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

The Unbelievable Truth

BBC Radio 4 panel show built on truth and lies. 135 episodes (pilot + 22 series), 2006 - 2019. Stars David Mitchell.

Another series is in development.

Series 2, Episode 6

Tim Vine talks about Napoleon Bonaparte, Adam Buxton looks at marriage, Ed Byrne discusses left-handedness and Lee Mack chats about fleas.

Further details

The Truths

Lee Mack - Fleas

- There is a type of flea which only lives in German beer mats. Found by Tim.

- Alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia. Found by Tim. Accidentally included by Lee.

- In Hawaii the phrase, "Little dancing flee" literally translates as "ukulele". Found by Ed.

- Fleas have killed more people than all wars combined. Found by Ed.

- The cat flea and the dog flea are two entirely different species. Found by Tim.

- Queen Christina of Sweden liked to fire cannonballs from a miniature cannon at fleas. Successfully smuggled.

Tim Vine - Napoleon Bonaparte

- Napoleon was scared of cats. Found by Lee.

- Napoleon drew up his battle plans in a sandpit. Found by Adam.

- We have all heard the phrase: "An army marches on its stomach." Found by Ed. Accidentally included by Tim.

- Due to a competition organised by Napoleon, tinned food was invented. Found by Ed.

- Napoleon came up with the idea of driving on the right hand side of the road in Europe. Found by Ed.

- Napoleon loved the Mona Lisa so much that on coming to power he took it from the Louvre and hung it in his bedroom. Successfully smuggled.

Ed Byrne - Left-handedness

- There has never been a left-handed pope. Found by Lee.

- Around 2,000 left-handed people die every year from incorrectly using items designed by right-handed people. Found by Tim.

- Leonardo da Vinci used to write backwards with his left hand so his notes had to be held up to a mirror in order to read them. Successfully smuggled.

- Left-handed surgeons are more prone to sticking needles into themselves than right-handed surgeons. Successfully smuggled.

- The right testicle of left-handed men hangs lower than the left. Successfully smuggled.

Adam Buxton - Marriage

- Bachelors are three times more likely to suffer mental illness than married men. Found by Tim.

- The fear of marriage is "gamophobia". Found by Ed.

- Wedding rings are worn of the fourth finger of the left hand because the Romans believed it had a nerve that lead directly to the heart. Found by Tim.

- In Utah you are allowed to marry your first cousin, provided you are over 65. Found by Ed.

- In 16th century England the minimum age for getting married was 10. Found by Lee.


- Ed Byrne and Tim Vine: 5 points
- Lee Mack: 0 points
- Adam Buxton: -2 points

Broadcast details

Monday 9th June 2008
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes


    Cast & crew

    Regular cast
    David Mitchell Host / Presenter
    Guest cast
    Adam Buxton Guest
    Ed Byrne Guest
    Lee Mack Guest
    Tim Vine Guest
    Writing team
    Iain Pattinson Writer
    Production team
    Jon Naismith Producer

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