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Series 6, Episode 11

Transcript by: Sarah Falk
Notes: All text in rose font is from the extended version, QI XL. Text in cerulean font is solely in the half hour broadcast.

TRANSCRIPT

Stephen
Good evening, good evening, good evening, and welcome to QI, where tonight, we're obsessed with "films and fame". Parading their false modesty down the red carpet tonight are the very famous David Mitchell . . . the fantastically glamorous John Sessions . . . and hell's teeth, it's only Emma Thompson! And . . . And who's that bloke getting out of the car behind her? No, not him, the one behind him. You know, the curly hair. The one off the telly. Who is he?

Audience in General
It's Alan Davies!

Stephen
So, it is!

And tonight . . . tonight, our buzzers have come over all cinematic. David goes:

David
[presses buzzer, which plays the Pearl & Dean fanfare]

Stephen
Emma goes:

Emma
[presses buzzer, which plays the theme from Indiana Jones]

Stephen
John goes:

John
[presses buzzer, which plays "There's No Business Like Show Business"]

Stephen
Oh, yes. And Alan goes:

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of Porky Pig saying, "Th-Th-Th-Th-That's all, folks!" with the Warner Bros sting]

Stephen
And so it's lights, camera, and action as we roll out the first question. Now, you're all very good at what you do, but what is this picture trying to tell you?

Viewscreens: The Man Ray painting "Le Violon d'Ingres".


John
[presses buzzer, which plays "There's No Business Like Show Business"]

Stephen
Whoa! Johnny got there first. Yes?

John
Erm, it's a painting by Man Ray of, er, Ingres Odalisque, and it's known as Le Violon d'Ingres.

Stephen
Yeah.

John
Because it's a kind of a pun. But Le Violon d'Ingres . . . it's actually more than a hobby, 'cause the famous French painter Ingres was a brilliant violinist. So, it's like a very, very hotly pursued hobby, a violon d'Ingres.

Stephen
Well, what you've done is, here, you've saved us a lot of time by being completely and one hundred percent right in every particular. That's very good. Yeah. It's a . . . a photograph, because it's a photograph of a real model. Kiki of Montparnasse, who was a favourite model of a lot of the Surrealist artists.

John
Yeah.

Viewscreens: A picture of a woman, painted by Ingres.


Stephen
And this is a painting by Ingres, the Neoclassicist French painter, who died in . . . ?

John
1864, I think.

Emma
Are you gonna be like this all the way through?

Stephen
You're absolutely right. This is a very complicated point we have to get across. The French have a phrase, which is "Ingres' Violin", which means somebody who does something they're not famous for, but does it almost as well; i.e., they have a . . . a whole other side, a whole other string to their bow. And in the case of Ingres, it was that he was a very talented violinist, as well as a great painter.

And so to a question about a man who definitely, definitely has one more string to his bow. How would you like to have Cedric Gibbons nude on your mantelpiece?

Alan
That's not Stanley Gibbons the philatelist?

Stephen
No! He's a Hollywood figure; remarkable Hollywood figure, Cedric Gibbons.

John
Designer of –

Stephen
He was the premier art director stroke production designer of Hollywood for MGM. And in 1928, he was asked to design something. What might that have been?

Alan
Gone with the Wind.

Stephen
No.

John
The Oscar.

Stephen
Thank you.

Emma
Oh, wow.

Alan
Ah!

Stephen
The Oscar. And not only did he design it, he won eleven of them. He was nominated for thirty six and won eleven. Almost all Oscars, as you know, were won by Walt Disney, who won . . . ? How many?

David
109.

Stephen
Twenty six!

Emma
Twenty six.

Stephen
And Cedric Gibbons won eleven, and all the rest went to Emma Thompson.

Viewscreens: A photo of Emma Thompson holding an Oscar.


Stephen
Oh, look, there she is!

Alan
Hooray!

Stephen
Oh, excellent.

Emma
It's a lovely winning smile. It's . . . It's a . . . [grimaces].

Stephen
Do you remember which one that was? Was that Sense and Sensibility or Howards' W–?

Emma
That's Sense and Sensibility.

Stephen
Howards End!

Emma
Howards' Way, yeah.

Stephen
I nearly said Howards' Way. [hides his face in his hands]

Emma
That interesting boat script I wrote.

Stephen
Yeah. But you were nominated for three others?

Emma
Yes.

Stephen
Do you remember what they were?

Emma
Erm . . . 

John
Remains of the Day.

Emma
In the . . . Er, Remains of the Day, erm, In the Name of the Father . . . 

Stephen
Best Supporting Actress. And you were also nominated for Sense and Sensibility as Best Actress, yeah.

Emma
Oh, yeah. Okay. I'd forgotten that. There you go.

David
I can remember all the GCSEs I did! I would . . . 

Emma
Oh, tell us!

David
I would definitely remember every Oscar nomination. I think when, like, the rest of my brain had melted and I'm being fed through a tube, those five names of films would still come out.

Stephen
The best film one year was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Do you know what they altered the Oscar, to some extent?

John
Made him a midget.

Stephen
They made him –

Emma
A little one.

Alan
Tiny little . . . 

Stephen
– one big one and seven little ones.

Emma
Aww.

David
It must have been a grim year. 'Cause that is a boring cartoon.

Stephen
I made an Oscar. I actually made a genuine Oscar. I went to the factory in Chicago where they were made.

John
Is it a mould, like a jelly mould?

Stephen
Well, there is a mould, but it's pure metal, brittanium.

Alan
Or do you have to hew it?

David
Yeah.

Alan
Over weeks?

Stephen
Well, you buff it.

David
Well, if you have to . . . 

Stephen
You give it a damn good buffing.

David
If you have to hue it –

Stephen
Yeah.

David
– and, I'm not being rude, but if I was winning an Oscar this year, I'd say, "Can I have one of the ones made by the professionals, rather than that one Stephen Fry ballsed up?"

Stephen
I was well supervised.

David
"It's a bit wonky . . ." Oh, right.

Stephen
To be honest, I did a bit of buffing, erm . . . 

David
Right.

Alan
On the bum area, I bet.

Stephen
And then dipping. You dip . . . 

Emma
Yes, probably.

Stephen
You bad . . . You very bad man. Yes, a little bit of . . .  A little . . . 

David
So . . . 

Alan
[mimes breathing on and buffing an Oscar]

Stephen
A good buttock flossing. Erm . . . No, dipping him in nickel and then in that gold. It's very . . . 

David
So, you didn't really make it?

Stephen
No, I didn't . . . 

David
This is like the Queen pulling a pint.

Stephen
Basically. That's more or less what it was like. Thank you. Thank you so much.

[to Emma] So, who was the Best Actor in your year you were Best Actress?

Emma
Al Pacino.

John
Al Pacino.

Stephen
And your other Oscar, of course, was for Best Adapted Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility.

Emma
Yeah.

Stephen
I should have won that Oscar, as a matter of fact.

Emma
Actually, yes, you should.

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
You rescued it.

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
Yes, I had one of those steam-powered computers, and the screen had done something to the script. It had transmogrified into hieroglyphs, into just – [makes a noise like something getting squashed].

