Series F, Episode 3 - Flotsam And Jetsam
- This is the "General" show in Series F, covering a wide range of different topics beginning with "F".
- Each member of the panel has an International Maritime Flag:
- XL: Semaphore is a similar language that uses flags. The symbol for "N" is to hold the arms diagonally downwards (one each side) and the symbol for "D" is right arm straight up and left arm straight down. If you stand them one behind the other it creates the "Ban the Bomb/Peace" symbol, because N.D. stands for "Nuclear Disarmament".
- The panel are shown some more International Maritime Flags and asked to guess what they mean. They are shown the flag for O (meaning "Overboard"), N (meaning "No") and F (meaning "I'm disabled, communicate with me"). International Maritime Flags and Semaphore are no almost redundant.
- XL: Lord Nelson used flag signals during the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson wanted to say to his men, "Nelson confides that every man shall do his duty." However, there were no flags for the words "Nelson" or "confides", so it became, "England expects every man shall do his duty." It would be possible however to do it letter-by-letter, but it would take too long to do.
- XL: The people who burn the most American flags are the Americans, in particular the Boy Scouts of America and the American Legion. If a flag becomes dirty, burning it is believed to be most dignified way to dispose of it. The Americans are unusual in that they have almost a religious view of their flag, where as countries like the UK reference national pride with things like the Royal Family.
- The difference between flotsam and jetsam is that flotsam is debris which has washed up on shore because of a shipwreck (by accident), while jetsam is debris which has been deliberately thrown off the ship (cargo that is jettisoned). They are two of the four officially recognised kinds of debris. The other two are lagan, which is debris in the sea which can be rescued because it is normally attached to a buoy, and derelict, which is debris at the bottom of the sea which no-one can rescue.
- A question on Fan Clubs: The Boy Wonder shagged people as his form of an autograph. Burt Ward, who played Robin in the 1960s television version of Batman, went on to have a career in the porn industry. His autobiography, Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights, is mostly pornographic. Adam West (who played Batman) watched Ward having sex, according to the book.
- There are two places where you can find the biggest flasher in the world. One is at the bottom of the sea, it is the dana octopus squid (the biggest flasher in the animal kingdom). The squid is the largest creature to be bioluminescent and uses its flashes to attack its prey. The other is the biggest flasher in nature, which is in the mouth of the Catatumbo River in Venezuela. Lightning strikes for 10 hours a day (up to 280 times an hour) for 180 days of the year. It is believed to be the world's greatest source of ozone. So much is released that it helps repair the ozone layer. Correction: During this question Andy asks if the Statue of Liberty is a lighthouse and is told it is not. However, during the end of the 19th century, it was used as a lighthouse.
- XL: A question on fragrance - the East German police (the Stasi) stole people's underwear to create a database of the smell of their dissidents. Cloths were used to take sweat from armpits and the groin region which could then be given to sniffer dogs. Then they made a chair which could collect sweat. When the Berlin Wall came down, people took jars containing the cloths and underwear collected during this time. The process of collecting smells can be said to be very German. As of last year, the Unified Germans have started making a smell database again, containing suspects relating to anti-G8 movements and similar protesters.
- Pope Alexander VI celebrated the feast of the chestnuts by throwing chestnuts onto the floor and getting naked prostitutes to forage for them.
- No-one really knows who invented rugby football, although it is known to have been invented in British public schools. There were many early ball games which involved carrying the football, and early association football allowed players to hold the ball too. There is a myth that it was invented by William Webb Ellis (after whom the rugby union world cup is named), but the myth did not start until three years after he died. (Forfeit: William Webb Ellis)
- James Bond was an intelligence officer. An agent in the British Secret Service is an informant. (Forfeit: Secret Agent)
- XL: Bedfordshire is similar to Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein because they are double landlocked - places which are landlocked by places which are also landlocked. Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein are the only double landlocked places in the world. Bedfordshire is a landlocked county, as is the West Midlands. Northamptonshire would be double landlocked if it did not have 19 yard border with Lincolnshire.
- The maximum number of times you can fold a piece of paper in half depends on certain variables. What you need is length and thickness. This was worked out by an American schoolgirl called Britney Gallivan. She demonstrated this by folding a long piece of thin lavatory paper 12 times. (Forfeit: 7, 8)
- When the Union Flag is flying over Buckingham Palace, it means that the Queen is not in. The Royal Standard has been used since 1997 to show when the Queen is home. Originally, it was the other way around, but it was changed because of the death of Princess Diana. Queen Elizabeth II was at Balmoral at the time, but the Royal Standard cannot be flown at half mast, so they used the Union Flag instead. (Forfeit: The Queen is at Home)
- Friday 9th January 2009
- BBC One
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Justin Pollard||Question Writer|
|James Harkin||Question Writer|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Writer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|Lorraine Heggessey||Executive Producer|
|Katie Taylor||Executive Producer|