QI XL Series P E7: Picnics. 24 Nov 18. Rachel Parris, Richard Osman, Romesh Ranganathan.


CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Hello! Welcome to QI, where tonight,
we’ve packed up our provisions and plonked down
for the perfect picnic. Let’s meet our picnickers. Making the sandwiches,
it’s Richard Osman. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Supplying the Thermos,
it’s Rachel Parris. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Carrying the hamper,
it’s Romesh Ranganathan. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And reading the newspaper
in the car, it’s Alan Davies. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And their buzzers
are quite literally buzzing. Richard goes… BUZZING ..Rachel goes… ANNOYED BUZZING ..Romesh goes… ANGRY BUZZING ..and Alan goes… BUZZING SPLAT! LAUGHTER All right… You’ve been in my lavatory again,
haven’t you? LAUGHTER SPLAT! LAUGHTER SPLAT, SPLAT, SPLAT, SPLAT! LAUGHTER If you just did that for 29 minutes,
this would get a BAFTA. SPLAT! OK, what would you
keep in this basket? You get those if you go
fruit picking, baskets like that. Yes, you do, but not
this particular basket. I’m going to… It looks
a bit like a building to me. It is a building,
that’s exactly right. What you’d keep in it
is a basket-making company. Wow! No way. It is a seven-storey picnic basket. It was built as the headquarters
for a basket-making company called Longaberger Company. That guy’s enormous!
He’s making it there… RACHEL: It’s a giant! It cost 32 million to build.
It’s in a place called Newark, Ohio. Worth it, worth it. It was the brainchild
of Mr Dave Longaberger, and at one point, the architects
tried to talk him out of it, they said it was a very bad idea,
and he said… IN AMERICAN ACCENT: ..”If they can
put a man on the moon, “they can certainly build a building
that’s shaped like a basket”. LAUGHTER You say brainchild… Yeah. Hmm. Yeah. Unfortunately,
Mr Longaberger is no longer with us and the Longaberger Company
has downsized and relocated. It’s rather sad, isn’t it? Was he buried in a coffin made
in a massive coffin-shaped factory? Yeah.
LAUGHTER What do you think gets made
in this building? So it’s the middle bit
that we’re really interested in, the very long bit,
what do you think it was? Oh, now, is that
the rope-making place at Chatham? It is absolutely
the rope-making place in Chatham. Rope has been made there since 1618, and it’s where all the strands
are woven together to make the rope. I know it because I’ve been in it.
Have you? Why were you in it? We were doing a Horizon documentary about how long
is a piece of string… Oh! ..and, er… Well, well, well, how… That’s the sort of thing
Horizon ought to be doing. LAUGHTER They’ve got a building
about a quarter of a mile long, the ropes go almost
as far as you can see properly. They make very, very long
ropes indeed. They do, and it’s really,
really tough work. You start the rope-making process
by combing the raw hemp fibre across boards with long iron pins –
they’re called hatchels – and it straightens the fibres,
and then they use whale oil to lubricate the fibres,
which is known as train oil. Did you say whale oil? Whale oil, yes. A whale is part oil. I have a recipe. Do you want more? Is there a vegan version? LAUGHTER It would be nice if you could
tap into the whale and get some oil, without having to drag it out
and slice it up. Yeah, what, like a tap? Yeah. What are those things
you stick in trees, you know, that you wind in
and then the sap comes out? To get the sap out.
So you could do that with a whale. It wouldn’t be pleasant. No. If you said to the whale,
“Look, you’ve got two options here.” Yeah. Yeah. LAUGHTER “Either we put a tap on you…” Yeah? “..or we slice you into pieces.
What’s it going to be?” You have to then go,
you have to go five miles away to hear the answer. HE IMITATES WHALE LAUGHTER “I think he said tap. Let’s do it.” LAUGHTER
Do you know when they have a barrel and they put a tap
in the side of the barrel? Yes. Er, that’s called a cock. And that’s why
your cock’s called a cock, because it looks like
you’ve got a tap. LAUGHTER I think it depends very much
on the weather. LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Right. I have a picnic here for you. Ooh! Now, I’ve got some packed lunches
for you here. Rachel, that’s for you, darling.
Oh, thank you! You’re going to have
a Cornish pasty. Yes! Richard, you’ve got ham sandwiches. Romesh, you’ve got a toast sandwich,
that’s for you. LAUGHTER I’ll be honest, Alan, yours looks… ..a little tiny bit mouldy. LAUGHTER So, what quite interesting thing
can you tell me about your snacks? Richard, ham sandwiches. In nature… Yes? ..they’re the only thing
that grows in triangles. Well, here’s
the extraordinary thing – so 1851, we know from a census that 436,800 sandwiches
were sold on the streets of London, and they were all ham,
every single one. They didn’t sell any other sandwich?
