'Lie Detector' to ask Rowling's cousin for 'Potter' proof positive

  February 1, 2005 at 7:29 PM ET
  Cheeser     HPANA
  ben rowling, lie detector, polygraph, polygraph test, jk rowling, harry potter inspiration

UPDATE: This show has aired. Click here for analysis.

JK Rowling's cousin Ben is to appear on PAX-TV/NBC's new television show Lie Detector and take a polygraph in an attempt to prove he was the inspiration for her popular Harry Potter books.

"I know Jo based Harry on me," Ben, 37, toldopens in new window the UK's Daily Mail in September. "I can see so much of the young me in his character. It was uncanny, far more than a coincidence."

The Daily Mail described Ben Rowling's resemblance as "striking -- there is an amazing similarity to Daniel Radcliffe, the actor J.K. Rowling approved to play Potter."

The claim, originally reported last fall, was subsequently deniedopens in new window by author Joanne on her official web site. "He is not based on any of the men I have met during my lifetime who wore glasses, or any of the boys who had a scar somewhere on their face, or any of my friends who went to boarding school."

Ben's father was the brother of Joanne's father Peter. According to Ben, he and Jo spent time playing together as children, when they both lived on the outskirts of Bristol. His claim of being the model for "Harry Potter" has more to do with the similarities of his real-life schooldays to Harry's fictional ones.

"She was always fascinated about what I had been up to at school and used to love me telling her about the scrapes and escapades I had been involved in," said Ben. "She made me repeat the stories to her over and over again."

HPANA has confirmed with Lie Detector's producers that Ben will appear in one of the first few episodes of the new series. It begins airing Tuesday, March 8.

"There are 13 episodes of our show, and we do three stories per hour," said a representative of Mark Phillips Philms and Telephision. "Ben's story will probably start being heavily promoted towards the end of February."

The show's format includes an interview with each segment's subject, after which a polygraph test is administered and the results are analyzed.

This isn't the first edition of Lie Detector. The show has a varied history dating back to the 1960's, and the same group that is producing the new series did a 1998 version for FOX.


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