Medieval and Macabre QI


Medieval and Macabre

Quiz show in which the aim is to be interesting. Stephen Fry meditates on matters medieval and macabre with Julia Zemiro, Matt Lucas and David Mitchell.


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Transcript


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This programme contains some strong language.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Gooooood evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,

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good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,

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good evening, good evening and welcome to QI,

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where tonight we are musing on the medieval and the macabre.

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Joining me in the Dark Ages are king of the castle, David Mitchell.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Queen of the May, Julia Zemiro.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Lord of the Manor, Matt Lucas.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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And a "knight" on the tiles, Alan Davies.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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And their buzzers are all very much connected with middle age.

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David goes...

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MEDIEVAL MONKS CHANT

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Julia goes...

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MEDIEVAL MONKS CHANT

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It's the Middle Ages, all right. Matt goes...

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MEDIEVAL MONKS CHANT

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And Alan goes...

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'Dear sir, why, oh, why, oh, why

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'must we always have endless monks chanting on the BBC?'

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LAUGHTER

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Which of these did they not have in the Middle Ages?

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-Sweet, no...

-Shush!

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LAUGHTER

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-DAVID:

-Iron maiden.

-Well...

-They didn't have Iron...

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Well, no, I'm not... Yeah, I'm aware there is a group.

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The most medieval thing seems that thing with the spikes that you

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put someone in, that'll be the thing they didn't actually have then.

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You are absolutely right.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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The iron maiden, as you say, that sort of sarcophagus with spikes,

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they weren't even thought of or imagined until 1793.

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I was going to say, I thought they were invented by Paul Daniels

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or somebody.

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Spanish Inquisition, must be the Spanish Inquisition.

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Well, they weren't used in the Spanish Inquisition,

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because they weren't invented till 1793, which was...

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LAUGHTER

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After. My favourite one from the Spanish Inquisition was

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they put a pole up your anus and they'd do it in such a way that

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it avoids all of your vital organs and comes out by your shoulder

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and then just leave you there for people to look at.

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LAUGHTER

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I like the first part of that.

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LAUGHTER

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It's an actual pole, it's not a Polish gentleman,

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it's an actual pole.

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LAUGHTER

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Oh. Less keen then, less keen.

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-I thought an iron maiden was a chastity belt?

-No.

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-I'd like it to be though.

-They call that a chastity belt, actually.

-Yes.

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LAUGHTER

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So they didn't ever exist?

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Well, in 1793, an archaeologist by the name of Johann Siebenkees,

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gave an account of one which was a hoax.

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And then 100 years or so later, a guy called Matthaus Pfau,

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had one installed in Kyburg, his Swiss castle,

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as a visitor attraction.

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It became the prototype for all the other iron maidens

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that were used in museums, and indeed in movies.

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So they hadn't really been used as a method of torture?

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No, that's what I mean, exactly. They were just a hoax, essentially.

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"Here's one for you. Here's one for you!"

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-What a weird hoax.

-It is, isn't it?

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But if we go back to my little manuscript word cloud,

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maybe other ones didn't exist in medieval times.

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Well, there wasn't much cardboard about.

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So if there were greeting cards, they wouldn't have been...

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Not big readers either, not many people could read.

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-Or write.

-Exactly, but in fact there were single sheet wood cuts

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found from the mid-15th century, with pictures on them,

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wishing the recipient a very good year, even.

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-It seems a rather modern idea.

-"Sorry you've been unwell."

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LAUGHTER

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But those banderols, those little kind of bubbles, were very popular

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and they'd say things, probably not "sorry you've been unwell,"

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but things like "a very good year," so they did exist.

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What else might have existed or did exist in that era?

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-Sweet and sour sauce, definitely.

-Yeah.

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What they called sour sweet, in fact, Egurdouce,

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and they used vinegar and sugar, cinnamon, orange, onions,

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whatever they could get their hands on, currants.

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Didn't they use onions to sweeten things?

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Yeah, well, onions do contain more sugar than sugar beets,

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as long as you cook them, hence the caramelised, you know, thing.

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They're a bit onion-y, though, as well.

