He’s a Brainiac!

Britain’s favourite anarchic science discovery show, Brainiac, this week comes to Dubai with all the flair it’s famous for

By David Light

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Published: Wed 17 Nov 2010, 7:54 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:01 PM

IT’S WILD, IT’S loud and it’s the most informative fun you could possibly have on TV, Brainiac is British television’s foremost info-tainment series that has made science enjoyable again.

Focussing on the core subjects: physics, chemistry and biology – its quirky presentation style from household names including Top Gear’s Richard Hammond, Shooting Stars’ Vic Reeves and comedienne Thalia Zucchi, and the fact that every experiment tends to end in the destruction of a caravan, an explosion, or both have made for a winning formula.

Brainiac takes the often ferocious aspects of science and displays them in an entertaining manner, so everyone can glean the principle behind it. Past experiments have included ‘Cooking with Microwaves’ where various objects (mostly flammable) were nuked, ‘Chemistry Death Match’ in which a contest was held to produce the best chemical reaction and attempting to open a safe using a variety of materials such as napalm and acid.

Having been popular viewing on the Sky Television Network since 2003, Brainiac has evolved into a stage show that is coming to the city. Presented by specially trained and especially funny hosts, the stage show aims to recreate the best parts of the television series in front of your very eyes.

Art For All, in association with Eid in Dubai, will bring Brainiac Live to DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates this week.

We spoke to the show’s line producer, Mark Thompson, to find out more.

In your own words, tell us about the stage show.

The show brings to stage all that is anarchic about the world of science while asking the important questions that keep us awake at night like, ‘What’s the most slippery thing in the bathroom?’ ‘How much pressure does it take to blow up a hot water bottle?’ And my personal favourite, ‘What’s the quickest way to spin an office chair?’ In the development of the show a team of UK scientists assisted to make sure that the science was correct and that all the cast and crew left rehearsals with both arms attached.

What elements of the TV programme do you incorporate?

The live show uses the same format as the TV production of Brainiac. The structure is mainly a series of questions followed by a radical demonstration in order to obtain the answer to it, while at the same time delivering the correct scientific information. When we originally sat down to produce the show, the entire creative and production team locked themselves in a room with every episode of the TV programme ever made in order to develop what was to become Brainiac Live.

What can people expect?

I guess people can expect to go away from the show hopefully both entertained and having learnt something new. It’s entertainment with a few loud bangs thrown in for good measure!

Is it really educational as well as fun?

All the content within the show was developed to have an educational structure behind it. We took a series of experiments and looked at how to develop them into an entertainment format while at the same time keeping the delivery or explanation correct.

Is it dangerous in any way for the presenters?

The show is live science using real gases such as hydrogen and oxygen mixed together in order to set alight, it makes a rather large bang right in front of you on the stage. A lot of the elements of the show are dangerous if not handled correctly and by professionals. All the cast and crew are experienced in handling chemicals and gases and have been trained by both scientists and health & safety personnel in order to be able to deliver the show safely to audiences. However, none of the demonstrations on Brainiac Live should be recreated at home or school.

What made you decide to take Brainiac on the road?

Brainiac is one of the most exciting programmes on Sky Television. It brings together collectively a lot of interesting facts but delivers them to you in a fun and entertaining way. As a company we’ve been looking at various different edu-tainment propositions for some time.

What age group would be most interested in the show?

Well, I’d say seven to 107 years old would be our key audience. The beauty of Brainiac is that although its content is educational, the delivery is very much about entertainment. It’s a show that all the family will enjoy and take something away from.

Can the audience get involved?

Yes, there are various “Brain Burners” within the show. These are a series of tests, questions and images to test your mind power. Also, there are a few moments in the show where you can actually come up onto stage and help with the demonstrations.

What is your favourite part of the show?

I know it’s hard to believe but the whole show is thoroughly entertaining and something we are all very proud of. If I have to state my favourite scene it’s probably when we put the presenter into an office chair with a fighter jet pilot’s helmet on for protection and strap a hydrogen cylinder to the side of the chair to see how fast we can make it spin.

If you were not involved with the show, why would you want to come see it?

It’s explosive, it’s fun, it’s loud, it’s educational and there’s even a part that will make you jump right out of your seat!


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