Series Q, Episode 3 - Quarrels
- When you quarrel with the bellower you were likely to find yourself taking part in a duel. James Quin, nicknamed "The Bellower", was the leading actor in London in the first half of the 18th century, and he killed two people in duels who he had argued with, as well as wounding other duelists. Quin had one of the loudest voices in show business, did excessive gesticulation, and left extremely long pauses, which were all hallmarks of great actors at the time. Would-be actors were schooled in three different pauses: moderate, longer and grand. The first man Quin killed was an actor who mispronounced "kato" as "keto" on stage - Quin mocked this actor in front of the audience, the actor challenged him and lost the duel. Quin was charged with manslaughter. Quin was also a womaniser, and once invited a married woman to his boudoir, but forgot his key so took her to a brothel instead, only for the woman's husband to walk in on them during the act. Quin and the husband had a fight where Quin stabbed him in the leg. Quin's big rival was David Garrick, the first actor to move towards acting as we see it today and the man after whom the Garrick Theatre is named. Quin and Garrick were friends, with Garrick writing the epitaph on Quin's tomb in Bath Abbey.
- The panel all take part in a duel, putting their hands on their heads and being the fast to press their buzzer. Jason ends up the fastest. They are then asked if they could beat a Victorian at the same task, to which the answer is that they probably wouldn't, as Victorians had faster reaction times than people today. In the 1880s and 1890s, Francis Galton tested thousands of people to see how quickly they could react to lights and sound, and studies show we have consistently got slower over time, about 10% over the past century, and we don't know why. Reasons given include modern pollutants effecting the brain, and people getting taller and thus nerve impulses take longer to travel in the body. Boys also tend to be faster than girls, but over the past 40 years the gap between the genders is decreasing. Left-handed people are generally speaking faster than right-handed people, because most right-handed people are extremely right-handed, while left-handed people are more mixed, and thus the hemispheres of the brain are more balanced.
- A question about queuing: the best way to board a plane in a real-life situation is to seat people at random. The most common way of boarding, starting with the back row and building up towards the front is the least efficient way of doing it. Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Steffen made a computer model, and then teamed up with a TV producer to get people to act out boarding planes in different ways. The slowest is the current method known as "block boarding", where you seat one group of people, then the next group, then the next group and so on. The absolute best way is board even-numbered window seats first, then odd-numbered window seats, repeat with the middle seats, and repeat with the aisle seats. However, as this method is rather complicated, Steffen recommends just seating people at random.
- You should put a mirror next to a lift because people like looking at themselves, as opposed to waiting in line.
- The person responsible for generating about 25,000 quarrels a year was John Malemont. Between the 10th and 15th centuries, the quarrel was the bolt that was fired from a crossbow, and Malemont was England's chief quarrel maker in the 13th century. He made 100 a day, which was about 25,000 a year. Early crossbows were really difficult to operate because the string was so tight, so you had to get on your back and use the strength of both legs, back and both arms to pull the mechanism backwards. Later a "crossbow stirrup" was invented so you could use one foot to pull the string back. When guns superseded crossbows, crossbows became reserved for recreational use. (Forfeit: Piers Morgan; Donald Trump; Katie Hopkins)
- The panel are shown an ocean liner and asked what the most dangerous part of it is. The answer is the lifeboats. A study by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch in 2001 showed that lifeboats killed more people than they saved in the UK and Australia over a ten-year period. Lifeboats were the most common cause of death on board ship, accounting for 16% of all lives lost. Almost all the accidents happened during training or maintenance. In the same time period, no lifeboats were actually used in an evacuation, so they didn't save a single life.
- The panel are given lifejackets and as asked to put them on correctly as if they were in a plane crash-landing on water. As far as we know, no-one has ever been saved by a plane lifejacket in modern commercial airlines. During the Hudson River plane crash, only 33 of the 150 passengers had even managed to get hold of their lifejackets, and out of the 33 only four were wearing them correctly. They are only intended for planned water landings, so when you have advanced warning that you will land on water, and this hasn't happened in decades. Cynthia McLean, the principal cabin safety investigator at the Federal Aviation Authority, says the best thing to do is to leave the lifejacket behind, and if you land in the water you should just get off the plane. (Forfeit: Brace, Brace, Brace)
- The Great Fire of London started in modern-day Monument Street. The fire started when baker Thomas Farriner left his fuel out too close to the oven, but recently discovered planning documents from 1673 uncovered by Dorian Gerhold revealed the real location for when the fire started, which is 60 feet east of Pudding Lane. The monument that was built to remember the fire was erected in 1677, and is 202 feet tall. It is this height because it was supposed to be 202 feet from where the fire started, but these recent discoveries mean that the moment should be a lot smaller. (Forfeit: Pudding Lane)
- When holding a car steering wheel your hands should be at the 9 to 3 position. If your hands are at the 10 to 2 position, there is an increased risk of injury from the airbag. Airbags inflate at up to 250mph, and injuries include broken hands, hands needing to be amputated, and one injury known as "de-gloving". At 9 to 3, the airbag has space to come up. (Forfeit: 10 and 2 position)
- Friday 20th September 2019
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Sandi Toksvig||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|Sandi Toksvig||Script Editor|
|Anna Ptaszynski||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|