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Episode 1

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Episode 1 was broadcast on 2 November 1982 at 4:45pm, as part of Series 1. It was the first-ever episode of Countdown as well as the first programme ever shown on Channel 4.

Jeff Andrews played Michael Goldman, with Michael Goldman winning 50 – 27. The Dictionary Corner guest was Ted Moult, and the lexicographer was Mary.

Episode 1 was hosted by Richard Whiteley (pictured) alongside "hostesses" Cathy Hytner and Beverley Isherwood, who placed letter and number tiles on the board respectively. Isherwood also created three-digit targets for the numbers rounds using a random-number generator, introduced as CECIL – "Countdown's Electronic Calculator in Leeds". This name is still used today, despite production of Countdown moving to Manchester in 2009. Before the first numbers game, CECIL initially generated a target of 988. However, this was intended as an example of how CECIL worked, and was not used as the target number for the round. Carol Vorderman was the programme's "vital statistician", responsible for checking contestants' calculations and solving numbers rounds where necessary. During Series 1 and Series 2, this role was alternated with Dr Linda Barrett.

Andrews claimed following the final round that he saw the conundrum immediately but forgot to buzz in.

This episode was repeated on 2 November 2007 to recognise Countdown and Channel 4's 25th anniversary.

This episode was sampled in Channel 5's documentaries to Britain's Favourite Game Shows (2019) and TV's Biggest Gameshows: 50 Years of Fun (2020).

Rounds

Rnd Selection Jeff Andrews Score Michael Goldman Others Max.
1 TNEMARHIB RAIMENT 7 – 7 MINARET AMBIENT* 7
2 OCEETSPUG 5 not asked 7 – 13 COUPES TOUPEES* 14
3 ZSGUOLUAS GLOSS 12 – 18 GLASS GAOLS*, GAUSS*, GOALS*, LASSO*, LUAUS*, SAGOS*, SLAGS*, SLOGS*, SLUGS, SOLAS*, SOLUS*, SOULS*, USUAL*, ZULUS 19
4 1 3 10 7 6 4 → 493 500
(7 − 3 + 1) × (6 + 4) × 10
17 – 18 424

CV: 493 = (6 + 1) × 7 × 10 + 3

29
5 ILOOSOIRE 6 not asked 17 – 25 ORIOLES ROSOLIO* 36
6 GCKIEIFVS FIVES 22 – 30 SKIVE GIVES*, IVIES*, VICES* 41
7 EDOSEXDEB BOXED 27 – 35 DOSED SEEDED* 47
8 50 3 1 3 10 7 → 833 843 27 – 40 840
50 × (10 + 7) − 3 × 3 − 1

CV: 833 = (50 − 1) × (10 + 7)

57
9 LIGHHGIHT 27 – 50 HIGHLIGHT
(5.75 seconds)
67

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