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This programme contains some strong language.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,
and welcome to QI, for the middle show of the M series,
which is in the middle of the alphabet,
where our theme is, well, not so much middle as muddle, to be honest.
But we have the magnificent Aisling Bea.
The mighty Danny Bhoy.
The magnetic Jimmy Carr.
And the miscellaneous Alan Davies.
And their buzzers are merrily multifarious.
-# Here we go round the mulberry bush
# The mulberry bush The mulberry bush. #
-# This old man, he played one
# He played knick knack on my drum. #
-# Three blind mice
# Three blind mice. #
It's like the soundtrack of a horror film.
And Alan goes...
-# My Bonnie lies over... #
-BANG ON DOOR
-Will you go to bed?!
-Was that a gunshot?
-I don't know.
The bit at the end, yes.
Well, the best place to start, I always think, is in the middle.
How do you know when a chimpanzee is having a midlife crisis?
Does it get a Chinese tattoo?
-Just on the back of his neck there.
Where does the phrase "midlife crisis" come from?
How long has it been in the language, do you think?
Do you think the Victorians used it? Do you think...?
-I bet it's more recent. I bet it's like a '50s...
Cos it was about buying sports cars and doing those kind of crazy...
divorcing your wife and going out with someone of 22.
It was actually 1965
that a psychologist decided on this midlife crisis.
He thought that only geniuses got a midlife crisis.
He used the phrase,
but he said it was something that happened to geniuses.
-It's not only us. It's not only us.
Is it, Alan? You get them too.
I went to my...
I went to my doctor and I said,
"I hate the West and I want all the infidels dead,"
and he said, "Don't worry, you're just going through a midlife Isis."
Of course, they might be in the Olympics by the time this goes out!
That would be an extraordinary turnaround of fortune for them.
-I think, in the next World Cup, Fifa would take them.
-Yeah, of course.
-Yeah, they would be in England's group.
Group of death!
That is supposedly a man in a midlife crisis.
If he's in a midlife crisis, he's going to live to 300, which is...
The awkward thing about midlife crises,
I've had some friends that have gone through them recently
and they've left their partners, gone out with much younger women
and they've bought sports cars, and the most difficult thing
is pretending to my other half that,
"Aw! That's terrible. Isn't it sad?"
"Aw, ah. God, he's had a disaster there.
"Yeah. No, apparently she used to be a dancer. Yeah."
He's not... But is he happy?
He can't stop smiling.
He showed me some photos on his phone, it looks amazing.
Well, it turns out that chimpanzees, when they're young, they're high
and when they get to middle age, they kind of go down
and then up again, which is supposedly what a midlife crisis is.
Does it only affect the men, or does it affect the women chimps as well?
It seems to be a male thing, doesn't it? And I think...
Yeah. I hear that, sister monkeys.
Are those guys laughing at the ginger ones?
Well, the tests were done on the ginger ones,
or orang-utans, as some people prefer to call them...
-The ginger ones, yes.
-..and on the chimpanzees.
There are some well-known examples
of people in middle age doing extraordinary things.
-Henry VIII was 35...
-Is he 35 in that picture?
I think, in that picture, he's a little older.
-His reaction to a midlife crisis was pretty extreme.
-Well, it was.
He fell for a younger woman when he was 35, called Anne Boleyn,
-and as a result, broke with...
-Catherine of Aragon.
Well, he broke with her as well, that's true.
He divorced her against the Pope's wishes.
Well, she didn't give him an heir, did she? It's her own fault!
She should have magicked him up a boy. She was a failure.
He had a boy, though, but he was a bastard, wasn't he?
-Couldn't be King.
-So, he had some messy break-ups.
He had messy break-ups, but 35, that was the year he really pushed it out.
You know, he broke with Rome, founded his own church. And...
Who else is there? Well, Jesus and Buddha.
Would you call Jesus's a midlife crisis?
-He died when he was 33,
-so when was his midlife crisis?
-Well, in his 30s.
I mean, before he was 30, he didn't really do anything.
But what about Buddha? I mean, there was the weight gain.
-From Siddhartha to a big potbellied thing.
-Yeah, I think that's the...
That's the middle-age thing, isn't it?
You just get into box sets and...
a bit more takeout, twice a week, it's not good for you.
But he didn't become the Buddha until he was in his 40s, about 48.
-What was his name before that? Frank?
-Maybe, well, 30s.
