"Advent" was the twelfth and final episode of the A Series of QI. It was the first Christmas special in the show and the first show to feature a task. It was broadcast on 23 December 2003 on BBC Two, marking the first time since the first episode in which the episode did not originally air on BBC Four.

John Sessions was the first guest to appear in both the première and the finale of a series. This episode was the first episode other than the Pilot which did not feature questions with topics beginning with the series' letter ("A"). "Advent" featured the premiere of Phill Jupitus, who later became the fourth-most common panellist. It was preceded by "Arts" and followed by "Blue".


Numbers in brackets mark appearances - e.g. "(2)" means "(second appearance)".

  1. John Sessions (2): 28 points
  2. Sean Lock (2): 7 points
  3. Phill Jupitus (1): 5 points
  4. Alan Davies (12): -6 points


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  • A Gripple is a gripping device made in Sheffield. Thousands of gripples hold together the Great Dingo Fence in Australia, the world's longest fence.
  • The first domesticated animal after the dog, was the reindeer. Another common name for a reindeer (in North America) is caribou.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and all of Santa's other reindeer must be either female or castrated, because male reindeer lose their antlers during winter.
  • In "days of yore" Yorkshiremen would gather around their beehives during Christmas because they believed that the bees would start humming at midnight (the time of Christ's birth), even when the calendars changed.
  • In 1657, mince pies were banned by Oliver Cromwell because they symbolised Catholicism.
  • From 1840 to the end of World War II, the German village of Lauscha in Thuringia provided the world with baubles, with 95% of US houses. Contrary to what Stephen Fry said, Lauscher is not near Nuremberg but more than 100 km north (likewise, Neuschwanstein Castle depicted on the wall screen is 250 km south) and it does not mean "eavesdropper" in German (which would be "Lauscher").
  • In 1908, US insurance companies tried to ban the placing of live candles on Christmas trees, mainly because a fire from a Christmas tree that caught fire on a Santa's beard destroyed a Chicago hospital in 1895.
  • During the Siege of Paris (1870–1871) by the Prussians, the Parisians ran out of food and one restaurant used rats in their cooking. As well as raiding the sewers, they raided the zoos for other animals, such as elephant and kangaroo.

General IgnoranceEdit

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  • Christmas Island includes places called Paris, London, Poland and Banana.
  • The youngest age that a child can drink alcohol in a pub, restaurant or beer garden in the UK is 5 years old,[1] as long as an adult buys the drink.
  • Santa Claus comes from (what is today part of) Turkey.[2]
  • The image of Santa Claus was originally noted in the 1823 poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas".


The contestants were told at the start of the episode to draw a Christmas tree. Alan Davies incorrectly drew a tree with the branches pointing down.


  1. 18
  2. Lapland