Richard Osman has claimed he was rejected by MI6 after taking part in a series of what he called “fun” tests to become a spy while studying at Cambridge University.

The quiz show host, 52, studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, around 30 years ago.

Osman, best known for his presenting of BBC shows Pointless and Richard Osman’s House Of Games, is also the author of several crime novels.

His first, The Thursday Murder Club, which was shortlisted for the British Book Awards’ crime and thriller book of the year after its 2020 release, features Elizabeth Best, an ex-spy and current retirement village resident who investigates murders.

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Osman has found enormous success as a crime author (Aaron Chown/PA)

The author claimed in Saturday’s The Guardian while talking about his new novel The Last Devil To Die that he was put forward as a possible candidate for MI6.

Osman said: “They (MI6) just said: ‘No, it’s fine’… I would have been terrible. I’m too tall, not bright enough, and if I have a secret, I tell everybody. You could not find a worse spy. I cannot tell a lie.”

He also remarked, tongue firmly in cheek: “I’m still available, by the way, if MI6 read this. I could be useful, because no-one is going to suspect me now.”

Last year, Osman announced he was leaving BBC One game show Pointless, which he presented alongside Alexander Armstrong for nearly 13 years, to spend more time writing novels.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “It is the long-standing position of successive British governments that we don’t comment on the work of the intelligence agencies.”