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Format thoughts for second series

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alf
3212.  Fri Dec 12, 2003 11:12 am Reply with quote

I think it would be good if there was scope to reprise questions from the first series occasionally - it could either be just to put Alan Davies on the spot, or other panellists who were there for that particular show ...

So it could be a special, occasional feature: AND NOW A ROUND ALL FOR ALAN DAVIES, WHO HAS SAT THROUGH EVERY PROGRAM SINCE THE START ...

Then ask him a single, appropriately interesting/difficult question from program 3, series 1, and see if he has the faintest idea what the answer is.

*

IN GENERAL:
It would be interesting to know how much of any of this sinks in ... to quantify in some way the extent to which it goes in one ear and out the other of our panellists.
Maybe there's even better ways to treat this concept. I do think that as well as churning out endless reams of qi facts, it would be nice to somehow to show that people are given extra points for actually REMEBERING it! or something like that.


[Another special round which might be funny, along the same lines, would be to occasionally give Alan one minute to remember AS MUCH AS HE CAN from the first series ... and see if he can come up with anything at all in that time, as a desperate race against the clock.

The excuse for this could be one program when he has scored particularly badly, and Stephen says, as a bonus, that he can try to redeem himself, scoring points for everything he remembers successfully ...

Stephen then comes in, after Alan has presumably failed to come up with much, and says, "You could have had the fact there are two moons, etc etc ..."]

 
alf
3213.  Fri Dec 12, 2003 11:21 am Reply with quote

Is there any chance that we could have just 12 topics for the second series, and spend the whole show on one topic ... ?
Eg the BOAR WAR must have a show's worth of bizarre anecdotage, geographical interest, historical significance, amusing mishaps on the battlefield, opportunities to talk about life and culture of the times; you can still have tonnes of different kinds of questions, different rounds even, but they still all connect more or less loosely to the Boar war.
It might give the show's a greater sense of depth, even if slightly illusory?

Looking at the talkboard list of topics, THE BIBLE could surely sustain a damn interesting episode; THE BODY maybe, sounds a bit bland put like that; but it would be easy to think of topics big and potentially spiky enough to hang lots of different angles from ...

 
Frederick The Monk
3236.  Fri Dec 12, 2003 5:42 pm Reply with quote

Hello Alf. Are you still very tall?

If we were to restrict each show to one theme - and hence risk potential reducing the scope of questioning somewhat - what would we gain? I'm not sure that having a theme for a show particularly helps and may possibly prevent some of the more interesting connections being made. I'm a great believer in having as much connective material as possible - and not just in my soft tissues - as I feel the connections between facts are actually what make them interesting.

 
alf
3266.  Mon Dec 15, 2003 8:21 am Reply with quote

You don't need the ENTIRE field of human knowledge at your disposal to draw a few connections between things for half an hour - I'm sure we could still fill a show!

[On the Boar War, one could ask whatever one wanted; about weather forcasting technology at the time and how accurate it was, about favourite recipes of soldiers, about the technology of delivering letters, about the medical knowledge and practices of the time, about the ways ambassadors communicated with one another and humorous stories deriving from them, about the wildlife of the time, about the moral codes of that period, about the theory of evolution that was taking root England, about the etiquette of dinner parties, the likely ways that soldier's wives back home spent their day; and if we want to we can ask about other things in the world and universe at large that were happening at the time of the boar war, including supernova or mathematical discoveries or lewis carroll pottering around back home, or whatever etcetera ... It doesn't seem particularly restrictive to me.]

Of course, the broader you cast your net, the more illusory is the sense of focus; but for me, the letter of the alphabet restriction is essentially bogus because it is just TOO broad - why even restrict yourself at all, when it is so loose - whereas perhaps a narrower restriction would add something extra, would actually be NOTICED by an audience [unlike the letter of the alphabet restriction]; whilst still being interpreted flexibly enough to let us make good questions.

QI obviously has two agendas - humorous and factual. I think the humerous level is generally working extremely well. Alan is brilliant, etcetera ... And this is of course what people judge the show on, first and foremost. This is why the show is going down so well.

Personally, I've always found the factual level more problematic. What level of importance are we attaching to it? Given that most of the time, the panellists don't give a damn about the answers - with certain honorable exceptions like the "two moons" kind of fact - I get confused sometimes about how much we are expecting the country at large to care.

