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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Good evening and welcome to QI,
where tonight we'll be suffering all things odorous and odious -
and joining me on our olfactory odyssey
are the fragrant Nish Kumar...
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
..the aromatic Sally Phillips...
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
..the musky Ross Noble...
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
..and... SHE SNIFFS
..the unmistakable essence of Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And their buzzers are particularly odorous. Sally goes...
# You've got to stop
# And smell the roses. #
Oh, I love that. Nish goes...
# Oh, I think I smell a rat
# Oh, I think I smell a rat. #
Oh, I wanted more of that. Ross goes...
# I can smell it, baby
# Can you smell it too? #
Drinks half price. And Alan goes...
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
-Even on a show as high-brow as this...
..that is still funny.
The whole show is about smell, OK, so I've got these -
scratch-and-sniff stickers that they often give out in schools
for good work.
So I've got strawberry, lemon meringue and grape,
and if you do good work and are particularly clever,
-you could have a scratch-and-sniff sticker, OK?
So which would you want to go for - strawberry, lemon or grape?
I've got a cold, I can't smell anything at the moment,
so, really, I'm easy.
You're lucky cos you're next to Ross - it's the best thing.
How dare you?! These pants were fresh on last week.
I don't think, Sally... Can I just say, no woman should ever say,
"I can't smell anything, I'm easy." I don't think that's...
Every man's dream is a woman with no sense of smell!
OK, let's start with some smells.
What scent should you wear to attract a cougar?
Is it John Cougar Mellencamp?
Is that from...?
-If you're camping...
-..and you're eating some melon,
-and a cougar appears...
..you hear the music of the '80s.
I've really missed you, Ross. LAUGHTER
There's a double meaning at work here.
-Ah, you know me well...
-..the...the vampy older lady...
Hi. An excellent example.
You're calling Sally old?
I'm fine with that. Easy, no sense of smell...
It's a hell of a Tinder profile.
Are you swiping left or right at the moment, Nish?
I don't even know what I just asked you. Um...
Well, in 2003, the Wildlife Conservation Society
tested a variety of scents to see which ones big cats find attractive.
-Now, why would they do this?
-Was it too busy in the perfume department of Boots?
Cos the thing about those women, you know in the make-up...
-..they've got those faces...
..and a wild cat can rip at their face and have no effect.
That's how deep the make-up is.
No, what it is, you want to lure the big cats in
towards camera traps for filming.
So they discovered that there's a clear winner -
Calvin Klein's Obsession kept big cats interested for 11 minutes.
By comparison, Nina Ricci's L'air du Temps, ten minutes.
The effects of Revlon's Charlie -
15 and a half seconds.
-And some mild blistering.
I thought they attracted wild cats with...
piss...of other wild cats.
Well, that's a hell of a night out.
How did you come to think this?
I thought that they made ointments
of the urine of other...
Yeah, they do, but it's called Lynx.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Here's the thing - so, the smell matters with wild animals.
In 2003, the Manitoba government,
they had a terrible issue with polar bears,
and the issue was, there were orphaned polar bears,
but the adult females did not want to adopt them,
cos they could smell them and tell it wasn't their baby,
so, they put them both to sleep
and then they rubbed the baby all over with Vicks VapoRub
and then they put Vicks VapoRub on the muzzle of the female,
and when she woke up, she sniffed the cub that was next to her,
she thought it was her baby and she adopted it, and that was...
And neither of them got a cold.
When you said they put them to sleep...
Yeah... No... Oh! LAUGHTER
So, there's a scientist injects this thing,
there's a dead polar bear, they just tied it to the leg of the mum,
and she just...
"I think we need to do more research on this, lads."
"This mother is not adopting this cub.
"Kill them both."
"What about the Vicks VapoRub?" "Don't be absurd."
Right, we're going to play a game now.
-Time to play On The Scent.
OK, I've got some descriptions of perfumes,
and I want you to guess which celebrity they come from, OK?
So, "Focused on the topic of decisiveness and persistence,
"its composition is based on sophisticated shades of spices
"which are blended with citruses over a masculine, elegant heart
"and a woody, leathery base."
# Smell the roses... #
Is it David Beckham?
-Wait a minute...
-It was the word "leathery."
-Grape, lemon or strawberry?
-I'll have grape, please.
-There you go.