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They can be sweet,

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but you wouldn't want too many puddings being that onion-y.

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No, do you know, it's true, they're not that sweet, because

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if you ever go to the freezer and you go for a Mini Milk

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and you've left a bag of onion rings next to the Mini Milks

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in the freezer, the Mini Milks don't taste right.

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What an insight!

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The Mini Milks taste a bit onion-y. Yeah.

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-What is a Mini Milk?

-What is a Mini Milk?!

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LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

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-Do you mean one of those sweets that looks like a tiny bottle of milk?

-No.

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No, it's ice cream on a stick, basically.

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It's basically what, when you want a Magnum

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and your mum won't buy you a Magnum, you get a Mini Milk.

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And you keep those with onion rings in the freezer?

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Well, no, I didn't, I have separate shelves.

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You've got to keep sweet and... Put me on camera!

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LAUGHTER

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You've got to keep sweet and savouries separate in freezers,

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guys, come on!

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No, Mini Milks are nice.

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They're like, I don't know,

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if you can't get a Sparkle, get a Mini Milk, I don't know.

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-What's a Sparkle?

-Oh, dear.

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-LAUGHTER

-What's your ice cream of choice?

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I used to like Mivvies when I was a boy.

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-Well...

-That's the point!

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-OK.

-Now I'm an adult!

-Right.

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-I eat olives and I eat cheese.

-Right.

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LAUGHTER

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This has all gone very weird!

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-You started it with the whole pork belly thing.

-Right.

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I want to live in the Middle Ages now,

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because they seem to have grown-up food, at least.

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-Question, Mr Fry. Question from the floor, Mr Fry.

-Yeah?

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What is a prefab?

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-Oh, don't you have those in Australia?

-I don't know, tell me.

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It means a sort of modular building that is made outside the site...

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-Brought to site.

-..and then brought to it and assembled.

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It's associated with low-cost housing.

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-The Duchess of Cambridge grew up in one.

-Did she?

-Did she?

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No.

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LAUGHTER

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She grew up on an estate.

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I just like the fact that people think she was common as muck!

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-William the Conqueror had prefabs, didn't he?

-Did he?

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Didn't they bring prefab castles over, with the Norman...

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Not the Normandy landings, the other way round.

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-The Hastings landing.

-Yeah.

-They brought loads of...

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Yeah, cos all the plug sockets are different here

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and they wanted their own wiring.

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LAUGHTER

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There's certainly the example of prefab housing that we have

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is the Vikings, in fact, who, when they invaded Orkney,

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found there was virtually nowhere to live and so they came back with

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supplies on longboats of prefab little houses.

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And that's presumably where Vikings got the idea of flat-pack furniture.

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LAUGHTER

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That leaves us, I think, with official commemorative merchandise.

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Would that be if you went to sort of...

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They used to be very keen on seeing a rotting old bit of a saint.

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Very much so.

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If you were medieval, there was one saint who was more or less

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contemporary, who was a martyr.

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They would stop off at this cathedral where he was murdered, famously.

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-Who would that be?

-Thomas Becket.

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-Thomas Becket, exactly.

-Points!

-Points!

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Points, solid points.

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In the 12th century Thomas Becket was killed by Henry II

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and they immediately tried to sell his blood

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and that ran out rather quickly, so they diluted it.

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But also they sold little swords,

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little simulacra of the swords that had stabbed him

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and you could buy one of those.

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And it was official, you know.

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It was, as it were, stamped with Canterbury.

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-They've still got a shop in the cathedral.

-Well, exactly. Yeah.

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The Middle Ages, in fact, featured lots of very useful inventions,

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but tell me, what has been called, "The wickedest, silliest,

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"most insane and most disastrous book in world literature"?

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The Liar, by Stephen Fry.

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LAUGHTER

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-Ah! It probably is.

-Mein Kampf.

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That would be a very sensible guess.

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-And, in the interests of balance, The Da Vinci Code also.

-Yes!

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ALARM SOUNDS

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APPLAUSE

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These self-help books, the books that say

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if you just change the way you think, you'll be fine.

