Transcripts‎ > ‎

Series 4, Episode 5

Transcript by: Sarah Falk

TRANSCRIPT

Stephen
[eerily] Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening and welcome to QI. Coming to you tonight from . . . the other side. The hilly bourne from whence no traveller returns. The darkling plain, the place we go
 . . . when we are--[dramatic sound effects and close-up] . . . Dead!

[suddenly cheerful] But, before we descend into darkness, it's time to meet the panel: the bucket-kicking Clive Anderson . . . the clog-popping Sean Lock . . . the mortal-coil off-shuffling Andy Parsons . . . and our very own Alan pushing-up-the-Davies.

Alan
[raises finger appreciatively] Very good.

Stephen
And tonight the buzzers are suitably dolorous. Clive goes:

Clive
[presses buzzer, which plays the "Twilight Zone" theme]

Stephen
Sean goes:

Sean
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a door creaking open, a man laughing evilly, and the door slamming]

Stephen
Andy goes:

Andy
[presses buzzer, which plays the repeated sound of the shower-stabbing scene from "Psycho"]

Stephen
And Alan goes:

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays a cheery "Always look on the bright side of life!" from Monty Python's "Life of Brian"]

Stephen
So, let's start with something terrifying. This is a marmot, a pot-bellied member of the squirrel family.

Viewscreens: Picture of four marmots, on their hind legs and eating what appears to be large crackers.

Alan
[makes an exaggerated noise of terror]

Stephen
It's about the size of a cat and squeaks loudly when anxious or alarmed.

Alan
Ritz! They're eating Ritz biscuits.

Stephen
Yeah, they seem to be, don't they.

Alan
Or they're Mini Cheddars.

Stephen
Given the right conditions, it's a dangerous, a deadly merciless killer of humans. How?

Clive
[presses buzzer, which plays the "Twilight Zone" theme]

Stephen
Clive.

Clive
Er, lead piping in the billiard room.

Stephen
Colonel Marmot!

Clive
 Are these the ones that live in the Gobi Desert?

Stephen
The Mongolian and Russian Steppes.

Clive
Yes. I've seen loads of these then, and I did a . . . a railway journey for the BBC, oddly enough. And they scurry around. None of them killed any humans in front of me while they were doing that, but . . . 

Stephen
No, and yet they're more responsible for death than any other animal except the--

Alan
Do they get caught up in machinery somehow?

Stephen
No. The maxim or the marmot.

Andy
[presses buzzer, which plays the "Psycho" stabbing sound]

Andy
Is it to do with the Ritz crackers? They sort of spit on the Ritz crackers, put them all back into the packet . . . 

Stephen
Do you know, oddly, Andy, the spitting part is good. When they spit and cough, billions die. Well, millions.

Clive
Are they carriers of TB, like badgers are allegedly . . . ?

Stephen
Worse.

Alan
The plague.

Stephen
"Plague" is the right answer.

Alan
They've got the plague!

Stephen
They are the actual original animal source of--

Clive
Not the rats?

Stephen
No, they cough and spit onto the fleas, which catch the disease, which then goes to the rats, which then came to Europe and wiped out half the population of Europe in the fourteenth century.

Andy
The problem with them coughing is obviously the fact that they've got those dry crackers. Just give them a drink of water next to it. Have the biscuit, a little water, no coughing.

Alan
No coughing.

Stephen
Yeah, you're right. Do you know why it's called "bubonic"? Do you know what that--

Viewscreens: Two pictures of a wooden door onto which a red cross has been painted.

Clive
Those big round things come up under your--[gestures to his underarms]--buboes are--

Stephen
The buboes, but the bubo itself actually comes from the Greek "boubon", which is "groin".

Clive
Groin.

Stephen
One of the areas where you get a big swelling when you get the bubonic plague.

Clive
How often . . . ?

Stephen
 . . . do I get a swelling?

Clive
Yes, sorry. No.

Stephen
No. [muttering] Not as often as I used to, I'm sorry to say.

Andy
[at viewscreens] Given that's all they've got to do is just paint that red cross on, they've not done a great job, have they?

Clive
What's wrong with that?

