Richard Hammond's Blast Lab

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Richard Hammond's Blast Lab
Format Children
Starring Richard Hammond
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 52
Production
Producer(s) James Wiseman
Location(s) The ITV London Studios
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original run 3 January 2009 – 6 October 2011
External links
Website

Richard Hammond's Blast Lab was a children's television programme made by DCD Media-owned September Films and Hamster's Wheel Productions for the BBC and shown on the CBBC Channel and CBBC outputs on both BBC One and BBC Two.

The programme involves two teams of three children – referred to as the Red Team and the Yellow Team – taking part in science-related challenges to win prizes at the end of the show. The team that loses get the honour of blowing up their prizes. Hammond has taken an approach that has come from years of working on Top Gear with elements of Brainiac: Science Abuse. The show also features Hammond's prized 1963 Opel Kadett car named "Oliver", which he acquired for the Top Gear: Botswana Special. Richard's "Ninja Nan", who acts as security at the Blast Lab (and who never speaks), is introduced at the start of each episode as substitute for SAS guards who, for a different reason in each episode, are absent. Ninja Nan also displays the prizes the winning team will be taking home with them, as well as those the losing team would have won, after the final challenge, which is called the 'Messy Messy Mess Test' and involves both teams and a large tank of gunge.

Loyal, yet incompetent servant-like men which Richard refers to as "Lab Rats" also appear in every episode. Lab Rats, who wear lab coats that have one half red and the other half yellow, are always seen taking on dangerous stunts and moaning around the lab. According to the introductory credits, the secret lab is supposed to be located beneath Mapledurham Watermill in Oxfordshire. In episode 7, the bias against caravans, which is often brought up in Top Gear and in Brainiac, continues, with one being wrecked by a fiery catapult.

"Mini-Miss", a bespectacled young girl of around ten or eleven years old who wears a lab coat like those sported by the Lab Rats, appears in the 'Mini-Science with Mini-Miss' round. Richard explains to the audience that Mini-Miss is actually his old science teacher whom he attempted to bring back through time with his home-made time machine, but something went wrong and she arrived as a child. Despite having been regressed to a youngster, Mini-Miss is shown to not suffer fools gladly, particularly Richard, whom she always chides for some misdemeanor or other – such as not paying attention, for example – before she goes to give the teams advice prior to the start of the round.

In January 2011, the show was canceled by the BBC. The show began airing in Australia on ABC3 as part of its inaugural lineup in December 2009 and in Ireland on RTE in May 2010.

Cast[edit]

  • Vivienne Jay ..... Ninja Nan
  • Jadie-Rose Hobson* ..... Mini-Miss

* Credited on-screen as Jadie Hobson.

DVD[edit]

The DVD of Richard Hammond's Blast Lab Blow Ups, released by Universal Pictures, is available now from all major retailers. The Complete Series 1 & 2 will be available online on 1 April 2011.

Episodes[edit]

Series 1 (Early 2009)[edit]

Title Summary Date Aired
1 In the opening episode of this spectacular new series, Richard and his two teams of budding young scientists study rocket propulsion. But they don't do this with dusty old text books. Instead, in true Blast Lab tradition, Richard and the teams race some balloons over a giant gunge tank and watch a jet pack man propel himself 30 meters in the air as he attempts the world's highest ever basketball slam dunk. 3 January 2009
2 This time, Richard Hammond looks at the weight of liquids. Richard joins one of his lab rats at his top secret test facility to discover what happens when a tonne of water is dropped onto a car from a height of 30 metres. Meanwhile, in his underground laboratory, Richard asks the two teams of young scientists to attempt to guess how much his security guard Ninja Nan and one of his lab rats weigh. But because this is Blast Lab, there's a twist... Ninja Nan and the lab rat have to sit on giant scales, while the contestants must use bottles of water to guess their weight. 10 January 2009
3 This time, Richard explores lift and friction. Richard and the gang build hovercrafts. In the studio they are made out of a bottle top, a CD and a balloon. But at Richard's top-secret test facility, his team of loyal lab rats make a hovercraft out of wood, plastic sheeting and leaf blowers. 17 January 2009
4 Science game show. Richard explores the conservation of energy as the team play a game of magnetic pinball. One of the Lab Rats has a close encounter with a toy pig on a pendulum. 24 January 2009
5 Richard explores the themes of pressure and weight distribution. In the studio, the two teams go balloon surfing, while at Richard's top secret laboratory, his Lab Rats make a huge balloon sandwich and see if it can take the weight of a saloon car without bursting. 31 January 2009
6 Richard explores the theme of fluid dynamics. In Mini Miss's science lesson, the two teams try to encase a team member in a giant bubble dressed as a hedgehog! Steely determination and patience are key to this game as they try to make a giant bubble without it bursting on the spikes. 7 February 2009
7 Richard and his two teams of budding young scientists look at catapults and levers. In the studio the contestants get the rare opportunity to fling eggs at Ninja Nan, all in the name of science. Richard's Lab Rats find out what happens when you use the world's largest trebuchet to fire flaming cannonballs at a caravan! 14 February 2009
8 Richard and his two teams use the Bernoulli principle to make beach balls fly in a game of leaf blower catch. Even Oliver has to wear ear defenders in this very noisy game. At Richard's top secret test facility, a Lab Rat's car is specially adapted to be powered by wind, but will it win the race to beat a Lab Rat on a child's bicycle? 21 February 2009
9 The theme in this episode is air pressure, and Richard's two teams launch their very own rockets using straws, bottles and a foot pump. Launching the rockets also demonstrates Newton's third law of motion. Meanwhile, on location at Richard's top secret testing ground, a rocket expert prepares to launch a giant water rocket, which isn't as easy as it seems. 28 February 2009
10 The themes are friction and inertia as the teams compete to see who can get the greatest number of eggs into glasses of water by whisking away a mat. A steady hand and a keen eye are essential if the eggs are not to break. At Richard's top secret test facility a Lab Rat tries to cook eggs and bacon by the unconventional means of hitching his frying pan to the back of a van. Will friction be enough to fry our Lab Rat's breakfast? 7 March 2009
11 The theme is pressure and the two teams of budding scientists set off mini rockets by dropping fizzy tablets into pots of various sorts of liquid. They have to seal the lids on quickly so that the pressure can build up inside before exploding. Meanwhile on location at the top secret test lab, it is time for a game of skittles with an air cannon. 14 March 2009
12 The theme is force and weight distribution. The teams demonstrate with a game called Anti-Gravity Grip, where they hang items on a coat hanger which is attached with Velcro. As the hanger gets heavier, it is just a matter of time before it cannot take the strain any more. Meanwhile, at Richard's top secret test laboratory, a lab rat who thinks he is Velcro Man tries to scale a wall. 21 March 2009
13 Richard challenges two teams of siblings to take part in a water-tension themed experiment, in which they must hold a container of water over their team-mate's head - with the catch being that the container is full of holes. 28 March 2009

