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APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Welcome to QI.
Tonight, we have a show that promises to be
an outright omnishambles,
and trying to stay on top of it all,
we have the cack-handed Josh Widdicombe.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
The ham-fisted Stephen K Amos.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
The butter-fingered Cally Beaton.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
And the...Alan Davies.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
And their buzzers are going all over the place. Josh goes...
That doesn't sound good, does it?
No. It went on far longer than I'd expected, as well.
BARKING, NEIGHING, GALLOPING
Wow, that's terrifying. Cally goes...
And Alan goes...
BARKING Listen! Listen! Listen!
OK, what's this all about?
Not a very edifying spectacle!
Wretched women! What...?
Is this about women on panel shows?
Ah, yes. Only last year, in fact, I think!
-Yeah, a bit horrifying to be here.
So panel shows, it's to do with games of some kind.
Is it women playing sport?
Yes, women doing sport.
It was thought to be one of the most shocking things in the world.
These are descriptions of the women's 800 metres
at the 1928 Olympics, OK?
So women had been allowed to compete in the track and field events
for the very first time, and the media reported
that it was a disaster. According to these reports,
out of the 11 runners, five collapsed before getting to the end.
Five fainted at the finish line and only one was still standing,
and she passed out in the dressing room moments later.
Some of the women took 15 minutes to regain consciousness.
Those who hadn't won sobbed hysterically.
And as a result, the 800 metres race was deemed to be just too injurious
to these women and it was dropped from the Olympics for 32 years.
In reality, there were nine women runners,
they all completed it, no-one collapsed,
no-one became hysterical and six of them beat the existing world record.
This wasn't the first Olympics women competed in, though, was it?
-They'd competed before.
-Only in some sports.
So the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin,
he vehemently opposed female participation,
he absolutely wasn't having it.
That's Rowan Atkinson!
It does look like him, doesn't it?!
Anyway, him, Pierre de Coubertin,
he vehemently opposed female participation.
He said it would be, "impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic
He said, women's primary role should be, "to crown the victors,
"since they were, above all, a companion to men".
But you're absolutely right,
they had been allowed to compete from 1900, but only in five sports,
-and they were considered the kind of easy ones.
Sewing, yes, was a big one. LAUGHTER
It was tennis, croquet, golf, sailing and equestrian.
And the women got fed up with this.
So in 1922, they held their own Olympics in Paris.
20,000 people attended.
-There were 18 world records set.
One of the more unusual events is that one on the right,
it's the two-handed javelin.
And athletes had to throw once with their right hand, then once
with their left hand, and the score was the combined distance
-of the two throws.
-So a sort of ambidextrous javelin.
-And then your team-mate had to catch it!
I wouldn't want to be the one who had to measure it
when people were throwing the javelin left-handed.
But one of the great...
Is that two together that you're doing?
That's two, that's getting the javelin and throwing them.
-Quite difficult, I'd have thought.
-I would think it was quite tricky.
I think she's going too far up, that one, it's going to go straight up
-and down in front of her.
-Her trajectory is all wrong.
One of the reasons why women wanted to take part in the Olympics was the
incredibly restricted clothing that they wore in the traditional games.
So, up until the mid 1900s, female swimmers had to wear blouses
and bloomers in the pool.
They used to play tennis in dresses that covered the ankle
and multiple petticoats and corsets, and so on. Shoes with heels.
But I think that's why it took so long for women
to get involved in sports, because I run, and it's all about two bras.
-Keeping... Nothing should move.
Because otherwise, honestly, take your eye out.
I feel like giving tips out at race days,
sometimes to middle-aged men, to be honest.
I was not a really big sports fan at school at all, because I come
from quite a big family, and all my stuff was hand-me-downs.
So I'd be the only boy on the sports field with a training bra.
So I know what you're talking about, yeah.
Anyway, moving on.
When is it cool to wet your pants?
Is it when it's, like, in a hot situation?
Obviously, we're going to be, yes, somewhere hot.
