Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player


Thursday, 13 September 2012

  Tomorrow night I’m going to be on Q.I. ! Well, tomorrow and Saturday. Friday’s what I would think of as the “normal” version, the half-hour one, and Saturday’s the extended one. The episode’s already been recorded and I’m relieved to say it seemed to go well. I can’t remember whether or not I wrote a blog about it at the time, but I was (of course) pretty terrified in advance. I love Q.I. and I’m so glad it exists; how awful, you think to yourself as soon as you’ve said yes (and non-stop throughout the night before) to go on a show you love and slightly ruin it. Other fears include: looking like an idiot. It’s all very well sitting in the Only Connect chair, when I’ve read the questions in advance and all I have to do is remember the answers to anything I didn’t know before, free to smile kindly at the contestants and say “Goodness me, no, the answer is obviously chapter 5 of Don Quixote…”

  .... quite another to be on the BBC’s cleverest mainstream show and be asked the questions, with every risk that you’ll say a lot of stupid things, or nothing at all.

  Luckily, everyone on the programme is incredibly nice. They just don’t seem very interested in making anyone look like an idiot. It’s really a lovely show to do; very relaxed, sort of like going to the pub with a lot of really interesting people, one of whom has a list of good facts to throw in every so often, to make sure conversation doesn’t run dry. Stephen Fry and Alan Davies (the super-regulars) were really kind and welcoming and generous, and the other guests (Bill Bailey and Jimmy Carr) - who are also regulars, of course, compared to me, were great as well. I hope the result is fun to watch.

  The only slight niggle is that I’m sorry to see an old episode of Would I Lie To You? that I recorded a couple of years ago, is repeated on BBC One IMMEDIATELY after the Friday night Q.I. It’s really annoying that shows get repeated so often these days. I mean, it’s annoying as a viewer, but it’s EXASPERATING as an occasional panellist. It makes it a much bigger gamble, doing those sorts of shows; if it doesn’t go very well, your embarrassing failure gets broadcast 25 more times on the same channel and probably 725 more times on Dave. Just to make sure that nobody misses it. (You don’t get paid for repeats, of course. It’s just free awkwardness).

  More importantly, I try to deliberately not do too much stuff, because I know it can be annoying to see the same faces on TV too often. If someone is not a fan of yours, but they are a fan of TV light entertainment, it feels a bit unfair to deliver yourself up over and over again until they can’t escape you. Besides, I never want to get so familiar that people actually notice it’s me in the supermarket, strangely worse-dressed and more soup-stained than I appear on TV. Better to just do the odd thing occasionally, and hope to stay a bit under the radar.

  So it seems rather UNFAIR to creep out of the woodwork and have a go at Q.I., only to find that I’m suddenly a relentless comedy double-bill on two channels - not to mention the repeated Q.I. the following night - shrieking at viewers from every side as if I were SIMON COWELL, when it’s really two programmes recorded two years apart!

  There. Rant over. Hope you enjoy Q.I. if you watch. And if you watch it on Friday rather than Saturday, you’ll find there’s a nice Bond film afterwards, on ITV.

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Pete at 7:55 pm on September 13th, 2012

The episode of Would I Lie To You is very funny. You clearly showed why they shouldn’t invite poker players on then have “amateurs” try to lie to them.

Looking forward to the new series of QI and sounds like a great line up for the first episode, so shall wait till Sat.

Bryan at 9:55 am on September 14th, 2012

A double bill of you in one evening is a quiet night for Rufus Hound.  He is seems to be on every panel show at the same time.  Praps he should have a year of saying no.  Still, as always I am really looking forward to QI later.

Kate at 10:22 am on September 14th, 2012

But that episode of WILTY was brilliant! I love that show. Looking forward to seeing you on QI too, of course. (Also I’m surprised you’re not already recognised in the supermarket.)

The Tim at 11:24 am on September 14th, 2012

I always thought you should go on QI. Your fiance’s also been really good on it. I’ve no inside information but I’m sure you’ll be the winner with a Klaxton-free performance. Hope you weren’t mistaken for one of the elves.

