I-Spy QI XL


I-Spy

Stephen Fry hosts the mind-expanding quiz in which the aim is to be interesting. Stephen plays I-Spy with Sandi Toksvig, Lee Mack, Jimmy Carr and Alan Davies.


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Transcript


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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening

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and welcome to QI, where tonight, once again, the Is have it.

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I spy with my little eye the illustrious Sandi Toksvig!

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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The indubitable Jimmy Carr!

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Thank you.

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The incorrigible Lee Mack!

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Thank you.

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And the 'ilarious Alan Davies.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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And I hear with my little ear their buzzers. Sandi goes...

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"Aye-aye." LAUGHTER

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-Jimmy goes...

-"Oi-oi!" LAUGHTER

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-Lee goes...

-"Aye-aye-aye-aye-aye!"

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-LAUGHTER

-And Alan goes...

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"# I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts"

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LAUGHTER

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Don't forget your Nobody Knows Joker.

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FANFARE "Nobody knows!"

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That's the one. There is a question to which the answer is, "Nobody knows"

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and if you can predict which that question is and wave your banner, you'll get points.

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And so to question I, I mean question one. No, I was right the first time.

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What's the difference between an ai and an aye-aye?

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Have you heard of an ai? It's a very useful word in Scrabble.

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-A-I.

-Yes. Oh, yes! It's a sloth.

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-A sloth! Exactly. But what about an aye-aye?

-Two sloths.

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LAUGHTER

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All right, so we've got the ai. Where does the ai live?

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-Where does it live?

-In a tree.

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-Yeah. In which part of the world would you expect to find it?

-South America.

-Yes.

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They're wonderful things. They look like humans dressed in a sloth costume.

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But to be fair, you could say that about any animal. A giraffe looks like a human in a giraffe costume.

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-You look at a picture of an ai and I think you'll see what I mean.

-Oh!

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-That does look like a person in a costume.

-He's climbing a tree which looks like a man dressed as a tree.

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-LAUGHTER

-Yes.

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He also looks like he's made of that stuff they used to make dish mops out of.

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-Their heads are very disproportionate.

-They are.

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They live up to their name. They're very lazy. They only come down to defecate.

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-They come down from a tree to defecate?

-Yes.

-The benefit of living in a tree is you can...

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-Poo on whomever you like?

-Maybe they've got a downstairs toilet.

-Yes.

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-Hadn't thought of that, had you?

-Once you've had it put in, you want to use it.

-Absolutely.

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Very unusually for mammals, they need to bask in the sun to warm up their metabolism.

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So that's the ai. We've got the ai. But tell me about the aye-aye.

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-Is it spelt the same as the ai?

-No.

-Obviously there's more letters.

-It's AYE-hyphen-AYE.

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-Aye-aye, sir.

-And I happen to have been and seen one.

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Very few people have, cos it's one of the most endangered species.

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-Is it a Geordie version of that?

-Aye-aye? No, that's the why-aye.

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-Oh.

-Are we in the same part of the world?

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-We're not in the same part of the world.

-Is it a sloth?

-No.

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It's more closely related to us. It's a primate.

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-Primate?

-But it's not an ape or a monkey. What other kinds...

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-Is it the aye-aye orang-utan?

-Lemur?

-Lemur. It's a lemur.

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-Therefore, it must come from only one place on earth.

-Oh!

-Bradford.

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LAUGHTER

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It looks like someone's put some water on a gremlin.

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-LAUGHTER

-Yes.

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That's exactly right. Which you know you mustn't do.

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-I would think that the animal on the left has an easier job getting a well-fitting hat.

-Yes.

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-LAUGHTER And a girlfriend.

-Yes.

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-That may be why the aye-aye is so endangered.

-It's Madagascar.

-That's the only place you get lemurs.

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You can't see there, but they have the most extraordinary middle finger which is fully extended

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and looks like a dried twig. Really unusual. They tap with their finger on the barks of trees

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and bring out little worms and grubs which they catch and eat off their finger,

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-like a piece of cutlery.

-So nature has designed them to eat Hula Hoops?

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-Basically.

-That's extraordinary.

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Zoologists would say they fill the niche that woodpeckers filled in other environments.

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There are superstitions about them, that if you... Pardon me. If I did this to you, or this,

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-if one of those did that to you, that'd be...

-That's right.

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It's called the Fady, which is the taboo system of the local people,

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and because they're nocturnal creatures and because they look so weird,

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they regard them as a curse and they have a habit of killing them.

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-It does look like a really bad hair transplant.

-It does.

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Well, I'm not surprised people kill them.

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Never mind superstition, if you walk across a street doing that, you're going to get a guy going,

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-"I can take him on."

-And also, I'm not surprised they're endangered,

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cos they're clearly not mating, are they? They're looking at each other and going, "I'd rather not".

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-It is dark, remember.

-All the ugly ones come out in the dark.

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-LAUGHTER

-That's how Jimmy mates.

-Oh!

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"I'm happy to do it, love, but it'll have to be with the lights off."

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JIMMY LAUGHS

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LAUGHTER I can't believe your wife told you that story.

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-LAUGHTER

-Oh!

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APPLAUSE

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-It's like...

-I even did that in a northern accent.

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It's like watching two 1970s northern comics having a row.

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-"Funny, cos your wife said..." "Your wife doesn't exist." "You what?"

-LAUGHTER

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-They do that on the streets of New York with "your mama".

-They do what with my mama?

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-LAUGHTER Why don't you say "one's mama"?

-One's mama.

-Yeah.

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-I'd love you to do that on the streets of New York.

-One's mama.

-"Oh, one's mama to you!"

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Yes. That'll jolly well show them!

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Anyway, you didn't get that right, so let's try it again.

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What's the difference between an "aye" and an "aye-aye"?

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-It's the same question.

-Yes, but with different answers.

-BUZZER

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-Is it different answers?

-Yes.

-Oh. I don't know, then. LAUGHTER

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-Maybe this time, aye-aye, sir. Is it "Aye-aye, sir" and "Aye, sir" are two different things?

-Yes.

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That's the difference. In the navy... There's Kenneth Williams. A shining example!

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Do you know how they separate the men from the boys in the navy? With a crowbar.

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LAUGHTER

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-Oh, dear.

-Aww!

