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Please keep your feedback coming! We always consider your feedback to bring you a better app. Please enjoy these exciting new features: We listened to your requests and here are the exciting new features! Keep your feedback coming! Information Seller Sevenlogics, Inc. Compatibility Requires iOS 9. The role of the lexicographer is to verify the words offered by the contestants see Letters round rules and point out any longer or otherwise interesting words available. The lexicographer is aided in finding these words by the show's producers, Michael Wylie until his death in November and Damian Eadie.

Many lexicographers have appeared over the years, but since her debut in , Susie Dent has become synonymous with the role, and has made over three thousand appearances.

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  8. Dent returned to the series on 6 February In the same month, Carol Vorderman announced that she would also leave the show at the same time. On 16 November , it was announced that Nick Hewer would be taking over as host, with his first show broadcast on 9 January Countdown quickly established cult status within British television [23] — an image which it maintains today, [24] despite numerous changes of rules and personnel.


    The programme's audience comprises mainly students, homemakers and pensioners, [23] owing to the "teatime" broadcast slot and inclusive appeal of its format and presentation. The drop in viewers following the scheduling change, coupled with the show's perceived educational benefits, even caused Labour MP Jonathan Shaw to table a motion in the UK Parliament , requesting that the show be returned to its later time.

    As of , it is broadcast at Contestants on each episode compete for a teapot that is styled to resemble the second time clock used in each round. Introduced in December , the pot is custom-made and can only be obtained by winning a game on the programme. David Acton, winner of Series 31, opted for a CD-ROM version of the dictionaries, not wanting to accept leather-bound books owing to his strict veganism , and he donated the monetary difference to charity.

    Since , the series champion also receives the Richard Whiteley Memorial Trophy, in memory of the show's original presenter. Though the style and colour scheme of the set have changed many times and the show itself moved to Manchester, after more than 25 years in Leeds the clock has always provided the centrepiece and, like the clock music composed by Alan Hawkshaw , is an enduring and well-recognised feature of Countdown. Executive producer John Meade once commissioned Hawkshaw to revise the music for extra intensity; after hundreds of complaints from viewers, the old tune was reinstated.

    The first episode of Countdown was repeated on 1 October on More4 and on 2 November on Channel 4, as part of Channel 4 at 25 , a season of celebratory Channel 4 programmes as it celebrated its 25th birthday. On 2 November , Countdown celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary and aired a special 'birthday episode'. The two players were winner Conor Travers and winner Chris Wills. However, for the rounds, VIP guests selected the letters and numbers. On 5 September , the programme received a Guinness World Record at the end of its 6,th show for the longest-running television programme of its kind during the course of its 71st series.

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    On 23 July , it was announced that O'Connor would be leaving the show at the end of the 59th series in December to concentrate on other projects. Her agent, John Miles, claims Vorderman had been told the show had survived the death of host Richard Whiteley in and could "easily survive without you. Later reports suggested Alexander Armstrong [35] and Jeff Stelling [36] as potential hosts, although Armstrong later revealed he had refused the job.

    Eventually, on 21 November , after O'Connor and Vorderman had finished filming, it was confirmed that Stelling and Oxford maths graduate Rachel Riley would join the show, [39] with Susie Dent continuing as resident lexicographer. Countdown has occupied a tea-time broadcast slot since its inception. Currently an episode lasts around 45 minutes including advertising breaks. During the normal series, the winner of each game returns for the next day's show.

    A player who wins eight games is declared an "octochamp" and retires until the series finals. At the end of the series, the eight players with most wins or the highest total score in the event of a tie are invited back to compete in the series finals. They are seeded in a knockout tournament, with the first seed playing the eighth seed, the second playing the seventh, and so on.

    The winner of this knockout, which culminates in the Grand Final, becomes the series champion. Each series lasts around six months, with about episodes. Approximately every four series, a Champion of Champions tournament takes place.

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    For this, sixteen of the best players to have appeared since the previous Championship are invited back for another knockout tournament. The producer , former contestant Damian Eadie, decides which players to include, but typically the tournament includes the series winners and other noteworthy contestants. For example, David Acton and Kenneth Michie returned for a rematch of their Series 31 final, while brothers and former contestants Sanjay and Sandeep Mazumder played off against each other on 20 December The game is split into three sections, separated by advertising breaks.

    The first section contains two letters rounds and a numbers round, the second has four letters rounds and two numbers rounds, while the last section has four letters rounds, a numbers round and a final "Conundrum" puzzle. With the exception of the Conundrum, the contestants swap control after every round so that each of them has control for five letters rounds and two numbers rounds. At the end of the first two sections, Hewer poses a Teatime Teaser for the viewers, giving a set of short words and a cryptic clue to a single word that can be anagrammed from them.

