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This programme contains some strong language.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
good evening, good evening, good evening,
good evening, good evening, and welcome to QI,
which tonight is a melange of M places.
Joining me on my metropolitan meander are,
the M-inent Sue Perkins!
The M-powered Sami Shah!
The M-phatic David Mitchell!
And...the frankly M-barrassing Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
celebrate some of the most magnificent Ms on the map.
# When I was walking in Memphis... #
# I'm going to Miami...
# Welcome to Miami... #
# And the lights all went down
In Massachusetts... #
Yeah, the Bee Gees. And Alan goes...
# Glory, glory Man United... #
GROANING AND APPLAUSE Oh, don't you like that?
-Don't you like that? Oh, try again.
# Hate Man United
# We only hate Man United... #
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING You see.
So, which of the following M-places is made up?
There they are.
Er, The Mountains of Kong.
-# Miami... #
I'm going to say Meedhupparuraa, only because...
it has 'made up', literally, in its name.
-There's a logic there
and you're new to QI and I'd like to be merciful,
-but I'm not going to be.
-All right, fair enough.
-But in a sense, all names are made-up, aren't they?
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
HIGH PITCHED: Welcome
to the logically ruthless world of David Mitchell!
Not that you sound like that, I'm sorry.
-But no, of course you're right, they are.
But which one is not existing? But we have...
-The Mountains of Kong sounds like it's from fiction.
That sounds totally made up. Mountains of Kong?
You're right. You're right. Though...
it was made up in a way that was utterly convincing for 100 years.
It's not like something from Flash Gordon, or something?
No, it's earlier than that. It was a cartographer
-who was a highly respected figure...
..who was just imagining them.
It was a chain of mountains all the way across Africa,
below the Sahara
and before what you might call 'darkest Africa',
sub-Saharan Africa, as we'd now say.
And this, right up to 1895, this was in atlases.
He was called James Rennell
and he was a very respected figure.
-Until he made it up.
Until someone went skiing in the Mountains of Kong.
-Well, the effect of it was that nobody...
-Should be here somewhere.
The effect of it was that nobody dreamt
or thought of passing this barrier and going through
-to the rest of Africa.
They had obviously navigated the coast,
there was the slave routes, which were all the way further down,
but everyone thought from the north you couldn't get through.
Did he, what did he do, spill something on the map and..?
That's quite possible!
Oh, bollocks, I've just... I'll call it the Mountains of...
But who, who gets to name, who gets the honour of naming a thing?
-If you chance upon it, can you call it..?
Kong Mountains, or Jimmy Hill, or...
Maybe, in the case David Livingstone, you'd call it Lake Victoria,
after your dear queen and all that sort of thing.
-Difficult to name it after yourself, isn't it?
You have to name it after someone and so,
the thing to do, as an explorer, would be to get there
and then ask your assistant explorer if they can think of a name.
-You know, while reminding them how they got that job.
"Oh, no, me? Really? Oh, you can't be..." Yes.
Well, he called somewhere Blantyre,
for example, which is where he was born in Scotland, Livingstone,
but you do run out, don't you?
It's a bit like the naming of waifs and strays, orphaned children,
at the Foundling Hospital in London.
It's a rather wonderful place to visit.
And there's a plaque with names of all these children who turned up
who were orphans, or babies mostly, left by their mothers.
And after a while, the committee for naming them just got bored.
And so... Jessiah Table.
In a way, it's just awful! "Oh, I can't be arsed."
John Thing the Second.
-John Thing the Third.
-John Other Thing.
Couldn't give a toss!
But Meedhupparuraa exists in the Maldives.
That's an island in the Raa Atoll.
-Well, it won't exist for long, then.
-Because it's very low.
-Yes, yes, absolutely, yes.
A couple more coal-fired power stations
-and it'll be Meedhupparuraa again.
What about Messak Settafet?
-Fine tennis player.
Is it in Egypt?
Not actually in Egypt,
-but not so many million miles away.
It's in the Sahara, is what I'm trying to say.
-In the Sahara.
-It's in the Sahara,
and it is known as containing more tools than any other place on earth.
-Apart from "insert city."
-Apart from Made In Chelsea.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
You may say, "Oh, a lot of tools. Well, that's not very interesting."
But 75 artefacts per square metre,
it's almost 200 million per square mile.
-It's a staggering amount of man-made objects.
-These things like hand axes?
-That sort of old tools.
-Yeah, all those kinds of things.
Over 100,00 years or so.
-Local sandstone was ideal.
is that Saharan language, whatever it is, for Homebase, or...?