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
Er, not words; not anything that I could recognise –

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
– just funny shapes. I got the bloke round, the computer bloke round and –

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
– he couldn't work it out. So, finally, I took the computer out of the wall, still in my dressing gown, got in a taxi, went with the computer 'round to Stephen's house, sat it down and said, [desperately] "Please, find my script!!" And I did it like that, 'cause I'm an actress. If I'm upset I make sure people know it. And he said, "Oh, okay," but it took him seven hours.

Stephen
Mmm. I did that.

Emma
And Hugh was with you at the time.

Audience in General
[cheers and applauds loudly]

Stephen
Ah, no. Thank . . . Thank you. Oh. Advantages of being a nerd.

Alan
Probably what really happened was, he couldn't do it, and he thought "Oh, shit. I can't let on that I can't do it."

Emma
"I'd better quickly write one."

Alan
"I'll just write it. It'll be much quicker if I just adapt the novel." [pretends to type frantically] "There, that's done."

Emma
Yeah. And I looked at it and thought, you know . . . I'd forgotten, obviously, because my brain doesn't hold any information for any length of time at all. I just looked at it and thought, "That must be my script", and I handed it in.

Stephen
Yeah. And you won it.

Emma
I'll send the Oscar 'round tomorrow in a taxi.

Stephen
Thank you very much.

Now, time to test your hearing. What is this a representation of?

Audio of lengthy sucking/squelching noises, followed by a loud thump, is played over speakers.

David
[looks up in alarm at the thump]

Alan
It's Roy Chubby Brown eating a HobNob.

Stephen
[laughs]

David
It's Gladstone –

Stephen
Yeah.

David
– being . . . eating an ice cream and then being beamed up by the Martians.

John
It's giving birth.

Stephen
Ai! Yes! Brilliant! Brilliant!

Emma
Ah!

Stephen
That's exactly what it is.

John
It's giving birth.

Stephen
It's a lamb being born.

Emma
Ah!

John
God.

Stephen
Bah. In fact, this is a sound effect. We can actually see the sound being made. [gestures to viewscreen]

Viewscreens: Video of a woman squeezing her hands, which are covered in yoghurt, then dropping a towel on a countertop.

Stephen
[laughs] Now . . . 

David
Now, has he listened to lambs being born, and then done that, or has he said, "No one knows what a lamb being born sounds like. I'll do any old crap."

Emma
Do it.

Stephen
"She", actually.

David
I'll drop a towel.

Stephen
She is, oddly, named Lizzie Calf, oddly enough. And she used to do the sound effects for The Archers, amongst other things. She's now our sound wizard. But there is a name to this science of sound effects as used in movies. What sound recordists need is clean dialogue. And all the sound effects, footsteps, and other noises – guns being cocked, the rustle of clothing, the lighting of a cigarette . . . Almost all of that is done afterwards by someone called a Foley artist.

Emma
Foley.

Stephen
And here's an example of some of the early Foley artists making their noises and all kinds of different things are used.

Viewscreens: Black and white picture of four men holding various implements, like a megaphone and a rounded drum.


Stephen
If you close your eyes, let the audience see how it's being made, you see . . . 

Alan
[squints through closed eyes]

Stephen
[laughs] Alan, when I say "close your eyes" . . . 

Alan
I trust no one.

David
By the way, when I open them, you won't all have gone, will you?

Alan
Hang a lamb on my head.

Stephen
Yeah. You close your eyes; we'll let the audience and everyone at home see some more sounds being made. See if you can see what these are.

Viewscreens: Video of a woman pulling a knife across a metal bar, hitting a loaf of cabbage, then dropping another cabbage into a bucket.

Stephen
So, what was that?

Alan
Guillotine.

Emma
Someone has their head chopped off.

Stephen
Guillotine. All right. Very good. How is it made?

Alan [with his eyes still closed]
With a guillotine and a person, and a bucket.

John
Erm . . . 

David
They . . . They wanted the sound of cabbages being chopped up, and so they had to kill a guy to get that right.

Stephen
Oh, very good. It was indeed.

Alan
I had my eyes shut long after the sound had finished, you know.

Emma
I'm still sitting with my eyes shut.

Alan
I'm so obedient.

John
Yeah.

Stephen
It was indeed a cabbage. You slide a knife along a scaffolding pole, and then chop a cabbage and drop it into the bucket. It's pretty good. We've got another one. Close your eyes.

David
Saves the life of an aristocrat.

Emma
Yeah.

Viewscreens: Video of a woman clicking two coconut halves together.

Stephen
And what was that?

Alan
Someone pretending to be a horse.

Emma
It's a horse clapping.

David
I mean, I think that . . . that sounds exactly like some coconut shells, by the sounds of it.

Stephen
[wails] You're so cynical!

David
I just think that's . . . that's –

Emma
Coconut shells.

David
– a two legged horse –

Stephen
Yeah.

David
– wearing some awkward shoes.

Stephen
Here you are. Here they are. [brings out two cocount shells and clicks them] That's it. You've all done . . . 

Emma
No, it's . . . It's a horse clapping. [brings her fingers together as hooves and claps delicately]

David
[laughs]

Emma
Yeah.

Stephen
[to David, forlornly] Don't you think it sounds like a horse?

John
Sounds terrific.

Emma
It does sound like a horse!

David
Not . . . Not . . . 

Stephen
You've seen it many times in films –

David
Yeah.

Stephen
– without knowing that it was coconuts. When . . . If you see the visual thing, then it works. Another one. Another one, all right.

David
At the same . . . At the same time. Yeah, yeah.

Stephen
Close your eyes, yeah. What do you think this sound is? [takes out a piece of hard plastic wrap and crinkles it]

Emma
It's fire. It's a fire, isn't it?

Stephen
Yes, fire. Exactly. They use this for fire ripping through straw and things like that.

Emma
It's good, that one.

John
On all the . . . 

Stephen
Now, here's a good one. [takes out a piece of paper in an envelope] This . . . This is weird, this. 'Cause you . . . you see it and you think, "No, bollocks." It's a plain piece of paper coming out of an envelope, right? [takes out and reinserts the paper a few times]

John
Taking off a shirt.

Stephen
No. This is what they genuinely used at Elstree. For the doors in Star Wars. Electric doors.

David
[lights up]

Stephen
Pfft-shoo.

Emma
Ah!

Stephen
Paper being taken out of an envelope. Simple as that. You watch a bit of Star Wars now, and you see the doors opening, and you think, "Oh, yeah so it is!" Pfft-shoo.

So, anyway, we thank Lizzie Calf our sound expert, and we apologise to her if she's in tears now, having been mocked by David Mitchell, particularly.

David
No, I'm not, I . . . Look, I'm perfectly willing to accept that with the pictures there, then you're gonna buy the whole effect.

Stephen
Yeah. You're right. Yeah.

David
But, you know.

Stephen
Well, we invite you all to ho home and use your own sound effects for your YouTube films, and I'm sure you'll come up with all kinds of exciting things, for vomit and sexual activities and so on.