Andy
Well it's well to the left, isn't it there? They're . . . You know, you'd have thought if all you've got to do all day is go 'round doing a red cross, you'd have more pride in your work than that.

Clive
You're not . . . You're not hanging around doing it though, are you? "There's plague in here. Let's . . . Oh I'll just do a . . . " [mimes delicately painting a cross on the door]

Stephen
Yeah, right!

Alan
A really long stick they do it with. [closes one eye for precision and mimes painting a cross with a long pole]

Clive
You're just waiting for a marmot to come flying out and bite you or spit at you.

Andy
Knock on the door and say--

Stephen
Anyway. Yes, almost a million Britons fell victim to the Black Death. But, what illness do British doctors now treat more than any other?

Clive
[presses buzzer, which plays the "Twilight Zone" theme]

Clive
The widest disease in these sort of quizzes is normally dental caries, but I suppose dentists treat that rather than doctors.

Stephen
Rather than doctors, yes.

Clive
Yes.

Stephen
This is doctors, specifically.

Sean
Is it cancer?

Stephen
Oh, dear, no, it's not cancer.

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

Stephen
No-nee-no-nee-no.

Alan
Flu.

Stephen
Nor is it flu.

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

Andy
Is it a little niggle that you're not quite sure what it is . . . but you think it'll be enough to keep you off work for the rest of the week?

Stephen
Three million, one hundred thousand people in Britain every year.

Alan
Pregnancy?

Clive
Pregnancy isn't a disease, Alan, surely.

Andy
It would be if Alan got it.

Clive
No, it would be a surprise; it wouldn't be . . . 

Stephen
I'll give you a clue, then: It begins with "D".

Alan
Death.

Stephen
No. Doctors don't treat death, unfortunately. No.

Clive
Deafness.

Sean
Dermatitis.

Stephen
Not deafness, not dermatitis.

Sean
Give us a second letter.

Clive
It's got to be a vowel, isn't it?

Alan
Do a "sounds like".

Clive
Yes.

Stephen
It sounds like--[clasps palms together]--"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned . . . "

Alan
Dinned!

Stephen
No, no, no. When do--

Alan
Confession.

Stephen
Confession. It sounds like confession, begins with a "D" . . . .

Alan
Dession.

Sean
Depression!

Alan
[quickly] Depression!

Stephen
Thank you very much indeed! Well done. Between seven and ten percent of women suffer from depression and about three to five percent of men. And this is what they call unipolar depression, i.e., not manic depression.

If you're gonna to be depressed, you're luckier if you get manic depression than if you just get plain depression, 'cause you get the upside of mania.

Alan
"I can conquer the world!"

Stephen
That kind of feeling, exactly.

Andy
But now you can't say manic depression, can you? You've got to say bipolar disorder now, haven't you? Isn't that right?

Stephen
Actually, the best people on the subject, Kay Redfield Jamison, in America, for example, has written--

Alan
That's a brilliant book. An Unquiet Mind.

Stephen
Yeah, Unquiet Mind is a fantastic . . . She calls it "manic depression", or "madness"! She's seriously manic depressive and takes a lot of Lithium. She's also a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University.

Sean
Do depressed people mind what you call them?

Stephen
Erm, generally speaking not, to be honest. I mean one of the great advantages of, certainly, manic depression is a sense of humour. Kind of keeps you going, because of the loony things you do when you're manic.

There was one person who took apart a car, bit by bit, on a huge area. He laid out a sheet, took apart the engine, sort of did outlines around each part and numbered them, named them . . . everything was fantastic. Then, of course, he got the mood swing and was depressed and he kicked it all over. "Fuck it!" The whole thing to pieces, he was--[makes sound of angry indifference]. And so no car, basically. Bits everywhere.

Clive
But that's bipolar depression. What about just generally feeling a bit miserable and sad about life, does that count as depression?

Stephen
It's arguably . . . Of course, a very, very difficult condition to diagnose, and people who are cynical about it and think, "Oh, just walk it off," you know, there is, of course, some truth in that, inasmuch as exercise is shown to be credibly helpful for depression.