-It was the right kind of rock.
-Clay Tools R Us.
They'd bought a lot of flint
-the day before the strimmer was invented.
According to Dr Robert Foley of Cambridge University,
the rock extracted from Africa by humans to make tools
over the last million years would be enough to build
three Great Pyramids of Giza
for every square mile of the entire continent.
Which is one way of expressing that there were a lot of them.
There was a lot more Africa
before early man turned it into tools.
-Well, it's still there.
-It's still in Africa, it's just now loose.
-No, most of it's in museums.
Pyramids and pyramids are in museums
and in a big heap in Messak Settafet.
Probably the Mountains of Kong WERE there.
-They were just...
-They just made tools out of them.
Very good indeed.
So, Merv. Where's Merv? Where was Merv? Where is Merv?
-Where could Merv be?
-Usually fielding on the boundary.
-LAUGHTER So you're talking about...
Merv Hughes, Merv the Swerve. Yeah.
No, it's not that. It genuinely was a place.
-Where's Merv? I don't know.
-Well, it was a city.
Is that Merv... The earliest city is supposed to be Ur, isn't it?
- Yeah, that's just, they're like, "What shall we name it? Urgh!"
-- "Sounds good to me, yeah!"
- It's like the first stage of sophistication beyond Ur,
we've gone Ur, Argh, Eurgh and Eeh.
-You need then Merv, Brrf, Prrf.
And then Seurgh.
Merv was on the legendary Silk Road.
-The great trading route.
-Oh, all right.
-So China and India.
-You mean in China and India and Pakistan.
-Exactly. Through your...
-Yeah, it's in my neck of the woods, if you will.
Good old Merv, we used to go there for chai and beverages.
There's a guy there who makes an amazing naan.
Is it like Knutsford, like a services?
Naan, lovely, but surely chai is disgusting.
-Chai is tea!
-Oh, chai's lovely.
-It's hot, sweet milky.
-It's always sweet...
-It's only your fault we have that!
-Have you ever asked...
-There was no chai before the British came.
"..I'll have some chai, please, but without sugar."
Why would you ask without sugar?
-That's genuinely an insult which is, yeah, it's punishable.
I'd rather not get type 2 diabetes.
Stephen, he's only been here ten minutes and you've insulted him.
If you can't commit to type 2 diabetes, then you shouldn't have chai in the first place.
-LAUGHTER I've learnt that, painfully.
Let's get back to Merv.
It was arguably the largest city in the world,
had a population of 200,000 people.
This is, we're going back from 1150s to 1200, that sort of thing.
-A bit quieter now, though, by the look of it.
-Just a man and a donkey.
-Ever since they built the railway!
-Since they built the freeway.
-He's sitting there like, "They'll come back soon."
That's what happened when they built the bypass.
The bottom fell out of the market for green stuff.
But it all sounds a bit George RR Martin, actually,
cos it changed hands between the Khwarazmians of Khiva,
the Ghuzz and the Ghurids.
-And the Dothraki.
-And the Dothraki in the end. LAUGHTER
In 1221, they surrendered to the Mongols, which was a big mistake.
Didn't everyone surrender to the Mongols around then?
-I don't think surrendering was the right word, though.
-They didn't have a choice in the matter as such.
and the result was they were all massacred, every one of them killed.
-Except for that person.
-The Mongols didn't understand the basics, did they?
-Yeah, the Mongols were not kind or polite.
-Yeah, bad Mongols!
We might come to them later, who knows?
But the closest modern city to Merv is in Turkmenistan,
-and it's called Mary.
-I like that.
-It's a city called Mary.
-Why do you think it's called Mary?
-Erm, why is it called Mary?
Oh, because Catholic missionaries, or...?
No, it's because they believe that's where the mother of Jee-ee-sus...
LAUGHTER ..was buried.
-Why would the mother of Jesus have
gone quite such a long way to be buried?
It's a long way from Nazareth.
Cos she wasn't as much of a celebrity, then...
Nowadays, it would be no problem for her to sort it out.
You could get a sponsorship deal, Richard Branson would happily
helicopter her anywhere in the world to be buried,
-but in those days it's just a long trek...
..with no-one really taking any notice of you.
-She's just another dead Mary, isn't she?
-Maybe it was just a random. Are they sure it's the right Mary?
-Well, it could be, because there was all kinds of Marys around.
It was like Brighton, it was just full of Marys.
So - thank you for getting that, if you did - erm...
The Mountains of Kong aren't real, but Meedhupparuraa is.
Can you give me your best Mummerset accent?
