Ice QI XL


Ice

In a special Christmas edition, Stephen Fry looks at ice. With contestants Ross Noble, Sean Lock, Brian Blessed 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, good evening,

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good evening, good evening, good evening.

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Hello. Happy Christmas, and welcome to QI On Ice.

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To keep us warm while Jack Frost is nibbling at our chestnuts,

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my stable is fairly heaving with red-nosed reindeer.

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Ding-dong, it's Sean Lock!

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Wey-ey, the lad's in a manger. It's Ross Noble.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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And bless my rissoles, it's that merry gentleman,

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Father Christmas himself, Brian Blessed!

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ENTHUSIASTIC CHEERING

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And as the old carol says, "Hither page and stand by me,

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"Yonder peasant, who is he?" It's Alan Davies!

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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So let's hear your jingle bells. Sean goes...

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SLEIGH BELLS JANGLE

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Very nice. Ross goes...

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BELLS CHIME

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How pleasant. Brian goes...

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CHURCH BELLS PEAL

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And Alan goes...

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PARTY HORN BLOWER SQUEAKS

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Thank you for putting us in party mood.

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Don't forget that this year,

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we are celebrating our ignorance with the Nobody Knows bonus.

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"NOBODY KNOWS" FANFARE

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Identify the one question tonight to which nobody knows the answer and you can get points galore.

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Can you do me a favour? Can you just put that there?

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It really is the Riddler!

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LAUGHTER

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He does look like the Riddler! Very good!

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Now Christmas, of course, is a time for relaxing and feasting,

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so answer me this.

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Where do they take the most days off work

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and have the most expensive Big Macs in the world?

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Resolute in Canada, where the Eskimos, the Inuit,

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six months of the year it's dark there

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and they have great big bloody Big Macs

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and wonderful great big steaks and lots of sex.

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-LAUGHTER

-They've got to shag all the winter.

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That's true.

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That's like the best voiceover ever. "Bloody big Big Macs!

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"Shag the life out of you!"

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It's a good answer.

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This is a country themed to our series.

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-Iceland.

-Iceland is the right answer.

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It's extraordinary how many days off they take.

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Per thousand people, they take off 367 days in the year,

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compared to about 20-odd in Britain

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and one in Switzerland.

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-Probably minus seven in Germany.

-Have they always got a cold?

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I think they just have that attitude to life.

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Because they're lazy.

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Possibly.

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It's the access to all those delicious prawn rings.

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At such low, low prices.

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MEXICAN ACCENT: "I'm not going to work today."

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"I've got another one. "I'm not going to work today."

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"That's how we talk."

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MEXICAN ACCENT: "That is how we talk in Iceland."

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"It's very cold here! You want some more prawns, it's all frozen!"

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Their Big Mac is more than twice a Big Mac in Britain.

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It's so expensive that McDonald's has withdrawn

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from Iceland. It's a very odd country. Have you been, Brian?

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I've not. It's one of the few countries I've not been too.

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It's full of firsts.

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It has more Nobel Prize winners per capita than any country on earth.

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Do you know how many it's had?

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-14.

-No.

-One.

-Yes.

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One is the right answer, but the population is so small -

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320,000, which is roughly the population of Croydon -

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that as a per capita average...

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There he is, Laxness. He won the 1955 Nobel Prize for Literature.

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He was the only one to win but cos it's such a small population,

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it's four times more on average per capita than the United States.

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It shows how useless statistics are, really.

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It also uses three times more electricity than any other country on earth.

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But what's good about their electricity?

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Geothermal activity.

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100% of it is from either hydro-electric or geothermal.

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In that sense, it's the cleanest electricity in the world.

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Doesn't everybody live on the edge?

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Do you mean, like, "Let's take loads of drugs!

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"Let's drive our cars as fast as possible!"

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-Literally live on the edge.

-Live fast, die young.

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Living on the edge in Iceland is going out in just your pants.

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You don't have to drive a car, even.

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It's not wearing your thermals for a day.

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On the coast, I mean. I think pretty much everyone lives on the coast.

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It's also the world's youngest country. What do I mean by that?

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-It's volcanic, so it came up...

-Geologically, it's the world's youngest country.

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-But it has the world's oldest...

-Parliament?

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Yes! Yes, yes. 947AD, and do you know what it is called?

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-The Yakult.

-Do that voice again.

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Is it "Ye Olde Parliament"?

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"Shall we pass laws?" "No, we're living on the edge!

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"We don't need no laws.

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"We've got a prawn ring and all that."

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-What is a prawn ring?

-You don't know?

-No, I don't.

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-It's prawns arranged in a ring.

-Is it battered?

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It's a ring of prawns. WOMAN CACKLES

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Run around a bit, that's what the old comics used to say!

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-Run around a bit, will you?

-I paid for two.

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There should be one over there.

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-So it's party food?

-Yes.

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-I had you down as an Iceland man.

-No, no. Sadly not.

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It comes in like a little plastic circle, circular cover.

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It's individual prawns in a layer?

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Imagine a show called One Man And His Prawn.

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He whistled and they all perfectly got themselves

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into a circular pen and then were photographed.

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-That's what it looks like.

-So they're all aligned.

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It's like when they get attacked, that's what they do, go into a circle to defend themselves.

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You want to get yourself a tiny sheepdog...

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HE WHISTLES Come by.

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-You need a prawndog!

-You need a prawndog.

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What's the aquatic equivalent of sheepdog?

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What are you talking about, Ross?

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You're talking absolute nonsense. Sheepdogs for prawns?

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You don't get a sheepdog, you get a prawndog for prawns!

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That is, one, why I keep losing that competition.

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-Two...

