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Series 7, Episode 9

Transcript by: Glenn Campbell
Notes: This transcript has not been edited for style or content, but I'm sure it's jolly good.

TRANSCRIPT

Stephen
Gooood evening good evening good evening and welcome to QI where we have prepared for you a veritable gallimaufry of gaffs, gammons and other gingambobs. On the panel tonight we have the gotch-gutted Hugh Dennis… a glimflashy grinagog Phill Jupitus… a gravy-eyed gundyguts, Andy Hamilton… and a proper gilligaupus, Alan Davies.

And to attract my attention tonight, the buzzers are all on a Georgian theme. Hugh goes:

Hugh
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of an oboe-led quartet reciting a stately tune]

Stephen
Andy goes:

Andy
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bassoon reciting a melody]

Stephen
Phill goes:

Phill
[presses buzzer, which plays a flute-led quartet playing an uptempo tune. Phill bobs his head to the beat and holds up a rock salute]

Stephen
Wow. And Alan goes:

Alan
[presses buzzer, which plays a clip from George Formby's song 'When I'm Cleaning Windows']
[to Stephen, then Phill] George Formby?

Stephen
Yes, George Formby. Excellent.

You might've been able to tell when I introduced you that I've been spending my weekend with my eighteenth century book of Georgian slang, and I called you "Gravy-eyed". What do you think that means?

Hugh
Eyes like gravy?

Stephen
Well roomy, runny… runny eyes. "Glimflashy"? It means an angry person, Glimflashy. I think their eyes are flashing, there are glims in their eyes I think. There is a great phrase called "Whiddle my scrap". Do you know what that means?

Hugh
Does that… does that mean you can exchange your car for two thousand pounds?

Stephen
Very good! No, to whiddle somebody's scrap means to see their game, to see what they're up to. "He whiddled my scrap." And so… I have decided to institute a game of Whiddle my Scrap. It's an early version of Call my Bluff. So let's play Whiddle my Scrap!

Let's have a word. [he strikes a shop bell to announce Andy and Hugh's turn]

Stephen
And, er let's have your team…

Andy
We can't do it as Robert Robertson, we're not playing.

Stephen [as Robertson]
Ah! It's a "Gentleman of Three Outs". And it means…? Can it be Andy has the answer?

Andy
"A Gentleman of Three Outs" was a genteel Georgian expression and it meant someone without money, without wit and without manners.

Stephen
Alright, so three withouts.

Andy
Three withouts, but it was someone without money, without wit and without manners, and it was like…

Stephen
So a sort of Piers Morgan of the eighteenth century.

Andy
Well, before he got rich, yeah.

Stephen
Yes, good.

Hugh
Well, "A Gentleman of Three Outs" is a status thing. The eighteenth century was a period in which many of the great homes were built… But lesser people couldn't afford to build massive houses, so they built smaller houses but they put lots of outhouses on them. So if you were "A Gentleman of Three Outs" it would mean that you had three outbuildings and that would be a mark of your status and your means.

Andy
Or – It was Punch Magazine's genteel description of the notorious highwayman Jonny Tripplearse.

Stephen
Right.

Andy
Now, one of those is maybe more plausible than the others… I don't know.

Stephen [as Robertson, to Alan and Phill]
So, ah, team… Who's your captain? Who's going to guess?

[Alan and Phill confer with quiet mumbling]

Alan
I never used to really like Call my Bluff 'cause it got boring 'cause of this bit.

Phill
I used to like the bit where someone would go, [posh accent] "I'm leaning towards Hugh."

Alan
Or they look at you and try and see if you crack.

Stephen
Robertson would just take a look and say [as Robertson] "Have a plump… have a plump." We're onto something…

Alan
The first one.

Stephen
The first one… The gentleman without manners… [to Andy and Hugh] Reveal yourself! Is it true?

Andy
Jonny Tripplearse? It's the easy one.

Hugh
It's easy to go with the first one 'cause you can't actually remember what it was.

Andy
No.

Alan
Two!

Stephen
"What he said."

Alan
I wasn't really listening. Can you repeat it? I can't stand Call my Bluff.

Stephen
This is why… This is Whiddle

Alan
Why are we playing… why are we playing Call my Bluff ? It's a shit game. We can be really inventive and play a really good game and we're playing Call my Bluff.

Stephen
It's a way of allowing our audience to stand up…

Alan
Over on Call my Bluff they're playing QI and they're having a riot!

Andy
Should I do it in the way, sort of, Diana Reed would do it?

Stephen
Yeah, go on. Wooooo…

Andy [slowly draws the card up to just below his eyes and suddenly reveals the answer printed inside, which reads "TRUE"]

Stephen
You're right! Oh brilliant. Your team gets a point. Now let's have the next word. [he strikes the counter bell for Alan and Phill's turn] And it's… "Grog Blossom". It's a phrase… "Grog Blossom", would you like to explain what "Grog Blossom" means?

Alan
Um, it's actually the, kind of, mould that you get around the inside of a barrel of beer that you have to clean out before you can use it again.

Stephen
Right. Phill?

Phill
I'd like to, if I may, do it in the style of the usual, customary out-of-work actor that they used to have on Call my Bluff, who would then really lean into his definition in an effort to beg for work.

[with exaggerated theatrical voice and gestures] Imagine if you will… a lone figure walking across Hampstead Heath… the sun glinting in his very eyes for he is making his way back from an evening at the inn… Where he has partaken of mead and other lascivious beverages. Adorning the chin of said stout fellow are pimples for they betray his excesses and these, at the time, were know as… [in a natural voice, directly at the camera] Marty Fitch, 01287469, available for panto… [returns to the theatrical persona] "Grog Blossom".

