The original Elf from the TV quiz show QI has written a book of 366 curious children's questions for every day of the year.

Molly Oldfield, from Little Tew, was one of the first of the team of writers, researchers and comedians behind the hit BBC2 show, its books and podcasts.

And she is the host of award-winning weekly podcast Everything Under the Sun which puts questions from children all around the world to expert guests such as Neil Gaiman, Emma Freud, Grayson Perry, Richard Curtis and Sir Richard Branson.

How much bamboo can a giant panda eat? Do aliens exist? What would we do if we didn’t have a prime minister? Why do hammerhead sharks have such strange-shaped heads?

All are questions in the new book, Everything Under the Sun, based on the podcast which has contributions from scientists, writers, conservationists, politicians and poets.

Ms Oldfield, who has a four-year-old and a one-year-old, said: “On the podcast children send in their questions every week and I pick three or sometimes four and answer two or three. Next Thursday Stephen Fry will be explaining why Greek and Roman gods have different names, the team from Penguin will be talking about how you make a children’s book and Michael Morpurgo is going to answer why do all stories have problems.”

The podcast went straight to number one on the Kids and Family Apple podcasts chart when it launched in November 2018.

She said: “It’s been entirely word of mouth but it was a good lockdown resource because children got to hear each other’s voices. And hopefully now people will like the book.

“It’s a big hardback book which is beautifully illustrated with a question and answer for every day of the year."

Ms Oldfield spent 12 years researching and writing questions for the BBC's QI which she joined after meeting John Lloyd when they were at Oxford University.

Mr Lloyd is a TV and radio comedy producer and writer behind Not the Nine O'Clock News, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Spitting Image, Blackadder and Radio 4's The Museum of Curiosity.

She said: “We met in the final summer term. He wanted to do QI and he wanted it to be in Oxford."

Mr Lloyd created QI with John Mitchinson, who went on to found Waterstones book chain.

Ms Oldfield said: “They met in the Falkland Arms in Great Tew when John Lloyd was living in the village.”

“There were four of us, the two Johns and me and another woman Sophie who had just graduated and we filmed ourselves on the first day. QI is now pretty huge but I left with John Mitchinson and Stephen Fry who was host before Sandi Toksvig.”

Ms Oldfield said in those pre-Wikipedia days, all the research for the show was done by reading books, visiting museums and “going to tons of exhibitions”.

A day spent behind the scenes at the Natural History Museum sparked the idea for her other children’s books, The Secret Museum and Wonders of the World’s Museums. She has also written Natural Wonders of the World.

Ms Oldfield won’t be drawn on which of the contributors is her favourite – “Everybody is interesting,” she said.

Ms Oldfield is hosting a book reading and fun day at Soho Farmhouse on Saturday. Everything Under The Sun (Ladybird, £25) is out on September 9. Also available in audiobook.