    The solution is revealed at the start of the next section. When the Teatime Teaser was first introduced, the anagrams were seven letters long; they were later extended to eight, and then to nine in late The contestant in control chooses between two stacks of letter tiles, one containing vowels and the other consonants , and Riley reveals the top tile from that stack and places it on the board. This is done nine times, and the final grouping must contain at least three vowels and four consonants.

    For example, there are many N s and R s in the consonant stack, but only one Q. The letter frequencies are altered by the producers from time to time, so any published list does not necessarily reflect the letters used in any particular programme. Both contestants write down the words they form, in case they select the same one. After time runs out, the host asks the contestants to declare their word lengths, starting with the contestant who chose the letters. The host then asks the discovered words, starting with the shorter declared length.

    However, if a contestant fails to write a word in time, they must declare this fact and state their word first to prevent cheating. The contestant with the longer word scores one point per letter, or 18 points if they have used all nine. If the words are identical or of the same length, both contestants score. In the former case, the contestants must show their written word to prove that they are the same. Each round ends with Dictionary Corner revealing the longest words that can be formed from the available letters, aided by the production team. Any word which appears in the Oxford Dictionary of English is valid, [47] as well as accepted forms of them that may not be explicitly listed.

    The contestant in control chooses six of 24 shuffled face-down number tiles, arranged into two groups: Some special episodes replace the large numbers with 12, 37, 62 and The contestant decides how many large numbers are to be used, from none to all four, after which the six tiles are randomly drawn and placed on the board.

    They may use only the four basic operations of addition , subtraction , multiplication and division , [44] and do not have to use all six numbers. A number may not be used more times than it appears on the board. Fractions are not allowed, and only positive integers may be obtained as a result at any stage of the calculation. Only the contestant whose result is closer to the target number scores points: Contestants score no points for being more than 10 away, if their calculations are flawed, or if they take too long to give a solution after saying they have not written it down.

    Both score if they reach the same result, or if their results are the same distance away. Not all games are solvable, and for a few selections it is impossible even to get within 10, most commonly when a contestant picks six small numbers and the target number is quite large. One large and five small numbers is the most popular selection, [51] despite two large numbers giving the best chance of the game being solvable exactly. The 24 tiles are laid out in four rows, the topmost of which contains only the four large numbers. The contestant may specify how many tiles to draw from each row, or simply state how many large and small numbers will be used; in the latter case, the assistant draws the tiles randomly.

    The numbers are usually placed on the board from right to left, starting with the small ones, but have occasionally been displayed in scrambled order. On rare occasions, the contestant has declined to make any choices, in which case the assistant selects the tiles. A special edition, broadcast on 15 March , for two previous series champions, Kirk Bevins and Chris Davies, used instead of the usual four large numbers, the numbers 12, 37 and two numbers unrevealed for the duration of the show.

    In a further special broadcast on 16 August between the Series 59 finalists Charlie Reams and Junaid Mubeen, the other two numbers were revealed to be 62 and The final round of the game is the Countdown Conundrum , in which the contestants are shown a combination of two or three words with a total of nine letters. They have 30 seconds to form a single word using all the letters, and must buzz in to respond a bell for the champion, a buzzer for the challenger. Each contestant is allowed only one guess, and the first to answer correctly scores 10 points. If a contestant buzzes-in and either responds incorrectly or fails to give any response, the remaining time is given to the opponent.

    If neither contestant can solve it, the presenter asks whether anyone in the audience knows the answer and, if so, chooses someone to call it out. This practice was stopped temporarily in due to difficulties with camera angles after the studio layout was changed.

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    The Conundrum is designed to have only one solution, but on occasion more than one valid word is found by happenstance e. If this happens, any of these results is accepted. If the contestants' scores are within 10 points of each other going into this round, it is referred to as a Crucial Countdown Conundrum. Since 10 points are at stake, the contestant who solves it will either win the game or force a tiebreaker. If the scores are tied after the Conundrum, additional Conundrums are played until the tie is broken. There have also been cases when even more Conundrums have been required to provide a winner, but not all have been included in the transmitted programme.

    The rules of Countdown are derived from those of Des chiffres et des lettres. Perhaps the biggest difference is the length of the round; DCedL 's number rounds are each 45 seconds long to Countdown 's DCedL also feature "duels", in which players compete in short tasks such as mental arithmetic problems, extracting two themed words from another, or being asked to spell a word correctly. Other minor differences include a different numbers scoring system 9 points for an exact solution, or 6 points for the closest inexact solution in DCedL and the proportion of letters to numbers rounds 10 to 4 in Countdown , 8 to 4 in DCedL.

    The pilot episode followed significantly different rules from the current ones. Most noticeably, only eight letters were selected for each letters round.

