Vivienne Jay (Ninja Nan)
Jadie Hobson (Mini Miss)
September Films for BBC Two, 3 January to 12 September 2009 (26 episodes in 2 series)
September Films for CBBC, 14 July to 7 October 2010 (13 episodes in 1 series)
September Films for BBC One, 14 July to 6 October 2011 (13 episodes in 1 series)
There's always a tension in children's shows: should they go all-out to entertain (as did Crackerjack and Get Your Own Back) or should there be some more educational content as well (see Blue Peter). Blast Lab falls squarely on the educational side of the question.
Two teams of three children play the contest. As a game show, it's perhaps not the most original - there's a true/false question, an estimation question, a science experiment, a prediction for a stunt, and a game played in a gunk tank. Blast Lab succeeds by demonstrating serious scientific principles in an entertaining manner. For instance, water is heavy, but if you were to drop a tonne of water from a great height onto a car, will it be drivable?
This education is coated in a comic-book presentation style - text captions briskly whoosh onto screen, there are recurring characters, and the Lab Rats are treated as cartoon foils. At the end of the show, one team has won prizes, and leaves with them. The other has not won their prizes, and put them in a bidet so they can blow them up.
Despite an unpromising slot (8.30 on Saturday morning? You can do better than that!) the show has been successful enough for the BBC to commission another series.
Original music by Christian Henson and Joe Henson.
The car Richard drives in the opening titles and used for the Fact Nav round is a 1964 Opel Kadett. He fell in love with the car whilst driving across Botswana for a Top Gear special in 2007, giving a name, "Oliver" which is incorporated on the registration plate.
Richard Hammond's Blast Lab (hardback book)
Blast Lab Activity Book No.1: Rockets and Racers (paperback)
Blast Lab Activity Book No.2: Brain Busters (paperback)