If there was such a thing as the ‘Sophisticated Television Ladder’, BBC’s Q.I. would gleefully perch itself right on top, shouting random facts about Machu Picchu and John Cleese to those below, making the likes of You’ve Been Framed and Take Me Out feel self-conscious for their lack of knowledge.
And what’s not to love? It’s an entertaining panel show, thanks to a mixed-ability panel of guests and the father-son style banter between Stephen Fry and Alan Davies. It’s also one of few sources of television that improves your brain upon increased viewings, rather than deteriorating it.
The show has become increasingly successful over the past few years, and it was only a matter of time before the University of York’s very own Q.I. society got a slice of the 3.14 (2 d.p.). Week 9, in a team-up more epic than Batman and Robin, saw ComedySoc joining with the Q.I. society (Qomedy Soc?) to present their very own edition of the panel show. Leading the fray were participants Joe Foxon, Bob Horton, Adam Merchant and Ged Unsworth, with special guest host Stevyn Colgan, Q.I. elf.
The night was an ever faithful tribute to the show with the wonderfully weird antics that viewers, and Q.I. society members, have come to expect. Questions asked, which ranged from “Where would you cross a lagoon to get from London to Poland?” to “Who was the most destructive librarian in history?”, were all in the spirit of the show, helping to create the usual banter and disputes across the panellists. Their on stage-relationship felt fun, especially as viewers were treated to something of a ‘Battle of the Egos’.
Stevyn Colgan was an entertaining cover man for Stephen Fry, with lines such as “I’m sure it’s right, but it’s not what I’ve got on my card” and “Now now, children!” successfully taking the Q.I. elf out of the workshop in favour of the camera.
My only minor criticism was that it lacked the panache of the show, although understandably; it couldn’t benefit from an editing team, the mind-blowing experiments and that ever-quirky set. “Meh”, is what I say to that. It didn’t need it, as there was an emphasis on this being a fun, home-made night without the large budget of the original.
For me, the after talk with Steven was the ‘quite interesting’ part of the night. An amusing question and answer routine gave the audience a taster of the celebrity life he enjoys, along with occasionally seeing Stephen Fry shirtless in the dressing room… Ooer! (He did assure us he was a happily married man). We were even treated to a behind the scenes look at the making of the show, as well as a prize raffle for two signed books from the creator of Q.I.
All in all, a ‘good evening good evening good evening’, with a credible adaption of the TV show, certainly worthy of its ‘£1 admission for non-members’. As a member of the society, I hope it reels in more Q.I. eggheads or even Steven Fry himself… preferably with a shirt on!