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As you know, they say, "Aye" in the navy, but they also say, "Aye-aye".

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And there is a difference and I want you to tell me what that difference is.

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Does "Aye" mean yes, as in "What do you want?"

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So you go, "You!" "Aye?" "Go and mop the floor." "Aye-aye."

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Basically, yes. "Aye" is an agreement or an assent.

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So the captain might say, "Nice morning, isn't it?" and the sailor would say, "Aye, sir."

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But he might say, "Order hands to bathe" and then he'd go, "Aye-aye, sir"

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-meaning, "I heard your order, I'll carry it out".

-Wash my hands.

-No.

-What does it mean?

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All hands overboard. Sounds like, "Jump in the water".

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-Hands are what you call the ship's company.

-All sailors have a bath together.

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Yes, in the sea. "Hands to bathe" means, when they're in nice waters, they let the men swim in the sea.

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But don't take your hats off. LAUGHTER

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-Whatever you do!

-Don't take your hats off, the seagulls might need somewhere to land.

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Are they singing a song while that's going on?

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-If synchronised swimmers dressed like that, you'd think more of the sport.

-You would!

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-It'd get on TV more.

-Also, you could combine it with Total Wipeout.

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You could run across the top as they're doing synchronised swimming.

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More Is now. Why won't this woman stop staring at you?

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BUZZER She's only human.

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LAUGHTER

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She's got her needs, like any woman. LAUGHTER

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-Are we being suggested to say cos her eyes are following you around the room?

-Yeah, they do.

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They don't literally follow you around the room,

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but that experience is, wherever you are in relation to that painting,

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-she is looking at you.

-What if you're behind her? Behind the painting?

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That only works on paintings of owls. LAUGHTER

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What's the most famous painting in the Wallace Collection in London?

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You know you're looking at the wrong person, don't you? LAUGHTER

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-It's only...

-Lee, I wasn't looking at you.

-Sometimes your eyes follow me round the room, Stephen.

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-Sandi...

-I honestly thought someone was stood behind me.

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-It is the Cavalier?

-It is the Laughing Cavalier.

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-The Laughing Cavalier?

-Very good. That has the same quality, as well.

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It's true of a lot of portraits.

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Surely any painting where the person is looking at the artist. It's not unique to that painting.

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-No, it isn't.

-Any painting where the subject is looking towards the camera, for want of a better word.

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But if you have a painting where someone's looking down, even if you get down to the eye level,

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-it will never look at you.

-You would look mad in an art gallery doing that.

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-LAUGHTER He's looking at me!

-Look at me!

-But it DOESN'T look at you.

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-They only look at you when they're looking straight out.

-It's not like that in Scooby-Doo, though.

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-There's somebody behind the painting and they really are following you around.

-In horror films.

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-Exactly.

-If you were to look at me now, and I walked over there

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and you fixed your gaze forward, you wouldn't be looking at me. So you'd think it'd be true of the painting.

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But you're not looking at the eyes of the painting,

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you're looking through the eyes of the artist.

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So wherever you stand, you look through the eyes of the artist, not your own eyes. Good night.

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-Rather beautifully put.

-Stephen is three-dimensional and the painting is two-dimensional

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-so that doesn't work.

-But I'm looking at you through my eyes.

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So if I walk over there, I'm still looking at you through my eyes so it doesn't work.

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But I'm not looking at HIS eyes, the subject's eyes -

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I'm looking through the artist's eyes and they stay fixed at all times.

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So it's like bending light. It's like having a telescope that bends round,

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-you're looking through the artist's eyes.

-In a nice way, I'm going to say I don't think you fully understood.

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LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

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If you change the word "nice" to "patronising", that works. LAUGHTER

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-Well...

-And you're kind with the word "fully" cos I don't think I understood any of it.

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-LAUGHTER

-Anyway, we've got a little example of an optical illusion here.

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If you photograph it in the right way, as you're about to see,

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the eye plays extraordinary tricks on you.

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So there it is. This is Einstein. There he is in profile.

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And there's the inverted bit,

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but hello, your eye tells you that's poking outwards, and yet it isn't.

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That's the inside bit.

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And your eye refuses to believe it until you get to that.

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-Oh, you're twisting my melon, man.

-Isn't that extraordinary?

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-Why does it do that?

-Because your brain is programmed to recognise human faces.

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One of the first things babies do is look at faces, and you expect to see a face

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-and even though you know it isn't a real face...

-Ahh.

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-..your brain fills in the gaps.

-I did it again.

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-It's an astonishing illusion.

-Does it only work with Einstein?

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-No!

-LAUGHTER Would it work with another man?

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-It would work with any human being.

-Ahh!

-It's very creepy.

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-It's amazing, isn't it?

-But I can't believe it did the same trick twice.

-I know.

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-Listen, we're not going to fall for it this time.

-And yet...

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-LAUGHTER

-Not three times.

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Outside, outside, outside, outside, outside.

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-This is going to be inside, Lee. This one's inside.

-Inside.

-Inside.

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-Ahh!

-Oh!

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How does he do it? How does he do it?

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-It's so clever.

-He's so clever.

-We literally filmed this. You can see,

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-that's all it is.

-This is a great trick. I might cut my head in half and scoop out my brain.

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LAUGHTER

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-What a wonderful thing. It would make the most wonderful blancmange.

-LAUGHTER

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Are we going to bother with the rest of the show? Cos I could happily just...

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LAUGHTER I mean, it's lovely chatting and everything,

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-and I love what we do, but let's just...

-You're hypnotised.

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-Have you got any others apart from Einstein?

-No. But we can make the Queen happy or sad with a £5 note.

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You can do this with your own £5 notes. We'll give you a demonstration. You do a little fold.

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Aww. Ahh!

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-Aww. Ahh!

-LAUGHTER

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APPLAUSE

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-That's brilliant.

-Do you remember when they ran the Derby, her horse, Carlton House?

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"It's winning, it's winning, it's going to win the Derby! Oh, bollocks."

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-LAUGHTER

-It came third and a Frenchman won.

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-Does it only work on a fiver? Does it work on bigger money?

-It'll work on most denominations.

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-And will it work on the Queen if you tilt HER?

-It will also work on the sovereign herself.

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Is that why she looks so sad when she's bowing? Not that the Queen bows much.

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-She's probably never bowed in her life.

-No, I've met her.

