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An octochamp is a contestant who wins all eight of their heat games. The concept has existed since the show began, but no one achieved it until William Bradford's run in Series 3. The choice of 8 as the maximum number of preliminaries in a champion's run appears to be based on the fact that Countdown was originally transmitted four days per week, meaning that after two weeks of dominance, a contestant would retire unbeaten. Eight wins has been adequate to qualify for the finals in all series in history up until Series 81, where, for the first time, the presence of nine octochamps meant that the lowest-scoring one did not make the finals.
An octochamp's total score is known as their octotal or octototal, and based on these total point counts, octochamps can be classified into categories according to quality, the most well-known of these being the 800 club.
With the introduction of the 15 round format in Series 46, the threshold was changed to six wins, and such players were known as viscounts, a play on the Roman numeral VI for six. Only five viscounts exist, however, because this reduction did not sit well with fans, and the original rules were reintroduced in Series 47. Tom Hargreaves, whose run began in the very first episode of this series, became the first 15-round octochamp. Note that octochamps are more frequent in the 15-round era, as the extra rounds give a better player more time to assert his or her quality. The highest number of octochamps in any series to date was in Series 81, where nine players were octochamps. The highest number in any 9 round series was in Series 41, with six octochamps, where Whiteley coined the word.
In later series, Richard Whiteley began to use the alternative (and less popular) term octavian. However, Des Lynam resurrected the original term and it has been used exclusively ever since.
List of Octochamps
- Main article: List of Octochamps