They just sold ham sandwiches. Do you know who invented
the pre-packaged sandwich? And when…? Er… Er, no. I don’t know why I started
speaking there. I’ve got no idea. Would it be a Joe Lyons tea shop? No, it’s much more recent than you
might imagine, it’s M&S… M&S?! M&S?! 1980. Wow. What? Apparently, an assistant
wrapped up some leftover sandwiches from the cafe and put them
out for sale and then it took off. So, in 1980, somebody had some
leftover sandwiches and put them on the shelf to sell? Well, they were left over
from the cafe – they wrapped them up and
put them out to sell. This is like freestyling it, just
going for it and see what happens? Yeah, just go for it, sell them. So the most popular ones,
egg mayonnaise, BLT and chicken salad, those are
the ones that make all the money. All morally corrupt,
those sandwiches, just so you know. Am I right, my vegan brothers
and sisters, yeah? Romesh, let’s have a look
at your toast sandwich. What have you got in it? Er… No need to rip it like that,
darling. If you’d just opened the bag,
we could have reused it. What is wrong with you?
It’s got my name on it. It’s very unlikely you’re going
to have another Romesh on this. Or even me,
based on how this is going. LAUGHTER APPLAUSE Tell us what’s in your sandwich. So my sandwich has toast in it. Yes, it is literally
a toast sandwich. Yes. And I can give you a fact
about this. Go on, then. One day, Romesh Ranganathan
was given this on QI and was very insulted. LAUGHTER OK, so this is an historic sandwich.
So Mrs Beeton, the great Mrs Beeton, her Book Of Household Management
in 1861, she had a recipe
for a toast sandwich. It was a piece of toast,
seasoned with salt and pepper, and served between
two slices of bread. Wow. In many ways, she didn’t need
to write that down, did she? No. I mean, no. She says, “This sandwich
will be very tempting “to the appetite of an invalid.” LAUGHTER I’ve got to tell you,
it’s delicious. Is it good? Mm. Toast sandwich. That’s a good idea, like,
it’s all about texture, isn’t it? And I bet that’s got
a lovely texture to it. Big up Mrs Beeton. Yep.
She’s absolutely smashed it. LAUGHTER Rachel, Cornish pasty, what do we
know about the Cornish pasty? Well, this bit is where you hold it. Yes. That’s called the… ..handle. Yes. Famously. Um, or in other parts of the south,
they call it the edge. LAUGHTER And why was it created? For miners. Absolutely right.
It was a portable lunch, basically, to take down the mines,
you’re absolutely right. Is it true that in those pasties… Yeah. ..they put the pudding
in the pasty as well? Yeah, so it was perfectly possible
to have the savoury bit one end and the sweet bit the other end,
so you can see one there which has got
a bit of savoury and… So is that a pastry barrier?
A little pastry barrier, yeah. Cos if they didn’t
have enough pastry, slam a bit of toast in there,
that’d do the same thing. It’s not the only one
that does that, actually, Romesh. A Bedfordshire clanger looks more
like a long sausage roll and again, it’s two-thirds savoury
and one third sweet. They did that on the Bake Off. Did they? I didn’t see. Can I just say, we should whisper
this if anybody in Cornwall is listening, but the oldest
Cornish pasty recipe… ..comes from Devon. Oh! LAUGHTER HE SHOUTS: Did you hear that,
Cornwall? You didn’t even come up
with a pasty, losers! LAUGHTER The Devon one is from 1510,
the Cornish oldest one is from 1746. Are you enjoying
that toast sandwich?! It’s just, you think
it’s going to be boring but the middle bread just tastes so different
from the other two pieces! LAUGHTER You’ve really gone
full circle on it. Honestly, I think it might be
the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Well, you’re a vegan,
so I’m not surprised. LAUGHTER APPLAUSE
Boo! I just remembered I know a thing. Oh, wow!
About Cornish pasties. OK. That picture reminded me. Yes? Those ones where it’s all… The crimping.
Crimping, I was going to say! I have all the baking terms
that you need. Yes. It was just going to be
that it’s called crimping. Oh. LAUGHTER Right, Alan’s eaten his sandwich, I said it was mouldy but this is
actually a rather brilliant thing, this is a mouldy
anti-theft sandwich bag! LAUGHTER So the sandwich is not mouldy
at all, the idea is to stop people nicking it out of the fridge! Didn’t work with Alan.
No, clearly not. It was an invention by
a New York engineer and designer called Sherwood Forlee,
and he’s also come up with… I think this is clever, Richard.
You’ll like this. It’s a jar which has a lid
on the top and the bottom, so that you can get all the bits out
of the bottom of the jar. Don’t you think that’s clever?
That is a good idea, other than you’d open
both bits at once. That would be my worry.
Great surprise, though. Like a sort of awful glass
Christmas cracker. I like it. Here’s a tip, though. If you’ve got
a jar… Yeah? ..of pesto sauce. Oh, right. Quite hard to get
all of it out. Yeah. All that you do,
you put a bit of olive oil in there, and some balsamic, shake it up.
