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 18, Episode 6 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra on Monday at 9am.

Series 18, Episode 3

David Mitchell is joined by David O'Doherty, Richard Osman, Zoe Lyons and Marcus Brigstocke as they lie on the subjects of bicycles, wine, trees and chocolate.

Further details

The Truths

David O'Doherty - Bicycles

- Modern physics cannot explain how a bicycle stays upright when travelling. Found by Marcus.

- Between 1888 and 1930 the law stated that cyclists had to ring their bell constantly while travelling as a safety measure. Found by Marcus.

- Bill Clinton did not learn how to ride a bicycle without training wheels until he was 22. Found by Richard.

- There are 100,000 more bicycles than people in Amsterdam. Found by Zoe.

- Victorian doctors believed there was a condition called "bicycle face", a condition especially afflicting women resulting in a hard-clenched jaw and bulging eyes caused by cycling too fast. Successfully smuggled.

Marcus Brigstocke - Wine

- Workers in French vineyards must scrape the soil off their boots in case removing it from the vineyard spoils the next batch. Found by Richard.

- A study by the University of Bristol has shown that people are more attractive after having a single glass of wine. Found by David.

- Most wines do not improve with age. Found by Richard.

- James I of England / James VI of Scotland gave his pet elephant a gallon of wine a day. The elephant cost £275 and 12 shillings a year to maintain, which today would cost £750,000. Found by David.

- A woman in China was once bitten by a snake that had been picked for three months in her medicinal rice wine. Found by David.

Zoe Lyons - Trees

- Moose rub their antlers on trees as a form of aphrodisiac. Found by Richard.

- Trees sleep at night, by relaxing their branches. Found by Marcus.

- It is so cold in Siberia that trees can shatter like glass. Found by David.

- One in six primary school children think that broccoli are tiny trees. Found by Richard.

- Ten trees were needed to make the paper to print the 2013 report on the environmental impact of the HS2 rail scheme. It consisted of 50,000 pages and weighed more than half-a-tonne. Found by Marcus.

Richard Osman - Chocolate

- Eating 40 bars of Cadbury's Dairy Milk would kill you. The lethal dose of chocolate for a human is 22lb, because it contains the chemical theobromine. This amount is enough to kill a child. The lethal amount for an adult would be around 100 bars. Found by David.

- Injecting yourself with lizard saliva will help you give up chocolate. Found by Marcus.

- In the Philippines, a chocolate pudding consists of a stew of pigs organs in pigs blood gravy, making it their version of British black pudding. Found by Zoe.

- The Nazis tried to kill Winston Churchill with a chocolate bomb. Successfully smuggled.

- Colin Farrell used to keep Smarties under his pillow in the hope of bringing Marilyn Monroe back from the dead during the night. Successfully smuggled.


- Richard Osman: 1 point
- David O'Doherty: -2 points
- Marcus Brigstocke: -4 points
- Zoe Lyons: -5 points

Broadcast details

Monday 17th April 2017
BBC Radio 4

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Marcus Brigstocke Guest
Richard Osman Guest
David O'Doherty Guest
Zoe Lyons Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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