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Series 5, Episode 1

Transcript by: Sarah Falk

TRANSCRIPT

Stephen
Haha. Well! Good . . . evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, and welcome to QI. Tonight, we're quite interested in "engineering", and so, we've come equipped with four of the sharpest tools in the box. The steely Jimmy Carr . . . and the power-driven Rob Brydon . . . with the well-oiled Bill Bailey . . . and the spanner in the works, Alan Davies!

So, let's hear your precision-engineered sounds. Bill goes:

Bill
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of an airhorn]

Stephen
Jimmy goes:

Jimmy
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of an electric saw]

Stephen
And Rob goes:

Rob
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a ship's horn]

Stephen
And Alan goes:

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a metal tool falling and clanking on the ground]

Stephen
Ahh. Now, although tonight's manly menu mainly means "engineering" matters, don't forget our "Elephant in the Room" bonus, boys, will you? No.

Viewscreens: The "Elephant in the Room" card displays and trumpets.

Stephen
For predicting the arrival of one or more elephants on the programme.

Alan
[holds up his Elephant cutout]

Stephen
There it is.

Bill
Right.

Stephen
Be ready. First question! Who built Britain's railways?

Jimmy
In the--

Viewscreens: Video of a train approaching in the direction of the camera, and consequently, of the panellists.

Alan
[pointing at the opposite screen] Look out!

Bill
Look out, there's . . . !

Jimmy
Oh, Jesus!

Alan
[turns in his seat and cowers from the train on the screen behind him]

Stephen
I say! By the way, I have my own train here. Look at that.
[sends the toy train on his desk over to Alan]
There. Isn't that fun?

Audience in General
[ahhs]

Stephen
[operating the controls] And I . . . I have . . . I have sweets, which I can load on and deliver to any particularly interesting answers this evening. So there's an extra incentive. However--

Bill
This is like . . . This is turning into my . . . my perfect house. [presses buzzer, which airhorns] "More toast, please!" [traces the line of the train track on his desk]

Alan
This is like "Wallace and Gromit".

Stephen
But you have, first, to address the question of who built our railways.

Bill
Erm.

Alan
Richard Branson.

Jimmy
Ooh.

Bill
No. It was not "elephants" . . . Large creatures were trained to have . . . trample down areas of Britain to built very, very flat . . . The railway mouse!

Stephen
Well, you're right, actually--

Bill
Oh! [straightens up happily]

Stephen
--that because--[breaks off and laughs]. No . . . When . . . 

Alan
[pointing to the toy train] Sweet!

Rob
Pass the train! Pass a sweet.

Bill
[drums on his desk]

Stephen
You're right, actually, comma, in saying--

Jimmy
In saying words.

Rob
That's a big comma.

Stephen
--in saying that, er, railways had to be flat in the days when they were built in Britain, which were the very earliest days, because we were the country that, er, invented the steam locomotive and the railway system, and there weren't powerful enough engines to . . . to go up hills, or to go, really, around bends. So they had to be straight, and they had to be flat.

Jimmy
Were they built by the wrong type of builder?

Stephen
Well, at the time, they were thought they were . . . They were the much-mocked . . . navvy. They were called "navvies", and were mostly Irish--

Rob
Yeah, of course.

Stephen
--and they were an extraordinary example of man muscle. They really were. It took a year to train a navvy.

Viewscreens: Picture of navvies, mostly bent double, working on a railroad.



Stephen
You fed them on meat and beer. [at viewscreens] No Dagenham smiles there; very tightly-done trousers . . . Erm, and they, erm . . . 

Jimmy
"A Dagenham smile"?

Stephen
It's . . . The Birmingham-to-London track took five years to build, and was the equivalent in work of building one and a half great pyramids. It was an astonishing feat. Astonishing. These people were incredible. As I say, it took a year to train them; they lived on beer and meat, and they could out-perform any other manual labourer who . . . Farmworkers would be exhausted after a quarter of a day that the navvies could do.

Bill
I once . . . I . . . I heard once that the Trans-Siberian railway--

Stephen
Mm.

Bill
--which was meant to be dir— . . . a straight line . . . The Tsar got a ruler, and he said, "I want the railway perfectly straight, like this!" [mimes putting down a ruler] And he got the ruler, and he drew a line like that, but his fingers . . . were over the edge . . . And in a couple of places, it did a big, sort of, detour, like that, and he went, "Build me that! Go away! You!" [claps his hands] Like that. And they went, "Oh, we better build it like he said." So they had to build two great big curves in . . . 

