The Unbelievable Truth. David Mitchell. Copyright: BBC / Random Entertainment
The Unbelievable Truth

The Unbelievable Truth

  • Radio panel show
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2006 - 2022
  • 171 episodes (28 series)

David Mitchell hosts this Radio 4 panel game built on truth and lies. Contestants must try and smuggle truths into lie-filled speeches.

  • Due to return for Series 29

Episode menu

Series 14, Episode 6

David Mitchell is joined by Arthur Smith, Sarah Millican, Sandi Toksvig and Graeme Garden as they lie on the subjects of fat, smells, shopping and gardens.

The Truths

Arthur Smith - Fat

- American Jon Brower Minnoch, who weighed 100 stone, once put on 14 stone in a single week. When Minnoch fell ill it took 12 firemen to get him out of his house, 13 nurses to turn him over in bed, and two beds had to be strapped together for him to lie on in hospital. Found by Sarah.

- In 2010 the US Coastguard had to lower the number of people allowed on ships because people were becoming heavier. Found by Sandi.

- Tibetans keep themselves warm by rubbing themselves in rancid yak fat. Found by Sandi.

- Danish artist Marco Evaristti held a dinner in which one of the courses was pasta with meatballs made with his own fat. Some of the meatballs were canned, with a can of 10 meatballs selling for $4,000. Successfully smuggled.

- The holder of the Guinness World Record the for the world's fattest woman, Pauline Potter, lost 100lbs by having sex seven times a day. Successfully smuggled.

Sarah Millican - Smells

- The larvae of a goat moth smells like a goat. Found by Graeme.

- The 2008 body-spray "Flame" by Burger King offered: "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat." It retailed at £3.99. In comparison Chanel No. 5 retails at over £80. Found by Graeme.

- The turpentine mango smells like turpentine. Successfully smuggled.

- Gerbils can smell adrenaline and were once used in airport security. In the 1970s MI5 planned to use gerbils, but the plan was dropped because the gerbils could not tell the difference between terrorists and people who were just nervous of flying. Successfully smuggled.

- In 2003 at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, a strange smelling suitcase found to contain 2,000 baboons noses. Successfully smuggled.

Sandi Toksvig - Shopping

- There is a carpet shop in Dublin called "Lino Ritchie". Today they are one of Ireland's leading carpet and flooring retailers. Found by Sarah.

- In June 2014 a Malaysian man spent £100 online for a penis enlarger. What he received was a £5 magnifying glass. Found by Sarah.

- Cheese is the most frequently shoplifted food item in the world. Successfully smuggled.

- There is a printer-ink refill shop near Leeds called "Alan Cartridge". Successfully smuggled.

- Research shows that people in supermarkets are using the contents of other people's shopping trollies as a way of assessing their future romantic partners. Brussel sprouts signal: "I'm down-to-earth and enjoy a stable lifestyle." Fish fingers signal: "I'm unadventurous between the sheets." Tinned soup signals: "Too many nights alone. Tendency to be a bore." Successfully smuggled.

Graeme Garden - Gardens

- Vegetarian spiritualist Sir Charles Isham introduced garden gnomes to Britain in 1847 as he believed that they would help attract real gnomes to his garden in Lamport Hall, Northamptonshire. His daughters hated the gnomes, disposing them after Isham's death, but one survived. It is known as Lampy, is believed to the oldest garden gnome in the world, and is insured for £1,000,000. Found by Sandi.

- Mad King Otto of Bavaria liked shooting peasants in his garden. After a few near misses it was decided by his servants to load his pistol with blanks, and then a servant dressed up as a peasant would fall down upon hearing the gun firing. There is debate about whether the King knew it was a façade or if he really was killing his subjects. Found by Arthur.

- In East Anglia one-in-three women prefer gardening to sex. Found by Sandi.

- Early botanists agree with the Quran which says that the forbidden fruit most likely to have been grown in the Garden of Eden was a banana. Successfully smuggled.

- During the Second World War the US government bribed Hitler's personal gardener to smuggle oestrogen into his food to make Hitler's moustache fall off. Successfully smuggled.


- Sarah Millican: 4 points
- Graeme Garden: 1 point
- Sandi Toksvig: -2 points
- Arthur Smith: -6 points

Broadcast details

Monday 2nd February 2015
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 8th February 2015 12:00pm Radio 4
Monday 9th February 2015 7:30am Radio 4 Extra
Monday 9th February 2015 10:00pm Radio 4 Extra
Monday 9th September 2019 9:00am Radio 4 Extra
Monday 9th September 2019 4:00pm Radio 4 Extra
Tuesday 10th September 2019 4:00am Radio 4 Extra

Cast & crew

David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Graeme Garden Guest
Sandi Toksvig Guest
Arthur Smith Guest
Sarah Millican Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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