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-Does she bow?

-She does, yes.

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LAUGHTER

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Another thing is to find out where and how we look.

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There is a whole science called gaze detection.

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-No, I do not...

-LAUGHTER Don't even look at me.

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-It's a science, is it, Stephen?

-LAUGHTER

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-It's actually a "dar" I believe.

-No, not the gaydar.

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Gaze detection. G-A-Z-E.

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And there are tests done between men and women and the different way they look at bodies.

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When women look at a human being, they look at their faces.

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-When men look at a human being...

-I know this.

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Yes. Yes, they...

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-It's the...

-I'm afraid they look at their faces and their groins.

-Their personality.

-Yeah.

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And their groins. And the American Kennel Association, even more disturbingly,

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found that when looking at animals, women look at the dog's face,

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men look at the dog's face and genitals.

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There are some things you can't hide.

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And gaze detection is most important commercially, though, for what?

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For the new idea that I've just had of writing advertising slogans on ladies' groins.

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-No!

-We're going to be rich, Stephen!

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-No!

-It's not just ladies' groins.

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-Men look at men's groins, as well.

-I'm afraid they do.

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-You wouldn't get much of a slogan on a Chihuahua, would you?

-LAUGHTER

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-You wouldn't get much of a slogan on me, never mind the Chihuahua.

-Oh, now!

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-Why, though? Why do boys look at dogs' genitals?

-This is news to us.

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LAUGHTER This is news to all of us. There's not one man in the room

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thinking this is observational comedy, going, "That's me". LAUGHTER

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-We're all going, "What? We look at dogs' genitals?"

-You may not know you do it, but you do it.

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This is what the experiments show. It's most useful in merchandising in supermarkets,

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to see that there are certain areas in any store

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where people are automatically drawn and therefore they are the most valuable,

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so the items that go there are the ones that are being pushed.

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So if you really wanted to sell something to men, have a beautiful woman walk past,

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and you'd look at the things right by her eye and she'd have a dog with her with large genitals.

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-LAUGHTER

-Yes. You're conflating the various things I've said.

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I'm still horrified by men looking at dogs' genitals!

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-LAUGHTER

-Do we do the same with horses?

-It is news to men.

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Horses don't do anything for our self-esteem. LAUGHTER

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I went to a wedding in a beautiful country church and it was in the middle of fields and so on,

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and the couple were having their picture taken, and not one of us had noticed

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there was a horse in the field just behind the happy couple

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-who had the biggest area of expertise I've ever seen.

-LAUGHTER

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-That's all you can see in the photographs.

-LAUGHTER

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They couldn't crop it out, it was so large.

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Well, we must move on, charming as this is. The way to get the eyes to follow you around the room

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is to paint them looking straight ahead. Next, a question about infancy.

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Which best-selling children's author has something to say on rabid dogs,

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suicide victims, slaughtering cattle and how to tie your shoelaces?

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-BUZZER

-Yes, Lee?

-Katie Price. LAUGHTER

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-It's a wild stab in the dark...

-That was the title of her second book.

-How To Slaughter Cattle?

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-Yeah.

-Yeah? This has probably sold 150 million copies since its first publication.

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-In a children's book?

-A book written for children.

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Look at the boys looking round at the dog's genitals. LAUGHTER

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He is! That's Dick on the left. Dick, Anne and Julian.

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And Dick is looking at Timmy's bits.

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Girls, eyes forward. Boys going, "Hello!"

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-You see, even Enid Blyton knew.

-It's an old English book?

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-Published in the Edwardian era.

-Are we looking for the name of the book or the author?

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The name of the author was Robert, later Lord, Baden-Powell.

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-Oh, Scouting For Boys?

-Scouting For Boys is the right answer.

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Scouting For Boys has got something on suicide?

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-It has. It has an amazing entry. Maybe you'd like to hear it.

-I would love to hear it.

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"When a man attempts suicide..." They don't count women, "..a scout should know what to do with him."

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-LAUGHTER

-"In a case where the would-be suicide has taken poison,

0:17:100:17:13

"give milk and make him vomit by tickling the inside of the throat with a finger or a feather.

0:17:130:17:19

"In the case of hanging, cut down the body at once,

0:17:190:17:21

"taking care to support it with one arm while cutting the cord.

0:17:210:17:25

-"A tenderfoot," which is scouting for novice...

-They make that sound very simple.

0:17:250:17:29

"..is sometimes inclined to be timid about handling an insensible or a dead man, or even seeing blood.

0:17:290:17:35

"Well, he won't be much use till he gets over such nonsense."

0:17:350:17:38

LAUGHTER

0:17:380:17:40

There you are. Advice to young boys on how to slaughter cattle.

0:17:400:17:44

"If you're a beginner in slaughtering with a knife,

0:17:440:17:49

"it's sometimes useful to first drop the animal insensible by a heavy blow with a big hammer

0:17:490:17:55

-"or the back of a felling axe on top of the head."

-LAUGHTER

0:17:550:17:59

-Kindest thing to do, really.

-Stopping a runaway horse?

0:17:590:18:03

-Does he give advice on that?

-He does.

-Lie down.

-That would stop the horse?

0:18:030:18:06

-Oh, no, they don't tread on you.

-Oh, I know, play dead.

0:18:060:18:10

-How would that stop the horse?

-I'm thinking of a ferocious grizzly bear again, aren't I?

0:18:100:18:16

What you don't do is stand in front of it waving your arms. That's the mistake to make.

0:18:160:18:20

-You go to the side and ease it towards the side of a wall or house.

-When it's running?

0:18:200:18:27

You ease a running horse to the side of a wall, yeah?

0:18:270:18:30

"Don't worry, lads, I'll just ease this running horse to the side of a wall."

0:18:300:18:34

It can see out of the corner of its eye, and it will slow it down, according to Baden-Powell.

0:18:340:18:39

"Give us a hand!" "I can't, Uncle Pete's hung himself."

0:18:390:18:42

-What about saving someone who's fallen in front of a train?

-Oh, I know this,

0:18:420:18:45

you ease the train up against a wall. LAUGHTER

0:18:450:18:49

"If the train is very close, lie flat between the rails,

0:18:490:18:52

"make the man do the same till the train passes over,

0:18:520:18:55

"while everyone else will be running about screaming, excited and doing nothing."