Stephen
That's a lovely thought.

Bill
It's a lovely thought. Sweet!

Rob
I always assumed that the first railways that were . . . that was . . . [breaks off and laughs at Bill].

Stephen
Oh, very well. [loads a sweet onto the train]

Bill
Hey!

Stephen
You get a sweet.
[sends the train over in Bill's direction]

[The train
collides with the stop at the end of the track; one car separates from the rest.]



Bill
Whoa! Ooh!

Jimmy and Rob
[look over and gasp in shock]

Jimmy
Oh, my God.

Rob
[with his hand near his mouth] "Ooh! Ooh! Let's get someone on the scene and go straight there now to see what's happening."

Bill
[attempts to reconnect the train]

Rob
"It's absolutely pandemonium--"

Stephen
[starts to recall the train]

Bill
Hey, wa-ait!

Rob
Oh!

Stephen
Have you had your sweet yet?

Bill
No, I haven't had it yet!

Stephen
[attempts to send the train back to Bill] Ooh. I'm not very good at . . . being the controller.

Bill
[receives his sweet] Oh, it stops in the right place. Can't be a Virgin train, can it?

Stephen
Hey. Why, for a sweet, and a point . . . Why are they called navvies?

Alan
"Navigational engineers."

Stephen
Oh, very good. Very good! [loads a sweet onto the train] I'm so impressed.

Bill
Is that right?

Stephen
[sends the train over to Alan]

Alan
[shrugs at Bill happily]

Stephen
They . . . They were responsible for digging what were called the internal navigation system, which was the canals. That's how they first came over; for digging canals. And then when the railway arrived, they, er, did all the embankments and the tunnels and the, er, extraordinary earth movement involved. There were . . . Horses were used for taking away the spoil, but everything else was human muscle.

Jimmy
Elephants as well. Did you realise?

Stephen
No elephants--

Jimmy
There were some--

Stephen
--were used in the making of that railway line.

Jimmy
There were. Just loads. So, London-to-Birmingham, or Birmingham-to-London--

Stephen
Yeah.

Jimmy
--was the equivalent of what, one and a half pyramids?

Stephen
One and a half great pyramids, supposedly, in terms of--

Jimmy
Aw, funny, if we'd had . . . put that to a vote, we would have had one and a half pyramids. "Do we need just a half a pyramid?" "Yeah, we just thought we needed it."

Bill
"That'll do."

Alan
"Can we have the top half of the pyramid?"

Jimmy
It's on stilts.

Rob
Well, that's a pyramid. That's a pyramid, the top half, isn't it? It's only . . . if you have the bottom half . . . 

Alan
[shrugs] That's why I would choose it.

Rob
It's . . . It's an odd platform. So just keep . . . just keep slicing the pyramids . . . 

Stephen
Go and have a sweet. [loads a sweet and sends the train in Rob's direction]

Jimmy
[makes ominous beeping noises and attempts to intercept the train]

Rob
No! [pushes Jimmy's hand away and grabs the sweet]
Thank you very much.

Stephen
There you are.

Jimmy
Curses!

Stephen
[recalls the train] Er, the credit may have gone to engineers, of course, like Stephenson and Brunel, but it was thousands and thousands of anonymous navvies who did the actual work.

Now, here's a big question. What happened when the Americans went off the rails?

Jimmy
[presses buzzer, which saws]

Viewscreens: Side-by-side pictures of Macaulay Culkin, Michael Jackson, O. J. Simpson, and Whitney Houston.



Alan
Jesus! [puts a hand to his heart]

Rob
[sucking on a sweet] This is during the Carter administration, when they tried to bring in a different form. Instead of rails . . . Because Jimmy Carter was a southern president--

Stephen
Yes.

Rob
--and in the deep south, it was . . . fried food is very, very popular. And they were hoping to, in . . . build, kind of, carriages with holes in the bottom. People would sit . . . Take their trousers down, and after eating a lot of fried food, they would fart it. And it . . . And it would rise on a bed of noxious bottom gas. Then, behind, people would open balloons, and let the air . . . And if there were enough of the balloons, they would hope . . . and it never worked!