-Why your prawns are all over the shop.

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And two, I've got prawns everywhere and I've been banned from Crufts.

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-It's out of order. Appalling.

-Very good.

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-Forget it.

-Excellent. Right.

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The point is, Iceland is a world leader in surprising areas.

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Here's something quite interesting.

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Two points for anyone who can tell me this.

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In what way is Iceland's most recent volcano similar to Genghis Khan?

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I think they are both shagnasties.

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Genghis Khan has apparently shagged everything that moves

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and he is the father and mother of all populations in Europe and Asia,

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so he shagged everything that moves.

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And the volcano, of course,

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has spurted out, had an orgasm of ammonia and has fertilised Europe.

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Am I right?

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Damn good answer.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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To be brutally honest, that's not what's on my card.

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Oh, shit.

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If there was no such thing as science, you would be right.

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I think I know what it is. I think, obviously, that volcano stopped lots of transport.

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He must have stopped something happening which the volcano stopped happening.

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You are in the right area. The odd thing is it's beneficial, especially at the moment.

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It's a thing we talk about a lot.

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That volcano poured out, they reckon,

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between 150,000 and 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

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A huge amount of carbon came out as a result of it,

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but if you remember, no-one flew for however long it was

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and the lack of flying saved three million tonnes.

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In fact, it was a huge offset of carbon.

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And in the case of Ghengis Khan, he slaughtered his way across the world

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and had the largest empire the world has ever seen -

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four times that of Alexander, twice the size of the Roman Empire, and he killed about 40 million people.

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The result was there was so little farming that the forests grew back,

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and you can time a huge benefit to the world from his slaughter.

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-That's extraordinary, isn't it?

-What do we have to pronounce?

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That's what I was...

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How did you know I was going to ask that as a supplementary question?

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-I thought you already did.

-Did I already say it?

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-Either that or I read it off the autocue.

-You read it!

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You great big cheater!

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APPLAUSE

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-Says it there.

-I'd now like you to pronounce the name of the volcano.

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-It's written up there for you.

-Oh, God alive!

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Eye-eye-yarpn-oy-ey-jurp prawn rings.

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You should have been a newsreader.

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With your accent, you've got the best chance.

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Ay-ach-jolla-jokull.

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It looks a bit like that, yeah. Any thoughts?

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Ee-jaff-yallie-jock-rull.

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Brian, have a go.

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EE-YA-JAFF-JALLA-JOKULL!

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LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

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There's an Icelandic woman just gone...

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You may have set it off again, doing that.

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I think the umlaut changes it, doesn't it? Those little dots.

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I think actually the way you are supposed to pronounce it is "udj".

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-If only.

-It changes it.

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Apparently it's... EY-ya-fyat-lah-YOH-kuhtl.

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Is that translated as "big smoky bastard"?

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Yes.

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"You will go by ferry".

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That's basically the answer.

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What shouldn't you do with the Icelandic phone book?

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Is it "try and use it alphabetically"?

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Cos they're all called Magnusson.

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-It's a...

-Is it just "use it"? Never use it.

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It's along those lines.

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-How do Icelandic people name themselves?

-Son and daughter.

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Right. Your daughter would be "Alandottir",

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-if you were Icelandic.

-Not a bad idea.

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-Yes, nice name!

-When they marry...

-That would be her surname.

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-..the women don't take the man's name, they keep their father's name.

-Exactly right.

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The only thing I know about Iceland. And that everyone's on the edge.

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-I'd be Royson.

-Oh, yeah.

-Royson. What's your father's name?

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-Er...

-Oh! There we are, you see, we've worked it out.

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-We've found it. Your father was Malcolm.

-Yes.

-So you'd be Ross Malcolmson.

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But the point is, there are an enormous number of surnames which are just identical

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so what you shouldn't do is look people up by their surname,

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as you'd do in most books. You'd look them up by their first name.

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And often their profession, as well.

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There's so few people there...

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you could probably just poke your head out the window and go,

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"What's your phone number?"

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At football matches, when somebody goes, "Come on, son!", do all the players go, "Me, or...?"

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LAUGHTER

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One of the oddest things about Iceland is...

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Well, I'll show you. Have a look at this. These are Icelandic.

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What do you reckon they are?

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-Legs.

-Yes.

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If I were to tell you that those are empty, does that help?

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-Hollow legs.

-Yeah.

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Oh, are they Icelandic cock pants?

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Is it because, like, when you go out on the beach, everything shrinks,

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so you put them on and then it gives you a little bit of profile?

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-A little bit extra.

-Are they a pair of trousers? A pair of ski pants?

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-They are a pair of trousers made of human skin.

-Nice.

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They are on display at the Icelandic Museum of Witchcraft,

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which is an extraordinary place because Icelandic witchcraft is pretty odd.

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What happens is you ask a friend when he dies, can you have his skin?

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"Can I have your legs?"

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If he gives you permission, you flay the skin below the waist,

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completely, in one piece, and you wear them as tights.

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It gets weirder.

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You then have to steal, from a widow, a coin,

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and you put the coin inside the scrotal area, the sac -

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as you see, the whole thing is more or less complete,

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with a written incantation.

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-And then...

-You open a bank.

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LAUGHTER

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APPLAUSE

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And that's how the Icelandic economy works.

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They sort of do, because then the scrotum apparently fills with money.

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That's the incantation.

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They are sort of necropants. There is an official...

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-Necropants!

-Yeah.

-That's the sort of thing you see advertised at three o'clock in the morning.

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-"Do you want necropants?"

-The Icelandic name is nabrok.

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But we were talking about the Icelandic phone book.

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I've got another interesting thing about phone books, a little task.

