Would I Lie to You? (begun in 2007) is a British Panel Show based around truth and lies. Essentially, over a series of rounds the panellists (two team captains with two guests each) will read out a series of statements about themselves; the opposing team must figure out whether they are true or not. It is currently on its fifteenth series.
The host for the first two series was Angus Deayton, in perhaps his biggest hosting job since being sacked from Have I Got News for You; from Series 3 he was replaced by Rob Brydon of Gavin & Stacey fame. The team captains, Lee Mack (from Not Going Out) and David Mitchell (from everything else) have remained consistent through all the run (the exception being one episode in the eighth series where Lee was unable to attend the recording and Greg Davies took his place). The guests will typically be one comedian and one guest from another field per team, with actors and television presenters being the most common for the latter — although singers, sportspeople, and even politicians have appeared.
- Home Truths: The guests take it in turn to read out a statement about themselves from a card that they've never seen before — either something true, or a lie made up by the programme researchers. The opposing team may then interrogate them. Once the team think they've heard enough, or the host decides that they've heard enough, the team can then vote on whether it's true or not, with their captain having the deciding vote. If they guess "Truth" or "Lie" correctly, they get a point; if they guess incorrectly, the other team get a point.
- This Is My...: A mystery guest appears, and each member of one team has to explain their connection with the guest. One of the panellists has genuinely met this person before, but the other two have made up their stories; the other team can interrogate all three panellists, but not the mystery guest.
- Quick-Fire Lies: Essentially the same as the first round, except against the clock, and the panellists are selected at "random" until time runs out; this time, the team captains may also get some turns. Since the second series, possessions are occasionally thrown in, with the panellist taking an item from a box under the desk and told to claim it as theirs. In series 4 Rob started getting turns as well (with both teams questioning him at once), although this aspect was dropped around the eighth series.
The former rounds are/were:
- Ring of Truth: The host reads out celebrity facts (such as "Mick Jagger has been asked by a company if they can sell his ashes in collectible egg timers when he dies"). The teams can then question the host before again deciding on "Truth" or "Lie". Each question is typically introduced by a piece of amusing archive footage with a tenuous — sometimes very tenuous — connection (the example above was introduced by a news report of a grandmother whose ashes were blasted into the air by a firework). This round was generally dropped from the final edit in series 4; as of series 5, it is no longer being played.
- Telly Tales: Clips from a show such as Tomorrow's World, EastEnders, or Doctor Who are shown. One of the panellists reads out a statement about the show (such as "The doctor on the set of Doctor Who is called "The Magician" to avoid confusion", and as usual, the opposing team interrogate the panellist before deciding whether it's true or not. This round was only played in Series 1, then dropped.
There is now a Recap page covering the truths and lies told throughout the series.
This show contains examples of:
- Abandoned Catchphrase: In his first series or so as host, after a panellist had read out an extremely unlikely sounding statement Rob would remark to the other team "this shouldn't take long". This was dropped, possibly because most of the times it appeared the story under discussion turned out to be true.
- Actually Pretty Funny[The clip introducing the Ring of Truth fact shows a man attempting to communicate with pigeons]Lee: I love how much they patronize me on this show. We're 4-0 down, they go "Give Lee a chance, ask him a question about pigeons."Dave Gorman: It's more than that, that's your dad, filmed two weeks ago![Audience laughter]Lee: My dad's dead.David Mitchell: Was he dead two weeks ago?Lee: ...He wasn't, actually, no.David: There you are, then. Good point, Dave.
- The Alleged Car: Several stories have been about car trouble — and they tend to be true.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees:
- In s5e7 David Mitchell mocks Lee's claim that Ouija boards were once seen as a mundane parlour game, not an occult item. It's absolutely true, though Lee says it's a trademark of Waddington's and David makes a joke about advertisements for an MB Ouija board. It's actually a trademark of Hasbro.
- In the Series 7 Christmas special, Miles Jupp has a lie that he eats mini multi-pack cereals by pouring the milk straight into the packet. Nobody on the panel, or indeed whoever came up with the lie, appears to be aware that this is how they are meant to be eaten, having originally been created for use on camping holidays, and that many of them come with instructions on how to use the box as a bowl.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Russell Howard's story in Series 3 was that he used to put his underpants on his head to cure his acne. When asked why he stopped doing it, he said that his mother randomly announced what he did to his doctor.
- Amusing Injuries: Lee insisted that getting hit on the shoulder by a coconut that would have killed him had it fallen an inch to the left was hilarious, and offered to demonstrate on David Mitchell.
- Angrish: Rile a panellist beyond natural caution and you'll hear some of this.
- The Announcer: The first three series used an announcer to introduce the teams and the host. The two guests on each team would each be introduced with a rhyming or comparative remark. He was dropped in the fourth series, and Rob Brydon now introduces the guests in place of his monologue of lying-related autocue jokes.
- Appeal to Audacity: The idea that a story is so ridiculous it must be true is often considered.David Mitchell: What I'm worried we're in danger of doing here is, having heard something that is absurd and obviously not true, and saying that therefore it must be true...
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Many contestants have picked up on one specific detail of a story as proving that it's false even when the entire story has been completely ridiculous. Like believing that a contestant had put a flat cap on a hippo and a fez on a lizard but declaring it a lie because he hadn't heard of the zoo where it supposedly happened.
- This is often lampshaded by the panel themselves, such as when David claimed that the 'This is My..." guest was a surfing coach who told him while he was on a stag do that he had never seen such natural surfing talent from a novice. Henning Wehn found disbelief in the fact that someone on a stag do in Newquay would have a curry.Henning: If you go to the seaside you're not having a curry, you're having fish & chips aren't you. What sort of a stag do goes all the way to Newquay then says, "You know what I really fancy now. Some naan bread".David Mitchell: I must say, if that's the part which you think is the chink in my armour...that a stag do wouldn't have a curry at the seaside, then I reckon I'm doing alright.
- Also lampshaded after David O'Doherty's truly absurd tale about being addicted to visiting hypnotherapists to cure him of his compulsion to visit hypnotists, when Bill Turnbull calls him out — on putting an umlaut over an 'E' in the spelling of the supposedly 'German' name "Spëghnks":Bill Turnbull: You just ruined it!
David O'Doherty: [Laughing incredulously] Oh, that's what ruined it!
Bill Turnbull: Because there is never an umlaut on an 'e'.
Lee Mack: There's never a man being velcroed and winched on top of a cupboard! That's the bit you wanna be focusing on, not the spelling of his surname!
- This is often lampshaded by the panel themselves, such as when David claimed that the 'This is My..." guest was a surfing coach who told him while he was on a stag do that he had never seen such natural surfing talent from a novice. Henning Wehn found disbelief in the fact that someone on a stag do in Newquay would have a curry.
- Armour-Piercing Question: David Mitchell specialises in them, sometimes almost channeling a QC.
- The Artifact:
- There are television screens set into both teams' desks (denoted by the raised pieces of metal in front of each team captain). These were used to play in the clips for the "Ring of Truth" round, and they're still there even though the round was scrapped after Series 4.
- Rob getting turns in the Quick-Fire Lies round has not appeared since Series 8, but his desk still has the button for revealing whether a fact is true or not.
- Artifact Title:
- The title of the This Is My round doesn't make as much sense given that the panellists also introduce "Possession" claims with the same words.
- In the first few series (especially the first) the Quick-Fire Lies round featured less questioning time and more turns, but in later series it is much more similar to Home Truths, with the only difference being that sometimes the team captains get turns (especially noticeable since the two celebrity trivia rounds have been dropped, meaning the only other round in the show at all is "This Is My..."). Sometimes the final round will only have enough time for one story, but the name remains.
- In a Series 13 episode, David Mitchell invokes this trope when Clare Balding's "Possession" is a dog she judged at a celebrity lookalike competition, pointing out that it is stretching the format of the show because Clare is not claiming to actually own the dog.
- Aside Glance: The host sometimes indicates surprise or disbelief at a panellist's story with a sardonic look at the camera. Angus Deayton was good at these, but Rob Brydon excels.
- Ask a Stupid Question...:
[Lee has claimed he and the Mystery Guest had been camping and had discovered their tent was stolen in the night]Rhod Gilbert: Did this tent not have a built-in ground sheet?Lee: No it did not, because otherwise it would have been "This is Steve and we were once kidnapped."Miranda Hart: [having been asked if her childhood friend made of toast had been buttered] No. That would be stupid, David.
- The occasional tactic of a panellist supporting a claim is to deflect the question by mocking the questioner.
Rob: "I don't see why you'd tell it if it wasn't true"?! Andy, I really think you've been missing something this evening.
- Andy Hamilton once got this response for real when he asserted that a claim that Rob Brydon once humiliatingly fell into a supermarket freezer was true by asking that if it wasn't true, why would he tell such an embarrassing story? Rob rather acerbically noted in response that the format of the game show Andy was participating in might be a pretty compelling reason.
- Lee, in particular, tends to use this as a distraction technique even when the question is perfectly reasonable, both for the purposes of getting a laugh and in the hope that the opposing team will drop the line of questioning on being unable to get a serious answer out of him.
- Though Lee gets a genuine one when he claims that he shaved off a beard he had been growing for weeks because he didn't want David to think he was copying him and grow self-conscious:David: What was it that alerted you to the fact that I had grown a beard?
Lee:... Well, I looked at you and you had a beard. Are you all right? Are you having a breakdown?
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Whenever Rob speaks Welsh on the show, it's either very basic phrases or Welsh-sounding gibberish, because he can't actually speak the language.
- Bad Liar: Surprisingly averted for the most part; whilst the opposing team might correctly guess a lie, most of the guests have been able to make up details of a story reasonably well. Russell Howard is probably the guest who best fits this Trope, though, as particularly evidenced by an outtake shown in a compilation episode where after a little while of trying to defend a story he gave up.Russell Howard: Well it's clearly a fucking lie, isn't it?David Mitchell: Do I get extra points for capitulation?
[Lee is claiming that he and the mystery guest were in the Scouts together]David: You were 12 or 13, how old was Steve?Lee: Steve was... [He looks at Steve, who is clearly much younger than him] he was... he was... [long hesitation] He wasn't born...
- Also Jason Manford, who in Series 1 managed to forget what his lie was a few minutes after reading it out. He was caught out by Leslie Ash, who later went to do the exact same thing only to be caught out by Manford.
- In her first appearance, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson said in the This Is My round that she thought Dave Spikey was telling the truth. Spikey was her own teammate.
- John Bishop's claim that he was thrown out of a cinema for crying too loudly at the film, which utterly fell apart shortly after Lee's team started to interrogate him.
- Lee Mack often plays this for laughs — it's often painfully (and hilariously) obvious when he's either fibbing or stalling for time, but that doesn't mean that what he's saying isn't true.
Lee: Even though I say so myself, that was a bad mistake.
- David O'Doherty, claiming that he was seeing a hypnotist to cure his addiction to hypnosis, clearly knew the story sounded as ridiculous to Lee's team as it did to him, and decided to have fun with it by telling the most outrageously obvious lies he could imagine when pressed for details, to the point that even he could no longer keep a straight face when he claimed his hypnotist was named "Dr. Spanks".
- Lampshaded on one occasion when Lee, claiming to have devised his own phonetic alphabet based on things he can see out of his window and having repeatedly insisted that he used 'hospital' for 'H', when asked to spell 'hospital' phonetically began spelling it with a different H word:
- Bait-and-Switch: Kevin Bridges, referring to a misunderstanding in Eastern Europe.Kevin Bridges: There was a bit of a communication breakdown - there was a Bulgarian guy, trying to speak English, and two Scottish guys, trying to speak English.
- Bait-and-Switch Comparison: Commonly appear in the host's autocue jokes.Rob Brydon (after the panellists have debated Jimmy Carr's story about meeting Prince Phillip at Wimbledon): What a moment. Perhaps the funniest man in Britain, known for his off-color material, finally getting to meet Jimmy Carr.
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible: All part of the game[Lee is claiming in the This Is My round that the guest is his children's nanny and the first time they met he ran over her foot]Dave Gorman: That was the first time you met her.Lee: Correct.Dave: And the circumstances were..?Lee: Uh, I was in the car.Dave: And she was on the driveway.Lee: Correct.David Mitchell: What happened immediately after the foot-running-over moment?Lee: "Ow!"David: Can you roll that forwards?Lee: "Ow! That was my foot!"
Lee: This is the coconut that nearly killed me.David: Where were you?Lee: Under a coconut tree, where d'you think?
- Lee seems to be a master at this:
Lee: I have hidden in a cupboard to escape Anthea Turner.David: Where were you when this happened?Lee/Jimmy: In the cupboard.David: Where was the cupboard?Lee: In the room I was hiding from Anthea Turner.David: Where was the room?Lee: Just away from Anthea Turner.David: What was the occasion? And do not define the occasion, or the geographical space in relation to Anthea Turner!
- And he even does it when he's telling the truth:
David: There are seven billion people on this planet. Please let's not eliminate them one by one.
- Also when he was trying to prevaricate about telling the opposing team who he consulted about the 'dibber' he claims to have donated to a museum; he first latches on to David's use of 'whom' to claim it was David Tennant so that he can make a "Doctor Whom" joke, and then when David persists he continues the theme by then claiming it was Tom Baker.
- Beard of Sorrow: Inverted; David Mitchell's persona on the show has become notably more relaxed and easy-going since growing his beard.
- Bears Are Bad News: Frankie Boyle's claim that as a child he was scared his entire life was a book being read by a bear, and that one day the bear would close the book and his life would end.
- Became Their Own Antithesis:
Lee: I've got a certain image to the public, very working class and down-to-earth. Could you change that to Asda or Lidl?
- Lee is accused of this during the famous "iPod" argument after claiming to have hired the guest of the week to manage putting songs on his iPod ("You've changed!").David: Lee, if that iPod thing is true, you're not the man I thought you were, and that's the price you'll pay for this petty victory.
- Played for laughs in the 2019 Children in Need special when Kitty, one of the child contestants, claims to have met Lee in a Waitrose cafe when defending her claim. As Waitrose is a fairly middle-class supermarket chain, this naturally got David's attention and prompted a bit of a pushback from Lee:
David: So Lee Mack was in a Waitrose cafe, having a pheasant wrap...
- Lee is accused of this during the famous "iPod" argument after claiming to have hired the guest of the week to manage putting songs on his iPod ("You've changed!").
- Behind the Black: "Possessions" which are too large to fit into a box (such as the portrait of Lee painted by a monkey, the children's bicycle Lee allegedly had to ride to a petrol station, and Bill Bailey's pet cockatoo) will abruptly appear on the side of the desk with no explanation as to how they got there.
- Berserk Button:
[Lee is claiming that he commemorates the death of his goldfish by annually pouring a shot of brandy into his pond]Bernard Cribbins: Was the goldfish in the pond when it died?Lee: No.David: Sorry, the goldfish was not a pond goldfish, it was a bowl goldfish, or a tank goldfish?Lee: No, it was a tree goldfish, actually...David: Where did he live?Lee: The goldfish lived in a bowl. The goldfish bowl!David [shouting]: If the goldfish lived in a bowl—Lee: CORRECT!David: —Why do you commemorate its death by pouring brandy into an ALTERNATIVE goldfish habitat?!
- David Mitchell whenever a story fails to make sense. Naturally Lee presses this button as frequently as possible.
- Lee Mack's is pushed in episode three of series ten when, having been attempting to prove that a pink child's bike is the vehicle he borrowed to collect petrol after his car ran out, he is warned by the producers (via Rob) that his decision to wheelie it "seems like a very bad idea":
- Beyond the Impossible: Having spent years making him the Butt-Monkey by forcing him to claim the most ridiculous stories as true, in series 7 the show finally gives Lee a claim that is straight-up scientifically impossible (namely, "I can smell if there is a dead fly in the room").
- Biggus Dickus: "That's just a salad fork!"
- Big Red Button: One of David's truths in series 6 was that one of these was on a wall in his flat, and that he had never pressed it as he didn't want to find out what it did.
- Bilingual Bonus: See Gratuitous Welsh below.
- Black Spot: The Hoot Owl of Death.
