Occupations and Offices QI


Occupations and Offices

Sandi Toksvig looks into occupations and offices with Deirdre O'Kane, Richard Osman, David Mitchell and Alan Davies.


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Transcript


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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Good evening and welcome to the QI office party.

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Joining me around the photocopier for a show all about

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offices and occupations are Vice President of Stapler Affairs,

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Deirdre O'Kane.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Senior Partner in Charge of Biscuits, Richard Osman.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Regional Branch Biro Lid Replacement Manager, David Mitchell.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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And, on the 15th year of his two-week internship, Alan Davies.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Let's hear their noises office.

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Deirdre goes...

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TYPING

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-What is it?

-Typewriter.

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-It's a...

-Thanks for the help! Thank you.

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-Well done!

-Wow.

-There must be a historian in.

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But genuinely, kids at home are going, "Oh, thank you.

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"Yeah, couldn't know that." They wouldn't have.

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And Richard goes...

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BROADBAND DIAL-UP BLEEPING

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LAUGHTER

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That's a laugh from a certain section

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of the audience who got that.

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And David goes...

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WATER POURING, WATER COOLER BUBBLING

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Diarrhoea, we're all aware of that.

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And Alan goes...

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RINGING

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-FEMALE VOICE ON ANSWER MACHINE:

-The office is now closed.

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Please leave a message for...

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-MALE VOICE:

-Alan Davies.

-..after the tone.

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BEEP

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Right. What's the worst thing you can catch in the office?

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Well, I mean...

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the plague?

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Can you imagine how many days off people had during the plague?

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People who were perfectly all right.

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"Yeah. Oh, God, plague, yeah.

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"Yeah, pretty bad."

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What, were they just talking to their hands, they were just...?

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-Yeah, yeah, yeah.

-Files disease.

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Files disease?

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Well, in fact it's bad manners.

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Bad manners is the thing you are most likely to catch in an office.

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They did a study in 2015, and acts of rudeness

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apparently spread around an organisation a bit like a cold.

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And when rudeness starts, it tends to get worse over the course

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of a working day. It is the thing you're...

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Oh, bugger off!

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-You can't actually catch bad manners.

-Well, apparently what

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happens is, if somebody is rude to you, you're more likely

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to be rude back. So it's one of the things you're most...

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Hence the Nazis, and things like that.

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-That started in an office...

-Yeah, yeah.

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-..with someone being a little bit impolite...

-Yeah.

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-..over some filing.

-And suddenly they're in Poland.

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The next thing you know...

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There is lots of bacteria as well.

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I mean, they did a study of 33 keyboards in an average office

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and one of them had five times as many germs

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as the office toilet seat.

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AUDIENCE GROANS

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But I'm always a bit worried about those numbers of germs things.

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-OK.

-Because they say the average kitchen worktop has more germs on it

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than the average loo seat.

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To which the obvious response is,

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-well, that's obviously broadly fine then...

-Yeah.

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..because we're not all dying, we don't go to the kitchen

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and have one meal and immediately vomit and vomit and vomit.

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But toilets are actually quite clean,

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because they are actually cleaned with bleach, which is...

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Do you not think bleach is the perfect product of all time?

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Because people go to the shops, they buy it, they pour

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it down the toilet, they flush it away and they go and buy some more.

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Whoever invented it thought, "This is going to make us a fortune."

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So, Deirdre, what do you reckon,

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if you had an all-male office and an all-female office,

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which one would have more bacteria?

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-Oh, the male office.

-Why?

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Because they're mankier than us.

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So maybe that is the scientific answer.

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They're dirtier and bigger, so they give off more bacteria.

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But are men dirtier per kilogram?

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Oh, that's a good question.

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Deirdre, how dirty are you, and then we'll work it out?

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I know that men don't wash their hands after they've

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been in the toilet.

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There you go.

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In fact, I was once at Wembley Stadium,

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and I went to wash my hands, and when I got to the sink there

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were three penises urinating into the sink.

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No!

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On their own?

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I don't really know how it works.

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They couldn't be bothered to queue for the urinals,

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they just used the sink where I was trying to wash my hands.

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And they're here tonight.

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Did you ever play the old Comedy Store in Leicester Square?