Somewhere where your wee is cooler than everything else around you.
Or if you've had a really cold drink and you get it out quick.
Is it to do with, um, jellyfish, you know,
when you have to pee on a...
-Because my daughter got stung by a jellyfish in South Africa.
And she was crying, really upset, and so I pulled my tankini -
which is what older women wear instead of a bikini -
I pulled it to the side to pee, and the sight
of my pulled-to-the-side gusset fully stopped her crying.
I would imagine.
It worked really well.
And she begged me not to pee on the sting.
-Is it to do...? No.
-Does she still have dreams about this?
-She does. We're working on it.
-We're working it through.
I think we're all going to have dreams about it, aren't we?
Is it in space?
It is not in space.
We're not doing people at all,
and "wet their pants" is more of a...
What's another expression for pant?
-An animal panting.
-An animal panting. It is ostriches, in fact.
Ostriches have a phenomenal capacity for water.
They can swallow up to ten litres of water in one go.
And then what they do is, they pant really quickly,
so that the air that they bring into their bodies evaporates
the water, and it works exactly the same way as us
evaporating sweat on our skin, in order to keep us cool.
And they have to avoid getting too much oxygen
into their bloodstream while they do this, and so,
as they pant, their windpipe redirects the air away
from the lungs. Essentially, they pant without breathing.
Did you know this? They're the only birds to have a bladder.
Birds do not wee, because they'd be too heavy to be
carrying around a big bladder, and so on.
But the flightless ostrich can cope with the extra thing.
So there's a little takeaway for you - birds don't wee.
-Who knew that?
Any creature that's got an eye here
-and an eye there that goes that way, nah.
It's not right!
I really do think they're quite creepy.
Would you like them more if they could fly? Can you imagine that?
This thing in the sky, argh!
-Do you think they'd fly with their necks up,
or would they just put their necks forward?
Or their neck up, looking behind them.
I imagine they'd do that all the time.
The first one that went up would do that.
I'd like to have an ostrich, though,
because one scrambled ostrich egg is the same as 25 chicken eggs,
so you'd only have to go and collect the one. That would be...
And that would save you time, because normally you have to make
25 chicken eggs in the morning.
I know. It's a nightmare.
The other thing about them is, their legs go the wrong way.
So, when they're running, if you show an ostrich running
and reverse the film, it looks like a person.
It looks like Bernie Clifton.
There, you can see, right, if you look at it,
it looks like it's running that way, but its body is on backwards.
-Do you get it, are you seeing it now?!
-So if it was running that way, you'd think, "Yeah."
-"Yeah, fair enough."
-That's like, that's Bernie Clifton, right.
But Bernie's got to get his...
-If he'd had major surgery in about 1972.
Alan, it sounds like you've done quite a lot of research on this.
I did, I shared a dressing room with Bernie Clifton at the recent
-Royal Variety Performance.
-Me, Bernie Clifton and the Chuckle Brothers.
-I swear to God, it was...
-Talk about knowing your place in showbiz.
-I'll tell you what...
-I'm 51 now, right...
I've been doing stand-up for a very long time, nearly 30 years,
and I was such a junior person in that room.
-I was in heaven.
I like to think that they totally ignored you for the whole time.
They had no idea who I was.
But you're right about the legs,
and look at the extraordinary feet of the ostrich, they're amazing.
So the scientific name is Struthio camelus,
so it's from the ancient Greek, it literally means "camel sparrow".
And the Greeks considered it similar to the camel because if you look
at the hooves of the ostrich and you look at the hooves of the camel.
Hang on, what's what? The ostrich is on the left?
The ostrich is on the left, the camel on the right.
-Look at those toes.
-That toenail, that needs bringing in, doesn't it?!
He's getting through some socks with that, isn't he?
Right, moving on.
What's the wrong way to get out of a car?
Yeah, that's not good, is it?
But let's all imagine we're driving in the UK.
So let's all do driving.
Can I do MY driving, please?
-Driving, we arrive...
