Characters / QI

The regulars and frequent (at least two appearances to their name) guests of the BBC 2/4/1 Panel Show QI:

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Stephen Fry

Alan Davies

    Panellists first appearing in series A 

Clive Anderson

Area of expertise: Law

Bill Bailey

Area of expertise: Birds

Danny Baker

Area of expertise: Music

Jo Brand

Area of expertise: Mental Health

Gyles Brandreth

  • Insufferable Genius / Know-Nothing Know-It-All: He ping-pongs between these two tropes so often it's difficult to tell whether he's got his facts straight on something or not. (Probably the safest policy on anything he says is to not trust it unless Stephen specifically confirms that it is correct.)
  • Upper-Class Twit

Rob Brydon

Area of expertise: Elvis Presley, allegedly

Jimmy Carr

Area of expertise: Gentlemen's Special Interest Magazines
  • Black Comedy: His stand-up makes frequent use of this, so naturally it carries into the show as well.
    Jimmy Carr: (On the subject of domestic violence) It's so stupid; I mean it's your wife. It's like keying your own car.
    David Mitchell: Society just got a tiny bit worse.
    Jimmy Carr: I like to think I can help.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • The Hyena: He has a very distinctive laugh.
  • Refuge in Audacity

Rich Hall

Area of expertise: The Moon, number of

Jeremy Hardy

Eddie Izzard (Pilot)

Phill Jupitus

Area of expertise: Stephen Fry impressions
  • Large Ham
  • Running Gag: Kestrels, dating from his very first appearance ("Advent"). John Sessions picked up on it in the series D episode "Drinks".
  • Token Romance: Phill has gone on record (in the making-of special) that his role on the show is to flirt with Stephen as much as possible. This may be partly a joke, but he actually does do this to some extent.

Sean Lock

Area of expertise: The Movement of Banana Trees
  • Ax-Crazy: Played for Laughs. When Stephen says that the moon has nothing to do with lunacy, for instance, Sean's response is "then why do I go out killing?"
  • Berserk Button: Whenever a "Genius" person in the panel's there, Sean's sure to mock that person endlessly.
  • Epic Fail: Currently holds the record for the lowest score by a guest panellist on the show: -76 in the "Germany" episode. (Alan, the lone regular panellist, has done worse; -84 on Cleve Crudgington under normal circumstances, and there have been special circumstances where he's gone even lower.)
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Again, Played for Laughs, he talks about kicking dogs and killing people, all with a childish glee on his face.
  • Kick the Dog: Frequently makes jokes about torturing small animals.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: An odd nonfictional example: his fanciful stories about his past experiences of being a "goatherdsman" or a plumber in Israel.
  • Phrase Catcher: His more offensive jokes are often met with an outraged "Sean Lock!" from Stephen, delivered as if he were scolding a schoolboy.
  • Refuge in Audacity

John Sessions

Area of expertise: The Birth and Death Dates of Artists
  • Insufferable Genius: He has extensive knowledge of several subjects.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Sessions is quite good at imitating voices, and did a very funny Alan Rickman impersonation by "talking without his lips touching his teeth."
  • Too Clever by Half: Despite this, he tends to fall into forfeit traps, and has managed only one win in his appearances to date (two if you count his appearance in series J: he was the highest-scoring panellist that episode, but Stephen Fry "won" that show).
  • Luvvies: The "Luvvie Alarm" was installed due to his habit of namedropping.

Linda Smith

    Panellists first appearing in series B 

Jeremy Clarkson

Area of expertise: Cars
  • Extreme Omnivore:
    • Every time he's on he likes to tell people about his unusual appetite. Tortoise leg on toast anyone?
    • He specifically noted once that he'd tried some puffin because he'd never had it before.
  • Flame Bait: To the extent that two episodes have been postponed from broadcast because he was on them, though actually due to his involvement with some scandal.

Fred MacAulay

Dara Ó Briain

Area of expertise: Science

Arthur Smith

Mark Steel

Area of expertise: The French Revolution

    Panellists first appearing in series C 

Andy Hamilton

David Mitchell

Area of expertise: History

Rory McGrath

Area of expertise: Latin

    Panellists first appearing in series D 

Ronni Ancona

Area of expertise: Obscurity

Vic Reeves

Area of expertise: Pirates

    Panellists first appearing in series E 

Charlie Higson

  • One of Us: He's a tremendous Bond fan, as you probably gathered by the fact he publishes the "Young Bond" series.

Johnny Vegas

  • Cloudcuckoolander: By far, the panellist with the most out-there responses.
  • The Ditz: Invoked; in the QI making-of special, he has gone on record as trying to be dumber than Alan.
  • Talkative Loon

    Panellists first appearing in series F 

Hugh Dennis

    Panellists first appearing in series G 

Jack Dee

  • Deadpan Snarker: He has managed to get an entire career out of doing this extremely well, after all.
  • Grumpy Bear
  • When He Smiles: It is very difficult to get Jack to do this or burst out laughing on television (radio is different, but you can't see him in that case unless you go to the recording). If you have got this reaction, you have said something extremely funny.

Lee Mack

Area of expertise: The word 'ceiling'

Graham Norton

Sue Perkins

Area of expertise: Spilling liquid all over the set

Sandi Toksvig

Area of expertise: Inventive uses of geese
  • Ascended Extra: After Stephen Fry's departure following the M series, Sandi will take over presenting duties.
  • Deadpan Snarker: With emphasis on the 'deadpan'.
  • Fake Brit: Well, yes and no. Is actually Danish, but speaks with noticeable and posh-sounding Received Pronunciation, as she was educated in England and has long since become a naturalised British citizen. She said on one episode she based her speech on actress Celia Johnson's after being made fun of for her Danish accent as a girl.
  • The Smart Guy: She's won almost every episode she's appeared in.
  • Straight Gay: And, like Fry, completely unafraid of making cracks about it.

    Panellists first appearing in series H 

Ross Noble

Area of expertise: Ewoks

    Panellists first appearing in series J 

Victoria Coren Mitchell

Area of expertise: Jackrabbits

  • The Smart Guy: Has come in first or tied on the shows she's been on.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Dreamed before the show that one of the questions would be "Why was the march hare important to the Aztecs". At the end of the show, this very question was asked. (Of course, it is likely the question was prepared during the show, however, it did in fact have a coherent answer, still fitting the spirit of this trope.)

    Panellists first appearing in series K 

Colin Lane

Josh Widdicombe

  • Suddenly Shouting: He screams instead of shouting, but he does this in reaction to Stephen smashing a rose dipped in liquid nitrogen on the desk.