"Beats" is the eleventh episode of the B Series of QI and the 23rd episode overall. It was first broadcast on BBC Two on 17 December 2004. It featured Mark Gatiss' first appearance.


Numbers in brackets mark appearances - e.g. "(2)" means "(second appearance)".

  1. Linda Smith (3): 2 points
  2. Mark Gatiss (1): -4 points
  3. Sean Lock (5): -8 points
  4. Alan Davies (20): -13 points


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia's article "QI (B series)" (view authors here or here). Smallwikipedialogo
  • Snakes prefer to look at musical instruments, since they have no ears. Although it was recently revealed that they have an otic nerve. All you have to do is pretend you have an instrument and it will still move around as if it was mesmerised by the actions.
  • What have cats got to do with violins?[1] – Nothing, sheep's guts are used for making violin strings. In Medieval times, it was considered unlucky to kill cats, so the people who had the monopoly on violins claimed that they used catguts, because their rivals would never kill a cat. The same rival families have been making them for over 600 years. Nowadays nylon and steel are added, but many claim the sheepgut is still the best. A cat's penis has barbs and a bone in it.
  • Spiders like listening to classical music, according to research at the University of Ohio (note: actually the Miami University). When listening to techno and rap, they made their webs as far away from the speaker as possible, but when listening to Bach, they made their webs as near to the speaker as possible. Huntsman spiders are the only spiders with lungs.
  • In 1995, NASA did an experiment on spider webs after the spider has had caffeine, LSD and marijuana. When subjected to LSD, they were more geometrical. When they had caffeine, they were all over the place and with marijuana, they slightly in between the other two.
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a synesthete, someone who experiences one type of sensory input by a cognitive pathway commonly associated with another input, such as the visualization of colors upon hearing sound. Mr. Fry tells of Dr. Julian Asher, a geneticist specializing in synesthesia (and a synesthete himself), who, when taken to concerts as a child, assumed that the lights dimmed prior to the concert to allow for better visualization of the colors.
  • In 1988, Warner Communications paid $28,000,000 for the rights to the song "Happy Birthday To You". It was composed in 1924 by two women, but Irving Berlin first included the words to the music in 1933. Officially, if you sing it in a public place, you owe Warner Communications money. It was also the first song to be sung in space, by the Apollo 9 crew. The song was originally a song to be sung in class, referred to as "Good Morning To All".
  • Mike Batt's (who wrote the song for "The Wombles") worst compilation was the song "One Minute Silence", which he stole from John Cage's notable 1952 record 4′33″, which is total silence. He actually credited the song as "One Minute Silence (Batt/Cage)" and he also wrote the song for William Hague's 1997 leadership campaign.
  • During a news bulletin on Good Friday in 1930, there was no news, so the presenter played some music for a period of 10 minutes. Apart from football matches, the only main thing going on was a rebellion in Chittagong, India, but that didn't happen until after the news had finished.

General IgnoranceEdit

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia's article "QI (B series)" (view authors here or here). Smallwikipedialogo
  • A stave is shown using the Benesh movement notation, displaying steps of the Hokey Cokey. The American version was made by a man called Larry LaPrise who died in 1996.
  • The first invention to break the sound barrier was a whip's sonic boom.[2] The sound of a whip isn't leather hitting leather, it's a loop made by the whip that tapers to a point and reaches a speed of 724 mph. It was only discovered after humans used high-speed cameras to slow it down.
  • When you listen to the waves in a seashell, you hear the air.[3][4]
  • The composer of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" was, according to Mr. Fry, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who wrote 12 variations of the theme when he was 5 years old. In fact, only one of these is true. While Mozart did compose the twelve variations (K. 265/300e), he was much older at the time. He also did not compose the tune, whose origins are "veiled in obscurity."


  1. Catgut strings
  2. Cannonball
  3. The sea
  4. Blood vessels