Inland Revenue QI XL


Inland Revenue

Stephen Fry asks some taxing questions about things that start with 'i'. Joining him are Sandi Toksvig, Al Murray, Dara O Briain and Alan Davies.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

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

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Welcome to QI for another incongruous in-gathering

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of I-related information including income tax, inflation

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and Imperial Rome.

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Let's have a look at tonight's four Is.

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The eye-catching Sandi Toksvig.

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APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

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The eye-watering Al Murray.

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APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

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The I-rish Dara O'Briain.

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APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

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And aye, aye, aye, it's Alan Davies.

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APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

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Right, let's hear your I-buzzers.

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-Sandy goes...

-BIRD CAWS

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That was an ibis.

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-Al goes...

-MEN CHANT

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-That was an Ibex. Dara goes...

-ENGINE REVS

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That was a Seat Ibiza.

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And Alan goes...

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# I, I, I, I, like you very much

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# I, I, I, I, think you're great. #

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And don't forget, if you spot a question

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to which you think nobody knows the answer,

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you can always play your ignoramus joker like so.

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Nobody knows!

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There may be a question to which the answer is, nobody knows.

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So, describe, if you can, in detail,

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the world's most exotic tax inspectors.

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Not the ones who brought me into Balham once?

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Were you once given a right going over?

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I was once given a right going over, yeah.

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I'd taken tax advice from Harry Hill so it was my own fault!

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He used to be a doctor so I thought he knew what he was talking about.

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I once went three days with a tax inspector

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going through, honestly, every single decimal point of everything.

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After three days, he didn't find anything and he said,

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"To be honest, Miss Toksvig, I just wanted to meet you."

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-Wow!

-I know.

-Was either of them exotic,

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did they have a flowery tie or anything about them...

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-Is it going to be one of those tax haven things?

-No, it's not.

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We're in the Middle East, we're in an Islamic country

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where people would be embarrassed by a certain type of person,

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a transgender person.

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In Pakistan, they have a squadron of transgender tax collectors

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who come basically to embarrass people into paying.

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They go, "Hiya.

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"You all right?"

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First of all, you go to the shop and say,

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"You owe us this much in tax."

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And they would simply say, "We refuse to pay."

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They'd say, "OK, then tomorrow we will send in a group of transgender tax collectors

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"who will dance and sing in your shop until you pay."

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# The crying game. #

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But only 5% of people pay tax in Pakistan so it's not working, is it?

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There's only so many transgender people.

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They're very busy belting out I Am What I Am in shops all around the country.

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Well, there is quite a transgender, I suppose one would use the word, community in Pakistan.

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And they have obviously had it very tough, especially in the more

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extremist parts of that country where such things are frowned upon.

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But they are classed together with transvestites and eunuchs

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and there's a special word for them which is hijra.

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But how extraordinary for a mother if she sees her son,

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putting on her high heels and she looks at him now and thinks, "Tax inspector!"

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It is, it's a glamour profession now.

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I have to do this, mother. I'm a tax inspector.

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-It may well happen.

-Nothing else is going on.

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Why are you wearing that dress this evening?

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There you are. In India, in Andhra Pradesh, they've tried drumming.

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They simply drum outside the shop or household and keep it up until they pay their taxes.

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What if you own a drum shop?

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-That would be...

-That would be a fatal flaw, wouldn't it?

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It would but that's going to be a very low percentage.

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You're nitpicking here, I think, Dara.

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What would we do here?

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Morris dancers, I think, outside your shop. "I'll pay, I will pay!"

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Basically, the governments of the world are looking for imaginative solutions to raise their taxes.

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And that is one, using transgender people in Karachi.

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You're looking astonished!

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I'm totally astonished. It's boggling. It's brilliant.

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While living in Pakistan was there any point at which Osama Bin Laden

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didn't pay his taxes and was in danger

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of four transgender people knocking on the door of his massive compound?

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No wonder he was hiding!

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I wonder what that man does for a living. What's he done?

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The whole conversation... Four of them turn up?

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Four of them, going through his papers, as you can see.

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"You come for my tax? I sold you that scarf."

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I think that's a counterfeit designer bag

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that she's wearing as well.

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He's going to get the hit squad.

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Yes, he's going to get the full show.

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Here come the girls!

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LAUGHTER

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That's what they sing.

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"We are the hit squad and the first hit will be Cher's I Believe."

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Absolutely.

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There you go.

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Now, compare the tax advantages of being a drug dealer in Tennessee

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to those of being a bank robber in the Netherlands.

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Is it in Tennessee they can claim back

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the expense of buying the drugs against tax

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as a business expense or something?

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-You're in the right area.

-There's some kind of accounting loophole.

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What they tried in Tennessee was to put a duty on drugs,

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as you do on alcohol and tobacco.

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So all these criminals who were found as drug dealers

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not only went to prison but they had to pay this tax on the drugs.

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Like a stamp duty?

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Yes, but then constitutionally, it was discovered to be against...

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It counted as double jeopardy cos they were getting punished twice for the same crime.

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So now the state of Tennessee is paying money back

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to all the drug dealers.

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It's already paid millions out.

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About 161 people have already received 3.7 million...

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Because there was a bit of a screw-up.

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They thought it was a clever idea to get extra money

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out of drug criminals, instead they've actually lost out.

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They'll only spend it on drugs.

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So with bank robbers in the Netherlands, it must be that

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-you can claim for the expense of your gun.

-Yes!

-Is that right?

-Absolutely right.

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Someone was found guilty of holding a place up with a gun

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and he was fined and his gun was an allowable expense

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-so the price of his gun was deducted from his fine.

-Fantastic.

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-But presumably you'd need a receipt, first of all.

-Yes.

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It was a working expense.

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So if you commit crimes that are worth less than your gun,

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-you will always be ahead.

-Yes!

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-A very expensive getaway car.

-Yes, exactly.

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Use a Porsche as a getaway car!