Now, speaking of soundtracks, where have you heard this before?

Audio of a man screaming plays over speakers.

Alan
In the . . . In the green room, about half an hour ago.

Emma
Tom and Jerry.

Stephen
You might have heard it in Tom and Jerry, actually. You might. You might well.

John
It's a sound effect scream that has been library stocked, and is used repeatedly.

Stephen
Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny . . . I'm gonna have to give you points. This is right. It's been used in, it's estimated, about 140 movies, including every Indiana Jones movie, every Star Wars movie. It's been used in, erm . . . 

Alan
The Likely Lads.

Stephen
I . . . Madagascar, Planet of the Apes, Lord of the Rings . . . Two . . . Only two Lord of the Rings trilogy; not all three, oddly enough. Toy Story . . . 

David
Can you imagine how disappointed they were –

Stephen
I don't know.

David
– when they didn't get . . . "We're gonna have to go elsewhere for the third film."

Stephen
Reservoir Dogs. It's in Batman Returns, Poltergeist . . . 

Alan
People just . . . just use it for a joke, then? "Oh, we've gotta use that scream."

Stephen
You're kind of right. It was used as a stock stream, and a guy called Ben Burtt, who was a young, up and coming sound effects editor, heard it in lots of films, and he is now a very successful sound editor, and he and his friends make it a point, whenever they edit . . . sound edit a film, to put this scream in somewhere. Hence, it is in all kinds of movies. On YouTube, someone has compiled twenty-three different films with the scream, showing the scream in it. We can't show it 'cause we'd have to pay all kinds of money. But I wish we could.

Anyway, it's believed to be a man called Sheb Woolley singing, and it starts on the note of C.

Viewscreens: Picture of Sheb Woolley playing a guitar.


Stephen
There's Sheb Woolley. It descends through four semitones to G-sharp, and they used it, er, in a film called Distant Drums in 1951. It's called the Wilhelm Scream for some reason, and you hear it again. C, semitones, G-sharp.

The Wilhelm scream is played over speakers.

David
It's . . . It's quite a warm scream, isn't it?

Stephen
It is!

Emma
Yeah.

David
It's not . . . You don't . . . You're not really traumatised by it.

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
No.

Stephen
It's not as if you've been raped by a warthog or anything. It's not . . . 

Emma
No.

Stephen
The most ubiquitous line of film dialogue. Do you know what that was? Apparently this line . . . A survey of 150 American feature films from '38 to '74, showed it was used at least once in 84 percent of Hollywood productions. More than once in 17 percent.

Emma
[presses buzzer, which plays the theme from Indiana Jones]
Is it, "Why are you telling me this?"

Stephen
That's a very good one, 'cause that is one of the really annoying clichés, isn't it? Like, erm, the other one that really annoys me is, "Don't you die on me!"

Emma
Oh, yes.

Stephen
Oh, shut up.

David
But you know that means actually on the person.

Stephen
Yeah. [American accent] "I've got a bad feeling about this!" Oh, shut up.

John [American accent]
"Is that an order, sir?"

Stephen
Yeah.

John [American accent]
"Well, since you asked me, lieutenant . . . Yes, it is."

Stephen
Oh, the one that . . . Oh, I really want to punch is when they're . . . You know, they're about to go on their operation, and they go "Show time!"

Emma
Oh, yes. No.

Stephen
"Gentlemen . . . "

Alan
"Is this what we trained for?"

Stephen
"Gentlemen, we have a situation here."

Emma
Yeah.

Stephen
Or the . . . The other one that really drives me mad is, [American accent] "I'm getting too old for this shit." Oh, Christ! Christ!

Anyway, apparently the line is, "Let's get outta here."

Emma
Oh, yeah.

David
Right.

Stephen
Anyway, that what you heard was the Wilhelm scream, the most ubiquitous sound effect in film history. Now . . . Speaking of ubiquitous sounds, what's the good thing about an English accent in Hollywood?

Alan
You're always a villain. I know that much.

Stephen
That's basically it, isn't it?

John
Or . . . Or you're gay.

Emma
Or . . . 

Stephen
Or . . . Or gay.

John
And often a gay villain.

Emma
Or related . . . 

Stephen
Or a gay villain.

David
Or . . . Or people think you're Australian, so you get bar work.

John
There's a sort of a high octane version of the English villain, which is to get an English villain to play a German villain.

Emma
Yes. That happened a lot. Yeah.

Stephen
Yes, er, as in the Die Hard franchise.

John
As in the Die Hard film which is always . . . has some of my favourite dialogue of our great friend Alan Rickman. Er . . . What he says, after . . . after he's shot the man's heads, er . . . [as Rickman] "Mr Takagi, I will count to three. There will not be a four."

Viewscreens: Pictures of Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber from Die Hard, and as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

John
Then he shoots the guy's head off. And then he goes downstairs later and he . . . and he goes, [as Rickman] "Mr Takagi won't be joining us for the rest of his life."

Stephen
Very good!

John
That's one of the best lines.

Stephen
That is brilliant. Yeah. Oh, brilliant.

And now . . . [pointing at viewscreen] There . . . There you see him in I think on the left there in Die Hard, and on the right, er, I think it's –

Emma
Robin Hood.

Stephen
– giving his Sheriff of Nottingham. Now, the extraordinary thing about Robin Hood: I mean the . . . the two most famous Robin Hood movies, I suppose, are the Errol Flynn one and the Kevin Costner one. But they're obviously . . . In Kevin Costner, basically playing him as American. Er, but the . . . 

Alan
Kevin Costner made no bones about it.

Stephen
No, absol– . . . Completely American!

Emma
Yeah.

Alan
Just come straight from the airport.

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
Yeah.

Stephen
That's extr– . . . 

Alan
In a Virgin limo service.

David
Although, I don't think . . . 

Alan
Putting his tights on in the back.

Emma
Exactly.

David
I can't . . . To be honest, I can't think it would be a better film if he was struggling with a kind of Dick Van Dyke cockney accent.

Stephen
I just wonder, genuinely, is it because we're too good-natured to moan about it?

Alan
We're the last country left who won't scream "racism" at them. That's why.

Stephen
Exactly. We don't shout, "It's so racist to make us the . . . the villain." 

Emma
Or is it that, you know, the villains kind of have to be fiendishly clever, and they suspect us of something Machiavellian –

Stephen
I think . . . 

Emma
– deep down, somewhere, always?

Stephen
Yeah, they're . . . And sort of tyrannical, because we are the country they fought originally to . . . to –

Emma
Yeah.

Stephen
– create their democracy.

Emma
And we're essentially unwholesome.

Stephen
Yes.

Emma
Aren't we, really?

Stephen
Unwholesome. Exactly, yes.

Emma
You know, and we have bad teeth.

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
That's the thing they can't . . . really can't forgive us for.

Stephen
The "British Book of Teeth" in The Simpsons is one great . . . 

John
Alan's got great teeth.

Emma
Yeah. Yeah.

John
[as Rickman] "But he does this thing where he's able to talk without actually letting his lips touch his teeth. So . . . "

[as himself] Alan is so good at playing villains, as you all know, but he hates being good at playing villains. He wants to play the lovely guy in the white shirt who comes in and . . . 

