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

The Unbelievable Truth

  • Radio panel show
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2006 - 2021
  • 159 episodes (26 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 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


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 29th March 2009 12:00pm Radio 4
Sunday 6th October 2013 7:30am Radio 4 Extra
Sunday 6th October 2013 10:00pm Radio 4 Extra

Cast & crew

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


Radio Review: The Unbelievable Truth

This Radio 4 panel game hosted by David Mitchell is unbelievable for several reasons, good and bad.

Ian Dunn, One Giant Leap, 24th March 2009

The panel game show packed with more lies than Bernard Madoff's investment portfolio returns for a new series. Tonight's panellists take turns to mumble their way through a humourless collection of untruths while the other three buzz in with their dull interjections if they think they have spotted an assertion that is true.

One of the comedy game show world's finest minds, David Mitchell, is barely heard in his role as chairman, apart from when he announces the scores at the end.

David Crawford, Radio Times, 23rd March 2009

David Mitchell returns as chairman of the panel game in which comedians have to talk lies about a topic, hoping they can sneak three nuggets of truth past their fellow players. One of Radio 4's best recent additions to its panel game roster. And that's the truth.

Scott Matthewman, The Stage, 20th March 2009

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