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

Series 20, Episode 6

Arthur Smith, Jack Dee, Lucy Porter and Lloyd Langford talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as walking, Nasa, soap operas and poets.

Further details

The Truths

Arthur Smith - Walking

- The penis worm can turn its mouth inside-out and walk on its throat. Penis worms evolved before the penis. Found by Lloyd.

- "Lunting" is walking while smoking a pipe. Found by Lucy.

- Anxious people veer to the left when walking. Found by Lloyd.

- The Latin word for the walrus, Odobenus rosmarus, means, "Tooth-walking sea horse". Successfully smuggled.

- Adamites are people who walk around naked for religious reasons. Successfully smuggled.

Jack Dee - NASA

- NASA scientist training includes watching the film Armageddon and spotting scientific inaccuracies in it. There are at least 186 errors. Found by Lloyd.

- NASA taped over the original copies of the Moon landing footage, due to money saving measures. Found by Lloyd.

- Faeces that are ejected into space are known as "escapees". Found by Arthur.

- Astronauts use 3D printers to make pizzas in space. Found by Lloyd.

- Thanks to a malfunctioning toilet, a NASA shuttle in the 1980s managed to produce a massive icicle made of urine. Successfully smuggled.

Lucy Porter - Soap operas

- Ken Livingstone was twice turned-down to make cameos in EastEnders. However, Boris Johnson did appear in the show in 2009. Found by Lloyd.

- The dog which played Wellard in EastEnders, Zenna also appeared in the films Gladiator and 102 Dalmatians. Found by Lloyd.

- "Or Neighbours" is an anagram of "Erinsborough", the setting of Neighbours. Found by Lloyd.

- Lucy would like to finish her lecture, but instead she will carry on with various cliffhangers. Found by Arthur. Accidentally included by Lucy.

- Among the working titles for EastEnders was Square Dance. Successfully smuggled.

- Prince Charles appeared in Coronation Street, making a brief appearance in the live episode broadcast on 8th December 2000, marking the show's 40th anniversary. Successfully smuggled.

Lloyd Langford - Poets

- German poet Gottlob Burmann refused to use the letter "R". He wrote 130 poems, totalling 20,000 words, without using the letter. It is also said that he eliminated using the letter from his daily speech for the last 17 years of his life, which included not saying his own surname. Found by Arthur.

- Alexander Pope was only 4'6" tall, due to him suffering from a form of TB that restricted his growth. Found by Jack.

- Algernon Charles Swinburne once claimed he copulated with a monkey while wearing women's clothing. He was a renowned alcoholic and dissolute, famous at the time for his sexual activities, and claimed to have engaged in bestiality with a monkey before eating it. One biographer wrote that his mania for masochism, especially flagellation, probably began at Eton. Found by Jack.

- French poet Alcanter de Brahm proposed the creation of an irony punctuation mark. It looked like a backwards question mark. Found by Jack.

- Irish poet Brendan Behan became an alcoholic at the age of eight. Successfully smuggled.


- Lloyd Langford: 4 points
- Arthur Smith: 2 points
- Lucy Porter: -1 point
- Jack Dee: -3 points

Broadcast details

Monday 7th May 2018
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Lucy Porter Guest
Jack Dee Guest
Arthur Smith Guest
Lloyd Langford Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Richard Turner Producer

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