Series O - O Christmas
- The place where Christmas celebrations always end up in a fist fight is Santo Tomas, Peru, a town which is 12,000 above sea level and located in the Andes. The town has a tradition called Takanakuy, where every year on Christmas Day the people dress up and they fight each other in order to settle the differences that have occurred between themselves over the course of the year. The issue can be either serious or trivial, but whoever wins the fight also wins the argument legally. (Forfeit: My house)
- The panel are given Christmas trees and a selection of items, and are asked which items belong on a very traditional Christmas tree. Christmas trees themselves come from Germany, originating from the "Tree of Paradise" a medieval morality play based on the story of Adam and Eve that was performed on Christmas Eve. Thus a traditional item on a Christmas tree would be apples and snakes. Baubles are thus fake apples. Another traditional item is the Union Flag, which topped trees in the British Empire. This was replaced by the angel, which represents Gabriel, by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert because they were Germans. Yet another traditional item was candles, which had the obvious problem of burning the tree down resulting numerous deaths. The idea of candles on trees is reportedly created by Martin Luther, after he saw starts shining through the leaves of trees. However, in 1440 the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, who were unmarried merchants from Estonia, also put candles on trees. Wafers, as in communion wavers, tinsel and paper flowers are also traditional.
- The king that appeared on the first British Christmas stamp was Good King Wenceslas. The first Christmas stamps were released in 1963, when Tony Benn was Postmaster General. He launched a competition in conjunction with Blue Peter and the Post Office to design Britain's first Christmas stamps. Six-year-old Tasveer Shemza was one of the winners, with her drawing of Wenceslas was used on the 3d stamp. Tasveer is in the audience, and tells them that the drawing as actually based on her father. The stamp was first issued in 1966, which means that Daleks, which were introduced in 1963, are an older Christmas tradition than Christmas stamps. (Forfeit: George V)
- The panel have a race to beautifully wrap up some awkwardly shaped items. Romesh has a game of Kerplunk, Jason an anglepoise lamp, Holly a statue of a shoe on a stick, Alan a football and Sandi an American football. Alan is the fastest, and then Sandi shows a trick to wrap up an object of any shape. You take your wrapping paper and fold two ends together so they over lap. You tape these ends together. You then fold one end of the bottom of the paper upwards, so the bottom of the paper form a trapezium shape with a white rectangle going down the middle. You then fold in the two trapeziums you have made and tape them up. You have now made the gusset of a paper bag. Then you open the bag up from the top hole, stick your items in, fold the top over so it forms a handle and tape it up.
- XL: The most miserable Christmas dinner of all time was held by Frank Hurley, who was Shackleton's photographer. In an earlier expedition, the Australasian Antarctic expedition of 1912, as they came back from the South Pole they decided to have a festive meal. They made Christmas pudding out of three biscuits which were grated with a saw, mixed with sugar, snow and seven raisins, and added meths for flavour. This was boiled up in his old sock on their Primus stove. They also made a drink called Tanglefoot, which was created by boiling five raisins in meths, and then drinking the meths. The hors d'oeuvre was Angels On Gliders, which was a raisin on top of a chocolate bar that had been previously fried.
- The panel play a game of charades as it was originally defined by the Brothers Mayhew. The original rules were you had a word with two syllables, and you acted out the first syllable, then the second, then the whole thing, and then only after all this has been done can the other players now guess the word. Often the words used rude-sounding syllables for added humour. The words are:
- XL: The Christmas tradition that is, "the first downward step for fallen women and inmates of prisons and lunatic asylums" is carols. Carols were originally songs sung in pubs during the summer. Thus in the 1870s carol singing was frowned upon and was performed by the working classes. The remark in the question refers to a letter in the Derby Mercury in 1872 which asked how many people ended up like this due to carol singing.
- The thing robins originally represented on Christmas cards was actual robins. Correcting a previous QI fact, robins did not represent postmen, because robins on cards are an older tradition than Victorian postmen and their red outfits. There is a traditional Christmas song called The Robin's Peel, so robins have been associated with Christmas partly for that reason. In the 1860s robins on Christmas cards were depicted as comic, in the 1870s the drawings become rather sentimental, but by the 1880s the robins are depicted as being dead. (Forfeit: Postmen)
- If you spill red wine on your table cloth, the best thing to use to get rid of the stain is ordinary tap water. You should blot the stain with kitchen paper first and then use tap water. You should not use sparkling water as it is expensive. White wine will dilute the stain, but it also contains complex sugars that may discolour the cloth. Salt absorbs the wine initially, but it is also a fixative, so unless you get all the salt you might make the stain permanent. Vinegar is no better than water, is expensive, and as it is acidic it may also discolour the cloth. (Forfeit: Put white wine on it; Put salt on it)
- As it is Christmas, everyone has the same scores so everyone is a winner. (Alan's 31st victory)
- Sandi has one last Christmas present. She asks if anyone in the audience is part of a choir, and whole middle block of the studio audience stands up. They are the QI audience choir, conducted by Neville Creed, who sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
- Tuesday 26th December 2017
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
- Thursday 17th October 2019 at 7:00pm on Dave (60 minute version)
- Friday 18th October 2019 at 1:40am on Dave (50 minute version)
Cast & crew
|Sandi Toksvig||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|Justin Pollard||Question Writer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Kalpna Patel-Knight||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|
|Nick Collier||Lighting Designer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Researcher|
|Alice Campbell Davis||Researcher|