Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Charlie Brooker x 2

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A year or so ago, I was on a pilot (a test show) for a new radio series that Charlie Brooker was thinking of making, called So Wrong It’s Right. I quite like doing pilots - it’s a good way to practise radio or TV, find out if it’s fun or terrifying, whether I’m even capable of doing it, in the safe knowledge that it’s only a test run so an audience will never see or hear it. Doesn’t matter if the answer is (a) terrifying and (b) no.

  So I was a bit nervous to hear that So Wrong It’s Right was starting on Radio 4, including the episode that we recorded as a pilot. It was a year ago, I couldn’t remember anything about how it had been. But I listened last night and was pleasantly surprised, it was a really funny show. That was mainly because of Charlie himself, and the other brilliant guests Rufus Hound and David Mitchell, but I didn’t totally embarrass myself. Or rather, if I did totally embarrass myself, I hope it was in a funny way. Sorry not to tip it in advance on the news page, but I honestly didn’t know if I wanted people to listen or not. Now I’m reassured, I’ll put a link up in case you’re curious to hear it. I don’t think this link will work forever, but for at least a week it will be here.
(Note: I think that will only work if you’re in the UK.)

  And So Wrong It’s Right continues, without me but certainly with Charlie Brooker and I expect a lot of excellent guests, on Tuesday nights at 11pm, Radio 4.

  The timing is a bit odd, because tomorrow night I’m on Charlie Brooker’s TV show You Have Been Watching, 10pm on Channel 4. I haven’t seen that either, and in fact I won’t see it, because I’ll be playing the UKIPT tournament in Nottingham. So you have the chance to find out if I look like an idiot a long time before I will. But don’t be cross with me for hogging the airwaves (or indeed for stalking Charlie Brooker) because, in my defence, a year passed between these two recordings, they were just squidged together by the magic of broadcasting. I have no plans to be on TV again until Only Connect returns in the autumn!

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MDW at 1:18 pm on May 12th, 2010

Charlie Brooker is a genius so I’ll definitely give this a listen to later, you do seem to be appearing on all my favourite shows at the moment, are your people somehow checking what I watch and then getting you on?

If so, I look forward to seeing you host the FA Cup Final show, be shown to be a massive fraud and con artist on Derren Brown Investigates, and dressed in lycra for Hole in the Wall :-)

poker face at 2:15 pm on May 12th, 2010

I liked your article on guardian today - How to play a 26-hour poker tournament - Thank you again Victoria

Daniel at 3:03 pm on May 12th, 2010

Hey Victoria, I stumbled across this blog and a few of your pieces on the shrinking state and perceived joys of divorce while researching a wider piece on Capital Gains Tax (sexy, huh?), so it seems you really are ubiquitous right now.

Incidentally, if you’re still in Hampstead and still single, then maybe we could form a coalition? I’ll be the Clegg, naturally.

Victoria Coren at 4:44 pm on May 12th, 2010

You’re very kind, but I’m not looking to form any coalitions at this time. I think it interferes with strong government.

Daniel at 5:02 pm on May 12th, 2010

Well, that remains to be seen. Judging by the Clegg/Cameron slapstick routine this afternoon, it actually makes for high jinks and tomfoolery.

Strong government is ok, but you end up chaining yourself to the radiator in Number 10 with Malcolm Tucker and the Dark Lord for company. Equally as fun as the above in its way, but just a different kind of fun.

LC at 8:06 pm on May 12th, 2010

Is that a weird politic-y way of saying “i’m already seeing someone”, Victoria? I like to imagine it’s a phrase that actual female MPs would utilize when sashaying through the halls of Westminster…

You cannot be blamed for going on programmes with Charlie Brooker at the helm. He’s brilliantly funny and i’m very glad he’s getting the mainstream recognition he deserves.

RomanticRecluse at 11:21 pm on May 12th, 2010

I believe that coalitions can work but only if they have a sound basis.  A coalition formed in haste, out of self-interest or on the basis of arithmetic is a recipe for disharmony and division.  Potential partners need to have a series of meetings and pauses for reflection, focus on what they will give rather than what they will get and put their principles before their interests.  If long and wide-ranging discussions lead both parties to conclude they are good bedfellows a successful coalition is possible, although a union is better.

That was a Party Political Broadcast on behalf of the Romantic Party.

Phil at 12:11 am on May 13th, 2010

I was very impressed Vicky, by the manner in which you held your own against three of the sharpest comic minds about. That said, funniest moment had to be Brooker and his “Heaven is a place on Earth” pitch; I’m still giggling a bit now at the wrongness of it

So who is smarter; Charlie Brooker or David Mitchell? Or would it be impolite to tell?

johny at 10:12 am on May 13th, 2010

iplayer radio works outside UK though not tv.

brian t at 12:15 pm on May 13th, 2010

I can confirm that show can be heard outside the UK - or at least in Ireland. I hope they’re going to release it as a podcast, I think that would be the ideal way to do it. I’m just starting to listen to it now.

Karen at 9:36 pm on May 13th, 2010

You should do more TV and you should have more confidence in yourself because you are very good.

Leslie at 10:18 pm on May 13th, 2010

Dear Victoria—I am watching the show on Channel 4 now (the one hosted by Charlie Brooker), and you are doing great. My sincere wish is that you will form a coalition with David Mitchell and that the two of you will run the government together. If you prefer, start small and run a household first.

