Inequality QI XL


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Inequality

Stephen Fry addresses inequality and injustice with Sandi Toksvig, Clive Anderson, Henning Wehn and Alan Davies.


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APPLAUSE

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Goo-o-o-o-d evening!

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Good evening, good evening, good evening!

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Goo-o-d evening and welcome to QI,

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where the composition of our panel is intentionally international.

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From Denmark, Sandi Toksvig...

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APPLAUSE

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From Germany, Henning Wehn...

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APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

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From Scotland, Clive Anderson...

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APPLAUSE

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And from God knows where, Alan Davies!

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Tonight's show is all about inattention and ineptitude.

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Alan, what is tonight's show about?

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Inattention and ineptitude.

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-(SIREN SOUNDS)

-Oh-h-h!

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AUDIENCE LAUGHS

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That's ten points off for a start, because tonight's show

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-is all about inequality and injustice.

-Oh, of course!

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And so we unjustly took 10 points away from you,

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because this is a show in which nothing will be fair,

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from top to bottom,

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so let's get it over with and go straight to the scores!

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In first place, with -54,

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it's Sandi Toksvig!

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APPLAUSE

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(BUZZER) 'Whay-hay!'

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Congratulations!

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In second place with +7, is Clive Anderson!

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(BUZZER) 'Objection, m'lud!'

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In third place with minus sechzig, is Henning Wehn...

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(BUZZER) 'Don't mention za var!'

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And lastly, obviously, with minus one gazillion, is Alan Davies!

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(BUZZER) 'Boooo!'

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LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

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CLIVE: So that's it, you've done the scores already?

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The scores are already done, but we've still got questions to ask.

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And don't forget your nobody knows joker.

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BUGLE CALL

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There's a question, maybe two, or three,

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to which the correct answer is, "nobody knows".

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If you wave your nobody knows joker you get extra points,

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or maybe you lose them,

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or maybe you don't, because the scores have already been given.

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It's an unjust game tonight. The first question is easy,

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so I'll give it randomly to my old friend, Sandi.

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What can you tell me about this chap behind you?

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Ooh! Er, well, do you think that the words give it away,

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or is that going to be unfair?

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Er, the fact that it says, "The Puritan."

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Well...

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SIREN SOUNDS

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-That seems unfair!

-It does, doesn't it?

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Because what it is, is the 19th century IDEA of a Puritan,

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and in fact the 19th century idea of a Puritan,

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which we retain to this day, is completely inaccurate.

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The steeple hat, the clothing, no evidence

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they ever wore...

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They wore a beanie hat, did they?

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They wore ordinary clothes, but if having a portrait taken,

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they usually wore their Sunday best,

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which tended to be black.

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-So he's not a Puritan at all?

-He's a 19th century idea of a Puritan.

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-You were right to say he was a Puritan...

-I was merely reading!

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..and I was unjust. You've lost 10 points,

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-but it doesn't matter because you've already won!

-Yes!

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-Do you know, I'm quite relaxed about the whole show?

-Exactly!

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Now, what can you tell me about the Puritans, in America?

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Er, they went over on the Mayflower?

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-No...

-I keep expecting the thing to go off again!

-Yeah!

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They didn't go on the Mayflower?

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No. The great American myth, if you like,

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is the Puritans arrived on the Mayflower,

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and they came to avoid religious persecution.

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In fact, they came in order to be able to persecute.

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-Yeah, but they hated the Quakers.

-They objected to religious freedom in England,

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that meant you could have all kinds of ranges of religion.

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In 1660, they hanged a woman just for being a Quaker.

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-Mary Dyer.

-That's right, the very one.

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Obviously many people did come to America to avoid persecution,

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but the idea the Puritans came to avoid persecution,

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they came to persecute,

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they wanted to build a country

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in which there could be no dissent from Puritanism.

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Puritans, they regarded luxury as sinful, didn't they?

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Some of them set off to America and the others opened B&Bs in Britain!

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-Hey!

-Yeah...

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B&Bs, breakfast until seven - don't call it B&B, just call it B!

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LAUGHTER

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If you've got no intention of serving breakfast, don't call it B&B.

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Do you know, I once sailed all the way round Britain,

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and we finally got to Northumbria, and on the coastline,

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there was a house with paint saying,

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"Bed and breakfast, hot and cold water."

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I thought, "Only in this country, would you feel you must advertise you have both."

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Oh yes. Pride!

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It used to be hot and cold running water.

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Not just a bucket lying there, there's pipes and everything!

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In this painting, did the native there, on the left,

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-did he bring that tree to hide behind, because he looks...

-LAUGHTER

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He doesn't look happy!

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-See which way the wind is blowing.

-I think he knows what's coming!

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It's true, Stephen, the Puritans went on the Mayflower.

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They say they landed at Plymouth Rock, but it was Provincetown, so none of it is true?

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I'm afraid, yeah, it's a myth.

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Every country likes to build up a legend of its own foundation.

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Really ugly baby!

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LAUGHTER

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It IS a rather ugly baby!

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Like a tiny person standing behind that woman.

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It's not any use... don't learn that expression, "really ugly baby".

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There's never an opportunity to use that in real life.

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Little tiny... I'm really enjoying this painting...

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They've come all the way over, brought one pickaxe and a hat.

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LAUGHTER

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It's no basis on which to build a country, is it?

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The guy on the right brought a girl.

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300 years later, it was the mightiest nation on Earth.

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-Extraordinary! No offence!

-Don't think the man in the hat had much to do with it!

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Anyway, that was our first unfair question.

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Puritans didn't really dress like that. What key role

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did a Puritan pig play in the trial of George Spencer in 1641?

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-Is that the actual pig we're looking at?

-No, that is not the actual pig!

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Because that's a photograph of a modern pig posing as a 1641 pig.

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A rather similar picture of myself at a spa!

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LAUGHTER

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Oh, now! You've got two fewer nipples!

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Well, certainly, the nipples were a surprise!

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-But that look of contentment!

-Yes.

-Absolutely!

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-One happy pig.

-That's a pig in clover.

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A pig in clover, absolutely!

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-George... When did you say, what year did you say?

-1641.

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Are we talking about witchcraft?

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We're in New Haven, Connecticut, the centre of the Puritan...

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-Is this a bit like that monkey they hanged in Hartlepool?

