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.

  • Due to return for Series V
  • Series H, Episode 1 repeated at 9pm on Dave
  • JustWatch Streaming rank this week: 808

Episode menu

Series E - Empire

A Christmas special with Jo Brand, Bill Bailey and Sean Lock.

Preview clips

Queen Victoria


- Everyone is dressed up in period costumes. Stephen is Oscar Wilde, Jo is Queen Victoria, Sean is the Duke of Wellington, Bill is an Edwardian croquet player and Alan is an Indian officer.


- Queen Victoria probably thought very unfavourably of Mr. Bean, because he tried to assassinate her early in her reign. John Bean tried to shoot her using a gun stuffed with wads of tobacco. (Forfeit: We are not amused)

- Tangent: Mr Bean is very popular in Germany, as was evidenced by Alan's trip on a Lufthansa plane to Germany during which all the German passengers were watching Mr Bean. Bill mentions an Australian who commented that Mr Bean "would not survive in the bush".

- Tangent: Another assassination attempt was foiled by a "P.C. Trounce". One attempt was made by John Francis, who was described by Prince Albert as a "thorough scamp." The maximum penalty for assassinating the Queen was seven years.

- Tangent: The line, "We are not amused" comes from The Notebooks of a Spinster Lady. However, Queen Victoria had a childish sense of humour.

- Victoria's secret was her haemophilia. Due to her, almost every royal family in Europe was affected with the illness. One of her sons, Prince Leopold, died of haemophilia. One of Victoria's daughters, Princess Alice, married into the Russian royal family. Her daughter, Princess Alexandria, had a son who was also a haemophiliac. It is possible that the illness helped kick-start the Russian Revolution, because in the process of finding him treatment, Rasputin became involved with the Royal Family. Some people believe that the chances of Victoria being a haemophiliac are so remote, that she must have been an illegitimate daughter of a haemophiliac.

- Tangent: Rasputin was poisoned, shot and drowned when he was assassinated, but he just would not die.

- A question about erotica: It is forbidden to laugh or be aroused by the exhibits in the Secret Museum of Pornography in Naples. It is meant to be solely for education purposes. Most of the exhibits come from Pompeii, which was full of graffiti, erotic art and statues. These days, you need a special permit and a guide must accompany you on the visit.

- Tangent: There is a formula to calculate the beauty of the buttocks.

- It was easier to put you boots on in the dark between 1600 and 1800 because there were no left and right shoes or boots. All boots were designed to go on either foot, because it was too hard to design left and right heeled footwear at the time.

- Tangent: There is a penis museum in Reykjavík.

- Elephant in the Room: The panel are shown a picture of four boots, which are normally worn by captive elephants to protect their feet.

General Ignorance

- Victorians put covers on piano legs to protect them from being damaged, although most of the time they did not bother. The English thought that the Americans were prudish. For example, the Americans changed the word "Titbit" to "Tidbit". (Forfeit: They thought they were rude)

- The Victorians never seemed to consider criminalising female homosexuality. Queen Victoria would have had no say in the matter because she had almost no power. The law in question, the Labouchere Amendment, was created in 1885. One of the first people to break it was Oscar Wilde. The judge sentenced him to two years hard labour, although he wished he could punish him even more saying that, "this is the worst case I have ever tried." A week earlier, the same judge tried a case of child murder. (Forfeit: Because Queen Victoria didn't believe it existed)

- Winterval was created as a promotional campaign by Birmingham City Council in 1996. There is an urban myth that it was invented to stop other cultures being offended by Christmas. (Forfeit: Political correctness gone mad)

- The best way to stop your children from looking at their gifts before Christmas Day is to have them arrested. In Rock Hill, South Carolina, in 2006, a mother had the police arrest her own son for looking at one of his gifts (a Nintendo Game Boy Advance). The son was 12. The mother was 27. The son's great-grandmother was 63. The boy was released the same day, but the police reported that he showed no remorse.


(Presenter: Stephen, the panel and the rest of the QI production team, interacting with the audience in a pantomime style.)

- Tangent: Sean and Bill argue about their hats and their hair loss.

