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


BBC Two and BBC One panel show about quite interesting facts. 249 episodes (pilot + 17 series), 2003 - 2020. Stars Sandi Toksvig, Stephen Fry and Alan Davies.

Next new episode is on Friday at 10pm. Series Q, Episode 8
Catch-up on Episode 7 on BBC iPlayer   Series O, Episode 11 is repeated on Dave today at 11:40pm.

Series C, Episode 4 - Cheating

Further details

Douglas 'Wrong Way' Corrigan.

Extra Tasks

- As the panel are more grown up than usual, Stephen treats the panel like adults, and allows them to keep their own scores. At the same time, there is an electronic check, and the panel will be subtracted by the amount they lie by. If anyone gets their answer exactly right, they are rewarded with 100 bonus points. Alexander Armstrong manages this.


- A question on "Cheating": The winner of the marathon at the 1904 Olympic Games, Fredrick Lorz, cheated by going most of the way by car. Fourth place was given to a Cuban postman, Felix Carbajal, despite him falling ill after eating some rotten apples. Len Tau, one of the first black competitors in the Olympics, came ninth despite being chased a mile out of his way by a dog.

- Tangent: George Eyser won six gold medals in gymnastics at the 1904 Olympic Games, despite having a wooden leg.

- At the 1900 Olympic Games, cricket was one of the events. However, only Britain and France could play. The French team was made up of British Embassy Officials in Paris.

- Many riders in the 1904 Tour de France were disqualified for being towed by cars. A wire was attached to the car and a cork held in the cyclist's mouth. Maurice Garin was disqualified when it was discovered that he went part of the way by train.

- Challenger, Tornado, Typhoon, Mustang, Laser, Marauder, Hurricane, Starquest, Apache, Buccaneer, Jetstream, Superstorm and Corba are all makes of caravan. (Forfeit: Tanks; Fighters; Helicopters)

- Patriot, Gladiator, Dagger, Javelin, Merlin, Archer, Arrow, White King and Excalibur are all kinds of parsnip. (Forfeit: Missiles)

- Tangent: Pasternak, as in Boris Pasternak (author of Doctor Zhivago) is the Russian for "Parsnip".

- The first creature to be sent into space was a fruit fly. (Forfeit: Monkey; Dog)

- Tangent: 65% of diseases found in humans are found in fruit flies.

- The fruit fly has the longest sperm of any creature. It is 20 times its own length, measuring at 5.8cm.

- Tangent: The sperm is the smallest cell in the human body. The ovum is the largest.

- The connection between Nancy Kerrigan and Douglas 'Wrong Way' Corrigan (pictured) is cheating. Tonya Harding tried to eliminate Kerrigan from ice skating competitions by smashing her knee caps. 'Wrong Way' Corrigan constantly claimed he was the first person to fly across the Atlantic, from New York to Dublin.

General Ignorance

- The second world war technically ended in the year 1990, because in 1945 there was no Germany. It did not end until the country was reunified. (Forfeit: 1945) Correction: A surrender document had been signed. The formal conclusion of peace was not signed by East Germany.

- Swiss inventions include Velcro, milk chocolate, cellophane, rayon and the Swiss army knife. (Forfeit: Cuckoo clock)

- In 1792, the guillotine was first used, Charles Babbage, the inventor of the computer was born, and the written exam was invented at Cambridge University. Before then, you would be asked questions orally in Latin. Correction: The first written exams were invented in China in the 14th century. The exams themselves have been dated as going on as far back as 115 AD.

- Tangent: In the film Carry On Don't Lose Your Head, the character played by Jim Dale is about to be executed. Someone tells him he has a note from Robespierre, and he says, "Put it in the basket, I'll read it later on."

Correction: The line is actually said by Charles Hawtrey.

- Tangent: The guillotine was last used in 1977, executing a one-legged French criminal. Alan mistakenly thought it was last used in Vietnam, 1960.

- Tangent: Only three people attended Charles Babbage's funeral.


- Alexander Armstrong: 93 points
- Jeremy Clarkson: 0 points
- John Sessions: -10 points
- Alan Davies: -52 points


For more information regarding the examination error, see the QI Qibble Blog

Broadcast details

Friday 14th October 2005
BBC Four
30 minutes


    Cast & crew

    Regular cast
    Stephen Fry Host / Presenter
    Alan Davies Regular Panellist
    Guest cast
    John Sessions Guest
    Jeremy Clarkson Guest
    Alexander Armstrong Guest
    Writing team
    John Mitchinson Question Writer
    Piers Fletcher Question Writer
    Production team
    Ian Lorimer Director
    John Lloyd Producer
    Mark Freeland Executive Producer
    Sally Debonnaire Executive Producer
    Nick King Editor
    Jonathan Paul Green Production Designer
    Howard Goodall Composer
    Justin Pollard Researcher
    Garrick Alder Researcher
    Dan Schreiber Researcher
    Mat Coward Researcher
    Christopher Gray Researcher
    James Harkin Researcher

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