Sandi Toksvig runs the numbers with Colin Lane, Sarah Millican, Noel Fielding and Alan Davies.
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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And welcome to QI, for a show all about numbers.
Tonight, we will cross the divide and go forth and multiply,
and in addition, we will subtract lots of points from Alan.
Let's meet our four fine figures. The rational Colin Lane...
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
..the complex Sarah Millican...
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
..the imaginary Noel Fielding...
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
..and the extremely random Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
So, if they would like to grab my attention,
they can count on their buzzers and Colin goes...
# One, two, three, four, five. #
# Five, four, three, two, one. #
-That's pretty good.
-Ah, that's very good. Noel goes...
# Two, four, six, eight. #
And Alan goes...
# ABC, ABC. #
So, here is question one.
Which is the loneliest number?
# Three, four, five. #
It's the obvious one, but it's not that one.
So, maybe two is the loneliest number,
because it's next to the one that gets talked about the most.
And do you know what?
I would make that entirely a correct answer
if it wasn't so horribly wrong. No.
-Three is the magic number.
-Three is the magic number.
Well, I've never tried, but so they say.
-Is it 13, cos it's quite unlucky,
so the other numbers don't want to go near it?
-OK, so it is an unpopular number.
-No, it's quite a high number. So, there's a mathematician...
-You're going in the right direction. NOEL:
-No, we're not going to play this higher or lower.
-102, 103, 104...110.
-Alan gets the point.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Now, I don't speak now for the rest of the evening.
Yep, that's it.
So, there's a mathematician called Alex Bellos
and he wanted to find the world's favourite number.
So, he asked a lot of people and 30,023 people responded.
And the lowest whole number that nobody chose was 110.
-It was everybody's least favourite number. AUDIENCE:
So, QI has adopted it as our favourite number.
That was a very, very lukewarm round of applause.
You prefer number seven, don't you?
OK, well, why might you prefer number seven?
That's a really interesting thing.
-Is it the lucky number?
-It's the world's favourite number.
That is the one that Alex Bellos discovered most people preferred.
And, in fact, there was a National Lottery draw
which rather bore this out.
The 23rd of March 2016,
five of the six numbers were multiples of seven, OK?
So, there was 7, 14, 21, 35, and 42,
and the other one was 41
and so many people chose them,
you got more money from matching four numbers
than you did from matching five.
So, four numbers you got £51 and five right you got £15.
When you were talking about a threesome,
I was trying to work out if I've had a sevensome.
I think I have.
If you can count your pets then I probably have.
LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH
Doesn't count if they're sleeping on the bed at the time,
that doesn't count.
Anyway, moving on. Now, have a look at these different numbers.
So, number one, anybody know what that one is
-right there in the middle? COLIN:
-I'm not good on hieroglyphics.
So, what were you saying, Colin? You were making a noise.
-You were just making the noise?
-I was just making a noise.
-What was the noise?
-Yeah. So, that's...
-Weirdly, it's quite close to the correct answer.
It's a man holding his hands up,
and he's most likely called either Huh, or Huuh,
The thing is, there are no vowels in hieroglyphs
and we don't know how it's pronounced,
but it's going to be some kind of vowely-H sound,
and he represents a million for the Egyptians.
-I think he's just going like, "I've no idea how many."
I think he's lost his keys.
Someone went, "Do you know where your keys are?"
And he went, "I don't know."
They're on your elbows, mate.
He basically represents infinity because to the Egyptians
a million is a very large, undefined number.
A bit like the way we use myriad so myriad actually means 10,000
but that isn't how we use it.
We use it as a symbol for something huge.
The Egyptians also had a symbol for 10,000 but it's just that.
A bent finger is 10,000 in...
So, if I ever go to you, "You owe me..."
-So, if you say something in parentheses...
..then you also owe me 40,000.
-Or you're doing shadow rabbits.
-Either way, it's a fun evening ahead.
Let's have a look at the other ones that we've got,
other than our Egyptian.
So, the eye, anybody know what the eye is, another pictogram?
Well, because I'm from Australia,
is it just a weird kind of Sydney Harbour Bridge, perhaps?