-I drive like this.
-I'm going to park, brake...
-OK, brake now.
So you're in a right-hand drive.
Brake, yeah. So now I want you to open the door.
-Open the door.
-You've done it like that. What have you done?
Like that. So, none of that...
And if you never learn anything else from this show,
learn this thing, which I think is wonderful.
You should always do what is called the Dutch Reach.
You have to open with the hand... Exactly that.
Furthest from the door.
And it makes you automatically look over your shoulder.
It's to spot, particularly, oncoming cyclists.
So, in the Netherlands it is required
as part of the driving test,
and it prevents what's called "dooring", which is basically
just hitting a cyclist with your car door.
Do you not think it's the simplest...
It's brilliant, it's brilliant.
But it suggests that when people get out of their car this way,
-that they just go...
-And they do. They do.
So, out of the car and into the closet.
What's the most exciting thing you can do in a cupboard that
begins with O?
I organise my pants.
-Organising is a good one, yes.
-Organising, yeah, I enjoy that.
-Do you organise your pants, Josh?
-Not my pants, but you know.
-What would you organise?
Well, just like a soiree.
Are you saying you put your pants in a cupboard?
Well, you can do, darling, it's not that weird.
No, I thought a cupboard was like, you know, in the kitchen.
-So, it's a new thing, you sometimes have cupboards in bedrooms.
It's never going to take off, you're absolutely right.
Because my girlfriend, who I live with, has got too many...
She's in a cupboard?
Oh, I understand that, I spent years in the closet.
I totally understand that.
When you say...exciting, do you mean...?
-Yes, something exciting, yes.
-Unbelievably physically exciting.
-So orgasming in a cupboard.
It is an orgasm in a cupboard, but it's a very specific one.
-Oh, not that Woody Allen film, the Orgasmatron.
It is exactly this sort of thing.
So, in 1940 there was an Austrian psychologist called
Wilhelm Reich, and he started building... There he is.
-Doesn't look bonkers at all.
-Ooh, look at him.
He's got Chris Packham's haircut.
He wanted to harness the power of a force that he called "orgone" -
an amalgam of orgasm and ozone. And he said other people call it God.
He believed it was all around us, that it was what made the sky blue,
for instance. So, the idea was that you had one of these compartments,
you climbed naked into his special cupboard - this
is for illustration purposes only, but ideally she should be naked.
-And you absorbed the concentrated orgone within it,
to reach a state of sexual satisfaction.
And that could cure anything from, I don't know, cancer to blisters.
-It was really, it was a full-range thing.
But are the people in that box, are they volunteers or hostages?
-No, people wanted to do this. It was hugely popular.
-What year was, when was this?
He believed that sexual repression was responsible for almost
all physical and psychological and emotional problems, and so on.
-I think that's fair.
-He was a slightly strange fellow. So...
Does it clean itself, like one of those toilets?
-GROANING Well, none of it's...
It was very, very popular, lots of celebrities owned these cupboards.
JD Salinger, Norman Mailer, Sean Connery had one.
-AS SEAN CONNERY:
-"Sure, let's go into the cupboard."
The vibrator was developed by Victorian doctors, you'll know this.
-Yeah, I do.
-It was, wasn't it to stop women being hysterical?
You're absolutely right.
So it's widely believed that it was very damaging to women
-if they didn't orgasm enough.
-And I think that's entirely true.
They had steam-operated vibrators, the first ones.
-So I'm just wondering why,
he's a bit late to the party with this cumbersome vibrator.
Well, this doesn't actually touch your pudenda in any way.
-But how's it...?
-It's this thing called orgone,
which he believed was in the ether
and that it would accumulate within the cupboard,
-and this would make you feel...
-Oh, so that's a mask?
No, it's just to go into the cupboard, it's an orgone shooter.
I can't... I'm trying to make it more sensible than it really is.
-Does it work?
No. The US courts formally declared that orgone doesn't exist
and all of the cupboards were ordered to be destroyed,
all of the literature, and in fact...
