Only Connect: BBC star Victoria Coren forced to issue grovelling apology for 'SHAMEFUL' segment on quiz show

Only Connect: BBC star Victoria Coren forced to issue grovelling apology for 'SHAMEFUL' segment on quiz show
Aaron Chown/Twitter
Carl Bennett

By Carl Bennett

Published: 09/12/2022

- 13:32

The quiz show suggested the word "scar" was a "mark of shame"

BBC host Victoria Coren Mitchell has been forced to apologise after a segment on the quiz show Only Connect was branded “shameful” by viewers.

The presenter, 50, responded to a complaint made by charity Changing Faces after one of the rounds said the word ‘scar’ was seen as a ‘mark of shame’.

The word ‘scar’ was linked to ‘blot’, ‘stain’ and ‘stigma’, on the connecting wall round of the programme, which aired on Monday 28 November.

Victoria Coren Mitchell and David Mitchell attending the Greed European Premiere as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2019 held at the Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square in London.
Victoria Coren Mitchell and husband David Mitchell

Posting on Twitter, the charity said: "We were disappointed and shocked to see scars described as marks of shame on your show recently. There is #NoShame in having a scar.

"What is a shame is that we are still perpetuating the myth that there's something wrong with visible differences like scars. We hope you will commit to learning about how to better represent those with visible differences."

In response, Mrs Coren Mitchell said: “On an episode of Only Connect a couple of weeks ago we had a wall category which was "wall, stain, blot, scar" and the on-screen caption was "marks of shame". I didn't know that. The captions aren't on when I see the questions in advance.

"I totally see how the question-writer's mind was working: they're using a figurative meaning of "scar" - a lower dictionary definition (as in a scar on someone's reputation). HOWEVER this opens the door to the RIDICULOUS and AWFUL idea that a literal visual scar on the face or body of a person is somehow shameful."

[rebelmouse-image 32938950 expand=1 alt="File photo dated 09/06/14 of Victoria Coren Mitchell, who has said the prospect of driverless cars "chills" her blood because driving yourself around is about freedom for women." site_id=25354495 is_animated_gif=false original_size="2156x2694" caption="Victoria Coren Mitchell" photo_credit="Ian West" crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%22https%3A//" image_crop="custom"]
Victoria Coren Mitchell
Ian West

She added: "I hope anyone who's ever watched our programme would know this is the very opposite of what we would think. We stand proudly at odds with that kind of nonsense.

"Then again we're meant to be standard bearers for deep thinking. I'm extremely embarrassed personally that the show made itself open to that kind of reading.

"I'll leave it to the programme and channel to figure out the best way of stating somewhere more formal that this was a mistake and very much not what we stand for.”

The BBC have yet to make a statement.

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