Top 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about Stephen Fry

He fought the law and the law one and other fascinating facts about the host of QI.

Stephen Fry

10. Fry fought the law and the law won

If your mental picture of a former jailbird is one of a heavily tattooed knuckle dragger, you may want to think again – as a teen Stephen served hard time for credit card fraud in, er, Pucklechurch. While it may sound like something from Trumpton, being jailed for three months is a scary experience for a sensitive sort like our Stephen, and he certainly mended his ways afterwards.

9. Return of the Mac

For a man with a distinct air of tweed about him, Stephen’s thoroughly in love with all things techie. Not only does he have a veritable army of followers on Twitter, he was the proud owner of the second Mac ever to be sold on these fair shores, only missing out on the first to his pal and fellow technophile Douglas Adams. Surely a Stephen Fry app is long overdue?

8. Stephen Fly

To get around in London Stephen usually sticks to his trademark black cab, but there’s an ace up his finely tailored sleeve – flying. That’s right, cuddly Stephen, patron saint of libraries, is a licensed pilot who owns a bi-plane. We’re not sure whether we’re more excited about the thought of him in a Biggles outfit or the fact this makes him comedy’s equivalent of John Travolta.

7. (Don’t) mind your language

You’d think someone of Stephen’s fine breeding would blush at the hint of a cuss-word, but he’s a staunch advocate of swearing, so much so he holds a record for the most uses of the F word in a tiny space of air-time. Stephen, in a show about censorship, crammed more Fs into 90 seconds than Wayne Rooney did when his handlers showed him the News Of The World.

6. Fanboy Fry

It’s odd to think of Stephen Fry being in awe of anyone, given his mammoth mind, but as a young stripling he was a devoted fan of P.G Wodehouse, author of the Jeeves and Wooster books. In those dark, pre-Twitter days, Stephen had to put actual pen to real paper to express his admiration for the scribe, and got a signed picture back for his trouble.

5. Mastermind

Stephen’s throbbing grey matter is too special a thing to be kept to himself, and as a student he appeared on University Challenge. Not content with that, Stephen later pitted his wits against TV’s ultimate brain-busting challenge, Mastermind, going with Sherlock Holmes as his specialist subject, rather than Oscar Wilde, Alan Davies’ wrongs or the history of Rusks. Shame.

4. No sex please, he’s British

As incredible as it is to imagine in these sexy times of ours, where lollipop ladies wear only the scantiest of lingerie and you can barely buy a paper without walking past a rutting orgy, Stephen once made the decision to abstain from the whole sticky merry-go-round of sex. For 16 years. Putting it down to a lack of confidence, Stephen has emerged from his Morrissey phase now.

3. When polymaths go feral

Another surprising factoid about Stephen is that he doesn’t spend all of his down-time hunched over a computer screen or locked in a dusty library – he’s an outdoor type, when there’s a call for it. Embracing his inner Terry Nutkins, Stephen trekked the globe to play his part in saving creatures on the brink of extinction for the Last Chance To See series. Is there nothing he can’t do?

2. Well versed

Another of Stephen’s causes is poetry. It’s probably not surprising someone as well-read as Stephen has a fondness for the underdog of literature, but his commitment is no passing fancy – he’s even published a book trying to educate the grunting masses in its rhymey charms. Called The Ode Less Travelled, the book sold much better than most poetry collections. What rhymes with irony...?

1. Pipe dreams

Stephen’s been called many things – the modern day Oscar Wilde, TV’s cleverest man, the anti-Danny Dyer (alright, we made that one up). Another thing he’s been called, however, is pipe smoker of the year, and more to the point he was the last ever recipient of that coveted crown before public safety put it out for once and all. Wonder if there’s a monocle wearer of the month award...?

Friends of Dave