- George Orwell wrote about socialism in The Road to Wigan Pier in 1936 that, "Socialism draws towards it with magnetic force every fruit juice drinker, nudist, sandal wearer, sex maniac, Quaker, nature-cure quack, pacifist and feminist in England." He also talks about "vegetarians with wilting beards", "outer suburban creeping Jesus' eager to begin yoga exercises," and "that dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal wearers and bearded fruit juice drinkers who come flocking toward the smell of progress like bluebottles to a dead cat."

- A woman was thrown out of a hotel in Ockham, Surrey for wearing cycling bloomers. The Cyclists' Touring Club took the case to court to try and get it overturned, but they failed.

- Tangent: Bill was thrown out of the Trocadéro Centre and Stephen was thrown out of Salt Lake City. Both were thrown out for being sarcastic. Alan talks about an aunt whom he believes is a lesbian.

- The HMS Victoria sank outside Beirut, Lebanon.

- Tangent: Lebanon has tried to increase tourism to the area, although the 2007 Lebanon conflict has caused problems. It also caused problems during the recording because the conflict was still going on, so they had to pretend it was over.


- Alan Davies: 10 points (Sixth victory)
- Bill Bailey: 8 points
- Sean Lock: -8 points
- Jo Brand: -33 points


This is the second time the same panel from a previous episode has appeared - see Series B, Episode 1.

Broadcast details

Friday 7th December 2007
BBC Four
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Saturday 24th April 2010 9:40pm Dave
Friday 6th August 2010 9:00pm Dave
Monday 13th September 2010 9:40pm Dave
Thursday 28th October 2010 10:20pm Dave
Thursday 25th November 2010 9:40pm Dave
Sunday 7th August 2011 9:00pm Dave
Monday 8th August 2011 12:20am Dave
Wednesday 28th September 2011 10:20pm Dave
Thursday 29th September 2011 1:00am Dave
Thursday 16th February 2012 11:40pm Dave
Friday 17th February 2012 8:20pm Dave
Thursday 28th June 2012 10:00pm Dave
Tuesday 23rd October 2012 5:20pm Dave
Wednesday 24th October 2012 1:20am
60 minute version
Sunday 10th March 2013 1:00pm Dave
Sunday 10th March 2013 5:00pm Dave
Sunday 6th April 2014 2:20pm Dave
Sunday 6th April 2014 7:20pm Dave
Wednesday 14th May 2014 11:40am Dave
Wednesday 14th May 2014 5:40pm Dave
Monday 26th January 2015 11:00pm Dave
Monday 27th July 2015 12:40am Dave
Monday 27th July 2015 11:00pm
60 minute version
Thursday 5th November 2015 10:40pm Dave
Tuesday 23rd February 2016 12:20am Dave
Tuesday 23rd February 2016 9:20pm Dave
Monday 6th June 2016 11:20pm Dave
Saturday 13th August 2016 1:40am Dave
Friday 16th June 2017 12:20am Dave
Wednesday 21st June 2017 1:05am Dave
Monday 4th September 2017 11:20pm Dave
Wednesday 22nd November 2017 11:20pm Dave
Thursday 23rd November 2017 1:20am Dave
Tuesday 9th January 2018 11:40pm Dave
Wednesday 10th January 2018 1:40am Dave
Saturday 24th February 2018 12:50am Dave
Wednesday 25th April 2018 12:00am Dave
Wednesday 25th April 2018 2:00am Dave
Wednesday 11th July 2018 11:20pm Dave
Thursday 12th July 2018 2:20am Dave
Wednesday 28th November 2018 1:40am Dave
Friday 21st December 2018 7:20pm Dave
Saturday 22nd December 2018 12:20am Dave
Monday 11th February 2019 11:00pm Dave
Tuesday 12th February 2019 1:00am Dave
Wednesday 19th June 2019 11:40pm Dave
Thursday 20th June 2019 8:20pm Dave
Friday 31st January 2020 11:40pm Dave
Saturday 1st February 2020 1:35am Dave
Monday 13th July 2020 8:20pm Dave
Wednesday 1st March 2023 12:40am Dave
Tuesday 4th July 2023 12:20am Dave
Tuesday 26th December 2023 12:40am Dave

Cast & crew

Stephen Fry Host / Presenter
Alan Davies Regular Panellist
Guest cast
Bill Bailey Guest
Jo Brand Guest
Sean Lock 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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