Series L, Episode 16 - Landmarks
- This is a "General" show in Series L, covering a wide range of different topics beginning with "L".
- Stephen decides to get the panel to do some work and for them to choose one of two questions: whether they want to know about the death of the last American Civil War pensioner, or the last thing you would like to see on the London Underground.
- A question on larceny: out of a choice between getting an email from a Spanish prisoner or a Nigerian prince, you would rather not have either because both are likely to be scams. The Spanish prisoner scam was the medieval version of the modern day Nigerian email scam. These letters were sent by people claiming to be Spanish prisoners, needed someone to pay for their freedom, and would pay them back a thousand-fold once out. In 1914, the year Nigeria was founded, the British ambassador to Spain wrote to the Nigerian colonial offices warning them about the Spanish prisoner scam. It is possible therefore that Nigerian criminals got this scam from the British. The Nigerian scams deliberately use bad spelling and grammar because someone who fails to spot the mistakes is more likely to be conned - it is to weed out smart people who are unlikely to fall for the scam.
- XL: You can turn a camel into a mule by leading it down a path without feeding it. Drug traffickers can train their camels to be drug mules and to take secret smuggling routes by leading them down the preferred route without feeding them. The camel only gets fed once they have reached their destination. This makes the camel remember the route and so it can transport drugs without the need of a human to travel with it. The trafficker can just wait in a hotel while the camel makes the long walk, and if the camel is caught by the police there are no humans to arrest. Some smuggling routes can be as long as from the Red Sea to Morocco, where the drugs can then be shipped to Spain.
- The aviation techniques of the concrete arrows involved putting large concrete arrows in the ground across the USA pointing west, so that pilots could see these from high in the air and know which direction they were travelling in. These 70 foot long arrows occurred every 10 miles across the country. This programme was stopped in 1933 due to advances in radio technology. Often the names of towns would be painted on large buildings as an additional aid.
- There is a mighty Norfolk oak which commemorates a military leader. Unfortunately the leader was Adolf Hitler. Everyone who won a gold medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics was given a sapling of an oak tree. The one in Norfolk is the only one left in Britain. Most Americans got rid of the trees they were presented with, but Jesse Owens kept his. One of his oaks still survives in his old training school in Cleveland, Ohio. Another was given to his mother. The German for "oak" is "eich", so "Eichmann" means "Oakman" in English. (Forfeit: Nigel Farage)
- XL: In a fight between Chuck Norris or communism you could argue that Norris would win. One of things that communist regimes did, especially those of Nicolae Ceau?escu in communist Romania, was they wanted to prevent the people from knowing how well off the west was. Censorship was so great that even in Tom and Jerry cartoons if someone opened a fridge that scene would be cut because they did not want to show the fridge full of food. However, one woman on her own named Margareta Nistor imported over 5,000 western movies and dubbed them (albeit not changing her accent to differentiate between the characters) including Jaws, The Godfather Part II, The Shining and lots of Chuck Norris films. After Ceau?escu, Nistor was the most famous person in Romania for a whole generation, although she never revealed her true identity at the time. Her story is now being turned into a film called Chuck Norris VS Communism.
- XL: Spend-a-Penny Bonus: You should get out bed and go to the lavatory in order to avoid being eaten by the Big Bad Wolf. This is a bizarre 1870 version of Little Red Riding Hood, where after Red Riding Hood gets to her grandmother's house the Wolf asks her to perform a striptease and throw her clothes on the fire. The Wolf then tells her to get into bed, does so, and then she realises that the Wolf is not her grandmother. To escape Red Riding Hood asks to go to the lavatory. The Wolf urges her just to take a dump in the bed, but she refuses, goes outside to go the lavatory, and escapes using her good manners. This was one of the fairy tales collected by Charles Perrault, but in his version Red Riding Hood goes to sleep and is eaten by the Wolf. There is an 11th century version of the story called The False Grandmother where instead of a wolf an ogre kills the grandmother and uses her intestine as a latch string on the door. When Red Riding Hood enters the house she eats her grandmother's dismembered teeth and drinks her blood by accident.
- Spending-a-Penny Bonus: The panel are shown some film footage form 1902 of a British coronation and are asked who the man with the big beard is. The man is actually a French lavatory attendant, who briefly became one of the biggest film stars in the world, for playing Edward VII in a film adaptation of the king's coronation. It was filmed by George Melies, who had planned to film the actual coronation but his equipment was too loud and so he was not allowed to do so. So he re-created it in a French film studio and used a lavatory attendant to play Edward VII. The only real footage in the film is of the king in his carriages. The film actually went better than the real ceremony, during which the elderly and almost blind Archbishop of Canterbury put the king's crown on backwards, and when he knelt down to swear fealty to the king he could not get up again. Edward VII liked the film when watched it, according to a letter to QI sent by Melies's great-great-granddaughter Pauline. (Forfeit: George V; Edward VII)
- The Duchy of Cornwall is mostly in Devon.
- A cowboy calls his rope just a rope. Calling it a lasso is giveaway that you are a city slicker. Lassos have been known to have been used by the Ancient Egyptians to capture antelopes and wild oxen. (Forfeit: Lasso)
- The company which makes the most tyres in the world is Lego. Obviously, they are not "proper" tyres used in cars, but they are a kind of tyre. (Forfeit: Goodyear; Dunlop; Firestone; Pirelli)
- Friday 23rd January 2015
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
- 1.44 million viewers (7.60% audience share)
- Friday 23rd January 2015 at 11:05pm on BBC2 Scot
- Saturday 18th April 2015 at 10:20pm on BBC2 (45 minute version)
- Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 10:00pm on BBC2
- Monday 23rd November 2015 at 10:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
- Tuesday 24th November 2015 at 9:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
- Thursday 28th January 2016 at 1:00am on Dave (60 minute version)
- Thursday 28th January 2016 at 9:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
- Friday 29th April 2016 at 12:55am on Dave (60 minute version)
- Friday 29th April 2016 at 9:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
- Thursday 7th July 2016 at 10:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
- Thursday 29th September 2016 at 8:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
- Friday 30th September 2016 at 1:20am on Dave (60 minute version)
- Thursday 26th January 2017 at 8:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
- Saturday 28th January 2017 at 2:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Exec Producer|
|Suzanne McManus||Exec Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|Justin Pollard||Associate Producer|
|Other cast & crew|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Writer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Question Writer|
|Anne Miller||Question Writer|
|Stevyn Colgan||Question Writer|
If I tell you that the expression "penal code" is enough to raise a laugh in this edition of QI and that at one stage Alan Davies is reduced to sticking his biro to his top lip for fun, you'll get the picture. It's not, I'm afraid to say, a classic. And that's despite the presence of the usually rock-solid David Mitchell, who is strangely subdued throughout.
So why watch? Well because even a sub-par, so-so QI can put a wry smile on your face and impart mildly intriguing titbits, such as the fact that a French documentary about King Edward VII's coronation featured a lavatory attendant standing in for the king.David Butcher, Radio Times, 23rd January 2015