Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Curb the press

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Newspapers are so cruel. Remember that nice picture of Helen Mirren looking fantastic, aged 62, in a red bikini? That good press couldn’t last. Ever since then, the paparazzi have been stalking her, in a desperate attempt to get the counter-picture.

  Finally, due to a combination of bad light, windy weather and a sticking-up label, they’ve managed to snap her looking a little bit less like a teenage siren and a little bit more like a pensioner on a beach - although she still, frankly, looks better in a bikini than I do.

  It’s yet another reason to avoid becoming too famous: the risk that you might get photographed unwittingly in a swimsuit. Luckily, that doesn’t happen if you stick to quiz shows on BBC Four. Still, for the sake of others, I think there should be new rules, so that people can enjoy their holidays properly without worrying. Newspapers already pixellate the faces of children who are “papped”, if they’re under 16. Maybe they should start pixellating the bums of anybody over 22.

Facebook Google Digg Reddit Yahoo! StembleUpon Newsbine LiveJournal BlinkList

Add Comment


Andrew at 12:53 am on December 8th, 2008

just spent ages typing in a comment and it was rejected for being 85 characters too long Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh….........

Victoria Coren at 11:14 am on December 8th, 2008

Well, that’s generally to encourage pithy comments.. but you could have sent it in two halves…

David Young at 5:35 pm on December 8th, 2008

It’s sensible to save your message in the clipboard first . That way it’s still there if it’s rejected.

Meanwhile Vicky, when you write: “she still, frankly, looks better in a bikini than I do”, a picture would be worth a thousand words.

Victoria Coren at 6:53 pm on December 8th, 2008

Fair enough.

MarkP at 7:59 pm on December 8th, 2008

I’m not trying to defend the press but surely there are certain resorts you know the papers will be covering. I mean, I can’t see the Sun sending a snapper to Bridlington Sands in September just in case Brad and Angelina decide to take the kids there to take advantage of the special autumn rates.

Rrrrr at 12:54 am on December 9th, 2008

À propos bums:

I generally have the feeling that an awful lot of women are being terrorised by “body fascism” nowadays. Hardly surprising, given the content of their women’s magazines – but very deplorable!

It’s good and reasonable to care about your looks and perfectly ok to be unhappy with your flaws. But in most cases, all the headaches are simply not necessary: I bet that out of a group of random blokes, at least 40% are unable to remember their former girlfriend’s eye colour (not to mention all the trendy new coiffures, the magazine-inspired beauty treatments or ANY differences in weight).

Personally, I still have not found out what women look for in men (apart from money, obviously). But I surely do know what I like in a woman.

If the world really functioned the way the editorial staffs dictate, mankind would die out within one generation. My ultimate beauty/health/self-esteem advice to all women out there: take someone you like by the hand, go outside for a promenade in the country, have an nice chat, take a deep breath of fresh air, smile to the sun, watch the squirrels shag around, stop for a bite to eat in a good restaurant, order whatever you fancy ..... and allow him to put his penis in your hand. Ah, yeah, and sadly but inevitably: stop smoking.

Admittedly, the realisability of this programme heavily depends on where and how you are living. Luckily, there are plenty of nice places to escape to for a relaxing mini-break - with no paparazzo behind the tree, but lots of squirrels! Promised!!

David R at 3:21 am on December 9th, 2008

I clicked on the link of Helen Mirren and her unflattering pics, and I was absolutely shocked and stunned to learn that it was the Daily Mail that had done this.

I went into such shock that my chair fell straight backwards onto the floor, with me still sitting there perfectly in place, legs straight upwards, totally shocked rigid. And there I stayed for 3 hours, in motionless, numb, perpendicular disbelief.

Ian at 10:47 am on December 9th, 2008


Nice photo, I prefer your hair style now though to back then.

