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

The Unbelievable Truth

  • Radio panel show
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2006 - 2024
  • 183 episodes (30 series)

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


Episode menu

Series 18, Episode 1

David Mitchell is joined by John Finnemore, Henning Wehn, Lou Sanders and Miles Jupp as they lie on the subjects of sheep, islands, Steve Jobs and beans.

The Truths

John Finnemore - Sheep

- A sheep can remember a human face for up to two years. Found by Henning.

- Sheep are most likely to turn left in a maze. Found by Lou.

- One of Thomas Jefferson's White House sheep committed murder. President Jefferson had a very territorial Shetland ram on the White House lawn that was so aggressive that it attacked several people and killed a young boy. Successfully smuggled.

- During the Second World War the Canadians tried attacking uniformed sheep with poisoned darts. The sheep on a remote island near Quebec were used to test the darts. Successfully smuggled.

- In Madrid, thousands of sheep are released into the streets every year as part of an annual festival. Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Islands

- The Shetland Islands were pawned by the Scandinavians in 1469. King Christian I of Denmark was struggling to pay his daughter Margaret's dowry following her engagement to James III of Scotland in 1468, but as he was king of his people rather than his land he had no assets to sell apart from his personal interests in Orkney and Shetland. The islands could be purchased back for £5,090 of silver, which is now worth about £1,000,000. Found by Miles.

- Followers of Vanuatu's "Prince Philip Movement" believe that the Duke of Edinburgh is a god, descended from one of their spirit ancestors. Found by Miles.

- The Isle of Man was the first place in the world to give women the vote. It gave women the vote 37 years before it was given to women in the UK. Successfully smuggled.

- During the 19th century the natives of Vanuatu's Alofi Island were eaten by the people of the neighbouring Futuna Island, in one single raid. Successfully smuggled.

- St. Lucia has the greatest number of Nobel Prize winner's per head of population than any other nation. They have won two prizes from a population of 144,000. Successfully smuggled.

Lou Sanders - Steve Jobs

- When working at Atari, Jobs was moved to the night shift because his co-workers were put off by his poor hygiene. He rarely bathed and refused to wear shoes in the office. Found by Henning.

- When Jobs became CEO of Apple in 1997 he stopped all of the company's philanthropic programmes to save the near bankrupt company. It appears that the programmes were never reinstated, although his widow claims he donated large sums of charitable money privately. Found by John.

- Jobs denied he was father to his first child Lisa, saying that he was sterile, even after a DNA paternity test established him as the father. Successfully smuggled.

- Jobs would often stick his feet into the toilet to relieve stress. Successfully smuggled.

- After receiving a liver transplant in 2009, Jobs tore off his oxygen mask claiming he hated his design of it. He asked hospital staff to bring him five different designs for him to pick from. Successfully smuggled.

Miles Jupp - Beans

- Baked beans were invented by Native Americans, who cooked them in bear fat. Found by John.

- Heinz Baked Beans are scanned by a laser to check they are the right colour. Found by John.

- The poison used on the poison-tipped umbrella that killed Bulgarian dissident writer Geogri Markov was made using beans. The poison ricin is derived from the seeds of the castor oil planet, also known as castor beans. Found by John.

- Volkswagen tried to make their Scirocco sports coupe run on coffee beans. In 2010 the car, nicknamed the "car-ppuccino", was driven from London to Manchester doing a maximum speed of 50mph. The journey cost around £900 in coffee beans and the car needed to be refuelled every 60 miles. Found by Henning.

- The theme tune to Mr. Bean was sung by Labour MP Chuka Umunna. He was one of the choir boys of Southwark Cathedral, who sang the theme. Successfully smuggled.


- John Finnemore: 5 points
- Miles Jupp: -1 point
- Henning Wehn and Lou Sanders: -2 points

Broadcast details

Monday 3rd April 2017
BBC Radio 4

Cast & crew

David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Henning Wehn Guest
John Finnemore Guest
Miles Jupp Guest
Lou Sanders Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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