QI. Image shows from L to R: Alan Davies, Sandi Toksvig. Copyright: TalkbackThames.


BBC Two and BBC One panel show about quite interesting facts. 266 episodes (pilot + 18 series), 2003 - 2020. Stars Sandi Toksvig, Stephen Fry and Alan Davies.

Returns Wednesday 23rd December at 9pm. Episode Guide
Series P, Episode 4 is repeated on Dave today at 9pm.

QI. Image shows from L to R: Alan Davies, Bill Bailey, Sandi Toksvig, Grayson Perry, Jan Ravens. Copyright: TalkbackThames.

Series O, Episode 4 - Over And Ova

Learn some tricks you can do with eggs, meet a flying pig and join in as the studio audience sings along with Western film themes. With Bill Bailey, Grayson Perry and Jan Ravens.

Further details


- This is a "General" show in Series O, covering a wide range of different topics beginning with "O".


- The panel try to complete the rhyme: "You can't learn to ski without breaking legs, and you can't make an omelette without..." However, it turns out that you can make an omelette without breaking an egg, known in Japan as a "golden egg". If you put an egg in a pair of stockings and spin the egg around repeatedly, you can break the membrane. You then boil the egg, and when you remove the shell it will have turned into an omelette. Some people will argue that the egg is actually scrambled, but Auguste Escoffier's definition of an omelette is: "It's really a special type of scrambled egg, enclosed in a coating or envelope of coagulated egg and nothing else." (Forfeit: Breaking eggs)

- XL Tangent: You can unboil an egg, by injecting urea into the solid white mass. Sandi demonstrates this by breaking an egg, although it was never boiled in the first place.

- XL Tangent: If you break an egg under the sea, the external pressure is sufficient to keep the inside of the egg together.

- Tangent: Sandi does some tricks with eggs. It is possible to get an unbroken egg into a bottle by removing all the air from the bottle. Sandi demonstrates this by putting some lit paper in a bottle, which consumes the oxygen, and placing an egg on top of the bottle while the paper burns. The egg is sucked into the bottle as the oxygen disappears. Sandi then does another trick, where she puts an egg on a toilet roll tube, which is on a plastic lid, which is on a glass of water. If you knock the tray away fast enough, the egg will fall into the water without breaking.

- The thing that pigs finally managed to do in the 1930s was oink. According to the OED, 1933 was the first recorded use of the word "oink" to mean the sound a pig makes. Before this, they grunted, routed in the 1650s, and one went "whick" in the 18th century. Oinking is an American practice, as it was first mentioned in the Washington Post. (Forfeit: Fly)

- Tangent: In Denmark pigs go, "øf-øf", and in French they go, "groin groin".

- XL Tangent: Grayson argues that all restaurants should show footage of animals being killed if they serve meat. Jan talks about Simon Amstell's vegan comedy Carnage where they anthropomorphise animals by having them voiced by Joanna Lumley.

- Tangent: The first pig to fly did so on 4th November, 1909. J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon, an aviation pioneer and politician, attached a wastepaper basket to a biplane for a laugh, and carried a pig inside the basket, taking it on a three mile flight over the Kent countryside. Moore-Brabazon later became Minister of Transport.

- Tangent: "When pigs fly" is an example of an adynaton, which is a figure of speech in the form of hyperbole. Examples in other language include the French: "When hens grow teeth", the Hebrew: "When hair grows on the palm of my hand", and the Russian: "When the crawfish whistles on the mountain".

- The thing that makes the FBI say "OMG" is Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs like the Hells Angels. It is from this group were get the term "1%er", who were full members of the Hells Angels and showing their outside status. There was a claim by the American Motorcycle Association that 99% of their members were god-fearing and family orientated, so the Hells Angels wore 1%er badges to show that they were outside this group.