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I mean, you know, everyone's got a mood board for something.

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A mood board.

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Maybe there was a medieval mood board of some kind, but, yeah.

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You're right to mention the medieval era

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because it was a book of the 15th century.

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Foxe's Book Of Martyrs?

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No, that was a little later, but let me give you its title.

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Malleus Maleficorum.

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Maleficarum, I beg your pardon, because that's the point.

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If you know your Latin, that means malleus.

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If you take the "US" off and put a "T" from malleus.

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-Mallet.

-Mallet.

-A hammer. So malleus is hammer.

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Timmy Mallet's autobiography?

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LAUGHTER

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-Sorry, I'm bringing the tone down, I know.

-No, you're not.

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Is it the, mallific...

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Is that like the bad doing hammer thing, you know?

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Well, no, it's the "of the", that's genitive.

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-Come on, boy! That's genitive.

-Come on.

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LAUGHTER

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So it's the hammer OF the bad-doing people,

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but the arum, not orum, tells you it's bad...

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-Doing women.

-Yes!

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-Bad doing women and their hammer.

-No, the hammer of.

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Yeah, yeah, no, exactly.

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I want to beat them down.

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-The Crazy Witches Of Eastwick.

-Witches!

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-Oh, witches!

-You said it!

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APPLAUSE

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-We're supposed to hammer them?

-Hammer of the witches, that means.

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-So they don't own the hammer?

-No!

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-We own the hammer...

-No.

-..and we hammer away at them?

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I am more confused than when I talked about Mini Milk.

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LAUGHTER

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We had a Latin parsing essay in which the malleus maleficarum

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turned out to mean "the hammer of witches."

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-Right.

-The way to beat witches.

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And this was a text book about how to destroy and find witches.

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Now, it was strange cos it was mid-15th century

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and in the mid-15th century the Church banned belief in witches.

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So this wasn't a time of witch burnings or anything of the nature.

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But the very nature of the success of the book meant that

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a slow movement grew in which witches should be found and burned

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and tortured and so on.

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This book was therefore called

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the silliest, most wicked book ever written

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because it made appalling claims about women that,

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for example, that they dispossessed men of their penises.

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As if!

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LAUGHTER

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They would take their penises, put them on a tray

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and the penises would wander around of their own volition, eating...

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-Well, yes.

-..eating oats and corn.

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LAUGHTER

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-No, not corn, not maize corn.

-With a simple pecking motion?

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LAUGHTER

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Or like with a suction? How would they do it?

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Do you know the theory about the witch's broomstick,

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about how it might have developed?

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Yeah, they put it up your anus and it reaches your shoulder...

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It's funny you should say that, Matt Lucas,

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-because, yes, they put them up their anus.

-What?

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Now, you may say, why would a woman stick a broomstick up her botty?

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I'm so glad we're having this conversation.

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LAUGHTER

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But anyway, the point is, there is a substance that has been accused,

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if you like, throughout history of being behind a lot of episodes

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of mass hysteria and hallucination and so on,

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and the substance is called ergot.

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-Have you heard of ergot?

-No, where can you get it?

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-You can get it if you live near a field of rye.

-Oh, OK.

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Where rye grows, it is a fungus that grows on rye

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and its spores can be breathed in and it is not unlike lysergic acid,

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which is the "L" of LSD and it causes weird trips.

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Now, with any drug, there are different ways of ingesting it.

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Intra-nasally, orally...

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Or on a broomstick up your arse?

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-..intravenously or in a suppository form.

-Right.

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So one way would be to take it and to grease up your...

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LAUGHTER

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-I am not making this up!

-Grease up your pole with ergot.

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Grease up your pole and scatter it with bits of ergot and then whoo!

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LAUGHTER

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And then you FEEL like you're flying...

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-That's basically it.

-What does that mean?

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How much ergot are those kids at Hogwarts getting through?

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LAUGHTER

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It's not appropriate to encourage that kind of drug-taking

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-in the young.

-It isn't.

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And there is another theory that it was actually intra-vaginal,

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-rather than intra-anal...

-Lovely.

-..so that it was covered on the broom

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and then it went sort of smoothly up.