Some episodes of QI feel a bit like a stone skimming across the surface of the ocean of knowledge. Many questions are so randomly juxtaposed that few people will remember them. Is this a bad thing? Perhaps not. Should we try to give a greater sense of depth to the show - factually speaking - or is it something we needn't worry about? If we DO worry about it, what are ways to give it greater depth without making Stephen's autocue even stodgier?
These are the questions that trouble me. I don't claim to have any answers.

Certainly, clustering questions around themes within the show gives a little more depth. E.g., no one remembers specific Roman cures for ailments, but because there were several questions on the subject, I expect a lot of people will have taken away the basic idea that there were some very weird Roman cures knocking around. So at least they remember something.
On the other hand, freeing up the script from rounds, letting questions drift one into another quite haphazardly, had a light, knockabout feel to it that possibly improved the comedy side of things.
So it's a tricky one.

I'll shut up.

x

 
ryewacket
3267.  Mon Dec 15, 2003 8:44 am Reply with quote

I quite like the way that some of the threads here have gone "bendy" as one wise old sage put it on the "Black Holes" thread: The slow deviation from an original point, each step one further removed from the original, yet with a clear sequence visible. Just an observation, but if questions could be somehow semantically linked with the topic previously discussed, the entire show would take on a dream-logic all of its own, and come back to bite its own tail.

Like the old gag about why fire engines are red:

Fire engines have eight crew and four wheels. Four and eight make twelve and there are twelve inches on the average ruler. Elizabeth the first was an above average ruler and her navy commanded the seas, thus being seen by millions of fish. Fish have fins: the Finns fought the Russians, and at the time the Russian flag was red. QED.

That sort of thing.

 
Jenny
3270.  Mon Dec 15, 2003 9:25 am Reply with quote

The way the 'interestrings' thing works on the front page of the QI website is good and makes obscure yet (in hindsight) obvious links between topics. If you wanted to change the alphabetical formula, that would be another good way of doing it.

I have a memory tickling my brain somewhere of a radio quiz programme that does something like that - 'Brain of Britain' maybe?

 
alf
3273.  Mon Dec 15, 2003 9:46 am Reply with quote

Hi guys, thanks for joining this thread! [It being my first an' all, so encouragement is appreciated].

I seem to recall that on University Challenge a frequent device used in a batch of three questions is to make each question about the last answer ... e.g. if the answer to a question was Ben Franklin, then he would be involved in the next question, and so on.

In general I think this is quite an appealing approach, I agree. Problem is, in the first series we edited out half the questions [when e.g. the panel weren't very funny]; whereas this approach commits you to keeping every question in or you break the chain. So I'm not sure it could work as an explicit feature of the program.

 
Jenny
3288.  Mon Dec 15, 2003 11:58 am Reply with quote

Good point alf - yes, now you say it I think it was University Challenge. (So - TV not radio, which goes to show how much I watch rather than listen to things...)

 
BobTheScientist
3311.  Tue Dec 16, 2003 4:17 am Reply with quote

alf wrote:
You don't need the ENTIRE field of human knowledge at your disposal to draw a few connections between things for half an hour - I'm sure we could still fill a show!

[On the Boar War, one could ask whatever one wanted; about weather forcasting technology at the time and how accurate it was, about favourite recipes of soldiers, about the technology of delivering letters,
<much deleted>
including supernova or mathematical discoveries or lewis carroll pottering around back home, or whatever etcetera ... It doesn't seem particularly restrictive to me.]

I have a book back home which culls contemporary newspapers for what was happening on 21st October 1805 (Battle of Trafalgar) which included stuff from the Lewis and Clark expedition diary. I thought that the ...meanwhile back at the castle (or teepee) idea was particularly engaging, but mainly because it linked two different history-book pages. Most of the book was pretty boring - market prices for fat ewes in Shrewsbury etc.

Personally, I've always found the factual level more problematic. What level of importance are we attaching to it? Given that most of the time, the panellists don't give a damn about the answers - with certain honorable exceptions like the "two moons" kind of fact - I get confused sometimes about how much we are expecting the country at large to care.

Some episodes of QI feel a bit like a stone skimming across the surface of the ocean of knowledge.


I'm glad you said all that Alf. Being a TVless person, I only got to see one episode (in a B&B in Troon with Stewart tartan carpets and 27 different floral motifs in the rest of the decor in the bedroom alone) which happened to be the two moons one. And I found the closure ... now we've had enough of that; moving quickly on ... unsatisfying. Cruithne can be a jumping off point for so much else: gravity -> escape velocity -> Voyager -> the solar system -> The Universe. Could a section of the www.qi.com website not be engaged for supplementary material for those who want more than 5 minutes of QI. It's difficult enough to do a Google search if you've only ever heard the word Cruithne for the first time: Google does its best with spelinge but has limits.

