Stephen Fry

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

By Paul Barfoot

qi

A = allergy

You will never catch Stephen bothering the champagne bar – he’s allergic to the bubbly stuff.

B = baby food

Stephen is a man of rather refined taste, unless there’s a Farley’s Rusk up for grabs that is. He has cited the brand of biscuit for teething babies as one of his favourite guilty nibbles.

C = cocaine past

Stephen has confessed to a hefty £1000-per-week cocaine habit during the Nineties, and rarely left his house without at least four or five grams of the white powder in his pocket. His nose is as clean as a whistle these days, of course.

D = Downing Street

According to a 2012 poll conducted by the online entertainment site Digital Spy, Stephen is the celebrity that most British people would like to become Prime Minister. With 21.1% of the votes, he beat Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and Absolutely Fabulous star and Ghurkha campaigner Joanna Lumley to the top spot.

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 army of over four million followers, he is widely regarded as the UK celebrity with the biggest Twitter congregation. And according to twitaholic.com, on the 26 March he ranked as the 77th most followed celebrity on the entire planet!

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 all. 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 mindbender for as long as he walks the earth.

G = Godfather

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

H = hooter

Stephen fashioned his distinguishing crooked nose when he took a tumble and broke it on the tarmac of his school playground when he was 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 = jailbird

Before receiving his academic calling and studying English literature at Cambridge University, Stephen turned his burgeoning brilliant brain to masterminding credit card fraud – a crime for which he served three months behind bars at Pucklechurch prison near Bristol.

K = Kate

Of the Bush variety, that is. Stephen provided guest vocals on the title track of the iconic singer’s 2011 album 50 Words For Snow. And absolutely stunning his talky singing is too!

L = linguistics

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

M = Macintosh

Technophile and gadget fanatic Stephen stated claim to the third Apple Mac computer ever to exchange hands on British shores. He missed out on the first two to his late friend and fellow digital enthusiast Douglas Adams.

N = Narrator

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

O = Oscar 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. Thespian kudos!

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 following fierce criticism that it promoted the recreational use of tobacco.

Q = quest for truth

Stephen is not a fan of traditional religion. He doesn’t believe in God, but considers himself more of a proactive humanist than a dismissive atheist when it comes to spiritual guidance. In 2010, he became a distinguished supporter of the British Humanist Association, an agnostic organisation that makes sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values rather than holy writings.

R = royal mates

Stephen keeps some very posh company. He 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 hearts 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. Genius Fry reigned supreme and won the series, of course.

T = Time Lord

In 2003, 130 Members of Parliament voted Stephen their choice of celebrity Doctor in a survey to commemorate 40 years of the iconic Doctor Who TV series. If he had a TARDIS at his disposal, Fry would like to travel back to the Regency period (1811-1820) because he has a passion for 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. “Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry”, rapped the urban poets on their Thou Shalt Always Kill single, which scored them a number 34 hit on the British charts.

V = vertical factor

Mr Fry is a hulk of a man – he measures in at a towering 6’ 5” (1.96 metres) tall!

W = wheels

Stephen has a rather quirky choice in cars – he owns and drives a Hackney Carriage, or London Black Cab as it is commonly known. “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”, stated Stephen.

X = x-rated

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

Y = yearnings

Stephen is gay, but only 90% gay, according to the man himself. He attributes his 10% heterosexuality to two women that have caused his eyes to wonder and his lustful curiosity stir in the past – Sunetra Sastry (the wife of his Blackadder co-star Rowan Atkinson) and novelist Caroline Oulton.

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.