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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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,
good evening, good evening, good evening.
Hello. Happy Christmas, and welcome to QI On Ice.
To keep us warm while Jack Frost is nibbling at our chestnuts,
my stable is fairly heaving with red-nosed reindeer.
Ding-dong, it's Sean Lock!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Wey-ey, the lad's in a manger. It's Ross Noble.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And bless my rissoles, it's that merry gentleman,
Father Christmas himself, Brian Blessed!
And as the old carol says, "Hither page and stand by me,
"Yonder peasant, who is he?" It's Alan Davies!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
So let's hear your jingle bells. Sean goes...
SLEIGH BELLS JANGLE
Very nice. Ross goes...
How pleasant. Brian goes...
CHURCH BELLS PEAL
And Alan goes...
PARTY HORN BLOWER SQUEAKS
Thank you for putting us in party mood.
Don't forget that this year,
we are celebrating our ignorance with the Nobody Knows bonus.
"NOBODY KNOWS" FANFARE
Identify the one question tonight to which nobody knows the answer and you can get points galore.
Can you do me a favour? Can you just put that there?
It really is the Riddler!
He does look like the Riddler! Very good!
Now Christmas, of course, is a time for relaxing and feasting,
so answer me this.
Where do they take the most days off work
and have the most expensive Big Macs in the world?
Resolute in Canada, where the Eskimos, the Inuit,
six months of the year it's dark there
and they have great big bloody Big Macs
and wonderful great big steaks and lots of sex.
-They've got to shag all the winter.
That's like the best voiceover ever. "Bloody big Big Macs!
"Shag the life out of you!"
It's a good answer.
This is a country themed to our series.
-Iceland is the right answer.
It's extraordinary how many days off they take.
Per thousand people, they take off 367 days in the year,
compared to about 20-odd in Britain
and one in Switzerland.
-Probably minus seven in Germany.
-Have they always got a cold?
I think they just have that attitude to life.
Because they're lazy.
It's the access to all those delicious prawn rings.
At such low, low prices.
MEXICAN ACCENT: "I'm not going to work today."
"I've got another one. "I'm not going to work today."
"That's how we talk."
MEXICAN ACCENT: "That is how we talk in Iceland."
"It's very cold here! You want some more prawns, it's all frozen!"
Their Big Mac is more than twice a Big Mac in Britain.
It's so expensive that McDonald's has withdrawn
from Iceland. It's a very odd country. Have you been, Brian?
I've not. It's one of the few countries I've not been too.
It's full of firsts.
It has more Nobel Prize winners per capita than any country on earth.
Do you know how many it's had?
One is the right answer, but the population is so small -
320,000, which is roughly the population of Croydon -
that as a per capita average...
There he is, Laxness. He won the 1955 Nobel Prize for Literature.
He was the only one to win but cos it's such a small population,
it's four times more on average per capita than the United States.
It shows how useless statistics are, really.
It also uses three times more electricity than any other country on earth.
But what's good about their electricity?
100% of it is from either hydro-electric or geothermal.
In that sense, it's the cleanest electricity in the world.
Doesn't everybody live on the edge?
Do you mean, like, "Let's take loads of drugs!
"Let's drive our cars as fast as possible!"
-Literally live on the edge.
-Live fast, die young.
Living on the edge in Iceland is going out in just your pants.
You don't have to drive a car, even.
It's not wearing your thermals for a day.
On the coast, I mean. I think pretty much everyone lives on the coast.
It's also the world's youngest country. What do I mean by that?
-It's volcanic, so it came up...
-Geologically, it's the world's youngest country.
-But it has the world's oldest...
Yes! Yes, yes. 947AD, and do you know what it is called?
-Do that voice again.
Is it "Ye Olde Parliament"?
"Shall we pass laws?" "No, we're living on the edge!
"We don't need no laws.
"We've got a prawn ring and all that."
-What is a prawn ring?
-You don't know?
-No, I don't.
-It's prawns arranged in a ring.
-Is it battered?
It's a ring of prawns. WOMAN CACKLES
Run around a bit, that's what the old comics used to say!
-Run around a bit, will you?
-I paid for two.
There should be one over there.
-So it's party food?
-I had you down as an Iceland man.
-No, no. Sadly not.
It comes in like a little plastic circle, circular cover.
It's individual prawns in a layer?
Imagine a show called One Man And His Prawn.