So there's still a chance for me, is there?
Well, no-one really knows what these things are about,
except that it does seem to be a pattern with men.
Now, what mania was started by a few myopic Merseysiders?
-# Mulberry bush. #
-Weirdly, you know...
-No, keep going.
Does this buzzer stop Jimmy speaking? Try again.
-I was just going to say...
-# Mulberry bush. #
There's some support for it.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
I find the buzzers really disconcerting.
It does feel like someone's about to get murdered in the show.
-"Oh, go to bed!"
Those childish ghost cries.
# Mice. #
It's usually The Beatles.
Yeah, it's usually The Beatles.
-The Beatles is what you're saying.
-It's usually The Beatles.
He's saying The Beatles.
-# Mulberry bush. #
No, is the answer.
-It was a mania, but not Beatlemania on Merseyside.
-It involves something to do with M.
-Myopic is short-sighted, is it?
-So, what M could help you
Any particular type of ophthalmic instrument
-that would help, that began with M?
Monocle is the right answer. There we go, very good.
I only knew that cos there happens to be a monocle next to me.
It was a bit of a giveaway.
There you are, pop them in.
It was a fashion thing that seemed to sweep Liverpool.
I can imagine it taking off again, to be honest.
-You do look great.
-You look very good.
-Oh, my goodness.
-My old pal.
What are you laughing at?
Jimmy, you've never looked more like a ventriloquist's doll in your life.
SPEECH DROWNED OUT BY LAUGHTER
Oh, my! You really did look like Lord Charles there.
I now feel slightly haunted.
Wow! Thank you for putting your hand there, by the way.
It was really...special.
Your hair is all up.
They won't fit because monocles had to be made to fit,
which is why they were expensive.
And because they were expensive,
they were associated with the upper classes.
And even when you wear them,
it's very hard not to look rather kind of like that, isn't it?
At what point in history did someone just go,
make that mental leap between,
"I've got it here and I've got a little bridge here.
"I could maybe just put another one..."
Well, it's funny you should say that.
Which came first, the monocle or the spectacles?
I'm going to say the spectacles.
Yes. The spectacles, by hundreds of years.
-When do you think the monocle came in?
No. They came in in the 1800s and they were instantly a success,
but they were expensive.
And we associate them with, I suppose...
-Oh, there I am.
-Yeah. There you are, yeah.
I had all three of those.
-They knocked that up pretty quickly.
But something gave them a rather bad image
-in the 20th century.
Nazis, and in fact... LAUGHTER
Buy Californian vegetables.
-By Jove, they're awfully good.
-Yeah, they were associated with...
-You do become instantly posh.
..aristocrats, German soldiers and generals.
Ludendorff wore one, Krebs, various of those figures there did.
-They really did never stop...
-..trying to look more evil, did they?
-No, they didn't.
Well, what could we add to this?
I've got the, you know, the skull and crossbones,
I've got the weird look, I've got the steely eyes.
They're a very good fit.
I know, I'll put one spectacle lens over here.
-What about a monocle?
Zat would make us more evil. A tiny moustache.
So, who are the famous monocle wearers that you can name?
-That's one. Good.
-No, he didn't have one.
It would have set him off lovely, but no, he didn't. He didn't.
Mr Peanut, from the peanuts.
Yes, that's right, the Planters peanuts, Mr Peanuts.
Can anyone think of any?
-AUDIENCE MEMBERS SHOUT OUT
-Terry-Thomas, we had Terry-Thomas.
-No, I don't think he did.
-Bad luck, you're out.
-Did Churchill ever wear one?
-Erich von Stroheim.
-Jesus wore one.
-It doesn't count
if you're driving a monster truck through Brighton at the time.
There was a very peculiar thing that started in 1902,
which was the New York Times, whether as a joke originally,
but it seems to have become one because it is so preposterous,
is they keep predicting the return of the monocle,
so in 1902, they said it was going to come back,
then in 1936 the reported that more than 20 British MPs had one.
1941, they found that monocle sales were up 50%
but then they dropped again because...
That was a pair of glasses, it turned out.
But the war, the association with Nazis then sort of dropped the sales
and then in 1970, the New York Times again
reported sales had risen by 50%, quoted a Bond Street optician.
If I ran an opticians,
I'd make them do the shop sign in a really blurry font.
Even as recently as 2014, the New York Times again reported
on a comeback in cities as diverse as Manhattan and Cape Town and Berlin.
