QI Christmas Special, BBC1

Did we like it?
We feared that transferring Stephen Fry’s comedy panel game from BBC2 would be the ruin of a fine show, what with those BBC1 viewers being a lot less erudite and demanding. Yet this first BBC1 outing was every bit as good as any edition we’ve seen before.

What was good about it?
• Rob Brydon was by far the best of the guests, with his Christmas crackerish fireman’s pole joke to his detailed explanation that smoke not fire kills and his dismissal of a heckler as he did his Richard Burton voice – “You wouldn’t know a good impression if it sat on your face.”
• Stephen Fry, jolly as ever, descending into smuttiness (“Do you swallow?”) and being a little bit embarrassed about it.
• Stephen Fry in a snow-covered Trilby.
• Clive Anderson’s slinky dance (with hands only) to Light My Fire.
• Stephen Fry’s closing “I felt your presence” joke for Star Wars fans.
• We learned that the largest fireman’s pole in Europe is a 40 footer in Birmingham; we were informed that Australians use the phrase “I wouldn’t piss up your ass if your kidneys were on fire”; and we discovered there was a World War Two plan to deploy aircraft carries made from ice and sawdust.
• Alan Davies throwing himself into Stephen’s parlour game called Christopher Biggins Has Up His Bottom Tonight.

What was bad about it?
• The audience laughter when the panellists press their tailored buzzers. This has always been a stupid, annoying part of QI.
• The opening round – about Indian smoke signals – struggled to catch fire.
• Dom Joly labouring his urine-soaked granny “joke”.


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