He whistled and they all perfectly got themselves
into a circular pen and then were photographed.
-That's what it looks like.
-So they're all aligned.
It's like when they get attacked, that's what they do, go into a circle to defend themselves.
You want to get yourself a tiny sheepdog...
HE WHISTLES Come by.
-You need a prawndog!
-You need a prawndog.
What's the aquatic equivalent of sheepdog?
What are you talking about, Ross?
You're talking absolute nonsense. Sheepdogs for prawns?
You don't get a sheepdog, you get a prawndog for prawns!
That is, one, why I keep losing that competition.
-Why your prawns are all over the shop.
And two, I've got prawns everywhere and I've been banned from Crufts.
-It's out of order. Appalling.
The point is, Iceland is a world leader in surprising areas.
Here's something quite interesting.
Two points for anyone who can tell me this.
In what way is Iceland's most recent volcano similar to Genghis Khan?
I think they are both shagnasties.
Genghis Khan has apparently shagged everything that moves
and he is the father and mother of all populations in Europe and Asia,
so he shagged everything that moves.
And the volcano, of course,
has spurted out, had an orgasm of ammonia and has fertilised Europe.
Am I right?
Damn good answer.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
To be brutally honest, that's not what's on my card.
If there was no such thing as science, you would be right.
I think I know what it is. I think, obviously, that volcano stopped lots of transport.
He must have stopped something happening which the volcano stopped happening.
You are in the right area. The odd thing is it's beneficial, especially at the moment.
It's a thing we talk about a lot.
That volcano poured out, they reckon,
between 150,000 and 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
A huge amount of carbon came out as a result of it,
but if you remember, no-one flew for however long it was
and the lack of flying saved three million tonnes.
In fact, it was a huge offset of carbon.
And in the case of Ghengis Khan, he slaughtered his way across the world
and had the largest empire the world has ever seen -
four times that of Alexander, twice the size of the Roman Empire, and he killed about 40 million people.
The result was there was so little farming that the forests grew back,
and you can time a huge benefit to the world from his slaughter.
-That's extraordinary, isn't it?
-What do we have to pronounce?
That's what I was...
How did you know I was going to ask that as a supplementary question?
-I thought you already did.
-Did I already say it?
-Either that or I read it off the autocue.
-You read it!
You great big cheater!
-Says it there.
-I'd now like you to pronounce the name of the volcano.
-It's written up there for you.
-Oh, God alive!
Eye-eye-yarpn-oy-ey-jurp prawn rings.
You should have been a newsreader.
With your accent, you've got the best chance.
It looks a bit like that, yeah. Any thoughts?
Brian, have a go.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
There's an Icelandic woman just gone...
You may have set it off again, doing that.
I think the umlaut changes it, doesn't it? Those little dots.
I think actually the way you are supposed to pronounce it is "udj".
-It changes it.
Apparently it's... EY-ya-fyat-lah-YOH-kuhtl.
Is that translated as "big smoky bastard"?
"You will go by ferry".
That's basically the answer.
What shouldn't you do with the Icelandic phone book?
Is it "try and use it alphabetically"?
Cos they're all called Magnusson.
-Is it just "use it"? Never use it.
It's along those lines.
-How do Icelandic people name themselves?
-Son and daughter.
Right. Your daughter would be "Alandottir",
-if you were Icelandic.
-Not a bad idea.
-Yes, nice name!
-When they marry...
-That would be her surname.
-..the women don't take the man's name, they keep their father's name.
The only thing I know about Iceland. And that everyone's on the edge.
-I'd be Royson.
-Royson. What's your father's name?
-Oh! There we are, you see, we've worked it out.
-We've found it. Your father was Malcolm.
-So you'd be Ross Malcolmson.
But the point is, there are an enormous number of surnames which are just identical
so what you shouldn't do is look people up by their surname,
as you'd do in most books. You'd look them up by their first name.
And often their profession, as well.
There's so few people there...
you could probably just poke your head out the window and go,
"What's your phone number?"
At football matches, when somebody goes, "Come on, son!", do all the players go, "Me, or...?"
One of the oddest things about Iceland is...
Well, I'll show you. Have a look at this. These are Icelandic.
What do you reckon they are?
If I were to tell you that those are empty, does that help?
Oh, are they Icelandic cock pants?
Is it because, like, when you go out on the beach, everything shrinks,
so you put them on and then it gives you a little bit of profile?