-That was amazing.
-That's amazing, the way you did it.
Do you smell that and you go...
You have to smell it. There's no point just putting it on you.
I can't smell anything - I've told you, I've got a cold.
I never thought I'd say this to a woman, just scratch it and sniff...
Ross can sniff it.
Sorry, do you just want to carry on while we do this?!
He can't smell anything, either!
I have a terrible, terrible... Look at me!
-Terrible sense of smell.
-That's why you're at the end.
So, it's called Beyond Forever.
-I love it.
-By David Beckham.
OK, here's the next one. Ready?
"The perfect accessory for the confident man
"determined to make his mark with passion, perseverance and drive.
"For those who aspire to create their own empire
"through personal achievement, this dynamic scent is both compelling
"and leaves a lasting impression.
-# ..smell it too... #
Is it Rory Bremner?
Rory could probably do this person, I would imagine.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
I'm very, very pleased to actually have a...
-..a trump sound.
And it's called Empire by Donald Trump.
-You wanted lemon meringue, didn't you?
-Lemon meringue, yeah.
You want them with sunglasses, or without?
-There you go. I gave you sunglasses...
-Thank you so much.
-..if that's OK.
-I'm going to scratch quite hard.
Are you getting lemon meringue?
Quite a lot on my finger.
No, hang on, that's not lemon...
Oh, you're doing your own jokes there. "Eurgh!"
Right, last one. Uh... Ready?
"Bass notes on a leather, peat fire, highland mud, burned rubber
"and white truffle."
-# ..smell a rat... #
Is it Ross?!
They do call me the Highland Truffle.
Because of that dance I invented.
Oh, yeah. Dressed as a pig in a kilt.
Have you not got your own perfume in the...?
I've released many scents...
..but...but not one that people would pay for.
I quite like the idea of a perfume called Noble Gas.
I think that's...
Oh, yeah. Yeah.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
-Although, I have to say...
-..that I think a lady's perfume
that had two-stroke mix...
That... That would just get me...
-Oh, that does smell nice, doesn't it?
-Just that two...
-Two-stroke mix. Oil and petrol.
-The stuff you put in lawnmowers.
I did once see Ann Summers
were releasing lager-flavoured Booby Drops.
-Whoa, whoa, whoa, hang on!
-Are you serious?
Yeah. Make women smell like things that men like,
like petrol, and...
-Whoa, whoa, whoa, no, no, no.
I don't want just petrol.
It's a... It's a fine two-stroke mix
Because if she dabs a bit of two-stroke on,
I think, "Oh, it's beautiful, it's..."
-Do you want notes of two-stroke?
I'm going to carry on with this one.
"Heart notes are sharp and tempting with cigar, heather, fir and rubber.
"Top notes complete the fragrance with fresh, spiced notes
"of bergamot, black pepper, pine and whisky."
# ..smell it too... #
It would have to say "creosote" if it was David Dickinson.
-It's a boy...
-Is it George Clooney?
No, it's the best name for a perfume ever, I think.
It is Cumming by Alan Cumming.
Right. Now, what will the Apocalypse smell like?
-Well, there's four horses, so there's a start.
-A massive barbecue?
-A barbecued horse.
Kind of. What other sort of smells might you find?
Well, there's pestilence. That's got to be a bit...
-Pestilence is very bad.
-A touch of...
-That's going to be odorous.
I can't imagine plague's going to be a barrel of laughs, as well.
No, that's whiffy.
Well, here's the thing - there is a perfume specifically designed
to smell like the Apocalypse.
-And I have it here.
Two artists, Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead, they went through
the Book of Revelation in the 1611 King James Bible
and they put together everything that has a recognisable smell.
So it's blood, rocks of the mountains, incense, wormwood,
rod of iron, creatures of the sea, hail and fire, animal horns...
HE COUGHS VIOLENTLY
Eurgh, it smells like racism!
That's a good name for a perfume - "Racism".
So they passed this list to an Edinburgh-based perfume maker,
Euan McCall, and he turned it into a scent.
A reporter for The Guardian newspaper had a sniff
and described it as "digestive".
What do you think it smells like?
Well, it smells... It smells of the Apocalypse.
It tastes of...
Weirdly, it tastes of Romford.
I think it smells of Glow by Jennifer Lopez.
