Daily Archives: January 16, 2011

QI XL: History

Watching QI is kind of a Sunday morning ritual for me. If you’ve never seen the program before, it’s one of those vaguely pointless but amusing BBC panel quiz shows where no prizes are involved and participants vie for arbitrary “points” that are tallied up at the end of the game.

As the name suggests, QI is always “quite interesting” and filled with obscure trivia; in this week’s edition, on the general theme of history…

On the subject of how points are awarded, the Wikipedia entry for QI quotes Stephen Fry outlining how it works:

Now, the rules are simple. Points are given and points are taken away. They are taken away for answers that are both obvious and wrong, and they’re given not so much for being correct, as for being interesting. Their level of interestingness is impartially determined by a demographically-selected customer service focus consultancy, broken down by age and sex – i.e. me. Erm … because there is no-one more broken down by age and sex than me.

It’s curious that of all the imports from British TV programs that have migrated to America (and Canada) over the years, the panel quiz show has, to the best of my knowledge, never made it on this side of the pond.

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