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I can't see anything smooth about this at all.

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-I don't know.

-It would be like, OW!

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Does another witch apply it to you? You do that yourself?!

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You'd be a great gynaecologist though, Stephen,

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cos you're very calm, the way you're explaining everything.

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LAUGHTER

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Let's get more decent here.

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How do you get a whole row of seats to yourself

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on a Virgin Airways flight?

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Oh, if you're REALLY fat.

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That would, yeah, I think they might be able to get rid of an arm,

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but I don't think they'd let you on if you were any fatter.

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-No, but like REALLY fat. Oh, I see what you mean.

-Die?

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-Is the right answer. You'd have to die.

-Die!

-Yeah.

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APPLAUSE

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You can't make people sit next to the dead.

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That's the truth, isn't it?

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Basically, I think that would be what it was.

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And if you're flying, say, London to New York,

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if you're near enough and someone dies,

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you'd turn around and all the other passengers would go, "Oh, really!

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"Could have had some consideration!"

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LAUGHTER

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But once you've passed that point of no return, as they call it,

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then there's nothing you can do about it, except go on to New York.

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But what if the plane's full?

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Do they keep a row for the dead just in case?

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In which case, if they keep a row for the dead,

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-what if two people die?

-Exactly.

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There's always a row at the back and the crew use it for having a kip.

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-What it means is, the crew will then have to be awake...

-Yes.

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..because of the dead bloke.

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-That'll piss them off.

-Does it happen a lot, though?

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Oh, now, this is what's interesting.

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British Airways have about ten deaths a year in flight.

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Well, that food is just...

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LAUGHTER

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That's for 36 million passengers.

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So if you extrapolate out to the rather amazing 3.5 BILLION passengers

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that fly every year, that means there must be around 1,000 deaths a year.

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And different airlines have different ways of doing it.

0:15:100:15:13

Singapore Airlines have a corpse cupboard.

0:15:130:15:17

I don't know why it's funny, but it is,

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so no-one need even know there's a dead person.

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Oh, I'm sorry.

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LAUGHTER

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It's all so Fawlty Towers, isn't it?

0:15:240:15:26

If I ever die on a plane,

0:15:260:15:28

I should like to be stored in the overhead lockers.

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LAUGHTER

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-For the rest of time.

-Yes.

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British Airways, however, you get a good deal if you die,

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because you go to First Class.

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-Yeah.

-Excellent, at last.

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One long-established steward said,

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"Many years ago we used to give them a vodka and tonic, a Daily Mail

0:15:430:15:46

"and eye shades and tell passengers they were fine.

0:15:460:15:48

"We don't do that any more."

0:15:480:15:50

LAUGHTER

0:15:500:15:53

It's bad enough being dead, but having to hold a Daily Mail!

0:15:530:15:56

Holy crap!

0:15:560:15:59

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:15:590:16:02

The Daily Mail and other newspapers, not just the Daily Mail,

0:16:050:16:08

when they talk about their circulation, they are also

0:16:080:16:12

including the newspapers that they give away for free.

0:16:120:16:15

So I don't think the airlines, or any of those kind of institutions

0:16:150:16:18

-actually PAY for the newspapers.

-Oh, really?

-Yeah.

0:16:180:16:21

-So the Daily Mail is mainly dead people on airplanes.

-Yes.

0:16:210:16:25

But the dead are very, very right wing.

0:16:250:16:28

LAUGHTER

0:16:280:16:30

It's true.

0:16:300:16:32

All right, now, Matt, what's dense, slimy, lives at the bottom of the sea

0:16:320:16:37

and is called...?

0:16:370:16:39

David Walliams!

0:16:390:16:41

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:16:410:16:45

He's a very strong swimmer, isn't he? He's a very strong swimmer.

0:16:490:16:53

Oh, dear.

0:16:530:16:55

Matt, what's dense, slimy, lives at the bottom of the sea

0:16:550:16:58

and is called Matt?

0:16:580:17:00

-David Walliams.

-Yeah!

0:17:000:17:02

LAUGHTER

0:17:020:17:04

And called Matt? Is it just a mat?

