wasn't reconsidered, until we know now that he was absolutely right: that they send out these signals that bounce back, exactly like sonar, only much more effective than sonar--

Josie
Well, that's why they never bump into you, as well, at night.

Stephen
That's right.

Josie
People get so scared of bats and they go like that--[waves arms frantically around head]--but they would never ever bump into you; they'd always move off.

Stephen
I saw David Attenborough being interviewed in which he said . . . he once did a piece to camera, for Life on Earth or something, about bats, saying, "One thing that's never true about bats is you never get them caught in your hair. It's never true,
er, they have such accuracy . . . " Bats immediately flew into his hair while he was doing the piece!

Josie
Stephen, can I tell you something about David Attenborough, because he is my god.

Stephen
Go on.

Josie
Ages ago, they were doing a column in . . . in one of the papers: "Who would you most like to be like?" And,
er, so, I said, David Attenborough; I love the career he's had, I love his wisdom, I love his sense of adventure. . . . And a couple of weeks later the article came out; it was actually, "Who would you most like to look like?" There was a lovely picture of me next to David, and then, like, Toyah Wilcox next to Audrey Hepburn.

Stephen
Aww, that's so sweet.

John
To go from David Attenborough to Richard Attenborough . . . And,
er, he was directing the great Ben Kingsley in Gandhi, which you probably know . . . I think they were maybe a million, possibly even two million extras, er, in . . . during Gandhi's funeral, and the first assistant, the very famous, redoubtable David Tomblin, was told by Sir Dicky Attenborough to instruct the crowd as to how they may react. And he said to David Tomblin, he said [as Attenborough], "I want you to convey to them, David, that Gandhi's died, and it's an extraordinary event, darling . . . extraordinary event in the whole history of India, darling! That . . . The . . . That Gandhi is gone; their god, their national hero is gone." So David Tomblin turned to the crowd and he said, "Right, listen up! Gandhi's dead and you're all fucking sad!"

Stephen
Excellent! Very good.

Rich
Hey, I don't have an anecdote, but I have a joke.

Stephen
Go on!

John
They're much better.

Stephen
We're open to jokes, too.

Rich
These two vampire bats in a cave, been flying around . . . and, uh
, you know, they like blood; haven't had any in a while. One of 'em goes out on a recon . . . comes back, face just covered in blood. The other bat's beside himself. He says, "Wow! What happened?"

And he points to this village, the bat . . . well, he flaps to it, you know. He says, "You see that village over there?" and the other bat says, "Yeah!"

"See that steeple?"

"Yeah."

"I didn't."

Stephen
[laughs] No, so moths had to devise strategies to beat the bat, and some of them evolved to hear the bats' echo-location, screeching, which humans can't hear; as you know, it's very high. And other ones decided to live during the day, and they became butterflies.

Alan
Now, moths are all right at night; they like being in the dark, they like living in clothes in cupboards . . . 

Stephen
Yes . . . 

Alan
So, what is this thing they have about candles and . . . 

Stephen
Isn't it mad? I agree with you--

Alan
Light in the porch, for example.

Stephen
There you are . . . 

Alan
They're mad for that.

Stephen
You are a nocturnal animal, and you are attracted to light. Well, then, get up in the morning! You'll have lots of it!

Another question. Compared to bats, do owls ring any bells?

Josie
[presses buzzer, which rings]

Stephen
Josie's ringing a bell.

Josie
Yes. Well, it's like what we've just been talking about, I think. It's something to do with sonar.

Stephen
You're absolutely right. Why not have a point.

Josie
Oh, thank you.

Stephen
When it was first . . . they first tried to experiment with how bats could see so well in the dark, they put owls and bats in a very, very dark room, with some bells hung from ropes. And if it was slightly low light, the owls could see well enough to avoid the ropes, but if it was pitch black, they would fly into the ropes 'cause they couldn't see them, whereas the bats, if it was pitch black, just flew around, and didn't ring any bells. And so, that's how it was first seen that . . . that bats could completely manoeuvre in the dark without bumping into anything.

Rich
So the flatter an owl's face, the bigger a bell it's run into.

Stephen
[laughing] Ye-yes, probably. Exactly.

Rich
That's why it's called an owl.

Alan
They are--

Rich
Oww-l!

Stephen
I have an Aga, erm . . . Yes, I know I should be shot, but I do. And it kept going out. Oh, I got the Aga person to come and look at it--

Alan
What, down to the shops, or . . . ?

