The Radio Times logo

The 10 most surprising truths we’ve learnt from the guests on Would I Lie to You?

From the celeb that went to school with Bin Laden, to Mel Giedroyc’s very cheeky snog

Published: Friday, 16th September 2016 at 9:19 am

1. Dom Joly went to school with Osama bin Laden. 

It was a Christian Quaker school in Lebanon for children between the ages of four and 18 — they weren’t friends because they were at different ends of the age spectrum. Joly said he didn’t think the Quaker teaching “sat very well” with Bin Laden.


2. When he was seven, Bob Mortimer set fire to his house with a box of fireworks. 

Left alone one afternoon, he lit a sparkler and the sparks fell into a box of fireworks. As the box began to sizzle he carried it to the kitchen and threw it in, not realising he had dropped one firework on the way.

This engulfed the living room in flames and the entire house was destroyed. When he was asked why he didn’t take the burning fireworks outside he replied, “Mum said don’t go out!”

3. Mel Giedroyc once had a snog with another guest appearing in the same episode of Would I Lie to You?

It was Dermot O’Leary and it happened at the end of a series they were working on in 1998 (Late Lunch). Dermot confessed he couldn’t remember if he’d been in another relationship at the time of the kiss. (Mel assured him he told her he was single.)

4. Richard Osman once buried a badger with The Banker from Deal or No Deal. 

They had become friends during Richard’s time as a producer on the programme and were on holiday together in Cornwall when their car hit and killed the animal. The Banker’s wife insisted they returned to the house, get spades and go back to bury the badger and say a few words.

5. In 2004 Patrick Kielty punched Muhammad Ali in the face, drawing blood from his nose.

Kielty had been invited to Ali’s hotel room in Dublin after introducing him on stage at a sports event the night before. The two were stage-fighting for a photo, and Kielty thought Ali was about to lean back but in fact he moved forward just as Kielty punched. A hasty retreat was sensibly made (by the blond comic).

6. Ricky Tomlinson accidentally convinced somebody not to join The Beatles.

See his confession at 8.30 in the video below:

Yes, Ricky Tomlinson once persuaded a pianist called John Duff Lowe to leave an early incarnation of the Beatles (the Quarrymen) to join his own band, Hobo Rick and the City Slickers, after a fellow member spotted John, said he was great and suggested they should poach him.

7. Kevin Bridges once accidentally bought a horse. 

He was on holiday with a pal in Bulgaria and they thought that they were renting it for a ride for 25 minutes. In fact, for £90 they had bought a friend for life.

8. Katherine Parkinson thought the Wombles were real

When Katherine Parkinson sat her biology GCSE exam, a question came up asking for three examples of mammals. She wrote “bear, whale and womble”, thinking that The Wombles, although not a documentary, was actually based on real-life creatures. It didn’t do much damage though, she still got an A.

9. Steve Jones saved P Diddy from drowning when they were in St Tropez.

See his revelation at 6.55 in the video below

The two of them had been invited onto a boat owned by a mutual friend around 2010 when Steve saw the rapper sailing around in the water. He dived in, brought him back to the boat and got a simple “thanks man” from the superstar.

10. Charles Dance once had a chimpanzee to his house for tea. 


It was sent on ahead by a friend who was running late. He tried to give it Marmite on toast, but the guest wasn’t impressed — cheese and tomato ones went down much better. When asked why his friend had a chimp, Dance just said she had “very few friends”.


Sponsored content