You're hoping for an, "ooh-aar."
-Yes, that's correct. That's right. It's not difficult.
-So that's like a generic mumbling.
It's not even West Country, is it, Mummerset?
-It's sort of like a default kind of... It can be east and west or anywhere.
-That's right, yes.
You replace an S with a Z, like "zider," all that sort of thing.
F with a V - Vry, Stephen Vry.
Right, so for example, "I haven't seen Alan since Friday,"
becomes, "Oi ain't zeen that Alan since Vroiday."
Why is it called Mummerset?
-What is a mummer? What are mummers?
-Oh, a theatrical player.
-A theatrical clown.
-Like a clown or something.
And it's a word given to the generic West Country accent
that - most West Country people would say - bad actors
-give to a clown, a fool...
-On BBC radio.
-..a rustic, any kind of figure like that, in a drama or a film.
They say, "Ooh-aar, you can't come here."
-Pirates are bit West Country, aren't they?
So, how do you say, "Hay!"?
Like that! I don't know.
-It's not unique...
-It's not unique to English.
-I gather, Sami, that...
-I've lost my needle !
-Help me !
But I gather, Sami, there is a generic Indian accent?
Well, OK, there is a generic Indian accent -
-PUTS ON ACCENT:
-"Talking like this and everything's OK."
But I realised recently, cos I was doing a Pakistani character
in one of my stand-up shows, where I was talking about my relative,
and I put on a generic Indian accent, and I was like,
-"Am I being racist towards myself at this point?"
-PUTS ON ACCENT:
-"How are you doing?" And I think, but I don't talk like that.
-So I don't know why I did that to myself.
-That is fascinating.
Yeah, on the subject of accents and so on,
who was the first BBC newsreader
to have what you might call a regional accent? Do you know this?
-It was a Yorkshire accent, as it goes.
-I don't know. I'm trying to remember one.
-So from Yorkshire?
It was during the Second World War.
And the idea was, people thought - the BBC and the Government thought
that a local accent would be harder for a German impostor to put on. LAUGHTER
Because the newsreaders had to say their name.
So they'd say, "This is the six o'clock news read by Alvar Lidell," or whatever.
"Read by Wolfgang... Oh, oh!"
Exactly. Got you! Got you! Ha, ha!
And it was, "This is the six o'clock news
"read by Wilfred Pickles."
-Yeah, Wilfred Pickles.
Unfortunately the public reported that while they may believe that it was Wilfred Pickles,
what they didn't believe was a word he said.
IN A POSH ACCENT: "Because he didn't speak like this."
-IN A YORKSHIRE ACCENT:
-"This was a lot of fuss about nothing."
"So we are winning the war in the Atlantic." "No, that's rubbish."
That's how it went. So actors, yeah, have this...
You're an actor as well as a comedian.
I did one stage play a while back, yeah.
-I believe it was Romeo And Juliet?
-And naturally you played...
I played Juliet, actually.
No, it was... The point of the play was to create awareness
about homosexuality and about AIDS awareness in Pakistan.
So we did the play and the goal was I would play Juliet
and we'd have a man playing Romeo as well.
But we did one night and then we got told not to do any more.
When you say told not to do any more, is that a euphemism for...
It's not a, "No, please don't do any more."
-It's not like that at all, no.
-No. It's a, "Please don't do any more."
Well, I mean, they don't ever have to point it, because it's, um...
-Because they've got a massive sword.
-Yeah, it's implied.
I don't want to make hasty judgements about Pakistan, I've never been, but you've got the Taliban. Hello?
-Yeah, but other than them it's nice.
-I mean, how do you go back?
-Yeah, but Stephen, the naans, the naans!
The naans are amazing.
But seriously, how do you go back when you do things like this?
You stand up for gay rights.
You're not a gay man yourself, but you stand up for them, which is
completely, as it were, unnecessary, but a magnificent thing to do.
-How do you...dare?
-What happens is you get the death threats
and as long as you're getting the death threats...
-Oh, we all get death threats, don't we?
-Yes! But we get them for silly things like, you know,
not being ever considered to be the host of a motoring show.
You get for doing really serious, humanitarian,
against-the-grain, political work.
Well, it's all just stand-up comedy at the end of the day,
so you're kind of wondering whether, like, is this another penis joke?
Like, you don't know how humanitarian it is.
So is there a thriving stand-up circuit?
There was me and another guy.
-And he's an undercover agent!
And he's German, it turns out.
No, the main thing I realised was as long as the death
threats are coming, you're safe.
It's when they stop coming, that means the people sending the threats
-are now coming over.
They used to say in the First World War, when you hear the
whistle of the shells, it's when they stop you're in danger.
Well, Mummerset - exactly, it's mummers,
actors and their generic West Country accent.
Now, while we're in the West Country,
the highest point in Cornwall is called Brown Willy.
But can you name an M-word for the part of the body
that Brown Willy is named after?
-Massive man tool.
-Massive man tool.
-Massive man tool.
-Is it the middle?
-Midriff, you mean?
-Is it the pectorals?
-Mid...midr... No, just the middle.
-The middle, general middle.
The middle of a person.
Can I just say about that man, he's spent so much time on his torso,
-and yet that hair.
And I say that with this, but you know.
-The Brown in Brown Willy actually comes from...
-A bit of the body beginning with M...
-Is that body or is it...? Oh, I say. Well, that's interesting.
-See what I did there?
-It comes from...
-An internal organ beginning with M?
-The old Cornish word Bronn is the Brown bit.
-And that means breast.
-Does it make you feel more comforted to say it repeatedly?
-LAUGHTER Mammaries, exactly.
So yeah, and Willy was originally Wennili, meaning swallow.
-I mean the animal. The bird.
There are lots of places in the UK named after mammaries.
Can you name one?
LAUGHTER No, can you name a real one?
The Mountains of Boob.
-The Mountains of Boob.
Press your buzzer.
# Man United... #
-It was Mam-chester originally.
Mam as in mammary. Yes.
-And it's got "chest" in it as well.
It's an incredibly rudely named place.
-Full breasts, the mammaries and the chest.
-And there's Nippleton, as well, isn't there?
It's from the Celtic "Mam".
And you've got Mam Tor in Derbyshire.
Oh, dear, gracious.
The Paps of Anu in Ireland are named after the breasts...
And there's a Pap of Glencoe and a Maiden Pap in Scotland.
There's a hospital there.
-And what about Titty Hill in West Sussex?
-What about it?
-It exists, but it's not named after breasts.
-No, of course.
-What's it named after?
-The other tits.
-Sir Malcolm Titty.
It's so silly, it's funny.
His assistant named it when they both discovered it.
"What do you think we should call this?" "Er..."
-"I think we should name it after you, Titty."
-"You found it, Titty."
"Well, we're not going to name it after you, Big Dick."
Silly Carry On lines. Oh, dear.
It's actually named after, I think you were struggling to say that, what it was named after.
-Oh, the birds?
-The birds, the tits.
-The blue tits.
-Or the great tits.
-Blue tits, great tits, yeah. Birds. LAUGHTER
-Brown Willy is the highest point of Bodmin Moor.
-Of anyone's life.
Anyway, how mad can a mango make a man go?
LAUGHTER Do you see what I did? There's a mango.
This is a story you either know or you don't, but it is actually
genuinely a fascinating story, and rather horrifically repellent, too.
So where a mango made a man go mad?
-It made a whole nation go mad, actually, this.
-Is there something toxic about a mango?
Not toxic. It made them go mad in a fever of worship.
Oh, so they fetishised the mango?
They fetishised the man who gave them the mango.
-They made a god of a mango-bringing man?
-Was it Del Monte, the man from Del Monte?
That would have been relatively sane, in a strange sort of way.
-To worship the man from Del Monte?
-This was the largest nation on earth in the 1960s. 1968, to be precise.
-China. So who ruled China in 1968?
-Mao Zedong. The hero of the people.
He received a crate of mangos from...
-The man from Del Monte!
-The man from Del Monte.
-The man responsible was the Pakistani Foreign Minister.
-There we go.
-Do you know this story?
-Yeah, because the Pakistani mango is,
-no matter what the Indians say, the best in the world.
And the fact that I haven't had a Pakistani mango in three years now
-is just a point of misery for me.
-You really miss them?
Oh, my God, they're amazing. They really are.
If you try and eat a mango, usually they've been over-chilled
in Britain, so they're fibrous and that stone in the middle is too close
to the flesh, and you try it with your knife and it squirts over you.
What should you do? Should you just simply bury your head in it?
-There's no dignity.
-Right, so you...
Mangos are like lobsters. You can't look cool and eat a mango.
Like, you decide, "I'm eating the mango
"OR I'm getting laid tonight."
-Those are the choices you make in life.
Well, obviously, then, the Pakistani Foreign Minister in 1968 thought
he was doing a really smart thing by giving such a beautiful fruit,
a crate of them to the leader of the most populous nation on earth,
Mao Zedong, and he instantly re-gifted those mangos.
