Comedian, actor and upcoming Strictly Come Dancing contestant Les Dennis has said “nay” to accusations levelled at him on social media that he is secretly a horse.
After comedian Adam Rowe joked about Dennis secretly being a horse while on stage at a Manchester comedy show and subsequently on his podcast, social media users began querying Dennis about his equine identity.
One user posted “absolutely wild that @LesDennis is actually a horse. Always who you least suspect” – while another said, “@LesDennis we’re still onto you that you’re a horse lad. Not having this long con”.
The Wikipedia page of the former Family Fortunes presenter was altered to list him as a “secret horse”, “alleged horse” and “race horse”, although at the time of publishing these labels had been removed.
In response, Dennis posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “For some obscure reason there are a lot of people on here asking if I’m a horse.
“Nay to that.”
The theory that the television presenter is secretly a horse originated from a joke by Rowe.
On an episode of his podcast Have A Word, co-hosted by comedian Dan Nightingale, Rowe recounted joking on stage at the Manchester Comedy Store that Dennis was actually a horse.
He said: “We came up with a theory that doesn’t make any sense that Les Dennis is actually a horse wearing a human costume.
“So then, with absolutely no context whatsoever, we started tweeting Les Dennis, saying ‘Hey Les, we’re fully aware that you’re a horse by the way, and you need to come clean’.
“He hasn’t got enough followers to not see it.
“I found it so funny that I thought this might work as a bit on stage – I was very new in comedy.
“I tried this material maybe six times in total. The other five times did not work, but that night at the Manchester Comedy Store, I don’t know how I said it or why, but the audience were like ‘this is the funniest thing ever’.”
Several people subsequently tweeted Dennis about the theory before Rowe referenced the joke on his podcast and the theory gained steam, prompting the television personality to deny the theory.
Some of the edits to Dennis’s Wikipedia page said he is “most often associated with being a secret horse” and “known for his extraordinary racing ability for a horse measuring at 17 hands”.
The Wikipedia page has been locked until August 30 “due to vandalism”, a note on the page says.
Dennis, 69, has had a career in the entertainment industry spanning five decades and is most well known as the host of ITV’s popular game show Family Fortunes from 1987 until 2002.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to reveal himself as the 15th and final Strictly contestant, he said: “I had a knee replacement two years ago and I remember thinking to myself, ‘it may be time to slow down’, but you get something offered like this and it puts a spring in your step.
“I’m excited and I’m terrified. People at any age can do anything.”