0:17:040:17:07

-No.

-Well, yes.

-Well, yes, of some...

-It's a mat.

0:17:070:17:10

Yeah, so I am clever.

0:17:100:17:12

LAUGHTER

0:17:120:17:13

Is it some kind of sea vegetable?

0:17:130:17:16

It's sea life, sea matter, that's cohered.

0:17:160:17:20

-How big would it be, a mat?

-Algae. Huge, huge.

0:17:200:17:23

-Yeah.

-Hundreds of thousands of square miles.

0:17:230:17:26

Certainly the biggest we know of is about the size of Greece.

0:17:260:17:29

-There you are, you see?

-Wow, see. You ARE clever.

0:17:290:17:31

It's not in Greece or near Greece.

0:17:310:17:33

It's off the coast of Peru and Chile.

0:17:330:17:35

Ugh, look at David Walliams(!)

0:17:350:17:37

LAUGHTER

0:17:370:17:38

Stop it!

0:17:380:17:40

No, don't stop, carry on.

0:17:400:17:42

It's microbial, it's a whole load of microbes,

0:17:420:17:46

so many of them that they can create this matter that's thick and...

0:17:460:17:49

-It's mat matter.

-Mat matter, exactly.

0:17:490:17:52

Don't say anything bad about them, because we owe the photosynthesis

0:17:520:17:56

and the oxygen-rich nature of our own atmosphere to these.

0:17:560:18:00

We couldn't live without them. They're very important.

0:18:000:18:03

I've been served that in a motorway service station.

0:18:030:18:06

They eat hydrogen and they breathe nitrates

0:18:060:18:09

and they live in streams and lakes, as well as the ocean.

0:18:090:18:12

They're very, very, very exciting.

0:18:120:18:14

Here, I know you like wonderful information, the total weight of

0:18:140:18:19

microbes in the ocean is equivalent to 240 BILLION African elephants.

0:18:190:18:25

The good thing about that is that really helps me visualise that.

0:18:300:18:33

-That's very, very helpful.

-Let me help you more then.

0:18:330:18:36

35 elephants made of microbes for everyone on the planet.

0:18:360:18:41

So each of us have got 35 elephants made of microbes surrounding us now.

0:18:410:18:45

-We're rich!

-35, that's a lot of elephants.

0:18:450:18:48

The time has come to rule out lifting all that in one go.

0:18:480:18:51

-You're right.

-You learn a lot on this show.

0:18:510:18:54

I never knew that the ocean was made up of 35,000 billion elephants.

0:18:540:19:00

I've really been educated.

0:19:000:19:03

No wonder elephants are endangered,

0:19:030:19:05

when you think of the number who've been drowned

0:19:050:19:08

to create a mat for the bottom of the sea.

0:19:080:19:11

That's probably why the trunks... They were trying to evolve snorkels.

0:19:110:19:16

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:19:160:19:19

Oh, dear.

0:19:230:19:25

I can see that I've not really explained myself very well.

0:19:250:19:28

And now for something slightly mucky.

0:19:280:19:30

Alan, have you ever had your dirt-hole burgled

0:19:300:19:33

without your knowledge?

0:19:330:19:34

LAUGHTER

0:19:340:19:37

Do you know what, I'm not going to answer that.

0:19:410:19:46

Fair enough.

0:19:460:19:47

I'm actually writing to Points Of View now, at this point.

0:19:470:19:52

It's a question to do with the macabre side of human life - muck.

0:19:520:19:57

Oh, is this something like, in some contexts,

0:19:570:20:00

-excrement has a value?

-Yes.

-Like people want it for...

0:20:000:20:03

-Where there's muck...

-Yes, they need it for fertiliser or whatever,

0:20:030:20:06

and so, people would sell their... You know, their shit, and so,

0:20:060:20:09

obviously, other people would steal it.

0:20:090:20:11

Which gave it a value. And if something has a value,

0:20:110:20:14

there will always be some who wish to steal it.

0:20:140:20:16

Is this in medieval times, or now?

0:20:160:20:17

-No, it's not medieval, it's 18th and 19th centuries.

