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 4

David Mitchell is joined by Richard Osman, Henning Wehn, Holly Walsh and Ria Lina as the panel talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as mistakes, bicycles, dogs and death.

The Truths

Holly Walsh - Dogs

- Dogs defecate in line with the Earth's magnetic field. After observing 70 dogs from 37 species for two years, researchers discovered than when dogs are off the leash in open fields, away from man-made structures, the dogs use the magnetic field to align their bowel and bladder movements. Found by Ria.

- Fufu was a miniature poodle who was made Air Chief Marshal of the Royal Thai Air Force. This dog was the favourite of the crown prince of Thailand who gave Fufu the title in 2009. Successfully smuggled.

- Plato thought that dogs were so good at tell when you are lying that they should sit in on legal cases. Successfully smuggled.

- Dogs did not really start watching TV until high definition came along. Before HD, TV just appeared to dogs as a set of flickering images. Successfully smuggled.

- Guide dogs can defecate on demand. Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Bicycles

- Protestants believe that Jesus did not wear a cycling helmet. Found by Richard. Accidentally included by Henning.

- Before bicycles, the average distance between spouses birthplaces in England was one mile on average, but after their invention the range went to 30 miles. Found by Holly.

- Male cyclists suffer from greater erectile dysfunction than runners. The problem can be avoided by using alternative seat design or by spending part of the ride standing up. Found by Ria.

- The first mass-produced bicycle for women was called the "Ladies' Psycho". Found by Richard.

- Tour de France cyclist Mario Cipollini once stuck a picture of Pamela Anderson to his bike, in the hope it would it increase his testosterone levels during the race. Found by Holly.

- The RAF's nuclear missiles were launched using a bicycle lock key as recently as the 1990s. There was no other security on the bomb itself. Successfully smuggled.

Ria Lina - Death

- Prisoners waiting to be executed on Death Row are given physical exams beforehand to ensure they are healthy enough to die. Found by Holly.

- The mayor of the French town of Sarpourenx made it illegal to die there, due to a shortage of graveyard space. Space must be ordered in advance. Found by Holly.

- Dead people can get goosebumps. The muscles that cause goosebumps are pulled when rigor mortis sets in. Found by Richard.

- According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, a business' profits go up upon the death of a CEO's mother-in-law. If the CEO suffers the loss of a spouse, company profits fall by an average of 15%; death of family members cause a fall of 9%; death of a mother-in-law causes a rise of 7%. Successfully smuggled.

- In 1646, the general court of Massachusetts Bay Colony passed a law where stubborn children who failed to obey their parents could be sentenced to death. This penalty was dropped and the law was broadened to include daughters. Successfully smuggled.

Richard Osman - Mistakes

- In 2018, the king of Swaziland changed the country's name because people kept confusing the country with Switzerland. It is now known as Eswatini. Found by Holly.

- The US Postal Service had to pay out $3.5million in royalties because one of their stamps was too sexy. In 2010, a stamp was launched, featuring a close-up of the Statue of Liberty's face from a stock photo. However, after 3.5billion stamps were printed, it was discovered that the photo was not of the statue in New York, but of a replica in Las Vegas. The replica's designer, Robert S. Davidson, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit arguing his statue was not an exact replica and his was: "far sexier" than the original. A judge agreed and Davidson won his royalties. Found by Ria.

- A German banker once accidentally transferred the sum of €222,222,222.22 into a customer's account after they fell asleep with finger on the "2" button of the keyboard. Found by Holly.

- US tattooist Dennis LaRue was once asked to tattoo "Satan's Slaves" on the breasts of three members of an all-women branch of the Hells Angels, but wrongly wrote "Stan's Slaves" instead. Found by Ria.

- Microwave ovens were invented by accident. It was invented by Percy Spencer in 1945, after he stood next to an active magnetron and it melted the chocolate bar in his pocket. Found by Ria.


- Holly Walsh: 7 points
- Ria Lina: 0 points
- Richard Osman: -4 points
- Henning Wehn: -8 points

Broadcast details

Monday 31st January 2022
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 6th February 2022 12:00pm Radio 4
Monday 7th February 2022 7:30am Radio 4 Extra
Monday 7th February 2022 5:30pm Radio 4 Extra
Monday 7th February 2022 10:00pm Radio 4 Extra
Tuesday 8th February 2022 5:30am Radio 4 Extra

Cast & crew

David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Henning Wehn Guest
Holly Walsh Guest
Richard Osman Guest
Ria Lina Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer
Graeme Garden Creator
Jon Naismith Creator

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