Series G, Episode 4 - Geography
- Over 300,000 British car journeys every year are ruined by the SatNav giving wrong directions. Examples include a car touring group's pink Mercedes van which had to be rescued after the SatNav told them to drive through a ford. Another was a Syrian lorry driver delivering luxury cars from Turkey to Gibraltar, and was told to go to the Grimsby area, 1,600 miles out of his way, because he was directed to Gibraltar Point in South Yorkshire. The driver was seen trying to drive into the North Sea. Several villagers have complained about SatNavs because their villages are used as cut-throughs. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, a quarter of all traffic accidents are caused by distracted drivers. (Forfeit: Are we nearly there yet?)
- A baby camel is to the right of Genghis Khan. It is buried next to him. In Mongolian tradition, the grave of a great ruler had to be anonymous. According to Marco Polo, 20,000 people were killed in order to keep Genghis Khan's grave secret. All the slaves who excavated the grave where killed by soldiers, then the soldiers were killed and so on. Then they realised that suddenly they were in danger of killing everyone who knew where the grave was. So what they did was kill a baby camel in front of its mother, by the grave. Then they took the mother away and buried the baby next to Genghis Khan. Because camels have long memories, the adult camel would return to the grave every year. Then the adult camel died and the grave has since remained unknown.
- The china teacup changed the course of Chinese history because the Chinese never invented glass. China had no glass between the 14th-19th centuries. As a result, they did not invent lenses, telescopes, microscopes, mirrors, glass beakers or spectacles, the last of which would have given intellectuals an extra 15-20 years of active reading life. Part of the reason for this is because the Chinese did not drink wine, which Europeans did, and they invented glass so that they could look at it when they drank. Glass helped in medical science because glass does not react with chemicals, unlike china. The Chinese did not develop electronics because glass valves were used. Instead of glass in their windows, the Chinese used paper.
- XL: The connection between the world's driest lake, the world's smallest mountain range and the world's wetest desert is that they are all in the Western states in the USA. The world's direst lake is Lake Bonneville in Utah. The world's smallest mountain range is in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Sacramento, California. The world's wetest desert is the Sonoran Desert in California.
- The best direction to see James Wyld's 60-foot-high scale replica of the Earth, named the "Great Globe" was from the inside. Installed in 1851 in the middle of Leicester Square to coincide with the Great Exhibition, it included all the landmasses, seas and mountains built to scale. Sadly, in 1862, it was pulled down because the lease on the land expired. Interestingly, as you are inside it, it is an inverse of how the world really is, but it looks exactly the same as a globe.
- The Arctic Highlanders got their cutlery from metal that came from three meteorites. A man called Ross (after whom Ross Sea is named and who was the first man ever to get up close to the North Pole) observed that a tribe of 200 Inuits in 1818, whom he was the first to encounter, made their cutlery from bone and from the metal taken from three meteorites that they named "The Woman", "The Dog" and "The Tent", after what they thought they looked like. The tribe thought that they were the only people on the planet before Ross met them. 70 years later, Admiral Peary, who claimed to be the first man to reach the North Pole (although the claim is now largely discredited) stole the meteorites and sold them to a museum for $40,000. He also took six Inuit children with him, four of whom died of tuberculosis immediately. One of them survived and was brought up by an American couple. He then discovered that his father's bones where a public exhibit in the Natural History Museum in New York. He complained but Peary refused to do anything about it. However, he did give him enough money to return home. The bones were not returned till 1993. (Forfeit: Sheffield; Ikea)
- XL: Glaciers are large, blue, rare, slow-moving, have carves, suffer from wet bottoms and are found all over the world (not blue whales). Despite being made from ice, they can even be found in the tropics. Some travel at 65 feet a day. One in Pakistan went 7.5 miles in three months.
- XL: The USA claims to legal right to invade any country whenever they might find guano. Guano, which is made from bird poo, is a very good fertiliser. The best comes from Peru, where the birds eat anchovies. It was responsible for 75% of Peru's economy. In the 19th century, it was mined by Chinese people and convicts who were treated as slaves. The law, which came into force in 1856, for claiming land containing guano has never been repelled. A similar idea can be found in the book version of Dr. No.
- Alexander von Humboldt, the father of geography, was taught the Ature language 40 years after the last person to speak it died by a parrot. The parrot, which belonged to the Venezuelan tribe which had eaten by the cannibalistic Carib tribe, had learned 40 words, which Humboldt learned, but he did not know what they meant, but he could make educated guesses using related languages. Humboldt was gay.
- Mongolians live in a ger, which means "home" in Mongolian. A "yurt" is Turkish. (Forfeit: Yurt)
- The Dutch city of Groningen is not in Holland. It is in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is the name of the country where the Dutch live, which includes two different regions in it called North Holland and South Holland, which include the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Calling the Netherlands "Holland" is like calling Great Britain "East Anglia". Groningen claims to have a pub which has been open non-stop for 10 years.
- The quite interesting thing about Church Flats Farm, Derbyshire, is that is the point in Britain the furthest inland, and can therefore be argued to be the exact centre of the country. Nowhere in Britain is 70-72 miles away from the coast.
- The Spanish national anthem is not sung in any language because it has no words. It is entirely instrumental and is the only national anthem in the world that has no words. The tune, "La Marcha Real", is one of the oldest national anthem tunes. It did have words, but they were dropped in 1975 after the death of Franco. However, they were inspired by visiting Liverpool F.C. fans singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" to add some new words. The Spanish Olympic Committee organised a competition to create some new words for the anthem in 2007, but it was withdrawn after five days having fallen foul of several different Spanish regions, who claimed the new version, "Viva Espana" was too nationalistic. The words were, "Long live Spain, we sing together with different voices and only one heart." (Forfeit: Spanish; Catalan)
- Alan Davies: -7 points (Eight victory)
- Jo Brand: -10 points
- Jimmy Carr: -21 points
- Rob Brydon: -28 points
- Thursday 17th December 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|
|Katie Taylor||Executive Producer|
|David Morley (as Dave Morley)||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|