With the new series of his maths game show School of Hard Sums beginning on Dave on May 1, Dara O Briain has said the GCSE higher-level maths paper for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is too easy, after he obtained an A* grade on the one-hour, Junior Cert equivalent exam in 10 minutes.

In an interview with Radio Times, the maths and theoretical physics graduate said: "Are you sure that's not an ordinary-level paper and then there's another harder one? Surely? What do you do if you're really bright?

"I don't believe that my generation is the point at which evolution peaked.

"That makes no sense to me. But I'd find that paper very boring. I'd be racing to finish it and get out of the door.

"There should be an additional, challenging paper. I don't mind there being a general paper to help you get some idea of what kids can do.

"But that's like the first 10 questions that you can just bang off before you get to the meaty stuff. There's nothing unexpected or unusual there.

"And that's why they're not interesting. That's the most telling criticism of it all - they're not very interesting questions."

O Briain added: "Maths is the language in which the universe is written. It's innate to the human brain and is a spectacular thing that we've discovered/invented. Also it permeates our lives.

"If you have to discuss something in terms of its utility, we're moving increasingly to being a technological society and therefore you need to be conversant with it.

"But in all honesty, I am over discussing things in terms of their utility, as if education is just training for jobs - it isn't.

"I encounter the same argument in teaching obscure languages: it fires neurons in different ways, helps you with problems. The example I quote is if people really understood probability, they'd save a lot of money on lottery tickets."