Maths Challenge (TV)

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companyBBC
started9th Jan 2002
ended19th Mar 2003
last rpt5th Feb 2008
7 school years
episodes18
duration10 mins & 15 mins
age rangeAge 9-11
languageenIn English

Maths Challenge TV Workout is a BBC schools TV series from the 2000s, covering Mathematics for primary school pupils.

Dr Strangeglove, a megalomaniac with a secret headquarters on a glove-shaped island, hatches a variety of evil schemes to inflict mathematical chaos on the world. Debonair super spy Matt Mattics is hot on his trail, and Dr Strangeglove sportingly offers Mattics the chance to save the world by correctly answering a series of mental maths questions. Mattics has enlisted the help of seven-to-nine year-old special agents with specialist knowledge of topics like rounding and prime numbers to answer these questions for him.

The series brought the quick-fire mental maths quiz format, which had been successful in schools radio since 1999, to television for the first time, presented in thrilling spy adventures.

The TV series was originally to be called Maths Challenge: Problem Solving. The already-running Maths Challenge radio series did not feature Matt Mattics but instead had a presenter and a friendly maths computer setting the questions. Another contemporary schools radio series, Maths Adventure, did feature a character called Matt Mattic (no 's') in some of the programmes, but he was an enthusiastic young man travelling around the country in a Maths Mobile, rather than a secret agent.

Programmes

This Maths Challenge TV series is an engaging mix of several different elements. The characters were animated in two dimensions, and the environments animated in three dimensions. The special agents who answered questions for Matt were real children who came into the animated world as holograms on Matt's wrist-watch.

Matt and Year 5 special agents
Matt and Year 6 special agents


In the first series, for year 5 pupils, Matt Mattics is licenced to calculate by the HAMM agency: Help Against Muddled Mathematics.

In the second series, for year 6 pupils, Matt is given a licence to chill by an organisation called Inter-Math, and receives his missions from the lovely Miss Minny-Pinny, with whom he is hopelessly in love. Inter-Math's top secret headquarters, normally an innocent-looking ice cream van, self-destructs on Matt at the end of every episode. The series is full of references to other spy stories, especially the James Bond films.

Matt asks viewing pupils to answer Dr Strangeglove's fiendish questions alongside the special agents on TV, working out the answers in their heads then writing them down, and adding up their score when Dr Strangelove reads out the right answers. Children could earn three possible ranks depending on their score: cadet, secret agent or master spy, and they have to earn a certain score to overcome Dr Strangeglove. The three special agents attempting each mission on TV tend to get different scores to reflect different ability levels, and they do not always get high enough scores to beat Strangeglove. Viewers are also set a mission at the end of each programme - a more difficult question to answer for next time.

Episode List

# # Title Broadcast
TV Workout Year 5
1. (1) Multiples and Factors #2002-01-09-00-00-009 Jan 2002
2. (2) Fractions #2002-01-16-00-00-0016 Jan 2002
3. (3) Zeroes #2002-01-23-00-00-0023 Jan 2002
4. (4) Decimals #2002-01-30-00-00-0030 Jan 2002
5. (5) Doubles and Halves #2002-02-06-00-00-006 Feb 2002
6. (6) Complements #2002-02-27-00-00-0027 Feb 2002
7. (7) Rounding Numbers #2002-03-06-00-00-006 Mar 2002
8. (8) Percentages #2002-03-13-00-00-0013 Mar 2002
9. (9) Large Numbers #2002-03-20-00-00-0020 Mar 2002
10. (10) Integers #2002-03-20-00-00-0020 Mar 2002
TV Workout Year 6
11. (1) Equations #2003-01-15-00-00-0015 Jan 2003
12. (2) Shapes #2003-01-22-00-00-0022 Jan 2003
13. (3) Percentages #2003-01-29-00-00-0029 Jan 2003
14. (4) Fractions #2003-02-05-00-00-005 Feb 2003
15. (5) Decimals #2003-02-12-00-00-0012 Feb 2003
16. (6) 3D Shapes #2003-03-05-00-00-005 Mar 2003
17. (7) Number Patterns #2003-03-12-00-00-0012 Mar 2003
18. (8) Measures #2003-03-19-00-00-0019 Mar 2003


Episode Guide

TV Workout Year 5

A series of ten, 10 minute long programmes for 9-10 year olds, with Jonathan Guy Lewis as the voice of Matt Mattics, working for Help Against Muddled Mathematics.