Stephen
No!

Rob
It never took off, obviously!

Stephen
You were fooled!

Rob
And . . . And I . . . A fool could have predicted it. But they did have a fool . . . in the . . . management.

Stephen
For the first time in history.

Rob
Yeah.

Bill
Can you take the sweet . . . off him?

Stephen
Yeah, he is . . . 

Jimmy
Is the question "When did America go off the rails?"

Stephen
No, when a locomotive went off the rails in America, what did they do?

Alan
They picked it up . . . put it back on . . . ?

Stephen
--is the right answer! It's as simple as that.

Jimmy
What?

Stephen
They were--

Alan
[shrugs as though such answers came naturally to him]

Stephen
The point is, they deliberately made their locomotives very small and light.

Viewscreens: Picture of an early, light locomotive with five men riding it.



Alan
[laughs at the picture and claps]
[gesturing helplessly at the viewscreens] Those were the days!

Bill
Oh-hh!

Stephen
They had no cladding, so they're as light as possible, and the passengers had to get out, pick it up, put it back on. They had the advantage of the potato blight bringing over lots of Irishmen to be their navvies in America as well, at just the right time.

Rob
Er, Stephen, they're navigational . . . engineers.

Stephen
Yes, thank you for that. Rob. Thank you.

Rob
I don't think you should call them navvies anymore.

Stephen
No. You're right.

Rob
Now that we know the . . . the . . . the full . . . the full title.

Stephen
Their . . . Their . . . [pauses and looks at Rob] Micks were, erm taken over to do the deed, and did it brilliantly, and . . . and they tended to do it in the east coast; and who did it in the west?

Bill
The Chinese!

Stephen
The Chinese.

Bill
The Chinese.

Stephen
The Chinese. And they met in the middle, the Irish and the Chinese, when they've completed the entire link across America. They could lay track--particularly from the west; there was a couple of brothers called Casement who devised this system--where the track was laid as fast as a man could walk. That's how quickly they could lay.

Alan
Not as fast as, er, Gromit.

Stephen
No. That . . . He was probably inspired by the Casement brothers. They would have a train on . . . on the existing track, er, or, sort of, thing, and they would be--

Alan
[mimes quickly laying track, looking frantically over his shoulder]

Stephen
Exactly, going ahead like that. And then they . . . Somebody would push off the one when it sort of had emptied itself of its rails and sleepers, and there would be one behind, and they would carry on. Incredible.

Alan
Ah. [pointing to the men on the viewscreens] I suspect that they're standing . . . evenly apart for some kind of balance . . . 'Cause you would never . . . Why would you ever stand like that? Unless you were five individuals who happen to have bought single tickets. If you've gone along with four friends on a train, you might stand--

Bill
[lifts his elbows comradely] "Hey!" Yeah.

Alan
Having a chat.

Rob
The women-folk, perhaps, are with them . . . [trails off pointedly].



Stephen
You may be right!

Jimmy
I think it's "top hats off" for that sort of thing. [mimes taking a hat off]

Stephen
Why didn't they build a railway at Slough?

Jimmy
At Slough?

Stephen
Hmm. Why not?

Jimmy
The town where I grew up?

Stephen
Mm-hmm.

Alan
Is there no station in Slough?

Stephen
Well, there is now, I suspect. [to Jimmy] Is there?

Jimmy
[indignantly] Yes.

Stephen
Yes, there is. Erm . . . 

Alan
But there's no railway.

Stephen
But . . . [breaks off].

Alan
[looks baffled]

Rob
It's a start.

Stephen
When the railway was being built through that particular part of Buckinghamshire, they were told they had no . . . couldn't build a station in Slough. In fact, what happened was, the train would . . . they would . . . disregard it by stopping, and people would get on and off, and they would sell tickets in the pub. But who was it who said "We won't have a station here"? What school is nearby?

Rob
Oh! [presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a ship's horn]

Stephen
Ooh. Yes.

Rob
[stares at Stephen silently, in thought] Oo-oh, erm . . . It's, erm . . . I do know it. It's . . . It's Eton.

Alan
Eton.

Stephen
Eton College, of course, is there, and yes, they thought the boys would be tempted to go into London . . . [at viewscreens] There they are. Bless 'em. And--

Alan
And take drugs.

