This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here

NEWS14 March 2019

Victoria Coren Mitchell: the geeks have ‘inherited the earth’

Impact 2019 Media News People UK

UK – Victoria Coren Mitchell told delegates at Impact 2019 about how poker led her to Only Connect, how she has a weird obsession with Michael Portillo and how the geeks are outperforming the jocks.

Speaking during the last session of this year’s Market Research Society’s conference, the TV presenter, poker champion and columnist talked about contestants on the famously nerdy Only Connect.

She described them affectionately as "people of such rarefied intelligence and perspicacity" who care more about their enjoyment of facts and words than "what jumper they're wearing".

"It’s not that they have a problem with their hair, it’s that they're less interested in their hair than the world around them," she said.

However, Coren Mitchell did take issue with terms such as "nerd" and "dork", arguing that "the preferred term is ‘geek'".

"Geek is not a term of respect," she said. Unlike sportsmen and sportwomen, "they've already won. The mathematicians and computer scientists have clearly inherited the earth."

Coren Mitchell went on to discuss how she ended up presenting Only Connect by way of playing poker on TV.

"I used to go and play poker on a show. Then they needed someone to present it for a second generation. So I presented a few shows for them. Then they had an idea to make a quiz, so they asked, ‘Can you present the pilot?'" Coren’s reply was, ‘So long as I don't have to host the actual series, I'll do it.’ She’s been doing it for more than 10 years.

Coren Mitchell revealed a strange infatuation with former Tory MP Michael Portillo, saying "It’s funny to have a fixation with somebody and there’s something funny about Michael Portillo", a seemingly pansexual politician who’s "suddenly in salmon-coloured jackets making travel programmes".

But another Tory MP, Michael Gove, with whom she worked at the Sunday Times, has lost her favour. "I was disappointed in [him]," she said. "He was a quizzer. I think he’s very smart – he’s the only person who ever beat me in a spelling competition. But I was disappointed about the remarks he made about experts and that he played to a lower common denominator."

Coren is a prolific tweeter, which means she inevitably attracts the ire of trolls. But she is resolutely unconcerned about them.

"I've been trolled a bit, but not that much as I don't say anything that contentious. I stay away from things where people are going to get cross. But I don't really care. A stranger writing horrible things doesn't really bother me. It’s like graffiti."

She got more upset when her column for the Observer would get criticised by people online: "A column for a few hundred thousand people who have chosen to read the Observer being read by millions of people who read it by mistake, taken out of context by people who you aren't writing for".

Asked what she would commission the market research industry to find out for her, Coren Mitchell said: "I'd like to know what it is that makes people so quick to communicate when they don't like something. Do people who don't like something really not like something, or do they just like the sound of saying they don't like something?"

0 Comments