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Series 7, Episode 6

Transcript by: Bashing random keys.
Notes: This transcript has not been edited for style or content, but I'm sure it's jolly good. All text in rose font is from the extended version, QI XL.

TRANSCRIPT

Stephen
Hey! Hello hello hello hello and welcome to QI, the "show-off" show that sits at the front of the class shouting "Me Sir! Me me me, Sir! Me!" while other quiz shows are snogging behind the bike sheds. Tonight we're celebrating Genius with four of the most brilliant minds in the country. The Einstein of entertainment, David Mitchell… the Da Vinci of drollery, Dara O'Briain… the Galileo of gags, Graham Norton… and the Morecambe of Wise, Alan Davies.

But before our SWAT team of swots don their white coats and clever clogs, we should hear their buzzers. And Dara goes:

Dara [wearing ‘nerdy' spectacles]
[presses buzzer, which plays a University Challenge-style intro, a ringing bell followed by the announcement "University College Dublin, O'Briain"]

Stephen
David goes:

David [wearing ‘nerdy' spectacles]
[presses buzzer, which plays a University Challenge-style intro, a ringing bell and the announcement "Peterhouse, Cambridge, Mitchell"]

Stephen
Graham goes:

Graham [wearing ‘nerdy' spectacles]
[presses buzzer, which plays a University Challenge-style intro, a ringing bell and announcement: "University College Cork, Norton"]

Stephen
And Alan goes:

Alan [wearing ‘coke bottle' spectacles]
[presses buzzer, which plays a Blockbusters-style phrase "Can I have a P please, Bob?"]

Stephen
Aww. That's… that's actually completely unfair because Alan is in fact a graduate of the University of Kent and he actually holds a honorary doctorate, so Alan, could you press your buzzer again? We put it right.

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays a Scottish voice yelling "The Doctor will see you now!"]

Stephen
Now we have a very difficult first question so I'm going to give you a bit of help. What I'd like you to do… you should have a bit of tissue somewhere near you.

Alan
I can't see anything.

Stephen
No, well… have you got tissues anywhere?

David
Here.

Stephen
I want you to stick a piece of tissue up your left nostril.

Alan
Right.

Stephen
As if you had a nosebleed or something. This is weird, okay? Left nostril… very good…

[The panellists proceed to twist a piece of tissue and insert it in their left nostrils]

Stephen
You've passed that test. Well, two of you have.

Alan
I'm going for real penetration. [points to his crown] I can feel that there.

Stephen
If it came out your ear, that would be a worry. Alright, now say something intelligent.

[The panellists pause]

Alan
Er … er, 'A' squared equals 'B' squared plus 'C' squared.

Stephen
Very good. If…

Alan
Pythagoras ' theorem, you know.

Stephen
Yeah, excellent. Now what this is about… do you breathe through your left nostril, mostly, your right nostril or both nostrils?

Alan
My arse.

Stephen
Oi.

David
I've always suspected that one works better than the other but I've never kept a note of which it is.

Stephen
Well you won't be surprised to hear that some people do keep notes of how deep you breathe…

Dara
Does it not alternate?

Stephen
Ah, you're right, Dara O'Briain, it does alternate. It has a periodicity of four hours. You swop from being mostly left to mostly right. And what's completely weird is that you answer questions on different types of subject better according to which side you're breathing through.

Alan
Am I going to asphyxiate by half past twelve?

Stephen
You might, that's a very good point. You are allowed to breathe through your mouth if you want to.

David
So should we be keeping notes of when our… when, you know, of what shift work our nostrils are on? So the left will be in charge from one till four, that's when I should be doing, sort of, maths-based things like my tax return. If I'm going to write a poem, I'll wait till the more creative right nostril comes in at 4pm.

Stephen
Well, actually if you're breathing through your right nostril, you should be better at visual and spatial tasks, if you're breathing through…

Graham
What, like now?

Stephen
Yes, that's it… you should be good at visual and spatial things, and if you block the right one, you should be better at verbal things. I know it sounds mad but you've probably heard of the study in '89 called Unilateral Nostril Breathing Influences Lateralised Augmented Performance by Block, Arnott, Quigley and Lynch…

Graham [resigned expression]
What, that old thing.

David
Why don't all sports people constantly block their left nostrils?

Stephen
Well, actually, you've probably seen with a lot of sportsmen, they actually… they put a piece of Elastoplast…

Graham
Oh that thing, yes.

Stephen
…plaster, the anti-snoring little thing, they do that [places his fingers on the sinuses, below the eyes, and sniffs] to wind… so they're both open at the same time, so they get maximum air…

Graham
And after that, they snort drugs as well.

Stephen
They don't!

David
When we watch a sports person with one of those things on, they're not only at their best at sport, they're also at their most verbally dextrous.

Stephen
Indeed, and visually and spatially because they've got both wide open.

David
Otherwise they can't even go, "Mine!"

Alan [removes his tissue and peers at the end]

Stephen [to Alan]
No… what have you got? What have you found?

Alan [pointing to his tissue]
I think I lost the end.

Stephen
Ow. Oh dear.

Alan
It 'll reappear, won't it?

Stephen
It 'll… somewhere.

Dara
It will get out eventually.

Stephen
Yeah.

David
You'll cry it out at some point. Are these going on e-bay?

