Gifted five-year-old Mason Bennett, who has overcome meningitis twice in his short life, has had a taste of the showbiz lifestyle – and he likes it!
Mason will be appearing on new ITV show ‘Little Big Shots’ hosted by Dawn French. The premise of the show is to celebrate talented children, showcasing their skills in the name of fun – there are no judges, no prizes, and no winners or losers. The focus of this show is simply to celebrate these talented youngsters.
Host Dawn French said: “Rarely have I relished the thought of doing a show as much as this. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE everything about it, especially the fact that I will get to witness the amazing talents of these remarkable little humans up close. It's going to be a privilege. Yay! Bring it on!”
Member of MENSA
Mason was invited to appear on the show after producers discovered he is one of the youngest members of MENSA, the ‘largest and oldest high IQ society in the world’. From a young age Mason displayed a high level of intelligence, and aged just three years old he had memorised all the Mr. Men books and their corresponding number. Mason’s dad Craig Bennett said: “You could say a number and he would tell you what Mr. Men book it was”.
The show was filmed in October at Elstree Studios, where Mason took naturally to the role of TV star, taking everything in his stride and enjoying the showbiz lifestyle.
“He totally loved the whole experience”, said Craig. “Everybody at Wall to Wall (who make the show ) were amazing. I think what people will get from the show is how Mason is just a normal five year old, with a brilliant personality.”
At four years old Mason’s parents Craig and Suzanne decided to test his intelligence. They contacted Potential Plus, a charity for gifted children, and Mason completed a series of tests over six hours. The results showed that his maths IQ is 160+, with an overall IQ of 150. Let’s put this into context – the average IQ score is 100, with scores above 140 being classed as ‘genius’!
Battled meningitis twice
Mason’s achievements are even more extraordinary considering that at just six months old he contracted meningitis. After three weeks in hospital fighting the disease Mason recovered and was allowed home.
Just a few weeks later Mason became ill again, with what was suspected as viral gastro-enteritis. Shockingly, doctors diagnosed meningitis for the second time, and Mason spent a further three weeks in hospital.
Craig said: “We feel blessed every day to still have Mason after we could have lost him twice. Being told that he might not make the night at six months old - we could only look 10 minutes in front.”
For Craig and Suzanne, and Mason’s brother and sister Thomas and Jess, this was a tough and uncertain time. They were supported by Meningitis Now, the UK’s largest meningitis charity, and have gone on to raise thousands of pounds to help fight the disease.
Craig sums up how proud he is of his little big shot Mason. “For his brain to be so amazing after what he went through is mind blowing. We can only imagine what he may become in the future.”
Tune in to ITV on Wednesday 15 March at 8pm, to see Mason’s talent and personality shine!