-Well...

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Because they thought he was French, didn't they?

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The monkey was hanged because they thought him a French spy.

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They knew French people spoke a different language and were small,

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and cartoonists had made them look diminutive and nasty,

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so they see a little monkey, they buy the propaganda!

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-When the monkey was in the dock it was thoroughly evasive!

-Yes!

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It didn't give a straight answer to any question!

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This, on the other hand, is a Puritan world, and I would remind you of Leviticus 20:15.

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Not eating pork, presumably?

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No, "If a man lie with a beast,

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"he shall surely be put to death, and ye shall slay the beast."

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-He laid with a pig!

-Did George have his end away with a piece of pork?

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He just fancied a bit of crackling, that's all!

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It's even unfairer than that.

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It so happened that George was a rather ugly fellow, who was bald and had one eye,

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and one day a sow farrowed, I think is the word, a litter of piglets,

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one of whom was strikingly similar to George,

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and had one eye, and so George was immediately

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put in front of the Puritan court, accused of having lain with the pig.

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He didn't have the chance to get a super injunction?

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Disgraceful!

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He denied it strenuously, as you might!

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Typically, the Puritans then said, "There shall be mercy shown,

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"should you be open and honest."

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So he thought, "If I say yes they'll let me off",

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so he said, "I laid with the pig", and they said, "The mercy will be shown by the Lord, but not by us."

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For there to be a capital offence there had to be two witnesses to it,

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so they included the pig.

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So they brought the pig into the trial to speak against itself,

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or squeak against itself, and both George and the pig were executed.

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-Both got the chop.

-Both got the chop!

-Did the pig shyly look at George,

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in a kind of I-remember-that-night way?

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I think the whole thing was just...

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The pig came in and said, "That bastard, he never rang...

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LAUGHTER

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"..he just used me!"

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Some 50 years later, there was the famous mass hysteria in Salem...

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-Salem witch trials...

-The witch trials, but this was before them,

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there were the bestiality obsessions as well.

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-Who's the other witness, though?

-George. George said yes.

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-So his confession...

-His tricked confession was counted.

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If you'd been there, he'd have got off, Clive.

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Of course, I'd like to think so,

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but these days, you convict people on a confession,

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you don't even need the pig!

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There was a man caught

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in an intimate situation with a donkey in 1710 in France.

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He was caught in the act with a female donkey,

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and character witnesses appeared - this is what was so sweet -

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-on behalf of the donkey...

-LAUGHTER

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..saying, "This was an honest donkey

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"and a modest donkey and a decent donkey,"

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so the man was executed and the donkey got off scot-free.

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The law is an ass!

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It seems very unfair to execute the pig.

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-Totally!

-If the sin is lying with the beast...

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No, Leviticus, I remind you,

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"If a man lie with the beast he shall surely be put to death,

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"and ye shall slay the beast."

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-Ah!

-Does anyone know,

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why did the New Haven Puritans abolish trial by jury?

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Well, the Bible has stuff about, "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

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I think it's in the gospels.

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Does that go on to say, "..and don't be on a jury, either."

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Oddly enough, you're in the right area.

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It's simply that juries are not mentioned in the Bible.

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They thought they had no place in life

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as they didn't have them in biblical times.

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What about a propelling pencil? They wouldn't have that either.

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Well, quite. There are Amish communities and various other Brethren who don't.

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-It's a sin to use a propelling pencil?

-Well, it's very hard. I agree.

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It's a very peculiar world, the world of the Puritan.

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America's full of those strange rules.

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Did you know that it's still the law in Alabama that it is illegal

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to wear a fake moustache in church that causes laughter?

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LAUGHTER

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They got Groucho Marx on that!

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It's fine otherwise.

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It's OK if it's serious?

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If people take it seriously, but if it causes laughter in the church, you're out.

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I think under Thatcher or maybe just after, under John Major,

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-there was a Lord Chancellor called Lord Mackay of Clashfern - do you remember him?

-Fine man.

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He was a member of the Order known as the Wee Frees,

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who are a very extreme sect of Presbyterians.

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And he was actually expelled from the Wee Frees

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for attending the wedding of a friend who was a Catholic.

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It was the funeral of a judge who was Catholic,

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and that's consorting with the Antichrist, unfortunately.

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-Just going to a friend's funeral...

-He was an elder of the Kirk,

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and had spent his whole life in the Church and he had to go.

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Expelled just for going to a friend's funeral. There was a good story about him

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- I'm not saying any Scottish mean jokes,

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but he was apparently quite a frugal man.

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Apparently he held a tea party for various lawyers

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and procurator fiscals, or whatever they're called in Scotland,

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and there was tea, and there was a tiny pot of honey and some toast.

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Someone had this little pot of honey, and one of the lawyers looked at it and said,

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"I see Your Lordship keeps a bee."

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LAUGHTER

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-A very good line.

-He was a fine man, though.

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..and a good lawyer, no doubt. Or he wouldn't have risen to his eminence.

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We have odd flashes of Puritanism, because I was listening to

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Radio 5 the other day and they had an actress on, not Angelina Jolie,

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but the one who's Lara Croft in the latest Tomb Raider film.

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Cut a long story short, they airbrushed her nipples out of the poster.

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Her nipples were showing through her costume, just the two little...

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But this was radio!

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LAUGHTER

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Not just for the radio!

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And she had complained about it and said,

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"Why have you airbrushed my nipples? That's ridiculous. Why not just leave them?"

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And the presenter said, "Well, perhaps they thought they weren't suitable for children?"

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LAUGHTER

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Nipples not being suitable for children!

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-She said, "Are you being serious? My nipples?"

-They are expressly designed...

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..for the purpose of the continuation of our race!

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I did a sitcom for Channel 4 with the lovely Mike McShane. And he played a sex expert

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and we decided his apartment would have lots of sex things in it.

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And he would have a coat rack made entirely of penises.

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And this went the Channel 4 lawyers and they said,

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"You can have the penises, as long as they're not erect."

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And I said, "Well, how will it work as a coat rack?"

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LAUGHTER

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Not my specialist area, but nevertheless!

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You have to excite your peg before you can hang your coat up.

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Right. Royal unfairness, now.

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Who got the blame when the Prince of Wales misbehaved?