Stephen
--and, well, visit prostitutes and so on.

Alan
How ironic.

Rob
[laughs] That'll be the first thing they do. "There's a train. Prostitutes!" [raises arms bewilderedly] It's not even--

Bill
"I'd like a Prostitute Super-Saver, please!" [puts pen in mouth and pretends to smoke it]

Rob
Is . . . That's why--

Jimmy
[baffled expression] "But this prostitute seems to be a woman."

Stephen
[public school accent] "Bloody hell, actually. That's seriously unfair. No. Come on, actually."

Jimmy
"What am I meant to do with these?"

Stephen
[public school accent] "No, really. Oh, come on."

Jimmy
[pretends to squeeze two breasts and makes a honking noise]

Stephen
[public school accent] "You know, really. No."

There was a travellers' handbook that advised women should put pins in their mouth when trains went into a tunnel so--[chortling]--men didn't kiss them. To protect themselves from unwanted kissing! They put a pin in their mouth.

Bill
It's so . . . It's very sweet, though, to think that . . . that kissing would be the first thing that men would . . . 

Alan
They come out of the tunnel; the bloke's got a pin in his cock. [spreads his arms away from him and screams] "Ahh! Ahh! Ahh!"

Stephen
Oh . . . 

Jimmy
It's a very direct approach you've got to cause . . . 

Stephen
It is! Yeah.

Jimmy
"I'll just pop this in her mouth; she'll come 'round, I'm sure. Yeah."

Alan
"It's dark; she won't even know it was me!"

Bill
"Magnet? Magnet? Anyone, a magnet!"

Stephen
So, there you are. Yes, when 19th century American trains came off the rails, the passengers got out and lifted them back on.

Now, what did Isambard Kingdom Brunel get for eighteen birthdays in a row?

Jimmy and Rob
[press their buzzers simultaneously]

Jimmy
[holds up his Elephant cutout]

Stephen
Ooh. For the first time ever, simultaneous . . . [noticing Jimmy's card] An elephant!

Jimmy
How annoyed would you be, as well? "You got me one of these last year!" "Did I?" "Yeah, look! How could you miss that?"

Alan
Absolutely slaughtered. Plastered.

Stephen
That's possible.

Alan
Couldn't remember where he lived.

Bill
A, er, socket . . . er, socket set. Erm . . . 

Jimmy
Did he get a copy of "A Bridge Over Troubled Water"?

Stephen
No.

Bill
Jane's Fighting Ships.

Alan
Did he get a book by Jeremy Clarkson?

Bill
[as Clarkson (and thusly spluttering-ly angered)] "If this book was a book . . . it'd be a book!" [straightens up] "There! That'll do, won't it?"

Alan
A million sold.

Bill
Yeah!

Stephen
What did he do? Let's think about what Isambard Kingdom Brunel did.

Alan
Engineer. Tunnels, bridges--

Bill
Engineering genius . . . 

Stephen
The tunnels were . . . The first thing you said is . . . Concentrate on that.

Rob
Oh, Meccano!

Stephen
Er, no . . . 

Stephen
Which is . . . Which is one of his . . . The biggest tunnel he . . . he . . . 

Bill
The Box
. . . The Box Tunnel?

Stephen
The Box Tunnel. And the Box Hill.

Bill
Yeah.

Viewscreens: Picture of the entrance to the Box Tunnel.



Stephen
You're absolutely right. Two miles long. There it is.

Bill
Yeah.

Stephen
Or the opening of it, obviously. It's huge!

Bill
It is.

Stephen
It's so . . . It created so much earthworks, the making of it--it was the biggest tunnel in the world at the time he did it--that there are--

Alan
They built whales with it.

Stephen
Well, no, there were all these . . . 

Jimmy
[laughs openly]

Stephen
There are vast holes down there. They're linked by other tunnels.

Bill
Caves. Yes.

Stephen
There are eighty miles of tunnels under there. But in 1935 and 1940, the military took over, and they built this extraordinary system of underground . . . 30,000 square feet of office space, with a lift, and, er, with . . . as an ammunition dump, and of course, a lot of people believe now that it's got an alien spaceship in it and all kinds of other nonsense.

Bill
There's a lot of local folklore. 'Cause I . . . I grew up near the tunnel.

