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QI

From Academic Kids

QI, standing for Quite Interesting, is a comedy panel game shown on BBC Two and BBC Four and hosted by Stephen Fry. It is distinguished by the awarding of points not necessarily for the correct answer, but rather for an interesting one, and the deduction of large numbers of points for an obvious but wrong answer; this often results in a negative points score at the end of the game. Many of the questions and answers are extremely obscure. In a parody of "general knowledge" quizzes, rounds without a particular theme are named "General Ignorance".

The first series aired in Autumn 2003. Although most viewers did not notice at the time, all of the questions (with the exception of the final 'general ignorance' round) were on subjects beginning with "a" (e.g. "arthropods", "Alans", "astronomy", etc.) A second series of 12 programmes started on 8 October, 2004. In a continuation to the established theme, subjects now begin with the letter "b".

A potential criticism can be levelled that certain questions are purposely contradictory for entertainment's sake. For instance, to the question "How many planets are there in the solar system?", Alan Davies gave the answer "nine" and lost points for an obvious and wrong answer, the explanation being that by any consistent description Pluto is not a planet. However, the International Astronomical Union still defines Pluto as a planet, therefore "nine" would be a "correct" answer by the IAU definition. This is a technique used by many comedy panel games, since the questions are there mainly to set up jokes or discussions, rather than for any serious competition; in this case, the question was designed to raise the point that some people don't consider Pluto a planet.

Panellists include Alan Davies (who has appeared in all episodes and normally gives most of the obvious but wrong answers), Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Dave Gorman, Richard E. Grant, Rich Hall, John Sessions and Linda Smith.

The format was devised by the writer and former BBC producer, John Lloyd.

In October 2004 a QI café/bar, eclectic bookshop and private members' club opened in Oxford. For the duration of the series, the bar shows the broadcast episode every Friday.

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