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

The Unbelievable Truth

BBC Radio 4 panel show built on truth and lies. 153 episodes (pilot + 25 series), 2006 - 2021. Stars David Mitchell.

Another series is in development.

Series 3, Episode 1

Graeme Garden talks about bicycles, Chris Addison looks at Albert Einstein, Clive Anderson discusses money and Lucy Porter chats about penguins.

Further details

The Unbelievable Truth. Image shows from L to R: Lucy Porter, Clive Anderson, David Mitchell, Chris Addison, Graeme Garden. Copyright: BBC / Random Entertainment.

The Truths

Graeme Garden - Bicycles

- The longest bicycle in the world seats 40 people. Found by Lucy.

- There was a law between 1888 and 1930 there was a law in Britain which order bike riders to ring their bells constantly while riding. Found by Lucy.

- Leo Tolstoy was given a bicycle for his 67th birthday. Successfully smuggled.

- In Canada, the Rhinoceros Party, a joke political party, once proposed to bulldoze the Rocky Mountains and use the rock to build downhill cycle paths from coast-to-coast. Successfully smuggled.

Chris Addison - Albert Einstein

- Einstein could not speak properly until he was 9. The condition for people who develop speech later in their lives is "Einstein syndrome". Found by Lucy.

- Einstein patented a type of refrigerator. Found by Clive.

- Einstein brain for some time after his death was kept in a Tupperware box after it was stolen during his autopsy. Found by Graeme.

- On at least on occasion Einstein's driver gave a lecture on his behalf. Successfully smuggled.

- In the divorce settlement with his first wife there was a clause about entitling her to all the Nobel Prize money he might win. When he did win the prize, Einstein refused to pay. Successfully smuggled.

Clive Anderson - Money

- The Aztecs used cocoa beans as currency. Found by Graeme.

- In Siberia solid blocks of tea were used as currency. Found by Chris.

- Potatoes were used as currency on the island of Tristan da Cunha until World War Two. Found by Lucy.

- In the French-speaking part of Canada playing cards were pressed into service as bank notes for the best part of 100 years. Successfully smuggled.

- Dogs teeth were used as currency on the Solomon Islands. Successfully smuggled.

Lucy Porter - Penguins

- The gentoo penguin has pink poo. Found by Chris.

- Penguins can jump six feet into the air, from the water. Found by Graeme.

- Some female penguins sell sexual favours for rocks. Found by Graeme.

- No-one knows for sure where the penguin got its name, but one theory is that is comes from Welsh "pen" meaning "hen" and "guin" meaning "white". Successfully smuggled.

- Penguins sleep more deeply in the afternoon than in the morning. Successfully smuggled.


- Lucy Porter: 4 points
- Graeme Garden: 3 points
- Chris Addison: 1 point
- Clive Anderson: 0 points

Broadcast details

Monday 23rd March 2009
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Graeme Garden Guest
Clive Anderson Guest
Lucy Porter Guest
Chris Addison Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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