The long-running words and numbers game.
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Herself - Hostess / ... (4,756 episodes, 1982-2008)
Richard Whiteley ...
 Himself - Host / ... (3,984 episodes, 1982-2007)
Susie Dent ...
 Herself - Lexicographer / ... (2,706 episodes, 1992-2017)
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Storyline

Two contestants compete through three types of rounds. In the letters rounds, they use nine randomly drawn letters to form the longest word possible. In the numbers rounds, they must use arithmetic to combine six randomly drawn numbers and get as close to a random three-digit target number as possible. Finally, in the Conundrum round, they must rearrange a set of words totaling nine letters to form a single word. Contestants stay on the show until they either lose a game or retire undefeated as an "Octochamp" after eight wins. At the end of each series, the top eight players are invited back to compete for a prize package that includes a set of dictionaries. Written by Alan Back

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2 November 1982 (UK)  »

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(1982-2001) | (2001-)

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In May 2005, Richard Whiteley caught pneumonia, and his position as host was to be temporarily filled by a series of guest presenters during the recording of Series 54. He later died in June, and after auditions for a new host the show returned in October hosted by Desmond Lynam. The guest-presented episodes were never aired, and a new Series 54 was recorded instead. Others who auditioned included Richard Digance and Noel Edmonds; Paul Merton was also rumored to have been under consideration. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Comic Timing: That Nice Mrs. Merton (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Repetitive and annoying
9 May 2017 | by (Essex) – See all my reviews

This is a Channel 4 daytime game show that's been broadcast since the channel began in 1982. Countdown is based on the French show Des chiffres et des lettres.

There are letters rounds, in which the contestants try to find the longest word out of the nine letters given. There are numbers rounds in which the contestants try to get to a target number using six other numbers. At the end, there's a conundrum - the contestants try to work out which word nine letters form when they are rearranged.

It's rather boring and repetitive.

The contestants are given thirty seconds during each round to work out their answers. That's not enough time for most contestants or viewers. The loud ticking of the clock during that time is very annoying and distracting.

The original presenter, Richard Whiteley, was likable. All of his replacements since then have been awful.

Rachel Riley, who puts up the letters and numbers, is hot.


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