The Wit Who Wooed and Won; READ 3 Comedian and Panellist David Mitchell Was Once a Sad Singleton. but as He Reveals in His New Book, the Right Girl Was Worth Waiting Three Years For
He's posh, uncool and a little nerdy. In fact, comedian David Mitchell has long played on the comic image of lonely, dysfunctional loser.
He made his name as repressed, socially inept Mark Corrigan in Peep Show, the longest-running sitcom in Channel 4 history which begins a new series later this month co-starring his comedy partner Robert Webb.
And in his autobiography Back Story, the witty panellist on QI, Would I Lie To You? and Have I Got News For You, admits he's never been much good with girls.
Until the penultimate chapter, that is, when readers will discover that the Cambridge graduate and star of That Mitchell And Webb Look is really an incurable romantic who fell hopelessly in love with writer and presenter Victoria Coren - and waited three years for her to ditch her boyfriend before making his move.
"I'd never really had a long, meaningful relationship before," he says now. "I'd had the odd one-night stand here and there. I thought maybe it wouldn't work out for me.
"I had lots of friends who were serial monogamists and had a series of relationships, none of which was perfect, and I thought, that's not for me. I don't want to go out with someone who I'm not head over heels in love with.
"But then I met Victoria. It took us a while to get together but I was smitten."
They met in 2007 at a film premiere party and went out on a few dates, but then she dropped a bombshell when she e-mailed him to say that she didn't think the timing was right.
She went on to find another boyfriend. Mitchell went out and got drunk a lot.
"I didn't tell my closest friends or my parents of the enormous sadness that overshadowed my life," he writes. "I was ashamed and I knew what they'd say. 'Stop indulging yourself in these hopeless feelings. Snap out of it. She doesn't want to go out with you - she said so'."
Today, recalling this phase, he laughs and adds: "How did I feel? The word 'bad' springs to mind.
"It was terrible but at the same time I felt, you know what, I think it's still going to happen."
As his private life collapsed, his career went from strength to strength, with the sitcom, the sketch show and his appearances on panel shows.
Three years later, Coren, who is also a champion poker player, became single again and they started dating. …