Andy
Is that the theory with the . . . You know, you go into a chemist, and you can only buy a certain amount of Paracetamol, 'cause they're worried that you're going to take too much of it. You could always walk down the street, obviously and then go to the next chemist and buy another lot, couldn't you? But are they hoping that that little walk will make you think, "Oh, actually, life's not that bad"?

Sean
You pass an off licence and a strip club . . . 

Stephen
Something to cheer you up, you see.

Sean
You see someone fall in the canal . . . 

Stephen
Swimming with dolphins. That's apparently a very good treatment for depression.

Sean
Not if they reject you. Not if they go--[makes disparaging dolphin noises]--and off they go. That takes you to another level.

Stephen
The problem is often the other way round; is severe bruising because the dolphins get too interested in you and because their penises are a foot long and S-shaped, you can be in serious trouble.

Sean
And that's just the ladies!

Stephen
Yeah. But, while on the subject of depression, what is the saddest song you know?

Alan
Otis Redding. "Sad Song."

Stephen
That's . . . that's gotta be sad.

Sean
I saw something . . . That song, Labour used it, with D-Ream: "Things Can Only Get Better"? Because if you're in a situation where things can only get better, you are seriously screwed up, aren't you?

Stephen
Well, there is a song which has caused suicide.

Clive
Oh, I know this. Billie Holiday, isn't it? Erm . . . 

Stephen
Say it! You know it.

Clive
I know, but I--

Stephen
She sang it.

Clive
I know, but it's--

Stephen
She didn't write it, but . . . It sounds like a New Order.

Clive
Say that again?

Man in Audience
"Strange Fruit".

Stephen
Not "Strange Fruit", but that is a great song, "Strange Fruit".

Woman in Audience
"Gloomy Sunday."

Stephen
She said it: "Gloomy Sunday."

Clive
"Gloomy Sunday."

Stephen
Well done. Award yourself two points. Yeah.

Alan
[presses buzzer, which whistles from "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"]

Alan
Erm, "Gloomy Sunday".

Stephen
If you promise not to hurl yourself off the edge of the set, then I will allow you to hear a little of "Gloomy Sunday" sung by Miss Billie Holiday.

[Billi Holiday's "Gloomy Sunday" starts playing, with the opening lyrics,
"Sunday is gloomy . . . "
]

Alan
Oh, Jesus!

[The song continues, "My hours are slumberless . . . "]

Alan
[presses buzzer, which whistles from "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"]

Stephen
You've always got the antedote!

Alan
[pointing at his buzzer] Now you know what to do if you're feeling down.

Stephen
I have to say, I've just been looking at the scoreboard, and at the moment the audience is winning.

Clive
Yes.

Stephen
Well done.

Andy
Monday's supposed to be the most depressing day of the week. Imagine you'd had a Sunday like that and you had Monday to look forward to.

Stephen
No, well, this is a song written by one Rezső Seress in 1933, a Hungarian, inspired by the end of a relationship. It became an instant hit, and so flushed with success he went to his girlfriend and suggested they get back together. A day later she poisoned herself--

Alan
[laughs openly]

Stephen
--leaving a two word suicide note: "Gloomy Sunday".

Sean
Oh, really?

Stephen
Yeah. A hundred suicides, apparently, have been linked to the song. The New York Times had this great big headline: "Hundreds of Hungarians kill themselves under the influence of a song." Soon Americans were joining them and the ghoulish reputation of the "Hungarian suicide song" touched almost every country where it was played.

Victims included teenagers and octogenarians. One man heard a beggar humming the song, immediately gave him all his possessions, jumped to his death off a bridge. Erm . . . 

Clive
That's great busking, isn't it?

Stephen
Yes. The composer himself ended it all by throwing himself from his apartment window in 1968 at the age of seventy.

Sean
Well, that was a horrible mess, wasn't it, that. A seventy year-old hitting the pavement. Ohh.

Stephen
[laughingly incredulous] Why is that worse than anyone else hitting the pavement?

Sean
Well, you know, a young person has got a bit of fat in . . . on them, something to cushion the splat. But this would just be, just be . . . be bones and skin; just--"crunch"--

Stephen
[laughs with his face buried in his hands]

Sean
--like a bag of crisps hitting the pavement. "Crunch!" You don't do that at seventy; that's not right.

