The Unbelievable Truth
Tim Clark23 April 2007
A stretched quiz concept made good by Mitchell’s quick thinking
Faced with the prospect of David Mitchell hosting a game show where contestants are tasked with ‘smuggling’ truths past the other contestants the question has to be asked, how many lives does appearing in Peep Show actually buy you?
The show kicks off with some lifeless scripted gags and further explanation of the positively leaky concept, but fortunately for all involved it’s not long before professional rambler Tony Hawks is peddling fallacies about cats to the other three contestants, Frankie Boyle, Marcus Brigstocke and Neil Mullarkey. As far as BBC quiz fodder goes, Hawks is a veteran and he intertwines his truths with subtle aplomb.
His experience in the genre becomes starkly apparent when new boy Boyle follows with a truth/gag/truth/gag combo about Michael Jackson that fools absolutely no-one. By the time Mullarkey and Brigstocke get a go the panel have decided that buzzing every statement is the most effective way of uncovering truths on beards and coffee respectively.
However, it is the unscripted moments that happen in spite of the concept that make this show worthwhile. Mitchell’s quick, intelligent wit gives it an edge that it would otherwise lack and the other four comedians are, on the whole, well-chosen.
Radio 4 are all too aware that five comedians talking for half an hour will inevitably be humorous on some level no matter what hoops you have them jumping through, and so The Unbelievable Truth has enough going for it to justify its existence.
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