- Alan plays a game called "Where the Hell's the Apostrophe?" and is asked where the apostrophe in the expression "Hells Angels" goes. If you have been reading this, you will already know there is no apostrophe. Until recently they had a note in their website FAQs asking: "Should the 'Hells' in Hells Angels have an apostrophe and be called 'Hell's Angels'?" The answer they gave is: "That would be true if there were only one Hell, but life and history has taught us that there are many versions and forms of Hell." When people asked them if the apostrophe should come at the end of the word, they amended the question and say: "Missing the apostrophe in 'Hells Angels'? Yes, we know there is an apostrophe missing, but it is you who miss it. We don't." (Forfeit Hell's; Hells')

- Tangent: The Hells Angels founded in 1948 when three gangs amalgamated together. One of these gangs was the Pissed-Off Bastards of Bloomington. The name 'Hells Angels' comes from a film by Howard Hughes, but he spelt it: "Hell's Angels". The name used later by WWII American fighter squadrons, and the bikers got it from them. The Hells Angels are very defensive of their trademark, having sued Disney and Toys R Us in the past.

- XL Tangent: The lead in the film "Hell's Angels" was Jean Harlow. Alan jokingly claims that the town of Harlow is named after Jean Harlow, then Grayson claims that Essex is named after Joey Essex. Joey Essex once went about the Houses of Parliament and said: "Does the King live here?" which is wrong on the ground that the royalty don't live there and Britain has a Queen. Essex replied: "Oh, I don't know anything about history."

-Tangent: According to Grayson, who is a biker, wearing unregistered back patches is frowned up by bikers. One of his local gangs was the Coggeshall Bastards, who were so tough they decided not to wear leather jackets, so they wore pac-a-macs and Wellington boots.

- Tangent: Alan once went to a motorcycle show and found a T-shirt that read: "If you can read this, the bitch fell off."

- There is no such thing as a female outlaw. In Britain, the term "outlaw" only applied to men who are outside the protection of the law. Women outside the protection of the law are called: "waved women". (Forfeit: Bonnie Parker)

- There is no such thing as a male outlaw in the Wild West, because the original meaning meant someone who has been put outside the law, which doesn't apply to the Wild West "outlaws". Outlaws didn't need to commit a crime to become one, unlike the "outlaws" of the Wild West. (Forfeit: Billy the Kid; The Sundance Kid; Butch Cassidy)

- Tangent: When a picture from The Magnificent Seven is put up on the screen, Alan tries to hum the theme. Grayson says he is doing how and hum theme himself, but actually he does the theme to Bonanza. Alan then gets the entire audience to hum the theme to The Magnificent Seven.

- XL Tangent: Robin Hood became a robber because he was made an outlaw. He was not an outlaw because he was a robber. Thus, if you see a "Wanted: Dead or Alive", that implies that the law is still interested in that criminal and thus is not an outlaw. In England, an outlaw was said to have "caput lupinum", a "wolf's head", because he could be put to death by any man. Probably the most famous outlaw in history was Napoleon Bonaparte, who was made an outlaw in March 1815, by the Congress of Vienna, after he escaped exile and was marching on Paris in the weeks before Waterloo.

- XL: Tangent: Every time the Queen's Speech occurs, the House of Commons returns to its own chamber to debate, but they don't talk about the content of the speech. Instead they talk about the Outlawries Bill, even though it is not a proper bill. Instead they talk about whatever they like. The bill stops clandestinely outlawries, which involves declaring someone an outlaw without the chance to argue back.

- The secret ingredient of virgin boy eggs is urine. This is a dish from Dongyang, China, in which eggs are prepared in the urine of young boys. The eggs are soaked in the urine, brought to the boil, simmered for a day in fresh urine with a few herbs, and at the end of it the eggs look blue and have blue yokes. All the urine comes boys under the age of 10, and the urine is collected in buckets from primary schools. Each egg is sold for 20p each. According to one Dongyang resident the eggs, "The eggs taste a bit like urine, but not too much."

- XL Tangent: The best thing to wash down virgin boy eggs is baby mice wine from the Canton region of China. It does contain mice and travellers claim it tastes a bit like petrol.

