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  • This is the Technical Difficulties, we're playing 'Citation Needed'.

  • Joining me today, he reads books y'know, it's Chris Joel.

  • I've... still not put it together in the right order, I'll try for the second show.

  • Everybody's favourite Gary Brannan, Gary Brannan.

  • Get out o'my office!

  • And standing in for Matt Gray, the Mouth from the South, Will Seaward.

  • I have, indeed, eaten Matt.

  • In front of me I have an article from Wikipedia and these folks can't see it.

  • Every fact they get right is a point and a ding

  • and there's a prize for a particularly good answers, which is...

  • And today we are talking about the Stephens Island wren.

  • A person in the lady navy…?

  • This is really terrible! The lady navy(!)

  • The Lady Navy?

  • Just for those who don't have their British naval history there... 'the lady navy'?

  • That was like a car at the start of a Formula 1 race,

  • just stalling on the start line.

  • I can't remember the acronym. I get the

  • Is it just Women's Royal Navy, is that it? There's no E.

  • The Women's Royal Naval Service, the WRNS.

  • The WRNS, there we go.

  • Well, that's the 1940s isn't it?

  • Because there's no such thing now.

  • Yes, you're absolutely right.

  • It was 1993, apparently, when it all got unified.

  • This has nothing to do with the Stephens Island wren,

  • but as a cheap joke that started the show, well done.

  • Yes, well done.

  • Is it a bird?

  • S***, I should have gone for plane first, shouldn't I?

  • Is it from Stephens Island?

  • How the frig is he getting points as easy as that this time?!

  • He's new! Let him off.

  • Is there a Wikipedia article about it?

  • That is the point of the show.

  • Genus troglodytes.

  • Genus troglodytes? No.

  • What?

  • Not this time.

  • I am offended.

  • I'm having to look this up.

  • The common wren is troglodytes troglodytes. So I thought if it was a wren,

  • it would probably be troglodytes something-elsesius.

  • Alright, what we have here is Chris Joel, ornithologist.

  • When I say, "Ornith", you say, "Ologist." Ornith!

  • Ologist!

  • Ornith!

  • Ologist!

  • No.

  • That's the first time that's ever been used right though,

  • because usually I haven't a f***ing clue.

  • Well, in this case, unfortunately, you are wrong.

  • The Eurasian wren is troglodytes troglodytes,

  • this is the Stephens Island wren, traversia lyalli.

  • Does it go through French alleyways?

  • Le Alley?

  • Le-alley.

  • Will, you have slotted into Matt's seat just perfectly.

  • Well, when I ate him I stole his powers!

  • That's how it works.

  • You actually had a buzz cut didn't you, before you went in?

  • The man was clean shaven and five foot one.

  • The Stephens Island wren, gentlemen, a long time ago

  • So far we've established it's a bird on Stephens Island that's a wren, basically, haven't we?

  • Yes. Well, its last refuge was Stephens Island.

  • Was it on the run for a horrific crime it had committed?

  • Was this its last stand?

  • No, it had three other friends though and they drove around in a black and red van

  • and if you needed their help, you know, they'd save sparrows and s***.

  • Who would Mr T be?

  • What sort of bird?

  • Well, they wouldn't fly would they? So it'd be like an ostrich or a penguin or something.

  • That was good. I like that.

  • Gary, unbelievably, you have a point.

  • No way, no.

  • F*** off. How?

  • Because the Stephens Island wren is flightless and I'm giving you a point for that!

  • Has it learned not to fly since being on Stephens Island, it being an island,

  • or did it get there on a raft?

  • I like the idea of learning not to fly.

  • "Oh, s***, I've flown again! I wish I could forget this bollocks!"

  • Well, maybe it didn't like it! Maybe it didn't like heights.

  • Yes, that's not forgetting is it? That's proactively

  • Is there a difference though? Between actively forgetting and unlearning?

  • "Welcome to epistemology today..."

