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 5 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra today at 9am.

Series 6, Episode 6

David Mitchell hosts an edition of the game show recorded at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe, with panellists Rhod Gilbert, Kevin Bridges, Tom Wrigglesworth and Lucy Porter discussing subjects such as bells, donkeys, the police and Mrs Beeton.

Further details

The Truths

Rhod Gilbert - Bells

- It was once thought that ringing bells would drive away thunder storms. Instead the people ringing the bells got struck. This belief continued until the 18th century. In France between 1753 and 1786 lightning struck 386 church towers and killed 103 bell ringers. To make things worse, at the time gunpowder was stored in churches. Found by Lucy.

- A parrot living in the bell tower of St. Mary's Church in Mirfield, West Yorkshire is in the habit of telling people to f*** off. Found by Kevin.

- One German man likes to dress up as the Devil while riding a 30ft long bicycle made out of 50,000 bicycle bells welded together in the shape of a fish. Found by Lucy.

- Henry Ford's first motor vehicle was fitted with a domestic doorbell instead of a horn. Successfully smuggled.

- Under a law between 1888 and 1930 cyclists in Britain were ordered to ring their bells constantly in order to warn pedestrians where you were. Successfully smuggled.

Tom Wrigglesworth - Mrs Beeton

- In today's age of fast food, it is a surprise that a brand like Mrs Beeton is still popular today. Found by Rhod. Accidentally included by Tom.

- Mrs Beeton disliked cheese, saying it was not right to consume "decomposing bodies". Found by Rhod.

- When Mr Sam Beeton learned that his wife had died, he at first did not reveal the death to the public on fear that would cause sales of her books to fall. Found by Rhod.

- Mrs Beeton died young at the age of 28. Found by Lucy.

- Mrs Beeton was for a time the Paris racing correspondent for The Sporting Life. Successfully smuggled.

- Mrs Beeton stole 150 recipes from Elisa Acton, as well as other recipes from published cookery books. Successfully smuggled.

Kevin Bridges - Donkeys

- "Donkey" is a relatively recent word, brought into the language in the 18th century and published in dictionaries to standardise pronunciation of the words "ass" and "arse". Found by Rhod.

- It was believed that donkeys' milk had an effect similar to that of Viagra. Found by Tom.

- At Christmas, the Feast of the Ass is a celebration of the donkey in the manger. On this day, people normally bray like a donkey instead of saying "Amen". Found by Tom.

- In Brooklyn, New York it is illegal for a donkey to sleep in a bath tub. Successfully smuggled.

Lucy Porter - The Police

- Before becoming a writer, George Orwell was a policeman. Found by Tom.

- Alice Wells was the first woman police officer in the USA. Found by Rhod.

- In 1955 the police used a psychic horse called Lady Wonder to locate a missing child's body by typing out the message on a giant typewriter with her nose. Found by Tom.

- Edinburgh police once rocked a car for two hours to get a baby locked inside to sleep until they found a way of opening the doors. Found by Kevin.

- Ross Kemp's father was a policeman. Found by Rhod.


- Kevin Bridges and Tom Wrigglesworth: 2 points
- Lucy Porter: 0 points
- Rhod Gilbert: -5 points

Broadcast details

Monday 1st November 2010
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Lucy Porter Guest
Rhod Gilbert Guest
Kevin Bridges Guest
Tom Wrigglesworth Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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