Quiz show. Sandi Toksvig finds out what's new with Jo Brand, Clive Anderson, Jimmy Carr and Alan Davies.
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This programme contains some strong language
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Hello! Thank you very much!
Hello, and welcome to QI, where tonight everything is new.
Please welcome the new faces.
New kid on the block, it's Jimmy Carr.
The new-fangled Clive Anderson.
-Oh, thank you.
The brand-new Jo Brand.
And the ruddy nuisance Alan Davies.
Let's hear your news.
# New York, New York. #
# Happy New Year Happy New Year. #
# Poppa's got a brand-new bag. #
And Alan goes...
# You won't find another fool like me. #
The New Seekers.
-So much better than the old seekers.
So, a nice easy one to start with.
What is this island called?
I'm going to have to shoot you now.
It isn't the correct pronunciation.
Hey, hey, hey, enough violence on this show.
Noof'nd-LAND is the correct pronunciation
and in 1876 a man was killed
during a brawl over the correct pronunciation.
Well, we were lucky, weren't we? We got off lightly.
It was two mill workers, William Atchison and John Davis.
One thought it was NewFOUNDland and one thought it was NewfoundLAND.
Atchison threw a punch, Davis drew his gun and killed Atchison.
He got away, Davis, and he spent 37 years on the run,
so it's a really...
-I have a great uncle who emigrated to Canada.
-Did he go to NewfoundLAND?
I think he went to Quebec, actually.
-And you inherited your shirt from him?
Anyway, just to finish this story, Davis, who killed Atchison,
he ran away for 37 years and then, on his deathbed, 1912,
he's in a hospital in Peoria in Illinois and he felt so bad about it
that he confesses on his deathbed
and then recovered and had to go on the run again.
I think he said, "I did that murder in NEWfoundland."
"No, it's NewFOUNDland."
Actually, both men were right, because at the time,
both pronunciations were perfectly acceptable.
It's only fairly recently that people have got a bit...
What's it now? Without looking.
Presumably if people are watching this in Newfoundland,
they're shouting at the television.
-Yes, they probably are.
-They're all idiots.
Some fantastic names in Newfoundland.
Conception Bay South is the second-largest town.
Conception Bay South is, yeah...
Conception Bay South, maybe there's a North.
That's what I call it, she doesn't like it.
She thinks it's too formal.
Come on love, let's have a look at Conception Bay South.
I bought you dinner, we saw the movie you wanted, come on.
Before moving on to Conception Bay North, I suppose.
Well, that's a special treat for birthdays.
-Which way up is she? Hang on.
It's possible that a girl may prefer the Newfoundland town of Dildo.
Or Eastern Tickle.
-Which I like very much.
-Thanks for sharing.
-Not bad for me age.
Newfoundland, what's interesting about it,
the very first part of the British Empire, 1583.
It's the very first bit of England's first overseas territory,
Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed Newfoundland in 1583.
Now, here is a chance for some easy points.
When Europeans first arrived in New York, what did they call it?
PAPA'S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG PLAYS
But it's an Elvis Costello song, it must be right.
And that's why I said it.
I think either the Spanish or the French were there first,
so it was either New Madrid or New Paris or nouvelle
cuisine or something like that.
It was the French and it was New Angouleme.
Well, there you go.
It was Giovanni da Verrazzano who first named it.
A Florentine working for the French crown and he absolutely wanted to
favour the French king.
Francis I, who was originally Francis of Angouleme,
that's where he came from.
He must have been very pleased when he got there
that he could buy a stick of rock to take home.
It's got New Angouleme all the way through it.
The weird thing about him, Verrazzano,
there's loads of things in New York named after him
and every single sign has his name misspelled.
It's supposed to be double Z.
And nobody quite knows whether they didn't have enough Zs in the
They've misspelled park way and bridge as well,
so they're obviously not very good.
-So, here's a fact about New York...
-..which is quite interesting.
Gotham, I think I know the history of Gotham.