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-Very expensive silk stockings over your face.

-La Perla, you see.

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Absolutely.

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Presumably you'd have to prove you bought the right thing for the crime.

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If you had a gun, fine. But if you had a ballistic missile,

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-they're not going to cough up.

-I think you're right.

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Was it Robert Morley who used to run Miss World?

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Eric Morley, I think his name was.

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He claimed his racehorses as a tax expense

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and it went all the way to court with him saying, basically,

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"I'm in the business of being Eric Morley

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"and that includes owning racehorses to keep up my kind of lifestyle

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"and have the swagger of being the man that runs Miss World, I need racehorses." And he won.

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-Good God.

-So he was able to claim his racehorses as a business expense.

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I once bought a racehorse by mistake.

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What had you originally gone into the shop for?

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I was there as a tax inspector.

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You wanted a pint of Activia pouring yoghurt

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and you bought a racehorse

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Oh, you heard about that little problem I had?

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LAUGHTER

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Table this, people.

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No, what happened was, I was at Epsom and somebody had given a racehorse

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to auction to the crowd to raise money for charity.

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And I was asked if I'd auction it off. So I said, "What am I bid for this marvellous racehorse?

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I'm standing next to the horse and nobody bids.

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So I said, "I'll start us off. 3,000 Guineas."

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STEPHEN GASPS

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Silence. I was the only person who bid...

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Oh, Sandy!

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..on the horse and I'd come in my sports car. I'd no idea how I was going to get it home.

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-So, did you have to pay out?

-No, the man very nicely bought it back off me.

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-How much for?

-Well, I lost on it.

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For about a minute and a half, I owned a racehorse.

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Did you follow the fortunes of that racehorse?

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No, I've never been to the races again. It's too terrifying.

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Good Lord. Well, there you are.

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I do know an actor who claimed his carpet on the grounds

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that it was wear and tear because he used to walk up and down learning his lines.

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-Quite clever.

-Didn't get away with it.

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-But he still put it in.

-Good effort.

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Yes. Absolutely. I tried to claim for a bed once. No reason.

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I was new to the game, I just thought you put everything down.

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Why? Because you had to sleep with directors to get parts?

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Exactly.

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Turns out you don't actually have to use a bed for that. Behind a skip, anything.

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They're not discerning about it.

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I was dressing the room, I was putting music on. They don't care.

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They want to use you and go. You're nothing to them.

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I did try and claim for some paintings in my office

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and I was in the tax inspector's place and he said,

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"What is this, paintings in the office?"

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I said, "For goodness sake, nobody could possibly work in an office which had no art in it.

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And as I looked around, there was a single solitary poster...

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of the Heimlich manoeuvre.

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LAUGHTER

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-I couldn't think how often that would come up.

-No, not really.

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Not when you're on your own, in particular.

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People will try anything, basically.

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Now, why does this house have bricked up windows?

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Ah, I expect there'll be a klaxon,

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but there was window tax, wasn't there?

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KLAXON

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People like to go around the place and point at a black window

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and go, "Window tax, you see?"

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Yeah, I'm one of those people.

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Because there was a window tax from the 1690s right up to 1851.

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What is this, then? A sort of 18th century fashionably solid curtain?

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Yes, basically.

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It was just to balance the house out, basically.

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There were a lot of bricked in ones but this is an example

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of where it was just used to make it look slightly more symmetrical.

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It looks slightly like they had a child they didn't love

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and they bricked them into a part of the house.

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Looking at the brickwork, I think there was an extension somewhere. Anyway...

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That doesn't excuse the fact that Granny has been living in that slim portion of...

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They just slide pizzas under the door.

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Was there not a brick tax at one point? I think you can tell

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the age of some London buildings by the size of the brick.

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Is that right? Certainly before the window tax, there was a hearth and chimney tax for fireplaces.

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Then they decided the window tax would be a good idea.

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It was in the 1850s that they realised the British glass industry was doing very badly.

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There's an example... Those were blanked out for window tax.

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A, people were not getting enough light

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and it was very disadvantageous for the poor who lived in dark places,

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and the British glass industry was getting really depressed.

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But the candle makers were raking it in.

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Candle makers were raking it in, there is that.

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Is it or isn't it where daylight robbery comes from?

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This idea of taking away the windows and window tax was daylight robbery. I'm not sure.

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No, I think daylight robbery is you just take something in plain sight.

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It's shameless robbery, daylight robbery.

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That house would make a very good advent calendar.

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Yes, it would.

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Imagine that. A huge chocolate behind...

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LAUGHTER

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Scare the life out of the children!

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Surely somebody's rung the doorbell and gone, "By the way, they've repealed the window tax."

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But other countries have chosen other strange taxes.

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What do you think they taxed in Amsterdam?

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There's a narrowness, isn't there? The width of the building.

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Yes, they taxed the width in Amsterdam.

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Hence you get those extraordinary, Dutch, very, very narrow houses.

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-And all of them have that gable extended...

-For a pulley system?

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So everything got lifted up cos the doors were too narrow to bring things in.

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It results in rather beautiful architecture, don't you think?

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-Nobody agrees with me. Everyone thinks it's hideous...

-It's lovely.

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-I think they just look very narrow.

-Well, yes!

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Nice buildings, could be a bit wider.

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It's the sort of building that I think, ooh,

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-imagine if you'd forgotten something on the top floor...

-That's true.

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And you'd gone... You'd buy another. Whatever it was, you'd buy another.

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It's nice to have the stairs up, maybe in a spiral,

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but there should be a pole down.

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-Have you ever been down a fireman's pole?

-No, I haven't!

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LAUGHTER

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You really tried to keep a straight face!

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I meant it in the most serious way.

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That raises a question, why don't firemen live in bungalows?

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Why the pole? Why not be on the same level as the fire truck?

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Because you've got to jump into your boots, haven't you?

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No, you don't, you can just put them on! Just pull the boots on!