Destroyed? You could just convert it into a pant cupboard, couldn't you?
Yeah, you could have done.
Reich was imprisoned for not complying with the ban,
and so he actually ended up dying in prison.
But you're absolutely right, this whole thing about orgasm,
Victorian doctors, it was not uncommon, women with hysteria,
that they needed to get rid, they thought it was anxiety,
irritability, bloated stomach, any of these things could be got rid of.
And the prescription was to have a pelvic massage.
And it was a routine part of doctors' work.
That's a water jet, is it?
It looks like one of those Olympic sports.
35 feet. Personal best.
Only 35 feet, Alan?
I think I can do better than that.
OK, moving on.
Now, what definitely won't happen to you when you sneeze?
You won't have a 16th of an orgasm.
-Isn't it a tenth?
-Is it a tenth?
But that might be inflation, I don't know.
Is there a, is there a little thrill to be had from sneezing?
Apparently, well, that was the myth,
-that if you sneezed, you'd go...
But you can't physically sneeze with your eyes open, isn't that right?
Yeah, well, we did say that sneezing with your eyes open can't
make them pop out, but in fact, that is not entirely correct.
If you have something called floppy eyelid syndrome,
a sneeze can in fact force your eyeball out of your socket.
And we're all going to have a go!
So, like this.
So, it would be like that, and then you... Atchoo!
And out they pop. So that's so you can see.
So there's a technical name for it.
So if your eyeball actually pops out, spontaneous...
Spontaneous globe luxation is what it's called.
So, mostly obese men get this syndrome where your eyelid
can pop out. So the upper eyelid becomes very floppy
and it's easily turned inside-out.
What would the medical advice be if your eyeball popped out?
-Pop it back.
-Put it on ice.
Get it back in as quickly as possible, yeah.
No, don't put it on ice, darling, it's still attached, most likely.
If it's still attached,
look round corners that you couldn't previously look round.
That's a good idea. Yeah.
Keeping an eye on you.
I think the main advice is to get a medical person to do it, don't you?
And apparently they use a tool that looks a bit like a bent paperclip,
which I think would be...
There was an American basketball player
called Akil Mitchell, in early 2017.
-He got poked in the eye during a game, he fell to the ground,
he was clutching his face.
And he described afterwards that he knew something was wrong because he
could feel his eyeball on his cheek, and could still see out of it.
Oh, my God!
And they popped it back in all right?
They popped it back, he's absolutely fine now.
Can you just do it with your finger? Do you need the paperclip thing?
-No, my advice is to...
-If it happens.
Honestly, this is a moment for a doctor.
If you have a child and one of their eyeballs fall out, don't go,
"Darling, stop fussing," and...
There. I don't think that's...
Now, who would like to see a seriously eye-popping demonstration?
As long as no-one's eye is coming out.
I don't like this whole area.
No, it's not that. So, what we're going to do...
-If you get out a hoover now...
-Have a look at this.
So, let me just put this here.
And hopefully I'm going to get this the right way round.
-Then I have...
-Is that a steam-powered vibrator, Sandi? No?
No, it's adapted. OK.
So we can see that we have got a mirror here,
and if you look at this one, you can see squares,
and if you look in the mirror, you can see circles.
And if I take this one and I turn it, you can
see a square up here and a circle down here.
And if I then carry on turning it,
and we keep going round like this, you will see that this one at the
bottom will turn into a square
-and that one will turn into a circle.
It is. I'm going to move that out the way, so I can get my hand in.
You can see the square, and you can see the circles in there.
And as I turn, and I keep turning it like this,
you'll see it change and the one in the mirror becomes the square,
-and this one here becomes the circles.
-Oh, I don't like this.
-And the same with this one here, as I turn it... It is
faintly astonishing, isn't it, you can see it becoming the circles.
-And then the squares.
-I know! It is called
the Ambiguous Cylinder Illusion. It is designed by a man...
-It is a catchy name.
Designed by a man called Dr Sugihara Kokichi.
