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 15, Episode 4

Sarah Millican, Victoria Coren Mitchell, Holly Walsh and Katherine Ryan join David Mitchell to lie on the subjects of princesses, diets, sauce and paper.

Further details

The Truths

Victoria Coren Mitchell - Princesses

- Princess Alexandria of Bavaria walked everywhere sideways because she was under the delusion that as a child she swallowed a grand piano made of glass, and was worried it would shatter if she smashed into something. Found by Sarah.

- In the original fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, the princess did not kiss the frog in order to turn him back into a prince, but threw the frog against a wall, thus awakening the prince. Successfully smuggled.

- It was once popular fashion to limp, in imitation to the popular Alexandria of Denmark, Princess of Wales. Successfully smuggled.

- Princess Anne once had dreams of being a long-distance lorry driver. She holds an HGV driving licence. However, as Prince Philip once observed: "If it doesn't fart or eat hay, she isn't interested." Successfully smuggled.

- Princess Diana and Humphrey Bogart were cousins. They were seventh cousins, twice removed. Successfully smuggled.

Holly Walsh - Diets

- The US Postal Service once provided information about the calorific content of their stamps. Found by Katherine.

- The first diet pill, dating to 1893, contained thyroid extract. People lost weight, but only if they had a thyroid problem. Found by Victoria.

- Famous dieters included Horace Fletcher, the "Great Masticator", who insisted that each mouth should be chewed 32 times, once for each of the human teeth. Found by Sarah.

- Lord Byron was a devoted dieter. There was concern from doctors at the time about how much is dieting was having on the youth of the day. Successfully smuggled.

- Famous people who have been on the Atkins Diet include Al Gore. Successfully smuggled.

Katherine Ryan - Sauce

- The Mexicans like chocolate sauce on turkey. The sauce also contains chillies. Found by Katherine.

- 11% of people in Britain put gravy on chips. Found by Sarah.

- There was once an attempt in the USA to classify ketchup as a vegetable, so school menus could classify ketchup as one of their students five-a-day. Found by Holly.

- Creative Correction, an American book on rising children, suggested the use of "hot saucing" as a punishment for children, which involves putting hot chilli sauce on the tongues of badly behaved children. Found by Holly.

- When John Lea and William Perrins tried to make a spicy sauce the results were so disgusting they stored the unsuccessful brew in their cellar and forgot about for several years. After this period of time the mixture had matured into the condiment we know today as Lea & Perrins. Successfully smuggled.

Sarah Millican - Paper

- Elizabeth II uses black blotting paper so people cannot see what she has written and then crossed out. A man is tasked with replacing the blotting paper every day. Found by Victoria.

- Nathan Hicks of St. Louis, Missouri shot his brother Herbert dead because he used three rolls of toilet paper a day. Nathan was charged with second-degree murder. Found by Victoria.

- Paper can be made out of asparagus. It can also be made out of rhubarb, elephant dung or kangaroo dung. Successfully smuggled.

- Out of every five paper clips, only one will be used to clip paper. Successfully smuggled.

- It is illegal and you can go to prison in Malaysia for running a restaurant where you put out toilet paper instead of table napkins. Successfully smuggled.


- Victoria Coren Mitchell: 0 points
- Sarah Millican: -1 point
- Katherine Ryan: -2 points
- Holly Walsh: -4 points

Broadcast details

Monday 14th September 2015
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Holly Walsh Guest
Katherine Ryan Guest
Victoria Coren Mitchell Guest
Sarah Millican Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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