Series M, Episode 14 - Messy
- This is a "General" show from Series M, covering a wide range of different topics beginning with "M".
- The panel are all given buzzers that sound like things that cause a mess, like plates smashing or a wall being knocked over. Alan's buzzer is of a crowd cheering when footballer Lionel Messi scored four goals against Arsenal in April 2010, the football club Alan supports.
- The panel are shown a string of obscure words beginning with "M" and are asked to define them. The full list is at www.quiteinterestingmwords.com:
- A politician with raw animal magnetism was William Pitt the Younger, according to Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The phrase "animal magnetism" was coined by Franz Mesmer, the father of hypnotism who falsely claimed he could control the magnetic fluids in people. He is also where we get the word "mesmerism" from. Coleridge insulting described Pitt the Younger has having animal magnetism because of the way he was able to control people. Among the people who believed Mesmer include Coleridge, Marie Antoinette, Edgar Allan Poe, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- XL: The panel listen to some distorted speech and are asked to interrupt it. They don't at first understand it, but once they hear the speech undistorted they can make sense of distorted speech. What is actually played is: "The saying 'blue whale' - that's bound to come up eventually."
- The most inappropriate thing beginning with "M" that has been kissed by the Pope is a merkin, which is a pubic wig. 17th century English highwayman Captain Dick Dudley had fled to Rome and bought a dead prostitute's merkin from an anatomist. He dried it, combed it out, and then sold it to the Pope, who would have been either Clement X or Innocent XI, claiming that it was part of St. Peter's beard. The Pope put it on his mouth, kissed it multiple times, paid 100 ducats for it, and then Dudley fled before anyone discovered they were conned.
- The thing that Marie Antoinette kept in her muff was a dog. Muffs used to be worn by men and women. Louis XIV had muffs made out of tiger, panther, otter and beaver skins. Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary: "This day I did first wear a muff, being my wife's last year's muff." When he was imprisoned in the Bastille the Marquis de Sade had letter that were smuggled to him by his wife, who hid the letters in her muff. Celestine Galli-Marie, the first woman to play Carman, kept a marmoset in her muff. (Forfeit: Cake)
- A meteorology question: the man who invented the weather forecast thought that the reason the dinosaurs died out was because they were too big to fit onto Noah's Ark. Robert FitzRoy, who was most famous as the captain of HMS Beagle, invented the idea of weather forecasts but no-one liked the idea, but people really did believe his theory on the dinosaurs. FitzRoy did not believe in Darwin's theory of evolution. Twenty years after the Beagle, FitzRoy wrote a weather forecast for The Times which read: "Moderate, westerly wind, fine." The word "meteorology" comes from the Greek for things that are high up.
- XL: The weekend starts during the Industrial Revolution. For 300 years before this there was St. Monday, where workers did not do any work on Monday. Factory workers adapted this by taking Monday off, and anyone who did turn up for work on Monday normally got sent home because there were not enough people to run the factory. The weekend was introduced by managers as a compromise, by giving them half of Saturday off. Because of this football took off because the factories would empty and the workers would go and see the match. Also Saturday became the day for drinking, because you could not drink on Sunday for religious reasons, or during the working week. Slowly all of Saturday became free. (Forfeit: Here)
- Stephen inhales loudly a few times and asks the panel: "Yes or no". The answer is yes, as spoken by the people of Umea, Sweden. There is debate about whether there is a universal way of saying yes and no. In most cultures people nod for yes and shake their head for no. One theory suggested is that when people are fed as babies, if they do not want the food they will move their head to the side, but if they want the food they will move their head forwards.
- XL: You never see a mongoose and a rat together because mongooses are awake during the day and rats are awake at night. In mid-19th century Hawaii there was a rat infestation which they tried to solve by sending in mongooses, but it failed and had a mongoose infestation as well, resulting a fall of the bird population. The people of Samoa were also about to bring in mongooses as well to control their rats, but a Hawaiian resident was able to warn them in time, so it did not happen. (Forfeit: They're the same person)
- The thing you can learn from a meerkat is to fight off scorpions. Meerkats are one of the few animals to teach their young, using lessons that get harder as they go along. Their first lessons will involve fighting a dead scorpion, then they move onto scorpions without a sting, and then to a scorpion with a sting. Meerkats are a kind of mongoose.
- The only way you can be sure of knowing the age of a tree is to know when it was planted. There are some years in which trees do not grow rings and others when they grow more than one. Thus rings only count as a rough guide. (Forfeit: Count the rings)
- The Moon is coloured a very dark grey. A full Earth seen from the Moon is a lot bright than a full Moon seen from the Earth.
- The Sun is coloured white with a hint of turquoise, as it emits a slightly higher amount of turquoise photons than any other colour.
- XL: Agoraphobia is the fear of any kind of space you don't like. Therefore claustrophobia is a form of agoraphobia.
- Friday 5th February 2016
- 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|
|Anna Ptaszynski||Question Writer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Sohail Shah||Executive Producer|
|Justin Pollard||Associate Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|