Series I, Episode 11 - Infantile
- The set is covered in games and toys, including two giant toy animals behind Stephen.
- The Pope's father said "will you marry me" to a baker's daughter. The father of Pope Benedict XVI was Joseph Ratzinger Senior, a Bavarian policeman, and he met his wife, 36-year-old Maria Peintner, via a lonely hearts advert. The ad read: "Middle-ranking civil servant. Single. Catholic. 43. Immaculate past. From the country. Is looking for a good, Catholic, pure girl who can cook well, tackle all household chores, with a talent for sewing and homemaking, with a view to marriage as soon as possible. Fortune desirable but not a precondition." After the advert the two met at a coffee house and married four months later.
- The Viceroy of India's daughter liked playing tiddlywinks, also known as "flipperty flop" or "jumpkins". Emily Lytton, daughter of Lord Lytton, who was also the husband of the architect Lutyens who designed most of New Delhi, described an evening playing the game when she was 17 (the quote is on a card read by Ronni): "I assure you no words can picture either the intense excitement or the noise. I always scream in describing it." The game was originally called "tiddledy-winks". The little counters are called "winks" while the bigger one is called a "squidger". Normally the colours are yellow and green vs. red and blue. Other terms used in the game include "squop", "boondock" and "the Good move" which is named after one John Good. The squop is one of the most basic things in the game, in which your wink covers an opponent's wink so they cannot move it. The game has to be played on felt or baize to work.
- Rifle ranges inside pubs in Birmingham were banned because they were used as a form of gambling. Such ranges were common during the Boer War, especially in Birmingham as it was at the time the centre of the world's gun-making. Some of the targets were actually inside the pubs and you fired over the heads of customers. In one pub in Worcester people would shoot from a bar, across a passageway and into an outhouse. Some pubs today still have shooting in open bars. Pubs which still have shooting games exist in Swindon, Devises, Newport, Hinckley, Nuneaton and Worcestershire.
- Nobody Knows: The rules to the games "Milking cromock", "Laugh and ly downe" and "Hanikin can'st abide it" are no longer known to anyone. We only know about these games because they were made illegal as they were used for gambling. However, we do know that "Laugh and ly downe" and "Hanikin can'st abide it" are card games. Other games include "Guile bones", "Noddy board", "Penny prick" and "Hide under hat". In 1938 a priest wrote to The Times complaining about a pub in Weymouth which had tortoises racing each other with little toy jockeys on their backs. Dave gets the bonus.
- The longest-running attraction at the most popular entertainment venue in the world in its time was an incubator room containing premature babies. The Coney Island Amusement Park in New York had an attraction called "The Infant Incubator with Living Infants" which was so popular that one woman came to visit it every week for 37 years. Premature babies were put in incubators there and the public would visit them, costing 25¢. The incubator was invented in 1880 by the French. No American hospitals had them despite the inventor's attempts to sell them. However, Coney Island brought them; got all the premature babies born in New York, put them incubators and people paid to look at them. The New York City Hospital did not invest in incubators until 1940, and then the attraction was stopped.
- Eleanor Roosevelt considered herself a very modern mother, which may be surprising to us because she kept her baby outside in a cage. This idea was common in 1930s New York due to the limited space to build on, so instead of taking up rooms in apartments the babies were put in cages and hung out of windows. There were 12 of these cages in Poplar, London, but they were scrapped during the Blitz. Eleanor Roosevelt was attacked for it and got upset, saying: "It was rather a shock for I thought I was being a modern mother." Eleanor Roosevelt's maiden name was also "Roosevelt". She was the niece of President Teddy Roosevelt and then married President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was her fifth cousin.
- The miraculous secret machinery the Chamberlain family used for delivering babies for 100 years was a pair of forceps. The family, who lived during the 17th and 18th centuries, were terrified by the fact that there were no patenting laws at the time, meaning anyone could copy the idea for free. So to disguise it they would carry a huge box covered in a cloth. They would then blindfold the mother, forbid anyone else to enter the room and then play sound effects to make people think it was a hugely complicated machine.
- You can tell a French baby from a German baby by the accent, or to be exact their melodic cadence. The baby hears their mother talking in their mother tongue from inside the womb. Not only do they pick it up, but babies like their mother tongue so they will be able to recognise people from their homeland by their accent.
- The best hugs last for three seconds. Any shorter than that then people think it was not a proper hug. This three second period is known as a "moment".
- The panel are shown a photograph which is slowly zooming in on something and are asked what is interesting about it. The interesting thing is that it depicts an Alpine ibex standing on what is virtually the sheer flat Italian Cingino Dam wall to get a salt lick.
- Louise Brown was conceived in a Petri dish. She was the first vitro fertilised baby, which the press often report wrongly as a "test tube baby". (Forfeit: In a test tube)
- Marsupials originally come from South America. Despite what people say marsupials do exist in places other than Australia, the most famous examples being opossums in America, which are the mammals which give birth to the smallest babies. You can get 20 baby opossums on a teaspoon. The mother licks a line on her fur which the babies crawl up from where they are born and into the pouch. Antarctica, Africa, the Americas and Australia were all once a single super continent called "Gondwanaland". (Forfeit: Australia)
This episode was broadcast vaguely in-line with the 2011 Children In Need appeal, the telethon for which was shown the previous evening, Friday 18th November.
- Saturday 19th November 2011
- BBC Two
- 45 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|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Question Writer|
|David Morley (as Dave Morley)||Executive Producer|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|