-Right.

0:20:170:20:20

-I think the question is flawed.

-How so?

0:20:200:20:22

Because if I'd have had my dirt-hole burgled without my knowledge,

0:20:220:20:26

I wouldn't know about it, would I?

0:20:260:20:27

LAUGHTER

0:20:270:20:30

Touche! You're absolutely right.

0:20:300:20:32

-So, I don't know. Is it?

-Is the right answer.

0:20:320:20:36

-Possibly.

-Possibly, yeah.

0:20:360:20:38

So, people kept their rubbish in holes that could be collected.

0:20:380:20:41

It was a bin collection.

0:20:410:20:43

The dustmen and the dustcart were often collecting dust, as well,

0:20:430:20:47

because it was simply dirt that people had swept up

0:20:470:20:49

and poured into a little hole or into a bucket in a hole -

0:20:490:20:53

the dirt hole. Because everything was recycled, even family pets,

0:20:530:20:56

when they died, had a value. You know, a white cat - sixpence,

0:20:560:20:59

a multicoloured cat - fourpence.

0:20:590:21:01

In those days, the "flying dustmen", as they were called,

0:21:010:21:05

the people who came to collect it, they would pay to get it,

0:21:050:21:08

rather than you paying rates to have it removed.

0:21:080:21:11

There was hardware and software.

0:21:110:21:13

The software would be things like a dead cat.

0:21:130:21:15

And the hardware is broken crockery, oyster shells

0:21:150:21:17

and things like that, which road-builders could use.

0:21:170:21:20

Anyway, one last medieval question.

0:21:200:21:23

How many uses can you think of for a monk's earwax?

0:21:230:21:26

Oh, it's endless. Candles.

0:21:270:21:29

-Yeah, candles will be a...

-Polishing wood.

0:21:290:21:32

-They might have done.

-That sounds like a euphemism.

-But um...

0:21:320:21:35

LAUGHTER

0:21:350:21:37

-I meant it...

-Not much else to do in a monastery, is there?

0:21:370:21:39

Well, I know. I know. Polishing their own wood.

0:21:390:21:41

What have monks handed down to us?

0:21:410:21:43

-Mostly?

-Bibles.

-Bibles and manuscripts, illustrated...

0:21:430:21:45

Spend their lifetime writing them out, copying them out.

0:21:450:21:48

-Inscriptorial.

-Doing lines, basically.

-Yes.

0:21:480:21:50

There's a picture of a happy monk doing his illuminations.

0:21:500:21:53

And that side of it, the paint-y side of it is,

0:21:530:21:55

they used a substance called glair,

0:21:550:21:58

G-L-A-I-R,

0:21:580:21:59

and it tended to get bubbled.

0:21:590:22:02

But they found, if they added earwax into it,

0:22:020:22:05

they could get a really smooth, beautiful lustre and sheen

0:22:050:22:09

to the illustrations that they were doing,

0:22:090:22:12

which have lasted us down the centuries.

0:22:120:22:14

How do you think of that though, to go, "Hmm, I'll paint with that"?

0:22:140:22:17

A thing you might try at home

0:22:170:22:19

is that you could take a pint of foaming beer

0:22:190:22:22

and then pop a little earwax

0:22:220:22:24

into the head of your foaming tankard,

0:22:240:22:27

and the bubbles should collapse.

0:22:270:22:28

-That's...

-If you're watching TV, don't listen to this man.

0:22:280:22:31

LAUGHTER

0:22:310:22:33

I think you're right.

0:22:360:22:37

It would be better if it was the other way round,

0:22:370:22:39

that you had a sort of flat liquid

0:22:390:22:41

-and then you put a bit of earwax in, and it went fizzy.

-Yeah.

0:22:410:22:45

Chuck some sodium in your beer, that should work.

0:22:450:22:47

-Which orifice does sodium come out of?

-Well, there is that!

0:22:470:22:51

They left other little things for us, little minusculae,

0:22:510:22:55

little hands that pointed to certain sections of the text in the Bible.

0:22:550:22:58

I don't know if you can see one on the left?