0:18:550:19:00

-You jump on the track with him and push his head down?

-Yes.

-Sure, I'd do that(!)

0:19:000:19:04

-Is there such a big gap between the wheels?

-There is in the movies but I wouldn't be the one to try it.

0:19:040:19:09

It'd be great if you hung yourself and a scout cut you down, and you went, "OK, I'll jump under a train."

0:19:090:19:14

"He's here again!" LAUGHTER "Hello, mate!"

0:19:140:19:19

I was once given a book that was given to women in the 17th century,

0:19:190:19:23

and it was advice for young ladies, and the advice for the marriage bed,

0:19:230:19:26

it says, "Of the marriage bed, we can't speak of a husband's appetite,

0:19:260:19:30

"so we will describe it in terms of food."

0:19:300:19:33

And what it said is that you must feed your husband whenever he's hungry,

0:19:330:19:36

feed him a variety of meals, or you will soon find he's eating next door.

0:19:360:19:40

LAUGHTER

0:19:400:19:42

I like this book, was it called The Good Old Days?

0:19:420:19:45

Goodness gracious me! With that in mind, here's an initiative test.

0:19:450:19:49

What should you do if you were to meet a friendly jackal?

0:19:490:19:52

Well, I know where my eyes are going!

0:19:520:19:55

LAUGHTER

0:19:550:19:57

Do they use their friendliness to lure you into a terrible trap?

0:19:570:20:01

Well, they sort of do.

0:20:010:20:03

-But how can it be friendly? I don't understand the concept.

-That's the point.

0:20:030:20:07

They're only friendly under one circumstance, because they're wild animals, they're not tameable.

0:20:070:20:12

-It's if they have rabies.

-Oh!

0:20:120:20:14

One of the symptoms of rabies in wild animals

0:20:140:20:17

is that they become very docile and they will approach humans and look rather submissive.

0:20:170:20:21

A great mistake would be to pet them.

0:20:210:20:23

Is the hint not that they are frothing at the mouth, usually?

0:20:230:20:27

They don't always froth at the mouth, so you can't always tell.

0:20:270:20:30

I did a trip for the BBC in which I canoed the Zambezi,

0:20:300:20:34

which I don't recommend.

0:20:340:20:36

You get a condition I can only describe as trench bottom.

0:20:360:20:39

I was told all the way down to avoid all dogs because of rabies.

0:20:390:20:43

I was very surprised to see that most of the local people

0:20:430:20:46

had a dog with them, and I thought, "That's nice.

0:20:460:20:49

"They've all got a pet." But it turns out that's not the case.

0:20:490:20:52

They've got the dog in case they're attacked by a crocodile.

0:20:520:20:55

So what they do is throw the dog.

0:20:550:20:58

They throw the dog at the crocodile as a sort of a tapas.

0:20:580:21:03

-My God!

-I'm sorry, did your boat have a dog?

-No.

-They had you?

0:21:080:21:12

"We've got a small lady from the BBC we're using. Don't tell anyone."

0:21:150:21:19

If you meet a friendly jackal,

0:21:210:21:22

you should probably give it a good kicking to be on the safe side.

0:21:220:21:25

The next question requires a bit of intelligence.

0:21:250:21:28

Who finished off Russia's greatest love machine?

0:21:280:21:31

BUZZER

0:21:310:21:33

Boney M.

0:21:330:21:34

LAUGHTER

0:21:340:21:36

No, he can't say that! How has he got away with that?

0:21:360:21:42

-We're talking about Rasputin?

-We are.

-Let's go through the lyrics.

0:21:420:21:47

This is all I know about Rasputin.

0:21:470:21:48

-Ra, Ra Rasputin, Russia's greatest love machine.

-Lover of the Russian Queen.

0:21:480:21:52

Yes. This is how I learned history.

0:21:520:21:54

-If it doesn't rhyme, it can't be true.

-Do you mean who killed him?

0:21:560:22:00

-Yes.

-We don't really know.

-Is it that moment?

0:22:000:22:04

Everybody tried, didn't say? There was a prostitute who tried.

0:22:040:22:07

I like the way Sandi led us into that. "Nobody knows, but I do, you fools!"

0:22:070:22:11

There's a man who's given credit for it,

0:22:130:22:16

who claimed to be responsible, who was Prince Felix Yusupov.

0:22:160:22:19

It seems that he wasn't personally responsible for it.

0:22:190:22:22

He claimed to have poisoned him

0:22:220:22:24

and the poison didn't work, then they shot him.

0:22:240:22:26

There's Grigor Rasputin. He was just plain shot in the forehead.

0:22:260:22:32

They tried to poison him and then he was shot and then he was drowned,

0:22:320:22:35

and then they got him out of the river and they decided to burn him, and my favourite bit,

0:22:350:22:39

which I'm sure is not true, is that he then sat up in the fire.

0:22:390:22:42

-He sat up?

-It was all part of demonising this extraordinary man.

0:22:420:22:46

What was his importance to Russia? Why was he worth killing?

0:22:460:22:49

-Do you know anything about him?

-He had the ear of the Tsarina.

0:22:490:22:53

-He had the ear of the Tsarina, exactly.

-He had more than her ear!

-There were rumours.

0:22:530:22:58

He certainly shagged a lot of women,

0:22:580:23:00

because he had a peculiar theological belief that the more you sinned the more holy you were,

0:23:000:23:04

which is rather handy.

0:23:040:23:07

He basically had the freedom of the palace,

0:23:070:23:09

and this was when Russia was about to join the First World War,

0:23:090:23:12

and he tried to persuade the Tsar and Tsarina not to go to war with Germany.

0:23:120:23:16

So one of the countries that had a great interest in the death of Rasputin was Britain.

0:23:160:23:21

Because we were at war with Germany, and we wanted at least half the German Army

0:23:210:23:25

to be occupied on the Eastern Front fighting the Russians.

0:23:250:23:29

-He doesn't look like a love machine.

-It so happens the last bullet that went into the brain

0:23:290:23:33

of Rasputin was from a gun that came from an MI6 operative.

0:23:330:23:37

We don't know if it was a British plot.

0:23:370:23:41

But certainly it benefited Britain that Rasputin was killed,

0:23:410:23:43

because it kept Russia in the war for longer.