Stephen
They could do. Do you want to sign it?

David
Er, alright, yeah.

Stephen
Yeah, go on. But if you block…

Dara
I've already left my mark.

Stephen
Blocking the right nostril makes you more emotionally negative, it appears, according to another study. A higher score on the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory. So, if you wish to feel slightly more cheerful, don't block the right nostril.

Graham
So that's why, now…

Dara
Yeah, you're quite nice.

Graham
Yes.

Stephen
You're quite bouncy and happy aren't you? Oh, now… [notices Alan 's inserted the tissue in his right nostril, looking miserable] there, you see, you've blocked the right nostril. That's terribly sad. But if you keep them in, I'm going to ask you a question to test your visual/spatial…

Alan
Which one am I doing?

Stephen
Left.

Alan
Left?

Stephen
Keep them left, okay? Yeah, because it seems the quickest way to improve your verbal reasoning is to shove a tissue up your left nostril, so let's see how these tissues work.

Consider, right, an n -dimensional hypercube, and connect each pair of vertices to obtain a complete graph of two to the power n vertices…

Graham
Each?

Stephen
Yeah. Then colour each of the edges of this graph using only the colours red and black. What – that's my question – what is the smallest number, the smallest value of n, for which every possible such colouring must necessarily contain a single-coloured complete sub-graph with four vertices which lie in a plane?

Graham [immediately]
Six.

Stephen
That is exactly what people used to think. That's amazing. Brilliant.

Dara [to Graham, indicating with his hand]
Further. Further. Further up there.

Stephen
Extraordinary. Yeah, until 2003, most graph theorists thought the correct answer was probably six.

Graham
I can only apologise.

Stephen
But …

Dara
Sorry to hear that your old graph theory knowledge has left.

David
It's so typical, isn't it, when you've got a busy showbiz lifestyle like yours, to keep up with the graph theory. Probably only eight or nine hours a day you're devoting to it now.

Stephen
Well, I have to say, I've got Graham 's number.

Graham
Six?

Stephen [to Alan and David]
Have you got Graham 's number?

Alan
Er, no. It's not that sort of relationship.

Stephen
You've not got that sort of relationship? There is such a thing – which is relevant to this – as Graham 's number. But it's bigger than six.

Alan
Of course it is.

Stephen
It is so… It is really big. Try and think of a really, really big number…

Alan
Seventeen.

Stephen
It's… do you know what? It's even bigger than that. This number, alright - now get hold of this idea – this number is so big that all the material in the universe, right, couldn't make enough ink to write it out. It's called Graham 's number, named after a fellow called Ronald Graham, and weirdly enough scientists know that it ends in a seven. Which is really strange.

Graham
Why would it end in a seven? Could you just turn it into an eight, then it's a bigger number?

Stephen
It doesn't say it's the biggest number ever, it's just… this is Graham 's number which is huge. You could have an other Graham 's number, you could have Norton 's number…

Graham
Yeah, Graham Norton 's now made it an eight at the end.

Stephen
Erm … you can remove your tissues, incidentally, now…

David
I think I'll miss it now.

Stephen
Oh, will you? Okay.

Graham
I'm worried about what might come out when I pull it.

Stephen
Now, the fact is, this problem - it's a graph problem, it seems, to imagine a cube with lots of different dimensions – where each corner of the shape is connected with red or black lines to every other… what is the fewest number of dimensions so that you must end up with at least one single coloured square with the same colour diagonals?

Until 2003 they thought it was six, now it's been shown there must be at least eleven. The answer may now be twelve but it's somewhere between eleven and Graham 's number, that enormous number. Which is… quite a lot of room for error…

Graham
That's not really an answer, is it?

Stephen
The greatest mathematical minds in the world just don't know what the answer is, it seems.

David
I don't understand the question.

Stephen
Neither do I. Neither do I…

Dara
I think they don't either, to be honest. And they're really hoping nobody checks.

Stephen
What they do know it that it ends in a seven.

Now what music can you play to your children to make them brainier?

Dara
I'm not going to be lured into saying any of the major classical composers because that's what's sold to the parents of small children, that if you play them Mozart or Beethoven or Bach or something, you will make them smarter.

Stephen
Of course, you're absolutely right. We obviously hoped… because we had a little forfeit lurking behind the screen that said Mozart. Because people seem to have it in their heads that they read somewhere once, in some newspaper, that apparently…

Viewscreens: Thaddeus Helbling 's portrait of a young Mozart.

Stephen
…there's little Mozart.

Graham
God, you could slap him.

Stephen
Oh, now!

Graham
Spoilt little brat!

Dara
He was on the tour… he was touring Europe at that age… he was dragging his arse, he was doing the clubs basically, albeit the clubs were where the crowned heads of Europe …

Stephen
The Bourbon Club and the Hohenzollern Club. Yes, the fact is, there is no evidence at all for the idea that playing Mozart to a baby makes him…

Alan
I thought you were supposed to play natural sounds because the noises of contemporary life are extremely destructive and create behavioural difficulties. That's why you mustn't have a television on until they're four or something like that.

Stephen
I haven't heard that particular one.

Dara
That's not how parenting works, my friend. You have the television… You train them to like the television as quickly as they possibly can.

Alan
There was no ADHD until TV was invented. They kind of coincide.

Dara
They're happy with HD my friend.