Stephen
No! [scoffs amusedly] . . . And it kept--

Alan
Imagine if you're out shopping and you see your Aga! You rush over, and just as you get there, it's not there, and you keep losing it.

Stephen
So the Aga . . . the Aga man kept coming, and he kept saying, "It's perfectly fine," . . . and it kept going out again! So, eventually, he said, "I've gotta stay overnight," he said . . . [with a look at Alan] This wasn't . . . come on . . . 

Alan
[folds arms with and sighs pointedly at Stephen]

Stephen
He just said . . . 'cause he would come during the day; light it; it was perfect . . . in the morning I'd ring him up, say, "It's gone out overnight," and he couldn't work it out. And what it turned out was, it was an owl would roost on the top of the cowling of the flue, because it liked the warm air up it or whatever,
er, and . . . 

Alan
[gazes at Stephen with exaggerated academic interest]

Stephen
 . . . and it . . . it would cover itself over it and it would block it out, and stop it . . . so it's a safety device: if you block the chicken of the . . . [stops abruptly in realization] The chicken? . . . If you block the chimney . . . the chimney of an Aga, it goes out--

Alan
[rubs at brow with unconcealed smile]

Stephen
Anyway, that's . . . that's my owl/Aga story; wasn't worth telling; I'm pissed; never mind.

So, there we are. Ringing the bells. Erm, next question! What is "batology"?

Viewscreens: The word "BATOLOGY".

Stephen
"Batology". There's the word on your screen. What is it?

Alan
It is not the study of bats.

Stephen
Correct. Saved yourself a big forfeit. Well done. There you are.

Josie
Can you give us a clue, or is that not allowed?

Stephen
It's a fruit. "Batology" is the study of a particular fruit. A fruit that has two words for it in English, both of which begin with "B".

Alan
Banana.

Stephen
It's a native to Britain--

Alan
[gasps]

Stephen
--and you can either call it "b--"or a "b--".

Alan
[in thought] Apple . . . 

Stephen
Anyone in the audience?

Alan
Plums . . . 

Audience Member
Bramble, blackberry.

Stephen
Bramble, blackberry. The audience is well up there.

Alan
Blackberries!

Stephen
It's the study of blackberries. [to Alan] Very good! Well done. You may say it's not worth studying, but there are over a thousand different species of bramble--

Alan
No, there aren't.

Stephen
The study of bats is actually "chiroptology".

John
[in mockney accent] Alan, there's a plot for you here, mate, in your "Jonathan Creek", you know . . . 

Alan
Oh, yeah.

John
They do an old lady; come in; she's been picking blackberries; someone's been killed in the village, stabbed--

Alan
[pretends to furiously scribble down the idea]

John
--and you go, "She might be a batologist!" Just a thought!

Stephen
So, now, what is batophobia?

Alan
Fear of blackberries.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "FEAR OF BLACKBERRIES".

Stephen
Oh, dear. I'm sorry. You ought to be right. You ought to be . . . 

Alan
Yeah, but surely, no one's ever had fear of blackberries.

Stephen
That's right, exactly, so it isn't. No, batophobia's actually . . . it's a fear of being close to tall buildings. Panic attacks, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and an overall feeling of dread. [feels body] I've got it! . . . Other phobias like that are bathophobia, the fear of depth, Alan--

Alan
[puts on hurt face, but quickly breaks into a smile]

Stephen
The fear of profundity of any kind . . . No.

Er, what is "battology?"

John
I thought we just did that.

Viewscreens: The word "BATTOLOGY".

Stephen
"Battology", spelt thusly.

Alan
Batteries. The study of batteries.

Stephen
No, it's not that. Nice thought . . . 

Alan
It is! . . . There's no other word in English with "B-A-double-T" at the beginning.

Stephen
"Battle".

Alan
"Battle" is the other one.

Stephen
"Batter".

Alan
"Batter" is another one.

Stephen
It reminds me of--

Alan
"Batten". "Batten down the hatches." That's another one. Apart from those three--

Stephen
It reminds me of the story someone was saying that,
er, "sugar" is the only English word that begins with "s-u", but where the "s" is pronounced "Sh-", and someone called out, "Are you sure?"

Battology means "pointlessly repeating the same thing over and over again."

John
Oh, my God! [chortles]

Stephen
Battology means "pointlessly repeating the same thing over and over again."

