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 8, Episode 2

David Mitchell hosts an edition of the game show recorded at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe featuing Mark Watson, Phill Jupitus, Ed Byrne and Henning Wehn. The subjects discussed are The Olympics, butter, bees and blood.

Further details

The Truths

Mark Watson - The Olympics

- Shin kicking was an event at the Chipping Campden Olimpick Games. The World Shin Kicking Championships are still held in the town. Found by Henning.

- In 1952, when Luxembourg's Josy Barthel won gold in the 1500m, no-one had the music to the Luxembourgian national anthem so the band had to improvise. Found by Henning.

- At the 1900 Olympics there was a 200m swimming obstacle race down the sewage-filled River Seine. Successfully smuggled.

- Solo synchronised swimming was an event at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Successfully smuggled.

- In 1988 Mexican skier Roberto Alvarez took so long to finish the course that a search team had to be sent to find him. He finished an hour behind everyone else. Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Blood

- The first blood bank was set up in Ipswich in 1937. Found by Ed.

- Vampire bats constantly urinate while drinking blood. As blood contains so little protein they need to drink a lot of it, so they need to get rid of as much excess liquid as possible so that they can still fly. Found by Phill.

- Giraffes have the highest blood pressure in the animal kingdom. Found by Mark.

- Spider blood is transparent. Found by Ed.

- Liquorice and pessimism increase blood pressure. Successfully smuggled.

Ed Byrne - Bees

- It is illegal for bees to fly over the town of Kirkland, Illinois. Found by Mark.

- Bees cool down their hives by splitting into two teams: one waving cool air in, the other waving hot air out. Found by Phill.

- Bees swarm around and smother attacking insects such as hornets. Found by Phill.

- It is illegal for bees to make a buzzing sound in Ottawa. Successfully smuggled.

- Queen bees only sting other queen bees. Successfully smuggled.

Phill Jupitus - Butter

- Butter was used as moisturiser by the Romans. Successfully smuggled.

- Butter was used as Brylcreem by the Vikings. Successfully smuggled.

- During the Middle Ages butter was often given extra colour by being mixed with marigold flowers. Before the Food Adulteration Act of 1860, 10% of butter was found to have copper added to it. Successfully smuggled.

- If you butter toast firmly it will tend to land butter side up. Successfully smuggled.

- Butter was used in the world's first automatic fire alarm. The fire would warm the butter which was between two metal plates, which when they touched rang the alarm. Successfully smuggled.


- Phill Jupitus: 6 points
- Mark Watson: 1 point
- Henning Wehn: 0 points
- Ed Byrne: -1 point

Broadcast details

Monday 2nd January 2012
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Phill Jupitus Guest
Ed Byrne Guest
Henning Wehn Guest
Mark Watson Guest
Writing team
Colin Swash Writer
John Finnemore Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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