Why Channel 10 had “more of a free run” at season two of Would I Lie To You?

Would I Lie To You

EP Ciaran Flannery: “As a producer, all you ever want to do is keep improving your shows”

Back to bemuse and bamboozle viewers once again, the second season of Would I Lie To You? is making its return to Australian screens.

Alongside a new team captain, the new season is set to be filled with guests who each reveal weird and wonderful stories about themselves – but no one said they had to be factual. 

Mediaweek spoke to EP Ciaran Flannery ahead of the show’s premiere on Monday, 13 February at 8.30pm, on Channel 10 and 10 Play.

With one season of the show under their belt, Flannery says that the team were “very, very happy with the show” despite some hurdles when it came to pulling the show together.

“It was a difficult first season from a production perspective because we did it right in the middle of a massive Covid outbreak. It was just as the Omicron outbreak took place. We had all the things that every production had to deal with – guests dropping out, having to change dates, that kind of stuff. What’s exciting is to have a bit more of a free run at the show, this time we can do stuff without some of the logistical issues that we had last time. 

As a producer, all you ever want to do is keep improving your shows. The target for me this season was to have more laughs in each hour, and I wanted to have a stronger list of guests – which we have certainly got. I’ve seen all the episodes, and I’m just so happy with the series.”

would i lie to you?

Joining Frank Woodley as team captain this year is Charlie Pickering, who slots into the position left by Chris Taylor. For Flannery, “if you have an opportunity to use Charlie Pickering as a captain on Would I Lie To You? then it’s a no-brainer.”

“He was a guest in season one and really, really enjoyed the experience. He was one of our funniest guests in all of season one, he has very dry humour, he’s incredibly witty, with quick one-liners. 

“What you also get with Charlie is a really great rapport that he’s built with Frank Woodley. They went to real lengths to reacquaint themselves before we started filming – they were going off, catching up with each other, going around to each other’s houses for dinner and watching English episodes of the show. They really struck up a great friendship throughout the series, and it comes across massively in the episodes.”

Tasked with keeping the show on the rails once again (or at least giving it her best shot!) is Chrissie Swan, who returns as host of the show.

“She’s such a great energy on the show and her relationship with Frank and Charlie is sensational,” says Flannery. “She’s not a stand-up comedian – in the UK, Rob Brydon is the host, he’s a stand-up comedian. We decided that Chrissie was the right energy for the show, and I think we’ve been proven 100% correct. 

“The thing I love the most is that when she laughs on this show, you know that she’s not faking it. We actually have to stop quite often for her to fix her eye makeup because she’s literally crying with laughter.”

Lined up to try and convince others of their tall tales is a guest lineup that boasts names such as Pete Rowsthorn, Luke McGregor, and Myf Warhurst.

“We were awash with options this year! I think part of it was that people saw season one and realised that as a comedian, or a celebrity, or an actor, it’s a great opportunity to just show off your personality. It’s a lot of fun to play as well. 

“This season, without Covid and with season one under our belt, we had a huge choice of the best comedians and actors and public figures around. Choosing was hard, but only insofar as we had so many great options.”

Flannery also teases “an extremely amusing episode” with former Defence Minister Chris Pyne, and one teaser in particular sees Senator Jacqui Lambie try to convince others of the legitimacy of her ‘Lambie’ dance.

Would I Lie To You? is not a satirical or political show, but it gives you a little bit of room to have a little bit of fun with these people. Particularly when you ask a former politician to lie on a program, it does offer some opportunities for the comedians on the panel.”

When it comes to getting the juiciest and most ridiculous stories out of guests, Flannery laughs that there are “producers whose entire job it is to spend hours on the phone with the guests.” 

“The best way with these things is to get into real conversations with people – you don’t want to be doing formal Q and A’s, because often some of the best stories in people’s lives are ones that they’ve forgotten about a little bit. With a bit of careful discussion and prodding, sometimes something just pops into someone’s head – they just remember this ridiculous moment, and that ends up being the greatest part of the whole show.

“It’s a very fun show to produce.”

Also working on the production side of Would I Lie To You? is Endemol Shine Australia. 

“At Endemol Shine you’ve got Jo Long, who’s the executive producer. She actually has worked with Charlie on The Weekly, so that relationship ended up being really important for season two,” says Flannery. “Then there’s Marty Benson who looks after the content there at ESA. 

“They have put together a cracker team, and everyone I spoke to down in Docklands when we shot the show all just said that essentially, you’ve got to pinch yourself that this is even a job.”

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