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Seeing we're in Britain, usually the Germans.

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Well, they are Germans, so... LAUGHTER

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-Is it this Prince?

-It's not actually this one.

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-Is it another Charles?

-It's not, actually.

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-All princes of blood.

-Edward VIII was always in trouble.

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Queen Victoria said, "If I get the right..."

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Earlier ones were often in trouble.

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What I'm really talking about here, I suppose,

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is the business of corporal punishment.

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Until very, very, very recently in human history

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has it become unfashionable and indeed considered wrong

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to strike a child for a misdeed.

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-It's now illegal to do so.

-Is it?

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-I believe so.

-LAUGHTER

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Just on the way here, a small urchin annoyed me!

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It used to be considered,

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it used to be considered

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not only empirically but in every other sense a good thing to do.

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How is he holding that child up? He's got his thumb wedged in his...

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It's the only way of holding him up. It's like a bowling ball.

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LAUGHTER

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Don't know whether that's Dotheboys Hall from Nicholas Nickleby or similar.

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Generally speaking, almost everybody was agreed it was good for children to be beaten.

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There was the Bible, "He who spareth the rod hateth his son.

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"Withhold not correction from your child.

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"Beat him with the rod and thou shall deliver his soul from Hell." Apparently.

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Children were always beaten. We're the first generation...

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-I'm not. I was beaten hugely as a child at prep school.

-Were you?

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God, yes. From the age of seven till 13, at least twice a week.

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I was a bad boy and I was always being thrashed.

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-What for?

-Oh, stealing, lying, cheating, being cheeky, being a nuisance,

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-evading games...

-Bit of a smart arse?

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-Being a smart arse.

-Bit too clever for your own good, that sort of thing?

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Always telling everybody what was going on?

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Well, they certainly beat that out of you, didn't they?

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And I was beaten a great deal and it did me no harm...

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HE GROANS

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It was common practice.

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It was outlawed in state schools when?

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When was it actually made law that you were not allowed to strike a child?

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-Later than you think.

-I'd guess under New Labour.

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-Er, no.

-No?

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-'70s?

-It was 1986.

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1986?

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1986 when it was made illegal in state schools to beat children,

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and it was a very close vote.

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-Under Margaret Thatcher?

-231 to 230.

-In state schools?

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By just one. Do you know whom state school children have to thank

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for the fact they were not beaten from that day forward? It's odd.

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-Michael Howard or something?

-No. It's even weirder.

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-Ann Widdecombe?

-No, it's just too weird to be believed.

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Fergie, Fergie, Fergie. Dear Duchess of York, Fergie.

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The manager of Manchester United?

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No, the Duchess of York, Fergie, as I just said.

0:16:480:16:51

Black Eyed Peas?

0:16:510:16:53

That, I will repeat, Duchess of York, Fergie.

0:16:530:16:56

I hadn't finished my Fergie material.

0:16:560:16:59

A tractor? LAUGHTER

0:16:590:17:02

A massive Fergie, yes, you could say.

0:17:020:17:06

-Why?

-That Fergie.

0:17:060:17:07

Well, it so happened the vote was on that day that she was marrowing...

0:17:070:17:11

-Marrowing? Marrowing Prince Andrew.

-LAUGHTER

0:17:110:17:16

She loved to marrow Prince Andrew.

0:17:160:17:19

I think marrowing the prince is illegal.

0:17:190:17:21

What a great expression. "Have you time for some marrowing?"

0:17:220:17:26

I'm going to Google that when I get in.

0:17:260:17:28

Apparently, the traffic held-up enough Tory MPs,

0:17:280:17:31

who were likely to have voted to keep beating,

0:17:310:17:35

for the anti-beating measure to go through.

0:17:350:17:37

-Was this a whipped vote?

-Wa-hey!

0:17:370:17:40

I thought you meant she campaigned for it?

0:17:400:17:43

No, no. It just so happened the vote, no, happened.

0:17:430:17:46

Entirely inadvertent, she did something useful.

0:17:460:17:48

By mistake. By mistake, she helped.

0:17:480:17:51

When was it, or is it, indeed, illegal in private schools?

0:17:510:17:54

You have to pay extra, though. LAUGHTER

0:17:540:17:57

-I think it isn't, now.

-It isn't.

-It's very recent.

0:17:580:18:01

-Under the Human Rights Act, it must.

-Yes. In 1999, basically, is when that stopped being legal.

0:18:010:18:05

Until then, children were beaten.

0:18:050:18:08

They were beaten for making mistakes,

0:18:080:18:10

they were beaten for all kinds of reasons.

0:18:100:18:12

But there was this idea also that you learned better,

0:18:120:18:16

that things could literally be beaten into you, knowledge could be beaten into you.

0:18:160:18:21

So, what happened when it came to a prince?

0:18:210:18:23

You can't have a commoner, even their tutor, beating a prince

0:18:230:18:27

because he's made a mistake in his algebra.

0:18:270:18:29

-You beat his teddy?

-Well, you appointed someone.

0:18:290:18:32

A child, a friend of the prince, who,

0:18:320:18:37

when the prince made a mistake, you whipped him.

0:18:370:18:40

And that phrase, which is in common currency, is whipping boy.

0:18:400:18:44

-They become peer then, later on, don't they?

-Yes. That's the point.

0:18:440:18:48

It was actually a much sought-after post.

0:18:480:18:50

Fathers would want their sons to be whipping boy.

0:18:500:18:53

They were close to the Royal Family. Charles I, for example, had a whipping boy when he was a prince

0:18:530:18:58

and he raised him to the Earl of Dysart, a title that still exists.

0:18:580:19:01

They became quite powerful people.

0:19:010:19:03

The idea was, of course, they would be friends,

0:19:030:19:05

that the prince would like his whipping boy,

0:19:050:19:08

so that he would try hard.

0:19:080:19:09

Obviously sometimes they might think, "I don't bloody care!"

0:19:090:19:14

It's a most peculiar idea,

0:19:140:19:16

but that's where whipping boy comes from.

0:19:160:19:18

Is there an official title? There are titles like Silver Stick-in-Waiting.

0:19:180:19:22

This could be Crimson Bottom.

0:19:220:19:24

Gentleman of the Stool was an existing one, as you know.

0:19:240:19:29

It was the one who had to wipe the King's bottom under Henry VIII.