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Yes, I played the old Comedy Store, and the first time

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I went in the dressing room, Arthur Smith and Paul Merton were in there.

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And they introduced themselves and they said,

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-"The toilet's over there," and it was the sink.

-Yeah.

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So there was just a basin in the corner of the room,

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and they weren't really expecting girls.

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I was just going to say, not much good for us.

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No, well, Josie Lawrence used to lift me up, to be able...

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So, I have four occupations for you.

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Deirdre, you are a Sewage Diver.

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Richard, you are the Queen's Bagpiper.

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David, you're an Ornamental Hermit.

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And, Alan, you're Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds.

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Which of you has got a real job?

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The Chiltern Hundreds is a real place.

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Yes, but is the job a real job?

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It's an anti-job. It's what you get when you resign as an MP,

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-you join the Chiltern Hundreds.

-Yeah. So it's not really a real job.

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So 1624, and they passed a law saying that nobody

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can leave Parliament, and it stems from the time

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when people were elected against their will.

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So sometimes local gentry were made to join Parliament,

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they didn't really want to.

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And the law says, technically, you have to die or you have to be

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voted out or you have to go and work for the Queen or something.

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So if you want to retire, you apply for a fictional Crown Office

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called the Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds.

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And here are some people who have, in their time, been Stewards.

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Look at Tony Blair pretending to drink wine.

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He brought an empty glass to his lips

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and now he's filled it with his special liquid.

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Then he passes it to the person next to him,

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they drink it and then they like him.

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So let's go back to the Sewage Diver, what do you reckon,

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-Deirdre, real job?

-Well, it's a shit job, isn't it?

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-It is, look at that, it is a real thing. So they have a...

-It's more

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-wading they do, than diving, isn't it?

-There you go, yeah.

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But that's not a way to resign if you're an MP.

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You know, I think that would be quite popular as...

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That would be a good way.

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"I wish to leave politics, so now I will immerse myself in excrement."

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-Yes.

-Hurray!

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-But who would do this job?

-I used to be a sewage diver.

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It was just going through the motions.

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AUDIENCE GROANS

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Thanks, anyway.

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Well, there are sewage farms and they have sort of moving parts,

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and when things get stuck, they're fitted with air pipelines,

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they have to dive in and climb down to fix them.

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-Oh, God.

-"They're fitted with air pipelines." I would hope so!

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Yes, I know.

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Just take a deep breath and go for it!

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I would have thought the worst job is the person who has to

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clean the suit when they get out.

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I don't know.

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I think I'd go... Presented with that terrible career choice,

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I think I'd go for cleaning the suit.

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What about Queen's Bagpiper, Richard, is that a real job?

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Well, she's got everything, hasn't she, the Queen?

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So, yeah, gosh, I'd imagine so.

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She is really keen on bagpipers, isn't she?

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Well, she inherited it.

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Queen Victoria was terribly keen. I mean, mad keen, on them.

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-Mad for the bagpipes.

-Mad for the bagpipes.

-Yeah.

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There was no telly then, so, you know, fair enough.

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I have to say, it was much easier in the days

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-when all you had to be better than was a bagpiper.

-Yeah.

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Nine o'clock every morning, he plays for 15 minutes

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underneath her window.

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-Oh, no, he doesn't?

-Well, he's been told it's her window.

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I have no... Who knows whether it is or not?

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They play 15 minutes every day at Buckingham Palace,

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Windsor Castle, Balmoral or Holyroodhouse.

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They don't play at Sandringham. Anybody know why?

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Because she needs a break.

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-That's the Christmas one, isn't it, Sandringham?

-Yeah.

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Well, apparently it's because there isn't enough accommodation.

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So...

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-I'm so sorry, we just don't have the room for the bagpiper.

-No.

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One of the things they say...

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It's kind of anti the Christmas story, isn't it?

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Go in the stable!

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APPLAUSE

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No room for the bagpipers.

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And when he's not bagpiping, he's a Page of Presence.

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But I have no idea what that is.

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-A page of presents is Santa's list, isn't it?

-Oh.

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I'm going to give you an extra point,

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because that's the cutest answer anybody's ever given.

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What about the Ornamental Hermit, David? What do you reckon?