  • "Today, bird dat don't fly. He forget or did he learn it?"

  • It's also known as Lyall's wren. Why would its last refuge be Stephens Island?

  • Is it... extinct?

  • Spot on.

  • Okay. Was it delicious?

  • Damn it! That much faster.

  • Yes, but not that… I mean this is a wren

  • Yes, but no.

  • It was, apparently, delicious.

  • There have only ever been five species of flightless songbirds found.

  • What's happened to them?

  • They've all been eaten.

  • For the Stephens Island wren in particular by what?

  • Was it eaten by pests that were introduced by humans?

  • Yes, absolutely right. Any particular pests?

  • Rats.

  • AUDIENCE MEMBER: Bill Oddie!

  • "Bring me another plate of wrens! Conserve them that I may consume them…"

  • Because that's what Bill Oddie sounds like behind the scenes...

  • We're in trouble when the audience have better gags than we have.

  • As Bill Oddie sits in the ruined wasteland of the island

  • seeing the last little wren entering his lips,

  • he goes, "I really should have saved these."

  • Yes!

  • "You didn't see nothin'!"

  • Not rats.

  • Cats!

  • Yes, cats is technically correct. Could we be a bit more specific?

  • Panthers?...

  • Will, I've just got this thing of being in like a hotel room,

  • in a lonely kind of guest house and suddenly from inside the cupboard,

  • hearing you saying that.

  • And it would be the most terrifying thing I could imagine.

  • "Panthers?"

  • A single cat from one ship's crew.

  • Absolutely right. A lighthouse keeper's cat named Tibbles.

  • Yes, allegedly, a lighthouse keeper's cat named Tibbles

  • and for a while that was the accepted wisdom, what is more likely?

  • More than one cat...!

  • "Panthers?"

  • Chris is closest, Chris gets a point, yes.

  • Yes, a large number of feral cats had come to overrun the island.

  • How many living wrens were actually spotted, ever?

  • None. They're not spotted at all,

  • they've got sort of vertical striations or stripes.

  • Go on, just hit me.

  • It's not that, it's you're kind of right.

  • Yes!

  • Olive brown plumage with edges of brown.

  • So I'll actually give you the stripes there.

  • How often were they seen by humans?

  • Seconds after the entered the cat's mouth, probably, or when the cat brought

  • Yes, there was loads left in a pile on the door mat.

  • The cat's saying, "I'm friends with you", by leaving dead bodies outside.

  • And when I do it, it's wrong.

  • Never. They were so small, they were essentially invisible.

  • I mean, I like it, but...

  • What you've got there, mate, are bees.

  • Bees, birds, and the next part of the talk is where it gets distressing.

  • Only twice. The lighthouse keeper called it almost nocturnal,

  • 'Running around the rocks like a mouse.'

  • Yeah, well, you would if you were being chased by a frigging cat!

  • Yes, that was the problem.

  • Then the cats ate the lighthouse keepers,

  • then the cats took over the lighthouse and turned off the light,

  • many ships were wrecked.

  • And eaten!

  • Those crews, also, were devoured.

  • I mean you've got a good ghost story there.

  • It's complete bollocks, but you've got a great ghost story there.

  • It was once widespread throughout the area.

  • What area is Stephens Island in? Where are we going to…?

  • The sea!

  • I mean, technically, I'ma give you a point for that.

  • Which part of the world…? This is 1870s…

  • New England.

  • No.

  • Nova Scotia?

  • I mean, you...

  • Can you make anything not sound kinky?

  • You've said, "New." You've said, "Nova." New is correct.

  • Zealand.

  • Yes, there we go, have a point.

  • Prehistorically, it was all through New Zealand,

  • then the land was settled. Its bones can be found where?

  • Cat poo.

  • Yes, that's true, half of that's right...

  • I love the way you lead me on like a primary school teacher with the thick student,

  • "You're right. Are there any other answers in the class?"