Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Connect charity special [with programme link]

Friday, 12 November 2010

Update: for the next few days, you can watch the special episode here.

  This Monday night on BBC Four, our normal Only Connect tournament will be paused for a special Children In Need edition. With celebrities!

  But don’t panic. We’re not going all ITV on you. We haven’t replaced our regular brilliant quizzers with halfwits from reality TV. (Much as I love halfwits from reality TV…). These are Only Connect-style celebrities: clever writers and broadcasters with sound knowledge and excellent quizzing skills. Team captains are the scientist, historian and broadcaster Adam Hart Davis, and the former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion.

  The questions are as hard as ever - no dumbing down here - but the mood is a little looser, more lenient and more fun. The recording was very entertaining, the guests were clever and funny, and it was far harder than usual to keep up my traditional stern façade. I do absolutely recommend it as an episode, I think (hope) it will be a really light-hearted and entertaining show without compromising at all on the standard of quizzing and questions.

  And if you enjoy it, I do hope you will consider making a donation to Children In Need, helping to ease and improve the lives of disadvantaged children and young people all over the UK.

  Oh - and I’ll be wearing Pudsey ears. Not my choice. I was harangued into it by the giggling producer. I look absolutely ridiculous.

  But not as ridiculous as I’ll look if nobody donates anything. So please do consider giving what you can to this great BBC appeal.

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The Tim at 12:21 am on November 12th, 2010

That explains everything – please now ignore my comment in the last thread.

I don’t blame you for not wanting to wear Pudsey ears. You should have insisted on wearing that Hallowe’en cat outfit, but then maybe one of the contestants, or viewers come to think of it, would have had a heart attack.

Bill Green at 1:31 am on November 12th, 2010

“I’ll be wearing Pudsey ears.” Say no more, I’m sold. OK, so I watch the show every week; that is entirely besides the point.

jim carr at 10:29 am on November 12th, 2010

In the past I have avoided “children in need” because I cant stand Terry Wogan, smarmy and cod-avuncular. I hope he isn’t one of your guests on monday?

If i may digress, i watched an itv programme featuring Pixie Lott, in the audience were dozens of female fans with cats whiskers drawn on their faces!  either they are fans of your blog, or mild mannered Victoria Coren had gone into a phonebox and come out as super-siren Pixie Lott. Is she your alter ego, I think we should be told.

The Tim at 10:35 am on November 12th, 2010

So, since it’s for Children in Need, are you playing the version in which the host removes an item of clothing every time someone scores maximum points, starting with the Pudsey ears? (And if this makes it through the moderator I’ll eat my hat.)

Alan C at 7:43 pm on November 12th, 2010

Hi Vicky,
You won’t look ridiculous at all,  I’m sure you will look as beautiful and gorgeous in your Pudsey ears as you did in your Cat costume.  You could have swapped between your Pudsey ears and your Cat costume during the show making the viewing even more enjoyable.

I think you should should appear on the main Children in Need event in your Cat outfit that would make great viewing. 

Your shows are always entertaining and I am getting better at getting the answers,  (well, some of them), some I don’t have a clue. The ones I do,  I shout the answers at the screen. I will definitely make a conribution.

To change the subject slightly, when will you be appearing in more Late Night Poker, I love watching you play,  I missed the last show where you were set to appear.

palladian at 9:27 pm on November 12th, 2010

We shall, of course, all immensely enjoy you attempting to be your usual serious ‘I’m in charge’ self whilst wearing silly ears. I hope you do too for it will add much to the gaiety of nations, not to mention Pudsey’s purse.

dg at 10:25 pm on November 12th, 2010

I will, as per your instructions, hang fire on the donating to charity bit until such time as, and on condition that, I have seen and approved of the said episode.

I do hope it will be a good episode, if only for your sake. I would find it difficult to live with the guilt associated with so many potential donations failing to materialize as a result of my potential failure. Thank The Lord I was never placed in your position.

(Slightly drunk and finding it difficult to form proper sentences - apologies…)

...and I should point out that if your episode fails to meet my expectations I plan on blowing up the BBC…


Matt Black at 12:14 am on November 13th, 2010

Wow, Adam Hart Davis!!! I haven’t seen him since being hustled into a dark room at primary school before the TV was flicked on and the man himself informed us about all kinds of wonderful historical things. Looking forward to it! And to the ears xxx

Lego at 2:21 pm on November 13th, 2010

Yeah, I’m with Bill, you had me at “I’ll be wearing Pudsey ears.” Your producer’s no fool :D.

@The Tim, even if those were the rules, having seen Only Connect a few times, I think I can safely say even Vicky’s Pudsey ears would be staying safely on her head.

