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Family from Cumbria compete on tonight’s The Family Brain Games on BBC Two

Smith Vs Mohammed (l-r); Rob, Ailith, Ivan, Andy, Iqbal, Harris, Zain, Bushra and Dara Ó Briain (centre) – (C) Label 1 Photographer: Ryan McNamara

The Smith family from Cumbria will compete on tonight’s episode of The Family Brain Games, a new prime-time game show on BBC Two.

This brand new series, presented by Dara Ó Briain and produced by Label1, follows eight brilliant families from all walks of life as they come together in a specially designed ‘games lab’ to compete in the ultimate test of intelligence.

Each episode will see two families go head to head in a series of ingenious games, designed in association with Imperial College London. Going beyond traditional ideas about how to measure brain power, such as individual IQ, the games will also explore the power of group intelligence – and what better group to test than families.

Rob, Ailith, Ivan, Andy playing Letter Shift – (C) Label 1 – Photographer: Ryan McNamara

So alongside areas like numeracy, verbal reasoning, lateral thinking and memory, the families’ mental agility will also be tested in a range of more surprising areas including communication, strategy and risk, now seen by experts as critical components of 21st century intelligence.

Observing the game play alongside Dara is neuroscientist Dr Hannah Critchlow, who will be sharing her knowledge about the latest scientific research into intelligence.

After four heats, three semi-finals and a grand final, just one family will emerge victorious. But as each family will be judged as a whole, individual brilliance will not be enough in The Family Brain Games, as the teams will have to show they can work together in order to bring out the best in each other and succeed.

As these families tackle each demanding challenge, documentary cameras follow them behind the scenes, helping us to understand what makes these relationships tick by exploring their family dynamics and their response to the pressure of intense competition.

The Smith family: Rob, Ivan, Ailith and Andy – (C) Label 1 – Photographer: Ryan McNamara

The Smith Family from Cumbria consists of maths tutor mum, Andy (51), retired engineer dad, Rob (55) and two children Ailith (13) and Ivan (12).

Mum Andy loves maths and studied Maths at Oxford University. Rob studied Mechanical Engineering at Leeds University and is a passionate orienteer, enjoying the physical and intellectual aspect of it.

Eldest daughter Ailith says she is the most creative one in her family and is currently writing a 600-page novel with her friend.

Youngest son Ivan is passionate about Maths, like his Mum, and orienteering, like his Dad.

The Family Brain Games (8 x 60’) was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, and David Brindley, Head of Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment. The Commissioning Editors are Clare Mottershead and Ricky Cooper. It is made by Label1 and the Executive Producers are Simon Dickson, Lorraine Charker-Phillips and Nicholas Steinberg. The games have been devised in conjunction with Dr Adam Hampshire at Imperial College, London.

Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, says: “We’re excited about bringing the UK’s most brilliant families together and celebrating their incredible brainpower. Mixing documentary sensibility with the entertaining world of family competition, all hosted by the excellent and scarily smart Dara Ó Briain, this promises to be a thoroughly enjoyable watch.”

Simon Dickson, Creative Director of Label1, says: “We are absolutely delighted to be making this big-scale popular format for the BBC. The Family Brain Games’ hybrid of tense competition and inquisitive documentary feels like it has the potential to take us into an exciting new world of storytelling.”

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