QI: Series M, Episode 2: Military Matters


As one of this week’s guests was Jimmy Carr I was expecting the latest edition of QI to be rather smutty: gladly, it turns out I was wrong. In fact, this episode was a lot better than I was expecting.

Also joining Stephen Fry and Alan Davies on this episode dealing with the military were actress Sheila Hancock, making her debut appearance for what was for her a difficult show as she is a Quaker pacifist; and Jeremy Clarkson, also making a difficult appearance partly because the show was recorded in the summer, not long after his sacking from Top Gear (this was recorded long before Clarkson made a more cagey appearance on HIGNFY a few weeks ago),, and partly because he lost points early on for an error he made way back in Series B. Clarkson lost points after comments he made 11 years ago about the Anglo-Finnish War of 1941 being the only time two democracies declared war on each other, which was wrong. As Fry pointed, Clarkson’s year was getting from bad to worse.

Many of the highlights of the episode did come from Clarkson. This included being presented with a special type of folding map that even he could fold and unfold with ease; his inability to control an AK-47, and a using a gigantic punt gun which had such a huge recoil that it proved that a man could actually fly. This lead to the marvellous idea of Clarkson being an armed guard at one of Sheila’s Quaker meetings, because he would be such an awful shot. It also has to be said that while I thought Carr would be the smutty one on the panel, it was Clarkson who brought sex up more often, when dealing the subject of an Anderson shelter in his garden containing 1970s pornography.

Highlights include Davies misremember some facts that were actually part of an old stand-up routine he once did, Fry taking a scrunched up tissue and turning it into an origami swan, and the shock of learning that reportedly the phrase “American Indian” is not as racist a term as I thought it was.