- Tangent: Mexican boxing champion Juan Manuel Marquez showcased the practice of drinking his own urine ahead of a fight before Floyd Mayweather Jr. Marquez lost.

- Tangent: The Mundari people of South Sudan use the urine of the prized cattle to die their naturally black hair orange. They use ash from burned cow dung as a natural antiseptic to prevent attacks from mosquitos. Alan jokes that if the people dying their hair stay under the cow for too long they will end up with a pat on the head - a joke that meets with mild disapproval from the audience.

- The thing that it was over because of its ova was the elephant bird. These were 10ft tall, flightless birds in Madagascar that weighed half a tonne, and their eggs were larger than those of ostriches. As such they were stolen for food, and the eggs today cost a fortune. Thus, rather than having a real one, Sandi produces a chocolate egg made to look like an elephant bird egg, designed by Heston Blumenthal. The elephant bird had a vicious kick so you could not kill the birds, but you could steal the eggs, which were 100 times the size of a chicken's egg and could feed a family for several days. One elephant bird egg was reconstructed by David Attenborough in one of his earliest TV appearances. The last elephant bird egg sold at auction went for £66,000 Christie's in 2013. When the eggs found now, the government of Madagascar claims them.

- Tangent: Jan's original answer to the question was Edwina Currie. Sandi says you could tell that John Major was having an affair with her because of the curry saints on his pants. This joke's react leads to Alan saying the audience now want to hear his cow pat joke, thinking it was better.

- XL Tangent: Easter eggs date back as far as Edward I. The accounts from 1307 have an entry for 18p for 450 eggs to be boiled and dyed or covered in gold leaf and distributed to the Royal household. Chocolate Easter eggs were invented by 19th century Germans.

- XL Tangent: In 2017, the National Trust removed the word "Easter" from their Easter eggs. Theresa May, who is a member of the National Trust and the daughter of a vicar, complained about this. Jan claims that May walks as if she is carrying a drip trolley.

- XL: The main cause of cyber-attack reports on power plants is squirrels. Security researcher Chris "Space Rogue" Thomas set up a spreadsheet and logged-in every time a cyber-attack on a power station occurred anywhere in the world. Since he started this project there have been over 1,000 attacks. Most have been false alarms, and 876 attacks were caused by squirrels. Russia has been blamed in recent years for two attacks on the Ukraine, but the Ukraine has been successfully attacked by frogs more than Russians. (Forfeit: Russia)

- XL Tangent: The above is an example of Occam's Razor, which is that the more likely explanation is the correct one. It is named after 14th century philosopher and friar William of Occam, Surrey, but the principle itself dates back to Aristotle. Sandi gives an example in the form of a lateral thinking puzzle: "A man goes to a restaurant and orders albatross soup, takes one mouthful and then rushes out and kills himself". The correct scenario is that a man is on his way to kill himself, goes past a restaurant serving this soup, tries it, doesn't like, leaves the restaurant and then kills himself.

- The thing that spends all day fossicking in the mullock is people at opal mines. It is the process of going through spoil in order to find opals, normally in Coober Pedy, Australia. The town produces three-quarters of the world's opals. It is so hot there that in the summer people have to life underground, and the town includes underground hotels and an underground Serbian Orthodox Church. You can by a permit to mine for opals for less than £40. The name "Coober Pedy" is a translation of the local Aboriginal "kupa-piti", which means, "white man in a hole".

- Tangent: Bill has visited Coober Pedy and came across a man who when he was aged 20 was digging around the area, and the man next to him found an opal worth $7million. The man has never left the town.

- Tangent: Coober Pedy's golf course has no grass. You are given a small piece of turf to play from which you take with you. The course is all crushed rock, and the greens a made with sand that is mixed with sump oil. To avoid the daytime sun they often play at night using glow-in-the-dark golf balls. It is the only golf course that has reciprocal rights with the Royal and Ancient.