0:19:290:19:34

-Can't they do anything themselves?

-They seem not to be able to.

0:19:340:19:38

Um, erm, yes... There is a part of...

0:19:380:19:41

LAUGHTER

0:19:410:19:43

-I presume he'd have a long stick.

-Yes, I'd assume they would.

0:19:450:19:49

A stick with a rag, do it from a distance.

0:19:490:19:51

LAUGHTER

0:19:510:19:52

-There's a part of Germany...

-Oops!

0:19:520:19:55

-LAUGHTER

-Sorry for all the mime.

0:19:550:19:58

-I've always wanted to be a mime.

-LAUGHTER

0:19:580:20:00

This is the only opportunity I get.

0:20:000:20:03

It's more fun than walking into the wind.

0:20:030:20:05

I suppose you might be, I don't know!

0:20:050:20:07

You may think British schoolmasters are amongst the most sadistic,

0:20:070:20:11

but it's to Germany we turn

0:20:110:20:13

for really good examples of how to treat children.

0:20:130:20:16

In Swabia in west southern Germany,

0:20:160:20:18

there was a headmaster there who logged all his punishments in a book.

0:20:180:20:22

And over his career as headmaster at this school,

0:20:220:20:26

he logged 911,500 canings

0:20:260:20:31

121,000 floggings,

0:20:310:20:33

as well as numerous other punishments during a 51 year career.

0:20:330:20:37

That's nearly 400 chastisements a week.

0:20:370:20:41

Some would have been delegated - he would've been exhausted.

0:20:410:20:44

Other punishments he logs include

0:20:440:20:46

700 boys being made to stand with peas in their shoes - not too bad -

0:20:460:20:51

and 6,000 made to kneel on the sharp edge of a stick.

0:20:510:20:56

-This was not a nice man.

-It's not about the education. There's something more going on there.

0:20:560:21:01

And Eton College had a famous headmaster called Dr Keate -

0:21:010:21:04

there's a Keate's Lane in Eton - who was known as Flogger Keate.

0:21:040:21:08

He once flogged the entire Eton cricket team

0:21:080:21:11

for losing to Winchester.

0:21:110:21:13

Including the scorer.

0:21:130:21:16

LAUGHTER

0:21:160:21:17

So that was the whipping boy.

0:21:170:21:19

There's a kind of religious equivalent. This poor boy who takes the sins of the prince,

0:21:190:21:24

what was there in the Jewish faith that was the equivalent?

0:21:240:21:27

You've got the lamb or the goat. The goat famously known as the...

0:21:270:21:31

-Scapegoat!

-Exactly.

-I was expecting the thing to go off there.

-No. That's exactly what they were.

0:21:310:21:35

Scapegoat. There's the famous Holman Hunt painting of The Scapegoat.

0:21:350:21:40

This was during the day of atonement, Yom Kippur, the goat would be sent out

0:21:400:21:43

to carry the sins of the people, it bore the sins of the people.

0:21:430:21:48

And then Christianity is just a refinement of that, where Christ bore the sins of the people.

0:21:480:21:53

It happens in a lot of religions that you offload your own

0:21:530:21:57

wickedness onto something else.

0:21:570:22:00

So, it is there from whipping boys to scapegoats.

0:22:000:22:02

They exist in the language still,

0:22:020:22:05

this idea of offloading one's own guilt.

0:22:050:22:08

In the Isle of Man, they had corporal punishment until 1976.

0:22:080:22:12

What type of wood did they administer it with?

0:22:120:22:16

Well, I know I'm going to get a buzz on this

0:22:160:22:18

because it's normally called birching.

0:22:180:22:20

KLAXON

0:22:200:22:22

It doesn't matter anyway!

0:22:220:22:24

So did it depend on how bad you'd been?

0:22:240:22:27

If you were really bad, it was holly, and they left the leaves on,

0:22:270:22:32

but if you weren't so bad, it would be like willow fronds.

0:22:320:22:35

-Balsa wood.

-Or balsa wood.

0:22:350:22:38

-Hazel. Yeah, they used hazel.

-Hazel.

0:22:380:22:40

In Britain, birching, as it was known,

0:22:400:22:44

was banned in 1948,

0:22:440:22:46

but they didn't stop it until the 1970s in the Isle of Man.

0:22:460:22:49

They tried to keep it by saying, "OK, what about if we let them keep their trousers on?"

0:22:490:22:54

In America there is still the tradition

0:22:540:22:56

in some parts of birthday spanking.

0:22:560:22:58

Really?

0:22:580:23:00

Yeah, where you go to school and because it's your special day,

0:23:000:23:03

as a special treat, the teacher takes the paddle out and you get a few.

0:23:030:23:09

Some people say, "We have to ban it. It's cruel."

0:23:090:23:13

Others say, "No, we can't. It's a tradition."

0:23:130:23:16

So they have to carry on thrashing the kids.

0:23:160:23:19

Weird.

0:23:190:23:21

It's like family Christmas, no-one likes it,

0:23:210:23:24

still, because it's a tradition, everyone has to go through it.

0:23:240:23:27

LAUGHTER

0:23:270:23:29

We get the idea of bringing a tree in for Christmas, that's a German idea.

0:23:290:23:33

Yeah, I don't know. Did we invent Christmas?

0:23:330:23:36

A lot of elements of it.

0:23:360:23:38

I say, come on. Either we invented it or we didn't.

0:23:380:23:41

It's like that terrible joke, I'm sure you must have been told,

0:23:410:23:44

about the couple who adopt a German baby.

0:23:440:23:48

-HENNING LAUGHS

-You know it. You must know it.

0:23:480:23:50

Is there only one joke that involves a German baby?

0:23:500:23:53

LAUGHTER

0:23:530:23:55

It doesn't speak. Is that the one where he doesn't speak until he's about five?

0:23:550:24:00

-They take him to be tested.

-Want me to say the punchline?

0:24:000:24:04

-They think, "Is he stupid, deaf, dumb?"

-Everything functioning normally.

0:24:040:24:07

ALAN AND HENNING TOGETHER: Then one day...

0:24:070:24:10

We're all going to say it together!

0:24:100:24:12

Go on, Alan.

0:24:120:24:14

Then they give him, he has some apple strudel.

