Series 1

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Joyce Cansfield presented with her dictionaries by Carol, Beverley and Linda.

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 defeat 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. 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.

The original team of Linda Barrett, Beverley Isherwood, Richard Whiteley, Cathy Hytner and Carol Vorderman, with guests Kenneth Williams and Ted Moult. Williams complained bitterly in his diary that he had to wait a whole day just to pose for this photo.


Seed table

Rank Name Wins Score
1 Michael Wylie 4 ?
2 Joyce Cansfield 1+1 ?
Numbers after "+" signs in the Wins column represent drawn games.

Players are seeded by highest scores achieved in the heats. Wylie's highest score was 66; Cansfield's was 65.

Episodes

# 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

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