Talk:Countdown (game show)

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Former featured article Countdown (game show) is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 12, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
July 30, 2006 Featured article candidate Promoted
October 8, 2007 Featured article review Demoted
Current status: Former featured article
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Older entries[edit]

"Indeed the current prize fund tends to be a board game and assorted junk for every contestant and a full Oxford English Dictionary for the series winner, which is highly extravagant in terms of the show's overall history."

Eh? What does that last bit mean? Anyway, "highly extravagant" doesn't sound very NPOV to me, so I'll remove it. -- Oliver P. 19:22 Feb 5, 2003 (UTC)

I meant to say that the prizes were previously even smaller. I could be wrong, but I've a feeling that the goody bag for every single contestant is a recent addition. I'll go and rewrite it now. Bagpuss
Aha, okay, thanks for clarifying that! -- Oliver P. 18:16 Feb 7, 2003 (UTC)

Clarification (History section)[edit]

"After the death of Whiteley, Sir Jeremy Isaacs, the then head of Channel 4, said that he* had been the one to decide to bring over the French programme and had only then learnt of YTV's programme."

Does that "he" refer to Richard, or to Isaacs? -- 16:32, 28 January 2006

Good question. I had to read that sentence a few times before giving up. Here is the edit which added that statement to the article: [1]. The edit summary was alternate according to Isaacs in radio interview.
Anyway, Richard was presenting YTV's programme, wasn't he? So he couldn't have "only then learnt of YTV's programme". Aaron McDaid 21:32, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

US version[edit]

Why is there no US version of this show? I had heard of Countdown from my British friends when the host passed away and recently saw and became addicted to Des Chiffres et des Lettres while on holiday (albeit I don't speak a word of French). Has there been any unsuccessful attempts on this side of the pond? It would seem natural considering us Americans will throw just about any kind of game show on television and multiple times at that (ie Fear Factor, Match Game).

According to [2], "In the mid 80s a pilot for an American version of Countdown was made, but was scrapped after being considered too brainy." --Q4 12:47, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
It just seems to be a very British thing, and I can't imagine many Americans enjoying it. --Nathan (Talk) 13:26, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Are there any 'intellectual' game shows on US TV? --MartinUK 17:52, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Ahem, we are the homeplace of Jeopardy, albeit with a Canadian host. The show does muster a cult following.Stephen 04:53, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
Apparently, some US viewers like political commentary more than game shows. Case in point: the US version of Countdown has nothing to do with Countdown. --Damian Yerrick (talk | stalk) 07:18, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Letters game image[edit]

Interesting thing: the example still of a letters game is the selection from a famous round in 1991 in which both contestants came up with the word "wankers". (There's nothing longer available, though there are a couple of alternative sevens.) The clip is very well-known in the UK, having been endlessly repeated on out-take shows ever since. --Bonalaw 14:10, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Yea, ideally another clip should be used, although this incident definitely deserves a mention. --MartinUK 17:42, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

I didn't mean it should be removed. I just thought some Wikipedians might find it an interesting bit of trivia. --Bonalaw 10:58, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
I personally think more modern pictures should be used - the letters game is from 1991, and the numbers game from the early 2000s (the set shown was used from 2000 to 2002). There's nothing in the article that says the pictures are old, either- you have to click on them to find out. BillyH 15:30, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Numbers game image[edit]

I'm amazed neither player did better on this. I got 666 immediately: (9-2)x9+3X10+6 and later 669: (9+2)x6x10+9. Can anyone solve it? --MartinUK 17:47, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

There is only one solution to this numbers game. This is the following
660+10=670. Bobo. 07:12, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

First show on Channel 4[edit]

According to Richard Whiteley's bumblings on the show, the first episode had 8 million viewers, but the second had 0.8 million. I don't have a written source, but if someone finds one, maybe it's worth a mention.--Nathan (Talk) 13:30, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Rude words (wankers)[edit]

I'm not convinced about 'wanker'/'wankers' having been broadcast on the show, despite the vehemence of one contributor. It shouldn't be impossible to find a reference to this - there has been plenty of coverage of other rude words appearing, and having been personally involved in one of those appearance, and keeping an eye on this as a result, I'd be surprised to have missed it entirely. The word 'wanker' certainly wouldn't normally appear on tea-time television. Does anyone else think they've seen this, and not just repeats of the famous excised clip? --Oolong 11:02, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