0:24:140:24:17

-And he says...

-"This apfelstrudel is a bit tepid."

0:24:170:24:21

And they say, "Wolfgang! You've never spoken before!

0:24:210:24:25

"After all these years, now you finally speak? Why haven't you spoken before?" And he says...

0:24:250:24:29

"Up until now, everything had been satisfactory."

0:24:290:24:33

LAUGHTER

0:24:330:24:35

APPLAUSE

0:24:350:24:37

It's a great joke.

0:24:370:24:40

-Very pleasing.

-Like a relay joke.

0:24:420:24:44

It was.

0:24:440:24:46

This is the most fun a Danish person has had with a German since 1945.

0:24:460:24:51

LAUGHTER

0:24:510:24:53

DON'T MENTION THE WAR BUZZER

0:24:530:24:54

Oh, dear. There we go...

0:24:560:24:58

The war. I mean, I have to chip in now. The war.

0:24:580:25:00

"The war".

0:25:000:25:02

It's always World War II, it's never any of the more current ones.

0:25:020:25:06

"The war". And everyone in Britain takes personal credit for Britain winning it.

0:25:060:25:11

Even people that weren't born at the time of World War II,

0:25:110:25:15

they still take personal credit for Britain winning it.

0:25:150:25:19

I'm personally a lot more annoyed by Brits that are now in their 70s

0:25:190:25:23

and they bang on about how they helped win the war.

0:25:230:25:26

Let's quickly do the maths. If you're in your 70s now,

0:25:260:25:29

how old were you at the end of World War II?

0:25:290:25:31

-That's true.

-10-years-old?

0:25:310:25:33

How did you help win the war when you were just 10-years-old?

0:25:330:25:37

-You did not help win the war.

-By not eating bananas.

0:25:370:25:40

Yeah, yeah.

0:25:400:25:42

You were nothing but a drain on British resources.

0:25:420:25:45

LAUGHTER

0:25:450:25:47

You've got to admire his guts, haven't you?

0:25:470:25:49

Effectively, effectively, every 70-year-old Brit

0:25:500:25:54

effectively fought on the side of Nazi Germany...

0:25:540:25:57

LAUGHTER

0:25:570:25:59

..and lost the war every little bit as much as we did!

0:25:590:26:02

-LAUGHTER

-Yes, well. Moving on.

0:26:020:26:06

Manx birches were actually made from hazel wands.

0:26:060:26:10

Now for a bit more international injustice. Name a French book

0:26:100:26:14

that can never be translated into German.

0:26:140:26:17

This book was written with the express

0:26:170:26:19

orders of its author that it was never to be translated into German.

0:26:190:26:24

And, let's be honest, if this book originally was from France,

0:26:240:26:27

there will be a very, very small market in Germany for that anyway.

0:26:270:26:30

LAUGHTER

0:26:300:26:31

They can translate it at all they want, they will just would not find anyone who buys it.

0:26:310:26:36

LAUGHTER

0:26:360:26:37

Somebody who hates the Germans?

0:26:370:26:39

He heated Prussians. That might date him better. Why would a Frenchman hate Prussians?

0:26:390:26:43

Because of the Franco-Prussian War - another war, I'm afraid, we don't want to mention.

0:26:430:26:47

At least it's a different one!

0:26:470:26:49

LAUGHTER

0:26:490:26:51

And we weren't involved.

0:26:510:26:54

Well, we would've won it, had we been involved.

0:26:540:26:57

BUZZER

0:26:570:26:58

-Yes?

-1870s.

0:26:580:27:00

1870s is exactly the year the Franco-Prussian War. Very good.

0:27:000:27:03

-I remember that from school.

-Absolutely. Very good.

0:27:030:27:07

-He was a scientist, a great scientist.

-Pasteur.

0:27:070:27:09

Louis Pasteur is the right answer, who was responsible for...

0:27:090:27:13

He didn't invent pasteurisation, but it's named after him.

0:27:130:27:16

-Why did he take the Germans?

-I think it really was the occupation

0:27:160:27:19

and the attack into French territory. He just was very patriotic.

0:27:190:27:22

-Just narrow-mindedness.

-And narrow-minded!

0:27:220:27:26

But, after the war, the Germans discovered a new form of yeast

0:27:260:27:30

that allowed them to store beer extremely well,

0:27:300:27:33

and the German for "to store" is?

0:27:330:27:36

-Lagen.

-Lagen, and so they called the beer "lager" beer.

0:27:360:27:40

And it became hugely successful.

0:27:400:27:42

And this annoyed the hell out of Pasteur

0:27:420:27:45

that the Germans that he so hated

0:27:450:27:48

had basically started to conquer the world of beer.

0:27:480:27:51

-So he set about...

-He needed to move on!

0:27:510:27:54

Well, he set about studying how brewing worked -

0:27:540:27:59

the science of the yeasts and the whole business of making beer.

0:27:590:28:03

And he came up with some really, really, really good yeasts

0:28:030:28:07

that made even better beer. And he took them around the world.

0:28:070:28:10

He took them to America, to Belgium, to the Whitbread company,

0:28:100:28:14

he took them to the Carlsberg company in Denmark,

0:28:140:28:16

but he refused to take them to Germany. And he wrote a book all about it,

0:28:160:28:20

instructing that it must never be translated into German, that Germans

0:28:200:28:24

must never get their hands on the secrets of this new better beer.

0:28:240:28:27

-And, of course, the German beer industry collapsed.

-LAUGHTER

0:28:270:28:31

Unfortunately it didn't work that well. It turned out rather nicely for the Carlsberg people.

0:28:310:28:36

There is an irony about the whole Pasteur thing.

0:28:360:28:40

When France wanted to get rid of its bullion

0:28:400:28:42

during the Second World War in case the Germans got hold of it...

0:28:420:28:45

Its bullion, not its bouillon - its gold, not its chicken stock.

0:28:450:28:49

No, not its chicken stock. That went as well -

0:28:490:28:52

..it all went to Canada on a single ocean liner

0:28:520:28:56

called the SS Pasteur.

0:28:560:28:58

Oh, really!

0:28:580:29:00

-So, he kind of got his own back.

-He did.

-Yeah.

0:29:000:29:02

Back home to Britain, now.

0:29:020:29:04

From 1875 to 1956,

0:29:040:29:08

what was the next best thing to a first-class train ticket?

