Series Q, Episode 1 - Quirky
- This is a "General" show in Series Q, covering a wide range of different topics beginning with "Q".
- The furthest anyone's ever gone for a brew is up a mountain in China. At the top of Mount Hua in the Qinling Mountains is a Buddhist and Daoist temple which is really dangerous to get to. One path involves crossing a section while balancing on wooden planks above a 7,000ft drop. They do offer safety harnesses for $5, but the use of it is not enforced. The tea is made from rainwater, mountain springs and snow melt. Mount Hua is one of China's five great mountains, having five peaks that form the shape of a lotus flower, and each peak has a temple on it.
- The thing that is even quainter than a model village is to have another model village inside the first model village, and then to have another model village in side that one and so on. Bourton-on-the-Water has a model village, which in turn has a replica of the model village inside it, and that too has its own replica of the replica. It was built in the 1930s and is now Grade II listed. In 2018, the entire thing was available for sale, along with a pub, for under £600,000.
- The thing that has type Q blood is a horse. Humans have two kinds of antigens, but horses have seven, and thus have seven different blood groups, with type A and type Q being the most common, alongside C, D, J, P and U. Horse blood cannot be stored in a blood bank, so the Royal Veterinary College and the University of London keep four horses on site whose job is to just donate blood. These horses are called Miller, Darcy, Freddy and Sonny. (Forfeit: The Queen)
- The worst thing about being held in a queue is dead air while on hold. Hold music was discovered by accident by Alfred Levy in the 1960s, when his factory's phone lines developed a fault. A loose wire touched a metal girder on the building, turning it into a giant receiver. Audio being broadcast from a radio station next door was being transmitted through the wire and could be heard on the calls which had been put on hold. Levy thus patented the Telephone Hold Programme System.
- XL: Sandi holds up some lengths of knotted string and asks the panel what they are. These are quipu - as evidenced by the fact that the strings are on a piece of card which has a label reading: "Quipu". Originating from the Inca Empire, we don't know what they are for, but it is possible that it is an example of a written language. Despite that the fact that the Incas were the largest empire in the Americas in the 15th century, we are unaware of any written language they used. A Spanish poet, Garcilaso de la Vega, wrote in 1609 that the Incas counted everything in the kingdom, including all taxes and tributes, both paid and due, using knots in strings of different colours. New research suggests that the quipu might actually be a form of writing as well as recording numbers. Annoyingly, the Spanish destroyed many quipus declaring them to be Satanic messages. However, a professor of anthropology at St. Andrews University, Sabine Hyland, has studied them, noted that the quipu come in 14 colours and allow for 95 unique patterns, which is within the range of a writing system, and some quipus have as many as 1,500 strings. One Harvard University anthropologist discovered a Spanish census document from the 1670s containing six quipus that he had in his database, that the document referred to 132 people, and there were 132 cords on the quipu, so the two may correlate.
- The panel are shown a photo of a woman, Frances Lockett of Hyde, and are asked what she is queen of. She was queen of cotton, because between the 1920s and 1980s there was a tradition of crowning queens of industry, with these women representing British industries and Lockett working as a weaver. Queens of industry came out of the May Queen tradition, and as well as promoting the industry it was hoped with would give workers something to celebrate. In the 1920s they crowned the first railway queens and then the idea spread to other industries. These industry queens had nothing to do with beauty contests, and Lockett got her job by answering technical questions. The idea was picked up by American companies, such as the Zion Meat Company, who named Geene Courtney their Sausage Queen during National Hot Dog Week in 1955.
- Goods are more likely to be priced at 99p rather than £1 for a number of reasons. The main reason was that it meant that the staff had to give customers change, because if the figure was a round number there was a danger of dishonest staff pocketing money that didn't need to go into the till. In the 1870s, American James Ritty, who ran a saloon in Dayton, Ohio, spotted that some staff were pocketing money. In 1878, he was travelling to Europe, and he spotted that the ship had a mechanism which counted the number of rotations made by the propellers. Together with his brother, who worked as mechanic, they built a counting machine which could track the number of transactions. The machine was called Ritty's Incorruptible Cashier, and they sold it to what became the National Cash Register Company, who added the cash drawer and bell, and every transaction had to be rung through the till, so if you charged 0.99 for something, you had to give them a penny. The other reason items are normally priced at 99p is because they look a lot cheaper in comparison to items that cost £1.
- XL: The scar on Harry Potter's head looks like the International Organisation of Standardisation's (ISO's) symbol for risk of electric shock. It does not look like a lightning bolt, because lightning bolts are not that shape. Lightning strikes so quickly that the brain can't take it in, and even artists struggle to depict it accurately. On 2nd September 1882, Philadelphia photographer William Nicholson Jennings was the first to take a photo of lightning, and demonstrated that lightning did not look like the way it is shown in pictures and drawings. Some bolts have as many as 51 forks, while on average paintings only show two forks, and Harry's scar only has one. (Forfeit: Lightning bolt)
- XL: ISO stands for International Organisation for Standardisation. The panel still get this wrong even though Sandi just told them what it really did stand for. ISO is not an acronym, but a reference to the Greek word "isos", meaning equal. It was chosen because the acronym would be different in every language (IOS in English, OIN in French etc.) and the entire point of the organisation is to keep things standardised. (Forfeit: International Standards Organisation)
- If you drank your pint through a straw you would not get drunk quicker. It is just that anyone who is drinking alcohol through a straw is already in the mood to drink a lot. Some people thought that you could create a vacuum inside the straw that causes the alcohol to evaporate, or that because you are so busy sucking the drink the lack of oxygen can make you feel giddy, but there is no evidence to support these claims. (Forfeit: You'd get drunk more quickly)
- There is no particular difference when it comes to which kind of pants are best to wear if you want to have a baby. People thought that tight underpants might be bad for fertility, because warming up the testicles would lower the quality of the sperm, but the difference in temperature between tight and loose pants is about one degree centigrade, which is not enough to do any damage. (Forfeit: Loose ones; Tight ones)
- Friday 6th September 2019
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Sandi Toksvig||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|Anna Ptaszynski||Script Editor|
|Sandi Toksvig||Script Editor|
|Anne Miller||Question Writer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Justin Pollard||Associate Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|Nick Collier||Lighting Designer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Researcher|
|Sarah Clay||Commissioning Editor|