QI returns to BBC Two with a huge celebration

Everything you need to know about the cleverest panel show on telly.

Sandi Toksvig (BBC)

It’s difficult to remember a time when QI wasn’t on the telly.

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The intelligent panel show, which has been running since 2003, is a staple of the schedules – even if there’s not a new episode on our screens, you can usually find a repeat somewhere!

The great news is there’s a brand new series on its way to us tonight. In honour of QI’s endless pursuit of knowledge, here’s a few questions answered about the super smart show…

Who are the guests on this series of QI?

There are some new friends sitting round the QI table this series, including actor John Barrowman, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and comedians Zoe Lyons, Mark Watson, Jessica Fostekew, Maisie Adam and Shazia Mirza.

QI favourites David Mitchell, Joe Lycett, Aisling Bea, Sara Pascoe, Holly Walsh, Josh Widdicombe, Liza Tarbuck, Tom Allen and Johnny Vegas will all be back, as well as Phil Jupitus, with his 45th appearance making him the show’s most frequent guest.

Which letter is QI on this series, and which topics will be covered?

Each series, QI bases all of its questions on a letter of the alphabet. It’s the letter ‘R’ under scrutiny this series, kicking off with an episode about rudeness, including the rude words that were banned from the BBC in the 1950s and the rude things you can do with a shuttlecock (we’ll leave your imagination to do the work…).

Other ‘R’-related topics this series include ‘Recipes’ including the suggestion that its odd to include tomatoes in ketchup, ‘Rome’ where it used to be illegal for bakers to be friends with comedians, ‘Roundabouts’ which were initially dismissed by the UK media as ‘un-British’ and ‘Reflections’ which apparently make horses calmer.

The show’s resident question setters, the QI Elves say: “In ‘R’ we finally found the letter we want to take home and introduce to our parents. The wedding’s going to be huge – and EVERYONE is invited!”

Tune in on Thursday nights for more quite interesting facts.

Who presents QI now?

Sandi Toksvig took over from Stephen Fry in 2016, and the R series will be her fifth outing in the host’s chair. Alan Davies has continued on as the show’s regular panellist.

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QI returns to BBC Two tonight at 9pm. To find out what else is on, check out our TV Guide.