0:29:080:29:12

-Second-class train ticket.

-KLAXON

0:29:120:29:15

That's the problem.

0:29:150:29:16

You weren't to know, being a cursed foreigner and all.

0:29:160:29:20

-They went from first to third.

-There was no second-class.

0:29:200:29:23

-But there were ladies only carriages.

-There were.

-That would be quite nice.

0:29:230:29:28

-Yes.

-LAUGHTER

0:29:280:29:30

And there were no smoking carriages, but mostly there were smoking ones.

0:29:300:29:34

-She's got no idea where she's going.

-She hasn't!

0:29:340:29:37

LAUGHTER

0:29:370:29:39

How it came about was that Gladstone insisted there be

0:29:390:29:42

a third-class service for poorer people and train companies hated it.

0:29:420:29:46

They ran these useless services that were third-class only, known as parliamentary trains.

0:29:460:29:51

They were no good to anybody, just to apply the law.

0:29:510:29:54

Then they had a smarter idea and they said,

0:29:540:29:58

"We'll upgrade the third-class to second-class

0:29:580:30:02

"but call it third-class and get rid of the second-class.

0:30:020:30:05

"So we're obeying the law by having a third-class,

0:30:050:30:08

"but it'll cost what second-class used to cost."

0:30:080:30:10

It's a very bizarre British solution.

0:30:100:30:13

They had an influence - I found this out making a documentary -

0:30:130:30:16

it had an influence on the way suburban housing developed in London.

0:30:160:30:20

Because the train companies wouldn't sell third-class tickets in the outer suburbs

0:30:200:30:27

because they didn't want the trains filling up with poor people, they didn't pay as much money

0:30:270:30:31

as the first-class people, so they wouldn't sell the tickets.

0:30:310:30:35

That's why London's developed, and that's why there are bigger houses

0:30:350:30:38

-on the outside, and smaller houses on the inside.

-I thought it was because of the smoke.

0:30:380:30:42

The big selling point for trains was you could move out of London

0:30:420:30:45

to a nice green field and get away from the dirt,

0:30:450:30:48

so people wanted to do that,

0:30:480:30:50

but all the development was along the line of the railways.

0:30:500:30:53

They didn't bother building cheap housing further out

0:30:530:30:56

cos no-one could get into London because the trains wouldn't let you on.

0:30:560:30:59

They had clever ways. How do you think they used chimney sweeps?

0:30:590:31:03

-On the railway?

-Yes.

0:31:030:31:05

Strapped to the front of the train, keeping the rails clean.

0:31:050:31:09

No, it was a very naughty trick.

0:31:090:31:11

They'd sit in third-class?

0:31:110:31:12

Yeah, what train companies hated were the genteel people, clerks,

0:31:120:31:16

who didn't have much money but had to be well-dressed.

0:31:160:31:21

What they would do is they would put chimney sweeps in

0:31:210:31:25

and put soot over them so third-class carriages

0:31:250:31:28

were so dirty, these people thought, "Oh, God. I've got to pay the first-class fare."

0:31:280:31:32

Don't say this out loud. I'm sure Ryanair will have an idea!

0:31:320:31:37

LAUGHTER

0:31:370:31:38

-IRISH ACCENT:

-Brilliant! We'll do the same thing!

0:31:380:31:41

Or easyJet, since you're in easyJet's colours.

0:31:410:31:44

I'm sure it didn't happen all over,

0:31:440:31:46

but these were some of the tricks they resorted to, apparently.

0:31:460:31:51

-Which one's Dick Van Dyke?

-They're really happy, aren't they?

0:31:510:31:55

They do look happy. Happy, lucky sweeps.

0:31:550:31:57

Now for some sporting iniquity.

0:31:570:32:00

What did cricketer Thomas White invent in 1771?

0:32:000:32:03

The Yorker.

0:32:030:32:05

The Yorker. To hear a German say, "the Yorker" gives me great pleasure.

0:32:050:32:10

-I don't know what it means.

-It's a fully pitched-up ball.

0:32:100:32:14

-Great to hear a German say it.

-What's a googly, then?

0:32:140:32:18

-A googly is a...

-KLAXON

0:32:180:32:20

A googly is a leg spinner's off-spin. It's disguised.

0:32:240:32:28

-Comes out the back of your hand.

-How does the Duckworth-Lewis method work?

0:32:280:32:32

Nobody knows that! Far too complicated.

0:32:320:32:35

No, he didn't invent any particular type of bowling or batting, but he looked at the laws of cricket

0:32:350:32:40

and he noted that there was a rather glaring omission and he thought, "Splendid."

0:32:400:32:45

-Oh, the big bat!

-Yes, he came up with a bat that was wider than the wicket.

0:32:450:32:49

-LAUGHTER

-This enormous bat.

0:32:490:32:53

It was Chertsey Vs Hambledon, which is the equivalent of Surrey Vs Hampshire.

0:32:550:32:59

After 1774, they incorporated a law that said a bat must be

0:32:590:33:03

no wider than four and-a-half inches.

0:33:030:33:06

-Did you know there were special golf rules for the Second World War?

-Were there?

0:33:060:33:10

In Kent during the Battle of Britain.

0:33:100:33:12

-I can't remember exactly what it is...

-Sorry, Henning, the war's come up again.

0:33:120:33:16

And bunker!

0:33:160:33:18

The rule was,

0:33:180:33:21

if a player's stroke is interrupted by the simultaneous

0:33:210:33:25

explosion of a bomb or by machine gunfire,

0:33:250:33:29

they may take the stroke again.

0:33:290:33:32

But there's a penalty of one stroke.

0:33:320:33:35

They may take it again, if they are still there to take it.

0:33:350:33:40

I did a play with Paul Eddington

0:33:400:33:43

and he had a much-treasured thing from a hotel room in Bristol

0:33:430:33:47

during the war, which was a card with a little bit of cord and it said,

0:33:470:33:50

"Please hang outside your room if you wish to be awoken during an air-raid."

0:33:500:33:54

-LAUGHTER

-Splendidly phlegmatic.

0:33:540:33:57

Do you now there was a game, I think, on St Helena,

0:33:570:33:59

and they were playing on a pitch which was by a cliff edge.

