Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Heresy 4

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

  The fourth Heresy in the series, tonight at 6.30 on Radio 4, has guests Mark Steel, Janet Street Porter and Richard Herring, arguing against the received opinions:




  Darts, daft weather forecasters and political toffs: a light joky show, you might imagine. Actually it kicked off quite spikily on that first ‘posh’ topic. Mark Steel, invited to begin the defence of David Cameron and George Osborne (really not something that he would be naturally inclined to do), approached it as a panel show challenge, to delve into his mind and find counter-arguments that he COULD make, without actually believing them. A sort of Call My Bluff approach. He began gamely, with some very funny ironic stuff about how delighted he is to have “properly posh” people running the country.

  But Janet Street Porter called him on it. She challenged what he was saying about comprehensive school kids. Of course this raised the bar massively for Mark, who was suddenly having to defend an opinion he clearly didn’t truly believe, against one of the other guests.

  In the studio during the recording, I was a bit nervous. It felt very different, for example, from the episode going out next week, which has the atmosphere of a fun dinner party with all guests challenging the audience rather than each other. But, where I am a big girl’s blouse who likes harmony on social occasions, I think the clashiness makes for very interesting radio; that exchange on the first topic reflects a pretty unusual situation. Once the chairing job was over and I was back home listening to it on the radio, I really enjoyed it, and hope you do if you hear it.

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The Tim at 7:07 pm on June 8th, 2010

I agree with the second one - look forward to seeing you on ‘Late Night Poker While Swimming in a Bikini’ on Sky Sports.

RomanticRecluse at 12:54 pm on June 10th, 2010

Vicky, this is an odd and probably off-topic question (although it arguably relates to heresy with a small h) but do you have a subject for your Observer column this week?  I’m asking because whilst surfing a local newspaper website I found a news report that shocked me (and I’m hard to shock) and reminded me of your recent column about Mandy Smith.  Indeed, I’d say the story is far worse than the Mandy Smith story.

If you’ve already written your column or have a subject in mind that’s fine.  However, if you’re looking for ideas (and particularly for a serious piece giving wider attention to a story) I’ll post a link to the report and give you the gist of it.  If you decide that you don’t want to write about it or it leaves you lost for words that’s fine too.

Dan Budden at 4:30 pm on June 10th, 2010

I was at the recording and actually I thought Mark Steel’s response could have been read as a ‘letting the poshos in so that the revolution would be hastened’ argument, something not entirely incongrous with left-wing thought (though it is perhaps archaic). But it was good that he ‘played the game’ by trying to go along with the format of the show. RH didn’t so much, but he was still very funny. I’m not sure what JSP was trying to do.

Stuart at 9:12 pm on June 10th, 2010

Excellent Heresy yesterday! Particularly liked the first question.

Stuart George at 10:34 am on June 16th, 2010

Much better than when Baddiel was in charge. Brava.

You are marvellous. Can I please take you out for dinner?


Victoria Coren

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