-Oh, I like that.
-It could be.
-I'll go for five.
No, it's four, three.
-Hmm, hmm, hmm.
-Zero, very good. NOEL:
It looks like I'm working you today.
It's the Mayan number zero.
Why didn't they just write zero, the Mayans?
Oh, because they were very busy doing a lot of clever things
-for us to find later.
They had the concept of zero by about 30 BC,
at which time the Romans and the Greeks didn't bother with it.
-Couldn't be arsed.
-They didn't have a number zero.
-Why's it eye shaped?
It looks like the eye's got prison bars over it.
Like they've outlawed looking.
No, the Greeks didn't bother with it, cos maths was more geometry for them,
so the zero didn't make any sense.
In fact, we don't get the zero in Europe until about the 13th century.
Before that, couldn't be arsed.
Let's have another look. OK, number three there.
Two to the power of 74,207,281 minus one.
Is it going to be the highest prime number or something?
It is. The largest prime number. You are on fire tonight.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
It's a Mersenne prime.
It is the largest one they've ever discovered
and it was discovered, obviously, by a computer.
Dr Curtis Cooper at the University of Central Missouri
set the computer off and then there was a glitch and an e-mail saying,
"We found it! We found it!" went unnoticed for months
-until they discovered it by accident.
-It went into spam?
It went into spam, yes!
It contains 228,388,618 digits in total.
It's basically 2x2x2 74 million times...
That's my lucky number.
But it's impossible to believe these things, isn't it,
that it's not divisible by anything at all?
-That's absolutely mind-blowing.
-Mind-blowing, isn't it, that that's a prime number?
So, the next one, number four there, eight billion and 85.
Any thoughts what that might be?
-That's a huge number, isn't it?
-Bacteria on your person?
Oh, gross me out.
Bacteria within your person?
SANDI AND SARAH GROAN
Bacteria trying to get out of your person.
I've honestly never felt so filthy.
So, if you were to write out all the numbers from one to ten billion
in words and organise them into alphabetical order,
this is the very first one that would be an odd number.
And that is because eight is the very first number alphabetically.
It begins with E.
Also, all the numbers beginning with eight
have to come before the next number, which would be 11.
So, it goes eight, eight billion, eight billion and eight,
eight billion and 18, eight billion and 80, eight billion and 88,
eight billion and 85,
so, it's the very first one that is an odd number.
OK, would it be a problem if you just explained that again?
Did you wish to take the news with you to Australia?
Look what I brought back from England,
this amazing piece of information, that I still don't understand.
-I'm trying to work out a face that I can do that would be
as if I did understand that.
Were you good at maths at school, Noel?
-Why do you think that is?
Cos I wasn't good at it either.
It didn't make sense to me.
You know that whole thing, a minus and a minus is a plus,
you know this is a thing?
So I used to say, "I don't have four sheep
"and you DON'T give me four sheep,
"how is it I've got eight sheep suddenly running around?"
How have you got eight sheep
-and who on earth put them into alphabetical order?
LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH
What about you, Colin? Did you do well at school?
-Well, I was bullied at school.
A kid stole my lunch and gave me a wedgie
and then I decided to give up teaching, so...
I like that. My very last school report,
you're supposed to get a nice one at the end
to send you off into the world and it just said,
"Sandra has a tendency to overdramatise."
Let's have a look back at the ones we have left in our number cloud.
If I tell you it's a cyclic number, does that mean anything to you?
-No, is it to do with bicycles?
-Oh, I like that.
"How many bicycles in Paris?" that kind of thing.
No. So, if you take this number
and you multiply it by any number between one and six,
the answer will always be an anagram of the original number.
-So, it will just keep all those numbers.
Look there, times two, times three, times four.
"We don't understand, but we're going to make a noise."
This is the beginnings of subjugation.
This number is an anagram of the other numbers.
When you get to the magic number seven,
you can see it doesn't work any more. It only works from one to six.
-Let's have a look at the number 43.
Anybody know about the number 43?
What I say my age is.
-Are you older or younger?
-I'm older, yes.
-See, I was being polite.
-Yes, thank you.
Boys don't mind about their age, do they?