0:23:430:23:46

He must have had a good chat-up line,

0:23:460:23:48

cos if you saw him at a party you wouldn't think, "I bet he pulls by the end."

0:23:480:23:51

Anyway, the point was, Prince Yusupov arranged a party,

0:23:510:23:55

and he claimed in his autobiography that he gave cakes and drinks

0:23:550:23:58

to Rasputin which were filled with cyanide

0:23:580:24:01

and he didn't seem to move at all, and then they stabbed him

0:24:010:24:05

and then they shot him, and he got up again,

0:24:050:24:07

so then they threw him in the river,

0:24:070:24:09

and they found when his body was exhumed that he has drowned.

0:24:090:24:12

An autopsy showed it just wasn't true.

0:24:120:24:14

If I was at a party and they were giving out cakes full of cyanide

0:24:140:24:16

and then they stabbed me, I would leave then.

0:24:160:24:19

I would make my excuses, no matter how rude it appeared,

0:24:190:24:22

before they got their gun out.

0:24:220:24:24

I think I'd go, "Do you know what, I've got an early morning."

0:24:240:24:27

What about the durable Mike Malloy? Have you heard of him?

0:24:270:24:30

Now, he is a man who really wouldn't die.

0:24:300:24:33

This is a very extraordinary story. The durable Mike Malloy.

0:24:330:24:37

We're in the age of prohibition, and we're in New York City.

0:24:370:24:41

We've got a gang of criminals,

0:24:420:24:44

because anyone who runs a speakeasy is a criminal in prohibition, and they hit on a scam.

0:24:440:24:49

They thought, "We'll get some drunks,

0:24:490:24:51

"we'll get them to sign life insurance forms to our benefit,

0:24:510:24:56

"and then we'll feed them so much alcohol that they'll die.

0:24:560:24:59

"And we'll get all the money." What can go wrong?

0:24:590:25:03

Had they never met Irish people before?

0:25:030:25:06

They were bankrupt!

0:25:070:25:10

They ran out of booze!

0:25:100:25:11

Owner Anthony Marino hatched this plan, got this Irishman,

0:25:110:25:16

he was Irish, they befriended him,

0:25:160:25:18

they plied him with free drinks, and they got him to sign

0:25:180:25:21

three different life insurance policies amounting to nearly 2,000,

0:25:210:25:25

a lot of money in those days.

0:25:250:25:26

After several weeks of free booze, they started to get a bit impatient, because he wasn't dying.

0:25:260:25:31

He kept singing the same songs!

0:25:310:25:33

God, he's doing that one again!

0:25:340:25:37

# Oh, Danny boy... #

0:25:370:25:39

"He seems tipsy."

0:25:390:25:42

They started adding antifreeze, he collapsed a bit,

0:25:420:25:46

but he kept coming back for more drink.

0:25:460:25:47

So they then gave him drinks that were filled with turpentine,

0:25:470:25:51

horse liniment, rat poison, rotten oysters in wood alcohol

0:25:510:25:54

and sardines mixed with carpet tacks.

0:25:540:25:57

-None of this had any effect.

-"Thanks very much... I suppose if it's on the house!"

0:25:590:26:04

So next, they got him drunk, they stripped him naked - this is midwinter New York -

0:26:040:26:09

and they poured five gallons of cold water on him before dumping him on a snow bank.

0:26:090:26:14

If you've ever been in New York, midwinter, it is seriously cold, gets to minus 20 degrees.

0:26:140:26:18

Why didn't they just shoot him?

0:26:180:26:21

-I think a bullet hole might have been...

-A giveaway.

0:26:210:26:23

I think naked on a mound of snow's quite a giveaway, isn't it?

0:26:230:26:26

He was drunk, having sex with a snowman(?) LAUGHTER

0:26:260:26:29

But, the police found him - he turned up the next day saying

0:26:290:26:32

"You'll never guess what happened, they found me in Central Park, on the snow, naked!

0:26:320:26:36

"They took me to a hostel and got me these nice new clothes."

0:26:360:26:39

And so he carried on drinking.

0:26:390:26:42

They paid a cab driver 150 bucks to knock him over.

0:26:420:26:46

After two attempts, they left him sprawled in the road...

0:26:460:26:50

Awaiting news of his death, several weeks later

0:26:500:26:52

he came fresh out of hospital, turning up looking for a drink.

0:26:520:26:56

LAUGHTER

0:26:560:26:57

So finally they challenged him to a rigged drinking contest -

0:26:570:27:00

they got him really pissed, and then pushed a gas hose in his throat and gassed him to death.

0:27:000:27:05

-Awww...

-So they cheated.

0:27:050:27:06

But a few months later - don't worry - they started squabbling amongst themselves,

0:27:060:27:11

and they all went down the river to Sing Sing

0:27:110:27:13

and got fried in the electric chair, the whole gang of them.

0:27:130:27:17

When you said they put a gas hose in his mouth, and cheated... the audience went "Awww!"

0:27:170:27:23

-But before that, when they were trying to kill the man...

-LAUGHTER

0:27:230:27:28

-you were going, "Well, that just sounds like bloody good fun!"

-LAUGHTER

0:27:280:27:32

"The gas hose - That's not playing straight."

0:27:320:27:34

-Not cricket!

-It's an interesting morality you're working with.

0:27:340:27:38

LAUGHTER

0:27:380:27:39

Take a good, hard look at yourselves.

0:27:390:27:42

Well, that's the story of "Durable" Mike Molloy.

0:27:420:27:45

A hero of his time, in some ways.

0:27:450:27:47

-Did HE tell you that story?

-No...

-LAUGHTER

0:27:470:27:50

And he's here tonight(!) LAUGHTER

0:27:500:27:52

Comes in, naked, full of gas...

0:27:520:27:55

IRISH ACCENT: "Oh, they didn't get me at all!"

0:27:550:27:58

He's up there...

0:27:580:27:59

LAUGHTER

0:27:590:28:01

Now, how many things beginning with I are there in this picture...?

0:28:010:28:05

Oh, now...are we looking at insects?

0:28:070:28:11

We are, Alan, you're spot on.

0:28:110:28:13

-So...we don't know.

-No, I think there's going to be like, a square metre of sky

0:28:130:28:18

and there's going to be... a hundred thousand insects.

0:28:180:28:21

-There's billions. Millions and millions...

-We couldn't count it.

