Test the Nation
"Test the Nation" is a television programme, first broadcast in 2001 by
BNNin The Netherlandswhere the concept is owned by [http://www.eyeworks.tv/ Eyeworks Holding] who license it to TV production companies around the world.
The format is designed to allow viewers to answer a number of questions in order to measure their
IQor their ability in some other 'intellectual' area. For instance, in the UK (where the show has run since 2002) there have been editions of the show devoted to general knowledge, knowledge of the UK itself, and the English language. There is also an annual test of the year's events just before Christmas.
Typically there is a studio audience who answer the questions along with the viewer. The studio
demographyis broken down into fun categories often designed to challenge or affirm stereotypes. For example, in the United Kingdom, White-Van Men and fashion models are commonly thought to be less intelligent, whilst doctors and scientists are "expected" to score highly. The fun is in comparing your score against your fellow countrymen. There is also a group of celebrities pitting their wits against the audience, and one or more 'experts', who comment on aspects of the particular show's topic.
The format has now been made around the world in countries including
Australia, Germany, Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Indonesia, New Zealand, Denmark, Japan, Ireland and in the Middle Easton the Arabic language MBC1.
The British version, made by
Talent Televisionfor the BBC, was originally presented by Anne Robinsonand Phillip Schofield. The BBC tests are devised and standardised by the academic Colin Cooper, of Queen's University Belfast, who is sometimes referred to on the programme as 'Sooperman Cooperman'.
Viewers can play along using
interactive television, log onto the BBC website, or just use a pen and paper to keep score.
The first show, in May 2002, was an IQ test and the six groups of 50 studio participants included blondes, brunettes, teachers and students. They were pitted against a group of 10 celebrities including
Eastendersstar Adam Woodyatt, pop music presenter Fearne Cotton, Olympic athlete Jonathan Edwardsand former Sunday Timeseditor and broadcaster Andrew Neil. The teachers came out on top. The last IQ test in the UK was shown on 27 August 2007, when the studio groups were reality show contestants, clairvoyants, surgeons, removal men, Robinsons, Wallaces and celebrities. In this episode Danny Wallace, a successful writer, made his first appearance as co-host. He replaces Phillip Schofield, who now works "only" with ITV. Experts who joined Dr Colin Cooper on the IQ test panel have included Sylvia Herbert, a director of British Mensa(2002 and 2003) and Baroness Susan Greenfield, scientist and polymath (2004).
Although there is usually an end-of-year test in the UK each year around Christmas, there wasn't one at the end of 2006. But at the start of 2007 there was a similar programme broadcast on BBC One called Your Country Needs You, presented by
Patrick Kielty, with the same general format.
Test the Nation is an
RTÉprogramme, based on the successful BBC concept, Test the Nation.
First airing on
RTÉ Oneon June 5, 2006, the show follows the UK format almost identically. In studio, two presenters oversee proceedings, which feature 6 teams of 40 contestants from various sectors of society. Members of the public participate by SMSor via the internet. The Macromedia Flashapplications used are identical to those used by the BBC. A trial version of the application appeared prior to the first quiz night, featuring 12 questions on a number of topics, including the Birmingham Six, the former occupants of the Grafton Streetsite now occupied by Brown Thomas, and which Irish alcohol company Toto Schillaciadvertised for.
This version of Test the Nation covers the whole island of
Irelandas opposed to just the Republic; thus there is overlap between the content of the RTÉ and BBC versions of the show. As opposed to the BBC system of division by nearest city (which let people in Ireland enter if they chose Belfast), RTÉ divide results by historical Irish county.
The first show
The show first aired on
RTÉ Oneon June 5, 2006, with Miriam O'Callaghanand Ray D'Arcyoverseeing proceedings. As well as historical Irish counties, other questions asked for demographic division included the participants preference for teaor cappuccino, and their support for Roy Keaneor Mick McCarthyduring The Saipan Incident.
Their in-studio teams were Hairdressers, Football fans, an extended family from
County Clare, employees of Revenue, Estate Agents, a collection of people who had done their Leaving Certificatein 1986, and the "RTÉ Allstars", a collection of RTÉ presenters including Eddie Hobbsand Charlie Bird.
The show was nominally part of, and the last show in, an RTÉ series "The Time of Our Lives", covering the 20 years from 1986 to 2006, during with the Irish economy changed the country unrecognisably.
The second show
This aired on January 1 2007 and was presented by Miriam again but this time
Craig Doylewas her co-host. It was a test of the nation's IQ. It was revealed that the county with the highest IQ was Monaghan.
"Test the Nation" debuted in Canada
18 March 2007on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporationwith the episode [http://cbc.ca/testthenation "Test the Nation: IQ"] . A second episode called "Test the Nation: Watch Your Language" was broadcast on September 9, 2007, a third episode aired on January 20, 2008, called "Test the Nation: Trivia", and a fourth episode "Test the Nation: Sports" aired on Sunday May 25th at 8 PM (8:30 NT) on CBC Television. A fifth episode "Test the Nation: Canada Eh?" aired on Sunday September 7th at 8 PM (8:30 NT) on CBC Television.
The Canadian shows are hosted by
Wendy Mesleyand Brent Bamburyexcept "Test the Nation: Sports" which is hosted by Ron MacLeanand Wendy Mesley.
In the Canadian version, celebrity guests are selected to represent one of six in-studio teams. The celebrity guests also take the test and the top celebrity's score is revealed on air. "Test the Nation: Trivia" featured celebrities:
Farley Flex, Debbie Travis, Lorne Cardinal, Carlo Rota, Samantha Beeand Tricia Helfer. "Test the Nation: Sports" celebrity guests are Paul Coffey, Debra DiGiovanni, Alan Thicke, Brian Bailey, Victoria Prattand Chris Murphy (Canadian musician).
11 May 2002The National IQ Test (UK):2 23 December 2002The National 2002 Test :3 22 March 2003The National Relationship Test :4 04 May 2003The National IQ Test 2003 :5 06 September 2003The National Quiz :6 22 December 2003The 2003 Test :7 20 March 2004The Great British Test :8 22 May 2004The IQ Test 2004 :9 02 September 2004The Popular Music Test :10 19 December 2004The 2004 Test :11 12 March 2005The Big Entertainment Test :12 04 June 2005The 20th Century Test :13 08 October 2005Know Your English Test :14 18 December 2005The 2005 Test :15 29 May 2006Know Your Planet Test :16 02 September 2006The National IQ Test 2006:17 27 August 2007The National IQ Test 2007:18 18 March 2007Test the Nation: IQ (Canada):19 September 9 2007Test the Nation: Watch Your Language (Canada):20 January 20 2008Test the Nation: Trivia (Canada):21 May 25 2008Test the Nation: Sports (Canada):22 September 7 2008Test the Nation: Canada Eh? (Canada)
*bbc.co.uk|id=testthenation|title="Test the Nation"
* [http://www.ukgameshows.com/index.php/Test_the_Nation "Test the Nation"] at
* [http://bnn.nl/iq Official BNN site] (in Dutch)
* [http://www.rte.ie/testthenation Official RTÉ site]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/testthenation Official Canadian site]
* [http://www.iqte.st/bbciqtest/index.html Psychologist's glowing review of the test]
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