Andy
There was one bloke, wasn't there . . . He was on the first floor, split up with his missus; She left him, went downstairs, walked out. He jumped out of the window to commit suicide, he lands on her, she dies, he lives, but he thinks, "great", and he went on, didn't he. That was, there was a famous case that I . . . I know all . . . [nods].

Stephen
I think the word is "Result!"

Clive
A lot of people kill themselves by throwing themselves off Beachy Head.

Stephen
That is very popular indeed.

Clive
And there are dozens of other cliffs, but people, they're like lemmings, almost literally like lemmings. They want to just go somewhere famous to do it, so they . . . so it's either the Northern Line or Beachy Head.

Sean
I went to Beachy Head very early in the morning, right? Not . . . 

Clive
Just as the sun was rising?

Sean
Not to commit suicide, no, but I'd gone to a fishmongers which wasn't open in Eastbourne. [to audience] Funnily enough, you'd think the fishmonger would open early, doesn't open until ten! What's going on? Anyway--[gesturing with wide arms]--listen round! And, er . . . 

Stephen
Yes, thank you!

Sean
All right, Alfred? Nice to see you're in.

And so I thought I'd go up to Beachy Head, just to see what it's like.

Stephen
Yes.

Sean
And there was these two guys, sort of sentinels. One of them had a guitar and the other one had a flute, and I was . . . I was wandering along, and they sort of went, [waves] "Hi, hi!" like this, and I went, [waves briefly] "All right?" like that. Because I . . . I'm not cheerful.

Stephen
Grumpy sod, yeah.

Sean
And eventually they sort of go . . . They were going, "Hi," and they sort of beckoned me over, and they said, "Everything all right?" I said, "Yeah, fine." And they . . . they said, er, "You're not thinking of, er . . . ?" [gestures over his shoulder and whistles ominously] Not . . . not exactly that, but they were there to . . . to prevent people . . . 

Stephen
Oh! Bless them.

Andy
They didn't stop--

Sean
Yeah, but get this. Listen to this. I said, "Well, how . . . how often are you here?" They said, "A week . . . Once a week." I said, "Oh, right."

Even better . . . Even better, I said, "How long are you here for?" He said--[shrugs]--"About an hour."

Stephen
This man Seress, anyway. The BBC banned the song until the year 2002. It's only just been allowed to be played. That is how seriously people take this suicide song.

Anyway, that's probably enough gloom. Let's play a game. Time for Killer Mushroom Roulette!

If you wondered what the, er, skull and crossbones cards on your table were for, I'm going to show you on screen four types of mushroom, numbered one to four. All you've got to do is write down the number of the one you may safely eat.

Viewscreens: Picture of four mushrooms.



Is it one, Death Cap? Two, Peppery Milk Cap? Three, Destroying Angel? Or four, Trumpet of Death?

One of them is safe to eat, highly nutritious, and very pleasant. The others--will kill you!

Sean
Can we try them all first?

Alan
You get one each.

Sean
Yeah.

Clive
Somebody told me there are very, very few killer mushrooms--

Stephen
There are very few.

Clive
--and we're so ludicrously scared of these.

Stephen
We are. There are three thousand, five hundred species of mushrooms in the UK; about a hundred are poisonous and only fifteen of those are lethal.

Alan
One of them I'm sure I've seen in Carluccio's.

Stephen
That's very possible.

Alan
So I've gone for that one.

Stephen
All right, so what have you written there?

Andy
I've written number one.

Stephen
So you think Death Cap, number one, you can eat?

Andy
The reason being--am I allowed to give a reason?

Stephen
Yes, please do.

Andy
Is it . . . It looks a bit, I think, like a penis.

Stephen
And you can safely eat a penis, can't you? You can.

Andy
Well, that wasn't going to be my logic, but yes.

Stephen
Clive, you've gone for?

Clive
Well, I'm afraid . . . I've gone for the same answer I'm afraid--

Stephen
Number one.

Clive
--but I thought that Trumpet of Death looked like a penis, but, er, there it is.

Stephen
That's a worry, Clive.

Clive
Well, what can I say?

Stephen
What have you got there, Sean?

Sean
Number one.

Stephen
Number one as well.

