Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People

A Rational Celebration of Christmas
19th December, 2008 at The Bloomsbury theatre

Standing tickets available. Call 020 7388 8822 to book.

– Try Eight Lessons on Monday

Last year, Robin Ince made the mistake of appearing on ITV’s London Talking to debate “Is Britain becoming more secular?” By the time he got to the studio, the subject had changed to “Who is taking the Christ out of Christmas?”
Suffice to say, he got quite cross during the barrage of lies from radio shock jocks and misinformed fundamentalists. Robin tried to make it clear that, as an atheist, he wasn’t against Christmas as a time for gluttony and reflection; he was just against the journalists and manipulated fundamentalists shouting about winterval and other myths. This was beyond Stephen Green of Christian Voice’s comprehension, so he kept muttering, “I don’t think he does want Christmas blah blah blah”.

Well, to prove that he does enjoy this season of laziness, alcoholism and regret, he is presenting a rational celebration of the Christmas season in the guise of Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People. Rather than talking of Jesus’s birth, acclaimed science author Simon Singh will talk about the birth of the universe. Instead of talking about Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, Bad Science Columnist Ben Goldacre will talk of alternative medicine and charlatans, while Josie Long will talk about the wonder of the stars.

So far the confirmed speakers are Stewart Lee, Phill Jupitus, Mark Thomas (who might be bringing along his grandfather’s travelling harmonium for a carol sing-a-long), Natalie Haynes, Chris Addison, Ben Goldacre, Christina Martin, Simon Singh, Josie Long, Jo Neary, Ricky Gervais and Richard Dawkins.

Music will be provided by Tim Minchin, Darren Hayman, Robyn Hitchcock, Phil Harris, Gavin Osborn, Colin Watson (aka Waen Shepherd) the fabulous Martin White Orchestra and more TBC

The evening will also include projections of classic archive footage of Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman.

Robin Ince will host the night.

It’s not just for agnostics and atheists, hopefully it will be a night celebrating the wonder of the universe so as long as you’re not a crazed fundamentalist you can enjoy it. If you are a crazed fundamentalist, then please come and hold a placard up outside and shout like a halfwit.

Bloomsbury Theatre
19th December
Doors 7pm/show7.30pm
Tickets available by calling the box office – 020 7388 8822

Tickets £20 and are available online.

58 thoughts on “Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People

  • Tuesday, 9 September, 2008 at 11:51

    How much is this? Why isn’t it listed on the theatre’s website?


  • Tuesday, 9 September, 2008 at 16:02

    I’ve added the direct link to the booking website.


  • Wednesday, 10 September, 2008 at 1:58

    Nice one. This year has been wonderful for UK skeptics, what with this and Randi back in April.


  • Sunday, 21 September, 2008 at 14:38

    I’ve only just seen this, and would have loved to have gone but it’s sold out already with it seems minimal publicity. Can’t a second night be arranged, or a larger venue? Is there a waiting list for cancellations?

  • Sunday, 21 September, 2008 at 16:06

    I’m with Dave Ferris… I’d love to go and am gutted its already sold out! A second night should definitely be arranged!

  • Sunday, 21 September, 2008 at 16:45

    Sold out. Damn only just found out about it. Hope they add some more seats.

  • Sunday, 21 September, 2008 at 19:06

    Will we be able to buy a CD or DVD of the presentation? I’d love a copy since I can’t get over to G.B. to see it.

  • Monday, 22 September, 2008 at 3:40

    Yes, but what are we heathens who can neither afford the plane ticket, or who are on the no-fly list supposed to do? Will there be a tape-recording?? Please, please????

  • Monday, 22 September, 2008 at 10:32

    A lineup like this could play Wembley. Move to somewhere larger, please, or at least sell copies on DVD!

  • Monday, 22 September, 2008 at 11:22

    I am trying to organise another night now, it’s just down to how many of the acts will be available for another night. I shall keep you updated

  • Monday, 22 September, 2008 at 11:23

    oh and we do plan on recording it if all the acts are happy with that

  • Monday, 22 September, 2008 at 13:32

    Do you know who you’ll get to film it…?

  • Monday, 22 September, 2008 at 13:49

    I’ve just bought two tickets so still some left it seems

  • Monday, 22 September, 2008 at 16:22

    How did you do that Steve? It’s not letting me buy them online.

  • Monday, 22 September, 2008 at 16:43

    I phoned the theatre too, and there’s nothing left. Oh well. Here’s hoping there’s another date!