I like that the association with Nazis made it drop,
-made it fall, the sales.
You mentioned the Beatles and, of course, there was a myopic Beatle.
-I've never worn a monocle in me life,
it was only glasses, only ever worn glasses.
But he was very, very short-sighted,
so much so that if he didn't wear his glasses,
he would be qualified as blind.
That explains Yoko Ono!
Why am I clapping? That's dreadful!
Another great figure from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
-who died famously young...
Buddy Holly, yes.
Oh, was he FLYING the plane?!
That's it, when they found the black box, it was just him going,
"Can I have a go?"
And the Big Bopper going, "No, Buddy!
He couldn't read the top line of an eye-test chart.
He obviously famously wore glasses too, as many do.
But there you are. Now for a medical question.
What malady could you ameliorate by standing in the middle of Wales?
-Er, Moby Dick.
-Stand in the middle of whales.
Oh, very good. Very good. APPLAUSE
-Whales or Wales the country, though?
Well, you see, this is the thing.
Not whale, the giant mammal.
You kind of deserve a little point for your Moby Dick.
-Oh, do I?
-Because I am actually talking...
If you stood in the middle of a blue whale...
I know you're obsessed, but it doesn't have to be blue.
Yeah, but let's say it's blue.
All right, blue. All right blue.
Because you know you can stand in one of those.
They are quite big, aren't they?
Of course, they're not the biggest life form on earth, as you know.
Sorry, are we doing a "best of" show?
In some ways, it's the "worst of".
You two have had this conversation like a million times.
What's the question again, Stephen?
Yeah, what sort of amelioration for what sort of malady
could you expect, if you stood...
A cream, an ointment? Some...a balm.
No. No, this is...the act of standing,
it's not something that's just taken from a whale.
This is an example. This is in 1896 or thereabouts.
-This is an Australian...
-Is that a dead whale?
A drunken Australian found a dead whale on the beach...
Just say Australian, you don't need to beleaguer.
-I knew you'd say that.
-Is that him there?
Yeah, that's him. ..and decided to walk into the whale.
That looks like something from Embarrassing Bodies, doesn't it?
It does a bit.
-"I've put on a little bit of weight."
-"I've fallen into a bloody whale."
"I thought a blowhole meant something else.
"I feel like a bloody fool now."
"I'll look for a malady and ameliorate it."
Just the kind of language you'd use.
But no, he got out of the whale...
He got out, he stank.
..and was amazed to discover...
He could walk.
-He was sober.
..his rheumatism had disappeared.
We'd never have got that. We could have been here about a week.
I know. That's why I helped you out.
-Thank you so much.
-So it cures rheumatism?
-But I mean, you can't get them at the chemist, can you?
No, you can't. It started a fad, though. People...
-Would go and stand in the middle of dead whales?
And whalers would leave a hole,
a little, sort of, area for people who would pay
and go and stand inside.
And the decaying blubber would act as a kind of poultice.
-Is there any kind of...?
-I want to go now.
-No evidence that it works at all.
But it was just one of those fads that they had in those days.
-What a fun fad.
-A fun fad.
-These days we've got...
-Imagine if the monocle people went
and they were standing there like, "Oh, I'm all for a fad now.
"Here I am with my monocle, sat in a whale.
"I'll do anything, me."
-But rheumatism, what is rheumatism?
-I don't know.
-That's a very good answer.
-Aches and pain.
Yes, pain in the joints is often called rheumatism,
but it covers up to 200 different conditions
and rheumatologists are real doctors,
but rheumatism... There isn't one rheumatism.
There are all kinds of autoimmune things that happen
to affect the joints and the muscles.
And there are all kinds of things people take for it
that aren't necessarily any use.
Copper bracelets, for example.
You can pay up to £200 for a copper bracelet.
There was a rheumatologist who said, "Yes, you can pay £5 for one as well
"and you go just as green."
Well, yeah, that's it really.
Australians with rheumatism had a whale of a time.
What would you find in a medieval manhole?
Do they keep their favourite things in it?
Do they bury them in case of marauding pillagers?
Is it like a priest-hole? Like a hidey-place?
Well, you really would have to know about this...
-I've never heard the phrase "priest..."
-You don't have them in Ireland, of course!
-Well, we kind of do,
-but we don't talk about it.
-No, the priest-hole would be...
You would hide your Catholics
-in behind the fireplace in a secret little...