Philip at 11:24 am on September 14th, 2012

Can you explain the apparently arbitrary use of block capitals in your posts? It’s really quite interesting.

Pete at 4:58 pm on September 14th, 2012

Thought and you and Mr. Coren *(David) would be on together, and will Sir Stephen remember you from Celebrity Poker - mentioned it in FRFP which I found in the library.

*With the upcoming happy event does this mean we’ll know you as Victoria Mitchell then ?

Neil Kennedy at 10:02 pm on September 14th, 2012


:-) smart girl.

Mike Sivier at 10:03 pm on September 14th, 2012

How overwhelmingly welcome it is to see a media personality who DOESN’T (sorry for the capitals, Philip) want to shove their genius down everybody’s collective throats, incessantly, ad nauseum, ad absurdum! Having said that, I think the viewing public could cope with a little more Victoria Coren and a little less of certain other ubiquities of the broadcasting world (naming no names).

E Kerr at 10:05 pm on September 14th, 2012

You may well complain, but some of us are delighted.  Indeed, it may be even worse for you than you describe, as you are back twice on Monday for Only Connect and again on Thursday.  Also, don’t forget that QI and WILTY are in HD, so we will be looking carefully for the soup stains, and other delightful features.
I am amused that you describe the quiz shows as comedy.  I am increasingly watching Only Connect for its comedic value (blowing raspberries in the connecting wall was a stroke of genius). OC could also stand for obscure comedy.
Yet on the other hand, compared to that David Mitchell chap, you are hardly ever on TV at all, so there’s no need to worry then… or is there?

Donald at 10:17 pm on September 14th, 2012

Well done on QI and I look forward to seeing more of you on the programme. I watched WILTY as well and I apologise, but I hadn’t seen the episode before and I wanted to catch the banter between you and David.

Your reasons for doing only occasional guest appearances are quite persuasive and I’ll follow them by waiting a few more blogs before adding another comment.

Gareth Adams at 10:29 pm on September 14th, 2012

Which “nice Bond film” are you seeing? I’m just getting Die Another Day :-/

I missed QI tonight so I’ll catch the XL version tomorrow rather than catch up on iPlayer

The Tim at 10:33 pm on September 14th, 2012

I got it half right – still not sure how you won and others managed negative scores as you were the only one Klaxoned – must watch the full version. I now know I’ve used my jigger several times today – mainly to cut the melons (though I did ejaculate very loudly when it caught my hand).
In case no-one’s got there before me there’s an online shopping site which says “Compare Disney Beanie Alice In Wonderland March Hare to Aztec Miniature 5-Pc”. The other thing they have in common is that neither invented the wheel – obvious really. Someone must have put you up to mention your dream. I hope you survived the ducking stool – and that’s not a minced oath.
Seriously though, you were brilliant even if you did make JC sound like he’d left his wipers on.

KonradO at 12:02 am on September 15th, 2012

Hi Victoria - just watched your appearance on Q.I. on BBC iPlayer and thought you were marvellous. All the panellists were on top form and very funny. I think this episode has to be one of the funniest I’ve watched.

Nick at 12:50 am on September 15th, 2012

Since when do you not get paid for repeats? Is that something new? I know they always used to get a repeat fee in the past, although don’t know about QI. Does that mean you only get paid once for Only Connect even though it’s shown twice - on the same day as well as being available on iPlayer for a week! That surprises me but I for one always enjoy watching you on telly whether it’s QI or OC or playing poker. As for WILTY, I never watch it. Not my cup of tea. :)

Carl at 12:59 am on September 15th, 2012

watched QI tonight ,,u was awesome,,very funny ,,,,  n u looked gorjuss ;) ,,, didna know u was a poker player till today ,,,seen u on hignfy n wilty b4. 4t u was mainly a writer ,,seems u got many talents,,best ov luck in all u do….

Kevin Barwood at 1:16 am on September 15th, 2012

Loved you on QI tonight also on Would I Lie to you

Chuck the Yank at 2:45 am on September 15th, 2012

After your spirited defense of QI on HIGNFY, it would’ve been churlish of them not to invite you on. As for the episode itself, I can only say OMG, it was LOL-inducing.

