Genevieve Vieira
2 minute read
11 Mar 2014
6:00 am

Get your facts straight with new science programme

Genevieve Vieira

Did you know that two thousand strains of bacteria live in your belly button? Or that beer is the bedrock of civilisation? BBC's new science entertainment program, Factomania sells itself on a single catchphrase: "All the facts you didn't know you needed to know."

From left: Greg Foot, Dom Byrne and Fran Scott putting their experiements to the test. Pictures: BBC.

Much of what you’ll learn on the show is hardly life-changing or vital for survival, but it is certainly fascinating.

Factomania attempts to uncover the world’s most incredible facts through explosive experiments, animated tales and outrageous stunts – all entertainment worthy, but what sets it apart from all the other science shows currently on air?

Hosts Dom Byrne, Fran Scott and Greg Foot get three chances to win. Yes that’s right; it’s a competition.

Each presenter, each week, seeks an even better and more impressive fact that will score them the highest points. And these guys mean business.

Things get a little heated in studio as presenters Fran Scott and Greg Foot play with fire. Picture: BBC.

Things get a little heated in studio as presenters Fran Scott and Greg Foot play with fire. Picture: BBC.

In a demonstration for the media, Foot takes a Pringles tin, poking small holes on opposite sides of the container. He uses his index finger to block the top hole, using the bottom hole to fill the container up with hydrogen gas. Once the container is full of hydrogen, he ignites the gas.

We step back and wait. As the hydrogen begins to burn, the tin fills up with oxygen. When a sufficient concentration of oxygen is introduced, it causes a combustion reaction – shooting the tin up into the air, Pringles flying out the bottom. There are easier ways to open Pringles, but this was certainly more exciting than most.

Though Foot and Scott are knowledgeable on many of the subjects discussed on the show, Byrne is just like the viewer.

He’s that inquisitive guy who wants the most amazing facts to impress his friends. As far back as he can remember, Byrne has been obsessed with the unexplained and is always hungry to search out fascinating history and science factoids, even if he doesn’t know what’s potting. Foot and Scott are there to assist.

Each episode has two or three tricks that can be replicated at home. Unlike most other shows that include disclaimers, Factomania requires participation.

If science lessons at school were anything like those in this show, passing the subject wouldn’t be such a challenge.

The show is likely to give MythBusters a run for its money, but it doesn’t set out to debunk anything. Rather, it explores the reasons for different phenomena.

Though not everything has a textbook answer, expanding your knowledge and curiosity is the name of the game.

The show is fast-paced and jam-packed with content, so even if you didn’t want to know the myth behind dragons, you may want to join Foot in his quest to find the most explosive ingredient in his kitchen.

Presenters, Greg Foot, Dom Byrne and Fran Scott.

Presenters, Greg Foot, Dom Byrne and Fran Scott.