0:33:590:34:02

And the gentleman ran back to catch the ball, and did catch it

0:34:020:34:07

and then fell unfortunately, and it was put down as "caught (dead)".

0:34:070:34:11

LAUGHTER

0:34:110:34:13

That's got to be a six because it's over the boundary, isn't it?

0:34:130:34:18

There was a game in Norfolk played, and this is towards late summer.

0:34:180:34:21

People who play village cricket will be very familiar with the sight of late swooping swallows.

0:34:210:34:26

And a batsman played a shot

0:34:260:34:28

and the fielder leapt to his right and caught a swallow.

0:34:280:34:31

Fantastic.

0:34:310:34:33

This fellow, Thomas White, I suppose you could call him a cheat,

0:34:330:34:36

but he was within the game's laws at the time.

0:34:360:34:39

There was an American footballer, Lester Hayes.

0:34:390:34:41

Does that ring any bells? Of the Oakland Raiders.

0:34:410:34:44

He had such success as a catcher in the late '70s

0:34:440:34:47

that he was the defensive player of the year. The reason was that he covered his hands

0:34:470:34:51

and gloves with an adhesive called Stickum.

0:34:510:34:53

LAUGHTER

0:34:530:34:56

He actually admitted, he said,

0:34:560:34:58

"Without Stickum, I couldn't catch a cold in Antarctica."

0:34:580:35:01

That's so clearly cheating. They must've spotted it.

0:35:010:35:04

There was no a rule against it. They had to introduce one, so there now is.

0:35:040:35:07

There's a very good PG Wodehouse story about cheating at boxing.

0:35:070:35:12

There was an American chap, I think called McCoy.

0:35:120:35:14

And his opponent was stone deaf.

0:35:140:35:16

The opponent said, "I won't hear when the bell goes, will you tell me?"

0:35:160:35:20

"Yes, absolutely." So they were boxing away and he said the bell had gone.

0:35:200:35:23

And the guy went, "OK," like that, and he just punched him.

0:35:230:35:27

That's taking advantage as well as cheating.

0:35:270:35:30

And in 1951, the St Louis Browns baseball team

0:35:300:35:34

brought a three foot seven inch tall player

0:35:340:35:37

called Eddie Gaedel out to bat

0:35:370:35:40

and crouched over at the plate.

0:35:400:35:42

His strike zone, which, as you know, the pitcher has to hit, was one and a half inches high.

0:35:420:35:47

The pitcher couldn't get anywhere near.

0:35:470:35:49

So, four balls, he walked to first base and was immediately subbed.

0:35:490:35:52

So it's kind of like cheating but isn't.

0:35:520:35:54

That's not cheating. You can scarcely have a rule that says...

0:35:540:35:57

Quite. That says you can't have people of restricted growth.

0:35:570:36:00

It's all very tricky.

0:36:000:36:01

There was a jockey at Belmont in New York who, in 1923,

0:36:010:36:06

died of a heart attack when on a horse and won.

0:36:060:36:09

-The horse won.

-Oh, right.

0:36:090:36:11

Of course, the bookies didn't want to pay out.

0:36:110:36:14

A rule said that a jockey had to be in the saddle

0:36:140:36:16

but there was no rule to say he had to be alive!

0:36:160:36:19

He was a brilliant jockey if he clung on even though he was dead!

0:36:190:36:23

-Exactly! Pretty amazing.

-Keep going!

0:36:230:36:26

The lucky punters were paid out.

0:36:260:36:29

And so to that part of the show that's always

0:36:290:36:31

unfair at the very best of times, General Ignorance.

0:36:310:36:34

Fingers on buzzers, if you would. Here is the Old Bailey.

0:36:340:36:37

-What is the statue of Justice on top looking at?

-Oh, God.

0:36:370:36:42

BUZZER Nothing.

0:36:420:36:44

-Why's that?

-She's blindfolded.

0:36:440:36:47

KLAXON

0:36:470:36:48

-No, she's not.

-She's not?

0:36:480:36:51

No, you can see, there. No blindfold.

0:36:510:36:54

That particular statue is not blindfolded, but sometimes it is.

0:36:540:36:57

People often at the Old Bailey would say,

0:36:570:36:59

"Members of the jury, if you look up...

0:36:590:37:01

"Blindfolded..."

0:37:010:37:03

People would go, "He wasn't even telling the truth about that!"

0:37:030:37:07

There are many statues of Lady Justice,

0:37:070:37:09

some of which are blindfolded and some of which aren't.

0:37:090:37:13

What can you legally do if you come across a Welshman

0:37:130:37:15

in Chester after sunset?

0:37:150:37:18

LAUGHTER

0:37:180:37:19

These are all laws that got abolished 300 years ago.

0:37:190:37:22

-Nonsense.

-It's just always repeated.

0:37:220:37:25

You cannot shoot them.

0:37:250:37:27

Yes, as you rightly say,

0:37:270:37:29

one of these nonsensical things that people cling onto with great sort of pride,

0:37:290:37:33

which are nonsensical. Beautiful city, Chester, by the way.

0:37:330:37:36

There was an edict under Henry V at the time of Owain Glyndwr

0:37:360:37:41

that presumably he gave out, which is a wartime command.

0:37:410:37:44

It's not a law. In any case, any subsequent laws on manslaughter

0:37:440:37:48

and offensive weapons in public cancel out.

0:37:480:37:52

How? How would you know?

0:37:520:37:54

I know this as when I did a documentary on going round America,

0:37:540:37:57

one of the ideas we had before we started was

0:37:570:37:59

should I maybe break one of these stupid laws in each state?

0:37:590:38:04

The more we investigated them,

0:38:040:38:05

the more we found they were absolutely without foundation.

0:38:050:38:08

So you just talked to people instead?

0:38:080:38:11

I thought, "I'll go and wear a silly moustache and make someone laugh in a church."

0:38:110:38:15

They said, "That's nonsense. I don't know how that got in there."

0:38:150:38:19

It was made up by Mark Twain or somebody at some point. I hate to disappoint,

0:38:190:38:22

but a lot of these things are nonsense -

0:38:220:38:25

the idea that you can shoot arrows down Petty Cury in Cambridge as long as you're wearing Lincoln green.

0:38:250:38:31

The idea that an ancient law has to be repealed,

0:38:310:38:34

even if it allows you to do murder is nonsense.

