Conor Travers was an octochamp in and the champion of Series 54, a semi-finalist in Championship of Champions XII and the champion of the 30th Birthday Championship. He is the youngest ever series champion, having won at the age of 14, and is one of the most popular and talented contestants in the show's history. He has achieved three max games, the only contestant who is known to have done so. As well as being one of the most experienced Apterites and tournament players, Travers has competed in 22 games of Countdown, more than anybody else, and has also played more televised rounds than anybody else with with 327, 12 more than second-placed Zarte Siempre.
Appearances on the programme
Travers was originally planned to make his début in the first episode of Series 54, but due to illness his appearance was pushed back by several days and he instead began his run on 23 November 2005 against Ray Oakley. He won his first game with a score of 99 after solving the conundrum in half a second, followed by 111 against John Archer and 99 against Geoff Alderman. His remaining 5 games were all centuries, with a top score of 124 and a low score of 111. During his run he beat future Series 73 finalist Judy Bursford. His octochamp total was 890. He was the first octochamp under Des Lynam's tenure as presenter.
Travers returned to Countdown in May 2006 as the No. 1 seed. He beat Daniel Peake by 69 points in the quarter-final, Paul Howe by 24 points in the semi-final before meeting Matthew Shore in the Grand Final. Travers won 98 – 83 to become the youngest-ever series champion at 14 years old, a record which cannot be broken due to an over-16s only rule enforced from Series 64. He also set the record for winning the longest series at the time (153 shows) as the series started the previous year due to the death of Richard Whiteley, which delayed the start of the series being filmed. Travers was the first of two champions to be crowned with Des Lynam as presenter, the other being Richard Brittain.
Championship of Champions XII
One week later, he returned for CofC XII beating John Hunt and John Brackstone in the first two rounds. Considered one of the favourites after his 890 aggregate as an octochamp (the second highest ever at the time), he lost 118 – 102 to the eventual winner Paul Gallen in the semi-final on the crucial conundrum CHOPLOSER. In his 14 games, Travers' lowest score was 98 and his average was 110.4 points per game.
25th Anniversary Special
Since losing to Paul Gallen, Travers appeared on Countdown's 25th anniversary special against Chris Wills, playing a to slightly shorter round format with celebrities selecting the letters and numbers, and won the game 69 – 58. He then started playing Countdown online again and spent some time in the No. 1 position on Apterous, while also setting the then highest ever score of 161 – 133 in an old 15 Rounder against Andrew Hulme.
30th Birthday Championship
Travers returned to Countdown again in 2013, as one of 41 contestants taking part in the 30th Birthday Championship. There he proved to have lost none of his edge, and overcame a field of strong contestants. He won his first match against Series 46 champion Ben Wilson despite falling 6 points behind early in the match, then maxed 14 rounds in his second match to beat Series 52 champion Mark Tournoff. His third match saw him go one better, as he scored a perfect 119 against Series 28 quarter-finalist and Scrabble expert Chris Hawkins. He then defeated the Series 60 champion Kirk Bevins in the quarter-final, again scoring a perfect 119 points. He then took on the Series 53 semi-finalist Jon O'Neill in the semi-final, being held in place for all the game, before eventually breaking clear by solving the conundrum INFIGHTER to achieve a 3rd consecutive max game, this time with 120 points. Travers has currently more max games than any other contestant on Countdown.
The Grand Final of the championships took place on 1 March 2013, when Travers played the Series 63 champion Jack Hurst. Travers took an early lead in round 3, when he spotted the nine PONYTAILS, and the only points he dropped from thereon were the 3 for not reaching the target in the first numbers game, bringing his incredible run of maximums of 58 to an end. Hurst's challenge ended when he missed POMADES in round 13, leaving Travers to max the final 2 rounds to equal the then-highest ever score in the show's history with 146, a feat achieved by Julian Fell over a decade earlier in the Series 48 semi-final. In the presentation, he was awarded the winner's trophy by Marcel Stellman.
Over the course of his six games in the tournament, he scored an incredible and unprecedented 86 out of 90 round-by-round maximums, including an unfinished streak of 51 consecutive letters maxes. He missed three letters games (two against Ben Wilson and one against Mark Tournoff), as well as the first numbers game in the final.
Travers held the record for highest total score in any number of appearances prior to Zarte Siempre, with a hoard of 2,348 cumulative points in 21 appearances. However, Jon Richardson claims to have broken this record over several series of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, following a game where he scored 890 due to a conundrum worth 843 points.
2020 Special Episode
Travers returned to Countdown once more on 23 December 2020, seven years after winning the 30th Birthday Championship, for a festive special episode against Jack Worsley. He continued his letters streak, and thus has not missed a single maximum in the last 61 letters rounds. He maxed every round in the game apart from the conundrum URINALAIM, which neither player attempted, but won the game 118 – 110 and became the first player ever to win 21 games on the show.
Travers is still interested in Countdown, and regularly participates in unofficial Countdown tournaments. He attended the very first tournament, COLIN 2005, followed by COLIN 2006, CoBris 2006 and CoLei3. He won COLIN 2008 and CoBris 2005, and came 2nd in CoBris 2007. He finished runner-up in COLIN 2017 where he was beaten in a crucial conundrum by fellow Apterite Dylan Taylor.
