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October's featured article

Julian Fell.jpg

Julian Fell was the champion of Series 48, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest Countdown contestants of all time. A Cambridge University student at the time of recording, Fell matched or broke multiple Countdown records. He scored at least a century in all of his eight heat games, and became only the third contestant to solve all eight of his preliminary round conundrums. His final heat game against Carl McDermott marked the first time a player had even won by more than 100 points. Fell's octochamp total of 924 points went unbeaten for more than six years, before Kirk Bevins amassed 925 en route to winning Series 60. Fell's semi-final against Danny Hamilton remains the only time a contestant has found four nine-letter words in a single game. Although Fell failed to unravel the conundrum THEIRCOPY in this game, he had amassed 146 points. This score remained the highest ever achieved in a single game at that time which was later matched a decade later by Conor Travers but never exceeded until Zarte Siempre smashed it with a score of 150 in January 2019, which was then bettered by Elliott Mellor, who scored 152 in May 2019, then by Tom Stevenson with 154 in October 2022.

In the series final against Grace Page, Fell immediately gained an 18-point advantage with the nine-letter word MANTICORE. He extended this lead with LEOPARDS in round 2 and ZODIAC in round 6, but Page reduced the deficit with the darrenic KNITWEAR in round 9. This ended a run of 59 consecutive rounds in which Fell's various opponents had been able to prevent him from scoring. Page reduced her arrears to 14 points in the final numbers game, which Fell failed to solve. He returned to form for the conundrum APIMOMENT and became series champion with a score of 112 points to 88.

Fell returned for the Championship of Champions XI as the favourite. In his first match against Series 42 semi-finalist Terence O'Farrell, Fell gained a 14 point lead across the first two letters games and scored in all 15 rounds to win comfortably, 118 – 64. His quarter-final pitted him against Graham Nash, champion of Series 43. Both contestants had offerings disallowed – formica ☓ for Nash and gambiers ☓ for Fell – but otherwise scored point-for-point across the first 14 rounds. Trailing by one point going into the conundrum, Fell was beaten to the buzzer and Nash won the game 120 – 109. Despite losing, Julian maintained his streak of scoring a century in every game. Julian's final appearance on Countdown came in a special against Chris Wills, which he won 100 – 92 on a crucial conundrum. As such, 100 was Julian's lowest ever score on Countdown. (more...)

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