The Family Brain Games is a new prime-time game show coming to BBC Two this summer. The series will be stripped over two weeks (8 x 60” episodes, with four airing per week Monday - Thursday).
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.
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 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.”
In the Heats all families play the same five games, designed as below:
Letter Shift: a game testing vocabulary and teamwork, demonstrating group dynamics and co-operative intelligence, played by all four family members.
Colour Frame: a game exploring group communication and non-verbal reasoning of a complicated 2D geometric shape, played by all four family members.
Eight Things: a game demonstrating working memory and a risk analysis of speed vs accuracy, played as a family, head-to-head game.
Broken Calculator: a game testing numerical skills and brain plasticity, played head to head, in pairs.
Interrogation: the end game testing all forms of intelligence: employing effective group communication, cogna-flexibility, creativity and lateral thinking all against the clock, played by all four family members.
Word Ladder: a word game, requiring an appreciation of strategy while illustrating crystallised v fluid intelligence, played by all family members.
Shape Shifters: this takes the 2D visual task from the Heats (Colour Frame) and increases the complexity by using a 3D geometric shape, played by all family members.
Pathfinder: this game tests co-operative spatial planning and logic, and is played by the two adult members of the family.
Card Slide: this is a numerical game, also reliant on strategy, played by the two child members of the family.
Interrogation: as before, this tests all forms of intelligence, employing effective group-communication, cogna-flexibility, creativity and lateral thinking against the clock, played by all four family members.
Three families return to battle it out to become the The Family Brain Games Champion.
Cross purposes: the pressure is on, as all three families compete in a head to head language-based game.
Chain Reaction: for the first time we test engineering and mechanical intelligence, played by all four family members.
Interrogation: a familiar game, but this time only two winners of this game proceed to the final.
The ultimate brain game: a quick-fire head-to-head game for both families simultaneously, using questions from all the disciplines tested across the series.