Graham
But is there music that makes them cleverer?

Stephen
Well no, you see, there was some study which has since been debunked by many other studies, which claimed that the I.Q. went up. But it was only done to students, not to children.

Dara
You can't test any of these things on children because you'd have to have a control group, as such, which would have to have a baby that you're not playing Mozart to in the hope that the child is stupider. Er, and that's a tough sell to parents, say "We'd like to test your child by denying him any intellectual stimulation and hoping that he turns out dumb".

Graham
Well not if you said you'd look after it 24 hours a day for the next six months to test this. People would be quite happy to hand them over then.

Alan
"We'll give you money".

Stephen
Ah!

Graham
Well presumably you can play the child educational songs like One Potato Two Potato … they'd at least learn that.

Stephen
That's true.

Graham
And could count potatoes.

Dara
Important life skill.

Graham
Growing up in Ireland, that's vital.

Stephen
Oh, one… two… that seems to be it. We'd better go to America.

Graham
[laughs] "Finished!"

Stephen
Do you know about the English Mozarts, do they mean anything to you?

Alan
McFly. Very, very popular.

Stephen
High quality… high quality. No, there were two chaps around, one was Thomas Linley, he beat Mozart by playing a concerto at an earlier age even than Mozart did. At fourteen, both boys played together, they looked to be future stars but unfortunately Linley fell into a lake while boating, was drowned at age 22.

Alan
Was pushed in by Mozart.

Graham
Is there… were there no recordings? It's all very impressive to say he played a concerto aged whatever, imagine he was rubbish. Know what I mean? And he was like [pretends to play piano extremely badly, bashing down on the keys].

Stephen
No, he travelled and they were the sensation of the age. The other one was Samuel Wesley but most of his genius was suppressed when he banged his head and suffered from mild brain damage for the rest of his life.

Alan
Tripped by Mozart.

Stephen
Yeah, I was going to say, there seems to be a pattern emerging. So there's no evidence that in fact playing Mozart to children makes them more intelligent. If you can't dumb the kids up, how about dumbing them down?

Why are exams so much easier for youngsters these days?

Dara
[presses buzzer, which announces "University College Dublin, O'Briain"]

Stephen
Yes, Dara?

Dara
[acknowledges his buzzer] Thank you very much. Er, of course, are they actually easier these days or are they marked more generously these days? It is just one of these things… I'm sorry, this may be a national thing that you do, but you've a tendency to presume that you have a very stupid generation of kids in this country. Then you set them a series of exams, they all get A's and you go "Well, proof".

Stephen
That proves they're stupid, yes.

Dara
It is a horrendous Catch-22 if you're a seventeen-year old.

David
My problem with exams, though, is that more and more people get A's, so whether or not that's because they're getting more intelligent or because the exams are getting easier, or a bit of both… it's still, it's defying the point of the exam. The point of the exam is to tell people apart, not just to go "You're all great academically, everyone can be Professor of Latin, share the Professor of Latin's salary between you… and starve."

Stephen
You're right, it should be done by a percentile, that's the point…

David
Which was how it used to be done.

Stephen
And that's the point of our I.Q. tests. And what's interesting about the I.Q. test is each year it gets better by point three of a percent. So three percent every ten years. Children get smarter so they have to normalise…. If you go back to your great-great-grandparents, they would be - under the Mental Health Act of 1983 – retarded, actually, because they would have an I.Q. of 70.

Alan
My great-grandfather signed his marriage certificate with a cross.

Stephen
Was his name Xavier?

Alan
I don't think it was.

Graham
Perhaps he should have used a pen.

I think that mensa is at the root of all this, surely.

Stephen
They say, without irony, mensa, on their website, is latin for ‘table' - mensa is, but that's not why it's called mensa – it was originally called mens which is latin for ‘mind' but they realised their magazine looked like some special-interest gay porn, so they added an ‘A”.

Graham
Already, I'm not being filled with confidence that this is being run by geniuses.

Stephen
It represents the ‘round table equality of mensa, everyone's equal, there's no elitism'. But mensa – erm…

David
I'd like to set up a society for people who have an I.Q. of under 70 and then go and try and sell them pyramid schemes.

Stephen
The only thing you might say is quite sober and interesting about this thing, it's called The Flynn Effect, the fact that people are getting better and better at it is, under American law, if you have an I.Q. of 70 or less, you cannot be executed for a capital crime. You are considered retarded and therefore Flynn has often had to go…

You know, people might have an I.Q. of 72 – which means they're going to die – and he would say "Ah, but yeah, this was taken when he was a child, and actually, revising upwards to the norm, he's actually 68" or something. So he is technically retarded, and he can save lives by doing that. It's a very weird…

Alan
Quite easy to throw an I.Q. test, I would've thought.

Stephen
Yeah but they're taken as children, that's the point.

Dara
They're not smart enough to throw an I.Q. test. I'm starting to realise that.

Graham
Also, that is really planning a murder… you're seven, going "I'll put a circle… here…" and "In fifteen years… you're dead!"

David
Kind of the reverse of the, sort of, eugenicist argument the Americans are using where they're letting the stupid live, though.

Stephen
But anyway, young people find I.Q. tests easier than their parents because, apparently, they're exposed to more problem-solving in their life. Maybe geniuses are born, not made, and if so, how would you create a genius? Is there a way of ensuring a genius?