Stephen
Ah! Bravo! Excellent. [to Andy and Hugh] So it's some kind of mark caused by drunkenness or it's the mould growing on the inside of a barrel of ale. Would you like to confer?

Hugh
I don't think it's the stuff round the barrel.

Andy
Do you? The dull one?

Hugh
Yeah.

Andy
We're going for the dull answer please, Robert.

Stephen
Alan, true or bluff?

Alan [opens his card to reveal the word "BLUFF"]

Andy
It's a bluff!

Stephen, Phill and Hugh
Awww!

Phill
Also, then, I have to do it like they did… [theatrical persona] And of course… the man walking across the common, it was he!

Stephen
Ah, it is. That's enough gratuitous Georgian grossness,
let's look at a notable gaff now. How did Captain Schlitt's number two sink his own U-boat?

Phill
I'm assuming that the good captain was in the bath. This couldn't have happened in an actual…

Stephen
No, it was a real…

Alan [to Phill]
What, you mean playing with a toy U-boat?

Phill
It was number two.

Stephen
Oh, I see, a number two in that sense is what you're talking about.

Phill
Yes.

Stephen
Not as in, "Yes number one, carry on number one…"

Alan
He might've blocked the loo and caused some sort of terrible backup?

Stephen
Ah!

Alan
Affected the ballast.

Stephen
Imagine how the lavatory on a submarine works.

Andy
Ah!
[presses buzzer, which plays the basoon's brief melody]
[His buzzer obscures Stephen's speech] Sorry, that might've been a clue. I'm a ruthless competitor.
It's something to do with the flush on the toilet.

Stephen
Yes. How does that work, do you imagine? When you're under water?

Hugh
It's sucked out when they let water in? Presumably…

Stephen
Well, yeah, the point is that obviously the lavratorial arrangements of a boat that's submersible are very complex, that you can't just flush the water out in the way that you could from an aeroplane or a train. You had to have special training to operate the flush.

Phill
Or you shoot a sailor out of the torpedo tube – tied to a rope – he relieves himself and you pull him back in.

Stephen
Well it seems that what happened was Captain Schlitt in his U-boat, U-1206 was his… April the fourteenth 1945, just before the end of the war…

Alan
How annoying.

Stephen
Very annoying, yeah. And he had a poo and he claims that the loo was faulty and it didn't work properly, the "cloe" as they would say, "The cloe vosnt…"… yeah… "It broknt. It vosnt vorkink." But there is a theory that in fact he'd just done a monster and rather unpleasant poo and was too embarrassed to ask the sailor who was responsible for the doing of the flushing to come in, because there was a bit of… [wafts his hand over his nose]… you know… and so he did it himself and got it in the wrong order. And he filled the place with sewage and water, erm…

Audience in General
Eeuw.

Stephen
But more importantly…

Alan
He just left it. As you would in a hotel or something.

Stephen [German accent]
Yeah, "It was like that when I went in."

Alan [German accent]
"Ja, ja, don't go in that one, my God."

Phill
So, as he climbed out of the tower of the submarine and…

Stephen
They're underwater, that's the point.

Phill
They saw that and did they sink?

Stephen
What happened was, you see, is… There was a leak of this water, the water came in and it leaked into… what powered those U-boats?

Phill
Diesel?

Stephen
No, they had a battery. A huge acid battery, and when the sea water hits the battery it creates chlorine gas, toxic chlorine gas. And so they had to rise up to the surface to vent and they were spotted and blown out of the water. So just because he…

Alan
It's very unfair to shoot a man with his trousers down.

Stephen
It is that.

Alan
The rules say that this doesn't count.

Stephen
Captain Karl-Adolff Schmitt sank his own U-boat using nothing more deadly that using it's own lavatory.

Now… getting up. What gets you up in the morning?

Viewscreens: Still of Sean Connery and a Bond girl in bed.

Stephen
Bizarre picture to choose, but erm…

Andy
I'm a writer, getting up in the morning isn't really part of my job.

Phill
I used to leave the World Service on overnight, but just very quiet on the radio so I thought I'd wake up, sort of, quite naturally. But I was listening to Radio Four on the way to work the next day and I heard the news on the radio and I thought I dreamed this. For two days I thought I was psychic. Because I'd been dreaming what I was listening to on the World Service. I thought. "Oh my God, I've got the powers."

Stephen
But the ones you know of, that you used as a child, if you didn't have an alarm clocl?

Phill
I, er… this is the old wivesy one… bang your head on the pillow the number of times… [he rocks his head sideways to indicate banging it against the pillow] one, two, three, four, five, six…

Stephen
And you would wake up at six.

Phill
And you would wake up at six.

Stephen
Yeah

Phill
With concussion.

Andy
You can what?

Stephen
Have you not heard that?

Hugh
Not tried that.

Stephen
You would've had to have been at a boarding school. But we used to get, like… if we were doing a raid on the kitchens or something and we'd say, "We'll get up at three." And we'd go down to the kitchens because they had these big blocks of catering jelly and you'd eat the blocks of jelly… erm…

Alan
Left out specially for the ones who were going to raid the kitchen.

Stephen
Probably.

Alan
"Kids are raiding the kitchen again, we'd better leave some jelly out."