-Do boys mind about their age?
-They pretend that they...
-You're shaking your head.
-I don't mind about my age.
-I don't mind about mine.
-I'm 38 and proud.
-Nothing wrong with that.
-I'd no idea. A year older than me.
The 43 goes to Friern Barnet.
-It's a bus?
-It's a bus.
-To you it's a bus number.
It's a Frobenius number. I'm not helping, am I?
-They didn't even give you an "Ooh".
I'm going to explain it in terms of McDonald's, OK?
So, this is a mathematical problem posed by a German
called Ferdinand Frobenius in the early 20th century.
Let's say it's Chicken McNuggets.
They are only sold in multiples of six, nine and 20.
And 43 is the largest number of McNuggets it's impossible to buy.
You could get 41, because you could have 20 and nine and six and six.
You could have 42 because you could have four lots of nine and a six.
You could have 44, because you could have four lots of six and a 20.
You cannot buy 43 McNuggets.
You'd have to throw some away.
Not even if you know Ronald McDonald?
Now for question number two which is aptly about number twos.
What can we do about the international poo shortage?
-# Three, two, one. #
-We could all get IBS.
I hadn't even thought of that.
-That man in the picture's very pleased with his.
He's going to need some cream on after that, I reckon.
Too much or too little poo?
-Is it animal as opposed to human, though?
-Yes, it is.
-So, why might that be a problem?
-It is fertilisation, it is.
-It isn't so much farmers but it is fertilisation.
So, the death of lots of the Earth's large animals,
it's had a knock-on effect on the smaller species
due to a worldwide lack of excrement
and it is really extraordinary because the natural fertilisation
which you would find on land with animal faeces,
it is dropped to 8% of what it was at the end of the last ice age.
-They're just not... COLIN:
-So, it's just animal number twos?
-So we can't do our bit? We...
-Well, I don't...
It's kind of you to offer but I don't know about Australia
but they have laws here and...
And I thought you were going to be different.
Oh, I am different but you haven't looked closely enough.
So, we need animal poo and in the oceans it's even worse.
So, faecal nutrients in the ocean are estimated at only 5%
of what they were historically.
If you think there's been a decline in the number of whales
and it was always thought that would cause the number of krill
to increase because, of course,
that krill is the very thing that they eat,
that hasn't materialised because the poo from the whales
that fertilises the plants that the krill eats
is no longer there in the quantities that it was.
And it's called trophic cascade, it's the process by which
a top predator helps the rest of the ecosystem.
92% less poo than there was at the end of the ice age?
Yeah, on the land.
-And 95% in the ocean.
Now, here's a really crap link.
I'm making some of this up as I go along.
What do these things have in common?
-So, we've got some die.
Clearly an English church
cos there's something half-timbered about it.
-A lava lamp, some neon and...
So, what have they got in common?
It's the odd one out. It is an odd one out round?
It's quite a random thing.
Is it anything to do with where they originated or something like that?
-No, they use...
-Did you say the word random?
-Is it to do with random.
-Is it because they're random?
They're all ways of generating random numbers.
So the easiest one is the tossing of the dice,
that's probably one of the oldest ways of creating random numbers.
People have been doing it forever.
Assuming the dice is not loaded in any way
then you will get a random number.
Computers can't actually generate random numbers,
they do everything by a pattern. It's sort of a pseudorandom thing.
Say you used a computer to pick lottery numbers,
if you knew the pattern, you'd be able to cheat.
They don't actually do it.
But you need tables of random numbers,
they're very useful in statistics
but you can't roll tens of thousands of dice,
that would be ridiculous.
The very first table which was in 1927 was created by taking
the middle digits from the area measurements
of 41,600 English churches.
Then there was a company called Lavarand in 1996
and they took pictures of lava lamps
and they extracted the data from those photos
and they used that to generate random numbers.
So all the things that we were looking at
were to do with the generation of random numbers.
And the rapper, there was a guy at Florida State University,
and he created a list of 4.8 billion randomly produced noughts and ones
by taking a number of rap songs and turning them into digital files.
So, these are all... I know. I mean, that he's got the time.
