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

The Unbelievable Truth

  • Radio panel show
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2006 - 2021
  • 159 episodes (26 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 19, Episode 1

David Mitchell is joined by Richard Osman, Arthur Smith, Lou Sanders and Phil Wang are the panellists obliged to talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as dolphins, cows, Arnold Schwarzenegger and students.

Further details

The Truths

Arthur Smith - Cows

- To stop their udders from freezing, Siberian cows wear bras made out of rabbit fur. Found by Richard.

- In Finland, cows go "ammu". Found by Richard.

- A cow produces 1,000 times more wind than the average human. Found by Richard.

- Cows go "moo" in nearly all languages. Successfully smuggled.

- D. H. Lawrence had a pet cow called Susan. Successfully smuggled.

Lou Sanders - Arnold Schwarzenegger

- Schwarzenegger's iconic line in Terminator 2 was originally: "I'll come back", rather than, "I'll be back", which has since been voted the 37th greatest movie quote of all time. Found by Richard.

- Schwarzenegger learned English using songs from The Sound of Music. When he moved to Forest Gate, London, aged 19 to train as a bodybuilder at a gym called the Muscle Mansion, he spoke no English. The gym's five year-old-son, Luke, came up with the idea of using the musical to teach him. Luke, now in his 50s, claims that no trousers fitted Schwarzenegger so Luke's mother made him some, and in exchange Schwarzenegger did the washing-up. Found by Arthur.

- Schwarzenegger has punched more animals in his films than any other actor. He has punched two camels, two dogs and one reindeer. He has also kicked a crocodile in a film. Successfully smuggled.

- Austrian Death Machine is a thrash metal band that only uses Schwarzenegger lines in their lyrics. Successfully smuggled.

Phil Wang - Students

- Spartan students had lessons in deception, stealing and killing. The main purpose of education in Sparta was to produce and maintain a powerful army. Spartan boys were trained to be soldiers from the age of six. Found by Richard.

- In 18th century Scotland, medical students could pay for their fees by donating corpses. The first body snatchers were medical students. Found by Lou.

- Dalhousie University, Canada, has a puppy room where students can relax by playing with puppies. Found by Arthur.

- In Uppsala University, Sweden, it's tradition that at 10pm every evening all the students to open their windows and start screaming. This is known as the "Flogsta Scream". Successfully smuggled.

- Studies show that doubling the number of engineering students in the USA would increase GDP by 0.5%, but the same rise in law students in the USA would decrease GDP by 0.3%. Successfully smuggled.

Richard Osman - Dolphins

- All dolphins washed up on British shores must be offered to the Queen. All the dolphins, sturgeons, whales and porpoises in the waters around the UK technically belong to her, in a rule in statute dating back to 1324. They are recognised as "fishes royal" and the crown may claim them. Found by Arthur.

- When polar bears eat dolphins, they sometimes freeze what they don't eat and have it later. Found by Arthur.

- Dolphins can't sneeze. Found by Arthur.

- Before making any big decisions, dolphins gather for a meeting in their pod. Found by Phil.

- The child of a dolphin and a killer whale is called a wholhpin. Successfully smuggled.


- Richard Osman: 6 points
- Arthur Smith: -1 point
- Phil Wang: -2 points
- Lou Sanders: -5 points

Broadcast details

Monday 2nd October 2017
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 8th October 2017 12:00pm Radio 4
Monday 9th October 2017 7:30am Radio 4 Extra
Monday 9th October 2017 5:30pm Radio 4 Extra
Monday 9th October 2017 10:00pm Radio 4 Extra
Tuesday 10th October 2017 5:30am Radio 4 Extra
Thursday 11th November 2021 9:00am Radio 4 Extra
Thursday 11th November 2021 4:00pm Radio 4 Extra
Friday 12th November 2021 4:00am Radio 4 Extra
Saturday 13th November 2021 12:00pm Radio 4 Extra

Cast & crew

David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Arthur Smith Guest
Richard Osman Guest
Lou Sanders Guest
Phil Wang Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Christine Rose Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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