List of Countdown records
The following is a list of Countdown records compiled using The Countdown Corral, The Countdown Page, Countdown Update UK and automated and human research from this wiki. Much of the list is divided up into records from the 15 round era, the 9 round era and the 14 round finals, since the considerable differences between these formats make it almost impossible to compare the games like for like. This is particularly difficult when comparing the classic 15 round format to the current one, where differences of just a few points per game are to be expected.
15 rounds (New)
- The highest ever total score over an octochamp's eight preliminary games was 1061, set by Elliott Mellor. Luke Johnson-Davies became the second person to pass the 1000 point barrier, when he accrued a total of 1024 points in Series 82. Other players who scored over 900 are Dylan Taylor, who scored 974, Zarte Siempre, who scored 967, Giles Hutchings who scored 965, James Haughton who scored 958, Jen Steadman who scored 952, Glen Webb who scored 945, Dan McColm who scored 942, Tom Cappleman who scored 927, Paul Erdunast who scored 925, Thomas Carey who scored 923, Jonathan Wynn who scored 922, Dinos Sfyris who scored 918, Stephen Read who scored 915, and Mark Murray who scored 902.
- Mellor, Taylor, Siempre, Hutchings, Haughton, Steadman, Cappleman, Carey, Wynn, Read, Murray, Robin McKay and Toby McDonald are the only players to have scored eight centuries in their run of eight games. Andy Platt scored eight centuries in his run, but half were in the old format and half in the new format. His total was 889.
- The highest ever total over 11 games, the maximum possible in one series, was 1373 by Elliott Mellor, despite not winning his series. The record for a series winner is 1328 by Series 81 winner James Haughton.
- The highest possible score, also the highest in any daytime Countdown game, was available in Episode 6745 in Series 78, when five nines made for a possible 175. Only one of the nine letter words was found by either of the contestants, neither of whom achieved a century in this game; however, three others were spotted by Dictionary Corner. This and the highest-maxing "old" 15-rounder are the only games to date in which five nines have been available.
- The record number of nine-letter words spotted by a contestant in one game is 3. This was achieved by Tom Cappleman and Glen Webb, both of whom found DIVESTING, FASCINATE and DEVIATORS in their Championship of Champions XIV last-16 match; Zarte Siempre in his Championship of Champions XV quarter-final; Elliott Mellor who found NODALIZES, ANIMATEUR and INFRACTED in Episode 7077; and Martyn Simpson who found FORMALISE, RESEATING, and IDOLATERS in Episode 7393. The record number of nine-letter words declared by a contestant in one game is 4, by Dinos Sfyris in Episode 7102, however only 2 of these words were valid.
- The highest ever losing score was Andy Platt's 125 against Dylan Taylor in a quarter-final of Championship of Champions XIV. The game was poised 125 – 117 in Platt's favour going into the conundrum MINUTEPUN which Taylor solved, leaving Platt as the loser with 125 points. Interestingly, prior to this match, Taylor had been the holder of this record, having achieved a losing score of 116 in the Series 69 grand final.
- A few other losing scores over 100 have been recorded: Ciaran McCarthy is the only player to have lost on his début whilst scoring over 100, with a score of 104.
- The highest-scoring game with a tie-break conundrum was between John Hinchliffe and Dave Costello in Series 74. After the regular conundrum RINGSUSIE, the scores were neck and neck at 93 – 93, so a second conundrum BAGELCHIN was necessary. Costello solved this to score 103 after the tie-breaker.
- While the all-time record score is 152, Elliott Mellor also holds the record for the highest score with no nine letter words of 126. The highest with one nine is Dan McColm's score of 137 and the highest with two is Elliott Mellor's 143. If you ignore the nine-point bonus for nine-letter words altogether in order to combine these records, Dan McColm's above score of 137 becomes 128, and is the record score under this system. Elliott Mellor's all-time record score of 152 would be worth 125.
- Dan McColm was the first player to get a maximum score in "new" 15-round format. He scored 123 out of 123 in his Series 71 semi-final against George Ford.
- The largest winning margin ever was in Episode 7080, where Elliott Mellor beat Kieran Matley by 133 points, 143 – 10.
- The lowest ever score was 5, and this was by Bernie Kingston, in their game against Sam Cappleman-Lynes in Series 82. See the list of 15-round scores under 30.