Stephen
And we'd go [motions with his head] bang bang bang, like that, three, and you'd wake up at three. And it seemed to work, we were convinced it did work. Sleep researchers say that it doesn't, you just wake up a lot 'cause you're not sleeping and you look at your watch and you remember the one that works.

Hugh
You've got a tremendous headache by the end of the evening.

Stephen
Not if you sleep. [to Andy] You say you don't get up early. Are you a night owl, do you work late at night?

Andy
I can get up early if I have to.

Stephen
Yea. So it's reckoned that 20% of people are genuinely… it is a difficult thing for them because they are larks or owls as you might say. They are early or late and that's to say they fall asleep at dinner parties if they're a lark and they just can't get up if they're an owl.

Andy
Teenagers are owls, aren't they?

Stephen
Young children are larks, teenagers are owls and then very old people tend to get back to being larks again and rise very early.

Hugh
It's very irritating if people do get up very early, they will justify that by saying, "Best part of the day! Best part of the day!" In fact it's not, it's just part of the day. It's just another part of the day.

Andy
When nothing's open.

Stephen
There are things that happen early in the morning that are different if you'd stayed up for them than if you've woken up to them. Like if it's three or four in the morning and you're having an all-nighter and you hear the bin and you feel guilty… And you hate the fact that mornings come but if you wake up to it, you think, "Yes! Belongs to me!" There's a big difference.

Andy
I used to live in a house in Hernhill and I had the room at the front and there was one bin man who thought he could sing. And at six in the morning he would come and he would sing "Don't cry for me, Argentina." But he could never get the last note. So he'd go, [Andy drops the last note low and raises the last vowel, as if asking a question] "Don't cry for me Argentayna?"

Stephen
No!

Andy
It used to vary from morning to morning. And… I… It was… I was that close to insanity 'cause, you know, he was my lark, yeah, every morning.

Phill
Rex Harrison did your bins?

Alan
He had two sisters called Margentina. Didn't you know?

Stephen
Do you know what the American Indians supposedly did? To make sure they got up early for a dawn raid? Because they didn't have alarm clocks.

Alan
Leave the windows open? Leave the curtains open?

Stephen
No… They would drink lots of water.

Alan
So they needed a wee.

Stephen
So they would have to get up for a wee. M.I.T. produced a clock which, when you pressed the snooze button, it runs off and hides. So when it rings again you have to get up to stop it and it's programmed each day to hide in a different place. To find it… it's never in the same place. That's quite clever.

Hugh
They really are working on really important projects there.

Stephen
And there's another one which is an alarm clock in the shape of a dumbbell and you can't shut it up unless you do thirty reps on the thing. So it's a way of getting fit and waking up at the same time.

Andy
What a deeply demoralising… that clock thing… a deeply demoralising start to the day, you've been outwitted by a clock. First thing that's happened in your day… the clock's giving you the run-around for half an hour.

Stephen
There's another one which, every time you press the snooze button, right – it's got an online connection – you donate money to a political cause you hate. That's quite clever, isn't it?

Andy
We've got a clock, it's like a cuckoo clock but it's a monkey. And he comes out, you know, [imitates a monkey call] "Ooo oo oo a aa a" on the hour. But only ever when I'm saying something important. Unbelievable, every time I'll be saying, "No, look, no, the thing is, what you've got to understa…" "Ooo oo oo a aa a!" And one day it's going to end up like the cuckoo clock in Steptoe and Sons.

Stephen
It's like waiters in restaurants who do, just as you reach the punch line of a joke, "So she said…" "Who's having the lamb?"

Well there you go, you see, there are of course many cunning ways of waking yourself up without an alarm clock, American Indians swore by a nice full bladder.

Now, here are samples of handwriting from our panellists. I want you to match the handwriting to the panelliste and see what you can say about it.

Viewscreens: Pictures of the panellists and their handwriting.

Stephen
Give your reasons if you can. Obviously don't say your own because you'll know your own.

Alan
"Hello my name is Phill Jupitus"?

Stephen
I wonder who that could be?

Alan
I think there's a clue in that one.

Stephen
It's rather good handwriting, whoever that… that's quite, sort of, calligraphically learnt, isn't it? "Dear Points of View, I'd like to complain about QI"

Hugh
May I ask why I'm wearing a beret?

Andy
In mine, that's the eyebrow I can't control. I have no… People always think that I'm being quizzical when I say something… I can't, it just…

Alan
Is it on it's way up or on it's way down?

Andy
I've no idea.

Stephen
So, any thoughts? What about "I must not answer back"…

Alan
'D' is Phill.

Stephen
'D' is Phill you think? I think there's a strong chance it's Phill.

Hugh
I know that 'D' is Andy 'cause he writes on my scripts… rude things, when we're filming…

Stephen
Does he really have that fine handwriting?

Hugh
I think he has that writing.

Stephen
It's very fine.

Andy
Yes that is me.

Stephen
Congratulations on fine handwriting. A graphologist would say of your, becaue it's mostly joined up, logical, systematic thinker… some words are more spaced than others, therefore open, honest and deep in thought. Sociable because of the slightly forward slant to the right.

Andy
Oh, right.

Stephen
So that's good. Oh, okay, that's good, we've got yours, we can eliminate 'D' as being Andy Hamilton.

Phill
I think 'C' is Alan.

Stephen
Because it's the untidiest?

Phill
No I just think it's Alan. I don't know why.

Stephen
Is it you, Alan?

Alan
Yeah.

Stephen
It is! Oh. Well that's really good.