How do you have such an encyclopaedic knowledge
-of all celebrities' fragrances?
Is it unpleasant? I haven't actually smelled it.
I can't smell anything.
-It gets right to the back of your brain.
According to Anna Williams,
who's the associate professor in forensic anthropology
at the University of Huddersfield,
the smell of death is very, very complicated.
There's about 480 individual odours,
and, apparently, death, to begin with, rather pleasant -
it smells of sort of freshly-mown grass,
that sort of thing, leaf litter.
A few days later, it smells of paint thinner -
so, it's not quite so bad.
-Once decomposition sets in...
..we're getting towards rotting cabbage.
Then old fish, vomit and eventually sweet burning rubber.
That's just taken you through the whole smell, there, of the thing.
That's like me after a big night out.
I went for a walk, once, with Caroline Quentin,
and we found a dead horse...
..and it was in a sort of a pit, and it was...
Actually, I think it was a donkey - and the stench was unbelievable.
-It is, it's very high, isn't it?
Is this a real thing, or is this an episode of Jonathan Creek?
Are you now starting to think that scenes are real?
"And then - and then we were in this windmill, right?
"Hang on, no..."
The thing was, obviously we were filming Jonathan Creek,
and then we were having a break between scenes
-and we stumbled upon our own mystery.
I think that was probably a real life game of Buckaroo gone wrong.
-I love Buckaroo!
-Not with a real donkey, you don't.
I mean, it's all fun and games till you put the chest on its back,
and then it snaps the spine, RSPCA are called,
you have to drag it into a pit...
It's a nightmare. And then just as you're covering it up,
bloody film crew turn up.
"This looks like real life Buckaroo."
HE HUMS JONATHAN CREEK THEME
Trying to do an impression of myself, then!
It's as bad as all my other impressions.
I can't even do myself!
There are dead things that smell nice.
Dead saints apparently smell beautiful.
The odour of sanctity, which is known as osmogenesia,
apparently, saints smell of lilies.
It's one of the ways you know they're saints.
Padre Pio, who was a famous Italian priest...
-..who became a saint...
Who looks exactly the same as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
-He does look just like Obi-Wan Kenobi!
Here's a tip for you, right?
If you're ever at a holy shrine and there's a Padre Pio there,
he's got the white hair, he's got the white beard,
-he's got the long, brown robes...
-..and he stands like this...
-MIMICS ALEC GUINNESS:
-These are not the droids you're looking for.
Save a fortune - half the price of a Star Wars figure at Toys R Us,
-give it to your kids.
-Save at Christmas.
-And smells of lilies.
-Anyway, there you are.
Now, who won the battle of the smellies?
I know something where you have to make yourself smelly -
Oh, yes? Is that the point of it?
They make themselves smelly to be appalling to their opponent,
so they don't wash for days and they...
Or maybe it isn't Turkish wrestling!
-Are you think...?
-You're thinking of fencing, mate.
No, are you thinking of Turkish delight? That's the opposite.
Is it big on Sky Sports?
-No. No, it's not.
-OK, so we're going to go to the 1950s.
What happened in entertainment in the 1950s?
-Yeah, the cinemas were worried,
because television was becoming so huge,
and they thought they needed a gimmick,
and so they began to pipe smells into films
and there were two different systems.
There was Smell-O-Vision and there was AromaRama,
and they both released films within a couple of weeks of each other,
and it became known as the battle of the smellies.
And neither one of them was hugely successful.
So, Smell-O-Vision was delivered by a device
which was called the smell brain
that was kept under the viewer's seat.
But the technology was... Let's call it imperfect.
So, some aromas were delivered with a bit of a delay,
so they didn't match the images,
which was quite bad.
Other smells made people nauseous,
and the delivery mechanism apparently hissed really loudly,
so that interfered with the viewers' enjoyment of the film.
And then there was AromaRama,
and that used the cinema's air conditioning system
to deliver the smells from above, also very unpopular.
There's a review in the New York Times in 1959
that said that "when this viewer emerged from the theatre,
"he happily filled his lungs
"with that lovely fume-laden New York ozone.
"It never has smelled so good."
And the American singer-songwriter Melanie,
she released an album in 1972 called Garden In The City,
and it's got, you can see down here,
a scratch and sniff label on the cover,
and the instruction said,
"Rub gently to release the magic of Melanie's garden." You could...
