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 6 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra on Monday at 9am.

Series 20, Episode 2

Richard Osman, Elis James, Sindhu Vee and Alan Davies are the panellists obliged to talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as Google, rugby, bananas and crabs.

Further details

The Truths

Richard Osman - Google

- Google's first server rack was made out of Lego. Successfully smuggled.

- One of the most searched celebrity stories on Google one year was "Justin Bieber syphilis." In 2010, the website 4chan asked its users to search for this term, and it ended up topping Google Search's "Hot List" for that year. Successfully smuggled.

- When Google want to Street View a desert they send a camel out. Successfully smuggled.

- People who wear Google Glasses are called "Glassholes". The term became popular in 2014 to refer to people who used Google Glasses in areas where mobile phones were not allowed, filmed people without their permission, or were just generally rude and staring off into the distance while watching things on their glasses. Successfully smuggled.

- In 2010, Google Maps caused Nicaragua to invade Costa Rica when they drew the border in the wrong place. Successfully smuggled.

Elis James - Rugby

- Before the rules were established, some rugby matches could have up to 300 players. One game in 1839 had Rugby School House fielding 79 players against "The Rest" fielding 225. Found by Richard.

- Rugby School's first rugby uniform included a bow tie and an ordinary shirt. It also included a thin vest over the top and heavy duty boots. Found by Alan.

- Idi Amin was a keen rugby player. He played the sport while serving in the British army. One British officer wrote: "Idi Amin is a splendid type and good rugby player, but virtually bone from the neck-up and needs things explaining in words of one letter." Found by Sindhu.

- The University of Pittsburgh rugby team was once banned from campus for eight years after they were found practicing with severed human heads. In 1982, in order to intimidate their opponents they stole heads from the university's school of dentistry to practice on before a match. All the players were suspended and two had criminal charges brought against them. Successfully smuggled.

- Dolway Walkington played rugby while wearing a monocle. He played for Ireland eight times, captaining them twice, and scored Ireland's first ever drop goal against Wales in 1891. He removed his monocle whenever he needed to make a tackle. Successfully smuggled.

Sindhu Vee - Bananas

- A "winter banana" is the name for a variety of apple from North America, so called because of its banana-like taste. Found by Richard.

- In Antigua they call bananas "figs". Found by Elis.

- Arnold Schwarzenegger made his film debut in the movie Hercules Goes Bananas, in which the Greek mythic hero arrives in modern day New York. It is one of the few films he admits he regrets having made. Successfully smuggled.

- Bananarama's first single was sung in Swahili and called "Aie a Mwana". Released in 1981, and the opening lyrics translate into English as: "Oh yes baby, I'm going to our home, together with my wife, and all the children. Oh yes baby, now it's night, we are very tired, we shall sleep with her." Successfully smuggled.

- Bananas produce antimatter. They release one positron about every 75 minutes. That is because they contain a small amount of potassium-40, a naturally occurring isotope. Eating 600 bananas is about the equivalent as one chest x-ray. Successfully smuggled.

Alan Davies - Crabs

- In China, you can buy live crabs from vending machines. Found by Sindhu.

- The pompom crab grabs sea anemones to defend itself and to mop up food particles from rocks. Found by Richard.

- Crab-eater seals do not eat crabs. 95% of their diet is krill. Found by Richard.

- The bird-dung crab spider looks like and smells of dung in order to put off predators. Found by Elis.

- The hoff crab is named after David Hasselhoff, because of its hairy chest. It is also known as the yeti crab. Successfully smuggled.


- Richard Osman: 5 points
- Sindhu Vee: 3 points
- Elis James: -1 point
- Alan Davies: -4 points

Broadcast details

Monday 9th April 2018
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Alan Davies Guest
Richard Osman Guest
Elis James Guest
Sindhu Vee Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Richard Turner Producer

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