Stephen
Oh, then you'll know all about this.

Bill
In Bath, you see. It's very near the Box Tunnel.

Alan
You grew up in that tunnel.

Bill
In that tunnel, yes. I grew up . . . 

Alan
That explains a great deal.

Bill
I was known . . . as the "Creature of the Tunnel"! "Dare ye go in that Box Tunnel!" No, I . . . 

Stephen
Did they tell you anything about the way Brunel designed it?

Bill
Erm . . . 

Stephen
And a . . . a special effect that could be got from it once a year.

Jimmy
Does the light shine through it once a year? Is it one of those?

Stephen
Yay, go on. You can have your sweetie.

Jimmy
It is.

Bill
Hey!

Jimmy
Aww!

Stephen
[loads a sweet and sends the train to Jimmy] There you are.

Jimmy
[primly and proudly picks up the sweet]

Stephen
Yes, on his birthday, which is the ninth of April . . . He was born in 1806. It was his bicentennial of his birth . . . 

Viewscreens: A circle of light appears through the opening of the Box Tunnel.



Bill
Oh, there it is.

Stephen
There's the sun shining through on his birthday. Our QI field researchers wanted to stand there and check it, but they weren't allowed to by Network Rail.

Alan
[makes the low noise of a train whistle and mimes being hit]

Stephen
But . . . That is one of the problems! Apparently, it is a straight tunnel, and the light will shine though it, but it's usually full of dust and smoke and various other things.

So, to "explosions". Where's the best place to be when a nuclear bomb goes off?

Jimmy and Rob
[again press their buzzers simultaneously]

Stephen
Oh! Extraordinary.

Rob
[leans back and laughs]

Jimmy
I would have gone for "downtown Nagasaki". What are the chances of that happening again? You've gotta weigh the odds.

Rob
There is . . . There is a distance, and I'm not sure what that distance is . . . You have to be close enough to get some of the radiation, and if you're in the right spot, you will become a superhero.

Stephen
[gasps] Wow.

Rob
But, you know, experts are divided on what the distance is, and . . . and if you get it wrong . . . 

Stephen
Whoa.

Rob
[shrugs knowingly at the camera]

Stephen
Yes.

Bill
Hang on. How about--[takes out his Elephant card]?

Alan
Behind an elephant.

Bill
Behind an elephant!

Stephen
It's a thought. Well, when I say "the best place," if you wanted to watch it, and--

Jimmy
Ooh ooh ooh!

Rob
I know! You've gotta have a little bit of card, with a pinhole though it. And then, you can be as close as you like! It actually can't hurt you. [mimes looking through a pinhole in a card]

Stephen
Where did the most nuclear bombs go off in . . . in history?

Bill
South Pacific?

Stephen
Well, there were quite a few in the Pacific, but actually, on land, there were--

Alan
In the desert.

Stephen
--a thousand between the 1950s and the early '60s.

Jimmy
Nevada.

Alan
Nevada.

Stephen
Nevada. And in the early-ish '50s, when they were, er, practising their bomb techniques and setting one off just about once every three weeks, there was a town which was a no-good town at all in the early '50s. It was of no interest, except--

Alan
Vegas.

Stephen
Las Vegas. It's called itself the "up and atom town". And it advertised itself as a place to watch nuclear bombs going off. It's 65 miles away; they thought that was nice and safe; they would have poolside parties in the few hotels that were there . . . 

Jimmy
So . . . So you're saying the lights of Vegas have got nothing to do with lights? They just . . . That's just an afterglow of people going--[pretends to be bloated]--"I don't feel well!"

Stephen
Well, over 10,000 people, known as "down-winders", have claimed, and successfully claimed, at that, half a billion dollars from the U.S. Government for--

Rob
Yeah.

Stephen
--for the effects of it. The Japanese emperor Hirohito made a radio announcement, er, after Hiroshima, which may be one of the great understatements of all time. He said, "The war has developed not necessarily to our advantage."

Rob
"Traffic and Travel next."

Alan
Not that much "Travel".

Stephen
No!

Fortunately, the American search for amusing new bombs to entertain the public never ceases. How does the "love bomb" work?

Rob
Ooh. [presses buzzer, which foghorns]

Stephen
Rob.

Rob
I turn up . . . and I get on with it.

