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Darryl Francis

From Countdown
Darryl Francis
Octochamp Statistics
Final positionChampion
Points total436
Conundrums solved8
Darryl Francis in the 1980s...
...and in the 30th Birthday Championship three decades later!

Darryl Francis was an octochamp in and the champion of Series 6, who débuted in Series 1. He was also a semi-finalist in Championship of Champions III and a participant in the Supreme Championship and the 30th Birthday Championship. His Countdown appearances span an incredible 31 years.

A computer manager from Isleworth, Middlesex, Francis first appeared in the twelfth ever episode, losing his only game to Joe Guy. However, he was later invited back for Series 6, where he became an octochamp and ended up No. 2 seed for the finals. He is the first octochamp ever to unravel all 8 conundrums in the heat games.

In his quarter-final, Francis eliminated No. 7 seed Neil Wilkins by a 21-point margin. In his semi-final against Adam Gilinsky he scored 72 points, the highest of the series. He then went on to beat Olivia Lloyd in the grand final, and became the first ever Xicount, or series champion who was also an octochamp. He is also the first series winner to have previously appeared in an earlier series.

Interestingly, both Francis and the No. 1 seed, Helen Grayson, had previously appeared in the same series, Series 1.

Unable to play in Championship of Champions II due to a broken leg, he was invited back in 1987 for Championship of Champions III, where he defeated Stephen Balment in the quarter-finals before narrowly succumbing to David Trace 58 – 55 in the semis. He also appeared on the special episode to celebrate Countdown's 500th show on 2 February 1987, and competed in the Countdown Masters in 1989.

Francis returned to Countdown in 1996 for the Supreme Championships where, after a first round win over Mike Percik, he was defeated by Allan Saldanha, who equalled the record for the highest score ever achieved in a 9 round game of Countdown.

He returned to the show again in 2013, as one of 41 contestants taking part in the 30th Birthday Championship; of these, he was the one who originally appeared on Countdown the earliest. After some practice on Apterous, he won his first match against Series 22 semi-finalist David Webb by a score of 86 – 68, then beat Series 21 champion Barry Grossman in the first round, before losing to Series 53 semi-finalist Jon O'Neill, despite scoring a personal best of 91.

Francis is also a Scrabble expert who has contributed to some books about the game, and has appeared on Turnabout and BrainTeaser. In 2017, he appeared on Eggheads with Series 67 champion and fellow quizzer Paul James.

Preceded by
Peter Evans
Series winner
Series 6
Followed by
Ian Bebbington


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
12 22/11/1982 P Darryl Francis ? Joe Guy Kenneth Williams Mary ??
245 21/01/1985 P Darryl Francis 47 – 46 Steven Tew Gyles Brandreth Yvonne Warburton 68
246 22/01/1985 P Andrew Mason 26 – 60 Darryl Francis Gyles Brandreth Yvonne Warburton 72
247 24/01/1985 P Diana Mills 18 – 51 Darryl Francis Gyles Brandreth Yvonne Warburton 68
248 25/01/1985 P Darryl Francis 52 – 49 Alan Carvell Gyles Brandreth Yvonne Warburton 73
249 27/01/1985 P Irene Pollard 21 – 41 Darryl Francis Gyles Brandreth Yvonne Warburton 70
250 28/01/1985 P Clive Simkin 16 – 57 Darryl Francis Gyles Brandreth Yvonne Warburton 71
251 29/01/1985 P Armand Gilinsky 47 – 69 Darryl Francis Gyles Brandreth Yvonne Warburton 71
252 30/01/1985 P Tom Roberts 5 – 59 Darryl Francis Richard Stilgoe Yvonne Warburton 70
283 14/03/1985 QF Neil Wilkins 35 – 56 Darryl Francis Richard Stilgoe Julia Swannell 68
287 20/03/1985 SF Adam Gilinsky 34 – 72 Darryl Francis Richard Stilgoe Julia Swannell 74
288 21/03/1985 GF Olivia Lloyd 37 – 69 Darryl Francis Gyles Brandreth,
Richard Stilgoe
Julia Swannell 113
495 2/02/1987 X Bill Tidy with
Mark Nyman,
Brian Hudson,
Peter Evans, and
Darryl Francis
41 – 32 Gyles Brandreth with
Clive Freedman,
Michael Wylie,
Joyce Cansfield, and
Harvey Freeman
none Della Thompson 67
596 23/06/1987 CQF Darryl Francis 46 – 28 Stephen Balment Sally James Della Thompson 73
600 29/06/1987 CSF Darryl Francis 55 – 58 David Trace Sally James Della Thompson 73
M33 13/11/1989–17/11/1989 M Clive Freedman 90 – 73 Darryl Francis none Freda Thornton 136
1883 18/11/1996 eQF Darryl Francis 60 – 31 Mike Percik Barry Cryer Susie Dent 75
1886 21/11/1996 eSF Darryl Francis 24 – 83 Allan Saldanha Tom O'Connor Catherine Stokes 85
5620 14/01/2013 30BP Darryl Francis 86 - 68 David Webb Martin Lewis Susie Dent 119
5638 7/02/2013 30B1 Darryl Francis 82 - 63 Barry Grossman Kate Adie Susie Dent 118
5641 12/02/2013 30B2 Jon O'Neill 122 - 91 Darryl Francis Ken Bruce Susie Dent 130

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