Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Heresy 1

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

We have done several Heresy recordings now, and they’re going very well. It’s funny how different the shows are from each other. Some feel like broad comedy with lots of very good jokes from the guests, some feel like proper debate shows with serious opinions strongly expressed; some have moments of scratchy combativeness, some feel like happy pub discussions with everyone trying to make each other laugh. It’s a mixed bag - like its host. But I think (as far as I can tell) that they are all very entertaining, I’m proud of what we’ve done so far.

  It starts going out tonight on Radio 4 at 6.30pm with the artist Grayson Perry, the political journalist Julia Hartley Brewer and the comedian Rufus Hound, arguing against the received opinions





  I remember it being a very lively conversation, challenging and funny; do tune in if you’re near a radio at that time, and let us know what you think.

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Alan Glaum at 7:46 pm on May 19th, 2010

Good show - although as I was shopping I missed bits


1) Arts bias - everyone is assumed to know who Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin are,  but not what a hadron is.

2) and surely at least 50% of the audience would think women look better than men - and the clothes would be irrelevant.

Pogle Would at 11:14 pm on May 19th, 2010

Has it started yet…......?

Hello. Is there anybody there?

Oooh, it’s dark in here…...... and there’s an echo…


Nobody here…..  I’m going home then….....

EmilyDxon at 3:25 pm on May 20th, 2010

I thought that was a terrific programme. I saw Grayson Perry on Have I Got News For You and thought he was brilliant then, he is again here. Also Rufus Hound and Julia HB very funny, it’s a good mix of jokes and chat. Am looking forward to next week’s!

  I am definitely persuaded that men could look as good in women’s clothes as the other way round, but in both cases I think it only works if used sparingly. Eddie Izzard / Noel Fielding, maybe great with a flowing blouse or scarf and bit of eye makeup, but a full pink dress would just look ridiculous. Interesting maybe but not attractive! But also true in reverse. Women look sexy in tuxedos if they wear lipstick and great heels - add spats and flat shoes, would look awful.

Jak at 1:24 am on May 21st, 2010

I love reading your blogs and listening to bbc radio stations i never listen to

Fancy a club 18-30 hol this year hehe

MattP at 9:20 am on May 21st, 2010

Thanks for putting the link here, I listened this morning (v entertaining) while making some home-made muesli. Which is such a girly thing to do, I don’t need to put on a dress ;-)

MDW at 4:05 pm on May 21st, 2010

I used the power of iplayer to listen to Heresy earlier this week, I enjoyed it muchly.

I’m a little worried as I also noticed a few other shows that sounded good and have now listened every night this week.
I remember making the change from Radio 1 to Radio 2 but nobody warned me that approaching 40 I’d start making the change from Radio 2 to Radio 4.

I’m going to counteract this by listening to some drum & bass and trip hop on they way home from work tonight (whatever they are).

Andrew D at 6:43 pm on May 21st, 2010

Just out of interest, why do you think the Large Hadron Collider is a waste of money? I guess it probably is, just wondering if you could elucidate further.
Also wanted to say that you are by far the best poker commentator I have heard - both entertainingly scathing and informative in equal measure!

Victoria Coren at 8:00 pm on May 21st, 2010

What? I don’t think it’s a waste of money! The point of Heresy is to take three opinions which the majority of people have (like THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER IS A WASTE OF MONEY) and then the panellists and I argue against that. 

  I suppose people’s reasons for agreeing with the opinion would be predominantly that there is no spare money for anything, with some being sceptical about whether it will achieve anything or teach us anything, and others (for reasons of superstition, or religion, or fear) not wanting to investigate what it might teach us anyway. But whatever their reasons are, we are arguing against them, not in favour! I’m sure if you listen to the episode it will become clear…

Rog at 10:37 am on May 22nd, 2010

Large Cauldrons, men in dresses and dogs playing poker? That’s just soo silly Vicky.  Cauldrons are for witches and having little to do with physics or space. However, my dog frequently plays online poker, whilst wearing a dress.

As for art, I’m wondering, seriously, in years to come, will blogs such as yours become art?


JohnMcc at 10:05 pm on May 22nd, 2010

I thought that the sections on Men in Women’s Clothing and about artists not doing their own work were excellent, with some very strong counter-arguments being made and plenty of food for thought while still keeping the tone of the conversation light hearted and witty.

The section on the Large Hadron Collider was disappointing, no serious challenges were made to any of the reasons listed above why people may be opposed to the LHC and only Rufus seemed to even try to come up with any. It also did seem to be a curious decision to lead with this when it is the question that the panel is weakest on, I nearly switched it off and missed the much better second 2 sections, which would have been a shame.

Andrew D at 10:39 pm on May 22nd, 2010

Apologies - I didn’t read your blog properly! I shall indeed listen to the episode. Clearly the LHC is a fascinating project though I would suggest it would be nice to use such enormous sums of money towards things like safeguarding the future of the planet before we start investigating its origins. Anyhow, I’ll definitely give it a listen!
Incidentally, any idea when and where I could catch any more of your excellent poker commentary?

Victoria Coren at 2:00 am on May 23rd, 2010

John - I understand what you’re saying but, of course, we can’t know which the strongest conversation will be until we’ve had it! And by then it’s too late to un-have it and have it later… also, technically it is a comedy show, it is in the official comedy slot. I like to have as much clever and relevant argument as possible, but if the guests are just being funny without being necessarily bang on argument, I don’t usually stop them.

  Andrew - the most recent poker commentary I recorded was on the High Roller and World Cup events at the 2010 PCA, though I’m afraid I have no idea when they’re going to be on television. They usually crop up randomly on a sports channel and I know nothing about it. Sadly, I almost never do poker commentary for Channel 4 any more because those events are usually now sponsored by FullTilt poker and they don’t really want me because, with another hat on, I’m sponsored by PokerStars. But you never know, I consider myself pretty neutral when it comes to the commentary/writing aspect of things, so I might be on there again one of these days.

MarkJB at 8:50 am on May 23rd, 2010

Loved the show, it was all good. As an artist, I wanted to hear it said that real artists do it themselves because that’s what they love doing, that’s why they are artists.
Re the LHC, well I think all the important points were covered, funnily enough. Grayson saying it was psychologically a piece of bling, Rufus saying we have to understand the universe and Vicky mentioning the things that we might think the money would be better used for.

Questions: If the LHC succeeds, will scientists think they are even smarter than everyone else?
Will it help to make technology (to further divide rich countries from poor), or make weapons?
If LHC fails (to find the Higgs) will they want to build one 10 times bigger, or will they admit “We got it completely wrong,..Sorry…Any other theories?”

Victoria Coren

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