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 8, Episode 5

David Mitchell hosts an edition of the game show recorded at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe featuing Mark Watson, Roisin Conaty, Alex Horne and Henning Wehn. The subjects discussed are competitions, chickens, sweets and the Romans.

Further details

The Truths

Alex Horne - The Romans

- Julius Caesar was afraid of cows, or to be exact the massive and now extinct aurochs cow. Found by Roisin.

- There is no Latin word for "Interesting". Found by Mark.

- The Romans invented sausages. Successfully smuggled.

- The idea of toasting comes from the Roman practice of dipping toast in their wine before drinking it. Successfully smuggled.

- One Roman by the name of Soranus believed in a method of contraception which involved the woman holding her breath at the right moment and sneezing violently afterwards. Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Chickens

- The longest recorded flight time for a domestic chicken is 13 seconds. Found by Alex.

- For about 1,000 years Britons only farmed chickens for their eggs. It was not until the Romans came along that they started eating them. Found by Mark.

- Chickens are often the first animal to develop new types of flu. Found by Mark.

- The world eats 52 billion chickens a year. Found by Alex.

- A Colorado chicken called Mike lived for 18 months without a head. Found by Alex.

Roisin Conaty - Sweets and Confectionary

- Roald Dhal once put a dead mouse in a jar of sweets when he was eight. He and four of his friends were caned by their headmaster as punishment. Found by Alex.

- Rats like boiled sweets more than cheese. Found by Mark.

- In New Jersey, a van driver whose van was full of sweets discovered that a bear have got inside, dislodged the hand break and rode off. Found by Alex.

- In Alberta, Canada, a flock of mountain sheep are in danger of being killed of because they are neglecting their normal grass diet in favour of sweets offered to them by tourists. Successfully smuggled.

- Rabbits love liquorice, but it is bad for their health as they cannot digest sugars. Successfully smuggled.

Mark Watson - Competitions

- American Mary Esposito won a competition to see who had the most infested home. Her apartment contained 75,000 cockroaches. The prize was $1,000 and a supply of cockroach control products. Found by Alex.

- In 1992 Canada banned the Miss Canada Beauty Contest. Found by Alex.

- Jose Astoreka won the world's first "Cracking Walnuts in the Anus" competition, cracking 30 in 57 seconds. Found by Roisin.

- Alice Johnson from Santa Fe, New Mexico, won a car by kissing it for 32 hours and 20 minutes in 1994. She damaged four teeth in the process. Successfully smuggled.

- Graham Greene once came second in a "Write like Graham Greene contest". Successfully smuggled.


- Alex Horne: 4 points
- Roisin Conaty: 3 points
- Mark Watson: 2 points
- Henning Wehn: -4 points

Broadcast details

Monday 23rd January 2012
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Henning Wehn Guest
Mark Watson Guest
Alex Horne Guest
Roisin Conaty Guest
Writing team
Colin Swash Writer
John Finnemore Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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