Series N, Episode 1 - Naming Names
The buzzers are the panel's porn names: the name of their first pet and the mother's maiden name. Phill is Schroeder Swan, Cariad is Snuffy Storey, Romesh is Goldie Silveragi and Alan is Nobby Stiles.
- Who, or rather WHO, is offended by diseases being given insensitive names. The World Health Organisation is concerned about illness names that might be consider offensive now. Examples include Spanish Flu, because it might offend Spanish people (people might think you would get Spanish flu by going to Spain), as well as Legionnaire's Disease (no legionnaire has ever suffered from it), Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Swine Flu (offensive to pig farmers) and Sudden Death Syndrome (the name causes distress).
- The panel are shown a picture of a bird and are asked what its name is. The bird is a superb fairy-wren, and each of their nests has a family name, distinguished by their birdcall. The mother lays the eggs, waits for nine days, and then sits on the eggs and starts singing a unique tune. She sings the same tune every four minutes, over and over, for a week. The chicks in the eggs remember this when they hatch, so when the parents leave the nest to get food and return, the chicks sing the tune, and so the parents know that isn't a cuckoo in the nest.
- The woman who sold seashells on the seashore was Mary Anning. She was a Victorian fossil hunter who was the inspiration for the rhyme and one of Britain's most influential women in science. Loads of her exhibits are now in the Natural History Museum and her work was really dangerous. Her beloved dog Tray died in a landslide. The reason her discoveries were important was that until the 1820s many people believed that extinctions could not happen because it implied that God's creations were less than perfect. Anning discovered the first ever ichthyosaur skeleton correctly identified, the first two plesiosaur skeletons, the first pterosaur skeleton outside of Germany, and several dinosaur coprolites - fossilised dino poo. She proved that they were manure by cracking one open and discovering fish scales and teeth inside them. The rhyme comes from the fact that she was poor (her cabinet-maker father died when she was 11) and she had to sell the fossils to make money. One problem is that she sold fossils to men who later wrote papers about them, and she got a lack of credit due to her being a woman. She could not join the Geological Society of London, which didn't admit women until 1904. Anning did not get full credit until 163 years after her death. The Royal Society included Anning in a list of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science. (Forfeit: She)
- The panel are shown a list of neologisms (new words) and are asked to define them:
- XL: The panel play "This Little Piggy" with Alan's foot. Alan is told to imagine his big toe is No. 1, his next toe is No. 2 and so on. He closes his eyes and Romesh touches his toes. Alan has to say which toe is being touched. When his second toe is touched, he says "No. 3". This helps to prove the results of a 2015 study at Oxford where people closed their eyes while someone pressed on their fingers. The subjects were right 99% of the time. They recognise their big and little toes 94% of the time, but between the second and third toes we struggle, with only about half the people getting it right. Lots of people find it difficult to keep track of their toes entirely, with nearly half the subjects reporting that it felt like one toe was gone.
- XL: Out of everyone on the panel, Alan is the most common, in the sense that his surname is the most common. According to the website Namespedia, Ranagnathan is used 1,789 times in 26 countries; Lloyd is used 65,467 times in at least 46 countries; Jupitus has no reoccurrences anywhere because his family's actual Lithuanian was "Seputis", but when his family arrived in 1917 some official named them "Jupitus" instead because that is what he heard; Davies is in at least 47 countries; Toksvig is used 23 times in 3 countries, but the website lists all the people who use the name - they are all relatives of Sandi, but she is not on the list herself.
- Out of a non-routine operation or a mass deposition event, chances are you would prefer the latter. A non-routine operation is a phrase used by Trans-Florida Airlines to mean a plane crash, while a mass deposition event is a term used by archaeologists for a huge pile of poo - to be exact, a huge layer of horse manure at the Col de la Traversette that is believed to be associated with Hannibal's cross of the Alps in 218 BC. The team analysing the layer are hoping to find elephant droppings. One team member said: "There's even the possibility of finding an elephant tapeworm egg. This would really be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."
- XL: There is no single place where all the Vikings who died in battle went. Only half of them go to Valhalla. The rest went to the goddess Freya's field in Folkvangr. Women also went to Folkvangr as no women went to Valhalla except for Valkyries. If you died a natural death who went to Hel, ruled by the goddess of the same name and from where we get our word "Hell". (Forfeit: Valhalla)
- The cause of the first mass extinction was the invention of the mouth. Ediacarans were the first ever complex life forms on Earth. After 37 million years of existence the Cambrian explosion occurred about 542 million years ago, and sea anemone-like creatures evolved with mouths and anuses, and began to eat the edicarans.
- There were no self-confessed Nazis. The Nazis never referred to themselves by that word. They were called that by German exiles.
- XL: The French for, "non de plume" is: "non de guerre", although now the phrase: "non de plume" is starting to be used by the French themselves. Among writers who use non de plumes include Voltaire, who had 173 fake names; and Daniel Defoe, whose real name was Daniel Foe; and Benjamin Franklin.
- Friday 21st October 2016
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
- Friday 21st October 2016 at 11:05pm on BBC2 Wales
- Sunday 23rd October 2016 at 10:35pm on BBC2 (45 minute version)
- Friday 12th May 2017 at 10:00pm on BBC2
- Wednesday 13th September 2017 at 8:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
- Saturday 18th November 2017 at 9:55pm on BBC2 (45 minute version)
Cast & crew
|Sandi Toksvig||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|Justin Pollard||Question Writer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Sohail Shah||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
New QI host Sandi Toksvig gets quizzical.
Here's the first look at Sandi Toksvig hosting QI. She asks the teams what some new words mean.
The 14th series of the knowingly esoteric quiz has reached the letter N which, for this opening episode, should probably stand for "new host". Sandi Toksvig takes over in the big chair and - considering how Stephen Fry's bluff smartypants approach helped define QI - the transition is remarkably seamless. Panellists Romesh Ranganathan, Cariad Lloyd, Phill Jupitus and original fixture Alan Davies are effortlessly steered and/or needled as required.Graeme Virtue, The Guardian, 21st October 2016
Does the series have a future with Toksvig as host? Indubitably - a word we probably first heard used in a sentence on QI.Ed Power, The Telegraph, 21st October 2016