  • Monday, 22 September, 2008 at 17:24

    Just back to UCL, saw this great event at the Bloomsbury and yes, as you say…sold out! There must be demand enough for a second date surely

  • Monday, 22 September, 2008 at 20:12

    I 2nd that. Only just saw it, and would give my right nut to go.. Bigger venue or 2nd night, pretty please..

  • Tuesday, 23 September, 2008 at 12:50

    Add me to the list of people who would absolutely love to buy a ticket, but only just heard about this event.

  • Tuesday, 23 September, 2008 at 18:15

    SO disappointed to miss it but happy that it is so popular. If there’s another night I will definitely have at least 3 people coming- am sure it will sell out as well. How might it be possible to be among the first to know? 🙂

  • Tuesday, 23 September, 2008 at 21:04

    I’d just like to add my support for another night. I’ve only just found out about it through the Richard Dawkins website, it must have sold out within hours.

  • Tuesday, 23 September, 2008 at 22:40

    hello again,
    it is looking like we will be able to add a second date on 18th December, though I can’t confirm that it will be exactly the same bill. It seems most can do this date. It should go on sale very soon. i should stress that I haven’t heard back from Richard Dawkins yet, so when it goes on sale, don’t buy if he’s the main attraction. If this sells out too, I hope we may do a really big third show,

  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 11:42

    That’s great, thanks Robin. Looks like you’re on to a very popular concept- which is very encouraging!
    Hopefully RD can do it- if not I’ll have to go to the 3rd show as well!

  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 13:03

    Please please please put more dates together for this event! It is a fantastic idea. Everyone I know would come!

    Also, having seen him at the fringe this year, Tim Minchin’s new stuff is just perfect for this.

    More dates please!

  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 13:52

    Eight Lessons and Carols for Godless People

    Due to extraordinary demand, a second Godless Christmas show has been added. Acts who are currently confirmed are Josie Long, Richard Herring, Ben Goldacre, Natalie Haynes, Stewart Lee, Simon Singh, Jo Neary, Darren hayman, Waen Shepherd, the Martin White mini fax machine orchestra, Peter Buckley Hill and Robin Ince.
    Tickets should be on sale 29th September (though they might possibly go on sale early on 26th)

  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 13:59

    A wiser man than me would have put the date of the event too. It’s 18th December

  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 14:15


    Any word from Mr Dawkins yet?

  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 14:16

    ..Sorry, Professor..

  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 15:01

    Great to hear this! Whether or not Dawkins is there, I shall definitely be buying a ticket.

  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 15:44

    I’ll keep everyone up to date with who is confirmed. I think Richard Dawkins is busy in the US at the moment, so it might be a while before I know

  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 15:48

    Robin, thank you so much for organizing another date at such short notice. Should I assume we will we able to buy the tickets direct from the Bloomsbury website?

  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 16:59

    I’ll add the direct link on this blog when it becomes available, along with the rest of the details.

    I’ve “hidden” Robin’s post until then, to save the madding crowds.

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  • Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at 18:02

    You’re too good to people Mr Robin Ince. An additional night? maybe a thrid? I want to live in a world where latecomers are punished and left with that empty, jealousy feeling of ‘man I wish I had got there quicker’. 🙂

  • Saturday, 27 September, 2008 at 14:07

    the show will be on sale on Monday from the bill is almost the same. Richard Dawkins, Ben Goldacre, Simon Singh, Stewart Lee, Tim Minchin, Josie Long etc. Robyn Hitchcock will not be playing and I am uncertain about Mark Thomas and Phill Jupitus.

  • Thursday, 9 October, 2008 at 17:46

    I am pleased to say that a third date has been added and we’ve gone a bit mad this time, it’s Hammersmith Apollo on 21st December – Richard dawkins, Stewart lee, Mark Thomas, Ben Goldacre, Simon Singh, Josie Long, a 30 piece orchestra and more TBA in two weeks

  • Thursday, 16 October, 2008 at 20:03

    Are tickets on sale for the 21st? or are you saying they will be available on the 23rd Oct? Thanks. Sounds like you could probably fill the NEC :).

  • Thursday, 16 October, 2008 at 20:40

    Sorry I was looking for “eight lessons” for some reason.

  • Tuesday, 21 October, 2008 at 19:17

    Who says there is no God? I’ve just bought “God lager” at my local Waitrose!

