The Elves are the team of writers, researchers and comedians behind QI's shows, books and podcasts. They regularly emerge from their dens to appear on Zoe Ball's BBC Radio 2 show, create YouTube videos, tweet, and generally uncover the brilliant and the fascinating.
Senior Creative, QI Assistant Producer
QI found Alex wandering the streets of London during his gap year offering suspiciously cheap Latin tuition to GCSE students. He is now QI's in-house director, writes and operates the klaxon for the TV show, and occasionally guests on No Such Thing As A Fish. Although if anyone's interested, he still has a mattressfull of knock-off practice exam papers to shift, going for very reasonable prices at EZ-latin-A-grade.net.Twitter: @alexbell
Andrew Hunter Murray
QI Scriptwriter, No Such Thing As A Fish co-host
Andrew has worked at QI since 2008, on the TV series and books, as well as co-hosting No Such Thing As A Fish. When not Quite Interestingly employed, he works at Private Eye magazine, writing jokes and journalism and hosting the Eye's podcast, Page 94. He is also a co-founder of the award-winning comedy group Austentatious. His debut novel, The Last Day, was published in 2020 and his second, The Sanctuary, in 2022.Twitter: @andrewhunterm
QI Script Editor, No Such Thing As A Fish co-host
Anna is a researcher, writer and script-editor for QI and co-presenter of the podcast No Such Thing As A Fish. She has contributed to multiple QI fact books, The Third Book Of General Ignorance and The Book(s) of the Year 2017, 2018 and 2019. Previous employment includes licking stamps for an MSP, prettifying spreadsheets in the Melbourne theatre industry and selling plum wine to anyone foolish enough to buy it.Fax: 01865 400369
QI Assistant Producer, Museum Of Curiosity Producer
Anne is from Scotland and joined QI in 2011. She writes scripts and is an Assistant Producer on QI and produces our sister BBC Radio Four show The Museum of Curiosity. She worked on the series of QI fact books and was Editor in Chief for the latest, Funny You Should Ask... Again. Anne reached the semi-finals of BBC Two’s fiendishly difficult quiz Only Connect, has two Blue Peter badges and is the author of the children's mystery series Mickey and the Animal Spies.Twitter: @miller_anne
No Such Thing As A Fish co-host
Dan has done a lot of co-ing. He co-created and co-produced 7 series of BBC Radio 4’s The Museum of Curiosity, co-produced Frank Skinner’s The Rest Is History panel show, co-created and co-hosts the hit podcast No Such Thing As A Fish as well as co-authoring the bestselling Book of the Year Series and its spin-off BBC2 show No Such Thing As The News. Dan has also appeared on numerous TV and radio shows including his own Channel 4 documentary on UFO conspiracies, and co-hosting Beast Week on Animal Planet in the USA.Twitter: @schreiberland
QI Researcher and Scriptwriter
Edward has been a scriptwriter and fact-finder for QI since 2016. As the 'antiquarian elf' (his words, not workplace bullying) he has a speciality in antique maps and rare books. Outside of QI, he is the bestselling author of The Madman’s Library, The Phantom Atlas, The Sky Atlas, The Golden Atlas, and Fox Tossing, Octopus Wrestling and Other Forgotten Sports. His writing has been featured in The Guardian, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and other publications. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Edward lives in a dusty heap of old maps and books in London.Twitter: @foxtosser
QI Researcher, Scriptwriter, and Illustrator
Emily joined the research team in 2018 on QI's sister programme, The Museum of Curiosity. She then entered the ranks of true elfdom and began researching for QI proper. Emily later revealed she has aptitude for drawing, and was recruited as QI's in-house illustrator, providing illustrations for social media, props and QI's most recent book series Funny You Should Ask.... She’s also on the social media team, wrangling clips for YouTube and helping create content for QI's Tiktok page. Emily has a Masters in Social Anthropology and plays Dnd in her spare time… which is nerdy even by QI standards.Twitter: @emilyjupitus
QI Researcher, Scriptwriter and Producer
QI's network of secretive recruiters identified Ethan early on, after flagging a string of school reports with the phrase ‘too clever for his own good’. Having undergone QI's gruelling elf training regime, he now researches for the TV show, crafts questions for The Tournament, creates YouTube content, and works in the QITV studio. Ethan's trademark party tricks include echolocation (like a dolphin) and putting both legs over his head (if you're lucky).Twitter: @ethanruparelia
QI Researcher, Scriptwriter and Audio Editor
Jack is an Under-17-javelin champion from Lewisham (that's as far as we got down his CV before immediately hiring him). As well as hand-rearing and wrangling tweets for @qikipedia, producing videos for YouTube, contributing to QI's books, and researching for the TV show, his maths degree has earned him the job of maintaining the company database, BlueWhale. In his spare time he cooks, plays Ultimate Frisbee and keeps his eye out for interesting pieces of metal. He's also the boring Elf behind Underwhelming Facts on twitter.Twitter: @QuiteWhelming