During the time of Queen Elizabeth, Catholics had quite a hard time of it
and people who kept their Catholic faith
had priests who came to minister them
and, in the bigger houses, they put little holes, sliding panels,
tiny places for the priest to hide
in case the army came round in order to arrest them
and to catch them in the act of being all Catholic.
-So those were the priest-holes.
-They'd catch them having loads of children.
Wow, I'd never heard of that before.
We're actually in the Germanic regions here.
Obviously, there was no Germany in medieval times, but...
Is it access to drains?
Ah, no. It's a legal issue. It's a rather bizarre one.
If a man wanted to take another man to court,
in Germany and in England, they used trial by battle.
This is from Game Of Thrones!
This is clearly from Game Of Thrones.
In England, if a man wanted to take a woman to court,
he couldn't use trial by battle.
But in Germany, you could,
but you had to dig a hole and be inside a hole
and tie one arm behind your back...
-..and then you could fight.
-I like that.
-But what if you were fighting Brienne of Tarth?
-Bring it back!
I feel like on this panel show,
I should be stood up like this and all of you should be down there,
-and I'm slashing around me jokes.
There were certain other rules as well.
The man would be given three clubs
with which he could, you know, try and hit the woman.
And the woman would have rocks and a slingshot.
-Did this actually happen, or...?
-Yes. Oh gosh, yes.
That should be surely be the other way on.
He should have the slingshot and the rocks,
if he's just stuck in a hole.
-Yeah, I know. It's strange.
-She can stand back quite a way
-and just fire at him.
I imagine then, I suppose,
you can get right down in your hole, can't you?
Yeah. And just go round like that, with a club.
If the man touched the side of his hole...
You know what I mean.
If he touched the side of the hole, he forfeited one of his clubs.
-And then he only had two clubs left.
But it's important to remember,
whoever lost the battle would be put to death.
So this is quite a serious thing.
They've already sort of dug the grave, so it's all right.
-Yes, that's true.
-It's not as bad.
-Pop them in there, fill it in, we're done.
That's what I love about this show,
that sometimes we can all just go, "Yeah, fine."
-That's quite interesting, yeah.
Still on the medieval match-ups,
what brilliant new strategy was employed by the England team
in the European Championships of 1176?
Did they just do what they always do -
get a really easy qualifying group?
And Scotland got, you know,
-the Holy Roman Empire.
The Knights Templar and Spain.
And England...England get Lindisfarne.
Did they... Did they dig holes?
And they stood in the holes and waited for the other team to... No?
This is medieval again,
and it's early medieval, I suppose you might say.
It's not football, though, is it? It must be another...
-No, it's not football.
Jousting came later.
-What happened in early medieval...
-They need more space for that.
I know, they do, don't they? It's rather crowded.
They're not getting enough of a run-up.
Yeah. Before jousting, the two with lances, you know,
riding towards each other,
there was something, which was a French word
that we still use to mean a kind of fray.
-It begins with M.
Not a menagerie. LAUGHTER
Menage a trois.
A European menage a trois.
-Yes! A melee is what it was.
The original cast of Avatar in a melee.
And we're looking at the 12th century,
-and the great king then was...
-Followed by his son, Richard I, the Lionheart.
And they liked this melee when Richard wasn't out at the Crusades.
-"I like it."
"I do. It pleaseth me."
And they saw this very good trick and they copied it.
And that is, you tell them you're not going to fight today.
You know, "I won't do the melee today."
And they go, "Oh, OK."
And then they exhaust each other. And then you come with your lot saying,
"I think I will actually."
And they're all completely tired, and you win.
What do you mean they exhaust each other?
Well, because they're running backwards and forwards at each other,
-running and running.
-This is how I do a menage a trois.
I let them go for a while and then I come in late.
They stole the idea off Philip of Flanders
and it seemed to work pretty well.
The sport is called melee and it's similar to jousting?
Well, the reason jousting then took on,
as you can see from the picture, this involves a lot all at once,
whereas jousting is cheaper.
-Ah, I see.
-It's simply that.
It was so much cheaper to have that.
And you've got champions at the jousting
who appeal to the ladies.
You know, the handkerchiefs and the favours
and the rather extraordinary elaborate form of romance.
It's kind of funny that that would appeal to ladies.
It's kind of like the version now for men for The Only Way Is Essex.
-That you don't actually know what someone looks like...
