Blackadder producer has cunning plan for QI-style teaching in schools

TV producer John Lloyd at the annual Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) at the Europa Hotel in Belfast
TV producer John Lloyd at the annual Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) at the Europa Hotel in Belfast

The creator of hit quiz show QI has unveiled plans to introduce its fun approach to learning into UK schools.

Celebrated TV producer John Lloyd, who made his name with classic shows like Blackadder, Spitting Image and Not The Nine O'Clock News, believes curious facts can be used to hook children on to otherwise stodgy subjects.

Using obscure nuggets of information that often confound accepted wisdom, Lloyd is confident the fact-based QI method will banish the boredom and ensure disengaged pupils "spend a lot less time looking out of the window".

The novel approach to learning is to be piloted in a number of private UK schools, with interested students signing up for QI "boot camps".

If successful, Lloyd hopes his blend of entertainment and education will be embraced by state schools as a way to liven up the national curriculum.

"I sometimes think I have only ever had one idea in my life, which is to take boring things and make them interesting," he said.

"Blackadder was history made funny and interesting, Spitting Image is politics made funny and interesting and Not The Nine O'Clock News is contemporary culture made funny and interesting and QI is everything made funny and interesting."

Lloyd outlined his idea to a gathering of private school heads at the annual Headmasters' & Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) conference, being held in Belfast.

QI, which stands for Quite Interesting, has built a legion of fans in the 14 years it has been running on the BBC.

Lloyd said teachers across the country were already informally using QI fact books - a popular by-product of the show - to generate classroom interest at the start of lessons.

"It's a pilot programme - we don't know if it will work, but it certainly works for us," he said.

"If you came to the QI office and you saw the way people work and the work rate that they produce - because everything people do, while it's difficult and very hard work, it's always rewarding and interesting.

"You can work awfully hard if you like what you do.

"If you get people interested they will ask questions and if they ask questions they will learn more things - that's the way everything at QI works, it's following your own nose, following your own curiosity. You can't help learning.

"Once you get into the QI way of thinking and looking you can deal with dull information faster than you can if you are bored."