Alan
I've gone for number four.

Stephen
Well, the ten points go to Alan Davies!

Stephen
Very good. You all used the same kind of logic, knowing that the one that would sound deadly is probably good, but unfortunately, you all went for the Death Cap and in fact it's the Trumpet of Death that is the one. It's also called a Black Morae or a Horn of Plenty and is delicious and nutty.

Sean
But that wouldn't be on a menu. Trumpet of Death omelette.

Stephen
You're quite right, though; it's very, very rare. The last recorded death by mushroom in Britain is too long ago for anyone, basically, to be confident about.

They are pretty nasty: they'll destroy your liver and kidney, particularly the Death Cap and the Destroying Angel.

Alan
Do you have to eat a lot of them?

Stephen
Quite a few actually, yeah. But the thing is, there's no known antidote. The Peppery Milk Cap is more likely to be gastric. You'll have a really bad time, but it can kill you if you have a lot of those. Despite its black colour, the Trumpet of Death is very tasty and goes particularly well with fish. Italians call it the poor man's truffle.

Er, what did the Nazis use Trumpets of Jericho for?

Sean
Was it lift music?

Stephen
No, it wasn't.

Clive
Did they come up with some foul weapon that was to bring down the walls of, er, cities and towns and things?

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "DESTROYING CITY WALLS".

Stephen
Oh, dear. I'm afraid--

Clive
Yes, I . . . I kind of thought that was going to happen, but, er . . . 

Stephen
Joshua in the Bible, of course, brought down, supposedly, the walls of the city of Jericho using Trumpet, though, apparently, archeologists say Jericho had no walls, but never mind. . . . Erm, so it was a pretty easy . . . easy job.

Clive
Not after him anyway.

Stephen
Erm. Who knows? No, er, this is the Ju87. Does that help?

Alan
Junkers.

Stephen
Junkers, absolutely, known as a particular kind.

Alan
Aircraft. 88.

Sean
Stukas.

Alan
Stuka, ah, yes.

Stephen
The Stuka, ja.

Clive
That's a bird!

Alan
It's the siren, the whistling siren when they dive in.

Stephen
The whistling sound.

Sean
[raises his hands to an imaginary gun and makes shooting noises]

Stephen
That's right, they had a . . . 

Sean
Just took me all back, I was a kid doing war . . . [makes shooting noises again]. No, but then the Stukas start coming . . . [makes sound of Stuka siren]

Alan
[chimes in with his own siren]

Stephen
Yeah, do you want to hear them?

Sean
[starts making shooting noises again]

[SFX: Sound of an actual Stuka aircraft siren.]

Stephen
It's that noise. That noise was a propeller driving a . . . a siren, just deliberately put on to scare the bejesus . . . 

Alan
Screaming, screaming siren.

Stephen
That's right. They called it the Trumpet of Jericho, yeah. And it destroyed more shipping and tanks than any other aircraft in the whole of World War II, including Kamikaze pilots. It was extremely successful, except when it was up against fighters and it sent them over in the Battle of Britain to try and bomb air strips, but the old Hurricanes and Spits were far too nimble and they got thirty down in one day, I believe. Well, the Americans did the same by using Wagner in their helicopters.

Alan
They still do.

Stephen
Do they still?

Alan
They still play loud, extremely loud rock music to terrify the opposition.

Stephen
I've noticed that, in their bedrooms!

Alan
They played it to themselves in the tanks, during the Iraq War.

Stephen
I mean you just want to go and say, "I tell you what, lovely army, very nice vehicles and things . . . Do you have any grown-ups anywhere?"

Alan
[as though to a child] "Who's in charge of you?"

Stephen
"Don't shout, and don't think it's clever to wear sunglasses if you're a General. Eurgh." [shakes head annoyedly] Pathetic!

Clive
Of all the objections to warfare, it's the use of sunglasses!

Stephen
They're trying to be like at Patton. They think it's sexy and cool.

Sean
Well, it's from films, isn't it?

Stephen
If you think you're sexy and cool, you're . . . you're just going to be a ghastly tactician.

Alan
What about that General who said to the troops, "You've got it all wrong . . . " It's like he was trying to get in with the kids and he said, "When the order is given to attack, it's hammer time."