0:28:210:28:25

They take a square kilometre, and they use little entomological radars to see how many there are.

0:28:250:28:30

And high up in the air at all times, there are billions of insects...

0:28:300:28:33

So did they find this on the first Space Shuttle when they didn't have windscreen wipers...

0:28:330:28:38

LAUGHTER

0:28:380:28:39

Well, actually in the early days of flight, Lindbergh and various others started to do tests, and they put

0:28:390:28:45

sticky things on... Because they were thinking, "Why are there insects so high up?"

0:28:450:28:49

as we got to go higher and higher. And the record was they found a termite at 19,000 feet.

0:28:490:28:53

-It was on an aeroplane.

-No...!

0:28:530:28:54

LAUGHTER

0:28:540:28:56

30 million large insects, which is larger than a ladybird, were discovered by this radar.

0:28:580:29:03

But take into account smaller insects, aphids or parasitic wasps,

0:29:030:29:07

which outnumber the large ones by a factor of hundreds or so,

0:29:070:29:11

you're talking about a serious quantity, it's like an insect belt

0:29:110:29:15

around the world.

0:29:150:29:16

So, how many insects do you eat a year?

0:29:160:29:19

Oh, not on purpose, you mean?

0:29:190:29:21

Not on purpose.

0:29:210:29:23

-Are you inhaling them all the time?

-Yes.

0:29:230:29:25

-And then they get stopped by your systems.

-There are a few myths on the internet -

0:29:250:29:28

most people might eat eight spiders a year.

0:29:280:29:32

The myth is, that when you're sleeping, spiders crawl into your mouth.

0:29:320:29:36

-Please, please, tell me that's not true.

-It is not true.

0:29:360:29:39

LEE: No, it's hedgehogs.

0:29:390:29:40

SANDI: That wouldn't be so bad, you'd know it was coming.

0:29:410:29:45

There's an internet thing about it being a pound a year,

0:29:450:29:47

which is overdoing it, but to give an example,

0:29:470:29:50

in the USA there are laws about how much insect matter

0:29:500:29:54

can be sold in food. Right? So...

0:29:540:29:57

the average jar of peanut butter is legally permitted

0:29:570:30:00

to contain 30 insect fragments per 100 grams.

0:30:000:30:05

Well, that's what makes it crunchy.

0:30:050:30:07

And...

0:30:070:30:08

Get the smooth stuff, there's nothing in it.

0:30:080:30:11

And one rodent hair.

0:30:110:30:13

SANDI: No!

0:30:130:30:15

That's an allowable limit.

0:30:150:30:18

There's a weird thing on food safety where's there an amount of faeces allowed as well.

0:30:180:30:22

-That's right.

-Which is really distressing.

0:30:220:30:24

Yes. Tomato juice is allowed to contain ten fly eggs,

0:30:240:30:29

or two maggots,

0:30:290:30:31

from the drosophila fly per 500ml.

0:30:310:30:34

Ginger is allowed 3mg of mammalian excreta per 100g.

0:30:340:30:40

Um, fig paste is allowed to contain 13 or more insect heads per 100g.

0:30:410:30:47

Ground marjoram, the kind you find in a spice jar,

0:30:470:30:51

can contain 1,175 insect fragments per 10g.

0:30:510:30:56

Pot Noodle, do what you like.

0:30:560:30:59

The point is, there are allowable levels of tiny bits of insects in most food.

0:30:590:31:05

It wouldn't be pounds a year, but we have bits of insect inside us whether we like it or not.

0:31:050:31:09

You know when you get the ingredients on the side, people are obsessed by calories,

0:31:090:31:13

and what are the ingredients, does it have E numbers in? Is it fresh?

0:31:130:31:17

That whole thing. But they never write "tiny bit of shit in this."

0:31:170:31:22

I mean, not much!

0:31:220:31:24

But your recommended daily allowance...

0:31:240:31:27

-of shit in this tomato juice.

-"May contain crap."

0:31:270:31:30

-Yeah, "may contain a bit of crap."

-Now, eyes front,

0:31:300:31:33

I spy general ignorance up ahead.

0:31:330:31:34

What can you tell me about the lifespan of this lobster?

0:31:340:31:39

BUZZER I don't know but look at the size of the fish he's just caught.

0:31:390:31:42

LAUGHTER

0:31:420:31:45

APPLAUSE I don't think the fish was that big, he's just giving it all that.

0:31:450:31:50

-In theory, a lobster can live forever. In theory.

-It's not one of these, is it?

0:31:500:31:56

Yes, it is. The point is, you can't tell the age of a lobster.

0:31:560:32:00

FANFARE AND APPLAUSE

0:32:000:32:04

-So you say you can't tell the age of a lobster?

-No.

0:32:080:32:11

-They shed their actual... The whole skin comes off.

-Did you say lobsters can live forever?

0:32:110:32:16

In theory. The trouble is, we don't know, because they live so far down on the ocean's floor,

0:32:160:32:22

there may be giant submarine-sized lobsters for all we know, but we've never seen them.

0:32:220:32:27

Yes, and they have a special protease-type DNA enzyme called telomerase

0:32:270:32:32

which basically replaces lost DNA during cell division,

0:32:320:32:36

so that their cells remain young and pristine each time they divide.

0:32:360:32:40

Unlike with us, where they just get flabbier and flabbier.

0:32:400:32:43

The largest on record was caught off Nova Scotia in 1977. It was 3.5 foot long from tail to claw.

0:32:430:32:50

-3.5 foot? That's a lot smaller than a submarine.

-Yes, it's a lot smaller than this studio.

0:32:500:32:55

It's a lot smaller than many things, but the largest lobster ever caught.

0:32:550:32:59

-LAUGHTER

-Yeah, Lee!

-Sandi did say they could be as big as a submarine.

0:32:590:33:03

-Sorry, I missed that bit.

-That's all right.

0:33:030:33:06

Just so you know, I didn't randomly say, "3.5 foot, I've got an interesting fact about 3.5 foot,

0:33:060:33:11

"a lot smaller than a submarine. Back to you, Stephen. Beat that with your interesting facts!"

0:33:110:33:17

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE It was relevant to what she said. That would be a bonkers way to...

0:33:170:33:22

-I've got slightly too used to you saying rather stupid things.

