Countdown

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Weekdays 3:25 PM on Channel 4 Premiered Nov 02, 1982 In Season

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Countdown
6.1
out of 10
User Rating
44 votes
5

SHOW REVIEWS
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Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 2/11/2011

Season 64 : Episode 25

Show Summary

Countdown is a game show adapted from the French format "Des Chiffres Et Des Lettres". The show 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". The show works on a winner-stays-on basis, with contestants retiring after eight wins. The top eight players return at the end of the series to compete in a knockout phase with the top prize being the complete (20 volume) Oxford English Dictionary, worth around 6000 UKP. Champion-of-Champions competitions are also held about once every two years, seeing who is the best of the best.

Richard Whiteley had been a presenter on "Calendar" from 1968 until 1995. "Countdown" shortly thereafter moved to Channel 4 upon that channel's launch. Originally, Carol Vorderman only presented the numbers rounds of the game - the letters rounds were presented in the early series by other hostesse's (Kathy Hytner, Beverley Isherwood and Linda Barratt have all had this role, Hytner the longest, due to budget-cutting, the other 2 were axed in 1983) After Kathy Hytner Left in 1987, Karen Loughlin took over until the end of 1988. Throughout 1989 before Carol became the sole hostess, Lucy Summers took the role of presenting the Letter Rounds. The show has had many on-screen adjudicators, of whom the longest-serving and best-known is Susie Dent (January 1992 to present).

Sadly Richard Whiteley passed away after contracting pneumonia in October 2005, their was rumours that the next series (series 54) would be presented by a different guest presenter every week, although a good idea auditions for a new host were held (Richard Digance,Noel Edmonds and Paul Merton all have being rumoured to have auditioned), Sport-Presenter Des Lynam won the role, and presented from October 2005, until the travelling distance got too much for him. He has being quoted on saying, that he is a natural Sports presenter, and even though Carol kept him sane, he would rather go back into the area he is more familiar with.

The Newest series to broadcast, is to be hosted by All-Round Entertainer, Des O'Connor who will be joined by Carol Vorderman and Susie Dent.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • This show is great and really allows you to test your IQ while having fun.Des O Conner presents it greatly and Carol Voderman is very smart and always works things out perfectly accurate.The special guest every week puts a modern out take on the old show!moreless

    9.0
    Although this show wouldn't be expected to appeal to younger viewers I find that this show can be very entertaining and I enjoy testing myself.Many younger viewers find this boring and not very entertaining but I like to keep my brain working and I enjoy puzzles and love finding words and figuring out the number rounds.I love the special guests every week and always look forward to seeing who will be the next one.All of the guests are entertaining and the only downside in my opinion is the annoying dictionary corner where the brainy girl talks about all the words she finds.Everything else is spot on enjoyable.moreless
  • Countdown is a classic in every sense of the word.

    8.0
    Countdown is a classic in every sense of the word. It was the first ever programme shown on channel 4 and is still going strong today. Perhaps the most amazing thing being the format which hasn\'t changed since 1982, infact the only major difference between then and now is the shows host of 23 years Richard Whiteley tragically died.



    The concept is pretty simple yet highly addictive and allows for viewers to play along at home. The letters round makes up the main portion and consists of a mix of 9 random vowels and consonants chosen by the contestants. They are asked to make the longest possible word within 30 seconds and are rewarded 1 point for each letter it contains.



    There is also a numbers round which sees the contestants choosing a random selection of 6 numbers, large or small and are asked to reach a target using only addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Same rules apply and they are each given 30 seconds to achieve their goal.



    There\'s also a Countdown Conundrum at the end which gives contestants a 9 letter word jumble and are then asked to unscramble it, whoever buzzes in with the correct answer first takes full points.