I think we'll move on.
Like all wars, the battle of the smellies
resulted in no winners, and only losers.
Why is the second smelliest man in the world so frustrated?
Is he frustrated because everyone's like,
"You must be the smelliest person in the world.
-And he's like, "Yeah, you'd think..."
"Do I have a certificate? No."
Is it Boris Johnson?
-It's a cattle herder from India called Kailash Singh.
He stopped washing in 1974
because a priest told him that he would have a son
if he didn't bathe or cut his hair.
So, it's 40 years later, he hasn't had a single bath or a shower.
He's got six-foot-long dreadlocks.
He's father to seven daughters, and, no...
What, can you believe he's had sex at all? It's...breath-taking.
There's the lovely place of Varanasi,
on the banks of the Ganges, there, where he lives.
His family did once try and force him to bathe in the river,
but he fought them off and said he would rather die.
-So they killed him.
But he now says he's going to wash in the next life.
-That's his plan.
But he's only the second smelliest man in the world.
The person currently believed to be the most unwashed man
in the world is Amou Haji.
We don't have a picture of him.
I think it would be too much for the cameraman to get...
No photographer can get near enough.
"Use the zoom!"
"It's too much!"
"The lens is fogging!"
He hasn't washed for over 60 years.
He lives, not surprisingly, in a remote village.
You'd have to do it like the cheetahs -
you'd have to set up a camera
-and then try and attract him towards it.
-Yeah, lure him.
Where's his village?
He lives in southern Iran and he lives on roadkill.
He gets more and more attractive as you go through.
He particularly likes porcupine and he smokes animal dung in his pipe.
And if he needs a haircut, he burns his hair off with fire.
Hey, stop looking at me.
We've been talking a lot about smell.
How do you measure the unpleasantness of a smell?
How might you decide?
I mean, I don't know, but I once did a fart that was so bad, my dad...
I didn't own up to it, and my dad went and got the Yellow Pages out,
and he was looking for the number of a plumber
because he thought a sewage pipe had leaked.
Did you not have a Labrador you could blame?
-Yeah, dogs' farts are bad.
-Dogs, they're very bad.
My dog used to get up...
The only time she ever left the room was if she'd farted.
She'd be lying there by the sofa asleep,
and I'd be watching Morse or something...
..and then she'd just get up and go in the hall.
And then immediately, I'd have to pause Morse and get up and go.
We both would have to stand in the hall...
..for a period of time until it would clear.
There was only the two of us in the flat.
Anyway, here's a thing -
there's a Danish engineer called Professor Povl Ole Fanger,
and he wants to create a new unit of measurement called an olf, OK?
So one olf would be the emission of air pollutants
given off by a standard person.
And the idea is that any unpleasant smell could then be expressed
by the number of people it would take
to cause that level of unpleasantness.
So you have an average person is an olf,
and then, say that your fart,
you know, well, "Wow, that's like 150 olfs", that it would be.
-That was a lot of olfs.
-That's a lot of olfs.
My wife, her horses... Our bedroom has got a window,
and the horses are out there, and they fart so loudly
that sometimes I have to turn the telly up.
So, on a summer's evening, just lying in bed, there,
put the telly on, and just hear...
-HE MAKES FART NOISE
What, they're eating, or are horses particularly...?
They have to or they die.
But are they particularly gassy, horses?
Oh, God, yeah, horses, they're shocking.
I don't know how the Queen stands it in that carriage.
-Just buy a car.
That's why the hat's always at a jaunty angle.
Anyway, moving on...
What do the UK's stink pipes do?
It sounds like a barber shop quartet, doesn't it?
The Stink Pipes.
Oh, that's a great title for a band, yeah.
-"And now The Stink Pipes."
-It's an actual thing.
Indeed, you may have passed one on the way to the studio.
I think the nearest one to this studio is at Southwark Bridge.
Are they letting out odours from...the sewers?
Absolutely right, yes.
-You can have another sticker.
-You can have another sticker.
Very well done.
There you are. Purple one.
Yes, you're absolutely right.
They're sort of tall, hollow, cast iron pipes.
They stand at quite often six to eight metres tall,
and their purpose is to ventilate the potentially explosive...
-Is it smelling?
-Oh, yes, that one has, that smells,
-doesn't it, Nish?
