Series O, Episode 7 - Opposites
- As everything in this episode is the opposite, the winner is the person with the lowest score. Every time they get something wrong, they get a bonus.
- The panel do the opposite to getting down to business. Sandi hands out alcopops, helium balloons and chocolates. If you are driving with these in your car and crash into a tree, the thing that happens to the balloons is that they move backwards. If you accelerate, the balloons move forwards. (Forfeit: They go up; They stay still)
- The opposite of a monopoly is a monopsony, where a single customer holds all suppliers to ransom. Examples include the BBC, which has a monopsony on radio drama; a single passenger getting off at a train station being given the choice of lots of different taxis to take also has a monopsony over the taxi drivers.
- The panel play a game of "Sheep or Goat", but first they need to be able to tell the difference. The simple way to tell is that the tails of goats point upwards. Another way to tell the difference is that rams back up and charge in order to butt heads, while billy goats rear up on their hind legs and try to nut their opponent. When the two fight each other, the ram has the advantage.
- The opposite of a plant-eating sheep is a sheep-eating plant. The Puya chilensis, a member of the pineapple family, entangles the sheep in its spiny leaves. The sheep then starves to death, decays, and the plant consumes the nutrients as it rots into the soil. There is one in Surrey, and the Royal Horticultural Society in Wisley, in 2013, said that it bloomed for the first time in 15 years. A spokesman said: "We keep it well fed with liquid fertiliser as feeding it on its natural diet might prove a bit problematic."
- The panel are shown a human optogram and are asked what it proves. It proves nothing. The idea of an "optogram" is that the human eye has imprinted on the retina the last thing the person saw, so the police used to believe that optograms of murder victims could contain the images of their killers. The belief began in the 17th century with a priest called Christopher Schiener, who claimed that he got a frog to look at a flame, and the image of the flame was imprinted on the frog's eyes when he dissected it. The invention of photography was thought to provide more evidence for it. In 1878, German physiologist Wilhelm Kühne immobilised a rabbit and forced it to look at a window for three minutes. He then decapitated the rabbit, cut open the eye, and declared the next day that the window was imprinted on the eye. In 1880, he repeated the experiment with the head of a guillotined murderer named Erhand Gustav Reif, dissecting his left eye 10 minutes after death. The image on the eye is the one shown to the panel. Some think it might have been the guillotine blade, but this is unlikely as he was blindfolded. The idea of optograms was taken up by writers like Jules Verne, and stories were made about murderers stealing the eyes of victims so there would be no evidence.
- The opposite of Tarzan is an ape brought up as a gentleman. A lowland gorilla orphaned by hunters in Gabon was put up for sale in Derry & Toms. The gorilla, named John Daniel, was bought in 1918 for £300, which is about £20,000 today, by Major Rupert Penny, and was entrusted to his sister Alyce Cunningham. John lived in a country house in Gloucestershire and was brought up as a boy, although he did drink whisky and port. He attended the local school, was quiet good at making his own bed and doing the washing up, could use light switches and use the lavatory. He preferred the company of women. When John was with men he would urinate on them. John would also walk into people's houses and help himself to cider. Eventually John grew too big and Alyce couldn't manage him, so she sold him to an American for 1,000 guineas hoping he would have a good life, but instead he ended up in Barnum and Bailey circus, was displayed in a zoo, his health deteriorated, and Alyce was sent a telegram to say that John was pining for her. She thus set sail for America, but John died of pneumonia before she could reach him. John's body was donated to the American Natural History Museum and he is now on display. (Forfeit: Nazrat)
- XL: The reason we don't fire nuclear waste into the Sun is because it is very difficult to do so. Firstly, it is very dangerous to do, because if the rocket explodes then you would end up the world's biggest dirty bomb. Secondly, it is very difficult to get something to fall into the Sun, despite the Sun being so big. The Earth is travelling 30km per second (67,000mph) around the Sun, so you need to slow the waste down until it is no longer moving sideways, because even the smallest bit of sideways speed would result in the waste missing the target, and it would instead end up in orbit. Thus you would need to thrust the rocket backwards at about 67,000mph, and currently the most powerful rocket NASA's New Horizon, can go at 36,000mph, which is only 53% of the required power in order to do a "sun dive". Thus, it would actually be easier to send nuclear waste into deep space, because less power is needed.
- The audience are asked to cheer if they are fed up with austerity, and the whole audience cheer. Sandi thinks so to, so they do the opposite and have some ostentatious consumption. The panel are given some Chinese menus, which list dishes in a banquet held by the Kangxi Emperor from around 1700, who was the most ostentatious eater in history. The panel are asked which of his mountain delicacies they would like: camel's hump, bear's paw, monkey brains, ape lips, rhino tail, deer tendons, boar's testicles or leopard foetus. The meal is known as the Manchu Han Imperial Feast, and it was a fusion feast held to help unite rival factions, by showing of both Manchu and Han cuisine. The meal last three days, there were six successive banquets, 124 starters and 196 main courses. The seafood plater included sea slug, fish tripe, swallow's nest, sharks fins and fish bones.
- XL: The panel are shown a painting of a man bent over with his torso in the air and are asked what is problem is. The man is suffering from tetanus. It is an 1809 painting of opisthotonus by Sir Charles Bell. Dinosaur fossils, especially those of Archaeopteryx which have long necks, are often found in the same death pose, and nobody knew why. Experts decided they must have died of tetanus. But then Achim Reisford and Michael Wuttke of the University of Basel did an experiment in 2012. They purchased a load of chicken necks from a butcher, dropped them in water, and immediately the necks all bent backwards by 90 degrees. Three months later, after they rotted some more, they twisted backwards to 140 degrees. They concluded that the neck ligaments, which were normally weighed down by the head, were freed by the buoyance of water to assume their default position.
- A telescope called Amanda (Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array) based on the South Pole, and is looking at the northern constellations such as Ursa Major. The telescope is pointing downwards into the ground because it is detecting neutrinos, which are small subatomic particles that don't interact with matter and travel at near light speed. If you hold your hand up to the Sun a billion neutrinos would pass through it as you held it up. Neutrinos are very difficult to detect. (Forfeit: The Southern Cross)
- Cats are more likely to sit on the laps of cat-lovers. The only scientific study into whether cats are more likely to sit on the laps of cat-lovers and cat-haters show they go for people who like cats, but the sample size was small. (Forfeit: Cat-haters)
- The figure in Edvard Munch's The Scream is depicting someone hearing the scream of nature, and not depicting someone screaming. The figure in the picture is of indeterminate gender. Munch wrote: "I stopped and looked out over the fjord--the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The colour shrieked. This became The Scream."
Objectionable Object Prize
- Colin wins the opposite of an objectionable object, and gets a good prize: a QI mug.
- Friday 8th December 2017
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Sandi Toksvig||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|Ben Dupré||Question Writer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Kalpna Patel-Knight||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|