Harry Peters

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Harry Peters is a fictional Countdown contestant. Originally the subject of an urban legend spread online in the early 2000s, today Peters' name is an in-joke amongst Countdown fans on the internet.

Supposedly the greatest Countdown contestant in the history of the programme, Peters was said to have made his d├ębut in 1985 as part of Series 6 and become an octochamp with a total score of 562 points – easily beating all records from Countdown's original 9 round era. However, the legend goes that all eight episodes of Countdown featuring Peters as a contestant were never broadcast, owing to his poor manners and temperament in the studio. Examples of Peters' rumoured poor conduct include talking back to Dictionary Corner, questioning every decision that went against him, and refusing to shake hands with an opponent after being narrowly beaten to the conundrum (despite having already won by a comfortable margin). Following a foul-mouthed outburst in his eighth and final game, the producers supposedly decided that Peter was unsuitable for broadcast and his entire eight-game run was declared null and void, with the contestants who had faced him brought back to play against each other to replace the episodes where they had previously been beaten.

Supposed evidence of Peters' existence was shared online when the rumour initially surfaced. The final scorelines from his eight games were allegedly posted by two independent sources, though in actuality it is now considered likely that the original set of fictitious scores was simply copied verbatim and disseminated elsewhere on the internet. Another cybernaut claimed to have witnessed Peters' final heat game. Furthermore, Series 6 semi-finallist Helen Grayson retired early, after winning just seven games rather than the eight required to earn octochamp status. Her doing so exactly eight games before the start of the series finals led some to believe that Grayson had originally been defeated by Peters in her eighth game, and that the eight episodes which followed the end of her televised run were originally those with Peters as champion. Finally, it was noted that the scrapping and re-recording of Countdown episodes is not unprecedented; many episodes in Series 18 were re-recorded to remove red and white letter tiles which were introduced at the start of the series, without realising that these colours would cause problems for epileptic viewers.

Countering this circumstantial evidence, Countdown producer Damian Eadie went on the record as saying that the Harry Peters story was a load of sloblock. But a surprisingly large number of people believed it at the time.

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