Series M - Merriment
- Each of the panel are given a Christmas card and are asked which of their cards is the most similar to the very first Christmas card sent. Jenny's card features a Roman statue in a Christmas jumper; Johnny's card features a baby drinking champagne; Bill's card features a robin; and Alan's card features a poster for a 1916 production of the pantomime Puss in Boots, depicting an actor who has a remarkable likeness to Alan. The card most like the first ever Christmas card is Johnny's, as the first card depicts a family, including a baby, toasting. The card was designed by John Callcott Horsley of the Royal Academy, and also depicts charitable acts such as feeding the poor and clothing the naked. The origins of robins on cards dates back to when postmen had red-breasted uniforms and thus were nicknamed "robins". The reason for the statue in the jumper is because the Romans invented novelty jumpers for Saturnalia. Correction: Robins on Christmas cards do not represnt postmen as robins appeared on cards before postmen had red-breasted uniforms. This error was correcting in Series O, Episode 9: "O Christmas".
- QI has been broadcasting a message ever since it began which no-one has ever spotted. The theme tune is written in Morse code, which when translated reads as the web address www.alan0andstephenhero.com which contains a special bonus video. The theme is written by Howard Goodall (who also wrote the themes for Blackadder and The Vicar of Dibley), and his colleague Simon Nathan decoded the message, who is in the audience. Other TV shows with Morse code hidden in their music include detective series Morse, where composer Barrington Pheloung hid the names of the murderers in the score; and the theme for Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em which has the title of the show spelt out in Morse code on a piccolo. There is a building in Hollywood which gives out Morse code as well. The top of the Capitol Records building has a light which flashes out the word "Hollywood" constantly. However, it was changed in 2013 to announce Katy Perry's new album Prism and the release date. No-one noticed it.
- The panel are asked to describe the plot of, or to sing a song from, the musical The Bathrooms Are Coming. While the panel are able to improvise their own songs with Bill playing on a keyboard, none of them are able to give a correct answer. The Bathrooms Are Coming was a musical written for the American Standard bathroom company by a Broadway composer. It is an example of an industrial musical, which were popular between 1950 and 1980, which were written for conventions for various companies in the USA, not for the general public. Other industrial musicals include The Sound of Selling, B. F. Goodrich's 1966 Sales Meeting and The Saga of the Dingbat. Around 1955 the USA produced two-thirds of the world's goods.
- XL: The panel are given some lines from the musical and have to guess the company they were made for.
-XL: The music that cats like best is music that is made especially for them. Cat music features bird, mouse and cat noises. Younger cats react to the music more than middle-aged cats. Some cats like the music so much they rub their faces against speakers. The composer of the music is working with the Smithsonian National Zoo to make music for cotton-top tamarins, which normally prefer silence to music.
- The panel are all given some ice cream, and are asked (repeatedly and increasingly louder by Stephen as the rest of the panel argue over the ice creams they got) what the biggest nuisance in Victorian theatre was. The answer is going to the toilet - namely the one and only toilet in the entire theatre. In 1837 the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, installed lead lining on the floor of the balcony because urine was dropping down onto the people in the stalls, because people urinated where they sat because there was nowhere else to go. Intervals then helped to promote the installation of more toilets, with the shows taking into account of "Broadway Bladders", which is reportedly 75 minutes long.
- XL: The worst person to sit next to in a silent movie is someone who reads the captions out aloud. This was named at the time of the silent movie era as the most annoying thing you could do. The theatres would also post images giving instructions to patrons on how to behave during the film, with captions telling people that loud talking and whistling was not allowed, telling them to applaud with hands only, and to take off large hats that would block the view of the people sitting behind you.
- XL: If you imagine it is a moonlit Christmas night in the city and you can see fine, if the moon were to suddenly go behind a cloud it would suddenly become brighter, because the clouds reflect the street light. This happens in both urban and rural areas. The brightest place is Schipluiden, The Netherlands, where they have greenhouses with strong lights in them that are used for growing tomatoes. The sky is 10,000 times bright than the darkest night sky.
- XL: The boys in the NYPD choir do not sing anything, as there is no NYPD choir. When the Pogues made the video for "Fairytale of New York" the band that appear are the pipe band of the New York Police Department, but they did not know the song "Galway Way", so they actual sang "The Mickey Mouse Club" and the footage of them singing was slowed down to fit the words. (Forfeit: Galway Bay)
- In Britain the bank holiday it is most likely to snow on is Easter Monday. The average amount of snowy days in December is 3.9 and for March is 4.2.
- No-one can give a line from the world's first pantomime because they were silent. They were mimes in Roman plays who represented mythological creatures. (Forfeit: He's behind you)
Final Magic Trick
- Stephen goes to a large crate, inside of which is a regular suitcase and nothing else. Stephen keeps the crate door open so you can see that it is empty, and rests the suitcase on the top of the crate. He then opens the suitcase and from it he pulls out Scott Penrose, President of the Magic Circle. In order to become a member of the Magic Circle you have to take a test, and because Stephen has been successfully performing a series of magic tricks throughout Series M, Scott awards Stephen by making him a member of the Magic Circle.
The XL version of this episode was broadcast first.
- Saturday 19th December 2015
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
- Thursday 24th October 2019 at 9:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
- Friday 25th October 2019 at 2:45am on Dave (50 minute version)
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|Scott Penrose||Master Magician|
|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|
The show grinds to halt after a light bulb explodes above the set.