- XL Tangent: The Coober Pedy golf course managed to gets is reciprocal rights by writing to the Royal and Ancient asking for them. The Royal and Ancient wrote back asking for an opal mine. Coober Pedy thus gave them a tiny square of land from which they may mine from. The Royal and Ancient rights give Coober Pedy two rounds of golf a day for up to eight people, but only in January.

- XL Tangent: Sandi was once listening to the radio in Sydney and the announcer said: "And now the weather. There's no weather today."

- Tangent: Jan talks about the Australian attitude of "no worries". She says that after a week, you should have some worries. One Australian expression is "too easy", which Bill thought got annoying after a while. When he was in a hotel the staff said that sending him a package to his room was "too easy", so Bill said: "Well, fly up then." Grayson says that down under, Australians will be complaining about British people asking: "How are you?" but not wanting to find out. Jan says that when she went down to have breakfast in a hotel in Los Angeles the staff said to her: "Hey they, how's your day been so far?" despite the fact that nothing has happened so far. Sandi once had a waitress in LA, but before she can speak any further Alan replies; "Did you now?"

General Ignorance

- If you put a frog in cold water and then heat it up to boiling point the frog will jump out. The idea that it will stay in the water and die is a myth. However, if you put a reptile in a warm tank and cool it, there is the chance that the reptile won't notice and freeze to death.

- XL Tangent: You can get a dead frog to jump out of a pan. Because frogs are cold-blooded rigor mortis doesn't set in as quickly as it does with warm-blooded animals. Thus, when frogs are cooked, fresh frogs' legs twitch. If you have just the fresh legs on a plate and add salt, the legs will dance and twitch.

- XL: If a baby bird has fallen out of its nest, the way to handle the bird depends on the age. If the bird is un-feathered you should put the bird back in the nest because the bird won't know a human will have touched them. If the bird has feathers it has probably left the nest on purpose or been rejected by the parents and you should not put it back. (Forfeit: Put it back in the nest)

- XL: If you find a sea turtle on a beach you should not put it back into the water, because the sea turtles stranded in our seas are most likely suffering from hypothermia, so if you put the turtle back in the water it will freeze. If you find a desert tortoise you should not pick it up at all, because they defend themselves by emptying their bladder, and so they can dehydrate themselves to death.

- It ain't over until Hagen sings. The story of "It ain't over until the fat lady sings" comes from the end of Wagner's Ring Cycle, where Brunhilda sings one the longest arias in opera near the end, but the very last part sung is by the male villain Hagen. (Forfeit: The fat lad sings)

- Tangent: At the end of Puccini's Tosca the soprano who plays the title role leaps to her death from some walls. One soprano, Eva Turner, was performing at the Lyric Opera, Chicago, and complained that the mattress she was going to land on was not springy enough, so it was replaced by a trampoline. Thus when she fell she accidentally bounced back up into view three times.

- Tangent: The American version of "It ain't over until the fat lady sings" is: "It ain't over until it's over." This is normally attributed to baseball player Yogi Berra, who also said: "It's déjà vu all over again", and: "The future ain't what it used to be."


- Sandi gets Jan to impersonate her reading the scores out.

- Jan Ravens: 5 points
- Grayson Perry: 3 points
- Bill Bailey: -7 points
- Alan Davies: -77 points

Broadcast details

Friday 10th November 2017
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Sandi Toksvig Host / Presenter
Alan Davies Regular Panellist
Guest cast
Bill Bailey Guest
Jan Ravens Guest
Grayson Perry Guest
Writing team
James Harkin Script Editor
Ben Dupré Question Writer
Production team
Ian Lorimer Director
John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE) Series Producer
Piers Fletcher Producer
Kalpna Patel-Knight Executive Producer


Can you name a female outlaw?

Sandi Toksvig asks the panel to name a female outlaw. They end up singing TV theme tunes.

Featuring: Sandi Toksvig, Alan Davies, Bill Bailey, Jan Ravens, Grayson Perry.


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