-A little bit extra.
-Are they a pair of trousers? A pair of ski pants?
-They are a pair of trousers made of human skin.
They are on display at the Icelandic Museum of Witchcraft,
which is an extraordinary place because Icelandic witchcraft is pretty odd.
What happens is you ask a friend when he dies, can you have his skin?
"Can I have your legs?"
If he gives you permission, you flay the skin below the waist,
completely, in one piece, and you wear them as tights.
It gets weirder.
You then have to steal, from a widow, a coin,
and you put the coin inside the scrotal area, the sac -
as you see, the whole thing is more or less complete,
with a written incantation.
-You open a bank.
And that's how the Icelandic economy works.
They sort of do, because then the scrotum apparently fills with money.
That's the incantation.
They are sort of necropants. There is an official...
-That's the sort of thing you see advertised at three o'clock in the morning.
-"Do you want necropants?"
-The Icelandic name is nabrok.
But we were talking about the Icelandic phone book.
I've got another interesting thing about phone books, a little task.
A Christmas party game. I've got these phone books here
and they have been interleaved.
There's no glue or anything. They are like a pack of cards.
-One page goes inside another.
-That must have taken ages.
Our props people are very proud of their work.
-There you are.
All I want you to do, you've got ropes, there,
is just pull them apart.
You can take one each.
-Pull them apart.
-It can't be done.
You can't, can you? You literally can't. It's quite extraordinary.
-Strong as Brian is.
-Pull, Brian. Pull!
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
How come your water wasn't spilt? That's magical.
Yes, it's an old trick.
Me and Brian have been doing this trick for years.
I was trying to sit on top of my tipped-up chair.
A man as strong as Brian,
he may be able to pull Sean off his chair, but it can't be done.
In fact, you need 8,000lbs of force in order to do it. It's bizarre.
It's friction, and it's just replicated each time. I know.
If you loosen them...
This time it's me!
-Having a tantrum.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Still can't do it!
Has anyone got a lighter?
No. And you can stop reading the escort pages as well.
Very good eyesight from there!
I know my Alan!
-Well, there you are.
The fact is, yes, surprising as it...
Nurse, she's out of bed again!
From Iceland to Alaska.
The Eskimo-Indian Olympics have been held every year since 1961.
Phone books are not involved, but these are.
More toys for you to play with.
And I'm afraid you have to be prepared to get sticky.
These lubed rods, here, which are very icky.
He's been trying to get me to do this for years.
Sorry, Stephen, but this contravenes my superinjunction.
All you have to do is work out what the sports are
in the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, as they're now called.
-You can play it with Brian.
Each ones of these games is, like most games,
to hone the skills you need
for the environment in which you live.
-Is this a two-person game?
-It is. You each...
-Is it fire?
Leave the string for the moment and grab the stick and...
-It's all right.
-Is that what I think it is?
No, you have to do it with your hands. No.
It's the one who can, without twisting or jerking,
the one who can get the stick off the other.
-Oh, Christ, I've got no chance!
There you can see them doing it.
Well, have a go.
This time... This time you're going on the floor.
-There you go.
-You're holding my hand there, Brian.
-No twisting or jerking.
-Hold on to one side.
-My hands are too big.
-Can you go...
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
-Fabulous. And we have a string game yet to play.
-Let me guess. We have to wrap round our balls and pull.
-No, we don't.
You do have to wrap it around an organ.
That's it! Forget it!
Fortunately, not an organ of generation.
An auditory organ, one of your ears.
Each wraps it around the ear.
You wrap the other end round your ear and you pull.
With your ear! With your ear!
Come on boys, be brave.
-Is it round your ear?
-It's a pain endurance test.
-I'll go round the other ear.
-Look what's happened to his ear.
I don't want that to happen to my ear!
As you can see from the photograph,
it's... Endurance and pain are really the...
You've got glasses on.
-I've got quite springy ears.
-Is that an advantage or disadvantage?
-It's a disadvantage, because they're very, very springy.
I declare the winner there Brian. Who's been winning on your side?
-You've turned it into a plait.
-I cheated, look. I've tied it.
These are official sports of the Eskimo Olympics. It's a very fine part of the world,
I don't know if you've ever been there? It's very beautiful.
-You've been there, I'm sure.
You told me an interesting thing I didn't know about Canada.
Yes. I went on an expedition to the North Pole in 2004.