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A Christmas party game. I've got these phone books here

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and they have been interleaved.

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There's no glue or anything. They are like a pack of cards.

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-One page goes inside another.

-That must have taken ages.

-It did.

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Our props people are very proud of their work.

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-There you are.

-We'll share.

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All I want you to do, you've got ropes, there,

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is just pull them apart.

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You can take one each.

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-Pull them apart.

-It can't be done.

-Go on.

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You can't, can you? You literally can't. It's quite extraordinary.

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-Strong as Brian is.

-Pull, Brian. Pull!

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LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

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Sean's alive!

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LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

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How come your water wasn't spilt? That's magical.

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Yes, it's an old trick.

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Me and Brian have been doing this trick for years.

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I was trying to sit on top of my tipped-up chair.

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A man as strong as Brian,

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he may be able to pull Sean off his chair, but it can't be done.

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In fact, you need 8,000lbs of force in order to do it. It's bizarre.

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It's friction, and it's just replicated each time. I know.

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If you loosen them...

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This time it's me!

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-It's personal.

-Having a tantrum.

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LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

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APPLAUSE

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Still can't do it!

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AUDIENCE CHEERS

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Has anyone got a lighter?

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No. And you can stop reading the escort pages as well.

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Very good eyesight from there!

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I know my Alan!

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-Well, there you are.

-WOMAN CACKLES

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The fact is, yes, surprising as it...

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LAUGHTER

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Nurse, she's out of bed again!

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From Iceland to Alaska.

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The Eskimo-Indian Olympics have been held every year since 1961.

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Phone books are not involved, but these are.

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More toys for you to play with.

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Voila. Voila.

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And I'm afraid you have to be prepared to get sticky.

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These lubed rods, here, which are very icky.

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He's been trying to get me to do this for years.

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Sorry, Stephen, but this contravenes my superinjunction.

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APPLAUSE

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All you have to do is work out what the sports are

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in the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, as they're now called.

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-That's obviously...

-You can play it with Brian.

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It's actually...

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Each ones of these games is, like most games,

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to hone the skills you need

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for the environment in which you live.

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-Is this a two-person game?

-It is. You each...

-Is it fire?

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Leave the string for the moment and grab the stick and...

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-It's all right.

-Is that what I think it is?

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No, you have to do it with your hands. No.

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That's it.

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It's the one who can, without twisting or jerking,

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the one who can get the stick off the other.

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-SEAN:

-Oh, Christ, I've got no chance!

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Woo-hoo!

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There you can see them doing it.

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Well, have a go.

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This time... This time you're going on the floor.

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-There you go.

-You're holding my hand there, Brian.

-Sorry!

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-No twisting or jerking.

-Hold on to one side.

-My hands are too big.

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-Can you go...

-Oh, look!

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LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

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Fabulous.

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-Fabulous. And we have a string game yet to play.

-Oh, great(!)

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-Let me guess. We have to wrap round our balls and pull.

-No, we don't.

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You do have to wrap it around an organ.

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That's it! Forget it!

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Fortunately, not an organ of generation.

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An auditory organ, one of your ears.

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Each wraps it around the ear.

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You wrap the other end round your ear and you pull.

0:18:520:18:55

With your ear! With your ear!

0:18:570:18:59

Come on boys, be brave.

0:18:590:19:02

-Is it round your ear?

-It's a pain endurance test.

0:19:040:19:07

-I'll go round the other ear.

-Look what's happened to his ear.

0:19:070:19:10

I don't want that to happen to my ear!

0:19:100:19:12

As you can see from the photograph,

0:19:120:19:15

it's... Endurance and pain are really the...

0:19:150:19:18

You've got glasses on.

0:19:180:19:20

Hello.

0:19:210:19:22

-I've got quite springy ears.

-Is that an advantage or disadvantage?

0:19:240:19:28

-It's a disadvantage, because they're very, very springy.

-Wow!

0:19:280:19:32

I declare the winner there Brian. Who's been winning on your side?

0:19:320:19:37

-You've turned it into a plait.

-I cheated, look. I've tied it.

0:19:370:19:42

Definitely cheating.

0:19:420:19:44

These are official sports of the Eskimo Olympics. It's a very fine part of the world,

0:19:440:19:49

I don't know if you've ever been there? It's very beautiful.

0:19:490:19:52

-You've been there, I'm sure.

-Yes.

-Icy wastes.

0:19:520:19:54

You told me an interesting thing I didn't know about Canada.

0:19:540:19:57

Yes. I went on an expedition to the North Pole in 2004.

0:19:570:20:01

It goes to 70 degrees below zero and 60 degrees wind-chill factor.

0:20:010:20:07

And, I mean, when you want to have a pee you've got 25 seconds to have a piss, or your cock'll fall off.

0:20:070:20:12

LAUGHTER And the thing is...

0:20:120:20:14

That's motivation!

0:20:140:20:16

The astonishing thing is that as we approached the Magnetic North Pole,

0:20:160:20:21

suddenly you could feel the magnetism.

0:20:210:20:26

-And my hair stood on end...

-Wow!

-Yes!

0:20:260:20:29

Everything was titillated!

0:20:290:20:32

And at that moment, I felt this great earthquake,

0:20:320:20:35

and up came a great Russian Typhoon submarine,

0:20:350:20:40

and it came through the ice, and the men got off and so forth,

0:20:400:20:45

-and they called me Father Christmas.

-You must have given them the fright of their life!

-I know!

0:20:450:20:51

I've got ice down here, and I sang...

0:20:510:20:53

SINGS OPERATICALLY

0:20:530:20:56

LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH

0:21:010:21:03

Fantastic!

0:21:030:21:05

It was wonderful.

