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Series 1

From Countdown
Joyce Cansfield presented with her dictionaries by Vorderman, Isherwood, and Barrett.

Naturally enough, Series 1 was the first series. The first of 53 series presented by Richard Whiteley, it ran from 2 November to 16 December 1982, originally only on Mondays to Thursdays, included just 26 heats and one final (also making it the shortest in history), and was won by 1980 National Scrabble champion Joyce Cansfield.

The first episode was broadcast on 2 November 1982 at 4:45pm as the first programme ever to be shown on Channel 4. It was won by Scrabble player Michael Goldman, becoming the first daily champion after a 50 – 27 win over Jeff Andrews. Goldman won a further four matches before he was unseated by John Simpson, who was unseated by Cansfield.

Joyce Cansfield and Michael Wylie qualified for the final with the two highest scores of the series. The final was a close game but Joyce wrapped it up 59 – 41, solving an apt crucial conundrum. Wylie never returned to Countdown as a contestant, except for a brace of Countdown Masters contests, but later became the show's producer. Cansfield on the other hand had impressive runs in the Championship of Champions I and the Supreme Championship and was invited back for the Ladies' Championship during Series 49, but was unable to attend because she had booked a skiing holiday.

The jazz saxophonist and raconteur Benny Green was booked to appear in Dictionary Corner for part of the series but fell ill, leaving Kenneth Williams to do all but the first seven programmes.

The original team of Dr Linda Barrett, Beverley Isherwood, Richard Whiteley, Cathy Hytner and Carol Vorderman, with guests Kenneth Williams and Ted Moult. Williams complained bitterly in his diary that he had to wait a whole day just to pose for this photo.

Seed table

Rank Name Score
1 Michael Wylie 66
2 Joyce Cansfield 65

Players are seeded by highest scores achieved in the heats.

Episodes

# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Presenters Guest Lex Max
1 02/11/1982 P Jeff Andrews 27 – 50 Michael Goldman Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Ted Moult Mary 67
2 03/11/1982 P Maureen Barr 28 – 41 Michael Goldman Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Ted Moult Mary 76
3 04/11/1982 P Bill Benson ? Michael Goldman Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Ted Moult Mary
4 08/11/1982 P Bill Benson ? Michael Goldman Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Ted Moult Mary
5 09/11/1982 P Sheila Arnold ? Michael Goldman Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Ted Moult Mary
6 10/11/1982 P John Simpson ? Michael Goldman Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Ted Moult Mary
7 11/11/1982 P John Simpson ? – 65 Joyce Cansfield Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Ted Moult Mary
8 15/11/1982 P Helen Grayson ? Joyce Cansfield Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
9 16/11/1982 P Helen Grayson ? Joyce Cansfield Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
10 17/11/1982 P Helen Grayson ? Jack Baker Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
11 18/11/1982 P Helen Grayson ? Gail Cooper Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
12 22/11/1982 P Darryl Francis ? Joe Guy Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
13 23/11/1982 P Paul O'Neill ? Joe Guy Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
14 24/11/1982 P Martin Pettit ? Joe Guy Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
15 25/11/1982 P Joe Guy 22 – 40 Andrew Bruno Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary 70
16 29/11/1982 P Josef Kollar 22 – 57 Andrew Bruno Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary 72
17 30/11/1982 P Andrew Bruno 42 – 49 Christine Jones Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary 72
18 01/12/1982 P Michael Wylie ? Christine Jones Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
19 02/12/1982 P Michael Wylie ? Ian Gucklhorn Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
20 06/12/1982 P Michael Wylie ? Don Wright Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
21 07/12/1982 P Michael Wylie 54 – 39 Arnold Weinberg Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary 72
22 08/12/1982 P Michael Wylie ? Saladin Khoshnaw Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
23 09/12/1982 P Heather Frankland ? Saladin Khoshnaw Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
24 13/12/1982 P Heather Frankland ? Maurice Daniels Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
25 14/12/1982 P Jane McLeman 41 – 41 Maurice Daniels Richard Whiteley Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary 70
26 15/12/1982 P Jane McLeman 48 – 47 Maurice Daniels Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary 73
27 16/12/1982 GF Joyce Cansfield 59 – 41 Michael Wylie Richard Whiteley Dr Linda Barrett, Carol Vorderman Beverley Isherwood Cathy Hytner Kenneth Williams Mary
* includes 10 points from a tie-break conundrum

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