Because, it's a small village outside Nottingham.
Where local idiots would live
and someone wrote this book called The Merry Men Of Gotham.
So, then, about 100 years later,
there's a writer in New York and he compares New York,
he says they're all mad here, it's like Gotham City here.
-They're all idiots.
-I didn't know that.
Do you know why it's called Manhattan?
Is that a local Amerindian name?
It's a native Lenape American... It's actually quite a nice story.
So, 1609, Henry Hudson met a group of native Lenape Americans
and they were fishing and he offered them alcohol,
for the very first time, and there was a warrior
who swallowed the whole lot to test it and passed out
and everybody thought this is marvellous, and he then brought more
alcohol and they ended up getting fantastically drunk together
and the word, the native Lenape word, Manahactanienk,
means "the place we all got drunk".
I think the story is that it was also one of those places
that was sold for a few beads and so a few beads
were handed over and the Indians took those.
But they had the last laugh because they weren't even from that local area.
-They weren't from that area.
-They didn't even own the place in the first place.
They just took the beads and said "Thanks, OK, good luck with that."
Here is something that was fantastically new in New York
in 1909 at Coney Island, which is a glorious place to hang out.
They ought to bring this back, because it's a really fantastic thing.
This is one stretch of track running multiple trains and if the two meet
while travelling in opposite directions,
so the passengers are in the lower part, I think you can just see,
it goes up over the top.
I think you can just see the arms of some of the passengers and it carries on.
I'm sorry, but that's like a very well engineered train crash.
They should have that on the Northern Line, that'd be fantastic.
I think it's absolutely brilliant, I love that.
Yes, indeed, New York was originally New Angouleme.
Where would you find the most pyramids in the world?
PAPA'S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG PLAYS
-Egypt, fuck it.
I'm sure I've heard Mexico,
but I bet that's wrong as well, isn't it?
In the spirit of... I've seen one. I've seen one in Las Vegas.
Yes, there is one in Las Vegas.
-Let's go for it.
-# New York. #
-Yes. Let's try Switzerland.
-PERSON LAUGHS LOUDLY
That's so sweet. One man appreciates you.
So, wait a minute, so Jo, Alan and I have all been penalised,
but you come out ahead by saying Switzerland.
-Is it the United States?
-Are there more pyramids in the United States?
-No, it's nearer to Egypt.
Libya? Algeria? Tunisia?
It is... You've got it, you're in the right part of the world.
-It is Sudan, absolutely right.
In fact, bizarrely, this is a photograph I took myself
of the Sudanese pyramids. There's about...
You do your preparation for this show, don't you?
Sorry, what is the travel budget for this show?
Where's the licence fee money going? Hang on.
You went all the way over there to take this photo?
I made a long documentary about Sudan and I'd really recommend this,
because you go and there is nobody there.
-It is amazing.
-The massive civil war could be part of the reason.
Yeah. I did go... LAUGHTER
I did go before the civil war.
In Egypt, between 118 and 138, in Sudan there are about 220.
They're all in the Meroe area.
This was ancient Nubia and you can climb them, you can go inside.
There's fantastic writing, they had the Meroitic handwriting.
-Are they houses, these ones, or are they burial things?
No, they're burial things and what's really interesting about them,
the Egyptians' were clearly for the pharaohs and for the great and the good,
they were much more of a meritocracy, and so you get not such wealthy people
who had pyramids of their own, and what you can't see here is there
was an entire civilisation.
From the air, you can see the irrigation of tens of thousands of people
living there and then completely destroyed.
Now, on to nudity, newlyweds and New England.
Who got married in the Emperor's new clothes?
Oh, that is a fabulous wedding.
-I want it to be that.
He doesn't do very much in the story, he just parades around.
He's a bit of an idiot, isn't he?
-I think that's the point of the story.
-I believe it is.
The thing I like about that story is that two swindlers come,
and this idea that there were swindlers who would go
from town to town swindling people.
And that's sort of died out, really, hasn't it?