Emma
He did, in Sense and Sensibility!

John
And he did as Colonel Brandon.

Stephen
Yes, he did!

John
Absolutely. But, er, he was at a party once and, you know, kids are fantastic. They always say the thing they're not meant to say. And this . . . this kid said to . . . [as a child] "Alan?" [as Rickman] "Yes?" [as a child] "Why . . . Why do you always play villains?" [mimes a siren blaring by his head] You know, that's the last thing you want to say to him. And Alan went, [as Rickman] "I don't play villains. I play very interesting people."

Stephen
Now . . . Now, I'm gonna give you a few English actors. I want you to tell me the villains they've played in Hollywood movies. Er, Peter Cushing.

John
[presses buzzer, which plays "There's No Business Like Show Business"]

Stephen
Yes?

John
[covers his face] I don't know. I don't know why I buzzed.

Stephen
Well, then don't buzz! Let other people have a chance.

Emma
[presses buzzer, which plays the theme from Indiana Jones]

Stephen
Yes.

Emma
Dracula.

Stephen
No, I don't think he ever played Dracula.

David
[presses buzzer, which plays the Pearl & Dean fanfare]

Stephen
And not in a Hollywood movie, certainly.

David
Is it Tarkin?

Stephen
Tarkin! Very good. The Grand Moff Tarkin.

David
Yeah.

Stephen
Er, Steven Berkoff?

Alan
Oh.

John
[presses buzzer, which plays "There's No Business Like Show Business"]

Alan
Beverly Hills Cop.

John
Beverly Hills Cop.

Stephen
Beverly Hills Cop. Very good. And Rambo, in fact, if you remember.

John
Yeah.

Emma
Oh, yeah.

Stephen
Christopher Lee?

Emma
Dracula.

John
[presses buzzer, which plays "There's No Business Like Show Business"]

Stephen
Yeah, but Hollywood movies.

Emma
Oh!

John
Scaramanga, Man With the Golden Gun?

Stephen
He did. That's kind of made in Britain too. But actually, it's, er . . . 

David
[presses buzzer, which plays the Pearl & Dean fanfare]
He was a bad wizard in the . . . in the Hobbit films.

Stephen
He was a very bad wizard, wasn't he? He was an awfully naughty wizard.

David
Yeah. He was a turncoat wizard.

Stephen
[as Christopher Lee] "Though he was very angry not be cast in the third one. He was furious. He refused to do any publicity."

David
Was he? He . . . He hardly catches a break, does he, sort of, in his whole career.

Stephen
No, he doesn't. He was also in Star Wars, apparently.

David
Is Christopher Plummer British?

John
Canadian.

Stephen
Well, Canadian, actually.

David
Oh.

Stephen
I had a friend who worked with Christopher Plummer in a film, and it's one of those . . . They . . . He arrived at the airport, and you know, the runner was there to say, "Er, well you go straight to the bar of the hotel. Chris will be there. Don't mention The Sound of Music." He says, "Okay, okay, okay." So, he stays 'round, hangs there, you know, into the bar. Christopher Plummer comes in. And then half an hour later he was playing Edelweiss on the piano. That's great. Yeah.

Alan
But what did he see in the Baroness in the first place? She was vile!

Stephen
[laughs]

Alan
She was a bit stiff and grumpy and not very good with children.

Stephen
No.

Emma
Mmm.

David
Do you think it would have been better if they'd made the Baroness just obviously wonderful –

Alan
Lovely.

David
– and gorgeous, and you'd think, "What's he bothering . . . Why is he shagging the staff?"

Alan
She should have been . . . She should have been Mary Poppins, and then they could have had a Maria and Mary faceoff.

David
Like Alien vs. Predator?

Alan
Yeah! "I can get hat stands out of carpet bags." "Yeah, well I can make a whole outfit out of curtains in two hours for six people!

Stephen
"And snap my fingers and make drawers open and close."

David
Yeah.

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
"I can defeat the Nazis." And then that's your trump card played, then.

Stephen
That's the winner.

David
The other thing is . . . The thing that's never mentioned in that film is that he's an old naval captain from –

Stephen
Yes, that's right.

David
– presumably, the Austro-Hungarian Navy –

Stephen
Yeah.

David
– now living in a country with no coastline! So . . . He'd be quite pissed off turning up for work. First day, you know . . . 

Alan
Rowing around a lake.

David
"We've just signed . . . just signed the Treaty of Versailles, very exciting. What next?"

Stephen
Taken away your entire . . . 

John
What's funny about The Sound of Music is that it's just the sort of picture Hitler would have liked, if only the people hadn't been running away from the Nazis.

Emma
Yeah.

Stephen
It's probably true. It would have appealed to his sentimental . . . 

John
His Gemütlichkeit.

Stephen
Yeah.

John
Yeah.

Emma
Oh, yeah.

Stephen
You're absolutely right.

Emma
It's got that little Austrian dance.

John
Yeah.

Stephen
I did a film with Julie Andrews, and, er, it happened to be around the time there was the, erm . . . The, er . . . The total eclipse. We were supposed to be in Cornwall, but we were filming on the Isle of Man. And we went on to a hillside to watch the total eclipse. And half the population of the Isle of Man, while this great cosmic miracle was going on, were staring at Julie Andrews going, "Oi, it's her." Sun had gone out, "We can't see her now!" What's wrong? It was just wonderful. Yeah. But . . . 

David
"Yeah, just our luck! The one day Julie Andrews turns up, and an eclipse."

Alan
I watched it on the telly, 'cause it wasn't happening where I was. It was on Sky News. And this is a thing where they know, they really do know to the second when it's gonna happen.

Stephen
Yeah.

Alan
And they still went there an hour early to film.

Stephen
Oh.

Alan
And, er . . . And then they showed a replay of it. And the . . . And the anchorman said, "And there's our old friend the moon . . . very much getting in the way."

Stephen
Anyway, the point is, if you're an English actor, there's a good living to be made being beaten up by American action stars.

Now, speaking of stiff upper lips, what does it tell you about an Englishman if he spells his name with a double f at the front?

Alan
He's from the 15th century.

Stephen
Er, might be.

Emma
Is it . . . Okay, this is a bit of a reach. Once upon a time, there was a posh man with a son. And he developed a stammer. And, erm . . . And his name was fookes, and, erm, in order to prevent himself being embarrassed by his poor son who had a stammer, he put two fs in front of it so that everyone who had to introduce it said . . . had . . . had . . . had to give f-fookes as well as his son.

David
He'd have to conceal that fact from his son, 'cause otherwise his son would try and pronounce both fs, and then it would take half an hour.

Stephen
Oh, no!

Emma
So, it would be f-f-f-f?

David
Yeah. Yeah.

Stephen
Er, no the fact is, people think –

Emma
Just a theory.

Stephen
– it's rather posh, but it's not posh.

David
It's not double f as in music? You're supposed to say the noun very . . . the word very loudly.

Stephen
No, that's not it.

