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From Countdown
(Redirected from Challenger)

A contestant is someone who a appears on the show as a player, rather than as a presenter or a guest. They are broadly divided into two categories, champions and challengers.

A champion is a player that's already won a game and since Episode 2110 has sat in the seat to the left of the screen. Champions are entitled to a teapot which has the words "Countdown winner" written on it, to show that the teapot is only ever given to players who win at least one game. The term series champion is often used to distinguish between players that have won an entire series and players that have just won one or more games.

A challenger by definition is a player that has, more often than not, never appeared on the show before. Since the late 2000s, non-finalists have typically been allowed a second "shot" on the show 10 years after their initial appearance(s).

Sometimes, after a player retires, almost always because he or she has become an octochamp, there are two challengers and no champion. These players debatably have an advantage over other challengers because they do not have to face a player that's already played and won other games.

Contestants in special episodes are not counted as champions or challengers, because they have both played games before (with one exception) and neither of them is the current champion, just a player who's been invited back by the production team.

Finalists are not usually regarded as champions or challengers either, because they have both won games (again, with one exception). Until Series 65, seat allocations for finals games were determined by a coin toss done by the production team. In Series 66 and 67, the higher-seeded player always received the challenger's chair, presumably because the challenger's choice of two numbers games in the old 15-round format offered a perceived advantage. When the less biased "new" 15-round format was introduced in Series 68, this system was partially reversed. The higher seed now receives the champion's chair in each quarter-final, while in the semi-finals and grand finals, the champion's chair is sometimes given to the player whose previous match was first chronologically (first QF, second QF or first SF) and other times simply to the higher seed.

For the purposes of differentiating between which contestant presses their button to offer a solution first on a conundrum, both the champion's and challenger's nameplates have a lamp which illuminates when their button is pressed, with the champion's button sounding as a "bell", and the challenger's as a "buzzer".


9-round format

Old 15-round format

"New" 15-round format

See also