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I think... Didn't the sort of very rich man, aristocrat that built

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follies might think a folly would be even more fun if it was permanently

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inhabited by someone employed to sort of be there and be a hermit?

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Yeah, you're absolutely right. It was very fashionable

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in the 18th century. They liked people to sort of dress-up

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as Druids, and they lived in caves.

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If the land owner couldn't afford a hermit,

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because, you know, they're pricey, they saved money by having

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just the hermitage and telling everybody the hermit was out.

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Which famously, hermits never are.

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No.

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Yeah, I'd have gone with,

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"Don't bother the hermit, he's a bit of a loner." You know?

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That's more plausible, isn't it?

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Well, there are still several towns in Europe that have

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professional hermits. So, early 2017, the Austrian town

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of Saalfelden advertised for one.

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There's no salary, but you get your own house and chapel, which is

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very nice. There's no TV, no running water, no internet,

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and you need to be sociable.

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You need to be sociable?

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-Yeah, because people turn up.

-You wouldn't expect that.

-No.

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If you'd finally made it as a professional hermit and then

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they say, "Of course the main thing is you've got to be sociable."

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Now, why shouldn't you give a teenage boy your phone?

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Just plain hygiene.

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Don't want to give a teenage boy anything, do you?

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Actually, we are going back to the 19th century.

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It's the very first telephone systems.

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Bell telephone, 1878.

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If a call came in,

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they actually had to put a plug into the hole that the call was

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being received, and then run a wire to where the call wanted to go.

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And when they first set-up this system, they hired messenger boys,

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because it was assumed that it was a physically demanding job,

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and the boys would be fantastic at it, they'd be really fit.

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Instead, they drank beer and wrestled each other,

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swore at the customers and connected strangers together as a prank.

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-What if...

-Well, that's like the first social network.

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Yes, it is, exactly.

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I was going to say, what if this is what the internet is?

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We think it's this whizzy thing, but it's actually just

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a series of teenage boys in a little bunker, kind of connecting people.

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-I know, dressed like that.

-It would explain a lot about the internet

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-if it was.

-Yeah. And so the boys were very quickly replaced by women.

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By the end of the 1880s, almost all phone operators were women,

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and they could always remember who they were speaking to.

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They had to say "number please" about a thousand times a day.

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They were polite and they managed to knit at the same time.

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This is the original multi-tasking.

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And yet the toilet was still a sink.

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Anyway, another O occupation now.

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How would an Onion Johnny bring tears to your eyes?

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Is he wearing one there?

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No, it's not a thing.

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-It's not a thing?

-No.

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-So it's an emotion?

-Oh, what is the emotion of Onion Johnny?

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It's a sad emotion, obviously, it brings tears to your eyes.

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Yeah, because it's making you cry. An ennui, maybe.

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-You are heading in the right direction.

-OK, really?

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Blimey!

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-In that we've managed to get a cod French accent in.

-Oh, all right.

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-So it's French.

-French, heading towards France.

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-French, but it's not a thing.

-It's a person.

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Is it a person selling onions?

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It's a person selling onions.

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Absolutely right, Deirdre, very well done.

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So they were French onion sellers, who travelled door to door.

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The 1920s and '30s, there were up to 1,500 of them

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who travelled to the UK for several months of the year,

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mostly on bicycles.

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And they were called Johnnies because were Jean,

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many of them were called Jean, so they were Onion Johnnies.

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And it's where we get the origin of the French stereotype,

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the beret and the stripy jumper.

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But in fact they were Breton, they were from Brittany.

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So most French people are baffled by the fact that we think this is

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what a Frenchman looks like, because most of the Johnnies didn't speak

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French at all, they spoke Bretonese, which is a bit like Welsh.

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2008 reported only 15 Onion Johnnies remaining.

0:13:130:13:16

Does anybody know the myth that

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if you put half an onion in your sock, within half an hour

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you'll be able to taste it, as the chemicals run through your body?

0:13:200:13:23

But why would you eat your sock?

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No, you don't need to eat the sock.

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You put the onion inside the sock, to keep it in place,

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and then the chemicals seep up through your body.

0:13:320:13:35

-Nonsense, I don't believe it.

-It is nonsense.