Why isn't the dice just enough for these people?
Presumably because you need millions of numbers
rather than just, "Ooh, it's a six."
-It's not all about board games, I've just realised.
In the past, they used to use the random selection
as a way of making political appointments.
They used to use something called sortition and what it is,
it's random selection, which I quite like.
People have just suggested it for the House of Lords in this country.
It might be you or it might be a member of the audience
-or it might be you.
-That's the old Plato thing, isn't it?
Chosen against his will because he was the best candidate.
-The philosopher king.
Here it would be probably David Beckham or someone.
I suppose we use it a bit, we use it for jury service, don't we?
And the Venetians, for years and years and years,
they used drawing of lots to select the Doge.
There were nine stages of drawing lots,
fantastically complicated system but carried on for about 500 years
and it was semi-random but the idea was that it helped people through
who are not just the people with money
or people who were good at demagoguery or that kind of thing.
So, anyway, let's go forth and multiply with our fourth question.
How did the Danish government convince its citizens to multiply?
This is one of my Randy Scandies.
-I do mean that.
Was it financial incentives?
-There were incentives.
-We all need incentives anyway, don't we?
What, to procreate?
Just, you know, the bit before that, as well.
Right. I'm fine, but OK.
I can narrow it down. It's actually a place called Thisted,
which is in Jutland, so the mainland, the bit that sticks out from Germany.
What happened? 2015, the local authorities were going to close down
the local school and everybody
was very upset in the local area so they struck a deal that the people
would procreate as much as possible if they kept the school
and the leisure facilities open.
Nothing says "I'm bringing sexy back" like a council memo.
Did they all do it? Did they all have to have kids?
Well, as many as possible. They were encouraged to have kids.
I have to say, it's a lovely place, Thisted.
Not a lot to do. Number three on their own website of things to do
in the area is visit the candle shop.
Sexy candles for around the bath.
There's been lots of times before, Britain has had its own panics
about falling populations because of the war and contraception and so on.
So, in 1921, the Daily Express
ran a competition to find Britain's largest family.
The News of the World offered a free tea tray
to any mother who gave birth to her tenth child.
Don't want your bloody tea tray, I'll take your head off with it.
And the French still give medals for having large families.
That's still a thing. The Medaille de la Famille Francaise.
How many kids for bronze? What do you reckon?
-Four to five. Silver, six to seven.
Gold, eight plus.
I thought you said 45, for a second there.
There is so much wrong with that picture, I can't begin.
-Why are they creating a human bench for their two children?
-That is worrying.
-Have they glued their heads together?
Maybe they're ventriloquists and that's how they hold their toy.
Just used to holding people like that.
Now, how many great nights out can you have in a single week in Wales?
-It's not seven.
Eight. The Welsh word for a week "wythnos"
translates as eight nights.
If you start counting a week on a Sunday night
and you finish on a Sunday night, which is how they used to do it,
-that's eight nights.
-But then that's wrong.
-Did nobody put them straight?
-It's wrong to us now.
I mean, lots of things have changed.
So, in old English, the day used to begin at sunset
so what was Wednesday night to an Anglo-Saxon
would be Tuesday night to us now, so that's changed.
And in some Muslim countries, for example,
where Friday is the holy day, you have a Friday, Saturday weekend,
the working week then starts on a Sunday.
Where can you get your hair done on a Sunday three in the afternoon?
That's a very good point.
And whose diary is that?
Because I'm having lunch with them.
-They can drive, that's nice.
Well, I think if they had any manners,
-they'd get their hair done before they had lunch with you.
Or it means that two days after lunch with Sandi,
you better get your hair done.
-She's a messy eater.
Anybody know what half of a fortnight is?
Imagine Jane Austen, for example. Jane Austen?
I'm not familiar with Jane Austen.
It's a sennight.
There's a lovely bit in Pride And Prejudice
where Mr Collins says he will trespass on your hospitality
from Monday, November 18th to the Saturday sennight following.
Do people still talk like that?
We should bring those things back, don't you think?
Mind you, wouldn't your heart fill with horror
if somebody's coming to stay for a sennight?
-How long is that again?