Alan
Breeding two geniuses together?

Stephen
Well …

Alan
Give them a high-fibre diet? Exposed to lots of Vitamin D from the sun?

Stephen [to David]
You mentioned eugenicist earlier. Tell me what eugenics is, then?

Dara
Yeah tell us about your theory of eugenics, er, Dave …

David
I'm not sure. Is it generally trying to breed people to be brighter and stronger and better at things and stopping people from breeding if you think they might have stupid or feeble…

Stephen
Exactly

Graham
People farming.

Alan
Nazism.

Stephen
Basically, er, and…

David
People husbandry, isn't it?

Stephen
Yes, and, as Alan said, Nazism… Nazism is the thing, of course, is the thing that… There were people of quite respectable antecedents and liberal points of view, before Nazism, who believed that eugenics may be a good idea.

David
Lots of people. Lots and lots of…

Stephen
Yeah, Bernard Shaw and many others.

Graham
But sometimes… I did a, er, game show in America a while ago, and there was a contestant on it, this woman, and, er, her sort of "interesting fact", her "fun fact" about herself was that her father had been a serial killer. Right? And, er, and her other "fun fact" was she hadn't told her husband that her father was a serial killer until after they were married. So… you know, it's a light-hearted thing but I'm trying to say to her, "Now… do you think maybe your husband would have been concerned about having children given that there's, you know, a serial killer in you somewhere." And, er, she went, er, "No, no no, he's been through similar things, his father committed suicide." And you just thought, "You've got a serial killer and a suicidal man and you thought that was a good gene pool to be splashing around in."

Stephen
"You'll give birth to a child who kills himself lots of times". A serial suicide, it's terrifying.

Dara [to Graham]
When you say "After she'd married him", how long? Was it before the speeches? Did she go, "Dad's about to say a few words, this might be worth catching."?

Graham
This may explain why he went with orange.

Stephen
The only one with plastic cutlery.

Dara [mimes a man bound and gagged to a wheelchair]
"Why are they wheeling your dad about?"

David
It depends what you do, then, if you'd had a "come as a serial killer"-themed wedding.

Stephen
Look, can we just now… just go back to the past, and on the subject of creating geniuses, who was one of the great geniuses…?

Dara
Well, Da Vinci.

Stephen
Da Vinci … is exactly who I was after. He was known to be a genius in his own time, I mean, they knew how astoundingly great he was. His brother, Bartolomeo, actually…

Alan
Hatched.

Graham
That's awful.

Stephen
Yeah.

Stephen
… this Bartolomeo married and he decided he wanted their child to be like his brother, Leonardo. And oddly enough, it sort of worked…

Viewscreens: François-Guillaume Ménageot's portrait of Da Vinci.

Stephen
… there's Leonardo dying and it shows he was kind of worshipped, almost, they realised how great he was.

Alan
What's Rodney Bewes doing in the background? It's def. ol' Rodney Bewes.

Stephen
He does look like Rodney Bewes.

Dara
Rodney Bewes is The Highlander, is he?

David
Would it be an unsettling thing to discover, that would be, in the context of the credit crunch and everything, suddenly to discover that Rodney Bewes was immortal. I mean, can you imagine… on the news, going, "And today it emerged that actor Rodney Bewes has been alive for as long as time".

Graham
So what is… given the things you're talking about, or I'm pretending to know what you're talking about, I actually don't know who Rodney Bewes is.

Stephen
Oh. Do you remember The Likely Lads and Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?

Graham [to Dara]
We didn't get that in Ireland, did we?

Dara
No…

Stephen
Well, James Bolam …

Graham
I know who he is…

Stephen
… and Rodney Bewes, they played a couple of…

Alan [pointing to the figure taking Da Vinci 's pulse]
That's basically him, there, holding Leonardo Da Vinci 's hand.

Graham
So the chances of meeting him in the future are very high.

Stephen [to Graham]
I have to say, the whole point about QI, right, is that the rest of the world talks about cultural things, reality TV and…

Alan
Rodney Bewes.

Stephen
… pop stars and Rodney Bewes. We talk about Leonardo. And what you've done by coming on is we've started.. [checks himself, swivels and points to Alan] No, you actually… we started talking about Leonardo and we've arrived at Rodney Bewes. It's entirely the wrong direction…

Alan
It was the painting.

Graham
I didn't even know who he was ! Don't blame me!

Stephen
You're so right! I'm sorry. I was very unfair on you, Graham.

Graham
I was wafting in the rarefied air of Leonardo ! The stink bomb of Rodney Bewes exploded over there.

David
I think…

Stephen
The boy at the back, you're right.

David
To me, Rodney Bewes looks older there than Rodney Bewes in our present time. So I think Rodney Bewes must, in the future, travel back in time to check Leonardo Da Vinci 's pulse. To be sure he's dead. Using the futuristic technology of pulse-checking. The others there are all going "What's this weirdo Rodney Bewes doing?" The one on the right has got his head in his hands, "So embarrassing".

Graham
Why 's he holding his hand?

David
Yes, Leonard was such a genius, he predicted The Likely Lads.

Alan
He's got to, because look, it isn't James Bolam, it's Rodney Bewes' turn. That's why he's going "Oh no, it's Bewes".

Stephen
I think the one on the right has definitely got his hand on his head for that reason.

Alan
Yeah, they ordered John Cleese and Connie Booth.

David
The one on the left is gesturing toward Rodney Bewes as if to say, " Leonardo, who's this dick? He's got your hand."

Graham [as Da Vinci]
"Seriously? Rodney Bewes? We want Rodney Bewes here?"

Alan [pointing at viewscreens]
That's Matthew Kelly, anyway, the one over…

Stephen
Oh no! Oh don't let it be Matthew Kelly. Oh Lord. I've now got a horrible feeling that Brian Blessed on the end has had his head sawn off and his brain taken out. [in garbled Brian Blessed voice] "That is no longer Brian Blessed this is no longer of any use." [normal voice] I don't know how that can be.

Anyway, I wanted to discuss the fact that, unbeknownst to him, when Leonardo died, he had a nephew called Pierino who was brought up to be a genius, and actually kind of was. He was sent to Florence and he demonstrated great talent but sadly he died at only age 22, leaving twenty works behind him.

Alan
Pushed out of a window by Michaelangelo.

Stephen
Or possibly by Mozart.

Alan
Working in tandem.

David
What, having stolen Rodney Bewes ' time-travelling technology?

Stephen
Yes, exactly. It all makes sense. Sort of. Yeah.

What can you tell me that's quite interesting, while we're on the subject of Leonardo, aside from the fact that Rodney Bewes was his doctor – I honestly didn't know – what can you tell me about the last supper?

Viewscreens: Da Vinci 's "Last Supper".

David
[presses buzzer, which sounds a ringing bell and announces "Peterhouse, Mitchell"]
Did he sort of paint… er, he… Is it true that the reason it's peeling so badly is he didn't listen to the people who were experts in that kind of painting, the way you're supposed to prepare the wall, he just said "No, I'm a genius, I know best." and, sort of, just slapped it on randomly. So, as a result, it's decaying a lot worse than other, sort of, frescoes like that.

Stephen
In his own lifetime it started to fall apart. Yes, he painted it directly on to dry plaster instead of on wet plaster – which is what a fresco is – and then, sadly, in Napoleon's time, it was used as a…

Alan
Dartboard.

Stephen
… storeroom, virtually as a dartboard, yeah. Er, stabling, it was used as. Er, and…

Graham
Yes, the door was knocked through the tablecloth, wasn't it?

Stephen
You can see… you should have been able to see Christ 's legs but they just added a door, so it was horribly vandalised in his own time, there.

Graham
They must've thought it's a bit rubbish, it hasn't been done very well.

Stephen
No, exactly.

David
All the other fresco painters are going, "The thing about Leonardo Da Vinci, he will not listen".

Stephen
Yeah, exactly.

Alan
Did he paint people in that he knew?

Stephen
I'm not sure in his case. It was obviously a thing that used to be done in Renaissance art. This is… I think they're all fussing about… "I had the pita bread but I didn't have any wine so I don't see why I should pay as much as Peter. And Simon … Luke had that, I'm not paying for that."

Dara
It's basically… because it is, just, a room of people being repelled by Jesus.

Stephen
And what Jesus is saying is, "This is the last bloody supper I'm ever going to". Although… obviously, Leonardo was a fine artist, he didn't actually make any real contribution to science at all, did he? Or did he?

Graham
Flying machine? Or is that a forfeit?

Stephen
No, not a forfeit, it just wouldn't have worked, his… his helicopter.

David
Yes, it's a drawing of a helicopter, isn't it? I mean, I did, sort of, drawings of space ships when I was about five and I'd be embarrassed if someone said I'd invented interstellar travel.

Graham
If he just did some paintings, what's the fuss?

Stephen
Well because his curiosity was so wide ranging, in machines of war and in anatomy and so on. But partly the trouble, the reason he didn't contribute to science is – he did actually make a few discoveries – is that he wrote a "mirror-writing" diary, which was also in code. It wasn't really looked at or interpreted until the nineteenth century, by which time everything he discovered which might have been new fifty, a hundred years earlier, had already been independently discovered. So in that sense he didn't really contribute.

But he's considered the prototypical genius, as you say, archetypal Renaissance man.

Graham
Submarine? Did he come up with a submarine?

Stephen
He might've done a drawing about submarines, I'm not sure.

Graham
or is it the same drawing that he did?

David
He just did a wavy line and coloured it in blue and then went like [pretends to label a diagram] "kitchen".

Graham
With a fish looking in.

David
"Probably no room for a tennis court" – practically thinking.

Stephen
Anyway, if everyone could roll their tongues for me… very good… close-up on Graham …

Viewscreens: Picture of a QI family.

Stephen [seeing viewscreens]
…what the hell?

Dara
I think it's supposed to be an illustration of a child of two genes may not necessarily be a genius.

Stephen
I don't know if it says that. Yes, rolling tongues… where does that gift come from? If it is a gift. Where does that ability… I literally can not do it.

Graham
A … a fish.

Stephen
Mind you…

Graham
You asked.

Stephen
And you gave an answer. You avoided the trap which was to say from your parents, that it's genetically handed down when it's not. It's one of these things that some people can do and some people can't and it isn't related to the fact that if it came to your parents, you can do it. And there are other things some people can do and some people can't, like asparagus and urine. Does it make your urine smell?