-Social media's killed the swindling industry.
-Have you never had the e-mails?
-Do you get many e-mails? Yeah.
-The swindlers are online.
-You can trust everybody now.
There was a period of time when people got married naked in New England.
The 1700s. Why might they do that?
- Was it to do with witches? - To prove you were a women.
It's not to do with witches and not to prove that you're a woman.
Do you know there's still a thing with Popes?
-Where they have to carry the chair over the Cardinals
to check if they had a female Pope,
which is obviously a disaster.
They carry him over the top so they can check out his junk.
Sadly, it's a myth, unfortunately.
-It's a myth?
-It's a want it to be.
-Do you know what, this is my issue with QI,
you say it's a myth, but I've heard it in a pub.
I'm pretty sure that's the case. Fact.
So look, the bridegroom and the bride are both naked?
-No, just the bride.
-Is it to do with the Bible?
It isn't to do with the Bible. It's to do with debt.
They were known as smock marriages,
sometimes just in their underwear,
and if the bride clearly has no assets,
if she's got nothing, then the groom is not liable for her debts or,
more importantly, if she's a widow, for her husband's debts.
-They didn't have to be visible, they just had to be naked.
So, there's a wonderful wedding that's talked about, February 1789,
a man called Major Moses Joy
and he married a widow called Hannah Ward
and she was starkers inside a closet
and basically she reached her arm through a hole in the door
to clasp his hand and then they got married
and then he'd left some clothes very nicely for her in the cupboard and then she came out fully dressed.
That's a bit like if a tree falls in a forest.
If you're naked and nobody can see you...
-It doesn't really count, does it?
-You don't need to be naked, do you?
I'm sure Lady Gaga would argue she was wearing a wardrobe.
Just a hell of a dress.
Did her head stick out the top of the wardrobe?
It was just her arm out, that was it.
-So it's a naked arm.
-That's it, just the arm.
It might not have been her arm, in fact.
Could have been anyone's arm.
Was yours a nightmare, Jo, your wedding?
I couldn't fit in a wardrobe, I had to go in a marquee instead.
-No, it was lovely.
-It's stressful, though, isn't it?
I was having a look at the planning nightmare that is a wedding.
If you have 17 guests and two tables of ten that has 131,702
possible seating arrangements.
A wedding with 100 guests and ten tables has
65 trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion
possibilities as to where you want to seat people.
Crikey. I had a very little wedding.
I'd said to my friends, don't tell anyone or talk about it
and one of my friends stayed at a local hotel and called a cab
to pick her up to take her to our wedding,
and she got in the cab and he went, "Where do you want to go?"
and she went, "I'm not telling you."
That's fabulous. They have a great tradition in Sweden,
here's a randy Scandi fact,
if the bride leaves the reception to go to the bathroom
then all the women in the room kiss the groom.
And if the groom leaves, all the men may kiss the bride.
And that is how chlamydia started.
-It's a fine name for a child.
What's the biggest news item ever?
Has it got anything to do with the Kardashians?
I'm not even really sure who they are, so no.
When was the golden era of the newspapers?
When was the biggest circulation? Would it be Titanic?
So, it's not an actual news item that we are looking for.
Not like the moon landing, which is a very big...
It's not a story. It's the actual news.
Did they do a live broadcast for like 36 hours or something?
Is it the size of the headline you're looking for?
-In fact, you can help me,
because I have a copy of what we are looking for,
but I can't manage it on my own, so Alan and Clive,
if you could come and help me.
What I'm talking about is the largest newspapers ever published.
These were... This is called the Universal Yankee Nation.
-There you go.
-Oh, tiny print.
-Yes. You seriously had to have...
-Is this helping your presentation skills?
You all right, Sandi?
I don't want to hurt your feelings, but if Stephen was here,
his head would be poking over the top.
If I was good, I could've gone underneath, but I didn't want to play limbo with the newspaper.
Why did they design those?
Maybe there was a tax on each page of newsprint.
-That's exactly right.