Emma
Fortissimo. Yeah.

Stephen
No, it's a mistake. It was a mistake that was made in the 18th century by people looking at their family records. And the way a capital D was handwritten in records looked like two small fs.

Viewscreens: Picture of an 18th century capital F.

Stephen
And there are people to this day who have the two small fs. But actually, it's just a mistranscription.

David
So, they never put it in capital letters?

Stephen
They never do, no. Two small fs is the . . . that's how it's officially spelled.

Anyway, so, yes. If your ancestors spelled their names with a double f, it meant they were either Welsh or semi-literate thickos, I'm afraid.

Erm, so, now. "Fame" at last. What on earth is going on here, please?

Audio of Florence Foster Jenkins singing is played over speakers.
Many of the panellists look around at the viewscreens.

Stephen
There's nothing to see.

John
Oh. [raises his arm]
[presses buzzer, which plays "There's No Business Like Show Business"]
Florence Foster Jenkins.

Stephen
Very good. Tell us about Florence Foster Jenkins.

John
Florence Foster Jenkins was a very rich heiress.

Stephen
Yeah.

Viewscreens: Picture of Florence Foster Jenkins.

Alan
She's actually a man, judging by that.

Stephen
She does . . . Her breasts have tumbled rather far south haven't they? Erm . . . 

John
She used to rent out Carnegie Hall to do recitations. In fact, I think Maureen Lipman did a show about her.

Stephen
She might well have done.

David
So, she just wanted to be an opera singer, and bought herself a career?

John
She wanted . . . She was rich enough to rent out . . . 

Stephen
Yes. She . . . She could afford . . . But it became a cult, and she sold out. I mean, she could have sold out ten times over the Carnegie Hall gig. Cole Porter was so enamoured of her that he wrote a song for her. Er . . . 

David
Did she not notice the whole audience pissing themselves?

Stephen
Yeah! She did, but she rose magnificently above it. She did say, "Some say that I couldn't sing, but no one can say that I didn't sing." That was her thought there.

Yeah, she was left a great deal of money when her father died. She sang Carnegie Hall at the age of 76. Sold out weeks in advance. 2,000 were turned away at the door. And $20 a piece, so she actually made a lot of money. That's about $400 a ticket, in today's money.

Emma
Mmm.

David
If you'd paid to see that show . . . 

Stephen
Yeah.

David
You'd think, at your first bit, you're laughing: she's terrible, she's terrible.

Stephen
Yeah.

David
But the joke doesn't really go anywhere, does it?

Emma
No.

David
By the end you're just . . . just so bored –

Alan
By the interval. After the interval it's empty.

David
– listening to this terrible singer.

Stephen
It was visually quite ent– . . . She did her own costumes, and she would change them regularly, telling the audience not to go away while she changed.

Emma
[gestures at Stephen] I used to do that to him, actually. Tried . . . Make . . . Make sure that he couldn't get out when I was changing.

Stephen
You did. You used to . . . 

Emma
Yeah. 'Cause it was very good fun.

Stephen
She used to show me her "breests". Very embarrassing.

Emma
It was a fantastic effect I used to have on him.

John
Yeah?

Emma
'Cause you . . . I could make . . . I could actually . . . I could do it now. I'm not going to, but I . . . I could. I can make him scream.

Stephen
[screams quietly] Don't. No, don't.

Emma
Not just . . . Not like – [points at viewscreens] – that scream that we just heard, but a real actual sort of scream of terror and . . . and fright. Erm, just by appearing nude at the top of his stairs.

Stephen
[recoils at the memory] Oh!

Emma
And . . . And doing what I liked to do, which was locking all the doors at the bottom so that when he tried to get out – [mimes trying doorhandles] –

Stephen
[mimes pounding frantically on a door]

Emma
– away, as I came down the stairs going – [shimmies in place] – "Yes, baby! They're all yours!", he couldn't away. And by the end of which, he was in a state of such extreme panic. And it's great to make someone very clever, erm, fall apart like that.

Stephen
I see.

Well, anyway, publicity is what it's all about. There's no sense hiding your light under a bushel, which prompts me to ask: How did the Ancient Greeks cover up the naughty bits on their statues?

David
They didn't, did they?

Stephen
That's the point. They didn't.

Alan
Then the Victorians went 'round and chipped them all off. Is that . . . Is there any truth in that?

Stephen
Well, earlier than the Victorians, actually. The 16th century it started happening. Erm . . . 

David
Chipped them off?

Alan
Chipped the willies off the statues.

David
So they used to . . . they used to collect . . . "I collect Greek willies."

Stephen
Yeah!

David
"I've been all the way around . . . "

Stephen
Genuinely, yeah.

Alan
Somewhere in some . . . In some antique shop somewhere, there will be a huge barrel full of Greek willies. Almost millions.

David
"Erm, help yourself. I'm giving them free."

Alan
Spend 40 quid, you get a willy. "It's 3,000 years old!"

Stephen
Well, there is a room in the Vatican which contains all the disjecta membra. All the chipped-off bits.

Viewscreens: Picture of a statue of Herakles, holding a club up high.

Stephen
There's a . . . a proud Greek statue of Hercules.

Alan
Is he about to bash himself on the cock? [mimes hitting his groin with a club] "Ahh!" That's to make yourself attractive. This shows that you're really ready.

John
But it's about 1860 or so they started putting those horrible, sort of, rather pervy-looking cabbage leaves 'round them, didn't they? Yes.

Stephen
Yeah, they did. It was really the Reformation and the counter-Reformation in Europe. They had all these people like Calvin and Savonarola, who was a fierce proponent of all things pure. And suddenly, having been a very wild place, everything became incredibly . . . It was like a sort of 1950s America.

Viewscreens: Picture of two Greek statue-esque figures embracing, the male with a fig leaf over his genitals.

Stephen
There, you see. There's your fig leaf.

Emma
That's like, er, reminds me of Ruskin marrying Effie Gray and . . . 

Stephen
Yes.

Emma
He . . . The great Victorian art critic, you know. He married this very young girl, and on the wedding night, erm, was . . . Couldn't have anything to do with her because she . . . He didn't know that naked women had . . . had pubic hair . . . had hair. He thought they all looked like that. [points at viewscreen]

Stephen
Like that.

Emma
And so, he didn't shag her for seven years. And finally, she thought, "Hang on a minute: I'm not being shagged here. There's something wrong with this." So, and, erm, they divorced.

Stephen
But, in fact, the sad thing about that story is it's not true.

John
Yeah.

Stephen
It's a lovely . . . It first appeared in the 1960s, this idea that Ruskin didn't know that women had pubes and was shocked by the idea of it and vomited and . . . you know.

Emma
Mmm. It's true he didn't shag her, though.

Stephen
Yeah, it seems to be so.

Alan
The ironic thing now, Stephen, is . . . Women generally don't have pubes anymore.

Emma
Well, indeed.

Stephen
No! This is right.

Emma
I kind of have slightly fond memories of pubes from the '80s.

Stephen
It's something . . . It's something called a . . . a Peruvian, isn't it?

Alan
Yes, something like that.

