Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

The Agenda

Monday, 16 April 2012

  Tonight I’m going on “The Agenda”, the news & current affairs discussion programme hosted by Tom Bradby (ITV, 10.35pm). I said yes mainly because Ed Miliband’s going to be on it, and the opportunity to debate political issues with him was just too irresistible. Heresy listeners will know that I’ve met Ed Miliband once before, when a well-meaning friend attempted to matchmake us, about a hundred years ago. That didn’t really work out. In fact, we had a row about the Middle East, which is not (in my experience) the best way to set a romantic mood.

  But now he’s the leader of the Labour Party, and I’m fascinated to see what it’ll be like to argue with him in a formal, professional way. Which is not the same as “argue against him”, by the way. I don’t know whether we’ll disagree. It might turn out we think similarly about all the topics; we’re not so different, I wouldn’t be that surprised. And I do like Ed Miliband, from a distance. He seems a bit like a certain sort of Only Connect contestant. And of course, there is no higher compliment. [UPDATE: I’ve just got back from the recording, and I really think Ed Miliband is good news. Properly nice, funny and clever. I wish he could put that across on screen as well as he does in real life - but far better that way round than the other.]

  The other panellists are Joanna Trollope and Sir Peter Bazalgette. At the moment, the programme-makers think we’re going to be discussing tobacco, tax returns and the Titanic (all the Ts - like an episode of QI). But that might change, according to what the news does during the day. They’re also threatening to discuss Anders Brevik, the Norwegian gunman, in which case I must make a stern mental note not to try and say anything funny.

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Bill Green at 2:19 pm on April 16th, 2012

I do find it difficult to take Ed Milliband seriously. I suspect it is because one can’t trust the words of a man who runs for his party’s leadership by condemning the election manifesto that he wrote. My brother suggests it is because he has a permanent sneer fixed upon his face.

Ben at 5:45 pm on April 16th, 2012

Vicky, what are your views on the Middle East?, What was the difference of opinion?

Victoria Coren at 8:38 pm on April 16th, 2012

Oh - it wasn’t that contentious. It was really a debate about whether or not that was an appropriate topic for party chat. I thought not. But actually, I think I was probably wrong.

Dan at 10:24 pm on April 16th, 2012

That was very enjoyable, and something of what you said came across - it was Ed Miliband being himself, something we very rarely see.  How brilliant to see you all debate..  perhaps it’s time for you to return to Question Time.

Renee McAlister at 11:06 pm on April 16th, 2012

Hello Victoria

I am rather addicted to Only Connect and it is in that capacity that I know you most. I just wanted to say that you did a fabulous job on The Agenda. A reasonable and rational voice expressing opinions in a kindly and humourous manner. Thank you from a reasonable person. (Also I am a smoker hehe). Nice one.

Rob F at 8:35 am on April 17th, 2012

Not a bad show, my ITV snobbery had meant I’d never seen it before.

So glad to learn you’re a smoker, makes this unfortunate Mitchell business easier to take. Here’s a link for any who are interested.

MildMike at 1:11 pm on April 17th, 2012

At the end Victoria was asked if there were UFO’s and answered “I believe so”.

Did I hear that correctly, and if so… wow!!

Tell us more, please.

Clive at 4:16 pm on April 17th, 2012

I saw a bit of it, not enough to comment much except to say that Ed has this awful mannerism, which you see on the show, which he really needs to nip in the bud… this huffy, almost rolling the eyes savage distaste when someone makes a point he considers ill-informed or beneath him. Now fair enough, it may be a dumb point and beneath him, but it really is unendearing.

Victoria Coren at 4:40 pm on April 17th, 2012

Clive - interesting isn’t it, I just didn’t see that at all. To me he seemed very relaxed and good-natured throughout, I didn’t see any distaste at all, savage or otherwise! But these things are always seen so differently through different eyes.

Mike - I was joking. I’m not a UFO-spotter.

Eric Robinson at 6:48 pm on April 17th, 2012

You were great value as ever but I was quietly impressed by Joanna Trollope who spoke the least but said the most (I thought) thereby topping the league for most bucks per word. The show itself seemed to be over very quickly - I think it needs an hour.

Bob Roberts at 6:57 am on April 18th, 2012

I think your support of Ed Miliband is quite remarkable and here is my remark, I would endorse Miliband as enthusiastically as I would call an ‘all in’ from the chip leader with 8, 5 unsuited, what hand would reflect your commitment, would you give him aces or perhaps more like 8,9 suited?

mordantfox at 10:59 am on April 19th, 2012

I find it difficult to take issue with smoking, as a cash-flow problem triumphed over my own addiction.  I’m against tax-returns being published as it would precipitate an unholy number-crunch and a scramble for higher ground.  Miliband would make a decent politician, given some training to his goatish voice, but I quite like Cameron also, though in his case the words ‘camel’ and ‘needle’ too frequently spring to mind.  O dear, it keeps coming back to wealth - and in in the case of the Titanic, our fascination by it.  VC, your assertive voice balanced out the apologetic style of Joanna Trollope (and sometimes that of the others), making for a good programme.

Chris Taylor at 12:04 pm on April 25th, 2012

This is the very first blog I have ever seen and tried to contribute to. I want to comment on your Observer subject of A risk-free life? this weekend and it isn’t up here - am I too early or should I try on the Observer website?  However, will carry on and just let you know you can’t buy a long nightie any longer in M & S, only short or standard (which are too short for my liking) because of safety standards coming from EU directives!  Arrrgh!

Victoria Coren at 12:09 am on April 26th, 2012

Hi Chris. My Observer columns do go up on this site - see the columns tab on the left side of the page - but not for comments, sorry. But I wouldn’t necessarily advise commenting on the Guardian site either, there are some rather… well, I won’t say it but I gave up reading it myself years ago!

Victoria Coren

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