Would I Lie to You? on BBC One is the best comedy panel show on TV by a country mile!
You know you have enjoyed a programme when the ending credits roll yet it seems like you’ve only been watching it for about five minutes. You know you must have enjoyed a programme when you can think back to the countless times that it made you smile and chuckle throughout. This is what I was like when seeing the first episode of the new series of WILTY last week!
That are a few factors as why this show works as well as it does. Firstly, comedian Rob Brydon is superb in his role as host. Rather than just being a boring stooge to the very funny team captains David Mitchell and Lee Mack, Rob is as integral to the humour as much as they and the funny stories that we hear are. I am thinking here in this episode of when he amusingly shadow boxed with former heavyweight champion of the world David Haye and commented that David must be very tall because he himself is 6′ 1”(the joke here being that Rob is sort of renowned for being on the rather short side).
Alongside Rob in this new series were usual team captains, comedians David Mitchell and Lee Mack. These two comedy performers could not be better suited for their roles in this show. They gel and work so well together because they are the polar opposites of each other. For instance, David is southern, middle class, posh and an intellect with a very dry sense sense of humour. Lee on the other hand is your working class northerner who is loud, mickey taking and full of constant banter. Rather than irritatingly compete with one another they brilliantly compliment one another on the humour front.
The format of the show is a bit like a funnier version of that classic old lunchtime panel show Call My Bluff. The aim of the game is for each team to work out if the stories they hear from the opposing team are indeed fact or fiction. If they guess wrong then the point goes to the other team. There are three rounds which are “home truths”, “this is my…” and “quick-fire lies”. It is a fast paced show and none of these rounds drag, they all seem to work.
The score and which team wins is sort of an irrelevancy though. The primary aim of the show is to make us laugh which it does in abundance.
I cried with laughter as Lee Mack’s two team members in this first episode, reenacted a scene from one of their stories. Martin Kemp in round three told the story of how once on holiday he ended up dislocating his shoulder after being flipped over whilst lying on a lilo in a swimming pool. Post shoulder operation in the recovery room, this rather large female Spanish nurse hugged him because he shouted out at the time that he was cold. Comedienne Mel Giedroyc stated how she would help reenact this scene(due to her crush on him), although she then did need a little persuading from Rob Brydon to do this. Their amusing exchange went,
Mel: “Can I just say, I am only half, half dressed. I can’t reveal daywear”.
Rob: “Even if it’s to lie on Martin Kemp”?
Mel: “Yeah go on, I’ll reveal daywear”.
This then involved the highly amusing sight of Mel in dungaree bottoms(a fancy blouse on her top half) coming around the desk and diving on top of Martin who was lay on the floor pretending to be in pain and cold, and then her cuddling him like this nurse did. It was a bit like one of those really funny moments that we used to regularly see on The Generation Game with Brucie. It was all good natured fun where they did not try too hard to be funny, it just was!
The second round is probably my most favourite part of show, it’s the mystery guest round(aka as “this is my…”). This involves an ordinary member of the public standing next to Rob as all the members from one team then detail how they know this person. In this episode it was David Mitchell’s team who gave three amusing stories as to how they knew Carlos. Boxer David Haye said Carlos was a school teacher and that he knocked him down by accident via doing a boxing demonstration in front of some school kids at his gym. Comedian Romesh Ranganathan stated how Carlos led him to momentarily abandon his strict vegan diet by eating a lavish dessert that he presented him with. David had the most amusing story where he stated how Carlos was a pizza delivery man and after dropping off the pizza, then helped him to assemble a bed.
Regarding round two but also to make a more general point about the show, a lot of the humour generated in it is dependent on the panelists playing their roles really well. They have to buy into their roles and not laugh their heads off whilst delivering their outlandish anecdotes. Fair play to sportsman and non-actor David Haye for giving a very convincing performance and fooling all of Lee’s team in round two.
What I like about WILTY is that unlike with some other panel shows that I could mention, it feels like we are all laughing together. Nobody is really laughing at somebody else’s expense. There are no irritating ‘alternative comedians’ constantly spouting unfunny comments as they try to make a name for themselves off the back of appearing on WILTY. The host laughs, the panelists laugh and we the audience laugh. It has an all-round positive feel about it that thus makes it a joy to watch!
This programme rightly deserves all the plaudits that it gets because you don’t get TV panel shows any better than this. I tell no LIES here with this statement, just simply the TRUTH!! 5/5.