Series I, Episode 4 - Indecision
- The panel are shown a picture of a man and are asked why this tosser got kicked out of the Magic Circle. The answer is that he, John Lenahan, exposed the secret of Find the Lady (known in the USA as Three Card Monte) on an episode of Des Lynam's How Do They Do That?. Lenahan has since said that if he was a murderer he would be free now, but the Magic Circle has banned him for life. "Tosser" is a particular term used for people who do this trick. The panel are given some fake money and are shown the trick, betting on the outcome. When Stephen collects up the money lost, a man runs onto the set and steals it.
- Just about everyone expected Spanish Inquisition because you were given 30 days notice to prepare your case. It was set up in 1478 under the rule of Ferdinand and Isabella in order to find Jews who the Spanish believed had not truly converted to Christianity. You had to be Christian to stay in the country. This was a separate inquisition from the Papal one, which is still going but has changed its name over the years. In 1908 it became known as the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office; in 1965 it was the Congregation for the Doctorate of the Faith. The leader of it under Pope John Paul II was Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI.
- Given the choice the next best thing to having a Nobel Prize winner in the audience would be to have an Ig Nobel Prize winner. This is the award given to serious yet bizarre academic research. Examples of prize winners include a woman who invented a bra which also worked as a gas mask. The inventor of the prize was Marc Abrahams. Stephen then reveals that they do have Ig Nobel Prize winner in the audience: Prof. Chris McManus, the "Oddball Professor", who won the Prize for his paper "Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and In Ancient Sculpture", which was published in the journal Nature. McManus showed that most men have their right testicle higher than the left. In Ancient and Renaissance sculpture the left lower testicle is bigger, but actually it is the bigger testicle which is the higher one so they got the sculpture wrong. The mostly likely reason for this was Aristotle's theory that as you go through puberty the testicles get bigger, pulling down and making your voice deeper by the tension caused by their weight.
- XL: Between a mouse and a hippopotamus the mouse is more mammaly, in the sense that it is faster for someone to categorise a mouse as a mammal than a hippo. This is because we consider a hippo to be less mammaly than a mouse because the hippo lives in water. Similarly, if you were to categorise different kinds of fruit, we would almost instantly recognise apples and pears to be fruits, would take a bit longer to recognise figs and raisins as fruits, and even longer to recognise olives and pumpkins as fruits.
- XL: What you would not call an Irishman with no nipples is "King". In ancient Ireland one of the ways to show loyalty to the king was to suck his nipples. In order to become King of Ireland people would fight each other and if they were considered not suitable they would have their nipples cut off, meaning they could never be king. Proof of this can be found on Old Croghan Man, a body preserved in a peat bog that had no nipples dating back to between 300-100 BC. It was so well preserved that the police were called because they thought it was the body of a recent murder victim.
- XL: The national colour of Ireland is St. Patrick's blue. The coat of arms of Ireland has a shield depicting an Irish harp on a St. Patrick's blue background, and the Irish Guards have a St. Patrick's blue patch on their bearskin helmets. The idea of green being the national colour comes from a rebellion in 1798. It became the colour associated with Irish nationalism and began to take over from St. Patrick's blue.
- If you have big decision to make in 40 minutes time the best thing you can do now to make sure you make the right choice is drink lots of water, because you are at your best at making decisions when urinating. You also make better decisions when you are angry.
- The big decision that the driver of the No. 78 London bus had to make in December 1952 was jump over Tower Bridge. There was a mistake with the warning sign when Albert Gunton was on the bridge and he realised the bascule (the term for the half of a bridge that opens, from the French for "seesaw") was already rising, so he made a snap decision, accelerated, jumped the gap, and managed to land safely on the lower, second bascule. No-one was injured and Gunton was awarded £10.
- XL: If one of two identical twins had committed a crime, and you had eye-witness reports, DNA testing and fingerprints, it would still be incredibly difficult to get a conviction because there is a danger of imprisoning the innocent twin. In January 2009 $6.8million worth of jewellery was stolen from Berlin's Kaufhaus des Westens department store. Two of the suspects were identical twins, Abbas and Hassam Qmurat, and they walked free despite there being DNA evidence, because although they could deduce that one of the brothers took part in the crime, they did not know for certain which one. A similar case occurred with the original Siamese twins, because one got involved in a fight and it was decided that he could not be jailed because that would mean imprisoning the innocent one.
- The problem with identity parades is that they are not always reliable. Today the police use a system called VIPER (Video Identification Parade Electronic Recording). In 1997 South Yorkshire Police had arrested a suspect who was 6'3", 16 stone and black, and the police could not find anyone else that looked like him, so they got a make-up artist to black up a group of white men, but forgot to black up the hands. To demonstrate how unreliable some identity parades are, Stephen organises a Never Mind the Buzzcocks style parade in which the panel have to identify the man who stole Stephen's fake money earlier on. Half the panel correctly spot who it is.
- The first person to go around the world in 80 days was American investigative journalist Nellie Bly. She worked for The World, the newspaper owned by Joseph Pulitzer, after whom the Pulitzer Prize is named. After the publication of the novel Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne in 1890, Pulitzer decided to see if such a trip was possible. Bly insisted that she should do the trip otherwise she would leave the paper. Pulitzer agreed and Bly completed the journey in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes, from New York to New York. Despite what it shows in the films, Phileas Fogg never used a hot air balloon in the original novel. Amongst her other achievements, Bly campaigned against bad landlords, injustice, the treatment of women in prisons, and the treatment of those in insane asylums, which she did by smuggling herself into one. (Forfeit: Michael Palin)
- You can tell if a chick is male or female by doing a slight squeeze and feeling for the differences in the ridges and bumps in the cloaca tract (their reproductive and excretory tract). In 1927 at the World Poultry Congress in Ottawa it was announced that the Japanese had discovered how to sex chicks. The discovery reduced the cost of eggs worldwide overnight. At the Zen-Nippon Chick Sexing School the students were taught in such a vigorous way that only between 5-10% of students got accreditation, but when you passed you were paid very well. The best chicken sexers can work through 1,200 chicks an hour (Forfeit: Nobody knows)
- The Moon, like the Sun, rises slightly in the east and sets slightly in the west. (Forfeit: Which moon?; The opposite)
- Nobody Knows: If you are shown a picture of some muscles and asked how many different species were shown you could not say, because you cannot tell the difference just by looking. You have to use the genome. Species previously thought to be complete different are actually the same and species which look identical are actually totally different. Jimmy gets the bonus.
- Friday 30th September 2011
- BBC Two
- 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|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Question Writer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|David Morley (as Dave Morley)||Executive Producer|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Executive Producer|