Genius: a radio/TV show that offers you the chance to prove you're a genius. Sort of.

Genius started on Radio 4 in 2004. We made three series for radio before transferring it to TV. We then made a Christmas special for radio and another, very different series for BBC2 in 2010.

The show has been through lots of little tweaks and changes since it first started. The first telly series was probably a bit too close to the format we'd ended up wedded to on the radio but the second series seemed to change the format while maintaining the spirit of the show. Either way, it's always been hugely enjoyable to work on. The first telly series looked like this:

Genius TV set

Or to be even more precise, like this:

The second telly series was very different.

On the radio and in the first telly series we'd hear from 4,5 and if we're very lucky, 6 potential geniuses in each episode in the second series we did away with a lot of the faux formality and had a crowd of 70 people all of whom could be in the show. We'd go into just as much detail on just as many ideas but instead of wasting time on seeing people arrive and leave (something you don't have to do on radio) we'd also do lots of quick rounds that mean we usually heard from 20 to 30 people in total and sometimes more. There was lots more room for improvisation and it felt a lot fresher as a result. We had two guests per show and a more intimate setting too.

It looked like this:

Genius History

The first radio series was broadcast towards the end of 2005 and featured the following guests: Paul Daniels, Richard Madeley, John Fortune, Neil Innes and Stewart Lee.

The second series was broadcast Radio 4 starting in September 2006. The guests were Johnny Vegas, Carol Vorderman, Brian Sewell, Chris Addison, Sid Waddell, and Armando Iannucci.

The third series was broadcast on Radio 4 starting in October 2007. It featured the guests, Robert Newman, Germaine Greer, Simon Munnery, Gyles Brandreth, Matthew Wright and Charlie Brooker.

The first TV series was broadcast on BBC2 starting in March 2009. It featured the guests, Catherin Tate, Frank Skinner, Jonathan Pryce, Johnny Vegas, Germaine Greer and Stewart Lee.

The second series went out in the autumn of 2010. It featured the guests, Russell Howard & Hazel Irvine, Jane Moore & The Hairy Bikers, Vanessa Feltz & Richard Herring, Chris Addison & Mel Giedroyc, Tim Minchin & Alexei Sayle and Noddy Holder & Shappi Khorsandi.

At present there are no plans to bring the show back.

Genius DVD Cover

Genius on DVD

The first TV series, which aired on BBC2 in 2009, is available on DVD.

Buy the series

Genius CD CoverGenius CD cover Genius CD cover

Genius on CD

All three radio series are currently available on CD.


Buy the first, second or third radio series or get the box set of all 3 which includes a Christmas Special with Lee Mack.


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