  • Thursday, 23 October, 2008 at 12:23

    On impulse, I bought tickets for the Sunday show, and so I’ll be coming down from Norway to see it.
    As I am an anglophile atheist, I suspect that this is going to be a very enjoyable Christmas

  • Friday, 31 October, 2008 at 18:44


    You can contact me via the “Contact” page on the top links.

    I would hate to have your email spammed for no reason.


  • Saturday, 20 December, 2008 at 9:27

    Dear All,

    Looking for 2 more tickets for the 21st show? Can anyone help?


  • Monday, 22 December, 2008 at 16:41

    Brilliant briliant briliant.

    I went on friday and sunday. I loved both nights. I’ll start with a quick critisism if I may, I bumped into Chris French at the friday show, it’s a shame he didn’t do a turn on the stage. Robin, I know the schedule was tight so please consider him and Richrd Wiseman for next year (you better be doing it again next year!!!!).

    I rate the acts on a sliding scale from awesome all the way down to amazing. Of particular note was Ben Goldacre’s speech. It was trememdously moving and reminded us all why it’s important to keep a rational head on, always. Of course Gervais was funny (I expected nothing less going in), but a few newcomers to me were exceptional too, I don’t remember the names but the couple who sang the Anna Curtain song, I’d like to see more of them. That crazy dude from the 60’s 70’s and 80’s (you’ll know who I mean if you were at the show), Josie Long twisted an anecdote into an hillarious punchline (good luck with the math exam Josie (Dara O’Briain sounded like he could help you out with that)). I’m still laughing now at Jo Neary’s pastiche of the top of the pops dancers. The other ‘classic comics’, if you will, of course didn’t dissapoint. Mark thomas, Phil Jupitus, Stewart Lee, Chris Addison, all very very funny. Simon Singh missed his vocation in life, he should be a stand up comic. This physics thing is going nowhere mate, get yourself down to Jongleurs. The night was filled with great music too, the orchestra the singers and songwriters, really the icing on the cake.

    It’s a shame to pick a higlight from an entire night of them but, for me, it was always going to be seeing ‘the professor’ in person, that’s the number one highlight, no question. The passages he read were wonderful, especially “Gerin oil”. However a couple more highlights… The man himself, Robin Ince, left me breathless from laughter with his routines on the creation/evolution youtube cycle one often finds themselves in. I’d have to agree with him on his 2 televisual higlights of the year, Dawkins’ on Big Question and Stephen Green’s baptism of guano. The perfect end to the evening was Tim Minchin and his poem “Storm”. Wow it blew me away, if anyone knows if that’s on a DVD somewhere please let me know, it was fantastic. If I had a pound for the amount of times I’ve been in that situation. The argument sounded much better in rhyme though.

    I wish I had time to write a more comprehensive review but suffice to say, I had a wonderful time at both shows. Well done. I’m going to write a pro-science, atheist, chrismas song now so that I might get on next year’s bill.



  • Sunday, 28 December, 2008 at 1:33

    Is there a DVD available of this show??

  • Sunday, 28 December, 2008 at 11:15

    Here’s a Youtube link to Tim Minchin’s awesome performance of his beat poem “Storm”

  • Monday, 29 December, 2008 at 14:31

    The DVD will be out soon. I’ll post something up here when it’s out.

  • Tuesday, 30 December, 2008 at 10:40

    Awesome news, sid.

  • Friday, 2 January, 2009 at 6:08

    Robin, did you end up recording the show(s)? Or, better yet, filming it(them)? And if you did, will we see a CD/DVD available for purchase? Being only 17, and living in Canada I was (obviously) unable to attend, and would love to have the chance to watch what must have been an amazing night of entertainment.

  • Saturday, 3 January, 2009 at 19:13

    Jonas, It was mentioned 2 comments before yours. A DVD will be out soon.

  • Monday, 5 January, 2009 at 12:13


    Well, I’ll be damned. I was looking for posts by Robin and completely missed it. Don’t I feel the fool now, eh? Thanks for pointing that out, though. It certainly is happy news.

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  • Wednesday, 12 August, 2009 at 14:42

    Hi, came to this very late, but can anyone tell me if a DVD of this was actually released?

  • Pingback:Storm by Tim Minchin | Hurtling Through Space

  • Saturday, 31 October, 2009 at 19:36

    Look. No messing about! You’ve got to produce a DVD or internet download so those of us that live too far away can see and hear it.
    Good luck.

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