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One of the elves tried this and it doesn't work,

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and what worries me is that they tried it.

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They are very thorough researchers.

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They do very thorough research.

0:13:470:13:48

Sometimes they make you cry and sometimes they don't, don't they?

0:13:480:13:51

-Yes. And there are all sorts of...

-And there's a reason for that.

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I think it's the way in which you cut them.

0:13:540:13:56

Something to do with that,

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and also whether your partner's just left you.

0:13:570:13:59

There's no point in putting a spoon in your mouth then, is there?

0:14:090:14:12

-I do that. Put a silver...

-Yeah.

-Do you put a teaspoon in your mouth?

0:14:120:14:15

You're meant to put a spoon in your mouth.

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When you're chopping the onion, you put a spoon in your mouth

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and then you won't cry. But it doesn't work.

0:14:190:14:21

-A teaspoon or a great big spoon, like a ladle?

-No, like a...

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Let's say a dessert spoon.

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-Soup spoon sized.

-So you can't cry.

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And do you have it curvy bit up or down?

0:14:280:14:30

I'd have the curly bit up in the shape of the palate.

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-Don't ask Deirdre, it doesn't work for her.

-Yeah.

0:14:320:14:36

Have you ever played the spoon game?

0:14:360:14:38

What's the spoon game?

0:14:380:14:40

The spoon game is, you put a spoon in your mouth, a bit like that...

0:14:400:14:44

-Yeah.

-Put your head down, put your head down, it won't hurt.

0:14:440:14:47

-Put my what?

-Your head.

-Head down, right.

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And you go like that.

0:14:500:14:51

Right? Then, David, you can get up now.

0:14:540:14:56

Thank you.

0:14:560:14:57

Then David will put the spoon in his mouth and I'll put my head down.

0:14:580:15:02

-Yeah.

-And then a third person behind me will hit me

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with incredible force with another spoon.

0:15:050:15:09

-And it really, really hurts.

-Yes.

0:15:090:15:11

So when you come up, you're enraged!

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And then you put the spoon back in your mouth

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and you really, really try as hard as you can.

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And then they say, "Right," and then the third person,

0:15:170:15:20

and it took me three goes...

0:15:200:15:21

..before I thought, "Hang on a minute,

0:15:230:15:24

"you're not doing that with a spoon in your mouth!"

0:15:240:15:27

What worried me is how compliant David was.

0:15:270:15:29

You had no idea.

0:15:290:15:30

I was just trying to look fun.

0:15:320:15:34

-I've known you a long time, David, it's a new look.

-Yeah.

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Right, moving on.

0:15:430:15:45

A double-O occupation - can you name the longest-lasting Soviet spy

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to work in the UK?

0:15:490:15:50

-Oh, yes.

-Yes?

0:15:510:15:53

My friend, Steve.

0:15:530:15:54

-I shouldn't say that, actually.

-Shh!

0:15:540:15:56

But it is him.

0:15:570:15:59

It was a secretary called Melita Norwood, and she had

0:15:590:16:01

a job in a metals firm in London that was heavily involved...

0:16:010:16:05

You just have to look at her!

0:16:050:16:07

I know, you can tell straight away.

0:16:070:16:09

To be fair to her, she spent a while in Slade, as well.

0:16:090:16:12

Doesn't she look a bit like Richard, though?

0:16:180:16:20

Shh!

0:16:200:16:22

Like a little Richard.

0:16:220:16:23

She worked in a metals firm that was heavily involved in

0:16:230:16:26

Britain's atomic project, and every night she used to open her

0:16:260:16:29

boss' safe and she used to photograph the contents,

0:16:290:16:31

and thanks to her the Soviet Union were able to test their

0:16:310:16:33

nuclear weapons much sooner.

0:16:330:16:35

And she was discovered as a spy in 1999, when she was 87 years old.

0:16:350:16:40

And the authorities decided there was no point in prosecuting her.

0:16:400:16:43

One of the least effective spies, Britain's Michael Bettaney,

0:16:430:16:47

hired by MI5 in 1982.

0:16:470:16:49

He once tried to dodge a ticket on a train while drunk, and when a guard

0:16:490:16:52

chased him, he shouted, "You can't arrest me, I'm a spy."

