Series L, Episode 7 - Lethal
- The panel are given a small plastic bag (the sort you use to pick up dog excrement), and demonstrate how it can be used to pull a cork out from inside a bottle, by blowing the bag from inside the bottle and dragging the bag and the cork both out at the same time. The quite interesting thing about it is that this trick may well save millions of lives that would otherwise have been lost during childbirth. An Argentinian car mechanic named Jorge Odon watched this trick online and thought that a similar device could be used to help babies come out of the womb. When an obstetrician was told about this scheme by Odon the obstetrician thought he was on a hidden camera show, but discovered that this idea really would work. Originally the devices used were first forceps and then more recently a sucker device called a vontouse or kiwi. Odon's method involves inserting a plastic bag into the birth canal, under the baby's chin. Air is then pumped into the bag, inflating the bag gently around the baby's head. Babies do not breathe in the womb so there is no risk of suffocation. The baby is then sucked out of the womb without the need for forceps.
- Lethal uses for a laptop, other than using them to fly drones or simply hitting someone on the head with one, include using a laptop as a euthanasia machine. Invented in Australia, the person committing suicide has to answer three questions and has to be sane and smart enough to say "Yes" to all three. The questions are: "1. Are you aware that if you go ahead to the last screen and press the 'Yes' button, you will be given a lethal dose of medications and die?", "2. Are you certain you understand that if you proceed and press the 'Yes' button on the next screen that you will die?" and, "3. In 15 seconds you will be given a lethal injection... press 'Yes' to proceed."
- The panel are shown a picture of an animal which is about to kill itself and ask how it does so. The animal is an antechinus; a marsupial which dies after it has sex. This is known as "semelparous" - an act only done once. He mates for 12 hours with one female, then moves onto the next female for another 12 hours and so on. He does not eat or sleep, he uses all of his vital proteins and suppresses is immune system. After a fortnight he is bald, gangrenous, stressed, infected, keels over and dies. Stephen adds the warning: "Russell Brand, take note." (Forfeit: Throwing himself off a cliff)
- If you challenged someone to a duel, and if the challenger had to choose between hot air balloons, billiard balls, swords or sausages, you had best hope that the challenger chose swords. This is because a sword duel is over once someone has first blood, and serious injury or death is less likely to occur than with the other weapons. The sausages were used as a duel weapon by German pathologist Rudolf Virchow who was challenged by Otto von Bismarck because Virchow disliked his armaments programme. Virchow was the first man to isolate the pathogen behind pork that had gone off, known as Trichinella spiralis, and said that he would inject one sausage with this pathogen and Bismarck would have to pick one of two sausages to eat. If he chose wrongly he would be poisoned to death. Bismarck used his right to withdraw the challenge. Two Frenchmen named Monsieur Grandpre and Monsieur de Pique fought a duel in hot air balloons in 1808 over the affections of a woman. Each was armed with a blunderbuss, de Pique shot first but missed, and then Grandpre shot down de Pique and his second who fell to their deaths. The only billiard ball duel was between Monsieur Lenfant and Monsieur Melfant, who fell out over a game of billiards. They drew straws which Melfant won, and Melfant hit Lenfant with his billiard ball, knocking him out and killing him on the first throw.
- XL: You would resupply your enemy with bullets when they ran out of them to preserve an historical monument. It took place at the Acropolis, where the Parthenon is, 200 years ago when Greece was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. During a rebellion lead by the Greeks and some notable Britons like Lord Byron, the rebels had got a grip on the Ottomans by 1820. The Ottomans were pushed all the way back to the Acropolis, who stationed themselves in the Parthenon. They Ottomans ran out of ammunition, but the 70,000 pieces of marble that make up the Parthenon were held together by lead sheets and iron. The Ottomans then started to take these lead sheets and turn them into shot, but the Greeks were so horrified of what would happen to the Parthenon if all the metal was taken away that they sold their own ammunition to the Ottomans so they could use that instead of destroying the building. Stephen argues that if this is not motivation for the British to give back the Elgin Marbles to Greece then he doesn't know what will.
- A pint of best in 19th century Norfolk was just what the doctor ordered because it contained opium. People in Norfolk had been drinking opium for a long time, then laudanum came along and they drank laudanum with beer, which became known as "Best". Norfolk and parts of Lincolnshire consumed five-and-a-half tonnes of it, more than the rest of the country combined. This was during the "Great Binge" between the 1880s to World War One.
- Spending-a-Penny Bonus: Sugar-free sweets are not good for because they contain a chemical called lycasin which has a laxative effect. The Amazon page selling sugar-free Haribo Gummy Bears warns that they: "May cause stomach discomfort and/or a laxative effect." The same page has over 250 comments from customers which include: "Stomach discomfort turns out to be a massive understatement!", "Gastrointestinal Armageddon", "Calamitous flatulence", "Trumpets calling the demons back from hell", "Guttural pronouncement so loud it threatened to drown out my own voice" and "Flammable liquid napalm extruding".
- There are no non-venomous snakes. Even grass snakes have a small amount of venom in them. Prof. Brian Fry of the University of Queensland discovered in 2013 that such venom is now used as a kind of lubricant to help snakes swallow their prey. He also showed that the kimono dragon uses venom to kill its prey rather than using a form of bacteria. (Forfeit: Grass snake)
- XL: The fastest mass extinction took place over a period of around 60,000 years. This was the Great Dying that took place 252 million years ago in the Permian period. We are currently in the middle of the sixth mass extinction event, mainly caused by human activity, monocultures and so forth.
- Even if you wanted to you cannot take a bullet for someone because the bullet is travelling too quickly. You have to be able to predict incredibly quickly if someone was going to fire a gun. (Forfeit: Yes)
- The reason people fall over when they have been shot is because they have seen people do it in films. You never fall from being shot unless you know you have been shot, according to the FBI Academy Firearms Training Unit. (Forfeit: Because they've been shot; The impact)
- In Britain it is not wrong to eat people. There are laws against murder, but not against cannibalism. So you could not kill someone and then eat them because that is murder, but you could for example have a kidney removed and eat that.
- Friday 21st November 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|