Lovely dressing. Mm. Also… Or a pressure washer, if you’ve
ever used one of those. That’s… That is terrific. Do your patio,
then get the Marmite out. Or what you can do is just get
the bottom of the jar with the pesto in it
and just smash the jar and just sprinkle
that into the pasta. LAUGHTER Sometimes having kids is stressful.
Yeah. LAUGHTER Right, we are going to
move on to drinks. What does water taste like?
Is my question. Oh, man. Like plastic straws these days.
Am I right, Richard…? LAUGHTER There you are, my darling.
Can you pass one to Richard? So here is the thing. There was a team from
Caltech University in California, and they gave water to mice,
and they studied their tongues, and they discovered
that when you drink water, it stimulated
their sour taste sensors. So they used something
called optogenetics, and they actually
triggered those same cells using blue light instead of water, and even though the mice
weren’t getting any water, they carried on “drinking” the light because it stimulated those same
cells as when they get actual water. The mice after: “Mate,
I tell you what, I am parched. “I’ve been
drinking that light all day “but it’s doing absolutely
nothing for me.” So apparently it tastes
sort of sour. Here is an extraordinary thing. There is a water sommelier
in a bar in Los Angeles called Ray’s & Stark Bar.
They have a 45-page water menu. Oh! Oh… It features water
from ten different countries. There’s a range of prices. The queue of mice outside
is unbelievable. LAUGHTER There’s a water called Berg. It’s harvested from glaciers
in western Greenland. It’s 20 a bottle. Evian, 8 a bottle. So the reason that some tap waters
taste different – it’s what they call the TDS,
or total dissolved solids, that are in the water.
Oh, dear. Ugh! Yeah. Well, it’s actually calcium
and magnesium and potassium. People say that about Guinness, cos it has to be brewed
near to where it’s sold. But, funnily enough, after two,
they all taste much the same. Yeah. That’s absolutely true. There is an annual International
Water Tasting Competition in West Virginia. There was a press release
after the 2018 event, and it noted, “The water was filled
with water enthusiasts “coming from as far as Australia… “..and Oklahoma.”
LAUGHTER There are things to look for.
So it should be clear. There should be no smell at all, it should feel very light
in your mouth, and the main thing is it should
leave you thirsty for more. You like it? It tastes
like you’d die without it. Yeah. Almost as if
it was a vital life source. It is sometimes, actually,
the only thing that you want. Right, let’s put the cups away. Do you want the rest
of your toast sandwich now, Rom? I’ll eat it…
Did you actually like it, Romesh? I did, I feel nervous about saying, cos I’m being persecuted
as a vegan on this show, but, um, it tasted all right. I didn’t know you were a vegan,
you should mention it occasionally. LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Ahem. How long have you been a vegan? I’ve been a vegan
for five years, Sandi. OK. Was it to do with feeling sorry
for animals, or what was it? No, I just sort of wanted to feel
better than people, you know? LAUGHTER Oh, so, a smugness thing.
Yeah, I just sort of… Also, two cows came round
and kidnapped his children. LAUGHTER That’s too difficult to talk about
cos no-one believes it, so he’s got to go through
this whole thing. LAUGHTER Is that because children
should be seen and not HERD? LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Where did
the first-ever picnic take place? The garden. KLAXON APPLAUSE Outdoors. In the… KLAXON I thought I was fairly safe there. The earliest picnics
took place indoors, it was a sort of potluck supper in which each guest
brought some food for the meal. I’ve got to make an admission here, just based on what we’ve said
in the last 30 seconds, I don’t think
I know what a picnic is. If you’re having a picnic inside,
that is a meal. Is it? LAUGHTER We now think of it
as an entirely outdoor thing, but it was absolutely
an indoor pursuit and, in fact,
some of the earliest regular picnics were held by a group of Londoners
who formed The Picnic Society and they used to meet at a wonderful
place called the Pantheon in Oxford Street in the early 1800s
and it was always indoors. What I quite like about this is,
the Pantheon is no longer there but on that site is an M&S,
so you could in fact go to the Pantheon
and buy yourself a picnic. And maybe a packaged sandwich
from 1980. From 1980, yes, would be ideal. LAUGHTER So the first time we go outdoors,
Romesh, is the early 19th century, so the British and indeed
the American graveyards became very crowded and for the very
first time they began to be built further out of town and that’s
the very first place where people would go to enjoy some green space
out of the cities, and they would pack a picnic and they would enjoy
a day out in the cemeteries. You’re shaking your head. Well, in Italy,
they go to the opera, don’t they? The big outdoor opera – they sit
up the back in the cheap seats, and they take wine and salami and
bread and they have a big picnic. Yeah. The opera goes on for hours,