It goes to 70 degrees below zero and 60 degrees wind-chill factor.
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.
LAUGHTER And the thing is...
The astonishing thing is that as we approached the Magnetic North Pole,
suddenly you could feel the magnetism.
-And my hair stood on end...
Everything was titillated!
And at that moment, I felt this great earthquake,
and up came a great Russian Typhoon submarine,
and it came through the ice, and the men got off and so forth,
-and they called me Father Christmas.
-You must have given them the fright of their life!
I've got ice down here, and I sang...
LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH
It was wonderful.
Very, very good.
Now, in 1845, Sir John Franklin led an expedition to the Arctic
to discover the Northwest Passage. A group of his men
set off across the ice
with a sled-load of button polish, handkerchiefs, curtain rods
and a writing desk.
Why? What were they doing?
"NOBODY KNOWS" FANFARE
Yes! You are right!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
My assumption is that, sadly, none of them made it back.
No, they didn't. It was one of the most disastrous expeditions in history.
They were off on a sled-boot sale.
It was 128 men, all perished in this expedition.
35 different rescue parties tried over decades to find them, and find out what happened.
It wasn't until the 1980s that it was discovered precisely what happened to them.
Their bodies were well preserved in ice. Do you know what it was that they discovered?
Laurence Llewelyn Bowen going, "Those curtains are terrible."
It was discovered that their bodies
were filled with toxic levels of lead,
and they had gone on the expedition
with some very early examples of canned food, and the solder that was used was lead-solder.
Lead poisoning, amongst other things,
can make people have mass delusions, and so these poor people
loaded the sled with button polish, and handkerchiefs,
and a writing desk, and went off into the wasteland.
I know it sounds funny, but it is awful, isn't it?
I imagine they went to open a really disappointing shop. A pound shop on ice.
We know from the archaeology of it that that is what they did,
but as Alan rightly said, nobody knows WHY they did it,
except that it was some sort of delusion that they must've had.
At the other end of the world, what did Captain Scott
take to the Antarctic to keep his lads entertained?
A first edition of Razzle.
Yeah, cos he was going to take strippers, but out there,
so many clothes, they're just sat there going, "Oh, come on."
-It was for musical entertainment.
-There was a gramophone on the second one, but more extraordinarily...
-Much more extraordinarily.
-Not just a piano...
A player-piano, a pianola.
You know, the kind that plays itself,
-with a piano roll.
-I bet they were delighted!
I used to have one of those, you do it with your feet...
Right, you power it with your pedals and the punch paper goes through, and it plays itself like that.
I suppose they figured that out there it's so cold,
-you wouldn't want to be playing the piano.
If you did have your gloves on it'd be a right racket.
On one of his first expeditions he took a real piano, only to discover that nobody on board could play.
So when he went on the second one,
this company were very pleased to furnish him with the pianola,
being this exciting piece of modern technology, and 20 rolls.
And on the final expedition, on which they all perished,
another company got in and gave them another pianola with 250 rolls,
each one being a different piece of music.
And he actually took it off the ship! It took real effort to get it on land, to the first base camp,
-just so they could have music.
-They didn't drag it to the Pole with them?
No, that would have been a bit silly.
Leave it there. You get there, there's loads of others. Amundsen's taken a whole band.
It was very interesting, to put a kind of sad note to the story,
that of course Scott got there and he went on the known route,
which was tough, going up the glaciers and so forth,
but Amundsen of course went a different route, and found it was easy. And he was lucky.
-So he got there days before Scott did.
-When Scott got there he discovered the Norwegian flag.
When Scott got there he saw the Norwegian flag,
and then Scott coming back was depressed and so forth,
and they all died, gradually, one by one, etc.
But Amundsen got back to Norway, and he was in the bath,
and his wife came into the bathroom and said, "Scott has died on the way back from the South Pole!"
-And Amundsen said, "He's beaten me!"
Yes. Because he meant, by dying, it was "Scott of the Antarctic"
-and not "Amundsen of the Antarctic".
-He became a hero.
-He became a hero.
-What he should have said was,
"Can I have his piano?"
Well, the one on the left of the photograph is the famous Oates,
who sacrificed his life, who left the tent and said, "I may be some time."
And there's Scott in the middle. Do you remember,
rather moving, the last words he wrote in his diary?
"We took risks, we knew we were taking them, and things have come out against us,
"therefore we have no reason to complain."
