"Birth" is the twelfth episode of the B Series of QI and the 24th episode overall. The episode was the second Christmas special (following "Advent"). It was first broadcast on BBC Two on 26 December 2004. It featured the first appearance of Mark Steel, the first time Stephen Fry was a panellist and the first time QI had had more than 4 contestants in an episode. The episode was preceded by "Beats" and followed by "Campanology".

The episode also broke the record for the largest number of forfeits in an episode: there were 11, breaking the previous record of 10 in "Bats". It was the first episode where Davies did not finish last since "Aviation".


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

  1. Rich Hall (9): 7 points
  2. Mark Steel (1): 2 points
  3. Phill Jupitus (3): -3 points
  4. Alan Davies (22): -52 points
  5. Stephen Fry (1): -56 points


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  • As well as being the gas that inflates balloons, helium alters the timbre of the voice and the sound travels faster through helium.[1]
  • The link between Santa Claus and emperor penguins is that they "come once a year".
  • People who smoke shorten their life expectancy by 5 years, while cutting off the testicles adds 13 years.
  • Italian barbers did castrations, but as the practice was illegal, they explained it as an accident; castrati are people that sing in a high pitch because they have been castrated.
  • There were no animals present at birth of Jesus.[2][3][4][5] (Note: this is incorrect as there were humans present at the birth.) In 1223, St. Francis of Assisi first came up with the idea that Jesus was in a crib.
  • The Bible does not state that there were three Wise Men (or kings), they were priests, it just said that there were three gifts. It doesn't even say there were three of them or even if they were male.
  • The name of Herod's wife was Doris.[6]
  • In the Middle Ages, the church simultaneously recognised Saint Anne (Jesus' grandmother) had seven different heads.[7]
  • Water bears can die and come back to life after three days of being dead.
  • The coldest place in the universe is in Louisiana – scientists at LSU took the temperature down to a fraction above absolute zero.

General IgnoranceEdit

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Davies swaps places with Fry. Davies asks his own set of questions, most of them "just for Stephen Fry".

  • Thomas Sørensen plays in goal for Aston Villa.
  • Mozart's middle name was Wolfgang.[8]
  • There are six different states of matter[9] (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Bose–Einstein condensate and Fermionic condensate). (Note: there are actually far more different states of matter.)
  • In the Northern Hemisphere, water drains in whichever direction you choose.
  • When penguins in the Falkland Islands see jets they move away from the noise.[10]
  • No animals are sacred in India.[11] The word "sacred" is a Christian word that doesn't really apply to India, and even if it did, it would not apply to cows. There are no cow deities, statues, icons; and no temples to cows.


  1. Makes it go up
  2. Donkey
  3. Camel
  4. Cow
  5. Sheep
  6. Mrs Herod
  7. One
  8. Amadeus
  9. Four
  10. Fall over
  11. Cow