Another episode featuring someone who hasn’t been on since the early series’, which seems to be a theme this series, tonight’s features the return of Fred MacAulay, proud scotsman and friend to Greg Proops. Also here tonight is our second Sandi Toksvig episode of the series, and our first Rob Brydon episode of the series, so it might be a pretty good one.
The buzzers are a series of ascending sung high notes, except for Alan’s which is a disastrously low note.
Fred helps Stephen pick out a few tartans onscreen, only for Stephen to say that the whole tartan thing is rather recent, and not as important as people have been led to believe.
Fred: “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to continue, Stephen, I’m welling up…”
Stephen explains that everyone could get away with wearing the Stewart tartan, as it’s appropriate, as subjects of the Queen.
Sandi: “But I couldn’t wear it.”
Stephen: “Right, you’re not a British subject-”
Sandi: “No, I’m Danish…”
Stephen: “Is there a Danish tartan…perhaps made of a pastry?”
Sandi, after a laugh: “Yes, that’s our entire culture in a nutshell…you forgot the PORN films, you silly boy…”
Stephen mentions that Americans call tartans ‘plaid’.
Stephen: “D’you know where the word plaid comes from?”
Fred: “…means TARTAN!”
Alan: “He didn’t know how to put that on, did he? “oHHH…If I move, it’ll fall off…just take the picture…”
Fred: “A lot of people will be wondering what a Scotsman wears under his kilt. A true Scotsman will never tell you what he wears underneath his kilt, but he’ll show you at the drop of a hat…”
Stephen: “I’ve seen dandruff on the shoes, that’s a giveaway…”
The whole audience “OHHHHHH….”s here.
Sandi: “I don’t feel well, now…”
Sandi talks about her private school making girls wear two different pairs of pants to prevent boys from tearing them off.
Sandi: “They were terrified that we’d have anything to do with boys. Meanwhile, I was in a dorm full of girls, and quite happy…”
Stephen: “I was gonna say…”
Sandi: “Oof…he’s a big boy…”
Rob, saying his first line of the show: “Good to see Mel Smith getting back out into the public eye…”
After the caber-tossing footage, Rob: “That could just be a man in early January disposing of his Christmas tree.”
Stephen, to Fred: “Do you know anything about the great Donald Dinny?”
Fred: “Donald Dinny…that’s an instruction, in Scotland. DONALD! DINN’E! WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE THINKING OF, DONALD! DINN’E! DENNY, YOU CAN, BUT DONALD…DINN’E!”
On why Haggis was smuggled from Canada to the US for Burns Night
Sandi: “Because the US does not approve of inedible food.”
Fred talks about this Scottish poem for Burns Night which was translated to German, and then back to English, and through mistranslation, the phrase “chieftain’s people” and whatnot read as “Mighty Fuhrer of the Sausage People.”
Stephen, over applause: “Oh, that’s fabulous! That should stay!”
Stephen: “I heard a Scotsman say “Oh, I don’t know why you English people go on about our accent being impenetrable. Americans find it easy to understand, easier than English.” And then I saw Trainspotting in America and there were subtitles all the way through…”
Stephen asks where Chinese Burns night takes place:
Sandi: “Chinese Burns Night? Isn’t that something unpleasant underneath your wrist??”
Stephen: “After scaling Everest, what did Sir Edmund Hillary do for an encore?”
Alan: “He had a massive teeth-off with Sherpa Ten-Sing.”
Rob realizes he looks a TON like Hillary.
Sandi: “Did he become a Welsh comedian?”
Rob: ‘Me or him?”
Rob: “There’s not much you can do with it, though…”
Alan: “You can do a Kiwi accent…”
Rob, Kiwi accent: “I mean, sure, I’ve climbed a lot of mountains in my time…but it’s not something to go on aBEEET…I’m sorry, I’m struggling-”
Alan: “Needs a bit of work, there, Rob…”
Rob: “I remember, after that photo was taken…we had a hell of a day. I had just finished telling a joke to my friend there, and he was PISSING himself…”
Stephen: “What was his name?”