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It's Wallace and Gromit you're thinking of!

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Oh, going to a fire isn't enough of an adventure, is it?

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It's not exciting enough.

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It's quite scary, I visited a fire station in Indiana

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and they said, "Go on, jump."

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And there's a pole, and I suddenly realised, I don't want to do this.

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I eventually did it, and it's horribly squeaky,

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-like nails on a blackboard.

-Is it like a slide that's warm?

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It should have been oiled, I feel.

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LAUGHTER

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Oil's flammable! They can't turn up at a fire covered in oil!

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That's true! I hadn't thought it through!

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LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

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You're quite right. Yeah, I don't think these things through.

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Surely there's training, because I would presume if you jump and grab it with cloth,

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you'll just go straight down at nearly terminal velocity.

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-Grab it with your leg.

-Get nasty burns.

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That would be an ironic thing, to get a burn on the way to a fire.

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While they're going down holding on with their legs,

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-they're putting their hat on and doing their...

-Bungalow.

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-You're right.

-Bungalows, I'm sorry.

-The fire engines take up all the room.

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That's true, you've got to have... Two machines abreast is usual, isn't it,

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and if all the living quarters were next door...

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-Sorry, I just thought of breasts.

-LAUGHTER

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Two machines...?

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Two machines per breast!

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It was an odd moment, Alan, because I was with you.

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LAUGHTER

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-Some sort of pumping going on...

-Oh, dear!

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-Lifting machine, or a...

-Never mind, no. Anyway...

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What I don't like is they no longer have a ladder on the top

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that sometimes comes adrift and one dangles off the end going round corners.

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Oh, yes, like in, was it One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing

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or one of those Disney films where they go round London...?

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The only recent film, I think it was Terminator 3.

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Oh, did they use it in Terminator 3?

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-The Terminator was hanging off the end and went through buildings.

-Wow.

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It was very exciting. I think it was perhaps done on a computer.

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Yeah, that's probably true.

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Now, talking of large tax bills,

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named the best paid sportsman of all time.

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-So it's not going to be one of those.

-I was going to say one of those,

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-I was going to say that one on the left.

-Were you? Not the best laid!

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KLAXON SOUNDS

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That's ridiculous!

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LAUGHTER

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-Thought crime for Alan Davies!

-Absolutely!

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-Is it of all-time? So...

-It's going to be relative,

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-so it's going to be someone in Ancient Greece or something.

-Spartacus.

-Imperial Rome.

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Imperial Rome is indeed where we need to be, yeah.

0:16:440:16:47

-Is it a gladiator of some description?

-Not a gladiator.

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-Charioteer?

-Charioteer.

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A charioteer by the name of Gaius Appuleius Diocles,

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and he was a Lusitanian Spaniard, and he was the greatest sportsman of his age.

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He wasn't a looker, though, was he?

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That might not be accurate! We know he was...

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What makes you say that?!

0:17:050:17:07

Judging by the horses...

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After a while, you do turn into a little bit like the animal that you work with.

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LAUGHTER

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He won 1,462 races,

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which racked up 35,863,120 sesterces in prize money,

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as recorded in a monumental inscription, exactly that amount.

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He's the champion of all charioteers,

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and if you compare this to the average wage of the day

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and use all the calculations that people use to determine these things,

0:17:320:17:35

his career winnings amounted to an equivalent of 15 billion.

0:17:350:17:40

-Quite astonishing amount of money.

-That would make Tiger Woods pale!

0:17:400:17:44

That's a fantastic...

0:17:440:17:46

Tiger Woods was the first to earn a billion,

0:17:460:17:48

so he's certainly the best paid of our time, but not of all time.

0:17:480:17:51

-I wish charioteer was rhyming slang.

-For...?

0:17:510:17:54

(QUIETLY) You know, a queer.

0:17:540:17:56

Oh!

0:17:560:17:57

I think we've got enough words!

0:17:570:17:59

Another one!

0:17:590:18:01

-Iron and ginger.

-It would've been funnier...

-"He's a charioteer."

0:18:010:18:07

Chariot!

0:18:070:18:08

LAUGHTER

0:18:080:18:10

If we pretended.

0:18:100:18:12

HE WHINNIES

0:18:120:18:13

LAUGHTER

0:18:130:18:15

-Ben Hur.

-Yeah, Ben Hur.

-Well, Ben Hur would suit, I think.

0:18:150:18:21

If you try to reclaim it, to empower yourself by using a word

0:18:210:18:24

we just invented that was never actually slang,

0:18:240:18:27

and you're going, "Well, I am a charioteer

0:18:270:18:29

"and none of you can say it."

0:18:290:18:31

It's our word, we've got it back for ourselves. A charioteer of fire.

0:18:310:18:37

-Down a pole.

-Hey!

0:18:370:18:40

-You reclaimed that in under a minute. It's the fastest ever.

-It was pretty good, wasn't it?

0:18:400:18:45

Well, anyway, this was in 146 AD that he retired as the richest sportsman.

0:18:450:18:52

And they had four horses and there were up to 12 teams

0:18:520:18:55

and they would go round a lap, like Ben Hur,

0:18:550:18:59

and the skill was cornering, it was incredibly difficult. And he won nearly 1,500 races.

0:18:590:19:03

-Nero used to race in chariot races and he always won everything.

-Yeah.

0:19:030:19:08

So what used to happen, on one occasion he fell out of the chariot

0:19:080:19:11

and everybody stopped and pretended that their horse had got

0:19:110:19:14

something wrong with them, having a look, going, "Is he back in?"

0:19:140:19:18

-And then he got back in and he won.

-Gosh!

0:19:180:19:20

-Is it true or is it a myth that people were killed in the filming?

-In the original Ben Hur,

0:19:200:19:25

-the silent one, I think people were killed, in the previous version.

-In the silent one

0:19:250:19:29

they were going at phenomenal speed.