They were known as blanket sheets
or mammoth newspapers or leviathan newspapers.
It was the introduction of the cylinder printing presses that
made them possible. It was the fact that it was possible.
This particular newspaper was only published
for about a year-and-a-half from 1841 to 1842,
but it was called the largest paper in all creation.
Would have been very useful if you're an extremely fat tramp
that was sleeping out.
Yes. Except it was only one page thick, so it wasn't...
-In the summer.
-In the... Sleeping out.
What if you're two tramps having a liaison?
Yes, but they were designed for sharing.
But you said about the duties, it's why we had broadsheets.
-Yes, yes, there was a tax, wasn't there?
-Yeah. There was a tax.
With a tax, there'd be people trying to avoid it, wouldn't there?
-I would imagine, yeah.
-They would have ways of trying to get round it.
I guess. I guess some people would,
but I mean they'd be morally bankrupt, is what they'd be.
Getting their papers from Jersey or somewhere,
so it would be just crazy.
-Is that... Would that work?
So it was a bit like modern fizzy drinks tax.
It was to discourage people from buying newspapers.
Because they were so critical of the Government and so...
-We'll tax them out of existence.
-Yeah. For a really long time.
1712 till 1855.
And then when they took off the tax, all of the Daily Mails,
Daily Mirrors, popular press came in.
Because, you know, relatively poor people
-could afford to buy the news and find out what was going on.
Anyway, moving on.
What's so good about eye of newt?
-So, this is Macbeth, is it? Is that what you're quoting?
-It is in the Scottish play.
-But what's so great about eye of newt?
I think we studied this at school.
There's a whole list of things that sound like disgusting things,
but they're not really. They're references to plants or something.
Well, that is absolutely true.
But the thing about the eye of newt that is extraordinary,
they did a study where they kept removing the lenses
-from the eye of a newt...
-I bet it annoyed him.
Well, he systematically replaced it.
They did it for 16 years and they keep just replacing the lens.
They are able to regenerate new lenses.
That's brilliant. Why can't we do that?
-I don't know. It's so clever.
-In some animals, the teeth replaces itself.
Specsavers' worst nightmare.
And what's extraordinary about them, the lenses that are replaced
are just as good as the very first ones that they had
and they're able to continuously regenerate.
Are you sure he didn't have just insurance or something?
-So, sorry, that's one newt?
-That's one newt.
-I'm not a big fan of animal testing at the best of times.
-But 16 years, this poor newt's thinking, "Oh, him again."
"He's going to pull my bloody eye out.
"I'll grow it back, dick."
15 years in, is he not thinking,
"Are you not getting the message here?
"These grow back."
Presumably, there were periods when he couldn't see him coming.
-LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
-Of course. Of course.
Did you know that they're not actually called newts?
-Did you know that?
-What, newts aren't called newts?
-No, they're not.
-They are, I tell you how that you know,
-they're called newts.
-They are ewts. It was an ewt.
-It's like an orange, isn't it?
A nickname was an ickname.
It became nickname and newt is just because we're lazy.
-It's an extra name.
-An additional name.
There are lots of words like that. Apron is one.
In fact, orange is the other way round, isn't it?
It was a norange was the word and we call it an orange.
Yes. My favourite...
It's not quite the same thing.
Apple pie order. Which is French for nappe pliee, neatly folded linen.
And we just called it apple pie order because we don't speak French.
The thing about the witches brew you mentioned about the Scottish play.
-So you're absolutely right, so the eye of newt and toe of frog,
wool of bat and tongue of dog,
probably wild mustard seed and buttercup leaves and moss and hound's-tongue.
Isn't that pretty? Hound's-tongue on the right.
And what herb was liver of blaspheming Jew, then?
Was that a particular...
I'm not sure that was entirely a herb.
-Is that marjoram?
It's the worst Welsh rarebit they've ever had.
The plant on the right stinks,
it's also known as mice and rats due to its smell.
People used to put it in their shoes to keep dogs away from their shoes.
