Childhood & Early Life
Victoria Coren Mitchell born on 18 August 1972 in Hammersmith, West London to Alan Coren and Anne Kasriel. Her father was a celebrated English writer and TV presenter. She has a brother, Giles Coren, who is also a famed TV presenter and food writer. She spent most of her childhood in Cricklewood, North London.
She did her schooling from St Paul's Girls' School, Hammersmith before attending St John’s College at Oxford, from where she graduated with a first class in English in 1994.
As a teenager, she wrote under a pseudonym and got her short story published in ‘Just Seventeen’ magazine. She also went on to win a local competition at the ‘Daily Telegraph’ and she was assigned to write a weekly column about her teenage life. Her newspaper articles were compiled and published in 1990.
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Immediately after graduating from university, Victoria Coren Mitchell began freelancing as a journalist. She worked for ‘The Daily Telegraph’ and ‘Esquire’ magazine. Her reputation earned her a spot at Radio 4 where she went on to present Fourth Column.
In 1999, she worked on the adaptation of John Diamond’s newspaper columns to a play titled, ‘A Lump in My Throat’. The play was performed at the Grace Theatre, New End Theatre, and The Assembly Room. She subsequently adapted it for TV and BBC picked it up.
In 2002, she began writing a weekly column for ‘The Observer’ and a bi-monthly column for ‘GQ’ Magazine. Her articles also appeared in several reputed publications, including ‘The Guardian’, ‘The Independent’, ‘Independent on Sunday’, and ‘Esquire’. The topics ranged from poker to crosswords.
She appeared in five episodes of ‘Late Night Poker’ in 2002, but she didn’t make it to the grand finale.
In 2003, she co-wrote the book, ‘Once More, with Feeling: How We Tried to Make the Greatest Porn Film Ever’ with Charlie Skelton. In the book, the duo had detailed their experience of making a pornographic film of the same name.
Her interest and success in poker tournaments later got her the role of a poker commentator for Channel 4, in 2004.
She subsequently started a dedicated poker column for ‘The Guardian’. In 2005, she ventured into broadcasting as well. She was the leading voice in a couple of documentaries on BBC4.
Coren landed the role as the presenter of ‘Balderdash and Piffle’ on BBC2, in 2006. The show involved seeking the help of its audience in finding the etymology of interesting words and phrases. The show was aired for two seasons.
In 2008, she joined as the presenter for ‘Heresy,’ a show by Radio 4 that focuses on challenging established ideas with informed arguments. The show is airing its tenth season currently with Victoria as its popular presenter.
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Coren’s poker career has been equally illustrious. She won the Celebrity Poker Club in 2005; European Poker Tour (EPT) in London in 2006; and the European Poker Tour again in 2014 at San Remo. She became the only individual to have won the EPT twice.
Her prize money after winning the EPT in September 2006 was £500,000. In April 2014, she won €476,100 at the EPT.
As a poker commentator, Victoria is a common sight in the media circuits. She has presented ‘Late Night Poker’, ‘World Poker Tour’, and ‘The Poker Nations Cup’ and has been a commentator for ‘William Hill Poker Grand Prix 2’, ‘Ultimate Poker Challenge’, and ‘Grosvenor UK Poker Tour’.
In 2008, she and her brother, Giles Coren, compiled their father Alan Coran’s best pieces into an anthology titled, ‘Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks’ and wrote an introduction. The publication took place in the aftermath of Alan Coren’s death.
Deeply affected by her father’s death, Victoria looked for a project she could absorb herself into. During this time, she started writing her memoir ‘For Richer, For Poorer: A Love Affair with Poker,’ which was published in September 2009. The book received positive reviews in many publications.
Her most popular show ‘Only Connect’ began airing in 2008. The game show by BBC is presented by Victoria and involves teams competing to find connections between unrelated clues. The show is currently in its 13th season and remains as popular.
She is also a regular presenter for ‘Have I Got News for You’, starring in over 18 episodes as the host. The award-winning show involves quizzing celebrities about the week’s events.
She has also been a panelist and guest on many British shows including, ‘Would I Lie to You’, ‘Quite Interesting’, ‘Live with Gabby’, ‘Opinionated’, ‘Question Time’, ‘The One Show’, and ‘The Wright Stuff’.
In 2016, her talent in the field of poker was recognized and she was inducted in the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.