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 19, Episode 6

Mark Steel, Holly Walsh, Tony Hawks and Fred MacAulay are the panellists obliged to talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as doughnuts, jellyfish, twitter and Star Wars.

Further details

The Truths

Tony Hawks - Doughnuts

- The French used to call their doughnuts "nun's farts". These doughnuts are traditionally made out of choux pastry. Found by Holly.

- Dunkin' Donuts sell glazed garlic flavour donuts in South Korea. Found by Mark.

- There is a donut shop in Michigan run by policemen called "Cops and Donuts". A 100-year-old donut shop in Clare was saved from closing by nine members of the local police department. Found by Holly.

- Madonna was sacked from her job at Dunkin' Donuts on her first day for squirting a customer with jam. Successfully smuggled.

- The "doughnicorn" is a doughnut with a horn. Successfully smuggled.

Holly Walsh - Jellyfish

- Some jellyfish, like the box jellyfish, have 60 anuses. Found by Tony.

- There is an immortal jellyfish that can live forever. It can't die of old age, as it ages backwards after sexual maturity, going through reverse puberty, so it can start the cycle again. Successfully smuggled.

- There is a jellyfish whose sting gives you a sense of foreboding. The irukandji jellyfish found in Queensland can make its victims feel a sense of impending doom, perhaps due to excessive adrenalin. Symptoms range from a mild headache to death. Successfully smuggled.

- The Portuguese man o' war is not a jellyfish, but lots of tiny creatures all bunched together. It is a siphonophore, an animal made out of a colony of organisms working together. Successfully smuggled.

- Jellyfish have been used as nappies. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a material that is several times more absorbent than commercial paper towels, and is completely biodegradable. Successfully smuggled.

Mark Steel - Twitter

- Most of the users on Twitter are not humans. 35% are humans, but most are spammers and fake accounts. Found by Holly.

- Withdrawing Twitter from dedicated users has the same effect on the brain as withdrawing cocaine from addicts. Found by Tony.

- The first recorded use of the word "twitter" was by Geoffrey Chaucer. Successfully smuggled.

- The Twitter account for Frosties mascot Tony the Tiger had to post a message asking people to stopped sending the account animal porn. Successfully smuggled.

- Sweden allows a different citizen to run the country's official Twitter account every day, with the aim of better representing the country as a whole. Successfully smuggled.

Fred MacAulay - Star Wars

- R2-D2 originally had normal dialogue, in order to give C-3PO something to react to. Found by Holly.

- Liam Neeson's communicator in The Phantom Menace is modelled on the Gilette Sensor Excel Razor for Women. Successfully smuggled.

- In all of the Star Wars films, Alec Guinness never says: "May the Force be with you." The closest he came was: "The Force will be with you." Guinness hated the films despite them making him a fortune. He claimed to throw away all fan mail that was related to the movies without opening it, and encouraged George Lucas to kill him off in the first film. He once said: "I just couldn't go on speaking those bloody awful banal lines. I had enough of the mumbo jumbo." Successfully smuggled.

- The word "ewok" is never said in any of the Star Wars movies. Successfully smuggled.

- After seeing Star Wars truck driver James Cameron quit his job and then directed The Terminator. Successfully smuggled.


- Holly Walsh: 2 points
- Fred MacAulay: 1 point
- Mark Steel: 0 points
- Tony Hawks: -2 points

Broadcast details

Monday 6th November 2017
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Tony Hawks Guest
Fred MacAulay Guest
Holly Walsh Guest
Mark Steel Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Christine Rose Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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