1. Multiples and Factors

Dr Strangeglove has stolen the microchip from the Maths Challenge computer and taken it to his island hideout. In order to get past Strangeglove's traps, Matt and the Special Agents have to answer questions on multiples and factors.

First broadcast: Wednesday 9th January 2002, 12:20pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Tuesday 8th January 2008, 1:00pm on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078nlr BBC programme number: ESCA446L


2. Fractions

Strangeglove has taken over a space station and set up a number ray to destroy all the numbers in the world. Matt faces questions on fractions and quotients as he tries to get on board the space station.

First broadcast: Wednesday 16th January 2002, 12:20pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Tuesday 8th January 2008, 1:10pm on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078npy BBC programme number: ESCA447F


3. Zeroes

Strangeglove sets up a maths muddler machine in the middle of the jungle, and Mattics' Special Agents must deal with multiplying and dividing by 10, 100 and 1000.

First broadcast: Wednesday 23rd January 2002, 12:20pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Tuesday 15th January 2008, 1:00pm on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078ntf BBC programme number: ESCA448A


4. Decimals

Strangeglove has stolen the mystical starlight diamond and hidden it near the island volcano. He challenges the Special Agents to find the exact position of a probe on a number line showing tenths and hundredths, and round decimals to the nearest whole number.

First broadcast: Wednesday 30th January 2002, 12:20pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Tuesday 15th January 2008, 1:10pm on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078nxz BBC programme number: ESCA449T


5. Doubles and Halves

Dr Strangeglove is trying the cut the underwater maths communications cable, and the Special Agents face questions on doubling and halving in an effort to stop him.

First broadcast: Wednesday 6th February 2002, 12:20pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Tuesday 22nd January 2008, 1:00pm on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078p1b BBC programme number: ESCA450N


6. Complements

Strangeglove is using a freezeamatic machine in the arctic to throw snowballs all over the world and freeze all of the numbers. The special agents defeat the machine by answering questions on complements to 100, but they still have to defrost the world's numbers by answering questions on complements to 1000.

First broadcast: Wednesday 27th February 2002, 12:20pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Tuesday 22nd January 2008, 1:10pm on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078pch BBC programme number: ESCA512N


7. Rounding Numbers

Strangeglove makes time go backwards by turning an ancient wheel of time to minus. While Matt is running backwards and getting younger & younger, the Special Agents answer questions on rounding numbers and measurements.

First broadcast: Wednesday 6th March 2002, 12:20pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Tuesday 29th January 2008, 1:00pm on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078pgw BBC programme number: ESCA513H


8. Percentages

Strangeglove has set up a maths number net (with 100 holes) to interfere with maths radio transmissions. The Special Agents attempt to answer questions on percentages and fractions.

First broadcast: Wednesday 13th March 2002, 12:20pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Tuesday 29th January 2008, 1:10pm on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078plg BBC programme number: ESCA514B


9. Large Numbers

Dr Strangeglove is trying to flood the world with large numbers, with a vacuum cleaner that changes small numbers into oversized ones. The Special Agents take multiple choice questions about adding on to large numbers. Strangeglove then turns his attention to a shrink ray, and the Special Agents have to multiply large numbers.

First broadcast: Wednesday 20th March 2002, 12:05pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Tuesday 5th February 2008, 1:00pm on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078ppt BBC programme number: ESCA515W


10. Integers

Dr Strangeglove wants to take over the Maths Challenge theme park and sets up a number cruncher to destroy all the rides. The Special Agents must recognise integers and answer questions on negative integers involving Matt travelling on a lift which goes above and below ground.

