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.

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Series 16, Episode 5

David Mitchell is joined by Henning Wehn, Jon Richardson, Susan Calman and Jack Dee as they lie on the subjects of the British aristocracy, funerals, nudity and rubber.

Further details

The Truths

Jon Richardson - Funerals

- In Ancient Rome a jester was hired to walk behind the coffin at funerals, doing impressions of the deceased to lighten the mood. Found by Susan.

- The USA has had drive-in funeral parlours, since the creation of Thornton's Mortuary in Atlanta, Georgia, which opened in 1968. ]note]Found by Susan.[/note]

- If someone supposedly came back from the dead in medieval times, that person was not allowed to have sex or eat meat. Found by Susan.

- In Florida you can have an environmentally-friendly funeral in which your body is reduced to liquid and you can be sprinkled on a memorial garden, or put back into the sewage system. Found by Susan.

- A company in Milton Keynes released butterflies during funerals to lighten the mood. Found by Jack.

Henning Wehn - The British Aristocracy

- One of the first package holidays was thanks to the Duke of Rutland. Thomas Cook gave members of the Temperance movement a trip Belvoir Castle, the Duke's residence. Found by Susan.

- Cross-country running was pioneered by aristocrats in order to bet on the outcome of servants running across their vast estates. Found by Jack.

- The term "aristocracy" is derived from the Greek meaning: "rule of the best". Found by Jon.

- Lord Baltimore, governor of Maryland, ruled for 42 years, despite never setting foot in America. Found by Jack.

- Lord Cornbury, governor of New York, liked to dress up in women's clothing, and hiding behind trees to pounce on people. Successfully smuggled.

Susan Calman - Nudity

- Enid Blyton used to have all-day naked tennis parties, with Blyton herself naked too. Found by Jon.

- In the USA there is a patent for boots with pockets in them to be worn by nudists. Found by Jon.

- Gerry Adams likes jumping on a trampoline in the nude with his dog. Successfully smuggled.

- Charles Richter, inventor of the Richter scale, was a keen nudist and visited nudist camps. He may have been one when the Richter scale was first introduced in 1939. Successfully smuggled.

- Women in 18th century England who remarried but did not want to pass over the debts from their previous marriage wedded in the nude. This symbolised they did not bring any debts to their new marriage. Successfully smuggled.

Jack Dee - Rubber

- Elizabeth II has a rubber duck that wears a crown. Found by Henning.

- Rubber fetishists or "rubberists" as they are also known, claim that the smell of Wellington boots is an aphrodisiac, and it is now available as a scent. Found by Susan.

- The Bosco Company of Ohio created an inflatable car driver to place on the seat of your car to deter car thieves. Found by Susan.

- Pamela Anderson was known as "Rubber Band" at school because she was so athletic. Successfully smuggled.

- There is a book called A Toddler's Guide to the Rubber Industry, released in 1947. Successfully smuggled.


- Susan Calman: 6 points
- Jon Richardson: 3 points
- Jack Dee: 2 points
- Henning Wehn: -2 points

Broadcast details

Monday 2nd May 2016
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Jack Dee Guest
Henning Wehn Guest
Susan Calman Guest
Jon Richardson Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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