Alan [to Phill]
How did you know? Did you watch me doing it earlier?

Phill
No. I just thought "That looks like Alan wrote it." Which is the only way you can play this game.

Stephen
Close lettering is unstable, apparently.

Alan
There wasn't much room on the bit of paper.

Stephen
No? Awww. I'll think of you.

Alan
I had to squeeze it in to get it in.

Stephen
Letters not mostly joined up, sometimes does things without thinking.

Alan
There's a big fat pen you've got to… they gave me a marker pen.

Stephen
So we're left with 'B' and 'A'. So 'B'…

Hugh
I think Phill and I can probably work it out.

Stephen
You think… that's a kind of logical thing, that. So 'B' is Phill, yeah?

Phill
No.

Stephen
'B' is Hugh. That's quite good handwriting. It's quite flowing, quite feminine almost, isn't it?

Hugh [bashfully]
Well… you know…

Stephen
If your handwriting had a gender it would be assigned.

Hugh
… it's very intelligent to let that pass by, you know, my nature.

Stephen
It's very nice. It's very nice handwriting.

Hugh
Does it say anything about me?

Stephen
Yeah. Joins up most but all letters, artistic and intuitive. Self-control, egotism and coldness, on the other hand, because it's upright.

Hugh
Why does upright mean that?

Stephen
It doesn't. It must be understood at this point that the British Psychological Society, in any empirical test ever done, has shown that graphology – as a way of interpreting character – has zero validity. Like astrology.

Phill
So this is a bit of a, kind of, non-round.

Stephen
Yeah, er, no, it's interesting to know that. And even in America it's not allowable in court. Erm… forensic… sorry, I mean… you know… but, yeah…
Forensic graphology, where you can prove this person did write this, that is allowable, but the idea that you can interpret character… it is just absolute nonsense.

Phill
I must say, I'm looking forward to the DNA round.

Stephen
The worrying thing about it is that three thousand British businesses use graphology analysts for recruitment. They actually hire people on the basis of a completely specious…

Alan
Good a way as any, though, innit?

Stephen
Yeah but it's botty water.

Andy
Are they…

Hugh
Girls have nicer handwriting than boys, don't they?

Stephen
That is one thing, you can often… not 100%, but you can tell gender, yeah.

Hugh
And you thought I was a girl.

Stephen
Yeah, not always, as I said, not 100%.

Phill
We actually Tipp-Ex'd out the smiley face dots over the 'I's.

Stephen
But I like yours Phill, I like your 'A's.

Stephen
It says here, about you… self-control, egotism, coldness, unstable, sometimes does things without thinking.

Phill
Well I'm with you there.

Stephen
Yeah yeah. Unstable… woah!

Hugh
Maybe we can have a fight as to who is the coldest.

Phill
Let's both get a 99 and just stand there with it.

[Hugh and Phill embark on an impromptu staring contest]

Stephen
First one to melt loses.

[a brief pause lets the contest continue]

Stephen
Woah.

Phill
I thought I was cold.

Hugh
Yeah.

Stephen
Whew! He is cold, isn't he? [to Andy] So you did a handwriting test?

Andy
Yeah I did… I sat a test to become a French train driver.

Stephen
What?

Andy
My friend's dad was a psychologist for SNCF and in France, er, they had this idea that, you know, a responsible job like a train driver, you ought to find out if the person is a maniac or not. We don't bother with that. And, erm, so I sat the test and there was a handwriting element. What they did, erm, was you had to hold the pen in your wrong hand and they put a ru… there's a kind of rubber ring around the middle and you had to try and trace over what was written there. And if it drifted up the page you were assertive, possibly too aggressive, and if it went down the page you were deemed to be too passive and…

Stephen
Good lord.

Andy
What was really interesting was the tests were all actually common sense. There was one where they said, "Right, press that pedal if it's green, that pedal if it's red, that pedal if it's yellow and you'll hear a hooter if you get it wrong." And you did it for about fifteen seconds and then they arbitrarily sounded the hooter. And that was just to see if you went to pieces or not.

Hugh
I'm just fascinated how you can drive a train too passively, though. What do you mean? How can you too passive driving a train? "Ooh, we're going terribly fast."

Stephen
Well there you are.

How can you tell if you're a victim of the "Goldilocks Effect"?

Andy
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a bassoon reciting a brief melody]

Stephen
Yes?

Andy
You feel just right.

Stephen
Aww. That's, sort of, exactly what a Goldilocks anything is, isn't it? Because that's the nature of Goldilocks, you're absolutely right. It's just all about, "This one's too much, that one's too little, this one is just right." The Goldilocks Effect is used in business. You set a price of something…

Phill
And then you set three bears on them.

Stephen
You have a range of three and the most expensive one is unbelievably expensive. And the second one is really a quarter as much, it seems just as nice, really. And then there's a third one that's really very cheap. And most people will go for the second one. They think it's just right, they think, "Ooh the first one's too expensive… that's a bargain."

A good example, supposedly, of Goldilocks pricing is the air fare, actually. The basic economy price for a transatlantic airliner is about £500 and then there's business class for a mere £3,500 and then first class with a full-size bed and the ability to order food whenever you want and other things for £8,000. And according to Goldilocks pricing, business class with all it's perks looks like a bargain when compared to the £8,000 even though it's still seven times as expensive as economy.

Alan
I talked to Steve Cram once and he's a very nice chap… fast runner… and he said that they make trainers, they have to make some extremely expensive because people will buy them.

Stephen
Yes!