-Yeah, yeah, that's a very strong smell!
-But do they still work?
-Yes, they still absolutely work,
and they follow the routes of the main sewers.
Lots of them are still in operation.
How cheap is that flat?
Yeah, that's not nice, is it?
You do have to update sewers
because sewer explosions are not uncommon if they are not
properly looked after and the gas isn't released and so on.
So the River Fleet at King's Cross exploded in 1846.
It destroyed a Clerkenwell poorhouse,
and it smashed a Thames steam boat against Blackfriars Bridge.
Can we do anything with it yet?
Has some scientist managed to, you know, like create...
-With the sewage?
-..create power or something?
Well, the gas, they used to burn
the gas off sometimes at the top of the stink pipes.
In fact, in Sheffield, you can still see that,
some of the gas being burnt off.
But whether they could actually power things with sewage,
-that would be fantastic.
-I mean, they can use...
It's normally animal faeces, but very popular for making houses.
Wattle and daub.
-Yeah, that's right!
-Yes, it's fantastic stuff.
And in the pioneer days, in the United States,
when they were heading west across Nevada and places like that,
there was no...nothing to burn, they used to burn buffalo dung,
so it always used to be known as buffalo chips,
so there are uses and perhaps we're just not being sensible about it.
All I'm saying is that we've got
all this sewage that isn't being used,
we've got a housing crisis...
Don't you think they are rather beautiful?
This is the thing I love about the Victorians,
they made things to be beautiful, even sort of rubbish things,
so the interior of Crossness sewer pump station,
which is in Belvedere in Kent...
-There it is, look at that.
..is known as the Cathedral on the Marsh for its ornate design
and it's just breathtakingly beautiful.
Listen, while we're speaking of beauty combined with bowels -
and who hasn't started a conversation like that
on a hot date - I just want to show you something
which is one of my favourite buildings,
and it is called the Rundetaarn
and it is a 17th-century tower in Copenhagen
and it's breathtakingly beautiful inside,
it is one of the world's first observatories.
There's the inside. Isn't that stunning?
And it was designed so that the king could ride his horse up
so that he didn't have to walk up the stairs,
but what is extraordinary about it, it has a toilet at the top,
which consists of a seat and a shaft straight down to the bottom
and there was no way of emptying it, so it just filled up.
It's one of the world's largest and earliest septic tanks.
Today it's got a glass plate over it so you can't smell anything,
but it was point zero, used by
the famous Danish astronomer Thomas Bugge in the 1760s
as the starting point for his calculations
for the measuring of Denmark, so he started the whole of
the measuring and mapping of Denmark from that toilet seat.
I have a lot of my best ideas while I'm taking a number two.
I can only imagine one day I'll be like, "Denmark!"
If you go, it's really beautiful,
and at the very top is a kissing bench designed for couples.
How close to the toilet is it?
Now, whose social media is little more than an odious pile of crap?
Is that a trick question, because isn't it everyone's?
No, it's the white rhino.
They use their poo as a kind of social media.
Look at that, magnificent creature!
They did a study by the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa
and they found that they have sort of communal latrines,
places where they all get together and have a defecation
and there are chemical clues
and you can tell the age, the sex, the general health,
the reproductive condition of the other rhinos.
It gives away, basically, their profile,
how they're feeling, what their relationship status...
I don't think there are any videos of cats or anything like that,
but through their dung, they can communicate with other rhinos.
The Canadians used to have a political party, actually,
called the Rhinoceros Party
and part of their policy proposal was to abolish the environment
because it caused too much trouble.
That's just annoying!
They named the party after Cacareco,
a black rhino who was put up as a candidate in 1958 in Sao Paulo,
in the elections in Brazil, and won!
She got 100,000 votes before her election was nullified.
And there are other animals. In 1954, a goat called Smelly
was voted in as a city councillor in Brazil
and, at the time of recording, there's a cat called Stubbs
who is still the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska.
There he is, been mayor since 1997.
Right, time for a little food.
I want you to smell this oil and tell me what has been added to it.
There you go.
Is it truffle?
Well... KLAXON BLARES
Idiot. I'm an idiot.
That's the thing with being
a worldwide international restaurant critic...
..when I get a taste of the truffle, I can't... Yeah.
Here is the thing -
almost all truffle oil on the market has never seen a truffle.
