QI - In The Press

The first ever No Such Thing As A Fish Halloween Special (the QI Elves podcast) is full of delightfully spooky research topics to unravel, and is still a great listen some time later due to Halloween traditions having exceptionally strange origins. The holiday itself was once on the much less spooky May 12th, for instance, because it came before All Saints Day and that holiday did not stay in one place. But in addition to the research the chemistry on the podcast is truly starting to bloom. While it holds a lot in common with the fantastic American podcast Stuff You Missed In History Class, No Such Thing As A Fish is capitalizing heavily on its recent live show in a pub. The hosts are much quicker to dig into each other's theories and opinions than they were only a few months ago when their podcast started. Anna Ptaszynski doesn't just introduce a story about Kesha and her habit of having sex with ghosts, she teases her cohosts with the question of whether everyone knows who she is, so by the time she's read her Ke$ha ghost sex tidbit her cohosts are ready to go with riffs about mythological succubi. Stories about bobbing for apples as a way of selecting a spouse are also delightful, and perhaps most entertaining is the fact that witches once had the tradition of using the end of a broomstick to apply hallucinogenics anally, hence "flying on broomsticks." The dark facts combined with the funnier than ever pacing make this a heck of an installment.

Dan Telfer, The A.V. Club, 10th November 2014

You can debate the virtues of the ideal QI guest, but this is a pretty perfect line-up. Sara Pascoe, Bill Bailey and Rev Richard Coles all have so much to chip in and riff about that the programme reaches that QI plateau where the questions feel almost like an interruption to the general flow of drollery.

Pascoe has astonishing facts about rats' love lives, Bailey objects to the phrase "the birds and the bees" on the basis that bees are "sexless lackeys for a monstrous sugar giant" and Coles ponders the uselessness of a tie rack in a vicarage. He also enlightens us on what it means to be soundly firked. That's firked.

David Butcher, The Radio Times, 7th November 2014

Those who were offended by the childish "poo and willies" humour of a recent QI won't be thrilled to hear mention of male and female genitalia, pubic hair and prostitution in tonight's edition. But not to tune in would mean missing some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, including Alan Davies wearing antique glasses for those with poor peripheral vision. You'd also miss Stephen Fry apoplectic with embarrassment at having accidentally described Jo Brand as an ignorant pig. And you wouldn't know how impossible it is to twirl your right foot clockwise while trying to draw a six in the air with your right hand. Bet you're trying to do that right now.

Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 31st October 2014

Sue Perkins appears to be taking this edition incredibly seriously, frowning as she unpicks the brainteasers and listening intently to Stephen Fry's elucidations as if she was the classroom swot thirsty for every drop of knowledge. That is until he poses the question how did Chicago get screwed up, to which she flippantly replies: "They put Catherine Zeta-Jones in it."

The lavatorial round may send you running towards the smallest room because the explanation is so nauseating even the panellists shriek in horror. But stick around for the quantum levitation demonstration. It's childishly and joyously brilliant. Josh Widdicombe's right when he says: "That would be the best Christmas present in the world!"

Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 24th October 2014

Going in search of weird and wonderful facts can take you to Hawaii or the Himalayas - but you're just as likely to find geek gold in Wigan, writes QI elf James Harkin.

Written by James Harkin. The Daily Telegraph, 22nd October 2014

In honour of guest Victoria Coren Mitchell, QI goes off-grid and includes an Only Connect round. The most shocking thing to emerge from this dramatic deviation from the norm is that Alan Davies has never managed to sit through an entire episode of the BBC Two brainiac quiz.

It will surprise no one to learn that Jack Whitehall takes over the proceedings completely for his usual Whitehall farce, though you can't dislike him for it. He's funny, particularly when discussing his dad's disapproval of his son's bromance with host Stephen Fry.

Elsewhere, we learn the connection between PG Wodehouse and Sherlock Holmes - and did you know that a quarter of the people who claim to have read 1984 are lying?

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 17th October 2014

Usually the QI panelists scrabble about improvising madly as they try to answer Stephen Fry's abstruse questions. Yet both Johnny Vegas and Jason Manford come up with a correct answer (and in Manford's case an impressively comprehensive one) almost immediately. Are the guests getting smarter or the questions easier? Aisling Bea and regular Alan Davies can't compete with such esoteric knowledge. In fact she almost gives up after hearing about a strange northern pursuit involving larded-up legs. "The more I get to know you, the more I think you men are mad," she states. Oh, and you'll never think of the word "sufficient" in the same way after Vegas's revelation.

Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 10th October 2014

A metal maze built by physics students at The University of Bath will feature on the BBC Two programme QI this week.

Bath Chronicle, 7th October 2014

While gearing up for the new series of our long-running quiz show QI, we put a call out on Twitter asking if teachers ever used facts from books and television programmes in their lessons.

Written by John Lloyd. The Sunday Express, 5th October 2014

The real star of Series L will be Alan the QI goldfish, who will be making his television debut in the L-Animals episode to wow the audience with his driving skills.

