Britain's Brainiest

Image:Britains brainiest logo.jpg



Carol Vorderman

Tess Daly (2002 Kids Heats)


as Britain's Brainiest Kid, Celador for ITV, 9 August 2001 (Special)

as Britain's Brainiest, 2 January to ? February 2002 (Series)

as Britain's Brainiest Kid 2002, 9 to 31 December 2002 (Series: 11 episodes in 1 series)


Initially a one shot quiz that aimed to find Britain's Brainiest child. Expanded to try and find Britain's Brainiest adult, but seemed to get quietly dropped mid-run. Came back as a daily tournament to find Britain's Brainiest Kid, who wins some sort of cut glass trophy.

The format for each of the shows was roughly the same. Round one saw the throng of contestants split into male and female groups and asked 12 multiple choice questions a piece. The three top scoring males and females went on to round two. If exactly three people hadn't qualified after twelve questions then contestants who have scored the most points were automatically through, everyone else could keep battling it out until the third clear winner was found - this could go on for a while.

In the original one-off, the percentage of questions you got right in round one determined the order of play for the six remaining in round two. In later versions, a game called the Codebreaker was played - contestants were given a large number and a clue and they each had to convert the number into a word according to the numbers and letters on a telephone keypad. The quicker you did it, the earlier up the order of play you got.

Image:Britains brainiest kid group.jpgIt's Fastest Finger First... oops, wrong show.

In round two there were twelve categories. Contestants picked a category according to the previous ranking and were asked questions on it for 45 seconds (30 in the daily heats). Wrong answers didn't count against then, and the question was flashed up on screen so particularly smart kids could answer before the host had finished reading. Once all six had had a go, each person picked a second category in reverse order - ergo the person who started the round and had a completely free choice of categories at the beginning gets no choice at the end.

The top three scorers moved on to the Memory board. Again a code breaker was played to determine the order of play. The kids were shown a grid of 36 squares which flipped over for ten seconds. Each square was silver, or one of three colours represented by a contestant, and each contestant had five. The contestants needed to remember where their colours were, but also those of their opponents.

Each kid then alternately picked a square. If it was silver, they'd get a general knowledge question for one point. If they picked a square of their own colour, they'd get a question on their specialist subject for two, and if they picked a square with an opponent's colour on it they'd get a question on their category for a whopping three points. Highest score after five or six turns (we forget) is OFFICIALLY Britain's Brainiest Whatever.

The idea of the adult shows were to have people of different professions each week with the winners going through to the grand final. This wasn't really a success, however.


An interesting incident occured in the broadcast of Britain's Brainiest Kid 2002. The final of one of the heat stages was in progress when suddenly ITV cut away from the show to go to its regional news programmes... and didn't come back. This was the result of a transmission error, forcing the announcer to reveal the outcome of the unfinished episode just before the episode the next day.




Britain's Brainiest - Quiz Book (paperback)

Britain's Brainiest - Quiz Book 2 (paperback)

Web links

Celador's Britain's Brainiest Page

Set design by Andy Walmsley


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