Series H, Episode 16 - History
- The panel are asked to name a henge. However, it turns out that Stonehenge and Seahenge are not technically henges as recognised by archaeologists. A henge has an embanked area outside with ditches on the inside. Stonehenge is the opposite, despite the fact that the word "henge" comes from the word "Stonehenge". Up until the 20th Century people quarried the stone from Stonehenge by setting fires in the lintels that held the top parts and cracking the stone. Druids have been celebrating at Stonehenge only since the beginning of the 20th century and there is no evidence to suggest druids worshipped there before then. In 1905 Stonehenge was on private property, and then it was brought by a man who owned a lunatic asylum nearby in 1915 as a present for his wife at auction. Three years later the wife gifted Stonehenge to the nation. Seahenge consists of 55 bits of oak mostly underwater in Holme-next-the-Sea on the Norfolk coast. (Forfeit: Seahenge)
- XL: The panellists are each given a replica of a bronze bowl with a small hole in the bottom of it and are asked what it is. It is an early form of clock which works when it is placed in water. Time flows as the water enters the bowl from the bottom and causes it to sink. The original is Bronze Age and found in Northern Ireland. Other forms of ancient time measurement before clocks include the Ancient Greek water thief which was the opposite of the bowl - it measured time by water flowing out of it. There are also time candles supposedly invented by Alfred the Great. Then there were explosive sundials which had a lens on them so at a certain time of day it would focus the rays of the sun on a cannon fuse. The Chinese used scented jock sticks so you could tell time using smell.
- The panel are shown part of the Bayeux Tapestry and are asked how it was made. Actually the Bayeux Tapestry is not a tapestry, but an embroidery, and it was not made in Bayeux in France, but most likely in Kent. It was made by Saxon women. Tapestry is all one material with the colours woven in. In an embroidery the cloth is first made and then the colour is added. You can usually tell who the English are in the Bayeux Tapestry because they have moustaches. However, no-one knows for sure which person on the Bayeux Tapestry is the slain King Harold. Three different people appear below the inscription "Harold Rex Interfectvs Est" which means "Harold the King is Killed". We do not know if an arrow entered his eye as that is a much later story.
- The panel are asked to give their impression of the average World War Two fighter pilot. While we think of them as posh, only 30% of fighter pilots went to public school, most of which were minor public schools. Fighter pilots from the top public schools such as Eton made up only 8%. 70% were state educated. The reason why we think of them as a posh is that in war films they tended to be played by posh actors. 20% of British fighter pilots were not British and came from either other parts of the British Empire like Australia and Canada, or were from invaded countries such as Poland. (Forfeit: Posh)
- XL: During the Wars of the Roses the people of Yorkshire were mostly on the side of the Lancastrians. The war was not between the counties but between the houses of York and Lancaster. The idea of the people of Yorkshire were mostly on the Yorkshire is a mistake partly due to the fact that the white rose is the modern-day symbol of Yorkshire and the cricket match between Yorkshire and Lancashire being known as the roses match.
- The panel are shown a series of unusual tubes and asked what they would be used for. They are actually war tubas used by the Japanese during World War Two to detect enemy aircraft. They could be used to tell the direction and distance of planes. Smaller examples used by the British include yokes that you placed over your shoulders.
- This week, "General Ignorance" has a "Generals" theme.
- Hannibal of Carthage used poisonous snakes in large pots to defeat King Eumenes of Pergamon in 184 BC. (Forfeit: Elephants)
- The successor to Harold as King of England in 1066 was Edgar the Ætheling. He reigned for two months at the age of 15. However, he could not hold onto the throne and spent most of his life abroad. In order to be a Saxon king you had to come from one of five or six particular families and then you were elected. (Forfeit: William the Bastard)
- Julius Caesar wore a laurel wreath to cover up his baldness. He also invented comb-overs in order to disguise his lack of hair.
The QI XL edition of this programme, shown on Saturday 15th January, was delayed from its planned 22:30 broadcast until 22:50, due to overrunning snooker coverage.
- Friday 14th January 2011
- 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|
|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|