And from one angle, the shapes look circular,
while in the other angle they look like cuboids. And in fact,
they are a cross between the two.
Squircles, or rather, squircle prisms.
And if you want to make this at home, you absolutely can.
Just look up "Ambiguous Cylinder Illusion cut-out"
and there's a template for a paper version.
So you can work out how to do it. So I'm just going to put that one
-It IS amazing.
Do give it a go, because I think it's really extraordinary.
And the fact that our brains are flawed in this way is what
distinguishes us from robots.
Robots won't be fooled by optical illusions,
only human beings are fooled by optical illusions.
There's a very famous thing called the Adelson chequerboard illusion.
And if you look at it, you would imagine that there are light
squares and there are dark squares.
But in fact, what's happened is,
the green cylinder there has cast a shadow.
And what happens is, our eyes correct.
What is the truth of that is A and B are exactly the same colour.
-So if you see...
If we join them together, so just those squares,
but because we have understood
there's a shadow from the green cylinder,
we have, in our minds, made B a lighter colour.
But actually, A and B are exactly the same colour.
-Oh, is this how the robots are going to finally defeat us?
-Well, this is certainly...
-They'll chase us into a Escher painting.
Yes! But it's how computers may eventually be able to distinguish
a bot from a person, because you could give a test like this.
If you get the answer wrong, then you're human.
Because, even though I've told you A and B are the same colour,
when you look back to the one on the left,
you believe that they are different colours.
-I still don't believe you.
Now, what's a little bit orange and very over-sensitive?
-Someone had to say it, didn't they?!
-Cally, I might be looking at you.
-Something to do with being ginger.
-It is to do with being red-headed.
So are there any particular characteristics that are
-more associated with redheads than...?
-They're fiery, aren't they?
-We're very attractive.
Very, very attractive. The fact is, multiple studies have shown
that redheads are more sensitive to pain than the rest of us.
-So, unfortunately, you are more susceptible to pain.
-Do you know,
I think there are studies that say the opposite. I'm just saying,
I've also seen studies that say we've got a higher pain threshold.
Well, they worked out that, typically,
20% more anaesthetic is needed by a redhead.
And the way they work this out, researchers administered
electric shocks to redheads, while giving them
increasing amounts of painkiller until they stopped feeling pain.
And the reason is that having red hair is usually
caused by a mutation on a gene called MC1R.
And that is also involved in pain modulation.
And it explains why redheads are twice as likely to avoid
going to the dentist as the rest of us. Because you feel more pain.
I don't believe any of this. I don't want to cry in the face of QI,
but, no, I don't believe it.
Fair enough. Where do you think the most common red-hair gene
first appeared in the world? Where does it come from?
It's got to be Scotland.
-No, it isn't - it's Asia, in fact. It's Central Asia.
But it's very common in various parts of the UK. Why do you think that might be?
-Surely it's the lack of sun.
-Yeah, it's got to be the climate.
In places like Scotland.
I mean, look at our Scottish cousins, but their skin isn't just
sheet-white from the lack of sun, but their hair has turned red,
as it attempts to start its own fire for warmth.
Is it about people desperately wanting to procreate
with other ginger people, because we're so deeply attractive?
STEPHEN ROARS WITH LAUGHTER It's, the fact is...
-The fact is, it's a recessive gene,
so it excels in relatively closed communities, I'm afraid.
-It requires a level of inbreeding. That's the truth.
My friend, she's got red hair
and she went on holiday to the Philippines, and people were
getting, stopping her in the street to have their photo taken with her.
-Because they just love...
-They just couldn't believe that she existed.
Like she was a celebrity.
I was in mainland China for the first time ever, doing gigs,
and I could not tell you how many people stopped me
in the street, asking to take a selfie with me, right.
I mean, it was as though they'd never ever seen a tall person before.
So, can you imagine if I was ginger as well?
They'd be carrying me out of the building!
Obviously I don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese, I'm in a packed lift
in China, all these people - I'm not even joking -
the only phrase I could decipher was this...