0:22:580:23:00

If you've read the Name Of The Rose,

0:23:000:23:02

they left clues everywhere about all sorts.

0:23:020:23:04

Yeah, and octopuses, you can see an octopus at the top.

0:23:040:23:06

They liked octopuses.

0:23:060:23:08

Is that a person with a huge sort of trumpet up his bottom?

0:23:080:23:12

-It's something odd, isn't it?

-Yeah, it is.

-Yeah.

0:23:120:23:14

I don't know what they're doing there. They're praising the Lord.

0:23:140:23:17

And above, they'd often have knights fighting snails.

0:23:170:23:19

HE TOOTS

0:23:190:23:21

-It's so boring in those monasteries.

-Exactly.

0:23:210:23:24

That the old fart trumpet was the favourite.

0:23:240:23:26

-I was going to say on a Sunday, but perhaps not.

-No.

0:23:280:23:31

Well, they used to leave...

0:23:310:23:32

HE PARPS

0:23:320:23:33

Dinner!

0:23:330:23:36

LAUGHTER

0:23:360:23:37

They used to leave little remarks like, "Oh, God, it's cold in here"

0:23:370:23:40

-or, "I'm so bored"...

-Around the Bible.

-..just like anybody would.

0:23:400:23:43

-Just like school kids on a desk.

-Exactly like that.

0:23:430:23:46

-So, why are they fighting snails in the picture?

-No-one's quite sure.

0:23:460:23:50

But it's a common feature, knights versus snails.

0:23:500:23:53

They seem to like it.

0:23:530:23:54

Some people may think it was a symbol of the struggle of the poor

0:23:540:23:57

against the aristocracy.

0:23:570:23:58

I think people shouldn't watch this show any more.

0:23:580:24:00

-LAUGHTER

-It's giving them ideas.

-Yeah.

0:24:000:24:03

Do you think they had loads of snails

0:24:030:24:05

in these cold, damp monasteries?

0:24:050:24:06

There were snails everywhere and they were hoping...

0:24:060:24:09

-That could be it!

-..a gallant knight would come

0:24:090:24:11

and help them deal with the snail infestation problem.

0:24:110:24:13

Possibly, possibly...

0:24:130:24:15

Which means it's time now...

0:24:150:24:17

LAUGHTER

0:24:170:24:19

..to place various intimate parts of you

0:24:190:24:21

into the thumbscrew of General Ignorance.

0:24:210:24:23

Fingers on buzzers, please.

0:24:230:24:25

Where are most missionaries positioned?

0:24:250:24:29

GREGORIAN CHANTING

0:24:300:24:31

Matt?

0:24:310:24:33

I'm going to guess that most of them are in Utah,

0:24:330:24:36

where the Mormons tend to kind of congregate,

0:24:360:24:40

because they haven't yet been assigned their places to go to.

0:24:400:24:44

Interesting. Interesting answer.

0:24:440:24:46

But I'm talking about which is the country

0:24:460:24:48

that receives the most incoming? GREGORIAN CHANTING

0:24:480:24:50

-Well, I'm not talking about that.

-No.

0:24:500:24:52

LAUGHTER

0:24:520:24:54

I'm talking about them before they've gone there.

0:24:540:24:56

So, I'm not asking you where the most missionaries come FROM,

0:24:560:24:59

I'm asking where do they...?

0:24:590:25:01

I know, but I am still getting to that point.

0:25:010:25:03

This doesn't work by you answering the question

0:25:030:25:06

-that I haven't asked.

-OK.

0:25:060:25:08

My guess is China.

0:25:080:25:10

Oh, it's a possibility.

0:25:100:25:11

Well, it is a possibility, but it's not a fact.

0:25:110:25:14

-Is it in Africa?

-It's not Africa, no.

-Is it England?

-No.

0:25:140:25:17

-KLAXON BLARES

-Is it South America?

0:25:170:25:19

-England is much closer...

-South America?

0:25:190:25:20

-Not South America, not SOUTH America.

-Central!

-North America.

0:25:200:25:23

-Not Central, North America.

-North.

0:25:230:25:25

-United States thereof...

