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 17, Episode 2

David Mitchell is joined by Henning Wehn, Rich Hall, Lloyd Langford and Holly Walsh as they lie on the subjects of Tom Cruise, basketball, wood and McDonald's.

Further details

The Truths

Holly Walsh - Tom Cruise

- In Japan, 6th October is National Tom Cruise Day. The Japan Memorial Day Association say that the star's association with and love for all of Japan was behind the move. Found by Henning.

- Cruise once invited Will Smith and Jade Pinkett Smith to his mansion just so they could play hide and seek. Found by Lloyd.

- Cruise's wedding kiss with Katie Holmes lasted over three minutes. Found by Lloyd.

- Cruise is as tall as the wingspan of a golden capped fruit bat - 5ft, 7in. Successfully smuggled.

- Cruise has his own stunt plane on standby whenever he is on location, which he uses to relax. Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Basketball

- Basketball was originally called "indoor rugby". Inventor Dr. James Naismith created as an alternative to actual indoor rugby, but in the early days of the sport there were few rules, especially concerning no contact and no running with the ball, so it was considered another form of indoor rugby despite his efforts. Found by Lloyd.

- Maccabi Tel Aviv is an actual basketball team, having won six European titles and runner-up nine times, despite not being in Europe. Found by Rich.

- It was not until 28 years after the game was invented that someone cut the bottom out of the basket. Originally peach baskets were used and someone had to climb up to the basket to get the ball. Later, a small hole was cut out and stick was poked through the bottom of the basket to get the ball out. The purpose of the backboard was to prevent spectators from knocking the ball out of the way to stop scores by the opposition. Found by Lloyd.

- Scientists in Helsinki managed to get two teams of rats to play basketball in 1995. Found by Rich.

- A reason why rats can't play in the MBA is because they are too small. Found by Holly. Accidentally included by Henning.

- As mice constantly urinate, they wouldn't be able to play basketball because they would break the "no liquid on the court" rule. Successfully smuggled.

Rich Hall - Wood

- On average 99% of a tree is dead. Found by Lloyd.

- The Chinese import wooden chopsticks from the USA due a shortage in the country. Found by Henning.

- In Victorian Britain the rich used mahogany or walnut toilet seats while the poor used untreated white pine. Found by Holly.

- What makes a 1998 limited edition Joan Baez 0-45 Martin guitar collectable is if you look under the soundboard you will see the inscription: "Too bad you're a communist" scrolled on the wood. This guitar is a replica of an original 0-45 Martin guitar in Baez purchased in 1959, and the company spotted the message when taking measurements. The original message is most likely to have been written by someone who was servicing the original guitar. Successfully smuggled.

- Animal parts such as woodpecker scalps were used as currency by the Yurok Native Americans in California. Successfully smuggled.

Lloyd Langford - McDonald's

- McDonald's is the world's largest distributor of toys due to their Happy Meals. Found by Holly.

- In Japan, Ronald McDonald is called "Donald McDonald" because it is easier to pronounced. Found by Henning.

- Elizabeth II owns a branch of McDonald's. It is a drive-thru McDonald's that is part of a retail park in Slough, which is on land that she owns. Found by Holly.

- Sweden has a ski-thru McDonald's. Found by Holly.

- McDonald's call people who eat a lot of their food "heavy users". Successfully smuggled.


- Holly Walsh: 3 points
- Lloyd Langford: 2 points
- Rich Hall: 0 points
- Henning Wehn: -4 points

Broadcast details

Monday 10th October 2016
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Henning Wehn Guest
Lloyd Langford Guest
Holly Walsh Guest
Rich Hall Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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