Graham
It makes everyone's urine smell!

Stephen
No it doesn't.

Graham
Maybe not ladies.

Stephen
Yeah mostly women don't have the… I mean, [to audience] can you put your hand up if you've never noticed an effect of asparagus in the smell of your urine?

[Dara puts his hand up]

Alan
Weird.

Graham [to Dara]
You've never noticed?

Dara
I've never noticed that.

Stephen
Yes, some people don't, you see, and that's quite a lot of people in the audience.

Graham
But it's inst… you've hardly finished chewing…

Stephen
I know. It's always…

Graham
… and then you're peeing and it stinks…

Stephen
They used to call it…

Graham
… other diners are pointing at you…

Alan
You should be doing that in the toilet…

Graham
Yeah, it stinks and he's doing it in here.

Stephen
They used to call it housemaid's despair because the next morning, if someone had had asparagus, the housemaid would take down the chamber-pot… [pretends to hold a chamber-pot at arm's length, nose wrinkled] "Argh!"

Dara
I just want to say I find… maybe I'm wrong… maybe, this… I find the smell of urine quite distasteful anyway.

Stephen
Yeah, but this you'd know, believe me.

Graham
If you've got stinky pee you need to see someone.

Dara
No I don't.

Graham
There 's something wrong with you.

Dara
Wha-

Graham
You've got a disease.

Stephen [to Dara]
Your pee, presumably, doesn't make you go "Waah!"

Dara
It just makes me go, "I'll not drink that".

Stephen
Good point.

Graham
If you peed out Chardonnay, that would be something else.

Dara
Just to leave that alone, I feel, yeah.

David
Serious…

Graham
I've been alone because I've just been into a toilet.

Dara
Yeah, okay, I didn't say that I was, you know, flavouring stuff…

Graham
He decanted it… if he decanted it, that would be different.

Stephen
When I was a child, Sugar Puffs made it smell like Sugar Puffs. To me. Anybody else? Oh good, a few. So nice not to be alone, isn't it?

Alan
I had asparagus in the past and it didn't make my wee smell and it's only in recent years that it has.

Stephen
That is interesting isn't it, and we know there was interest there. And an interesting audience and they've all got exactly the right little bodies, they do the right things.

Graham
What people? She's still fuming.

David
I think people are a lot more interested in their wee than they'll admit.

Stephen
That's certainly true.

Dara
People are interested in what comes out of them. I think, the general rule. Not, you know, in, kind of, an icky way, there is an element of [pretends to dig in his ear and then look at his fingertip] that.

David
I just wanted to make the point that you ask someone about their interests, they'll say, you know, walking, cinema, books… they won't say, "Well, primarily the smell of my own farts but, you know, they don't come all the time so I while away the rest of my time with cinema, books and long walks. If I could just fart all day and smell it, I would be a fascinated man".

Stephen
You are so right. I think most psychologists would agree with you. You wouldn't say it is true but it's an unspoken truth.

David
Ask anyone on earth, when they've just farted and smelt it, who is bored.

Alan
You know what that means? When you see someone reading [demonstrates with a book] and they're reading a book and they're reading a book, and if they go like that [looks up] they're not thinking about the book, they've just let one go.

Stephen
It is true. It's odd, we laugh at it and yet it is our obsession from the cradle onwards, virtually. Anyway, despite what we're taught, a lot of these things like tongue rolling don't come from our parents, it doesn't follow you can if your parents can.

Which was the first animal to be cloned?

Graham
Oh well it can't be, so it's…

Alan
Oh, er, well, um… it's not Dolly the sheep then?

Stephen
No, you're right, it isn't Dolly. You've all been so good at avoiding my little honey traps. No, er…

Alan
I thought it was Dolly the sheep. It's not.

Stephen
Not the first animal, no. We have to go back to the 1880's for the first cloning.

Graham
Really?

Stephen
Yeah. It was a sea creature, actually.

David
An octopus or something?

Stephen
No, it was a sea urchin.

Viewscreens: Video of a sea urchin in motion.

Stephen
There's one. This was a German called Driesch who did it, in 1885. But in 1902, another German, Hans Spemann, cloned a salamander and he used a rudimentary noose, right, to separate the cells of the embryo. The noose was made of the hair of a human baby. He used it like a little lasso to, just to separate… isn't that marvellous?

David
That is fiddly work.

Stephen
It is very fiddly work, you've got to say, yeah.

David
There must have been lots of times when he used to go [loses it] "Ah God…damn!" [calms down] "Now, now, calm down… Could I please have another babies' hair?"

Alan
Back to the baby. [pretends to be a baby as he plucks a hair from his head] Aaargh!

David
Now all the people trying to…

Alan
"One doodie, madam".

David
Imagine trying to keep him calm. "Would you like another…?" "NO I DON'T want another coffee".

Graham
Go … go: "Do you want me to have a go?" "Oh no…"

Stephen
You're right. But Dolly… Dolly was in 1996, Dolly the sheep was the one you cleverly avoided, but why Dolly? Why called "Dolly", do you know?

Dara
It was named after Dolly Parton because the cell came from the mammary glands.

Stephen
Correctly correctington, well done sir, excellent. Points.