- The lowest maximum score for an episode was 110 in Episode 6423.
- The lowest score in the finals of a series was 19, by Jan Pask against Zarte Siempre in Series 78. The lowest score in a semi-final also occurred in series 68, when Joe McGonigle scored 38 against eventual series winner Giles Hutchings.
- The longest for which the contestants have remained on equal scores is in the first semi-final of Championship of Champions XIV, which is the only 15-rounder in which both contestants scored in all letters and all numbers games.
15 rounds (Old)
- The highest ever score is 146, jointly held by Julian Fell, in his semi-final against Danny Hamilton, and Conor Travers, with his victory against Jack Hurst in the 30th Birthday Championship final. Fell's game is notable for being the only time a contestant has found four nine letter words in a single game. The third highest ever score was 143, amassed by Jack Hurst in Round 1 of the 30th Birthday Championship. See the list of 15-round scores over 125.
- The highest score set by a challenger was 134 by Hamish Williamson. The highest score for a debutant was 124, set by Jonathan Coles. Williamson had already appeared once before in Series 40, so the matter of who holds the record for highest debut score is somewhat controversial.
- The highest ever total score over an octochamp's eight preliminary games was 946, set by Jack Hurst. The only other players to score over 900 are Andrew Hulme who scored 930, Kirk Bevins who scored 925 points, Julian Fell who scored 924, Craig Beevers who amassed 907, and Adam Gillard who achieved 903. The next highest total is 898 by Eoin Monaghan. Hurst, Hulme, Fell, Beevers, Gillard and Monaghan are the only players to have scored eight centuries in their run of eight games. Andy Platt scored eight centuries in his run, but half were in the old format and half in the new format. His total was 889.
- The highest ever total over 11 games, the maximum possible in one series, was 1307 by series 48 winner Julian Fell, including the aforementioned scores of 146 and 138.
- The highest possible score was available in Episode 3967, when five nines and a number of other favourable rounds made for a possible 173. Only one of the nine letter words was found by the contestants (oddly by the losing contestant), neither of whom managed to score a century. This and the highest-maxing "new" 15-rounder are the only games to date in which five nines have been available.
- The most nines found by one contestant in one game is four; Julian Fell found SALMONIDS, DEPORTING, INGATHERS and DEFLATION in his record-breaking game.
- The highest ever losing score was Matthew Shore's 117 against Mark Tournoff in the Championship of Champions XII. The game was poised 117 – 114 going into the conundrum SOLILOQUY which Tournoff solved, leaving Shore as the loser with 117 points. That was equalled in Series 68, when Chris Davies lost after a tie-break conundrum to David O'Donnell in Episode 5644.
- A few other losing scores over 100 have been recorded: Terry Rattle lost with a score of 107 in Series 47, which was later beaten by David Williams's losing score of 113 – 111. Both Rattle and Williams lost to Chris Wills. Rattle and Lesley Hines are the only players ever to have lost on their début whilst scoring over 100, Hines getting 104 in Series 61.
- In the 30th Birthday Championship, no fewer than 8 matches ended with the defeated contestant scoring 100 or more. They were: Mark Deeks (losing to Jack Hurst 108 – 103), Nick Deller (losing to Mark Tournoff 101 – 100), Chris Davies (losing to David O'Donnell 127 – 117), Innis Carson (losing to Kirk Bevins 112 – 102), Jack Worsley (losing to Jon O'Neill 122 – 104), Jonathan Rawlinson (losing to Jack Hurst 116 – 105), Jon O'Neill (losing to Conor Travers 120 – 102) and Jack Hurst (losing to Conor Travers 146 – 111).
- The highest-scoring game with a tie-break conundrum was between Chris Davies and David O'Donnell in the second round of the 30th Birthday Championship. After the regular conundrum PATRANGME, the scores were neck and neck at 117 – 117, so a second conundrum BAGOGLORY was necessary. O'Donnell solved it to score 127 after the tie-breaker.
- While the all-time record score is 146, Jon O'Neill holds the record for the highest score with no nine letter words of 122, which also happened to be a max game. The highest with one nine is Jack Hurst's score of 133 and the highest with two is Chris Davies' 139. Conor Travers found three nines in his 146 point game, whilst Julian Fell achieved the same total with four nines in episode 3387. Nobody has ever found five nines in one game, largely because this has only been possible once. If you ignore the nine-point bonus for nine-letter words altogether in order to combine these records, Jack Hurst's above score of 133 becomes 124, and is the record score under this system. Interestingly, Julian Fell's equal all-time record score of 146 would only be worth 110. Conor Travers's 146 would be worth 119.