they all know the songs. That’s a day out. Yeah. THAT’S just morbid. Yeah. LAUGHTER It is a bit strange, isn’t it? Yeah. But, in fact, the first public parks are actually based
on these cemeteries. In fact, the top three attractions
in the United States were Niagara Falls,
George Washington’s house and Mount Auburn Cemetery
in Massachusetts. You know, today, you have
all sorts of things in cemeteries. There are people
who have yoga classes, people who go bird-watching,
film festivals… I went to one the other day
that had a helter-skelter, I thought, “Come on, this is a bit
much.” That’s getting bit silly. Crazy golf is a good option. LAUGHTER A lot of obstacles
you need to get around. Right, back to the great outdoors
now, here’s a question about pests. What is the best way
to keep those pesky wasps at bay? A jar of something that they like,
and then they go to it. To kill them or to just trap them? Well, if they get stuck in there,
not much you can do. What if the jar’s got two…
A top and a bottom? LAUGHTER
What do you reckon, Richard? A wasp gun? I don’t know. A wasp gun is a gun
that fires wasps, isn’t it? You’re just adding to the problem,
aren’t you, just generating
more and more of them. It fires them a long way away,
Romesh. Makes them angry, though,
and when they come back… It’s like that joke about the…
HE LAUGHS About the bloke who throws
a snail off his front step. And then three days
later the doorbell goes, and the snail goes, “What?!” LAUGHTER Do you know the one about the moth
who goes to see the physiotherapist? No. The physiotherapist goes,
“Can I help you?” She says,
“Oh, I’m just very depressed. “I don’t know
what’s the matter with me. “I just feel so low the whole time.” And he says,
“Well, I’m a physiotherapist. “You should see a shrink.
Why have you come in here?” And she says,
“Oh, the light was on.” LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE What are you…?! Are you clapping
that but you don’t clap the snail? LAUGHTER I felt I was more in the character,
if I’m honest. Yeah, I suppose you gave it
a little bit more. And also, how did the snail
ring the doorbell? Just… It falls apart.
LAUGHTER You’d have your doorbell really low
down in case the snail comes round. So, the best way to keep
a wasp away from a picnic, they send out scouts, the wasps, to
go and see where the best food is. If you see the first couple,
take them hostage. Oh, OK. If you trap them,
they cannot report back to the nest about the food source,
but if you kill them, they can release a pheromone and the other wasps go, “What?
What’s going on? What’s going on?” They get the pheromone smell…
Yeah. They go, “Can anyone else
smell Dave?” Yeah. Yeah. LAUGHTER Top tip about wasps – check
drink cans before you take a swig. Don’t say that. Always look at what
you’re putting in your mouth, Sandi. Yeah. First, absolute… That rule will never fail you. But also thin straws, as well,
cos they can’t get up a thin straw. Not plastic ones, though, please.
No. Just because I care about
the environment, I use a teak straw. Teak that’s inlaid with ivory.
It’s got my initials on it. LAUGHTER And I carry… I don’t re-use it,
cos I’ve got hundreds, but I could re-use it
if I wanted to. But you shouldn’t kill wasps
at all because… That’s really good,
so just catch them and that’s it. Yeah, because they do
some fantastic good work. Oh, do they? I doubt that very much.
I hate them. OK, so here’s the thing
that you may not know, so social wasps
eat cockroaches and spiders. There is a woman
whose Twitter handle is @waspwoman, Dr Seirian Sumner, she estimates they eat 14 million
kilogrammes of insects per year in the UK. Each? Not each, no. Oh, right. LAUGHTER No, as a team effort. Oh, OK. Yeah. There is another thing you can do.
It’s only anecdotal evidence, but you can hang a paper bag
up in a tree, and that will ward off wasps if they
mistake it for another wasp nest. They stay away,
cos they don’t want to fight with a bunch of other wasps
that they don’t know. OK. Let’s go to Italy. So what do they do in Italy to stop people eating their lunches
as picnics? So have a look here. This is, of course, the gorgeous
Basilica of Santa Croce. You don’t want people having
a picnic on the steps, do you? No, but what they want
is for you to respect the place. This particular building
is the place where you will find the burial places of Michelangelo,
Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini, it’s like all
this greatness of Italy and they don’t want people
just eating sandwiches on the steps, so they had a really simple idea
how to stop them doing this. Was it that they get the spooky
voices of all those dead people on a loudspeaker? IN GHOSTLY VOICE:
“Stop eating sandwiches!” “Hey, this is a-Michelangelo! “I see you’ve brought a sandwich!” “Why you ruin-a the steps
with your sandwiches?” LAUGHTER “You need to stop!” “It’s me, Rossini!” “I’m-a going to be crazy angry “when you’re eating a sandwich
on the step-as!” Sorry, none of these
are spooky enough voices! No. Too jolly! Don’t you want to see a film
where Romesh plays Michelangelo? LAUGHTER “I’m-a going to do
a ceiling-a picture!” “This one is-a God. This one?