Apparently it stinks.
They used to put it in their shoes because it stinks?
To keep dogs away. You know, dogs do love...
-Steal their shoes.
-Keep your shoes.
And that's why to this day dogs don't wear shoes.
And toe of frog, not sustainable at all.
There is a terrible decline in the world frog population.
They're absolutely plummeting.
In fact, it's now illegal to catch frogs for human consumption in France.
And India, which has been the biggest exporter to France of frogs, has just ceased exporting.
I have a pond in my garden which used to be full of frogs,
they used to come and have orgies every year.
They're not there. All been replaced by newts now.
This sounds like an angry letter to the Daily Mail.
These frogs, coming over here, having sex in our ponds.
The most extraordinary newt, just want to show you this.
Unbelievable, it's called the rough-skinned newt.
It has enough toxins to kill 25,000 mice and it's so toxic, this thing,
that the Native American tribes used to force-feed them to their enemies
to kill them.
And the really incredible thing about them is that whatever
eats one dies before the newt dissolves in its stomach.
-That's how toxic it is and then it hops free.
I know! Ergh! Ergh!
But newts are fantastic, they can regrow their eyes,
they can kill...
Why's the measure of how toxic it is that it kills 25,000 mice?
That was such an odd end to that sentence.
-Well, it's poison.
-Just four dogs would be a better...
How many humans can it kill, that's what we want to know.
It's usually things like a mouse the size of Wales it can kill.
What about the Spanish newt? They are extraordinary.
When threatened, they can shoot their ribs out of their body
and stab their enemies with poison.
Oh, I can do that.
That seems counter-productive.
I feel like if an enemy's coming towards you, I mean,
by all means defend yourself, but shooting a rib out...
Even if they don't attack, you're going to have to go to A&E.
Now, it's time for a fresh new batch of general ignorance.
Although, I think we've done quite well so far.
Fingers on buzzers.
How long is New Zealand's Ninety Mile Beach?
-Oh, come on. You know you want to!
-I think it is 90 miles long.
-Go for it!
Well, are they going to exaggerate or...?
-What do you reckon?
-I say it's 75 miles.
You're getting closer. Any more for any more?
I say it's six miles.
It's 55 miles long.
And one of the theories is that the mistake was because
missionaries knew that it took a day to travel 30 miles and it took three
days to travel the beach and so they made the calculation of 90 miles,
but in fact they forgot that you travel much slower on sand.
-So, do people go and walk up it and ask for their money back?
-I don't think so.
Or drown at the end because they just walk into the sea
thinking there's another 30 miles to go here.
Now, let's have a look at this.
OK. So, going to set this up.
-Quite good. Like that.
My question is, who invented this?
Isn't it Winston Churchill?
I want it to be Winston Churchill.
You're so epically wrong there that the buzzer didn't even go off.
Well, we normally call it Newton's balls, don't we?
-I think Newton's cradle would be...
-I think Newton's cradle there.
Sorry. I'm afraid...
I'm afraid I went to a rougher school than you did.
I think if Newton had that many balls,
it's no wonder he discovered gravity.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
-Who actually invented it? Do we know?
-It's not quite as...
-Was it like a toy manufacturer in the '50s?
-I can't remember who it is.
Is it JFK? Is it Marlon Brando?
-It's earlier than that.
-Is it Delia Smith?
Roughly how long?
It's a French priest in the 17th-century...
-Called Abbe Edme Mariotte.
-And then he started the hotel chain?
Yes, that's right. That's right, exactly.
He was an amazing thinker, Mariotte.
Do we have to guess which one he is there?
He's the one at the back thinking, "If I put chocolates on pillows,
"people will stay here."
I stayed at a hotel where they did that
and I wished somebody had told me.
I woke up in the morning, honest to God,
I thought I'd had a brain haemorrhage.
I made some red lentil and tomato soup the other week.
-And my daughter...
-This is going to end in tears.
..really liked it.
