Series L, Episode 5 - Lenses
- The problem with the first contact lenses was that they were very large so fitting them onto your eyes was hard. They were originally made out of the bottom of test tubes. They were invented in Germany in 1880. One pioneer, August Muller, tried them but he could only wear them for half-an-hour, after which he had to use cocaine eye-drops to relieve the pain. They were originally used to protect sensitive eyes rather than to correct vision. By the 1920s-30s they became popular amongst the super-rich in America. They cost more than a car, and they were mainly brought by rich fathers for their daughters. In 1930s-40s no Hollywood actresses can be seen wearing glasses unless it was required for a particular part.
- The panel are given some objects from the British Optical Association Museum of some unusual old eyewear and they have to figure out what each item was for.
- The panel are shown footage of a lizard running and are asked what it is doing at the same time. One thing it is not doing is breathing. The lizard breathes while standing still, runs for a while, stops, breathes, and then continues running. Some people claim that human 100m sprinters also do not breathe during their races. (Forfeit: Breathing)
- The thing that has eight legs, sits in the middle of a spider's web and is not a spider is a dummy spider made out of dead skin and leaf mould by the original spider occupying that web. The dummy spider is five times the size of the real spider, and it is believed that it is made to either make other spiders think the web is occupied, or to scare other spiders away by making them think that the spider in the web is huge, thus making the dummy spider akin to a scarecrow. Some real spiders live inside the dummy spider. Two different species of spider do this: one in Peru, one in the Philippines. Given that these places are so far away, no-one knows for show how both species came to the same solution. It could be convergent evolution, or that some spiders managed to travel from one place to the other on driftwood, or as Alan points out it was just done by God.
- You can never seem to catch the perfect centipede because when you try to catch one the centipede will try to protect itself by removing some of its legs and throwing them away to try and distract their predators. This is known as autotomy.
- The body part beginning with "L" that Queen Victoria left to the Empress of France was a lock of hair. Victoria is mainly responsible for the idea of keeping locks of hair from deceased people, keeping a lock of Prince Albert's hair. The lock Victoria sent was to the Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. Empress Eugenie's full name was Dona Maria Eugenia Ignacia Augustina de Palafox-Portocrarrero de Guzman y Kirkpatrick. She was nicknaked "Carrots" because that was her nickname when she went to school in Bristol. She died in Britain. (Forfeit: Her labia)
- XL: You would put a leech on a leash because they were used internally. They were put up bottoms to deal with testicular problems or down the throat to deal with bronchial problems. They are also used on the scrotum for strained testicles. Leeches can be used today to re-stimulate blood-flow in certain severed body parts like a cut-off finger.
- Spending-a-Penny Bonus: The thing that Georgian men kept in the sideboard for after dinner was a chamber-pot. Frenchman Francois de la Rochefoucauld wrote about this habit which he found disgusting. Chamber-pots were used right into the middle of the 20th century because many houses had outside lavatories. Some chamber-pots had comic things printed on them. One photo of two pots shows them with the phrases: "Use me well and keep me clean; and I'll not tell what I have seen", with an eye in each pot, so the pot was looking at you whilst you did your business. During World War II you could by chamber-pots with pictures of Hitler in them, so you would pee and poo on him.
- XL: The kind of wine that goes best with human liver is amarone. In the original novel of The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris this is the wine Hannibal Lecture drinks with liver, because this full bodied wine goes better with greasy liver. The makers of the film changed it because they thought most people would not have heard of amarone. What the Americans call "Fava beans" the British call "broad beans". (Forfeit: Chianti)
- Nobody sat in the middle of the Last Supper, because the traditional Roman way of eating a meal was to lie on your stomach. It says in the Bible: "Now there was one leaning on Jesus' bosom, one of his Disciples whom Jesus loved." (Forfeit: Jesus)
- In an ant colony no-one is in charge. They are self-organising colony. All the queen does is lay thousands of eggs until she dies. (Forfeit: Adam Ant; The Queen)
- Friday 31st October 2014
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Writer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Question Writer|
|Anne Miller||Question Writer|
|Stevyn Colgan||Question Writer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Executive Producer|
|Suzanne McManus||Executive Producer|
|Justin Pollard||Associate Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|