-This is where it gets weird.
-He gave them to
the factory workers' peace-keeping squads, who called themselves
The Worker Peasant Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Teams.
What's the big deal? He didn't like them, re-gifted them.
No story there. The crate of mangos was split up
and individual fruits were sent to factories,
where they were put on altars - so yes, you were right, worshipped -
preserved in formaldehyde, sealed in wax,
and in one case, boiled in a huge pot of water,
and one teaspoon went to each worker, of the water.
-So they didn't eat the mango?
-No. It gets weirder.
-There were mango...
-There were Mao mango... LAUGHTER
-Lots of M's here.
There were Mao mango medallions. Textiles with mango pictures on them.
Hundreds more mango artefacts - trays, mugs, fabric.
The state even produced Mango brand cigarettes.
Despite all this, most people in China, of course,
had never seen a mango. There was only one crate
to go round a billion people.
One man who remarked that it was nothing special
and looked just like a sweet potato
was arrested as a counter-revolutionary...
-As he should have been.
..put on - wait for it - put on trial, found guilty,
taken to the edge of town and shot.
-Now, come on!
-I'm just saying! Sorry.
There we go. It's pretty astonishing though, isn't it?
It tells a lot about human nature. It's very unfortunate.
What you want to do, you want to slice the side off and then score it
-with horizontal and vertical lines...
..and then kind of pop it inside out...
-And then it's like a little hedgehog.
-..and then you eat the little squares.
AUDIENCE MEMBER CLAPS
You can get a sort of clutter that shape. LAUGHTER
Round of applause for describing how to eat a mango!
The Mango Appreciation Society is in.
I'm very proud to be part of a show in which
-we can spend ten minutes discussing mangos.
-It's very pleasing.
Now, who gets best use out of a man engine?
Can't believe that hasn't gone off!
-Do you want to know what the forfeit was?
"You do, Stephen."
Isn't that sick? I said,
"No, no-one's going to say that!" And you didn't.
-Yeah, we've moved beyond.
-Anyway, what do you get out of a man engine?
-Is it invented by a Mr Man?
-Not a Mr Man, not like...
-Mr Men. LAUGHTER
-Mr Strong or...
-Mr Brilliant Inventor.
But someone whose surname was Man?
No, it's nothing to do with that.
-What was the first engine?
-There was the Newcomen engine.
-The Newcomen engine, where was that?
That was in the early 18th century,
it was for pumping water out of mines.
-Where were those mines?
-Cornwall. Tin mines.
-Trevithick, his engine, and Newcomen, as you rightly say.
So, you've got to get men down the mines to hammer away and get the tin.
And there, you can see, there's a ladder that goes a certain way down,
but if you dig down, dig down, dig down, dig down, and then you've got a real problem.
The men have got to get all the way down to the bottom, all the way up to the top, and they'll be knackered.
-You're not getting good productivity out of them. So you need...
-Yeah, but there's no technology for a lift.
-You need a man engine!
-So all you have is a wheel that goes round, like that.
That's what you have. It's very cunning, look at that.
-Watch the men there going up.
-That's like two weird ski lifts.
-I bet there were never accidents doing that.
Well, given how many there are in coal mines....
It's beautifully elegant, isn't it?
And is that when they invented the computer game as well?
Well, that's to give you an impression of how it works.
It's actually rather elegant. As you can see, the flywheel or whatever you call it,
the wheel which converts into this downward and upward motion.
And obviously if you reverse, it'll get the men down.
I could watch that for days.
-I've actually gone into a hypnotic trance now, have you?
As you can see, this one is simply run by water, it's not even a steam engine.
And then they get on a conveyor belt at the top.
Yes, you're right.
It can't be, they hadn't invented that. It must be an ice rink.
-These days, mines are...
LAUGHTER The Lemmings game.
Now, what are the three manly games?
-Spin the bottle?
David, David, David, David, David...
-Is it going to be Tiddlywinks and...
That is miraculous, I have to say.
It's a form of wrestling. It's not Greco-Roman -
-it's very much of its own country, which begins with our...
-..our guest letter, yes, exactly.
Mongolia is the right answer!
Oh, I'm bouncing back from the tiddlywinks fiasco.
Yeah, the Mongolians have these games in their biggest festival,
which is Naadam.
So, as you can see, it's archery, it's horse racing
and it's wrestling in tight pants.
And that's what the Mongolians do.
-Those aren't pants, sorry.
-Oh, yeah! We have a linguistic issue here,
-I'm... Oh, sorry.
