30th Birthday Championship
- The 30th Birthday Championship is separate to Series 68.
The 30th Birthday Championship was a mini-series broadcast between 7 January 2013 and 1 March 2013, held to celebrate Countdown being broadcast on British television for 30 years. Featuring some of the greatest players ever, it was won by Conor Travers.
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, the first nine of which were preliminary games followed by a 32-way knock-out tournament. Production moved to a studio at MediaCityUK in Salford, Countdown's third permanent home in the show’s history, midway through the series. The first episode to be filmed there, which also featured new scoreboards and target generator, aired on 21 January 2013.
The series consisted mainly of close, high-scoring and record-breaking games. 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 conundrums – David 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 reach 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 ultimate final, Travers gained an 18 point lead after Hurst missed the nine 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 in the last letters round by spotting POMADES to win the final match with a score of a hefty 146 points, equalling the highest ever score set by Julian Fell at the time. 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. All participants received a smaller version of the trophy for participating, and those who appeared on the show before 1999 received the teapot.
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)
The numbers refer to the series in which each contestant originally played in the finals.
|#||Date||Type||Contestant 1||Score||Contestant 2||Presenters||Guest||Lex||Max|
|5615||7/01/2013||30BP||Tom Hargreaves||117 - 57||Nicki Sellars||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dave Myers||Susie Dent||131|
|5616||8/01/2013||30BP||Wayne Kelly||105 - 68||Nick Wainwright||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dave Myers||Susie Dent||120|
|5617||9/01/2013||30BP||Mark Deeks||103 - 108||Jack Hurst||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dave Myers||Susie Dent||120|
|5618||10/01/2013||30BP||Ben Wilson||91 - 117||Conor Travers||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dave Myers||Susie Dent||126|
|5619||11/01/2013||30BP||Mark Tournoff||101 - 100||Nick Deller||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dave Myers||Susie Dent||119|
|5620||14/01/2013||30BP||Darryl Francis||86 - 68||David Webb||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Martin Lewis||Susie Dent||119|
|5621||15/01/2013||30BP||Jackie McLeod||65 - 79||Barry Grossman||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Martin Lewis||Susie Dent||119|
|5622||16/01/2013||30BP||Andrew Hulme||113 - 74||Steven Briers||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Martin Lewis||Susie Dent||127|
|5623||17/01/2013||30BP||Ed McCullagh||94 - 104*||Jonathan Rawlinson||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Martin Lewis||Susie Dent||117|
|5624||18/01/2013||30B1||Peter Lee||84 - 92||Tom Rowell||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Martin Lewis||Susie Dent||131|
|5625||21/01/2013||30B1||Kai Laddiman||76 - 101||Jon O'Neill||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Margaret Mountford||Susie Dent||132|
|5626||22/01/2013||30B1||Chris Hawkins||95 - 51||Jill Bright||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Margaret Mountford||Susie Dent||123|
|5627||23/01/2013||30B1||Martin Bishop||99 - 102||Chris Wills||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Margaret Mountford||Susie Dent||124|
|5628||24/01/2013||30B1||David Williams||58 - 108||Chris Davies||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Margaret Mountford||Susie Dent||119|
|5629||25/01/2013||30B1||Innis Carson||116 - 91||Adam Gillard||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Margaret Mountford||Susie Dent||137|
|5630||28/01/2013||30B1||Christine Hunt||88* - 78||Sandie Simonis||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Mark Foster||Susie Dent||134|
|5631||29/01/2013||30B1||Paul Keane||81 - 99||Neil Zussman||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Mark Foster||Susie Dent||131|
|5632||30/01/2013||30B1||Dave Hoskisson||85 - 81||Mike Whiteoak||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Mark Foster||Susie Dent||125|
|5633||31/01/2013||30B1||Graeme Cole||98 - 104||Jack Worsley||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Mark Foster||Susie Dent||118|
|5634||1/02/2013||30B1||John Ashmore||92 - 130||Kirk Bevins||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Mark Foster||Susie Dent||130|
|5635||4/02/2013||30B1||David O'Donnell||111 - 86||Tom Hargreaves||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Kate Adie||Susie Dent||128|
|5636||5/02/2013||30B1||Wayne Kelly||89 - 143||Jack Hurst||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Kate Adie||Susie Dent||152|
|5637||6/02/2013||30B1||Conor Travers||112 - 62||Mark Tournoff||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Kate Adie||Susie Dent||119|
|5638||7/02/2013||30B1||Darryl Francis||82 - 63||Barry Grossman||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Kate Adie||Susie Dent||118|
|5639||8/02/2013||30B1||Andrew Hulme||91 - 98||Jonathan Rawlinson||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Kate Adie||Susie Dent||115|
|5640||11/02/2013||30B2||Tom Rowell||65 - 94||Jonathan Rawlinson||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Ken Bruce||Susie Dent||128|
|5641||12/02/2013||30B2||Jon O'Neill||122 - 91||Darryl Francis||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Ken Bruce||Susie Dent||130|
|5642||13/02/2013||30B2||Chris Hawkins||85 - 119||Conor Travers||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Ken Bruce||Susie Dent||119|
|5643||14/02/2013||30B2||Chris Wills||70 - 115||Jack Hurst||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Ken Bruce||Susie Dent||119|
|5644||15/02/2013||30B2||Chris Davies||117 - 127*||David O'Donnell||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Ken Bruce||Susie Dent||140|
|5645||18/02/2013||30B2||Innis Carson||102 - 112*||Kirk Bevins||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dr Phil Hammond||Susie Dent||120|
|5646||19/02/2013||30B2||Christine Hunt||67 - 115||Jack Worsley||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dr Phil Hammond||Susie Dent||117|
|5647||20/02/2013||30B2||Dave Hoskisson||75 - 90||Neil Zussman||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dr Phil Hammond||Susie Dent||117|
|5648||21/02/2013||30BQF||Jonathan Rawlinson||118 - 53||Neil Zussman||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dr Phil Hammond||Susie Dent||119|
|5649||22/02/2013||30BQF||Jon O'Neill||122 - 104||Jack Worsley||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dr Phil Hammond||Susie Dent||122|
|5650||25/02/2013||30BQF||Conor Travers||119 - 94||Kirk Bevins||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Jenny Eclair||Susie Dent||119|
|5651||26/02/2013||30BQF||Jack Hurst||115 - 97||David O'Donnell||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Jenny Eclair||Susie Dent||122|
|5652||27/02/2013||30BSF||Jonathan Rawlinson||105 - 116||Jack Hurst||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Jenny Eclair||Susie Dent||126|
|5653||28/02/2013||30BSF||Jon O'Neill||102 - 120||Conor Travers||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Jenny Eclair||Susie Dent||120|
|5654||1/03/2013||30BGF||Jack Hurst||111 - 146||Conor Travers||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Jenny Eclair||Susie Dent||149|