RomanticRecluse at 4:54 pm on November 13th, 2010

Children In Need has always passed me by.  I don’t remember seeing it when I was young.  I don’t think we had in it on our house in case some do-gooder gave us ideas and we got the wrong end of the stick, pooled our pocket money, ran down to the phone box, called the CIN number and begged Terry Wogan to rescue us and then hid hoping that he found us first and took us all away in his Pudseymobile.

The Tim at 7:30 pm on November 13th, 2010

Just to let you know that the humble and Homburg pie tasted terrible.

Amanda at 12:24 am on November 14th, 2010

Success! The pioneers of Children In Need have reached a galaxy far, far away known as BBC Four, and the lure is Only Connect.

This must mean that Only Connect is very good at attracting a family audience.

It’s a great achievement to be able to capture such an audience, and congratulations on doing so.

Whatever’s next…?  This Morning’s sofa next to Phil and Fern…....

Smylers at 12:09 pm on November 14th, 2010

Alan C: Vicky’s most recent appearance on ‘Late Night Poker’ is still available to watch on the Channel 4 website (until Wednesday), at:

RomanticRecluse at 5:56 pm on November 14th, 2010

It’s good to think of people less fortunate than yourself, particularly in hard times, and especially if those people have been mistreated.  Recently one group of people have gone through a very hard time and have been mistreated.  They have been unfairly blamed for something which is not their fault, accused of doing things that they have not done and abused.

I am, of course, talking about bankers.

Today there were subjected to another barrage of false accusations in The Observer newspaper…

(cuts to a reconstruction showing a banker cowering and being hit on the head with a rolled-up newspaper by a woman wearing Pudsey Bear ears)

The Tim at 12:15 am on November 15th, 2010

I wish I’d been that banker, RR – that’s one of my fantasies!

MDW at 1:06 pm on November 15th, 2010

Is it children in need week ? balls I didn’t know, where can I go to get away from it.

Don’t get me wrong some children are in need and as a society we should help them but I can’t do with all the, well you know - crap that goes with it. I would happily pay to not have the tv shows on.

I sounds like a right old miserable tosser I know

I’m not a big fan of only connect and I don’t really like children in need so if anybody wants me over the next week I be hopping the London marathon dressed as piece of cheese for a pound a mile and then sitting in a bath of Heinz baked beans and sausages with Lenny Henry (while wearing a funny hat)

RomanticRecluse at 5:54 pm on November 15th, 2010

The Tim, be careful what you wish for.  Many people have learned that lesson the hard way: bankers, voters, poker players…

(cuts to a reconstruction of a poker player complaining that the bigger, cleaner, brighter, safer, handier, richer 21st Century poker scene has lost something in recent years).

Alan C at 8:08 pm on November 15th, 2010

Smylers: Cheers for the info.

Clyde at 8:47 pm on November 15th, 2010

Did Adam Hart-Davies show you how to make a pentagon with a strip of paper? And if so then how did it work!

Sleepy Hollow at 9:06 pm on November 15th, 2010

Thank you for a fun show. We will donate even though we know it was dumbed down because, most unusually, our household got lots of right answers, some even before the contestants.

Katie at 9:16 pm on November 15th, 2010

My boyfriend and I just watched, and were surprised a woman who makes a living from being unashamedly clever was wearing purser ears. We did however notice a slight scowl on your face, so were very impressed when you said you weren’t happy in them out loud!

dg at 9:17 pm on November 15th, 2010

Jolly good show, as they say, and well they might.

I found the ears strangely endearing, and am now considering counselling. As for the rest of the outfit, I have come to realise that I am all too easily impressed by sparkles, and a Victoria Coren that sparkles is almost too much; I may have to lie down…

Jan Jones at 9:24 pm on November 15th, 2010

Was a great show, v entertaining, and I have donated.

The Tim at 10:00 pm on November 15th, 2010

Another great edition – weren’t the contestants good considering they weren’t seasoned quizzers. I only wish the regular contestants were as entertaining as that.

By the way, I didn’t think you looked at all stupid in those Pudsey ears…..ouch – my nose just hit the screen.

Anthony at 10:05 pm on November 15th, 2010

Great show and great cause. Stuart Maconie’s answer to the Tory prime minister constituencies was amazing and demonstrated his knowledge extends beyond obscure Kraftwerk ‘B’ sides!

I think the ears looked fetching although is it hypocritical of me to find the content of some of the male posts here creepy?

Shawls at 10:46 pm on November 15th, 2010

Harangued ? There was me watching thinking, ‘nice dress - obviously been on her hols, colour to show off tan’ when - suddenly - it’s colour co-ordinated with the pudsey ears !!! Either you just hit the flop holding 7d6c or you knew !!

Jocknroll at 11:09 pm on November 15th, 2010

Grub? Grub! What sort of name is Grub? Anyway, how quick were Larks on the wall?

palladian at 12:10 am on November 16th, 2010

I suppose you could say that your Observer column this week was ‘Vocation crier’ in action. :)

Nice ears by the way. And the rest.