0:19:290:19:32

-Nobody minded in those days.

-No, you couldn't hear a thing.

0:19:320:19:35

-No, quite.

-ALAN WAILS

0:19:350:19:39

The card comes up.

0:19:390:19:41

Do you know the connection between Ben Hur and Billy the Kid?

0:19:410:19:43

Well, do you know who wrote Ben Hur the novel?

0:19:430:19:47

I feel like I did know it and now I don't.

0:19:470:19:49

He was a man called Wallace and he was the governor of New Mexico.

0:19:490:19:52

-And he was the one who signed Billy the Kid's death warrant.

-That's fabulous trivia.

0:19:520:19:57

-Isn't it?

-Yes. Well done, you. I think you should get an extra point for that.

0:19:570:20:00

LAUGHTER

0:20:000:20:02

Thank you very much. Staying in that period of time for a moment,

0:20:020:20:05

please fill me in on this little piece of information. Who had to return to their birthplace

0:20:050:20:10

-for the census?

-This is going to be one of those things where we say

0:20:100:20:15

Joseph and Mary and it isn't Joseph and Mary because...

0:20:150:20:18

KLAXON SOUNDS

0:20:180:20:21

-Yeah, it isn't that at all because.

-Tiger Woods?

-It's not.

0:20:210:20:26

Clever, always being one step behind.

0:20:260:20:30

-LAUGHTER

-The story is given in one of the Gospels - Luke -

0:20:300:20:34

where it says that Caesar Augustus, if you remember, in those days

0:20:340:20:38

issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire

0:20:380:20:41

-Roman world. And we know this is simply...

-Not true. The dates are all over the place.

0:20:410:20:46

No, there was never a census of the entire Roman world.

0:20:460:20:50

And there is also absolutely no truth in the fact that you had to

0:20:500:20:53

return to the place of your birth in order to complete a census.

0:20:530:20:56

There's only one reason why Luke would want you to think

0:20:560:21:01

that Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to give birth.

0:21:010:21:05

-To fulfil the prophecy?

-To fulfil the prophecy is the point.

0:21:050:21:09

In the Old Testament it says that the Messiah will be born

0:21:090:21:12

from the stem off Jesse, and that means?

0:21:120:21:15

What is the stem of Jesse?

0:21:150:21:17

There's so many answers I don't even know where to begin. LAUGHTER

0:21:170:21:21

What time is this broadcast?

0:21:210:21:24

King David in the Bible was David, son of Jesse.

0:21:240:21:27

And in the various prophecies, they say the Messiah will be born

0:21:270:21:32

in Bethlehem from the stem of Jesse, i.e. from the family.

0:21:320:21:35

But it's all about Joseph, and Mary, supposedly, is a virgin,

0:21:350:21:40

so the stem of Jesse's got nothing to do with it.

0:21:400:21:43

-I know, the whole thing doesn't make sense.

-What?!

0:21:430:21:47

-I don't believe for a minute.

-LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:21:470:21:51

I spent a lot of time on this as a kid in Ireland.

0:21:510:21:55

Don't tell me now, don't let the scales fall from my eyes now.

0:21:550:21:59

It doesn't make any sense anyway. If you were going to count people...

0:21:590:22:03

-If we had the census here, I'd have to go back to Copenhagen.

-That's the point.

0:22:030:22:07

It's only put in there in order to get him to be born in Bethlehem.

0:22:070:22:11

Luke is the Gospel writer who's most determined

0:22:110:22:13

to fit in all the prophesies.

0:22:130:22:16

And it wasn't a Bethlehem tourist board-type thing, where they said,

0:22:160:22:20

"Is there any chance you could place this story here?

0:22:200:22:23

"We've got the guys with the relics ready to go!

0:22:250:22:28

"Can you shift it to us?"

0:22:280:22:31

-Like Santa Claus, Lapland, versus Santa Claus, North Pole.

-Yes.

0:22:310:22:35

This is probably exactly an excellent parallel to draw

0:22:350:22:39

between the two things!

0:22:390:22:40

But Lapland have just decided that's where Santa lives.

0:22:400:22:43

-And of course, the real St Nicholas came from Turkey.

-Of course.

0:22:430:22:46

And lived in the North Pole!

0:22:460:22:48

The things we've really been cheated on are the really interesting books

0:22:480:22:54

that should have been in the Bible.

0:22:540:22:56

The Bible was assembled over a long period of time,

0:22:560:22:58

well after the birth of Christ.

0:22:580:23:00

It was 300 years later, they got together.

0:23:000:23:02

There were constant conferences going on,

0:23:020:23:05

deciding on which bits of scripture they should include in the Bible.

0:23:050:23:09

There are some wonderful ones about the infancy of Christ.

0:23:090:23:12

Wouldn't this make you more interested in Jesus?

0:23:120:23:15

This is one here. They're the Infancy Gospels,

0:23:150:23:19

which were rejected from the final cut of the Bible.

0:23:190:23:22

Is this like an Easter egg, ironically, on a DVD?

0:23:220:23:25

"Mary dismounted from her beast

0:23:250:23:27

"and sat down with the child Jesus in her bosom,

0:23:270:23:30

"and there were, with Joseph, three boys,

0:23:300:23:32

"and Mary, a girl, going on the journey along with them,

0:23:320:23:34

"and lo, suddenly, there came forth from the cave many dragons.

0:23:340:23:38

"When the children saw them, they cried out in great terror.

0:23:380:23:41

"Then, Jesus went down from the bosom of his mother

0:23:410:23:44

"and stood on his feet before the dragons,

0:23:440:23:46

"and they adored Jesus and thereafter retired."

0:23:460:23:48

Oh, that's fantastic!

0:23:480:23:50

That's marvellous!

0:23:500:23:51

Wouldn't you have paid more attention in Sunday school?!

0:23:510:23:55

You're reading that to us in your Harry Potter voice, as well!

0:23:550:23:58

The Bible meets Puff, The Magic Dragon - that's fantastic!

