Stephen Fry trivia

An A-Z of quite interesting nonsense on the QI quiz master...

By Paul Barfoot


A = Allergy

You won’t ever catch Stephen ordering from the champagne bar – he’s allergic to the bubbly stuff.

B = Baby food

Stephen is a man of refined tastes – unless there’s a Farley’s Rusk up for grabs, that is. He’s cited scoffing the the baby biscuits as one guilty pleasures.

C = Cabbie

Stephen has a rather quirky choice of car – he owns and drives a Hackney Carriage, better known as a London Black Cab! “It's wonderfully anonymous because nobody looks twice at taxi drivers, and I'm not saying I use bus lanes, but you do get around town much quicker,” said Stephen.

D = Directorial debut

Stephen directed his first feature film, Bright young Things, in 2003. He also wrote the movie’s screenplay, which was based on the 1930 novel Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh.

E = Enormous following

Stephen has been a prominent voice in the Twittersphere since the micro-blogging site launched back in 2006, and his regular tweets continue to captivate the masses. With an online army of nearly seven million followers, he is widely regarded as the UK celebrity with the biggest Twitter congregation.

F = Forty-two

The philosophical significance of the number 42 in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of modern literature’s greatest conundrums and continues to vex bookworms the world over – but Stephen knows the answer to this literary secret. Adams shared the mystery of his numerical cryptogram with him before he passed away in 2001, but loyal Fry has vowed to keep tight-lipped about his late pal’s mind-bender for as long as he walks the Earth.

G = Godfather

Stephen is a doting Godfather to the children of his original comedy partner and great friend Hugh Laurie, with whom he kick-started his showbiz career in the hit 1980s sketch show A Bit of Fry and Laurie.

H = Hooter

Stephen inherited his distinguishing crooked nose after a tumble on tarmac – he broke it after falling on his school playground at the age of six. Ouch!

I = In loving memory

To mark his time on Earth, Stephen would like his headstone to depict an iMac computer as a nod to his love of technology, a pair of tragedy and comedy masks to reference the high and lows triggered by his bipolar condition, crossed cricket bats as a homage to his favourite sport and a pile of books to denote his passion for literature.

J = John

Stephen’s middle name is John. He also has an older brother named Roger and a younger sister named Joanna (if you are interested).

K = Kate

Kate, as in Kate Bush. Stephen provided guest vocals on the title track of her 2011 album, 50 Words For Snow.

L = Linguistics

English is not the only tongue that Herr Fry is well versed in – he speaks German too. Very clever.

M = Macintosh

Technophile and gadget fanatic Stephen owned the third Apple Mac computer in Britain. He missed out on the first two due his late friend and fellow digital enthusiast Douglas Adams getting his hands on them first.

N = Narrator

Stephen’s dulcet tones have made him an audiobook narrator favourite. He is the voice of the entire British talking books series of J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ novels and of the first four ‘Harry Potter’ computer games released in the UK.

O = Oxford

In 2013, Stephen was named as the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre, based at St Catherine's College, Oxford. He took over the position from the theatre director Sir Michael Boyd in February 2014.

P = Pipe

In 2003, Stephen became the last celebrity puffer to be crowned ‘Pipe Smoker of the Year’ before the British Pipesmokers’ Council extinguished the annual award because of fierce criticism that it promoted the recreational use of tobacco.

Q = QI

Stephen has hosted the show since it first aired in 2003. Originally, Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin was offered the job (with Messrs Fry and Davies as team captains), but turned it down.

R = Royal mates

Stephen is a friend of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, and was among the small number of VIP guests that attended the couple’s civil ceremony back in 2005.

S = Sherlock

Stephen loves Sherlock Holmes. So vast is his knowledge of literature’s iconic sleuth that he selected Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels as his specialist subject when he appeared on the TV quiz show Celebrity Mastermind. He reigned supreme and won the series, of course.

T = Tardis

If Stephen could the TARDIS from Doctor Who at his disposal, he would travel back to the Regency period in Britain (1811-1820) to savour the style, language and energy of the era.

U = Urban lyric

In 2007, the electronic hip-hop duo Dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip immortalised Stephen’s wisdom in song. The urban poets rapped “Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry” on their Thou Shalt Always Kill single, which hit number 34 on the British charts.

V = Vertical factor

Mr Fry is a tall man. 6’ 5” (1.96 metres), to be precise.

W = Wilde

Stephen has been an ardent fan of the late Irish poet since he was 13, and was delighted to secure the lead of his literally hero in the 1997 film Wilde. He declared it was a role he “was born to play”, and his performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.

X = X-rated

Stephen is no stranger to swearing – he holds the UK record for cramming the most F-words uttered in a single live broadcast. Ironically, the show was about censorship.

Y = You're nicked

When he was 17, Stephen was arrested for stealing a credit card from a family friend and going on a spending spree. He says the Times' crosswords that his mother sent him during his three-month prison sentence in Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire, helped get him through the ordeal.

Z = Zoological break

In 2009, animal-loving Stephen fronted the TV incarnation of the popular 1989 radio series Last Chance to See, which saw him travel the world in search of endangered species. While filming in Brazil, he dramatically slipped on a boat and broke his arm in three places. He now sports a ten-inch scar as a result of the accident.