Izzy at 6:11 am on September 15th, 2012

Ahh, you’re a saint. And a very sexy one too.
I can write this as another one, can’t I?

sarah at 7:29 am on September 15th, 2012

Intelligent ladies on the telly. More please. Get yourself on every panel show for the sake of all the ladies in the land. Rant over.

fingero at 8:33 am on September 15th, 2012

For Jimmy Carr only two things in life are certain - death and hair waxes.

Samantha at 1:28 pm on September 15th, 2012

Caught Q.I. thanks to the wonders of the internet: we here in Australia won’t have it for a while! [Then followed it up with your WILTY debut, again, thanks to the internet]. Thought you were brilliant and as a young woman, you’re truly inspiring. It’s so rare to see genuinely intelligent people on the box [admittedly, rarer in our country than yours I think] but and rarer still to see genuinely intelligent women unafraid to be funny, smart, crude with the best of them whilst still maintaining their class.

I’m also experiencing some cognitive dissonance: on the one hand, I’d love to see you so much more often on the panel shows; on the other, part of the reason I admire you so much is your discretion. A quandry!

Still, thoroughly enjoyable television, look forward to seeing you again.

Lord Grumbly at 2:24 pm on September 15th, 2012

Watched you some time ago on HIGNFY and was impressed but on QI last night you were magnificent.  Even the WILTY afterwards I enjoyed again.  Don’t be afraid to do TV, you have the skills to survive.  Will be following on Twitter - good luck in the future.

Darryl Calvert at 2:27 pm on September 15th, 2012

Victoria, you are the perfect woman. David is a lucky man, should he become unlucky… :P lol… continue please with your very engaging and entertainingly informative career . hugs from, a fan. (and hopeful future plaything.. :p x )

Francis Chu at 8:59 pm on September 15th, 2012

I have seen QI and I can sum it up in one word - Awesome!

simon at 9:04 pm on September 15th, 2012

you’re way too smart and gorgeous to be with Mitchel, when you realise this give me a call :)

ps i love the way you sound so prim and posh but your actually quite laid back and rude

The Tim at 10:13 pm on September 15th, 2012

Just seen the XL - lots more of your witty comments which were edited out last night. The ejaculations had me on the floor again.

Ed at 10:54 am on September 16th, 2012

Just watched QI J. If you make both J Carr and me laugh, you’re doing something right.

adam at 4:46 pm on September 16th, 2012

And about time too. I have long felt there has been a VC shaped hole on QI and they seemingly struggle to find decent female contestants. To echo other posts, I’m afraid you now have a duty to appear as often as possible as one of the few decent female role models on TV. I was thrilled when my daughter (11) said “Yay, it’s got Victoria Coren on it” and insisted on staying up to watch. Favourite joke “Breastcock lane” we were ROTFL literally (literally literally)

David Drinkwater at 10:17 am on September 17th, 2012

You are a very clever lady and I thoroughly enjoyed your appearance on QI. Your refusal to be embarrassed was commendable,
Your Dad was one of my favourites as well. I also watch CONNECT.
well done Victoria !!

Peter Flint at 3:18 pm on September 19th, 2012

I’ve now watched QI XL and I thought you stole the show (but in a good way). Witty without trying too hard, keeping your head down when the boys were trading smut, then topping them all with a well-aimed piece of smut all your own. Also, not in any way concerned about stopping the flow of the programme part-way through in order to share with us all your anxiety dream from the previous night, which turned out to be the highlight of the show. I sincerely hope that the QI powers-that-be realise that they’ve found a natural who should become a regular for many series to come. If you get them to time their bookings right, you and David could even share a taxi to the recordings.

KrustyNuts at 12:26 pm on September 21st, 2012

The reason I am on here is because I saw you on Would I lie…it was your comment to lee mack when he said he was going to get one of his testicles out and you said, “Go on then.” Superb.

palladian at 8:06 pm on September 21st, 2012

BBC iPlayer now also showing your 2010 HIGNFY with Benedict Cumberbatch, in which you also refer to a ‘pre-recording anxiety dream’. A recurrent theme it seems.

