Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Special Quizzes, Following and Comic Relief

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

  The Only Connect Comic Relief special was on last night. If you didn’t catch it, you can watch it here on iPlayer for the next few days and I do recommend it; our teams (captained by Andrew Motion and Adam Hart Davis) were excellent sports and made it impossible for me to maintain my usual hatchetty sternness. This is a fun show, with a spectacular final “missing vowels round”.

If you’re feeling flush (and if you fancy playing poker with me), there’s another thing I’m doing for Comic Relief. It’s “Twitrelief” where you can bid on eBay for people to follow you on Twitter, usually with something extra. My “extra” is playing three games of Heads Up poker online: I’ll pay all the costs so my opponent pays nothing, and he or she can win up to $660. Plus I’ll follow the winning bidder for at least three months on Twitter and… well it’s all on this page. The bidding is already around £700, which seems an awful lot, but remember you do have the chance of “cashback” in the poker and it could be a nice way to donate a really large sum like that, if you can afford to. Obviously it’s only the winning bidder who has to pay anything, nobody else does. And you do need a Twitter account to do this, but it only takes about three seconds to set one up if you don’t have one already.

  If you just can’t afford that kind of amount, please consider making a smaller donation - a fiver or whatever you can freely spare - to Comic Relief, on 03457 910 910 or via the website Please don’t think a fiver isn’t worth it - a fiver buys a mosquito net, in countries that really need those to save lives. This is a great charity that does amazing work in Britain and around the world; please do give something if you possibly can.


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VM at 6:30 am on March 15th, 2011

The twitrelief thing sounds cool. It’d be awesome to be able to play you heads up, and it wouldn’t be because of the money. It’s nice what you’re doing with the charity. I saw you had a rough weekend on Stars. Horrible beats. Hope its better next time. I’m often watching you play and always rooting for you. I listened to the whole episode of you on My Teenage Diary and enjoyed it. I could listen to your voice for hours and hours. Would still like your books on audiotape with you narrating :P Ah well. Good luck at the tables Vicky, and everything else you do.

Ken Singtone at 9:19 am on March 15th, 2011

Being followed by you on twitter would be a great privilege given your strict follow rules.  I notice that since Mr Winner discovered and tweeted about you and your attributes, you follow him and 3 others, but your total has only risen by 2, so presumably you have unfollowed 2 accounts.  Do you have a maximum number you work to?
( my 23 seem quite enough much of the time.)
Interesting quiet among the twitterati this Sunday though (even Mr Winner tweetless), perhaps everyone getting a life?
Anyway, I hope all goes well for you Victoria, & I am really looking forward to the Only Connect Special.

Sorry if I comment too much but I have had, and still have, a lot of catching up to do with your delightful writings, and I hope the feedback is useful and encouraging. x

The Tim at 11:12 am on March 15th, 2011

I wish I had enough money to bid for Twitrelief. Yes, they were all entertaining - I really liked Brian Sewell’s self-deprecating humour. Are they same off camera?

Incidentally, is there any chance that now we’ve finished all that detective work for you, you could remove that plug for your book which comes up every time you open the page? It was fine at first but now it’s becoming a little tedious!

Victoria Coren at 12:05 pm on March 15th, 2011

Hi Tim. I’m afraid the “splash” (the page with the book stuff on it that comes up when you first open the site) is due to stay there for another few weeks… Sorry. It probably is dull for regular visitors, but it’s really there for new visitors to see the book details. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get books in front of people these days (look at the evidence of how tucked away mine is in bookshops, when it was a book that got reviewed well everywhere and is quite general-interest) and I really do at least have to advertise it to people who chance on my website!

  But it will be gone later in the spring. In the meantime, sorry if it’s annoying, though it does only take one click to get rid of it.

kevin unitt at 5:01 pm on March 15th, 2011

Alas, recently left Twitter (you were one of the very few I enjoyed following Victoria) but doubt I’d have afforded to win the bid anyway.

Wanted to thank you though Vic for the laughs, short-lived but amusing banter over 140 characters on several topics and even the personal support on my then troubled life.

Though a ‘celeb’, you come across as ‘one of us’. A genuine and lovely person. Whoever wins will be lucky to have you follow them.

Oh and lastly, re the tagline for your book ‘...a modern girl’. Indeed, you even phone people at 10.30pm at night :)

doctakeschair at 5:12 pm on March 15th, 2011

Just had to congratulate you and the two teams on the ONLY CONNECT Comic Relief Special, the most entertaining TV this year! 

To answer The Tim (?) I would say BS and Sir AM are pretty much the same off camera. AM was a colleague at Hull University, serious, pleasant, un-pushy, and slightly posh (in a good way). We’ve heard BS lecture in Somerset twice. He pushes his “Who are the Beatles?” persona but he’s good value. He once did a TV art prog. which involved what he suspected would be his last ever visit to Venice. Very moving; I still remember welling up !!

jim carr at 5:50 pm on March 15th, 2011

Rather than follow me on twitter, could you possibly follow me to the bookies and stop me losing any more money at cheltenham?  seven races today,and i didn’t back a winner!  I’ve got more excuses as to why they didnt win than a LIBDEM MP has for ignoring manifesto promises!  however there are 3 days of the festival to go and time for rupert and big zeb will get me back in front. Sorry this has nothing to do with OC or comic relief,but i needed a moan!  xx jim.

