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 5

David Mitchell is joined by Lloyd Langford, David O'Doherty, Susan Calman and Josh Widdicombe as they lie on the subjects of fakes, holes, cats and Marie Antoinette.

Further details

The Truths

Lloyd Langford - Fakes

- Female brown trout fake orgasms to encourage males to ejaculate prematurely. Found by David.

- Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq the CIA debated whether or not to flood the country with a faked video depicting Saddam Hussein having sex with a teenage boy. They turned the idea down, but a video was made of Osama Bin Laden sitting with his followers around a campfire, getting drunk and talking about having sex with boys. The CIA decided not to release this video because to both camps neither act is seen as taboo. Found by Josh.

- There are more fake doctors working in India than real doctors. There are 40,000 fake doctors in Delhi alone. Found by Josh.

- Art forger Madame Claude Latour was so skilled that her forgeries of Maurice Utrillo's work even fooled Utrillo. Found by Josh.

- Silent movie star Harold Lloyd blew off part of his hand when he fooled around with a real bomb which he thought was a fake prop. He would wear flesh coloured prosthetic gloves to hide the injury. Successfully smuggled.

Josh Widdicombe - Holes

- Holes made by people making sandcastles are responsible for more deaths in the USA than sharks. Found by Lloyd.

- In Britain someone digs a hole in a road every 10.5 seconds. Found by Lloyd.

- The Very Hungry Caterpillar was inspired by a hole-punch. Author Eric Carle said the idea came to him when he was punching holes in paper. Originally the story was about a bookworm and was called A Week with Willy the Worm, but then his editor suggested the idea of a caterpillar. Found by Susan.

- You can tell the difference between a mouse and a rat because a mouse can fit in a hole the size of a pencil and a rat cannot. Found by Susan.

- The hole in donuts is widely believed to have been invented by a sea captain in order to thread them onto the spokes of the ship's wheel. Successfully smuggled.

Susan Calman - Cats

- Tom Cruise is allergic to cats. Other famous people allergic to cats include Bill Clinton, Sigourney Weaver, Billy Bob Thornton and George Clooney. Found by Lloyd.

- Cats have better memories than dogs. Dogs remember things for 5 minutes, but cats can remember things for 16 hours. Found by David.

- People with university degrees are more likely to have a pet cat. Successfully smuggled.

- In Hampshire a fierce cat once attacked seven postmen. Successfully smuggled.

- According to Muslim mythology cats came into existence after a lion on Noah's ark was made to sneeze by God and out came a cat. Reportedly Noah needed the cat because he was worried about the number of mice on the ark. Successfully smuggled.

David O'Doherty - Marie Antoinette

- Marie wore vegetables in her hair. She wore potato blossoms in her hair and thus helped to spread the idea of eating potatoes in France. Found by Susan.

- Marie was not permitted to reach anything herself. Found by Susan.

- The reason given by Louis XVI for not consummating his marriage to Marie for seven years was because of his tight foreskin. He was only able to consummate the marriage after being circumcised aged 22. Found by Josh.

- Marie's private flock of sheep was perfumed. Successfully smuggled.


- Josh Widdicombe: 3 points
- David O'Doherty: 1 point
- Susan Calman: 0 points
- Lloyd Langford: -3 points

Broadcast details

Monday 26th January 2015
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Susan Calman Guest
Lloyd Langford Guest
David O'Doherty Guest
Josh Widdicombe Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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