- Blatant Lies: Inevitably, perhaps — the false statements that the panellists are given out can often be ridiculous, such as Chris Hoy claiming that he was asked by NASA to be the first man to cycle on the moon, or Lee Mack saying that if you give him any date he can instantly tell you what day of the week it was on that date, and yet no matter how stupid they must then continue to try and persuade the opposing team it is true. Of course, given the nature of the show, just because something sounds like a Blatant Lie doesn't automatically mean that it is...
- As mentioned under Butt Monkey and Running Gag below, a lot of the more preposterous lies tend to be given to Lee. The date of the week one was probably the worst, to the point that almost straight after he said it, Jack Whitehall exclaimed "bollocks!"
- Another noteworthy example occurred when Lee was describing his supposed map of all the service stations he'd visited, when for no evident reason he insisted that there were roughly equal numbers of blue and orange stickers, when there were actually over four times as many orange ones as blue ones.
- Blunt "Yes": Or "No", in this case. After Lee's lengthy, quick-paced and detailed description of a recipe supposedly appearing in a cookbook he had written called "Wok Around The Clock", on being asked whether Lee's claim was true David's reply was probably the quickest, bluntest response in the show's history.David: No it isn't true.
Rob: [Amused] Do you need a little time to discuss this with your team?
David: [Casual] No.
- The Board Game: Came out last year.
- Boring, but Practical: David Mitchell claimed that the screensaver on his phone was a picture of his "bright beige" living room carpet. He justified it on the grounds that he had a common make and model of phone and he wanted to be able to recognize his own.
- Bound and Gagged: Ronnie Corbett claimed that he had discovered the 'This Is My' guest in this situation on the golf course next to his home.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In a This Is My round:Russell Howard: This is Chris and Gill; I interviewed them on my radio show because they claimed that they were abducted by aliens.Michael Buerk: This is Chris and Gill, who are fellow members of the Guildford walking and dining club.Lee Mack: This is Chris and Gill; they once helped me dispose of a dead body after I killed a man in a car park. (audience laughter) Not really, just trying to add a bit of spice to proceedings.
- "Here I am in my castle with ten different sorts of vaguely posh animal, all fighting each other, then I kill a servant and have sex with a wall!"
- Brief Accent Imitation: Rob Brydon does this quite a bit. Quite often, David Mitchell's the subject.
- Lee Mack has (poor) imitations of Rob and David which he will use to wind them up.
- Scottish Kevin Bridges broke out an eerily convincing generic English accent when Terry Wogan complained that he couldn't understand him.
- Broken Pedestal: When Bernard Cribbins claimed to have sold his wife's car to pay his gambling debts, Lee's team got quite distressed and insisted it just couldn't be true.Lee: We need this to be a lie, Bernard. (It was.)
- Buffy Speak: The inevitable result of panellists trying to remember (or make up) technical details on the spot, as when Michael McIntyre claimed his car could only turn left because something had happened to "the metal of the car." Naturally Lee Mack pounced on this and proceeded to Lampshade it to death.Lee: Hang on, Michael, Michael. Don't get so technical with me. 'The metal of the car,' yeah? Could you be more specific: what bit of the metal of the car?Michael: The metal bit.Lee: (flat stare)Michael: Um.. the metal bit over the wheel was bent into the wheel so you could no longer turn the wheel to the right.
(after David's "possession" turn — a rejection letter from McDonald's — has been shown to be a lie)Rob: It's a lie. Because David has never even been to McDonald's, although he was—David: Of course I've been to McDonald's.Lee (sourly): The next joke is (mimicking Rob) "He went to visit Lee".(the actual joke was something tame about the "new McPheasant Zinger")
- Lee and David, in different ways. Lee Mack's claims tend to be incredibly over-the-top, require a ridiculous or embarrassing demonstration or intellectual contortion (such as riding a pink-tassled, child-sized bicycle around the stage, or having to pretend he can tell the circumference of someone's head by looking at them) and/or be something that is literally impossible which he nevertheless has to find some way to defend as if it could be true. David Mitchell's claims on the other hand tend to be more embarrassing in their implication (usually suggesting he was or still is a spoiled, pathetic, socially inept, frightened and agonisingly middle-class social outcast).
- Jimmy Carr tends to have a rough time of it when he appears on the show, between the embarrassing statements he has to claim as true and the episode he spent verbally fencing with an inexplicably hostile David Baddiel.
- Rob gets his fair share, especially his story about pretending to be his own agent. He also tends to get it in the neck for his impressions. There's also the Running Gag that behind the scenes he's The Friend Nobody Likes, and that David and Lee expend as much energy as possible trying to keep away from him. Lee also tends to make plenty of cracks about his short height.
- Jokes about the Second World War (though usually not Nazism directly) tend to pop up a bit more frequently whenever Henning Wehn is a guest on the show.
- Call-Back: Some of the more ridiculous details a panellist might come up with for a story will sometimes be mocked throughout the episode. One example is when Clive Anderson said he was going to Greenland for a BBC documentary on "Inuit ways of dealing with criminal justice" as part of a story that his wallet was stolen by a walrus. Later on, when he claimed that a builder once fell through his roof whilst he was watching Richard & Judy, David Mitchell asked him if he tried to justify watching the programme by shouting "There's an item on Inuit ways of dealing with criminal justice coming on...!"
[David's "Possession" claim of a travel dressing gown that he takes on every holiday has been shown to be true]John Bishop: You are never going to get away from that now! Everyone who sees this show will look at you and see that!David: Basically, my entire image has been destroyed by this show. I was like a cool guy who was into music and modern art before this show, before all the stuff about dressing as an 18th-century nobleman and having a little bell came out. The travel dressing gown's just the tip of the iceberg!
- A cross-series example from series 4, episode 8:
David: Yes, and it's always true! It was true about the masks in Castle Douglas, it was true about being able to tear an apple apart with his bare hands, and it was true about the game in the garden!
- In one episode, a Call Back is used to decide whether an answer is true or false; when debating whether David has a mysterious red switch that he's never bothered to press in his flat, Tess Daly reveals she's seen the episode when David revealed that his bedroom door didn't have a doorknob on it, and uses the fact that he was willing to go without one as a reason for why the current story is true.
- In David Baddiel's second appearance in Series 11, his introduction references one of his true facts from his first appearance in Series 2.
- When having to make a decision on Bob Mortimer's latest ridiculous story on his sixth appearance on the show, David recalls all his previous stories that have turned out to be true:
David: I think it's fair to say that if anyone else had made this... Allegation about Chris Rea and an egg in their bath, we wouldn't be giving it a moment's deliberation, but somehow, coming from Bob, it might be true.
- This carried on to his seventh appearance:
- Camp Gay: Julian Clary was on Lee's team in Series 4.
- And Louie Spence in series 5.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: The producers have said that if the story a panellist is telling is true, then they cannot lie during its retelling. (Although they have admitted some guests tend to forget themselves and end up bending or exaggerating the truth.)
- Captain Obvious: Sometimes used by a lying panellist trying to play for time.Trisha Goddard (reading card): "I'm currently beating Jeremy Kyle 5-3 at Internet Scrabble."Lee: How did this come about?Trisha: ...On the Internet.
Fern Britton: Where did the name come from?Reginald D Hunter: Well, "Reginald" is a German name that means "mighty warrior", and "delicious" means "very tasty".
- Also, when Reginald D Hunter is trying to persuade the other team that his middle name is "Delicious":
Jack Dee: The problem we have here is that not all of you are telling the truth.
- Expertly done by Jack Dee as a questioner in Season 9, during the "This is My..." round:
- Catchphrase: Played for maximum humor if a panellist is known for one, as when Lee Mack and Jimmy Carr tried to get Richard Wilson to say "I don't believe it!" in Series 2.
- Harry Enfield had to claim that he once threw a man in a lake for following him shouting "Only me!"
- Panellists, mostly Lee Mack, will often declare "I really want this to be true!" when faced with a story they want to be true.
- Character Filibuster: You'd think it was in David Mitchell's contract that Once an Episode he's allowed an uninterrupted rant. Although since these often form some of the funniest moments of the show, they'd be fools not to...
- Christmas Episode: Introduced in the seventh series; some, but not all, of the stories will be Christmas-related, and there will usually be at least one big name guest on the panel. Possessions in the Quick-Fire Lies round will be in boxes wrapped like Christmas presents.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Angus Deayton has not been referred to once since he left, although several references have been made to 'true' facts from the series he hosted.
- Classically Trained Extra: Parodied in the Series 10 Christmas Episode, where the entire panel participates in a re-enactment of David's alleged school nativity, and guest Sir Tom Courtenay (as a shepherd) isn't given any lines.
- Clip Show: Entitled The Best of "Would I Lie to You?", showing some highlights and unseen material, once a series since Series 2. The series 4 one dispensed with the former entirely, and all of the footage was new.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Several guests have fallen into this category during their turns, sometimes to their advantage.
David: I think it's fair to say that if anyone else had made this... allegation about Chris Rea and an egg in their bath, we wouldn't be giving it a moment's deliberation, but somehow, coming from Bob, it might be true.
- Claudia Winkleman has repeatedly given off this impression during her episodes in order to fool the opposing team: Lee ultimately (and wrongly) decided her claim about owning a childhood cat that was stuffed when it died was true because "she looks like a very lovely but slightly unstable woman", and in a later episode was (wrongly) convinced Claudia compared everyone to animals because "there's one part that makes me think this is true, and that part is Claudia".
- Tara Palmer-Tomkinson also came across like this.
- David Mitchell when it's revealed that he didn't have a doorknob on his bedroom door for two years.
- Vic Reeves seems to be one in real life. Several of his stories thought to be blatant lies have turned out to be true.
- Perhaps fittingly, Reeve's comedy partner Bob Mortimer also seems to be this whenever he appears, which has also enabled him to pass off improbably true stories as blatant lies.
- It's nearly impossible to tell when Rhod Gilbert is lying because some of his most ridiculous stories have turned out to be true, such as exhuming a dead hamster to give it a bath.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The graphics indicating whether a fact is/was true or a lie are green for a truth and purple for a lie.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Giving a panellist (usually Lee) a ridiculous lie and leaving them to convince the other team of its veracity. On occasions it seems like the other team have actually worked it out a long time ago and are only continuing to question the panellist for the sake of this trope.
- The Comically Serious: Of the two captains, David is the one more likely to treat the game as a serious debate and proceed with great earnestness and usually annoyance, even when the claim is obviously ludicrous. This is highly entertaining.
- Nick Hewer as a guest in the fifth series. Claiming that he played ping-pong with Lord Sugar to wind down. Over the boardroom table. Which was his idea. With Karen as umpire. Related completely deadpan.
- And then a story in which he accidentally e-mailed an image of his infected toenail to everyone in his address book. Still deadpan.
- To say nothing of his reaction to being forced to wear the infamous cuddle jumper.
- Nick Hewer as a guest in the fifth series. Claiming that he played ping-pong with Lord Sugar to wind down. Over the boardroom table. Which was his idea. With Karen as umpire. Related completely deadpan.
- Comically Missing the Point: Ed Balls claims that he once handled high-level government budget negotiations over the phone while crawling through a ball pit to save his child, who'd gotten stuck and was crying. Each time the opposing team asked him how the rescue went, Balls kept thinking they were asking about the negotiations, to everyone's amusement.
- Companion Cube: David Mitchell claimed that as a child, he played board games against a bucket that he called "Stephen Tatlock".
- When making his decision as to whether it was true or a lie, Lee started asking his water bottle, which he named "Boris".
- "Boris Dickey".
- Also, Miranda Hart's childhood friend made of toast.
- Barry Cryer considers the H14 bus his friend, and says "Hello, darling!" whenever he sees it.
- When making his decision as to whether it was true or a lie, Lee started asking his water bottle, which he named "Boris".
- Constantly Curious: One method of interrogation. Rob Brydon tried it during his stint as a panellist, although the person he eliminated using this method turned out to be telling the truth.
- Consummate Liar:
- From Series 3 onwards, a "Liar Of The Week" award is given to the best liar on each episode.
- Claudia Winkleman often stands out for her sheer commitment to her lies, even lovingly stroking a taxidermied cat to convince the other team that it was a beloved childhood pet despite hating cats in real life.
- Conveyor Belt o' Doom: Ruth Jones claimed the This Is My guest had saved her lost pet tortoise from one of these at a recycling plant, to much mockery from Lee's team. It turned out to be true, to their genuine astonishment.
- Conviction by Contradiction: The panel will usually vote "Lie" if they can get the opposing panellist to contradict the details in his/her story.[Rhys Thomas' claim is that his bed used to belong to John Nettles]
Rhys: I think this one dated from about 1987, when Bergerac was in Germany...
David Mitchell: So this was a prop bed? It wasn't John Nettles' bed, it's Bergerac's bed? There is a distinction...
- Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: Dara O'Briain claimed to own a "brindle" racehorse and was immediately shot down by Lee Mack. But it is possible, if exceedingly rare, for a horse to have a brindle pattern through genetic chimerism.
- Corpsing: David Mitchell found the claim that he could no longer drink orange squash as it sent him "berserk" so ridiculous that it took him four attempts to read with a straight face.
- Couch Gag: When Angus Deayton was host, he would emerge from behind a screen where he was visible in silhouette engaging in some ridiculous activity, which changed with each episode.
- Creator Cameo: Of a type; both Charlie Brooker and Richard Osman, both of whom are directors for the show's production company Endemol, have appeared as guest panelists.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Sometimes teams will decide that a clearly ridiculous story is true. In one episode of Series 3, Janet Street-Porter's claim was that she wrote her will on a bit of cardboard when she thought her plane was about to crash. David Mitchell believed it was a lie, but both his teammates thought it was true; he went along with them, expressing utter disbelief as he said "We're saying it's true!" It was true.
- Subverted minutes later in the same episode, when David's team started to consider that another story (see Defictionalization, below) is "so weird it might be true", but he chose to overrule them and say it's a lie, which it is.
- Cutting the Knot: In the opening episode of Series 14, David claims during the first COVID-19 lockdown he grew his hair so long he sometimes tied it up into a man-bun. When deciding whether or not it's true, Lee abandons any pretence and points out that he talked to David over Zoom multiple times and knows full well it's a lie.
- A Date with Rosie PalmsClive Anderson [realising that Lee is clutching the desk as he waits to see if he has guessed correctly on a fact] You're clutching the desk, man! It's only a panel game!Lee: That's not the desk!
- Daydream Believer: When Bernard Cribbins was a guest:Rob Brydon: I would remind you that Bernard has traveled in the TARDIS, so if anyone has knowledge of odd things going on... I mean, he's literally traveled in time and relative dimensions in space.David Mitchell: And by "literally", you mean "fictionally".Rob: You have to spoil it, don't you? You'll be telling me next the Wombles weren't real!
- Hilarious in Hindsight when Katherine Parkinson's true fact in series 5 was that she had once put down a womble as an example of a mammal on a GCSE biology paper.
- When asked to make a decision on Bob Mortimer's story about burning down his house with some fireworks, Jon Richardson said that he believed Mortimer had seen a movie where such a thing happened and subsequently convinced himself it had happened to him.
- In a series 8 episode, Lee Mack is claiming that the "This Is My" guest is a French nanny whom he tried to help get rid of a spider. After David's team have dismissed the story and gone for one of his teammates, the guest answers in French (as she herself wanted Lee's story to be true), causing Lee to briefly believe that he really was telling the truth.
- Deadpan Snarker: Angus Deayton.Angus (closing the show after David's team have won): Night-long celebrations for David's team, the joy of having taken part for Lee's team...
- Death Glare: Huw Edwards claimed to use one to shut up correspondents when it's time for them to wrap up. His demonstration is fairly terrifying. It's true.
- Decided by One Vote: The team captain is put in this situation whenever one panellist votes lie and the other votes true. David Mitchell seems particularly irritated when this happens.Graeme Garden: I think it's a lie.Lee: Based on what?Graeme: I just want to put you on the spot.
- In general, David Mitchell seems more willing to defer to his team when making a decision (hence his annoyance when they put him on the spot) while Lee Mack is more willing to overrule his teammates (and on a few occasions, will overrule himself by deciding to make the official answer the opposite of what he has claimed to actually believe)
- One (fairly rare) exception was when Charlie Brooker blatantly overruled both Lee and teammate Michael Ball (who did change his mind after hearing Charlie's passion on the subject), who both considered the story that three cabinet members were following David Mitchell's Twitter feed, with a rant about how boring David Mitchell is on Twitter. He was right.Lee Mack: I think it might be true.Charlie Brooker: What! You can say that, if you want to lose the game.
