5 Big Questions: BOBBY SEAGULL


How do you make maths less icky?

How do you maximise your new celebrity to try and push education reform?

How could you logic someone to death?


In this week’s 5 Big Questions interview we talk to mathematician, teacher and quiz show legend BOBBY SEAGULL



  • Twitter: @Bobby_Seagull | @theanswertrap 
  • Insta: @bobby_seagull

Known for:

  • Mathematician & Teacher
  • Presenter – Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain (BBC)
  • Presenter – Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Adventures (BBC)
  • Presenter – Monkman & Seagull’s Polymathematical Adventure (BBC)
  • Series Regular – The Answer Trap (Channel 4)
  • Author – The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers
  • Columnist – The Financial Times
  • Honorary Fellow – Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
  • Former Trader – Lehman Brothers 

The 5 Big Questions:

    1. How do you measure the impact of what you do?
    2. How should people/businesses be preparing for the future?
    3. How do we build the workforce we need for that future?
    4. How do you use creativity to solve problems?
    5. How do you collaborate?

Key quotes:

“I genuinely thought the pinnacle would be I’d get to brag about it in school. Oh, Mr Seagull, he went on a TV quiz show!”

“I always steer the conversation from University Challenge towards education.”

“What would I like to be on my gravestone? I’d like it to say: ‘Mr Seagull made maths a little bit less icky.’”

“My initial touch point is, I still teach real students and I have to tell them off.”

“Part of the way the charity operates is high profile ambassadors. Through my media and celebrity interactions, I’ve become friends with Katya Jones from Strictly, Peter Sorkins the Bake Off champion, and I’ve recruited them to become numeracy champions. I’m always trying to use my new connections.”

“With maths the nature of it is quite binary, so you’re right or wrong, whereas with writing and the arts you can get a graded feedback.”

“Whatever society is offering you, try to dabble in as many things as you can. You don’t quite know where your strengths lie, or where society will take you. Take advantage of all the different opportunities.”

“You can’t have scientists sitting in one separate part of the world and the arts, the creative people, separately, you need them to be collaborating.”

“You can’t logic someone to death. You still need to appeal to people’s sense of humanity.”

“Collaboration happens when people like other people.”

Useful links

This episode was recorded in February 2022

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts


Never miss another Possibility Club podcast

Access 150+ podcasts featuring a diverse range of innovators, change-makers, leaders and disruptors from across the worlds of business, culture and education.

Norman Cook | Andy Burnham | Lemn Sissay | Charlotte Church | Michael Rosen | Jimi Famurewa | Matthew Taylor | Stella Creasy | Tim Harford

Latest posts
NEWS: Modern Slavery in Sussex – new webinar series
NEWS: Modern Slavery in Sussex – new webinar series

NEWS: Modern Slavery in Sussex webinar series Changing the Conversation around anti-modern slavery  In a continuation of our stakeholder communities work with The University of Sussex we bring you a new series of 5 Changing the Conversation webinars on Modern...

read more
NEWS: We’re hiring – Project Officer 2x job vacancies
NEWS: We’re hiring – Project Officer 2x job vacancies

NEWS: We're hiring! Project Officer (x2) Come and join an award-winning teamProject Officer Contract details: 2x positions - one full time, one part time 30 hours per weekLocation: Home based, with some meetings in Sussex.Salary: £25,000 - £27,540 pa, pro rata +...

read more
CASE STUDY: Recover & Rise Digital Accelerator
CASE STUDY: Recover & Rise Digital Accelerator

Case Study: Events, Engagement & FacilitationWSCC Recover & Rise Digital Accelerator  ContextAs part of West Sussex County Council’s (WSCC) Economy Reset Plan 2020-2024. The Recover and Rise programme was introduced to find an engaging approach to...

read more
NEWS: UKRIO has launched 4 year strategy
NEWS: UKRIO has launched 4 year strategy

NEWS: UKRIO launches 4-year strategyFollowing a 6-month project with always possible, the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) have launched their new 4-year strategy. UKRIO is an impressive and well-respected national charity. Their work underpins high quality...

read more

5 Big Questions: CAROLYNN BAIN  Why will intentionality change the world? How do we challenge word of mouth book recommendations?  And what is the difference between not-racism and anti-racism? In this week’s 5 Big Questions interview we talk to book shop owner,...

read more