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 G, Episode 10 - Greats

Further details

QI. Image shows from L to R: Alan Davies, Jo Brand, Stephen Fry, Sean Lock, David Mitchell. Copyright: TalkbackThames.


- XL: The Great Disappointment occurred in USA in 1844 when the Second Coming did not happen. William Miller claimed this would happen after studying the Bible, but it failed to transpire. Over a million people, known as Millerites believed it would happen. They sold their property, their farms, and gave up everything believing the Second Coming was due. It was even reported in the newspapers it would happen. One man threw himself off a barn at midnight believing he was going to be scooped up and saved - he wasn't. Despite the Great Disappointment, Millerites formed themselves into different religions, including Seventh-Day Adventists and the Jehovah's Witnesses. (Forfeit: Have you been talking to my husband?)

- XL Tangent: In Nazi concentration camps Jehovah's Witnesses wore purple triangles. The Jews wore yellow stars and gays wore pink triangles.

- XL Tangent: In the USA, there is now a new kind of movement concerning the apocalypse known as "The Rapture". People believe that Christ will take them, leaving only their clothes behind. In 1988, Edgar Whisenant sold 4 million copies of his book "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be". The website www.raptureready.com gets millions of hits per year. It offers you handy letters to send to loved-ones to leave behind for your friends who are not saved by Christ. There is one section on the site called, "Oops, I guess I wasn't ready", which lists the perils of the post-rapture world, which include being marked by the Anti-Christ and being stung by enormous wasps. There is also a quiz called "Am I rapture ready?" About half of all Americans believe in the Second Coming of Christ.

- There is no truth in myth that short people are angrier and more tyrannical. Napoleon Bonaparte, considered short by today's standards, was above average height at the time at 5'7" (the average height was 5'6"), while Lord Nelson was only 5'4". His perceived shortness was mainly thanks to a British cartoonist called Gillray, who drew one cartoon of George III holding a tiny Napoleon in his hand with George III saying in the caption below: "I cannot but conclude you are one of the most pernicious little odious reptiles that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the face of the Earth." Some tyrannical people were definitely short, such as Joseph Stalin (5'5"), Alberto Mussolini (5'6") and Francisco Franco (5'4"). However, Idi Amin was 6'4" (the same height as Stephen Fry), Fidel Castro is 6'1", and Mao Zedong was 5'9" which is tall for a Chinese person.

- Tangent: Heightism does exist. Short people are paid less on average than tall people. It is comparable in magnitude to pay differences between race and gender. In a survey of Fortune 500 companies it was revealed that 90% of CEOs were above average height. 30% of those people are 6'2", which is the tallest 4% of the population. The public also tend to recognise short powerful people who have young, tall wives, such as Nicolas Sarkozy and Bernie Ecclestone.

- Mathematically speaking, everyone in Europe is related to Charlemagne. This is because everyone has two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents and so on. By the time you get to the 13th century, you have more direct ancestors than have ever been human beings - about 80 billion. Therefore you must have shared ancestors. In 1995, a man called Mark Humphries at Dublin University discovered this information. He discovered his was wife was King Edward III's great-granddaughter 20 generations down the line. After closer examination, he discovered his wife was also related to Hermann Goring and American explorer Daniel Boone. He then managed to calculate the mathematics of the information. Correction: It is not true about the realtionship with Daniel Boone. However, West people are ultimately related include Boswell, de Sade, Goethe, Darwin, Francis Bacon, David Hume, Bertrand Russell, Bill Gates, Marie Antoinette, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Anthony Eden, Lewis Carroll, Hugh Grant, Guy Ritchie, Brad Pitt, Rupert Everett, Ralph Fiennes, Johnny Dumfries, Barack Obama, George Bush Senior and junior and David Cameron.

- Tangent: Jo jokingly claims that David's brothers are the Mitchell brothers from "Eastenders", despite the fact they are fictional characters.

- The only good that was caused by the Great Fire of London was that it cleared enough space for Sir Christopher Wren to build St. Paul's Cathedral. It did not get rid of the Great Plague because it had already died out by then, and the plague was also in the suburbs while the fire was in the city. (Forfeit: Cleared the city of plague)

- XL: Cheese tastes better when freshly grated because it increases the surface area, making it more intense. When parmesan is grated it smells of vomit, which is caused by two fatty acids called butyric and isovaleric acid. If you had two bottles containing the same chemicals, and labelled one "parmesan" and one "vomit", most people will find the parmesan bottle to have a better smell despite the chemicals being identical.

- XL Tangent: The panel mock Stephen after he says that cheese is "the celebration of what happens to milk when it goes off big-time-stylee."

- XL Tangent: The panel talk about the sell-by dates on cheese saying that better systems could be when to eat it before the Rapture and the day when everyone finds out they are related to Peter Andre.

- The Great Train Robbers were not great at all. The main reason why was because out of the 15 robbers, 12 were caught almost instantly. These 12 went to a farm and played Monopoly using the stolen money. When they left the farm, their fingerprints were all over the place. Out of the other three, two escaped and one was acquitted. Although the most famous of the robbers was Ronnie Biggs he had a very minor role in the whole affair. Biggs was inside jail for taking and driving away when the mastermind behind the crime, Bruce Reynolds, said he would cut him in if Biggs could find someone who could drive a diesel train. Biggs found someone was called either "Old Pete" or "Stan Agate" - no-one knows because he was one of the people who were never caught - and Biggs was given a share in the robbery worth


For corrections see the QI Qibble Blog [link=http://www.qi.com/qi_quibble_blog/2011/09/yes-missed-a-president.html]here/link] and [link=http://www.qi.com/qi_quibble_blog/2012/01/ancestor-tester.html]here[/url].

Broadcast details

Friday 29th January 2010
30 minutes


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    Cast & crew

    Regular cast
    Stephen Fry Host / Presenter
    Alan Davies Regular Panellist
    Guest cast
    Jo Brand Guest
    Sean Lock Guest
    David Mitchell 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
    Katie Taylor Executive Producer
    David Morley (as Dave Morley) Executive Producer
    Nick King Editor
    Jonathan Paul Green Production Designer
    Howard Goodall Composer


    Why are so many great men short?

    Indeed, how many great men where short?

    Featuring: Alan Davies, Stephen Fry, Jo Brand, Sean Lock, David Mitchell.

    The Great Disappointment

    Worried about the Rapture? Don't worry - people have been worrying about it since the 19th century and it still hasn't happened.

    Featuring: Alan Davies, Stephen Fry, Jo Brand, Sean Lock, David Mitchell.

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