I've removed this bit, in the continued absence of anything to back it up (I can't find any non-Wikipedia-based references to it on the internet, which seems extraordinary). --Oolong 13:37, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately it's going to be one of those things I'm never going to be able to find in order to give it a citation, aside from the fact that I can say that from memory it has happened. Sadly the memory doesn't really count as a primary source, but we can easily leave it out. Bobo. 20:26, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Bobo. I hope some other source turns up; I would love for it to have appeared! --Oolong 10:20, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

It's happened twice, firstly in 1991 – Gino Corr and Lawrence Pearse and on Tuesday 21st October 2008, a contestant only known as 'Charley'. Mitchelljohn93 (talk) 21:45, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

When I was on the show in '92, shortly after the 'wankers' incident, Mark Nyman related over drinks in the hotel the night before recording that initially they *were* going to allow the 'wankers' round to be broadcast. Yes it's a rude word, but it's in the dictionary. However Gino Corr (hilarious bloke) when asked what seven letter word he got, replied 'You've got a right pair of wankers here, Richard!' An executive decision was made to pull (as it were!) the round. Martyn Smith 10 June 06

How can you "edit out" or "pull" a round in a game of Countdown? Did they film a fake extra round to replace it with? Chris Henderson, 11 September 2006
From what I've heard, they just re-record the declaration process with the contestant offering a different word of the same value. Never seen it happen though. Jono (talk) 23:54, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

I believe, in this case, they just had the contestants declare a different word of the same value.

Myself, my brother and one of my sisters used to play the game at home on pencil and paper - at first, with regard to scoring, we adopted the game's rules, but eventually, we just scored points regardless of the number of letters - if one of us had made five, one six and one four, we'd score the points value, to ensure a close scoreline. In the case of the edition that featured the word WANKERS, my sister got that word (can't remember what my brother and I got). In one edition from an earlier series, I can't remember the order in which the letters came out, but I saw the word TRAGEDIAN - which we found was valid - nobody in our house, other than me, got the word - not even the contestants or Dictionary Corner! Arthurvasey (talk) 17:05, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I watched a clip on of the letters natraully spelling c*ntflaps (not sure whether i should censor that). Should this be added? WhoIzzet
Since it's quite obviously not genuine, I would say NO. --Bonalaw 09:58, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Besides of which, "cuntflaps" only has two vowels in it, and thus a selection which spelled out this word would nowadays be illegal. Whether this was a much older episode or not, I don't think this would have applied, but this is certainly true. Bobo. 12:29, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

How about the "Gobshite" incident, where Richard exclaimed "Look, it's just a job for you; it's a career for me"? (look it up on youtube if you want to see)

They just aired one today (August 25, 2009) on Channel 4 where both contestants declared the word "bastards". The audio of them pronouncing the actual words was bleeped. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:01, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Ricky Tomlinson lookalike[edit]

Was the appearance of the contestant who is a professional RT lookalike on the show today *really* a complete coincidence.....? Martyn Smith 21:37, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Knowing Damian Eadie, no. Jono 21:45, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
He didn't do very well, so it might not have been coincidence --MartinUK 11:06, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Example game[edit]

Instead of that example game, can we use the recent one from the CoC Final with Paul and Mark's words and scores printed beside it? This was a much more impressive performances, hetairas aside, and contains (as far as I remember) only one contestant-beater throughout the whole show. What do we think?

And while I'm asking about that particular CoC game, is the word pembina in the new word Bible by any chance? Bobo. 06:36, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't think the example game should be too amazing - a more typical one would be a better measure of the programme. --MartinUK 14:06, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
How about this one? A quality DC guest, a very good champion, who came up with one impressive nine-letter word, one very hard numbers games, coupled with two fairly easy ones, and quite a nice conundrum in SELLFAUST. Bobo. 14:42, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Citation spot check[edit]

As part of this project, I randomly checked a few footnotes from this article. Results were as follows:

  1. Footnote 9. "unlike almost any other game show hostess of the time, however, the advertisement also made it clear that the applicants' appearance would be less important than their being a talented mathematician."
    • Checks out, I guess. From site: "Vorderman found work as a graduate management trainee, but it was her mother who saw a newspaper ad asking for a woman with good maths to appear as co-host on a quiz show for the fledgling fourth terrestrial channel."
  2. Footnote 12. "since her debut in 1992, Susie Dent has become synonymous with the role, and has now made over a thousand appearances."
    • Checks out, although the source only covers the last part of the sentence. From site: "Susie Dent (SD, Series 24 to 55 & Specials, 1,367 appearances)"
  3. Footnote 14. "Countdown's longevity is often considered to be a consequence of it having a cult status;"
    • Iffy From site: "a daily afternoon quiz show that gained cult status almost from its inception in 1982"
      • The source is certainly related to the statement in the article, but doesn't provide evidence for either for the "often considered" statement or the longevity being attributed to this.
  4. Footnote 20. "In keeping with the show's friendly nature, contestants compete not for money but the Countdown winner's teapot, which is custom-made and can only be obtained by winning a game on the programme."
    • Checks out. From site: "The fabled Countdown teapot, which is not for sale anywhere. The only way you can get one of these collector's items is to appear on the show and win a game."
  5. Footnote 68. "When contestants Gino Corr and Lawrence Pearse[67] both declared the word wankers, one of the contestants quipped, "You've got a couple of wankers here!". This was edited out of the programme but has since appeared on many outtakes shows."
    • Problem. The source offers several different possible speakers and phrasings, and mentions only a single appearance on an outtakes show.

All in all, there seems to be a problem here with supporting the articles statements with sources that relate to but don't actually support what the article says. This needs fixin'. --RobthTalk 16:19, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

I've had a go at fixing the worst of these, footnote 68, with a second reference that better supports both the phrasing and the multiple appearances on outtakes shows. I will have a look through some more of the references to see if there are any more cases of weak ones later on. Regards, CountdownCrispy 10:30, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Game example[edit]

This page looks a lot better. I wasn't a big fan of that example game, I know that for the Scrabble category someone did an example of a tournament game, the article was then submitted for wikifying which was a bit silly IHMO. Bearing that in mind, perhaps it would be better to find a nicely presented game on the web (Gary Woodward comes to mind) and link to that as an external link.

Mglovesfun 22:51, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Piles of numbers[edit]

They don't have the numbers in piles, they have them laid out on a table in different columns and rows. Some of the rows or columns are large numbers, the others are small, I can't remember the exact lay out, but they're definately not in piles.--Jcvamp 23:54, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Gone wrong[edit]

A player asked for a consonant and the consonant board fell off.

In another one:

A player asks for a consonant


then a vowel


Another vowel


(laughter) consonant


One final incident was a hand appeared randomly where the vowels and consonants are normally picked up.

Simply south 12:32, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

if it helps in any way, the hand belonged to warm-up man Greg Scott. Elcondor 12:54, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Reference for rules[edit]

As the publisher of New Improved Head I can definitively state that it does not satisfy Wikipedia standards for reliable sources, nor does it have any immediate plans to do so. The article referenced is also out of date (and may soon be disappearing from the site). I have therefore removed it as a source for DCEDL's rules. John FitzGerald 21:57, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Updates and the suggested merger[edit]

I've made quite a few little tweaks to the general appearance of this article which has, in my opinion, been slowly growing messy over recent times. Some of the major changes I have made and my justifications for them are listed below:

  • Tidying up the infobox - it was very overpopulated and difficult to comprehend, even for me as a fan of the show. What I have done is to prune it down so that it only refers to the programme with its present team and format, because should you want further detail there is more than enough to whet your appetite in the body of the article! Please think carefully before you revert this - an infobox will probably be the first thing a user sees of an article, and for a featured article the existing userbox was extremely bloated.
  • I've rearranged the pictures and compiled some fragment elements of the text of the article to make it more aesthetically pleasant to browse.
  • I've split the references into two columns to reduce the overall footprint of the page. Hopefully that's not too controversial.

That's about it - the only other thing I'd like to comment on is the suggested merger of Dictionary Corner into this article. I think our own detailed and referenced paragraph for it under Presenters is more than sufficient, greatly superior to the glorified stubby list over at the other article. If anything, I would delete the Dictionary Corner article and redirect this term to here.

