Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player


Tonight’s Heresy: Thatcher, Bond and sex…

Thursday, 6 June 2013

  On tonight’s Heresy: an experiment in Old School Radio 4 light entertainment! No comedians at all in the line-up, just three witty and smart people discussing some stuff. And me. Chairing it. As usual.

  The guests are: old Heresy favourite, the reverend Richard Coles; writer and broadcaster Julia Hartley Brewer, and Times restaurant critic and weekly columnist Giles Coren. YES, MY BROTHER! He’s always been a perfect potential Heresy guest; if he hadn’t been my brother, and I’d only read his work and noticed his sporadic press controversies, I’d have asked him on the show years ago. I think I was shy to invite him because I worried about whether he’d enjoy it, whether it would skew the recording, whether people would think it was weird. But I finally asked him and he said oh what the hell okay, and TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT for his debut appearance!

  The Received Opinions that guests will be arguing against are:

  - SKYFALL IS NOT JUST A “BOND MOVIE”, IT’S A PROPER FILM

  - THE THATCHER DEATH PARTIES WERE IN BAD TASTE

  and

  - IT’S SEXY FOR MEN TO BE FUNNY.

  As for the experiment in 70s-style Radio 4, where nobody’s a comedian and everyone’s just generally engaging in light debate and wit, I think it went very well at the recording and I really enjoyed it. But see what you think.

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Amanda J at 12:12 am on June 7th, 2013

Really enjoyed it too - your brother was hilarious, one of the funniest guests you’ve had on the series! Maybe you shouldve asked him earlier!


stephen at 5:00 am on June 7th, 2013

I always love this show, and I loved hearing about what you and the panel had to say about Mrs Thatcher and the other topic, so I don’t want to sound cynical about the reasons for having your brother on the panel AND having a ‘Skyfall is actually crap’ topic, but your Brother just seemed to have recited large chunks of that Skyfall critique that the Times refused to print - which ended up on his wife’s website - so I guess he’s still angry about that…but I’m sure he wasn’t on purely because of that.  Julia Hartley Brewer has probably never been to a modern cinema in her life though….I could go on about why I felt Giles was wrong on each of his points but I thought I’d like Mark Kermode to do my talking for me…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu_SCwh8ers 


Peter at 11:05 am on June 7th, 2013

I thought Giles was very good on the Thatcher topic, very funny but also it was extremely refreshing not to have the usual line-up of knee jerk comedy lefties dissing her. He actually managed to be funny ABOUT lefties, which you never really hear. I’m not saying that as a big Tory by the way, just someone who likes to hear a range of different opinions and jokes, which is why I tune into Heresy in the first place.


Victoria Coren at 11:11 am on June 7th, 2013

Hi Stephen. Actually, with the Skyfall topic, it was the other way round. I always wanted to do a Skyfall topic because I thought the film was truly terrible and couldn’t understand the shrieking concensus of approval. A natural Heresy R.O.!
  Once Giles agreed to come on the programme (which was originally David Baddiel’s idea, not mine, though I agreed he’d be a great guest), I naturally put him together with that topic because he’d expressed original opinions about it. We often do that - hence, in previous series, Diane Abbott on a Miliband topic, Polly Vernon on the cost of designer clothes, Jessica Berens on stately homes (a topic that was actually inspired by a piece she wrote for a magazine) etc. Thanks for posting the link - I haven’t watched it yet but I love it when the Heresy topic debate continues on here.


stephen at 11:37 am on June 7th, 2013

Thanks for the reply Victoria…I enjoyed the film when I saw it at my local IMAX, although I wouldn’t say I was a sort of a James Bond aficianado and it wasn’t my fave film of the year, BUT I grew up during the silly, unintentionally camp gadget ridden Moore/Brosnan era, which in my opinion turned the franchise into the cliched laughing stock that the people on the panel were having a go at it for. I think that Craig’s Bond is very close to Fleming’s vision and gave the character back it’s balls, if you’ll excuse the crude expression….and put it this way, it’s the first Bond movie I’ve seen where the villain tries to kill AND seduce him at the same time! Hope you and all your folks have a lovely weekend.


