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

The Unbelievable Truth

BBC Radio 4 panel show built on truth and lies. 147 episodes (pilot + 24 series), 2006 - 2020. Stars David Mitchell.

New series to air in late 2020..
Series 17, Episode 6 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra on Monday at 9am.

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.


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

Broadcast details

Monday 9th November 2009
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

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

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