Alan
Some people do that, don't they? I've got a friend who always repeats himself. His name's Dave, and we call him "Dave-jà vu".

Stephen
Oh! Very good! Very good.

Josie
Is Dave aware he does it? Have you told him?

Alan
Yeah, 'cause people said to him, "You say everything twice; that's why we call you Dave-jà vu!" [Geordie accent] "I say everything twice; I say everything twice, like! They call me Dave-jà vu; they call me Dave-jà vu!"

Stephen

We're moving on to "births", but first, Swedish girls. Er, what happened to every eight-year-old Swedish girl in the year 1994?

Rich

[presses buzzer, which rings like a cowbell]

Stephen
Young Rich.

Rich
From what I understand, there were no eight year old girls in 1994 . . . because in 1986, every child born in Sweden was a . . . a boy, just purely by . . . Pure law of averages.

Stephen
No, no let me give you the answer, which is that they had their ninth birthdays . . . If we believe the official statistics, all right, there were exactly 112,521 eight-year-old girls in Sweden on the first of January in 1994, and there was exactly the same number of nine-year-olds on the first of January in 1995. And this is unique in statistics, because none died; none emigrated . . . Precisely the same number survive a whole year.

But in Britain in 1994, you might be interested to know, there are an astonishing range of accidents,
er, reported by the, erm, Trade and Industries Consumer Safety Units Home Accidents Surveillance System Report. Eight people in the UK in '94 were injured by placemats; thirteen sustained cruet injuries; five were wounded by dustpans; eight suffered as the result of a bread bin accident; five were hurt by sieves; fourteen fell foul of a serving trolley; seventeen were treated for injuries caused by a draught excluder. Four hundred and seventy six people were injured while on the lavatory. There you are. Underwear hurt eleven people.

Alan
How many of those people . . . were drunk?

Stephen
Well, exactly. That's a very interes— . . . good point. Or how many of them were sexually experimentative, as it were? You know--

Alan
With a cruet.

Stephen
--they go to the Doctor: "I was just sitting down,
er, in the nude, and this cruet happened to get stuck in . . . "

Rich
That's why in the, uh, the hospital, they use acronyms, for . . . you know, like "GOMER", which is "Get out of my emergency room"--

Stephen
Oh, really?

Rich
--or "SARA", which is "sexual activity-related accident". It's called a "SARA".

Stephen
There's an acronym they have,
er, in my part of the world which doctors apparently put on . . . on patient notes, which is, er, "NFN", which stands for "normal for Norfolk".

On the positive side, in 1994, tea cosy damage was down from three, in '93, to nil, so you cleared up the menace of tea cosy damage. [shrugs shoulders] Who knows? Who knows?

Alan
People don't use them very often, do they, nowadays?

Stephen
No. Because they're so dangerous!

Alan
Lethal.

Stephen
Lethal!

Now, what was the biggest tourist attraction in Canada between 1934 and 1943?

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of Leslie Phillips' "Ding-dong!"]

Stephen
Ah, beaten to the buzzer by Leslie Davis.

Alan
Niagara Falls.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "NIAGARA FALLS".

Stephen
Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear! Oh, no, no. No, no, no.

Alan
Canada's a relatively young country, and I'm not sure how much of it there was at that time. Was it finished by the '30s?

Stephen
As it were, I think, more or less, yes.

Alan
'Cause Alberta's only about eighty years old.

Josie
[excitedly raising hand into air] I know . . . I know . . . I know this story. I know it.
[with childlike enthusiasm, presses buzzer, which rings like a shop bell]

Stephen
Yes?

Josie
It's a really sad story, actually--

Stephen
Yes.

Josie
--and they . . . didn't they have sextuplets or octuplets . . . 

Stephen
Quints, in fact.

Josie
Quint—

Stephen
Quintuplets.

Josie
Quintuplets . . . 

Stephen
You're absolutely right.

Josie
 . . . and everyone came to see them, and--

Viewscreens: Picture of the Dionne quintuplets.

Stephen and Alan
There they are.

Josie
--they were taken away from their parents, and taken to live in a house across the road . . . 