    If two contestants offered a word of the same length, or an equally close solution to a numbers game, then only the contestant who made the selection for that round was awarded points. Also, only five points were given for an exact numbers solution, three for a solution within 5, and one point for the closer solution, no matter how far away. Until the end of Series 21, if the two contestants had equal scores after the first conundrum, the match was considered a draw and they both returned for the next show.

    When the format was expanded to fifteen rounds, Richard Whiteley continued to refer jokingly to the three segments of the show as "halves". Under the old format, Grand Finals were specially extended shows of fourteen rounds, [59] but now all shows use a fifteen-round format. The rules regarding which words are permitted have changed with time. American spelling was allowed until , [61] and more unspecified inflections were assumed to be valid. In September , a new feature was added to the show in which Susie Dent explains the origin of a word or phrase which she has been researching.

    This Origin of Words spot currently follows the eighth letters round, almost midway through the third section of the programme. The feature was omitted during the time that Dent was absent for maternity leave, and was reinstated upon her return. When the fifteen round format was first introduced in September , the composition of the rounds was different from that used by the programme today.

    The three sections each had five rounds, four letters rounds and one numbers round in each of the first two sections, with three letters rounds, one numbers round and the conundrum in the third section. This meant that there was a slight imbalance, whereby one contestant made the letters sections for six rounds, but had the choice of the numbers selection just once, whereas the other contestant chose letters five times and numbers twice.

    The dictionary corner guest's spot was immediately before the first advertising break, and Susie Dent's Origin of Words spot preceded the second numbers game shortly before the second break. The change to the present format was made on 25 March , three weeks into the second section of Series 68, to comply with Channel 4's decision to increase the amount of adverts and alter the times when they occur during the programme, therefore reducing Countdown's actual show length from 36 to 35 minutes. Since Countdown 's debut in , there have been over 6, televised games and 76 complete series.

    There have also been fourteen Champion of Champions tournaments, with the most recent starting in January Several of Countdown 's most successful contestants have received national media coverage. Teenager Julian Fell set a record score of in December Conor Travers went on to win the 30th Anniversary Champion of Champions series in March with a record equalling top score of At eight years old, Tanmay Dixit was the youngest player ever to appear on the show, where he achieved two wins in March In April , Giles Hutchings, a student at Royal Grammar School, Guildford broke the record for the highest octochamp score, amassing points over 8 games.

    He went on to win series Three former contestants have returned to Countdown as part of the production team: In , sixteen celebrities were invited to play Celebrity Countdown , a series of eight games broadcast every Thursday evening over the course of eight weeks.

    For this game, the presenter's chair was taken by William G. Stewart , the host of fellow Channel 4 game show Fifteen to One. The Doctor Who episode " Bad Wolf " mentions a futuristic version of Countdown , in which the goal is to stop a bomb from exploding in 30 seconds. Countdown was referenced again in a later series in " Last of the Time Lords " , where Professor Docherty expresses a keen fondness for the show and how it "hasn't been the same since Des took over—Both Deses".

    Fairport Convention guitarist Simon Nicol named one of his solo records Consonant Please, Carol , echoing one of the show's catchphrases. Countdown has also generated a number of widely-viewed outtakes , with the letters occasionally producing a word that was deemed unsuitable for the original broadcast. A round in which Dictionary Corner offered the word gobshite featured in TV's Finest Failures in The actual episode aired on 10 January , [75] and in one episode from , contestants Gino Corr and Lawrence Pearse both declared the word wankers.

    This was edited out of the programme but has since appeared on many outtakes shows. Other incidents with only marginally rude words including wanker , singular have made it into the programme as they appeared, such as those with Tanmay Dixit referenced above, a clip from a episode in which the word fart appeared as the first four letters on the board which also featured on Greatest TV Moments from Hell , [78] and a round where an anagram of the word fucked appeared on the board in the string "A U O D F C K E G", although neither player chose to use the word, and Dictionary Corner was able to find two seven-letter words that could have been made from the board's offerings.

    Finchy states that it probably was 'professor in charge of watching Countdown every day', commenting on its student audience, and referring to the fact anyone watching Countdown during its 'hometime' time slot cannot be out at work. In the Christmas special, Richard Whiteley even made a special guest appearance, which amuses Nick. In another episode, Nick is taken aback when he thinks that bad news about his father is really about a cancellation of Countdown.

    In , when Carol was a guest one of the usual rounds was replaced with a conundrum round based on the week's news. When Carol hosted the show in , one of the rounds was the "Spinning Conundrum Numbers Round", altering the "Spinning Headlines" round, by adding a number to a picture relating to the week's news, then at the end of the round the 6 numbers from the picture were used for a numbers game. Richard Whiteley was the victim of a practical joke while presenting the show.