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 6

David Mitchell is joined by Ed Byrne, Mark Watson, Tony Hawks and Lucy Porter as they lie on the subjects of lions, pianos, grass and the French.

Further details

The Truths

Ed Byrne - The French

- In France it is legal to marry a dead person, provided you can prove the marriage was going to take place before the death. Found by Mark.

- During the first 20 years of the 17th century around 8,000 French aristocrats were killed in duels. Found by Lucy.

- Charles de Gaulle once said: "How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?" Found by Lucy.

- Frenchman Michel Lotito is famous for eating unusual things. He has eaten 18 bicycles, 17 TV sets, 15 supermarket trollies, 6 chandeliers, 2 beds, a pair of skis, and a Cessna light aircraft. Found by Lucy.

- During the French Revolution, the kings, queens and jacks were removed from all decks of playing cards. Successfully smuggled.

Mark Watson - Lions

- An ostrich can kill a lion with a single kick. Found by Ed.

- Lions were hunted for their testicles which were once considered to increase sexual potency. Found by Ed.

- The rapper Snoop Dog has changed his name to Snoop Lion. Found by Ed.

- A lion's life expectancy is lower than that of a zebra. Lions have an average life expectancy of 10 year, while for zebras it is 25. Successfully smuggled.

- A giraffe can kick of a lion's head. Successfully smuggled.

Lucy Porter - Grass

- The tailor bird stitches its nest together using blades of grass. Found by Tony.

- The word "aftermath" comes from the word meaning to mow the lawn. Found by Mark.

- It was once considered unlucky to wear a green wedding dress, because it was thought that the colour resembled that of the green grass the bride was in when she made love to a rival lover. Found by Tony.

- About 70% of all water in American households is used to water lawns. Successfully smuggled.

- There is a Japanese grass fertiliser called "Green Piles". Other unfortunate Japanese product names include the soft drink "Mew-cos", a baby cleanser called "Skina Baby", paper tissues called "Last Climax", and a beef jerky called "Homosausage". Successfully smuggled.

Tony Hawks - The Piano

- Mozart wrote a piano piece which required the musician to play with their nose. Found by Lucy.

- Bach's grandson wrote a concerto which involved six hands playing on a single piano. A large male player would sit in the middle between two small female players, and the male who reach around his fellow players to play the extreme keys. Found by Ed.

- Princess Alexandria of Bavaria was convinced that as a child she swallowed a full sized grand piano made of glass. She would walk sideways down corridors and doorways for fear of getting stuck. Found by Mark.

- "Lately, I've been staring in the mirror" is a lyric by Stevie Wonder. Found by Lucy.

- It is most likely that Tony has been staring in a mirror. Found by Ed. Accidentally included by Tony.

- Louis XI of France invented a "pig piano" in which pigs of differing sizes were pricked with little spikes to make them cry in different notes. Successfully smuggled.


- Lucy Porter: 4 points
- Mark Watson: 2 points
- Tony Hawks: -3 points
- Ed Byrne: -4 points

Broadcast details

Monday 13th May 2013
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Tony Hawks Guest
Lucy Porter Guest
Ed Byrne Guest
Mark Watson Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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