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.

Episode menu

Series 27, Episode 5

Pippa Evans, Geoff Norcott, Fern Brady and Simon Evans are the panellists obliged to talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as cars, Coca-Cola, donkeys and tomatoes. David Mitchell hosts.

The Truths

Pippa Evans - Cars

- Uriah Smith, a Seventh-day Adventist preacher, invented the Horsey Horseless carriage, a car with a wooden horse's head and neck attached, designed not to scare horses. Found by Geoff.

- Blue cars are the most likely to break down. According to the RAC, the most at-risk drivers are born under a Libra star sign and live in Croydon. Found by Simon.

- The robot bottom used by Ford to test their car seats for wear and tear is called the "robutt". Found by Simon.

- In South Africa, people can legally attach small flamethrowers to the side of their cars to attack would-be carjackers. Found by Fern.

- In the 1990s, the best-selling car in the world was the Little Tikes Cosy Coupe, the red and yellow toy car for toddlers which is ridden by walking your feet on the ground. As of 2009, it has sold 10 million units. Successfully smuggled.

Simon Evans - Tomatoes

- Another name for the tomato is "wolf's peach". The scientific name for it is lycopersicum, and was given to the tomato in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, possibly due to concerns about its edibility. Found by Geoff.

- The meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs turned tomatoes red, according to an article in Nature. Researchers believe the impact caused the plant to enter a survival mode, tripling in size and adding extra genomes, including a set that turned the fruit bright red. Successfully smuggled.

- For hundreds of years, tomatoes were grown purely for decorative use. In the late 1700s, tomatoes gained the nickname "poison apple", following several incidents of people being sick and dying from eating tomatoes, but the actual cause of death was lead poisoning, caused by tomatoes from pewter plates. Due to the high acidity of tomatoes, lead leeched from the plate and contaminated the tomatoes. Successfully smuggled.

- Australians call alcohol-free Virgin Bloody Mary cocktails a "bloody shame". Successfully smuggled.

- Ketchup works as an effective hair conditioner. Successfully smuggled.

Fern Brady - Donkeys

- Another name for a female donkey is a "jenny". Found by Simon.

- Novak Djokovic buys large amounts of donkey cheese. In 2012, it was reported he bought the entire global supply of pule, a Serbian cheese made from donkey milk which sells for $500 per pound. Found by Simon.

- The word "donkey" was originally to rhyme with "monkey". Successfully smuggled.

- There is a talking donkey in the Bible. Numbers 22:28-30 of the King James Bible reads: "And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay." Successfully smuggled.

- There is a 1976 Disney film called Gus, about a Yugoslavian mule who moves to the US to become a American football player. Successfully smuggled.

Geoff Norcott - Coco-Cola

- A can of regular Coco-Cola will sink, but a can of Diet Coke will float. Regular Coke has a higher density due to containing 32g of sugar, whereas Diet Coke contains far fewer grams of the sweetener aspartame. Found by Simon.

- A bottled water sold by Coco-Cola bombed in the UK as it was advertised as being bottled spunk. In 1999, Dasani was launched with the advertising slogan: "Bottled spunk", with the American company not knowing about the UK slang for the term. Found by Fern.

- Donald Trump installed a button in a wooden box in the White House's Oval Office which when pressed would order a butler to give him a Diet Coke. New photos appear to show that Joe Biden has had the button removed. Found by Simon.

- In the USA, 12% of Coco-Cola is consumed with or for breakfast. Successfully smuggled.

- According to a 1995 study, men who have regular sex enjoy the smell of Coke more than men who don't have regular sex. Successfully smuggled.


- Simon Evans: 9 points
- Fern Brady: 3 points
- Pippa Evans: -1 point
- Geoff Norcott: -4 points

Broadcast details

Monday 7th February 2022
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 13th February 2022 12:00pm Radio 4
Monday 14th February 2022 7:30am Radio 4 Extra
Monday 14th February 2022 5:30pm Radio 4 Extra
Monday 14th February 2022 10:00pm Radio 4 Extra
Tuesday 15th February 2022 5:30am 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