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
And they all looked at him. So he said it again, more serious. "It's hammer time!"

Sean
What, he thought they'd put on, like, big balloony trousers and go--[starts dancing like MC Hammer].

Alan
[joins in and starts humming "U Can't Touch This"]

Sean
[still dancing in sync with Alan] "Can't touch this!"

Stephen
Right next to the ruins of Jericho, as it happens, there is more death and diving. What lives in the Dead Sea?

Alan
Not much.

Sean
Isn't there a fish that lives in it?

Stephen
No fish, no.

Alan
It's really stingy. If you get it in your eyes, it really stings.

Stephen
Oh, it would sting.

Clive
There must be a nematode worm, because nematode worms live everywhere.

Stephen
They seem to, don't they? No, it's not actually. You've avoided saying "nothing", which would have got a big raspberry.

Sean
Is it a rabbit? It's rabbits always going like that. [rubbing his eyes] "Ahh. Ahh."

Stephen
"Ahh." It just escaped.

Er, no, in fact, there are small little things called "extremophiles", which are almost like bacteria, but a much much older life form than bacteria.

Viewscreens: Close-up picture of the microscopic extremophile, which is puffy and has been tinted pink.

Sean
They look quite tasty.

Stephen
They look like piles. So, erm . . . 

Sean
They do.

Stephen
So what else do we know about the Dead Sea?

Alan
It's below sea level.

Stephen
The lowest place on Earth.

Viewscreens: Picture of a man swimming on his back in the Dead Sea.

Alan
The lowest place in England is in Norfolk.

Clive
But that's not the Dead Sea, it's just dead boring.

Alan
The Fens.

Stephen
The Fens aren't really in Norfolk.

Alan
Cambridgeshire.

Stephen
Cambridgeshire more.

Andy
Talking about lowest exposed areas, I've just had a look at that picture.

Stephen
Yeah.

Andy
What's he doing with his hands there?

Sean
He's strangling a rabbit.

Clive
That's an old . . . That's an old euphemism.

Stephen
More rabbits.

Clive
I'm just going over there to strangle a rabbit.

Stephen
Strangle a rabbit. Ahh.

Clive
So can you actually do that in the Dead Sea, you can lie around without having to--

Sean
Toss yourself off, yeah, it's fine, yeah. They've got so many problems with the Palestinians. They go, "Ah, have a wank. We don't mind."

Clive
The sea is supposed to be salty, not the jokes!

Stephen
Oh, very good.

Alan
They send people there on the National Health, if they've got psoriasis.

Stephen
They do, they do. Quite a lot of conditions it's supposed to help. The other thing is . . . it's . . . Despite the myth, people do drown in the Dead Sea. If you face the wrong way, people can't turn themselves 'round. There's too much resistance from the water, apparently.

Sean
It's called natural selection, isn't it?

Stephen
Yeah, I think you may be right.

Do you know that there are about two hundred and fifty drownings of people in Britain each year, of which roughly a third are intentional. Bearing that in mind, can you tell me what's interesting about this sad little rodent?

Viewscreens: Picture of a Norway lemming.



Sean
It doesn't matter whether he's upside down or right way up. He looks exactly the same.

Stephen
You certainly--

Sean
No one cares.

Clive
Is this a--

Sean
If he falls on his back, nobody turns him round.

Clive
So is this a lemming?

Stephen
It's a lemming.

Sean
And he looks like the devil's arsehole, his mouth.

Stephen
You certainly wouldn't want a blow-job off him, would you? It'd be a scrapey experience.

It is a lemming, it's a Norway lemming.

Alan
They don't actually jump off cliffs.

Stephen
They don't jump off cliffs.

Clive
It was invented by Disney or somebody?

Stephen
Oh, dear me.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "MYTH INVENTED BY DISNEY".

Stephen
It was not invented by Disney, no. There were two myths about it, one that they commit mass suicide, the other that it was Disney who invented the myth.

Clive
Ah, right.

Stephen
In fact, they didn't. As early as 1908 in an . . .  Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopedia, he talks about them throwing themselves off cliffs into the water.

Sean
They have done it. It was when their migratory path hit a cliff.

