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December's featured article
Chris Davies was the champion of Series 61. He was a musician and charity shop volunteer from Greasby in Merseyside, whose hobbies included solving his Rubik's cube. On his Countdown début, Davies immediately impressed with obscure words including PERINEA and FORAMINA, quickly despatching Scrabble player and three-time champion Ed Rossiter. His second game against Matt Shepherd included further exceptional letters round offerings, such as DEHISCE, PUEBLOS and OESTRONE. However, Davies scored just 7 out of a possible 30 points across the three numbers rounds and, although a comfortable victory, this was the only game all series in which he failed to score a century. His next two heat games were won with scores of 110 and 113 points, and in his fifth match against Ross Mackenzie two niners and four eight-letter words helped Davies to a total of 139, the highest score ever achieved in a heat game. This was followed by wins of 121 – 57, 103 – 42 and 105 – 53 to secure octochamp status.
Davies returned for the finals as #2 seed behind Andrew Hulme, who had amassed an aggregate score of 930 points across his eight heat games – the highest total ever at the time of broadcast. In his quarter-final game against Steve Wood, the words RELLENOS and RANDOMISE helped Davies to a 43-point lead after just five rounds and a final score of 108 points to 61. In his semi-final, Davies played Innis Carson and after twelve rounds only seven points separated the two players. In round 13, Carson beat Davies with the word SOLENOID, opening up a fifteen point lead with just two rounds to go. Carson missed the numbers target in round 14 whereas Davies found a perfect solution, but he still needed to solve the crucial conundrum EPITUSSLE to win. After 25.5 seconds, Davies doubtfully offered SLEEPSUIT — and exclaimed "Oh my God!" as this was revealed to be correct. In the grand final Davies faced #1 seed Hulme, who frequently equalled but never bettered him. TETRODE, DIARISES and the conundrum ARTLEPOOL gave him the title of series champion by 117 – 86. Davies was the first champion to be crowned following production of Countdown being relocated to Granada Studios in Manchester.
On 11 January 2010, as reigning Countdown champion Davies appeared on the Channel 4 reality television series Celebrity Big Brother to play a five round game against a group of housemates, as part of a shopping budget task. In March 2010, he played against Series 60 champion Kirk Bevins in a special episode to decide the overall champion of 2009, a match which Davies lost by 77 points to 81. He returned to Countdown in 2013 to participate in the 30th Birthday Championship. Davies won his first round game against Series 43 semi-finalist David Williams, before losing to Series 58 champion David O'Donnell 127 – 117 on a tie-breaker conundrum. This performance was the equal highest losing score in the history of Countdown. (more...)
This article will appear on The Countdown Wiki's Main Page throughout December.