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 tomorrow at 9am.

Series 13, Episode 2

David Mitchell is joined by Lloyd Langford, Jon Richardson, Katherine Ryan and Graeme Garden as they lie on the subjects of whales, pigs, Canada and buses.

Further details

The Truths

Lloyd Langford - Whales

- The bar stools on Aristotle Onassis's yacht were upholstered with whale foreskins. It was reported he would jokingly tell ladies that they were sitting on the largest penis in the world, and talking to the second largest. Found by Graeme.

- There are whales alive today that were born before Moby Dick was written. The book was published in 1851, and bowhead whales can live for over 200 years. Found by Jon.

- The heart of a blue whale pumps just nine times a minute. Successfully smuggled.

- Prince Charles is the first heir to the throne to have ridden on the back of a killer whale, swimming on one called Winston in Windsor Safari Park in 1974. Successfully smuggled.

- In Italy, to wish someone good luck before an event they say: "In the arse of the whale." The correct reply is: "May he not fart on me." Successfully smuggled.

Katherine Ryan - Canada

- One in ten Canadians said they would back a law encouraging people to wear name tags. This was discovered following a campaign to make Vancouver a friendlier city. As a result 8th February is "Say Hi Vancouver Day" and the residents are encouraged to wear name tags and to know each other better. Found by Lloyd.

- Canada used to border Zimbabwe some 300 million years ago. Geological studies have shown that when the world was the single super-continent Pangea the two countries had the same rocks, and over millions of years the countries shifted due to tectonic plate movements. Found by Lloyd.

- The now defunct humorous political movement, the Canadian Rhinoceros Party, had policies including, "Promising higher education by building taller schools", "Nationalise all pay toilets", "Declare war on Belgium" and "A promise to keep none of its promises". Found by Lloyd.

- 12% of Canadians admit to having kicked a photocopier in frustration. Another 30% admit to have coming close to doing so but decided not to go through with it. Successfully smuggled.

Jon Richardson - Pigs

- In 2007, a pig in Croatia was born with six legs, two penises and two anuses. It was named "Octopig". Found by Graeme.

- 48 pigs were used to play the role of Babe in the film of the same name. An animatronic double was also used. Found by Lloyd.

- The German for "pigs in blankets" (sausages covered in bacon) translates as "sausage in a dressing gown". The Scots called them "kilted sausages". Found by Lloyd.

- Pigs can suffer from anorexia. Successfully smuggled.

- To celebrate the latest Chinese New Year of the Pig a set of sweet-and-sour pork flavoured stamps in China. When you scratch the image of a pig on the front you got the smell, and when you licked the back you got the taste. Successfully smuggled.

Graeme Garden - Buses

- In 2011, Preston Bus Station is listed as one of the world's "At Risk World Heritage Sites" because of its brutalist architecture. Found by Lloyd.

- Lewis Hamilton's grandfather worked as a bus driver. Davidson Hamilton was nicknamed "Slow Coach" for his careful, under 30mph driving of a school bus on the twisting roads of Grenada. Found by Katherine.

- Bus drivers in Sutton Coldfield have complained that pensioners make too much noise when they fall asleep on their buses. The noise of their snoring so loud it drowns out the sound of the engine. Found by Lloyd.

- You can drive a Routemaster bus with an ordinary driving licence so long as you do not carry too many passengers. You can carry 8 passengers with a standard licence. Successfully smuggled.

- Patient No. GB2060081 is for a bus powered by a horse on a conveyor-belt inside. Successfully smuggled.


- Lloyd Langford: 9 points
- Jon Richardson: 1 point
- Graeme Garden: 0 points
- Katherine Ryan: -2 points

Broadcast details

Monday 14th April 2014
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

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

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