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 7, Episode 5

Clive Anderson, Sue Perkins, Henning Wehn and Graeme Garden appear in the panel game built on truth and lies. Subjects covered tonight include sheep, furniture, the ancient Greeks and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Further details

The Truths

Clive Anderson - Sheep

- In Montana it is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone. Found by Sue.

- Dog hair is 80% warmer than any sheep wool. Found by Henning.

- Elizabeth I ordered that mutton and lamb had to be eaten with bitter herbs such as mint sauce. This was to help the wool industry. Found by Sue.

- Black sheep are more likely to be struck by lightning than white sheep. Found by Graeme.

- "Baa Baa Black Sheep" was a working title for the novel Gone with the Wind. Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Furniture

- The word "bank" derives from the Italian word "panca", meaning "bench". When a lender went bust he would break his bench. Found by Clive.

- Lord Nelson to his own coffin with him on board ship. He kept it behind his chair and sometimes used it as a bed. Found by Sue.

- If you believe Mel Gibson, furniture as we know it today was invented by Jesus. In The Passion of the Christ Mary is astounded by an ornate modern table made by Jesus. She declared in Hebrew, "This will never catch on." Successfully smuggled.

- Mary Shelley kept her husband's heart inside her desk. Successfully smuggled.

- In Iceland, it is believed that if an unmarried woman sits at the corner of a table she will remain unmarried for seven years. Successfully smuggled.

Sue Perkins - The Ancient Greeks

- The Ancient Greeks believed that women had two wombs, one for girls and one for boys. Found by Henning.

- The Ancient Greeks believed that parsley was sacred and should not be eaten. Found by Graeme.

- Most Ancient Greeks were idiots. An idiot was a private citizen or layman. Successfully smuggled.

- The Ancient Greeks thought that the sky was bronze-coloured. They did not have a word for "blue". Successfully smuggled.

- Pericles never took off his helmet because he had a really pointy head. Successfully smuggled.

Graeme Garden - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

- Conan Doyle wrote a piece in The Strand magazine praising the Boer War, saying what a good idea the concentration camps were. He was given a knighthood for his praise. Found by Clive.

- Conan Doyle played in goal for Portsmouth Football Club. Successfully smuggled.

- Conan Doyle helped an Italian marathon runner over the finishing line in the 1908 Olympic Games, leading to the runner's disqualification. The runner was confused and did not know were the line was. Successfully smuggled.

- Conan Doyle frequently referred to "Gill the Ripper", because he believed that Jack the Ripper might have been a woman. Successfully smuggled.

- Conan Doyle fell out with Harry Houdini after Houdini revealed his stage illusions were tricks, which annoyed the spiritualist Conan Doyle. Successfully smuggled.


- Graeme Garden: 4 points
- Clive Anderson: 0 points
- Sue Perkins: -1 point
- Henning Wehn: -2 points

Broadcast details

Monday 2nd May 2011
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Graeme Garden Guest
Chris Addison Guest
Sue Perkins Guest
Henning Wehn Guest
Writing team
Colin Swash Writer
John Finnemore Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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