Head of QI Research, No Such Thing As A Fish co-host
James Harkin - James is Head of Research and Script Editor for QI; one of the team behind the hit podcast No Such Thing as a Fish; appeared on BBC2's No Such Thing as the News; and has co-authored a dozen of QI’s most recent books. In the course of his duties over the years, James has played golf with monks in Bhutan, danced with the world's most advanced humanoid robot, sung Baby Shark at the Hammersmith Apollo, and learned how to tear a telephone directory in half. He broke the Guinness world record for pulling Christmas crackers during the rehearsal for last year’s QI Christmas special, only for Alan Davies to beat it four hours later.Twitter: @jamesharkin
Social Media Manager
James was hired in 2017 as QI's Social Media Whisperer to track down the long-forgotten passwords for our feral Facebook, YouTube and Instagram accounts, and run the @qikipedia Twitter feed (which now has over one million followers). A former Countdown champion and Eurovision correspondent, James possesses the rare psychological stamina to deal with the vast amount of imaginatively explicit fan art sent to QI on a daily basis. He's also a quiz show nut, and recently helped co-create QITV's, The Tournament.Twitter: @jrawson
Scriptwriter, Researcher and Social Media Elf
Having been Gamesmaster of the Exeter University Hide & Seek Society, a member of the world’s largest kazoo orchestra and a 4th place Eurovision entry (technically), Joe has taken on the new quest of scavenging for facts in the QI office. After his first job working for a Students' Guild, and now becoming an Elf, he may only be able to have jobs that make it sound like he lives in Middle Earth.
Joe can be found researching for QI, verifying questions for The Tournament, making content for the QI TikTok, and is pictured in The Book of the Year 2019 being attacked by a flock of seagullsTwitter: @Extra_Legs
QI's Founder, Museum Of Curiosity host
John had to abandon a promising career as a fire-extinguisher salesman after setting light to a camera shop in Harlow. Hired by the BBC in a case of mistaken identity, he went on to become the founding producer of The News Quiz, Quote...Unquote, To The Manor Born, Not The Nine O'Clock News, Spitting Image, Blackadder and QI. He had a key role in the inception of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Mr Bean, has directed lots of TV commercials, written many books and presents Radio 4’s The Museum of Curiosity. Due to a strange anomaly, he has won more BAFTA awards than anyone except Dame Judi Dench (10 each).
QI Researcher, Scriptwriter, Producer, and Audio Editor
Leying spent an emotional three years studying biomedical sciences before she found her calling in the theatre, and promptly abandoned the scientific world in favour of teaching teenagers and directing thespians - both sets of whom are no less emotional. After muddling through drama school and dipping her toe in the wondrous world of freelancing, she wandered into Covent Garden and somehow found the one job in the world that combines all the threads of her disparate CV. Having firmly established herself as the official QI Crocheter-in-Residence and Bad Pun Expert for the @nosuchthing Twitter, she now spends her time rifling through scientific papers, interviewing actual experts and disturbing the depths of the internet, all in the name of research.
Lydia joined in 2018 after impressing the other Elves with her array of highlighter pens and her ability to repeatedly get past QI security. She started by providing facts for @qikipedia but now researches for QI, is a Question Writer for Tournament and is an Archivist on Radio 4's Museum of Curiosity. Lydia once went to dinner with the Archbishop of Canterbury and a Russian punk rock star and is a distant descendant of Dick Turpin. In her spare time she enjoys listening to old Eurovision songs and encouraging people to apply for quiz shows that she herself would never have the courage to appear on.Twitter: @lydiamizon
Mandy has been a waitress, a hair washer, the complaints department for a well known retailer, a stage manager, a bookseller, a fiction reviewer for a national Sunday newspaper, a lecturer in biochemistry and done post-doctoral medical research, all before becoming a QI Elf. She spends some of her time elving away on @qikipedia, does research for QI, helped out on the TV series No Such Thing As The News and has contributed to some of QI’s books. She has also been busy verifying questions for our BBC daytime quiz, The Tournament. She held the school record for 'throwing the rounders ball’. What can I say? It was a very weird girls' grammar school.
QI Researcher, Scriptwriter and Audio Editor
Between degrees Manu was a chef. She wrote an MSc ethnography on ‘intersectional gender performativity and inequality in London restaurant kitchens’, but found academia a bit wordy so emailed an elf. The email was titled ‘Can I Have Your Job, Please?’. Some @qikipedia tweets later, Manu now hides amongst the QI office plants at Covent Garden. In the foliage you’ll find her creating Youtube content or researching for QI books and TV. In her free time Manu enjoys handstands, popping bubble-wrap, and spooning tahini, unadulterated, straight from the jar.