It's a mixture of olive oil and chemicals
which gives it its truffle aroma.
So what you do is you take methyl mercaptan,
which is the main compound in bad breath and smelly feet,
and you add it to some formaldehyde.
I love the smell of truffle.
The Epicureans said the scent smelled like
the tussled sheets on a brothel bed.
And medieval monks were not allowed to have truffles, because it
was believed that it would make them forget their calling.
I don't know... These are unbelievably expensive.
We have some actual truffles there.
Is it nice?
Is it nice like that?
It's totally wasted on me.
Do not like it, darling?
My idea of a really nice taste is a Bourbon.
We're not talking French royalty, are we?
No, we're talking you can get a packet of 100 in Tesco's for 40p.
There's some surprising stuff
in the world of food that you wouldn't know.
So you wouldn't know mostly when you buy truffle oil
that it's never been anywhere near a truffle.
And also, can I recommend a book to you called
Extra Virginity: The Sublime And Scandalous World Of Olive Oil, OK?
And it turns out that there's a huge amount of
fraudulent mislabelling in the olive oil world.
Apparently, over 50% of olive oil sold in Italy is adulterated,
and 75-80% in the United States is completely adulterated.
You'd think you're getting that... Well, this is...
They should have, on the extra virgin olive oil,
just have, like, in brackets, "May contain slag."
Definitely, possibly a double sticker on that one, I think.
-There's a double, so I think that was definitely...
-So the truffle oil that doesn't contain the truffles...
..if I was to take a highly trained truffle pig,
would it sniff out the truffle oil, even though it smells a bit...
it SMELLS like a truffle, but it doesn't have truffle in?
-Could you check?
The exact sensitivity of a truffle pig is not my specialist area.
Sally, can I just thank you for coming on and being so...?
I mean, once I dressed up as a wolf, right?
He's only built his house out of straw - idiot!
-So they're not...
-Honestly, it feels like charity work sometimes!
So, what I'm saying is,
if you dipped a non-truffle in the artificial truffle oil
and then it would be sold as a truffle and nobody...
We're on to a moneymaking scheme!
And there, I think...
If you dipped a real truffle in some fake truffle smell?
That's what you just said, isn't it?
-No, no, no, it's all about fooling pigs.
-No, you get something that looks like a truffle...
-Goat shit, Alan's right.
If you tune in and you see Gloria Hunniford on Rip-Off Britain
and a picture of me and a pig...
I'll be in the Bahamas! Oh, yeah! I'm on Easy Street!
If I see a picture of you and a pig with Gloria Hunniford,
I won't be the least bit surprised.
Now, do you have the ability to sniff out crime?
Depends what kind of crime.
He who smelt it dealt it - that is legally binding.
Today I probably couldn't sniff out a crime,
because of the cold, aforementioned.
But, I mean, I guess you could smell certain types of crime?
Well, they did some research in the Karolinska Institute in Sweden,
a Professor Mats Olsson,
and people can tell a criminal by smell as well as by sight.
So they showed some video clips to people of crimes being committed,
and asked them to smell, at the same time,
the body odour of the person who was committing it.
And when there was a line-up, just by the smell of the person,
they were able to work out, 70% of the time, which is exactly the same
as a visual line-up, they were able to work out which person it was.
If the shirt don't whiff, you must...acquit.
That is the law.
I cannot wait to see the Swedish version of Sherlock,
-cos it's just him going...
"Smell-a-mentory, my dear Watson."
-LAUGHTER AND GROANS
-Hey, come on!
Oh, no. You've blown it.
-Has he got any stickers?
-Have you got any stickers, Nish?
-He hasn't got any.
-No, cos I was going to ask for them back.
-Take one back.
If the five of us committed a crime
and somebody was allowed to sniff our clothes immediately,
then they would be able, by sniffing,
to work out again which one of us it was.
Is that where the term "smell a rat" comes from?
"I smell a rat!"
But there are places... So in Alaska, Florida, New York,
they use scent line-ups.
But to fair, they use dogs, rather than human beings,
because the human can smell with...
We have about five or six million odour-detecting cells.
-A dog, how many do you reckon?
And actually, even rabbits have more than us -
they have 100 million.
What I don't understand about that is why they don't just
continually wince and cry out at the stenches that they encounter.
