The original British version of the quiz show that's become a worldwide hit. Host Chris Tarrant asks hopeful contestants a series of questions, each more difficult than the last. As the ... See full summary »
Was originally broadcast on British regional TV channel Yorkshire Television, at 6.30pm following the local news programme Calendar (1968), and was originally called "Calendar Countdown". Richard Whiteley was (and had been for years) a presenter on "Calendar" from 1968 until 1995. "Countdown" shortly thereafter moved to Channel 4 upon that channel's launch. Originally, Carol Vorderman (then a newcomer) was only there to perform the numbers rounds of the game - the letters rounds were presented in the early series by another hostess. See more »
Countdown, Channel 4's longest running and first programme to air on the network. The concept is simple: 9 random letters, make the longest word you can. Repeat four times. Now get six numbers of any combination from 1-10 twice over and/or 25, 50, 75 or 100 all once-over. Have a huge sum total and try to get to it using only addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Now repeat all of that three times over, chuck in a 9 letter word scrambled up, descramble it, thank you, goodnight.
Okay, so its a popular programme. It turned purple in 2003 for its new set (although it looked like somebody had started hanging wallpaper and left the job half finished) and the show later changed timeslot as well which caused a major upset in the political world of the House of Commons with an early day motion tabled to get Channel 4 to shift it back again! I kid you not.
One thing that strikes you when you first see this show is Richard Whiteley, or rather what he's wearing. This man must go out of his way to pick some awful blazer in some shocking colour and/or pattern and then choose a tie that doesn't complement it or the background in any way whatsoever. I thought there was something wrong with my set when I turned Countdown on one day and there was Mr Whiteley in some god-awful blazer that looks like the sort of interference you get when you use a mobile phone next to the TV set.
Fortunately the shocking blazers don't happen *that* often I'm pleased to say and you can see this man in "normal" attire most of the time.
Carol Vorderman launched her TV career on the back of this. Initially wandering on to do the numbers game, now she does everything. She works well with Richard. It's incredible to think that we are now on series 52 and these two presenters have featured in every single episode to date, which is well over 3000 episodes by now.
The show "expanded" to a 45min format in 2002 from its previous 30min format which tided it over for 20yrs. While the 30min format indeed felt "cramped" at times, You now get the impression that there's too much time to fill under the 45min format which might explain why there's more yakking overall.
Still, beggars can't be choosers I suppose.
Worth watching though but will eventually grate as the format doesn't change. When it does, watch something else for a few months.
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