Appearances on ZoomDown
On 29 June 2020, Travers appeared on the first series of ZoomDown, which was created during national lockdown that was imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He played against Graeme Cole and pulled off an impressive win and 13 maxes to start his run. Battles against Jack Hurst - in what would be a 30th Birthday Champ rematch - and Tom Chafer-Cook earned him two more centuries. However his run came to an end when Callum Todd beat Conor to the conundrum, despite a six-point lead and Conor being on a max game.
However, Conor still racked up more points than any other tetrachamp in the series: 466 across 3 games. This had him take the #4 seed and be back for the finals.
Conor made fair business with Ian Volante and left the scoreline with 120 – 88. Then in the semi-final, he had faced another Countdown great: Elliott Mellor. The two had matched each other in the first two rounds, however a six-small solve from Mellor gave him the 10-point advantage. The two had then matched each other in every round, leaving the scoreline 113 – 103 before the conundrum. Luckily Conor made quick business and unraveled PRECISIAN in 1.5 seconds, which then tied the game up. Conor then turned THIRTYSEC into STITCHERY which granted him access to the grand final against Jonathan Wynn.
In the final, both players matched each other in the first 9 rounds. Connor then built up a 16-point lead with BONNETED and PLATINUM. Unluckily, he had been disallowed miniped ☓ whilst Jonathan closed the gap with FEMINIE; a cruical conundrum was then forced. With Conor solving it with the word TRANSMUTE and in one second, he was declared the first champion of ZoomDown.
He was invited back for the ZoomDown Championship of Champions over two years later. He faced Ronan Higginson and showed no signs of slowing down as he won 125 – 86 and only missed out on a 7-point numbers game.
He then faced up against Series 3 runner-up, Tom Cappleman. Despite being beat on the first number game, Travers bit back by playing NAEVOID and bit harder with the nine SLOGANEER. He progressed forward after a very tense 116 – 91.
He then faced the wild card in the tournament, Luke Johnson-Davies, and kept up a very good game. Despite another numbers game going unsolved by either player, Conor achieved another 14-max game with a score of 114 – 90.
He then stepped into the final with a familiar face, Elliott Mellor. Both players matched each other on almost every single round. The only exceptions were when Conor found GALEATED and when Elliott got a one-away solve on a 6-small. With a one-gap between both players in favor of Travers, Conor quickly turned THINGEESS into SIGHTSEEN, ending the close game and crowning Conor the winner of the Championship of Champions. He also managed to keep his streak of scoring a century in every single game, and has racked up 1,313 points throughout his run.
Combined with the 2,466 points from his onscreen appearances, Conor has accumulated 3,779 points over 30 games and still has only lost one game.
30th Birthday Championship
|#||Date||Type||Contestant 1||Score||Contestant 2||Presenters||Guest||Lex||Max|
|3977||23/11/2005||P||Ray Oakley||58 – 99||Conor Travers||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Jan Ravens||Susie Dent||114|
|3978||24/11/2005||P||Conor Travers||111 – 35||John Archer||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Jan Ravens||Susie Dent||134|
|3979||25/11/2005||P||Conor Travers||99 – 58||Geoff Alderman||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Jan Ravens||Susie Dent||122|
|3980||28/11/2005||P||Conor Travers||114 – 57||Jane Capie||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Jan Ravens||Susie Dent||131|
|3981||29/11/2005||P||Conor Travers||111 – 53||Steven Whitaker||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Rick Wakeman||Susie Dent||129|
|3982||30/11/2005||P||Conor Travers||124 – 69||Andrew Christley||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Rick Wakeman||Susie Dent||139|
|3983||1/12/2005||P||Conor Travers||115 – 53||Judy Bursford||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Rick Wakeman||Susie Dent||124|
|3984||2/12/2005||P||Conor Travers||117 – 61||Vicky Prime||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Rick Wakeman||Susie Dent||128|
|4106||18/05/2006||QF||Daniel Peake||38 – 107||Conor Travers||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Richard Digance||Susie Dent||130|
|4110||24/05/2006||SF||Conor Travers||124 – 100||Paul Howe||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Richard Digance||Susie Dent||130|
|4112||26/05/2006||GF||Conor Travers||98 – 83||Matthew Shore||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Richard Digance||Susie Dent||118|
|4115||31/05/2006||CP||Conor Travers||124 – 91||John Hunt||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Ron Atkinson||Susie Dent||138|
|4123||12/06/2006||CQF||Conor Travers||101 – 80||John Brackstone||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Kim Woodburn||Susie Dent||130|
|4126||15/06/2006||CSF||Paul Gallen||118 – 102||Conor Travers||Des Lynam||Carol Vorderman||Kim Woodburn||Susie Dent||120|
|4473||2/11/2007||S||Chris Wills||58 – 69||Conor Travers||Des O'Connor||Carol Vorderman||none||Alison Heard||110|
|5618||10/01/2013||30BP||Ben Wilson||91 – 117||Conor Travers||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Dave Myers||Susie Dent||126|
|5637||6/02/2013||30B1||Conor Travers||112 – 62||Mark Tournoff||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Kate Adie||Susie Dent||119|
|5642||13/02/2013||30B2||Chris Hawkins||85 – 119||Conor Travers||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Ken Bruce||Susie Dent||119|
|5650||25/02/2013||30BQF||Conor Travers||119 – 94||Kirk Bevins||Nick Hewer||Rachel Riley||Jenny Eclair||Susie Dent||119|
|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|
|S49||23/12/2020||S||Conor Travers||118 – 110||Jack Worsley||Colin Murray||Rachel Riley||Rory Bremner||Susie Dent||128|
- Conor Travers on Wikipedia.