Alan
If they don't, the other manufacturer will charge two hundred quid for… basically, once you get to about – this was ten years ago and he was saying about sixty quid so maybe it's a bit more than that – then they're really about the same after that. Once you get to a hundred, a hundred and twenty, a hundred and fifty, you're just giving them money.

Stephen
And that's called prestige pricing. Which is again, bizarre. If something's expensive enough people will believe it must be quality. And, you know, they see me coming, er, see those people coming.

Well there you are. There are other Goldilocks things as in Goldilocks zone, the distance from the sun a planet has to be, in another solar system, which would support water where it wouldn't be too hot, wouldn't be too cold.

Well there you are, anyway, yes, Goldilocks pricing is a technique where one item is given a huge price tag to help persuade us that the next one down is relatively good value.

Now we're off to Ireland where the policemen are called…?

Phill
Gards.

Stephen
Gards, the Garda, exactly. Now did you hear about the Irish policeman who tried to arrest a Polish driving licence?

Hugh
Well..

Stephen
You know this story? You do… you might?

Hugh
I saw it in the… I sort of… It was… someone was done for speeding or something…

Stephen
Yeah.

Hugh
… is that right… in lots of different parts of Ireland.

Stephen
Yeah, that's exactly right. In all of the… He had fifty offences against him, he was fast becoming the most wanted motorist in Ireland. Prawo Jazdy is a master criminal because he had different driving licences with different addresses on, so this Prawo Jazdy has all these… and then…

Alan
Goodness knows what he was up to, apart from the driving offences.

Stephen
Exactly, that was what everyone was puzzled by. They really wanted him. But it turned out that one Garda member said, "I think… I may be wrong, but I think that Prawo Jazdy is the Polish for Driving Licence." And, er, red faces all round the Garda headquarters…

Viewscreens : The offending driver's licence.

Stephen
… there it is, Prawo Jazdy… and, er… the fact that is says "Permis de Conduire" above it might've been a hint, but there we are.

Andy
Are they still looking for his brother, "Rzeczpospolita Polska"?

Stephen
Though, on the subject of driving licences, guess who had the first driving licence in the world?

Alan
The Queen.

Stephen
No, oddly enough. You couldn't be wrong-erer. Because the Queen has…?

Alan
No driving licence.

Stephen
No driving licence. She's the only person in Britain who doesn't have a driving licence. Er, yet who drives.

Phill
Cheat.

Stephen
There may be a legal one, obviously, but she legally has no need for a driving licence.

Phill
So what does she show them at Blockbusters? To prove her address?

Stephen
A twenty pound note. That would do. Well, er, no… But the first ever driving licence, not surprisingly perhaps… Who invented the motor car?

Hugh
Mister Benz.

Stephen
Mister Benz, Karl Benz… Karl Benz as in Mercedes-Benz. Yeah, exactly, erm…

Alan
He made one for himself, did he?

Stephen
Well, no, the citizens of Mana…

Alan [as Karl, with a pitched voice and German accent]
"I see I need a licence!" [he pretends to write in his book] "This is a dangerous machine. I need a licence to drive." [he completes his entry] "Now I can drive."

Andy [German accent]
"Licence number vun."

Alan [as Karl]
"Sero sero sero vun."

Andy
I bet the first thing he did when he got on the road was stop the next bloke and go, [German accent] "Vere is your licence?"

Alan [as Karl]
"I will issue you wit a licence." [holds up his hand] "It's five marks."

Phill [German accent]
"Zero zero zero two."

Alan [as Karl]
[salutes] "Good day to you." [holds up his hand] "Vere is your licence?" [writing in his book] "I will issue you wit a licence. Five marks." [slyly] "Sero sero sero three."

Phill
That's why he kept making the cars.

Stephen
Yeah, he was so busy. The authorising body was called the Dampfkesselüberwachungsverein which means the Steam Boiler Supervision Association, which granted the first licences in… the mandatory ones in Prussia.

Alan [as Karl, slyly]
"Ze S.S… A."

Stephen
Yeah. Until the fourteenth of May 2002, women who…

Alan
… he was still doing it.

Stephen
No…

Alan [as Karl]
"Number one million four hundred thousand…"

Stephen [German accent]
"Five Euros."

Alan [as Karl]
"Vere is your licence?"

Stephen
Now in Lithuania in that year, women had to undergo a certain a certain test in order to get a licence. What do you think that test was?

Hugh
Where? Lithuania ?

Stephen
Lithuania, yes.

Alan
Smear test?

Stephen
Well, yes, a gynaecological examination.

Alan
You're joking!

Stephen
Er… I don't know… there was one man who ran the entire ROTA. It's rather bizarre.

Phill
How…

Stephen
The Chinese have multiple choice driving test questions. Er, a hundred of them. One of them includes: "If you come across a road accident victim whose intestines are lying on the road, should you pick them up and push them back in?" Is the answer yes or no?

Hugh
I should think you don't push them back in.

Stephen
You don't, you're right, you would not get your licence if you said yes.

Hugh
I'm not a doctor. Didn't they have that weird thing during the cultural revolution whereby, you know, traffic lights here are green for go and red for stop… but they thought, during the cultural revolution, that that was incorrect and that red should mean go. Because, you know, culturally… communism and all the rest of it… But they failed to change all the traffic lights, so at some traffic lights green was go and at some, red was go. And they just had thousands of accidents. And then they had to, sort of, change it back.

Stephen
Wow. Hence the probability of there being intestines lying on the road.

