QI. Image shows from L to R: Alan Davies, Sandi Toksvig. Copyright: TalkbackThames


  • TV panel show
  • BBC Two / BBC One / BBC Four
  • 2003 - 2024
  • 312 episodes (21 series)

Panel game that contains lots of difficult questions and a large amount of quite interesting facts. Stars Sandi Toksvig, Stephen Fry and Alan Davies.

Episode menu

Series A, Episode 4 - Atoms

Atoms - Hydrogen Atom


- The main component of air is nitrogen (Forfeit: Oxygen)

- The most boring place in Britain is a field outside Ousefleet, near Scunthorpe, according to the Ordnance Survey map. It containing nothing except half an electricity pylon and some overhead cabling. It is the blankest square kilometre in the country.

- Tangent: Charles Dickens claimed that Chelmsford was, "The dullest and most stupid spot on the face of the Earth." He also invented the word "Boredom".

- Barbara Cartland holds the world record for the most books written in a single year, with 23 books. She was buried in a cardboard coffin beneath an oak tree planted by Elizabeth I.

- The ozone layer is 15 miles above the surface of the Earth and smells of geraniums.

- The film critic John Simon described Walter Matthau as resembling, "A half-melted rubber bulldog."

- Atoms are mostly empty space. Ernest Rutherford compared the inside of an atom as being, "like a few flies in a cathedral."

- The discoverer of hydrogen and the creator of the grand piano knew each other and lived locally. A hydrogen atom has more frequencies than a grand piano.

General Ignorance

- King Henry VIII technically had either three or four wives. He annulled is marriage to Anne of Cleves, the Pope declared is marriage to Anne Boleyn void because he was still married to Catherine of Aragon, and Henry declared his marriage to Catherine of Aragon void because it was illegal to marry his brothers wife, and she had previously been married to Henry's brother Arthur. (Forfeit: Six)

- Tangent: Hans Holbein, who once painted Henry VIII, once did a painting called "The Ambassadors", which can only be seen correctly from the correct angle.

- The word "Silver" rhymes with "Chilver", which is a female lamb. (Forfeit: Nothing)

- All diamonds in the world come from the Earth's surface, and are brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions. (Forfeit: South Africa)

- Tangent: South Africa is the fifth largest producer of diamonds, after Australia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana and Russia. Diamonds and graphite are both made out of pure carbon, but appear on opposite ends of the Mohs scale of hardness.

- Light can travel at 38 mph, through sodium chilled at -270 degrees celcius. The speed of light is only constant in a vacuum.

- A chameleon changes colour depending on mood. (Forfeit: Background)

- Tangent: Chameleons can swivel their eyes independently. It was once believed they lived on air.

Deleted Scenes

- William Shakespeare invented the expression, "Vanish into thin air". Hamlet also contains several cliches still used today.


Jo Brand: 36 points
Howard Goodall: 13 points
Jeremy Hardy: 7 points
Alan Davies: -24 points

Broadcast details

Thursday 2nd October 2003
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 29th July 2012 2:40pm Dave
Sunday 29th July 2012 6:40pm Dave
Wednesday 14th November 2012 7:40pm Dave
Wednesday 14th November 2012 11:00pm Dave
Thursday 20th December 2012 2:00pm Dave
Sunday 26th May 2013 1:40pm Dave
Sunday 26th May 2013 5:00pm Dave
Wednesday 31st July 2013 11:00pm Dave
Thursday 1st August 2013 2:10am Dave
Saturday 2nd November 2013 7:40pm Dave
Sunday 3rd November 2013 3:20pm Dave
Thursday 8th January 2015 11:35pm Dave
Friday 20th March 2015 11:00pm Dave
Monday 13th July 2015 12:00am Dave
Wednesday 18th November 2015 2:40am Dave
Wednesday 18th November 2015 10:20pm Dave
Wednesday 27th July 2016 12:20am Dave
Wednesday 27th July 2016 9:20pm Dave
Saturday 3rd September 2016 10:20pm Dave
Sunday 4th September 2016 3:20am Dave
Wednesday 11th January 2017 3:20pm Dave
Tuesday 14th March 2017 2:00pm Dave
Wednesday 15th March 2017 12:20am Dave
Monday 15th January 2018 11:00pm Dave
Tuesday 16th January 2018 1:00am Dave
Tuesday 6th February 2018 11:00pm Dave
Wednesday 7th February 2018 1:00am Dave
Wednesday 21st March 2018 1:00am Dave
Tuesday 15th May 2018 8:00pm Dave
Wednesday 15th August 2018 3:15am Dave
Thursday 24th January 2019 11:40pm Dave
Friday 25th January 2019 1:40am Dave

Cast & crew

Stephen Fry Host / Presenter
Alan Davies Regular Panellist
Guest cast
Jeremy Hardy Guest
Jo Brand Guest
Howard Goodall Guest
Writing team
Samantha Ball Researcher
Adam Jacot de Boinod Researcher
Sophie Johnstone Researcher
Molly Oldfield Researcher
Production team
Ian Lorimer Director
John Lloyd Producer
Phil Clarke Executive Producer
Nick King Editor
Jonathan Paul Green Production Designer
Howard Goodall Composer

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