A brainy Bradford schoolgirl has been making grown-ups look like classroom dunces after being picked to star on hit TV quiz show Are You Smarter Than a 10-Year-Old?
Sameera Khalifa beat thousands of pupils from around the UK to be chosen among the 20-strong “class” for the new series, which begins on Sunday.
In the show, host Noel Edmonds tests adult contestants on subjects spanning the primary school National Curriculum for a shot at the £250,000 jackpot.
If they get stuck on a question, they can turn to one of the star pupils in the studio for help to answer it correctly, otherwise they leave with the money they won up to that point and have to admit publicly: “I am not smarter than a 10-year-old.”
From the thousands who applied, Sameera, of Barkerend Road, made it through a series of auditions and screen tests to land a place on the show.
She filmed the programmes at the famous Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire for two-and-a-half weeks over Easter and three weeks in the summer holidays.
Sameera, who will turn 11 in November and attends Byron Primary School, heard about the chance to appear on the show through her teachers.
Nearly all the other youngsters in the series were picked from drama groups or modelling agencies, but Sameera won over the producers with her bubbly personality and natural intelligence.
She said: “It was all very exciting and lots of fun. I enjoyed everything about it.
“The contestants were fairly clever but they definitely weren’t smarter than a 10-year-old.
“I wasn’t at all nervous because I know I’m clever. Most of the questions I had to answer were quite easy, and none were really difficult.
“It was great meeting Dick and Dom (who host the daily episodes of the show later in the year) and I got their autographs and photographs.
“It was so special and I felt like a celebrity.”
Mum Shazeda Khalifa, 31, said: “I didn’t think she would be chosen for the show because it was TV, which is completely new to her.
“When I got the phone call saying she had made it, she was at school and I couldn’t wait to blurt it out.
“Sameera could not believe it when I told her, but when she realised what it meant she was so happy that she screamed the whole place down – there’s a star in the house.
“It’s a real bonus for her that most of the other kids were from acting or modelling agencies and she made it through from her school.
“The producers kept saying that she’s a natural on telly. She enjoyed the experience so much.
“They looked after us all so well and we stayed in hotels while it was being filmed.
“The parents of the children on the show became like a big family and the kids are still in touch with each other, which is great.”
Sameera, who wants to be a doctor or a TV presenter when she grows up, lives with her mum, her dad Munaf, 32, and two younger sisters.
She is the second Byron Primary pupil to star on the show following in the footsteps of Qasim Ali, who was in the first series last year.
Head teacher Ian Hodgson said: “It is an achievement in itself for our pupils to take part in an audition for the programme and we are very proud of Sameera. She is a credit to the school and a great ambassador.”
The new series begins with five weekly celebrity specials before members of the public have their time in the hot seat answering questions from Noel Edmonds. Children’s TV entertainers Dick and Dom take over as hosts for the daily episodes later in the year.
Are You Smarter Than a 10-Year-Old? is screened on Sky1 at 6pm on Sunday.
e-mail: newsdesk @telegraphandargus.co.uk