Alan
Probably would have happened in the first place. But it's not… they're not actually green, though, they're kind of blue.

Stephen
Yes they can be, can't they?

Alan
Because red and green is a very very common colour blindness. So when they first did red and green it was a disaster. For some people, they carried straight on.

Stephen
Yeah, because they couldn't tell which light… whether it was the top or the bottom…

Alan
No, they… so the green…

Stephen
If I see a black and white film, I can tell which light's on, can't you?

Alan
Yes but not in the dark, Stephen, sometimes you are relying on the colour, let's face it, usually.

Stephen
No that… you're right, I'm sorry. That's fair.

Andy
Can we not argue because that is what the terrorists want.

Stephen
Yeah. You're right. Thank you voice of Samothrace. Let's hope…

Alan
I did hear a character in a film once say, "Don't look at the lights, the lights never hit anyone." So that's quite a good motto for driving.

Stephen
Yes.

Alan [as Karl, writing in his book]
"Zis is what I will use. Do not look at ze lights, ze lights never hit anyone."

Stephen
Ausgezeichnet. So... now we're motoring now nicely here. Can you tell me what travels from Land's End to John O'Groats every year at about one third of a mile per hour? But it slows down a bit on hills.

Hugh
Does it specifically go from there to there? Or is it a north-south movement?

Stephen
It actually goes from the south to the north and that includes going from Land's End to John O'Groats.

Hugh
Is it, sort of, er, tectonic wave or something weird? I don't know if they exist, I just made that up I think.

Stephen
No it's not a tectonic wave. No, it's something, sort of, slightly more abstract, it's a phenomenon rather… which you were sort of getting.

Phill
Is it dress sense? When we talk about moving from the south to the north.

Hugh
The gulf stream or something? Sort of, is it a windy thing?

Stephen
Seasonal. It is a season.

Andy
Spring.

Stephen
Spring is the answer. Spring takes eight weeks to get from the very south coast all the way up to the very north, up to the Orkneys.

Hugh
What's the definition of spring?

Stephen
Well, there is a phenotype analysis you can do of particular, kind of, common plants blooming. Anyone who lives, say, in the Midlands and occasionally goes to London will say "Oh my God they've already got their daffodils out" or "We haven't yet" or they'll go north and say "They haven't got their tulips yet". And it's a very noticeable…

Alan [northern accent]
"They've got their daffodils, the bastards."

Stephen
Yeah.

Phill
So the bloke… when the weatherman's on Radio 4 and he goes, [radio voice] "And you'd might like to make note that it's the first day of spring today." [northern accent] "No it's not!" [Scottish accent] "I think you'll find I'm still freezing here."

Andy
Eight miles a day it does. Spring. Is that what you're saying?

Stephen
I'm saying it takes about eight weeks to get from John O'Groats… and someone's calculated that is being about a third of a mile per hour.

Hugh
You could walk and just beat spring.

Stephen
You could. It's a weird thought. That's very weird isn't it?

Hugh
If you timed it with the daffodils, you can walk at exactly the right speed.

Stephen
That it opens…

Hugh
And they'd go [illustrates the opening of flowers with his hand] "Boop boop boop boop" And you'd feel that more the beautiful. [to audience, when they laugh] I'm in touch with my feminine side!

Stephen
You know you responded to your handwriting beautifully but it's the phonological observations, as they call them, of the various different things that trigger spring. It's a rather wonderful thought, isn't it? Spring moving up like that?
Why do birds fly south for the winter?

Phill
I thought you were going to say…

Alan
Go to Margate.

Stephen
Because it's too far to walk.

Hugh
They go because it's warmer, presumably?

Stephen
But what's the advantage of the warmth?

Hugh
Well, you feel nicer. It's better on your feathers…

Alan
More food to eat?

Stephen
Food.

Hugh
… there's nothing like the sun on your feathers.

Stephen
It's the insects. The insects in the north, in the frozen earth, you can't get at them or they've died anyway and a, sort of, dormant state… they're not available. The food for the birds is not there. So it is food.

Spring travels north, through Britain, at about one third of a mile per hour but arrives two days later for every hundred foot of elevation.

As we're travelling at a snail's pace… Never mind snail mail, what happened to the snail telegram? Or telegraph?

Viewscreens: Image of a snail atop a telegraph machine.

Andy
That's not it, is it?

Stephen
No, but amazingly a Frenchman called Benoit had a theory that when two snails, male and female, mated… right… that forever afterwards they had a telepathic power…

Viewscreens: Video of a group of snails on leaves.

Stephen
- there's some eating snails for you – and that no matter how far away they were, they could communicate thoughts to each other. So he raised money to develop this system where he had a, sort of, dish to which he glued… right… twenty-four snails, which he labelled A to Z, missing out, I think, Q and X possibly. And then the mates of each one he did the same to on another dish… and the other dish could go to New York.

All you had to do was wibble the A and the A in New York would wibble because it mated with the… and so you'd send your message by typing snails. And the person at the other end would watch the snails vibrate and read out the message. But, as I say, the amazing thing is, he found someone to invest in this.

Hugh
"And that, gentlemen, is how we broke the Enigma code."

Stephen
Isn't that fantastic? It was called the pasilalinic-sympathetic compass using escargotic vibration.

Alan
These snails are just disgusting. They lie all over each other… will they stop it, get a room!

Phill
Technically they have got a room.

Stephen
Yes, that's sort of their thing.

Phill
Is it wrong to be aroused now?

