David Mitchell — things you didn't know about the TV comedy star

David Mitchell
David Mitchell (Image credit: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

David Mitchell is is the popular star of Channel 4 cult hit Peep Show and BBC period comedy Upstart Crow, but is arguably best known as a team captain on the hugely popular BBC One comedy panel show Would I Lie To You?.

David, now the father of two children, also fronts David Mitchell's Outsiders, which seems him challenging comedians to thrive in the great outdoors.

Describing his judging style on the show, he told us: "Erratic and mild. I like to be a feeble and untrustworthy authority figure. I was never in the Cubs or Scouts even though I had ample opportunity. My view was, 'I have to go to f***ing school all day. Why would I want to go to another organized thing in the evening when I could be watching television!'"

He's even written a book about the history of British kings and queens called "Unruly", which is billed as Horrible Histories for grown-ups.

How much else do you know about the comedy writer and performer?

Fellow comedian David Baddiel played a helping hand in David getting together with his wife Victoria Coren Mitchell...

David Mitchell with his wife Victoria Coren

David Mitchell with his wife Victoria Coren. (Image credit: Getty Images for BFI)

David Mitchell married his wife, Only Connect host and top poker player Victoria Coren, in 2012. Less well known is the helping hand David Baddiel played when the first couple first met.

Victoria told the Radio Times: “[Baddiel] specifically said to me, ‘There’s David Mitchell over there, I think you should probably marry him, I’ll get the ball rolling by introducing you. I thought that was ridiculous but, a couple of hours later, I thought I probably would marry him.”

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David revealed in an interview with The Guardian that both of his parents were hotel managers when he was born. “My parents were hotel managers until I was two, and then we moved from Salisbury, where I was born, to Oxford where my dad started teaching hotel management, which my mum also started doing a few years later when I was a bit older.”

David Mitchell on the set of Outsiders

David Mitchell on the set of Outsiders (Image credit: Dave)

David is not a massive music fan...

Susan Boyle

David has a Susan Boyle album in his tiny record collection (Image credit: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via)

David has revealed many amusing things about himself on Would I Lie To You? But possibly our favorite piece of trivia is that he’s the proud owner of just two music albums: "But Seriously" by Phil Collins and "I Dreamed a Dream" by Susan Boyle. Talking about his purchase of the Susan Boyle album — he couldn’t remember its name! – David explained it was "much talked about" and he was looking for "something to write about" for The Observer.

David first worked with his comedy partner Robert Webb on a production of Cinderella...

David met his longtime comedy collaborator Robert Webb when they were at Cambridge University, with fellow Peep Show star Olivia Colman. The duo performed together for the first time in a production of "Cinderella" at the university. Robert played Prince Charming, while David told The Guardian he had a somewhat less important part. “I was a palace official. My joke was that I was very dull and annoying.”

David counts Oscar-winning star Olivia Colman as a close friend...

David Mitchell with Olivia Colman and Robert Webb at an awards bash in 2012

David with Olivia and Robert Webb at the Women in Television Awards in 2012 (Image credit: WireImage)

David has been good friends with Olivia Colman since they were teenagers and congratulated Olivia when she claimed an Oscar in 2019 for her performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite. He said in his autobiography, Backstory: “Suddenly she was shining with talent — working the audience, timing her lines, drawing out new laughs without ever seeming hammy.

“There were many talented actors at Cambridge while I was there, very few were as good as Collie — certainly no one better.”

He is good friends with his WILTY co-stars Lee Mack and Rob Brydon...

The trio are arguably the funniest team on UK TV and they have turned Would I Lie to You? into one of the most popular shows on television.

Despite the sharp nature of some of their exchanges, David told the Belfast Telegraph: "We get on very well. We see each other socially and it's been fun going around with them. It's a nice, easy relationship. There's no real creative tension. We just sit together and try and think of funny things to say."

David Mitchell’s Fact File

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the star....

How old is David Mitchell?

David is 49 and was born on July 14, 1974.

Is he in a relationship?

David married fellow comic Victoria Coren in 2012.

Does David have children?

Yes, two. David and Victoria have a daughter, Barbara (born 2015). And a second child, born in October 2023. 

Where was David born?

David was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire

How tall is David?

David is 1.78m (5ft 10in) tall.

David Mitchell’s social media:

Twitter: @realdavidmitchell

Instagram: @realdavidmitchell

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!