    Perhaps the greatest thing about the show is you don\'t necessarily have to be a maths or english whizz to enjoy it, it\'s all done with an entertaining grace and with the addition of weekly guess stars makes for a pretty good watch.moreless
  • This show is a true all time classic quiz show that you can play along with at home. The format has not changed at all since it started back in 1982.moreless

    8.4
    Countdown started back in 1982 on channel 4 and it is its longest running show. Growing up I would always tune into countdown when I got home from school. I found it a good way to improve my English and maths skills. The show as originally shown in 2 parts over half an hour. New episodes of countdown are now shown in 3 parts over 45 minutes. There are 2 main rounds, the letters and the numbers, and the show concludes with the Countdown conundrum. In the letters rounds you have to choose a selection of 9 vowels and consonants from a series of cards containing letters. The letters are then placed on a board in front of you, and you have 30 seconds to come up with a word made up of letters on the board. Points are awarded for how many letters you use in your word, for every letter used you get one point. If you come up with a word using all of the letters then you receive 18 points. Each letter can only be used once however.



    In the numbers round you make a selection of 6 numbers from cards on a table. You do not know which ones you will get but you can choose between large and small numbers. The large numbers are 25, 50, 75 and 100 and the small numbers range from 1 to 10. The computer then generates a random 3 digit number and the aim of the round is to use the numbers you have to make this number. This can be done by adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying the numbers. If you can not get the number you can still get points as long as you have a number within 10 of it. You are awarded 10 for getting the exact number and for every number away you lose a point.



    The countdown conundrum is the final round at the end of the show. The board is slid round and there is a 9 letter word that has been jumbled up. The contestants have 30 seconds to guess the word. If a contestant buzzes in with the wrong answer, they can not guess again until the other person has guessed incorrectly.



    Over the years countdown has always had a big following and is a household name. It is best known for its theme tune, which is played at the start of the show and then in every round whilst the clock ticks down.



    Countdown lost its original host Richard Whitley, and is now being presented by Des Lynham, former Match of the day presenter.moreless
  • bring back richard whitley

    1.6
    after the recent departure of the l8 richard whitley. this show with des lynam in it really is boring. come on who would want to watch a middle age man present an old persons program. i think they should get a better presentor or maybe cancel the show completly. sorry for any inconvience this review might offend ppl.
  • Very sad day. Channel 4's first ever show could be at a end. As last night its presenter Richard Whiteley sliped away at the age of 61.

    8.0
    Countdown started as a 4 week project in 1982, which went on for 23 years and nearly 4000 episodes.

    Hosted by Richard "loud tie/stripy jacket" Whiteley and the master of numbers Carol Voderman. Countdown was the late afternoon word and number quiz, where contestants played for the greatest prize of all, to find the smartest player.

    They were given random letters to make the largest word or the were asked to pick a selection of small or large numbers. Then Carol would produce a random number for the players to mathematically get to.All this was done being timed by a massivly oversized clock behind Richard.

    This may sound a little dull to a Countdown virgin, but aided by guest star bookworms and Richard's repartee of good and bad jokes, it really is quite engaging.



    Although as many of us here now know this maybe the end. In May,Richard Whiteley became ill with pneumoina and died yesterday on the 26/6/2005 after a heart operation. He will be missed dearly.

    The show is still watched by millions of viewers in england. Where there will always be a warm place next to our hearts at tea time.moreless
  • CAROL VORDERMAN IS TO TURN HER HAND TO VOWELS AND CONSONANTS AND PUBLISH A "NO HOLDS BARRED" AUTOBIOGRAPHY, IT HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED.

    Carol to spell out Countdown story

  • BRITISH BROADCASTER ITV FACES MAJOR CUT BACKS AFTER RECESSION BRINGS £3 BILLION LOSS.

    ITV drops dramas, jobs

    • © Channel 4
    • Des O'Connor
      What do people think of the new Host Des O'Connor?I'd say he's Average.
      02/15/07
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    • The Winners!
      Just out of curiosity - - I know the looser goes home with a dictionary and a countdown mug - - but what does the winner even get...
      02/15/07
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    • ALL NEW Who's The Funniest Host?
      With the introduction of Des O'Connor to the main Host spot, who do you think is the funniest host out of all three?Richard, Des L...
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