Radio Review: The Unbelievable Truth
By Ian Dunn
Tuesday 24 Mar 2009 11:38:00
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This Radio 4 panel game hosted by David Mitchell is unbelievable for several reasons, good and bad.


For starters, it is unbelievable that a show can gather such a following in the 18.30 slot on Radio 4, which is already occupied by two of radio’s greatest panel games; Just a Minute and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.


To do that is a great achievement, although it may have something to do with the fact that The Unbelievable Truth is created by two members of the ISIHAC team: panellist Graeme Garden and producer Jon Naismith.


It is also unbelievable that Mitchell has so little to say. He is well known as being one of the best exponents of panel games. He has been on several shows, including Mock the Week, QI, Have I Got News for You, Just a Minute and is a team captain on Would I Lie To You? However, most of talking does not come from him but from his guests.


This is mainly because the object of the game is for each of the panellists (this week it was Garden, Lucy Porter, Clive Anderson and Chris Addison) give a lecture which is almost entirely fabricated, and the other guests try to discover which parts of the lecture are true.


This has lead to some critics claiming that the show is “Too scripted”. I think that the best way to get around this problem is to think that the script is just the questions. These questions however are designed to be well hidden and the panel have to try and find them. This sadly means that Mitchell is almost redundant and is reduced to the roll of an umpire.


The Unbelievable Truth may not be the best panel game in the world, but it is enjoyable. It is a way of merrily passing away half-an-hour.

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