Stephen
[buries his face in his fist]

Rob
[raises his eyebrow silkily at the audience]

Stephen
Oh. Hell.

Rob
Isn't a love bomb a bottom noise that can be made whilst you're making love? You know, sometimes, you're . . . 

Alan
[laughing, drops his face to the desk]

Rob
[bouncing in his seat] You'll be doing some . . . 

Stephen
The man's obsessed.

Rob
And then . . . And then all of a sudden, you know the moment's been awkward and you pretend you haven't heard it. [makes farting noise] Oop.

Stephen
Rob . . . Rob, can I remind you of something?

Alan
I like the fact that you use--

Stephen
Your father is in the audience. Just thought I'd remind--

Rob
[nods and salutes the audience]

Stephen
Yeah. Oh.

Rob
He's probably going, [Welsh accent] "That's my boy! You're putting Wales on the map, Robert!"

Stephen
With this kind of sophisticated humour. You're quite right.

So. Love bomb.

Alan
It lets off some thing that makes everyone feel loved up.

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
It's a big ecstasy bomb.

Stephen
You're sort of right. In 1994, the Americans worked on the idea of . . . of a bomb that would contain an aphrodisiac. I quote of the plan, here; it was declassified two years ago. "One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior." The idea was to make troops--

Viewscreens: Picture of two men in combat uniform, one with his arm around the other.



Jimmy
[stretches his arm toward Stephen]

Alan
[at viewscreens] Is that the best example we could find?

Jimmy
What have you been putting in my tea, then?

Stephen
The idea was that that's what . . . Yes. They would all start loving each other up instead of fighting.

Now, what could you make with an ultrasound rectal probe, a light-emitting tube, bicycle helmets, protective clothing, a huge tub of Vaseline, and a wheelbarrow?

Jimmy
Ooh. [presses buzzer, which saws]
I could make you the happiest man alive!

Rob
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! Elephant in the room! [takes out Elephant cutout]

Stephen
Yes!

Viewscreens: The Elephant in the Room card displays and trumpets.

Rob
Yes! Is this something to do with a medical examination of an elephant?

Stephen
You get the points, yes.

Rob
It's what you do; it's how you test pregnancy in elephants.

Stephen
No, it's how you make pregnancy in elephants.

Rob
Well, that's what I meant, yes. How you make elephants--

Stephen
Pregnant.

Rob
--pregnant.

Stephen
Artificial insemination of elephants, is the--

Rob
Yes. That's it. Yes.

Stephen
You need the safety helmet for safety reasons, as you can imagine. You need the bucket, or wheelbarrow, in this case, to collect the elephant droppings, 'cause you need to give the elephant an enema first.

Bill
Euw. Are you making an elephant porn film, or what . . . ?

Stephen
And you do need hours of preparation for this. A couple of Germans, surprisingly, are the experts in this. Doctors Thomas Hildebrandt and Frank Goeritz.

Viewscreens: Video of an elephant chewing on something.

Jimmy
There's . . . There's the doctor now.

Stephen
They've made twelve baby elephants this way.

Rob
When you say "hours of preparation," do you mean "gettin' 'er in da mood"?

Stephen
Well . . . 

Rob
Do you take her out to dinner? Do you . . . Do you compliment her?

Jimmy
You only have to compliment her once, 'cause she never forgets. . . . 

Stephen
Hey!

An ultrasound probe into the elephant's rectum, while feeding a light-emitting tube into what is rather pleasingly called her "vestibule".

Jimmy
Into the rectum?

Stephen
Yeah.

Jimmy
I'm pretty sure that's not how it's done.

Stephen
No, but you have to do that first. You have to do . . . It's all--

Jimmy
You have to do that first? That's what I've been telling her!! [spreads arms] She won't listen!

Stephen
Oh! No, no!

Jimmy
Finally, she'll pay attention now!

Alan
Why not just get a big boy elephant . . . ?

Stephen
Well, in the circumstances it would . . . sex is impossible. They . . . Artificial insemination with other animals happens, obviously, and it's, er . . . With elephants, it's occasionally--

Jimmy
Getting animals to mate in captivity is very difficult.

Bill
Yeah.

Jimmy
Especially with each other.

Bill
Yes.

Stephen
Yes. Exactly right. Anyway, all those exciting objects, with luck, could make you a baby elephant, er, and they are the tools used by artificial inseminators.