- One (fairly rare) exception was when Charlie Brooker blatantly overruled both Lee and teammate Michael Ball (who did change his mind after hearing Charlie's passion on the subject), who both considered the story that three cabinet members were following David Mitchell's Twitter feed, with a rant about how boring David Mitchell is on Twitter. He was right.
- In general, David Mitchell seems more willing to defer to his team when making a decision (hence his annoyance when they put him on the spot) while Lee Mack is more willing to overrule his teammates (and on a few occasions, will overrule himself by deciding to make the official answer the opposite of what he has claimed to actually believe)
- Department of Redundancy Department: "We went camping somewhere in the Lake District. I think it was called... the Lake District."
- Didn't Think This Through:
[Lee is claiming that when he was 18, he bet £500 that he would live to the age of 100]Ruth Jones: Where did you get £500 from?Lee: I inherited it from my grandad, who reached the age of 100. I thought it would be an appropriate thing to do.David Mitchell: Your grandad was 100 before you were 18?
- Panellists can make up a detail of a false story on the spot that seems clever at the time, but falls apart under further investigation.
- In a related example, in Romesh Ranganathan's story of how he once accidentally locked a pupil of his in a cupboard while trying to teach a class the concept of probability, he claims that he deliberately picked a child in the class who was shy, withdrawn and had trouble making friends in an attempt to help him out of his shell a bit, and came up with the idea that the child would play the part of an alien who had stepped out of a 'matter transformer' (the cupboard). David Mitchell immediately points out that this essentially meant he was taking a child who was already likely to be the target of bullies and turning him into a bigger target by giving the bullies ammunition to use when picking on him.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Jamelia trying to explain why she thought Jimmy Carr's statement (that he was a ballboy at Wimbledon and Prince Phillip said he was an funny-looking fellow) was true.Jamelia: It could be true because of... his face, but— (Jimmy Carr looks wounded) ...no, no I don't think you're ugly, I just think... (Jimmy looks even more hurt) No! I don't. No...sorry...I just think you have a very...unique face, no one will ever forget your...Jimmy: How am I getting bullied by Jamelia? How did that happen?!
- If you look at Terry Christian in the wide shot, you can see him mime digging.
- Disappeared Dad: A Running Gag throughout the show is that Lee, in keeping with his "stereotypical working-class lout" comedic persona, is a bit of a deadbeat dad who barely has any access to his kids and is frequently in the target-sights of the social services. It should perhaps be noted that the person who tends to make these jokes most frequently is Lee himself (who is, in reality, a married father of three).
- Disproportionate Retribution: Following Lee's utterly unbelievable story about receiving a full-body search at Miami Airport for making a joke about Ronald Reagan, David's team began yelling "Lie! Liar!" at him. Vic Reeves ended up shouting "Flog him!"
David: That's I would say, a disproportionate response.
- James Acaster claimed that the This Is My Guest, a child called Mick, kept pranking him with cabbages. He retaliated by taking all of his bedroom belongings and replacing them with cabbages. He was telling the truth, and they even showed a picture of Mick's cabbage filled bedroom.
- Dissimile: Towards the end of Henning Wehn's story about being on Interpol's missing persons list, when they were discussing a suitcase full of books the man Henning allegedly travelled to Morocco with picked up from a cafe:Henning: Well, I suppose a friend of his left them thereRob: But why?Henning: Well, you know what it sometimes is like, isn't it, like, er... well, I can't quite think of anything like this...
- DIY Dentistry: In one round, comedian Bob Mortimer claims that he practices a surprisingly advanced version of this trope with the help of a steady supply of dental cement, an Indian musical instrument, a kitchen island, and a gaming chair. Much to everyone's amazement, it turns out to be a literal case of Truth in Television.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: David Mitchell implies this about himself at one point.David: I have tremendously, frighteningly strong hands, as I found out to my own cost.
- Do Not Try This at Home: Rob Brydon interjected with this during Claudia Winkleman's story about putting nail polish remover in her fish tank to give the goldfish more energy.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Rob is guilty of this at least once an episode, usually when he does an impression and then pauses to tell the audience who it is.[Patrick Kielty's story about punching Muhammad Ali by accident has been proven true]Rob: Explain the bit where Muhammad Ali flies in and he asks — I mean, with the greatest respect in the world —Patrick: No, no, no—Rob: If he said (Muhammad Ali impression) I'd love to see that Bono guy, get Bono down, get him down now — (to the audience) I'm doing Muhammad Ali--
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: After Charlie Brooker claims he couldn't go to collect his girlfriend from the station because he was too scared of a spider in the hallway provokes Nigel Havers to state that he doesn't want it to be true because it would reflect so poorly on Charlie, Charlie's response is this. Understandable, since it's true.
- Double Entendre: In Series 2, Graeme Garden claimed the This Is My guest was an entrant in the Chipping Norton giant vegetable contest (for which Graeme gave out the prizes) and that one year he had the biggest cucumber, "and he might have had the longest leek." Angus commented afterwards that the guest's longest leek was also up for a prize from the British Innuendo Society, "as a result of which, they gave him one."
- The episode with Julian Clary naturally had several of these.
- Double Standard: When Miranda Hart caught a cricket ball (accidentally) thrown at her face, to audience applause, Rufus Hound mocked them for applauding a girl catching a ball.
- Dramatic Curtain Toss: Subverted by Rob's 'possession' turn in series 4; there was a large sheet covering his supposed invention, but when he aimed to whip it off dramatically he failed. It took four attempts and a little wriggling to get the sheet off, to much amusement.
- Dramatic Pause: panellists may leave this between the opposing team reaching a decision on their statement and their revealing the truth.
Rob Brydon: Barry Cryer - truth or lie?Barry: Dramatic pause! Music is heard in the background - it was - [hits button] - a lie!
- Inevitably lampshaded:
- Drunk with Power: Played for laughs in the episode where Greg Davies fills in as team captain for Lee and proceeds to overrule both of his teammates with his answer... only to get it wrong.Rob Brydon: I'll tell you what, Greg, this captaincy lark isn't as easy as it looks, is it?
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe, Frankie Boyle (of all people):Lee Mack: What's in your list? [Scottish accent] Six cans of bitter and a knife!Frankie Boyle: Yeah, six cans of bitter for a teetotal alcoholic!Lee Mack: [bursting into laughter] Only Frankie Boyle could complain that I said 'bitter' and not mention the knife!
- A less funny example comes from the joke that got the show censured. The scripted joke was about Jimmy Savile, in which Angus joked about the recent death of Jimmy Savile's mother, as well as making comments about Savile himself, such as saying he served "no useful purpose" and describing him as a "dirty old man". This was before the sex abuse charges. Lee Mack responded to the comments with, "I'm sorry but that is well out of order".
- Early Installment Weirdness: The early episodes had more questions and spent less time on each one; more recent series have dropped a few rounds (see Retired Panel Show Element below) and included fewer questions in the Quickfire round to spend more time on the questions that do make the edit. The difference between the totally deadpan Angus Deayton and Rob Brydon (who also tends to interact with the panel more) can also be disconcerting.
- What's much weirder, though, is seeing the Angus Deayton era episode where Rob Brydon was a guest on David's team.
- The first series had all six panellists read out a statement in the first round; since the second series only the four guests have done so, presumably in an effort to conserve the number of truths for the regulars.
- eBay: Sometimes a panellist will claim a "Possession" in the Quick Fire Lies round was an ill-considered eBay purchase.
- David Mitchell introduced one 'This Is My' guest as the man who sold him ten packs of rechargeable batteries via eBay, and accidentally sent him a hundred packs.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Invoked by Reginald D. Hunter being given a lie that the D in his name stood for "Delicious". He refused to say what his real middle name was when asked by Rob Brydon. It's Darnell.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Has come up a few times as one of the panellists' "facts", typically as a nickname they were given at school; Dom Wood claimed his nickname at school was "Earsniffer", and Robert Webb claimed his was "Mr. Custard".
- Embarrassing Tattoo: The subject of several supposed truths.
- Davina McCall's fact in Series 3 was that she was having her tattoo of two chillies covered up as they more closely resemble carrots. It was true.
- Ben Fogle claimed that the 'This Is My' guest had given him a tattoo when they were both completely drunk. It was true.
- Denise van Outen claimed she had a tattoo on her back that she had gotten after being told it would disappear after three years. It was true, and, as it's on her lower back, she gave Rob Brydon a private viewing rather than showing it on camera.
- Epic Fail: Frankie Boyle was already failing to convince David's team that he had written and published a book of love poetry, but when he claimed he had written it all in "aggressive haiku"...David Mitchell: Either it's the most exceptional double bluff, or it's a lie he literally didn't have the energy to go through with.
(towards the end of the round...)Olivia Colman: What's her surname?Eamonn Holmes: Kemp.Peter Serafinowicz: Hugh, what's her surname?Hugh Dennis: Robertson.David Mitchell: Lee... don't bother.
- Lee introduced the 'This Is My' guest in one episode as the woman who gave his dog mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after she ran it over with her car. The story was unlikely enough already, but he first claimed that the dog was a greyhound, then a dalmatian, and then when David's team pointed this out he claimed it was half-greyhound, half-dalmatian. And if that wasn't bad enough, he starts to claim the dog started talking, leading David to reply, "He said 'now I can speak! This lady has blown her soul into me!' And then the dog got in the car and drove off."
David: You were seeking out people beginning with these letters! What was it about the island of Bermuda?Lee: Because all my ex-girlfriends went missing.
- In another case of Lee screwing up a story in record time, he claims that he was in the scouts at about the age of 12 with the mystery guest Steve - who, he's forced to admit, couldn't have been born yet.
- In another "This Is My," he forgot himself and started asking one of his teammates about her story.
- Vic Reeves had a particularly memorable one in episode 5 of season 1 as well:Vic Reeves: "I once helped... TV's Dr. Raj Persaud... fix his computer. It just needed a reboot." [about five seconds pass] I'm sorry I can't read this question out because I don't know who Dr. Raj Persaud is, and I don't know what a reboot is.David Mitchell: I... Yeah it does seem like a lie.Vic [pressing the button to bring the word "LIE" up onto the screens]: Yeah, you're quite right, it's a lie.
- The aforementioned series 2 outtake where Russell Howard outright gave up on trying to convince David's team his story was true.
- David O'Doherty's claim in series 5 that he was seeing a hypnotist to cure him of his addiction to hypnotists.
- Lee's claim in the first episode of series 6 that his ex-girlfriends' initials in order spell out the word "Bermuda". He is visibly smiling with disbelief the moment he finishes reading it out. The moment where he really screws it up is when he refers to "the acronym system", implying that he started picking out these women deliberately to spell out Bermuda.
Lee: Even if I say so myself, that was a bad mistake.
- Lee's claim about his personal phonetic alphabet being drawn from things he can see out of his windows at home. He repeatedly insists that he uses 'hospital' to represent the letter 'H', to the point where there's a minor tangent when the two teams have an argument about Lee being unable to remember the name of his nearest hospital. He then offers to spell 'hospital' using his phonetic system... and when he starts, he uses a completely different 'H' word.
- Lee was already facing an uphill battle to convince the other team that he had written a Chinese cookbook entitled "Lee Mack's Wok Around The Clock", but — as David noted in his summary — he completely blew what little credibility he had when he inexplicably (other than for Rule of Funny) decided to claim that his collaborator was an English-born chef called Steve Jenkins who didn't speak a word of English because he had been adopted by Chinese parents, raised in China and only spoke Cantonese.
- Escalating Punchline: In series 3 episode 7, when Danny Wallace was claiming he sometimes pretends to be part of the Olympic cycling team:Lee: To be fair, he does have the haircut of someone who's just ridden a bike.Danny: Yes. Backwards. Through a hedge. On the Moon. (Earlier, Sir Chris Hoy claimed he'd been approached by NASA to be the first man to ride a bike on the moon.)
- Eskimos Aren't Real: In the 2018 Christmas special, Lily Allen claimed that for her entire life she had believed that reindeer were mythical creature, until corrected by her young daughter (and then goggling 'reindeer'). She was lying.
- Everyone Is a Suspect: In a series 7 episode, Mel Giedroyc claims that she once had a snog with somebody else on the show. Rather than directly ask her who it was, the opposing team consider each member of the panel (including themselves) in turn.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Lee claimed that a chimpanzee once beat him at swingball.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Olivia Colman's true fact was that she pulled a boy by pretending to be French and putting on a fake accent.
- Evolving Credits: In Series 7, the opening credits were updated to replace all the pictures of David Mitchell with new ones to reflect the beard he'd grown for the previous series.
- Exact Words: In a series 12 episode, Lee has to claim his "Possession" is a lucky dice that he can always roll a 6 with within three goes. After he fails to do so, he attempts to do this by adding up the three rolls, but realises a moment too late they don't add up to 6.
- Expy: Angus Deayton's manner of hosting was very similar to how it was on Have I Got News for You, including his imaginary "prizes", descriptions of the current points, and "I leave you with news that..."
- The faux-class warfare between David and Lee is also a carbon copy of that between Ian Hislop and Paul Merton on HIGNFY.
- Face Doodling: Lee claimed in a series 5 episode that after an incident with a permanent marker he had to attend his son's parents' evening with a drawn-on moustache and glasses.
- Face Palm: When things seem to be going badly. Lee does the "pinch the bridge of the nose" variant.
- Fangirl: Mel Giedroyc was clearly very happy to be placed on the same team as former Spandau Ballet lead-man Martin Kemp.
- Faux Horrific: Everybody's reaction to the "Hoot Owl of Death".
- Fetish: Apparently Lee has a thing for Morris dancers.
- Finger Gun: Lee made one of these with his hand and blew on the "barrel" after winning a show.
- Foil: Lee and David for each other, with an upper-lower-class contrast.
- For Want of a Nail: When Michael Buerk claimed to have stolen an ashtray from 10 Downing Street, Danny Baker joked that Tony Blair's inability to have a smoke was the cause of Britain's involvement in the US-Iraq conflict.Danny: "Shall we go to war, Cherie, or not? I'll have a cigar and think about it — No ashtray! We'll go to war!" And that's what you did! That's the consequences! Are - are you proud of what you did?
- Fridge Logic: In-Universe - since the panellists often have to make up stories on the spot, they tend to leave plot holes that are hard to see at the time but become glaringly obvious later (which may play a part in teams working out the truth). One example is David Mitchell's claim that he has a five-point plan for surviving in prison: one point was that he would use his (Cambridge University) degree to his advantage, but he claimed he had come up with the plan when he was 16 or 17, well before he would have started university studies.
- Fox-Chicken-Grain Puzzle: Mentioned by David when Kimberly Wyatt was claiming to have done the splits to hold her car's bonnet open. When Lee started to suggest an alternative solution involving putting things on the ground first and picking them up as required, David asked "Hold on, where are you putting the chicken and the fox?"
- The Friend Nobody Likes: A bit of a Running Gag is for the team captains (usually Lee) to imply that Rob is this behind the scenes, with the joke often revolving around the three being involved in some kind of social situation where Lee and David try to ditch Rob as quickly as possible, with Rob oblivious to what they're doing.
- Gaslighting: One of David's claims in Season 13 was that in revenge for his wife irritating him, he would switch around her bookmarks in the books she was reading in order to confuse her. As this claim was made while his wife was sitting next to him on the same panel, it certainly added a frisson to the evening. Fortunately for David and Victoria's marriage, it was a lie.
- Geeky Turn-On: Lampshaded to hell and back during this bit from the series 4 outtakes show:[Professor Brian Cox has claimed that he got the Large Hadron Collider shut down after he spilt yoghurt on it]Brian: During construction, I had to go in, and I was responsible for a bit that's about 420 metres from the point at which we create the big bangs, and I was in there, and you test bits, and I was in there in the morning, having my yoghurt...[Keeley Hawes pretends to fall asleep at her desk]Lee Mack: Brian really knows how to chat up the ladies, doesn't he?[Later on, in the same story...]Keeley: Which part of it, did you drop the yoghurt into or onto?Brian: There are pieces of it, called - I'm going to go into chat-up mode again now -Keeley: Oh, go on![Later still...]Brian: As David well knows, because they're superconducting...Lee: (as David looks completely lost) I might well know as well! With you two flirting with each other — I'm here as well! Tell me, you bitch!
