30th Birthday Championship

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The 30th Birthday Championship group photo, taken after Conor Travers defeated Jack Hurst in the final.
The 30th Birthday Championship trophy, which every contestant received. (Referred to by Nick Hewer as "a piece of kryptonite".)
The new CECIL, which debuted on Episode 5625, following the show's move to MediaCityUK in Salford.

The 30th Birthday Championship was an eight week long mini-series broadcast between 7 January 2013 and 1 March 2013, held to celebrate Countdown being broadcast on British television for 30 years. Series producer Damian Eadie posted details of the tournament on the c4countdown forum in September 2012, and over 200 former contestants expressed their interest in participating. This was whittled down to just 41, spanning 63 of Countdown's 67 series and including 15 series champions. Contestants from Series 60 through 66 were especially emphasised within the lineup, occupying nearly 40% of the seats, due to the regular Championship of Champions tournaments to which they would normally be invited having been on hiatus at the time. The success of the 30th Birthday event is thought to have contributed to the eventual revival of CoC events.

The mini-series lasted for eight weeks on screen and consisted of 40 episodes, with nine preliminary games followed by a best-of-32 knock-out tournament. On 21 January 2013, production moved to a studio at MediaCityUK in Salford, Countdown's third permanent home in its 30 year history. Notable moments in the first round proper included Series 60 champion Kirk Bevins scoring 130 points out of a possible 130, the second 15 round perfect game in the history of Countdown, and Series 63 champion Jack Hurst missing out on beating the show's highest ever score of 146, after the invalid declaration spousing ☓ gave him a total of 143. Round 2 included another perfect game as Series 54 champion Conor Travers beat Chris Hawkins with 119 points out of 119. The second round also featured two consecutive tie-breaker conundrumsDavid O'Donnell unscrambled BAGOGLORY to defeat Chris Davies, and Kirk Bevins solved BARRYDICK to claim victory over Innis Carson. The quarter-finals saw Jonathan Rawlinson and Jack Hurst progress, and contained two more perfect games – Conor Travers achieved a second on the bounce, and Jon O'Neill amassed a perfect 122, the highest score ever achieved on Countdown with no nine-letter words.

In the first semi-final, both Rawlinson and Hurst started with the nine-letter word CATENOIDS. Their scores remained level until round 11, when an invalid declaration gave Rawlinson a six point lead. However, this proved insufficient when Hurst unravelled the conundrum TURNMOIST to qualify for the final. The second semi-final featured O'Neill and Travers, the men who had achieved perfect games in their quarter-final matches. Their form continued and between them they gained maximum points with 28 of their 29 declarations, and Travers won with his third consecutive perfect game. Early in the tournament final, Travers gained an 18 point lead after Hurst missed the niner PONYTAILS. This was immediately followed by two further nines, the first known "ambulance" (9-9-9) in the history of televised Countdown. Travers was able to extend his lead late in the match and won with 146 points, equalling the highest ever score set by Julian Fell. Travers' prize, a trophy which host Nick Hewer referred to as a "priceless piece of kryptonite", was presented by Marcel Stellman who originally brought the Countdown format to Britain.

Participants

The participants, listed by the series with which they are most commonly associated, are:

Series champions are displayed in bold.

Progress (Round 1 and beyond only)

Peter Lee (66) vs Tom Rowell (63) Tom Rowell vs Jonathan Rawlinson Jonathan Rawlinson vs Neil Zussman Jonathan Rawlinson vs Jack Hurst Jack Hurst vs Conor Travers
Andrew Hulme (61) vs Jonathan Rawlinson (66)
Paul Keane (65) vs Neil Zussman (60) Dave Hoskisson vs Neil Zussman
Dave Hoskisson (44) vs Mike Whiteoak (13)
Martin Bishop (59) vs Chris Wills (47) Chris Wills vs Jack Hurst Jack Hurst vs David O'Donnell
Wayne Kelly (28) vs Jack Hurst (63)
David O'Donnell (58) vs Tom Hargreaves (47) Chris Davies vs David O'Donnell
David Williams (43) vs Chris Davies (61)
Kai Laddiman (59) vs Jon O'Neill (53) Jon O'Neill vs Darryl Francis Jon O'Neill vs Jack Worsley Jon O'Neill vs Conor Travers
Darryl Francis (6) vs Barry Grossman (21)
Christine Hunt (4) vs Sandie Simonis (8) Christine Hunt vs Jack Worsley
Graeme Cole (65) vs Jack Worsley (66)
Chris Hawkins (28) vs Jill Bright (38) Chris Hawkins vs Conor Travers Conor Travers vs Kirk Bevins
Conor Travers (54) vs Mark Tournoff (52)
Innis Carson (61) vs Adam Gillard (64) Innis Carson vs Kirk Bevins
John Ashmore (38) vs Kirk Bevins (60)
The winner of each game is displayed in bold. The numbers refer to the series in which each contestant originally played in the finals.

