Would I Lie To You? is a British comedy panel show. The teams compete as each player reveals unusual facts and embarrassing personal tales for the evaluation of the opposing team. Some of these are true, some are not, and it is the panellists' task to decide which is which.

Sometimes a contestant will read out a statement and then under questioning reveal further information which sounds implausible. Nevertheless, the original statement turns out to be 'true'.

Are contestants allowed to tell lies under questioning to make the 'truth' sound more implausible? Or do they always have to tell the truth when questioned about a 'truth'?

Here, Bob Mortimer claims to have broken into a witch's house in his childhood. He then claims under questioning that there was a small horse in the front room. This seems implausible, and the opposing team deemed the original statement to be a lie. But it is the 'truth'.

So, taking this as an example, do contestants always have to tell the truth when discussing the truth? I am excluding Mortimerian quirks such as making up or deliberately misremembering the names of the people in the story.

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    To quote from Bob Mortimer's memoir: ‘It was an extraordinary sight: there, right in the middle of the room, was a tiny Shetland pony seemingly watching the TV.’ Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 0:17
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    The point of the show is entertainment and comedy so there are no strict rules. From watching it over the years there seems to be some bending of the truth involved for comedic purposes especially with regulars and the team captains. Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 17:09

3 Answers 3


The rules are not that strict, but those who tell the truth are expected to tell the truth.

That being said, sarcasm or statements that are clearly jokes are perfectly fine. It's also fine to lie by omission or twist your words to be misleading.

I don't remember Bob's story, but based on the quote in comments (as an example) he could've been talking about a doll or statuette that was facing the TV and that would not break the rules.

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    From another comment the same story is in his autobiography, so apparently is entirely true.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 22:29
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    @OrangeDog: Yeah I believe it is true as well. Just to be clear, I was using it as an example on how someone could twist their words with this; not as proof that Bob was twisting his words in this case.
    – Flater
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 14:18

Helpfully this is explained on the TV Tropes website:

Some contestants appear to tell nonsense stories very loosely based on a true story...

Jon Richardson accuses Bob Mortimer of this in one of the "This Is My..." rounds, claiming that after realising that the opposing team were beginning to believe his story he intentionally came up with the absurdly unbelievable detail of a "hand-lion" to throw them off the scent. In general, a few of Mortimer's "truths" have contained wildly implausible details that suggest that he's either employing this trope or that he's had some very strange experiences in his life.

In general, whilst the rule is that a panellist is not allowed to directly lie about anything if the story they are telling is true, the producers also admit that a lot of guests have ended up forgetting themselves and heavily exaggerating the details of broadly true stories.

So contestants who are telling a truth are forbidden by the rules of the game by including direct lies in the story, but this is generally overlooked if the resultant gameplay is entertaining television.



In one episode, mancunian Terry Christian claimed he and "Steve" (the "This is my..." guest) were accused of being jewel thieves "in the city centre".

The discussion by the opponents centred around the assumption that it was Manchester city centre and Terry just played along. In the end, they concluded he was lying because Manchester city centre is pedestrianised and Terry had said the police had arrived in cars.

Then it was revealed Terry was telling the truth, but that it took place Derby, not Manchester. When he was accused of lying, he gleefully pointed out that it was the other team who said "Manchester", not him!

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