- Genre Blindness: Lee Mack will occasionally exhibit this (Played for Laughs, naturally) after being given a ridiculous lie to read out by complaining to the programme researchers that it was an idiotic thing to come up with, especially when his team are losing.Lee (re-reading his card): ..."I received a strip-search at Miami Airport after making a joke about Ronald Reagan..." I'm supposed to write that on the spot, am I?
- Genre Savvy: David Mitchell often tends to bemoan the fact that the truths selected by the producers for the contestants to read are deliberately those which sound as implausible and unlikely as possible, noting that mundane statements like "I came to the studio tonight in a car", while easy to guess the veracity of, are unlikely to have much entertainment value.
- Gentleman Snarker: Angus Deayton, and several of the guests.David: Well, I have to say, Lee's story is incredibly plausible.Terry Wogan: And incredibly tedious.
- G.I.R.L.: Chris Packham claimed that he and the (male) This Is My guest were married in an online world, where his avatar was based on Audrey Hepburn.
- Giving Up on Logic: Has happened at least once when David's team have to guess who the This Is My guest is.
- Glad I Thought of It: Jokingly pulled by David a couple of times when he's reluctantly allowed his team to overrule him and they've turned out to be right.
- Global Ignorance: When Eamonn Holmes claimed that he had a twin brother who lived in Canada, he immediately tried to support the lie by saying that "Jimmy" worked as an insurance salesman "in that CN Tower in Montreal." No one on David's team recognized the mistake.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Stephen Mangan claimed his big toes were named "Leslie" and "Scruple" after his potential future child and the child's accompanying "shoulder angel." His justification was that it was an in-joke with a very religious former girlfriend.
- Good with Numbers: Lee.
- Go Through Me: When Janet Street-Porter walked threateningly across the stage toward David Mitchell's team having grown annoyed with his manner of questioning, Davina McCall threw an arm out in front of David.
- Completely averted (in one of the funniest moments of the show) when Lee threatened to hit David with a coconut and both Rich Hall and Trisha Goddard immediately retreated to a safe distance.
- Gratuitous Welsh: When Rob Brydon named Joanna Page "liar of the week", he insisted it wasn't favouritism because she was Welsh, and then had a short conversation in Welsh with her. Part of Rob's speech translated to "well done Jo" before descending into gibberish (as Rob doesn't actually speak Welsh), and Page responded with "Last night I went to the youth club with friends" (a phrase commonly used in Welsh textbooks).
- Green-Eyed Monster: When Lee read out that he'd been invited to Harry and Meghan's wedding but didn't go because of he had to come to that episode's taping, David and Rob genuinely couldn't hide their jealousy at the possiblity. They got even more upset when Lee said it was true and were relieved when he revealed that it was all a great big ruse and that it was actually a lie.
- Gretzky Has the Ball: David talking about football:David: The goalkeeper's the one that owns the club, right?
- Also Miranda Hart claiming she had had a trial with "QPR Rangers" Womens' Football Club. "QPR" stands for "Queen's Park Rangers", so "QPR Rangers" would be "Queen's Park Rangers Rangers".Given that she was telling the truth, she was likely bluffing about getting the name wrong.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: David Mitchell, of course. Something (usually Lee Mack) will provoke him in the course of a show, be it scared hitchhikers or Mike Read rapping.David (reacting to Lee's claim that he threw a sausage roll off the top of Blackpool Tower): Why did you throw it off the top, you're there, there's security there, it's a horrible thing to do! How fast is a hot, or even quite hot, sausage roll going to be moving by the time it hits some morbidly-obese child down on the promenade having a miserable time on holiday in Blackpool of all places, who's just heard about the divorce of his parents, consoling himself with another load of high-sugar snacks and the next thing he knows, a warm-ish sausage roll hits him slap in the face?
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Charlie Brooker and David Mitchell in the same room? A rant-off was more or less inevitable.Charlie Brooker (after having revealed that he told a girlfriend he was hard of hearing in one ear to cover for not paying attention to her and had to maintain the ruse for six years): Can't you see? Don't you find that moving? You cold-hearted... monsters!David Mitchell: I'm not having THIS! You can't call us cold-hearted! You- you lived for six years-Charlie Brooker: People make mistakes, David!David Mitchell: Yes, and for which they must be punished!
- This can also occur between Lee and David, memorably when Lee claimed one 'This Is My' guest was his personal iPod manager.
- Handy Helper: In Series 13 Chris McCausland, who is blind, appeared as a guest. When it was his turn to read out a statement, he said the producers had offered him a card written in Braille, only to discover he couldn't read it, so Lee read the card out on his behalf (and also helped him out with some of the more visual elements of the show's format).
- Head Desk: This is sometimes Lee's reaction when he guesses one of David's more ridiculous facts (and there are quite a few of them) as a lie, only for it to be true.
- Heavy Mithril: Stephen Mangan claimed to have been in a band called Aragon with the This Is My guest, and that they had released an album called "The Wizard's Dream". It was true.
- HeelFace Turn: Tobias Cruelty, a pro-aparthied Amoral Afrikaner (played by one of Rob Brydon's fantastic impressions), decides to abandon racism after talking to Trevor Noah doing a Nelson Mandela impression.
- Henpecked Husband: During the Gaslighting example regarding David moving his wife's bookmarks to get back her when she irritates him, Rob gets quite insistent on the subject of exactly what Victoria does to provoke him. Victoria, sitting next to David at the time, helpfully chimes up with an example with leads to a brief moment of David being nagged on national television though given that the claim turned out to be a lie, one presumes that both Victoria and David were playing it up a bit:Rob: What sort of things are we talking about?
David: Just... behavioural things. Just, just the simplest things to do with things she's said or done.
Victoria: [Slightly hectoring] Maybe when I ask you what the weather's going to be like, and I say "What do you think it's going to be?", and you say "I don't think anything, I've looked at the weather forecast and what it says is this!"
[David awkwardly gestures in a sort of "see what I have to put up with?" fashion.]
David: Little things like, yes... essentially she holds me responsible for the weather forecast as if I've made it.
Rob: No she doesn't, she says "What do you think the weather's gonna do?" Perfectly reasonable.
David: [Muttering resentfully] It's not perfectly reasonable. It's very... look, she's got access to the weather forecast on her own phone, it's just, these are meteorologists, sometimes they get it wrong, sometimes they get it right, I'm just reading it out.
Lee: They are physically sitting further apart, have you noticed?
- Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Sometimes straight, but sometimes the tactic of a clever panellist running a bluff.Stephen Mangan (reading from card): "I once correctly guessed the exact number of sweets in a Mini Cooper, and was awarded a prize by Britain's tallest man."Ken Livingstone: How many sweets were in that van?Stephen (slowly): Yyyyyep...(it was true)
- Horrible Camping Trip: Lee claimed that he had been camping with one "This Is My" guest when they were Boy Scouts and had woken up to discover that their tent had been stolen.
- A House Divided: On occasion panellists from the same team will turn on each other.Lee Mack: Me and Jimmy think it's a lie, but Terry, you're going to overrule us..Terry Christian: No, no, I'm just going to disagree and that way I'll look great if you're wrong.Jimmy Carr: You won't look great...Terry (pointing at David's team): Give them your brutal quipping, not me! I'm on your team!Lee: Right, Jamelia, you're going to have a bit of brutal quipping!
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: David's teammates in a series 5 episode were Greg Davies and Konnie Huq. At one point Lee Mack asks them to stand up for perspective, and Konnie doesn't quite reach Greg's shoulders.
- Hurricane of Puns: In season 4:[Rob has just read out a Ring of Truth that Noel Edmonds has a pet chef prepare a three-course meal for his cat once a week.]David: What are the courses?Lee: Veal or no veal? [Audience groans] I'm actually ashamed of myself.Julian Clary: If it gets run over it's "Wheel or no wheel"Rob: If the cat was a fishing enthusiast—David: Shut up!
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: A rare example in the series 5 compilation episode, when Lee, alongside his team, starts booing at Rob for making a derogatory comment about David's appearance.
- Hypocritical Humour: Lee Mack mocking Jason Manford's Northerness ("Is this the first time you've been out of the North...?").Jason: You're from the North!Lee: I thought I was from the North until I met you.
Lee: This joke about me being really thick isn't working out with you not being able to read, is it?
- In Series 4, Martin Clunes appended an odd "Well done" to one of his answers, prompting David Mitchell to mock him for congratulating himself for remembering something. But at the end of the episode, David revealed that he had recalled the name of a women's magazine (Top Sante) out of thin air in an instant of panic, "and frankly, I want a medal!"
- Rob Brydon introduced Peter Serafinowicz as "a man who's half-English and half-Polish, so is always trying to book himself to tile his own bathroom." Brydon then had to claim in the Quick-Fire Lies round that he once stole Catherine Zeta-Jones' dinner money, and David Mitchell said "You're both Welsh, so presumably you went to the same school." This earned a round of applause from the audience, and Brydon then complained that they were laughing at "thinly-veiled racism".
- At one point during Katherine Parkinson's explanation of why she (supposedly) listed wombles as a real mammal on a GCSE exam, Lee expresses confusion on why she would've been asked this and/or struggled with it, given how basic the question was. The hypocritical part comes when David makes fun of Lee for being "such an intellectual snob".
- In the same round, Bill Turnbull tries to challenge Katherine's claim by pointing out that if the question was "name three mammals", she could have named any three mammals without having to resort to wombles... only to get a mental block and be unable to think of a third example of a mammal himself.
- Lee keeps expressing annoyance at the stereotyping he receives as a working-class Northerner, but he himself was guilty of it when he tried to explain his claim that he threw a sausage roll off the top of Blackpool Tower with "well, I'm Northern..."
- Invoked by Lee in an outtake where Rob stumbles over several autocue jokes relating to him:
David: Even though, Lee, you have said on television that you want my marriage to fall apart, I still find you an adequate colleague.
- In one episode, Lee claims that a misshapen and poorly-produced plastic keyring is the only thing he was able to produce after a year spent in a "plastic works" class. When asking him how he did it, Lorraine Kelly does an exaggerated cutting motion which Lee instantly mocks. Dara O'Briain then instantly points out that if Lee's claim is true, he's hardly in a position to get haughty about someone else's plastic-cutting techniques or abilities.
- Raised when Lee — faced with trying to prove the claim that he once rode a little girl's bike three miles to a nearby service station when his car ran out of petrol — jokingly tries to do a wheelie to the end of the stage on the bike in question. When the producers warn him (via Rob) that this is not a very good idea, Lee in frustration yells that it's a bit rich for the people who came up with the clearly ridiculous claim that he's been trying to prove to start chiding others for not having very good ideas.
- In series 12, Lee reacts to the claim that David makes regarding Gaslighting his wife by moving her bookmarks when she irritates him (as outlined above) by gleefully hoping that his marriage breaks down live on television, and expresses the view that the only reason it's a lie is because it's not unpleasant enough of David. Seconds after saying this, when it is suggested that David might not like Lee very much, he gets concerned and indignant.
- I Always Wanted to Say That: "Can you please let me say to Ronnie Corbett, were they four candles or handles for forks?"
- In Series 4, Lee gets to deliver the ancient joke about what happens when you fail to pay the person you hire to exorcise your home (it gets repossessed) and looks extremely pleased with himself.
- I Am One of Those, Too: Pity the lying panellist trying to sell a story when an expert in that field is on the other team. One of the best examples comes from Series 2, where Jason Manford's lie was that he applied to Mastermind with the specialist subject Columbo. David Mitchell proceeded to more or less give him an impromptu round of Mastermind on said show.
- I Am Spartacus: "I'm posh and a little bit gay!"
Rob: Oh no, no, no, I am Spartacus.
- Mentioned when Mel Giedroyc's statement is that she snogged one of the panelists, Josh Widdicombe very confidently says it's true.
- If I Had a Nickel: David Mitchell said this after Josh Widdicombe was forced to wear his possession (a very old pair of boxer shorts he claimed were still in regular use) and described it as "genuinely the lowest moment of my life".
- I Know You Know I Know: The general attitude seems to be that stories should be judged on their merits, which implies that the person whose turn it is really will be trying to convince the other team that their "fact" is true; however, half the time the story really is true, and since the objective is to fool the other team, presumably the person will be trying to tell it in a way that makes it sound unlikely and badly thought out; on the other hand, it might really just be unlikely and badly thought out... and so on. Trisha Goddard of all people nearly managed to get a ridiculous-sounding true This Is My past Lee's team by giggling her way through it and making no effort to make it sound plausible; they apparently considered her Beneath Suspicion.
- I Lied: Although there's lots of lying going on in the show, a better example would be Lee breaking one of David's pens after explicitly and repeatedly promising not to.
- Imaginary Friend: David Mitchell had to claim in one series 4 episode that he used to play board games against a bucket with a face painted on it, named "Stephen Tatlock".Holly Walsh: I don't think many people give their imaginary friends surnames.Lee Mack: He's one of the few...
David Mitchell: This wasn't an imaginary friend. This was a friend that just happened to be made out of a piece of toast.
- Miranda Hart claimed she had made an imaginary friend out of toast and carried him with her in her purse.
- Robert Webb claimed in series 5 that he had so many imaginary friends he formed an imaginary gang. It was true.
- Andy Hamilton's story in series 6 was that he used to write and hand in homework for an imaginary classmate.
- Implausible Deniability: At the end of Peter Serafinowicz's turn in series 4, he said he was telling the truth... as he pressed the button that brought the word "LIE" up onto the giant screens behind the panellists.Rob Brydon: It was a lie, and he lied even as he was telling us whether or not it was a lie.
- Inverted during a This Is My round where Bradley Walsh went into what was described as a "meltdown" when pressed for details and David's team ended up none the wiser about his story, and they decided it must be him because of the lack of evidence.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Probably lots of examples, but for starters...(during a This Is My round, Jo Brand's true story is that she dropped Liz in a pond when she was a baby)Lee: Who went into the water, to get Liz out?Jo: My brother Bill.Lee: Because he had the right beak shape?
- "Part of the problem is that the wheels on a post office bike are larger than normal — that's according to a spokesperson." Rob Brydon earned a Collective Groan for that one.
- Insane Troll Logic: In a series 10 episode, David has to claim that he can no longer drink orange squash because it sends him berserk. It takes him four attempts to even read the statement without corpsing, and the ensuing cross-examination isn't any more convincing. Both of Lee's teammates say it's a lie, but Lee completely arbitrarily decides to say it's true, and provides no better reason than he wants to overrule his teammates.
- The Internet Is for Porn: When considering whether or not Trisha Goddard is beating Jeremy Kyle 5-3 at Internet Scrabble, Frankie Boyle reasons that it's a lie because the only person who'd do something like that would have to have "seen all the porn first".
- Irony: The very fact that Kelvin Mackenzie was on a show called Would I Lie to You? at all.
- The fact that Angus Deayton was the original host, given that part of the reason he was sacked from Have I Got News for You because after the first round of tabloid revelations he assured his bosses there was nothing else to come... only for more to follow a few months later.
- Is That What They're Calling It Now?: During the "This Is My..." round, Daisy May Cooper claimed that the mystery guest was an ex-boyfriend she used to smuggle into the house when she was a teenager. She said they would lie on her bed and "read Goth poetry".David Mitchell: That's the first time I've ever heard it described that way!
- I Take Offence to That Last One
Mark Watson: We're trying to decide, basically, if the esteemed actor and voiceover artist Bernard Cribbins is a gambler, a liar and a borderline crook, essentially.David Mitchell: It is not illegal to lie to your wife!
- Bernard Cribbins has claimed that he sold his wife's car to cover his gambling debts, then pretended to her it was stolen:
Jack: Was it just the voice, or for the next three days did you not eat lettuce and loathe the English as well?Armando Iannucci: Some of us do eat lettuce.
- Jack Whitehall questions Jim Carter about a concussion that caused him to speak in a Scottish accent for three days.
