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 5, Episode 6

Fred MacAulay talks about ducks; Liza Tarbuck lectures on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Susan Calman has researched make-up; and Charlie Brooker has the topic of Thomas Edison.

Further details

The Truths

Fred MacAulay - Ducks

- Male ducks will mate with female so vigorously that the female sometimes drowns. Found by Charlie.

- The Germans used poodles to hunt ducks. Found by Charlie.

- Ducks, and for that matter all birds, have three eyelids. Found by Susan.

- "Dibble" means "to drink like a duck". Successfully smuggled.

- Ducks lose all their flight feathers at the same time and cannot fly for a few weeks until the new ones grow in. Successfully smuggled.

Liza Tarbuck - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

- Don Giovanni was written in one sitting and performed the next day. Found by Susan.

- Mozart was a Freemason. Found by Fred.

- Mozart's middle name was "Wolfgang". Successfully smuggled.

- Mozart has a strangely shaped ear, which is now referred to by doctors as a "Mozart ear". Mozart covered his with an ear wig. Successfully smuggled.

- Mozart composed a piece which required the person to play a piano with both hands and their nose. Successfully smuggled.

Susan Calman - Make-up

- In Morrisville, Pennsylvania, a woman needs a permit before she can wear lipstick. Found by Charlie.

- In 1974, dentist Philip Grundy left his daughter £180,000 on condition that she did not wear any make-up, jewellery or go out with men for five years. Found by Charlie.

- An early form of red lipstick was made using crushed beetles. Found by Liza.

- A survey of shoe shops found that lipstick was the item most shoplifted by women. Found by Charlie.

- Women in nudist camps tend to wear more make-up than women elsewhere. Successfully smuggled.

Charlie Brooker - Thomas Edison

- Edison was afraid of the dark. Found by Susan.

- Edison pioneered the use of the word "Hello" to start telephone conversations. Found by Susan.

- Edison asked his second wife to marry him by tapping out his proposal on her hand in Morse code. Found by Liza.

- Edison designed a machine which tried to prove there was an afterlife by communicating with the dead. Found by Fred.

- Edison invented a helicopter that worked on gunpowder. It exploded. Successfully smuggled.


- Charlie Brooker: 6 points
- Susan Calman: 4 points
- Liza Tarbuck: 3 points
- Fred MacAulay: 2 points

Broadcast details

Monday 3rd May 2010
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Fred MacAulay Guest
Susan Calman Guest
Liza Tarbuck Guest
Charlie Brooker Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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