They must be able to turn it on and off.
It's a bit like owls.
An owl, because it's got its concave face and can amplify sound...
I think this was on QI I learned this.
..can hear a vole's heartbeat underground,
but how could it not be driven mad by constant noise?
I mean, if a car backfires, it would blow its brains out.
Well, what we're going to do now is we're going to test out
how a dog does on sniffing things out.
I have here some contraband, which I am going to give to you, Alan.
And what I would like you to do is put it in your pocket...
-Put it in my...
-..and go and hide in the audience.
Go and hide in Croydon!
So the audience have got special masks to put on.
So if they could put...those who've got masks could put them on.
-Oh, my God!
-Urgh, it's like a sea of... It's awful.
Now this is a very special episode of Jonathan Creek.
I never thought I'd be involved in a live game of Where's Wally?
OK. We now welcome, please, to the studio, from the RAF Police,
Corporal Sam Robson-Rodriguez and Rex.
Sam, thank you so much for coming in and supplying us
with the dummy contraband.
Tell me about Rex and what his job is.
Well, Rex is a five-year-old black Lab.
His main job is to search for drugs
-anywhere we want to put him, basically.
-And how's he trained?
How do you make him be able to do that?
Well, we start searching for, like, their toys, and then we just
associate the toys with the drugs, so then they think they're searching
for their toy, whereas in fact, we want them to search for the drugs.
And how many scents can Rex recognise, do you think?
He's trained on all the main scents,
and basically anything that you can make out of that.
-So, he looks keen to get going.
-Right, Sam, please, over to you, my lovely.
-Thank you very much.
Rex. Come here.
I do hope nobody in the audience has got anything...
-Do you know what? I really hope somebody does.
That would be... Wouldn't that just be the best bit of telly ever?
If you just... If he dragged someone to the floor and just,
just dragged them out.
-A live drug bust on QI.
He's so far...ignoring everybody. So that's good for that side.
How will he...? How will he show if he knows?
-They have either a stand indication or a sit indication.
Is he sniffing your crotch, Alan?
-Is it in your left pocket?
-Oh, my God!
Let's have a round of applause, please, for Rex and Sam.
Sam and Rex, very good. Thank you very much.
And thank you to all my Alans. What a very, very spooky sight that was.
-That was very, very spooky.
-It was extremely unpleasant.
Right, it's time for the stinking miasma that is General Ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, please.
In which country was the full bikini wax invented?
-# Smell the roses... #
I think I'm going to fall into a hole. I'm going to say Brazil.
It's not right, is it?
-It's not Brazil.
It's not Croydon. Any more for any more?
It is America. It is in the United States.
So, there's a woman called Jonice Padilha
of J Sisters salon in Manhattan.
They pioneered the Brazilian bikini wax in the early 1990s,
and Playboy tried to patent it as an idea.
And in order to stop them doing that, she said, "Oh, no, no,
"you can't do that, it's tremendously popular throughout
"my entire home country and therefore it is unpatentable."
And that is... You have to use proper wax there.
Never just think you can use honey.
You speak from experience, then?
Oh, it stings in so many different ways.
The salon still exists and it's opposite Trump Tower.
So you can actually have a Brazilian
and avoid being grabbed by the pussy at the same time.
They came up with the process after other salons refused to wax
-that area, apparently.
Apparently one of the world's most expensive car waxes
is also Brazilian.
It is called Carnauba wax, made from a palm tree
that only grows in north-east Brazil.
-Handy if you've got a hairy car.
You can get a French wax as well,
but it only waxes a strip down the middle of the bonnet.
Why should you be worried about how you store your toothbrush?
Is it to do with things that crawl around at night
and crawl about your brushes?
-Do you think there are things crawling about your bathroom?
If you put your toothbrush in the wrong place,
it's more susceptible to interference from...from...
Are you worried about the Wombles?
There is a common belief that if you keep your toothbrush
in the same room as the toilet,
it will get covered in faecal matter.
So, here is the good news...
Well, to be fair, that is true,
but that's only after my wife and I had a bit of an argument.
She told me two or three days later, so, you know...
It's true. Your whole house has got faecal matter,
but it has no effect on you whatsoever. It's fine.
According to the American Dental Association, there's "insufficient
"clinical evidence to support that bacterial growth on toothbrushes
"will lead to specific adverse oral or systemic health effects."