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Since Rob Brydon took over as host, several members of the Gavin & Stacey cast have appeared on the show (Larry Lamb in series 3, Joanna Page and Ruth Jones in series 4).
- David Mitchell has had comedy partner Robert Webb and Peep Show co-stars Olivia Colman and Isy Suttie on the show (notably, Colman's second appearance was after her career had gone stratospheric and she was being talked about as an Oscar nominee for The Favourite), and Lee has had Miranda Hart and Katy Wix from Not Going Out.
- Of Lee's four Taskmaster co-stars, three (Mike Wozniak, Jamali Maddix and Sarah Kendall) appeared in the series of WILTY filmed shortly after it went out.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
Janet: [having stormed across the stage during the This Is My round to confront David's team] If you met Daniel Craig, could you speak?Davina McCall: No. She's right.
- Janet Street-Porter.
David Mitchell: Oh yes, let's be factually inaccurate, shall we? Because that never causes any problems. As you enter the ninth hour of your flight.
- When Sara Pascoe claimed to have accidentally boarded a flight to Costa Rica believing it to be in Spain rather than Central America, she described the place as being full of insects she was unfamiliar with. When she gave tarantulas as an example, David Mitchell pedantically pointed out that they're arachnids, not insects. When Sara got annoyed at this, David retorted that if she was a bit more careful with facts and made more of an effort to get them correct, she could have saved herself a lot of bother to begin with:
- Kansas City Shuffle
- Key Confusion: Once, during "Quick Fire Lies", Lee Mack had a 'Possession' that turned out to be a huge bunch of keys. He claimed he knew what all of these keys were for, except one. Cue David Mitchell asking what all of the other keys opened. Lee started a long story involving a series of increasingly unlikely things he had in his house that needed unlocking. It was a lie.
- Kubrick Stare: Rob, disturbingly often.
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: David Mitchell introduced one This Is My guest as a pet shop owner who sold him a hamster that died the very next day. Ken Livingstone asked him what the hamster died of, and Lee interrupts with "I think we all know, David".
David: On a big set like Downton Abbey, with so many high-profile stars like Maggie Smith—Jim: I don't do Maggie, I have to say...Rob: Do you serve her lunch?
- When Jim Carter claimed he served lunch to the cast of Downton Abbey in character:
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The stories the guests have for the 'This Is My' round can sometimes fall into this.Lee: I know Ina because she's my local newsagent, and she sold me a scratchcard which I won £2,000 on.Natalie Cassidy: Ina's worked on EastEnders for 21 years as a supporting artist, and she used to run the lampshade stall.Dom Joly: Ina's actually my aunt, who is Greek, and she is a voiceover artist in Greece, and she has been the voice of Helen Mirren in the last four of her films that have been translated into Greek.Angus Deayton (as audience laughter dies away): So, it's as simple as that. A winning newsagent according to Lee, a veteran EastEnders extra according to Natalie, or Helen Mirren's Greek voice dub according to Dom.
- Last-Second Word Swap: Common in The Reveal of whether a fact is the truth or a lie.Jack Dee: It was a — true.
- Last Second Word Addition: When Reece Shearsmith claimed that he'd worked at a funeral parlour that offered themed funerals, he was asked what the themes other than "medieval" were, and said "Valentine's Day...massacre". It's hard to tell, but it seems like he may have originally intended to just say "Valentine's Day", only to decide that a Valentine's Day themed funeral was too ridiculous to be believed, prompting him to add "massacre", although that didn't really succeed in making it any more plausible.
- Later Installment Weirdness: Later series have little to no true stories from the team captains, perhaps indicating that they have finally run out of them.
- Let Me Get This Straight...: Used whenever a panellist has finished a lengthy and implausible sounding story.
Lee: So just to absolutely establish — you're taking out the biscuit, you're discarding it because it's crumbled, if it's not crumbled you tend to throw it away but not always; then you'll slide them out like some sort of magician, on your hand like that, you'll get the jar, you'll insert them in unless it's a Leibniz... whatever the bloody hell they are... they go in, it comes off, there's one left, it's not damaged; give it to the dog that used to be brown but is now black — is what you're telling us is what's happening in your house. You're mental. 'Course it's true.
- A standout example from Lee, after Rob has claimed in the Quick Fire Lies round that he throws the first and last biscuit in every package away, which escalated into a description of a complex and utterly implausible biscuit-unpackaging routine.
David: You take the horse back. Guy B, who's the guy you met on the way to the stables, he's gone, no sign of him, so you say to Guy A, "Well, we hired this as part of your 'not actually bothering to go to the stables but getting a few hundred yards away' scheme, we hired this horse for 25 minutes at an extortionate rate, nevertheless, here it is..." And what did he say?Kevin: We went back to the place where we picked up the horseDavid: Oh, so not to the stable! But to the random point in the road, a couple of hundred yards away from the stables, thinking bewilderedly - "Where has the mysterious man gone?" I would have thought that logically, when you were returning it, having thought that it had come from the stable, that you'd been lucky not to have to walk to the stable before hiring it, you might nevertheless have thought "Well, the stable's where it's got to go back to", rather than "Well, sod 'em! This is where we picked it up from! I'm not gonna take it to the stable. I'm gonna stand here, 300 yards away from the stable, going COME OVER HERE! COME AND GET YOUR OWN HORSE!" At which point locals start waving-going, "NO! YOU KEEP!"
- David is likewise good at these, though his best examples tend to be the stories that turned out to be true, such as Kevin Bridges accidentally buying a horse that he thought he was renting:
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: What David Mitchell speculated was the likely response to Neil Morrissey (the voice of children's TV character Bob the Builder) learning that one of the builders who was working on an extension on his house was also called Bob: "A quick chuckle [followed by]... let us never speak of this."
- Let's See YOU Do Better!: After having to demonstrate his claim of riding a child's bike to a petrol station after his car ran out by riding the bike around the studio, Lee finally snaps and demands that Rob have a go as well while he gets to sit in Rob's chair "doing the easy bit". Although it backfires a little bit, since Rob actually does manage to complete the circuit much more effectively than Lee did.
- Like an Old Married Couple: When Lee and John Barrowman disagreed over the claim that Pat St. Clements had once abseiled down Mount Rushmore, their disagreement ended up going through as many layers of passive-aggressive sniping and yelling as a married couple having a heated disagreement over the correct directions to a dinner party.Lee: I doubt it very much, but John's always right, so...
- Line-of-Sight Name:
- During Lee's claim that the initials of his ex-girlfriends spell out "BERMUDA", David is of course asking him for a complete list of names. After an increasingly ridiculous list, for the last one he gives up completely, glances at his team-mate Alex Jones and says "...Alex." The name beginning with "D" he gives is "Dave. Experimental year. [pointing at David Mitchell] If you've forgotten it, I'll never forgive you!"
- When Lee had to lie his way through a claim that he used binoculars in place of glasses for a holiday, he inexplicably invented the novel he supposedly read with them: The Kipper. Who wrote this book? Brian Fish.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The show doesn't have any topical theme and the panellists explaining/making up their stories provides the comedy, so is more welcoming to guests from other fields unlike shows such as Mock the Week or QI. As such, while the show does have a small stable of guests who return frequently (most notably Bob Mortimer, who has appeared once a series since Series 6, but other frequent guests include but aren't limited to Richard Osman, Rhod Gilbert, Claudia Winkleman, Gabby Logan, Greg Davies and Alex Jones), there have been a high percentage of one-off guests from a wide variety of backgrounds over the years.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Rob Brydon. When he was a panellist, one of his false facts was that he had worked on a radio station and played the DJ and the newsreader, using a different accent for each one.Gabby Logan: Did you ever have banter between yourselves?
- Mathematician's Answer: Often utilized by contestants. For example:[David has claimed to been at a football match and has been asked what colour strips the teams were wearing]
David: Let's say one team was wearing white, and the other team... wasn't.
- Medium Awareness: Several jokes about the host's use of an autocue, such as the joke Angus Deayton read out after David Mitchell's claim that he used to proofread dictionaries for a living:Angus: Proofreading, of course, is vital to any piece of writing. Even the scripts on this show are subject to rigorous scrutinae.
- Averted in that it is the only panel game regularly repeated on Dave that has not made endless jokes about that fact.
- Mirthless Laughter: David erupts into peals of this, after Lee's ludicrous story about how he remembered the names of the Teletubbies turned out to be true (with his team guiding him into guessing lie). On top of this, his team hadn't had a correct answer all night and he was siding with Adil Lee, who on previous occasions had guessed the correct answer only for David to go the other way, so David announced that if it turned out the answer was true he would merely "laugh at tragedy". Sure enough:David: A-HA-HA-HA! A-HA-HA-HA! I am SO MERRY!
- Money, Dear Boy:
- Invoked for laughs; Professor Brian Cox jokingly claimed that the only reason he was on the show was to pay for the damage he'd claimed to have done to the Large Hadron Collider.
- Similarly, Richard E. Grant cracked a few jokes of this nature when the subject of his (possible) Shakespearean-themed techno single came up.Lee Mack: How did Ken convince you it was a good idea?
Richard E. Grant: He asked me.
Lee Mack: Is that all it takes for you, Richard?
Richard E. Grant: Why do you think I'm here?
- Murder Is the Best Solution: During a "Ring of Truth" round where David's team had to work out whether or not Jodie Marsh had genuinely said "People say I'm thick, but what they don't know is that I won nearly £6 on a Weakest Link quiz machine", Frankie Boyle suggested, amongst other things, that if Jodie Marsh had to answer a question on such a machine to save his life he would rather she fell drunkenly on the machine, hit the buttons with her face and choose the answer that way. David then had to make a choice:David: [to Duncan Bannatyne] So you think it's true... [to Frankie] ... you don't care, you just want to murder her.
- Murderous Thighs: Patrick McGuinness recounted a false story about being held in a leg-grip by Andy McNabb after wrestling him for a bet. He then demonstrated the move on set with John Barrowman.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
Lee: That's a bloody solicitors'!
- When Kevin Bridges claimed a stable had sold him a horse when he thought it was renting it, David Mitchell joked "We've been trying to get rid of Psycho for years."
- Inverted when Jack Whitehall was asked to name five wrestlers after he claimed that he was into Professional Wrestling. One of the names he gave was "Shelton Benjamin", which Lee refused to believe was a wrestler's name.
David: Please don't tell me that you've accidentally been represented in law by a wrestler!
- Nerds Are Virgins[In the Quick Fire Lies round, David Mitchell has claimed that as a child, he used to pretend his calculator was a Star Trek communicator]Rob Brydon: Did you do this, David? [makes a whistling noise, attempting to imitate the sound said communicators made]David Mitchell: No, it's more a sort of — [makes a series of clicking noises]Rob: It would open — [mimics opening a Star Trek communicator] — and he'd press the button, "Kirk to enterprise", and it would go — [makes the whistling noise again]David: Oh yes, that's the secondary noise.Lee Mack: Can I ask a question, did you two ever have girlfriends?Rob: No, I didn't, in all honesty, as a child. Did you.David: Nope.Rob: It was a great noise, wasn't it? [makes the whistling noise again]
- Nice Hat: Hats are occasionally a "possession" claim in the Quick Fire Lies round. In Series 3, Lee asked David to wear Fern Britton's possession (a tea cozy which resembled the Pope's mitre) on his head, apropos of nothing but the Rule of Funny.
- The Nicknamer: Of a sort; all of Bob Mortimer's childhood friends seem to have had nicknames that make it seem like Bob used to live in an issue of The Beano. This doesn't help the other team determine whether his story is true or not.
- The '90s: Julian Clary claimed that he has a life-size statue of himself astride a unicorn; it was allegedly a prop on his New Year's Eve show in 1992 that he kept for himself.David: Why would a new Year's Eve show need a unicorn statue?Julian: Well, it was the nineties.
- The Nondescript: In the first episode of series 7, David claims truthfully that this is his ambition:David: One of the codes by which I live my life is that my appearance should be in no way noteworthy, but then again, not so unnoteworthy as to be in itself noteworthy. note
- Nonindicative Name: The first round is called Home Truths despite the fact that not all of the statements the panellists read out in it are true. Similarly, not everything in the Quick Fire Lies round is a lie; in fact, in the first episode of Series 2, all of the statements in Quick Fire Lies were true.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: If the other team are clearly not believing a panelist's lie, the liar may throw this in as a desperate attempt.
- Bob Mortimer in particular is a predominant user of this. More often than not, his ridiculous statements end up being true.
- Now You Tell Me: If a story has descended into chaos and/or gotten David particularly riled, Lee will sometimes chime in with a humorously belated "No, wait, he/I read that wrong, it's actually [completely different statement]." In one case, it actually was: Jason Manford claims that he applied to Mastermind with the specialist subject Columbo, and after this was completely debunked by David (apparently a fan of Columbo), Lee checked the card and pointed out that he was supposed to say Columbia.
Rob Brydon: David, you know when you said 'swan' at the beginning.
- David put Fern Britton's tea cosy on his head at Lee's request, then hurriedly took it off when Ken Livingstone suggested that if, as she claimed to, take it everywhere with her it should be quite dirty.
- In one episode, David O'Doherty produced a pair of tiny leg-warmers he claimed to have made for birds. The opposing team react with naked astonishment when he claims to have made them for swans, given their tiny size and the fact that swans would react aggressively if he even went near them, much less tried to force them to wear leg-warmers. One lengthy and not-very-convincing defence of his claim later, Rob chimed in with:
David O'Doherty: Yeah?
Rob Brydon: Did you mean 'sparrow'?
- Obfuscating Insanity: The Horse Story from series 4, episode 3 -
- Obfuscating Stupidity: One tactic that can be employed to try and get the opposing team to believe a true statement is false.Jack Dee (reading card): "I developed a word-association system to remember peoples' names, but gave it up when it backfired on me."David Mitchell: What was the word-association system?Jack: Erm... that I developed?
- Lee Mack in particular plays this up, often as much to annoy David as to conceal whether he's telling the truth or a lie.
- Odd Couple: David Mitchell and Lee Mack. Many of the autocue jokes play up their ostensible stance on the opposite ends of the class spectrum.Rob Brydon: [introducing the This Is My round]: Who knows who they might be tonight? The cook from David's country house, or perhaps Lee's parole officer?
- Several of the teamings, such as Louie Spence and Bill Turnbull in series 5 or Charles Dance and Gok Wan in series 7.
- When you put Tyrone "Big Narstie" Lindo and David Mitchell next to each other on the same team, this is the only possible result.
- Odd Name Out: Reginald D. Hunter's (alleged) brothers and sisters: Brenda, Kathy, Oliver, and Scrumptious.
- The names of Eamonn Holmes' seven cats (see Only Sane Man, below).
- Off the Rails:
- Not as much as some other panel shows, but can still occur. A discussion on Claudia Winkleman's claim that she once put nail polish remover in her goldfish tank to give the fish more energy arrived at the statement "As you'd know if you were an amputee, you can still get an itch in the bit of you that's been cut off!"
- On some occasions Lee has been given a lie so ridiculous he deliberately derails it rather than try to defend such an embarassing statement as true, such as when he had to claim he had used a set of children's cutlery at every meal for a special diet.
- Oh, Crap!: When a panellist is confronted with a lie that is completely indefensible, or when a panellist on the other team spots the hole in his/her story which reveals it to be false. Wise panellists will try not to let it show. A player trying to run a bluff may fake a facial reaction. This can also be the reaction if the statement on the card is a particularly embarrassing truth.
- Old ShameMartin Clunes: (about Richard E. Grant's claim that he produced a dance version of a Shakespearean soliloquy) There's no conviction in what he's saying!Lee Mack: There was no conviction in the Spice Girls movie, either, but he did that!
Rob Brydon: Bernard [Cribbins] and his wife have an agreement. He doesn't steal her cars and she doesn't mention Carry On Columbus.
- And also:
- Once per Episode: In his introductions to the "This Is My" round, Angus Deayton would always refer to the title's incompleteness.
- Only Barely Renewed: The second and third series had very poor ratings; the show likely only got renewed because panel games are generally very cheap to produce. Thankfully, the fourth series did considerably better.