-LAUGHTER

0:33:220:33:27

-I apologise on bended knees.

-You mean stupid things like

0:33:280:33:31

lobsters can live forever and grow to the size of submarines?

0:33:310:33:35

-What doesn't make sense in the picture is it shouldn't be red.

-Why not?

0:33:350:33:40

Because it's in the water, it should be black. Are they not only red...

0:33:400:33:44

-SIREN BLARES

-You thought it was dead.

0:33:440:33:47

No. The vast majority of lobsters are a sort of darkish colour,

0:33:470:33:51

with little bits of iridescent colours on them, but you can get red ones.

0:33:510:33:56

-Have you ever seen a blue lobster?

-I'm not falling for this again, Stephen.

-Have you?

0:33:560:34:01

-Er, I don't think I have seen one.

-Would you like to see a blue lobster?

-Oh, here we go.

0:34:010:34:05

-Go on. Is it going to hurt?

-There, have a look behind you and you'll see a nice blue lobster.

0:34:050:34:09

Look at that. Every now and again you get a really blue lobster.

0:34:090:34:13

I just think BP have got a lot to answer for. LAUGHTER

0:34:130:34:16

-It looks like it's been sprayed by a vandal.

-It does look like it.

0:34:160:34:19

But Sandi was right about it detaching itself from its old shell.

0:34:190:34:22

It does that 25 times in the first five years of its life.

0:34:220:34:26

And each time it does, it grows by 50 percent. But it's a really odd business and quite dangerous.

0:34:260:34:31

It has to detach itself from its old shell.

0:34:310:34:33

It has teeth inside its stomach and they're part of the exoskeleton

0:34:330:34:37

so the lobster has to pull out the lining of its throat, stomach and anus

0:34:370:34:41

-every time it gets rid of its shell.

-I've had hangovers where I've felt like that.

0:34:410:34:47

LAUGHTER Ohh!

0:34:470:34:50

They also, rather like the people of Doncaster, communicate with each other by urinating.

0:34:500:34:55

LAUGHTER

0:34:550:34:58

-Hang on, why Doncaster?

-I was there with a TV crew on Friday night and there was a lot of weeing.

0:34:580:35:03

-You should have been at Wembley at a cup final.

-It was horrible on the terrace when it used to...

0:35:030:35:08

-It used to rush down the terraces.

-You know how they get the Champagne glasses and do that?

0:35:080:35:13

-Yes. Exactly.

-That's where they got the idea from. All bubbling at the bottom.

0:35:130:35:17

In America, you can buy a Stadium Pal. A Stadium Pal.

0:35:170:35:20

-This is a little thing you can pee in.

-It's a thing you attach to yourself and it goes in a bottle.

0:35:200:35:25

And they've developed one for women, but it looks a bit more like a gravy boat. I'm not sure.

0:35:250:35:30

-Now with wings!

-That would be good for long journeys in the car, too.

0:35:300:35:36

-There is a thing you can pee into in the car.

-You pee in a bag.

-Yeah.

0:35:360:35:39

You can pee in a bag anyway, no-one's stopping you.

0:35:390:35:42

If you're not allowed to use a mobile phone in a car, you're not allowed to urinate in a bag.

0:35:420:35:47

-You pull over.

-If you pull over, why don't you go in a tree?

0:35:470:35:51

-Go in a tree?

-In a tree.

0:35:510:35:53

Not in a tree, against a tree. I don't mean carry a woodpecker with you at all times.

0:35:530:35:57

"Tap a hole in there for us!" LAUGHTER

0:35:570:36:01

"Fill it in and on your way!"

0:36:010:36:04

I really need to pee now.

0:36:040:36:06

Oh...not long. You always... Why do you always need a pee?

0:36:060:36:11

I drink loads of coffee, pints of coffee. I run on caffeine.

0:36:110:36:14

-OK, let's get on. Anyone have to pee?

-Want that?

0:36:140:36:18

Don't do that to him, that's cruel.

0:36:180:36:21

APPLAUSE

0:36:210:36:23

Which side is it?

0:36:230:36:24

-He can't tell!

-Which side?

0:36:240:36:28

Get it the right way round, for God's sake.

0:36:280:36:30

It'll be like Wembley again.

0:36:300:36:33

-Don't you dare!

-You know, I never thought I'd see...

-Shh, shh!

0:36:340:36:38

-You're making it come back.

-Never thought I'd see Einstein in that position.

0:36:380:36:42

Not so clever now, are you? Yeah.

0:36:420:36:46

Suddenly it's...P = MC squared!

0:36:460:36:49

CHEERING

0:36:490:36:51

So, the fact is, it's impossible to age a lobster.

0:36:510:36:54

What would they have called this shop in the olden days?

0:36:540:36:58

Well, I'm guessing not an old pork pie shop? That's a bit too easy.

0:36:580:37:03

-How do you pronounce it, you mean?

-How do you pronounce it?

0:37:030:37:06

-BUZZER

-Lee?

-"Yee Old Pork Pie Shopp-ee."

0:37:060:37:10

-SIREN BLARES

-Oh, no!

0:37:100:37:14

-It's... That's not pronounced "Yee."

-OK.

0:37:140:37:17

-It's pronounced...

-BUZZER

-Yeah?

-"Yey!"

-No.

0:37:170:37:20

-Old porkie pie shop.

-No, you said it.

-It's "the".

-Why is it "the"?

0:37:200:37:23

-It's the way they wrote it down, isn't it?

-It's because it's not a Y. It looks like a Y,

0:37:230:37:28

and they used Ys when printing came in. It's an Old English letter from Anglo-Saxon called the thorn,

0:37:280:37:33

which is the letter for a "th", like a Greek theta.

0:37:330:37:36

When printing came in, a lot of them didn't bother making a separate thorn,

0:37:360:37:40

they used the Y cos it was so similar,

0:37:400:37:42

so when they were writing "the", they would put a Y in.

0:37:420:37:45

But they knew to pronounce it "the", and that, much as we do in texts and tweets these days,

0:37:450:37:51

it's been very common for human beings to abbreviate, and they abbreviated "that", to "yt", th't.

0:37:510:37:57

Whenever you see in old churches "ye this" or "ye that" or you see "ye olde" it's actually "the".

0:37:570:38:03

-What about "Old-ee"?

-You don't pronounce the silent "e" on it.