-He ended with the words, "For God's sake, look after our people."
Er, while we're in the Antarctic, what happens when a penguin
steps on a land mine?
-I dare say nothing at all. SEAN:
It either goes off or it doesn't.
I'm going it doesn't.
Surely the land mines would be frozen, would they?
So it would just...cruise over.
If a human stood on them they'd be blown up. Alan is absolutely right.
-BRIAN: They're too light.
-They're too light.
That may seem rather irrelevant except there is a place on Earth
where thousands of land mines were laid, which is...
-The Falkland Islands, by the Argentinians.
So no humans can go there, and most importantly, no whalers.
There was a big whaling industry, and rather sadly,
because there are not many trees on the Falklands, what the whalers did is they captured the whale,
and they wanted to burn the, you know, to boil it up so they'd get
the whale oil, which is where all the money was.
There are no trees to burn, so they used to burn penguins.
Penguins have a lot of oil under themselves as well,
so they'd use the penguin oil to make the fire to burn the whales,
and the population went down from ten million to a very small number.
-But since the land mines...
-"Chuck another penguin on the fire, son."
-I know! It's terrible!
-"What are you doing?"
"I'm just burning some penguins so I can boil up this whale."
-I know! It is absurd.
-That's a job.
-But the beauty of it is,
it's one of the laws of unintended consequences -
because of these land mines, the whalers can't go anywhere near it.
The penguins are now multiplying and doing really well.
The penguins have now evolved fingers, they stand there going...
The penguins are now laying more mines.
Now, where's the best place to look for the abominable snowman?
-I think this is an area of your expertise.
-Yeah, yeah, on your left.
I'll start it all off for the lads. Yes, yes, yes.
Of course, you are looking at one.
It is called Sasquatch, Bigfoot in Canada,
and in Russia it is called the Almas Giant, or the Yeti,
Sukpa, or Meh-Teh-Ma.
Then in China they have their own hairy men,
and it is Sukpa, Meh-Teh-Ma out there as well, Yeti.
And then in Sumatra it is called Orang Pendek,
or "upright man," not meaning an orang-utan.
There is no doubt at all that yetis obviously do exist.
There are great parts of the world that we don't know about.
When I was in Mongolia, the Mongols were telling me that in the late autumn you get migrations
of dozens and dozens and dozens of Almas Giants,
and they see them in the distance.
So, I want to go out there one day, and go to northern Mongolia
and just go... BELLOWING ROAR
And I think that might scare them off.
Brilliant. Well, that's fantastic, thank you very much.
There are some who are disbelievers. You are a believer?
Yes, from the different people I meet, the trackers I meet.
You have to remember that the large mountain gorilla
was only discovered about 90 years ago.
-That's a giant mountain gorilla in Rwanda.
There are so many more discoveries. We are discovering them all the time.
There is so much to discover.
So I think, I don't think we've scratched the surface yet.
And there are indeed centres for the study of them. One in Siberia, and one in the Bhutanese area.
-Bhutan has a Yeti Park, that's right.
-It's a hell of a thought.
Well, that is a brilliant answer, and completely correct, of course.
Now, where did Queen Victoria get her ice from?
-She liked ice in her drink.
-Would it come down the Thames?
-It was imported, I'll tell you that.
-Not icebergs, no.
For a time it was the world's most famous lake, because it provided ice for the Royal Families of Europe,
and its name was synonymous with "ice" before refrigeration allowed us to make ice ourselves.
And it was called Lake Wenham. It still exists, it's now a reservoir
outside Boston, Massachusetts. It was a man called Tudor
who had the brilliant idea of chopping it all up - there it is
being chopped up and sent to Britain.
There was a shop in the Strand with a huge block of ice,
and they had a newspaper behind the ice to show its clarity.
Crowds would gather round. You could read the newspaper through the clear ice,
and it was the wonder of the age.
You had to be very rich to afford it, because it had come a long way.
But it would last a long time, and it was Lake Wenham ice.
-Good bit of American enterprise.
I bet he was pissed off the day they invented the refrigerator.
I'm sure he was.
They tried to suggest that frozen lake ice was actually better for you,
was clearer and more pure.
Now, why did the Spanish Duke of Alba
order 7,000 pairs of ice skates?
Because he was a millipede.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
You can't see from that picture.
Thousands of legs.
Any thoughts as to why he might have ordered 7,000 pairs of ice skates?
