• Question: What was the chance that in this evenings program that everything that could go wrong did go wrong?

    Asked by Laura to Sam, Dominique on 7 Jan 2020.
    • Photo: Dominique Sleet

      Dominique Sleet answered on 7 Jan 2020:

      Well we’d really hope that wouldn’t happen as that would make a pretty rubbish program! If we did want to calculate the chances, we’d have to count up the number of demos in the program, and then evaluate what we thought the likelihood of each of these demos failing was. You’d then multiply each of those odds (as fractions) together to get a final probability of everything going wrong.

      However there’s lots of other factors that can go wrong, things that you wouldn’t even think of! On the first night of filming, the shirt that Matt Parker was wearing looked awful on the cameras so he had to change his shirt. Luckily he’d brought a spare shirt but unfortunately that didn’t work either, nor did his second spare shirt. In the end he had to borrow a shirt from one of our colleagues!

      However I would argue that the odds of everything going wrong are so close to zero that the chances are neglible. We do lots of research and testing of demos in the lead up to filming. There are multiple rehearsals to test out demos for the lectures as well as lots of back-of-house testing by our demo team. So by the time we get to filming we’re pretty confident that our demos will work – but as we heard in the lectures, even if something is very unlikely to fail, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.