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8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Series 21

From Countdown

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Series 21 was a series of seven special episodes of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown that began on 21 December 2020 with a Christmas special and ended on 18 February 2021. Recording resumed in December 2020 when Rachel Riley announced it on her Twitter feed.

The Christmas special and first three regular episodes of the series were recorded prior to the pandemic, following which, many changes were enacted in order to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. This included the absence of a studio audience, the installation of a plexiglass in Dictionary Corner, social distancing being enforced where each player sat two metres apart from each other and having their own buzzer instead of one per team for the Conundrum. Cosmetic changes include all four players competing in Rounds 3 and 4 rather than taking turns to face off a player from the opposing team and the outro's tune was changed to the show's theme tune. However, the Conundrum still features a mechanical set rather than the digital one used on the normal, afternoon episodes since mid-August 2020.

Notably, Episodes Cats131 and Cats132 were transmitted out of order as it featured Rachel who was pregnant with her first child, suggesting that they were episodes that should have aired in 2020, but were withheld until now possibly due to several scenes which could have been deemed insensitive following the outbreak of the pandemic.

Episode Cats133 also contained Sean Lock's last appearance on the show before his death from cancer in mid-August 2021 (although his final episode was aired posthumously in February 2022).

Joe Wilkinson also made a special guest appearance as a in the Christmas special.


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Presenters Guest Lex Max
Cats129 21/12/2020 S David Mitchell
& Sean Lock
46* – 21 Jon Richardson
& Sarah Millican
Jimmy Carr Rachel Riley David O'Doherty Susie Dent 77
Cats130 14/01/2021 S Johnny Vegas
& Sean Lock
33 – 42 Katherine Ryan
& Joe Lycett
Jimmy Carr Rachel Riley Christopher Bliss Susie Dent 77
Cats131 21/01/2021 S Paul Foot
& Sean Lock
55* – 40 Jon Richardson
& Angela Barnes
Jimmy Carr Rachel Riley Dr John Cooper Clarke Susie Dent 86
Cats132 28/01/2021 S Harriet Kemsley
& Sean Lock
28 – 39 Jon Richardson
& Joe Lycett
Jimmy Carr Rachel Riley Mat Ewins Susie Dent 59
Cats133 4/02/2021 S Richard Ayoade
& Sean Lock
42 – 52 Jon Richardson
& Sara Pascoe
Jimmy Carr Rachel Riley Nick Helm Susie Dent 69
Cats134 11/02/2021 S Joe Wilkinson
& Roisin Conaty
35 – 42 Jon Richardson
& Lucy Beaumont
Jimmy Carr Rachel Riley Bec Hill Susie Dent 56
Cats135 18/02/2021 S Katherine Ryan
& Lee Mack
41 – 31 Jon Richardson
& Joe Wilkinson
Jimmy Carr Rachel Riley The Brett Domino Trio Susie Dent 68
* Includes 5 points from a bonus game.