One of my favourite things on television is QI. Funny, articulate, intelligent and frequently delightfully rude. And I even have a claim to fame … a couple of years back there was a thought of doing a sort of QI-lite that would include members of the public in a quiz with similar lines of questioning, but fewer jokes, and Rufus Hound (I put the link in as I did not know who he was). There was a pilot and I was recruited as an expert who had to present facts about hedgehogs to the contestants, though for the life of me I cannot remember why – whether they were guessing which was false – or I was asking questions. All a bit of a blur. I do remember that I had a little dressing room all to myself – and it had a bed in it, on which I slept. I also remember that they gave me a small brown envelope with cash in it to cover my ‘expenses’.

And that was it, I have heard nothing more of the idea, which is a shame as I reckon I could make a go of the Alan Davies part (if you have not watched it, it is worth a detour. He makes me laugh, a lot).

So why here? Where is the hedgehog link to which I am obliged to massage all ideas into?

The latest QI Annual arrived on the desk of the BHPS as it features a two page spread all about hedgehogs. Yippeeee. It even mentions my mentor, Dr Pat Morris. In fact, here are the pages for you, to give you a taster before you rush out to buy it:

And I am delighted, very delighted, that our dearly beloved hedgehog should receive such attention. BUT – and you will notice that that is a big but – I could not help but notice a certain similarity between the combinations of words used in their publication and a certain book about hedgehogs to which many of you will be familiar (and if you are not, now is your time to follow this unsubtle link to Amazon to remedy the situation forthwith).

So what to do? I am going to drop them a polite line, but what should I ask for in compensation for this insult? I was thinking of a dinner date with Mr Stephen Fry … perhaps with a trip to the opera thrown in, all at the expense of the programme. That would make for a Quite Interesting night out.


Following on from this I got a lovely response from John Lloyd – creator of QI, and producer of such icons of tv-land as Not the Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image and Blackadder …

Hello Hugh,

You were right!

Here’s the response from our researcher, Mat Coward.

Yet another of your fans!


It reads:

Hello, Dame Sir Lloyd of the Empire!
Yes indeed, his book was one of my main sources for hedgehogs. A wonderful book – one of the best wildlife books I’ve read in years. In fact, I ended up buying two copies.
all best


But still no Fry-up … should I press for more?