QI trivia

Some quite interesting insights about the making of the show...

By David Berkley



The dedicated team of researchers at QI HQ, who use books, the internet and their own extremely large brains to devise all manner of fiendish questions to outfox Stephen and the panel, are known as the ‘QI elves’.


Even the clever elves at QI sometimes get things wrong. The most complained about error so far was when the show claimed that the Welsh have no word for 'blue'. They do, and it is 'glas'.

Stateside call

There is a petition trying to get QI broadcast in the USA, which so far remains untouched by the show’s gloriousness. The petition has so far garnered over 10,000 signatures, including those of Stephen Fry himself and the show’s creator John Lloyd.

Publishing success

The Book of General Ignorance, which is based on the final round of the show and aims to expose many of the myths of ‘common knowledge’ has been a massive hit. It has been translated into 29 languages and sold over a million copies worldwide since its publication in 2006.

Fibonacci sequence

The spiral pattern which forms part of the set in all series so far is the Fibonacci Spiral, based on the famous mathematical sequence which is used in many computer algorithms and related to natural phenomena such as the branching of trees and the arrangement of a pinecone. That's definitely quite interesting, isn't it?

Record holders

Other than Alan Davies – who, like Stephen Fry, has appeared on every episode so far – the record for number of appearances on the show is held jointly by Jo Brand and Sean Lock, with 27 episodes each.

QI champion

Comedian Rich Hall – with 24 appearances - is currently the most successful guest with 10 wins (after Alan Davies of course), and therefore the reigning QI champion.

Scoring mayhem

John Lloyd, QI's creator, has admitted that not even he has any idea how the show’s convoluted scoring system works, with points being added and taken away seemingly arbitrarily so that contestants are often left with negative scores. But he insists that there is someone who is paid to keep check on the scores.

Alphabet problem

Each series of QI is referred to by a letter of the alphabet rather than a number, which raises the issue – what happens when they run out? Thankfully the producers have until the year 2029 to think of a solution.

No cheating!

Unlike many panel shows, guests on QI are not shown the answers before filming, contributing to the spontaneous and often anarchic atmosphere. However, Stephen Fry has let it be known that, much to his annoyance, one regular panellist insists on seeing the questions beforehand – but that it isn’t Alan Davies or Rob Brydon. Any ideas who it might be?