The Unbelievable Truth. David Mitchell. Copyright: BBC / Random Entertainment.

The Unbelievable Truth

BBC Radio 4 panel show built on truth and lies. 147 episodes (pilot + 24 series), 2006 - 2020. Stars David Mitchell.

New series to air in late 2020..
Series 17, Episode 5 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra today at 9am.

Series 10, Episode 3

David Mitchell is joined by semi-regular Henning Wehn, semi-professional Arthur Smith, and fellow comics Holly Walsh and John Finnemore as they talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects such as wasps, computers, Oscar Wilde and Boris Johnson.

Further details

The Truths

John Finnemore - Boris Johnson

- Johnson once stole a pencil case belonging to the former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz. Found by Arthur.

- Johnson went to the same school as the Miliband brothers: Primrose Hill Primary School. He was in the year above David Miliband. Successfully smuggled.

- Johnson once suggested that we should give Iran a nuclear bomb to stop them from developing one themselves. Successfully smuggled.

- Johnson likes to paint pictures of cows. Successfully smuggled.

- Johnson plays wiff-waff across the Mayoral Desk at London City Hall. Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Computers

- The Vatican has three computer serves called after the Archangels Rafael, Michael and Gabriel. Found by John.

- As Apollo 11 began to land on the Moon the computers in the landing module crashed and Neil Armstrong had to be landed manually. Found by Arthur.

- The PC was named as Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" in 1982. In 2006 the Person of the Year was "You - the creators of original content on the World Wide Web." Found by John.

- Computers become twice as sophisticated every two years. This is known as "Moore's law", but the actual rate is actually 18 months. Found by Arthur.

- Henning is very angry about someone setting up a Facebook page about him without permission. Found by Arthur. Accidentally included by Henning.

- The Church of England set up an iChurch to combat falling church attendance. Successfully smuggled.

Holly Walsh - Oscar Wilde

- Wilde was dressed like a girl by his mother for the first few years of his life. This was normal at the time, but his mother also made him wear jewellery. Found by John.

- A 2004 musical written and directed by DJ Mike Reid about Oscar Wilde was so poorly received that it closed after one night. Found by Arthur.

- Wilde's grave featured an angel with an erect penis but this was broken off in an act of vandalism. After this it was reportedly used as a paperweight by the superintendent of Père Lachaise Cemetery. Found by Arthur.

- Wilde edited Woman's World magazine. Successfully smuggled.

- Wilde was responsible for coining the word "dude". After a tour of American theatres some fans embraced his ideas of aestheticism and his followers became known as "dudes" as a way of ridiculing their foppish style. Successfully smuggled.

Arthur Smith - Wasps

- There is a type of wasp called the "Aha ha wasp". It got its name because that is what the entomologist Arnold Menke said when he first saw one. Found by John.

- Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass originally featured a massive wasp wearing a wig, but it was cut from the book. It is most likely this move came from illustrator John Tenniel considered it too ridiculous to illustrate. Found by John.

- In 2001 Dutch police trained wasps to sniff out drugs. Found by Holly.

- In Devon wasps are called "Apple-drains". Found by Holly.

- In 1981 experts involved in the Dangerous Animals Act agreed that an animal was officially dangerous if its sting was "worse than two wasps". Successfully smuggled.


- John Finnemore: 5 points
- Holly Walsh: 3 points
- Arthur Smith: 2 points
- Henning Wehn: -5 points

Broadcast details

Monday 14th January 2013
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Arthur Smith Guest
Henning Wehn Guest
John Finnemore Guest
Holly Walsh Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

Supporters and subscribers get more

Additional content and tools are available across the site for Supporters and BCG Pro subscribers. On this page you can:

  • Broadcast details of 3 further repeats of this episode

Donate (for fans) BCG Pro

Already a donor or Pro user?