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 E, Episode 1 - Engineering

Preview clips

Isambard Kingdom Brunel against the launching chains of the Great Eastern at Millwall in 1857


- Stephen has a toy train and sweets which he can deliver to anyone who gives a quite interesting answer.


- The people who built Britain's railways were the navvies. They were trained for a year and were fed on a diet of meat and beer. They could out-perform any other manual labourer.

- Tangent: Railways had to be flat when they were first made. Bill tells the story of the Russian Tsar who ordered the Trans-Siberian railway to be a straight line. He drew the line with a ruler, but his fingers were over the edge of the ruler, so two large curves were built in. Bill gets a sweet for his answer.

- Tangent: The London to Birmingham Railway took the same amount of work to build as one-and-a-half Great Pyramids. Rob's discussion about 'what is half a pyramid' gets him a sweet.

- "Navvy" is short for "Navigational engineer". Alan gets a sweet for the correct answer.

- When the Americans went off the rails (or rather their trains did), the passengers lifted them back onto the line. The trains were built to be as light as possible.

- Tangent: When the Central Pacific Railway was being built, the track was laid as fast as a man could walk.

- Eton College did not want a railway station built in Slough (Jimmy's hometown) because they were worried that its pupils would take the train to visit prostitutes.

- Tangent: A travel book once advised that women railway passengers should stick pins in their mouths so men would not kiss them in tunnels.

- For 18 birthdays in a row, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's birthday present was that the sun would shine through the Box Tunnel on his birthday (9th April). Jimmy gets a sweet for the right answer.

- The best place to be when a nuclear bomb goes off is Las Vegas, which benefited from tourism because a nuclear testing site was nearby. It advertised itself as a place to watch nuclear bombs going off.

- In 1994, the Americans came up with an idea for a "Love Bomb" (also known as the "Gay Bomb") that, when detonated, would make the enemy soldiers attracted to one another. The aim being they would stop fighting and have sex with each other.

- Elephant in the Room: You can make a baby elephant using an ultrasound probe, a light emitting tube, a bicycle helmet, protective clothing, a huge tube of Vaseline and a wheelbarrow. It is what you use to artificially inseminate an elephant.

General Ignorance

- A vampire bat is most likely to bite you on the big toe.

- The biggest load of rubbish in the world is in the North Pacific Gyre (a.k.a. The Pacific Trash Vortex). Rubbish that does not biodegrade, such as plastic, floats on the surface. Some fish eat it.

- Tangent: One member of the audience claimed that the biggest load of the rubbish in the world was France.


(Presenter: Bill Bailey)

- Tangent: Tourist attractions such as the London Eye and a fairground ride went quicker because Alan was on it. According to Alan anyway.

- Tangent: Jimmy talks about new winners of the Darwin Awards.

- Tangent: Vaseline rots latex.


- Rob Brydon: 11 points
- Alan Davies: 4 points
- Jimmy Carr: -2 points
- Bill Bailey: -18 points

Broadcast details

Friday 21st September 2007
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Saturday 29th May 2010 9:00pm Dave
Wednesday 9th June 2010 10:00pm BBC2
Sunday 11th July 2010 10:10pm Dave
Monday 13th September 2010 9:00pm Dave
Wednesday 8th December 2010 9:00pm Dave
Saturday 20th August 2011 9:00pm Dave
Wednesday 5th October 2011 10:20pm Dave
Thursday 6th October 2011 1:35am Dave
Monday 30th January 2012 10:00pm Dave
Tuesday 31st January 2012 12:20am Dave
Thursday 14th June 2012 10:00pm Dave
Thursday 25th October 2012 5:20pm Dave
Sunday 6th January 2013 1:00pm Dave
Sunday 6th January 2013 5:00pm Dave
Sunday 6th April 2014 1:00pm Dave
Sunday 6th April 2014 6:00pm Dave
Monday 12th May 2014 9:40pm Dave
Tuesday 3rd June 2014 12:40pm Dave
Tuesday 3rd June 2014 5:40pm Dave
Wednesday 12th November 2014 11:40pm Dave
Friday 24th April 2015 11:00pm Dave
Sunday 26th July 2015 11:20pm Dave
Monday 27th July 2015 10:20pm
60 minute version
Monday 1st February 2016 11:00pm Dave
Tuesday 2nd February 2016 8:00pm Dave
Friday 20th May 2016 1:40am Dave
Friday 20th May 2016 11:20pm Dave
Saturday 9th July 2016 7:00pm Dave
Monday 8th August 2016 10:20pm Dave
Wednesday 30th November 2016 11:20pm Dave
Thursday 1st December 2016 3:00am Dave
Wednesday 8th March 2017 2:40pm Dave
Saturday 12th August 2017 1:20am Dave
Thursday 17th August 2017 11:20pm Dave
Friday 18th August 2017 1:20am Dave
Tuesday 5th December 2017 1:20am Dave
Tuesday 30th January 2018 11:40pm Dave
Wednesday 31st January 2018 1:40am Dave
Wednesday 18th April 2018 12:40am Dave
Wednesday 18th April 2018 2:40am Dave
Tuesday 6th November 2018 12:20am Dave
Tuesday 29th January 2019 11:00pm Dave
Wednesday 30th January 2019 1:00am Dave
Monday 3rd June 2019 11:40pm Dave
Tuesday 4th June 2019 8:20pm Dave
Tuesday 4th June 2019 11:40pm Dave
Monday 30th September 2019 8:20pm Dave
Tuesday 1st October 2019 2:45am Dave
Friday 24th January 2020 11:00pm Dave
Saturday 25th January 2020 1:00am Dave
Tuesday 7th July 2020 7:40pm Dave
Wednesday 8th July 2020 1:40am Dave
Thursday 16th February 2023 12:40am Dave
Sunday 11th June 2023 10:00pm Dave
Monday 12th June 2023 3:15am Dave
Monday 30th October 2023 11:20pm Dave

Cast & crew

Stephen Fry Host / Presenter
Alan Davies Regular Panellist
Guest cast
Bill Bailey Guest
Rob Brydon Guest
Jimmy Carr Guest
Writing team
Molly Oldfield Researcher
Piers Fletcher Question Writer
Garrick Alder Researcher
Mat Coward Researcher
Christopher Gray Researcher
James Harkin Researcher
Justin Gayner Researcher
Vitali Vitaliev Researcher
Justin Pollard Question Writer
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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