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

The Unbelievable Truth

BBC Radio 4 panel show built on truth and lies. 153 episodes (pilot + 25 series), 2006 - 2021. Stars David Mitchell.

Another series is in development.
Series 18, Episode 6 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra on Monday at 9am.

Series 21, Episode 4

David Mitchell is joined by Henning Wehn, Lou Sanders, Zoe Lyons and Lloyd Langford as they lie on the subjects of holidays, queens, teeth and ants.

Further details

The Truths

Henning Wehn - Holidays

- Every day is a holiday somewhere in the world. For example, Lloyd's birthday, 6th August, is Independence Day in Bolivia and Jamaica; Lou's birthday, 24th November, is Teacher's Day in Turkey; Henning's birthday, 10th April, is Builder's Day in Azerbaijan; and Zoe's birthday, 3rd October, is Tag der Deutschen Einheit, the day Germany was reunified in 1990. Found by Lou.

- In Japan, you can send your stuffed toy on holiday. One Tokyo-based travel agency will take your toy on holiday if you are too busy to do so yourself. Found by Lloyd.

- Balearic shearwater birds do female-only migrations to France. Found by Lloyd.

- Scientists claim we lose 20% of our IQ following a two-week holiday. Found by Lou.

- 75% of Frenchpeople holiday in France. Successfully smuggled.

Lou Sanders - Queens

- One birthday present given to Elizabeth II was horse semen worth around £5,000. To be exact, one of the Queen's horses was given a session with a top breeding stallion named Big Bad Bob. Found by Lloyd.

- Queen Victoria wore crotchless underwear. Common for the time, this underwear consisted of open-crotched knickers whose separate legs were drawn by a drawstring at the waist. Found by Lloyd.

- The 17th century Queen Nzinga of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of modern-day Angola had a harem of male lovers, and would execute her lovers after making love to them, according to the Marquis de Sade. Found by Zoe.

- Elizabeth II was once given washing-up gloves as a Christmas present by Margaret Thatcher, after the Prime Minister spotted her doing the washing-up at Balmoral bare-handed. Successfully smuggled.

- The 19th century Queen Ranavalona the Cruel of Madgascar executed people who appeared in her dreams. She was married to the heir to the throne, but when he died young with no heirs, she captured and killed most of the relations, including the rightful heir, and also killed all her political rivals. Successfully smuggled.

Zoe Lyons - Teeth

- In Ancient Rome, urine was used to whiten teeth. Spanish urine was particularly prized. Found by Lloyd.

- In the 18th century, a cure for toothache was to tie a dead mole around your neck. It was common to hang them on babies to help teething pains. Found by Henning.

- Adult llamas have a set of six special fighting teeth, which can be used to rip all the way down to the bone and have been used to castrate other males. Found by Lloyd.

- Valentina Tereshkova forgot to take her toothbrush with her when she became the first woman in space. Found by Lloyd.

- The teeth of a lobster are in its stomach. Successfully smuggled.

Lloyd Langford - Ants

- An average size ant colony of 344,000 ants has roughly the same brain power as a human being. Found by Henning.

- Ants will not cross a chalk line. Found by Lou.

- The tropical trapdoor ant can close its mandibles at speeds of up to 233.36kmph (145mph). Biologists believe that this is the fastest self-powered predatory strike in the animal kingdom. Found by Zoe.

- In 1999, Joan Murray skydived in North Carolina when both parachutes failed to open and she crash landed into a nest of 250,000 fire ants at 80mph, nearly all of which attacked and bit her. Each toxic-filled bit causes nearly instant pain, and when she was rushed to hospital doctors determined that the repeated stings had shocked her heartbeat and stimulated her nerves, keeping her organs functioning long enough to keep her alive. Thus the ants saved her life. Found by Henning.

- Alien Ant Farm singer Dryden Mitchell claimed that he could only get his vocals for his latest album right by sprinkling cayenne pepper on his testicles. Successfully smuggled.


- Lloyd Langford: 5 points
- Lou Sanders: -1 point
- Zoe Lyons: -2 points
- Henning Wehn: -4 points

Broadcast details

Monday 14th January 2019
BBC Radio 4

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Henning Wehn Guest
Lloyd Langford Guest
Lou Sanders Guest
Zoe Lyons Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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