Stephen Fry's Key to the City

Stephen Fry's Key to the City


“Do you mind if I finger your ermine?” asks Stephen Fry as he follows a recently installed Lord Mayor. It’s a line you would only hear from him, and only in the bizarre nest of ancient rituals that is the City of London. Fry was recently made a freeman of the City and he takes full advantage here to tour the secret nooks and crannies of the Square Mile. These range from the control room of Tower Bridge (“Oh my heavens...This is an absolute miracle!”) to a vault in the Bank of England that contains £2 billion in mint £20 notes – an oddly thrilling sight.

He’s eloquent on the visceral power of so much “raw cash” but less successful pinning down a senior banker. Overall, it’s a diverting meander through a colourful fiefdom that also happens to be the engine room of the economy.


The QI host tours the City of London, discovering the hidden mysteries of this rich and powerful square mile. Along the way, he visits the Bank of England's vaults, witnesses high drama at the London Metal Exchange as dealers buy and sell stocks, and experiences Dead Man's Walk at the Old Bailey, where many condemned criminals trod their final steps. Plus, as a recipient of the Freedom of the City of London, Stephen finds out just what privileges this gives him.