Rob: “His name was Bert…”
Alan: “His name was Sherpa Ten-Sing…”
Rob: “Well, yes, but TO HIS FRIENDS…”
Stephen: “Here he is, looking slightly less like Rob at this angle…”
Rob: “Who does he look like here…he looks like Edmund Hillary..”
Sandi: “He does look kind of awkward, like, “yes, I am going to marry her, because I LOVE her…”
Rob: “In that picture I look more like the chap in the drawing, actually…”
Stephen: “Speaking of Yetis, what would be the quickest way of getting Brian Blessed to the top of Everest?”
Rob: “Tell him they’re putting on a production of Peter Pan…Ken Branagh’s directing…and he’s a shoo in for Captain Hook.”
Stephen: [LOUD UNINTELLIGIBLE BLESSED IMPRESSION]
Fred: “You say he went 28,000 feet without oxygen, but he had to have had some…”
Stephen: “Sorry, without the assistance…”
Rob: “HE HELD HIS BREATH ALL THE WAY!”
Rob: “He’s not really as prized as he should be, Brian Blessed…”
Stephen: “He calls me Spunk-Bubble. ‘HALLO SHPUNK BUBBLE, HOUGH AH YOOUUGH?”
Rob: “MAYBE THAT’S THE REASON WHY HE’S NOT AS PRIZED…’IF ONLY I HADN’T CALLED STEPHEN FRY A SPUNK-BUBBLE!”
Alan, mid-laughter: “Why does he c…”
Rob: “NO. WE DON’T WANNA KNOW. WE REALLY DON’T…”
Stephen: “It’s another explanation…”
Rob: “And did he do it without oxygen??”
Stephen: “There are other ways of telling temperature…”
Alan: “Finger in your bum.”
Stephen has several stages of reaction. First he gives a direct No. Then a confused look, then a ‘yeah’, then an aroused look, then back to the panel. It’s fascinating, really.
Stephen: “No, I, uh..the field cricket.”
Alan: “Oh, of course, sorry, field cricket in your bum…”
On the chirping cricket increasing temperature.
Rob: “Well it makes sense, if you’re in the hot country, if you’re tossing at night and can’t get off-”
Rob: “NO. NO. NO. NO.”
Rob: “NO. I’M SIMPLY NOT HAVING IT.”
Sandi: “…sounds like it.”
On how an Englishman and Frenchman met in the middle of a tunnel under the channel, and how the communicated.
Stephen: “No, not shouting.”
Alan: “H’LOOOO THERE.’ ‘QUI, WE AH HEEEREE…” ‘WE GOT PAST YOU!”
About a Colonel who missed in the channel, and “went home and shot himself.”
Rob: “Did he hit?”
The first question of GI:
Stephen: “Name a country where English is the official language.”
THE ENTIRE PANEL: “….”
Stephen: “Oh, my children!”
Fred guesses Wales…and is somehow correct. Of course, Alan guesses England and gets a Klaxon.
Rob, as a joke: “FRANCE!”
Rob: “D’you know when you’re thinking, and you think to yourself ‘is it, it sounds so crazy’, and then you say ‘go on, leap into the abyss’-”
Stephen: “Odd use of the word ‘thinking’.”
Stephen: “We’re looking for the official name for a phobia of heights.”
Stephen: “…usually they’re in greek…”
Alan spends most of GI getting pretty much every Klaxon in the book, which is a nice throwback to Series B, sort of like this show.
Overall: A good show, though shockingly devoid of any standout moments. There were several good lines, and it was a nice panel, but, aside from Alan, nobody was really collaborating with each other. The dynamic was low, and even if I wrote a lot, it still couldn’t break out of ‘okay’ for me, which is a shame, because Fred had a pretty strong start, Rob had a lot of good lines, and Sandi was great at drawing conclusions here. Solid enough, but flawed.
Best Guest: Sandi
Show Winner: Fred
Best QI Fact: Edmund Hillary and the Yeti
Best Runner: Brian Blessed