0:16:520:16:55

-It's so easy to over-estimate the efficacy...

-I know.

0:16:580:17:00

-..of the double bluff, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:17:000:17:02

Well, he later tried to get in touch with the KGB to sell them

0:17:020:17:05

some documents, and the KGB thought they were being set-up,

0:17:050:17:08

and they informed MI5 of his treachery.

0:17:080:17:10

So he was just rubbish.

0:17:100:17:11

Look, that is the worst bunny rabbit you've ever seen.

0:17:110:17:14

Probably the worst spying operation happened in 1940,

0:17:240:17:26

and this is one of my favourites - a dozen German spies

0:17:260:17:28

landed in Britain and they were all caught almost immediately.

0:17:280:17:32

One walked into a pub and asked for a pint of cider soon

0:17:320:17:35

after nine o'clock in the morning,

0:17:350:17:37

and they weren't allowed to serve alcohol before lunch.

0:17:370:17:40

"Half a litre of cider."

0:17:400:17:41

"straight away, please."

0:17:410:17:43

Another couple were stopped while cycling through Scotland

0:17:430:17:45

on the wrong side of the road, and when they looked in their bags,

0:17:450:17:48

they were found to contain German sausages and Nivea hand cream.

0:17:480:17:51

-And I...

-What a combination that is!

-I know!

0:17:510:17:54

"Ooh!

0:17:550:17:56

"Ooh!

0:17:580:17:59

"It's nine o'clock in the morning, Rolf!"

0:18:010:18:03

"I've had a cider, Hans."

0:18:050:18:06

I think it was because no British soldier would have hand cream,

0:18:100:18:13

but it turns out Nivea's German, I didn't know that.

0:18:130:18:15

-Is it?

-Did you know that? It is German.

-Oh.

0:18:150:18:17

And one of them spoke no English at all, but the one who spoke

0:18:170:18:20

English the best said his mission was to find out

0:18:200:18:22

"how the people is living, how many soldiers there are

0:18:220:18:24

"and all the things."

0:18:240:18:26

It really is... 'Allo 'Allo! was a documentary, basically, wasn't it?

0:18:280:18:32

There are some people who think they were deliberately sent

0:18:320:18:35

by senior German officers to sabotage the plot,

0:18:350:18:37

because they didn't want to invade Britain, but...

0:18:370:18:39

That's the Germans for you.

0:18:390:18:41

-At the time.

-Come the time.

0:18:410:18:43

A lot of them have mended their ways since.

0:18:440:18:47

Oh!

0:18:470:18:48

No, a lot of them have.

0:18:480:18:50

It's a wonderful country.

0:18:500:18:51

For our friends in Berlin, Richard's address is...

0:18:510:18:54

Now, what is this man about to post?

0:18:540:18:57

A letter.

0:18:580:19:00

SIREN BLARES

0:19:000:19:02

-Took a bullet there, everyone.

-Yeah.

0:19:030:19:05

Is he about to post a Movember selfie on Facebook?

0:19:050:19:08

No, it is a most extraordinary thing, he is about to post himself.

0:19:100:19:14

-Is he?

-Yeah. His name is Willie Reginald Bray.

0:19:140:19:16

He was also known as the human letter,

0:19:160:19:18

he was an eccentric gentleman, who spent his entire life pushing

0:19:180:19:21

the British Post Office to their absolute limits.

0:19:210:19:24

And he started by sending unwrapped stamped objects to himself,

0:19:240:19:27

to see how that would go.

0:19:270:19:28

So he sent a shirt collar and a half smoked cigar.

0:19:280:19:31

That's him actually posting onions on the right there.

0:19:310:19:34

And almost all of it got through without any trouble at all.

0:19:340:19:37

So he began to experiment.

0:19:370:19:39

He wrote to "Any Resident of London", there it is.

0:19:390:19:42

"Any Resident of London."

0:19:420:19:43

Sadly, that was rejected "insufficiently addressed."

0:19:430:19:46

But he did get his mother to crochet the address and that was accepted.

0:19:460:19:50

And he also wrote the address in mirror writing

0:19:500:19:53

and that was also accepted.

0:19:530:19:55

And then, finally he sent himself through the post.