-America.

-Really?

-Utah.

0:25:250:25:27

Well, I think you'll find Utah is in America!

0:25:270:25:29

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:25:290:25:32

But I specifically said, "Where are the most missionaries

0:25:350:25:38

"who've come from outside one country?"

0:25:380:25:40

I know, but I didn't choose to answer that.

0:25:400:25:43

All right, I'm going to give you points,

0:25:430:25:46

-you deserve them for sheer tenacity.

-Thank you.

0:25:460:25:48

So, the fact is, we don't quite know why missionaries...

0:25:480:25:51

Some think they just want to go to a very rich country.

0:25:510:25:53

Others think these missionaries believe America has lapsed into sin.

0:25:530:25:56

But anyway, more missionaries go to the United States

0:25:560:25:59

than anywhere else.

0:25:590:26:00

Do an impression of someone in the stocks.

0:26:000:26:02

Fuck off, fuck off!

0:26:020:26:04

KLAXON BLARES

0:26:040:26:06

It's like that, isn't it? Yeah.

0:26:080:26:10

-Points to Mitchell, yes, absolutely right.

-That's the pillory.

0:26:100:26:13

That's a pillory or "thews", as they're also known.

0:26:130:26:16

-But, yeah, putting them... That's stocks.

-Stocks are feet, are they?

0:26:160:26:20

I'm into public shaming, though.

0:26:200:26:21

If you've done something bad, people can go, "Oh, don't do it again."

0:26:210:26:24

And you go, "Oh, that was awful,

0:26:240:26:26

"I won't have friends if I do this again."

0:26:260:26:28

And then you go back into society, I don't think it's so bad.

0:26:280:26:30

You're very right. They could be quite forgiving.

0:26:300:26:33

Sometimes, people had flowers thrown at them if they'd...

0:26:330:26:35

Daniel Defoe, when he was in the stocks,

0:26:350:26:37

because he'd offended the Church, people threw flowers at him.

0:26:370:26:40

-Those aren't stocks, so...

-Those, no, those are...

0:26:400:26:43

He wasn't in the stocks, sorry. He was, he was pilloried,

0:26:430:26:46

I think is the safest way.

0:26:460:26:47

If people threw horrible things at you - big heavy things -

0:26:470:26:50

-actually, you could die.

-Yeah, no, absolutely.

0:26:500:26:52

And some people took great lengths to protect themselves as a result.

0:26:520:26:56

There was a gentleman here, Charles Hitchen,

0:26:560:26:58

who was convicted of attempted sodomy,

0:26:580:27:00

and he went into the stocks wearing a suit of armour.

0:27:000:27:02

LAUGHTER

0:27:020:27:04

What happened to successful ones?

0:27:040:27:06

Ones that actually managed to bring it off, as it were?

0:27:060:27:10

LAUGHTER

0:27:100:27:12

Presumably, you have to pay a lot for that

0:27:120:27:14

when you were in the stocks.

0:27:140:27:16

The stocks weren't for your head and arms, just for your legs.

0:27:160:27:20

And with that, our mosey through the medieval macabre

0:27:200:27:23

must come to an end.

0:27:230:27:25

We have scores.

0:27:250:27:27

Mercy, mercy me.

0:27:270:27:30

Well, in joint first position,

0:27:300:27:33

with minus 6, Matt and Julia!

0:27:330:27:36

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:27:360:27:39

In third place, with minus 10,

0:27:430:27:46

David Mitchell!

0:27:460:27:47

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:27:470:27:51

But the witch we shall be burning this evening

0:27:530:27:56

is Alan Davies with minus 25!

0:27:560:27:58

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:27:580:28:01

Ah...

0:28:050:28:07

Well, it only remains for me to thank Matt, David, Julia and Alan.

0:28:070:28:11

And the last word on the Middle Ages comes from Bennett Cerf,

0:28:110:28:15

"Middle age is when your contemporaries are so grey

0:28:150:28:17

"and wrinkled and bald, they don't recognise you."

0:28:170:28:20

Goodnight.

0:28:200:28:22

APPLAUSE

0:28:220:28:24