Only Connect series 18: when is the Victoria Coren Mitchell cryptic quiz show on BBC Two?

Twisted Flax or Eye of Horus? Only Connect is back for Series 18, starting at 8pm on BBC Two on Monday 29 August

Only Connect, the BBC Two quiz show hosted by Victoria Coren Mitchell, is returning for its 18th series on Monday 29 August at 8pm.

Two teams are set a series of questions and cryptic clues where they have to find patterns, spot correlations, and isolate trends.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new series of Only Connect.

How does Only Connect work?

There are four rounds per episode of Only Connect.

The first round is the Connections round. Contestants are given up to four clues (getting fewer points the more clues they request) and expected to find the connection between them. For example, the connection between a hammer, the bible, two golf balls, and Eugene Shoemaker’s ashes would be “things left on the Moon”.

The second round is a Sequences round. It works similarly, though in a slightly harder twist contestants are expected to guess both what the fourth clue would be, and what the connection is. For example, the clues "Anger", "Bargaining" and "Depression" would be correctly followed by "Acceptance" – they’re the stages of the Kübler-Ross model of grief.

The third round is the Connecting Wall. Contestants are shown a four-by-four grid of different clues, and asked to sort them into four different groups of four, each linked by a theme. Obviously, these walls are full of red herrings, with certain clues potentially applicable to more than one theme.

The final round is a quickfire Missing Vowels round, where contestants are presented with a consonan-only clue and asked to fill in the answer. So, the category might be “really good websites” with the clue NTNLWRLD, and then the answer would be…

Who is Victoria Coren Mitchell?

Victoria Coren Mitchell, wearing a red polka dot dress, behind the desk presenting Only Connect (Credit: BBC/Parasol Media Limited/Rory Lindsay)

Victoria Coren Mitchell is a writer and presenter (and professional poker player). She’s been the host of Only Connect since the show began in 2008, and you might recognise her from various panel shows like Have I Got News For You and Would I Lie To You. Coren Mitchell has also appeared as a contestant on Taskmaster.

Coren Mitchell is married to the comedian David Mitchell, and is the daughter of the prominent journalist Alan Coren. Her brother, Giles Coren, is a journalist and food critic frequently embroiled in controversy; he’s arguably best known for openly celebrating the death of a left-wing journalist.

Which teams are competing in Only Connect this year?

In the first episode of Only Connect series 18, data-lovers the Statisticals take on Terry Pratchett fans the Morporkians.

16 teams will compete in the series, which is structured as a double elimination tournament (i.e. it takes two losses to be kicked out of the show) with a third place deciding match.

What time is Only Connect on?

The new series of Only Connect starts on Monday 29 August at 8pm.

It’s immediately followed by the new series of University Challenge, which is set to be Jeremy Paxman’s last.

How many episodes are there in Only Connect?

There are typically 28 episodes to a series of Only Connect, with series 18 expected to continue into 2023.

If you meant how many episodes have there ever been of Only Connect, the answer (as of January 2022) is 404.

Why should I watch Only Connect?

It’s an entertaining, offbeat quiz show, and its cryptic questions are a good balance of fun and thoughtful.