Greenman at 12:24 am on November 16th, 2010

Great to see you Victoria, lovely gold coloured dress with matching necklace - the ears made the ensemble :) C.I.N. is my favourite charity (as well as Red Nose Day) and Sir Terry is a latter day Dodger, expertly picking your pocket for the kids/adults in need. I shall be making my annual donation and watching. A great show tonight-nice to see Richard Coles too. GM.

Mike at 9:33 am on November 16th, 2010

Hi Vicky.

Enjoyed the Only Connect special.  But Adam Hart Davies seemed a bit under par for me. Where was his confidence?  The reverend was excellent and surely there is a place for him in the next Gilbert and Sullivan performance on the London stage.  Andrew Motion always instils a sense of calm and well being in me, as indeed you always continue to do.

I liked your necklace. Does it have a long interesting history or was it bought specially for the show?

Have a good week.



Dave Budd at 9:59 am on November 16th, 2010

It was excellent, they were trying but also having fun. Start making noises abotu doing it again next year. The ears suited you, too. Sort of.

David Stanley Moffat at 10:29 am on November 16th, 2010

I think you are the best and well worth the millions the Beeb is NOT paying you

Jim at 11:22 am on November 16th, 2010

Victoria, loved the ears. You certainly got a donation from me.

Phil at 1:47 pm on November 16th, 2010

RomanticRecluse, any chance you could let a thread go by without posting a comment alluding to your childhood trauma. I may be alone here, but it’s just starting to get on my nerves.

The Tim at 3:14 pm on November 16th, 2010

I think for next year’s OC for CiN we should have Victoria Coren as one of the contestants and Anne Robinson as quizmaster.

Malcolm at 3:34 pm on November 16th, 2010

You looked fantastic in that yellow dress!!You should wear pastel colours more often!!

dg at 4:48 pm on November 16th, 2010

I was skeptical at first, but it only flipping works…

Andrew M at 6:59 pm on November 16th, 2010

Watched the Child in Need Only Connect last night - thought the Pudsey ears looked perfect on you.  Any chance of getting a photo?

palladian at 9:57 pm on November 16th, 2010

I’ll give an extra £50 to CiN if I see you wearing those ears at the Vic. Deal?

Karl at 12:06 am on November 17th, 2010

I surpassed myself. I solved the Wheelmen’s wall (the third lot was pretty obvious, I thought) and then got most of the ‘missing vowels’ stuff - especially the cake ones, worryingly.
Oh, and when I saw the wall my first thought was of a certain INXS song. And Rhinestone Cowboy…that seemed to be everywhere for a spell when I was a mere nipper. That and ‘Tiger Feet’. Then again, I’m only 6 months older than VC.

dave at 9:45 am on November 17th, 2010

i just wanted to make the point that i’ve only just discovered that a new series of OC had started - thank goodness for iplayer.

Can someone tell the bbc that they should do a better job of promoting their own programmes. I watch plenty of TV, probably mostly BBC4, and saw no trailers whatsoever. When i saw OC in the schedules recently, i assumed it was repeats, mainly because of the lack of same day/week repeats.

If the BBC dare to cancel the show due to low viewing figures, please tell them it is probably because not even loyal fans know it is on.

(By the way, it is better than ever.) 

Beanie at 3:21 pm on November 17th, 2010

I was a little disappointed that you only wore the ears for such a short time. They looked rather fetching!

David B at 5:30 pm on November 17th, 2010

@dave: unfortunately the BBC can’t win. If they run too many trailers, people get upset about the BBC wasting money or using up time that could be used for programming.

Glad that you’ve been able to catch up on iPlayer. In general, we start roughly the same time of year that University Challenge does. If there is a fifth series, it’ll be pencilled in for an autumn 2011 broadcast, but no doubt final details will be published on this very here site.

David (OC Question Ed)

MarkJB at 6:03 pm on November 17th, 2010

Comedy Ears ?
Don’t make me laugh!
...You looked absolutely gorgeous in them. xx

King John II at 6:07 pm on November 17th, 2010

Space for an alternative view?Never been much on the annual children in need appeal. Charity culture is not my cup of tea. Giving by post is lethal, they never leave you alone thereafter. The Red Cross even knocked on the door recently. No dice.





Alan C at 8:34 pm on November 17th, 2010

Enjoyed the show, you were great as usual,  but I was looking forward to seeing you wear your Pudsey ears throughout the show rather than for a short period at the end.
I am still recovering from seeing you in them though even if you didn’t have them on long.

