Everyday Maths

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started21st Sep 1978
ended21st Jun 1979
last rpt22nd Jun 1983
5 school years
duration20 mins
age rangeAge 14-16Age 13-16
languageenIn English

Everyday Maths is a BBC schools TV series from the 1970s and 1980s, covering Mathematics for secondary school pupils.

A sitcom about early retiree Sam, a work-shy chancer, learning to look after himself while bringing up his grandson Mike, also a work-shy chancer.

For Sam and Mike looking after themselves involves working out lots of practical, everyday maths, such as working out the cost of goods, measuring up for DIY and understanding market research claims, which they work out with help from their friends and colleagues from week to week.

The series shows the pair making mistakes and confusing themselves, and then coming good when they work out how the maths should work. Often it literally shows them doing this, using animation to visualise the calculations they are working out in their heads, or dwelling on the paper as they write out a sum.

Mike and Sam using a calculator

The series was specifically designed for students who were not expected to do brilliantly well in their maths CSE exams, avoiding abstract concepts completely and focussing just on the type of maths that would be useful to understand in normal life. For example the series doesn't cover fractions but does look extensively at decimal fractions in the form of money and measurements.

The series replaced the maths series Countdown for the same age group. Everyday Maths was successful, shown and repeated over five full years when originally it had only been planned for four[1], before being replaced by a new and updated maths sitcom for the 1980s called Maths Counts.

Titles & Theme Music

Everyday Maths title.jpg

The series title is spelled out in the display of a calculator, whose buttons are actually the necessary letters of the alphabet.

A similar calculator-based design was used for the teacher's notes (see below). The series encouraged the use of calculators, alongside manual calculations, to relieve the tedium of repeated calculations and allow the characters (and pupils) to focus on working out how to solve their maths problem.


# Title Broadcast
1. Pounds and Pence #1978-09-21-00-00-0021 Sep 1978
2. The Long and the Short of It #1978-10-05-00-00-005 Oct 1978
3. A Number of Things #1978-10-19-00-00-0019 Oct 1978
4. Time and Table #1978-11-09-00-00-009 Nov 1978
5. The Round-Up #1978-11-23-00-00-0023 Nov 1978
6. Ten Per Cent per Ted #1979-01-18-00-00-0018 Jan 1979
7. Which Way to Go? #1979-02-01-00-00-001 Feb 1979
8. Play Now, Pay Later #1979-02-15-00-00-0015 Feb 1979
9. Say It with Figures, Part 1 #1979-03-08-00-00-008 Mar 1979
10. Say It with Figures, Part 2 #1979-03-22-00-00-0022 Mar 1979
11. Try It for Size #1979-05-03-00-00-003 May 1979
12. Fast and Furious #1979-05-17-00-00-0017 May 1979
13. Cheap at Half the Price #1979-06-07-00-00-007 Jun 1979
14. The Last Count #1979-06-21-00-00-0021 Jun 1979

One episode of the series was first broadcast as a Preview programme on 16th June 1978 at 11:35am on BBC1, but I don't know which one.


  • 1978-79 (autumn, spring and summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 10:03am, repeated in alternate weeks Mondays 9:38am, on BBC1
  • 1979-80 (autumn, spring and summer) - fortnightly Fridays 11:40am, repeated in alternate weeks Wednesdays 11:02am, on BBC1
  • 1980-81 (autumn, spring and summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 9:47am, repeated in alternate weeks Wednesdays 11:02am, on BBC1. Not shown on Wednesdays in Scotland in the autumn, where Early History: Scotland was shown instead.
  • 1981-82 (autumn, spring and summer) - fortnightly Wednesdays 10:15am, on BBC1.
  • 1982-83 (autumn, spring and summer) - fortnightly Wednesdays 10:15am, on BBC1.


Starring Arthur English as Sam Lucas

Jack Wild as Mike Selby

With Sam Kydd as Sid (episodes 1, 2 & 6)

Barbara Keogh as Hetty Carson (episodes 1, 2 & 8)
Sally Sanders as Gwen Selby (episodes 1 & 14)
Vincent Osborne as Jim (episode 1)
Renu Setna as postmaster (episode 3)
Robert Oates as TV man (episode 3)
June Page as girl (episode 3)
Jacqueline Reddin as Alice (episode 4)
Norman Bird as Brook (episode 4)
Glynn Edwards as Charlie (episode 5)
Malcolm McFee as Pete Slinger (episode 6)
Tenniel Evans as manager (episode 6)
Nan Munro as Mildred Courtney (episode 7)
John Rapley as Edmond Courtney (episode 7)
Howard Bell as commissionaire (episode 7)
Neil Phillips as Eddie (episode 8)
Roger Tallon as paint shop assistant (episode 8)
Michael Lees as Ken Butterfield (episodes 9 & 10)
Jane Collins as Ann Silver (episodes 9 & 10)
Freddie Lees as Tim Medway (episodes 9 & 10)
Gillian Royale as survey lady (episode 10)
June Ellis as Elsie Kimble (episodes 11 & 12)
Julie Peasgood as Sheila (episode 11)
Jacki Webb as store assistant (episode 11)
Anne Dyson as Mrs Kimble (episode 12)
Jack Watson as George Kimble (episode 12)
Brian Peck as Reg Smart (episode 13)
Graham Weston as Sergeant Stevens (episode 13)
Michael Hawkins as Fred Mayhew (episode 14)

Consultant Colin Banwell
Graphics Tony Geddes
Set Designer Janet Budden
Film Cameraman John Turner, Lawrence Rush
Film Sound Chris King, Dave Simpson
Film Editor David Hunt, Tony Kovacs, Graham Whitlock
Studio Lighting Norman Brierley, John Carter
Studio Sound Alan Fogg
Make Up Sheelagh Wells, Ann Ailes
Costume Velma Buckle
Production Assistant Nicci Crowther
Written by John Tully
Director Andrew Morgan
Producer David Roseveare


Teacher's notes

Booklets of teacher's notes were published, costing 50p per term, with a summary of the mathematical content and the plot to each episode, without giving away the comedy payoffs.

The notes also included three pupils' worksheets for each episode which could be duplicated for classroom use.


  1. When Everyday Maths was launched in 1978, the BBC annual programme guide anticipated that "The series will be repeated in 1979-80, 1980-81 and 1981-2." (p.43). Producer David Roseveare emphasised the point when the series launched in a letter to the journal Mathematics in School (vol. 7 no. 3, May 1978, p.36) when he advised "Reviewers hurry: it ends in 1981-82!" Ultimately it was broadcast again in 1982-83.



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