0:24:030:24:05

That is typical - "Oh, that lizard? That's a dragon! That's a dragon!"

0:24:050:24:11

What did the 2001 census reveal to be

0:24:110:24:13

the fourth-largest religion in Britain?

0:24:130:24:15

This is going to go off, but I'm going to say Jedi.

0:24:150:24:19

KLAXON BLARES

0:24:190:24:21

No, the fourth-largest number of people put Jedi as their religion,

0:24:210:24:25

but they were not counted as a religion.

0:24:250:24:28

Those who put Jedi were put in the box "No religion".

0:24:280:24:31

They were ruled out for being silly.

0:24:310:24:33

For being silly. The fourth-biggest religion is, in fact, in Britain?

0:24:330:24:37

-Christian's got to be the top one still. Muslim second?

-Yeah.

0:24:370:24:41

Sikh? Hindu?

0:24:410:24:42

Yes, fourth is Sikh. There were 14 Scots who put "Sith".

0:24:420:24:45

Do you know when they released the press release about this...

0:24:480:24:51

Was it something like 37,000 or something?

0:24:510:24:55

Huge, more than that, 390,000.

0:24:550:24:57

The actual official form said...

0:24:570:24:59

-What was the number?

-390,000.

0:24:590:25:01

It was released as, "390,000 Jedi there are."

0:25:010:25:05

That is very good!

0:25:060:25:08

I'm reminded of an injustice that we did to you last series, Dara.

0:25:090:25:13

Do you remember, we did this thing about a louse

0:25:130:25:15

that goes into the tongue of fish?

0:25:150:25:18

-Yes, I remember that, it was revolting.

-It was revolting.

0:25:180:25:20

It goes into the tongue, it eats the fish's tongue

0:25:200:25:23

and becomes the fish's tongue and lives inside them,

0:25:230:25:26

and you said, "But surely fish don't have tongues?"

0:25:260:25:31

I brushed you off.

0:25:310:25:32

In, I'm sure, a friendly way, I said, "Silly Dara!"

0:25:320:25:36

No, you stood over me,

0:25:360:25:37

I remember vividly, with a cane, and you beat me!

0:25:370:25:40

You said, "Your impertinence! You're here at my mercy!"

0:25:400:25:45

-It turns out that fish don't have tongues.

-Yes!

0:25:450:25:48

You're right, so I can give you some points for that from last time.

0:25:480:25:51

They look like tongues, but they aren't muscles

0:25:510:25:54

and they don't have taste buds. They're called basihyal,

0:25:540:25:57

and they're quite a common dish in Newfoundland, cod's basihyal.

0:25:570:26:01

Sorry, is he going to get points and we weren't even there?!

0:26:010:26:04

-Al...

-I've know loads of stuff I haven't said!

0:26:050:26:08

No, I'm OK, cos I came on in series two

0:26:130:26:17

and I mentioned a thing called the triple point of water being zero.

0:26:170:26:20

On series three, I came back and they said,

0:26:200:26:22

"No, we've had e-mails - actually, the temperature is 0.01." Right?

0:26:220:26:26

So I was one hundredth of a degree off on this,

0:26:260:26:29

and he docked me points the following year!

0:26:290:26:32

I'm happily take them, yeah!

0:26:320:26:35

Exactly. What goes around comes around. Don't feel bad.

0:26:350:26:38

You may get points in two years' time.

0:26:380:26:41

When you least expect it!

0:26:410:26:42

Stephen will appear and go, "Some points!"

0:26:420:26:46

It isn't actually a tongue, and it doesn't have taste buds,

0:26:490:26:52

as I say, but what's it actually for?

0:26:520:26:55

Fooling Dara O Briain!

0:26:550:26:57

Getting bits out of your teeth.

0:26:580:27:00

-Bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl!

-I'm going to go, now, it's too late.

0:27:000:27:04

Nobody knows, is the answer.

0:27:040:27:06

You could have waved your "Nobody knows"...

0:27:060:27:09

If I do it now, can I have points in three years?

0:27:090:27:12

-Maybe!

-Not understood this game at all!

0:27:120:27:16

-You're not alone!

-Like a nightmare!

0:27:160:27:20

On the subject of numbers, though,

0:27:200:27:22

what is the smallest uninteresting number?

0:27:220:27:26

-What's an interesting number?

-They're all interesting to me. I really love numbers.

0:27:260:27:30

Three sounds quite interesting. It sounds more interesting than two.

0:27:300:27:33

Three is the magic number.

0:27:330:27:36

Three is sexy, four is somebody's going to fall out of bed.

0:27:360:27:39

We've got to go high. Numbers have fascinating properties.

0:27:390:27:43

But it doesn't make sense. The smallest most uninteresting...

0:27:430:27:46

If it was the smallest most uninteresting number...

0:27:460:27:48

-It's a paradox.

-It would be interesting.

0:27:480:27:51

You're absolutely right. But nonetheless, it is, in mathematical terms

0:27:510:27:54

the least-interesting number, but we're aware of the paradox behind it.

0:27:540:27:58

So, ignoring the paradox side of it, cos it is quite interesting,

0:27:580:28:02

there is a number...

0:28:020:28:05

Is it only of numerical interest,

0:28:050:28:07

or is it of a physical interest as well?

0:28:070:28:09

Do you know the Hardy-Ramanujan story?

0:28:090:28:11

I know so many Hardy-Ramanujan stories.

0:28:110:28:14

There was a very great mathematician,

0:28:140:28:17

probably one of the three greatest mathematicians who ever lived,

0:28:170:28:20

called Ramanujan, who was a self-taught Indian from Tamil Nadu,

0:28:200:28:24

a remarkable man.

0:28:240:28:25

He ended up being the first Indian to be a Fellow of the Royal Society

0:28:250:28:29

or a Fellow of an Oxbridge college.