- Kirk Bevins was the first player to get a maximum score in a 15 round game. He scored 126 out of a possible 126 on 4 March 2009. Bevins equalled this feat with his score of 130 out of 130 during the 30th Birthday Championship. This same mini-series contained four further max games. Jon O'Neill scored 122 out of 122 in his quarter-final against Jack Worsley, and Conor Travers achieved three consecutive max games with 119 in his second round and quarter-final matches, and 120 against O'Neill to reach the tournament final.
- The largest winning margin ever was in episode 5264, where Tom Barnes beat Christine Buffrey by 112 points, 119 – 7, which was also notable for Buffrey's record-breaking low score, as you can see below. Only on 3 other occasions have games been won by over 100 points; episode 3349, where Julian Fell beat Carl McDermott by 109 points, 138 – 29, including three nines: VALORISED, REPULSION and ANTIPODES, and episode 5188, when Adam Gillard beat Mavis Riley by 102 points, with the score 125 – 23. By coincidence, both these records were set when Fell and Gillard were on their 8th preliminary match. The others were when Graeme Cole beat Mike Linnell by 106 points, with the score 125 – 19 and Andy Platt's crushing victory over Carl Anderson by a score of 109 – 7 (notably in the final match of the 'old' 15 round format).
- The lowest ever score was set by Christine Buffrey, who scored only 7 points against Tom Barnes. See the list of 15-round scores under 30.
- The lowest recorded maximum was 105, which included a numbers game in which no points were available and a series of difficult letters rounds. The Championship of Champions XI final had a maximum of 106, only one point more.
- The lowest score in the finals of a series was 21, by David Butcher in his quarter-final game against Mark Deeks in Series 65.
- The highest ever score was 83, first achieved by Series champion Stephen Balment in episode 546. This score was made on Stephen's debut, and so it is also the highest debut score of the 9 round era. The score was equalled by Allan Saldanha in Series 33 against Darryl Francis. Saldanha won 83 – 24 in Episode 1886, a feat made even more amazing as he was competing against the Series 6 champion.
- The highest ever score by a champion was Harvey Freeman's 82, later equalled by Lucy Roberts in Episode 2641. Neither of the scores of 83 was made while Balment or Saldanha were the current champion.
- At least two contestants found two nine letter words in a nine round game. Jill Bright scored 81 in her second game. She got two nine letter words in rounds 1 and 2, but failed to solve the conundrum and could have beaten the highest ever score by 8 points. Similarly, John Snedden found two nine-letter words in Episode 2693 and scored 80 points before the conundrum, but also failed to break the high score record. See the list of 9-round scores over 75.
- The highest ever eight game total was 535, achieved by David Williams. This beat Harvey Freeman's total of 523 in Series 10. The highest ever total over the maximum eleven possible games in one series was 760, also set by Harvey Freeman. This includes 10 9 round games and a 14 round final.
- The highest losing score was 70. In the Championship of Champions IV, Tony Vick beat Steve Williams by a score of 80 – 70. Williams was leading 60 – 70 after 8 rounds but Vick got the conundrum to set up a 70 – 70 tie. A second conundrum was used to separate them, and it was Vick that spotted IMPOUNDED to win with a score of 80. In Series 4, Robert Richland beat Stuart Schofield by a score of 75 – 70 in episode 152.
- The highest known max score for a 9 round game is 106. This included three nines, EXTENSION, CRUDITIES/DIURETICS and GUARDIANS. The Richard Whiteley Gotcha episode actually also had a max of 106, but this is not usually considered to count because the rounds were set up to include certain words.
- The highest known 9-round score with no nine-letter words is 75 points; this record is shared by Harvey Freeman, achieving this score in Episode 466, and Richard Campbell, who got it in Episode 1504. If the 9-point bonus for nine-letter words were excluded, these would also have been the joint highest 9-round scores of all time.