First broadcast: Wednesday 20th March 2002, 12:20pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Tuesday 5th February 2008, 1:10pm on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078pt0 BBC programme number: ESCA516P

TV Workout Year 6

A series of eight, 15 minute long programmes for 10-11 year olds, with Jonathan Kydd as the voice of Matt Mattics, now working for Inter-Math.


11. Equations

Dr Strangeglove has set up a huge machine in space, stealing all the numbers from Earth and using them to manufacture little boxes of fruit juice. Matt Mattics and the Special Agents must fill in the missing items in equations to save the world's numbers. The mission begins with simple sums where missing numbers have been replaced by items of fruit, but once Matt boards the Number Juicer he faces full algebraic notation.

First broadcast: Wednesday 15th January 2003, 12:15pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Friday 14th September 2007, 11:00am on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078h7t BBC programme number: ESCB043D


12. Shapes

Strangeglove has built an evil radio transmitter in the desert which makes everybody in the world say the opposite of what they mean, interferring with Matt Mattics' attempts to flirt with Miss Mini-Pinny. Mattics and the agents must answer multiple-choice questions on 2-dimensional shapes.

This episode is often listed under the title '2D Shapes'.

First broadcast: Wednesday 22nd January 2003, 12:15pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Friday 14th September 2007, 11:15am on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078hcb BBC programme number: ESCB044X


13. Percentages

Dr Strangeglove has discovered the plug at the bottom of the ocean - and pulled it out! Mattics must get past killer sharks and escape Strangeglove's underwater clutches to replace the plug, by answering questions on percentages.

First broadcast: Wednesday 29th January 2003, 12:15pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Friday 21st September 2007, 11:00am on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078hh2 BBC programme number: ESCB045R


14. Fractions

Strangeglove plots to generate electric storms from a cave high in the Alps, and Mattics and his agents face questions on equivalent fractions and mixed numbers.

First broadcast: Wednesday 5th February 2003, 12:15pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Friday 21st September 2007, 11:15am on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078hlq BBC programme number: ESCB046K


15. Decimals

Miss Mini-Pinny is kidnapped by Dr Strangeglove. Matt attempts to get her back by answering true or false questions on comparing decimal number and fractions. Later he tracks down Strangeglove's fairground headquarters and has to carry out mental calculations with decimals to distinguish the real Miss Mini-Pinny from Strangeglove's army of robot Mini-Pinnys.

First broadcast: Wednesday 12th February 2003, 12:15pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Friday 28th September 2007, 11:00am on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078hql BBC programme number: ESCB047E


16. 3D Shapes

Strangeglove is mining diamonds on the moon and using them to construct a "number jumbler", which jumbles up all the telephone numbers on Earth. Matt gets trapped in the mining machinery and has to answer multiple choice questions on 3-dimensional shapes. Then he has to identify 3-dimensional shapes from their nets.

First broadcast: Wednesday 5th March 2003, 12:15pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Friday 28th September 2007, 11:15am on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078j28 BBC programme number: ESCB048Y


17. Square and Prime Numbers

Dr Strangeglove has begun distributing gloves around the world. But these are strange gloves - which cause the wearer to forget how to do maths. Matt and the Special Agents must identify square numbers and prime numbers, and continue number sequences, in order to shut down the strange glove factory.

This episode often appears in TV listings as 'Number Patterns'.

First broadcast: Wednesday 12th March 2003, 12:15pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Friday 5th October 2007, 11:00am on BBC2 BBC programmes ID: b0078j60 BBC programme number: ESCB049S


18. Measures

Dr Strangeglove changes all the normal units of measure like metres, litres and grams into a new unit called the strangeglove.

A scheduled final broadcast of this episode on BBC2 on 5th October 2007 was replaced by an episode of The Way Things Work.