..because they've got so much fancy stuff and extensions on.
You're like, "Oh, he's gorgeous. Look at him!
"I really like the look of him."
Then he takes off his thing at the end
and you're like, "Oh, God!
"Maybe I don't like him."
Going round in a miniskirt with a massive pole in your hand.
The chicks go wild.
Well, the first rule of knight club was to cheat.
Now, for a question about moral turpitude.
What morally questionable activity will you finally be able to do
on the streets of Knutsford in 2015?
-Is the clue in the picture, Stephen?
-Sort of, yeah.
Does it involve nuts?
No. Sadly not.
Does it involve bunting?
Nor bunting. And look lower down.
What is there particularly noticeable?
-Oh. Look at them, oh.
-Very bad shoes.
-Parking. Double yellow lines.
-What about the pavement?
-It's small, very narrow.
It's a very narrow pavement. Thank you, Danny.
-It is a narrow pavement.
-You can't have that.
There's a reason for the narrow pavement.
-Those two people are massive.
In the olden days...
-A certain class of person virtually ruled the roost in Britain
-and that was an aristocrat.
-Oh, the bastards.
Yes. Absolutely shocking people.
And you had to throw yourself into the gutter if one approached you.
Well, sometimes they had strong, stern and absurd moral views.
-Oh, so they weren't allowed to walk...
-If you imagine...
-..side by side?
ARISTOCRATIC VOICE: "I'm not having the working classes
"next to each other in the street
"cos it can only lead to touching."
I know you think you're doing a voice, but that is how you talk.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
There's no difference.
Like a hair's breadth.
You are a beast.
Voicing the inner workings of the mind.
So, you weren't allowed to walk hand-in-hand with a lady?
You could just walk behind her?
-I'm happy with that.
Well, Lady Jane Stanley,
who was the daughter of the 11th Earl of Derby,
-and she laid down this strict code of...
-..in case they touched one another.
-Yes. She died unmarried, as you might expect.
She wrote her own epitaph, apparently, which is,
"A maid I lived and a maid I died. I never was asked and never denied."
I think that's not bad, considering she was dead.
But perhaps the most famous prude of his era was a little later,
in the 1870s - a fellow called Anthony Comstock.
Comstock was from New York
and founded a league against lewdness of any kind.
He saw it everywhere. He hated it.
He'd been in the Civil War, didn't like the swearing, apparently.
-Yeah, that's the worst thing about war.
-Yes, I know.
Especially that Civil War, you know? I mean...
"They've blown my fucking leg off!"
"Now, now - language."
"I'm going to fucking kill you."
"Please, could you just kill me? Thank you."
But the particular tragedy that struck him in 1873,
after the war,
was a friend of his - who was addicted to pornography - died,
supposedly having masturbated himself to death.
There's a lesson in there, Jimmy.
I'm happy to report, Stephen, that cannot happen.
You're just not trying hard enough, boy.
I thought you looked pale, Jimmy.
Comstock believed that anyway.
Yes, he founded the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice
and for nine years in its height, from the '70s to early '80s,
the society was responsible for 700 arrests, 333 prison sentences.
So, almost a 50% success rate on its arrests.
And fines totalling 65,000, which was a heck of a lot then.
The seizure of roughly 65,000 articles as well.
Articles for immoral use of rubber, etc.
I saw some ancient pornography once. Someone... There was a book...
Scraping the barrel that day, were you?
-"There's nothing left I haven't seen!"
someone was writing a paper, at college,
on the history of pornography
and it was kind of the earliest pornographic sort of photographs
and it was just a guy standing... leaning on a fireplace,
but clearly they had only had their photo taken in certain poses,
so they thought, "Well, I guess that's how photos work,"
so he had a pipe on
and all the usual porn stuff was going on, but...
I think it's rather wonderful.
Are you sure you're not describing the album cover
of Bing Crosby's Christmas Hits?
The X-rated version!
As late as 1927 they were still going
and they managed, reprehensibly,
to shut down Mae West's Broadway play, Sex,
and had her imprisoned for ten days.
There was the Comstock Law, which made it a federal offence
to send obscene matter - for example, contraceptives - through the post.
It was finally overturned in '36 in the wonderfully named case of
United States versus One Package of Japanese Pessaries.
The US was always going to win that one.
It was, wasn't it? I think so.
I've never had...I've never had, in 14 years,
people eating sweets in the front row.
