Square One Television

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started13th Jan 1992
ended12th Jun 1992
last rpt25th May 1999
8 school years
duration15 mins & 20 mins
age rangeAge 9-11
languageenIn English

Square One Television is a BBC schools TV series from the 1990s, covering Mathematics for primary school pupils.

A British version of a popular American educational TV series, a mathematical comedy sketch show. The US series featured recurring characters such as Dirk Niblick, an animated mathematical sleuth; Mathman, who moves around a maze like the video game character Pacman "eating" numbers which match given patterns; and the double act Cabot and Marshmallow, a spoof of Abbott and Costello.

The first series of ten, 15-minute programmes took some of this material from the American original and mixed it with lots of new UK-produced material introduced by Helen Lederer, including a game show challenge, comedians Trev and Simon attempting to bluff viewers, and athlete Kris Akabussi having trouble with data handling.

Helen Lederer presents the Square One Challenge

A second series of ten, 20-minute programmes followed, with more of the US material including two complete five-part serial adventures from Mathnet, a spoof of the American detective series Dragnet: The Case of the Willing Parrot and The Case of the Map with a Gap. This second series was shown every day across the week so that each adventure began on Monday and ended on Friday - the same way the series was scheduled to be broadcast in America. It was described on-screen as Square One Television with Mathnet.


# Title Broadcast
1. Place Value 13 Jan 1992
2. Fractions 20 Jan 1992
3. Probability 27 Jan 1992
4. Data Handling 3 Feb 1992
5. Graphs 10 Feb 1992
6. Angle 17 Feb 1992
7. Movement 2 Mar 1992
8. Area 9 Mar 1992
9. Volume 16 Mar 1992
10. Algebra 23 Mar 1992
11. Ratio and Scale 1 Jun 1992
12. Measurement 2 Jun 1992
13. Number Patterns 3 Jun 1992
14. Whole Numbers 4 Jun 1992
15. Negative and Positive 5 Jun 1992
16. Decimals 8 Jun 1992
17. Percentages 9 Jun 1992
18. Angles 10 Jun 1992
19. Estimation 11 Jun 1992
20. Problem Solving 12 Jun 1992


Presented by Helen Lederer
Voice over Shelley Thompson
Title music Nigel Squires
Graphic designer Laurence Henry
Production Nicci Crowther (episodes 1-10)
Jacqui Doughty (episodes 11-20)


  • Spring 1992: Mondays 10:00am, repeated Thursdays 10:00am
  • Summer 1992: Weekdays around 10:40am
  • Spring 1993: Mondays 10:00am, repeated Thursdays 10:00am
  • Spring 1994: Tuesdays 10:45am, repeated Wednesdays 9:30am
  • Summer 1994: Wednesdays & Thursdays 9:25am
  • Autumn 1994: Wednesdays 9:45am
  • Spring 1995: Thursdays 9:00am
  • Autumn 1995: Mondays 9:45am, repeated Fridays 10:45am
  • Spring 1996: Mondays 9:40am
  • from 1996-97: shown overnight on BBC2 as part of Nightschool TV and the Learning Zone

Related programmes


Sources & References

  • BBC (1992) BBC Education Annual Programme for Primary and Middle Schools 1992-93. London: BBC Education.
  • BBC (1994) BBC Education Radio and Television for Primary and Middle Schools 1994-1995. London: BBC Education.
  • BBC (1995) BBC Education Television, Radio and Resources for Primary and Middle Schools 1995-1996. London: BBC Education.
  • BBC archive catalogue catalogue
  • Times Educational Supplement TV listings, 1992-2000


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