Damned Lies



Dominic Frisby


David Spiegelhalter, a statistics expert


Absolutely for Radio 4, 10 February 2022


A panel game about statistics. Which council has the highest recycling rate in England? How many disposable masks made their way to the sea in 2020?

This broadcast pilot was hosted by Dominic Frisby (says he's 62% financial reporter, 38% comedian), proper comedians Lucy Porter, Gary Delaney, and Janey Godley, and statistician Paul Foot. David Spiegelhalter played the role of Richard Osman, debunking some of the more made-up statistics used in the show.

In a broadcast pilot, we expect rough edges. We got a lot of rough edges: an over-long introduction, panellists who thought they were funnier than they were, and too much bickering over the rules. When Prof. Spiegelhalter debunks one of the statistics, it's a format point; when he debunks three, the show sounds incompetent.

There's a great idea for a show here - gently educational, sometimes funny - but we didn't come away wanting to hear more.


John Hamilton


The show gets its name from a late-Victorian aphorism on degrees of falsehood: "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics". The quotation is often attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, though research suggests otherwise.


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