Burley began his Countdown journey in the second show of Series 83, where he unseated Paul Gaskell after solving a crucial conundrum in under 2 seconds. Burley then improved on his debut score of 84 the following day with a personal best of 127, before achieving six more wins which comprised of four more centuries and two scores in the 90s. En route to being crowned the first octochamp and 800 club member of 2021, he solved every conundrum but one and garnered a total of 819 points.
Burley is the first octochamp in Countdown history whose run has presided over four dictionary corner guests. He is also the second octochamp after Jack Worsley whose run has presided over a change of presenter, with Nick Hewer hosting his first six heat games and Colin Murray hosting his last two.
|#||Date||Type||Contestant 1||Score||Contestant 2||Guest||Lex||Max|
|7415||5/01/2021||P||Paul Gaskell||70 – 84||James Burley||Levi Roots||Susie Dent||132|
|7416||6/01/2021||P||James Burley||127 – 55||Edward Carter||Dr Phil Hammond||Susie Dent||156|
|7417||7/01/2021||P||James Burley||91 – 60||Peter Franklin Routh||Dr Phil Hammond||Susie Dent||132|
|7418||8/01/2021||P||James Burley||112 – 49||Seb James||Dr Phil Hammond||Susie Dent||145|
|7419||11/01/2021||P||James Burley||106 – 72||Mark Pettitt||Dr Phil Hammond||Susie Dent||133|
|7420||12/01/2021||P||James Burley||100 – 36||Andrew Brookes||Dr Phil Hammond||Susie Dent||156|
|7421||13/01/2021||P||James Burley||106 – 66||Roger Clarke||Rory Bremner||Susie Dent||135|
|7422||14/01/2021||P||James Burley||93 – 48||Russ Evans||Richard Arnold||Susie Dent||154|