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.

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Series 9, Episode 5

David Mitchell presents another edition of the panel game built on truth and lies. The guests, John Finnemore, Henning Wehn, Danielle Ward and Tom Wrigglesworth, talk on the subjects of bats, cars, oranges and Dr. Johnson.

Further details

The Truths

Danielle Ward - Bats (the animal)

- Bats are not blind. The eyes do work, especially in low light. Found by John.

- The woolly bat of West Africa lives in a spider's web. Found by Tom.

- During World War II the Americans developed an idea of using bats with bombs strapped to them as weapons. It was never used, partly due to the development of the atom bomb, and partly due to the fact that during the test the bats blew up an American army base to the ground. Found by John.

- In Austria it was once believed that tying the heart of a bat to your arm with red string would ensure you won at cards. Successfully smuggled.

- In one Batman comic Batman and Robin travel through time to save Marco Polo. Successfully smuggled.

Henning Wehn - Cars

- The first modern car as we know it was invented by Karl Benz of Mercedes-Benz. Found by John.

- Rubbing potato on your windscreen helps deflect water off it due to the wax in the potato. Carrots, onions and chewing tobacco also work. Found by John.

- In 1967 the Swedish switched from driving on the left to driving on the right. Found by Tom.

- Car air fresheners help drivers concentrate more while driving. Successfully smuggled.

- White cars are more likely to get stolen than any other coloured car, because white paint is non-metallic and easier to disguise when re-spraying. Successfully smuggled.

John Finnemore - Dr. Samuel Johnson

- Queen Anne once touched Johnson. He suffered from scrofula as a baby, known as "The King's Evil", and it was believed at the time it could be cured by the Royal Touch. It did not work and he had to have an operation which left him scarred on his face and body. Found by Tom.

- Johnson spelt "caterpillar" the way we do it today. He misspelled the word when writing his dictionary and he was so trusted that eventually it became the correct spelling. Before Johnson, the word was spelt "caterpiller". Found by Henning.

- Johnson always entered a room right-foot first, and left right-foot first. He believed that if used the wrong foot it bring evil upon the room's inmates. He also touched every wooden post he past and avoided stepping on the cracks on paving stones. Found by Tom.

- Johnson used to be carried to school because he was a sickly child. Successfully smuggled.

- Johnson kept a collection of dried orange peel. Successfully smuggled.

Tom Wrigglesworth - Oranges

- Whenever someone in The Godfather films comes into contact with an orange it is a sign that the character will be killed or has a close call. Found by Danielle.

- Beavers have bright orange teeth which never stop growing. Successfully smuggled.

- In the 1870s English canary breeders would feed their yellow Norwich canaries red peppers to turn them orange. Successfully smuggled.

- In California it is illegal to peel an orange in your hotel room. Successfully smuggled.

- During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Dutch doctor Willem Kolff invented the first artificial organ, a kidney machining made out of orange juice cans, old sausage skins and a broken washing machine. Successfully smuggled.


- Tom Wrigglesworth: 6 points
- John Finnemore: 4 points
- Danielle Ward: 0 points
- Henning Wehn: -4 points

Broadcast details

Monday 30th April 2012
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
David Mitchell Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Henning Wehn Guest
Tom Wrigglesworth Guest
John Finnemore Guest
Danielle Ward Guest
Writing team
Dan Gaster Writer
Colin Swash Writer
Production team
Jon Naismith Producer

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