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 19, Episode 4

David Mitchell is joined by Lloyd Langford, Henning Wehn, Ellie Taylor and John Finnemore as they lie on the subjects of boxing, snails, bras and parents.

Further details

The Truths

Lloyd Langford - Boxing

- Willie Pep claimed to be the only boxer to have won a match without landing a single punch. He claimed he won a fight with Jackie Graves in 1946 this way, dazzling the judges with his defensive skills. Found by John.

- In the Ancient Greek Olympics, you were allowed to kill your opponent in the boxing matches, but the killed man automatically won the fight. Found by Henning.

- One famous ex-boxer was Billy Joel. He was a champion amateur boxer in his youth, but he took up music after an injury to his nose halted his boxing career. Successfully smuggled.

- A "mouse" is a boxing term for a protruding bruise on a boxer's head. Successfully smuggled.

- Muhammad Ali claimed to have seen 16 UFOs. Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Snails

- Snails have their reproductive organs in the right-side of their heads. Found by Lloyd.

- Prozac and other anti-depressants makes snails less sticky. Found by Ellie.

- Fanta Orange was invented by the Nazis. Found by John. Accidentally included by Henning.

- The giant triton snail bullies starfish and then eats them. Found by Lloyd.

- Judi Dench first appeared on stage as a snail, when she was five. Found by John.

- Snails can sleep for six years, especially snails living in hot, dry climates. Successfully smuggled.

Ellie Taylor - Bras

- There is a bra that has been designed to broken up and be used as two separate gas masks. The "Emergency Bra" retails at $29.99. Found by Lloyd.

- Neil Armstrong's spacesuit was designed by a bra manufacturer. It was made by the International Latex Corporation, manufacturers of the Playtex Bra. They defeated two other open rival bids. The rival suits included one that was too big and another where the helmet exploded. Found by John.

- In the Middle Ages, a bra was known as a "breast bag". Successfully smuggled.

- Mark Twain invented the bra strap clasp. In 1871, Twain, under his real name Samuel L. Clemens, invented and patiented, "an elastic strap with clasp", with would be useful on all kinds of clothes requiring straps, but it only took off on bras. Successfully smuggled.

- There is a bra that tightens its own straps when the wearer needs more support. Scientists at the University of Wollongong, Australia, created the "smart bra", which is made out of intelligent fabric that changes properties relating to breast motion and thus give better support. Successfully smuggled.

John Finnemore - Parents

- In Belgium, the king will offer to be the godfather of the seventh consecutive son in a Belgian family. No girls must interrupt the lineage. This came into being after an old law was brought in to encourage more sons due to a high death rate. Found by Lloyd.

- John F. Kennedy had to instruct his mother not to contact Nikita Khrushchev without asking his permission first. Found by Henning.

- Male ants have no fathers. Neither do male bees or male wasps. That is because the males develop from unfertilised eggs. Female ant eggs have to be fertilised by a father ant. Found by Ellie.

- It is illegal in Iceland for parents to threaten their children with fictional characters. This dates back to an 18th century royal decree about religious practice and domestic discipline. Successfully smuggled.

- Karl Marx's mother once said to him: "I wish you would make some capital instead of just writing about it." Successfully smuggled.


- Ellie Taylor: 1 point
- Lloyd Langford: 0 points
- John Finnemore: -2 points
- Henning Wehn: -3 points

Broadcast details

Monday 23rd October 2017
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Henning Wehn Guest
John Finnemore Guest
Lloyd Langford Guest
Ellie Taylor Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Christine Rose Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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