So! So, the wheel turns full circle, gentlemen, and plunges us back into the oily sump--

Jimmy
What?

Stephen
--of General Ignorance. So, fingers on buzzers, please. Where are you most likely to get bitten by a vampire?

Jimmy
[presses buzzer, which saws]

Stephen
Jimmy Carr.

Jimmy
Er, a 19th century novel.

Stephen
N—

Alan
Pinewood Studios.

Stephen
Very good. Good answer.

Bill
Erm, outside your own house.

Stephen
Where on the body?

Jimmy
Well, it would be . . . It would have to be some sort of protrusion, where blood gathers, and is easily accessible. . . . So it's probably the elbow.

Bill
What about: In a dark tunnel?

Stephen
No, but it is a protuberance, as Jimmy pointed out. Big toe!

Alan
Big toe?

Stephen
A big toe is the most likely place.

Alan
A vampire will bite your toe?

Stephen
There are a number of misconceptions about vampire bats, obviously, with . . . I mean, we're talking about real vampire . . . 

Viewscreens: Picture of a vampire bat.



Jimmy
Well, who does your picture recently?

Alan
Ooh, Jesus Christ.

Rob
Ooh. He's a nasty-looking one, isn't he?

Alan
That is a really ugly animal.

Jimmy
That Gary Oldman is a hell of an actor. He really transforms, doesn't he?

Stephen
It's if . . . if Yoda--

Alan
I mean, among vampire bats, is he regarded as a bit of a looker?

Stephen
Yeah. If Yoda had accepted the dark side . . . [nods at the viewscreens]. I think that's how he would have looked. But, erm . . . 

Bill
That's a very smart looking bat. [posh accent] "Hello. Erm . . . "

Alan
[posh accent] "Would you mind awfully if I nipped you on the toe?"

Bill
[posh accent] "I'm having a few friends over. Will you, er . . . Would you like a liqueur?"

Stephen
What did they do--

Alan
[sucks in noisily]

Stephen
How do they ingest their blood? I mean, what do they do?

Bill
Erm . . . 

Alan
They bite and--[sniffs twice]--sniff it up? Swallow it. Lick it? Slurp it. Hide it. Store it. Draw it off into . . . Decant it!

Stephen
Decant it!

Alan
Decant it. [mimes decanting a bit of blood with a flourish]

Stephen
Lay it down for a couple of years.

Jimmy
They go with a syringe.

Alan
A syringe.

Jimmy
I mean, they're quite hygienic animals. Small bit of cotton wool . . . syringe, and then you get a cup of tea and a biscuit, and that's how you know you've been bitten.

Alan
With . . . With a little . . . Tiny little plaster on it.

Stephen
They do . . . They do . . . You're right in one sense. They do an anticoagulant and a painkiller. So you're unlikely to know you're being bitten. What they do is they open the . . . the skin and the vein and then they lap at it. Like a cat. [noisily flicks his tongue outwards for several seconds] [ends by raising an eyebrow at Rob and Jimmy] Like that.

Rob
[exhales and adjusts himself in his chair]

Jimmy
[to the audience] I think . . . I don't want to alarm you, but I think a love bomb may have gone off.

Rob
[fans his collar]

Stephen
Oh, Lord.

Alan
Stephen doesn't need a love bomb to behave like that, you know.

Stephen
No.

Rob
Is it getting hot in here?

Stephen
Yes, the most likely place to get bitten by a vampire is in the big toe. And, finally, what's the biggest load of rubbish in the world?

Jimmy
Oh--

Viewscreens: Picture of the Fresh Kills rubbish dump in NYC, covered with seagulls.

Woman in Audience
France.

Stephen
[points vaguely toward the audience] We got "France"!

Jimmy
That's a lovely picture of France there, in the back.

Alan
[to audience member, pointing to Stephen's train] I think you can have a sweet for that.

Jimmy
That's sponsored by the British tourist board. "Don't leave; it's horrible over there."

Bill
Yes.

Alan
Somewhere in America, probably.

Jimmy
Oh, hang on. There was a thing in the QI book about the biggest load of rubbish in the world . . . 

Stephen
Mm.

Jimmy
The biggest man-made thing . . . and it was a rubbish dump . . . in New York.

Stephen
Mm.