Stephen
Exactly right. Exactly right. It was the . . . the . . . the Dionnes, they were known as. There were these five girls who were born from a single egg,
er, from . . . to a rather poor family, and the father started talking about exhibiting them himself because they were very famous; in those days, before all kinds of fertility treatments, it was much rarer to have this kind of multiple births. So the . . . the government took over, er, and put them in a hospital, and then, slowly, the hospital started to admit people, and it became the single biggest attraction in Canada. But after nine years the parents successfully got their girls back, but at the age of eighteen they all left. Two are still alive. But in '98, Mike Harris, who was the, er, Prime Minister, traveled to apologise to the two remaining ones and give them four million dollars as compensation, and apologise on behalf of Canada--

Rich
[disdainfully] Four million Canadian dollars . . . 

Stephen
Canadian dollars . . . Not that your U.S. dollars are exactly worth singing about these days . . . 

Rich
Throw 'em a bone!

Stephen
Alan, question for you. Name all the events at the first-recorded Olympic games in the year 776 B.C.

Alan
Discus . . . 

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

Stephen
Have another go.

Alan
Javelin.

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

Stephen
No. No, try harder.

Alan
Hammer?

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

Stephen
Oh! Dear, oh, dear, oh, dear! No. No. I think that way, madness lies.

Alan
Ru— . . . well, running.

Stephen
Yes, running is the . . . is the answer.

Alan
Running . . . there's running--

Stephen
Just one race.

Alan
--just one race.

Stephen
And if you get the distance, I will be astonished.

Alan
Two hundred meters.

Stephen
That's damn close.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "200 METERS".

Alan
[widens eyes and stares at screens in complete shock]

Stephen
It's very unfair. I think you've taken enough forfeits, because there was just one event, and it was a hundred and ninety two meters . . . 
er, which is . . . the modern equivalent . . . it's a stadium, which is the length of the stadium, er, and that was the only race in the first Olympic Games--

Alan
That was the Olympic Games?

Stephen
The first recorded one--

John
Yeah.

Alan
Which was when?

Stephen
--
er, but they later developed, and indeed included discus, and javelin, and all . . . wrestling, and boxing, and all the things you've mentioned, but unfortunately, the first recorded one was just one--

Alan
When was the first recorded one?

Stephen
Seven-seven-six B.C.

Now,
erm, the next question, which is a subsidiary, er, to this first recorded Olympics is, er, what was the naked chef doing there?

Viewscreens: Quadrupled picture of a naked man with chef's hat, shown from behind.

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of Leslie Phillips' "Ding-dong!"]

Stephen
Yes? Is that a response to the buttocks, or . . . ?

Alan
Yeah, it's a fine pair . . . 

Stephen
Phwoar. Yeah.

Alan
Er, naked cooking for the athletes.

Stephen
No, not quite. Erm . . . 

Alan
Preparing meals for the judges. Selling food to the audience. Won the race!

Stephen
Yes! Quite right!

Alan
[throws head back in relief]

Stephen
The winner was a cook. Yup. His name was Koroibos of Elis, and he was a cook, and like all the contestants, was naked.

Alan
They all ran in the nude.

Stephen
All ran in the nude; in the nudey--

Josie
[coquettishly] How wonderful!

Stephen
Even the trainers . . . 

Josie
I would like to have seen the triple jump.

Alan
What about the pole vault?

Josie
Oh, don't! [fans face with hand]

Stephen
He,
er . . . he . . . Koroibos, of course, won by a short head. . . . No! After his . . . final spurt. [to self] No! Shut up. Er . . . 

Now why is . . . why is a marathon twenty six miles and three hundred and eighty five yards long?

Alan
I feel a trap coming on.

John
There's an utterly preposterous myth that it is the distance run from the Battle of Marathon back to Athens. The myth is that it was a man called Pheidippides--

Stephen
Yes.

John
--who actually conducted the run to convey the news of the battle.

Stephen
Yes. Yes. And, in fact, it was the Battle of Snickers, not Marathon.

John
Exactly.

Stephen
No, that's right. There is a fairly well known story that a man called Pheidippides apparently ran from Marathon, where there had been a battle against the invading Persians. According to Herodotus, who was born six years after the battle, and whose account is the nearest we have to a contemporary one, Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Sparta, which is actually about a hundred and forty five miles--

Alan
No way!

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
A hundred and forty five miles.

Stephen
Yeah. And then he ran all the way back again, because the Spartans were having a . . . a holy day.

John
But he died under--

Stephen
No, he didn't die; according to Herodotus, he didn't die.

John
I thought he did die.

Stephen
There's no record of him dying at all, no. It was five hundred years later in Plutarch and various other sources, this myth grew up.

John
Right. Ah.

