QI is a British television show from the BBC, conceived by John Lloyd, who has also appeared in one episode of the show. It is a comedy panel show with Stephen Fry as the quizmaster and normally four panellists, although there were five on one occasion.
The other panellists are often stand up comedians, such as Sean Lock and Jo Brand, although actors such as Robert E. Grant and other celebrities and television presenters have also appeared on it. Some of the panellists have appeared in many episodes and series, although only Alan Davies is a regular.
Each panellist has a buzzer, which, other than testing at the beginning, are rarely used in the episode. The sound alters from panellist to panellist and episode to episode, typically related to the theme of that episode, although Alan Davies' buzzer is often derogatory in some way.
Each series has a letter theme, with the latest series from 2011 being the letter I. Each episode in the series has a theme based on something beginning with that letter, for example, there was an episode on Electricity in Series E, although the basis can be very loose.
Scoring on the show is a mystery. Contestants are awarded more points for answers that are interesting, and deducted points for answers that are wrong. Obvious answers, that aren't actually true, trigger a Klaxon and the answer flashing up on the screens behind the panel. Originally, Stephen Fry had some cards with the obvious answers printed on them, but this changed to them being displayed on the screens.
The final round is called General Ignorance, as opposed to the more normal General Knowledge. This round consists of questions where the generally known answers are not in actual fact true. On the documentary about QI, called QI Genesis, it was said that it's getting harder to find questions for General Ignorance after so many episodes.
The "QI Elves" - the researchers who put the questions together - don't always get it right, and some wrong answers have been given. Then again, errors are made in published encyclopaedias too.
Mistakes by Panel Members
Answers given by panel members in one episode that they received point for that, at a later point, found to be not true, have resulted in a points deduction in a later episode that they appeared in, even if in a different series.
Both Danny Baker and Dara O'Briain have lost points this way, Danny Baker for saying it was impossible for anyone to lick their elbow, and Dara O'Briain for saying the triple point of water was 0 degrees C. A woman contacted QI and said she could lick her own elbow; which she did on air in a later episode, and the triple point of water is actually 0.01 degrees C.
Dara O'Briain did receive points in another episode for an answer he gave in a prior episode and series that actually turned out to be correct when it was looked into.