QI XL was excellent, and you superb. WILTY same, same. You are really, really good at what you do. Don’t let anyone - least of all yourself - tell you otherwise!

Jacob R at 8:52 pm on September 23rd, 2012

You were absolutely fantastic on QI. I’ve never laughed so hard during an episode. Your dream about the march hare had me in stitches.

TO at 6:14 pm on September 28th, 2012

“If someone is not a fan of yours, but they are a fan of TV light entertainment, it feels a bit unfair “.  Well, OK, but what if they ARE a fan of yours?  One of the reasons people watch these shows is because they enjoy listening to the people on them.  And I think most people don’t tend to remember the times someone doesn’t say much (it’s just intrinsically less memorable), we remember the great things they did say.  More appearances = more funny moments to remember.  Therefore you should go on TV more often. QED. :)

seven2off at 12:15 pm on October 2nd, 2012

On last night Only Connect you boldly stated that Batman was the best Super Hero…
What utter rubbish, everybody knows The Hulk is the best Super Hero, if you don’t believe me then I suggest you visualise a confrontation between the two.
Honestly, for such a glaring error to occur on a programme that prides itself on being intelligent is quite frankly disgusting.
I think all that moneys gone to your head. First you get engaged to David Mitchell, then you quit smoking, and now this…
I strongly suspect you will be exploiting your privileged position to promote Conservative policies next.

Poor Victoria, you’ve obviously gone quite mad, and you used to be such a nice girl.
Shame on you.

Victoria Coren at 9:42 am on October 5th, 2012

Seven2Off, I’m afraid you have quite taken leave of your senses. The Hulk may have the brute strength, but where are his gadgets? His cryo capsules, his range of guns, his air-parkable plane? He doesn’t even have a utility belt, for God’s sake.

  The Batman would outwit this mindless green meathead in moments.

fingero at 2:38 pm on October 5th, 2012

Oooh you’ve opened a can of worms here. I think we’ll need an entirely new ‘superhero’ thread…
Batman gets my vote too - he’s certainly the better dressed.

Kate at 1:22 pm on October 6th, 2012

Why no news for October, Victoria? Are you taking the month off?

Stannous Flouride at 10:40 pm on October 7th, 2012

Living in San Francisco I had never encountered you before watching the episode of QI XL on Youtube last night.
You were charming, witty, and came across as quite sharp.
It has prompted me to search you out and find you here where I look forward to exploring more of your writing and wit.
All the best from America’s Left Coast.

(So, why DID the Aztecs venerate the March Hare?)

anthony carroll at 11:53 am on October 8th, 2012

hi,just browsed your page here. liked very much and your many irons in the fire. i didnt know you did a book on x-rated film industry. had a small stint myself but hey thanx again 4 the page. I’m following you on wishes and regards.xx

mimik at 6:17 pm on October 12th, 2012

I have noticed that whenever I go all in it is a sensible call for me but invariably I go out to some guy who has nothing to start and rivers an inside straight (gutshot) or a bigger pair. do you find that happens to you on the “real” tables ?

It is making me think that the online game is not straight which is affecting my thinking and really spoiling my enjoyment of the game.

SloeLoris at 10:52 pm on October 13th, 2012

But would the Fantastic Four beat the Avengers at the Missing Vowls Round?  That’s what I want to know.

ben at 11:57 pm on October 13th, 2012

I’ve never read anyone’s blog before and i’m surprised, regarding how smart and witty your persona suggests you are, how much it seems to matter to you what others think. You appear to be in a strange and select environment which is a bit beyond my daily experience but saying that we are all enjoying this human roller coaster together. You are in a priveliged position and are in the right place to be able to reach people just by being you and i hope you are and continue to be as genuine as you appear .( i dont mean to sound sycophantic and as i say yours is the first blog i’ve ever read and i’m not in the habit of typing to strangers either) don’t worry what others think, including everything i have just written, and enjoy your experience. live and inspire. Thanks for your perspective.

