Letters and Numbers
Letters and Numbers is an Australian version of Countdown. It originally ran from 2 August 2010 to 27 June 2012 on SBS One, having been repeated in its entirety since, and is the third English-language version of the show so far. The name Countdown was not available for use by this adaptation, as in Australia that name had previously been used by a pop music programme. It was adapted from Des chiffres et des lettres in the same way that Countdown was in 1982. The host was Richard Morecroft, the lexicographer was David Astle and the arithmetician was Lily Serna.
In 2021, the show returned with three celebrity contestants competing in a series of standalone episodes, with new presenter Michael Hing replacing Morecroft; Astle and Serna transferred.
The show followed a layout inspired by the British version. Shows had five letters games, three numbers games and a conundrum, with two advertising breaks during which Word Mixes (eight-letter anagrams similar to Teatime Teasers) are displayed for viewers. The rounds were arranged in the format LLNWLLNWLNC, with W representing a Word Mix.
On the Australian show, daily champions were capped at six wins instead of eight, similar to the viscounts of Series 46 of Countdown. Letters and Numbers series, rather than having their start and end dates defined by calendar months, were always arranged to include exactly 100 shows, with each one consisting of 93 preliminaries (heats) followed by a 7-episode knockout finals stage similar to Countdown's, though sometimes with different seed combinations in the semi-finals. Winners of each series received a hard copy of the Macquarie Dictionary, against which all words on the show were judged.
The show's original run comprised 443 regular-play episodes (including four 100-show series, each lasting roughly four months), followed by a Masters tournament (analogous to a Countdown Championship of Champions; unrelated to the morning Countdown Masters programme) comprising all four previous series champions, three runners-up and a semi-finalist. This event was won by the Series 4 champion Sam Gaffney.
Former Countdown contestant Andrew Fisher appeared on episode 15 of Letters and Numbers and went on to become the #1 seed and champion of the first series.
On the Australian version's numbers games, 2 large and 4 small numbers (known as the "Family Mix", as the 2 large numbers were analogous to a pair of parents) evolved to become the most common selection, in contrast to the British show where 1 large and 5 small is most popular.
- Series 1 — 2 August to 17 December 2010
- Series 2 — 20 December 2010 to 6 May 2011
- Series 3 — 9 May to 21 October 2011 — recaps coming soon
- Series 4 — 24 October 2011 to 9 March 2012
- Series 5 (incomplete) — 12 March to 9 May 2012 — recaps coming soon
- Series Masters (equivalent to Championship of Champions) — 19 to 27 June 2012
- Series Celebrity (equivalent to 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown) — 2 October to 18 December 2021 — recaps coming soon
Many, many thanks are due to the author of the blog http://playinglettersandnumbers.blogspot.com/ and its author, Geoff, without which none of these results would ever be available.