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- Gentleman Snarker
- Sophisticated as Hell
- Straight Gay
- Quintessential British Gentleman:
- The others regularly make jokes about how ridiculously posh he supposedly is.
- In an episode where Fry revealed he owned both a copper teakettle and an Aga stove, an exasperated Phil Jupitus exclaimed "It's no wonder Twinings had you, pal!"
- Actor Allusion: Other panellists often make jabs at his role in Jonathan Creek.
- Butt Monkey
- Curious as a Monkey: If the panel is handed a fragile historical artifact or common household tool, Alan will play with it. It's gotten to the point where the people who lend out these artifacts add a clause that Alan is not to touch them.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not often, but has played this role from time to time.
- The Ditz: In the first few series particularly, but starting in Series D he's been getting more wins and second-place finishes. He slipped back into this a bit in Series H (his first with no wins since Series C), but recovered in Series I.
- Obfuscating Stupidity/Contractual Genre Blindness: From a special on the making of the show, it seems that he's sometimes obligated to give the "stupid answers" that would make the klaxon go off.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Has never managed to get a blue whale question right, but finally got one in the L Series, earning bonus points. Unfortunately, the objective of that episode was to get the lowest possible score, so he ended up in last place by a hefty margin.
Panellists first appearing in series A
- Area of expertise: Law
- Area of expertise: Birds
- One of Us: Seen wearing Dragon Ball Z and Naruto T—shirts in some episodes.
- Renaissance Man: Comedian, actor, multi-instrumentalist, bird watcher, former butterfly collector, author...
- Area of expertise: Music
- Area of expertise: Mental Health
- Contractual Genre Blindness: On occasion. If she has already received a number of forfeits in an episode, she'll start trying to set the klaxon off deliberately.
- Dirty Old Woman: Makes the most dirty jokes of possibly anyone on the show. See "Jumble" for some particularly gross ones.
- Does Not Like Men: Played for Laughs, of course.
- Henpecked Husband: Has one if she's to be believed. Played for Laughs. Of course, her real-life husband is much more attractive than she lets on, and by all accounts they have a wonderful relationship.
- Hidden Depths: For all of Jo's crude humour she is actually well clued up on a number of subjects.
- Iron Lady: Usually the token female panellist yet is able to put the men down quite easily and the audience love her.
- 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
- Area of expertise: Elvis Presley, allegedly
- Attention Whore: Does not like Johnny Vegas stealing the limelight.
- Captain Obvious: He likes to make an Overly Long Gag out of explaining something everyone already knows, starting with his lecture on smoke in "Fire and Freezing."
- Feigning Intelligence: Dresses what little he does know up as more interesting, profound and noteworthy than it is in order to impress Stephen.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: A few words into an impression he'll tell you who it is.
- No Respect Guy: Has the eyes of prostitution.
- Self-Deprecation: Anything to do with the Welsh.
- 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
- Area of expertise: The Moon, number of
- Deadpan Snarker
- Funny Foreigner: There have been other Americans on the show, but Rich Hall is the only recurring one.
- Grumpy Bear
- Running Gag: "Which moon are we talking about?" Culminated in a forfeit in Series I.
- The Stoic
- When He Smiles: Very rare, true, but when it happens, it's enough to make most people go "D'aaaaaaaw".
Eddie Izzard (Pilot)
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Actor Existence Failure: She died of cancer in 2006.
Panellists first appearing in series B
- 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.
- Self-Deprecation: About Scotland.
Dara Ó Briain
- Area of expertise: Science
- Self-Deprecation: Occasionally about Ireland.
- The Smart Guy: Science fan.
- Unfortunate Name: Alan suggest his first name sounds like Diarrhoea. Dara naturally has the response you'd expect.
- Verbal Tic: Eh...
- Area of expertise: The French Revolution
Panellists first appearing in series C
- Area of expertise: History
- Deadpan Snarker
- Rant Comedy: Many of his responses and reactions. The BBC made a supercut of his "angry logic".
- The Smart Guy: One of the few who engages his brain when answering a question and not trying to show off.
- Area of expertise: Latin
Panellists first appearing in series D
- Area of expertise: Obscurity
- Area of expertise: Pirates
Panellists first appearing in series E
- One of Us: He's a tremendous Bond fan, as you probably gathered by the fact he publishes the "Young Bond" series.
Panellists first appearing in series F
Panellists first appearing in series G
- 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.
- Area of expertise: The word 'ceiling'
- Brief Accent Imitation: Gets called out on it by Stephen Fry and David Tennant. Repeatedly.
- The Gadfly: He seems to have an ability to find out and push people's Berserk Buttons.
- Oop North
- Area of expertise: Spilling liquid all over the set
- Contractual Genre Blindness: She loves getting the klaxon, it seems.
- 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
- 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
- Funny Foreigner: Colin is Australian.
- 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.