 
Stapes
5294.  Tue Jan 27, 2004 7:56 am Reply with quote

This is just to keep everyone up to date with format thoughts that have been discussed recently, and obviously any new ideas which they might prompt:

Spot the Bullshit (Alf's idea I think)
4 "facts", 1 is false. Will be helpful for great nuggets of research, which don't easily make a whole question. Instead of / as well as GI?

What is the question to which this is the answer? (nb this is the title of the round, not a question in itself, or we could be here all day)
This came out of the meeting. I can just picture Henry Kelly on Going for Gold saying "Who am I? I am a 19th century poet and IT boy who is most famous for shagging his sister" or something along those lines.

Some kind of test for Alan
As already suggested by Alf - Alan has sat through every single show so far, but can he remember what he got wrong the first time round? Or Flash's idea to take this a stage further, for questions where there have been recent developments or research findings rendering the original answer now incorrect

priming the panellists
This came out of the meeting: do we tell the guests to "swot up" on a featured subject, so that we can either question them on it, or so that they can give longer, funnier answers?

specialist subject
My idea: based on the above, guests answer questions on a specialist subject beginning with B, of their own choosing - obviously labour intensive, so could be saved for a special episode eg christmas special

colouring competition
JL has suggested drawing a wigwam, which is fundamentally different from a teepee.

another points system
ideas came out of a meeting like handing out/rolling out coloured balls along a channel, in the style of a pool table ball holder. Any other suggestions?

Sublimal answer flashes
Dan's idea. Test the power of subliminal messages by flashing up the answers, in text or picture form, on the screens behind the contestants

Dressing up
my idea: final show/christmas special, guests must come dressed as something beginning with B

credits
is there another way to open/close the show?

themed shows
has already been discussed but not definitively. Alf has done a lot of work on a butterfly-themed show. Would this work well on some subjects but not others? Would viewers be put off? Would contestants have enough to talk about?[/b]

 
Stapes
5296.  Tue Jan 27, 2004 11:58 am Reply with quote

Another idea I had:
The Boring Round
Having just looked at the pylon of the month website, as recommended on the boredom thread, how about a round of questions which are utterly boring, or a subject matter with absolutely nothing of interest about it. It's the complete opposite of being even vaguely interesting. If only Shooting Stars hadn't already done the tumbleweed across the set idea after Vic Reeves' bad jokes. Or we could incorporate such websites as pylon of the month, and do something with them like HIGNFY does with headlines from Pigeon Fanciers Quarterly etc.

 
Jenny
5298.  Tue Jan 27, 2004 1:37 pm Reply with quote

The only problem with that is that almost everything is interesting to somebody, and I can envisage shoals of letters from pylon-enthusiasts (or even nylon-enthusiasts) or aficionados of fire hydrants.

 
Stapes
5315.  Wed Jan 28, 2004 6:06 am Reply with quote

Dan has just suggested a good way to structure a Boring Round: Stephen offers 20 points to anyone who can say anything even vaguely interesting about eg: pylons; slippers etc.

It is actually quite "QI", because the whole point of it is finding something new and interesting in what we think we know all about. Stephen could even finish the round by giving some background info of our own researched facts.

 
Jenny
5324.  Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:12 pm Reply with quote

That is an excellent idea. One of the difficulties of convincing reluctant adolescents to study a subject they don't enjoy is that they can't see that anybody might find anything interesting about it, and this might give an alternative viewpoint.

 
brackett
5333.  Thu Jan 29, 2004 6:31 am Reply with quote

I agree, Dan's suggestion really was brilliant. Genius. He must have some brain on him.

Someone -Jumpin' jack, I think- had the idea of giving the panal homework, and having them come into the show with their own subject of interest to talk about.
But perhaps we could incorporate the idea of the boredom round into to this.
We pick a boring topic –power-lines, etc.- and have them try to find something interesting about them at home. Then at some point in the show they present their case on why they think it is so interesting.

I mean there must be some great boring subjects out there, that are just screaming out to be interesting. I once passed a sign that read "Railway Enthusiasts Club" ...Now something interesting has to be going on in there. Could you imagine the conversations. I kick myself everyday for having not joined.

 

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