If you adhere to the QI principle that everything in the Universe is interesting if looked at closely enough, for long enough, or from the right angle, you’ll go far in the world. The QI empire, with the BBC television series as its centerpiece, was created by former BBC writer and producer, John Lloyd and hosted by Stephen Fry. Guest panelists on each program tend to read like a who’s who from the British acting community with recent participants such as Richard E. Grant, Jeremy Clarkson, Bill Bailey, Jack Dee, David Tennant, Daniel Radcliffe, Jimmy Carr, David Mitchell, Rob Brydon and Emma Thompson lending their brain capacity to the show. Alan Davies (Whites, Jonathan Creek), the only ‘permanent’ panelist, has appeared in every program since the beginning (Sept 2003).
By design, most of the questions, researched and created by the QI Elves, are overly obscure, making it unlikely that the correct answer will be given. To compensate, points are awarded not only for right answers, but also for interesting ones, regardless of whether they are right or even relate to the original question. Conversely, points are deducted from a panellist who gives “answers which are not only wrong, but pathetically obvious“. Each season’s questions centers around a letter of the alphabet with individual episodes often themed around one word that begins with that letter of the season. The only exception to the rule is the tradition Christmas episode which focuses on the holiday season.
A QI Christmas, part 1
A QI Christmas, part 2
That said, 2011 was a banner year for QI with the creation of the very first QI Online Advent Calendar. According to the official QI site: “To make it even more fun, we’re also running a competition: just tell us where each of the elf hats is located. To make things a bit easier, we’ll include a QI clue with each photo. Whoever can identify the most locations will win a QI goodie bag, whilst three runners up will receive their own official QI knitted elf hat (also useful for gnomes, imps, goblins, and sprites).
This show is classic television and comedy. There’s a good possibility the series will find a home on public television in the States in the not too distant future which would be very welcome news. In true QI fashion, we leave you this holiday season with a bit of trivia. The theme tune was composed by Howard Goodall. What famous British pop star and song was tapped for the unbroadcast pilot, but was never used due to rights issues?