- Only Sane Man: Typically the host, who will often intervene if things get a bit too silly. If the two guests on a team are beginning to believe something obviously absurd, their team captain may take on this role.Lee (after both his teammates have voted "True" on Eamonn Holmes' claim that he has seven cats called Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Pickle): Are you two mental? Are you actually mental people? He says he's got a green cat! What bit of that is true?!
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Mark Watson's fake Welsh accent noticeably faltered when he was claiming that he wrote a will after losing a game of Connect 4 when he was six. The story was true, though.
- Cricket commentator Henry Blofield's, who is known for his extremely posh voice, story that when he is out and about, and doesn't want to be disturbed, he puts on a "common" accent ran into trouble as soon as he was asked to demonstrate said accent. Firstly, he started off with a Cockney burr that made Dick Van Dyck's sound good, then it started to stray around all four corners of the UK, before it eventually landed somewhere in the West Country. Unsurprisingly, Lee's team didn't believe him.
- Oop North: Lee, as noted above. His justification for throwing a sausage roll off Blackpool Tower was that he was Northern ("as if a Northerner would throw away anything wrapped in pastry!"), and Rob Brydon reasoned his claim that he moved to Southport (see the example in Pull The Thread, below) had to be untrue because he's "never been out of the North".
- Out-of-Character Moment: False statements are sometimes written in mind that they are the sort of thing the panellist would never remotely think of doing. David Mitchell introduced one 'This Is My' guest as the man who freed him from a roller-coaster ride at Alton Towers when the car got stuck, and Lee Mack and Frankie Boyle proceeded to Lampshade it for all they were worth.Frankie: I'm honestly struggling with the idea that you went for a day out to Alton Towers. Were you presenting a documentary for BBC4 about the horrors of modern life?
- Out of Focus: Several guests never get to make any claims that actually get aired. This has happened more often in later series, as the edit now seems to be more concerned with the funniest material rather than the amount of airtime between panellists being balanced.
- This was particularly common around Series 8 & 9, where it happened in more than half the episodes; however, one guest who had all of their turns cut out subsequently complained on the grounds that the recording was effectively a waste of their time, and in later series the edit seemed to try and ensure that everyone got at least one claim. The series recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic in particular made sure that every guest got something to do at some point, due to the unusually high-risk nature of making the show at all.
- Out of Order: The episodes being shown in a different order to recording was particularly noticeable in Series 3, when the first taped episode was the last to be shown, meaning that Rob Brydon's manner of hosting seemed noticeably different (he was more settled in the later tapings).
- The main reason for this is to spread the results evenly: in series 2, David won every show in the first half of the series and only one in the second half in recording order, so the broadcast order was altered so the victories alternated more.
- Out with a Bang: Discussed[Jack Whitehall has claimed his dad makes the family stand for the Queen's speech at Christmas because he's "quite an old dad"]Christine Bleakley: How old is he, Jack?Jack: He's 69 today, actually.Lee: How old are you?Jack: Twenty.Frankie Boyle: So basically... if you're 20 and your dad's 69, at the point that he conceived you, he must have thought "There is a significant risk that this will kill me."
- Pantomime Animal:
- Hugh Dennis claimed that he and the "This Is My" guest had been the two halves of one of these.
- Wildlife presenter Kate Humble claimed that she and the "This Is My" guest had filmed a herd of giraffes from close quarters by posing as a pantomime giraffe.
- Towards the end of Kevin Bridges' story about accidentally buying a horse, he claimed the guy he'd bought the horse from turned out to be a "counterfeit horse guy", prompting David to ask if a "counterfeit horse" was "two guys in a costume".
- Persona Non Grata: Getting banned or thrown out of somewhere has formed the basis of a few statements, both truths and lies.
- The Pete Best: Angus Deayton once he was replaced by Rob Brydon. This may border on Unperson, as he has not been referred to and the BBC have not repeated any of the Deayton episodes (and even Dave only started airing them recently).
- Pinocchio Nose: Inevitably, viewers have picked up on the "tells" of the team captains and the more frequent guests. Lee's "tell" seems to be that he gets quite shouty and defensive when he's lying, but is calmer when telling the truth.
- Plot-Sensitive Button: The buttons the panellists press to reveal whether a story is true or a lie appear to know which graphic to bring up when pressed. This is because they're actually purely for show and not connected to anything.
- The Points Mean Nothing: It is a comedy show and the editing frequently results in the scores making no sensenote . However, this trope does not apply as much as other panel games which view the scores as completely irrelevant, as there is more focus on the "game" part as both teams are actively attempting to trick each other. David, Lee and some of the guests can take winning very seriously.
- When asked by Greg Davies in a series 5 episode, David stated he did feel a sense of competition about the show.
- Potty Emergency: In Series 5, Sarah Millican claimed that, when stuck in a traffic jam for two and a half hours with a full bladder, she relieved herself on the passenger seat (after first moving over from the driver's seat). It was true.
- Precision F-Strike: David Mitchell is fond of these.[In the Ring of Truth round, David has been told that Bono's trilby which he paid $1,200 to have eflown first class was "upgraded" from first class to the cockpit and is insisting that this is not an upgrade]David: You see, never buy a first class ticket, you might end up getting "upgraded" and have to fly the fucking plane!
- Since the sixth series the show has aired before the 9 PM watershed, meaning that this is now totally averted.
- Pregnant Badass: One of the claims raised in the eleventh season was that Kimberly Wyatt's ability to do the splits proved essential in helping her fix a car breakdown. She offered to do the splits to demonstrate to the other team that she could do them and demonstrated that she could. This isn't by itself unusual either for the show (which often asks guests to demonstrate proof of unusual or incredible skills they might possess) or for Kimberly herself (a trained dancer and choreographer), but what made it unusual — and impressive — in this case was that Kimberly was quite heavily pregnant at the time.
- Prison Rape: Part of David Mitchell's five-point plan for surviving in prison was to find someone to protect him, who also wouldn't "bum him".
- Private Detective: Apparently one of David's dream jobs, as discussed when he dons his "special" travel dressing gown.Chris Addison: Would you mind smoking a pipe and solving a crime?David: Oh, I'd LOVE that!(cue enthusiastic laugh from the audience)
- He had previously (although in terms of recording, it was later) claimed that as a child, he had set up a detective agency with one "This Is My" guest.
- Product Displacement: When Tracy-Ann Oberman claimed she'd never drunk a can of fizzy drink in her life, Rob produced several cans for her to try. They were clearly cans of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Pepsi, but with all the logos and text completely covered with a sparkly wraparound the same colour as the rest of the can.
- Product Placement: Parodied:Bill Oddie: It was a very small island - I'll name-drop it now - in the Seychelles - woo, bit of class...David: Do we all get free holidays in the Seychelles now?Bill: I will!David [turning to camera]: I also think the Seychelles sound nice!Rob: I've always adored the island of Mauritius.Lee: If there's anyone watching from Alton Towers...
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Rob Brydon appeared as a panellist in Series 2 before replacing Angus Deayton as host the next series.
- Pull the Thread: The usual tactic employed to destroy a panellist's story.[during a This Is My round, Lee is attempting to persuade the other team that the Mystery Guest taught him to swim in Southport when he was 30]Rob Brydon: What made you think, at the age of 30, "I really ought to learn to swim"?Lee Mack: I moved to Brighton, and I had a flat that overlooked the sea—Krishnan Guru-Murthy: Hold on, so you moved to Brighton and travelled to Southport to have your swimming lessons?[beat, during which the audience laughs and Lee realizes he is completely sunk]Rob: (delighted) Thank you, sir!Lee: Erm, I moved to Brighton, looked at the sea, and thought "Oh my God, I'm terrified of the water, I'm moving back to Southport"—
- David's team attempted this on Kevin Bridges when he claimed to have accidentally bought a horse, only for it to cause a descent into complete insanity, as Bridges' story grew progressively more complicated and David's team grew progressively more incredulous, then it turned out to be true.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The announcer at the beginning of Series 1-3 was sometimes prone to this.
Rob: (to Adil) Can I just ask you, did you like the look of the university, did it appeal to you-Lee: THERE'S! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! UNIVERSITY!!!
- Lee, after the panel keeps asking Adil Ray about a university open day in Bradford that he (within his story) made up, eventually takes it upon himself to clear up the story as best he can, stressing as he does so that there was no open day and it was just an excuse Adil made up to his dad so he could go to a club instead. Once he finishes, Rob then asks:
- Pungeon Master: Lee Mack, a lot.
- The Quiet One: As noted under Out of Focus, occasionally a guest will fail to make any claims that make the final edit. As the team captains tend to dominate the questioning, this meant that the affected guest was turned into this via Manipulative Editing. The show has in recent series attempted to avert this after a few guests afflicted by this complained by ensuring that every guest contestant gets at least one claim.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: Of a sort; the show gets a lot of mileage out of any truths or lies that portray David Mitchell as some kind of antiquated British fop.
- Rage Against the Author: This concept was brought up when Frankie Boyle claimed that as a child, he was scared that his whole life was a book being read by a bear, and that one day the bear would close the book, killing him:Jack Whitehall: Did you have any relationship with him? Did you converse with him, or was it just reading?David Mitchell: You can't converse with him! He's in the bear's world! He's totally junior to the bear; you can't jump out of the book that is your life and talk to the person reading it, can you?Jack: You can't say "why is this happening, bear?"?David: No! Otherwise the bear's just gonna go "and then "why is this happening, bear?" said Frankie Boyle for some reason". The little bears say "I don't like this part of the story". "Yeah, I'll stop reading it shall I? "No no no!" screamed Frankie Boyle, "don't stop reading this story, or it is the end of my life!" "No, this is definitely not suitable for little bears." [mimes closing a book]
- Rant-Inducing Slight: David Mitchell, usually at least once an episode, if not more.
- Lee has raged several times against the writers when he got particularly difficult lies to tell.
- A Rare Sentence: Pretty much the premise of the show, though having this as a verbatim reaction is somewhat rarer.
Shaun: What were your stools like?
- When Marcus Brigstocke asked to see Terry Christian's celebrity hair collection.Marcus Brigstocke: I'd quite like to see some of MC Hammer's little curlies in a Regal packet.Lee Mack: That phrase has never been said in the history of mankind.
- In one episode, David Mitchell asked Kate Humble "Where do you go in London to distribute your clippings?". When Lee Mack called him on this, he admitted it was not something he had ever asked before.
- And Kevin Bridges once accidentally bought a horse - something the other panelists felt compelled to clarify at first.Rob: Sorry? You bought a what? (A horse) Sorry, I missed the "s"!
- Emma Bunton once claimed that when she first adopted the identity of Baby Spice, she mostly ate only baby food. It was true, by the way. This prompted this question from Shaun Williamson and response from David Mitchell (who were on the same team):
David: I don't think that question's ever been asked before.
- When Marcus Brigstocke asked to see Terry Christian's celebrity hair collection.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Lampshaded by David Mitchell in a Series 2 outtake where Lee refuses to believe one of the true facts. "You've got to understand, the very truths they pick are the unlikely ones!"
- In a series 2 episode, Graeme Garden's false claim is that he has five pigs, named after his favourite newsreaders. Five years later in series 7, Kirsty Young makes the same claim - except with chickens, but apart from one word change the two statements are identical, word-for-word, and this time it's true.
- Released to Elsewhere: Inverted — one of Lee Mack's facts was that his parents gave his dog away to relatives in Scunthorpe and told him it had died.
- Retired Panel Show Element: The two rounds pertaining to "celebrity facts" rather than stories from the panellists themselves have both been phased out; "Telly Tales" was removed because it was virtually identical to "Ring of Truth", which was itself removed a few series laternote to focus more on the three rounds involving the panellists' stories.
- Rob getting turns in the Quickfire Lies round appears to have been dropped in series 8, having been steadily appearing less frequently since their introduction in series 4.
- The "Individual Liar of the Week" was dropped in Series 10.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: Sometimes the teams follow a bizarre line of logic (or simply guess) on a panellist's story and somehow manage to get the right answer. May border on Insane Troll Logic, particularly if it is the This Is My round and all three stories sound implausible.
- One example was when David Mitchell claimed to have fainted while watching Kill Bill. Lee's team were convinced that David would faint if he watched it, but said it was a lie because they thought he'd never watch a film like Kill Bill at all. It was a lie, but David angrily explained afterwards that he has seen Kill Bill but had somehow managed to stay conscious throughout.
- In another example, Eammon Holmes describes a lie involving a friend of his having a cat, and when pressed on exactly what colour the cat was he describes it as "a sort of olive green", presumably meaning a patchy dark olive. Lee latched on to the 'green' part of the sentence and immediately dismissed the entire story due to the notion of having a green cat. The statement was a lie, but cats actually have been known to be olive in colour.
- Another case had David saying that he used to write horoscopes for a women's' magazine for six months. When Lee asks what the magazine was, David replies with "Top Santé". Lee and his teammates immediately express confusion as they've never heard of it, even though Fern Britton and Rob confirm its existence. Later on, after Lee's team correctly guesses that it's a lie, David stops the show briefly to invoke this trope.David: May I just say, in my defense - obviously, I know nothing about horoscopes. But the thing that you most disbelieve - there's definitely a magazine, isn't there? Called "Top Santé"?Rob: Yes. Yes. Yes, there is.Fern: Yes.David: That's why I was sitting there - "name a women's magazine" - I couldn't think of a thing! One popped in my head, and frankly, I want a medal!
- Also, as Fern points out (being the only woman on the show that night), Lee's team not knowing what "Top Santé" is wouldn't necessarily be a death knell to David's argument since it's not like the magazine would be aimed toward their demographic anyway.
- Rule of Three: Three panellists on each team and three parties involved, now that the host (Rob Brydon) is allowed to take a more active role. Endless comedy potential.
- Rules Spiel: A rare Panel Show example, but the host explains the rules almost verbatim each week.
- Introducing Home Truths: "Our panellists each read out a statement from the card in front of them. To make things harder, they've never seen the card before, so they've got no idea what they'll be faced with. It's up to the opposing team to sort the truth from the lies."
- Introducing the This Is My round: "We bring on a mystery guest who has a close connection to one of our panellists. This week, each of David's/Lee's team will claim it's them that has the genuine connection to the guest, and it's up to Lee's/David's team to spot who's telling the truth."
- Running Gag:
Lee [after David's team have ruled out his story about the guest being a member of his scout group with whom he went camping and awoke to discover their tent had been stolen, and are deliberating between the two other stories]: Am I not getting a look in?
- A case can be made for most of the panellists saying "It is in fact..." (or some variation) before revealing whether a statement is true or a lie, even if the other team have already worked it out.
- Lee acting like a lawyer to buy his teammates time if he believes their story is getting out of hand or if the other team's questioning gets aggressive ("My client would like a minute.").
- Lee's ridiculous stories in the "This Is My" round, a fact which he has begun to lampshade frequently:
David: No. Although obviously, if it turns out you're true, then... [Gives him a nonchalant thumbs up] super.
David: This is Mark, and he saved me from choking in Argos—[Everybody laughs]Lee: David, you've never even heard of Argos!David — He saved me from choking in Argos when I swallowed one of their little pens.[More laughter]David: I would like to know precisely what is implausible about that?
- One could argue that Lee being given ridiculous stories in general has become a running gag.
- In later series this has developed into a specific type of ridiculous story where he has to claim he can instantly perform some kind of talent (memorable examples include his ability to tell the circumference of somebody's head, being able to smell if there is a dead fly in the room and having perfect pitch).
- A panellist (or the entire team) declaring that a particularly embarrassing claim is true before the opposing player has a chance to explain him or herself.
- The playing up of David Mitchell's poshness and Lee Mack's commonness.
- If an unlikely story is met with disbelief, a panellist may declare "What part of that doesn't sound true?" or some variation.
David: So Lee Mack was in a Waitrose, having a pheasant wrap...
- Rob Brydon referring to Lee as a "rejected Chuckle Brother".
- Lee acting as though all the stories given in an episode are true (even those that have been shown to be lies) so he can do crossover jokes where something from one story appears in another, basically turning it into The 'Verse. Especially when he does it with all three stories in the "This is My" round.
Josh Widdicombe: John looks gutted that you've forgotten.Lee: Of course he's gutted, he was almost in The Beatles!