What the hell?!
And I can't think about anything else.
You can have them back at the end of the lesson.
I feel really bad for those people,
because, obviously, you're just sat there watching an episode of QI,
and then suddenly the telly gets up...
..and nicks your sweets.
"I didn't press the red button, what's going on?"
Anyway, what did the French do with marmosets
that normal people did with cheese?
-I have no memory of that whatsoever.
Oh, we all remember our student days.
Forget the marmoset.
-Right, forget the marmoset.
-I say "normal people" do with cheese?
-What do we do with cheese?
-I put it on bread or crackers.
Put it in the back of the fridge for six months, then chuck it out.
Not the substance, not the food even.
What else is there?
-Oh, not...not on some sort of, no...
Not the substance.
Not any substance at all.
-Say "cheese". We say "cheese".
-That's it! Thank you, Danny.
Thank you. APPLAUSE
So do the French say "marmoset?"
-They say "marmoset"?
Well, they used to. I put it in the past tense.
That makes me go, "Oh, no wonder." Cos that makes you go like this...
and that's what all French people look like in photos, "Allo. Allo."
We have a Frenchman in the audience.
We have Vincent, who's come all the way from la belle France,
-from la Republique.
Let's just listen to him shouting marmoset in French.
Ouistiti. Brilliant, thank you.
And the point is, we smile when we say the...
-..or this titty?
-This titty or this titty?
-Which titty will make you smile?
It does make you smile, just saying, "Which titty?"
If you stretch your face to say "ti-ti".
-As you do to say cheese.
-Little titty, big titty.
And other languages, of course, have other words, or used to.
I don't think it... But people Blue Steel now, don't they?
-They Blue Steel it. They don't...
-Well, there is that, unfortunately.
But do you know of any other countries' words?
-Yes, the Danish...
-Yeah, what? Yeah?
They say "orange".
Well, they don't say the word orange, do they?
Well, I don't know what it is, but I remember someone...
It's the Danish for orange. Do we have Danes in the audience?
It sounds like apple, doesn't it? Say, if you could...
-Yeah, there we go.
-Where titty, a pussy?
-Which titty? A pussy.
-This is... Europe is filth!
-Europe is filthy.
And in various other languages, we have Serbian,
-I don't suppose anyone. Well...
-I don't think they smile in Serbia.
Do we have any Slavs in the audience?
No, we don't.
"Little bird" in Serbian is ptica.
-It might be the same in Russian, I don't know.
Honestly. Korean you might get, cos it's their favourite thing.
They love their kimchi.
Argentina and some other Latin countries
is actually an English word they say. Or Scottish.
A Gaelic word, I should say. 'Usquebaugh' means whisky.
-Or water of life, isn't it?
Ah, usquebaugh is the same in Irish, in Gaelic as well.
Except you put an 'e' in it when you make it English.
No, we don't put an 'e' in it, because that's really...
They did for one 48-hour period, yeah.
Bulgarian is... We don't have any Bulgars in the audience, I'm sure?
-You're joking, really?
Is that what you say, a Bulgar?
You don't say you're a Bulgar? Bulgarian?
-I am Bulgarian.
-And what would you say if...?
-We say "zele".
-Yes! Zele. Which means?
Good, very good.
The sad thing is that they've tended to die out.
Not because people do Blue Steel, as you were saying,
but because the Americanisms and British even,
they say "cheese" or "smile".
People go "hmmm" and they just do it.
Isn't it sad? People saying smile, how awful.
No, I didn't...
I always wondered why in old photographs,
like early 1800s and stuff, they were never smiling,
and it's because the exposure was two, three hours long,
-so you can't physically...
-Oh, is that wrong?
Yes, but I'm glad you said it,
because we were just going to come to that very thing.
You're an absolute natural for this show!
No, it is a common misapprehension.
By 1845, in the early daguerreotypes,
it was only a few seconds, the exposure. One reason is...
At least five of them look like they're dead.
Well, they are regarded as serious.
If you look at portraits in oils, you know, paintings,
-Reynolds, Gainsborough and so on, they don't smile.
The Mona Lisa smile? That one.
Exactly, her enigmatic smile, it's what makes her a unique...
That's very good, Aisling.
The lady on the far right there,
she was very good in the Wizard of Oz, wasn't she?
-She was, yeah.
To be honest, I wouldn't be smiling if my parents
-had dressed me up like that for a photograph.