That’s-a Jesus, that one!” LAUGHTER “It’s good, eh?” They did a really simple thing,
they hosed down the steps. While you’re having a picnic? To stop people,
they simply washed the steps. With water? With water. And it stopped people sitting down
because you… Cos they’re wet. Cos they’re wet. And they’re very concerned
about their buildings, has anybody been to
the Trevi Fountain in Rome? Mm-hm. They have a whole squad of
volunteer retired police officers guarding it, cos apparently
people like to swim in it. So you can be fined
for sitting on the fountains, for washing your feet in them, letting your pets play,
water fights… Thus far, I’m still hearing
you can have a wee, no problem. Yeah. I went to Florence and I saw… By
some miracle there wasn’t a queue. ..Michelangelo’s statue of David… “It’s a great-a statue!” LAUGHTER IN ITALIAN ACCENT: “You go all
the way behind, see everything!” “It’s got massive hands,
a tiny winky. That’s how we do it.” LAUGHTER “I’ll tell you who it is,
it’s Rossini, don’t tell anyone!” LAUGHTER But what I was going to say was… LAUGHTER No, no, I think
they’ve got more to do! There’s a replica of it outside.
Right. And, honestly,
you can’t tell the difference. No. So don’t bother queueing up
and going in. I agree. It does look
exactly the same. But the thing about
the Italian accent, it lends itself to being funny. I was in Pisa, and I wanted to get
the train to Florence. And I said,
“I wonder if you can tell me “when the next train
to Florence is.” And the guy said, “The next-a train
to Florence is at-a 12 o’clock.” And I said,
“Yeah, but it’s 12:10 now.” He said, “Well, you missed it.” LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE OK. Let’s stay with pests. Richard, my pointless friend.
Can you name a pointless pest? I can name one. I won’t name him, because he’s a very esteemed
colleague of mine. But in terms of… In terms of
the drinking, he is, er… He’s a pest. Um… KLAXON LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Can I…?
Can I appeal against that klaxon? Cos, you know, he really is…
KLAXON LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE I don’t want to have
a one-on-one argument with whoever’s
pressing that button, but… I’m actually working it
with my foot. LAUGHTER Anyway, this pest is one that
pretty much doesn’t exist any more. This is why it’s entirely pointless.
Dodo? It is the false spider mite, but it is most specifically
the male spider mite. So this is a species of mite. It once reproduced… As one might
expect, it reproduced sexually. But the females caught an infection and, since they caught
the infection, they don’t need males any more. It’s a type of bacteria
that infects the mite’s egg and if the mite growing in the egg
was male, the bacteria changes it to female. The bacteria have to live
in female eggs, it’s the only place
they can survive. There isn’t room for them to fit
inside the smaller male sperm, so they have eradicated males in
order to ensure their own survival. And you’re saying this
is what Yakult is based on? LAUGHTER So the mites reproduce
by parthenogenesis. In other words,
the egg can become an embryo without having to be fertilised
by sperm. If you were to treat the eggs
of the false spider mite with antibiotics
and cure it of the bacteria, then you would hatch males. But, left to their own devices,
they only produce females. Wow. I just imagine some feminist
laboratory somewhere, where… LAUGHTER ..they’re trying to tease this
up into a human form. Well, it could never happen
in a human form. Do you know why? I don’t know why. Because there’s
bits of the DNA in the male, there’s bits of the DNA in the
female, and they set each other up. It’s called genetic imprinting, and it would be impossible
for us ever to… I can see you’ve looked into it.
Yeah. LAUGHTER So there’s a false spider mite
and there’s a true spider mite. And the true spider mite, the boys
are real idiots, I have to say, because they have
discovered that the male often chooses to court dead females
rather than live ones. We’ve all been there. LAUGHTER Last time I did it,
I was having a picnic in a cemetery. LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Instead of calling them true
spider mites and false spider mites, they should call them spider mites
and spider mite-nots. That’s what I would call them. Do you know what the difference is
between the false and the true one? Yes. Go on, then. One’s female and one’s male,
I thought we… No, no, no,
so they are totally separate. Have you paid attention at all,
Richard? LAUGHTER The one thing I remember is you’re
vegan. Everything else has gone. The false one doesn’t spin webs.
That’s the difference between the false one and the true one.