David
Do you think there was a point where they go, "We can just get another sheep and say 'There it is, it's genetically identical, that one'… yeah. There's two sheep… look similar… yeah, that's because they're genetically identical."

Stephen
Well oddly enough things can be genetically identical and rather surprising because the first cat to be cloned was called Rainbow and her clone was known as "CC".

Viewscreens: Picture of Rainbow and her clone.

Stephen
And there… you see, now how can that happen?

Dara
Ah well they didn't… they just didn't put the effort in. They went through all the pet shops for that little, er… for that little fake. They could've… they could've at least sent the guy who they sent to get the kitten with a… a photo of their cat. Not just "Get any cat".

Stephen
Yes. The little kitten is called "CC". Points if you can guess what that stands for?

Alan
Cat clone?

Stephen
Wittier. Or, sort of wittier.

Man in Audience
Copy Cat.

Stephen
Points to the audience. Copy Cat, you see? Very good. Yeah. The operation was known as Operation Copy Cat obviously, it was part of a larger project to clone a dog which was called Missy. Missyplicity, named after a dog named Missy. And the world's first cloned dog, from Korea, was called Snappy.

Alan
And they ate it.

Stephen
Aw, come… [laughs] Anyway, the point is the first animal to be cloned was the sea urchin, way back in 1885. Since then, many animals have of course been given the treatment including the first cloned cats, who looked nothing like each other.

Now it doesn't take a genius to know it's time to look for some general ignorance, so fingers on buzzers if you would. How old are you?

[The panellists pause]

Graham
[presses buzzer, which sounds a ringing bell]

Stephen
Norton?

Graham
How old do I look?

Alan
[presses buzzer, which sounds a ringing bell and announces "Alan Davies"]
How old do I feel?

Stephen
Ah!

David
Just shows you the effect of this game, though. Ask a question, all four of us think "That is something I definitely know the answer to... but I've been made so uncertain, I'm not even willing to give my own age, name or address."

Dara
How can this be a trap? How can this possibly be a trap? I am thirty seven!
[presses buzzer, which sounds a ringing bell]
Thirty seven!
[the buzzer continues with the announcement, "Dara O'Briain"]
There you go, no points lost.

Forfeit : Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "DARA -37".

Stephen
Oh…

Dara
But I actually am!

Graham
We should all do it, I bet you there's like someone will get it wrong.

David
Okay.
[presses buzzer, which sounds a ringing bell and announces "Peterhouse, Mitchell"]
Thirty four.

Stephen
Thirty four, eh?

David
Thirty four.

Forfeit : Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "DAVID -34".

Stephen
Oh dear boy. [to Graham] You don't want to do this, do you?

Graham
I'll do it!
[presses buzzer, which sounds a ringing bell and announces "Graham Norton"]
Forty six.

Forfeit : Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "GRAHAM -46".

Stephen [looks at Alan expectantly]

Alan
I'm not doing it.

Stephen
Well, obviously, as the baby that was called Graham or Dara or David or Alan was, you know, arrived on the planet a number of years ago, that you said. But that's not how old you are. If I touch you, if I touch your arm… how old is that arm? Is that as old as that?

Dara
It's like six weeks old or something like that?

David
Five years we replace our entire… ourselves?

Stephen
Different bits of one, that's right. There are different bits of one that take… some of them…

Dara
Your cells regenerate.

Stephen
Your red blood cells last only 120 days. A liver has a turnaround time of 300 to 500 days. Sort of, one and a half years.

Graham
Hurry up!

Stephen
The entire… Give it a chance to recover! The entire human skeleton is replaced every ten years or so. So all your bones.

Graham
Really?

Stephen
Yeah.

Graham
That's good, isn't it?

Stephen
Yeah, it is. Unfortunately they're replaced in an aged way, rather annoyingly, rather than a brand-new way.

David
So it's replaced with a second-hand one?

Stephen
Well not exactly used, no, no, but…

David
I'm thinking of trading in my eight-year-old Mazda for an eight-and-a-bit-year-old Mazda.

Stephen
I'm afraid that's how it goes, yeah. It's all rather unfortunate. An adult's body may turn out, usually, somewhere between seven and ten years old in terms of it's cells, although some of it's cells are much, much younger. 98% of the seven billion billion billion atoms in the human body are replaced yearly.

David
You know, I think some of my socks are older than I am.

Stephen
It 's a marvellous thought.

David
I feel I should defer to them.

Stephen
Yes. They've been around longer than me. But most of the cells in your body are not your own, not human.

David
Is this bacteria?

Stephen
Bacteria, yes. In fact, more than 500 different species of them make up more than ten times the number of human cells. Isn't that interesting? On average, all of the cells in your body are only ten years old or so.

Now, how did the Church of England originally react to Darwin 's theory of evolution?

Alan
Well they weren't happy about it.

Stephen
They weren't happy about it?

Dara
[presses buzzer, which sounds a ringing bell and announces "Dublin, O'Briain"]
I… they didn't get it, I don't think. Nobody really got it for a while. He delivered it to a meeting of the Royal Society, I think it was, er, and people just went "Uh, okay".

Stephen
That's true of his original paper, but when he published The Origin of the Species, it was a massive bestseller, in fact it even sold out before it was printed. And he was a gigantic figure of his time. He was one of only five people not Royal to be given a burial at Westminster Abbey. They absolutely understood his greatness and the surprising thing is the Church were not that worried at all. Specifically, the Church of England.

