So, way back in Series A, we had the very first ‘Oh my god this is amazing’ episode of QI. And it starred an incredibly british chap named Gyles Brandreth, who never everything and spoke in a very thick, twee voice. And Rob Brydon and Rich Hall proceeded to steal the episode right from under him, turning his billion right answers into a spree of jokes. Gyles by himself can be a tad underwhelming, so with good support he can be enjoyable.
Tonight might not be as good support as Rich and Rob, but instead Sue Perkins and Bill Bailey are here to buffer Gyles a bit, in a special Anatomy themed episode.
Observations: Sue, after her fairly normal debut, has gone to her usual style of wearing her hair in a very boyish cut, which she’ll probably keep with for the rest of her appearances. Bill is wearing a full-on Dragonball t-shirt. Gyles has much less hair than he did in 2003.
The intros for all four have a ‘hand’ for Sue, a ‘HOORAY’ for Bill, a ‘HIP-HIP-HOORAY’ for Gyles, and a loud scream for Alan. All four buzzers are these recorded audio cues, even the ‘hair-raising scream’, which seems to freak Alan out.
Bill: “Already, this is one of the weirdest shows I’ve ever been on…”
Stephen: “What can you tell about someone from their hands.”
Alan: “How long you’re gonna live, what job you’re gonna have…”
Bill: “Your future…”
KLAXON- THE FUTURE
Now Alan and Bill start arguing who should get the -10 points. Bill even goes “he started it, I just went along with it…”
Gyles, after Stephen says the correlation between hands and future has never been proved: “But there are people who feel they’ve done it.”
Stephen: “Yes, but feeling you’ve done something is not quite the same as empirical scientific fact- thank God you’re out of government.”
behind Stephen tonight are two scientific example skeletons, just for the theme. When Stephen’s explaining an answer, someone offscreen starts moving one of them toward Stephen, putting a bony hand on his back. It turns out there’s a piece of wire…going all the way to Alan’s chair. Yeah, that’s pretty perfect. Eventually Alan yanks it so hard that the skeleton falls.
Gyles: “He, being gay, spent a lot of time in North Africa…”
Sue, making fun of him: “NORTH AFRICAAAA.”
Gyles: “One of the things I found when I was in North Africa…”
Sue: “Are you coming out? Is this a coming out story? Cause if it is, that [Gyles with his finger up in the air] will be the picture, so just watch out…”
Gyles: “I might not, but tonight could be the night…”
Sue: “I know your party’s well behind you…”
Gyles: “I don’t mean to namedrop, but I met Desmond Tutu, and he held my hand like this for a long, long time.”
Bill: “As he said to his aides ‘Who is this again?'”
Stephen: “I have no evidence of this. I know that Andre Ghee went to North Africa..”
Gyles: “Oh, that’s who I’m thinking of…” [Facepalm]
Gyles is actually doing a lot better making jokes and playing along with people like Sue and Stephen, in addition to sharing his wealth of knowledge. There’s a reason I loved him the first time he was on, and that’s because he’s very genuine about what he knows, and who he is. It’s not like a John Sessions/Rory McGrath facts for the sake of looking good kind of thing. This is who Gyles is, and the fact that he knows this makes up his personality.
There’s a great running character bit where Gyles, in order to demonstrate something, keeps requiring Sue’s hand. Sue, being very gay, hates even the slightest touch from a guy, so every time, she’s very reluctant. One time, Gyles even says “I need you to be my biscuit”, and Sue, horrified, backs away going “I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR BISCUIT!”
Stephen: “Are there other names for an angels’ halo?”
Stephen: “Yes, Glory ‘ole”
Gyles, dodging outright: “No, it’s got to be Gloriole! He say Gloriole!”
Stephen: “It’s a shame, cause Glory’ole is somehow better, I don’t see why. Describe the Pope’s Glory’ole.”
Oh dear lord Stephen…
Sue: “Are there other shaped…glory’oles? Like, is there a triangular glory’ole?”
Stephen: “A TRIANGULAR GLORI’OLE!”
Bill: “What, so somebody’s stuffing Toblerone’s right in there.”
Second episode in a row to mention Toblerone. Thankfully it has nothing to do with Richard Fairbrass’ bum.
Alan just keeps playing with the shrunken head, and pressing the buzzer with it, so there’d be a high-pitched scream every time the head hit it.
Stephen: “But how do you shrink a head.”
Alan: “Put it in the washing machine at a very high temperature…”
Stephen: ‘What happens if you try to comb a hairy ball?”
Sue: “Ask Bill.”
Man…it’s a good thing Bill’s heard worse from Mark Lamarr.
Gyles, in his nosebleed answer, goes “you could lie back.”
Sue and Stephen: “Oh, no…”
Gyles, sensing a klaxon: ‘NO NO! I MEAN-”
Gyles and Sue tie for first. Gyles turn to shake Sue’s hand, and Sue winces, going back to the episode’s runner, before finally shaking it.
Overall: A very fun and breezy episode, though the droughts in the middle did slow the grade down a bit. Gyles was a wonderful addition, and his way of working with Sue was definitely a great improvement. Sue was a wonderful connector as usual, and Bill, though down from his usual material, was still very funny.
Best Guest: Sue
Show Winners: Gyles and Sue
Best QI Fact: Shrunken heads
Best Runner: Gyles and Sue handshakes.