Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Heresy 3

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

  I’m very pleased with the mixture of tones in this year’s Heresy; all the shows feel very different. We’ve been lucky with the guests, who have all been great and really got the idea of the programme: that it’s a formatted comedy show, but it isn’t a panel game. The guests have to argue against the received opinions whether they secretly agree with them or not, which sometimes calls for flippant and creative lines of argument, but amongst all the funny stuff there are proper serious points and juicy logical arguments. As a listener, it’s just my cup of tea. When I listen to (or watch) comedy shows these days, it sometimes feels like they’ve been over-recorded and then edited sharply down it’s just one joke after another. There isn’t always enough breathing space for conversation to break out.
  That doesn’t mean we don’t like having lots of jokes on Heresy, but I’m happiest when it sounds like bright, funny guests having a proper chat and really kicking ideas around.

  In this week’s episode (Wednesday at 6.30 on Radio 4), the guests are Diane Abbott, David Mitchell and Rev Richard Coles, arguing against the statements:





  It’s a very funny show, but there are also some great arguments here, some quite daring and controversial stuff from Diane Abbott, and the lovely calm wisdom of Richard Coles talking very elegantly about the point of going to church. I hope you enjoy it if you listen, and find it a bit of decent exercise for the brain as well as being entertaining. I always hope that people will continue the arguments at home after it finishes, but, short of creeping around front gardens and hoping to find people with a radio in the front room, I suppose I’ll never know…

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JazBenz at 1:19 pm on December 13th, 2011

Will these episodes ever be available on Itunes? I’d like to listen to it while travelling.

dw at 8:24 pm on December 13th, 2011

Heresy: I love the subtle British humour and agony of listening to guests having to defend the indefensible…in front of the tough schoolmistress-chairperson!! Now I have seen VC play poker on video - inscrutable, cool, dispassionate hard, tough… As a player, as a winner has to be. Hats off to you…...You deserve your success.

Sara P at 4:07 pm on December 14th, 2011

Haha they definitely chose the wrong Miliband, I will look forward to hearing you argue round that one. Agree about comedy shows in general, it’s very nice to have a bit of real conversation in there, especially on radio.

Victoria Coren at 4:56 pm on December 14th, 2011

Hi Jaz. I’m afraid I don’t think there are plans to put Heresy on iTunes - or at least, none that I know of.

fingéro at 9:45 pm on December 14th, 2011

There are more Milibands!?
By the way, you can creep around my front garden any time you like. I’d better not return the favour - that might be considered stalking.

Rob D at 2:43 pm on December 15th, 2011

Love the show and have only recently become aware of it due to an urgent trip to buy a pair of bicycle gloves with Radio 4 playing in the car. I ended up sitting in the car in the car park beside said bike gloves shop and missed closing time due to my desire for further giggles.

However, I often wondered if it is okay to end a sentence as Victoria has above with the word “of”?

BenButton at 4:55 pm on December 15th, 2011

I thought Diane Abbot was idiotic in that episode. She had nothing to say of any value. There was some nonsense about the thickness of the Milliband hair, then some balderdash about wanting the best for your kids, tacked on to David’s fine point. I don’t think she knew how to put herself across to the audience. I’ve heard her speak many times and she let herself down badly last night. You should have gotten Shirley Williams. I love Shirley, she is never on telly enough for my liking.

JazBenz at 10:29 pm on December 15th, 2011

Talking of Itunes. I would have liked an audioversion of “For Richer, For Poorer” - will you do that, please? #whatIwantforchristmas

John Rosecrop at 6:17 pm on December 16th, 2011

I notice you don’t say much to promote David Mitchell, but that’s probably not required.  I was at the earlier show (2).  The usual guest secrecy seems to have failed for this later recording (3), it being widely known that David Mitchell was featuring, and the place was awash with his fans.  I booked my ticket on the day for the 6.30pm recording whereas the 8.00pm recording was fully allocated some time back, and clearly from twitter activity a lot of people didn’t get in.

Personally, I was hoping for Sue Perkins, and I rather envy my brother for attending the last recording (6), and I gather that he escaped being asked to speak in spite of trying to out do me with pictures of smurfs and prawns on his questionnaire.

Victoria Coren at 7:53 pm on December 16th, 2011

Hi John. It’s not really “guest secrecy”; we don’t tend to publish the line-ups in advance but it’s not secret. Many of the guests (mostly the comedians: David Mitchell, Dave Gorman, David Baddiel.. goodness, how many Davids have been on) tweeted the link to the ticket website and mentioned when they’d be appearing, so obviously some of their followers got tickets that way. The non-comedian guests - the Diane Abbotts and so on - probably aren’t followed by so many live comedy fans, and some (perhaps a Heresy topic for the future) AREN’T EVEN ON TWITTER. Shocking.

  I must say our audiences have been great though, really entered into the spirit of the thing and we’ve had some great contributions from them, I’m very grateful.


SloeLoris at 12:59 am on December 17th, 2011

Am I the only person here who thinks “The Dianne Abbotts and So On” would be a really good name for a band?

(I hereby volunteer to make the posters, and play undemanding backing percussion.)

psychofant at 10:58 am on December 18th, 2011

sloe loris, if you need a couple of fiddlers for your band,im sure Ms abbot could persuade any number of her parliamentary colleagues to volenteer.

SloeLoris at 12:35 am on December 19th, 2011

@ psychofant:  Probably, but since the internet found out about our plans for a Jessie J vs The Sex Pistols mash-up we have no places left for backups.  (Plus I have the triangle solo *right down* and I don’t need that kind of competition at the moment.)

psychofant at 2:26 pm on December 19th, 2011

victoria, what a pity it is now to late to invite christopher hitchens onto the panel of HERESY. i should have loved to hear him on the proposition “religion has been a force for good in the world”. sadly he has joined the ever growing list of 20th century writers/journalists who sat behind their typewriter/laptops, chain smoking whilst they produced their prose, into an early grave. ian fleming,stieg larsson, vaclav havel, to name but a few. auberon waugh joked about how he was “kippering” his one remaining lung!. before sir walter raleigh brought europe the benefit of tobacco, there was centuries of the written word whose authors managed without nicotine. is it not possible for modern writers to produce their work without this poisonous prop?

Rob D at 8:46 pm on December 19th, 2011

So, is it okay to end a sentence in such a way?

Lucy @lubzbee at 5:58 pm on December 31st, 2011

Went to the recording of this episode. It was brilliant! I have to confess, i did cry quite hysterically with happiness and excitement when i was in the queue outside the theatre! So did get a little teased by family and other people in the queue! I hope i get to go to future recordings, as it was the experience of a life time. Sorry if that sounds a little sad… ;) Thank you! :) x

Victoria Coren

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