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


  • TV panel show
  • BBC Two / BBC One / BBC Four
  • 2003 - 2024
  • 312 episodes (21 series)

Panel game that contains lots of difficult questions and a large amount of quite interesting facts. Stars Sandi Toksvig, Stephen Fry and Alan Davies.

Episode menu

Series D, Episode 12 - Domesticity



- Dry cleaning is not dry, because it uses chemical solvents such as perc. It is called 'dry cleaning' because no water is used.

- Tangent: 'dry cleaning' is the name given to methods that spies use to detect whether or not they are being followed.

- Ray Davis Jr. (not to be confused with Ray Davies from The Kinks) used 100,000 gallons of dry cleaning fluid in 1964 in order to help his research in neutrinos, particles emitted from the Sun which have no mass and can pass through light-year's thickness of lead in an instant, without leaving a trace. The liquid leftover is still in Leadville, South Dakota, because it is hazardous waste. Davis is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the oldest ever Nobel Prize winner, aged 88. Correction: In 1998, it was shown that neutrinos do have mass, albeit a very, very small mass.

- Tangent: Neutrinos were invented to make the mathematics in modern physics work.

- The first vacuum cleaner was horse-drawn. People could not afford an individual one, so it was hiring service. See-through tubes were used so people could watch the dirt being sucked inside the cleaner and be amazed at the sight of it.

- Tangent: Jo tries to guess one of her own quotes: "How do you know it's time to wash the dishes and clean your house? Look inside your pants. If you find a penis in there, it's not time."

- The guests are asked to complete the following sentence using the correct adverb; "The first practical dishwasher was invented to clean dishes more... safely." It was invented by Josephine Cochrane, who wanted to find a way to clean dishes without them being chipped. It cost $250 to make, a lot of money in the 1880s. However, it could clean and dry 200 dishes in 2 minutes and won first prize at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. (Forfeit: Quickly; Cleanly - double forfeit).

- Tangent: Cochrane's father was John "Crazy" Finch, inventor of the steamboat.

- Tangent: The 1893 World's Fair also had the world's first Ferris wheel, invented by George Ferris.

- Tangent: In Britain, the odds of being killed in an accident in your home are the same as those of being killed in a car crash. In 2003, a Scottish woman died in freak dishwasher accident, by tripping up and falling on an upturned knife sticking out of the dishwasher. Stephen cut his palm in a similar accident.

- Up to the year 1800, the second greatest cause of death for women was cooking, mainly because their dresses would catch fire. Childbirth was the greatest cause of death. (Forfeit: Domestic violence)

- Some hand household tips:

- To create the impression that you have cleaned your house when you have not, spray furniture polish behind a radiator.

- Silk and spaghetti both stick to walls. You can use it to test whether the cloth you have been given is silk and not some other material.

- Rhubarb and brown sauce can be used to clean copper and silver.

- Tangent: Phill mocks Stephen for his ownership of a copper kettle and his adverts for Twinings.

- The cheapest way to remove a blood stain from your clothes is to suck it out with your own saliva.

- The bottom door hinge is placed higher than normal because of the effect of foreshortening.

- Tangent: When Stephen and Hugh Laurie shared a house, they had some plastering done. Their plasterers were Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse.

General Ignorance

- Pea soup and baked bean juice are drinks made from beans. (Forfeit: Coffee - made from seeds.)

- Tangent: Stephen knew about a man who was nicknamed "Heinz" because whilst he was at school, he was discovered masterbating with baked beans over his penis.

- "Have you ever slid down a banister?" No - Banisters are the supports. The handrail is called the "Balustrade". (Forfeit: Yes)

- William Wordsworth did not smell anything, because he had no sense of smell. (Forfeit: Daffodils) Note: The correct answer was worth 200 points, but no-one got it right.


- Jessica Stevenson: -3 points
- Phill Jupitus: -4 points
- Jo Brand: -18 points
- Alan Davies: -64 points


For details of the correction, see the QI Qibble Blog

Broadcast details

Friday 8th December 2006
BBC Four
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Saturday 6th February 2010 11:20pm Dave
Saturday 12th June 2010 10:10pm Dave
Saturday 11th December 2010 9:40pm Dave
Saturday 26th February 2011 11:00pm Dave
Monday 20th June 2011 9:00pm Dave
Monday 20th June 2011 11:40pm Dave
Monday 18th July 2011 6:00pm Dave
Wednesday 2nd May 2012 7:20pm Dave
Wednesday 31st October 2012 7:40pm Dave
Wednesday 31st October 2012 11:20pm Dave
Saturday 29th December 2012 2:00pm Dave
Saturday 29th December 2012 11:40pm Dave
Sunday 7th April 2013 1:40pm Dave
Sunday 7th April 2013 5:40pm Dave
Sunday 21st July 2013 2:40pm Dave
Sunday 21st July 2013 6:40pm Dave
Tuesday 5th November 2013 11:00pm Dave
Wednesday 6th November 2013 3:00am Dave
Friday 3rd October 2014 11:20pm Dave
Saturday 4th October 2014 2:40am Dave
Tuesday 17th February 2015 11:00pm Dave
Monday 29th June 2015 11:40pm Dave
Tuesday 30th June 2015 9:40pm Dave
Thursday 3rd March 2016 8:40pm Dave
Friday 27th May 2016 1:00am Dave
Friday 27th May 2016 10:40pm Dave
Friday 26th August 2016 1:40am Dave
Tuesday 7th March 2017 2:40pm Dave
Friday 14th April 2017 12:20am Dave
Tuesday 15th August 2017 11:20pm Dave
Wednesday 16th August 2017 1:20am Dave
Wednesday 13th September 2017 1:20am Dave
Friday 29th September 2017 1:50am Dave
Thursday 8th March 2018 11:20pm Dave
Saturday 5th May 2018 12:00am Dave
Saturday 5th May 2018 2:00am Dave
Saturday 30th June 2018 11:20pm Dave
Sunday 1st July 2018 2:15am Dave
Thursday 6th December 2018 7:20pm Dave
Wednesday 20th February 2019 1:20am Dave
Monday 1st July 2019 11:20pm Dave
Monday 16th September 2019 8:20pm Dave
Wednesday 1st January 2020 9:00pm Dave
Thursday 2nd January 2020 7:00pm Dave

Cast & crew

Stephen Fry Host / Presenter
Alan Davies Regular Panellist
Guest cast
Jo Brand Guest
Phill Jupitus Guest
Jessica Hynes (as Jessica Stevenson) Guest
Writing team
Justin Pollard Researcher
Molly Oldfield Researcher
John Mitchinson Question Writer
Piers Fletcher Question Writer
Garrick Alder Researcher
Mat Coward Researcher
Christopher Gray Researcher
James Harkin Researcher
Justin Gayner Researcher
Production team
Ian Lorimer Director
John Lloyd Producer
Lorraine Heggessey Executive Producer
Katie Taylor Executive Producer
Nick King Editor
Jonathan Paul Green Production Designer
Howard Goodall Composer

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