Conor Travers

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Conor Travers was an octochamp in and the champion of Series 54, a semi-finalist in Championship of Champions XII and the champion of the 30th Birthday Championship. He is the youngest ever series champion, having won at the age of 14, and is one of the most popular and talented contestants in the show's history. As well as being one of the most experienced Apterites and tournament players, Travers also shares the record with Zarte Siempre for the most airtime: 900 minutes.

Travers was originally planned to make his début in the first episode of Series 54, but due to illness his appearance was pushed back by several days and he instead began his run on 23 November 2005 against Ray Oakley. He won his first game with a score of 99 after solving the conundrum in half a second, followed by 111 against John Archer and 99 against Geoff Alderman. His remaining 5 games were all centuries, with a top score of 124 and a low score of 111. During his run he beat future Series 73 finalist Judy Bursford. His octochamp total was 890.

He returned to Countdown in May 2006 as number 1 seed. He beat Daniel Peake by 69 points in the quarter-final, Paul Howe by 24 points in the semi-final before meeting Matthew Shore in the series final. There he won 98 – 83 to become the youngest ever series champion at 14 years old, a record which cannot be beaten due to new production rules. He also holds the record for winning the longest series (153 shows), as the series started the previous year due to the death of Richard Whiteley, which delayed the start of the series being filmed. Travers was the first of two champions to be crowned with Des Lynam as presenter, the other being Richard Brittain.

One week later, he returned for CofC XII beating John Hunt and John Brackstone in the first two rounds. Considered one of the favourites after his 890 aggregate as an octochamp (the sixth highest ever at the time), he lost 118 – 102 to the eventual winner Paul Gallen in the semi-final on the crucial conundrum CHOPLOSER. In 14 games, Travers' lowest score was 98 and his average was 110.4 points per game.

Since losing to Paul Gallen, he appeared on Countdown's 25th anniversary special against Chris Wills and won the game 69 – 58. He then started playing Countdown online again and spent some time in the #1 position on Apterous, and set the then-highest ever score of 161.

He returned to Countdown again in 2013, as one of 41 contestants taking part in the 30th Birthday Championship. There he proved to have lost none of his edge, and overcame a field of strong contestants. He won his first match against Series 46 champion Ben Wilson despite falling 6 points behind early in the match, then maxed 14 rounds to beat Series 52 champion Mark Tournoff. His next match saw him go one better, as he scored a perfect 119 against Series 28 quarter-finalist and Scrabble expert Chris Hawkins. He then defeated the Series 60 champion Kirk Bevins in the quarter-final, again scoring a perfect 119 points. He then took on the Series 53 semi-finalist Jon O'Neill in the semi-final, being held in place for all the game, before eventually breaking clear by solving the conundrum INFIGHTER to achieve a 3rd consecutive perfect game, this time with 120 points. Travers has currently perfected more games than any other contestant on Countdown.

The grand final of the championships took place on 1 March, when Travers played the Series 63 champion Jack Hurst. Travers took an early lead in round 3, when he spotted the nine PONYTAILS, and the only points he dropped from thereon were the 3 for not reaching the target in the first numbers game, bringing his incredible run of maximums of 58 to an end. Hurst's challenge ended when he missed POMADES in round 13, leaving Travers to max the final 2 rounds to equal the then-highest ever score in the show's history with 146, a feat achieved by Julian Fell over a decade earlier in the Series 48 semi-final. In the presentation, he was awarded the winner's trophy by Marcel Stellman.

Travers is still interested in Countdown, and regularly participates in unofficial Countdown tournaments. His first was COLIN 2005, followed by COLIN 2006, CoBris 2006 and CoLei3. He won COLIN 2008 and CoBris 2005, and came 2nd in CoBris 2007. He finished runner-up in COLIN 2017 where he was beaten in a crucial conundrum by fellow Apterite Dylan Taylor.

Travers held the record for highest total score in any number of appearances, with a hoard of 2,348 cumulative points in 21 appearances. However, Jon Richardson claims to have broken this record over several series of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, following a game where he scored 890 due to a conundrum worth 834 points.

Travers now works for Optiver Europe in Amsterdam.

Preceded by
John Mayhew
Series winner
Series 54
Followed by
Richard Brittain
Preceded by
Paul James
Series winner
30th Birthday Championship
Followed by
Giles Hutchings


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
3977 23/11/2005 P Ray Oakley 58 – 99 Conor Travers Jan Ravens Susie Dent 114
3978 24/11/2005 P Conor Travers 111 – 35 John Archer Jan Ravens Susie Dent 134
3979 25/11/2005 P Conor Travers 99 – 58 Geoff Alderman Jan Ravens Susie Dent 122
3980 28/11/2005 P Conor Travers 114 – 57 Jane Capie Jan Ravens Susie Dent 131
3981 29/11/2005 P Conor Travers 111 – 53 Steven Whitaker Rick Wakeman Susie Dent 129
3982 30/11/2005 P Conor Travers 124 – 69 Andrew Christley Rick Wakeman Susie Dent 139
3983 1/12/2005 P Conor Travers 115 – 53 Judy Bursford Rick Wakeman Susie Dent 124
3984 2/12/2005 P Conor Travers 117 – 61 Vicky Prime Rick Wakeman Susie Dent 128
4106 18/05/2006 QF Daniel Peake 38 – 107 Conor Travers Richard Digance Susie Dent 130
4110 24/05/2006 SF Conor Travers 124 – 100 Paul Howe Richard Digance Susie Dent 130
4112 26/05/2006 GF Conor Travers 98 – 83 Matthew Shore Richard Digance Susie Dent 118
4115 31/05/2006 CP Conor Travers 124 – 91 John Hunt Ron Atkinson Susie Dent 138
4123 12/06/2006 CQF Conor Travers 101 – 80 John Brackstone Kim Woodburn Susie Dent 130
4126 15/06/2006 CSF Paul Gallen 118 – 102 Conor Travers Kim Woodburn Susie Dent 120
4473 2/11/2007 S Chris Wills 58 – 69 Conor Travers none Alison Heard 110
5618 10/01/2013 30BP Ben Wilson 91 – 117 Conor Travers Dave Myers Susie Dent 126
5637 6/02/2013 30B1 Conor Travers 112 – 62 Mark Tournoff Kate Adie Susie Dent 119
5642 13/02/2013 30B2 Chris Hawkins 85 – 119 Conor Travers Ken Bruce Susie Dent 119
5650 25/02/2013 30BQF Conor Travers 119 – 94 Kirk Bevins Jenny Eclair Susie Dent 119
5653 28/02/2013 30BSF Jon O'Neill 102 – 120 Conor Travers Jenny Eclair Susie Dent 120
5654 1/03/2013 30BGF Jack Hurst 111 – 146 Conor Travers Jenny Eclair Susie Dent 149
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