- For one "This is My..." round, the person in question, John, is someone who either brings Rachel Riley a cake every day on Countdown, was visited mistakenly by Lee for two hours in the hospital due to an identity mix-up, or is a musician that joined Ricky Tomlinson's band instead of the Beatles. At one point, Rachel is asked to describe some of his past cakes in detail, which she does with some uncertainty.
- If one of his teammates starts contradicting himself in his story, Lee will act as though he's the guest's solicitor in court and will pretend to desperately try and cover over the contradiction.
- Whenever Rhod Gilbert shows up, he and David Mitchell will inevitably get into a lengthy argument about some trivial misunderstanding that Rhod has seemingly entered into, with David frustratedly trying to correct Rhod and Rhod stubbornly refusing to accept a word that David says.
- Similarly, Bob Mortimer has appeared on the show with an utterly outlandish story that turns out to be true so many times as to qualify, to the point that David Mitchell has begun to lampshade it by recalling some of the previous stories.
- Whenever a story crops up which involves a panellist getting into an embarrassing scrape with a third party, another panellist will often end up jokingly yelling "And he/she's here tonight!" as if the third party's waiting backstage to surprise the panellist.
- Rob makes frequent references to his BAFTA nomination, as if it's his most major claim to fame. Also the subject of a mock rivalry between him and David (who actually beat Rob to win the award).
- Not exactly a gag, but David has a tendency to use being at a stag party as a bit of a stock excuse for why he was doing something that would seem out of character for him (such as going to a bowling alley or a theme park).
- References to pheasants seem to be used as a general signifier for "overwhelming poshness". Naturally, David tends to be on the receiving end of them, although he got his own back in the Children In Need Special when Kitty, the young girl on Lee's team, claimed to have accidentally spilled coffee on him in a Waitrose cafe (Waitrose being a rather high-end supermarket/cafe chain, not the sort of place a supposedly salt-of-the-earth working class Northerner like Lee would be seen in):
Lee: For the last sic months, I've been secretly liasing with David's wife behind his back.
- The fact that Rob does a lot of adverts is often used as a way of poking at him, particularly from Lee. This particularly tends to crop up if brand names are mentioned; as part of BBC broadcasting guidelines, which prohibit Product Placement, Rob often mentions other competing brands of the same type which can also be purchased, which Lee then uses to imply that Rob either has or is seeking a promotional contract with these brands.
- There's also Lee tearing into David's marriage whenever he gets the opportunity. This culminated in the most recent season with Lee reading out a statement that sounded like he was having an affair with David's wife.
- Sarcastic Confession / Self-Proclaimed Liar: David Baddiel, in one episode of Series 2, said towards the end of his turn (a claim that he wore a neck brace when there was nothing wrong with him just to get an upgrade on a flight) that he was telling a lie. The other team hesitated, trying to decide what level of bluff he was running, before voting "Lie"...which of course it was.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: David Mitchell, recounting a story of talking his way out of a fight with a paperboy:David: He dropped the bag. (pause) Thud.
- Schmuck Bait: David Mitchell's "fact" in the final episode of Series 2 was that as a child, he dressed himself as an 18th-century nobleman. Within minutes, Lee's team was sold on it being absolutely true, but Lee wondered if it was "too obvious" as something David would do...before deciding to say it was true. Subverted, when it did turn out to be true.
- Schrödinger's Butterfly: Frankie Boyle had to defend the claim that when he was a child he was afraid his life was a book being read by a bear, and that one day the bear would close the book and his life would end. Rob's followup autocue joke made reference to the famous philosophical question.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Played for Laughs when Lee faked outrage and walked off set after John Barrowman said he was gay.
- Seamless Spontaneous Lie: Barry Cryer was able to come up with a long story about his (alleged) career as a romance novelist under a female pseudonym, going as far as to describe the plots and titles of individual books on the fly without hesitating. Although the opposing team did catch him, it led to a double bluff when an equally silly and seamlessly told story later leads them to the wrong conclusion. He was named the week's best liar for it.
- Stephen Mangan, claiming that he had nicknames for his big toes, invented a backstory about it being an in-joke with a religious girlfriend that was so convincing that all three members of the opposing team voted it true on the basis that he couldn't possibly have made it up on the spot.
- Self-Deprecation: Common in the autocue jokes.Angus Deayton: And now, for the round you've all been waiting for...the last one.
- Robert Webb claimed he had been voted the 88th Sexiest Man in the World by the readers of Blind and Wretched magazine.
- Kevin Bridges attributes the miscommunication in the infamous horse story thusly:Kevin: There was a Bulgarian guy, trying to speak English, and two Scottish guys, trying to speak English.
- Serious Business: Joanna Page, on why she recited her times tables every night before bed: "Before I die, I want to learn my times tables!"
- The team captains and some of the guests can take guessing correctly on stories very seriously, although June Brown once defied the trope when Lee was asking what she thought and replied "I don't see why it's so important!"
- Sesquipedalian LoquaciousnessMichael Aspel: It has the whiff of verisimilitude.Angus Deayton: I think he's saying it's true.
Professor Brian Cox: They're called superconducting cables because, um, if you cool them down to about 1.9 Kelvin — it's 1.9 degrees above absolute zero—Stephen Mangan: That's my favorite temperature...Brian: —they become superconductors and they have no electrical resistance and carry currents of up to 13,000 amps in wires with a very small cross section...David Mitchell: So, in layman's terms—Stephen: A wire, a wire.David: —is it a wire? Did you get yoghurt on a wire?Brian: It's a niobium tungsten alloy...David: I'm not saying it's not a brilliant wire!
- Lampshaded thus during the same story from Geeky Turn On, above:
- Sexbot: When Ronni Ancona claimed that the This Is My guest had built a household robot which speaks with her voice.Ronni (giving sample phrases she was asked to record): "My task is complete." "What do you want me to do now?"David Mitchell: "No, Master, sexual acts are forbidden!"
- Shaped Like Itself: Lee interrogating Jamelia about a party she once went to:Lee: What was the occasion?Jamelia: I don't know. It was a party. What do you have parties for?Lee: You can have parties for all sorts of reasons.Jamelia: Well, it was one of those reasons.Lee: Oh, all right, then.
- In one episode Mel Giedroyc is introduced as "the woman who is to Sue Perkins what Sue Perkins is to Mel Giedroyc".
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Both team captains like to play this for laughs, acting as though several seasons of the show has completely destroyed their ability to tell truth from fantasy. As depicted in this exchange after listening to David O'Doherty's increasingly absurd claim about making leg-warmers for swans.Susan Calman: I think it's true, because—
David Mitchell: DON'T SAY THAT! Don't say -- 'cause that's the sort of -- that's what happens to your mind in this game! [Looking increasingly haunted] You say — and you start thinking "oh yeah, the fact that he said 'swan' and it seems IMPOSSIBLE is exactly what's so plausible about it!"
- Shout-Out: In his appearance, Rhys Thomas spends the episode dressed as the Fifth Doctor. Absolutely no one notices or calls attention to it.
- Show, Don't Tell: Wherever possible, a panellist will be asked for a demonstration of their claim, including Michael Aspel's shadow-boxing, Lee's juggling skills and Bob Mortimer's ability to rip an apple in two with his bare hands.
[Fern Britton has claimed that the special guest is her morris dancing partner]Lee: Are you good at morris dancing? [beat] You know where this is going, right?Fern: ...I would feel silly.Lee: Well, you're on the right show...
- The panellists have grown quite clever about it as well:
- David Mitchell is often inclined to lampshade when Rob's urge for a demonstration seems rather unnecessary, particularly when the demonstration won't help establish whether the story is true or false, whether it just seems like a gratuitous attempt to enable The Cast Showoff, or when it involves David himself getting out of his chair.David: [Forced to demonstrate his tennis serve in support of a claim] I have to say, I think this is totally pointless.
Lee: [Laughing] I like a man who joins in with the fun.
David: [To audience] I'm so sorry, this is all just a waste of your time.
- Shrine to Self: David Mitchell claimed in Series 5 that he keeps his BAFTA(s) on a bookcase in his "Me room."
- Skewed Priorities: When Dave Spikey's lie was that he bunked off school to go to London with a boy called Dick Whittington, he proceeded to add several details to the story, including that the boy in question owned a chip shop. Harry Enfield enquired into the name of the chip shop, prompting this from Lee:Lee: I can't believe that a man is sitting here saying that he bunked off school to go to London with his mate called Dick Whittington who owned a chip shop to see the Beatles, and your question is "What was the chip shop called?".
- "At the moment of shoulder pain — the moment when your shoulder has been bruised, possibly shattered, by the coconut — you think, 'I must keep that for anecdotal reasons'?"
- In another episode, Lee is claiming that the "This Is My" guest is a milkman who once accidentally left 88 pints of milk on his doorstep. To his disbelief, David's team take issue with the fact that it was full-fat milk.
- Slasher Smile: David, of all people, pulls one in season 10- to match a cake Lee claimed to have made for him. Rob calls for a splitscreen comparison, and we get a lovely side by side of arguably equally unnerving grins.David: It's got all of my thousands of teeth!
- Slobs vs. Snobs: Much of the banter between Lee and David riffs on their respective comic personas as a scruffy Oop North working class loutish type and a fastidious southern upper-middle-class intellectual. In at least one episode Lee, annoyed after feeling condescended to by Brian Cox, jokingly claims that the inverse is actually true off-screen and that he's the milquetoast intellectual and David is the bluff-talking northerner.
- If there is a guest panellist who falls into one of these two personas, then they will often be put on the team whose captain has the opposing persona to try and drive this further; Miles Jupp usually appears on Lee's team, and has gotten into more than one argument with his captain that falls into this trope.
- Smarter Than You Look: Though Lee is ostensibly David's Book Dumb counterpart, he has a very sharp and agile mind.
- The Smurfette Principle: Averted by the twelfth series, which features at least two female panellists on every show.
- Snowball Lie: If the opposing team is doing its work properly, this inevitably results (see Pull the Thread, above).
- Happened in Real Life to Charlie Brooker, who told his girlfriend he was deaf in one ear ... and then had to maintain the act for six years. Lee and fellow panellist Michael Ball were unsympathetic.Charlie: Having told this terrrible lie, I was locked into it. I daren't tell her I was gonna—can't you see! Now, don't you find that moving? (Michael Ball shakes his head)
- Also happened to Andy Hamilton, who played a trick on a new French teacher by making up a pupil the teacher had supposedly left off the register. This led to Andy writing and handing in homework for the fictional classmate.
- Happened in Real Life to Charlie Brooker, who told his girlfriend he was deaf in one ear ... and then had to maintain the act for six years. Lee and fellow panellist Michael Ball were unsympathetic.
- So Crazy, It Must Be True: The basis of several "true" votes. David Mitchell nearly gives the trope name word for word when making his judgement on Omid Djalili's story about launching his own range of condiments.
- Special Guest: Just occasionally, there will be an unexpectedly very famous guest you wouldn't expect to turn up on a low-budget panel game (who often admit to appearing because they're big fans of the show). Examples include Samantha Morton, John Simm, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone and Charles Dance).
- Speech Impediment: One of Lee's lies was that his parents had to change his name to Lee because he couldn't pronounce his real name properly. Pushed for details, he made up an unlikely-sounding story about having a speech impediment that meant he couldn't pronounce the letter O properly.Russell Howard: It was terrible, Lee could never convey surprise!
- Spit Take: One particularly memorable example - after one "Telly Tales" claim that Pam St. Clement was a member of the British Abseiling Association and had abseiled down Mount Rushmore, Angus Deayton's autocue joke made reference to her "mounting the north face of Frank Butcher". Lee's team managed a (completely unrehearsed) synchronised triple spit-take in response .
- Split Personality: When Rob Brydon claimed that he used to pretend he was his own agent by using a different voice on the phone, the entire panel started joking that this was a split personality.Keeley Hawes: Did the agent take a cut?Kevin Bridges: Did the agent phone you up to let you know you got the job?Rob: (getting increasingly frustrated) No, I was the agent!Lee: Did you ever fall out with your agent?Rob: No, it was me!Stephen Mangan: When you decided that this charade had to finish, did you take yourself out to dinner and tell yourself you were letting yourself go?[Rob tears the card up]
Kevin: Did you sign a contract?
David Mitchell: Are you still in touch?
Rob: Right, it's time to guess. First of all, Lee and those bastards...
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Rob Brydon as host is far more involved in the action than Angus Deayton was and there have been moments where the focus has gone entirely off either team (and the ostensible fact they are discussing) and landed squarely on him; one of the worst cases was the first episode in series 4, where Martin Clunes' turn was more or less abandoned for the sake of Brydon's impressions.
- Squick: InUniverse. In a Series 3 episode, Claudia Winkleman had a taxidermic cat (ostensibly her childhood pet) as her possession in the Quick Fire Lies round. She stroked it lovingly for most of her turn, but as soon as her story was revealed to be a lie she dropped it back into its box and shook her hands in disgust.
Rhod Gilbert: It has to be a lie, David, or else there's something wrong with him.
- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's claim that he smeared Marmite on his face for his dog to lick off, which was thankfully a lie.
- In Series 6, Miles Jupp claimed that, after showering, he brushes water off his arms with his hands before drying off with a towel. Richard Madeley asked if he also brushed water off between his legs with his hands, causing Rob and Lee to make identical disgusted expressions.
- Stealth Insult:Rob: Do you have any connection with popular culture?Lee: None whatsoever. Big fan of yours, though.
- The Stinger: When Raj Bisram was demonstrating a magic trick he used to perform with the "This Is My..." guest, it went wrong and he almost choked the guest to death. After the credits, he was shown performing the trick successfully.
- Stripping the Scarecrow: Shaun Williamson once claimed that he stole a shirt from a scarecrow on an allotment in order to gain admittance to nightclub. He was lying.
- Stunt Double: One of the "This Is My..." guests in series 6 was Lee Mack's bum double for Not Going Out.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Several of David Mitchell's rants are provoked by Lee Mack's feigned stupidity.[The panel's debate about Fern Britton's "Possession" claim of a tea cosy she takes everywhere with her has been derailed]David: The rest of humanity uses numbers to denote temperature, you use mime.Lee: Yes, because that makes sense. "Is your tea all right? Yes, it's a number seven. Maybe a six, I'm not sure."David: Sorry, the idea of numbers denoting temperature is new to you?Lee: Yes!David: Temperature is measured in units—Lee: But you don't say it's a seven, do you? [David makes to interrupt] I'm talking to the lady, not the nutter—David: Who would want a seven, anyway? A seven, that's horrendously cold! If it's centigrade it's too cold, if it's Fahrenheit it's solid!
- Suspect Is Hatless: Sometimes, a team will attempt to guess who the mystery guest in the "This is My..." round is by their appearance. However, this often fails to work, memorably in the episode where Rhod Gilbert claimed the guest — who was in his seventies and had to be given a chair rather than standing — used to be his badminton doubles partner, and it turned out to be true.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: In the Ring Of Truth round of one Series 2 episode, David Mitchell is uncertain as to what to say in response to the "fact" that Jim Carrey bought his dog a three-bedroom house, and decides to go with his team and say it's true. Trisha Goddard asks him if he'll kill them if it turns out to be a lie, and David replies with "Don't worry, I haven't killed anyone for years."
- Also the round up of lies including every detail as done by Rob. "It's a lie. Kevin Bridges did not once steal a bag with 34 bundles of bananas... from a Cardiff railway station."
- Talkative Loon: Midway through Bob Mortimer's (up to that point) somewhat plausible story in the "This Is My" round - that he and a friend had planted a dictaphone in his classroom to interrupt the lesson with random comments - he started to claim that his old teacher owned a battery-operated robotic "hand lion", leading Lee Mack to accuse him of saying anything that came into his head in any order to make a story. Note that the hand lion didn't really tie into the outcome of the prank story he'd started with. It was true, by the way.
- Take a Third Option: In the first episode of Series 2, with Krishnan Guru-Murthy voting "No" and Rob Brydon vacillating humorously between "True" and "Lie" (eventually settling on "Lie"), David Mitchell declared "No lie — it's true!" And it was.
Claudia: I don't think any of them have met him.Lee: Yeah, it turns out to be Angus' nephew; is that what you're saying?