Bill
"Fresh Kills"?

Stephen
What?

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "FRESH KILLS, NEW YORK".

Stephen
No.

Jimmy
What?

Stephen
That is one of the . . . That is the largest--

Jimmy
Thanks for taking that bullet, Bill! Lord knows I appreciate that! I'll set 'em up; you knock 'em over!

Bill
I . . . I don't know many rubbish dumps, funnily enough! I mean, I . . . There's Wandsworth Tip . . . 

Rob
I don't know the biggest one; there's a very good one at . . . at . . . for . . . No, there's a very good one for the Richmond area, where you can . . . you can . . . They have separate stuff for plastics and cardboard and textiles . . . 

Bill
Yeah, there's the one . . . That's the one in Wandsworth.

Rob
No, no, no. I did clearly say . . . Richmond.

Bill
Yeah, but you can do all that in Wandsworth as well. You don't have to go to Richmond to get all these--

Rob
Yes, but I'm talking about . . . I'm talking about Richmond!

Stephen
All right.

Jimmy
What was . . . What was the original question?

Stephen
Well, the fact is, that is, as you say, that . . . that is a very big pile of rubbish.

Bill
Yes.

Stephen
It's . . . It's the biggest man-made structure in the world, but actually, we're in the Pacific. We're in the Northern Pacific Gyre. It's an area where--

Jimmy
[tenses and looks around, scoping out the area]

Rob
[makes seagull noises]

Viewscreens: Picture of the path of currents in the Northern Pacific Gyre.

Stephen
Come with me into the swirling vortex that is the Northern Pacific Gyre.

Jimmy
[at viewscreens] That's not a photo, is it?



Stephen
No, that's not. It's a . . . It's a . . . All of the currents swirl; everything tends towards making . . . It's a maelstrom.

Rob
Ah, so they . . . they grab all the driftwood and all the rubbish--

Stephen
In the old days, rubbish would go there but it would be broken down by micro-organisms, but today, since the invention of plastic . . . Plastic doesn't biodegrade, as you probably know. It photodegrades, but it doesn't biodegrade, so it lasts for a very, very long time, and it . . . it . . . And all that . . . An area the size of Texas.

Rob
Texas?!

Stephen
I mean, it's colossal. And for every pound of plankton, there are six pounds of plastic.

Jimmy
I mean, is it just on the surface, or is it . . . Where is it?

Stephen
It's on . . . on the surface; it gets eaten by the poor animals, you know. You can find are jellyfish with brightly-coloured bits of plastic inside.

Rob
You think that's remarkable. At the Richmond tip, there's a section . . . There's a section for fluorescent tubes.

Bill
We've got that, in, er, Wandsworth, haven't we? And . . . we've got one there that's for fridges, and, er--

Rob
We've got fridges.

Bill
Yeah. Fridges, tellies, computers . . . everything you want. Keyboards, erm, things you don't need anymore . . . 

Rob
Whereabouts is it? I wanna check it out.

Stephen
Now . . . 

Bill
Not telling!

Stephen
We can decide all this later, because, yes, the fact is that the biggest collection of rubbish in the world is floating in the North Pacific Gyre, otherwise known as the Pacific Trash Vortex.

Bill
Really?

Stephen
That's kind of grunge band, isn't it? Er, speaking of rubbish, it's time for the scores. And first out of the tunnel, with a full eleven points, is Rob Brydon!

Rob
[to Jimmy] Does that mean . . . 

Jimmy
[applauding] You've won, you've won!

Rob
I've won! [pumps his arm]

Stephen
Mirabile dictu, in second place, perhaps for the first time ever, with plus four points, Alan Davies!

Alan
[pumps both his arms and flashes four fingers proudly]

Jimmy
[makes expressions of disbelief that Alan has beat him]

Stephen
And in third place, with minus two, it's Jimmy Carr.

Jimmy
[to Bill, with aggressive hand gestures] In your face!

Stephen
Which means! It means that, trailing behind in one of those funny little up-and-down things that you take along on a railway line, with minus eighteen points--

Bill
What?!

Stephen
Bill Bailey!

So, that's all from Jimmy, Rob, Bill, Alan, and me, but, er, here's one last question for you at home. How do you know that God is a civil engineer? Because when he designed the human body, he put the recreation area right next to the sewage outflow. Good night.