How long are you staying for?
I'm staying four nights which, traditionally,
it should only be three nights, something about fish or something?
-You shouldn't stay...
-It's Dickens, I think.
He said that fish and overnight guests are exactly the same,
-they both go off after three days.
Originally he was referring to Hans Christian Andersen,
who apparently was staying with him
and was a truly terrible house guest.
What if you put your guest in the fridge?
-Or freezer, even.
-Could last three months, then,
or, you know, ten years, like we all do.
Eight nights on the town in Wales makes for a long, long week.
Now, here's something nice.
Cake. You've each got a cake and a knife.
And here is the challenge.
I want you to cut two pieces of exactly equal size.
Now, you can use three cuts to do it, but in such a way
that the cake is still moist for you to have some more tomorrow.
What would be the best way of cutting it?
Could the cake stay moist in my tummy?
-Because then you just half it.
-Then you could just half it. No.
So, the idea is that there is cake for tomorrow.
So, we're going to start with Alan and Colin first.
-What is your...?
-Well, my theory is that we cut through the middle.
-This is going to be difficult, but we're going to do it.
-And then, we take the top off.
And we eat the bottom bit.
You're going to eat the whole of the bottom bit?
But that's quite a large piece of cake, isn't it?
We're two men in our 30s, we love cake.
Take the top of. Colin will remove the bottom of the cake.
Then put the top back down again.
That's moist for tomorrow and then we cut this... place that there,
we cut completely in half, like that.
-Two equal pieces.
-Wow, that's very good.
Do you think anybody who likes the filling is going to be mildly disappointed?
So, let's go over to...
-I've got an idea.
-No, do it with the cake!
-I'm just going to draw it first.
-Is that OK?
-Yes, darling, you do what you like.
What if we cut it like, in a way that we could...back together?
We cut like a bit out of here and a bit out of here
and then just smush...
That would be better, wouldn't it?
-Do you want to do it?
-That was a shambles, what they did.
-The smushing doesn't sound good.
-I reckon we have to do this first.
-Do you think?
-Yeah, go on.
Shush now. Shush, shush, shush now.
The audience are trying to be helpful, but are not.
-Well, they are. They are being helpful.
-OK. Go for it, Sarah.
-Oh, it's tough.
-Delicious is what you're looking for.
-And then, that.
-You've just drawn Pac-Man.
That doesn't make any sense.
So, take out your pieces.
These are our pieces.
Noel, were you calling US a shambles?
Is that what you were saying? There you go.
So, there is a mathematical way of doing it.
There was a man called Francis Galton. An extraordinary fellow.
He was an explorer and he was the very first person to come up with the idea
of a weather map and he was also slightly obsessed with the idea
of sharing a Christmas cake with his wife in an even manner.
So, what he did was he wrote a long treaties on the subject,
which he sent to Nature magazine.
You were absolutely heading in the right direction.
What you do is you cut it right down the middle like this
and then you pull out the entire centre piece.
-Ah, that was it!
-That's only two cuts though.
Wait, I haven't finished. You pull out the whole thing like this
and then you cut that one in half, so then you have two pieces.
-We were nearly there.
-You were very nearly there.
You have two pieces of cake like that and then you simply push
the cake back together.
Looks very similar to ours.
-Are you writing that down now, Noel?
-Yeah, I am.
So, only if there's two people though. I mean, what if...?
-There's usually 19.
-Then usually the whole cake gets eaten, I think.
It's not really a problem.
The same with two with me, to be honest.
There's actually a branch of mathematics called fair cake-cutting
which is about optimising the division of resources.
In Chinese economics, they talk about cake theory
and it's slightly different because the debate is whether
it's more important to divide the cake fairly
or to bake a bigger cake.
So, that's how you can halve your cake and eat it.
But now to a question about wrong numbers.
Where's the worst place in the world for nuisance calls?
That is a great picture.
Do you not think you thought more carefully about making
a phone call when you had to dial it one number at a time?
If you had to dial someone who had lots of eights and nines in it,
-sometimes you wouldn't bother.
-You just couldn't be arsed.
I actually did that, I bought a retro phone
-because I liked the look of it.