0:19:550:19:58

He shipped himself to his father,

0:19:580:20:01

and there's his rather irritated father receiving him.

0:20:010:20:03

LAUGHTER

0:20:030:20:07

Then he decided to build the world's largest collection of autographs.

0:20:070:20:10

He wrote to the Reichstag in Germany so many times.

0:20:100:20:14

There's a letter back from Adolf Hitler's office -

0:20:140:20:17

"Please can you stop sending letters, the Fuhrer's quite busy."

0:20:170:20:21

LAUGHTER

0:20:210:20:22

-What if that finally pushed Hitler over the edge?

-Yeah.

0:20:220:20:25

As I say, a lot of them these days, very different,

0:20:250:20:27

-a very different country.

-Yeah.

0:20:270:20:29

Just keep digging that hole there, Richard, it's...

0:20:310:20:34

It's not a hole, it's a trench.

0:20:340:20:35

GROANING

0:20:370:20:39

I'm just saying keep an eye on them, that's all I'm saying.

0:20:390:20:43

Right, moving on.

0:20:430:20:45

Now it's time for Alan's occupational hazard,

0:20:450:20:47

the round that we all call General Ignorance.

0:20:470:20:49

Fingers on buzzers, please.

0:20:490:20:51

Who do you go and see to get your eyes tested?

0:20:510:20:54

-David?

-Optician.

0:20:540:20:55

Ah.

0:20:550:20:57

KLAXON

0:20:570:20:58

No. Why not?

0:21:000:21:01

Optometrist.

0:21:080:21:10

Yes. So the optician dispenses the glasses

0:21:100:21:13

and the optometrist is the person who actually tests your eyes.

0:21:130:21:17

You can be trained as both, so you might have an optician who is

0:21:170:21:20

also an optometrist, that is possible.

0:21:200:21:22

An optician who is also an optometrist,

0:21:220:21:23

that's a TV show I'd like to watch.

0:21:230:21:25

Crazy maverick optician who does optometry as a sideline.

0:21:250:21:29

Why might poor eyesight make a good impression?

0:21:310:21:35

Do you seem aloof and therefore people respect you?

0:21:350:21:39

LAUGHTER

0:21:400:21:41

When you can't see them, you don't rear back at their hideousness.

0:21:410:21:44

-Or try and jump them because of their beauty.

-Yeah.

0:21:470:21:50

So either way your response is muted.

0:21:500:21:52

-Muted.

-It's not that.

0:21:520:21:53

I have very bad eyesight, even with glasses,

0:21:530:21:55

so I can see virtually nothing.

0:21:550:21:56

But it does mean, you know in all the Hollywood movies

0:21:560:21:59

when they used to sort of...

0:21:590:22:00

LAUGHTER

0:22:000:22:01

Yeah, I see that. Can I say, thank you very much.

0:22:010:22:04

So everyone looks like they're shot through a filter.

0:22:040:22:07

OK, so it isn't about that, it's to do with impressions.

0:22:070:22:09

-Oh...

-Oh, oh, is it because Monet and Manet had bad eyesight

0:22:090:22:12

and that's why they painted in the way they did?

0:22:120:22:14

It's absolutely to do with...

0:22:140:22:15

Many of the Impressionists suffered from very poor eyesight.

0:22:150:22:17

That explains a lot.

0:22:170:22:19

I've, yeah, I'm very short-sighted.

0:22:190:22:20

Without glasses or contact lenses,

0:22:200:22:21

things look a bit like an impressionist painting.

0:22:210:22:24

-Right.

-I was walking, I was in a hotel in New York recently,

0:22:240:22:26

and I was walking down a long corridor.

0:22:260:22:28

At the end of the corridor I saw this painting which I thought,

0:22:280:22:30

this, that is beautiful.

0:22:300:22:31

Like a big... It was abstract, it was red and white

0:22:310:22:33

and all kinds of stuff.

0:22:330:22:34

And I thought when I get to the end of the corridor, I'm going

0:22:340:22:37

to see what that is. And it was a fire hose.

0:22:370:22:39

It was very nice. It was beautiful.

0:22:400:22:43

APPLAUSE

0:22:450:22:46

That would be a thoroughly irresponsible painting to

0:22:480:22:51

-hang in a hotel corridor.