0:21:050:21:07

Very, very good.

0:21:080:21:10

Now, in 1845, Sir John Franklin led an expedition to the Arctic

0:21:100:21:15

to discover the Northwest Passage. A group of his men

0:21:150:21:19

set off across the ice

0:21:190:21:21

with a sled-load of button polish, handkerchiefs, curtain rods

0:21:210:21:28

and a writing desk.

0:21:280:21:30

Why? What were they doing?

0:21:300:21:32

"NOBODY KNOWS" FANFARE

0:21:320:21:35

Yes! You are right!

0:21:350:21:38

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:21:380:21:40

Well done.

0:21:410:21:42

My assumption is that, sadly, none of them made it back.

0:21:430:21:48

No, they didn't. It was one of the most disastrous expeditions in history.

0:21:480:21:52

They were off on a sled-boot sale.

0:21:520:21:56

It was 128 men, all perished in this expedition.

0:21:560:22:01

35 different rescue parties tried over decades to find them, and find out what happened.

0:22:010:22:06

It wasn't until the 1980s that it was discovered precisely what happened to them.

0:22:060:22:10

Their bodies were well preserved in ice. Do you know what it was that they discovered?

0:22:100:22:15

Laurence Llewelyn Bowen going, "Those curtains are terrible."

0:22:150:22:19

It was discovered that their bodies

0:22:190:22:22

were filled with toxic levels of lead,

0:22:220:22:24

and they had gone on the expedition

0:22:240:22:26

with some very early examples of canned food, and the solder that was used was lead-solder.

0:22:260:22:31

Lead poisoning, amongst other things,

0:22:310:22:33

can make people have mass delusions, and so these poor people

0:22:330:22:37

loaded the sled with button polish, and handkerchiefs,

0:22:370:22:40

and a writing desk, and went off into the wasteland.

0:22:400:22:43

I know it sounds funny, but it is awful, isn't it?

0:22:430:22:47

I imagine they went to open a really disappointing shop. A pound shop on ice.

0:22:470:22:52

We know from the archaeology of it that that is what they did,

0:22:520:22:55

but as Alan rightly said, nobody knows WHY they did it,

0:22:550:22:58

except that it was some sort of delusion that they must've had.

0:22:580:23:01

At the other end of the world, what did Captain Scott

0:23:010:23:04

take to the Antarctic to keep his lads entertained?

0:23:040:23:07

A first edition of Razzle.

0:23:070:23:10

LAUGHTER

0:23:100:23:13

Yeah, cos he was going to take strippers, but out there,

0:23:130:23:15

so many clothes, they're just sat there going, "Oh, come on."

0:23:150:23:18

-It was for musical entertainment.

-A gramophone.

0:23:180:23:21

-There was a gramophone on the second one, but more extraordinarily...

-A triangle.

0:23:210:23:25

-Much more extraordinarily.

-A piano.

0:23:250:23:28

-Not just a piano...

-Hammond organ.

0:23:280:23:30

A player-piano, a pianola.

0:23:300:23:32

You know, the kind that plays itself,

0:23:320:23:35

-with a piano roll.

-I bet they were delighted!

0:23:350:23:38

I used to have one of those, you do it with your feet...

0:23:380:23:41

Right, you power it with your pedals and the punch paper goes through, and it plays itself like that.

0:23:410:23:46

I suppose they figured that out there it's so cold,

0:23:460:23:49

-you wouldn't want to be playing the piano.

-Oddly enough...

0:23:490:23:52

If you did have your gloves on it'd be a right racket.

0:23:520:23:54

On one of his first expeditions he took a real piano, only to discover that nobody on board could play.

0:23:540:23:59

So when he went on the second one,

0:23:590:24:00

this company were very pleased to furnish him with the pianola,

0:24:000:24:04

being this exciting piece of modern technology, and 20 rolls.

0:24:040:24:08

And on the final expedition, on which they all perished,

0:24:080:24:11

another company got in and gave them another pianola with 250 rolls,

0:24:110:24:14

each one being a different piece of music.

0:24:140:24:16

And he actually took it off the ship! It took real effort to get it on land, to the first base camp,

0:24:160:24:22

-just so they could have music.

-They didn't drag it to the Pole with them?

0:24:220:24:26

No, that would have been a bit silly.

0:24:260:24:28

Leave it there. You get there, there's loads of others. Amundsen's taken a whole band.

0:24:280:24:32

LAUGHTER

0:24:320:24:33

It was very interesting, to put a kind of sad note to the story,

0:24:330:24:37

that of course Scott got there and he went on the known route,

0:24:370:24:41

which was tough, going up the glaciers and so forth,

0:24:410:24:45

but Amundsen of course went a different route, and found it was easy. And he was lucky.

0:24:450:24:49

-So he got there days before Scott did.

-When Scott got there he discovered the Norwegian flag.

0:24:490:24:53

When Scott got there he saw the Norwegian flag,

0:24:530:24:56

and then Scott coming back was depressed and so forth,

0:24:560:24:59

and they all died, gradually, one by one, etc.

0:24:590:25:02

But Amundsen got back to Norway, and he was in the bath,

0:25:020:25:06

and his wife came into the bathroom and said, "Scott has died on the way back from the South Pole!"

0:25:060:25:14

-And Amundsen said, "He's beaten me!"

-Oh, really?

0:25:140:25:17

Yes. Because he meant, by dying, it was "Scott of the Antarctic"

0:25:170:25:21

-and not "Amundsen of the Antarctic".

-He became a hero.

0:25:210:25:25

-He became a hero.

-What he should have said was,

0:25:250:25:27

"Can I have his piano?"