There you go. So there are other animals that
can reproduce by parthenogenesis if there’s a shortage of males. So there are Komodo dragons, hammerhead sharks
and whiptail lizards. How does a hammerhead shark
get through a door? I mean, does it
have to go on its side? It gets the snail to ring the bell. LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE Anyway, the whiptail lizard has actually become
an all-female species now, on account of the ability
to reproduce by cloning, but they still have genetic
diversity because they start off with twice the amount of chromosomes
as you would normally find in a sexually reproducing
individual. It’s exactly the same
as the Sugababes. LAUGHTER But some male fish
are being feminised in a completely different way. So they did a study
at the University of Exeter in 2017, and it reported that a fifth
of male fish in the UK are, sticky speaking, now intersex. Did you say the fish are
“intersex”… Yes, darling. ..or “into sex”? No. Intersex. Intersex. Intersex. So what’s happened is they’ve
developed feminine behaviour, including they’re less aggressive, they’re not so competitive,
they are producing eggs, they are producing,
in most instances, fewer sperm. Anybody know why that might be? Is it cos we’ve started paying them
20% less and just it followed? Is it to do with everyone
being on the pill and filling up the rivers
with female hormones? No, see, that’s the myth
that used to be believed, that it was the contraceptive pill. It’s the run-off from livestock
manure… Oh. ..going into rivers. What a lovely sentence. Yeah. Yes. “Try and make livestock manure
sound worse!” When you see pints of beer in pubs,
they have all these odd names, and no-one’s ever done
a Run-off Of Livestock Manure. “A lovely pint of Run-Off, please.” OK. Why did Shakespeare not
suffer from hay fever? Benadryl? LAUGHTER Is that his friend? Troilus and Benadryl. Yeah.
Because there wasn’t any? Because there was less pollen
in the air back in the days of yore. Well, you’re probably heading
in exactly the right direction. Yes! Vagueness pays off! Yes, very good! So are you saying there was less
pollen? I didn’t know that. Yeah. Amazing.
I could go on, but I won’t. Yeah, yeah. So, basically, today one in four
people have hay fever. It appears not to have
existed until the 1800s. So anybody, we just picked
Shakespeare at random, but anybody who died before then
can’t have had it, and we don’t really know why. So the very first documented case,
1819, there was a doctor called John Bostock and he suffered with it
and he decided to investigate, and he spent nine years looking for
people with the condition and he only found 28,
so it could be a change in the environment,
the type of crops grown, intensity of farming, it doesn’t
seem to have existed at all. Is it possible that it did exist but
they just didn’t call it hay fever? It’s like, “Geoffrey sneezes
a lot, doesn’t he?” Next year, you go, “I tell you what, “I’ve got a bit of the old
Geoffrey flu.” Yeah! Bostock called the condition
summer catarrh and he tried to treat himself – I have to say these are not
things I recommend – bleeding, cold baths,
vomiting, opium, meh… LAUGHTER You’re open to it! Yeah, whatever. No success with it at all and then there was a scientist
called Charles Blackley, 1859, also had hay fever
and he finally found the cause, he identified the culprit as grass.
He had a load of hay on his chin. LAUGHTER But what they didn’t understand
was why would city dwellers get it if it’s to do with grass pollen,
which is what Blackley suggested? Why would sailors at sea get it? So he flew kites with sticky paper
on them at different altitudes and he was able to analyse
the dispersal of pollen at various altitudes and established that it carried
hundreds of miles out to sea. In fact, there is more pollen
at an altitude of 1,000-2,000 feet than there is at ground level. But it’s actually caused
by allergic rhinitis. Does anybody have it here? I do. Do you know exactly
what it is and why you get it? No, I don’t. But I was…
Well, then, you don’t deserve it. LAUGHTER I was told that, apparently, you can
stop it by eating honey from the area, but I can’t, because – I don’t
know if I mentioned – I’m vegan. Have you tried one of these? Now,
what you have to do is you stick both of those up your nose. It’s like Total Recall. Yeah.
That’s a bit of a niche reference. So, has this been…? It’s clean. We
haven’t used it in any way at all. You stick it up your nose?
Stick it up your nose like that. Argh! The blinding light
from your ear! Finally I’m going to be able to
work in panto. This is excellent. And then what do you do? Apparently,
if you sit with it for ten minutes, it is supposed to calm
all the inflammation down. I know several people who’ve used
them, and they work very well. Some people don’t like to
take the antihistamines. I can’t imagine preferring this
to taking the antihistamines. Do you want to keep that one?
Because nobody else wants it now. This is a really long-term
prank by Sandi. Yeah. I would love it if this is
completely made up. No, no! You could have it built
into your glasses, actually. You look like the weirdest ever
thing on a Guess Who? board. In the late 19th century,
they thought it was only those with a delicate condition
who suffered it. So wealthier people,
upper classes tended to have it. They were called hay feverites. And in fact, there were
specific holiday resorts. People went to the lakes and to
the mountains. I’d like to go there. Doesn’t that look like fun?
Lovely! Have they all got hay fever?
Not any more! I like the one who’s just
diving straight in, feet first. I think she’s rather… Oh, yeah!
It looks like she’s just emerged. Well, she could just be coming out
the other way, yes. Whoa! Now, Paul McCartney and John Lennon
first met at a picnic in Liverpool, but why are the Beatles the reason
you can now eat out in Australia? Er, did they, like, go to a
restaurant and they wanted to go outside and
then they said, “You can’t do that,” and they said, “We’ll do what we
want, we’re bigger than Jesus,” and then they went
and ate outside and… Er, no. Let’s do Beatles in
two different senses. Different sort of beetles.
