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Can I Improve My Memory? – C4

(Image credit: Ed Miller)

Terrible memory? Three celebs find out if there is a quick fix in C4's Can I Improve My Memory?

Terrible memory? Joey Essex, Valerie Singleton and Gok Wan find out if there is a quick fix in C4's Can I Improve My Memory?

Stylist Gok Wan isn’t usually associated with chemistry, TOWIE star Joey Essex isn’t considered a history buff and nothing about former Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton screams UK grime music.

Even so, they each attempt to learn hundreds of facts on these subjects, with the help of memory mastermind Mark Channon, before Michael Buerk tests them in a tense quiz.

While Joey feels like he’s gaining a superpower, Val sums up the experience best of all: ‘The training was a lot of “long”… long in grime slang means a lot of effort.’

Will the trio’s memories have vastly improved using Mark’s techniques in this fascinating one-off special?

TV Times rating: ****


Michael Buerk presents

Here, Michael, 73, and Mark, 47, tell TV Times more…

How would you sum up the show?

Michael: The premise is that we can improve our memories out of all measure, whatever our age or whoever we are, by doing several simple things.

Mark: I introduced Joey, Gok and Val to simple techniques, such as memory palace. They went off and practised at home. But learning new skills never goes smoothly, so I checked in and coached them through the two-week process.

How did they get on?

Mark: The topics were definitely not their favourite topics, so it was challenging! Gok’s naturally creative and the techniques worked well for him. His challenge was time and how to fit it all in.

Val’s super-dedicated and really sharp, but what can happen at any age is resistance to a new challenge.

Joey’s biggest challenge was motivation. For added inspiration we went to a castle and he created a memory palace for William the Conqueror.

Michael: I had only heard about the techniques sketchily and was a bit sceptical. Val is the world’s leading expert on grime music now! Research chemist could be Gok’s new career.

And Joey comes out with impressive stuff about the Bayeux Tapestry.

Both Gok and Val are extraordinarily competitive, so it’s a clash of the Titans!

It was a really good laugh when we filmed at The Law Society in Chancery Lane, London, but there was also a high level of tension in the air.

So, why does memory matter?

Michael: Our memories are a fundamental part of who and what we are.

It’s odd really that no one gives us any specific training on how to maximise our memory.

There are a lot of people my age doing cryptic crosswords to keep the brain from atrophying, but this seems a bit better to me.

Mandy Cooper
Mandy Cooper

As TV Times Highlights Editor I get to hear about all the latest TV shows coming soon. Here at TVT HQ we are in the privileged position of selecting the best programmes from across all the channels and streaming platforms. Our mission is to make it easier for our readers to decide what to watch - and give them lots of choice of genres - all the latest shows, plus some nostalgic choices we call hidden gems, too. My career began with a postgraduate degree in periodical journalism (ahem, yes old school!) in 1991 and I’ve worked in TV media since 2000.