Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player


Friday, 11 June 2010

I have been asked to put the following clarification on my website:


“In the first edition of Victoria Coren’s book, “For Richer for Poorer, A Love Affair with Poker” she refers to a tattoo that Kate Szeremeta, a fellow poker player, has as showing “Ben Elton’s face tattooed in four colours across her stomach.” In fact, the tattoo is a heart shaped tattoo (the size of a £2 coin) with Ben Elton’s name written across it above her hip. We apologise for the fact that Kate Szeremeta’s tattoo was incorrectly described and are happy to put the record straight.”


  The book is available here - but please bear in mind, should you get hold of a copy from the original print run, that it will include this erroneous description, based on a mistake in my memory from ten years ago. Kate Szeremeta does NOT have a tattoo of Ben Elton’s face. It is of his name in a heart. It is NOT on her stomach. It is above her hip. I apologize unreservedly for the hurt, anger, distress and offence taken at my memory lapse, and for all the trouble and expense that ensued from it. I thought Kate was a friend of mine and would never intentionally have done anything to upset her. I’m sorry. If you wait for the paperback, there will be no reference to Kate Szeremeta at all. I hope everything is now very clear.

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Angela Gregg at 11:21 am on June 11th, 2010

Does that mean that my original hardback version of FR,FP is now a collectors item and I should hold on to it as one might a Van Gogh original??? Will I be able to flog it in a few years and retire as I have always dreamed, before the age of 40 and live the life to which I would like to become accustomed??

I’m guessing that due to legal reasons you may not want to comment too much on the error but then again I don’t think that in light of this revelation I will ever believe anything you write ever again.  I was just about to start ‘Once More with Feeling’ but Lord only knows what flights of fancy that contains!?!

(personally if I was going to complain about your recounting of a tattoo I would have denied it ever in any way mentioned Ben Elton never mind its shape or placement!?!)

Cee at 11:32 am on June 11th, 2010

This Kate chick needs to RELAX!!!

Electric Dragon at 12:28 pm on June 11th, 2010

Even Homer nods.

Paul Holloway at 12:53 pm on June 11th, 2010

Good grief.

I’ve just taken the book off my wish list, and into my basket.  Please pass on my thanks to Kate for bringing this matter to my attention.

The Tim at 1:34 pm on June 11th, 2010

I, too, am sorry for all the unwelcome publicity Ms. Szeremeta must have made from your having to make this clarification.

Laura B at 6:54 pm on June 11th, 2010

I had to read the correction twice to work out what you’d said that was wrong. Did that woman really make a formal complaint about this? Was she looking for some - actually if I finish that sentence I’ll probably be committing libel myself! Ah well. I guess the poker world is full of people like that… am totally buying the book now.

Phil at 8:05 pm on June 11th, 2010

I bought it twice due to me being an amazon dimwit. I’m delighted that this oversight will increase the resale value of the book(s)
Seriously though; what a daft thing to get pissy about.

Angela Gregg at 8:09 pm on June 11th, 2010

I logged back on to ask you Miss Coren (Victoria seems frightfully forward as you don’t know me from Adam, call me old fashioned) but since that now fateful day, have you met Stephen Fry again and if so does he know who you are or does he still think of you as the very nice blonde poker player with the curious taste in body art??

Yes I am a nosey blighter but you know, sometimes the great mysteries of the universe have to be addressed.

Pizzicato at 8:36 pm on June 11th, 2010

I really hope this is a clever publicity stunt…

Rob Samples at 9:58 pm on June 11th, 2010

Nobody to blame but yourself, i’m afraid. At what point in your relationship did you get to the stage where you wouldn’t expect someone with a tattoo either of or mentioning Ben Elton to be a complete [MOD: HAVE CUT HERE, SO AS NOT TO RISK LIBEL].

Tattoos in general show us that their wearers are the kind of people who expect to go through their whole lives without ever having the capacity to change their minds about anything, but while that might be overlooked….certain tattoos can’t be so readily forgiven. Swastikas, any forehead tattoo and having the name of the twunk who soiled a legendary comedy writing career with years of ‘mrs thatch, little bit of politics’, sparkly suits, shit books and a f*cking Queen musical to name but a few.

Bill Green (outraged of oop north) at 1:15 am on June 12th, 2010

I hope you’ll be good enough to come round and personally correct my copy with a biro, should you get lost and end up in this corner of the nation. Explanatory diagrams would be a great help too.

Stephen at 6:55 am on June 12th, 2010

To be fair, it’s embarrassing enough that she has Ben Elton’s name tattooed on her, but if I met her and thought she had his mug covering her belly, that would be psychologically unsettling.

I presume you got a decent readership in the poker world for your book, so it might have been mentioned to her a couple too many times.