-It would be.

0:22:510:22:53

Well, Monet's unusual colours may be down to his cataracts.

0:22:530:22:56

And he's not the only one.

0:22:560:22:57

Degas probably had maculopathy, so it's a retinal disease,

0:22:570:23:00

it affects your central vision.

0:23:000:23:01

And that explains the increasing blurriness in his paintings.

0:23:010:23:05

And it is thought that Van Gogh suffered from lead poisoning,

0:23:050:23:07

and that can make your retinas swell, and you start to see

0:23:070:23:10

light in circles, so very like the Starry Night.

0:23:100:23:13

And Van Gogh also treated, of course,

0:23:130:23:15

with digitalis for his epilepsy,

0:23:150:23:16

and that drug can cause you to see in yellow or yellow-green, and

0:23:160:23:19

that could explain his increasing use of yellow in later works.

0:23:190:23:23

Now, if your surname is Farmer, what did your ancestors do for a living?

0:23:230:23:27

Pharmacists.

0:23:300:23:31

Good thing, good! Excellent.

0:23:310:23:32

Pharmacists is very good. Very good. Pharmacists, no?

0:23:320:23:35

In the Middle Ages, a fermier was a tax collector.

0:23:350:23:39

So early fermiers collected taxes for the Crown,

0:23:390:23:43

and they would pick applicants to work on tenanted lands. In time,

0:23:430:23:46

they made money out of this, they began to buy land, they began

0:23:460:23:49

to grow crops on it, and eventually they became what we know as farmers.

0:23:490:23:54

The very first-ever farmers, in our sense of the word,

0:23:540:23:56

was a man called William Le Fermer, recorded in 1238.

0:23:560:24:00

So farmers are actually tax collectors.

0:24:000:24:02

Well, let's have a look at some other occupational surnames.

0:24:020:24:05

Anybody know any of these? Osman?

0:24:050:24:08

-Oh, that's a good one.

-Yes?

0:24:080:24:09

If you go back a couple of generations,

0:24:090:24:11

we were all charcoal burners in the New Forest.

0:24:110:24:13

OK, but it's anybody who worked with bones,

0:24:130:24:15

so it could be a rag and bone man.

0:24:150:24:17

Oh, that's fun.

0:24:170:24:18

Yeah, so it was an Osman.

0:24:180:24:19

Knatchbull?

0:24:190:24:21

It's somebody who hits bulls on the head to stun them

0:24:210:24:23

before they get slaughtered.

0:24:230:24:25

-With a spoon.

-And they do it with a huge spoon, yeah.

0:24:250:24:27

Yeah, a massive spoon.

0:24:270:24:29

LAUGHTER

0:24:290:24:30

What about a Warner?

0:24:310:24:33

Is that a sort of health and safety inspector?

0:24:330:24:35

-Is it someone who makes yellow cards?

-No.

0:24:390:24:42

-That's a football joke.

-A football joke, OK.

0:24:420:24:44

Hang on two seconds.

0:24:460:24:47

Ha-ha-ha!

0:24:470:24:48

It's somebody who looks after royal rabbit warrens.

0:24:550:24:58

What about a Dickman, what do you reckon?

0:24:580:25:00

It's somebody who digs ditches, a Dickman.

0:25:000:25:02

And a Kellogg?

0:25:020:25:03

Cereal killer?

0:25:040:25:05

Yes.

0:25:050:25:06

Yes.

0:25:090:25:10

-It is, it's a killer of hogs, it's a butcher.

-Oh, OK.

0:25:100:25:12

If your surname is Farmer, your ancestors were tax collectors.

0:25:120:25:17

Name the greatest Wimbledon champion of all time?

0:25:170:25:20

Andy Murray.

0:25:210:25:22

KLAXON

0:25:220:25:25

I think I would have said Sampras. Sorry.

0:25:270:25:29

KLAXON Sampras?

0:25:290:25:32

Great Uncle Bulgaria.

0:25:320:25:33

Is it... Is it a croquet player?

0:25:350:25:38

Yes! It is a croquet player.

0:25:380:25:40

Absolutely right.

0:25:400:25:43

APPLAUSE

0:25:430:25:46

Yeah. Aah.

