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 14, Episode 2

David Mitchell is joined by Ed Byrne, Henning Wehn, Holly Walsh and Richard Osman as they lie on the subjects of Ireland, rules, London and beavers.

Further details

The Truths

Ed Byrne - Ireland

- Jack Yeats (brother of W.B. Yeats) won the silver art medal the 1924 Paris Olympics for his painting "The Liffey Swim". It was Ireland's first ever Olympic medal. Found by Richard.

- Ireland beat Germany 3-1 in bicycle polo in the 1908 London Olympics. Found by Richard.

- St. Kevin was made a saint because he put up with the ghost of a woman he had murder. He also let a blackbird rest in his hand and look after its young. Found by Richard.

- According to Irish archives, Chieftain Cheese-Guzzler O'Rourke died after having too much sex. A woman was brought to him after O'Rourke was recovering in bed from being blinded by his enemies and he died soon afterwards. Found by Henning.

- The word "smashing", as in "great", comes from the Irish: "is maith sinn" meaning "it is good". Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Rules

- In the time of Catherine I of Russia, women got around the strict "no women drinking" rule by cross-dressing and going to transvestite balls. Found by Holly.

- In China it is illegal for public toilets to have more than two flies in them. Found by Richard.

- Regulations in horse racing state that the name of a race horse cannot be more than 18 letters long. This is due to before the use of the computers the names were displayed in a frame that could only hold a maximum of 18 letters. Other names are banned if they are considered vulgar. Found by Ed.

- When Lord Byron was at Cambridge University he was banned from keeping his pet dog. He got around this by keeping a pet bear which was not mentioned in the rules. Successfully smuggled.

- Thai police officers who break the law are forced to wear a sweet Hello Kitty armband as a humiliation punishment. Successfully smuggled.

Holly Walsh - London

- The Beatles song "Lovely Rita" was about a London traffic warden. Found by Ed.

- Bruce Forsyth was evacuated from London at the start of World War II and moved to Clacton, but three days later he returned home because he was homesick and did not like his new school. Found by Henning.

- The only time the ravens in the Tower of London left were during World War II. All but one was killed during the Blitz. Found by Richard.

- There is a 19th century time capsule under Cleopatra's Needle, which includes money, a rudimentary TFL planner and a dozen pictures of smoking hot bitches - to be precise a newspaper, a box of hairpins, a set of British currency, a railway timetable and 12 portraits of "the prettiest English ladies". Found by Ed.

- In 19th century London post had to be delivered up to a dozen times a day. Successfully smuggled.

Richard Osman - Beavers

- Early North American settlers would smoke minced beaver testicles. Found by Henning.

- Excretions from the mammary glands of Canadian and European beavers are used in the making of perfumes. Found by Holly.

- Beverley, North Yorkshire, is believed to get its name from Beaver Lake. Found by Ed.

- Queen Elizabeth II once received a pair of black beavers as a present from Canada. Found by Henning.

- There is a beaver dam in Canada which is visible from space. Successfully smuggled.


- Ed Byrne and Richard Osman: 0 points
- Henning Wehn: -1 point
- Holly Walsh: -5 points

Broadcast details

Monday 5th January 2015
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Ed Byrne Guest
Henning Wehn Guest
Holly Walsh Guest
Richard Osman Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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