Ben Wilson

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Ben Wilson on the show.
Ben Wilson organising a COLIN event.

Ben Wilson (born 22 March 1983) was the champion of Series 46, the first in the 15-round format. He was also a quarter-finalist in Championship of Champions XI and a participant in the 30th Birthday Championship.

His first programme was broadcast on 6 November 2001. He defeated namesake Peter Wilson 101 – 70 in his first show, before winning 5 more games (only 6 wins were needed in the first 15-round series) and becoming one of only five viscounts in Countdown history, famously declaring SEXPOT.

He returned for the series finals as number 1 seed, beating fellow Lincoln resident Simon Cartwright 83 – 68 in the quarter-finals, and Scotland's Paul Ryan 101 – 80 in the semi-finals after a close and tense game. In the grand final on Christmas Day against Steve Sandalls, the scores were level until round 9, but Ben built up a lead of 17 points over the next two rounds with an excellent six-small numbers game, and the word BONNIES. A series of poor rounds, including offering MACE for four, missing GYRATED and making a mistake on the final numbers game put Wilson 1 point behind going into the conundrum, but, he was able to solve the conundrum in 5 seconds to become champion of the 46th series, and the first champion of the 15 round format. Aged just 18 at the time, Ben also has the distinction of being the first ever series champion of Countdown to have been born after the show's debut on Channel 4.

Wilson was invited back for Championship of Champions XI in January 2003, where he was paired against Northern Ireland's Geraldine Hylands in the first round. Wilson scraped through, winning 94 – 91, but was ultimately beaten in the quarter-finals of the tournament by Tom Hargreaves, by a score of 131 – 98. At the time, this game set the record for highest aggregate score in a 15-round game (229), and 98 still remains one of the highest losing score of all time. Thr aggregate record was not broken until the following Championship of Champions tournament when Mark Tournoff beat Matthew Shore by 124 – 117. His own record of his experience on the show can be read on The Countdown Page here.

Wilson would later have a brief cameo on the show at the end of the semi-final between Chris Cummins and Adam Laws as the member of the audience who solved the conundrum after neither player was able to unscramble it.

He returned to Countdown in 2013, as one of 41 contestants taking part in the 30th Birthday Championship. He faced a tough draw in the preliminary round, facing history-making Series 54 champion Conor Travers. In the match, Wilson took a 6-point lead with STOTTY in the second round but quickly lost his lead to Travers’s play of FLORUITED, and lost by a score of 117 – 91. Travers went on to win the championship.

After Countdown

Since his appearances on Countdown, Wilson has gone on to become deeply involved in the world of online Countdown, being amongst the first to play Countdown over MSN Messenger, and one of the original moderators of c4countdown.

Wilson is organiser of COLIN, the first annual Countdown tournament (and in 2011 played in his own tournament), as well as the three CoNot events. He also visited the Edinburgh Countdown Club in late 2003, CoBris 2005, CoBris 2007, CoLei 2008, CoLei2, Co:Lon 2010, the CoLei Summer Special, Co:Lon 2011, CobliviLon, COEDI, and was the winner of the first ever CoRed tournament in March 2007.

Away from Countdown, Wilson took up Scrabble after his last Countdown appearance. He's an Association of British Scrabble Players member and won his first tournament, Peterborough, in March 2008.

Preceded by
John Rawnsley
Series winner
Series 46
Followed by
Chris Wills


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
3117 6/11/2001 P Peter Wilson 70 – 101 Ben Wilson Vanessa Feltz Clare Pemberton 114
3118 7/11/2001 P Ben Wilson 102 – 49 Jeanette Littlejohn Vanessa Feltz Clare Pemberton 152
3119 8/11/2001 P Ben Wilson 98 – 60 Bob Bride Vanessa Feltz Clare Pemberton 121
3120 9/11/2001 P Ben Wilson 90 – 80 Mike Nicholson Vanessa Feltz Clare Pemberton 130
3121 12/11/2001 P Ben Wilson 86 – 72 Pearl Norman Nigel Rees Phiona Stanley 122
3122 13/11/2001 P Ben Wilson 93 – 76 John Hadley Nigel Rees Phiona Stanley 123
3146 17/12/2001 QF Ben Wilson 83 – 68 Simon Cartwright Denis Norden Tania Styles 122
3150 21/12/2001 SF Paul Ryan 80 – 101 Ben Wilson Denis Norden Tania Styles 131
3152 25/12/2001 GF Steve Sandalls 75 – 84 Ben Wilson Geoffrey Durham Clare Pemberton 117
3394 10/01/2003 CP Ben Wilson 94 – 91 Geraldine Hylands Martin Jarvis Susie Dent 122
3400 20/01/2003 CQF Tom Hargreaves 131 – 98 Ben Wilson Eric Knowles Susie Dent 144
5618 10/01/2013 30BP Ben Wilson 91 – 117 Conor Travers Dave Myers Susie Dent 126

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