Written by Alex Bell. BBC TV Blog, 3rd October 2014

As QI returns to BBC Two, the show's creator takes a look at our relationship with facts.

Written by John Lloyd. The Radio Times, 3rd October 2014

It's certainly a big night for comedy panel shows with Have I Got News for You joining Would I Lie to You? on BBC1 and, testing our knowledge of the baffling and the obscure, the wonderful QI on BBC Two.

We're on to the letter L - although that hardly matters - and it takes less than five minutes for it to get lewd despite the headmasterly efforts of Stephen Fry. He asks an innocent question about the sound a lonely whale makes and the ensuing banter suddenly spirals off into filth. Hilarious filth, mind you. Fry, whose obsession with gadgetry matches his love of language, also gets to demonstrate how a fish can drive a tank.

Joining QI regulars Ross Noble and Sarah Millican is the quick-witted Australian comic Colin Lane, but even he is no match for Alan Davies who, for once, isn't there simply to play the fool. "What has 32 brains and sucks," the panel is asked. "The front row" is his speedy response.

Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 3rd October 2014

We've reached "L". Lordy. That's some longevity, right there. However, to make things a little less lumbering, question maestro Stephen Fry is concentrating only on the animal kingdom tonight: from lonely whales to larval locomotives. And possibly lolloping lorikeets, lecherous lions and lesser mouse lemurs. Guests Sarah Millican, Ross Noble and Colin Lane join resident fixture Alan Davies.

Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 3rd October 2014

The latest QI book - 1,441 Facts To Knock You Sideways - is packed full of off-the-wall information. Here were present 20 of the snippets related (even if loosely) to the world of comedy contained therein...

Chortle, 1st October 2014

The creator of QI, the hit BBC trivia show, has said that the show could one day open a school to spread its playful learning philosophy into education.

Written by Alex Hardy. The Times, 30th September 2014

It's Christmas 2014. Stephen Fry, the host of QI, wears three tasteful poinsettia flowers on his lapel. On set, glittery snowmen flank the panel. Behind the scenes Carrie Fisher, a guest panelist, feeds her dog Gary a stuffing ball from the turkey buffet. Well, it's not actually Christmas -- it's summer 2014 and ice-cream weather outside.

Written by Alex Hardy. The Times, 30th September 2014

Host Stephen Fry has just published the third volume of his autobiography, called More Fool Me.

It's obviously a tongue-in-cheek title as the cerebral host of the popular comic quiz - which stands for Quite Interesting - has to be the most intelligent presenter on TV!

Since 2003, Stephen has been challenging audiences with fascinating and remarkable nuggets of knowledge.

Now QI is back for its 12th series, popular permanent panellist Alan Davies returns again, and the pair will be joined by the great and good of British comedy.

Jennifer Rodger, The Daily Mirror, 28th September 2014

Stephen Fry has given his backing to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) by putting the five signed lots on auction site Sellebrity.

Written by Adam Gretton. The Norfolk Daily Press, 25th September 2014

Smarter than Stephen Fry, but we know almost nothing about them - well not any more.

Written by Ellie Austin. The Radio Times, 22nd September 2014

Who are the QI Elves? They're in the great pantheon of TV characters you hear about, but never see - like the wives of Arthur Daley, Norm Peterson and Niles Crane. As a long-time QI fan, whenever these enigmatic "Elves" were referred to on the programme, I would ask (like Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, watching the cloaked horse-riders on the horizon): "Who are those guys?" That's why I'm so excited that the Elves have broken cover, bringing a team to compete in Only Connect's first series for BBC Two.

Written by Victoria Coren Mitchell. The Radio Times, 22nd September 2014

The QI Elves, the folk who come up with those fiendish questions for Stephen Fry, emerge from their cave to field a team against the Bibliophiles tonight on Only Connect.

"Do you know everything about everything?" wonders host Victoria Coren Mitchell of the Elves. The answer is an emphatic no. She also brings a blush to the cheek of a Bibliophile by remarking upon his supposed resemblance to Benedict Cumberbatc, not that I could see it.

There are some killer rounds, though the music question might leave you feeling a bit smug as it's easy. But as always the connecting walls will probably wipe the smile from your face, when you think you've worked it out, but you haven't.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 22nd September 2014

To celebrate the new season of QI, the team behind the hit TV show has come up with 20 questions. It's one 'L' of a challenge... are you up for it?

The Daily Mail, 20th September 2014

An audio interview with QI elf Molly Oldfield.

Written by Joanne Woods. ABC Melbourne, 9th August 2014

As How to Train Your Dragon 2 is released, the QI boffins explain everything you need to know about the flying fire-breathers.

Written by Anne Miller and John Mitchinson. The Daily Telegraph, 11th July 2014

Alan Davies has revealed the weird reason that QI isn't shown in the States - it's the pictures.

Written by Catriona Wightman. Digital Spy, 15th June 2014

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