Emma
Brazilian.

Stephen
Yes.

Alan
And the excuse, apparently, is that pants are far too small. You can't get your . . . your Yorkshire Terrier in the pants.

Stephen
Well, then get bigger pants and have a nice . . . 

Alan
Well, that's what I say.

Stephen
Bigger pants. Big pants, nice bush! What's wrong with that?

Alan
[nods]

Stephen
Seems fine to me. [to Emma] Do . . . Do you wax yourself down there, darling?

Emma
Do you want to see it? [starts to stand up]

Stephen [loudly]
No, I don't want to see it! [covers his cheeks] No, I do not! Oh, God!

Emma
And you know I'd do it.

Stephen
I know you would! She would. She'd envelop me in her skirt.

Alan [gesturing grandly]
Lock the doors! Lock the doors!

Stephen
Oh . . . 

Alan
Oh, ye of faint of heart, leave immediately. [points at Stephen] Not you.

Emma
What's the thing of the . . . This is the new thing . . . They're now – are they? is this true? – bleaching bum holes.

Stephen
Oh, no! Is that right?

Alan
Yes.

Emma
Yes, bleaching them in LA. Do you know about this?

Stephen
David, I don't know why I'm looking at you!

David
Yeah. Yeah. That happens. Yeah.

Stephen
Yeah, it's true. It's true.

David
Yeah.

Stephen
Yeah. What . . . What . . . To what end?

Emma
[considers, laughs]

Stephen
[realises his pun and sighs apologetically] I . . . 

Emma
To a . . . To a pinker, cleaner end.

Stephen
Ooh.

Emma
I don't know.

Alan
The porn stars do. The porn stars bleach their –

Emma
Bum holes.

Alan
– rusty sheriff's badge.

David
Well, they, I suppose . . . 

Stephen
Wow!

David
At least . . . 

Stephen
So . . . 

David
At least for a porn star, it's tax deductible, I suppose.

Emma
Yeah . . . 

Stephen
Anyway! The ancient Greeks, er . . . They went commando. It was only in the later Middle Ages and in Victorian times that fig leaves were placed on statues.

What's so upsetting about this film?

John
Oh!

Viewscreens: Black and white film of mites running around, played to the tune of the Jaws theme.

Stephen
Do you know what's going on here?

Alan
There are beetles.

Emma
Is it a disease?

Stephen
It's not a disease. It was 1903, and it was a very popular science-"ish" film, but it outraged the cheese producers of the world.

Alan
Oh, is it . . . 

Emma
Oh, it's bacillus in cheese. In bleu cheese.

Stephen
It's . . . It's cheese mites. It's actual little creatures, cheese mites, that exist in cheese.

David
So . . . 

Alan
Microscopic cheese mites?

Stephen
Yeah.

David
So, that's what cinema was like in 1903?

Stephen
Amongst . . . !

David
They'd go, "That's, what, five hours of footage of cheese mites? Er . . . Sounds pretty good, apparently."

Stephen
Amongst other things. But it was . . . It was immense. It . . . It actually increased . . . I don't know what it did to the sales of cheese – possibly it wouldn't have helped them – but it increased the sales of cheap microscopes. People became fascinated about, er, you know, the little things that go on, and they could see their own little swimming things . . . 

[to Emma] I remember a documentary – this suddenly occurs to me – that your father, Eric Thompson, narrated, called something like "The Life That Lives in Man". Do you remember that?

Emma
Yeah, it's the . . . it's the . . . Was all about the tiny little creatures that live . . . 

Stephen
Things that live in the follicles of the . . . of the . . . 

Emma
Like billions and billions of things in our bed –

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
– all the time, even if you do –

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
– turn your mattress, as I do every . . . month.

David
I don't think turning a mattress is gonna kill the things –

Stephen
No.

David
– unless they're suddenly massively disorientated.

Emma
No, but you know air it a bit.

Alan
[mimes falling from a turning matress] "Aaaah!"

Emma
The Titanic of the insect world is coming.

Alan
On the floor. [spreads his arms]

Stephen
Yeah, and in your eyelashes, we all have little creatures living in our eyelashes.

David
It's like, there's one of those adverts that sort of says, "There are more germs on your chopping board than on your loo seat."

Stephen
That's right.

Emma
Yeah.

David
To which the answer is, "Well, clearly, that's fine, then!"

Stephen
Yes!

Emma
Yeah.

David
I mean we're not all dying –

Stephen
No.

David
– or having . . . constantly having diarrhoea. So . . . So, essentially . . . 

Stephen
Exactly.

Emma
But we are starting to die 'cause we're cleaning them up too much that way.

Stephen
Exactly. If anything . . . 

David
Yeah. Well, so . . . so . . . But they're saying in the advert, "The very thing we are selling you is unnecessary."

Stephen
Yes. Exactly!

Emma
Yes!

Stephen
Exactly.

Emma
Yes, exactly!

Stephen
Exactly right, 'cause it's fine! Yeah.

Yeah, well, the fact is, there was a big sort of excitement about this, except from the cheese producers, who tried to suppress the film, because it showed that in cheese, which is a living organic thing, of course, it . . . it contains these special mites that live there, and do you no harm at all. Cheese is a good thing.

Now, who remembers Charlton Heston? How was Michelangelo lying when he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

Emma
[presses buzzer, which plays the theme from Indiana Jones]

Stephen
Yes?

Emma
Was he . . . Didn't he not did it? He didn't do it; he just lied about it. He fibbed.

Stephen
That is the sense of lying we wanted. He certainly didn't lie down to do it, as he did in the Charlton Heston movie The Agony and the Ecstasy, which you may have seen.

Alan
Did he jump up and do a bit at a time?

Stephen
He didn't . . . No, he . . . he . . . His neck . . . 

Alan
[jumps in his seat as though trying to paint the ceiling]

Stephen
Well, yeah, he stood on the scaffolding and did it that way, and cricked his neck and Vasari writes about it in his biography. But there is . . . Apparently, it seems some extraordinary little secret joke that Michelangelo painted in the fabric behind God.

Viewscreens: Picture of the portion of the Sistine Chapel depicting the Creation of Adam.

Stephen
There's God with a bit of sort of swaggy stuff behind him. Now, that swaggy stuff, according to at least four professors, who are neuroscientists, neurosurgeons from four universities – are absolutely convinced that that particular shape . . . Do you know what it might be?

John
A female part?

Stephen
No, it's not a female part. For once in QI's life, we are not in the downstairs lady area.

David
Is it a brain?

Stephen
A brain!

Viewscreens: A picture of a brain is superimposed over the image of God.

Stephen
It is a transverse section of the sagittal area of the brain. What it argues is that he was present at some dissections, which were very popular but completely illegal in Italy at this time. And the suggestion is that his idea of God . . . One of God's greatest miracles was, of course, the human brain, which he had seen sliced through. And so he has got literally – if you take away the brain now from that superimpositions . . . 

Viewscreens: The superimposed brain is removed.