- In the This Is My round, it is common for teams to only consider two stories and eventually settle for one of those, only for it to turn out that the correct choice was the one they didn't consider.
- In series 1, Claudia Winkleman wanted to take a fourth option in the This Is My round:
- Take That!: Usually in the host's autocue jokes.Angus Deayton: Yes, every three seconds (snaps fingers)...Bono does something annoying.Angus Deayton: An interesting fact about Steve Davis... is impossible to finish.Rob Brydon: Our next round is called the ring of truth. I'll be offering the teams some bizarre celebrity facts, but are they true? Or are they from Wikipedia.
- David has some, too:David: Don't call him Gordon - It's his name. He's decided names aren't good enough for the likes of him. He's gonna take a verb! That means everyone thinks he's good, and no one thinks he's a twat.
- Victoria Coren's fact was that she would frequently call up professional tennis player Tim Henman for help with crossword clues, since "he hasn't let me down yet". In light of Henman's repeated failures to reach the final round of Wimbledon, the panel — David Mitchell especially — were not kind.David Mitchell: I think that's a very cruel line, the 'he hasn't let me down yet'. We all know what that's an allusion to; his repeated letting down of the entire nation. And I think that, you know... tennis is difficult. And I'd just like to say that I wouldn't necessarily have won Wimbledon. Of course, if I'd practiced as much as Tim Henman, I'd bloody well expect to. But nevertheless.
- In Season 12, one of Lee Mack's "Possession" claims is that he owns a lucky dice which is guaranteed to roll a six within three rolls. He is naturally challenged to prove it with a demonstration, which he equally naturally tries to stretch out as long as possible, leading to this exchange:Lee: [Goes to roll the dice, only to suddenly stop with:] I mean, be honest: it's pretty gripping, isn't it? It's actually pretty gripping stuff, isn't it?
David: [Sounding about as far from 'gripped' as it is possible to be] Well, people watched Deal or No Deal, didn't they.
- David has some, too:
- Tears of Fear: Lee claimed to have provoked these in a hitchhiker he once picked up, as he had to stop the car and hit the engine with a hammer to get it going again and told the hitchhiker "Don't worry, I'm not going to kill you" as he got the hammer. David Mitchell found the whole idea ridiculous.David: He cried? That's a very odd response to immediate mortal danger! To just slightly well up! I would have thought that was more 'the end of It's a Wonderful Life' reaction! "Oh dear, I am to die, it appears!" Rather than "AAAARRRGHHH! GET OUT OF THE CAR!! RUN!!" No, but just a slight welling up... "Ah well, all things come to an end!"
- Once he calmed down, he actually considered it might be true, though. It was.
- Temporary Substitute: Greg Davies once substituted for Lee. The episode made several jokes about this, with everyone acting as if Davies had gone Mad With Power when he decided to overrule his teammates, and after he made a comment that drew disgust from the audience Rob and David started discussing how Lee would never had said something like that and how they were missing him.
- That Came Out Wrong: Martin Clunes describing how he was fired from a catering job by Alan Sugar after spilling the contents of his tray on a guest: He claimed that Alan was angry, but "she was just wet and dirty as I remember"...
Rob: Well, that is the age at which you'd start tossing, and... No, noRob: When you wake from a night having had this dream, do you awake fulfilled? Are a a better... that's not what I meant and you know that's not what I meant.
- Series 4 episode 3 had several of these: "Is your husband known for involving other people?" "Why haven't you just whipped out a knob and affixed it to the entrance?"
- Invoked. Rob will sometimes criticise the audience for finding something dirty in the innocent line he just said.
- When discussing whether or not Greg Davies had once used margarine to help him get into a pair of tight faux-leather pants, Alex Jones commented that she believed it because "people do alternative things with groceries at that age"... and then realised what it sounded like when the audience burst into roaring laughter.
- In another Greg Davies example, he once stated that the "This Is My..." guest was a rickshaw driver who he invited "in for a bit". When the audience started laughing, he berated them with "We're better than that, guys!" like a teacher telling off an unruly classroom. note
- When evaluating whether the guest of the week was a friend of Gaby Roslin's who fell down a manhole, David eventually stated that they'd go for "manhole". Jack Dee then said "Let's call her Gaby." One burst of shocked laughter later, he sheepishly added that if he'd thought it through a bit longer he wouldn't have said it.
- That Liar Lies: If a story seems patently false and/or the panellist has been particularly unconvincing in selling it, this may result.Lee: (reacting to Michael McIntyre's story about driving a car that could only turn left) We all think, as a team, that that is a lie, no, it's a pretty bad lie, in fact, a lie that you should be ashamed of, and you should leave the show immediately. It's just over there on your right, you might have to go (points around and behind him) through there, through there, through there...
- Made all the funnier by the fact that Michael's story was actually true.
- This Is Gonna Suck: When David Mitchell started winding up for his Let Me Get This Straight... summation/rant on Kevin Bridges' utterly implausible horse story Lee Mack covered his face with one hand.
- One 'Ring of Truth' fact was that the Archbishop of Canterbury had endorsed a Cockney version of the Bible. When it was shown to be true and Rob Brydon produced a copy to recite the Lord's Prayer from, David Mitchell remarked, "I'm gonna hate this, aren't I?"Rob: (Reciting from the Bible) "Hello Dad"-
David: Oh, god...
Rob: No no no, "Dad".
- In one "This Is My..." round, David's team are forced to choose between three equally implausible alternativesnote . After much second guessing, they eventually make a decision but end up cringing behind their desk as if they're expecting to come under artillery fire when waiting for the truth to be revealed.
- One 'Ring of Truth' fact was that the Archbishop of Canterbury had endorsed a Cockney version of the Bible. When it was shown to be true and Rob Brydon produced a copy to recite the Lord's Prayer from, David Mitchell remarked, "I'm gonna hate this, aren't I?"
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Naturalist Steve Backshall just happened to be on the panel when opposing team member Bob Mortimer had to claim he looked after a sick owl for a local nature reserve.Steve: Tawnys perch on branches, so how did you get it to perch on a big flat soft cushion?Gabby Logan: Oh, Steve, it's so good to have you here...
- Timed Mission: The final round is played against the clock (depending on how long the recording has lasted up to that point - the Quick Fire Lies round for series 4 episode 3 was fairly short because the horse story lasted half an hour).
- The Tyson Zone:
Susan Calman: [In response to story that David O'Doherty makes leg warmers for swans] I think it's true.
- The nature of the show and the sometimes-ludicrous true stories contestants tell mean that opposing teams can become very credulous. This annoys David to no end.
David: DON'T SAY THAT! That's the sort of — That's what happens to your mind in this game. You start thinking "Oh yeah, of course...the fact that he said 'swan' and it seems impossible is exactly what's so plausible about it!
Dion Dublin: It's that bizarre, only Bob can make it up. So, I think that's true.
- The teams occasionally struggled with the Ring Of Truth round because some characters (e.g., Sting) are so eccentric that anything is plausible.
- Bob Mortimer's stories, regardless if they're truths or lies, tend to be so outlandish that David and his team struggle to make a decision each time he's on.
- Totally Radical: Richard E. Grant's dance version of 'To Be Or Not To Be', and the desperate attempts of Lee's team to get him to sing part of it.Sanjeev Bhaskar: Was it, like, lutes and harps and ting?
- Trailers Always Spoil: The series 5 trailers showed several guests revealing whether their facts were true or not.
- Trivially Obvious: Subverted by Deborah Meaden (of Dragons' Den) when Rob had to try to pass off four sponges affixed to a pole as a children's toy he was hoping to patent. When it came time to say whether they thought it was true, she announced, "I've seen a lot of inventions. That's — that's not one of them."
- David was commented that the truths had to be unlikely for the game to work. He said a statement like "I came to the studio in a car" was true but not very challenging. Lee then asked him how come he got a car.
- Unfortunate Names: Robert Webb claimed his childhood gang of imaginary friends were called the Gy-Bies (pronounced guy-buys). Even he once mispronounced it as "Gayboys".
- Unreliable Narrator: A clever panellist telling the truth may deliberately contradict themselves.Ken Livingstone: What year was this?Stephen Mangan: This was, ooh, about the late 80's... '83?Ken Livingstone: Late eighties and '83?
- Parodied more than once by somebody (usually Lee) making an obvious contradiction and then immediately backtracking to try and make the story make sense.
- Unusual Euphemism:
- Omid Djalili introduced the 'This Is My' guest as the woman he pays to massage his dog, then insisted it wasn't a euphemism.
- A season 10 episode has guest Kate Williams claiming she had problems finding the public bathrooms at a Glastornbury festival, which already sounded like a Woodstock-esque affair with the field of tents, and then she says some of them were occupied by people who were 'making new friends'.
- Upper-Class Twit:
- Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, who spoke often about expensive gifts, fancy holidays, and things her father paid for.
- Many jokes directed at David run on this trope.
- Vanilla Edition: The series 4 DVD release is just the episodes and nothing else. They attempt to cover this by passing the Clip Show off as a special feature.
- 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.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: In a Quick Fire Lies round, Gabby Logan tried to hide her "Possession" (some greeting cards she'd posted to her pets) in her shirt to keep the other team from having a look at them. She relented only when Rob Brydon made it clear he would have no qualms about going in after them.
- Violent Glaswegian: Following Christine Bleakley's true story about Adam Rickitt getting her to remove all the red M&Ms from a bowl for him, a discussion between Lee, Rob Brydon and Frankie Boyle about 'rider lists' ensues...Lee: What's on your rider list, Frankie? (mock Glaswegian accent) Six cans of bitter and a knife!Frankie: Yeah, six cans of bitter for a teetotal alcoholic!Lee: Only Frankie Boyle could complain about the fact that I mentioned alcohol and not mention the knife! (puts on the Glaswegian accent again) "I'll take the knife, but don't accuse me of drinkin'!"
- Vitriolic Best Buds:
Lee: (evaluating one of David's less-plausible stories about him writing horoscopes for a women's magazine) Why did they think that you were the man to do this job?David: Well, a friend of mine—Lee: Lying.David: All right.
- The dynamic between Lee and David is often presented in this fashion. While they often seemed more 'vitriolic' in the early seasons, it's gradually settled into being more Like an Old Married Couple between two completely different men who've spent so much time in each other's company they just know way too much about each other.
- Lampshaded in one episode when, while trying to debunk Lee's claim of learning to drive in a hearse, Griff Rhys Jones asks where Lee grew up. David supplies the information that it was in Southport. When Lee, surprised, questions how David knew this, David reacts with exasperation:David: We've been doing this program for a thousand years! [...] I know everything about you. Including the fact that you did not learn to drive in a hearse. Nevertheless, we have to go through this.
- Waxing Lyrical: Mel Giedroyc's story about licking a piece of cake meant for David Bowie begins "I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar." When it's pointed out that that's not a David Bowie song, she replies "That much is true."
- This was inevitable when Martin Kemp showed up as a guest in Series 10; after he revealed his fact as a truth in the obvious style, they even played a clip of the song.
- Whammy: A team can be leading for much of the show, only to be given some ridiculous lies in the Quick Fire Lies round. Lee's team was 5-2 ahead in the penultimate episode of Series 3... and then Lee had to claim that he couldn't eat custard creams as they reminded him of the bullies at his old school. The round continued in much the same way and they lost their lead, the game ending in a 5-all draw.
- What an Idiot!: Lampshaded in-universe by Lee Mack in the last episode of Series 3. Following his interrogation of Reece Shearsmith's claim that he once worked at a funeral parlour that offered themed funerals (including "Medieval" and "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" themes), he states that he really wants to say that it's true, but he knows that if he does everyone at home will be going "How could that possibly be true?!"Lee: And yet there's a massive voice in my head saying this is true.Michael Ball: I know exactly what you're saying.Charlie Brooker: (incredulous) Really?? I- I'm- just- the- "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre"?!Lee: I know! I know it sounds ludicrous.[Rob Brydon puts pressure on them to give an answer]Lee: We're going with common sense?Michael Ball: Yeah. It's a lie. Let's not look stupid.
- In series 5, Rhod Gilbert's claim that he paid for £15 worth of tapas with a Nissan Micra turned out to be true. David Mitchell's response was to straight-up call him a moron.
- When Sara Pascoe told a story about booking a holiday to Costa Rica thinking it was in Spain and only finding out she was wrong after she got on the flight and saw where Costa Rica is on a map, David was incredulous that someone could be so ignorant about the world's countries.David: The good news is, a third of their team is an idiot.
Lee: Be advised, two thirds! Don't forget me, David.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: David Mitchell's "Possession" turn in one episode was a lock of Steve Davis' hair which he bought on eBay. Asked why he purchased it, he said he was "a bit drunk" at the time.
- Ronnie Corbett claimed to have found the This Is My guest bound and gagged in a sand pit on a golf course after some kind of wild night out.
- In Series 6, Richard Madeley claimed to have woken up on Christmas morning nude in a cupboard under the stairs in his house holding two empty cans of fake snow after having been very drunk the previous night. It was true.
- Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Of a type:[Lee's team are not believing Greg Davies' story in the Home Truths round]Greg: I'm telling you, I don't know if this is in the spirit of the game, this is true.[On the basis of this statement, they say it's true, and of course it is a lie][...][Later, in the This Is My round]Konnie Huq: I don't know if this is in the spirit of this game, but it really is true.Lee: I'd like to say I'm not stupid enough to fall for this again...note
- Who Writes This Crap?!: Lee Mack has had to pretend that so many outlandish lies are true facts about himself that he's often taken to jokingly railing against the program's writers and producers for what they put him through.(After David's team correctly guessed that Lee was lying about a "Possession" he had being a painting of himself painted by a monkey)Rob: Yes. What a surprise. It was a lie. Uh, Lee didn't —Lee: (standing behind his podium) Of course it's a lie! How am I supposed to sell that as a truth?! (walks over to the painting) Do you know what? I'm glad it's not mine. (shoves the painting off its stand so that it falls to the ground) How am I supposed to have a chance?
- Who's on First?: Done in a series 7 story where Griff Rhys Jones claims to have pretended to be deaf to Princess Margaret.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Davina McCall claimed in her "Possession" turn in Series 2 that she wore a blonde wig and glasses when she wanted to go out unnoticed. David's team concluded correctly that it was a lie since it was not particularly convincing, plus it would be embarrassing if she were discovered.
- Women Drivers: Michael McIntyre blamed the fact that his car could only turn left for a fortnight on his wife having an accident whilst driving it.
- Working-Class People Are Morons: Averted in that David and Lee are more or less tied in terms of points and wins. Played straight in the endless stream of "dumb Northerner" jokes directed at Lee.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: During Lee's lie that if you give him any date before the year 2000 he can instantly tell you what day of the week it was, he comes up with an utterly-meaningless calculation for working it out. Justified by the Rule of Funny, since he clearly wasn't making much of an effort to make it sound plausible.
Angus: Every year, worldwide, some 3,000 people are killed by falling coconuts, now if you times that figure by 10, that's 30,000 people every year, which works out at nearly half a million people, every 12 months. Spread that out over a year, that's 4.2 billion people killed by coconuts every month. A frightening statistic.
- There's also a bonus example in the same lie: David Mitchell asked him if 1955 was a leap year, and Lee said "Of course it isn't, you idiot, that was 1954..." failing to realise that 1954 wasn't a leap year either.
- Angus Deayton's autocue joke following Lee's 'Possession' claim about a coconut that nearly killed him:
- When Sara Pascoe had to claim that she had once accidentally purchased a dollhouse chest of drawers online thinking it was a real one, she revealed she used it to keep spare change in, putting a pound coin in one drawer, a two pound coin in another and a five pound note in one of the bigger drawers. Lee mocked her by asking what she would do if she needed to pay an irregular sum such as three pounds. To his embarrassment, it was immediately pointed out to him that in such a case she could just use the one pound and the two pound coins.
- You Can Always Tell a Liar: More or less the trope the show runs on. The host's opening monologue occasionally contains facts about lying, including the physical or verbal cues given off by someone who is being dishonest.
- Some panellists have been smart enough to try to block or mask their tells. Jason Manford attempted to do several simultaneously, and Peter Serafinowicz put on a pair of sunglasses before reading his card in Series 4.