0:25:270:25:29

LAUGHTER

0:25:290:25:31

Well, the one on the left of the photograph is the famous Oates,

0:25:310:25:34

who sacrificed his life, who left the tent and said, "I may be some time."

0:25:340:25:38

And there's Scott in the middle. Do you remember,

0:25:380:25:41

rather moving, the last words he wrote in his diary?

0:25:410:25:44

"We took risks, we knew we were taking them, and things have come out against us,

0:25:440:25:48

"therefore we have no reason to complain."

0:25:480:25:50

-He ended with the words, "For God's sake, look after our people."

-Yes.

0:25:500:25:54

Er, while we're in the Antarctic, what happens when a penguin

0:25:540:25:57

steps on a land mine?

0:25:570:25:59

-I dare say nothing at all. SEAN:

-It flies.

0:26:000:26:03

LAUGHTER

0:26:030:26:05

It either goes off or it doesn't.

0:26:050:26:07

I'm going it doesn't.

0:26:070:26:09

Surely the land mines would be frozen, would they?

0:26:090:26:12

So it would just...cruise over.

0:26:120:26:15

If a human stood on them they'd be blown up. Alan is absolutely right.

0:26:150:26:18

-BRIAN: They're too light.

-They're too light.

0:26:180:26:21

That may seem rather irrelevant except there is a place on Earth

0:26:210:26:25

where thousands of land mines were laid, which is...

0:26:250:26:29

-The Falklands.

-The Falkland Islands, by the Argentinians.

0:26:290:26:32

So no humans can go there, and most importantly, no whalers.

0:26:320:26:36

There was a big whaling industry, and rather sadly,

0:26:360:26:39

because there are not many trees on the Falklands, what the whalers did is they captured the whale,

0:26:390:26:44

and they wanted to burn the, you know, to boil it up so they'd get

0:26:440:26:48

the whale oil, which is where all the money was.

0:26:480:26:51

There are no trees to burn, so they used to burn penguins.

0:26:510:26:54

Penguins have a lot of oil under themselves as well,

0:26:540:26:57

so they'd use the penguin oil to make the fire to burn the whales,

0:26:570:27:00

and the population went down from ten million to a very small number.

0:27:000:27:04

-But since the land mines...

-"Chuck another penguin on the fire, son."

0:27:040:27:09

-I know! It's terrible!

-"What are you doing?"

0:27:090:27:11

"I'm just burning some penguins so I can boil up this whale."

0:27:110:27:15

-I know! It is absurd.

-That's a job.

-But the beauty of it is,

0:27:150:27:20

it's one of the laws of unintended consequences -

0:27:200:27:23

because of these land mines, the whalers can't go anywhere near it.

0:27:230:27:26

The penguins are now multiplying and doing really well.

0:27:260:27:29

The penguins have now evolved fingers, they stand there going...

0:27:290:27:34

The penguins are now laying more mines.

0:27:340:27:36

-Yes!

-Branching out.

0:27:360:27:39

Now, where's the best place to look for the abominable snowman?

0:27:390:27:43

-I think this is an area of your expertise.

-Yeah, yeah, on your left.

0:27:430:27:47

I'll start it all off for the lads. Yes, yes, yes.

0:27:470:27:50

Of course, you are looking at one.

0:27:500:27:53

It is called Sasquatch, Bigfoot in Canada,

0:27:530:27:57

and in Russia it is called the Almas Giant, or the Yeti,

0:27:570:28:01

Sukpa, or Meh-Teh-Ma.

0:28:010:28:02

Then in China they have their own hairy men,

0:28:020:28:05

and it is Sukpa, Meh-Teh-Ma out there as well, Yeti.

0:28:050:28:08

And then in Sumatra it is called Orang Pendek,

0:28:080:28:11

or "upright man," not meaning an orang-utan.

0:28:110:28:14

There is no doubt at all that yetis obviously do exist.

0:28:140:28:19

There are great parts of the world that we don't know about.

0:28:190:28:24

When I was in Mongolia, the Mongols were telling me that in the late autumn you get migrations

0:28:240:28:30

of dozens and dozens and dozens of Almas Giants,

0:28:300:28:35

and they see them in the distance.

0:28:350:28:37

So, I want to go out there one day, and go to northern Mongolia

0:28:370:28:41

and just go... BELLOWING ROAR

0:28:410:28:44

And I think that might scare them off.

0:28:440:28:47

Brilliant. Well, that's fantastic, thank you very much.

0:28:470:28:50

APPLAUSE

0:28:520:28:54

There are some who are disbelievers. You are a believer?

0:28:540:28:57

Yes, from the different people I meet, the trackers I meet.

0:28:570:29:00

You have to remember that the large mountain gorilla

0:29:000:29:03

was only discovered about 90 years ago.

0:29:030:29:05

-Yes.

-That's a giant mountain gorilla in Rwanda.

0:29:050:29:09

There are so many more discoveries. We are discovering them all the time.

0:29:090:29:13

There is so much to discover.

0:29:130:29:14

So I think, I don't think we've scratched the surface yet.

0:29:140:29:17

And there are indeed centres for the study of them. One in Siberia, and one in the Bhutanese area.

0:29:170:29:22

-Bhutan has a Yeti Park, that's right.

-It's a hell of a thought.

0:29:220:29:26

Well, that is a brilliant answer, and completely correct, of course.

0:29:260:29:30

Now, where did Queen Victoria get her ice from?

0:29:300:29:34

Hmm!

0:29:340:29:35

-She liked ice in her drink.

-Would it come down the Thames?

0:29:350:29:40

-It was imported, I'll tell you that.

-From icebergs.

-Not icebergs, no.

0:29:400:29:45

For a time it was the world's most famous lake, because it provided ice for the Royal Families of Europe,

0:29:450:29:51

and its name was synonymous with "ice" before refrigeration allowed us to make ice ourselves.

0:29:510:29:56

And it was called Lake Wenham. It still exists, it's now a reservoir

0:29:560:29:59

outside Boston, Massachusetts. It was a man called Tudor

0:29:590:30:03

who had the brilliant idea of chopping it all up - there it is

0:30:030:30:06

being chopped up and sent to Britain.

0:30:060:30:09

There was a shop in the Strand with a huge block of ice,

0:30:090:30:11

and they had a newspaper behind the ice to show its clarity.

0:30:110:30:15

Crowds would gather round. You could read the newspaper through the clear ice,

0:30:150:30:19

and it was the wonder of the age.

0:30:190:30:21

You had to be very rich to afford it, because it had come a long way.

0:30:210:30:25

But it would last a long time, and it was Lake Wenham ice.

0:30:250:30:27

-Wow.

-Gosh.

-Good bit of American enterprise.

0:30:270:30:32

I bet he was pissed off the day they invented the refrigerator.

0:30:320:30:35

I'm sure he was.

0:30:350:30:37

They tried to suggest that frozen lake ice was actually better for you,

0:30:370:30:41

was clearer and more pure.

0:30:410:30:43

Now, why did the Spanish Duke of Alba

0:30:430:30:46

order 7,000 pairs of ice skates?

0:30:460:30:48

Because he was a millipede.

0:30:480:30:50

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:30:500:30:53

Good answer.

0:30:530:30:54

You can't see from that picture.

0:30:580:31:00

Thousands of legs.

0:31:000:31:02

Any thoughts as to why he might have ordered 7,000 pairs of ice skates?

0:31:020:31:06

He wanted to wipe it out. He went, "I hate ice skating.

0:31:060:31:10

"I'm going to buy all the boots and it'll just die out."

0:31:100:31:13

-We're talking the 17th century.

-That's what I'd do.

-The Pope...

0:31:130:31:18

-With show-jumping, though.

-Right.

0:31:180:31:20

I'd buy all the horses.

0:31:200:31:22

-Why don't you just buy...?

-And all those funny blocks

0:31:240:31:26

that look like walls you've never seen before, buy all those.

0:31:260:31:29

And then show-jumping would be finished forever.

0:31:290:31:33

-So trying to wipe out ice-skating as a sport?

-Yes. Yeah.

0:31:330:31:36

-Be a good James Bond plot, wouldn't it?

-17th century.

0:31:360:31:38

Instead of trying to take over the world,

0:31:380:31:41

I'm trying to stop show-jumping.

0:31:410:31:43

James Bond's got to get me and kill me, before...

0:31:430:31:46

Trouble is, though, you've got all them obstacles.

0:31:460:31:49

You've got all them obstacles in your garden, and you've bought the horses,

0:31:490:31:54

they're going to... It's in their nature.

0:31:540:31:56

-They're going to be doing it in the garden.

-Yeah.

0:31:560:31:59

-You'll look out...

-Hoisted by my own petard.

0:31:590:32:01

-Exactly.

-Yes.

0:32:010:32:03

-Is it to do with the Inquisition?

-Not quite.

0:32:030:32:06

It was to do with the Pope, who in his glory and humility and wisdom and Christian charity

0:32:060:32:11

sentenced the entire population of the Netherlands to death

0:32:110:32:15

for heresy, because they'd gone...

0:32:150:32:17

-He'd thought it through.

-..because they'd gone Protestant.

0:32:170:32:20

He decided they should all die. Spain being a Catholic kingdom

0:32:200:32:23

decided they would be the ones to invade the Netherlands,

0:32:230:32:27

and the enterprising Dutch, in one battle when it was very cold,

0:32:270:32:31

the Spaniards attacked them and the Dutch came out on skates!

0:32:310:32:34

Because they were used to skating up and down their canals. They left hundreds of Spaniards dead.

0:32:340:32:40

the Duke of Alba determined it should never happen again,

0:32:400:32:44

so he ordered 7,000 pairs of ice skates so the Spanish army would be prepared for war on ice.

0:32:440:32:48

-It was never used.

-I tell you what.

0:32:480:32:50

There is a Saturday night programme...

0:32:500:32:53

LAUGHTER

0:32:530:32:54

It's Celebrity War On Ice!

0:32:540:32:57

-Wouldn't it be great?

-"Here come the Spanish - they've never skated before!"

0:32:570:33:01

"Look out, Manuel, it's cold!" Whoops!

0:33:010:33:04

True entertainment. There you are.

0:33:040:33:07

That's a true story, and an interesting one.

0:33:070:33:09

So you've all done very well, so you can have a reward.

0:33:090:33:14

This is an ice cream.

0:33:140:33:16

Pass yours to Sean there and then keep one for yourself, Brian.

0:33:160:33:19

There's spoons as well. Well done, Alan, very good.

0:33:190:33:23

-Ooh, cold, ooh!

-It is ice cream, yeah.

0:33:230:33:25

-I love a long spoon.

-I just want you to give me some tasting notes on it, basically.

0:33:250:33:30

Tell me what you think of it.

0:33:300:33:32

-Is it going to be breast milk?

-No, it's not.

0:33:320:33:35

There was, wasn't there? There was a breast milk...

0:33:350:33:38

-It's Turkish, in fact. Turkish ice cream.

-Very lovely.

0:33:380:33:42

-The odd thing is, I have to tell you...

-Is it a body part?

0:33:420:33:46

-It is fox testicle ice cream.

-Fox testicle.

