Students play for laughs and learning on new TV show

Five NSW public school teams have the chance to match wits – and minds – with Shaun Micallef on game show Brain Eisteddfod. Glenn Cullen reports.

Image: Jack Bensemann, Aiden Tamen and Jazlyn Singh prepare for the next curly question from Shaun Micallef.

From It’s Academic to Now You See It and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, Australia’s best and brightest kids have never been particularly shy about showing off their wares on national television.

In that vein, it should come as no surprise that some of the state public system’s sharpest minds were keen to have a crack at a new show on Channel 10: Shaun Micallef’s Brain Eisteddfod.

Hosted by veteran comedian Micallef, the show pits Year 11 school teams from around the country against each other in subjects such as foreign language, Australiana, mathematics, history, physics and art.

NSW public schools are generously represented.

Newtown High School of the Performing Arts, Merewether High School, Prairiewood High School, Killarney Heights High School and Caringbah High School will all fly the flag for the state’s public education sector.

While Brain Eisteddfod will nominally find ‘Australia’s smartest school’, with Micallef at the helm it’s just as much about having a few laughs; the teens getting the chance to sharpen their wits and their minds.

“I've always believed there was intelligent life on this planet and I am delighted and proud to be part of 10's efforts to discover it right here in Australia,” Mr Micallef said.

“Also, I was once a year eleven student myself, and will be using my old notes to double-check the answers!"

Prairiewood High School in Sydney’s southwest got an early chance to appear on the show and while understandably the team didn’t want to give too much away, it was safe to say a good time was had by all.

“Honestly, the ability to say ‘I was on a game show on TV with Shaun Micallef’ was reason enough (to do the show),” Jazlyn Singh said.

“I believed the experience would be awesome and a great conversation piece/subtle flex; that one interesting fact about yourself you give during icebreakers.

“A close second was the ability to represent the school on the national level and put Prairiewood High School on the map.”

Teammate Aiden Tamen, whose only disappointment was that Mr Micallef dispensed of his beard, was equally enthused.

“Shaun was a riot! If we hadn’t had him to interact and joke around with, we wouldn’t have been able to finish the show because of our nerves.

“We had a little bit of an audience behind set, and you would constantly hear snorts and laughs from his interactions with us. It was incredible to be in the same room as him, let alone laugh with him!”

Shaun Micallef’s Brain Eisteddfod airs Wednesday nights starting July 20, at 7.30pm on Channel 10.

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