Stephen
But the reason the marathon is twenty six miles three hundred and eighty five yards is the British Royal Family.

Rich
Is it the distance from, uh, Windsor to . . . St. James?

Stephen
Not Windsor to St. James, but you're absolutely on the right lines. In 1908, there was Olympic Games held in London and the marathon started outside a window in Windsor castle, and half the royal family sat at the window going, "Oh, well done, go on; what fun," and they started, and the finish line was at the newly-built White City stadium, and it was exactly twenty six miles, three hundred and eighty five yards, and for every Olympics afterwards, that was the settled length.

Now, we pay our traditional visit, ladies and gentlemen, to the exam hall where all the candidates are writing with the wrong end of the pencil. It's the school of General Ignorance, so fingers on buzzers, turn over your papers, and let's begin. Where were the first modern Olympics held? Still on "Olympics".

John
[presses buzzer, which rings like a bicycle bell]

Stephen
Yes.

John
1896, was the first year . . . [slowing and wincing in uncertainty] and I believe . . . it was Athens.

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

Stephen
No. It's not correct, I'm afraid.

Alan
Was it in Greece though?

Stephen
No. It wasn't in Greece.

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

Stephen
I'm sorry about that. Nope.

John
[presses buzzer, which rings like a bicycle bell]
Was it London?

Stephen
No. You're in the right country, though.

John
[slaps hand on desk] Damn.

Stephen
If you got the place, I'd be very surprised. Johnny might; if I were to say A E Houseman, you might get the place.

John
[startled] Salisbury?

Stephen
No.

Rich
Shropshire.

Stephen
"Shropshire" is the right answer.

John
Shropshire . . . 

Stephen
Much Wenlock as in "On Wenlock Edge".

John
"Wenlock Edge"!

Stephen
The town of Much Wenlock, from the year 1850, held Olympic Games. It was an extraordinary man called Doctor W P Brookes--

Alan
1896 was the first Olympics.

Stephen
So people suggest, but Baron Coubertin, who was the founder, supposedly, of the modern Olympic movement . . . and he wrote, about W P Brookes: "Much Wenlock is a town in Shropshire, a county on the borders of Wales, and if the Olympic Games that modern Greece has not yet been able to revive--" he wrote this in 1890, Coubertin, "--still survive today, it is due not to a Greek, but to W P Brookes. It is he who inaugurated them forty years ago. And it is he, now 82 years of age, still alert and vigorous, who continues to organize and inspire them." So Coubertin came to Wenlock Edge, and he, being a Baron, having influence and political connections, was able to do what this little country parson was not able to do, which was to get the rest of the country . . . the rest of the world . . . But King George I of Greece, of the Hellions, sent a silver medal to be a prize at the Wenlock Olympics. So for 46 years before the first Athens Olympiad, as it's counted, there were Olympic Games that were recognized by the . . . the very man who is known as the father of the Olympic movement. So let's hear it for W P Brookes.

Josie
Oh, that's wonderful.

Stephen
But he died just a year before the Athens Olympics.

Rich
2012: Hackney.

Stephen
Yeah. Could be, couldn't it?

Josie
Could be Hackney.

Stephen
Could be. Yup.

Josie.
Nothing wrong with Hackney. I live in Hackney.

Rich
What a shithole!

Josie
[opens mouth in shock]

Rich
Kayaking down the Lea River.

John
I used to live in Hackney . . . 

Rich
You can develop film in the Lea river, but you can't kayak down it.

Stephen
Now, here's a question. Why was King Charles XIV of Sweden ashamed of his tattoo?

Viewscreens: Picture of the face of King Charles XIV John of Sweden.

Alan
It's Dudley Moore, innit?

Stephen
Charles XIV of Sweden.

John
Well, because Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's,
er, generals--

Stephen
[extends palm to John] You absolutely have the right answer.

John
--went to become King of Sweden--

Stephen
He did.

John
--and the tatt— . . . and was . . . Did Charles XIV . . . Was that Bernadotte?

Stephen
It was.

John
And he had a tattoo: "I love Napoleon" on his arse . . . 

Stephen
[laughing] No . . .

John
No.

Stephen
No. Erm, he wasn't appointed by Napoleon; he was actually appointed by the ailing Charles XIII. Napoleon regarded it as a joke, but Bernadotte had been a young revolutionary, a Jacobin, and he had a tattoo that said "Death to Kings" as a young man. Then he was adopted by the old king of Sweden, Charles XIII, became Charles XIV, and was incredibly successful, and completely backed away from France; had an alliance with England--

John
The Great Coalition. Yeah.