Episodes

# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
Preliminary Round
5615 7/01/2013 30BP Tom Hargreaves 117 – 57 Nicki Sellars Dave Myers Susie Dent 131
5616 8/01/2013 30BP Wayne Kelly 105 – 68 Nick Wainwright Dave Myers Susie Dent 120
5617 9/01/2013 30BP Mark Deeks 103 – 108 Jack Hurst Dave Myers Susie Dent 120
5618 10/01/2013 30BP Ben Wilson 91 – 117 Conor Travers Dave Myers Susie Dent 126
5619 11/01/2013 30BP Mark Tournoff 101 – 100 Nick Deller Dave Myers Susie Dent 119
5620 14/01/2013 30BP Darryl Francis 86 – 68 David Webb Martin Lewis Susie Dent 119
5621 15/01/2013 30BP Jackie McLeod 65 – 79 Barry Grossman Martin Lewis Susie Dent 119
5622 16/01/2013 30BP Andrew Hulme 113 – 74 Steven Briers Martin Lewis Susie Dent 127
5623 17/01/2013 30BP Ed McCullagh 94 – 104* Jonathan Rawlinson Martin Lewis Susie Dent 117
Round 1
5624 18/01/2013 30B1 Peter Lee 84 – 92 Tom Rowell Martin Lewis Susie Dent 131
5625 21/01/2013 30B1 Kai Laddiman 76 – 101 Jon O'Neill Margaret Mountford Susie Dent 132
5626 22/01/2013 30B1 Chris Hawkins 95 – 51 Jill Bright Margaret Mountford Susie Dent 123
5627 23/01/2013 30B1 Martin Bishop 99 – 102 Chris Wills Margaret Mountford Susie Dent 124
5628 24/01/2013 30B1 David Williams 58 – 108 Chris Davies Margaret Mountford Susie Dent 119
5629 25/01/2013 30B1 Innis Carson 116 – 91 Adam Gillard Margaret Mountford Susie Dent 137
5630 28/01/2013 30B1 Christine Hunt 88* – 78 Sandie Simonis Mark Foster Susie Dent 134
5631 29/01/2013 30B1 Paul Keane 81 – 99 Neil Zussman Mark Foster Susie Dent 131
5632 30/01/2013 30B1 Dave Hoskisson 85 – 81 Mike Whiteoak Mark Foster Susie Dent 125
5633 31/01/2013 30B1 Graeme Cole 98 – 104 Jack Worsley Mark Foster Susie Dent 118
5634 1/02/2013 30B1 John Ashmore 92 – 130 Kirk Bevins Mark Foster Susie Dent 130
5635 4/02/2013 30B1 David O'Donnell 111 – 86 Tom Hargreaves Kate Adie Susie Dent 128
5636 5/02/2013 30B1 Wayne Kelly 89 – 143 Jack Hurst Kate Adie Susie Dent 152
5637 6/02/2013 30B1 Conor Travers 112 – 62 Mark Tournoff Kate Adie Susie Dent 119
5638 7/02/2013 30B1 Darryl Francis 82 – 63 Barry Grossman Kate Adie Susie Dent 118
5639 8/02/2013 30B1 Andrew Hulme 91 – 98 Jonathan Rawlinson Kate Adie Susie Dent 115
Round 2
5640 11/02/2013 30B2 Tom Rowell 65 – 94 Jonathan Rawlinson Ken Bruce Susie Dent 128
5641 12/02/2013 30B2 Jon O'Neill 122 – 91 Darryl Francis Ken Bruce Susie Dent 130
5642 13/02/2013 30B2 Chris Hawkins 85 – 119 Conor Travers Ken Bruce Susie Dent 119
5643 14/02/2013 30B2 Chris Wills 70 – 115 Jack Hurst Ken Bruce Susie Dent 119
5644 15/02/2013 30B2 Chris Davies 117 – 127* David O'Donnell Ken Bruce Susie Dent 140
5645 18/02/2013 30B2 Innis Carson 102 – 112* Kirk Bevins Dr Phil Hammond Susie Dent 120
5646 19/02/2013 30B2 Christine Hunt 67 – 115 Jack Worsley Dr Phil Hammond Susie Dent 117
5647 20/02/2013 30B2 Dave Hoskisson 75 – 90 Neil Zussman Dr Phil Hammond Susie Dent 117
Quarter-Finals
5648 21/02/2013 30BQF Jonathan Rawlinson 118 – 53 Neil Zussman Dr Phil Hammond Susie Dent 119
5649 22/02/2013 30BQF Jon O'Neill 122 – 104 Jack Worsley Dr Phil Hammond Susie Dent 122
5650 25/02/2013 30BQF Conor Travers 119 – 94 Kirk Bevins Jenny Eclair Susie Dent 119
5651 26/02/2013 30BQF Jack Hurst 115 – 97 David O'Donnell Jenny Eclair Susie Dent 122
Semi-Finals
5652 27/02/2013 30BSF Jonathan Rawlinson 105 – 116 Jack Hurst Jenny Eclair Susie Dent 126
5653 28/02/2013 30BSF Jon O'Neill 102 – 120 Conor Travers Jenny Eclair Susie Dent 120
Grand Final
5654 1/03/2013 30BGF Jack Hurst 111 – 146 Conor Travers Jenny Eclair Susie Dent 149
* includes 10 points from a tie-break conundrum

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