0:28:290:28:31

He worked with GH Hardy at Trinity College, Cambridge,

0:28:310:28:35

who was then the most famous mathematician around.

0:28:350:28:37

But he ended up in hospital with tuberculosis, and he was dying.

0:28:370:28:41

-It's an incredibly sad story.

-Three years?

0:28:410:28:43

That's right. Remarkable work.

0:28:430:28:46

Anyway, Hardy went in one day to sit at his bedside

0:28:460:28:49

and couldn't think of anything to say.

0:28:490:28:51

And he said "Well, the licence number of the cab I came in was rather dull.

0:28:510:28:55

"1729. That's not an interesting number, is it?"

0:28:550:28:58

And Ramanujan instantly said "On the contrary, it's the smallest number

0:28:580:29:03

"that is expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."

0:29:030:29:06

Which is extraordinary, you must admit.

0:29:060:29:09

You must have quite a mathematical mind to see that. So that, for example,

0:29:090:29:13

-is an interesting number.

-I feel like Homer Simpson at the moment.

0:29:130:29:17

-Anyway, there is...

-There is a number.

0:29:180:29:21

Let's put people out of their mathematical misery.

0:29:210:29:26

There is an online encyclopaedia of integer sequences, which lists thousands of sequences

0:29:260:29:31

of integers which have different qualities.

0:29:310:29:33

And the smallest number which does not appear in any of these lists,

0:29:330:29:38

and is therefore uninteresting, is 12,407.

0:29:380:29:41

But as Sandi rightly said, that makes it interesting.

0:29:410:29:44

It is the smallest number that does not appear to have any quality

0:29:440:29:48

that, to a mathematician, is interesting.

0:29:480:29:51

-I feel kind of sad.

-12,407.

0:29:510:29:53

Now it's the most famous number in the country.

0:29:530:29:56

It now becomes the most famous number,

0:29:560:29:58

-after 1729.

-But it will now go on a list of QI facts.

0:29:580:30:02

-So now it will be on a list.

-Google it now, and it will appear.

0:30:020:30:06

Yeah, but in pure mathmetical terms, arithmetical terms, it will remain uninteresting.

0:30:060:30:11

You could stick it on Big Brother. You could let it win Britain's Got Talent.

0:30:110:30:15

The mathematicians will always regard it as...

0:30:150:30:18

LAUGHTER

0:30:180:30:21

It is still arithmetically uninteresting.

0:30:210:30:24

But it has become culturally interesting. That's the difference.

0:30:240:30:27

On that bombshell, let's move on.

0:30:270:30:30

Now for something terribly important. Why did the MoD

0:30:300:30:35

want the PM to join the AA?

0:30:350:30:37

-This present David Cameron PM, or any?

-No, the Prime Minister at the time was Harold Macmillan.

0:30:370:30:43

Did the MoD want the country to become part of the Temperance movement?

0:30:430:30:48

No, it's not that AA.

0:30:480:30:50

-The Automobile Association.

-Exactly, that AA.

0:30:500:30:54

-Really?

-Yes. So Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister.

0:30:540:30:57

-What was going on in the world then?

-The Cold War.

0:30:570:31:00

The Cold War was at its height, and they knew Kennedy had this system -

0:31:000:31:04

wherever he was, he could retaliate if the Soviets sent missiles. And they wanted a similar system.

0:31:040:31:10

SANDI LAUGHS

0:31:100:31:12

There's Lord Mountbatten, who was the chief of staff at the time.

0:31:120:31:17

And they said "We'd better have men with the Prime Minister

0:31:170:31:20

"who have radios and things in case there's news of a Soviet attack."

0:31:200:31:24

And they said "That's too expensive",

0:31:240:31:26

and the Prime Minister said "I don't want people following me around. Let's use the system the AA use."

0:31:260:31:32

The idea was that they would get a signal from the AA

0:31:320:31:36

to the car if the Soviets launched a strike.

0:31:360:31:40

That would mean the Prime Minister could then stop off

0:31:400:31:43

at the nearest telephone and issue the order for a counter-strike.

0:31:430:31:47

And there were some very exciting memos. This is very British. You'll like this very much.

0:31:470:31:52

Brian Saunders, private secretary to the Minister, said "It will be necessary for someone to make

0:31:520:31:58

"a daily or weekly call to the AA control station to check that they're in working order.

0:31:580:32:02

"I understand that if an emergency arose

0:32:020:32:05

"while the Prime Minister was on the road,

0:32:050:32:08

"the proposal is to use the radio to get him to a telephone.

0:32:080:32:11

"Perhaps we should see that our drivers are provided with four pennies."

0:32:110:32:14

They really thought it through.

0:32:140:32:17

So that could stop you - "All right, we've got the signal.

0:32:170:32:21

"There are bombs on the way from the Soviet Union."

0:32:210:32:24

Stop off at a kiosk, and nobody's got any money.

0:32:240:32:26

But they'd thought about that. But no.

0:32:260:32:28

The Prime Minister's private secretary replied

0:32:280:32:31

"Shortage of pennies should not present any difficulties

0:32:310:32:34

"such as you envisage. In such cases, it's a simple matter

0:32:340:32:37

"to have the cost of any telephone call transferred by dialling 100

0:32:370:32:41

"and requesting reversal of the charge."

0:32:410:32:43

This is all true. "This doesn't take any appreciable extra time. The system works in both normal

0:32:460:32:50

"and STD telephone kiosks,

0:32:500:32:53

"and our drivers are well aware of it."

0:32:530:32:56

So we were safe all the time.

0:32:560:32:58

If there was a missile, we'd have got a message, said "Look,

0:32:580:33:01

"there's a red kiosk", he'd have stopped, got in

0:33:010:33:04

and called up the operator and said

0:33:040:33:06

"I want to call the Ministry of Defence armed bunker.

0:33:060:33:11

"Could you reverse the charges?"

0:33:110:33:14

"It's the Prime Minister here." "Get off the line!"

