Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Now That’s What I Call A Blog

Thursday, 11 December 2008

I realize now where I’ve been going wrong.

And next time I play Premier League Poker, my pre-match interview is going to be a lot more like this.

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David R at 10:57 am on December 11th, 2008


Is this the future of poetry?

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr at 10:28 pm on December 11th, 2008

.. ........, .... ...... ....... ... !!!!  . ...... ..... ... ; ...... ... !!!!!!!!!
... .......... .. ....., ...... . ..... ....... .
.. .... ....... (... ......, ....! ?!) ....  .... , ... ....... ..., .... ..!

`^รง*%&”  !!!!

Craigy at 10:51 pm on December 11th, 2008

I Am King - Subtle hints of taking yourself a little too seriously with lasting tones of what an utter ballbag.

I’d love to see his stylist’s vision for Only Connect, though…

Kenn at 10:56 pm on December 11th, 2008

Is there a particular reason for your unnatural Diddy orientated blog?
Also just a quick question as I have been watching Only Connect, is it fun to make the show? I mean sure it’s just a half hour, 20 min thing on our TV’s and I assume it takes a few hours to record, but the latest ep with The Crossworders Vs The Sceince Writers was very very slow to start with, in terms of them getting points. Basically does it make your bored watching/hosting when teams are kind of just failing and getting nowhere or do you find that more entertaining than them getting it right?

Victoria Coren at 5:06 am on December 12th, 2008

It’s certainly not boring to make! It doesn’t take a few hours, either - we have to film each round properly to time, otherwise we’d be breaking the rules of our own quiz. If they’ve got two minutes to answer a question, we can only film for two minutes (or less, if they get the answer quicker) and we’re onto the next. The only delay is after round 2 when we stop and move to a different set for round 3, and then back again for round 4. Altogether I would think it takes about an hour maximum to record.

  I would never be bored, because I’m nervous about doing my job properly, being fair, working exactly when I should or shouldn’t allow a close-but-not-perfect answer etc. And whether I’m entertained doesn’t depend on whether the contestants are getting the answers right or wrong, it’s about how they’re answering them. If they get the answers quickly and cleverly, I’m impressed; if they make a wild and completely incorrect guess, I’m amused. The vast majority of the contestants are “my kind of people” - crossworders, scrabblers, quizzers, pedants, people who care about language / spelling and love the concept of random knowledge - so I invariably feel warm towards them (even if I act otherwise) and just enjoy listening to their minds at work.

David Bodycombe at 7:21 am on December 12th, 2008


The show is quite different from other quiz shows I’ve recorded in that Rounds 1 and 2 are played back-to-back just like you see it on TV. So it’s quite a fun show for the contestants because they can keep up the momentum, unlike other shows which have all sorts of stops and starts caused by sundry technical faults.

The length of Round 4 is “back-timed” so that we end with about 32 minutes of material, which is trimmed in the edit to 29 minutes - only a bit of chat or explanation (all of it comedy gold, natch) is trimmed, but otherwise what you see is what you get.

As for the scoring, I did some in-depth stats recently and it turns out that the questions in Rounds 1 and 2 are answered:

25% of the time early
25% of the time on the final clue
25% of the time handed over
25% not at all it might feel like they’re scrabbling around but actually 75% of the questions are being answered correctly. I wouldn’t want this balance to change, otherwise there’d be no bonus points and no opportunties for our viewer, Reg in Cleethorpes, to “beat” the teams.

We’ve never done what University Challenge do and rewind the tape if there’s a slew of wrong answers. If the teams don’t perform well, that’s just how the ball lies and we move on. I’d expect the standard of the teams to be higher next time anyhow.

And finally, other AMAZING stats from the series:
- Zeta was chosen as the first letter only once in the whole series. Derren Brown take note.
- Epsilon was both the most likely letter to be picked first, and the most likely letter to be chosen last.
- Teams chose the Alpha wall two-thirds of the time.

Question Editor, OC

Victoria Coren at 1:18 pm on December 12th, 2008

Just a note on the standard of the teams being “higher next time” (if there is a next time), I do just want to add that obviously our lovely teams on this series were of a very high standard! Some of them freakishly good… And I’d hope there would always be some teams who struggled a bit, and some answers that weren’t got by anyone, because it is a much more difficult and challenging quiz than most on television, and many people who mention it to me are saying they enjoy it but laughing about how few answers they can get. If the viewers at home were getting five correct answers when the teams were getting everything right within seconds, there’d be too much disparity. Half the fun of the show is the audible struggle to make those connections where it isn’t obvious; if it rattled along too fast then we’d be doing something wrong.

Kenn at 11:34 pm on December 12th, 2008

Thank you for the responses.
I’m sorry for assuming that it took a few hours to record, i just assumed with make up time for and other “studio” things it would last longer.
I can’t believe that Zeta was only chosen once in the whole series (i assume series 2 which is now showing).
I appreciate the difficulty of the show, if i were getting more than one or two of the answers in the first two rounds i would be chuffed with myself. I am a fan of language (spellings and meanings especially) and find the show to be the best on TV (i like Mock The Week despite the lack of “Quiz-ical” content and Q.I).
It honestly makes the show more enjoyable to know it’s almost the whole recording which goes out. So we shouldn’t expect any OC Uncut DVD’s.
Again thank you for the responses.

Fitch at 4:03 am on December 13th, 2008

Hi Victoria, I’m trying to understand how some people can be arsed, nee bothered, to live their poor little nondescript lives. How can anybody have the time to analyse what is surely a program that is the equivalent of doing the Telegraph crossword while sat with a nice bottle of Rioja, on the sofa with your feet up chillin’. It’s bloody marvellous!
I must admit that you are the main attraction, and I dream that one day I’ll be there and get the Connect Wall in the space of ten seconds. I do have some wild dreams. I also think that if Ken Kesey had made “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” easier to read, life would be a better place.
You can’t have everything.
Love and goodnight!!!

John at 8:36 pm on December 13th, 2008

Two weeks ago I bought ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’  .....definitely a great film.  Not tried the book yet.  Damn…...  the X Factor is starting.  Should I watch it….... or not bother?  And where’s that Austin when you need him?

paul ovenden at 3:10 pm on December 20th, 2008

beautiful….smart…….witty…..  what’s the connection?  answer ... vicky coren.

Victoria Coren

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