Can I Improve My Memory?



Michael Buerk (pilot)

Sandi Toksvig


Memory experts:
Mark Channon (pilot)
Ed Cooke and Dr Tharaka Gunarathne


Avalon Factual for Channel 4, 22 March 2019 to 5 August 2021 (pilot + 4 episodes in 1 series)


Celebrities have become experts in unlikely topics they know nothing about, using various techniques to aid the memory. A quiz on the specialist topics - and on a classic "random objects" challenge - determines the winner.

The participants are tutored in various techniques to improve long-term and short-term memory. Visualisation is key, the most ludicrous image will stick in your memory, when raw facts might slide away.

Other techniques include the "memory palace" - associate things with a familiar environment; and the "memory cloakroom" - remember ordered lists by forming an association with a number. Short-term memory might be aided by making up a story, or narrating through the scene.

The competition was a spur to help concentrate the celebrities' minds, and prove how well they had mastered their task. Can I Improve My Memory? could have worked without the contest, but would have been drier and more didactic. While we viewers are learning from the show, we're having good fun on the way.

A moderately-successful pilot in 2019 led to a full series, which aired in summer 2021.


Pilot: Gok Wan, Valerie Singleton, Joey Essex

Series: Len Goodman, Nina Wadia, Chris Eubank, Anna Richardson, Amber Gill (from Love Island)

Theme music

John Lemke, credited for "Music".


Mark Channon was the memory expert for the pilot, he had previously worked on Monkhouse's Memory Masters.

The series was mostly filmed at The Law Society building.

Web links

Channel 4 programme page

See also

Weaver's Week review


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