you know that there is a bell in Oxford that has been ringing constantly since 1840? It’s battery powered. This whole time, for 178
years, it has been quietly ringing away to itself, in a little glass case. You can go and visit it if you like. Just a little bell that has been ringing since Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. I’ve lived in
Oxford for 10 years and I did not know that.
The No Such Thing As A Fish podcast delivered this and many more fascinating facts in a high energy, lovingly produced live show. The podcast, produced by a gang of QI elves in an attempt to use up some of their surplus facts (I assume) has been running for four years. Every week they put out a panel show based around four surprising facts, which they chat about. It’s incredibly engaging and very interesting as a podcast, and equally satisfying to see live.
There is something so intimate about podcasts. You listen to them for years, the characters speaking quietly into your earbuds when you’re on the bus, making you smile on the way home from a rough day. I was surprised by how much I loved watching this show, and how nice it was to put a face to the voices. This intimacy also gave the show a lovely atmosphere - it was like being in an instant gang.
The first part of the show was made up of each of the four cast members presenting a shortish talk on some subject - normally a bit in-jokey, but nicely put together and not excluding people less familiar with the show. These were uniformly great and showed some very impressive stand-up skills from the panel. The second half was a recording of the podcast, which will go out, edited, in a few weeks. It was surprisingly delightful seeing the live recording. There were a smattering of purely visual gags put in for the live audience’s benefit and a pleasing feeling of being allowed to see behind the curtain. Despite that, the show was slick, consistently funny and as engaging live as it is in audio.
You’ll be able to hear the Oxford episode here in a few weeks.