-And after about a week,
-I went, "Oh, this is killing me."
It's so boring.
When I was a child, we had a holiday home in the country in Denmark
-and there were so few...
There were so few telephones that our number was seven.
A woman used to put the calls through and then listen in
and you knew that.
You could hear her breathing.
So did you ever get people ringing up and then just go,
"I think you've got the wrong number"?
-Yes. "You want number nine."
-"I wanted six."
-"I wanted six."
Worst place in the world for nuisance calls.
-What do you reckon?
-I know what that call is,
someone's saying there's a poo shortage,
you haven't got anything in your nappy, have you?
-I can help out. Constantly.
Just working on it now.
Wouldn't it be the country with the most people in?
No, ironically, the place with the fewest telephones for a short while.
So, it's the Pacific island of Niue.
It looks fab, doesn't it?
Niue. So, in the early '90s, people were constantly woken up
by heavy breathers because the country was the home of an extremely
lucrative sex line business and people often used
to dial the wrong number.
There were only 387 telephones on the island and the phone numbers
only had four digits so people were often misdialling.
So, this is people ringing the wrong number and expecting a sex line?
-So, if they're already heavy breathing, they've started already.
I didn't know this.
Maybe it was just a helpline for asthma, people with asthma.
Nothing sexual. That guy's trying to ring nine people at the same time.
That's not going to work.
I once picked up the phone and somebody said,
"You're supposed to be a fax!"
And you think, "I have no idea what to say back to them."
So they had a terrible time because people were constantly getting wrong
numbers and Belgium was another country that ran sex lines
for quite a while. When they were banned,
this is the most brilliant thing, they started a new thing,
which was cookery lines with recipes read
in the most sexual way possible.
-They had to read out sexy recipes.
-What's a sexy recipe?
-Toad in the hole.
-Toad in the hole!
-Toad in the hole.
I can't think of anything more exciting, I think.
I quite fancy a toad in the hole.
Last time I had that, I had a football under my arm
and a catapult in my pocket.
Two weeks ago.
You used to be able to get toad in the hole followed by spotted dick.
-There's a recipe you could read out.
So, here's the thing.
We're going to make our own nuisance call this evening.
There is a number that anybody can ring in Sweden
and it's a scheme set up by the country's tourism authority
to celebrate 250 years of free speech in Sweden
and it's called Ring a Random Swede, OK?
It's genuinely a random thing.
We've no idea who we're going to get.
We've already pre-selected a question from a member
of the audience and the question is why do you eat rotten fish?
Does anybody speak Swedish?
Here's the marvellous thing about Scandinavians,
-their English is really coming along.
So, the marvellous sound department are going to put the call through
now and obviously we'll have to explain what it is we're doing to this person.
This whole thing's making me very anxious, I don't know why.
Is it? Just talking to somebody you don't know?
Because I think if somebody rang me randomly, I'd be so pissed off.
-I know, but people have signed up for it.
-Oh, they want it.
They've signed up to be Random Swede.
It's not like you just... MAN SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE
-Hi, my name is Sandi, I'm ringing from London.
Robin. Hi. You're my Random Swede that I'm ringing.
Is it your first phone call from an English person?
Well, this is kind of exciting, Robin, because I'm ringing you
from a live television studio in London.
You're on the BBC right now, is that OK?
OK. I tell you what, we'll have a round of applause from our audience.
Maybe you can hear that.
So, what do you do, Robin?
Are you actually in the shop?
OK. So, we have a question from our audience.
You may be buying this now, what do I know?
Why do Swedish people eat rotten fish is the question
we want to ask you.
So, what are you going to buy, Robin, for your dinner?
-Nice, sounds nice.
-Parmesan, that sounds lovely.
-(Very good English.)
-Yes, very good English.
Can you ask him how he's going to divide the chicken?
-And to keep it moist the next...
So here's the thing, Robin...
Are you all right if we put this on the BBC?
On BBC Two. It's called QI, do you know QI?
You have your own version in Sweden of QI.
-Could you ask him...?
-Could you ask him what time should he expect us for dinner?
The whole audience wants to come for dinner.
