Series F, Episode 8 - Fashion
- Friday 13th February 2009
- BBC One
- 30 minutes
- 4.03 million viewers (17.50% audience share)
- As QI has now been going for six series, it is decided that a catchphrase should be created for the show. The panel are given a book of 19th century catchphrases and are asked to use either one of these, or one of their own. Bonus points are rewarded for best use of the catchphrases.
- The most disastrous haircut ever was that of King Louis VII of France - it started the Hundred Year's War. He was a 13th century king who was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Louis VII was a deeply religious man and cut off his hair on the advice of monks. Eleanor was so angered by this that it was one of the contributing factors to her divorce from him. She then went to England and married King Henry II of England, which started the Hundred Year's War. You could also argue that another terrible haircut was Samson's haircut in the Bible. Correction: The Hundred Year's War began over 100 years after Henry II, Louis VII and Eleanor died, so it was not a direct cause for the war.
-XL: The worst faux pas ever committed was by James Gordon Bennett - from whom the expression "Gordon Bennett" comes from. Bennett got drunk, went to his fiancee's house where she was having a party full of New York socialites, and urinated in the fireplace, thinking it was the toilet. The engagement was broken off, the fiancee's brother fought a duel with Bennett, which Bennett lost, and Bennett moved to Europe. This incident was in the Guinness Book of Records up until a few years ago as the worst faux pas ever. Amongst other things, Bennett once tipped a railway porter £341,000. He would also burn money because it was uncomfortable in his pocket.
- The outrageous item of clothing that got the Duke of Wellington banned from a club was trousers. Almack's (one of Stephen's favourite clubs) was THE club which determined whether you were a member of high society. Fierce women ran the club called the "Lady Patronesses". If you did not get a voucher from them, you could not enter the club. Wellington turned up wearing trousers instead of the more fashionable knee britches and was therefore not allowed in. (Forfeit: Wellington boots)
- In order to deal with a shortage of trousers during wartime (especially World War Two) turn-ups were banned, it was made punishable by imprisonment to deliberately add extra cloth to trousers so that turn-ups could be made, and boys under 12-years-old could only wear shorts. Women could not wear stockings, so they stained their legs to make them looked tanned with gravy browning and then they would draw a line down the back of their legs to make it look like a seam on nylons.
XL: As a fashion accessory, you can wear a cauliflower, a rhinoceros or a pigeon's wing, because they were all types of wig won around the 18th century. It became fashionable to do so during the reign of King Louis XIII of France. Louis XIII became bald at an early age, so we wore a wig to cover his bald head. The courtiers followed suit and soon it became fashionable to wear a wig.
- The first fossil ever identified looks rather suspiciously like a pair of testicles. Called the "Scrotum humanum", Robert Plot, first keeper of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, recognised it to be an enormous thigh bone. However, he did not know what it was, so he claimed it was either from a Roman elephant or a giant human. We now know it was from a megalosaur.
- XL: A modern living fossil is the king's holly (Lomatica tasmanica), a type of plant which has not changed in millions of years. There is a living king's holly which is 43,600 years old and is next to a genetically identical fossil of another king's holly which is a Pleistocene, making it millions and millions of years old. It does not vary itself but instead just stays as it is for as long as possible. It might provide the answer to eternal life. Charles Darwin used the phrase "Living fossil" when talking about creatures like duck-billed platypuses, crocodiles and coelacanths. Another contender would be the ginkgo tree. These trees covered the Earth about 100-200 million years ago, but now there are only a few left alive. The ginkgo tree is used by herbalists as a memory enhancer.
- XL: The canals on Mars do not exist. Schiaparelli, an Italian astronomer, called these lines that he saw on Mars "canali", naming them after rivers on Earth. Then another astronomer, the British Percival Lowell drew maps of the canals as he saw them. However, what he was actually drawing was the blood vessels in his eyes. This condition is now known as Lowell's syndrome and is named after him. Pluto is named after Lowell, because it is his initials.
- XL: A question for the two American guests: The reason why Yankee Doodle put a feather in his cap and called macaroni was because he looked dandy. The song "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was in fact a British song designed to insult unsophisticated Americans. The song later became appropriated by the Americans.
- The word that rhymes with "Month" is "Granth", as in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy text of Sikhism.
- The city with the most Michelin stars is Tokyo. The city was only added to the list in 2007, but it leaped straight into the lead with 150 stars, which is two more than London and Paris combined, and three times more than New York. (Forfeit: Paris; New York; London)
- Nicotine is colourless and so does not stain. The stain comes from tar. Nicotine is a very good poison, because not only is it very poisonous, but also colourless, odourless, invisible and untraceable. The word comes from Nicot, the "French Sir Walter Raleigh" who introduced tobacco to France. (Forfeit: Yellow; Brown)
- The dictator who only had one ball was Chairman Mao. "Monorchism" is the name of the medical condition where you are only born with one testicle. It comes from "Orchid", which has the same root entomology-speaking, from the Greek. Mao's doctor, Li Zhisui, wrote about this in his memoirs. Mao had a venereal disease from the 1950s, and herpes in the 1960s. Mao never brushed his teeth, but instead rinsed his mouth with tea, so his teeth were coloured green. He also slept on a wooden bed and used a bed pan. There is no justification for Adolf Hitler suffering from monochism. (Forfeit: Pol Pot; Stalin) Correction: It has since been discovered that Adolf Hitler really did have one ball. This was spotted by World War I veteran medic Johan Jambor, who told a priest who made a record of the incident. Not only Hitler, but Francisco Franco also had one ball, after he was shot during the battle of El Biutz in 1916.
- Rich Hall: 4 points
- Clive Anderson: -5 points
- Reginald D. Hunter: -6 points
- Alan Davies: -35 points
- Saturday 14th February 2009 at 22.00
- Wednesday 18th February 2009 at 22.00
- Friday 11th September 2009 at 22.00
- Tuesday 10th November 2009 at 21.00 on Dave (45 minute version)
- Sunday 22nd November 2009 at 21.00 on Dave (45 minute version)
- Tuesday 26th January 2010 at 21.00 on Dave (45 minute version)
- Friday 19th March 2010 at 21.00 on Dave (45 minute version)
- Monday 24th May 2010 at 21.00 on Dave (45 minute version)
- Sunday 27th June 2010 at 22.10 on Dave (45 minute version)
- Sunday 15th August 2010 at 21.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Thursday 23rd September 2010 at 21.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Monday 29th November 2010 at 21.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Tuesday 8th March 2011 at 21.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Tuesday 26th July 2011 at 20.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Tuesday 26th July 2011 at 23.45 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Monday 25th June 2012 at 21.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 22.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Saturday 22nd December 2012 at 21.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Friday 18th January 2013 at 19.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Friday 15th March 2013 at 22.40 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Friday 10th January 2014 at 19.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Friday 10th January 2014 at 23.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Monday 24th February 2014 at 20.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Tuesday 25th February 2014 at 00.20 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Saturday 19th April 2014 at 20.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Sunday 15th June 2014 at 20.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Sunday 15th June 2014 at 23.40 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Monday 20th October 2014 at 21.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
- Wednesday 18th February 2015 at 21.00 on Dave (60 minute version)
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|Reginald D. Hunter||Guest|
|Lorraine Heggessey||Exec Producer|
|Katie Taylor||Exec Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Design|
|Other cast & crew|
|John Mitchinson||Question Wrangler|
|Justin Pollard||Question Wrangler|
|James Harkin||Question Wrangler|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Wrangler|