0:33:460:33:48

LAUGHTER

0:33:480:33:51

APPLAUSE

0:33:510:33:53

-SEAN:

-I knew it!

0:33:570:33:58

I'm a slave to a fox's bollock, me.

0:34:000:34:04

Well, I'm playing with words here.

0:34:040:34:06

It's not actually from the testicles of a fox.

0:34:060:34:09

-Oh, what?!

-I'm sorry to disappoint you!

0:34:090:34:12

Its actual name in Turkish, if I get this right, is salepi dondurma,

0:34:120:34:16

and it means "fox testicles".

0:34:160:34:18

"Salep" means the same as an English word we use for a flower,

0:34:180:34:22

from the Greek for "testicle", which is "orchis".

0:34:220:34:25

And the orchid, because of the shape of its root,

0:34:250:34:28

comes from the word testicle.

0:34:280:34:29

And this is made from a particular orchid.

0:34:290:34:31

-Do you like the taste?

-It's delightful!

0:34:310:34:33

It's better than a kick in the orchids.

0:34:330:34:35

-Wahey! Exactly.

-Or even the testicles.

0:34:350:34:38

LAUGHTER

0:34:380:34:39

We call it the Early Purple Orchid.

0:34:390:34:42

Aww.

0:34:420:34:44

I'm glad you like it. It is a delicacy, but unfortunately it's becoming an endangered orchid.

0:34:440:34:48

-It's now illegal to export it.

-We've just eaten one!

-I know!

0:34:480:34:52

And now, an icy chill strikes the cockles as we brave

0:34:520:34:55

the frozen wastes of general ignorance.

0:34:550:34:58

So, frostbitten fingers on your buzzers as we ask, quickly,

0:34:580:35:01

-what are igloos usually made from?

-CHURCH BELLS RINGING

0:35:010:35:07

-Blue ice?

-Oh!

0:35:070:35:10

KLAXON SOUNDS

0:35:100:35:13

No. You get a forfeit. They are not made of ice, at all.

0:35:130:35:15

-They are made from glue.

-Nice thought.

0:35:150:35:19

-Is it an Apple glue? Are they actually iGlues?

-iGlue?

0:35:190:35:23

Very good.

0:35:230:35:25

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:35:270:35:29

-iGlue!

-Very good.

0:35:290:35:31

No. They're usually made from Caribou hide.

0:35:310:35:36

That is the usual igloo, very, very rare for them

0:35:360:35:38

to be made out of blocks of snow of cartoonists' fame.

0:35:380:35:42

There's your typical igloo, and there's your cliche igloo,

0:35:420:35:45

which is very rare.

0:35:450:35:47

Now, what do you say to a husky, to make it go?

0:35:470:35:51

I like that, that's a good shot of Brian.

0:35:540:35:57

-Most people think that you're supposed to say...

-Mush?

0:35:570:36:02

In fact, for years that hasn't been said.

0:36:020:36:04

Mush actually comes from the French "marche". Just meaning "go."

0:36:040:36:09

I thought it was just cockneys, "Come on, mush.

0:36:090:36:13

"Come on, dogs, all in, all in."

0:36:130:36:15

-So there are trends in what huskies respond to?

-Very much so.

0:36:150:36:18

So the huskies, if you say "mush" now,

0:36:180:36:21

they would go "Oh, that is so..."

0:36:210:36:23

"That is so last year."

0:36:230:36:26

You've got to say "wicked," or "sick."

0:36:260:36:28

Well, possibly, possibly wicked or sick.

0:36:280:36:31

They say "Hike-on" or "Hike."

0:36:310:36:33

-The fact is, they're so keen to do it, aren't they?

-Yes.

0:36:330:36:37

They get fantastically excited and happy.

0:36:370:36:39

It is one of the most exhilarating things you can do. It is fantastic.

0:36:390:36:43

It's interesting, when I did go to Mongolia,

0:36:430:36:47

in actual fact, the Mongols have mainly huskies and wolves.

0:36:470:36:52

They don't have dogs.

0:36:520:36:53

When I had a fire woman mending all the fires,

0:36:530:36:57

she had a great big bloody wolf.

0:36:570:36:59

He was in my tent, he slept with me, this wonderful wolf. It adored me.

0:36:590:37:03

I gave it Mars Bars, and things like that.

0:37:030:37:06

She said, "He will climb with you, go climb."

0:37:080:37:11

And I climbed 14,000 feet up this ridge, and I climbed it with a wolf.

0:37:110:37:16

We came back down, got back into my tent.

0:37:160:37:18

You have to understand, ladies and gentlemen, even at my age,

0:37:180:37:22

in my 70s, I'm a randy bastard.

0:37:220:37:25

I was missing my wife horribly.

0:37:250:37:28

I took this great big bloody wolf, looked at his face, and I just went,

0:37:280:37:34

# Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme What I cry for

0:37:340:37:37

# You know you got the kind of kisses that I'd die for

0:37:370:37:42

# You know you made me love you... #

0:37:420:37:45

HUMS AND HOWLS

0:37:450:37:48

He absolutely adored me.

0:37:480:37:50

Right, you know earlier,

0:37:500:37:53

you were saying you don't suffer from altitude sickness...?

0:37:530:37:56

I think you do.

0:37:560:37:58

I think we've worked out,

0:37:590:38:02

we know why Brian's huskies were going so fast.

0:38:020:38:05

"Hike, hike!" "Quickly, boys, he's gaining on us."

0:38:050:38:08

Dear God.

0:38:090:38:11

The whole time they're pulling him,

0:38:110:38:13

"He's still there! Come on. Bastard, he's fast!"

0:38:130:38:19

Well, they are extraordinary animals.