It was lovely to speak to you, Robin.
-His English was pretty good.
-That English, coming along, wasn't it?
Yeah, coming along.
You'll never meet an unfriendly Swede, that's my view.
No, darling, that's because they're usually drunk.
It's a Danish-Swedish thing.
OK, new question.
How does it feel to be a 9-ender?
-If you've lost a finger?
Oh! It's not that.
It's about our ages.
Oh, is it if you're sort of 19, 29, 39?
Yes, it's exactly that.
They did a study in 2014,
Adam Alter and Hal E Hershfield of New York University,
and people who have nine at the end of their age
are more likely to be looking for purpose in their lives.
I think the idea is that we see a new decade
-as a sort of watershed moment.
-A milestone, exactly right.
So, more likely to be registered on dating sites
looking for extramarital affairs, for example.
More likely to run a marathon
or commit suicide.
I don't think that's an either or, I don't think that's...
And also to do better in marathons cos they're better motivated.
And lots of examples,
Buddha renounced all his possessions when he was 29,
Agatha Christie published her first book at 29,
Alexander Graham Bell transmitted his first sentence by telephone
at 29, so there are lots and lots of examples.
-I started doing stand-up at 29.
Peter Schmeichel won his first Premiership winner's medal at 29
and this year, his son Kasper
has won his first Premiership medal at 29.
-Wow, that's kind of spooky. AUDIENCE:
-That is kind of spooky.
-And they're both goalkeepers.
And they're both Danish.
Yes, well, there's a Randy Scandi.
-I've come up with a Randy Scandi!
Right, let's play How Many People In The Audience...
Each of my panellists has got a coloured card
and the audience also has coloured cards
and I'm going to get them to stand up and I want you to
tell me which item on this list relates
to the number of people who are standing.
We're going to start with Colin, what colour is your card?
-So, could all the blue card people stand up, please?
What do you reckon, Colin?
-How many people do you think that is?
It's about 182.
-It's 230 people.
It took 230 people to do one of these five things.
Selfie fatalities in 2014.
It is not. It is something a little bit more substantial.
-Built the Eiffel Tower.
-Built the Eiffel Tower is absolutely right.
Built by 230 people in two years.
Sit back down again and we will come to Sarah.
What colour is your card?
-I have red.
-So, could I have the red cards standing, please?
How many do you think that might be?
So, have a look at the list, what do you reckon?
I think maybe the selfie fatalities.
You keep going for that one. It isn't that.
It's the world record number of children born to a single mother.
-All of you are now related.
It's a woman called Valentina Vassilyev.
She had 16 pairs of twins,
she had seven sets of triplets
and four sets of quadruplets in 40 years, between 1725 and 1765.
In total, 27 births.
Her husband, Feodor Vassilyev,
went on to have a further 18 children with his second wife.
So, he left her?! After all of those kids!
I think she died. I think she died.
It's unbelievable, isn't it?
But the way she was having children
was someone was unscrewing her and they were just getting out...
But this is a wrong that ought to be righted.
The Guinness Book of Records describes Valentina
as the wife of Feodor without mentioning her own name
and she deserves absolutely her own name as credit.
-Valentina, she was called.
-Do you know how young she started?
Well, over 40 years she had the children...
-Oh, my God.
-..so must've started very young indeed.
-She was four.
Let's have a look at yours, Noel. What colour is your card?
White. Let's have all the white cards stand.
How many people do you reckon that is?
-49, almost exactly right.
-What does that represent? COLIN:
Everybody's gone for the selfie fatalities, what do you reckon?
You should have gone for the selfie fatalities.
That number of people, very sadly, in 2014, died taking a selfie.
16 came from a fall, four from a gunshot, one from an animal,
I don't know what the story is, I've no idea.
The most common place apparently to die taking a selfie is in India.
Followed by Russia.
I tell you what, Alan, why don't you get the whole audience to stand up?
Everyone, please rise.
There we are. AUDIENCE RISES NOISILY
-So, that's the entire audience.
-Oh, I've heard that noise before.
Turn your back for two seconds.
625 people is the QI audience.
I can tell you it represents people who died in a certain way.
