Meet the QI elves: the fact-finders with their own hit show

Published in The Independent on Sunday on March 15, 2015

Everything is quite interesting. Or at least, it is when you’re a fact-hungry QI “elf” – one of the researchers behind the phenomenally popular and enduring BBC panel show. Spending their days trawling the internet and reference books, while keeping their ears pricked in everyday conversations, they are the show’s real brains, even if Stephen Fry gets to take the credit for their work on screen.

Though now, thanks to No Such Thing as a Fish – a weekly spin-off podcast launched by four of the elves last year – they are becoming stars in their own right. It sees them agree on four facts, which serve as a starting point for individual research missions, as they try to outdo each other with the silly, fascinating or just plain weird knowledge they’ve acquired. And there’s a big appetite for information about Tutankhamun’s mummified erection or the inventor of Shredded Wheat, it seems – one of Britain’s most popular podcasts, NSTAAF has been listened to more than seven million times in the year since its launch. It’s such a hit, they’ve even moved to the live stage: the quartet of Andy Hunter Murray, Dan Schreiber, James Harkin, and Anna Ptaszynski have a residency at the Soho Theatre, recording the podcast in front of a nerdily enthusiastic crowd. Continue reading “Meet the QI elves: the fact-finders with their own hit show”