Comedian Lee Mack has admitted ‘assaulting’ a Womble as a teenager – though he was secretly devastated.
As team captain on the BBC One comedy panel show Would I Lie To You?, he told his story in the ‘This Is My…’ round, in which the opposing team has to guess which panellist is telling the truth about their connection with a mystery guest.
Here’s a transcript from the episode, which you can watch on iPlayer until Friday 24 May:
Warwick Davis: This is Neil, and he paid me to jump out of a tree in the park and propose to his girlfriend whilst dressed as an Ewok.
Paul Hollywood: This is Neil, he’s my neighbour, and when he goes on holiday I look after his parrot and take it out in the cage for a walk.
Lee Mack: This is Neil, and to prove my manhood I once assaulted a Womble in front of him.
David Mitchell: So, Lee, the Womble assault. Tell the story.
Lee Mack: Well, there was a Womble, and I…
David Mitchell: No there wasn’t. Wombles don’t exist. It’s a lie.
Lee Mack: It’s not an actual Womble, it’s a toy Womble. The story is, I went away on holiday when I was 16, and it was me and Neil and another friend of ours, John. We went to a little caravan site in Blackpool, and I took the Womble with me, because I’d had this Womble since I was a little kid. And I don’t know why, but I took it on holiday with me, and when I opened the suitcase, them two mercilessly took the mickey out of me, and I said ‘hah, that old thing, I don’t even know how it got in there’. And to prove my manhood, I got a pair of scissors, cut its ears off, and then, er, burnt it on the fire. And was devastated, but I tried to show my manhood by just not being bothered, ‘oh I don’t bother about that’.
Jason Manford: Did you cry later on?
Lee Mack: I was crying as I did it inside, but on the outside laughing. Bit like this show!
David Mitchell: I will say, Lee, to me you’ve never seemed more human. How did your friends react when you sliced up the Womble with the scissors? Did they go ‘oh yeah that’s great, he’s one of the lads still’, or did they go ‘oh my god, he’s a maniac’?
Lee Mack: Look, right, they were having a bit of fun going ‘aah, it’s your Womble’ – they didn’t expect me to go ‘no it’s not!’ [Makes cutting and sizzling gestures.] I burnt its face against the fire in there.
David Mitchell: Sorry I’d forgotten that bit! Priceless. ‘I’d better burn its face so that I seem normal…’
Rob Brydon: We need an answer, David. Is Neil Warwick’s park proposer, Paul’s parrot-walking neighbour or Lee’s Womble witness?
David Mitchell: I really, genuinely hope it’s not true about Lee, because I think that must have been a very upsetting thing. And then it must have been very upsetting when the point came you realised you’d have to use that terrible moment in your past on a TV comedy show.
Lee Mack: David, it’s series 7! I’m getting desperate.
David’s team decided that Warwick was telling the truth. The mystery guest then revealed: “My name’s Neil, and I’m a friend of Lee’s, and I witnessed the Womble.”
David Mitchell had the final word: “I think I feel a thousand years older.”