-I know, no.
But the word they said instead of "cheese" turned out to be "prunes".
-To make them look serious - prunes, prunes.
But anyway, what colour is a mirror?
Ah! Now, this is going to be a trick. Come on, Danny.
Is it the colour of whatever is standing in front of it?
-No, you fool!
-It's perfectly reasonable.
It's a perfectly reasonable thing to say.
-It would certainly reflect back the colour of...
-It's just glass!
It's like a rainbow because it's glass
and it is the accumulation of light and...
and all of the colours in a rainbow, but...
This sounds madder, but I feel like I am right, but...
"Oh, go to bed!"
KLAXON BLARES Silver is not a colour.
-Silver isn't a colour.
-Are mirrors made of sand, aren't they?
Well, they are made of glass, which is made of sand,
and the silvered backing, whatever that might be that is used.
-This silvery foil thing.
-What? The what backing?!
It's silver, but its colour isn't silver, silver isn't a colour
because you can't make a silver colour on a computer using...
-Just because it's not on your computer...!
-Silver is not colour.
-Silver is not colour, no.
-Oh, I love this show!
-It is good, isn't it?
It's all of the colours, it's like when the sun goes through a raindrop
and a rainbow comes out cos... And all the colours...
Yes, you're absolutely on the right lines.
I mean, anything you see as a coloured object...
Like a tomato looks red
because it takes in all the colours of white light,
-all the colours in there, EXCEPT red. And therefore, the red...
-Therefore, the red reflects back.
-But red... Sorry.
The red is in there with all the others,
but can't get through, as it were, and comes out...
-Don't let him into your mind.
-It's like Scientology, the whole...
-No, that's how it works. So, a mirror...
-How do Skittles work, then?
Taste the rainbow!
A mirror takes in all the colours,
but there is one colour which slightly can't get in
-and you can only see that all mirrors have a slight tinge of this...
-A vampire. Oh.
Literally, I was just going to list the colours.
Green is right and you can see it there.
That is not coloured glass of any kind.
You see it best in the effect of
a hall of mirrors - mirror on mirror on mirror - so you're seeing
lots of mirrors together, you see this tinge,
that gets stronger and stronger, of green.
Now, that is just pure glass and pure mirror effect,
but it seems green to us.
So if you are looking slightly green in the morning,
you can blame it on the mirror.
Now, why might blocking the middle of a fire exit be a good thing?
# Mulberry bush. #
Cos it stops the fire from getting out.
So, if everyone goes for the fire exit at the same time,
they would cause...
It would get blocked by the mass of people,
whereas if you had two lanes, it's like motorway traffic.
-If you block the middle, they would go out sort of individually.
-And it would be better.
-You are on the money, absolutely right.
It's an extraordinary thing.
-APPLAUSE DROWNS SPEECH
-We are a team!
They started it with ants.
I mean, they didn't start a fire, but they had a single exit for ants
and they blocked the middle of it
and they found that the ants were slower,
but they all got out more quickly and it seems to work with humans too,
probably for exactly the reasons you say.
-Is that why they do those individual doors in airports?
-Maybe it is, yes.
Those ones where it says, "Keep moving,"
as you walk towards the plate glass.
But with aeroplanes, in order to have a certificate of air worthiness,
amongst other things like making sure the wings don't fall off,
you have to be able to evacuate in 90 seconds.
-Because that is the speed at which...
When you say...
Stephen, when you say "evacuate",
it depends what they say over the tannoy.
90 seconds is how long it would take a fire to engulf.
-She is, yeah.
When you do evacuate, it's difficult to test, of course,
whether you can get people off.
-How do you motivate them to get off quickly enough?
-Do they pay them?
-So is it like the last guy off...?
They basically give them a monetary incentive
-to get off as fast as possible.
-They get a refund.
Well, no, this is in the test situation,
you haven't bought a ticket, you've been asked to test...
-"Get out in 90 seconds, I'll give you 20 quid."
Are you saying you would be on a plane, it would be on fire
and they go, "We'll give you £20 if you get off,"
and you go, "Make it 30..."
"I'm holding out for more, love. It is getting warm, but it's worth it.
-"They'll put the price up."
-Yeah, I'll be the last off.
So, now it's time to run screaming into the disaster zone
that we call General Ignorance.
So, fingers on buzzers, if you please.
It's Midsummer in the UK.
To the nearest hour, what time does day become night?