Going, "Oh, this is lovely. Lovely. Really delicious."
And it was.
And then some virus was going round the school.
Anyway, middle of the night, I could hear some wailing and screaming
and I went into her bedroom and there she was in her white nightie
with white sheets and she'd barfed up.
And, honestly, it looked like she'd been disembowelled.
One of the most alarming things I've ever seen,
just a sea of red everywhere.
All in her hair. It was like Carrie, you know Carrie?
I had to pick her up at arm's length and put her in the bath
and then I didn't know what to do with her.
She's just covered in lentils.
I was going to start hosing her down and she was going...
-I could never have done that.
-Hosing her down!
It was very, very, very funny.
I could not have done that. My bath's full of gin.
When's the parenting book coming out?
The very first modern...
What we call Newton's cradle was created by an actor called Simon Prebble, he was called.
And he sold it to Harrods in 1967.
He wanted to promote it and so he made a giant version which had to be
taken down after one of the balls knocked out a child.
Not good to laugh, people. Not good to laugh.
These chrome ones were created by a sculptor and film director
called Richard Loncraine.
Newton was an extraordinary boy, though.
Massive Pink Floyd fan.
He came 78th out of 80 at school.
-He used to wander off...
-Who else was at school?
Einstein was there...
The bloke on the right thinks it's a lightsabre.
"Bloody hell, Newton, I think you're on to something."
He made a very strange list of his sins when he was 19, Newton.
It included making pies on Sunday night,
using Wilfred's towel to spare my own,
threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them
and the house over them.
Wishing death and hoping it to some.
There's a fantastic...
They've tried to make big Newton's cradles.
Here's one made with 15-pound bowling balls.
Oh, that child's for the chop.
You'll get £250 for that on You've Been Framed in a minute.
The child that must be punished there.
The guy with a beard, is that a baby dangling from him?
Or is that the whole baby with a beard on it?
The biggest Newton's cradle ever built
was for the US television show Myth Busters,
they used five one-tonne steel and concrete wrecking balls
hung from a steel truss.
It was incredibly difficult to make and it didn't work.
So, I'm going to put that away.
Pop that down.
Now, fingers on buzzers, name the part of Canada
that Britain and America's most popular dog comes from.
Are you saying it's pronounced in a different way or there's a different dog?
No, they don't come from Labrador is the thing of it.
So, it is the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
They are the most popular dogs in the UK and the US, the labrador retrievers.
They have held the top spot for 25 years running and are exhausted.
But they come from Newfoundland and not from Labrador.
But what happened was when they arrived in the UK,
there was already a dog called a Newfoundland.
Also known as a St John's water dog.
So, they needed to find another name.
So... They are so gorgeous!
And they've got a thing... They don't stop eating,
they've got a genetic mutation.
I had a labrador and he was a nightmare.
An absolute nightmare.
Good for training them, it turns out. They can't help it.
I hope they find that in humans soon.
Maybe you're part labrador.
-Maybe I'm all labrador.
-All labrador, baby.
Do you shake yourself like that after a bath?
-I don't have baths.
So, labradors aren't from Labrador.
-Was it...? Is it close to...?
-It is absolutely close to.
So, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador comprises the large island
of Newfoundland and the mainland of Labrador.
And Labrador is extraordinary.
It's three times as large as the island,
but only 10% of the population live there.
It is rather bleak. And that brings us to the scores.
Well, this is fantastic.
In first place, with a magnificent minus -5,
-Can't believe my luck.
In second place with -16, it's Clive!
-Think I got some points from you.
And in third place with -19,
Which means a triumphant -25,
in final place, it's Alan.
So, it's thanks to Clive, Jimmy, Jo and Alan.
I leave you with this, Parkham WI.
The speaker at the April meeting
was Captain Colin Darch, who talked about piracy.
Embarrassingly, the WI all dressed as pirates for the evening,
not realising that Captain Darch was going to be talking about
his experience of being held hostage by Somali pirates.
Rather than piracy in general.