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

The Unbelievable Truth

BBC Radio 4 panel show built on truth and lies. 159 episodes (pilot + 26 series), 2006 - 2021. Stars David Mitchell.

Another series is in development.
Recording at Shaw Theatre. Tickets

Series 17, Episode 5

John Finnemore, Frankie Boyle, Jeremy Hardy and Lucy Porter are the panellists obliged to talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as Donald Trump, musicals, weddings and Oxbridge.

Further details

The Truths

John Finnemore - Donald Trump

- At the time of recording Donald J. Trump is the Republican Party candidate for the next president of the United States of America. Found by Frankie.

- Four of Trump's casino chains have had to file for corporate bankruptcy. These were in 1991 for the Trump Taj Mahal, in 1992 for the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, in 2005 for Trump Hotel and Casino Resorts, and in 2009 for Trump Entertainment Resorts. Other failed Trump ventures include Trump Stakes (which delivered meat by post), Trump Ice bottled water, Trump Vodka, Trump: The Game, a travel search engine called "Go Trump", a Long Island Restaurant called "Trump on the Ocean", Trump University, Trump Magazine and Tour de Trump (a plan to bring the Tour de France to the USA). Found by Lucy.

- Trump punched his music teacher in the face. In his 1987 book The Art of the Deal he wrote: "In the second grade I actually gave a teacher a black eye. I punched my music teacher because I didn't think he knew anything about music and I almost got expelled." The teacher in question, Charles Walker, died in 2015, but lived to learn of Trump was considering running for president. Walker told his family by his deathbed: "When that kid was 10, even then he was a little shit." Successfully smuggled.

- Trump is an award-winning Hollywood actor. In 1991, he won "Worst Supporting Actor" at the Golden Raspberries / Razzies for his cameo appearance as himself in Ghosts Can't Do It. Successfully smuggled.

- In 2007 Trump wrestled another billionaire to the ground, tied him to a chair and forcibly shaved his head. The other billionaire was Vince McMahon, owner of World Wrestling Entertainment in a pay-per-view match billed as: "The Battle of the Billionaires". Successfully smuggled.

Jeremy Hardy - Musicals

- In Germany, references to the Nazis in The Sound of Music were originally removed. While they were later restored, the film was never popular in Germany at remains largely unknown there today. Found by John.

- In Mexico, The Sound of Music is known as Rebel Novice Nun. In Hong Kong, it is known as Fairy Music Blow Fragrant Place, Place Here. Found by Lucy.

- Under Chairman Mao, The Sound of Music was banned in China as it was considered: "Capitalist pornography." Successfully smuggled.

- In Mexico, Grease is known as Vaselina. Successfully smuggled.

- In Salzburg, a cable channel plays The Sound of Music all day every day. Successfully smuggled.

Lucy Porter - Weddings

- Attila the Hun got a nosebleed on his wedding night which killed him. Found by John.

- In the 19th century a common present for the bride was to have all of her teeth removed to save on expensive dentistry bills later in life. This was commonplace until the 1940s. Found by Jeremy.

- The longest wedding train was three miles in length. In 2014, Chinese bride Jing Mei's train had to be carried by 40 bridesmaids. She said: "At least that's good news for my friends and relatives, because I don't have to choose: everyone can be a bridesmaid." Found by Jeremy.

- A French bride once stabbed her husband with the knife they just used to cut their wedding cake. Found by Frankie.

- Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII, picked out her wedding dress on the day her predecessor Anne Boleyn was executed. Successfully smuggled.

Frankie Boyle - Oxbridge

- Women called "Eleanor" are 100 times more likely to get into Oxford University than women called "Jade". There are three times as many Eleanors in Oxford than we might expect given the frequency of the first name among girls in general population. Conversely there is less than a 30th of the expected number of Jades, an even smaller proportion of Pages and Shannons. Found by Lucy.

- Oxford's Bodleian Library got its first book in Chinese in 1604, but no-one could read the book for over 200 years as no-one at Oxford could speak the language. Found by Jeremy.

- Lord Byron kept a pet bear at Cambridge University. He did this because Trinity College forbade keeping dogs, but there were no rules on bears. Found by John.

- In the 1950s, to allow the babies of students at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, to enter the premise, they were redefined as cats. Found by John.

- Oxford University was over 300 years old when the Aztec Empire was founded. Oxford began in 1096 and the Aztecs began in 1428. Successfully smuggled.


- John Finnemore: 3 points
- Frankie Boyle: 2 points
- Lucy Porter: 0 points
- Jeremy Hardy: -1 point

Broadcast details

Monday 31st October 2016
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Jeremy Hardy Guest
Frankie Boyle Guest
Lucy Porter Guest
John Finnemore Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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