QI: Series M, Episode 5 – Maths


There are plenty of notable things about this week’s edition of QI. One of these shouldn’t be however, because it shouldn’t be notable that an episode of a panel game has an all-women guest line-up. It should be something as normal as having an all-male one. The real reason it is notable though is that one of the guests is soon stepping into Stephen Fry’s shoes – which given their difference in height is something that is best done only metaphorically.

The guests this week joining Stephen Fry and Alan Davies were Susan Calman, Aisling Bea, and Sandi Toksvig, who is taking over as host of QI as of next year. This is the only episode of Series M that Toksvig is appearing in so this will be the last time we see her as a guest. Seeing her perform, it is clear to see why she given the job, as she was able to provide a lot of extra interesting information, ranging from why bears who took days off, to mathematicians who accidentally flip coins to land on their edge.

The episode’s mathematical theme explored the importance of Babylonians with regard to time; how members of parliament are hopeless at calculating probability; anagrams written by Galileo, and why the phrase “Too cool to do drugs” is not a good phrase to inscribe on a pencil. The best moment however came with an equation which when read out composed a limerick.

So far this has been one of the best episodes of the series. It had the perfect balance of knowledge, comedy and information which makes QI one of the best shows around.