Stephen
So there you are. Yeah, it seems to be a bit of brain, but there are other bits . . . You know, there's a museum in Oregon which is dedicated to, er, replications of the brain made of fabrics. It's an odd type of museum. We can actually show you a . . . a perfect brain with brain stem made by some American knitting person.

Viewscreens: Picture of a brain knitted in multiple colours.

Stephen
There you are.

Emma
Yeah.

Stephen
Pretty . . . Including brain stem. That's what's impressive.

David
It's sort of . . . Are you sure that's just not the most unsuccessful attempt at a cardigan ever?

Stephen
It's something of a disaster, isn't it?

David
You know? And . . . And they sort of go, "No, it's meant to . . . It's a brain. It's . . . "

Stephen
It's a mad granny.

It actually genuinely has a po-faced warning on the website showing it, saying, "This is a perfect reproduction of the human brain using appliqué, embroidery, beadwork, knitting, and crochet. While our artists make every effort to ensure accuracy, we cannot accept responsibility for the consequences of using fabric brain art as a guide for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging."

Emma
[laughs] Or . . . Or indeed, home-based surgery.

Stephen
Yes, indeed.

Alan
Either you've got a tumour, or they've dropped a stitch.

Stephen
Yeah. It seems that Michelangelo may have been lying about his illegal dissecting activities. Er, though why he would risk painting a huge piece of incriminating evidence on the ceiling of the Pope's chapel is anybody's guess.

Which brings us blinking out of the darkened theatre and into the blinding light of General Ignorance. So, fingers on buzzers, please. What happens to a hedgehog if you remove its fleas?

David
[presses buzzer, which plays the Pearl & Dean fanfare]

Stephen
David.

David
It dies.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "IT DIES".

Stephen
Oh! David, Davidy, Wavidy, Davidy-Woo. No. No, there is a myth to this effect, but it's not true at all.

David
Ah.

Stephen
It's perfectly possible if you covered it with anti-dog flea powder, it would die from the dog flea powder, but not from the lack of fleas. They are very happy with their fleas. Doesn't . . . It doesn't kill them with or without. What mustn't you feed hedgehogs?

Emma
Bread and milk.

Alan
Bread.

Stephen
Exactly. Bread and milk is a bad idea. People do it. It gives them diarrhoea, and they dry out. Erm . . . 

Alan
Shouldn't really feed bread and milk to any mammal, including humans.

Stephen
Yeah. But there is a Radio Four show that did . . . 

David
Oh, come off it!

Alan
No, it's true.

David
What, you shouldn't feed humans bread and milk?

Alan
No, not really.

David
Oh, what . . . What do you mean "not really"?

Alan
Well, it's . . . 

David
It's absolutely demonstrably fine.

Alan
No, it's not very good for you.

David
Well, it's fine!

Stephen
Bread and butter pudding.

David
We've been drinking milk and eating bread for ages! Why is it suddenly a massive problem?

John
Yeah.

David
"Oh, no, actually we're supposed to live till we're 250! But no, we've been eating all this poisonous bread and milk all the time, we can barely limp past 98." Now, I . . . I . . . I . . . It's ridiculous. Of course we're supposed to eat bread and milk!

Stephen
The . . . 

David
Not just bread and milk!

Alan
[exaggeratedly shies away from David]

Stephen
Oh, poor Alan. Don't bully him.

David
No, no!

Stephen
Poor Alan.

David
It's not . . . 

Stephen
You shake hands and be friends now.

David
Sorry, Alan.

Stephen
So, despite what you may have heard on Radio Four's programme –

David
Ah, yes.

Stephen
– presented by David Mitchell . . . What's your programme called?

David
The . . . The Unbelievable Truth.

Stephen
Exactly.

David
One of the unbelievable truths turns out, unbelievably, to be not true.

Stephen
Yes, you claimed . . . You claimed . . . 

David
I . . . Yeah, just . . . People give you this shit and you read it out!

Emma
It's brilliant!

Stephen [looking intently at one of his cards]
I've no idea what you mean!

Emma
I won't hear a word . . . 

Stephen
As . . . Anyway we are very happy to put you right on your otherwise excellent programme. In fact, hedgehogs don't mind whether they have fleas or not, although they wouldn't be very happy if you poisoned them with flea powder.

Now, Shakespeare mentions the football twice. How often does he mention the cricket?

David
He doesn't mention the cricket, 'cause it didn't exist then.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the word "NEVER".

David
Oh.

Stephen
Cricket certainly existed in the 16th century.

David
Oh, right.

Stephen
In the year 1550 there's a mention of cricket, and that's before . . . 

David
Are you sure that's not the small insect?

Stephen
Three times he mentions the insect. You're absolutely right. But not the game. He never mentions the game, to be honest. But it did exist.

David
So, to be honest, that "never" I said was right, and I got a massive penalty!

Stephen
You asserted on the 26th of May, Mr Mitchell, that, er, the game of cricket didn't exist in Shakespeare time. It did, although Shakespeare doesn't mention it, yeah.

David
Oh, right. So, is this whole round lots of mistakes, that . . . 'Cause radio shows don't have the same budget, you know, so there's fewer people. If you wanna kill off the medium, then that's fine, but it brings . . . brings a lot of people a lot of pleasure. Erm . . . 

Stephen
Shakespeare mentions the cricket three times, though he was, of course, referring to the insect. But the game did exist in his day, despite what you may have heard on The Unbelievable Truth, the excellent, excellent Radio Four programme –

Emma
Yes, it is excellent.

Stephen
– er, which I would urge you all to listen to.

Now, what kind of hair do head lice prefer?

Emma
[presses buzzer, which plays the theme from Indiana Jones]

Stephen
Yes.

Emma [quietly]
Clean hair. Clean hair.

Stephen
Did you say clean hair?

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

Stephen
Oh! I'm sorry, Em. No, there was, you see . . . There was this . . . Originally, people though it was dirty hair. This was repudiated, and it was replaced by another fallacy that it was clean hair they preferred. Any hair will do to a louse. They don't mind, as long as there's an adequate blood supply. There's no preference either for clean or dirty.

David
The . . . The hair on a living person.

Stephen
In fact, basically, just a . . . You have to be alive and have hair.

Emma
Oh!

Stephen
What are nits?

John
I thought they were the same thing.

David
I thought it was a slang term for it.

Emma
Same thing.

Stephen
No, nits are the egg cases of the . . . 

Emma
Oh.

Stephen
And they stay on; you can't get rid of them.

Emma
No.

Stephen
They'll stay on sometimes for weeks and weeks after the actual louse has escaped.

John
Oh.

Stephen
Now. How does a flu jab work?

John
It gives you a minor version of the illness.

Stephen
Oh, no!

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "BY GIVING YOU THE 'FLU".

Stephen
That's the point. It doesn't give you a mild case of flu. Oddly enough, it's not that kind of a vaccine. Most people think it is, and they often think they've been given flu by the jab, because it might happen that they get the jab around the time flu's arriving in the country, and it's perfectly possible to . . . to get real flu at the same time, and you'll assume it's the jab that's given it to them. But in fact, it's an inert, inactive virus. So, you have no flu. It doesn't give you flu, but it's enough.

