Think of a Number History Think of a Number is a 70’s Children’s TV show and was the first of many Johnny Ball programmes to appear during that period. At the time Johnny Ball was more well known for presenting the BBC pre-school show ‘Play School’ and writing for ‘Play Away’. He was then given the opportunity to have his own show and his interest in science and mathematics helped shape what we now know as ‘Think of a Number’.   The show was well received by all and it even won the BAFTA Harlequin Award for the series 1 episode ‘Time’. A total of 6 series of Think of a Number were made over six years (and he even toured the country with his Think of a Number roadshow). This was followed by further ‘Think’ series called Think Again (1981-85), Think! Backwards (1981), Think! This Way (1983). In 1989, Johnny Ball made the jump from the BBC to ITV, making the series ‘Johnny Ball Reveals all’. This show lasted until 1994 when he was classed as too old for children’s TV by the powers that be (boo!!). Johnny has kept working and owns his own production company. He also has a reputation for being outspoken on a number of subjects such as why climate change is scaremongering and why nuclear power is beneficial. As you can understand these are highly controversial topics. Story Johnny Ball was the maths and science teacher that we all wanted. Each week he would engage with the studio audience of children, trying to explain to them (and us watching at home) how maths, science & technology worked. He made it interesting by showing us practical experiments and what science could do. His style of presenting was a mixture of comedy and tomfoolery which made sure we were put at ease and we didn’t feel like we were being preached to. He used members of the studio audience to help with his experiments, ensuring that he was seen as an approachable person. Johnny Ball even asked the audience to give his helpers a round of applause. I’m sure that most of us who watched the programme wanted to be in the audience and help out. We marvelled when he showed us how light could power small vehicles and how there were plans to power a huge plane by sunlight too (what happened to that? Shouldn’t all planes be solar powered now?). The closest show at the time was the technology programme ‘Tomorrows World’, aimed at adults, but here was the kids equivalent. The set that Johnny used resembled a huge Christmas advent calendar. It was a flat wall with numbers painted across it, which had many hidden doors in it, each holding a new experiment to help describe the current topic. At the end of each show, Johnny would be seen doing silly things before the credits began to roll, where he would be seen trying to keep his balance tightrope walking over them. Think of a Number - Johnny Ball Think of a Number - Intro Numbers Think of a Number - Think of a Number - Camera Trickery Think of a Number - Intro Think of a Number Images (click to enlarge) Think of a Number - Time for TV Think of a Number - Audience Participation Think of a Number  T-Shirts NONE Think of a Number Video Intro
Think of a Number Episodes Series 1 (1978) 1. Storing Energy 2. The Body 3. Materials 4. Water 5. The Shape of Wealth 6. Time Series 2 (1979) 1. Face Facts 2. Absolutely Nothing 3. Seeing the Light 4. The Pressure’s Mine 5. Getting Things Moving 6. Squeezing It In Series 3 (1980) 1. Wheels within Wheels 2. No Cockles, just Muscles, Alive, Alive-oh 3. The Science of See Through Sand 4. Elementarianisticalizationabalism 5. Hello Listeners 6. 2D or not 2D, That is the Question Series 4 (1982) 1. What does Exactly mean, Exactly? 2. Musical Numbers 3. Box Clever 4. Dangerous Curves 5. Just by Chance 6. What made me, me? Series 5 (1983) 1. The Maze of Ways from A to B 2. In the Balance 3. Plane Planes and Flights of Fancy 4. Bounce and Stretch 5. Think of a Number and Beat It 6. Say it with Numbers Series 6 (1984) 1. Suck and Blow 2. Up and Over 3. The Four Side Saga 4. Let the Angle of Force be with You 5. The All Star Show 6. The All Action Body Show Think of a Number - The Audience Think of a Number - Cool shades Johnny Think of a Number - The spectrum of light Think of a Number - A solar powered plan © Think of a Number - with Johnny Ball Think of a Number DVDs NONE Think of a Number - Credits Think of a Number - Johnny Ball being silly Think of a Number - The audience looks on
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