Victoria Coren at 10:12 am on June 12th, 2010

Pizzicato - it’s not a publicity stunt by me, I promise you.
Angela - I haven’t actually met Stephen Fry since then, but he very kindly contributed an essay to a book that my brother and I edited of my late father’s work (“Chocolate & Cuckoo Clocks” - it is a brilliant book, please do check it out on the BOOKS page of this site and consider having a read), so I think he definitely now knows who I am. Don’t know if he’d recognize me in a room, but hey, why should he? Stephen Fry is a cultural colossus, I’m still scrabbling around the feet.

Stephen (post above, I assume that’s not Stephen Fry…) - Absolutely, there is nothing wrong at all with trying to get a mistake like that changed. I remembered it a bit wrongly - though I never thought there was anything bad about having the tattoo, I thought it was sweet and funny, and put it in the book because it’s one of the quirky things I remember about poker games I’ve played in over the years. I wasn’t trying to imply anything more than that Kate was a devoted fan of Ben Elton and I wasn’t so much, so I was embarrassed that Stephen Fry thought I was the one who had the tattoo - and I’m not sure the detail of the tattoo makes a massive difference to the point of the story. But a mistake’s a mistake and I am happy to correct it. I just wish Kate had felt she could contact me directly, with an email or a phone call. We’ve known each other for over ten years.

Angela Gregg at 12:10 pm on June 12th, 2010

I’m a fool, I just finished ‘Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks’ about 3 weeks ago and I do of course remember Stephen Fry’s lovely piece - it completely slipped my mind, I think I’m starting to lose my faculties at 31!  I’ll take this opportunity if I may, to say I adored that book, even if it nearly did get me ejected from the quiet carriage on the train to London because I kept laughing out loud. I’ve recommended it to many people since.  I’ve always been a great admirer of your father’s work and it’s lovely to see both you and your brother contributing to a great family literary and comedy legacy (that’s not meant to sound as horrendously sycophantic as it probably comes across). Perhaps a QI appearance with Mr Fry might answer the question of recognition once & for all??? ;)

David Young at 2:28 pm on June 12th, 2010

It’s a good thing you didn’t accuse anyone of having a speech impediment.

Frustrated at 6:01 pm on June 12th, 2010

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the current thread but I just needed to find somewhere to vent my displeasure. I spent nearly three months unsuccessfully trying to form a team for the ‘Only Connect’ show before eventually submitting my application alone in the hope that Presentable would find one for me. I’ve just been told, however, quite courteously that this is not possible as I was the only solo applicant.

It’s no-one’s fault, of course, but really annoying when I watch the show every week and consistently get the answers before the contestants.

Rog at 7:39 pm on June 12th, 2010

Well, I have yet to have an opportunity to read your wonderful book which is about you, your life, your thoughts and feelings - with apparently a few lines with melord-offending misrepresentation regarding a tattoo.

In the history of life, authors simply do not make such scandalous errors!  Clearly, this changes the entire direction of your book which I haven’t yet read and leads to serious questions to be subsequently addressed on Heresy, Question Time and in the House of Lords.

Keep up the good work Vicky x

King John II at 10:14 pm on June 12th, 2010

Fair enough, we all make mistakes. Still, one does have to wonder as to some of the other content, for example the poker player from Mill Hill who lives on sausages.

The Camel at 2:07 pm on June 13th, 2010

You have to feel a little bit sorry for Kate in all this.

She has every reason to be highly embarrassed about a Ben Elton tattoo, wherever it is placed.

I know I’m highly ashamed of the twin tattoos of Jim Davidson and Stan Boardman on my buttocks.

LC at 2:58 pm on June 14th, 2010

Can’t believe this woman cares so much as to have you officially correct it. Who gives a toss?

Girl needs to chill out!

Alex at 4:58 pm on June 14th, 2010

I know Stephen Fry knows who you are, as I met him the other day and had a brief conversation about online poker, in which your name came up with mutual knowledge of your existence and body of work.

John. W at 11:21 pm on June 17th, 2010

It seems that the only real reason for someone making a complaint, such as that made by, i presume , your ex-friend, is to make financial gain.  I hope you are a better poker player and got some sort of satisfaction.
Your dad was a witty man with such an obviously good mind, i’m a fan of his.
You are a very attractive young woman and a pleasure to watch and hear.
Did you ever consider turning the story of your naughty-film-making exercise into a screenplay?

Victoria Coren at 12:17 am on June 19th, 2010

Hi John. We did sell the film rights of that book - not to write the screenplay ourselves, to a company who wanted to develop it - but nothing ever came of it. I was glad really, I think it’s better as a book. I can’t imagine how anyone would film it without ending up either unbroadcastably rude, or annoyingly coy.

  Thank you very much for your nice words about my dad.

russ c at 2:39 pm on July 12th, 2010

+ pathetic
= should be ashamed kate

will be buying the book now anyway so it’s hopefully pushed up sales enough to cover the legal costs.

as for keith’s tattoos on his arse and dy lisp looool. looking forward to reading your thoughts on other players.

Victoria Coren

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