Before carving out a career in comedy, Dara O Briain studied maths and theoretical physics at University College, Dublin, and has already used his scientific credentials to co-present Stargazing Live.

This week, the 40-year-old Mock the Week host draws on his university education once more as he hosts Dara O Briain: School of Hard Sums, a new Dave series in which he and guests from the world of comedy journey into the realms of pure logic to solve tricky brain-teasers and conundrums.

TV & Satellite Week caught up with him to say: ‘Dara, you do the math!’

The show is all about problems and puzzles, with me writing a formula on a glass screen like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind I’m up against comedian friends such as Jason Byrne and David O’Doherty, trying to work out whether the best way to solve a problem is by trial and error or via some elegant, mathematical solution.

I wanted to call it Dara O Briain’s University of Practical Mathematics But you’re not allowed to have titles that are more than 37 characters long. It could be the strangest show you’ve ever seen.

School of Hard Sums is based on a Japanese series There are other riches we could purloin from their TV, but Japan remains the most difficult place to understand. It’s somewhere you know you will always be able to get wi-fi, but won’t understand how the toilets work.

Scientists don’t care if there’s a comedian presenting programmes like this They’re just delighted to see this stuff on television.

I enjoy the fact that I can indulge this part of my personality now When I was 23 and coming out of university, the lure of performing comedy in front of a crowd was just too strong. It drowned out any other passions I had at the time, so it’s nice now to be able to return to maths.

I don’t think I’ve denied the world any great advances by not going into science It takes a lot to become a scientist, and I defer to those who have.

We’ve reclaimed the term ‘geek’ People are quite happy to proclaim themselves as nerds because it has some kind of cachet at the moment. My inner geek is quite out after two series of Stargazing Live, and I’ve got another science series coming out later this year.

Some of my favourite jokes are ones only proper nerds would get The Higgs Boson particle goes into a church, and the priest says: ‘You can’t come in here’. The Higgs Boson replies: ‘Well, you can’t have mass without me’. I’ve got loads of jokes like that.

Dara O Briain: School of Hard Sums airs on Mondays at 8pm on Dave from 16 April