Julian Fell

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Julian Fell

Julian Fell was an octochamp in and the champion of Series 48, and a quarter-finalist in Championship of Champions XI. He is widely considered to be among the greatest Countdowners of all time.

He holds a cornucopia of records, including the highest single score in a game of 146 which has been matched but never exceeded. Fell is particularly renowned for his astonishing word knowledge, including definitions, coupled with fast conundrums. He was the third player in history to solve all eight of his preliminary conundrums, after Harvey Freeman and David Williams. His numbers strength is often underestimated in comparison to the other disciplines. A poll of Gevincountdown members in 2003 voted him the greatest player of all time, ahead of Harvey Freeman. His octochamp aggregate score of 924 was a record until Series 60 champion Kirk Bevins beat it by a single point in 2009. He is also the first player in the history of Countdown to score over 900 points (924) across his 8 heat games.


Appearances on the programme

Heat games

His debut came on Wednesday 16th October 2002, when as an 18-year old student from York Sixth Form College, he posted an impressive 117. Six more centuries followed, and by the following Friday only Carl McDermott stood between Fell and octochampdom. This game is remembered as one of the greatest drubbings in Countdown history, as Fell racked up 138, winning by 109. His place as #1 seed and favourite for the series was assured, and his feat of eight centuries in eight heats has been matched by only a very select group of players.

Series finals

The quarter final saw Fell rack up a hefty 125 against 8th seed Mike Brown including the nine WOMANISER to advance comfortably to the next round. In the semifinal, Fell faced Danny Hamilton, finding SALMONIDS, DEPORTING, INGATHERS and DEFLATION to make 146 before the conundrum. With Chris Wills' high score record already surpassed, Fell had his first blank on the conundrum, with THEIRCOPY proving too difficult for either contestant. The final was more closely fought, despite Fell finding a first round winner in MANTICORE. Grace Page played consistently thereafter and the excellent KNITWEAR in Round 9 gave her a chance of a comeback. However the rest of the game produced flat selections and the game was over before the final numbers. Fell ended the series by unravelling APIMOMENT in barely a second.

Championship of Champions XI

A few weeks later, he returned to the Leeds studio for Championship of Champions XI. A twelfth consecutive century, this time against Series 42's Terence O'Farrell, eased Fell into the quarterfinals. His match with Series 43 champion Graham Nash was another classic. Both players scored steadily but the game turned on Fell's risky declaration of gambiers, which he knew to be a mass noun plural but believed was likely to be acceptable under the newly revised rules. Susie disagreed - the first time Fell had had a word disallowed. A few points behind going into the crucial conundrum, Nash quickly buzzed with the solution to MENDMEDOC and the game was his - Fell had been felled at last.

Special game

Fell returned a few months later to face Series 47 champion Chris Wills in a special game. The game was close but Fell pulled ahead with GERONTIC in round 12, but was beaten on the last numbers and went into the conundrum trailing 90 – 92. Fell had still scored a century in every game he had played, including his loss to Graham Nash. It was Fell that got the conundrum VIRTUOSIC and continued his run of 14 centuries in 14 games. Overall, he has won 13 games and lost only 1.

After Countdown

Following Fell's loss to Graham Nash, he played in two non-televised charity games against Chris Cummins, the champion of Series 50 and a fellow Cambridge University student at the time. Fell won 2 – 0. He went on to organise the first major online tournament in the summer of 2004, and beat Jon Stitcher in a closely fought final.

Fell also appeared as a contestant on the defunct Channel 5 game show Brainteaser.

He has since graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge. A once active member of the online Countdown community, Fell attended the offline CoNot tournament in 2008. Soon after, he announced his retirement, citing a lack of motivation.

Preceded by
Chris Wills
Series winner
Series 48
Followed by
John Davies


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
3342 16/10/2002 P Kevin Neate 63 − 117 Julian Fell Keith Barron Susie Dent 122
3343 17/10/2002 P Julian Fell 117 − 57 Russell Hutton Keith Barron Susie Dent 120
3344 18/10/2002 P Julian Fell 108 − 53 Megan Stone Keith Barron Susie Dent 117
3345 21/10/2002 P Julian Fell 120 − 49 Leo Pinches Ingrid Tarrant Susie Dent 131
3346 22/10/2002 P Julian Fell 104 − 61 Tim Cape Ingrid Tarrant Susie Dent 119
3347 23/10/2002 P Julian Fell 111 − 54 Jill Leatherbarrow Ingrid Tarrant Susie Dent 140
3348 24/10/2002 P Julian Fell 109 − 84 June Mitchell Ingrid Tarrant Susie Dent 118
3349 25/10/2002 P Julian Fell 138 − 29 Carl McDermott Ingrid Tarrant Susie Dent 148
3383 12/12/2002 QF Julian Fell 125 − 67 Mike Brown Pam Ayres Richard Samson 141
3387 18/12/2002 SF Danny Hamilton 77 − 146 Julian Fell Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Richard Samson 158
3389 20/12/2002 GF Julian Fell 112 − 88 Grace Page Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Richard Samson 132
3396 14/01/2003 CP Julian Fell 118 − 64 Terence O'Farrell Tim Rice Susie Dent 130
3401 21/01/2003 CQF Graham Nash 120 − 109 Julian Fell Eric Knowles Susie Dent 137
S12 12/09/2003 S Julian Fell 100 − 92 Chris Wills Bob Bevan Alison Heard 123

See also

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