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The QI FAQ

How can you become a researcher for QI?

The QI research team is quite small, so the opportunities to become a regular paid researcher are limited. However, we believe that anyone can and should try their hand at their own QI research and post their results to our Talkboard. Just register, pick a thread that looks interesting and join the conversation. When we launch our new website, we plan to include an audition forum for aspiring researchers or elves, as they are known.

How can I be in the studio audience for QI?

We can't guarantee tickets (many thousands apply for each series), but the way to do it is through the excellent ticket booking company, the Applause Store. The 'J' series recordings will most likely take place in May and June 2012.

I've spotted a mistake in one of the QI TV shows or books. How do I let you know?

We do make mistakes, and we are always keen to have them pointed out. The easiest way is to submit your eagle-eyed corrections is by sending an e-mail to elves@qi.com where a team of senior Elves will assess your contribution and make suitably humble bleats of contrition if you are proved correct. The QI Quibble Blog is where we post corrections and clarifications.

Which series have appeared on DVD?

So far, only the first three series (A, B and C) have appeared on DVD, and they are available through the QI Shop. There are no fixed plans to produce more. This is as annoying for us as it is for you. QI is repeated regularly, both on the BBC itself and on the digital channel Dave. There are also plenty of clips circulating on the web and this all makes the DVDs less attractive as a commercial proposition. Plus, the back-projected images that are such an integral feature of the show have caused some clearance problems for international distribution. So, what are we doing about it? Looking at doing a deal which would enable us to produce and sell them ourselves, direct from the QI website. We'll keep you posted on our progress.

If I buy an existing DVD outside Europe, will I be able to watch it?

It depends. The three existing series DVDs are all coded for Region 2, that is UK, Europe, Japan, South Africa and the Middle East. There is also a new compilation DVD produced in Australia, called QI: The Best Bits, which is coded for Region 4 (Australia, NZ, Central and South America). Some DVD players allow you to switch between regions, some don't. For avoidance of doubt here is a handy list of the different codes used by different areas. Yes, it seems annoyingly complicated to us, too...

Which countries show QI?

The BBC TV show has been sold to ABC in Australia and Prime in New Zealand. A Dutch version was made in 2009, and programmes have been sold to Sweden and Africa. Unfortunately, neither the BBC show nor the format has found a home in the USA, but we continue to harass the deluded executives of all the major network and cable channels, and have started a petition which you're welcome to sign here. In the meantime, for those fans that can't wait, there are some choice clips on our own site here, and on the excellent British Comedy Guide site.

What type of spiral appears on Stephen's desk?

There has been a lot of debate as to whether the spiral that decorates Stephen's desk is a golden spiral, a logarithmic spiral, or something else entirely.

We can now reveal that, since the spiral is made by joining-up the vertices of various rectangles, it's actually more like a fibonacci spiral than a golden spiral. However, having said that, it's not really a fibonacci spiral either.

A fibonacci spiral is created by joining-up the vertices of rectangles which have a ratio of sides equal to the golden ratio (1.618 to 1). The rectangles that form the spirals on Stephen's desk, by contrast, have ratios of sides of 1.24 to 1 (central) and 1.76 to 1 (outer). Such a fudge was necessary in order to make the set look aesthetically pleasing, and so the spiral is actually neither a golden spiral, nor is it a fibonacci spiral - perhaps we should call it a 'QI Spiral'.

For more information about all sorts of spirals, the QI Set, and the designer behind it, check out the Qibble blog entry on this subject.