Countdown (game show) facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Countdown
Created by Armand Jammot
Presented by Nick Hewer (2012–)
Jeff Stelling (2009–11)
Des O'Connor (2007–08)
Des Lynam (2005–06)
William G. Stewart (1997, (2000th Edition))
Richard Whiteley (1982–2005)
Starring Susie Dent (1992–)
Rachel Riley (2009–)
Carol Vorderman (1982–2008)
Theme music composer Alan Hawkshaw
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 77 (Regular)
2 (Masters)
1 (Celebrity)
79 (overall)
No. of episodes 6,523 (as of 20 February 2017) (inc. 42 specials)
104 (Masters)
8 (Celebrity) /
Production
Location(s) MediaCityUK, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester (2013–)
Granada Studios, Manchester (2009–12)
The Leeds Studios, Leeds (1982–2009)
Camera setup Multiple-camera setup
Running time 36 mins (excluding adverts)
45 mins (including, 2001–)
24 mins (excluding adverts)
30 mins (including, 1982–2001)
Production company(s) ITV Studios (2009–)
Granada Productions (2003–09)
Yorkshire Television (1982–2005)
Broadcast
Original channel Channel 4
S4C (1982–2010) (Wales)
Picture format HD 1080i (2013–)
16:9 (1999–)
4:3 (1982–99)
Original run 2 November 1982 (1982-11-02) – present
Chronology
Related shows 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (2012–)
Other websites
Official website

Countdown is a British game show involving word and number puzzles. It is produced by ITV Studios and broadcast on Channel 4. It is currently presented by Nick Hewer, assisted by Rachel Riley, with regular lexicographer Susie Dent. It was the first programme to be aired on Channel 4, and 77 series have been broadcast since its debut on 2 November 1982. With over 6,500 episodes, Countdown is one of the longest-running game shows in the world, along with the original French version, Des chiffres et des lettres (Numbers & Letters), which has been running on French television continuously since 1965. Countdown was initially recorded at The Leeds Studios for 27 years, before moving to Granada Studios in 2009, and then over to MediaCityUK in Salford Quays in 2013.

The programme was presented by Richard Whiteley for over 20 years, until his sudden death in June 2005. It was then presented by Des Lynam until the end of 2006, Des O'Connor until the end of 2008, and Jeff Stelling until the end of 2011; Nick Hewer has presented the show since 2012. Carol Vorderman, the show's co-host, who had also been on the programme since it began, left the show in December 2008, at the same time as Des O'Connor. She was replaced by Rachel Riley. Cathy Hytner originally placed letters on the board for the letters games before this was taken over by Vorderman.

A celebrity guest features in every programme, and provides a brief interlude midway between the two advertisement breaks. The two contestants in each episode compete in three disciplines: ten letters rounds, in which the contestants attempt to make the longest word possible from nine randomly chosen letters; four numbers rounds, in which the contestants must use arithmetic to reach a random target number from six other numbers; and the conundrum, a buzzer round in which the contestants compete to solve a nine-letter anagram. During the series heats, the winning contestant returns the next day until he/she either loses or retires with eight wins as an undefeated "Octochamp." The best eight contestants are invited back for the series finals, which are decided in knockout format. Contestants of exceptional skill have received national media coverage, and the programme as a whole is widely recognised and parodied within British culture.

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