0:25:460:25:47

Professor Bernard Neal is the greatest Wimbledon

0:25:470:25:49

champion of all time, he won the croquet championships 38 times.

0:25:490:25:53

So if you think about it,

0:25:530:25:54

Navratilova won Wimbledon singles nine times, he won 38 times.

0:25:540:25:58

He only took the sport up at the age of 40.

0:25:580:26:01

Between 1963 and 2002, he won 37 titles out of a possible 40.

0:26:010:26:06

Smacks of a drug cheat, that.

0:26:060:26:07

What do you have to press on the red button to get coverage of the croquet?

0:26:100:26:14

-I've got a bit of croquet here. So.

-Oh.

0:26:150:26:17

Alan, what colour do you want to be?

0:26:190:26:20

Do you want to be red, or blue, or...?

0:26:200:26:22

Black.

0:26:220:26:23

-Black, here we go.

-Can I be the iron?

0:26:230:26:25

Which way are you going to go? Are you going to go right?

0:26:280:26:31

I don't know why that's pleased me so much.

0:26:380:26:41

It went miles, it went miles, viewer.

0:26:420:26:44

That'll be under someone's feet.

0:26:440:26:46

Croquet, it was an Olympic sport.

0:26:460:26:48

And it should be still.

0:26:480:26:50

It was dropped after 1900,

0:26:500:26:51

because only one person turned up to watch, so...

0:26:510:26:54

But the reason it's interesting is because the very first women to

0:26:550:26:58

take part in the Olympics took part as part of the French croquet team.

0:26:580:27:02

So there were seven men and three women.

0:27:020:27:03

And it was thought to be rather racy,

0:27:030:27:05

because it was a game where men and women played on equal footing.

0:27:050:27:08

There's a wonderful quote from the American Christian Review,

0:27:080:27:11

in 1878, said, "Croquet would lead to moral decline in American women,

0:27:110:27:15

"and consequences would include absence from church,

0:27:150:27:19

"immoral conduct and eventually ruin."

0:27:190:27:22

LAUGHTER

0:27:220:27:25

-True though.

-That's a very pessimistic view, isn't it, really?

0:27:250:27:29

I love that. But I love that.

0:27:290:27:30

Anybody know the connection between croquet and Pall Mall,

0:27:300:27:33

the great street in London?

0:27:330:27:35

They played croquet upon it?

0:27:350:27:37

Yes, they did. It is, in fact, where croquet comes from.

0:27:370:27:39

An Italian game, 17th century game called Palle-Malle.

0:27:390:27:42

And both Pall Mall

0:27:420:27:43

and the Mall were designed specifically to play this game.

0:27:430:27:47

They whacked the ball up the course,

0:27:470:27:48

and then they had to shoot a ball through a suspended hoop

0:27:480:27:51

at the end, and that's where we begin to get croquet from.

0:27:510:27:54

Can I have my things back, please?

0:27:540:27:56

I've lost the black, I'm sorry, it's gone.

0:27:560:27:58

And at the end of all that, it is time for the scores.

0:28:000:28:03

In first place, our employee of the week, with minus two, is David.

0:28:030:28:10

CHEERING

0:28:100:28:15

Performing adequately, with minus five, it's Richard.

0:28:150:28:17

-CHEERING

-Thank you.

0:28:190:28:20

On a final warning, with minus seven, Deirdre.

0:28:210:28:24

CHEERING

0:28:240:28:26

And clearing their desk, with minus 49 points...

0:28:280:28:30

-What?

-Alan!

0:28:300:28:32

CHEERING

0:28:340:28:38

And of course we have a prize for our winner.

0:28:420:28:44

This week's objectionable object is this lovely Queen Victoria milk jug.

0:28:440:28:51

That's for you, David, because you can't have a show without prizes.

0:28:510:28:54

Lovely.

0:28:540:28:55

It only remains for me to thank Deirdre, Richard, David and Alan.

0:28:550:28:58

Thank you and goodnight.

0:28:580:29:00

APPLAUSE

0:29:000:29:01

Sandi Toksvig looks into occupations and offices with Deirdre O'Kane, Richard Osman, David Mitchell and Alan Davies.


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