Naturally enough, Series 1 was the first series. The first of 53 series presented by Richard Whiteley, it ran from 2 November 1982 to 16 December 1982, originally only on Mondays to Thursdays, included just 26 heats and one final (also making it the shortest in history), and was won by 1980 National Scrabble champion Joyce Cansfield.
The first episode was broadcast on 2 November 1982 at 4:45 pm as the first programme ever to be shown on Channel 4. It was won by Scrabble player Michael Goldman, becoming the first daily champion after a 50 – 27 win over Jeff Andrews. Goldman won a further four matches before he was unseated by John Simpson, who was unseated by Cansfield.
Joyce Cansfield and Michael Wylie qualified for the final with the two highest scores of the series. The final was a close game but Joyce wrapped it up 59 – 41, solving an apt crucial conundrum. Michael never returned to Countdown as a contestant, except for a brace of Countdown Masters contests, but later became the show's producer. Joyce on the other hand had impressive runs in the Championship of Champions I and the Supreme Championship and was invited back for the Ladies' Championship during Series 49 but was unable to attend because she had booked a skiing holiday.
The jazz saxophonist and raconteur Benny Green was booked to appear in Dictionary Corner for part of the series but fell ill, leaving Kenneth Williams to do all but the first seven programmes.
Players are seeded by highest scores achieved in the heats. Wylie's highest score was 66; Cansfield's was 65.
|#||Date||Type||Contestant 1||Score||Contestant 2||Guest||Lex||Max|
|1||2/11/1982||P||Jeff Andrews||27 – 50||Michael Goldman||Ted Moult||Mary||67|
|2||3/11/1982||P||Maureen Barr||28 – 41||Michael Goldman||Ted Moult||Mary||76|
|3||4/11/1982||P||Bill Benson||?||Michael Goldman||Ted Moult|
|4||8/11/1982||P||Bill Benson||?||Michael Goldman||Ted Moult|
|5||9/11/1982||P||Sheila Arnold||?||Michael Goldman||Ted Moult|
|6||10/11/1982||P||John Simpson||?||Michael Goldman||Ted Moult|
|7||11/11/1982||P||John Simpson||? – 65||Joyce Cansfield||Ted Moult|
|8||15/11/1982||P||Helen Grayson||?||Joyce Cansfield||Kenneth Williams|
|9||16/11/1982||P||Helen Grayson||?||Joyce Cansfield||Kenneth Williams|
|10||17/11/1982||P||Helen Grayson||?||Jack Baker||Kenneth Williams|
|11||18/11/1982||P||Helen Grayson||?||Gail Cooper||Kenneth Williams|
|12||22/11/1982||P||Darryl Francis||?||Joe Guy||Kenneth Williams|
|13||23/11/1982||P||Paul O'Neill||?||Joe Guy||Kenneth Williams|
|14||24/11/1982||P||Martin Pettit||?||Joe Guy||Kenneth Williams|
|15||25/11/1982||P||Andrew Bruno||40 – 22||Joe Guy||Kenneth Williams|
|16||29/11/1982||P||Andrew Bruno||57 – 22||Josef Kollar||Kenneth Williams|
|17||30/11/1982||P||Andrew Bruno||42 – 49||Christine Jones||Kenneth Williams|
|18||1/12/1982||P||Michael Wylie||?||Christine Jones||Kenneth Williams|
|19||2/12/1982||P||Michael Wylie||?||Ian Gucklhorn||Kenneth Williams|
|20||6/12/1982||P||Michael Wylie||?||Don Wright||Kenneth Williams|
|21||7/12/1982||P||Michael Wylie||54 – 39||Arnold Weinberg||Kenneth Williams||Mary||72|
|22||8/12/1982||P||Michael Wylie||?||Saladin Khoshnaw||Kenneth Williams|
|23||9/12/1982||P||Heather Frankland||?||Saladin Khoshnaw||Kenneth Williams|
|24||13/12/1982||P||Heather Frankland||?||Maurice Daniels||Kenneth Williams|
|25||14/12/1982||P||Jane McLeman||41 – 41||Maurice Daniels||Kenneth Williams||Mary||70|
|26||15/12/1982||P||Jane McLeman||48 – 47||Maurice Daniels||Kenneth Williams||Mary||73|
|27||16/12/1982||GF||Joyce Cansfield||59 – 41||Michael Wylie||Kenneth Williams|