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Viraj Seelam

From Countdown
Viraj Seelam
Octochamp Statistics
Final positionRunner-up
Seeding2
Points total867
Conundrums solved6
Viraj Seelam in Series 88.

Viraj Seelam was an octochamp in, and the runner-up of Series 88. He was a Film and Television Production undergraduate at the University of East Anglia, originally from Orpington in the London Borough of Bromley, and is also an Apterite.

Appearances

Heat games

Seelam made his debut on 8 November 2023 against returning contestant Jill Leatherbarrow, where the sole nine-letter word spot of his heats in REPLAITED helped him race off the blocks with a debut score of 113 points to Leatherbarrow's 63, and this was despite his discounting of another valid nine in RECLOSING. From here, he rattled off seven more victories, which included only one non-century across them all.

Of particular note, in his seventh game, Viraj's score of 125 was not only his personal best but also the second-highest of all time without spotting a nine, with only Elliott Mellor's 126 from his sixth heat game being higher. He also set himself apart by virtue of a consistent 6-small choice in all of his numbers rounds, following in the steps of fellow octochamp George Baker who took the same approach earlier in the series.

He wrapped up his run on the 16th of November by holding off a spirited effort from returning contestant Daniel Green to lock in his seventh century and become an octochamp with 867 points. This also confirmed his qualification for the end-of-series finals with roughly four weeks to go; at the time as the provisional No. 2 seed. He finally signed off with Colin then christening Seelam with his nickname 'The Font' owing to his interest in typography and his performances on the show.

Finals

Viraj did indeed return as the No. 2 seed where 7-time winner Rachel Copley lay in wait. The two stayed close early on, although Seelam eventually broke clear thanks in part to the spots of DEPLOY and CHANNEL, but mainly due to superior numbers play. Of particular note though, 'The Font' did not pick his regular 6-small numbers selections, opting for 1-large instead, and the single 6-small selection that did come up was missed by both players. Viraj's victory though had already been confirmed despite that, and he added to his triumph by quickly spotting PANTALOON from ALANONTOP, to get his eighth century and book his semi-final place.

His semi-final against Ben Bazzard was an extremely close-run affair; both players traded rounds early on with Bazzard spotting HORSEMAN and 'The Font' cracking a 6-small numbers game. The two could not be separated by much after that; only an unfortunate gamble by Ben on snowday ☓ and Seelam getting closer to the target on the final numbers round gave him the breathing space needed to seal victory before the conundrum, which he also solved. Viraj ultimately finished with 10 rounds maxed and marched into a grand-final against Harry Savage.

In his final against Savage, he got off to a flier by maxing the first five rounds which included the solve of a tricky 6-small numbers selection to put Harry on the back foot. However, 'The Thesaurus' gradually put himself just in front by the second commercial break, and then played two aces in COMPANIES and GAWKIER which Viraj did not see. 'The Font' was unfortunately not able to claw back any ground after that, and the match was wrapped up before the final numbers game. After neither player cracked the conundrum, it made official Seelam's first defeat and status as the runner-up of the season, with his lowest score of 77 points, and a final total of 1,145 from eleven appearances.


Preceded by
Cillian McMulkin
Series runner-up
Series 88

Episodes

# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Presenters Guest Lex Max
8144 08/11/2023 P Jill Leatherbarrow 63 – 113 Viraj Seelam Colin Murray Rachel Riley Tanni Grey-Thompson Susie Dent 144
8145 09/11/2023 P Viraj Seelam 92 – 46 Rachel Broadbridge Colin Murray Rachel Riley Tanni Grey-Thompson Susie Dent 126
8146 10/11/2023 P Viraj Seelam 109 – 46 Stephen Morris Colin Murray Rachel Riley Tanni Grey-Thompson Susie Dent 157
8147 13/11/2023 P Viraj Seelam 103 – 78 Norman Dalgleish Colin Murray Rachel Riley Claire Richards Susie Dent 135
8148 14/11/2023 P Viraj Seelam 110 – 34 Lynda Fenton Colin Murray Rachel Riley Claire Richards Susie Dent 129
8149 15/11/2023 P Viraj Seelam 109 – 26 Dave Coot Colin Murray Rachel Riley Claire Richards Susie Dent 131
8150 16/11/2023 P Viraj Seelam 125 – 48 Annemaire Gayle Colin Murray Rachel Riley Claire Richards Susie Dent 146
8151 17/11/2023 P Viraj Seelam 106 – 68 Daniel Green Colin Murray Rachel Riley Claire Richards Susie Dent 125
8171 15/12/2023 QF Viraj Seelam 103 – 59 Rachel Copley Colin Murray Rachel Riley Marcus Brigstocke Susie Dent 123
8175 21/12/2023 SF Viraj Seelam 98 – 74 Ben Bazzard Colin Murray Rachel Riley Christopher Biggins Susie Dent 114
8176 22/12/2023 GF Harry Savage 105 – 77 Viraj Seelam Colin Murray Rachel Riley Christopher Biggins Susie Dent 133