Series 2 (Summer 2009)[edit]

Title Summary Date Aired
1 (14) Two teams join the Top Gear presenter to experiment with vitamin C rockets and find out who can get them to fire the furthest. At the secret testing site, the Lab Rats use compressed air to propel objects in a bid to beat the fastest recorded tennis serve. 20 June 2009
2 (15) The two teams use Archimedes' principle of buoyancy to determine whether items will float or sink, and the Lab Rats try to build a boat using cardboard. 27 June 2009
3 (16) The two teams learn about the strength of structures and weight distribution, and the Lab Rats try to build a bridge out of paper. 4 July 2009
4 (17) The theme is the movement of air, featuring a race between a Spitfire aeroplane, a rocket and a lab rat called Mercury. 11 July 2009
5 (18) The teams explore air pressure by trying to score a conversion in a rugby game with an air cannon and building a rocket launcher using a plastic bottle, a snorkel and paper. 18 July 2009
6 (19) Two teams join the Top Gear presenter to explore air movement and low pressure using giant leaf blowers, and the theory that ants have a non-fatal terminal velocity is tested. 25 July 2009
7 (20) Two teams compete, using reason and logic to answer questions, perform scientific experiments and predict the outcome of jaw-dropping stunts. They battle to win prizes in a furiously messy final game. This show is about the transfer of energy. The two teams are busy transferring potential energy into kinetic energy by firing catapult planes through targets. Whilst out on Richard's secret test facility the Lab Rats try firing something much, much bigger - a washing machine! 1 August 2009
8 (21) Richard Hammond's Blast Lab is an entertaining and anarchic studio-based science game show set in the surreal world of Richard's secret laboratory, found under the watermill of his fictitious country mansion. Two teams of three contestants compete with each other over four rounds. 8 August 2009
9 (22) Two teams compete, using reason and logic to answer questions, perform scientific experiments and predict the outcome of jaw-dropping stunts. They battle to win prizes in a furiously messy final game. Richard examines the effect that moving air particles can have on objects. In the Lab, the two teams play Ping Pong Pass where they have to pass ping pong balls from one team member to the next using the flow of air created by hairdryers. 15 August 2009
10 (23) Science game show. Two teams compete, using reason and logic to answer questions, perform scientific experiments and predict the outcome of jaw-dropping stunts. They battle to win prizes in a furiously messy final game. In the Lab the two teams use the convection created by hairdryers to keep bags in the air. Then, using great skill and dexterity, they have to negotiate an obstacle course. Out on Richard's secret test facility the Lab Rats try to make a giant solar balloon. 22 August 2009
11 (24) Using reason and logic to answer questions, perform scientific experiments and predict the outcome of jaw-dropping stunts. This episode the theme is air pressure. In the Mini Science round, the two teams have to place a postcard across a cup of water and turn it upside down without spilling any water. The teams must then navigate an obstacle course. The Lab Rats try to use air pressure to crush large metal barrels. 29 August 2009
12 (25) Using reason and logic to answer questions, perform scientific experiments and predict the outcome of jaw-dropping stunts. This episode the theme is lasers. In the Mini Science round, the two teams have to have use mirrors to reflect a laser beam around a maze. 5 September 2009
13 (26) Richard Hammond's Blast Lab is an entertaining and anarchic studio-based science game show set in the surreal world of Richard's secret laboratory, found under the watermill of his fictitious country mansion. Two teams of three contestants compete with each other over four rounds. 12 September 2009

Similar Programmes[edit]

Digital channel Kix! airs the imported Australian series Lab Rats Challenge, which, like Blast Lab, is a sequence of science-themed games.

CBBC has previously aired other science-based entertainment shows such as X-perimental.

External links[edit]