Stephen
They don't really migrate, but they're fantastic breeders. A mother can produce eighty in a year, and when the population swells, they have to move off to find places where they can eat.

Clive
So what are we saying, they do throw themselves off cliffs, or they don't throw themselves off?

Stephen
They don't. They don't at all.

Clive
They don't.

Stephen
The Disney film though, you're quite right, was completely faked. I mean they made this film called "White Wilderness"; they had to bus in lemmings from thousands of . . . 

Clive
And they . . . they tossed them off the cliff did they?

Stephen
They did, well they sort of dropped them in front of camera in a close-up, in a rather pathetic attempt to do it. They're not any more suicidal than any other animal.

Andy
He's actually trying to do his impression of Einstein in that picture.
[sticks his tongue out in an impression of the famous photo of Einstein]

Clive
But his tongue is stuck on both of his teeth.

Stephen
Yes, it's a rather sweet little tongue, don't you think? It's a little pretty pink tongue, rather nice. [smiles and shrugs into the following silence]

Clive
Watch out for the teeth, Stephen.

Stephen
Yes.

Anyway, er, this delivers us, damp, but not down-hearted, into the valley of General Ignorance. So, fingers on trumpets please. What was the curse of Tutankhamun?

Sean
[presses buzzer, which creaks and cackles evilly]
You have to queue up for ages.

Clive
The one that's going to lose me another ten points--

Stephen
Yes?

Clive
--is that anybody interfering with his tomb would be forever cursed.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the phrase "DEATH TO ALL WHO ENTER HERE".

Clive
So the mere fact, yeah, you see. "Death to all who enter here," yes.

Stephen
The fact is, there is no curse. There never was. There's no inscription that even comes close to being a curse of Tutankhamun, or of any Egyptian tomb ever.

Viewscreens: Two pictures of the mask of Tutankhamun's mummy.



Alan
He looks like Tiger Woods eating a cornetto.

Stephen
You're absolutely right!

Erm, Lord Carnarvon, who, er--

Clive
Ah, that's the one.

Stephen
--was one of the people with Howard Carter, who first uncovered or excavated the tomb, died very, very soon afterwards from a shaving accident, probably an infected mosquito bite that he cut. And people though, "Ooh, it's cursed!" There was one of the party that had excavated it who died in about 1978, aged ninety-three and the headline was, "Curse of Tutankhamun strikes again!"

Jane Loudon Webb wrote a novel called The Mummy in 1828, about a mummy coming to life and chasing those who had, er, desecrated its tomb. But the fact is that thorough research has shown that only six died within the first decade of the opening and Howard Carter, surely the number one target as the chief of it, er, lived for another seventeen years.

Clive
None of these superstitions should be worried about . . . touch wood.

Stephen
Hey! Ha ha.

Now, the Great Fire of London destroyed thirteen thousand, two hundred houses, eighty seven churches, forty four livery halls, and over four fifths of the City of London, with a capital "C." How many people died in that five-day conflagration?

Clive
[presses buzzer, which plays the "Twilight Zone" theme]

Clive
I think it's four people, some very low figure of--

Stephen
I'm going to give you the points, 'cause it's five people.

Clive
Five people, oh well.

Stephen
Yes, very good. Very good. Only five are recorded. The maid of the baker who started the fire; Paul Lowell, a Shoe Lane watchmaker; an old man who rescued a blanket from St Paul's, but succumbed to the smoke; and two others who fell into their cellars in an ill-fated attempt to recover their goods and chattels. The Mayor, actually, Thomas Bludworth, went back to bed on the first night saying, "a woman might piss it out." The previous Great Fire, in 1212, killed three thousand people.

When does the nursery rhyme Ring A Ring O' Roses date from?

Clive
Ring A Ring O' Roses . . . 

Stephen
Whence?

Sean
[presses buzzer, which creaks and cackles evilly]

Stephen
Oh, Sean?

Sean
1102.

Stephen
A wild stab in the dark--

Sean
Yeah.

Stephen
--and not correct, I'm sorry to say.

Alan
The plague. The bubonic plague.

Stephen
Oh dear me, no, I'm afraid not.

