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 1 is repeated on Radio 4 Extra on Monday at 9am.

Series 8, Episode 6

David Mitchell is joined by Tom Wrigglesworth, Tony Hawks, Alan Davies and John Finnemore to talk on subjects such as wool, flowers, the radio and pasta.

Further details

The Truths

Tom Wrigglesworth - The Radio

- If you are standing below Big Ben while holding a radio tuned to BBC Radio 4, you can hear Big Ben being struck on the radio before you can hear it being struck in the clock tower. This is because radio waves travel at the speed of light whereas sound travels at the speed of sound. Found by John.

- Big Ben was first broadcast to usher in 1924. Found by Tony.

- Chickens lay more eggs when listening to BBC Radio 2. Found by Alan.

- In the USA suicide rates vary depending on the amount of country music played. Places which play more country music have higher suicide rates. Found by John.

- Metal slinky toys were used as radio antennas in Vietnam. Successfully smuggled.

John Finnemore - Pasta

- In China some meals consist of one giant noodle. Found by Tom.

- A rider for Aerosmith after gigs includes a giant pit of pasta. Found by Tom.

- Dolce & Gabbana have released a range of pasta earrings. Successfully smuggled.

- Ravioli means "Little turnips". Successfully smuggled.

- Strozzapreti means "Priest choker". Successfully smuggled.

Alan Davies - Flowers

- In 2002 archaeologists in China discovered the fossil of a flower 125 million years old. Found by Tom.

- The word "orchid" comes from the Greek for "testicle". Found by John.

- On International Women's Day, Russian police stop women to give them flowers. Found by Tony.

- Cher has a tattoo of a flower on her bottom. Found by Tony.

- Roses never grow thorns as these grow from the wood of a plant. Roses have prickles. Successfully smuggled.

Tony Hawks - Wool

- In 16th century England men could be fined for not wear a wool cap. Found by John.

- Before toilet paper was invented, Britons used wool to wipe their bottoms with. Found by Tom.

- Woodrow Wilson kept sheep in the White House. They formed part of the White House war effort during World War One by trimming the grass, freeing the regular gardeners for military service. Found by John.

- The lop-eared sheep of North Africa has a coat which is half a short downy undercoat and half long coarse hair. Successfully smuggled.

- Tom Baker's Doctor Who scarf was much longer than originally planned because the designer thought she had to use all the wool she was given. Successfully smuggled.


- John Finnemore: 4 points
- Tony Hawks: -1 point
- Alan Davies: -2 points
- Tom Wrigglesworth: -3 points

Broadcast details

Monday 30th January 2012
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Tony Hawks Guest
Alan Davies Guest
Tom Wrigglesworth Guest
John Finnemore Guest
Writing team
Iain Pattinson Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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