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

The Unbelievable Truth

BBC Radio 4 panel show built on truth and lies. 135 episodes (pilot + 22 series), 2006 - 2019. Stars David Mitchell.

Another series is in development.
Recording at Shaw Theatre. Tickets

Series 4, Episode 6

Tony Hawks talks about Ludwig van Beethoven, Arthur Smith looks at wigs, Phill Jupitus discusses honey and Graeme Garden chats about telephones.

Further details

The Truths

Tony Hawks - Ludwig van Beethoven

- Beethoven tried to sense music when he was deaf by biting a piece of wood between his teeth to pick up vibrations. Found by Phill.

- Beethoven was once accidentally arrested, being mistaken for a tramp. Found by Graeme.

- Haydn once said that Beethoven was rubbish at composing and should give it up. Successfully smuggled.

- Beethoven insisted that every cup of coffee made for him has made using exactly 60 coffee beans. Successfully smuggled.

- When Beethoven once heard a friend's opera for the first time he responded: "I liked your opera. I think I'll set it to music." Successfully smuggled.

Arthur Smith - Wigs

- Pubic wigs are called "merkins". Found by Phill. Accidentally included by Arthur.

- In the 18th century men and women wore very tall white powered wigs called "macaronis". Found by Tony.

- Wigs for dogs are sold in Tokyo. Found by Tony.

- Robert Hawker, a 19th century vicar, liked to sit on a rock and dressing up as a mermaid wearing only a wig made out of seaweed and an oilskin wrapped round his legs in order to hoax holiday makers. Successfully smuggled.

- As doctors were operating on the dying Caroline, Queen to King George II, she laughed at the sight of one of the doctor's wigs catching fire. Successfully smuggled.

- Kate Winslet wore a merkin during The Reader. Successfully smuggled.

Phill Jupitus - Honey

- There are about four or five uses for honey. Found by Tony. Accidentally included by Phill.

- Pharaoh Pepi II smothered his slaves in honey to acts as a kind of fly paper. Found by Graeme.

- Nicole Kidman books into hotels as "Miss Honey". Found by Arthur.

- Honey never goes off. Successfully smuggled.

- In Roman times taxes were often paid with honey. Successfully smuggled.

- Alexander the Great was coated in honey after death. Successfully smuggled.

Graeme Garden - Telephones

- The first words spoken over the telephone were: "Watson, come here, I want you." Found by Phill.

- The late Joseph Hirshhorn was buried with three telephones. Found by Phill.

- In Atlanta, Georgia, it is illegal to tie a giraffe to a telegraph pole. Found by Phill.

- Alexander Graham Bell never telephoned his wife or mother, because they were deaf. Successfully smuggled.

- The first fax machines were invented in the 1840s, thirty years before the telephone. Successfully smuggled.

Scores

- Phill Jupitus: 6 points
- Graham Garden: 4 points
- Arthur Smith: -3 points
- Tony Hawks: -5 points

Broadcast details

Date
Monday 9th November 2009
Time
6:30pm
Channel
BBC Radio 4
Length
30 minutes

Repeats

    Cast & crew

    Regular cast
    David Mitchell Host / Presenter
    Guest cast
    Graeme Garden Guest
    Tony Hawks Guest
    Phill Jupitus Guest
    Arthur Smith Guest
    Writing team
    Dan Gaster Writer
    Production team
    Jon Naismith Producer
    Paywall

    Supporters and subscribers get more

    Additional content and tools are available across the site for Supporters and BCG Pro subscribers. On this page you can:

    • Broadcast details of 4 past repeats of this episode

    Donate (for fans) BCG Pro

    Already a donor or Pro user?