You absolutely need to put that on your posters.
I think that should be...
Now for the oddly shambolic omnishambles that we call
Fingers on buzzers, please. What did the Nazis call this?
Aah. Who's going to go for it?
Not... I'm told they didn't call it a swastika.
They did not call it the swastika.
They called it the Hakenkreuz. It's the German for "hooked cross",
and in Germany, in fact, it's still referred to, except when discussing
it in a neo-Nazi context, in which case, it's called the swastika.
But Hitler was mad for it.
And after his party adopted the swastika, he actually
changed his signature to S Hitler,
because the shape of the S mimicked...
There, you can see there, it mimicked the shape of the swastika.
Anyway, who was the last monarch to be crowned
at the abbey in Westminster?
Has there been one since the Queen?
-That's wrong, then, is it?
-So it's not her.
-So it's not her.
-Oh, was it Queen Latifah?
Here is the thing, it's not actually an abbey.
And that is what makes it a trick question.
So Henry VIII is the answer,
because since his dissolution of the monasteries, it is
no longer technically an abbey, so if it's not an abbey, it's a...?
-It's called a Royal Peculiar.
-A Royal Peculiar.
-It's called a Royal Peculiar.
So it's a church subject to the direct jurisdiction of the monarch.
And that is what it is today.
It's the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster.
How many species of camel are there?
-More than that...?
-More than that. Yes.
We used to think it was two, so Carl Linnaeus,
he named the dromedaries and the domestic Bactrians, back in 1758.
120 years later, the Russian geographer
Nikolay Przhevalsky, discovered wild Bactrians.
So the truth is that there are actually three of them.
They used to think wild Bactrians were
a subspecies of the Bactrians, but we now know from recent DNA analysis
they're a totally different species.
-Beautiful, aren't they?
-Aren't they stunning? I think they ARE stunning!
Who was it said a camel is a horse designed by committee?
Have you been on a camel ride?
I have been on a camel ride. It doesn't go well.
I did a... I did a magic show once, where I was asked
to "magically" appear on a camel.
And you know my feelings of beasts like this.
-Why did you point at me when you said that?
Don't, she's very sensitive to pain!
And it was one of those one-hump ones.
I'm not sure - what's the big difference
between the two humps and the one hump?
-It's the number of humps.
-Is that it?
-OK, so I was on the one with the one hump.
-And they put this sort of square seat on the hump.
-I'm like, "How am I going to get on the hump?"
And I had to have a man... and give me one of those, like...
-But you get a ladder.
-They don't like it.
-They don't want you on their backs!
-And they turn around and look at you
with their faces, like...
It's too much.
There's a couple of them in London Zoo
and they're great big things, and they look at you with contempt.
You know, "What, are you back again?" "I'm a member, all right?!
"I've got a family membership.
"So why don't you just, for once, just change your whole attitude?"
"I don't like you. I don't like you."
There are three species of camel,
but sadly, the third doesn't have three humps.
Which brings us to the scores.
This week's winner,
with minus 12, it's Josh.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
In second place, with a magnificent debut,
minus 14, Cally.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Third place, minus 18,
Stephen. APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
And, with a truly marvellous minus 69, Alan.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
So Josh takes home this week's objectionable object prize,
which is this hilarious comedy eyeball.
There you go, there you go, fantastic.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
So, it's thanks to Cally, Josh, Stephen and Alan,
and I leave you with this advice from La Code Gourmand,
a book of etiquette written in 1828.
"When you are seated next to a lady,
"you should be only polite during the first course.
"You may be gallant in the second,
"but you must not be tender till the dessert.
"When you have the misfortune to sit next to a child,
"your only plan is to make him drunk as soon as possible."
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Sandi Toksvig organises an omnishambles. Learn how to throw the two-handed javelin, meet the woman who never knew that she had won an Olympic gold medal, and much more besides. With Josh Widdicombe, Stephen K Amos, Cally Beaton and Alan Davies.