0:38:340:38:37

-Isn't it?

-Yes, well...

0:38:370:38:38

What's the principle called there?

0:38:380:38:41

-I think we're talking of leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant.

-Absolutely.

0:38:410:38:45

-Had you forgotten that, Clive?

-It was on the tip of my tongue.

0:38:450:38:50

If putting things on the tip of your tongue weren't illegal

0:38:500:38:53

-under some ancient statute.

-It's an established legal principle to the effect that

0:38:530:38:57

if a subsequent statute contradicts an existing law, the existing law is repealed by implication.

0:38:570:39:02

God, I'm glad I wasn't a lawyer.

0:39:020:39:04

Recently, they've tried to get rid of all these Latin things as well

0:39:040:39:08

-as it's confusing to people.

-But isn't that the point?

0:39:080:39:11

Yes, that has been the argument of the lawyers.

0:39:110:39:14

We like it if nobody knows what we're talking about.

0:39:140:39:17

Where are the enemy in this picture?

0:39:170:39:20

LAUGHTER

0:39:200:39:21

It's a good question.

0:39:230:39:24

-The guy on the right's definitely not sure.

-He's puzzled.

0:39:240:39:27

Why you pointing over there?

0:39:270:39:29

-I'm with the reds!

-I read law at university

0:39:290:39:32

and was lucky enough to be taught by Lord Denning.

0:39:320:39:34

And I helped compile the index to his last book. Really dull.

0:39:340:39:39

I remember saying to him,

0:39:390:39:40

"Why is it so complicated to look up legal cases?"

0:39:400:39:43

He looked at me over his glasses and said,

0:39:430:39:45

"Well, we don't want just anyone doing it."

0:39:450:39:48

LAUGHTER

0:39:480:39:50

Why did lepers start carrying bells?

0:39:500:39:53

Well...

0:39:530:39:54

-DON'T MENTION THE WAR BUZZER

-I forgot about that.

0:39:540:39:58

LAUGHTER We haven't!

0:39:580:40:00

LAUGHTER

0:40:000:40:02

I don't know. Probably it wasn't their choice to wear the bells.

0:40:040:40:07

Probably it was more the other people telling them

0:40:070:40:09

to wear bells so they could escape.

0:40:090:40:12

-KLAXON

-As a warning, you mean.

0:40:120:40:14

No, to keep people away.

0:40:140:40:16

It was to attract people to give them alms.

0:40:160:40:19

Not arms in that sense. To give them money.

0:40:190:40:22

"I've lost my arms, please give me some alms."

0:40:220:40:24

-No, to give them money.

-Come here and give me money.

0:40:240:40:27

After the Black Death and the extraordinary decimation of the population in Europe,

0:40:270:40:32

sickness become something people were much more worried about.

0:40:320:40:36

Then the bells were used as a warning, but they were originally used to attract people.

0:40:360:40:40

People were not that frightened of lepers, and for good reason.

0:40:400:40:43

Leprosy is nothing like as infectious as people think it is.

0:40:430:40:46

For a start, 90% of the human race is immune to it.

0:40:460:40:50

Most of us are unlikely ever to catch it,

0:40:500:40:53

even if we were to lick a leper.

0:40:530:40:55

LAUGHTER Now, there's a game show!

0:40:550:40:59

Why do I see Noel Edmonds presenting that?

0:41:010:41:05

Wish is father of the thought.

0:41:070:41:10

It's quite hard to catch, it's nothing like the jokes of bits falling off and so on.

0:41:100:41:14

You can get nerve damage, which, if not attended to,

0:41:140:41:17

can lead to necrosis of the ends of the fingers,

0:41:170:41:20

but the idea that bits fall off you is good for jokes but not true.

0:41:200:41:24

Well, unpleasant jokes.

0:41:240:41:26

Never let the truth stand in the way of a mediocre joke.

0:41:260:41:29

Exactly. A mediocre joke, exactly right.

0:41:290:41:33

Now, which of you has the fewest hairs on your head?

0:41:330:41:36

Well, may I just volunteer myself?

0:41:370:41:40

So it's me. I'm going to lose 10 points...

0:41:400:41:43

KLAXON

0:41:430:41:45

-..and even more hair, being annoyed about that.

-It's one of the strange things.

0:41:450:41:50

There's a splendid man, Dr George Cotsarelis

0:41:500:41:52

at the department of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania.

0:41:520:41:56

He has determined that, actually, you have the same number of hairs on the scalp as everyone else.

0:41:560:42:01

It's just some of them are only visible under a microscope.

0:42:010:42:05

So that's roughly like not having them, really.

0:42:050:42:08

-LAUGHTER

-No!

0:42:080:42:09

By the same token, humans may look less hairy than chimpanzees,

0:42:090:42:13

but we've the same number of hair follicles, about five million,

0:42:130:42:17

on our bodies as chimpanzees.

0:42:170:42:19

But the whole thing of hair is very annoying.

0:42:190:42:21

If I'd never bought a pair of tweezers,

0:42:210:42:24

I'd have appeared down to here.

0:42:240:42:25

You get hair that grows in the places you don't want it

0:42:250:42:28

and then hair that doesn't grow where you do want it.

0:42:280:42:31

Hair that doesn't stop on your head. It keeps growing, so you have to get it cut.

0:42:310:42:35

And then your eyebrows, if you're a man, know when to stop

0:42:350:42:37

until you get a bit later in life and then it stops knowing when to stop.

0:42:370:42:42

You could comb them up over your bald patch.

0:42:420:42:45

LAUGHTER

0:42:450:42:46

I've tried that!

0:42:460:42:49

Looked a little odd, but, you know, it's an option.

0:42:490:42:52

Well, you never know.

0:42:520:42:53

And so we come to the scores.

0:42:530:42:56

These are very interesting, and it would be very unfair of me not to share them with you.

0:42:560:43:00

-So, that's all from Sandi, Henning, Clive, Alan and me.

-LAUGHTER

0:43:000:43:04

Because, as William Goldman said,

0:43:040:43:06

"Life isn't fair, it's just fairer than death."

0:43:060:43:09

That's all. Goodnight.

0:43:090:43:10

APPLAUSE

0:43:100:43:14

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:260:43:28

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:280:43:30