Carly at 11:34 pm on May 13th, 2010

Tampon? You said tampon, after all that fuss about “bra” on Question Time? Asking for trouble ;-) (Very funny show)

david at 1:27 pm on May 14th, 2010

If ever we meet at a party, feel free to ask me the first thing to enter your head…

Ryan at 1:45 pm on May 14th, 2010

“Incidentally, if you’re still in Hampstead and still single, then maybe we could form a coalition?” That’s possibly the most original and topical chat up line i’ve heard in ages!

Just wanted to say thanks for the link from the first episode, it sounds like “So Wrong It’s Right” is a keeper. Also great appearances on ch.4’s aleternative election night and You Have Been wWtching - I thought your line about the Pepsi Max advert was brilliant :)

Mike-Cypher at 4:08 pm on May 14th, 2010


As a fan of Mr Brooker, and your good self, I was in seventh heaven for You Have Been Watching.  Are these things good fun to record?

I’ve not heard the radio show yet, but will give it a listen this evening, while playing poker. Which, incidentally, I now seem to be addicted to. I blame you naturally…. :)

Much love from the frozen north

Victoria Coren at 4:56 pm on May 14th, 2010

Hi Mike. They’re… BECOMING fun to record! Or at least, not too traumatic. Last time I did that show (a year ago?) I was literally crying with nerves beforehand. This time I wasn’t.

  I still feel very nervous before any kind of ‘comedy’ thing, but naturally as I’ve done a bit more stuff, it’s a bit less scary and unimaginable. I never intend to do too much of this kind of thing, so I don’t think it will ever be completely unscary, but I’m getting more used to it and managing to enjoy it a bit more each time. But hey, it’s not meant to be that much fun anyway, I’m getting paid for it!

Mike-Cypher at 6:05 pm on May 14th, 2010

Haha! Yes, I imagine being paid softens the blow somewhat! :) Well, you seemed like a natural, you looked very relaxed and you made me laugh, so i’d say you’re well on track.

While i’m here, I would also like to take the opportunity to say your poker blog is also a good read. As a newbie, I’m trying to read all I can and yours helps get my brain working a bit more that some of the other info on the net.
Oh and i must remember to stop in and say hi on PokerStars sometime :)

Joe at 12:53 am on May 15th, 2010

The ‘comedy things’ are really working for you Victoria - I say stick with ‘em. You’re my favourite female panellist (and therefore my favourite panellist) ;)

Johny at 7:12 am on May 15th, 2010

Victoria,  you mentioned you were in Berlin for a tourney. Was that the one that got armrobberied?
If so, were you aware and what is security usually like at venues?

Victoria Coren at 12:13 pm on May 15th, 2010

Hi Johny - yes I was at that tournament, though I left before the robbery. I wrote about it here if you’re curious - scroll through the first item (about the Oscars) and it’s the item underneath.

Amelia at 6:19 pm on May 15th, 2010

I enjoy your presenting on Only Connect, but you became my favourite Brit on television on ‘You Have Been Watching’ as soon as you highlighted how creepy the Pepsi Max advert was and pointed out how classy it was for Alan Titchmarsh to demonstrate immediately and publicly how he felt about the comments on infidelity. I’ve become so used to apologists for that sort of thing, I just wanted to thank you for stating on primetime television that such viewpoints are unacceptable and do not deserve airtime.

(I’m being vague in an attempt to avoid trigger words that might attract commenters you/your staff don’t want to deal with. Thank you for NOT being vague and euphemistic and for telling it as it is.)

Ash Thomas at 8:28 pm on May 16th, 2010

Is that you on facebook or have I just become friends with a fat sweaty bloke probably called Big Ron?
Not trying to blow smoke up your arse, but I thought you were quality on HIGNFY - very witty!

Victoria Coren at 10:20 pm on May 16th, 2010

Have a look at this blog thread, it might help… And if it is the real me you have befriended (I don’t know), I can only apologize.

Daniel at 3:02 pm on May 17th, 2010

Thanks Ryan - original and topical it may be, but it doesn’t work, evidently. Don’t try “I’ll be the Ed Balls to your Ed Miliband” or “You don’t want New Labour, you want NEXT Labour” either, primarily because they’re completely senseless and barely work as metaphor. Also, in my experience, asking your intended paramour to dance works better than offering to buy them a drink.

Rich at 4:05 pm on May 17th, 2010

Blimey, your Radio Times photo certainly made me sit up and take notice. Oh my g, am I that shallow?? y…nooooo! Delving deeper now realise who you are, used to love listening to your Dad, he was sooooooo funny!! Interesting life you got there. Ah well, back to ogling the Radio Times….... corrr wonder who’s on Woman’s Hour tomorrow.

Kingsley at 1:19 pm on May 18th, 2010 very smart and your smartness really showed up on this show. Why can’t all women be this smart….. and all men for that matter!

Emily at 4:31 pm on May 20th, 2010

Hi Victoria,

I watched HIGNFY and found it very refreshing to see someone who is so sharp and open at the same time. That’s a good coalition. It made me wish I hadn’t addled my brain with alcohol. I am off to buy your books now.


Bryan at 5:24 pm on May 20th, 2010

I managed to catch You’ve Been Watching on 4OD luckily. As ever you were very funny. However I was waiting for you at some point during the show to sit back, kick your shoes off, tuck them under you and settle down for the evening.

Victoria Coren

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