Oh, so in England are underwear pants?
-That explains a lot of confusion I have.
LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH
It's... What they're really wearing
-is some sort of cheerleader's outfit.
It's a sort of crop top and tight underpants and boots.
This is confusing for me, cos this is exactly what Mary Berry
is wearing in this season of Bake Off.
-She's got a soggy bottom!
-In that outfit, everyone has a soggy bottom.
-Well, that's true.
The thing is, although they're called the three manly games,
women can enter the archery and the racing, the horsing,
but they can't enter the wrestling with men in it.
Is the jockey tiny or is the horse enormous?
A bit of both! A bit of both plus the effect of...
-Its vast head!
-I think that horse is a donkey.
-Do you really?
-It does look like a donkey.
-Yeah, I think it's a donkey.
I don't think that person will win cos his horse is a donkey.
But this will interest you, I think.
The winner of the Naadam wrestling contest is given the title...
-Oh, there he is. Yeah.
Did the man second back ever have his breasts used
to model a tor in, or a mountain in, Cornwall?
What is it with the clothes and the hats,
-what are they doing?!
-Look, this is a culture long established
that murdered all the people of Merv.
-They make fun of their predecessors.
When they turned up in Merv, and everyone went...
-We surrender and your clothes are funny!
In Mongolia, nothing's more manly than wrestling another man
in a pair of tiny underpants.
What's the connection between margarine and marriage in Maine?
-Oh... Is this like a sort of erm...
-Is it an anagram?
-It's about statistics...
-Oh, is it about...people less interested?
Well, there's a man called Tyler Vigen of Harvard University,
who describes himself as a "statistical provocateur",
-and he's found evidence that...
-He sounds AWFUL.
He's really trying to sex up his dossier there.
Can you imagine getting stuck at a party
with a statistical provocateur?
"Are you saying there are more schoolchildren who
"have pencils than don't?"
"Well... Prepare to be shocked!" LAUGHTER
I'd say 75% of me thinks you're a total dick.
-Oh, I feel sorry for him now, you bastards.
-No, there is a point to him.
He discovered that the divorce rate in Maine since 2000
correlates with the per capita consumption of margarine in the United States as a whole.
In other words, when margarine consumption goes up...
so do the number of divorces.
-But that's a false correlation presumably.
-Yes! That's the point.
He actually wants us to understand that it's very easy for us to believe
that you get a set of statistics that say...
"as the amount of free milk and orange juice went up in the '50s
"so did the literacy rate in Britain" -
people go, "Oh, that just shows them orange juice and milk are very important to literacy."
It's bollocks. You have to demonstrate a causal relationship.
This is what's known as a correlative one.
And he becomes more and more ridiculous.
And that's why he's a provocateur, he wants to...
-It is, kind of. He discovered -
these are just "M" ones alone -
the age of Miss America correlates to the number of murders by steam,
hot vapours and hot objects.
LAUGHTER The marriage rate in New York
correlates with the number of murders by blunt objects.
So the more people get married in New York, the more murders there are.
That might actually be causative. LAUGHTER
George Canning, who was Prime Minister of Britain for the
supreme length of 119 days -
there he is, not the best-known Prime Minister -
he said, "I can prove anything with statistics,
"except the truth."
That's when they got rid of him.
They went, "Oh, God..."
I was thinking the...
"Can't you be more provocative?!"
Now - describe the morning glory of the rubber people of Mexico.
-Is there something amusing in that question?
-The morning glory of the rubber people.
-The rubber people?
Break it down for us.
What's morning glory?
Well, morning glory
is a delicious vegetable enjoyed by many people in southeast Asia and often put in broths,
and a massive erection.
-Yeah, a morning glory is indeed a flower, beautiful flower. Vegetable and flower.
The rubber people...?
-Are these where there are rubber trees?
Well, it's the early people of Mexico,
the earliest people we know of...
-The rubber age.
-The rubber age!
-Iron age, rubber age.
Well, it was for them a rubber age, exactly. These people.
Because rubber was first cultivated in Mexico.
Not in Malaysia or Liberia any of the other places where it's grown, but in Mexico.
And the people of that time...
Well, I only know the Aztecs...
-Or the Mayans?
-Well, the Aztecs gave them this name. They were called the Olmec.
Between 1200 and 400 BC, so it was a long time ago.
And then they tapped rubber,
and made a ball out of it which they played their ball game in,
which they called in their language "the ball game".
And they used one of those hoops,
and versions of it are still played to this day.
So it's really remarkable.
Because it was 3,000 years later
that we in the West learned to do this same thing to rubber,
a process known as...