Dickie D at 12:10 pm on December 10th, 2008

So I arrived home from work last night and the other half was watching a documentary on her laptop about gundog trials….although I could not see the screen it was one of those “I know that commentator voice from somewhere” moments.
Victoria in wellies in a muddy field……whatever next!

charlie at 3:40 pm on December 10th, 2008

I done exactly the same as Andrew a wee while ago. I penned an interesting, amusing, and frankly pithier than pithy comment only to be treated with scorn and rejection by the electronic ed., that faceless bastard who offered me the chance to return to the previous page. Aha, I thought, that’s handy, but it was a lie, it wasn’t the previous page at all, or rather it was but with no trace of my offering of wit and bawdy banter.  I tried again on another occasion ....rejected again and I’m not sure why, does it want the word or the word plus number? Ach anyway I’m not going to try any more.

John at 9:33 pm on December 10th, 2008

After checking out the bikini photograph I’m now of the opinion it isn’t actually female.  You Ladyboys get everywhere!!  John.

Andrew at 11:34 pm on December 10th, 2008

OK, I will try again:  PITHY mode ‘on’, and I am writing this on the clipboard.

1)  that photo of Helen Mirren must be the exception to the rule that all publicity is good publicity
2)  what would the news of the screws et al publish if it couldn’t take photos of celebs showing their ‘failures’ ? (cellulite if they are women). This is a tabloid staple and they would lose half their readership overnight.
3)  Despite what you say about being on BBC4, given your other TV work I would expect you get recognised quite often Balderdash and Piffle was almost prime time TV (about 9pm).

Spidermonkey at 12:31 pm on December 11th, 2008

Speaking of which. More Balderdash & Piffle. Just one more, for old times sake? You know you want to.

Victoria Coren at 3:40 pm on December 11th, 2008

Sadly, it’s not up to me - that’s a decision taking by the commissioning editors at BBC2 and I don’t think they want any more… Have got to think, well, we were lucky to get two series out of a documentary on the not ostensibly sexy (although of course it IS) subject of the dictionary, and it would be greedy to have wanted more…

Greg Lovett at 1:38 pm on December 12th, 2008


Balderdash and Piffle was a great show.  Have yo ever considered taking it to the States.  That is, you and your production team creating an American version?  You have a great presentation style and I am sure you would do a great job highlighting the quirks of America. 

Victoria Coren at 2:39 pm on December 12th, 2008

Thanks Greg, it’s a nice idea - although Balderdash was specifically about the Oxford English Dictionary. But I’m sure there could be a series in the quirks and niceties of American English… sadly, not enough hours in the day for me at the moment, if I take on anything else I might expire, but I have mentioned your idea to the team who made the original Balderdash & Piffle so they might well think about it!

Jonathan at 5:26 pm on March 26th, 2009

Please excuse lateness of this message but I only just learned that my old friend from when I was in practice at the Inner Temple in the 1970s had passed away and wanted to express my sincerest commiserations at this catastrophic loss. (I would send you a personal email but dont have any way of doing so)

On the subject at hand, I have often wondered why these programs were never transmitted in the US now that Jon Stewart is so popular in England through his internet presence.

Is there any chance of ever getting The Losers here in New York? Do you have any contact address for Joe McGrath, who I think Alan said had the only copies around? (except for the one copy of one episode you presumably have!)

Victoria Coren at 2:18 am on March 28th, 2009

Thank you for your very nice message Jonathan. I’m afraid I have no contact details at all for Joe McGrath, and wouldn’t know where to start! I think The Losers is, sadly, lost to the mists of time…
Very best wishes, VC

Jonathan at 2:49 pm on March 30th, 2009

Curiously enough that is what your father implied when I asked him about 30 years ago if it was ever going to be re-transmitted:  Well, you know there is one copy out there, don’t you?

E. Roberts at 7:29 pm on August 28th, 2009

Saw you last night, mis

Victoria Coren

News: September 2017

September 7th is a big day!

Click here to read more »

Switch Theme

Click here to change colour scheme

RSS Feed

Subscribe to the RSS feed here