Richard Osman reveals he was rejected by MI6: ‘If I have a secret, I tell everybody’


Richard Osman has revealed that he was approached by MI6 while studying at the University of Cambridge, but did not pass the test to become an actual spy.

In a new interview, the author and TV presenter explained that he found the “fun” tests too difficult and did it not make it to the next stage – but said that it didn’t matter much as he wouldn’t have made the best spy in any case.

“They just said, ‘No, it’s fine’,” he said told The Guardian of his interview experience, which involved a series of war-gaming scenarios and speaking to people “who got older and posher throughout the day”.

Osman, 52, added: “Honestly, I would have been terrible. I’m too tall [6ft 7in], not bright enough, and if I have a secret, I tell everybody. You could not find a worse spy.” He added that he “cannot tell a lie”.

The irony is that one of Osman’s most beloved characters, Elizabeth, from his hugely popular Thursday Murder Club series of books, is a former spy.

But the author is adamant that they have very little in common in that sense.

“I’m still available, by the way, if MI6 read this,” he teased at the end of the interview. “I could be useful because no one is going to suspect me now.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Osman went on to speculate over the huge success of his books, explaining that it’s about understanding what gets Britons going while also understanding key data.

“The two school subjects I use every day are O-level statistics and my O-level sociology,” he said.

“Sociology tells you the world wasn’t made this way; it has been constructed by us through a series of choices. Statistics tells you the truth about things. With those two tools, you can pretty much decode anything, I think. Why people do things. What drives people.”

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