Stephen
--with Russia . . . invaded Norway; became King of Norway as well, and,
er, the Bernadotte family still rules Sweden; they're still the kings, this revolutionary.

John
It's very confusing, that period, because, I mean . . . Napoleon had Irish generals; he even had a Scottish general . . . 

Stephen
Yeah.

John
 . . . you know, and just because you came from somewhere you didn't have to fight for their army.

Stephen
No, indeed.

Here's a question. Which Scandinavian king might you have in your mobile phone?

John
[presses buzzer, which rings like a bicycle bell]

Stephen
Johnny?

John
Gustavus Adolphus?

Stephen
[laughing] No . . . 

Alan
King Nokia.

Stephen
No . . . 

Alan
King Eriksson.

Stephen
No, you're so, I mean--

Alan
King . . . Motorola!

Stephen
No, actually in it. Not as a make of . . . 

Alan
King Sim!

Stephen
No . . . 

Stephen
There was a King Harald who had a nickname.

Alan
Bluetooth!

John
Bluetooth.

Stephen
Thank you! "Bluetooth" is the answer. Harald Bluetooth was a king--

Alan
[rubbing neck] Hurt me neck, then, I was so excited to get that right!

Stephen
--that united . . . united Finland and Sweden and Norway, and when Eriksson and Nokia and all the others you mentioned were thinking of a . . . a unified approach to wireless connection between mobile phones they . . . they called it Bluetooth, in his honour.

Alan
Oh really? 'Cause of him.

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
They're actually named after him.

Stephen
Yeah. We have the last question. What do St. Bernards carry in barrels around their necks?

John
[presses buzzer, which rings like a bicycle bell]
Brandy.

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

Stephen
No, no, no! No, never have . . . 

Alan
Armignac.

Stephen
It's a myth. [to Alan] Armignac is a kind of brandy; it's just not a cognac. They never used casks in rescue work. Brandy, after all, would kill someone with hypothermia . . . 

Josie
Yes.

Stephen
They just did it for tourists. It's because of a painting in 1831 by Landseer.

Viewscreens: Three pictures of a St. Bernard.

Stephen
Er, that's not the painting, incidentally, but, er . . . That's a--

Alan
Very, very, very good likeness.

Stephen
It's just done for tourism. The dog painted by Landseer was called Barry, and he was very handsome, and he had rescued forty people, and was something of a hero; unfortunately, he was killed by the forty-first person, who thought he was a wolf.

Audience in General
[groans in sympathy]

Alan
[cups face in hand]

Josie
Oh, that's terrible!

Stephen
In his honor, the handsomest . . . the handsomest,
er, St. Bernard--

Josie
That's horrible!

Stephen
--is always called "Barry" at the St. Bernard Hospice.

Josie
So why was Barry painted with a barrel around his neck, then?

Stephen
Er, occasionally, they would carry milk and things like that, but certainly not brandy.

Rich
Was St. Bernard a, uh
, patron saint of skiers who need some brandy?

Stephen
Well, it's a pass, isn't it? It's a pass between Italy and Switzerland.

Josie
I'll tell you what is a really good patron saint to put . . . and it . . . and it works . . . it's,
er, St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things.

John
Yeah.

Josie
If you lose something in the house, and you just say, "Please, St. Anthony, will you help me find this?" I guarantee . . . 'cause it's happened to me with keys and everything . . . in about half an hour to an hour you will find whatever it is--

Stephen
[false sneeze] Ah-Bullshit! . . . Erm . . . 

Josie
[amused but scolding] Stephen! It's true.

Stephen
I'm sorry. Something tells me it is so much arse.

Josie
[buries face in hands]

Stephen
Anyway, that's it, ladies and gentlemen. It's time for the bittersweet business of the scores. And here we are . . . I will have to go, I fear, in order of first to last,
erm . . . and in . . . tied in first place are Josie and Rich with four points! How about that. In third place, despite some magnificent, er, knowledge, he did plunge into our traps a few times, with minus fourteen, its Johnny Sessions! But, er . . . but limping somewhat a few laps behind with, er, I think a record-breaking minus seventy-two is Alan Davies!

That's all. That's all from Rich, Johnny, Josie, Alan, and myself. I leave you with this quite interesting thought. [thinks in silence for several seconds] Good night.