Channel 4's first show is still going strong!
Average viewer share
When Channel 4 first launched on November 2nd 1982, Countdown was the first programme it screened, hosted by the Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman. Over forty years later it’s still going strong, with the presenting team of Colin Murray, Rachel Riley at the numbers and letters board, and lexicographer Susie Dent in the now-legendary Dictionary Corner.
Based on the long-running French format Des chiffres et des lettres, Countdown is now in its 89th series, and is noted in the Guinness Book of Records for its longevity. Since Richard Whiteley’s death it has been hosted by regular presenters Des Lynam, Des O’Connor, Nick Hewer and Anne Robinson before frequent Dictionary Corner guest and Countdown enthusiast Colin Murray took over permanently in July 2022.
Since 2012 Channel 4 has also broadcast ‘8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown’. Originally intended to be just a one-off ‘mash-up’ of two iconic brands, it has now run to over one hundred and fifty episodes, with Rachael and Susie performing their usual roles in this highly successful comedic reworking of the brand, presented by Jimmy Carr, and featuring Jon Richardson alongside some of the country’s best comedy names.
About Series 88
Rachel Riley reveals each contestant’s selection of letters on the programme’s iconic board, and also adjudicates their solutions to the numbers games with an astonishing degree of skill, demonstrating correct solutions even when our most proficient players are completely stumped. Susie Dent adjudicates on the words offered in solution to the letters games, and also offers her ‘Origins of Words’, a fascinating glimpse into the history of the English language and the stories behind some of our most familiar phrases and sayings.
This series will conclude on Friday 22nd December with the best of the best taking the trophy and the title of Countdown Champion.