Oh, Richard! Ahh.
Like you’ve played the game before! Like beetles with an E. Whoa. Ahh. This is just such a joke, man. You’ve said the names
of the Beatles, you’ve put the photo up there. Yeah. And I trusted you. Yeah. Yeah. What I actually said was that
they met at a picnic… Yeah. God knows what a picnic
is any more, after this show. LAUGHTER So, Australian picnicking was saved by the introduction of
millions of dung beetles. So let us imagine,
the Australian cattle industry takes off in the 1960s.
What is the side-effect of a fantastically successful
cattle industry? Load of manure. Poop.
Loads of poop. Loads of cowpats. And, of course,
the run-off from it. Yes. And the run-off from it. And that’s how they got Foster’s. APPLAUSE So, the native dung beetle,
they’re used to a little bit of a dry poo, like a kangaroo poo,
for example. They don’t like the wet dung that is
introduced by the European cattle. And there was a period of time
when these cows were producing 200,000 pats… ..per minute. I know. The poor guy that’s got to count
those up just to get that figure. I mean, Australia was in danger
of disappearing entirely underneath a load of shit. And it wasn’t vanishing because the dung beetles were not
eating it, so there was the
Australian dung beetle project and they imported 1.73 million
beetles, 43 different species, and it was so successful,
that is now the reason why Australians can enjoy a picnic. Look at the size of that! Blimey.
And they ate the whole thing? LAUGHTER And it does look nice and dry. It’s spelt wrong, though. LAUGHTER What are you saying it should be? Yes, what would you say? I wasn’t going to say it cos
the klaxon was going to go off. Ah! LAUGHTER No shit! KLAXON APPLAUSE I was trying to lure
you into my trap! I felt that. Anyway, we owe the Beatles
to a picnic, and Aussies owe picnics
to the beetles. Now it’s time for the gathering
storm that we call General Ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, please. Heading off to Italy for a moment, where are you if you are
dining alfresco? BUZZ Rachel. Outside. Outside!
KLAXON No! I’m sure that’s right! Do you want to try again? BUZZ Inside! Yes! Absolutely right. They don’t call
eating outside alfresco, so they think of it as being
in the cool, OK? And for them, that means
being in prison. So it’s like the English
slang “in the cooler”. So eating alfresco
is to eat in prison. If the Italians eat outside, it’s
called fuori or al aperto, so outside the door. Now, what liquid can you take five
times more of through security at Genoa Airport? BUZZ
Yes! Pesto? Yes! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Like you were my own boy,
I was so proud! How did you know that? Cos he’s a vegan! LAUGHTER I didn’t know you were vegan! LAUGHTER Yes, they have relaxed the ban,
but only for pesto, the liquid ban. Passengers can now carry 500ml of
pesto in their hand luggage. It has to be the proper stuff,
not supermarket-bought, and they have a special
machine to scan it. I say special, it’s the same one
that does breast milk. LAUGHTER You have to buy a 50p stamp, and they give the money to something
called the Flying Angels Foundation. The Flying Asians Foundation?
No, Fly… That’s actually how
I found out about it. The Flying ANGELS Foundation. It gives free flights for children
from developing countries who need medical attention. The change was because so much
pesto was being confiscated, they thought, “This is ridiculous,
we have to stop this.” Now, they also had a problem
at London City Airport. What was it that was being
confiscated in great quantities? Coffee? No, it’s particularly British
in the same way as pesto… Marmite.
It is Marmite, absolutely right, They ran a Marmite amnesty
in July, 2017, and if you took through an oversized
Marmite, you could swap it and get a small 70g one.
The trouble is that half the security officers
would let you through, it’s the other half who wouldn’t. LAUGHTER The American Transportation
Security Administration, the TSA, they have an Instagram account
which Rolling Stone magazine has named the fourth best in the world! And it’s the stuff
that they confiscate. And you can look on Instagram. So, it’s, on average,
nine firearms a day, the majority of which are loaded, there’s been brass knuckles,
live eels, a live grenade, a medieval mace… I don’t think I’d confiscate
the live grenade. Would you? “You can have that.” There was a dagger hidden inside
a replica of the Eiffel Tower and a Chihuahua that the owner said
had sneaked into their bag. I can believe that of a Chihuahua.
They are sneaky, aren’t they? OK, moving on. If you’re…
Oh, this is so controversial. If you’re making a cuppa, does the milk… SCATTERED GASPING
I know. Oh, a gasp, an audible gasp! Does it go in first or second? AUDIENCE RESPONDS Did I ask you?
KLAXON LAUGHTER OK. Not everybody agrees.
First or second? AUDIENCE RESPONDS Second.
