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Lie-Detection Just One Of The Skills Untapped In Channel 4's New 'Hidden Talent' Series

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FBI veteran Joe Navarro talks through some of the techniques of lie-detection, and telling! | C4

Reckon you could tell the difference between a work of classical art and a fake? How about telling if somebody’s lying? Or rock-climbing?

How to tell if someone's lying... see below...

These are just some of the talents being uncovered off the streets of Britain, as the Hidden Talent production team seek to create what is being tipped “the antidote to talent shows”. Presented by Richard Bacon, the aim is to take somebody’s who’s not bothered about being famous and finding out if they have a untapped talent that they’re not even aware of.

Hidden Talent have come up with a Facebook version of the seven tests, so you can have a go yourself and see what speciality skills lie uncovered.


Maggie, 45, never knew she was a natural rock-climber until...

One of the most interesting, and often misunderstood talents is the art of lie-detection. The expert on the show is Joe Navarro, an FBI veteran who has questioned thousands of terrorist suspects in his time, and is incredibly forthcoming on the subject.

“The average ability to detect a lie is one in two,” he explains. “It’s no more than the flip of a coin. During this show, we found a lady who managed to sniff out a lie up to 16 times in 20, which was phenomenal. She had no idea she had this skill inside her. We even flew her down to the training academy in Florida, where you’d think she’d be really stressed and tired, and she managed to do it all over again.”

There are all sorts of tricks to telling a lie, and our job is to uncover them, he goes on. If you allow someone to tell a story, they’ll get better and better at it. But if, for example, you fire questions at them, even ask them to tell the story backwards, then suddenly, they lose track of their invented narrative, and they’ll start tripping up.

Are electronic lie-detectors any good?

“They’re only as good as the person operating them. The lines will only tell you about someone’s increased stress which, after all, could be down to the fact they’re wired up to a machine, and being forced to tell the truth.”

What about politicians who often have to lie in public, even – dare I say it – an esteemed former president? Navarro has his statistics ready – he’s a man who obviously loves his job…

“Who knows what any man would have said with his wife standing next to him in the room? Bill Clinton was very interesting, because when he was addressing the nation, he stayed really calm and measured. He was telling the story as he remembered it.

"But later, when you read the transcripts of him being peppered with questions by members of congress, it wasn’t quite as fluid.

"And his blink rate during those sessions went from 12 blinks a second to… (are you ready for this?) 96. I’m not saying he was telling lies. I’m just telling you that, for whatever reason, here was a man who was very, very stressed.”

Other skills to be untapped over the series include rock-climbing, free diving, art appreciation, opera singing, learning a foreign language. Hidden Talent starts tonight at 9pm, Channel 4. An overview is below...

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Tonight's TV Pick: Mary Beard, Unzipped, Hidden Talent