-"Shopp-ee"?

0:38:030:38:07

-Or "Shoppe".

-I haven't got one word right. Here we go, I've got one. Pie?

-Yes!

0:38:070:38:12

-Spot on!

-Get in! Now, how do you say that tricky one in the middle?

0:38:120:38:16

How northern is that? If someone's just flicked onto this show, and said, "Oh, Lee Mack's on."

0:38:160:38:21

And you go, "Pie!" and there's a round of applause. LAUGHTER

0:38:210:38:24

-In which war did both sides fight under the Union Jack?

-BUZZER

0:38:240:38:28

Ye Second World War.

0:38:280:38:30

Both sides fought under the Union... What, the Germans?

0:38:300:38:33

I wanted to get a gag in about "ye", I can't think of any other wars,

0:38:330:38:37

I just... I panicked. I panicked after the "ye".

0:38:370:38:40

Cos what's happened, I've said "ye", it hasn't got a laugh, I have to back it up with a fact,

0:38:400:38:45

I've gone in, worst possible war. Everything about it -

0:38:450:38:48

the joke was wrong, the story is inaccurate,

0:38:480:38:50

everything about that was totally terrible.

0:38:500:38:53

The explanation was brilliant, I have to say.

0:38:530:38:55

-Which war is most likely to involve both sides?

-English Civil War.

0:38:550:39:00

-SIREN WAILS American Civil War.

-No.

0:39:000:39:04

It hadn't come into existence as a flag by then.

0:39:040:39:07

-Is it...

-The American War Of Independence is the right answer.

0:39:070:39:12

Because the British flew the Union Jack, Union Flag as it was then known.

0:39:120:39:15

And George Washington designed the Stars And Stripes

0:39:150:39:18

and, in fact, the canton - the important quarter of the flag - was the Union Jack.

0:39:180:39:21

So you can see an example of an early American Union Flag with the Union Jack in its corner.

0:39:210:39:27

-The stripes... The stars - Betsy Ross hadn't made that yet.

-That's right.

0:39:270:39:32

There is one state in America that has a Union Jack still in its state flag.

0:39:320:39:36

-Do you know which state that is?

-I would say...Alaska.

0:39:360:39:41

Who are you going to ask? Sandi?

0:39:410:39:42

-CHEERING

-Hey-hey! Erm...

0:39:420:39:45

I don't know, but I would guess Virginia.

0:39:450:39:47

-No, it's not. It's actually Hawaii.

-Oh, is it?

0:39:470:39:50

-Hawaii has a Union Jack in the state flag.

-Ooh!

0:39:500:39:53

What went up by 57% during the Blitz?

0:39:530:39:55

-BUZZER

-Yeah?

0:39:560:39:58

House prices? LAUGHTER

0:39:580:40:01

-They might, but no.

-Was it Mother Brown's knees?

0:40:010:40:05

-By 57 %?

-They were always up listening to the Cockneys during the Blitz. Always up.

0:40:050:40:12

-The birth rate?

-No.

-Grave robbing?

-Crime.

0:40:120:40:16

-Oh!

-Crime went up a huge amount during the Blitz.

-Sorry, do you count crime as dropping bombs?

0:40:160:40:22

Because if that is listed as a crime, there was a lot of that going on.

0:40:220:40:26

It's not a crime, in acts of war, to do that, unfortunately. But I'm talking about Londoners' crime.

0:40:260:40:31

Mad Frankie Fraser actually said,

0:40:310:40:34

"It was a tragedy when Hitler surrendered,

0:40:340:40:37

"because wartime London was a criminal's paradise."

0:40:370:40:40

That's the way he put it.

0:40:400:40:41

All you had to do was get an ARP Warden, you know, like Hodges in Dad's Army,

0:40:410:40:46

"Napoleon!", all that. You put one of those on and people just obey you, and a tin hat with a "W" on it.

0:40:460:40:51

And people would actually help them load their cars with stuff they'd stolen.

0:40:510:40:55

"Here, come here! Help me load this car!" They'd go, "Ooh, yes," because you were a warden.

0:40:550:41:00

-Are you suggesting that's what the Queen Mother was doing in the East End?

-No!

0:41:000:41:04

-My granddad was one of those, an ARP warden.

-Was he?

-Well, he says that.

-Oh, I'm sure he was.

0:41:040:41:10

-So was it mainly looting?

-There was looting, there was also scams.

0:41:100:41:14

There was one fellow called Handy who made a claim for his house being bombed - for which you got £500 -

0:41:140:41:19

19 times...

0:41:190:41:22

before they caught onto him.

0:41:220:41:23

And ordinary people were also committing crimes through ration books.

0:41:230:41:27

People who didn't think of themselves as criminals were black-marketeering,

0:41:270:41:31

or involving themselves in the black market. Generally speaking, it was a very good time to be a criminal,

0:41:310:41:37

because the police and everybody were concerned with bombs falling on houses and incendiary bombs.

0:41:370:41:42

Is there truth in... I read a thing about... A house would be bombed and the people would be dead,

0:41:420:41:48

-people would come and steal watches...

-Oh, yes.

0:41:480:41:50

-It's really grizzly.

-I'm afraid it is. We think of it as our finest hour and of the Blitz spirit.

0:41:500:41:56

Unfortunately, there's another side to it. There was a huge amount of bravery and camaraderie

0:41:560:42:01

and communal spirit and so on, but there was also, sadly, the darker side.

0:42:010:42:05

Now, I spy with my little eye, the scores,

0:42:050:42:08

and how interesting they are.

0:42:080:42:10

In first place, by really quite a long way,

0:42:100:42:13

-is Sandi Toksvig with 12 points!

-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:42:130:42:18

And in second place, with minus four, Jimmy Carr!

0:42:210:42:25

APPLAUSE Oh! Very happy with that.

0:42:250:42:28

Only just in third place, with minus five, Lee Mack!

0:42:300:42:33

APPLAUSE I'll take that - third. Best I've done.

0:42:330:42:38

And a proud fourth place with double-I, minus 11, is Alan Davies!

0:42:380:42:45

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:42:450:42:48

So, it's thanks to Sandi, Jimmy, Lee and Alan.

0:42:510:42:54

And as Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot by watching." Goodnight.

0:42:540:42:59

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:060:43:08

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0:43:080:43:12

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