Victoria Coren at 6:40 pm on October 16th, 2012

Hi Mimik. Yes, that happens on “real” (ie. brick-and-mortar) tables as well. Poker is a game of chance as well as luck. That is definitely something one must learn to be philosophical about, to enjoy the game properly.

And hi Ben - thanks for your message, welcome to the world of blogs! (Most people update theirs more often than I have been doing lately… will try to speed up next year).

mimik at 11:21 am on October 18th, 2012

I thought there was skill involved :-)
good luck at the tables.

Krispin Balcony at 6:12 pm on October 18th, 2012

I enjoyed reading some of your late father’s writings today.  I thought you might like to know, as it’s about the fifth anniversary of his passing, and he is not forgotten.  My own father died a couple of weeks after yours, and discovering your own writings and humour has been very comforting to me.  Thank you for that.  I now feel more cheerful about life, and I hope that you do too.  God bless you, Victoria.

Pete at 11:34 pm on October 19th, 2012

Been thinking about your father a lot the past couple of days. Such a sad loss for us and I can’t imagine how much for you. Please know he’s not forgotten and remembered with fondness

Ruth at 11:09 am on October 23rd, 2012

Hi Victoria - the ‘contact’ page said to use here or twitter to get in touch for non-professional things and I don’t have twitter so… here I am!

I have set up a poker society at St John’s College last term. If you find yourself in Oxford with a spare Tuesday evening would you like to come and give us a masterclass? (I have been told you are known to regularly visit college..) I am distinctly under-represented as a member of the fairer sex and it would be great to see the boys being beaten for once!

Incidentally, I also loved you on QI in Sept - best episode I have seen in ages!

Victoria Coren at 10:46 pm on October 25th, 2012

Hi Ruth. Unfortunately you’ve picked the worst possible night of the week; every Tuesday without fail, I hold my weekly poker game at home. (Which makes me think the society has not yet read my poker book, which I must advise as first port of call for my poker masterclass!)
  But if you ever play on a different night, maybe drop me a line next year and we can sort something out.
  Hope everything’s lovely at the old place. Best wishes, V

tam at 10:48 pm on October 25th, 2012

Just seen your hubby to be on J Ross n recognised you from poker on tv congrats to both of you. A mean poker player and a comedy genius. a power couple indeed! Stay happy x

Ruth at 11:35 pm on November 15th, 2012

Hi Victoria,
Thanks for the reply! (And sorry for the lateness of this one!). I will be handing over the reins of Poker Society to someone else next year but will definitely pass the message on (and also tell everyone to read the book - ha ha!). Everything is indeed lovely - hope all is well with you and thanks for the advice! :)

Ruth at 10:36 pm on February 1st, 2013

And now in 2013 QI has just been repeated with a ‘Jack Rabbit’ episode buy I enjoyed it second time round. OMG thanks for repeats ESP. with you Victoria Coren

John Kerr at 2:19 pm on February 2nd, 2013

Speaking as an Only Connect hater - truly sorry, honestly don’t know why, but I think it may be the studio design! - may I say your appearances on QI, HIGNFY et al have converted me to a big fan. So great to see an intelligent woman demanding to be accepted on her own terms, and in particular, putting that Jimmy Carr one in his place :-)

Scott at 11:21 am on February 5th, 2013

I recently saw your QI episode (on repeat of course - but they don’t advertise that very well…), and I have to say how disappointed I was - with the others.

You were relatively quiet, which is no wonder, since the banter was the stuff of boys and school yards. The sexist gags from Jimmy Carr and the absurd focus on sexual innuendo was truly banal. Stephen Fry feigned an effort to reign in the lads, but his script simply provoked more of the same. There was of course humour to be found, but it played out far too long. Ejaculations, indeed.

You held yourself above the fray, but Fry and co. wallowed in very cheap gags. As a long-term fan of the show, I was disappointed. Hopefully you will find a more fitting venue for your talents.

Victoria Coren

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