He wanted to wipe it out. He went, "I hate ice skating.
"I'm going to buy all the boots and it'll just die out."
-We're talking the 17th century.
-That's what I'd do.
-With show-jumping, though.
I'd buy all the horses.
-Why don't you just buy...?
-And all those funny blocks
that look like walls you've never seen before, buy all those.
And then show-jumping would be finished forever.
-So trying to wipe out ice-skating as a sport?
-Be a good James Bond plot, wouldn't it?
Instead of trying to take over the world,
I'm trying to stop show-jumping.
James Bond's got to get me and kill me, before...
Trouble is, though, you've got all them obstacles.
You've got all them obstacles in your garden, and you've bought the horses,
they're going to... It's in their nature.
-They're going to be doing it in the garden.
-You'll look out...
-Hoisted by my own petard.
-Is it to do with the Inquisition?
It was to do with the Pope, who in his glory and humility and wisdom and Christian charity
sentenced the entire population of the Netherlands to death
for heresy, because they'd gone...
-He'd thought it through.
-..because they'd gone Protestant.
He decided they should all die. Spain being a Catholic kingdom
decided they would be the ones to invade the Netherlands,
and the enterprising Dutch, in one battle when it was very cold,
the Spaniards attacked them and the Dutch came out on skates!
Because they were used to skating up and down their canals. They left hundreds of Spaniards dead.
the Duke of Alba determined it should never happen again,
so he ordered 7,000 pairs of ice skates so the Spanish army would be prepared for war on ice.
-It was never used.
-I tell you what.
There is a Saturday night programme...
It's Celebrity War On Ice!
-Wouldn't it be great?
-"Here come the Spanish - they've never skated before!"
"Look out, Manuel, it's cold!" Whoops!
True entertainment. There you are.
That's a true story, and an interesting one.
So you've all done very well, so you can have a reward.
This is an ice cream.
Pass yours to Sean there and then keep one for yourself, Brian.
There's spoons as well. Well done, Alan, very good.
-Ooh, cold, ooh!
-It is ice cream, yeah.
-I love a long spoon.
-I just want you to give me some tasting notes on it, basically.
Tell me what you think of it.
-Is it going to be breast milk?
-No, it's not.
There was, wasn't there? There was a breast milk...
-It's Turkish, in fact. Turkish ice cream.
-The odd thing is, I have to tell you...
-Is it a body part?
-It is fox testicle ice cream.
-I knew it!
I'm a slave to a fox's bollock, me.
Well, I'm playing with words here.
It's not actually from the testicles of a fox.
-I'm sorry to disappoint you!
Its actual name in Turkish, if I get this right, is salepi dondurma,
and it means "fox testicles".
"Salep" means the same as an English word we use for a flower,
from the Greek for "testicle", which is "orchis".
And the orchid, because of the shape of its root,
comes from the word testicle.
And this is made from a particular orchid.
-Do you like the taste?
It's better than a kick in the orchids.
-Or even the testicles.
We call it the Early Purple Orchid.
I'm glad you like it. It is a delicacy, but unfortunately it's becoming an endangered orchid.
-It's now illegal to export it.
-We've just eaten one!
And now, an icy chill strikes the cockles as we brave
the frozen wastes of general ignorance.
So, frostbitten fingers on your buzzers as we ask, quickly,
-what are igloos usually made from?
-CHURCH BELLS RINGING
No. You get a forfeit. They are not made of ice, at all.
-They are made from glue.
-Is it an Apple glue? Are they actually iGlues?
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
No. They're usually made from Caribou hide.
That is the usual igloo, very, very rare for them
to be made out of blocks of snow of cartoonists' fame.
There's your typical igloo, and there's your cliche igloo,
which is very rare.
Now, what do you say to a husky, to make it go?
I like that, that's a good shot of Brian.
-Most people think that you're supposed to say...
In fact, for years that hasn't been said.
Mush actually comes from the French "marche". Just meaning "go."
I thought it was just cockneys, "Come on, mush.
"Come on, dogs, all in, all in."
-So there are trends in what huskies respond to?
-Very much so.
So the huskies, if you say "mush" now,
they would go "Oh, that is so..."
"That is so last year."
You've got to say "wicked," or "sick."
Well, possibly, possibly wicked or sick.
They say "Hike-on" or "Hike."
-The fact is, they're so keen to do it, aren't they?
They get fantastically excited and happy.
