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The World’s Biggest Liar Contest

World's biggest liar crowned

Update at 1445 GMT Thursday 19 November 2009: This event has now been cancelled due to the bad weather across the county. Listen to BBC Radio Cumbria for the latest information.

The world's biggest liars are getting ready to take part in a famous Cumbrian contest which dates back to the 19th Century.

The annual event was inspired by the tall tales of a publican called Will Ritson.

Every November competitors tell their biggest lies in an attempt to follow in the footsteps of 'Auld Will'.

Previous winners include TV star Sue Perkins who won the contest in 2006 with an unusual tale about sheep.

The famous Cumbrian publican Will Ritson lived between 1808 and 1890.
Politicians and members of the legal profession are banned from taking part as "they are too practised in the art".
Entrants are given a minimum of two minutes, a maximum of five minutes and dialects are permitted.

Worldwide liars

Any contestant winning for three consecutive years is automatically excluded from entry for one year.

The winner is referred to as "The World's Biggest Liar" for as long as they hold the title.

Although the competition is unique to Cumbria, competitors are invited from all over the world.

Lying tips

Previous winners have provided some excellent advice on how to win the contest.

Two time winner Mike Naylor says "In 2004 I told a story about the flooding of Wasdale Valley and that all the sheep turned into fish."

James Mason, who won the contest in 1998, says "Keep your cool and keep your story a secret. It's a great atmosphere on the night but it can be overwhelming to newcomers."

I undertook a rigorous and physically demanding routine. I ran up all the fells in Wasdale - all 16 - and toured all the pubs in Cumbria over a period of two weeks to soak up the jokes and anecdotes.
Howard Christie, 1997 winner

Seven times winner

Nobody has been as successful as seven time title holder, John 'Johnny Liar' Graham.

John managed to clinch the 2008 title when he impressed the judges with a suspect story of an adventurous trip to Whitehaven that saw him ride the depths of the ocean on his horse, Daisy and fly back by utilising a giant skate.

"I was chuffed to bits to be crowned champ again," said Johnny.

"It was a great turn out on the night with some stiff competition. I'll certainly be back to defend my title this year - as long as I keep winning, I'll keep turning up."



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