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 6 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra on Monday at 9am.

Series 11, Episode 4

Joining David Mitchell are Lloyd Langford, Henning Wehn, Katherine Ryan and Graeme Garden, lying on subjects such as geese, horses, advertising and Madonna.

Further details

The Truths

Henning Wehn - Geese

- Geese are employed in Brazilian prisons to prevent prisoners from escaping, because they make so much noise when they try to break out. Found by Katherine.

- The Irish used to clean chimneys by dropping a goose down them and dragging them back up. The flapping of their wings would get rid of the soot. Found by Lloyd.

- The British performed the goosestep march first. It was called the "goosestep" as far back as 1806, and used as a training step for new recruits to aid balance when marching. Found by Graeme.

- Geese were used to turn spits when roasting meat. They used their necks or walking in treadmills. Successfully smuggled.

- A cross between a swan and a goose is called a "swoose". Successfully smuggled.

Katherine Ryan - Horses

- In Montgomery, Alabama it was illegal to open your umbrella in front of a horse, for fear of startling it. Found by Graeme.

- The US Jockey Club has accepted the name "Hoof Hearted" for a race horse. In 2003 Wayne Rooney attempted to name a race horse this and another one called "Norfolk in Chance" but the UK Jockey Club turned them down. Found by Graeme.

- A cross between a zebra and a horse is called a "zorse". Successfully smuggled.

- The Persian Emperor Xerxes the Great sentenced a river to death because it drowned his favourite horse. Successfully smuggled.

- A horse shampoo called "Lucky Kentucky" was considered so good on human hair that it sold over 900,000 bottles in Japan in 1997. Successfully smuggled.

Graeme Garden - Advertising

- "Always the bridesmaid, never the bride" was originally an advertising slogan invented by Listerine mouth wash in 1924. Found by Katherine.

- Elvis Costello's father sung "I'm a Secret Lemonade Drinker" for the advert for R. White's. Costello himself played drums and sung backing vocals. Found by Lloyd.

- A Surrey council had to apologise when it advertised a concert by the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra with thousands of fliers reading: "The only time you want to see 100 gypsies on your doorstep." Found by Henning.

- Bolton Job Centre banned a company from advertising for a "Friendly Catering Manager£ on the grounds that it would discriminate against unfriendly people. Found by Katherine.

- In 2002 a £1.5 million advertising campaign to waft the aroma of amaretto almond liqueur through the London Underground backfired when the day after the campaign started The Sun reported that the Underground was a terrorist target and to be weary of cyanide gas, which smells of bitter almonds. Successfully smuggled.

Lloyd Langford - Madonna

- Madonna advocated urinating in the shower to help with athlete's foot. Found by Henning.

- Madonna once has so many lovers that she requested that someone kept a list of them for her. Found by Katherine.

- Madonna suffers from brontophobia, the fear of thunder. Found by Graeme.

- Madonna was once romantically linked to John "Jellybean" Benitez, who produced some of her early music such as "Holiday". Successfully smuggled.

- Madonna claims she gets an overpowering sexual thrill from sticking her finger in her belly button. Successfully smuggled.


- Katherine Ryan: 6 points
- Graeme Garden: 1 point
- Lloyd Langford: -4 points
- Henning Wehn: -5 points

Broadcast details

Monday 29th April 2013
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Graeme Garden Guest
Henning Wehn Guest
Lloyd Langford Guest
Katherine Ryan Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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