But for many years, most churchmen had encouraged people to believe that a lot of the Bible was metaphorical, it's not literally true. But, if there was anything shocking about it to them, it was that it shows that nature doesn't care. The idea of a lineal evolution they thought was fine, that might have been part of God's plan, but a true understanding of evolution also shows that nature is completely horrific.

Dara
That was the major part the Victorians hated because they loved their countryside and they loved bird song and…

Stephen
Mrs. Alexander 's, you know, All Things Bright and Beautiful.

Dara
Yes, and instead they're locked in a vicious struggle for survival where all animals…

Stephen
Where all animals are hungry and afraid and they die before they, you know, get old, and it's a miserable, hard life…

Alan
Unless they live in zoos where they live quite stress-free.

Stephen
It is, it's a life they wouldn't expect in the wild. So, the Origin of the Species was widely respected by the churchmen at the time of it's publication.

Now, from one controversy to another. What kind of pet did Charles Cruft have?

[The panellists pause]

Stephen
Ah come on, I mean…

Alan
A cat.

Stephen
Yes ! You see? Very good. He did indeed. He was the sign of a thriving jewellery business in the nineteenth century and he was a fine salesman, and he went into business with a man called Spratt who made 'dog cakes'.

Alan
Dog cakes?

Stephen
Yeah. Well, a kind of biscuit, really.

Alan
Oh.

Stephen
A dog biscuit is fine but a dog cake is mad?

Alan
I thought you meant a cake made out of dog.

David
Yeah, definitely, 'dog biscuit' sounds like it's made for dogs and 'dog cake' sounds like it's got a lovely layer of dog in it.

Stephen
Okay.

Alan
I went 'fish cake' … 'dog cake' you know…

Stephen
Oh I see. I… no, that does make sense now. Yeah, sorry. Um, but, he sort of founded the business of the large dog show, Charles Cruft, and then it got bigger and they were hugely successful until he died in 1938 and, sort of, the kennel club took over. All kinds of problems that seem to come from in-breeding and the sponsors withdrew, the dog food sponsor – Pedigree – withdrew, the BBC withdrew, RSPCA, the dog charity… all withdrew. So this year Cruft's was broadcast live on the internet for the first time.

Dara
Cat shows are much more interesting, though, because cat show… cats are shown, obviously, in a similar kind of way, but in that kind of cat independent way where they don't seem to be aware of it or care very much. What they do is, you lift up the cat and essentially…

Stephen
Fluff it.

Dara
No, you make it do "Superman" er, and some of the cats in the show just get that cat look of [shrugs]…

Stephen
No!

Dara
…you can do it to your own cat at home, it's very good, because they just look [gazes about vacantly] disinterested.

David
The other side of Cruft's not being on the television is that it's a real relief that Cruft's isn't on the television, isn't it?

Stephen
Yes !

David
I mean, if I was to define a terrible idea for a programme, it would be pretty much Cruft's.

Alan
Or, then playing golf.

Stephen
You don't like golf?

Alan
No. I don't understand why it goes on television.

Stephen
I love watching golf.

Alan
You love watching golf?

Stephen
I'm absolutely passionate about it.

Graham
You like…? But what are you watching?

Stephen
The golf.

Graham
Yeah but… he hits it, and then the camera just goes… sky sky sky sky sky, it's over there somewhere.

Stephen
The founder of Cruft's, Charles Cruft … he did have a pet cat but he didn't care for dogs.

And finally, how many brains did the Man with Two Brains have?

Alan
Two

Stephen
Yes. That's brilliant. Yeah, he's wise enough to spot a double-bluff!

David
This is the technique of the bully. You hit us and then you go "Do you think I was going to hit you? I'm not going to hit you. This is my hand, I'm going to…. Stroke you". And you go "Waah!" [acts out a person on the edge of nervous collapse as the expected pain becomes a stroking hand]

Stephen
That's exactly what we do. The fact is, Doctor Michael Gershwin has proved that we all have two brains. Your gut has it's enteric nervous system and it's the only part of the body that can operate perfectly if all connection is cut from the upper brain. From the real brain, the brain we call the brain, as it were. It doesn't have the intelligence and consciousness that a brain has but it operates separately, so in that sense we do have two brains.

David
How bright would our stomachs be in the animal kingdom? Would they be cleverer than an octopus?

Stephen
I doubt it, I think they're just good at one thing and that's preparing poo for exit. They basically… it's not even the stomach, it is the gut, the greater and lesser intestine and the colon, essentially, are the bits with the brain. Like all of us, the man with two brains actually did have two brains, according to the latest thinking the gut does act as a separate brain.

So, pens down and stop writing, that's it for our exam today geniuses, time to mark your papers… my goodness, my gracious… the newcomer, minus nineteen, Graham Norton… in third place with minus eight, David Mitchell… in second place with a very respectable minus seven, Dara O'Briain… which can only mean that today's geniuses of geniuses of genius… Alan Davies with four points!

Ah. So that's all from QI, my thanks go to Graham, Dara, David and Alan and I leave you with our genius, Leonardo Da Vinci's favourite joke. It was asked of a painter why, since he made such beautiful figures - which were but dead things - why his children were so ugly. To which the painter replied that he made his pictures by day but his children by night. Good night.