The Tim at 6:49 pm on March 15th, 2011

Thanks for that doctakeschair! My mother’s actually a great fan of BS. I remember watching the programme you refer to - it was called Brian Sewell’s Grand Tour (of Italy) and I think they showed it again last week on C5 at about 4am. If you’re so inclined you may be able to catch it on whatever their equvalent of iplayer is.

VM at 11:28 pm on March 15th, 2011

Do you have to be in England to make a contribution to twitrelief? I noticed the currency is in pounds. The content and context of so many things you’re involved in are local to Great Britain. It’s a little excluding to those who don’t live there. I still read your columns, play the Only Connect game online, etc. though I don’t get some of the references.

I was watching a video you made about gun dogs recently. It’s the one program I could’ve gone without seeing. I wish that you had turned into a commentary on what a sick, disgusting, cruel, vile “sport” hunting is.

You’re my favorite poker player. What’s cool about you is that you have many other interests and so much talent away from the table.

Victoria Coren at 11:39 pm on March 15th, 2011

Hi VM. I’m pretty sure you can take part in this from abroad, yes. You can open a Twitter account from anywhere, and (as long as you’re not in a country where online poker is illegal) you can ‘play the prize’ from anywhere too. The bidding takes place in pounds because it’s on UK Ebay, but I’m sure you can use any foreign credit card or PayPal (if you win the bid and have to pay something). I may be wrong - maybe others will know - but I’m pretty sure this would work fine internationally. You could always try putting in a bid and see what happens?

Lego0o0o0o at 8:58 am on March 17th, 2011

I got the first two in a row of the “missing vowels round”, I was so proud of myself….went a bit downhill after that…;)

VM at 9:42 pm on March 17th, 2011

Thanks for the info Vicky. I’m keeping an eye on the auction.

Alan at 12:37 am on March 18th, 2011

Nice work on This Week. The passive drinking v passive smoking argument was well made. I got stopped by a policeman a while ago when I forgot to put on my seatbelt. I probably looked a bit narked so he gave me a lecture on why it was right that the police should have the power to do so. I asked if he thought the police should also have the power to stop me clogging my arteries with cheeseburgers and at that point we agreed to disagree.

jim carr at 12:11 pm on March 18th, 2011

if a smoker knows that their habit is harming them,and are to weak to stop,even the most intelligent of them will defend the indefensible.

The Tim at 3:05 pm on March 18th, 2011

Yes, very profound, Jim - if I may carry on with this digression. As someone who’s never smoked, it always fascinates me how there are so many really clever people we know who do continue to abuse themselves despite knowing the clear harm they’re doing. I guess there are just many dimensions to intelligence which must be lacking in these people. I could never go out with a smoker – it’s not that I particularly object to the smell or anything – I just see it as some kind of character defect (don’t take this personally, VC, there are many others I could name) which I must be too snobbish to accept.

I didn’t actually listen to This Week – could someone please elaborate.

Ken Singtone at 6:08 pm on March 19th, 2011

For The Tim et al.
This Week:

Available until
12:24AM Fri, 25 Mar 2011

John at 2:09 am on March 20th, 2011

Removing ‘the splash,’ does require some creative clicking depending on your web browser. What I wanted to say is that, having just finally watched it, the comic relief result was a travesty!!!! Andrew’s team should not have won. Dirty pool. That’s all I am saying. Dirty pool.

The Tim at 9:18 pm on March 20th, 2011

Thanks Ken - I watched the last ten minutes. I agree with most of what you said, Vicky, but I thought the ban on smoking on railway stations was a safety issue following the Kings Cross disaster.

Nigel Roberts at 7:39 am on March 26th, 2011

I saw your Comic Relief auction on Tw**tter. I’m really regretting not pushing the action now. I would have relished the chance at a match.

And what’s this ‘hachetty sternness’ shtick? (Anne Robinson you ain’t!). More like ‘likeably vulnerable playing at dominatrix but deliberately leaving clues to the vulnerability’? I hope your acting is better when you are trying to convince the table you dont have four kings.

Flavius at 5:11 pm on November 10th, 2015

Interesting comment in the Gottfredson sgement that ‘groups of people’ vary in median IQ from around 70 to around 130. I’d have liked to hear what groups they were thinking about - general population of Africa vs New York Times newsroom of Ivy League graduates?I think the hardest thing for many people (especially smart people) to grasp is that IQ 100 is set as the ‘average’ for Western industrialised nations, but on that standard the global average IQ is closer to 85, and so IQ 130 people are much much rarer than IQ 70 people. Hence ridiculous claims that IQ 70 is inherently ‘retarded’.

Victoria Coren

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