Regards, CountdownCrispy ( ? 12:13, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The Dictionary Corner article isn't worth keeping. Redirect here. --JimmyTheWig 13:17, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Tend to disagree, though the DC article could be improved. DC does have a certain quality of its own and the list of those taking part would clog up the main article. IXIA 06:14, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
What could be added to the article about Dictionary Corner that isn't in the body of this article, other than a list of Dictionary Corner guests? Even that would be more suited to a list article rather than a regular article. -- CountdownCrispy talk contributions 18:36, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Agree, redirect to main Countdown (game show) article. Mglovesfun 17:38, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
  • I redirected Dictionary Corner to this article as per WP:RM. The article was short and of little interest compared to the entire show. You can of course revert the redirect if you feel that strongly about it, but as there was no opposition on this talk page, I went and did it. Mglovesfun 20:06, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Spoken version added[edit]

I have added a spoken version of this article; see above for the link. Hassocks5489 19:06, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Starring Susie Dent[edit]

That's overstating it a bit, surely? - 09:34, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Suspension of the programme[edit]

"Channel 4 has suspended broadcasting of Countdown due to recent tabloid revelations regarding the reasons behind Vorderman's departure."

Is that correct? I understand that it was a planned summer break, probably at least partly to facilitate the coverage of the Goodwood race meeting this week. Last Saturday's TV guides bundled with the national newspapers show "Countdown" not being broadcast this week, and they would have been printed before the story about Carol Vorderman broke. "Deal or No Deal" isn't being shown this week either, so I imagine it was simply decided to give both shows a short rest.

Probably not correct. Until we've got definitely word that it won't be broadcast on Monday, remove it. This could be the second time somebody has posted words suggesting that the show will be removed from the air, which at this stage is speculation at best.--MartinUK (talk) 15:46, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Alexander Armstrong[edit]

I am removing him from the presenters lists, etc., as he has NOT been confirmed- it is still rumour, as the few sources cited show Jomunro (talk) 21:48, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley[edit]

I'm editing the 2009-present fixtures underneath the names, as it makes no sense as we're actually still in 2008, if no one noticed. :P

But Nick Hewer is the new host now. Medieval867 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:12, 18 May 2013 (UTC)


The URL in footnote 35 appears (to me) to have been vandalised. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:23, 16 January 2009 (UTC)


There've been Wii and DS versions of Countdown made by Mindscape now (the publishers of Des chiffres). Picked up the DS version at ASDA a few hours ago. This needs a section here and it's probably its own article. ProtoKun7 (talk) 21:10, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Slightly pedantic, but...[edit]

Is the plural of "conundrum" "conundrums" or "conundra"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:26, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

august 2012[edit]

As of late August 2012, Countdown has vanished from c4 schedules... Anyone know why? and if when it will reappear? (talk) 13:14, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Channel 4 is the UK station broadcasting the Paralympics. -- Dr Greg  talk  16:43, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

C4 site says it will be back on 13th Sep at 15:10 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:37, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

live show[edit]

What about if Channel 4 might launch the live version of Countdown this autumn. You can try contract Channel 4. Medieval867 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:10, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown[edit]

Does the section on the "8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdowns" games really belong under Celebrations (1.5)? Sure, you could argue that the first episode was part of a celebration (30th anniversary of Channel 4), but by the end of the next series, there will have been 16 games in total, some of which will air more than 2 years after the first. I think it belongs under either:
4.3 Humor
4.4 Non-canon games

Or, alternatively, you could give it a section of its own. Bilorv (talk) 09:45, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

I would go slightly further than giving it a section of its own; I would give it a main article of its own, and remove it from this one, though providing a link. After all, it's a completely separate programme, even though it's recorded in the same studio, and has some of the same personnel. Drawoh46 (talk) 10:51, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

M and W[edit]

Letters M and W in this game are similar, but not the same - middle part in M is pointed while middle part in W is flat. Was there ever a mistake in serving the letters? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:44, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

As I remember it, there was a case once when both M and W were selected in the same round, but both displayed as the same letter (can't remember whether it was as two Ms or two Ws). By looking carefully at a screenshot at the time it was clear that the two tiles were for different letters. I believe that one of the letters had been inverted in the consonants box. I also believe that after that incident the tiles were marked in some way so that this couldn't happen again. I'm sure someone will be able to say in which episode and in which round this occurred, but I believe it was during series 61, 62 or 63. Drawoh46 (talk) 16:10, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

Countdown has occupied a tea-time broadcast slot since its inception?[edit]

I'm not a regular viewer of Countdown, but it seems to go out at 2pm these days doesn't it? Hardly tea-time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:50, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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