AndytheDealer at 8:35 pm on November 17th, 2010

Damn and blast, I shouldn’t have watched the show.  Two very unlikely things happened as a result.  Firstly I scored my first five pointer, I was yelling “Upside down!” at the screen when the Baobab Tree came up on the screen.  It doesn’t really count though because ever since ‘Von Richthoffen’s Triple PIke Stall Roll with Ice and a Slice of Lemon’ scored five points, I always shout something weird at the screen when I see the first clue.
Secondly, I gave some money to Children in Need.  Your sacrifice was not in vain Vicky.

dave at 1:33 pm on November 18th, 2010

Many thanks David B, mental note made for next year. Still puzzled about the lack of same day/week repeats - usually everything on BBC4 gets several airings each week. Are they trying to encourage ‘appointment viewing’ with this special programme, or is it a bad sign that they don’t appreciate OC enough to use up schedule time?

Karl at 2:05 pm on November 18th, 2010

On the Pudsey ears, a line from Peter Gabriel’s ‘Games Without Frontiers’ came to mind: “If looks could kill, they probably will”. :-D

King John II: Fair enough, to each his (or her) own. I always give to CiN, because back in the days of having no money for the meter and eating jam sandwiches while my folks went without, my sister and I were ‘children in need’. Not that we got anything, of course, but if my donation can spare a kid some of what I experienced…well.

King John II at 5:22 pm on November 18th, 2010

Good work @Karl, nothing like a heart-rending story to shore up a view. Of course, there are far worse things that one could do with one’s money than give to charity, as any one of the CEO’s of these organisations would attest.
CIN is probably one of the more worthy charities. Nevertheless, there seems no end to these appeals, of one sort or another, overkill is an understatement in this respect.

Rebecca Rowe at 5:25 pm on November 19th, 2010

Hi there - loved the CiN episode. And the ears were good. Have duly donated and made mental note to self to try eyeliner-as-whiskers as you did…. in the meantime, I really wanted to read your interview with Miranda Hart but completely forgot to get an RT that week. Is there anywhere one can read it online? Cheers big ears…...

Karl at 12:03 am on November 20th, 2010

King John II: Happens to be true, every word. Of course, others went through similar things and might have concluded otherwise.
I do agree that there are probably too many appeals overall, though, and if you give to one I suppose there will always be people who expect you to give to pretty much all. By giving to none, at least you’re being fair.
As I said originally, to each his (or her) own.

David B at 12:08 am on November 20th, 2010

@dave, we’re currently BBC Four’s number one-rating show, so rest assured it’s being looked after. Although the lack of repeats may be inconvenient for some, one can’t deny that the appointment-to-view strategy has helped us to some bumper ratings. And there’s always Series Catchup on iPlayer.

I don’t know why the repeats were dropped this time, but if you want me to speculate then it might be due to an upcoming gap in production that’s longer than usual. So far, we’ve tended to have a new series every 9 months but, given that the new series is likely to be late next year then possibly the plan is to repeat this series - and maybe some older shows - in our off-season early next year before we come back with series 5?

Victoria Coren at 12:52 am on November 20th, 2010

Hi Rebecca. Sorry, I don’t think the Radio Times publishes their articles online. I may be wrong, but I don’t think they do..

The Tim at 1:34 pm on November 20th, 2010

Rebecca, I could scan or send you my copy if you like but I’d probably have to do it when Vicky wasn’t looking as I don’t think we’re allowed to give email addresses on this site.

King John II at 5:56 pm on November 20th, 2010

Would I be right in thinking this appeal was originally called red nose day? or was that another invitation to cough? people must have money to burn if this appeal can rake in £18m, on top of all the other appeals, from the likes of the D.E.C. alliance of charities, to say nothing of all the postal & TV ads.
I can see a prospective new years resolution in all this.

Chris at 8:38 am on November 21st, 2010

You really didn’t look comfortable in the ears did you? The dress looked great tho and a v complimentary colour for your hair and complexion. You certainly looked v attractive. I hope u’ve found someone who understands you and treats you well. I’ll bet you’re a difficult person to live with tho?

martin at 4:43 pm on November 21st, 2010

Where’s the only connect game for my mum at xmas victoria ?

Victoria Coren at 6:39 pm on November 21st, 2010

Sorry - no board game version! It’s hard enough for the team coming up with a seriesfull of great questions as it is!

Dan at 12:42 am on November 22nd, 2010

Not to mention the site connecting walls!

And either it’s me, or they’re getting more difficult.

Lucy at 12:54 am on November 22nd, 2010

You mentioned in the show children getting a classical education. Are you aware that the Scottish Qualifications Authority are planning on removing Higher Classical Greek from the curriculum? I do realise that this has not much to do with this blog post, but I feel that if we had your support in trying to preserve this subject, it would help greatly in our fight to keep the subject alive in Scotland.

Simon Warner at 12:19 pm on December 16th, 2010

Hi Victoria - To whom were you referring when you said an Only Connect contestant had gone on to further TV success? Or did I mishear you?!

Victoria Coren

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