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 4

David O'Doherty, Richard Osman, Zoe Lyons and Marcus Brigstocke are the panellists obliged to talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as colour, vegetables, pizza and carpets.

Further details

The Truths

David O'Doherty - Colour

- A side effect of Viagra is to make the person consuming it temporary colour blind, giving things a blue tint by over-sensitising the rod cells of the retina. Found by Richard.

- Guinness is not black, but very dark red. Found by Marcus.

- Chameleons don't change colour to match their background, but as a result of different emotional states. Some go yellow with rage and grey when depressed. Found by Marcus.

- Carrots were not originally orange. They were bred to be orange by Dutch royalists in the 16th century in honour of the House of Orange. Before that carrots were black, green, white, red and purple. Found by Marcus.

- You don't hear much about 16th century fabric shades such as puke, goose turd, dead Spaniard or dying monkey these days. Puke was dirty brown; goose turd was yellowish-green; dead Spaniard was pale greyish-tan. No records state what the extra colour of dying monkey was. Successfully smuggled.

Marcus Brigstocke - Vegetables

- Brussel sprouts contain a small amount of cyanide in them. This is what makes them taste bitter. Found by Richard.

- Cauliflowers grow so quickly that you can hear them sprouting. Found by Zoe.

- The biggest cauliflower ever grown weighted over 48lbs. It weighed 60lb 9.3oz. Found by David. Accidentally included by Marcus.

- In Ancient Greece the punishment for adultery was to have a horseradish rammed up your anus. Found by Zoe.

- If you grow romaine lettuce in space it tastes like rocket. Successfully smuggled.

- McDonald's tried to launch new flavours of veg including bubblegum broccoli, but it never went on sale as children were confused by the taste. Successfully smuggled.

Zoe Lyons - Pizza

- A group of hackers, led by a 15-year-old known as Cosmo the God, took down the Papa John's website because their pizza delivery was late. Found by Marcus.

- In 2011, the US Congress passed legislation that because of the tomato paste, pizza counts as a vegetable and thus can be served in schools as it counts as one of your standard vegetable portion. Found by Marcus.

- Donald Trump and Mikhail Gorbachev have both appeared in adverts for Pizza Hut. Trump and his appeared in a 1995 advert for a stuffed crust pizza, while Gorbachev did an advert in 1998 which shows people praising him for being Pizza Hut to Russia. Found by Marcus.

- If you want to smell like a fast food outlet you can wear the perfume Eau de Pizza Hut. It was launched in Canada in 2012 and the USA in 2013 as part of a Valentine's Day campaign. Successfully smuggled.

- Cambodian Happy Pizza is topped with marijuana. Marijuana is illegal in the country but offences and not a priority for the police. Successfully smuggled.[/notes]

Richard Osman - Carpets

- There is a carpet shark which looks like a carpet. [note]Found by Marcus.

- Genghis Khan, upon discovering that someone he was about to execute was a childhood friend changed the sentence, and had him rolled up in a carpet and beaten to death instead. This was the Mongol method of executing nobles so that no blood was spilled. Found by Zoe.

- There is a carpet shop in Dublin called "Lino Ritchie". Found by David.

- Adolf Hitler worked as a carpet beater. After twice being rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, he lived off an orphan's pension and made whatever little money he could from odd jobs. Successfully smuggled.

- Some early public phone boxes had wall-to-wall carpeting. Successfully smuggled.


- Marcus Brigstocke: 4 points
- Richard Osman: 1 point
- Zoe Lyons: 0 points
- David O'Doherty: -2 points

Broadcast details

Monday 24th 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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