-Do you know what it's called?
Vulcanization, exactly right.
Invented by Spock and the Vulcans.
LAUGHTER Yeah, exactly!
It was a man called Thomas Hancock in Britain, and a better-known figure
called Charles Goodyear in America - Goodyear tyres still obviously used -
Yes, the Olmecs were making rubber a good few years before Goodyear.
But now it's time for the earth-shattering round
that we call General Ignorance. Fingers on buzzers, if you please.
What's the easternmost state of the USA?
# ..Massachusetts... #
I'm going to say Alaska.
Is the right answer! Well done.
Maine sees the first sunrise on the continental United States,
but that's the line of longitude,
and little bits of that
that look like just Russia and things are actually Alaska -
you see those islands at the bottom that curve round...
-It's got the weirdest shape, Alaska.
The very south of it, the Aleutian Islands,
they cross the line of longitude,
so the bits that go right up to the line are the westernmost parts
but the bits the other side are the easternmost parts.
So there are bits of it that are south of Russia...
Yes. Absolutely, it's all very surprising.
-Are they inhabited, any of those, do we know?
-No, I don't think so.
Most of them are uninhabited.
Any old fishing villages or something?
Millions of sea birds. But no, not many humans.
Alaska's state motto is North To The Future.
Don't know what that means, but there it is.
They all have mottos, these states -
my favourite one is Kentucky.
Kentucky's known really for two things...
-Well, yeah, apart from that.
It's called the Bluegrass State,
but it's bourbon and the Kentucky Derby, the race.
And somebody came up with a two-word phrase for Kentucky,
which encapsulates both those things which I think is rather brilliant...
LAUGHTER That would do it...
No, it's Unbridled Spirit.
-Isn't that clever?
-That's genuinely clever.
-No, that's great,
that absolutely shits on North To The Future.
It's got to be said!
Cos if there's one place you do not want to head north from
it's Alaska - cos there's fuck all of the world there.
You want to go SOUTH.
-South to the future.
North to the future, maybe, you'd say, from Argentina.
But Alaska - south. North, in denial of the rest of humanity.
-"Head into the snow and die."
-"North to a massive tundra."
Wishful thinking, exactly.
Yes, East is East, West is West and Alaska is both.
In which country was Mozart born?
The countries were weird then, most of the countries didn't exist yet.
Places like you think it's always been a country, like Germany
-and Italy, didn't exist then.
-No, that's right.
-Was it the Mountains of Kong?
-Was he born in Salzburg?
Yes! Well done. Good points.
-And was that like a republic?
-It was indeed. It was a state.
APPLAUSE Yeah, it was a Serbian state.
But Mozart HATED it and he moved, as soon as he could, to Vienna.
Called himself German, although there was no such country.
In fact, he died way before there was such a country.
He didn't make Paul McCartney's mistake of, you know...
outliving his cool.
-Very, very true.
So, there you are. Yes, Mozart was a Salzburger.
Goethe, as it happens, was a Frankfurter,
Mendelssohn was a Hamburger,
and the Brothers Grimm were Hessian.
So they all came from different lands.
Who invented the aqueduct?
-Go on, Sami!
You fell into our little honeytrap.
-What have the Romans ever done for us?
They built that beautiful one there
-which the Pont du Gard in the Provencal region...
-So who got there first?
The Etruscans, or someone who came before the Romans.
-Even further before actually, you've got to go way back.
Too far back.
-That's a bit too far back. DAVID:
Always a good bet. The first ones that are known about to archaeology
were quite simple little ones, little runnels that allowed water...
-..like that, not great big...
No, we're actually in Greek-ish land, the Minoan culture. Which is Crete.
And they were about the second millennium BC, so it was a long time ago.
And then also earlier was as you said Babylonian -
who was a big emperor of the time, celebrated in a Byron poem.
He built really impressive ones, he was extremely rich and powerful.
It was about 691 BC.
Ten metres high, 30 metres wide,
made of over two million stones, his aqueduct. Was used to water his gardens.
-Which many think were the
-sort of the origin of... DAVID:
-The Hanging Gardens.
Do you think that could possibly be true?
Well, there is quite a lot of archaeology to support it, it's not just description...
Two million stones? It must've taken 100 years to build.
Well, 100 million slaves probably - not that many obviously, but... Yeah.
It was an 80 kilometre limestone aqueduct, it's a long way.
(80 kilometres?) Yeah. Just for a garden.
-But gardens are important.
-Alan Titchmarsh has got a similar one in HIS garden.