0:38:190:38:23

A 73-strong team once pulled a ten-tonne truck.

0:38:230:38:27

-They are pretty impressive animals.

-They are amazing.

0:38:270:38:29

Now, what can you see here? Have a look.

0:38:290:38:33

-What's that?

-Ooh!

-Aah!

0:38:330:38:35

BELL JANGLES

0:38:350:38:36

-It's not what you think it is.

-It's not the Loch Ness Monster.

-It's a hoax.

0:38:360:38:40

-Absolutely right, it's a forgery.

-It's a famous hoax.

0:38:400:38:43

-Do you know why the forgery was made?

-Yes, I read a book...

-There must have been a cash prize...

0:38:430:38:48

It wasn't that, actually - it was revenge, oddly enough.

0:38:480:38:52

It was a journalist - Marmaduke Wetherell.

0:38:520:38:55

Marmaduke Wetherell, yes!

0:38:550:38:57

He, er... Yes, of course. Shut up, I know something!

0:38:570:39:02

I actually know something. Yes.

0:39:020:39:04

Marmaduke Wetherell was a big game hunter.

0:39:040:39:07

And he was... There was a competition, er...

0:39:070:39:12

LAUGHTER

0:39:120:39:14

Shut your face! I actually... Years, I've...

0:39:140:39:17

Years and years I've waited, I know about Marmaduke Wetherell.

0:39:170:39:21

I remember at the time, I thought, "That's going to come in handy some time."

0:39:210:39:25

And then thought, "Probably not," but turns out it is.

0:39:250:39:28

There was a competition, er, by one of the newspapers,

0:39:280:39:32

to prove that the Loch Ness Monster existed.

0:39:320:39:35

So Marmaduke Wetherell cut the legs off a hippo,

0:39:350:39:38

and he made fake footprints with the severed hippo legs,

0:39:380:39:43

and then presumably he got found out...

0:39:430:39:47

-It's...

-If you say no, I'll punch you in the face.

0:39:470:39:51

You're really close. The point is, he wanted the prize.

0:39:510:39:55

He was fooled by the artificial hippo footprints,

0:39:550:39:59

and he went to the Daily Mail and said "I've found these footprints," and the Daily Mail published them.

0:39:590:40:05

The Natural History Museum saw them and said, "This is a fake. These are hippo footprints."

0:40:050:40:10

And he was fired by the Daily Mail. And he was so angry that he then put together

0:40:100:40:14

this hoax, with someone else, whose name was...Christian Spurling,

0:40:140:40:19

and many people believed that to be Nessie. And finally,

0:40:190:40:23

to round off this merry edition of QI,

0:40:230:40:27

let's see if we can perform, between us, a Christmassy song.

0:40:270:40:33

You've each got some bells. Now, this could be a disaster.

0:40:330:40:38

Put on your hats, there's a darling.

0:40:380:40:41

I don't mean to alarm you, but mine has a fuse.

0:40:430:40:46

-Now, have you got one of these cards here?

-It's really tight.

0:40:480:40:51

You see those bells? Your bells are numbered,

0:40:510:40:55

and you should have a card, and we're going to see if... That's it.

0:40:550:41:00

-Tuning up.

-Have you got your numbers clear?

0:41:000:41:03

For God's sake don't do that. Stephen's butler'll turn up.

0:41:030:41:05

Oh, Lord bless us all.

0:41:050:41:07

-I've got a baton.

-"You rang, sir?"

0:41:070:41:11

We're going to try and play a Christmassy tune. OK?

0:41:110:41:14

Are you ready? Have you got your numbers?

0:41:140:41:16

Can you see the numbers on your cards? One, two, three.

0:41:160:41:19

-One.

-DING

0:41:190:41:21

-Four, four.

-DING

0:41:210:41:22

-Five.

-DING

0:41:220:41:24

-Four, three, two, two.

-DINGING

0:41:240:41:27

-Two, five, five, six.

-DINGING

0:41:270:41:30

-Five, four, three, one.

-DINGING

0:41:300:41:33

-One, six, six, seven.

-DINGING

0:41:330:41:36

-Six, five, four, two.

-DINGING

0:41:360:41:39

-One, one, two, five.

-DINGING

0:41:390:41:40

-Three, four.

-DINGING

0:41:400:41:44

Well done.

0:41:440:41:46

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:41:460:41:48

Brilliant.

0:41:480:41:49

Staggering.

0:41:510:41:53

Such musicianship. Most impressive.

0:41:550:41:59

And with that, we must look at the horrible cacophony of the scores.

0:41:590:42:02

And it makes absolutely fascinating Christmas reading.

0:42:020:42:06

I'm sorry to say that in last place, with minus eight, it's Sean Lock.

0:42:060:42:10

APPLAUSE

0:42:100:42:12

In third place, with a very creditable minus three, it's Ross Noble.

0:42:140:42:20

APPLAUSE

0:42:200:42:22

Our first-timer, in second place, with minus two, Brian Blessed.

0:42:240:42:29

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:42:290:42:31

But, do my eyes deceive me? With plus nine,

0:42:320:42:37

a runaway winner, Alan Davies!

0:42:370:42:39

CHEERING

0:42:390:42:41

Well, there you are.

0:42:410:42:44

So all that's left for me is to thank Brian, Sean, Ross, and of course Alan,

0:42:480:42:52

and to leave you with this comforting thought from RG Daniels -

0:42:520:42:56

"The most delightful advantage of being bald

0:42:560:42:59

"is that one can hear snowflakes."

0:42:590:43:01

Good night, and a very merry Christmas!

0:43:010:43:03

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:150:43:18

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0:43:180:43:21

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