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

Stephen
Well, it's nothing to do with the plague or the Black Death at all, er . . . It's a complete misconception. Apart from anything else, this ring . . . A posy is supposed to be a ring of lesions; it doesn't happen. People don't sneeze--[laughs]--when they have the plague.

Clive
Obviously! They do, it's the . . . it's the marmots that sneeze on you, you told us that!

Alan
Is that not the reason why people say "bless you" when you sneeze?

Clive
No, that's . . . that's 'cause of the devil getting into you when you sneeze.

Alan
I thought it was because you had the plague.

Clive
No, no, it's the devil.

Alan
People get quite testy sometimes, if they sneeze and you don't say bless you.

Stephen
If you don't say bless you, yes.

Alan
"You didn't say bless you." "Oh, fuck off."

Stephen
That was one hell of a garden party at Buckingham Palace, wasn't it? It really was. You made quite a name for yourself.

It's a very late eighteenth century American song; first recorded in 1881, but apparently written earlier; has nothing to do with the plague whatsoever.

So, what did the man who invented lateral thinking suggest as a solution to solve the Middle East conflict?

Viewscreens: Picture of Edward de Bono between a picture of a Palestinean man and one of an Israeli man.

Clive
Is that Edward de Bono in the middle, is he . . . is he lateral thinking?

Stephen
Edward de Bono is the man. He invented lateral thinking.

Sean
Have a game of football; sort it out that way.

Clive
They could play in the old Gaza Strip, couldn't they?

Stephen
Yeah, I'll give you fifty points if you get this, 'cause it's so peculiar.

Clive
Thinking laterally.

Stephen
Well laterally. I mean so lateral, it's off the scale.

Alan
They play Monopoly.

Stephen
It's weirder than that.

Andy
They all go to the Dead Sea, right, they flip over the wrong way, and whoever can turn over quickest wins.

Stephen
But this man, this premier thinker of our time, Edward de Bono, suggested sending Marmite to the Middle East.

He reasoned thus, and I use the word "reasoned" quite loosely, erm . . . He reasoned that on both sides of the conflict there was a lot of unleavened bread being eaten, and unleavened bread has a shortage of zinc. And a lack of zinc causes aggression. So he planned, as the easiest way as he saw it, to restore the zinc levels to both sides . . . was to send them lots of Marmite, which is rich in the stuff.

Clive
But the whole point about Marmite . . . They advertise it on the basis that some people love it and some people hate it. So he'd have solved the problem, then they'd have wars between the . . . the pro-Marmiters and the anti-Marmiters! They'd be back to warfare again!

Stephen
He didn't think it through, did he?

Clive
Where do you stand on Bovril, do you like it?

Stephen
I never stand on Bovril. It's a stupid thing to do. But I quite like the taste of it, I have to say.

Sean
And did he put that forward as a serious suggestion, or was it one of those days where he just . . . when he was taking the day off?

Alan
Five to five on a Friday. "All right, here's one."

Stephen
This was a . . . a Foreign Office committee he was talking to, it wasn't just something he said in the pub. He was on a think-tank and he was reporting to the Foreign Office and they were listening to him. "Marmite."

Alan
They should have done it in Ulster.

Clive
Yes.

Alan
Should have made that the homeland for the Jews. Just for fun!

Clive
Like a sort of problem theme park, all in one place.

Stephen
Well, I think we've come to the end. That leaves the divertissement of the score. We're going to start with tonight's "I'm afraid didn't do quite as well as anybody else-er", and it's Clive Anderson with minus-twenty-four points.

Clive
Oh, least! I got many more than that.

Stephen
And in a very creditable third place, Alan Davies with minus-fifteen. Then comes Sean with minus-eight.

Sean
Thank you.

Stephen
With a staggering zero, it's Andy Parsons.

Stephen
But that means tonight's shock winner, with two points, is the audience!

[Shots of the audience, who cheer and applaud themselves.]

Stephen
Bravo. Never happened before.

Well, on that bombshell, the time has come to leave the shadow of the valley of death behind us. Thank you to Clive, Andy, Sean, and Alan, and I leave you with this thought, courtesy of the great Johnny Carson. "For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow, but phone calls taper off." Do be careful out there. Good night.