It is one of the most exhilarating things you can do. It is fantastic.
It's interesting, when I did go to Mongolia,
in actual fact, the Mongols have mainly huskies and wolves.
They don't have dogs.
When I had a fire woman mending all the fires,
she had a great big bloody wolf.
He was in my tent, he slept with me, this wonderful wolf. It adored me.
I gave it Mars Bars, and things like that.
She said, "He will climb with you, go climb."
And I climbed 14,000 feet up this ridge, and I climbed it with a wolf.
We came back down, got back into my tent.
You have to understand, ladies and gentlemen, even at my age,
in my 70s, I'm a randy bastard.
I was missing my wife horribly.
I took this great big bloody wolf, looked at his face, and I just went,
# Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme What I cry for
# You know you got the kind of kisses that I'd die for
# You know you made me love you... #
HUMS AND HOWLS
He absolutely adored me.
Right, you know earlier,
you were saying you don't suffer from altitude sickness...?
I think you do.
I think we've worked out,
we know why Brian's huskies were going so fast.
"Hike, hike!" "Quickly, boys, he's gaining on us."
The whole time they're pulling him,
"He's still there! Come on. Bastard, he's fast!"
Well, they are extraordinary animals.
A 73-strong team once pulled a ten-tonne truck.
-They are pretty impressive animals.
-They are amazing.
Now, what can you see here? Have a look.
-It's not what you think it is.
-It's not the Loch Ness Monster.
-It's a hoax.
-Absolutely right, it's a forgery.
-It's a famous hoax.
-Do you know why the forgery was made?
-Yes, I read a book...
-There must have been a cash prize...
It wasn't that, actually - it was revenge, oddly enough.
It was a journalist - Marmaduke Wetherell.
Marmaduke Wetherell, yes!
He, er... Yes, of course. Shut up, I know something!
I actually know something. Yes.
Marmaduke Wetherell was a big game hunter.
And he was... There was a competition, er...
Shut your face! I actually... Years, I've...
Years and years I've waited, I know about Marmaduke Wetherell.
I remember at the time, I thought, "That's going to come in handy some time."
And then thought, "Probably not," but turns out it is.
There was a competition, er, by one of the newspapers,
to prove that the Loch Ness Monster existed.
So Marmaduke Wetherell cut the legs off a hippo,
and he made fake footprints with the severed hippo legs,
and then presumably he got found out...
-If you say no, I'll punch you in the face.
You're really close. The point is, he wanted the prize.
He was fooled by the artificial hippo footprints,
and he went to the Daily Mail and said "I've found these footprints," and the Daily Mail published them.
The Natural History Museum saw them and said, "This is a fake. These are hippo footprints."
And he was fired by the Daily Mail. And he was so angry that he then put together
this hoax, with someone else, whose name was...Christian Spurling,
and many people believed that to be Nessie. And finally,
to round off this merry edition of QI,
let's see if we can perform, between us, a Christmassy song.
You've each got some bells. Now, this could be a disaster.
Put on your hats, there's a darling.
I don't mean to alarm you, but mine has a fuse.
-Now, have you got one of these cards here?
-It's really tight.
You see those bells? Your bells are numbered,
and you should have a card, and we're going to see if... That's it.
-Have you got your numbers clear?
For God's sake don't do that. Stephen's butler'll turn up.
Oh, Lord bless us all.
-I've got a baton.
-"You rang, sir?"
We're going to try and play a Christmassy tune. OK?
Are you ready? Have you got your numbers?
Can you see the numbers on your cards? One, two, three.
-Four, three, two, two.
-Two, five, five, six.
-Five, four, three, one.
-One, six, six, seven.
-Six, five, four, two.
-One, one, two, five.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Such musicianship. Most impressive.
And with that, we must look at the horrible cacophony of the scores.
And it makes absolutely fascinating Christmas reading.
I'm sorry to say that in last place, with minus eight, it's Sean Lock.
In third place, with a very creditable minus three, it's Ross Noble.
Our first-timer, in second place, with minus two, Brian Blessed.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
But, do my eyes deceive me? With plus nine,
a runaway winner, Alan Davies!
Well, there you are.
So all that's left for me is to thank Brian, Sean, Ross, and of course Alan,
and to leave you with this comforting thought from RG Daniels -
"The most delightful advantage of being bald
"is that one can hear snowflakes."
Good night, and a very merry Christmas!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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