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

The Unbelievable Truth

  • Radio panel show
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2006 - 2022
  • 171 episodes (28 series)

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

  • Due to return for Series 29

Episode menu

Series 27, Episode 3

David Mitchell is joined by Alan Davies, Lucy Porter, Lou Sanders and Justin Edwards as the panel talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as beds, marsupials, blood and Jackie Chan.

The Truths

Justin Edwards - Jackie Chan

- Chan asked for all swearing to be removed from Rush Hour. Found by Lou.

- Chan uses stuntmen in non-action scenes such as when his character is just walking down the street or driving. Found by Alan.

- Chan has said he wouldn't buy Chinese televisions in case they explode. In 2009, he faced a backlash in China after he made a remark to Chinese business leaders about the perceived quality of Chinese-made goods, saying he would buy a Japanese TV instead. While many in the audience applauded his remark, it did not go down well with the public. Found by Lou.

- Chan has taught koi carp to roll over. This can be observed in the following YouTube clip. Found by Lucy.

- Chan is planning a musical based on his own life entitled I Am Jackie Chan. Found by Lou.

Lou Sanders - Blood

- Saddam Hussein had a copy of the Koran written in his own blood. In the late 1990s, he sat with a nurse and an Islamic calligrapher, having a total of 27 litres of blood withdrawn and used to transcribe the holy book. It is now locked away behind three vaulted doors under a mosque in Baghdad. Muslim leaders are unsure what to do with the text, as to write the Koran in blood is forbidden, but it is also considered illegal by many to destroy the Koran. Found by Lucy.

- "House red" is hospital slang for blood, and in particular to the bags of blood used in transfusions. Found by Justin.

- In Ancient Egypt, butchers wore high heels to keep blood off their feet and to avoid slipping. The only other people who wore high heels were members of the upper classes, and people wearing them for ceremonial purposes. Found by Alan.

- According to a study of 200 families, having a younger sibling raises your blood pressure by 5%. Found by Justin.

- Most tropical fish could survive in a tank filled with human blood. Tropical fish require less oxygen than cold water fish, just 2.66ml of oxygen per litre. Fully oxygenated human blood contains 200ml of oxygen per litre. Successfully smuggled.

Lucy Porter - Marsupials

- Napoleon Bonaparte once gave Josephine a wombat to make up for not sleeping with her. Found by Justin.

- 95% of kangaroos are left-handed. They are only the second species after humans to be observed to have a hand preference. Found by Lou.

- There is no collective noun for koalas as they are mostly solitary animals. You do however get a mob of kangaroos. Found by Lou.

- Kangaroos can often be found kissing, as well as hugging. Successfully smuggled.

- In 1907, dancer Victor Goulet had once of his Achilles tendons replace with a wallaby's. Successfully smuggled.

Alan Davies - Beds

- Hans Christian Andersen was so terrified of being buried alive that he left a note on his bedside table saying: "I only seem to be dead." Found by Justin.

- A Chinese inventor created an earthquake-proof bed which protects the sleeper by automatically dropping them into a sealed metal box when the mechanism detected earth tremors. Found by Justin.

- In 2008, Woolworths once marketed a children's bed called the "Lolita Midsleeper Combi", but it had to be withdrawn after people complained that it shared its name with the 1955 novel by Vladimir Nabokov, in which a stepfather become's sexually obsessed with a 12-year-old girl. A spokesmen for the company said: "What seems to have happened is the staff who run the website had never heard of Lolita, and to be honest, no-one else here had either. We had to look it up on Wikipedia." Woolworths stores shut down the following year. Found by Lucy.

- Graham Butterfield, the official bed tester for Silentnight, has a bottom so sensitive it was insured for a £1,000,000. Successfully smuggled.

- During the winter of 2010, a Holiday Inn in Manchester tried using human bed warmers to heat guests beds. An employee would wear a special "toasting suit", designed to maximise their heating efficiency, and then hop into the guest's bed five minutes before the guests did. The complimentary service was also trailed in Kensington and Kingston, and was available between 9pm-11pm. Successfully smuggled.


- Lucy Porter and Justin Edwards: 4 points
- Alan Davies: 1 point
- Lou Sanders: -5 points

Broadcast details

Monday 24th January 2022
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 30th January 2022 12:00pm Radio 4
Monday 31st January 2022 7:30am Radio 4 Extra
Monday 31st January 2022 5:30pm Radio 4 Extra
Monday 31st January 2022 10:00pm Radio 4 Extra
Tuesday 1st February 2022 5:30am Radio 4 Extra

Cast & crew

David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Alan Davies Guest
Lucy Porter Guest
Lou Sanders Guest
Justin Edwards Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer
Graeme Garden Creator
Jon Naismith Creator

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