A Tribute to Countdown - 3000 and Counting is a Documentary programme.
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A Tribute to Countdown - 3000 and Counting
"Countdown is a modern miracle - popular, intelligent, clever. It's been a Channel 4 icon from our very first day and we're incredibly proud of it." - Michael Jackson - Chief Executive, Channel 4 Television
Countdown, the first show ever to air on Channel 4, celebrates its milestone 3000th episode. This enduring television classic also boasts the same distinguished team of presenters as it did in the early days when nobody ever imaged that today's 'phenomenon' would last beyond a standard quiz show season.
Over the years Countdown has unearthed previously untapped genius and created two of television's most well-loved and respected faces, Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman, the first two personalities to appear on Channel 4 back on its launch day in 1982. The show's history contains a host of notable happenings and Countdown has often been in the news. Here are a few which have made headlines and kept the nation entertained over the years:
1) The winner of the 1996 final refused the prize of a 20-volume dictionary set. As a strict vegan, he didn't want the hide-bound books on his conscience.
2) Once the nine letters chosen were ERKDUAEWN. The six-letter words offered by the contestants were not deemed suitable for a teatime audience and a new set of letters were substituted.
3) Carol Vorderman has had a letter sent to Points of View complaining about her presenting too much on television. The ever-bold Carol took it upon herself to read out the letter when she was hosting the show !
4) When David Steel managed to make 8 times 25 equal 400 he was berated by economics graduate, Loyd Grossman who said, "It's no wonder that you were never appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer!" Lord Steel retorted, "There was never any danger of that, I was in the Liberal Party!"
5) When Channel 4 tried to change the much loved Countdown theme music to a more soothing and less intrusive tune, the Channel's switchboards were jammed with complaints that the new tune reminded them of being in a crematorium.
So Countdown continues to top Channel 4's ratings and is the most watched afternoon show in the UK. Channel 4's Director of Programmes Tim Gardam says, "Countdown is more than a Channel 4 institution, it is the gold standard of enjoyable intelligent afternoon television. Over the years Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman have created a programme that is one of the landmarks that holds Britain together."
Certainly this enduring classic shows no sign of running out of steam. Its cult following embraces young and old so the hit formula is established and the show's producers would do well to wind up the famous clock and plan the next 3000 episodes. Tonight will also feature a peak time Countdown Special at 7.30pm which focuses on the history of this televisual phenomenon.
Produced by Yorkshire Television.
Running Time: 35 minutes (approx)
Database last updated: 22 November - 18:00