TV Cream

TV: Q is for...


MUCH LOVED BBC popular science series that seemed best served when stuck out after the NINE O’CLOCK NEWS. Although the title was mystifying to many younger viewers (“Kwed?”) ,Q.E.D. found the perfect route between the whisker stroking extremities of the OU and the too populist Doctor MIRIAM STOPPARD and that-bloke-with-the-nose helmed WHERE THERE’S LIFE. While “John’s Not Mad” is undoubtedly the strand’s best-remembered episode, Q.E.D. embraced a wide range of subjects, such as “Why things go wrong” metal bending, what it’d look like to fly all the way round the coast of Britain in a fighter jet, “Understanding Rape”, snooker, and (helpfully) “A Guide to Armageddon”. Q.E.D. also provided some of the first television exposure for Falklands Veteran SIMON WESTON. But best of all on 13 March 1985, that comic imp KENNY EVERETT was given thirty minutes of airtime in which to muck around with Quantel, CSO and other ace mid-Eighties video effects, all in the name of better acquainting Joe Public with how that “Goodnight goodnight goodnight” bit at the end of LES AND DUSTIN’S LAUGHTER SHOW was achieved. Not that all editions were great though; a 1991 episode in which Professor Ian Fells attempted to test “Murphy’s Law” consisted of little more than slices of jam on toast hurtling to the floor and various people switching from one checkout queue to another. However, it was always easy to forgive Q.E.D. the odd whimsical item, especially when an intriguing episode about panic attacks was served up the very next week. Axed in 1998, we fear we shall never see its whimsical-but-serious like again.



  1. Arthur Nibble

    March 7, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Or, the five W’s – which was what was wanted!

  2. Demonstration Model

    March 8, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Did A Guide to Armageddon go out the same week as Threads? It did in my memory of it, and was just as scary for being so matter of fact about nuclear annihilation, with all the information and figures you could want about how we were all going to die horribly in one handy capsule. The photographs of the effects of radiation sickness were true nightmare material.

    The other one I remember was about dreams, where BIll Oddie dramatised a nightmare he’d had with him walking through a railway station without any trousers on, a tea lady serving a huge hunk of meat, and Bill nearly faling out of a doorway that was about a hundred feet up. Dunno what it all proved, mind you.

  3. Red1

    March 8, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    ‘A Guide To Armageddon’ was first broadcast in 1982. ‘Threads’ was first shown in late 1984 and then again in summer 1985.

    They were both made by film maker Mick Jackson so are pretty similar in tone.

  4. Freddd

    March 12, 2010 at 11:41 am

    The brief animation of the “neon” QED logo, coupled with the oddly fatalistic Radiophonic jingle, still has the power to unsettle – even if it’s one of the less serious editions.

  5. Richard Davies

    October 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I remember the Kenny Everett edition, along with the one on Murphy’s Law.

    My brother used to half jokingly call in Kwed.

  6. kane

    September 6, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Where can i watch all the Q.E.D episodes?

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