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 18, Episode 5 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra on Monday at 9am.

Series 6, Episode 2

Tony Hawks, Arthur Smith, Henning Wehn and Graeme Garden are encouraged to talk with deliberate inaccuracy on subjects as varied as cake, shoes, nudity and Walt Disney.

Further details

The Truths

Tony Hawks - Nudity

- In March 2004 a party boat in Texas containing 60 people capsized after everyone on board rushed to one side to look at a nudist beach. Found by Henning.

- A "nudomaniac" is someone with a compulsion for nudity. Successfully smuggled.

- An old French punishment for adultery was for an adulterous woman to chase a chicken around town while naked. Successfully smuggled.

- Ancient Chinese artists never depicted naked female feet despite often depicting other scenes of nudity and sex. Successfully smuggled.

- In Britain, boys under 10 are banned by law to look at naked mannequins. Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Shoes

- By the end of the 14th century the French nobility had two foot long shoe tips which they had to snap off during battles as it made them hard to run away. Found by Arthur.

- In the 15th century women prostitutes in Venice wore shoes with heels up to 75cm high. Found by Arthur.

- During the French industrial revolution impoverished factory workers threw their clogs known as "sabots" into the machines to break them as a protest. From this we get the words "saboteur" and "sabotage". Found by Graeme.

- A German scientist believed that wearing rubber shoes would protect you from lightning. When he tested them out in a lightning storm they failed to protect him, exploded and he died. Found by Tony.

- Chewing shoe leather can make a starving person live a day longer because the body thinks it is eating something nutritious. Successfully smuggled.

Graeme Garden - Walt Disney

- The distance between a hotdog stand and a litter bin in every Disneyland is 20 paces, as this was the distance Disney took to finish a hotdog from the stand. Found by Arthur.

- Disney employees were not allowed to wear moustaches or beards because of their communist connotations. Found by Arthur.

- When Disney won an Oscar for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1939 he was presented with one full sized Oscar and seven little ones. Successfully smuggled.

- In the film Fantasia the sorcerer is named "Yen Sid", which is "Disney" spelt backwards. Successfully smuggled.

- Disney staged train crashes on his model railway which helped him develop the rides at Disneyland. Successfully smuggled.

Arthur Smith - Cakes

- The cake on the cover of The Rolling Stone's "Let it Bled" album was made by Delia Smith. Found by Tony.

- Arthur once unwittingly ate a cake containing hallucinogenic drugs. Found by Henning. Accidentally included by Arthur.

- The English word for a posh cake is "gateau" and the French word for a posh cake is "le cake". Found by Graeme.

- In 1995 a French bride was arrested after stabbing her new husband with the knife they just used to cut the wedding cake with. Found by Tony.

- The American English word cookie comes from the Dutch "koekje", meaning "cake". Successfully smuggled.

- In the 19th century arsenic was put in green icing sugar which was used in cakes which resulted in the deaths of children. Successfully smuggled.


- Tony Hawks: 4 points
- Graeme Garden: 1 point
- Arthur Smith and Henning Wehn: -1 point

Broadcast details

Monday 4th October 2010
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

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

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