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

The Unbelievable Truth

BBC Radio 4 panel show built on truth and lies. 147 episodes (pilot + 24 series), 2006 - 2020. Stars David Mitchell.

New series to air in late 2020..
Series 17, Episode 1 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra on Monday 2nd November at 9am.

Series 2, Episode 2

Michael McIntyre talks about toilets, Fred MacAulay looks at cows, Graeme Garden discusses sandwiches and Lucy Porter chats about giraffes.

Further details

The Truths

Michael McIntyre - Toilets

- The average person spends three years of their life on the toilet. Found by Lucy.

- It is believed the word "loo" comes from the French "gardez l'eau", meaning "look out below" when they emptied their chamber pots onto the street. Found by Fred.

- In a survey it was discovered that 91% of 30,000 British women do not sit properly on public toilets but instead have a semi-sitting squatting position. Found by Lucy.

- 19th century carriages used to have "carriage pots" which a woman could use as a toilet by sitting over them, protecting their modesty with their large hoop skirts, and do their business as the coach moved. Found by Fred.

- Substitutes for toilet paper include a muscle shell called a "scraper", the Romans used sponges on sticks, in the desert they used sand, and in the American South they used corncobs. Found by Fred.

Fred MacAulay - Cows

- The idea of a cow working in the City is ridiculous. Found by Graeme. Accidentally included by Fred.

- Cows are fed magnets which attract any metal the cow has accidentally eaten so it does less damage to the cow's internal organs. Found by Lucy.

- Cows have regional accents. Found by Graeme.

- The last cow to be hanged for crimes was a cow in Paris in 1740 for sorcery. Found by Lucy.

- A group of 12 or more cows is a "flink". Successfully smuggled.

- In Sweden, there is a train that runs on methane produced by stewed cow organs. Successfully smuggled.

Graeme Garden - Sandwiches

- Americans eat over 300 millions sandwiches a day. Found by Michael.

- According to research from Bristol University, if having a Stilton cheese sandwich the idea slice of cheese is 3mm thick. Found by Fred.

- When King George VI visited America, President Franklin D. Roosevelt served him hot dogs as it was considered a traditional American dish. Found by Lucy.

- The idea of serving hot meat between two pieces of bread was first tired out by 15-year-old Charles Nagreen at the country fair at Seymour, Wisconsin. Successfully smuggled.

- Graeme's friend, the current Earl of Sandwich, did once tell him that his son Orlando runs the Earl of Sandwich Sandwich Bar at Disneyland, Orlando, Florida. Successfully smuggled.

Lucy Porter - Giraffes

- Male giraffes frequently caress and court each other. Found by Fred.

- Giraffe tails are used as currency. Found by Graeme.

- A giraffe's kick is so powerful it can decapitate a lion. Found by Michael.

- Giraffes have no vocal cords. Successfully smuggled.

- Because they are so tall, in zoos giraffes are in danger of being struck by lightning. Successfully smuggled.


- Lucy Porter: 7 points
- Graeme Garden: 5 points
- Fred MacAulay: 3 points
- Michael McIntyre: 1 point

Broadcast details

Monday 12th May 2008
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Graeme Garden Guest
Lucy Porter Guest
Michael McIntyre Guest
Fred MacAulay Guest
Writing team
Iain Pattinson Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

Supporters and subscribers get more

Additional content and tools are available across the site for Supporters and BCG Pro subscribers. On this page you can:

  • Broadcast details of 2 further repeats of this episode

Donate (for fans) BCG Pro

Already a donor or Pro user?