0:33:140:33:18

Doen't he look marvellous, the AA? Have I misremembered this -

0:33:180:33:23

-Didn't they used to salute if you were a member as you drove past?

-That's right.

0:33:230:33:26

-We should have that back again.

-They'd be veering off the road.

0:33:260:33:31

They have our security at heart, because Bligh considered buying full membership

0:33:310:33:36

of the RAC as well, just in case. They really lashed out.

0:33:360:33:41

But they discovered after the Cuban missile crisis

0:33:410:33:44

that they didn't have any protocols in place

0:33:440:33:47

for firing our nuclear weapons,

0:33:470:33:49

which is how they ended up with this thing

0:33:490:33:52

where when you become Prime Minister,

0:33:520:33:54

you sit down and write a letter to the Trident captains

0:33:540:33:57

that's then sent to the submarine.

0:33:570:33:59

And when the captain gets the letter,

0:33:590:34:01

he burns the old letter that's in the submarine safe

0:34:010:34:04

-and replaces it with the new one.

-Really?

0:34:040:34:07

Yeah, and apparently when you become Prime Minister,

0:34:070:34:10

you're sat down and told there are four possible options

0:34:100:34:13

of what you can tell the captain.

0:34:130:34:15

One is to nuke Moscow. The other one is to surrender.

0:34:150:34:18

The other one is to go to America and hand yourself over

0:34:180:34:21

and the other one's to go to Sydney.

0:34:210:34:23

And no-one knows what they write in the letters,

0:34:230:34:26

and the letters are then destroyed when the government changes hands.

0:34:260:34:30

So a decision is made years before, when they arrive?

0:34:300:34:35

They can change their minds and write another one.

0:34:350:34:37

But surely they should change their mind

0:34:370:34:40

as the situation unfolds at the time?

0:34:400:34:43

It's to do with the Today programme as well.

0:34:430:34:46

They come up at 6 o'clock in the morning GMT,

0:34:460:34:49

and if the Today programme's not on on long wave, they assume the worst

0:34:490:34:53

-and open the safe.

-So would I.

-Good Lord.

0:34:530:34:56

If John Humphrys wasn't there, I wouldn't know what to do.

0:34:560:35:00

I hope they remember there's no Today programme on Sundays.

0:35:000:35:03

I'm sure they've thought about that.

0:35:030:35:07

What if the war started in Sydney and...?

0:35:070:35:13

One of the options is also "You make your mind up."

0:35:130:35:16

I bet all the captains have peeked at the letter.

0:35:160:35:19

Steamed it open with a kettle. "Ooh."

0:35:190:35:23

"He signed it Dave!"

0:35:230:35:25

"And he admits he doesn't know what the Big Society means himself."

0:35:270:35:32

Anyway, now it's time to include all of our incompetencies

0:35:320:35:35

into one easily managed inquiry that we call General Ignorance.

0:35:350:35:39

Fingers on buzzers. What does the eye represent in the US dollar?

0:35:390:35:44

MEN CHANT

0:35:440:35:46

-Yes, Al?

-Freemasonry?

0:35:460:35:47

KLAXON

0:35:470:35:49

-Oh, you fell into our trap.

-I knew it.

0:35:490:35:53

In fact, the eye was used as a symbol in freemasonry

0:35:530:35:55

after the design of the dollar.

0:35:550:35:57

It's just an all-seeing Providence, supposedly. It's just there to show...

0:35:570:36:03

It's a bit trippy, though, isn't it?

0:36:030:36:05

-It's a weird thing.

-Benjamin Franklin was a Mason.

0:36:050:36:08

He was the only Mason on the design committee of the dollar bill,

0:36:080:36:11

but he wasn't on the final committee and the eye was not used

0:36:110:36:15

-as a Masonic symbol until after.

-A committee designed that?

-Yes.

0:36:150:36:19

Remarkable that you'd get that passed by a committee

0:36:190:36:22

and they'd go "Yeah, why don't we stick a..."

0:36:220:36:25

-A floating eye.

-"A floating, freaky, disembodied eye, we all like that?"

0:36:250:36:30

-"Yeah, great idea! Let's do that."

-"I still want the cock and balls."

0:36:300:36:35

LAUGHTER

0:36:350:36:36

"Sure we don't just want a natural scene, like a river or something normal?"

0:36:380:36:42

"No, a floating eye. A floating,

0:36:420:36:44

"disembodied, all-seeing eye above a pyramid. What could be more American than that?"

0:36:440:36:50

-"OK."

-The extraordinary thing is that it hasn't changed.

0:36:500:36:54

Ours changes all the time. And there's that old quiz question -

0:36:540:36:58

is it 100,000 acres, a million acres or 10 million acres of woodland

0:36:580:37:02

that is chopped down every year for making American currency notes?

0:37:020:37:06

They're not made of paper, probably.

0:37:060:37:10

No, they're made of linen. So no trees.

0:37:100:37:12

What were the inhabitants of Mexico

0:37:120:37:15

called before the Europeans arrived?

0:37:150:37:17

-I'm going to say Aztecs.

-Oh!

0:37:170:37:20

KLAXON BLARES

0:37:200:37:21

-No.

-Mexicans?

0:37:230:37:25

Basically, Mexica, yeah. Aztec was the reference to an island

0:37:250:37:29

in the middle of the lake from which they traced their source, but they didn't call themselves Aztecs.

0:37:290:37:35

-It looks like a fantastic place.

-It looks great.

0:37:350:37:38

Imagine how excited the Spanish were that they'd conquered it

0:37:380:37:41

and killed all its people and stolen all its gold.

0:37:410:37:44

It's a massive selection of Mexican transgender people.

0:37:440:37:48

They are a Nahua people, and their language is Nahuatl.

0:37:490:37:53

And there are words in English that are derived from Nahuatl.

0:37:530:37:56

Points are available if you can give me some Nahuatl words we use.