First broadcast: Wednesday 19th March 2003, 12:15pm on BBC2 Last broadcast: Wednesday 9th May 2007, 12:45pm on CBBC BBC programmes ID: b0078j96 BBC programme number: ESCB050L


Broadcasts

Year Term Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Channel Details
2001-02 Spring 2002 Wednesday, 12:20pm BBC2
Summer 2002 Monday, 12:20pm Wednesday, 12:20pm BBC2
2002-03 Autumn 2002 Wednesday, 12:20pm BBC2
Spring 2003 Thursday, 10:35am BBC2
2003-04 Spring 2004 Tuesday, 11:20am BBC2
Summer 2004 Monday, 11:20am BBC2
2004-05 Autumn 2004 Tuesday, 10:40am BBC2
Spring 2005 Tuesday, 11:05am BBC2
2005-06 Spring 2006 Monday, 1:00pm BBC2
2006-07 Spring 2007 Monday, 11:00am BBC2
2007-08 Autumn 2007 Friday, 11:00am BBC2
Spring 2008 Tuesday, 1:00pm BBC2


CBBC Class TV

Maths Challenge was also broadcast on the CBBC Channel Class TV sequence of schools programmes, in

  • Summer 2003,
  • Autumn 2003, Spring 2004, Summer 2004,
  • Autumn 2004, Spring 2005, Summer 2005,
  • Autumn 2005, Spring 2006
  • Spring 2007, Summer 2007


Credits

Voices Jonathan Guy Lewis as Matt Matics & Dr Strangeglove (Year 5)

Jonathan Kydd as Matt Matics & Dr Strangeglove (Year 6)
Maddi Cryer as Miss Mini-Pinny

With Montana Thompson, Matthew Protheroe & Natalie Jones as Special Agents (Year 5)

Yasmin McKenzie, Lauren Smith, Anish Patel, Danielle Barwick & Simon Anderson as Special Agents (Year 6)

Maths Consultant Peter Patilla
Music & Sound Effects Derek Nash
Animation Director Ian Sachs
Studio Director Darcia Martin (Year 6)
Writer Simon Davies (Year 6)
Executive Producer Sue Nott
Producer Allan Burr

Resources

Activity Packs

Activity pack covers

Two activity packs to support using the programmes in the classroom. Each pack contains a 28-page teacher's book including ten weekly problems and 30 photocopiable activity sheets, plus two large colour posters and a set of 40 pictorial question and answer cycle cards (where each card has the answer to a different question on the back, and the whole class works together).

The packs originally cost £14.99 each.

  • TV Workout Year 5 Activity Pack, released late 2001, ISBN 0-563-54347-7
  • TV Workout Year 6 Activity Pack, released 2002, ISBN 0-563-54484-8

There were also separate activity packs to accompany the Maths Challenge radio series.


Videos & DVDs

Video Plus packs

Each series was released as a Video Plus pack containing a video of the episodes and the relevant teacher's activity pack. The Video Plus Packs were originally £29.99 plus VAT. By the time the BBC started offering their schools programmes on DVD Plus packs Maths Challenge TV Workout was no longer on sale.

  • TV Workout Year 5 Video Plus Pack, released spring 2002, ISBN 0-563-54346-9
  • TV Workout Year 6 Video Plus Pack, released 2003, ISBN 0-563-54485-6

16 of the episodes (all except Percentages and Measures from the Year 6 series) were released on video and DVD in the United States (archived 2013) and Canada (archived 2015).

Video

Watch Online Watch on YouTube. A promo for a potential children's entertainment series about the adventures of Matt Mattics, with clips from both series of Maths Challenge TV Workout.


Links

Sources & References

  • BBC (1999) BBC Primary Video Catalogue 1999-2000 for ages 4-11. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
  • BBC (2000) BBC Primary Catalogue 2000-2001. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
  • BBC (2001) BBC Primary Catalogue 2001-2002. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
  • BBC (2002) BBC Primary Catalogue 2002-2003. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
  • BBC (2003a) BBC Primary Catalogue 2003-2004. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
  • BBC (2003b) BBC Television, Radio and Online for Primary Schools 2003-2004. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
  • BBC (2004) BBC Television, Radio and Online Guide Primary 2004/2005. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
  • BBC (2005) BBC Primary Guide 2005/2006. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
  • BBC (2006) BBC Active Primary Catalogue Summer 2006. Wetherby: BBC Active.
  • BBC (2007) BBC Active Primary Catalogue Spring 2007. Wetherby: BBC Active.



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