Budget cuts led to Stephen Fry quitting QI


Stephen Fry was forced out of the QI chair because of BBC budget cuts, according to panelist Alan Davies.

“For budget reasons, they ended up making him do three shows in 24 hours,” Davies told The Mail On Sunday’s Event magazine. “Sometimes he’d go upstairs and have a vodka and tonic and a lie down then come back and say, ‘I don’t want to do this.’

“I sympathise, because I felt exactly the same way. It’s not fair.

“It’s absolutely right he’s stepped down. He didn’t want to do it any more.”

Last December Fry announced, “I’m leaving QI really because I think 13 years is enough. It’s been incredibly good fun and I wouldn’t want to feel stale or for it to go sour on me in that sort of way, or for me to feel like I’m treading water or repeating myself.”

Davies said he also offered to leave QI at the same time as Fry “if they wanted a total clearout”– but the BBC declined.

Episodes with Sandi Toksvig as host began screening in the UK in October.

Source: Chortle


  1. Taking 2 hrs to record a 30 min. show is ridiculous. In the ’70s TCN9 churned out 5 half hrs of scripted drama per day, twice each week. Divorce Court (ask Bronwyn Bishop) and The Unloved. 10 x half-hrs over 2 days starting at 9am. And there was still time for dress changes, lunch and a wrap before 5pm to set up the News.

  2. They have been doing this for the past couple years, with recordings for the 16 episodes done in the space of a month.

    I think there is more to it though.
    It is my understanding that Stephen only got his cards the morning of the recording and spent the morning preparing for the episode(s) depending if there was an afternoon and/or evening recording.
    So, for what ever reason, Stephen’s preparation for each episode was basically only the morning.

    I believe that Sandi has a more collaborative approach, and is working with the Elves during the question preparation phase and giving her knowledge/anecdotes for inclusion in the script for each episode. Hence, if you’ve been watching the Series N run of episodes, the randi Scandis.

    So, it would appear if Sandi has been alot more hands on in the production of each episode than Stephen ever was, and has more time to go over her…

  3. Not wanting to jump to conspiracy theories (lying – I love running, jumping, lunging at Conspiracy Theories!) but it would seem the BBC management knew exactly what they were doing by putting that stress load on Stephen Fry and knew it would drive him to resign saving them being seen to do the dirty deed of firing him – and no doubt the legal fees involved in such an act! Too cruel!!

  4. I used to love Stephen Fry as host, but the past couple of seasons I have found him less amusing and the show less enjoyable. I’ve seen all the Sandi Toksvig hosted episodes which have aired so far and she is a perfect replacement host, I’ve really been enjoying this new season.

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