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

The Unbelievable Truth

  • Radio panel show
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2006 - 2022
  • 165 episodes (27 series)

David Mitchell hosts this Radio 4 panel game built on truth and lies. Contestants must try and smuggle truths into lie-filled speeches.

Episode menu

Series 25, Episode 1

David Mitchell is joined by Frankie Boyle, Sara Pascoe, Miles Jupp, and Holly Walsh are the panellists obliged to talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as London, divorce, names and bats.

Further details

The Truth

Holly Walsh - Bats

- There is a thumbless bat, although strictly speaking it just has less of a thumb rather than none at all. Found by Frankie.

- Scientists do not know if bats fart or not. There is no documented evidence of bats farting. The digestive system does contain the correct bacteria to allow them to fart, but they eat and excrete their food so quickly there might not be time for the gases to build up. Found by Sara.

- Without bats, there would be no tequila, as the long-nosed bat pollinates the agave plant. Successfully smuggled.

- Vampire bats run around after their prey on foot. Successfully smuggled.

- The old Cornish word for "bat" is "airymouse". Successfully smuggled.

Miles Jupp - Names

- Dr. Richard "Dick" Chop carried out vasectomies in Autsin, Texas. Found by Sara.

- O. J. Simpson has signed into Florida hotel under the name "D. H. Lawrence". Found by Sara.

- After pressure from locals Butt Hole Road, Doncaster changed its name. It is now called Archers Way. Before the name change coaches full of American tourists visited the street, people took pictures of their naked bottoms next to the road sign, and delivery companies refused to believe the street name was real. Found by Holly.

- In some parts of the UK, stinging nettles are called "the naughty man's plaything". The naughty man in question is the Devil, who it was assumed delighted in the pleasure of inflicting pain on people. Successfully smuggled.

- "Hitler" remains a popular name in Ecuador. Successfully smuggled.

Sara Pascoe - Divorce

- Facebook is causing 30% of divorces. A 2015 survey of law firms found that the social media website is sited in a third in all divorce cases, based on unreasonable behaviour. Facebook tends to blamed when one half of the couple makes contact with an old flame, or because one party spends too much time on it. Found by Frankie.

- As part of his 2008 divorce settlement from Pamela Bach, David Hasselhoff kept the rights to his catchphrase "Don't hassle the Hoff" and his nickname "Hoff". Found by Sara.

- Legal grounds for separation include not having enough sex. In 2009, a 51-year-old Frenchwoman sued her husband and won €10,000 for lack of sex over 21 years of marriage. Found by Sara.

- If you marry after divorcing you are committing digamy. Digamy is a second marriage contracted after the termination of the first by death or divorce. Successfully smuggled.

- King Philip the Amorous (Philip I of France) divorced his first wife because she was starting to put on weight. Successfully smuggled.

Frankie Boyle - London

- In the 18th century a person could pay 3-5 guineas (£600 today) to bathe in meat soup. In 1782, a doctor opened a bathhouse near Haymarket offering baths containing veal, mutton and horse broth. It was believe not only that it could people's ailments, but would help with the complexion. Found by Holly.

- The Great Smog of London in 1952 was so bad that blind people guided sighted people home from train stations. Found by Holly.

- The first Nando's opened in London in 1696. This Nando's was coffee house on the east corner of Inner Temple Lane and Fleet Street. Successfully smuggled.

- In the 18th century you could pay admission to London Zoo by bringing a cat or a dog in to feed to the lions. Successfully smuggled.

- One in five women in 18th century London were sex workers. Successfully smuggled.


- Holly Walsh: 4 points
- Sara Pascoe: 2 points
- Frankie Boyle: 0 points
- Miles Jupp: -4 points

Broadcast details

Monday 11th January 2021
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 17th January 2021 12:00pm Radio 4
Monday 18th January 2021 7:30am Radio 4 Extra
Monday 18th January 2021 5:30pm Radio 4 Extra
Monday 18th January 2021 10:00pm Radio 4 Extra
Tuesday 19th January 2021 5:30am Radio 4 Extra

Cast & crew

David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Frankie Boyle Guest
Miles Jupp Guest
Holly Walsh Guest
Sara Pascoe Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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