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

The Unbelievable Truth

BBC Radio 4 panel show built on truth and lies. 153 episodes (pilot + 25 series), 2006 - 2021. Stars David Mitchell.

Another series is in development.

Series 11, Episode 5

David Mitchell is joined by Rhod Gilbert, Richard Osman, Lucy Beaumont and John Finnemore as they lie on the subjects of octopuses, planes, armadillos and socks.

Further details

The Truths

Richard Osman - The Octopus

- The correct plural of "octopus" is "octopodes", although "octopuses" is also used. Found by John.

- The male octopodes testicles are in the head. So are the stomach, heart, kidneys, ink sack, brain and anus. Found by John.

- Some octopodes use the spines of Portuguese man o' war as weapons and the halves of coconuts as shields. Found by John.

- An octopus can unscrew the lid off a jar. Found by Rhod.

- Octopodes have been known to eat themselves. They have been observed eating their own arms, most likely as a result of a neurological disorder. Successfully smuggled.

John Finnemore - Aeroplanes

- The Wright Brothers ran a bike shop before inventing the plane. Found by Richard.

- When the Wright Brothers argued, half-way through they would swap arguments by swapping each-others viewpoint to get construct the right answer. Found by Lucy.

- Lilian Bland built the first plane in Northern Ireland using a whisky bottle as a petrol tank and her aunt's ear trumpet to feed it. The plane was called the "Mayfly". Found by Richard.

- One rejected aeroplane design had 9 wings and 8 engines. It crashed on its first and only flight in 1921. Found by Richard.

- In 1930, Elsworth W. Bunce became the first man to milk a cow on a plane. Successfully smuggled.

Lucy Beaumont - Armadillos

- Armadillo shells have been used to make Peruvian mandolins, but this is now no longer the practice. Found by Rhod.

- If a male armadillo was scaled up to the size of a human it would have a four-foot long penis. Found by John.

- The screaming hairy armadillo spend so much of its time in a deep sleep that that not even being hit with a broom will wake it up. Found by Richard.

- The pink fairy armadillo looks like a furry prawn. Successfully smuggled.

- A third of all Americans who get leprosy catch it from armadillos. Successfully smuggled.

Rhod Gilbert - Socks

- People who wear socks in bed and having warmer feet have better sex. Found by John.

- Socks have been made out of cobwebs in the 17th by a Frenchman. Found by John.

- The Russian for "socks" is "nosóks". Found by John.

- The Ancient Greek word for "socks" was "sickos". They were only worn by women, so it was certain a Greek actor would get a laugh if he wore them on stage. Successfully smuggled.

- The word "sock" comes from the Latin "sockus", which comes from "sickos". Successfully smuggled.


- John Finnemore: 7 points
- Richard Osman: 1 point
- Lucy Beaumont: -1 point
- Rhod Gilbert: -2 points

Broadcast details

Monday 6th May 2013
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Rhod Gilbert Guest
John Finnemore Guest
Richard Osman Guest
Lucy Beaumont Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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