Stephen
Oh. Anyway, sadly the pasilalinic-sympathetic compass or snail telegraph simply didn't work.

Er, whilst on the subject of gadgetry, however, what's the point of those machines?

Viewscreens: Diagrams of circular devices.

Alan
Ah, now, that's a… an eternally filling glass in the middle, never emptying…

Stephen
Yes.

Phill
Perpetual motion.

Stephen
Ah, points to the man. Absolutely. They are all perpetual motion machines, or at least, attempts to design perpetual motion machines. What is a perpetual motion machine?

Alan
One that never stops?

Stephen
But, yes…

Alan
One that's motion in perpetuity, Stephen.

Stephen
Yes.

Alan
That answers your question, Dicky-boy.

Stephen
No, because there's more… slightly more than that. There must be no input of energy.

Phill
Oh, no energy in but you should be able to get energy out.

Stephen
To get that energy out because it's moving. Of course, it transgresses… what? What law?

Alan
The law of thermodynamics.

Stephen
The first and second laws of thermodynamics. And there's a Simpsons episode where Lisa builds a perpetual motion machine… Homer says, "In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" And he's not lying. But the point is Leonardo actually did drawings of attempted perpetual motion machines but he realised, being…

Viewscreens: Leonardo's perpetual motion designs.

Phill
No, he's just drawn a chocolate orange from the top.

Stephen
Oh yes!

Phill
How boring have you got to be if you draw a diagram of how you take a chocolate orange apart?

Stephen
Well, no…

Alan
He invented a lot of things.

Stephen
He did.

Alan
Think of how he invented that.

Stephen
He did write, in his notebook, "Ye seekers after perpetual motion. How many vain chimeras have you pursued, go and take your place with the alchemists." So he spotted quite early on that it was never going to work. Sadly our universe is not made in such ways. Because you only need one and you could power the world from it, in theory, couldn't you?

Hugh [dramatic voice]
"You only need one and you can power the world!"

Stephen
Sorry, mister Bond. So anyway, that brings us now, grumbling to the gizzards of general ignorance… so fingers on buzzers, if you would…

Take a child and give them a really sugary drink. What happens?

Alan
I haven't got any kids, I've got no idea. But… speaking as an uncle, I'm often discouraged from giving them too much chocolate because they go, in quotes, "mental".

Stephen
Ah! Right.

Alan
So is that it?

Stephen
No. It's odd… Almost every mother watching this will disbelieve me when I say that medical evidence shows that sugary drinks do not cause hyperactivity. They do not… [to camera] I know, it's shocking, you're all going, "Ah, you should see mine, he does, I swear to you it does!"… Well it doesn't.

Alan
So maybe just any sort of fuel? So if you gave a drink of water or an apple or something like that?

Stephen
Well, all you have to … you do test so-called, you know, children that do this in which you give them drinks that actually have no sugar in them at all – the parents think they have no sugar – the parents think that it's got sugar…

Alan [brightens]
It's the parents that change!

Stephen
It's the parents that who perceive it and it's very interesting, the parents who perceive it are the ones who most hover over their children and are the most critical of their children's behaviour anyway. They're the ones who note… who apparently notice it.

Hugh
Was this research funded by Coca-Cola?

Stephen
We trialled this question on the QI website and none of the mothers believed us. They all said, "I don't care what the scientists say, my child goes nuts."

Hugh
I don't believe it either but then I'm very in touch with my feminine side.

Alan
They dip quite quickly, kids, anyway, don't they. If you just keep giving them something to snack on, they'll go up again… or at least, that's how it works with my nephew anyway. They run around a bit and go [demonstrates the falloff in energy with his hand] "whooh" "ooah" [he flops back in his chair, feigning exhaustion] then they go "Oah I wanna go home." And then you give them a sandwich and they go [suddenly hyperactive] "Upupup we're up!"

Stephen
Ah, yeah.

Alan
It seems quite hard work keeping a level keel through the day.

Stephen
I think that's generally true. [to camera] We know you don't believe us but sugary drinks don't make children hyperactive. That's general ignorance, that's why we call it general ignorance. However, what happens if you leave teeth in a glass of cola overnight?

Alan
Well they totally, completely dissolve, disappear.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "THEY DISSOLVE".

Stephen
No it turns out they don't. There was a famous occasion in 1950 when a doctor appeared before the House of Representatives Special Committee. He was called Clive McCay of Cornell University and to dramatise his testimony he said that a tooth left in a glass of Coke would begin to dissolve after two days. Even if his claims were accurate, it is of absolutely no relevance whatsoever because it washes down your teeth quickly, you don't, you know, soak your teeth in it.

Alan
Does it… does it clean your money, though, is it the one that cleans your money?

Stephen
I believe it does, we've got lots of those things.

Phill
H.P. Sauce

Stephen
H.P. Sauce is really good for cleaning money.

Phill
H.P. Sauce is great.

Stephen
It's actually vinegar. That's what does it.

Phill
That it?

Stephen
Yeah.

Phill
All that money I've been wasting on H.P. Sauce.

Andy
My mum used to say to me, er, 'cause I used to drink a lot of Coke when I was in my early teens, and she'd say, "You shouldn't drink Coke because it stains the inside of your stomach."

Stephen
That's going to put the girls off, isn't it?

Andy
Yeah. Well you think…

Hugh
How do you know that's not true?

Andy
No you don't but you kind of think, "Well if I ever see the inside of my stomach it's probably gonna be a bit late to worry about what colour it is."