QI Senior Researcher
Mat first came to public prominence in 1983, as runner-up in the Hampstead Darts League Singles Knockout. Pretty much downhill from then on, until he was reduced to becoming a QI Elf in 2005. He has an O-Level in British Constitution, but Would Be Willing To Swap for an advanced swimming certificate. As well as being a short story writer and a long-standing columnist for Fortean Times magazine, he is the gardening correspondent for the Morning Star (the world's only daily, English-language, socialist newspaper), and his latest book, Eat Your Front Garden, isn't nearly as rude as it sounds.matcoward.com
QI Researcher and Scriptwriter
On leaving school, Mike’s first job was as a bingo caller and it’s been downhill ever since. Having been on (and won) many TV quizzes, he decided to have a go at writing them. His work can now be found on TV, radio, national press, books, apps and probably semaphore and telex. Mike has been Senior Writer for BBC2’s Only Connect since before it was on BBC2, a role he combines with research for The Museum of Curiosity and QI. Mike was a performer in the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, and once sat in a bath of baked beans for an hour on national television whilst being interviewed by a puppet.Twitter: @MikeTurner100
QI Researcher and Scriptwriter
Miranda enjoyed a fleeting moment as the engineering toast of Haringey when she won certificates for the fastest and furthest flying paper plane in school. Unable to top this achievement, she immediately retired from the scientific world. Had her grasp of physics been developed into adulthood, she might not have fallen in the Serpentine after becoming distracted by a flock of pigeons. Rescued by two passers-by and a dog, she eventually landed in the QI offices, where she particularly enjoys rifling through historical records whilst wearing aggressively colourful knitwear. When not elfing, she's drawing and reading copious amounts of poetry.Twitter: @MirandaPencil
Piers ‘Flashy’ Fletcher has been QI's producer for over ten years but his career before that involved three years at Oxford and a stint in the Army, where he was put in charge of the northernmost Observation Post in Hong Kong. Had the Chinese invaded, he would have been the very first opponent they encountered. (They didn't.) He then spent a gruelling 22 years as a commodity broker in the City of London, specialising in potato futures and compliance issues. Lord Flashheart, the Blackadder character played by Rik Mayall, is based on him. You can also spot him in the Downing Street press conference scene in Love, Actually.Twitter: @piers_fletcher
QI Researcher and Scriptwriter
Tara spent her time at university reading copious piles of literature and drinking as much tea as humanly possible, before she was informed that being an Intellectual Lady of Leisure or Aspiring Enigmatic Recluse™ was not considered appropriate employment. She then spent a few gruelling months doing admin for a geriatric ward before tumbling into the QI offices, where she has been haunting the bookshelves ever since. Now she spends her days foraging for facts and conjuring up tweets of considerable quality for @nosuchthing, and is in serious contention for the QI Bake-Off title (much to her co-workers’ delight).
QI Japes Consultant
Dr. Will Bowen – pictured here in the bowels of the Large Hadron Collider - is the elf behind the small but often explosive experiments, you see on QI. After starting out as a mathematician, culminating in a doctoral thesis on topological dualities of Post Algebras, he made the small switch into stage design. On our set he is frequently the only thing between you and a small desk fire. Miraculously (despite his tendency to leave unmarked flasks of aqua regia in the office fridge) no National Treasures™ have ever been sublimed, pyrolised, irradiated, or otherwise genetically mutated during the making of QI – Yet!Agent: Noel Gay
Alexey was born in the city of Chelyabinsk (of the 2013 meteorite fame) and joined QI in 2018. He finds facts for the QI Twitter feed and helps with research for the TV show (the R series, obviously). Before that, he had defended a PhD thesis on humour in Samuel Beckett and Flann O'Brien, translated several non-fiction books into Russian, and worked as a marketing copywriter. While not wearing his QI researcher ushanka, Alexey composes questions for various intellectual and trivia-based games, writes short stories, and wrangles two cats.Twitter: @ruseaby
Mitch was QI’s original Director of Research, an elf before elves had been invented, and a writer for the TV show and co-author of many of the QI books. He now runs the publisher Unbound, hosts the popular books podcast Backlisted, and keeps his QI eye in by supplying agreeable factlets for @qikipedia.
Lauren is the token American on the QI research team, and contributes to QI's social media presence. When not misspelling the word "color" on the internet, she is attempting to save the world as a research fellow at Open Philanthropy. She's pretty sure that making jokes on the internet for QI is of equal importance, though.Twitter: @notanastronomer
Rob has a proper job as an astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. If that can be deemed a "proper" job. I mean, it's hardly toiling down the mines, is it? In his spare time he dabbles in QI research, mostly to spot mistakes in science questions. He would like to claim at least some credit for any good science questions, and blame any incorrect science questions on the script editors.