David
So, it works, but even though it's inert, your body still makes the antibodies?

Stephen
It's still enough to get your antibodies –

David
Right.

Stephen
– er, prepared for it. But only for that particular strain.

Anyway, what's the most depressing day of the week?

Emma
[grimaces and struggles with herself]

Stephen
In research. Yes?

Emma
[as though against her will] Monday . . . 

Stephen
What did you . . . ?

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

Stephen
Oh!

Emma
Oh! I knew it!

Stephen
Exactly. Oh, I'm sorry. No.

Emma
It was sort of obvious.

Stephen
Oddly enough, if you ask people –

John
Yeah.

Stephen
– which they think is the most depressing day of the week, they will say Monday. But –

Emma
Sunday.

Stephen
– if you then asked, even the same people, over a long period of time and a lot of them, on each separate day, are they more depressed today or yesterday or . . . It overwhelmingly is . . . ?

Alan
Tuesday.

Stephen
No. Oddly enough, Wednesday. It seems to be . . . I mean, you could argue it's because . . . In fact, there's a French joke: Why should you never arrange a meeting with an Englishman on a Wednesday? 'Cause you'll screw up two weekends of his. Basically. 'Cause they think of us as very lazy. [scoffs] I know.

David
Do they?

Emma
Really?

Stephen
Do they? Yes! How dare they!

David
Well, it's a . . . it's a . . . You know, I've . . . You know, I know . . . Obviously, we're always keen to slag each off . . . other off as countries, but –

Emma
But lazy's odd.

David
– but "lazy". I don't think . . . I don't think we are, and I don't think . . . I don't think we think . . . We don't think they're lazy. We think they're sort of –

Stephen
No. Not particularly.

David
– cowardly, idiotic and . . . riddled . . . And riddled with, er, you know –

Emma
Cheese-eating.

David
– venereal diseases.

Stephen
Diseases. Yeah.

And finally, bringing us back to "film", which popular film made by the British multinational Innovia Films Limited made more than 360 million this year, and made about as much the year before as well?

Emma
A . . . A film?

Stephen
Yeah. Made by the Innovia Film Company.

Emma
A film film?

Stephen
Er, I've seen it. Er, in fact you've seen it.

Emma
Has it got a story?

David
It's not like some "teach the Chinese English" thing? You know . . . 

Stephen
No. No. No.

David
Kind of . . . No.

Stephen
Here it is. [takes out a piece of cellophane]

Emma
Cellophane. Oh!

Stephen
Cellophane! It's a British thing.

David
That is the most successful ever British film?

Stephen
Yeah. Obviously, apart from – [gestures to Emma] –

Emma
Yeah.

Stephen
– Nanny McPhee, obviously.

Emma
Obviously.

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
I've got a question.

Stephen
Yeah.

Emma
You know the word "luvvie"?

Stephen
Yeah . . . 

Emma
What do you all feel about it?

Stephen
I mean, I'm not gonna get as upset as some actors do. Some actors say, "We do a bloody hard job at work."

Emma
Yeah.

Stephen
"We're serious people. We . . . You know, we . . . It's a coalface doing a play. How dare they call us luvvies!" You know, I mean, that's a bit overdone. On the other hand, it's a bit tedious when, you know, the Daily Mail says, "Luvvie couple X, Y and Z" or something. [gestures to Emma] Well, you get accused of being –

Emma
Do you know what the first citation of it is in the OED?

Stephen
No.

Emma
It's you.

Stephen
[gasps] No! [covers his cheeks in shame]

LUVVIE ALARM sounds. Viewscreens flash the words "Luvvie Alarm" in an elegant script against a pink and purple background while klaxons sound and a funfare plays.

Stephen
I can't believe I . . . I . . . Did I invent the word?

Emma
Yeah, it's you, sometime in the 1980s.

Stephen
Did I? I'm ashamed.

Now . . . On that bombshell, ladies and gentlemen, erm, the time has come to tot up the box office takings for this evening, and, er, see . . . Oh, my word, it's absolutely fascinating. This week's blockbuster . . . This week's winner, ladies and gentlemen, with plus four points, is Alan Davies!

Alan
Is it? Thank you. Thank you.

Stephen
Oh! How about that? Oh!

In second place, a . . . a modest success on the art house circuit, John Sessions with one! Garnering a few points at a festival you've never heard of, but a very creditable first appearance, minus ten, Emma Thompson!

Emma
Minus ten?

Stephen
And, er, I'm afraid going straight to video with minus 15, David Mitchell!

And so, it's good night from Emma, John, David, Alan, and me, and huge thanks to our mothers and agents and everybody who believed in us and made it possible. You're all wonderful, you're all family, and I . . . I leave you with this account of a successful family publicity stunt. The great American showman P. T. Barnum created an exhibit entitled "The Happy Family", which consisted of a cage containing a lion, a tiger, a panther, and a baby lamb, which was extremely successful. And one day he was asked about his plans for "The Happy Family", which had toured everywhere. [American accent] "The display will become a permanent feature," he said, "if the supply of lambs holds out." Good night.


Transcription Notes
  • He didn't shag her / The ironic thing now. Strangely, these two lines of dialogue can be heard in the regular broadcast version of this episode, an audio error played around the time Stephen is speaking about the "science-'ish' film" about the cheese mites. 

Episode Notes

  • It's Alan Davies! The audience shot includes me, friend Becky, and fellow friend and transcriber Kate, circled in red here.

  • Baroness. In the original recording, Alan had mistakenly referred to Captain Von Trapp's fiance as "the Governess", until David Mitchell corrected him. Julie Andrews, as Maria, was the children's governess. The word has been spliced in post-production.

References

  • Howards' Way. A television series transmitted by the BBC in the mid- to late-1980s, which focused upon the modern yachting and boat-building industries in a fictional town in England. The film Howards End, in which Emma Thompson starred, is based on the 1910 novel by E. M. Forrester, and set in Edwardian England.

  • I made an Oscar. Stephen's Oscar-making trip to Chicago was filmed in episode three of his six-part documentary Stephen Fry in America, which aired in late 2008.

  • On YouTube. The Wilhelm scream compilation can be seen here.

  • Alan Rickman. As stated by John Sessions, Rickman really is great friends with the panellists of this episode. John's full set of anecdotes for this episode did not make it into either broadcast version, but include a story about the two of them being thrown out of an art gallery, as well as a story about Alan growling "Shut up" at a noisy fellow film-goer. Alan's gripe unintentionally made a man in the row in front of them mad enough to snarl back at John, "No, you shut the fuck up!"

    In addition, Alan Rickman has starred alongside Emma Thompson in several major productions, such as the films Judas Kiss, Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, and three of the Harry Potter movies. He directed the film The Winter Guest, in which Emma Thompson starred alongside her mother, Phyllida Law. Rickman and Thompson were also the main players in the recent BBC production The Song of Lunch, in which they play former lovers having a meal together.

  • Disjecta membra. A phrase meaning "scattered remains", especially in a literary sense. From Horace's Latin phrase disjecti membra poetae: "limbs of a dismembered poet". You and your cleverness, Stephen.