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 27, Episode 2

David Mitchell is joined by Pippa Evans, Geoff Norcott, Fern Brady and Simon Evans as the panel talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as shoes, beer, diets, and metal.

Further details

The Truths

Pippa Evans - Shoes

- In 1920, Sigmund Freud theorised that slippers were a symbol for the female genitalia. Found by Simon.

- In 1367, Charles V of France explicitly banned the wearing of shoes shaped like penises, called poulaines. Found by Geoff.

- In 2018, Nike designed shoes with little conveyor belts in them to help the wearer put their shoes on easier. Found by Geoff.

- According to Paul Burrell, Prince Charles has his shoelaces ironed by his valet. Found by Fern.

- Paris Hilton's feet are so big that shoes have to be custom made for her. She wears size 11. Successfully smuggled.

Simon Evans - Metal

- Iron can be found inside cows. Farmers make cows swallow magnets, which settle in their stomachs, to attract any metal they accidently eat. Once the cow is killed, the magnet is removed and the attracted metal is sold for scrap. Found by Fern.

- The Bank of England's gold deposits are kept behind thick wooden doors which are locked by keys a yard long. Found by Pippa.

- Homing pigeons relay on an iron compass needle in their beaks, which allows them to sense the Earth's magnetic field. Successfully smuggled.

- Gallium will melt in your hand, as it melts at 29.76 degrees Celsius. Successfully smuggled.

- One metalworking term is: "full penetration butt weld". Successfully smuggled.

Fern Brady - Diets

- In 1727, English physician Thomas Short published a thesis in which he said that people who lived near swamps were fatter than most people, and that to lose weight people should simply move away from them. There is no connection between the two, but there is evidence to show that people living in rural areas have a greater obesity risk. Found by Geoff.

- In the early 1980s, American John D. Miller created Vision-Dieter Glasses, eyewear consisting of one blue lens and one brown lens, designed to make food look less appealing. In 1982, the US Food and Drug Administration seized Miller's entire stock, destroying all but 75 pairs which they kept for, "education concerning quackery". Found by Simon.

- Dolce and Gabbana proposed the "air diet", in which they said people should cook whatever you wanted and then just pretend to eat. Found by Simon.

- Queen Victoria would eat exactly what her doctors told her, but on top of her regular meals. Successfully smuggled.

- Nicholas Cage only eats animals he believes has sex in: "a dignified way". Successfully smuggled.

Geoff Norcott - Beer

- Vergina is Greece's oldest craft beer. Owned by the Macedonian Thrace Brewery, it was first sold in 1998. The company also makes Vergina Red, Vergina Weiss, Vergina XXX and Vergina Alcohol Free Beer. Found by Simon.

- A Welsh supermarket once mistranslated a sign for alcohol free beer so it read: "Free Alcohol". Found by Pippa.

- Blood contains around twice as many calories than beer. A pint of blood contains 388 calories, where as a pint of bitter contains 180 calories. Found by Simon.

- In 1907, a riot broke out of a play where a woman drank a glass of beer. 40 people charged the stage of a production of The Belle Of Avenue A, and for half-an-hour refused to late the play to go on. Found by Fern.

- "Huffcup" was a common name for beer in Elizabethan England. Successfully smuggled.


- Fern Brady: 4 points
- Simon Evans: 1 point
- Pippa Evans: 0 points
- Geoff Norcott: -3 points

Broadcast details

Monday 17th January 2022
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes


  1. Tuesday 25th January 2022 at 5:30am on Radio 4 Extra

Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 23rd January 2022 12:00pm Radio 4
Monday 24th January 2022 7:30am Radio 4 Extra
Monday 24th January 2022 5:30pm Radio 4 Extra
Monday 24th January 2022 10:00pm Radio 4 Extra

Cast & crew

David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Simon Evans Guest
Fern Brady Guest
Pippa Evans Guest
Geoff Norcott Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer
Graeme Garden Creator
Jon Naismith Creator

Share this page