Phill
I can't wait, Andy, I mean I don't like to talk about our friend's death, but at your post-mortem… "Look at this! Terrible stains on the intestines."

Stephen
Coke-coloured tripe. My goodness. Well, they do cause tooth decay but not as much – as we discovered in a previous QI – as…?

Alan
Jam.

Stephen
No. Crisps, potato crisps.

Phill
Crisps? Do they?

Stephen
Far more tooth decay caused by them.

Phill
No!

Stephen
Yes!

Hugh
Because they stay on your teeth.

Stephen
Because they stay there and they just hang around, yeah.
We'll do one you might actually believe. Name an ape that walks just on two feet and isn't human. Because we obviously walk on two feet rather than on our hands.

Alan
Only on two feet?

Stephen
Yeah, that's how it doesn't…

Alan
Orang-utan.

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

Stephen
They use the back of their hands [demonstrates] like this.

Phill
Is it a… is it a monkey with a tail… I seem to remember seeing… there's a very keen little… monkey that's got a tail. It's got a tail on account of balancing.

Alan
We don't need any more from you there, Phill.
Baboon. Gibbon. Chimp.

Stephen
Oh! You've said it!

Alan
Baboon.

Stephen
No.

Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "BABOON".

Alan [quickly]
Gibbon. Chimp.

Stephen
Yes.

Alan
Gibbon.

Stephen
Gibbon is the right answer. The gibbon.

Alan
A funky gibbon in particular.

Stephen
The funky gibbon especially, yeah. Here is a gibbon.

Viewscreens: Brief video clip of a gibbon on the move.

Alan [as the video plays]
Look at it go, look at it go! [the gibbon settles] It looks so shifty…

Stephen
Yeah.

Andy
It looked like in his head he had the Mission Impossible music. "I can do this… do do dodo do…"

Viewscreens: Image of a monkey walking upright.

Stephen
Look at this! That's rather good, isn't it?

Alan
Woah!

Phill
Is that a gibbon as well?

Alan
That's Russell Brand.

Andy
Do they do that just to taunt the other apes?

Stephen
Yeah, I think they probably do.

Andy
"Can you do this? I can."

Stephen
It's considered by evolutionists to be a more primitive way of walking. The way we do and gibbons do. Seems to be earlier than the four. I know, that's weird.
Anyway, let's finish with an easy one for you. I want you to sort these following creatures and phenomena into age order.

Viewscreens: Labelled images of the Himalayas, a triceratops, a spider and a cockroach.

Stephen
Which is the oldest? Oldest to youngest.

Hugh
I'd put 'A' first.

Stephen
'A' first… the Himalayas ? Hmmm. Hmmm.

Andy
No, they're quite young, that's why they're tall.

Stephen
They are.

Andy
Tall mountains are young because they haven't been worn down by all…

Stephen
They are the youngest… they are the youngest thing on the board there. They're the youngest of them all, only twenty million years old.

Phill
I think…

Andy
D-C-B-A

Stephen
D-C-B-A is not bad, not bad… you…

Andy
D-C-A-B.

Stephen
It's actually C-D-B-A. The oldest is the spider, then the cockroach, then the triceratops and then the "Himalias" or Himalayas. In fact, it's quite interesting – which is, after all, our business – yeah, ants are contemporaneous with dinosaurs but cockroaches predate them by at least 55 million years. And spiders were around 300 million years ago.

Alan
If the spider's first…

Stephen
Mmm?

Alan
What did they catch?

Stephen
Damn, that's good. Flies but not cockroaches.

Alan
Then the fly was first.

Stephen
A-ha, which came first, the spider or the fly? It's a really good question.

Alan
A lot of webs with a lot of spiders… [raps fingers on the counter, impatiently waiting] "Come on!"

Stephen
"Sometimes out of innocent ignorance, childish wisdom spills out." No, erm, the dinosaurs lived - Surely you know I'm only teasing, you know - er, the late Triassic, 230 million years ago, to the Cretaceous 65 million years ago. Mount Everest is only 20 million years, so it's 25 million years younger than the youngest dinosaur.

Andy
Whippersnapper.

Phill [looking at viewscreens]
That looks like the pictures from the worst spelling book ever. "There's a dockroach in the corner! And I saw a binosaur." … "Help, help… I'll get help."

Stephen
That's very good. Well, well done everybody. Erm, the "Himalias" or the "Himaliyas" or "Himalaylas" or the Himalayas as human beings say it… The Himalayas have only been around for 40 million years, the last dinosaurs died out 25 million years before they were formed. And spiders and cockroaches are even older than dinosaurs.

That's it for another week so let's have a look at the scores shall we? Oh… my goodness gracious me, we have a clear winner with plus four points, would you believe, Hugh Dennis!

Hugh
Thank you very much.

Stephen
Also in the black with plus two, it's Andy Hamilton…

Andy
Gosh! That's never happened before.

Stephen
Seventeen behind with minus fifteen, Phill Jupitus…

Phill [wincing]
Aw! Oh!

Stephen
And way down with the cockroaches with minus fifty-six, Alan Davies!

So it's farewell from High, Andy, Phill, Alan and myself and I leave you with a story of the couple who went to the Natural History Museum and they saw the big dinosaur skeleton there and they asked the attendant how old it was. He said, "It's 65 million, fourteen years and three months old." And they said, "Well that's amazing, is that like carbon dating? How can you tell so precisely how old it is?" He said, "No, you see, when I first came here they told me it was 65 million years old and I been here fourteen years and three months."

Thank you, good night.