Clive at 5:43 pm on June 7th, 2013

Oh, I will have to listen to this because Skyfall really was awful, and I speak as a Bond fan. A shame, cos Craig was good in some scenes, I do wish they’d put him in a proper movie, a bit like The Wild Geese or something. He’s an actor who needs an ensemble cast however, like Hugh Grant (of all people but bear with me) he has a sort of hollowness about him on his own, he needs other people to bounce off a bit, which they did give him in SF.

Guess if Mendes is doing the next one at least I can give it the swerve.

The scene where Bond has to shoot the whisky off the girl’s head, just awful, quite hideous. I think it’s the only Bond film where I actually don’t want to be the hero, but rather despise him, maybe that’s progress of a sort.


Mike Sivier at 7:37 pm on June 7th, 2013

As one of those who, as a teenager, longed to find the mythical magic words that link laughter to loosening of underwear, I think you’ve missed an opportunity here for a new popular movement: Hilarious Teenage Virgins, Unite!

Think of the merchandising - t-shirts, mugs, maybe a helpline with the best stories from it immortalised in a book/CD/DVD (if you can find someone who’s actually willing to act them out), and the inevitable website.

I always thought that the secret was known to everyone else and I was handicapped in some way but now, thanks to Giles, Richard and Heresy, not only am I not alone – I may be legion!

The one sticking-point is that, while it may be easy to create a ‘Hilarious Teenage Virgin’ t-shirt, it’ll probably be quite hard to get anyone to wear it.


Jan at 7:44 pm on June 7th, 2013

Heresy recordings are great to come to - I sent my family on holiday without me when I knew Giles was on the panel…I knew he would be interesting and fun.  The Rev Richard’s insight and wit was a delight. A friend married to a C of E vicar is much entertained by the attention paid to her husband – he is simply bemused – and laughed hugely at the term ‘cassock chasers’.
Debate sparked in our family when I relayed Heresy comments on Thatcher – and I have got them watching ‘Only Connect’  Ha!


Hannah at 9:16 pm on June 9th, 2013

Thank you so much for your insightful and thought provoking article in today’s Observer.  You’ve put (much more articulately) what I’ve been trying to say to my children for ages. It’s great to finally read an intelligent piece which considers real problems without trying to sensationalise them.  I am definitely going to share it with my class.  I think it’ll form the basis for an important discussion with the children so thank you again.


Jimmy at 2:57 pm on June 10th, 2013

I was pelted by rotten fruit and roundly criticised by friends, colleagues and complete strangers for daring to dislike Adele’s theme song as I thought it a complete and utter rip-off of Bassey’s 007 tunes. I saw the clips and refused to see the film and that had nothing to do with objecting to Judi written but, Like Giles’ comment, I thought Javier’s character was a homophobic, or at least insulting [to gay men]. Rev Coles was fab as always and I agreed with the panel on each topic. Not the first time but very satisfying when it does happen.


The Tim at 10:24 pm on June 10th, 2013

Off Topic, but can anyone get the latest online connecting walls, or is it just me? It’s not the first time this has happened. I may have some rogue cookie.


David Bodycombe at 1:55 am on June 11th, 2013

The Tim - try forcing your browser to refresh (usually pressing F5 works).


The Tim at 10:44 am on June 11th, 2013

Apologies - I can now do the walls this morning.


Tim at 4:42 am on June 12th, 2013

@VC. Excuse pickiness but I can tell with complete certainty that you care about what you write; it’s conSensus.


Mike Sivier at 1:40 pm on June 13th, 2013

This is the episode in which you mentioned the list of things to do before you’re 30, “like bungee jumping and having a threesome”. I’m 43 and feel I have missed some opportunities.
So… What’s bungee jumping like?


Clive at 10:08 pm on June 17th, 2013

Okay, I go on this blog. But when I’m on youtube, Victoria Coren and David Mitchell come up. It’s not fair, VCM, when you log on, ‘Clive’ doesn’t come up (so to speak). So how about a heresy on the snooping powers that be, good or bad?


Victoria Coren

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