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


BBC Two and BBC One panel show focusing on quite interesting facts. 233 episodes (pilot + 16 series), 2003 - 2018. Stars Sandi Toksvig, Stephen Fry and Alan Davies.

Another series is in development.
Series N, Episode 4 is repeated on Dave today at 6pm.

Series F, Episode 6 - Fakes And Frauds

Further details



- The panel all carry masks of each other. Marcus has a mask of Jimmy's face, Jimmy of Marcus, Sean of Alan and Alan of Sean.


- The panel are asked to identify the sound of their buzzers:

- Jimmy's buzzer, which sounds similar to a camera, is actually a Superb Lyrebird, an animal which can mimic just about any noise. (Forfeit: Camera)

- Marcus' buzzer, which sounds similar to a car alarm, is also a Superb Lyrebird. (Forfeit: Car alarm)

- Sean's buzzer, which sounds like a chainsaw, is yet again a Superb Lyrebird.

- Alan's buzzer, which sounds like a telephone, really is a telephone. (Forfeit: Lyrebird)

- XL Tangent: Other talking birds include parrots, mynah birds, and drongos. The drongo can mimic the calls of other birds, and also knows which call to mimic when it is with another bird. For example, if there is a kookaburra, then the drongo will call like a kookaburra. The world record for the most words spoken by a talking bird is 1,728, by a budgerigar called Puck in 1995. The reason why the word "Drongo" is used as an insult by Australians is because there was a 1920s racehorse called Drongo which lost almost every race it was in. Sean complains that horses are never given proper first names, but Stephen mentions a horse called Brigadier Gerard, and Marcus points out that in the 2008 Grand National there was a horse called Simon, which he backed and lost. Alan tells a joke in which a white horse goes to a bar and the bartender says, "We've got a drink named after you," and the horse says, "What, Eric?"

- The unusual thing about the pig-faced lady was that it was actually a drunk, shaven bear. It was part of a 19th century freak show.

- Tangent: Alan claims that water softens your facial hair more than shaving foam. Stephen references a TV advert for a skin preparation for men which makes skin stronger.

- Tangent: There is a story of a famous bearded lady, Jean Carroll (b. 1910) who wanted to marry a contortionist, John Carson. The contortionist did not want to marry her though, because he didn't like the idea of marrying a woman with a beard. However, she couldn't shave off her beard, as she would then lose her main source of income. However, a friend of theirs, sword-swallower Alec Linton suggested she shaved but then covered herself in tattoos, becoming the first tattooed woman, and make money that way. She did so, and the two then married.

- Tangent: Samuel Gumpertz was a famous freak show owner in Coney Island. His freaks included Ursa the Bear Girl, Bonita the Irish Fat Midget, Lionel the Dog-Faced Boy and Schrief Afendl the Human Salamander. There is a legend that a salamander can survive a fire.

- Count Victor Lustig planned to sell Guy de Maupassant's favourite restaurant to two scrap metal merchants. Guy de Maupassant's favourite restaurant was the Eiffel Tower - because it was the only restaurant in Paris from which you could not see the Eiffel Tower, which he, along with many people in France when the Tower was first built, loathed. Lustig was a con artist who tricked two scrap metal merchants into thinking that he was an official responsible for selling what was then a temporary structure. The merchants 'bribed' him, and he ran off with their money.

- Tangent: Another similar conman was Arthur Furguson, a Scottish actor and con artist who also sold famous monuments and buildings. These included Nelson's Column (with lions) to an American tourist for

Broadcast details

Friday 30th January 2009
30 minutes


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    Cast & crew

    Regular cast
    Stephen Fry Host / Presenter
    Alan Davies Regular Panellist
    Guest cast
    Jimmy Carr Guest
    Sean Lock Guest
    Marcus Brigstocke Guest
    Writing team
    John Mitchinson Question Writer
    Justin Pollard Question Writer
    James Harkin Question Writer
    Molly Oldfield Question Writer
    Production team
    Ian Lorimer Director
    Piers Fletcher Producer
    Lorraine Heggessey Executive Producer
    Katie Taylor Executive Producer
    Nick King Editor
    Jonathan Paul Green Production Designer
    Howard Goodall Composer

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