The Unbelievable Truth



David Mitchell


Random Productions for BBC Radio 4, 19 October 2006 to present


David Mitchell hosts a parlour game which, it could be argued, is the bastard child of Just a Minute, The Railway Carriage Game and the opposite of Many a Slip.

Panellists are given a subject to present a talk about. The talk must be completely facetious, except that they are supplied with five items of truth which they must slip into their lecture. The other players may buzz in at any time in an attempt to identify the nuggets of truth. Points are awarded for correct challenges and successful smuggling, but penalties are incurred for incorrect challenges.

The idea is quite a smart one, and there is some good banter. However most of the programme is essentially listening to four rather silly pre-scripted stories, as if it's story time at primary school, and as such the real facts are often rather easy to spot in comparison. It may have been more dangerous fun if the contestants were supplied with their facts to be smuggled just before going on air, to allow even the pretence of some improvisation.

Nevertheless, David Mitchell's clever wit makes this a passable attempt at another Radio 9 gardening reality show (see what we did there?)


Graeme Garden and Jon Naismith

Theme music

My Patch by Jim Noir


Amusingly, on one episode of QI, Stephen Fry took David Mitchell to task over two items claimed to be true on this show, which had been debunked by the QI Elves: that a hedgehog dies if you remove its fleas, and that Shakespeare never used the word "cricket".

Web links

BBC programme page

Wikipedia entry

British Comedy Guide entry


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