About 10, gets up again around 4?
So I was going to say 1!
You were going to say 1?!
-You'll take that one!
-I'll take that one!
Is it... I'm only saying this, there is no rationale at all,
but is it noon? It's always something weird on this show
and you go, "Oh, no, it's actually night-time in the middle of the day.
"You're all idiots, you've been doing it wrong."
In Midsummer, there is no night in Britain.
There's no night. There's no night, Danny.
-It's constant twilight.
-Oh, bollocks. It gets dark.
-Constant Twilight sounds like a really good indie album.
Yeah, even as far south as Jersey,
twilight lasts between June 8th and July 4th, without night.
And how do you define twilight?
Well, it's defined as the time after the sun goes down, but...
When the vampires and werewolves fight!
Who will she choose...
while constantly looking like she has just farted?
-In the Twilight films.
-You know Kirsten?
-She looks as if she has just farted the whole time.
You look like you could be one of the vampires.
"Oh, my God, am I going to pick you?
"You're so cold. Can I touch you? Are you even real?"
That's exactly the whole movie.
The whole movie is her choice between a half animal and a zombie.
So Twilight lasts about...
lasts about six hours if you watch all three of them.
Twilight is defined as the time after the sun goes beneath the horizon
but while there is still light caused by the reflection
of the sun's rays from the atmosphere.
During summer nights, even at 2am,
there is still a little bit of light from the sun.
When is the best time to charge your mobile phone?
Well, good. Yeah, it might be. Any other thoughts?
Oh, really? I thought that would go off!
-You can't do it on Midsummer.
-"There is no night, you fool!"
When it's completely almost run out of battery.
-KLAXON BLARES Oh!
If you've got an iPhone, it's every 15 minutes.
It used to be the case with an old phone.
Nokia would go on for weeks.
Yeah! Look at that beauty. Bring 'em back!
That's like one of the most modern,
"Oh, it's not like it was in the old days."
These phones of that generation used what sort of batteries?
-No, nickel is the point.
And if you charged it when it was 20% full,
it wouldn't remember the rest of it, as it were,
it was called memory problem.
So, you had to drain them.
You had to use them completely, so that it would charge
the whole battery.
But we use lithium now and that isn't a problem any more.
But here's a great thing about batteries,
and I'm going to demonstrate this to you,
and I think it'll be rather interesting.
We're just talking about ordinary AA batteries here,
whether or not they're charged or...
They have a thumb thing on them now, don't they?
-I would, I would use...
-Well, they did the thumb thing,
but they've got rid of that, haven't they?
They never quite worked.
It was supposed to shine a... go green or something.
Yeah, yeah, go green and there was like a press thing.
I would attach it to my nipple clamps
and see if it gives me a buzz that I need.
Here are two batteries.
How can you tell which one is flat, as it were,
which one is drained of power
-and which one is still powerful?
-Try it on you.
-Some magnetic thing.
-It's nothing to do with magnetism.
I'm going to slip them through these copper sleeves
so that they're both facing the right direction
and should both fall at the same time.
So you can count me down from three, two, one and drop, all right?
The whole audience can join in.
-Three, two, one, drop!
All right, let's have a look at that.
In theory, an empty battery should bounce more.
And that is the case that this is the one which has been drained.
It's to do with the gel inside the batteries.
And when they're drained, it's hardened and so it bounces more.
Should we do an apology now for people breaking their mobile phones?
Presumably someone is at home going, "Is this charged?"
-You could try it with that.
-Seems all right.
There you are, isn't that good?
-Couldn't you just buy new batteries?
I just didn't think of that.
Right. Yes, the best time to charge your phone
is any time you can find a power socket.
All of which brings us charging towards a battery
of very extraordinary scores, which will amaze and astonish you.
So, in first place, what an extraordinary debut,
Danny Bhoy on ten points. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
In second place,
half as good, but still brilliant,
five points to Jimmy Carr.
I'm happy with that. I'll take that all day.
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
In third place, with -7,
it's Aisling Bea.
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Who does that leave us, I wonder?
-44 for Alan Davies! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Well, that's all from Aisling, Jimmy, Danny, Alan and me.
And I leave you with these wise words
from Pulitzer Prize winner, Anna Quindlen.
"Life is not so much about beginnings and endings
"as it is about going on and on and on.
"It's about muddling through the middle,"
which I hope we've done this evening.
Good night. APPLAUSE