-HE MIMICS ALAN:
-"But it's made of plastic guttering from B&Q!"
"Decking. Lovely, lovely decking."
It has to be said that those Minoan ones,
the word "gutter" is more appropriate than the word "aqueduct".
I would not say I had an "aqueduct"
round the edge of my house to collect the rainwater.
"The aqueduct's leaking again!"
"Get out there and clear the aqueduct!"
Now... Ooh, this is exciting! I've got some glasses of water for you.
-Yes, I know. Be very...
HE STRAINS ..very excited.
Oh, there we go. Here are yours, Alan and David.
Now, before... Don't try them.
Don't, for God...whatever you do, drink any yet!
Until you know what you're doing.
Ah, there we are. There's A, B and C. Can you see that?
-Well, A has got something in it.
There's some weird detritus in it.
Yeah, that's either some very poor washing up...
-Well, I'll tell you what it is. A is sea water. A is sea water.
-Oh, it'll kill you.
-I'll tell you what B is.
Fresh water, because there's bubbles in it.
It's, er, treated sewage.
-All right, then. Ooh.
That's why it's got bubbles in it!
-Yeah, are you sure they're bubbles then?
-And C is ultrapure water.
-Can I have C?
Is that... That's your choice?
LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH
But, to be fair, we don't know whether Sue meant C as in C
-or sea as in sea.
LAUGHTER Ah, you little devil!
But, yes, the point was to trap you into choosing ultrapure water.
-Ultrapure water is too pure.
The kidneys have a real problem here, because we rely on electrolytes
to power, energize our brains and the heart and other bits of ourselves.
And if your blood is drained of all the particles,
because the pure water is taking them away, through osmosis,
then you will die if you have too much ultrapure water.
I'm going to revise now.
-Would that amount of pure water kill you?
-No, no! That's fine, no.
So what is the best out of those three?
Well, what about sea water, what...?
Well, sea water's got a lot of salt in it.
Yeah, the kidneys try and get the salt out,
and, in order to get the salt out, they have to use water.
So you, actually, the effect of drinking sea water is to dehydrate.
-So we're left with treated sewage.
-Well, it's been treated, I suppose that's...
-It has been treated, yeah.
But someone told me that water that you drink from a tap in London
has been through nine people before it reaches the glass.
-Is that true?
-Yeah, it's not yet...
No, it's not yet true at all. This is a sort of urban myth, that we all
-like to think we're drinking...
-It's been through cows and sheep as well.
-They're talking about it...
-I'd like to know which nine people
-they were, wouldn't you?
-That is also very important to know.
-In Windhoek, which is the capital of Namibia...
-Yeah, exactly. And there, they have a slightly salty water...
..because 25% of it is treated sewage,
but only 25%. But it's perfectly OK.
There's no excuse not do what this is, I believe,
which is probably either Orange Country or LA,
which is that they use treated sewage for golf courses
and for irrigation and things like that.
Treated sewage is getting popular, actually, around the world,
so that seems a helpful thing.
-But you ought to try. Why don't you try...
LAUGHTER No, I won't let you try the sewage,
try the ultrapure. Cos it's not going to kill you, one sip,
-just see if it is noticeably pure.
LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH
-Oh, my kidneys!
-I've messed up on this.
-You can, yeah.
I would say it does taste like water, but a little bit more boring.
-LAUGHTER It's brilliant.
-Maybe I'm just imposing that on it.
-No, you might be...
-It's not got that chlorine high note, has it?
I don't expect a party in my mouth
-with water, but...
..that was like a party in my mouth but with a statistical provocateur.
Well, I've got treated sewage in this -
and I wouldn't ask you to cos you might not want to but I'm going to have a...
Oh, Jeez. LAUGHTER
Does it pong?
It's shitty but it's pissy as well.
Oh, you've put me right off.
It's tap water. We couldn't get any treated sewage - we asked for it,
I said I was up for drinking it but that's just tap water.
-So it's only been through... nine people.
So, drinking pure water can kill you. You're much better off draining a glass of processed sewage.
Good health to you all.
And all that's left now are the scores.
Oh, my gracious goodness...
In last place, I'm afraid...
but she probably knows it,
by the fact that I've used a feminine pronoun...
..it's Sue Perkins! APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Fighting manfully into third place,
-APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
-Thank you very much.
In second place, a magnificent debut from Sami Shah!
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Which can only mean that our clear winner, with minus four,
is David Mitchell! APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
And that's all from Sami, Sue, David, Alan and me.
Goodnight. APPLAUSE AND CHEERING