They didn't die together. It was 625 individual incidents.
-It's an accident in the home.
Coming to panel shows?
The word coming is going to be most...
-It's the number of people in 2014
who died from autoerotic asphyxiation.
Sit down, you dirty bastards!
Sorry, I'm confused. I thought for a moment you were all autoerotics.
That's how to explain the dangers of autoerotic asphyxiation
using our studio audience.
All of which talk of hard sums brings us to the insoluble equation
that is general ignorance. So, fingers on buzzers, please.
In terms of numbers, which is the most common vertebrate in the world?
# ABC. #
We never knew you liked the klaxon!
We'll get some more. We'll get some more.
Seven billion humans.
I can tell you already there are more chickens than there are...
# ABC. #
-Chickens, that should do it.
# Three, two, one. #
-It's not rats?
It's not rats.
-I have got it.
People who died of auto asphyxiation.
-It's a fish.
It's a fish called the Bristlemouth and it's tiny.
It is smaller than your finger but if it opens its mouth up wide
it's got these incredible needle-like teeth.
It's an amazing fish. It glows and it eats even smaller creatures,
which you can see there, called copepods, but they are not vertebrates.
But this is the largest number of vertebrates in the world.
They live in the sea between half a mile and three miles down and until
the 21st-century, so they got the very fine dredging nets,
we didn't really know how many there were.
The estimate now is that there are as many as a dozen
-per square metre of ocean surface.
And they disguise themselves as diagrams.
Protandrous, do you know what that means?
-They're protandrous. They...
Like Chrissie Hynde? No.
-I don't know about that. They're male first hermaphrodites.
The most common animal in the world is an invertebrate.
It's the nematode worm.
Four out of five of all animals is a nematode worm.
Anything that comes at you like that without any eyes...
That's why some of us made the life choices we did.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
What colour bricks did they build Number 10 with?
-Oh, red ones, surely. They're dirty.
There was lots and lots of pollution and in fact when it was cleaned off
in the '50s and '60s, they thought, "Oh, we better paint it black
-"cos everyone's expecting it to be black."
-Oh, no, really?
And can you see the zero on the ten is slightly askew?
It's an homage to old number which was always very slightly askew.
The White House is also made with yellow bricks
so that is a curious thing,
they are in fact sandstone underneath all that white paint.
They may not look it but the White House
and the front of Number 10 Downing Street
are both a similar shade of yellow.
The word noon comes from the word nun, which meant nine,
so with that in mind, if you had to meet a ninth-century nun
at noon, what time would you noodle off to the nunnery?
Noon means nun, which came from nine,
you're meeting the nun at nine.
Nun, what time would you meet if you were meeting the nun at noon?
There isn't a nun.
-Anyone else want to have a go?
-Just call them, instead.
Until the mid-12th century,
the word noon meant three o'clock in the afternoon.
You were so winning, as well. You just destroyed your score.
It goes back to old Christian prayer times,
so it used to be that the day began at 6am,
so that was known as the prime or the first hour
and then you have terces, so the third hour, that would be 9am today.
-Nonny's the ninth hour.
-That guy in the orange has got my haircut.
He's praying for a new one.
"Please, I don't want to be in Cabaret any more!"
Until the Middle Ages, noon was 3pm and all this talk of time makes me
realise it must be time for the scores.
In last place with -41 is Alan.
It should be Sarah next, but we're going to skip over that
and we're going to put in third place Colin, with -9.
Thank you. And in second place, Noel, with one point!
So, Sarah actually got -26, but I was supposed to do a gig for Sarah
and I let her down by becoming the new host of QI and I couldn't do it,
so this week's winner, to make up for it, is Sarah Millican!
That's all from Sarah, Noel, Colin,
Alan and me. And I leave you with this number-related,
Neolithic newspaper nugget from the Eastern Evening News.
When two men stole six sheep from a farm at Mumford,
they found that they could only get five of them into the back of their van.
So, the other one had to sit in the cab between the two men.
But the men had to pass through Watton on their way home.
Fearing that the sheep sitting in the cab might be conspicuous,
they disguised it by putting a trilby hat on its head.