It's good, it's good to know, now I can use my toothbrush to just
buff me downstairs. Free from worry.
It's good to know you don't have to worry about creatures
crawling around your toothbrush.
Really, really small cougars at night.
Can you name an animal well known for playing possum?
-Is this a trick question?
I've been playing this game for 15 years now...
-and I smell a rat!
KLAXON A possum, yay!
-Feigning death, right, is that what that is?
It is, it's called thanatosis.
But it isn't the possum that does it,
it is the expression that we use - it is the opossum.
-So it's one of those great confusions.
IN IRISH ACCENT: It is an O'possum. An O'possum.
The opossum is on the right there, the little white-faced one.
And the possum is on the left. They're both marsupials.
The possum actually lives in Australia,
the opossum lives in the United States.
And apart from them both being marsupials,
there's not really much that they have in common.
The similarity between the name
stems from Captain's Cook's voyage to Australia.
The naturalist Joseph Banks, he mistook the animals
that he saw for American opossums.
We were in Australia when my daughter was very little, and
we used to go... The only way she'd go to sleep at night is if we
could go out in the street and find a possum, and then she could rest.
-And they used to walk along the telephone wires -
that was the best place to find them.
We had possums that lived in our roof, and they used to sigh.
So you'd be watching the telly, and you would, you'd hear in the roof,
you'd hear, "Oh..."
They do it quite a lot, and you'd be sort of like, "They're off again."
And then, "Oh..." There was one day, I was in the house by myself...
What were you watching?
Well, this was the thing - I was watching documentaries,
and there was a "Oh... Oh..."
-Did they want you to change channels?
I put it onto the music channel - not a peep out of them.
There are lots of animals that react to a threat, so the turkey vulture,
they regurgitate their last meal, usually rotting carrion.
The king ratsnake, also known as the stinking goddess,
it empties its anal glands when it's attacked.
-The stinking goddess! That's a hell of a takeaway!
"I'm going for it, I'm going to do it.
"I'll have a stinking goddess, bring it on!
"You only have one stag night, right?"
The honey badger, who's got a bit of the Donald Trump look,
I think, about it, can turn its anal pouch inside out.
It's a most extraordinary thing.
Apparently, it puts off predators
but it has a calming effect on bees.
I mean, that's a good thing.
Honey forms a major part of their diet, but the bees go,
"Oh, look an anal pouch turned inside out..."
According to the Guinness Book of Animal Records,
the smelliest animal on Earth is the zorilla, or striped polecat.
You're going to love this.
The emissions from their anal glands not only stink, but can temporarily
blind predators and cause painful burning sensations on the skin.
So that is a seriously stinky creature.
Yeah, and you can't get it out of your jeans.
The smell or the animal?
"So sorry, officer, er..."
Just have a look at this VT, which I really love.
The karaftohelix snail, it does the complete opposite of playing possum.
Have a look. Rather than retreat into its shell,
it goes on the offensive.
It uses its shell - look at that - as a battering ram to hit.
-Oh, that's very cool.
-Isn't that wonderful?
That is very cool, to be able to do that.
If I could swing my arse like that...
-You wouldn't be wasting your time sat here, would you?
If you think you see a possum playing possum,
then they're probably dead.
So, let's check it out.
In first place, coming up smelling of roses with three points,
it's Nish. APPLAUSE
I still haven't got a sticker.
In second place, with minus two, Alan!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
In third place, with minus three, Ross.
In last place, stinking the place up, with minus five, it's Sally!
So, we like to give a prize.
Taking home tonight's prize, a truly odious odour -
the actual scent of the Apocalypse goes to Sally. There you go.
It only remains for me to thank Sally, Ross, Nish and Alan.
And I leave you with this tall tale from a toilet.
Tallulah Bankhead was in a cubicle in the ladies'.
"Do you have any toilet paper?"
she asked the occupant of the next stall.
"No," came the reply.
"Then, do you have any Kleenex?" she asked.
"Sorry, no," the lady said again.
"Then, can you change a ten for two fives?"
Thank you, goodnight!
Sandi Toksvig considers all things odorous and odious. Why is the world's second smelliest man so frustrated? Sandi has the answer. With Sally Phillips, Ross Noble, Nish Kumar and Alan Davies.