Dara O Briain returns with more mind-bending mathematical conundrums in a new series of School of Hard Sums on Dave (Wednesday, May1)…

Dara O Briain returns with a new run of the comedy game show for the mathematically-minded in which O Briain, academic Marcus de Sautoy, students and guests from the world of comedy sharpen their wits on some fiendish puzzles. We caught up with the science-loving stand-up comedian to run the numbers…

Does the return of School of Hard Sums mean that maths is finally becoming cool?

“Of course not! As if the addition of me, a big bald 41-year-old Irish guy, is going to make something cool. At no stage in its history has it ever been cool, and nobody who enjoys it really cares.”

Is maths a hard sell in a TV show?

“School of Hard Sums is not trying to compete with Britain’s Got Talent. You can’t do a show about maths and tweak it so it will become really popular. But that’s really liberating – this is only going to appeal to the people who are really into it, so it means we can just make a show they are going to enjoy.”

Which of the new batch of guest comedians on the show scored top marks?

“Josie Long got everything right immediately, which was frustrating, as ideally you want more of a kind of excited bewilderment from your guests. Stephen Mangan came on and had a great time standing in a field with Miles Jupp trying to find buried treasure.”

What’s it like working with Professor Marcus de Sautoy?

“I make no claims that I’m an expert, so it’s handy to have someone around who genuinely knows something and allows me to be the enthusiastic amateur. Plus, Marcus is an Arsenal fan like me.”

As an Arsenal fan, are you for or against Arsene Wenger?

“I remain sort of pro-Wenger, skeptically. I would never be wearing a black scarf or whatever it is the anti-Wenger contingent are doing. I was particularly glum after the north London derby in March – if I hear one more thing about Gareth Bale, I’ll scream.”

You’re back with a new run of The Apprentice: You’re Fired in May. What do you make of the American version of The Apprentice?

“Donald Trump is weird. He is someone whose success has removed all the natural predators that keep the rest of us normal. Everyone tells him how wonderful he is and how great his products are. It may just be that he has that alpha-male personality – and I mean that in the worst kind of way.”

Finally, have you recovered from capsizing in rapids during your Comic Relief trip along the Zambezi River? 

“I ended up with a weird infection in my knee and had to be dosed with antibiotics. The joke we all made was that our biggest fear was dying off-camera.”