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 on Monday at 9am.

Series 12, Episode 4

David Mitchell is joined by Lloyd Langford, Lucy Porter, Tom Wrigglesworth and Fred MacAulay as they lie on the subjects of women, Japan, owls and potatoes.

Further details

The Truths

Lloyd Langford - Women

- The average English woman weights 70.2kg, the same as 183 domesticated male rats, 255 domesticated female rats, or 128 wild male rats. Found by Fred.

- A "buckle bunny" is a woman who goes to rodeos with the intention of having sex with a cowboy. Found by Lucy.

- According to research curvier women are more intelligent. In 2007 researchers at Pittsburgh and California Universities revealed that women with curvy figures are likely to be cleverer than skinny women, and may produce cleverer children. 1,600 women and girls were studied and the more voluptuous performed better at cognitive tests. Found by Tom.

- Monopoly was invented by a woman. Lizzie Phillips invented "The Landlord's Game" in 1903, a self-published board game intended to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies. Found by Fred.

- In the Middle Ages people believed that women should have their ears covered as it was the belief that God caused the conception of Jesus by speaking into the Virgin Mary's ear. Successfully smuggled.

Lucy Porter - Japan

- Japan is formed out of 6,852 islands, although only 420-430 islands are inhabited. An island is defined as: "an area of land more than 100 metres in circumference." Successfully smuggled.

- The Japanese believe that a clean toilet brings good fortune. Successfully smuggled.

- In Japan only 2% of adoptions of children. The other 98% are adult males, normally adopted into a family who want a clever, successful son to carry on the family name and business. Japan has the second highest adoption rate in the world. Successfully smuggled.

- In Japan robots sometimes pay union dues. Local agreements were brought in during the 1980s after union finances suffered due to humans being replaced with robots. The company pays a certain amount to the union per robot. Successfully smuggled.

- As of 2008 it is illegal to be overweight in Japan. Under the law companies and local governments must measure the waistlines of their employees between the ages of 40-74. Anyone found to exceed the maximum waistline measurement (33.5 inches for men, 34.5 inches for women) is told to lose weight. NEC, Japan's largest producer of PCs, said that if it failed to meet the weight reduction targets set for its staff it could be fined $19million. Successfully smuggled.

Tom Wrigglesworth - Owls

- The American rapper Eminem suffers from a fear of owls. Found by Lloyd.

- An owl's feathers weigh more than its bones. Found by Lucy.

- Owls have lop-sided ears. Many owls have one ear higher than the other to help pinpoint the exact location of their pray. Successfully smuggled.

- In Korea owls go "bunga bunga". Successfully smuggled.

Fred MacAulay - Potatoes

- There is no mention of potatoes in the Bible. As a result the Scottish clergy ban them. Found by Lloyd.

- Originally the English ate potatoes as pudding. One Elizabethan recipe for a potato pie states that the pie is made with boiled potatoes, sugar, butter, dates, almonds and candied oranges and lemons. Found by Lucy.

- The Duchess of Cambridge grows her own potatoes. Found by Lloyd.

- Potatoes can commit suicide. Scientists from the Max Planck Plant Breeding Institute in Cologne have genetically engineered potatoes that commit suicide if infected by disease, thus stopping the disease from spreading and reducing the need for pesticides. Successfully smuggled.

- The French aristocracy increased the popularity of potatoes in France by wearing potato blossoms in their hair. Up until the late 18th century most French people believed potatoes caused leprosy and syphilis. Successfully smuggled.


- Lucy Porter: 6 points
- Lloyd Langford: -1 point
- Fred MacAulay and Tom Wrigglesworth: -2 points

Broadcast details

Monday 20th January 2014
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Lucy Porter Guest
Fred MacAulay Guest
Tom Wrigglesworth Guest
Lloyd Langford Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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