First? Some people shouting first? KLAXON LAUGHTER OK. The trouble is that there is no
correct answer, that is the point, yet opinion is so unbelievably
strongly divided. But the
British Standards Institution has a 5,000-word report… LAUGHTER ..on the correct way
to make tea. Which you are going
to read out to us now. LAUGHTER
I’m going to precis for you. OK. It’s like when they dramatised
the Leveson Inquiry or something like that. It is. We’re going to do an
interpretive dance. OK. Here is the definitive
thing from them, they say milk should go in first. GASPING Oh, I know, I know! SCATTERED APPLAUSE I know, it’s very upsetting
for some people. And they also say you should
have 2g of tea per 100ml of water and it should be brewed
for six minutes and served at a temperature
between 60 and 85. Milk first – a 2003 experiment at
Loughborough University found that adding milk after
the water can heat it unevenly, and that leads to the protein
in the milk clumping. But Yorkshire Tea says milk second, particularly if you’re brewing
in a mug. Then you should brew the tea first, otherwise the milk will drag down
the temperature of the water. If the teabag’s in the cup, you
can’t put milk in till it’s brewed. That is the thing.
That’d be stupid. Yeah, so the milk
has to go in second. Yeah. But in that debate, they’re called
Miffers – milk in first – and Tiffers – tea in first. George Orwell said, “By putting
the tea in first and stirring as one “pours, one can exactly regulate
the amount of milk, whereas one is “liable to put in too much milk
if one does it the other way.” He really did write down
everything he thought. Everything. He must have had a column
in the Daily Express or something. “What do we do today?” “Can we do a side-bar filler?
I’ve got a thing about teabags.” Nineteen Eighty-Four was, like, a
cage over the head with just someone washing tea. “Don’t do it!” Ah! Ooh! Oh! See, now, this always
happens at a picnic. But speaking of football, Alan… Yes? Romesh… Yes? Who is the most successful
Arsenal manager of all time? BUZZ Is it me? Do you want it to be you? No, that’s Bertie Mee, he was one of your most famous
managers, wasn’t he? Well, in terms of winning trophies,
it’s Arsene Wenger. KLAXON LAUGHTER Do you follow football, Rachel? Not at all, but I’m willing to
participate in this conversation. OK. Timothy… Say George Graham,
say George Graham. George Timothy… KLAXON Rachel, it’s not George Graham! Herbert Chapman. KLAXON LAUGHTER Steffi Graf. Steffi Graf. Weirdly, Rachel is heading closer
to the correct answer than anybody. What?! Oh, really? Martina Navratilova. Er… LAUGHTER Serena Williams!
It is women that we are… Vic Akers. It is Vic Akers, absolutely right, who founded the Arsenal Ladies
Football Club. He managed it till
retirement in 2009. Under his management, the ladies’
team won 32 major honours, including the FA Women’s Cup
ten times as opposed to Arsene Wenger’s
management, where the men’s team
has won seven FA Cup titles. Vic Akers is the kit man
for the men’s team, and he always wears shorts, no matter
what the weather. So on my podcast, we refer
to his genitals as little Vic and the Akers. LAUGHTER He’s greatly loved, Vic. What a fantastic track record,
32 major titles. Astonishing. I mean, at the time hardly anyone
else played women’s football, it must be said. Well, there was a time in the 1920s
when there were 150 women’s football teams in England and they could draw
bigger crowds than the men’s teams. The reason it all fell apart was
that the FA stopped women playing on Football Association pitches. This team is Where’s Wally FC. LAUGHTER This team was actually the
Dick, Kerr’s Ladies team. They were named after the munitions
factory where most of them worked. They were the first women’s team
to ever play in shorts, and my favourite player
is a woman called Lily Parr, and apparently she was astonishing,
but she was also a chain-smoker and she insisted… Look at the length
of that cigarette! LAUGHTER She insisted that part of her wages
was in Woodbine cigarettes and sometimes she was known to play
while still smoking. LAUGHTER They completely squashed
women’s football. They stopped it. For about 70 years. It was
extraordinary. They weren’t allowed. No reason for it at all.
Anyway, the most successful Arsenal manager of all time
managed the women’s team. THUNDER So, it looks like our luck
with the weather has run out. Let’s have a quick look at
the scores before we are completely rained off. Er, last tonight by… Oh, that’s frankly…
Oh, dear, there we are. Last tonight with
a rather narrow margin, the audience with -20! Getting drenched in fourth place,
with -19, it’s Richard! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Slightly soggy with -15, Rachel! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE A bit moist with -14, Alan. Thank you. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And coming in from the cold,
with two points, it’s tonight’s winner, Romesh! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Finally, my mum will love me. LAUGHTER I’d like to thank Rachel,
Richard, Romesh and Alan, and leave you with this from
American actress Marie Dressler. If ants are such busy workers, how come they find time to go
to all the picnics? Goodnight. APPLAUSE

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