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The "Great" Train Robbers

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estebanrey69
663661.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:05 pm Reply with quote

But the question implied that 'Great' meant 'good' with the misconception being that people thought they were good train robbers, when in fact they weren't.

If the show is about explaining misconceptions the answer should have been that the word 'great' only describes the size of the haul.

Fry could have at least mentioned it when he was summing up.

 
Rudolph Hucker
663670.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:24 pm Reply with quote

The whole show is directed towards an anticipated level of intelligence in its audience which is expected to understand simple wordplay.

Do try to keep up old chap.

 
Flash
663685.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:48 pm Reply with quote

estebanrey - thanks for your comment. On a trivial point, this business of explaining misconceptions is only one thing we do - lots of our questions actually don't have that purpose.

More interestingly, perhaps: I think you'll find that the journalistic coinage "The Great Train Robbery" didn't refer either to the quality or the size of the robbery, so much as it did to various other incidents in history. In other words, the expression "Great Train Robbery" was already in circulation, waiting to be attached to something suitable when it came along.

 
suze
663716.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:23 pm Reply with quote

And of course, The Great Train Robbery - a 1903 movie made by the Edison organization - had been well known half a century earlier.

It's on YouTube, inevitably.

 
Flash
663725.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:32 pm Reply with quote

Yes - and there's even a 1955 episode of I Love Lucy with that title.

 
PDR
663737.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:57 pm Reply with quote

SO are we being overly rigid with our definitition of the category "great"?

PDR

 
bobwilson
663751.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:47 pm Reply with quote

There was also a point about them leaving their fingerprints all over Greenslade Farm - but didn't they pay someone to clear up the place (which seems sensible) and that person didn't do the job properly?

 
BondiTram
663902.  Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:02 am Reply with quote

And I always have to smile when I hear some jingoite say' let's put the Great back into Britain'.
In the context of Britain the word great is a contraction of greater, a geographical refererence tho the whole island of Britain rather than just the smaller bit that the Romans conquered.
If it were not so would anyone for one moment suppose that the French would use the term 'Grande Bretagne'.
Of course that could refer to the large bit across the Channel as opposed to the smaller region of 'Bretagne'.
Either way, I'm sure they don't mean it is a terrifically brilliant country.

 
Bondee
664340.  Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:58 am Reply with quote

BondiTram wrote:
And I always have to smile when I hear some jingoite say' let's put the Great back into Britain'.


Does anyone remember the advertising campaign from a well know brand of tea that graced the airwaves a few years ago?

Quote:
Typhoo! Putting the "T" in Britain!


So, what they're saying is that if it wasn't for them we'd all be living in Dara O'Briain?

 
hassan el kebir
664441.  Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:15 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
but didn't they pay someone to clear up the place (which seems sensible) and that person didn't do the job properly?


That was the solicitor's clerk, Brian Field, who, on release, changed his name to Brian Carlton and, as far as I can remember, died in a traffic accident a few years ago.

 
fayfran
876336.  Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:05 am Reply with quote

Brian Carlton worked for the Children's Book Centre in Kensington in the late 1970s. He and his wife were a very glamorous, charming couple who travelled Europe running book exhibitions in schools. Nobody (perhaps not even his wife) knew of his previous life.

The freak car accident that killed both Brian and his wife, on their way down the M4 to his wife's parents' home in Wales in 1979, was quite big news at the time. Not (initially) because of the Carlton/Field connection but because the car which flipped over the crash barrier, landing on their Porsche, was carrying members of the family of 1950s celebrity hairdresser Teasy Weasy.

It was only because of his death that his former identity was discovered.

 
Zebra57
876363.  Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:01 am Reply with quote

Welcome to Qi fayfran an interesting fact.

 
Jenny
876484.  Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:03 pm Reply with quote

Welcome fayfran :-)

 
Strawberry
876494.  Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:22 pm Reply with quote

Hi, Fayfran; welcome to QI.

 
fayfran
876534.  Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:29 pm Reply with quote

Thank you both! Great site, looking forward to exploring!

 

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