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 21, Episode 2

David Mitchell is joined by Richard Osman, Holly Walsh, Susan Calman and David O'Doherty are the panellists obliged to talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as sleep, mobile phones, stealing and pets.

Further details

The Truths

Richard Osman - Sleep

- A new parent loses 1,000 hours of sleep in the first year of their child's life. Found by Holly.

- Menn get involuntary erections every 75 minutes while asleep. Found by Susan.

- You cannot sneeze while asleep. Found by Holly.

- Nobody knows why we sleep. Successfully smuggled.

- Netflix have invented a pair of socks which will pause any show you are currently watching on their website if they detect you have fallen asleep in the middle of it. Successfully smuggled.

Holly Walsh - Mobile Phones

- Experts say that giving a child a mobile phone or tablet is as dangerous as giving them cocaine in terms of addiction. Found by Richard.

- Technology has been developed to power mobile phones using urine. Small cells from the University of the West of England have been created that convert urine into electricity. Found by David.

- You can get mobile phone reception on the top of Mount Everest. Found by David.

- There is a dating app that helps Icelanders to stop having incest. This is a major concern for a country with a population of 334,000, where virtually everyone is distantly related. People can bump their phones to find out if they are too closely related. The app's slogan is: "Bump the app before you bump in bed." Found by Susan.

- The average mobile phone has 18 times more bacteria than a toilet flush handle. Found by Richard.

Susan Calman - Stealing

- According to the American Automobile Association, only 1% of car alarms that go off are related to attempted theft. Found by Holly.

- In 2011, it was reported that British trains were delayed by 16,000 hours because of people stealing metal parts from the railways. Found by Holly.

- In Coral Spring, Jamaica, thieves stole an entire beach. The 5,000 truckloads of sand remain missing to this day. Successfully smuggled.

- Italy has more bank robberies than the rest of Europe combined. Successfully smuggled.

- 93% of burglars would never steal a person's teabags. Successfully smuggled.

David O'Doherty - Pets

- There are bins in Mexico City that give you free Wi-Fi if you deposit bags of dog poo in them. The big the poo, the longer the Wi-Fi. Found by Susan.

- The taxonomical name for the ferret is Mustela putorius furo, meaning: "Smelly little thieves". Found by Holly.

- Napoleon Bonaparte was bitten by Josephine's pet pug when making lover to Josephine on their wedding night. Found by Susan.

- Medieval witches claimed that pregnancy pains were caused by kittens in the womb and sold potions to ease the pain. This is from where we get the phrase: "To have kittens." In 1654, a woman tried in a Scottish court for attempting to procure an abortion pleaded an excuse saying that she had, "cats in her belly." Found by Susan.

- David Baddiel has owned a cat called Chairman Meow. Other cats with authoritarian-based nicknames include Kitty Amin, Robert Mewgabe and Margaret Scratcher. Found by Susan.


- Susan Calman: 5 points
- Holly Walsh and Richard Osman: 1 point
- David O'Doherty: -5 points

Broadcast details

Monday 31st December 2018
BBC Radio 4

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Susan Calman Guest
Holly Walsh Guest
Richard Osman Guest
David O'Doherty Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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