- At least three contestants have got a max game in a 9 round game. Jenny Haldane scored 70 points out of 70 in her debut game against John Widdowson in Series 16, and Darren Shacklady scored 69 points out of 69 in his debut game against Tony David in Series 29. Allan Saldanha also scored 67 points out of 67 and achieved a max game in his Supreme Championship quarter-final against Joyce Cansfield. However, in one of Allan's numbers games he was further from the target than the closest possible, although his score of 7 from this round could not be bettered.
- The highest score in the finals of a 9-round series was 79, by Mark Nyman against Ted Wiles in Series 3.
- The record lowest scores belong to John Brooks and Sylvia Pitman, who failed to score a single point between them in Episodes 637 and 2343 respectively.
- The lowest score in the finals of a 9-round series was 10, by Denys Hollis against Derek Coombs in Series 20.
- The longest for which the contestants have remained on equal scores is probably Episode 1734, in which the score was tied from the beginning up until a second tie-break conundrum finally separated them.
- The highest ever score in a 14 round game was 115 by Harvey Freeman in the Championship of Champions III final against Series 9 winner David Trace. Trace was leading 107 – 105 going into the final conundrum, but couldn't get it and lost with 107 points. This is also the highest losing score in a 14 round game, and the third highest score. See List of 14-round scores over 100 for more details.
- The lowest score in a 14 round game was 36, by Joel Salkin against Nic Brown in the final of Series 14. The lowest 14-round winning score was 59, by Stuart Wood against John Rainsden in the final of Series 44.
- Freeman also holds the record for most 14 rounds games won, winning the final of Series 10, the final of the Championship of Champions III and the final of the Supreme Championship. The only player to play four 14 round games was Allan Saldanha, who played in the final of Series 15, two specials against Tim Morrissey and Gareth Williams, and the aforementioned Supreme Championship final against Harvey Freeman. He won the two specials and lost the two finals.
- Harvey Freeman holds the record for the most wins on Countdown with 19 wins from 19 games, or 19 from 21 if his Countdown Masters game and his assistance of Gyles Brandreth are counted. Just behind him is Allan Saldanha with 18 wins from 21 games — the most of any player. He played 11 games in Series 15, one game in the Championship of Champions IV, two specials against Tim Morrissey and Gareth Williams, a Masters game, and six games in the Supreme Championship. The second longest winning streak belongs to Don Reid who won 16 games in a row — 11 games in Series 25, three games in the Championship of Champions VII and two games in the Supreme Championship, before losing to fellow Series champion John Clarke on a crucial conundrum.
- Conor Travers holds the record for the most Countdown appearances since the introduction of the 15 round format. In 20 appearances, in which he has won 19 of them, he's scored 2,279 points; this is the highest ever total, though players who have played more games than Travers did so in the shorter format. For this reason, Travers also holds the record for the most airtime, with 900 minutes or 15 hours. He averaged 113.95 points per game.
- In all forms out of Countdown (except the 8 out of 10 Cats series), Nita Marr holds the record for the most defeats. In total she's lost six times: in the heats of Series 13, the finals of Series 13, the Championship of Champions IV, the Supreme Championship, a Masters game against Jenny Haldane and a special against Mike Brown. Debbi Flack holds the record for the most consecutive defeats, with four in a row: in her seventh heat game against Mike Lambert, her series quarter-final against Kai Laddiman, her first-round Championship of Champions match against Steve Briers and her special episode against Claudia Tyson.
- The longest word to come up in reverse order on the letters board was the nine DECANTERS in Episode 4523. Neither contestant spotted it, but Carol did and additionally commented on its perfect reverse ordering.
- Unofficially, the highest ever score was achieved in Episode Cats29, when Jon Richardson and Jack Whitehall defeated Sean Lock and Roisin Conaty by a score of 890 – 28, which also makes it the highest winning margin of all time. This was primarily achieved because the conundrum in this episode was worth 843 points, instead of the normal 10. This beat the record set in the 5th episode of the 1st series, when Jon Richardson and Adam Hills defeated Lee Mack and Bob Mortimer by a score of 153 – 0. In this game the conundrum was worth 100 points.
- The numbers game that has been furthest away from being solvable occurred in Round 8 of Episode 2722. It featured the six small numbers 1,2,2,3,3,7 and the closest reachable value was 378, 596 away from the target of 974.
- The numbers game with the lowest starting numbers appeared in Round 9 of Episode 6307. The small numbers were 1,1,2,2,3,4, making the highest target achievable with them 108.