0:37:560:38:00

-Chocolate.

-Chocolate is one. Very good.

0:38:000:38:03

I've run out.

0:38:030:38:04

Burrito?

0:38:040:38:06

Burrito!

0:38:060:38:08

Burrito is Spanish for "little donkey",

0:38:110:38:14

because it's in the shape of a little donkey. Your breakfast burrito. It's not that.

0:38:140:38:19

-Guacamole?

-I don't think so. I think that's also Spanish.

0:38:190:38:24

Refried beans?

0:38:240:38:26

Tequila?

0:38:260:38:27

-I'll give you tequila.

-Really?

-Tequila is a Nahuatl word.

0:38:270:38:31

You got that by a process of elimination.

0:38:310:38:35

That is not knowledge, that's a crapshoot.

0:38:350:38:39

Welcome to QI.

0:38:400:38:41

You could have tomato.

0:38:420:38:44

-Tomato!

-Very good.

-Tequila.

0:38:440:38:49

We've already had tequila. But I haven't yet heard avocado.

0:38:490:38:53

I said avocado.

0:38:530:38:54

-Oh, then you get the avocado points.

-Avocado.

0:38:540:38:58

Breaking news just coming in. Guacamole is a Nahuatl word!

0:39:000:39:04

Oh!

0:39:040:39:06

-Guacamole.

-Yeah. Yes, indeed.

0:39:070:39:11

Sex and drugs and guacamole.

0:39:110:39:13

Do you not think it sounds like Toad of Toad Hall's Mexican cousin?

0:39:130:39:18

Guacamole. Guacamole's coming over. Ai, ai, ai! Arriba!

0:39:180:39:24

You could have had chilli as well. Anyway, there we are.

0:39:240:39:29

What did Prince Albert invent?

0:39:290:39:31

-Oh, the cock ring.

-Oh!

0:39:310:39:34

KLAXON BLARES

0:39:340:39:36

-Yeah?

-The comb-over.

0:39:390:39:42

Bizarrely, there was something he did invent, which is not

0:39:440:39:48

quite as intimate as the item

0:39:480:39:50

-of piercing jewellery that you referred to.

-A cutlass?

-No.

0:39:500:39:55

He and Victoria were very young when they married, 20-years-old.

0:39:550:39:59

And she was very nervous. She wrote a diary, as you may know.

0:39:590:40:02

And it was quite an intimate diary, and she described the wedding night - not the full, physical details,

0:40:020:40:08

but she described the experience as, "both gratifying and bewildering."

0:40:080:40:12

Isn't that rather wonderful?

0:40:120:40:14

We've all been there... LAUGHTER

0:40:140:40:16

So anyway - they enjoyed enough to have nine children,

0:40:160:40:19

and what he invented was a device that allowed them

0:40:190:40:22

to lock the bedroom door from the bed.

0:40:220:40:25

To give them marital privacy. Isn't that rather splendid?

0:40:260:40:29

Dude!

0:40:290:40:31

-Yeah...

-LAUGHTER

0:40:310:40:34

Excuse me while I just... Fsst!

0:40:340:40:37

But he wore very tight trousers, and this myth grew up in the 20th century

0:40:390:40:44

that he somehow anchored his penis to one side of his body or another

0:40:440:40:47

by means of some sort of ring that was therefore able to

0:40:470:40:50

pull it backwards so that it wasn't on show

0:40:500:40:52

at parties, because he was a Victorian

0:40:520:40:54

and it would have been rude wearing such tight trousers. But there is no evidence for this.

0:40:540:40:59

What noise does a mute swan make?

0:40:590:41:01

-And you're allowed to do an imitation, if you like.

-'Allo.

0:41:010:41:06

LAUGHTER

0:41:060:41:08

I could break your arm.

0:41:080:41:10

LAUGHTER

0:41:100:41:14

Does that, doesn't it?

0:41:140:41:16

HE MOUTHS KLAXON BLARES

0:41:160:41:18

Oh! Dear, oh dear, oh dear.

0:41:180:41:20

Well, you'd think being called a mute swan... I'm afraid again you've fallen into our trap.

0:41:200:41:24

They hoot, don't they, like a goose?

0:41:240:41:26

There's a range of noises that swans make -

0:41:260:41:28

hissing, snorting, grunting and indeed honking.

0:41:280:41:31

They do all those noises.

0:41:310:41:33

They just do it more quietly than other species of swan

0:41:330:41:37

and therefore they were called the mute swan.

0:41:370:41:39

They make a very loud noise when they fly.

0:41:390:41:41

They're the heaviest bird that flies, in all nature.

0:41:410:41:45

They're rubbish landers, though, they are.

0:41:450:41:49

They come in, and the feet are going like this.

0:41:490:41:52

-That's my swan impersonation, landing on the Thames.

-Very good.

0:41:520:41:56

LAUGHTER

0:41:560:41:58

Which brings us nicely to the swansong of the scores

0:41:580:42:01

and what remarkable reading they make too, ladies and gentlemen.

0:42:010:42:04

In first place with a majestic plus 11, Sandi Toksvig.

0:42:040:42:08

APPLAUSE

0:42:080:42:11

And in a very creditable second place, with plus six, Dara O'Briain.

0:42:140:42:18

APPLAUSE

0:42:180:42:21

And first time up, Al Murray can hardly be ashamed of minus 13.

0:42:230:42:28

APPLAUSE

0:42:280:42:31

And Alan is all too used to bringing up the rear with minus 22.

0:42:330:42:37

APPLAUSE

0:42:370:42:40

All that's left for me to do is to thank Sandi, Dara, Al and of course, Alan,

0:42:450:42:49

and I leave you with this piece of sound financial advice from Will Rogers:

0:42:490:42:53

"A fool and his money are soon elected."

0:42:530:42:56

Good night.

0:42:560:42:57

APPLAUSE

0:42:570:42:59

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0:43:140:43:17

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0:43:170:43:20

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