Calm down dear – it's only a row on Twitter...

When people engage in online rows, known as "flame wars", they often do battle from behind the cloak of anonymity. Yesterday Michael Winner tried to douse a spectacular and very public conflagration sparked by a dispute with Victoria Coren.

The film director and food critic tweeted that Ms Coren, the broadcaster and writer, was "rude beyond belief" and "not well brought up" after she made a late-night phone call to the Winner residence in London. Ms Coren was so shocked by a series of "pitiful" tweets from Winner's account that day, which marvelled at her breasts, she believed his account might have been hacked into by an adolescent boy.

A furious Winner confirmed that the tweets were his, and objected to a "stranger" calling him so late. He tweeted: "Victoria Coren is RUDE. how dare she call at 10.25pm; this is outside courtesy hours. I don't know her, don't want to know her, won't speak."

A further dismissive tweet about Ms Coren's late father, Alan Coren, the distinguished journalist, inevitably caused Giles Coren, her brother and a regular tweeter, to enter the fray. He inquired: "Why are you badmouthing my family? Why are you insulting my dead father? And when did I 'stab you in the back?' "

Winner has become the latest celebrity to be tempted by Twitter's ease of use into starting spats in a new age of web warfare. Alan Sugar called Kirstie Allsopp a "lying cow" in a tweet, after the property show presenter described his behaviour during a Celebrity Apprentice special as "shockingly uncharitable".

Winner, whose Twitter page warns that he is "a bad-tempered, totally ridiculous example of humanity in deep shit", told The Independent he had accepted an apology from Ms Coren. "She got very upset and rang me at 10.25pm at night and that was appalling. It wasn't a very serious matter. She apologised and the matter is now closed. I didn't seize on Victoria's bosoms, my followers did. Their remarks were terribly funny. She should be happy that people are writing nice things about her bosoms." Ms Coren said: "I never really argue with anyone so it's surprising to find that I'm one of those people having a Twitter row with a celebrity. I assumed it was an impostor.

"He only had 6,000 followers and the tweets were so weird and misspelt, I thought they were satirical." She added: "The stuff about my breasts was just pitiful and silly. But he made a rude remark about my father, who isn't here any more, and that's not OK. That's the only thing that made me really angry."

And Ms Coren fired off a parting shot. "I sort of admire him that at his age – he must be nearly 90 – he's so open to new experiences. Firing off 20 tweets about my breasts in 10 minutes is something you'd expect from a 14-year-old having his first can of cider."

Winner, 75, believes his every thought should be in the public domain, if only because "I don't know how to send a direct message". With the Coren affair closed, he has settled on a new target. "I've been tweeting about Esther Rantzen today. Nobody likes her. Twitter is a wonderful way of speaking directly to people without all the peripherals. It's ridiculous that some people take it seriously."

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
News
news
News
i100
Travel
Fair trade: the idea of honesty boxes relies on people paying their way
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
News
people
Sport
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
sport
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

    £100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

    C# Developer

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: My client is lo...

    SAP FICO CONSULTANT - LONDON

    £55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SENIOR SAP FICO...

    SAP BI/BO CONSULTANT

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BI CONSULTA...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary