Series H, Episode 12 - Horses And Hunting
- Stephen is wearing tradtional hunting attire, including a scarlet coat.
- The horses of New York City killed 20,000 people in 1900 because of their manure. While it was used as a fertiliser, they were so many horses in the city that there was too much manure (2.5 million tonnes a day) and so it helped to spread diseases like typhus, typhoid and cholera. Horses were used in transportation; pulling most vehicles (London had 50,000 of them just in the public transport system). In New York, 41 horses died a day. The people preferred to leave the bodies to putrefy because the bodies were easier to carve up. Apart from fertiliser, horse manure can be ground into a powder which can be used for moulds. Astronomer William Hershel used such a mould to make one of his telescope mirrors or "speculum". Other than manure, the horses themselves were dangerous because they can bolt, drag people off with them, trample people, and make a lot of noise. Interestingly, the thing which helped stop this environmental disaster was cars, because they made traffic safer, quieter and faster. Having horses in a city is seven times more dangerous than cars. While people say that traffic today is at the same speed as the horse, it should be pointed out that there is a lot more traffic.
- The advantages of guide horses, or rather guide ponies, for the blind over dogs is that less people are allergic to them, they have good memories, they live longer, and have greater stamina. Disadvantages are that they are flight animals rather than pack animals, restaurants tend not to allow them in, and they blend into the background less easily.
- The panel are given a strange device, which looks like a pair of pliers, and are asked how it can be used to calm a horse down. It is in fact a "twitch" and his used for grabbing hold of and twisting the upper lip of a horse, which causes it to release endorphins, but at first it was thought to be the distraction of the twisting that calmed them down. It is used when giving a horse medication. You can also calm some horses down by twisting their ear.
- XL: The panel are show a picture of three cowboys, one in a white hat and clean shaven, another in the background who is also in a white hat and clean shaven, and another in a black hat and with facial hair. The panel are asked which one just held up a stagecoach, used bad language in front of a lady, drinks whisky and chases people from right to left. The answer is the man in the black hat. In the 1950s eight out of the top ten primetime TV programmes in the USA were westerns (the other two were comedies). During this time people watched TV mostly on small black-and-white sets, so it made it easier for the viewers to tell the characters apart. In terms of stage directions, the goodie walked from left-to-right which meant that his gun was facing the camera.
- XL: America's most wasteful hunters were the Native Americans who killed herds of bison by making them run of cliffs and only eating and using little of the animal, thereby wasting a lot of food over a period of 5,000. It could be argued that European settlers made them more efficient by importing horses and then they started hunting on horseback. Buffalo Bill did kill lots of bison, with the European settlers reducing it to the most populous herd species of its kind to almost extinction (70 million to almost zero in 15 years), but they used more of the bison. Also they killed bison as a method of controlling the native population by getting rid of the main source of food. Other things the European settlers did were to give smallpox infected blankets to the Lakota Sioux people.
- The panel are played a piece of film which shows a black bear roaring and are asked what the sound accompanying the film is. It is however not the sound of a black bear, because they do not roar. Instead, in films and sometimes even in nature documentaries they play the sound of another animal like a wolf or lion roaring because people expect a bear to roar. Black bears are hunted in the USA, but they usually do not attack people. Black bears can climb trees. People jokingly say that the difference between a black bear and a brown (grizzly) bear is that if you climb a tree the black bear will follow you up it and kill you, while the brown bear will knock the tree over and kill you. The strength of the bear is mainly used to turn over stones to find food. (Forfeit: A bear)
- XL: Hunting cannot work on the internet because it does not exist, although it is illegal in 34 US states. Texan John Lockwood in 2004 proposed the idea which involved using a computer with an internet connection to move a gun with a webcam on it so that an online user can fire the gun from their computer. However, as soon as he proposed the idea he was banned from doing so as soon as he set up the website, by both the anti-hunting and the pro-hunting lobbies. Similarly, in California internet fishing is illegal which also does not exist.
- Out of the million horses that were sent by the British to the front during the First World War, almost none of them made it back. The vast majority were killed, either for food or to be turned into other products. According to Michael Morpurgo, author of the children's novel War Horse, 8-10 million horses died during WWI. One belief at the time was they thought they would bring disease with them if they came back to Britain.
- The panel are shown some illustrations of horses and are asked what they are thinking. You can tell by the ears.
- The Lone Ranger's horse is white in colour. While most people generally call all white and grey horses "grey", some are completely white. However, they actually start off black and get lighter. (Forfeit: Grey)
- XL: You get just less than one horsepower from one horse. When James Watt developed and demonstrated the steam engine, he was generous to the horses and so he decided that one horsepower had to produce more effort than a horse. As a result one horse produces 794 watts of power.
- If a shoal of piranhas meet a dolphin usually the dolphin eats them. The idea that piranhas are deadly flesh eaters is wrong and goes back to US President Theodore Roosevelt who was shown a display of them an exaggerated about them. Piranhas are actually frightened of humans and are scavengers.
- The weapon used by 19th century whalers to kill whales was a lance. Harpoons were actually used to tire the whale out. You threw a harpoon with a rope attached to the boat into the whale and then a "Nantucket sleigh-ride" took place where the boat was dragged by the whale and would become tired. A lance would then be used to kill the whale. While most countries today ban whale hunting, some countries like Norway and Japan still hunt whales. (Forfeit: Harpoon)
- Friday 10th December 2010
- BBC One
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|Dara O Briain||Guest|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Justin Pollard||Question Writer|
|James Harkin||Question Writer|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Writer|
|Arron Ferster||Question Writer|
|David Morley (as Dave Morley)||Executive Producer|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray (as Andy Murray)||Researcher|