I won Countdown so many times bosses forced me to retire – here's what you don't see on screens | The Sun

A FORMER contestant on Countdown has claimed they were on the show so much that bosses forced them to retire.

It's the ultimate clash of mathematical skill and literary knowledge that tests participants to the very edge of their limits.


But despite Countdown celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, it still has a number of behind-the-scenes secrets unknown to most viewers decades on.

For those keen to find out, former participants have lifted the lid on what it's like to be on the show.

Taking to social news aggregation site Reddit, one user revealed they appeared on the show eight times in a row – until they were given the boot.

In a post dated ten years ago, user PutARyanDonkOnIt penned: "An Octochamp refers to somebody who has won eight shows in a row consecutively after which you are forced to retire.

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"You come back at a later stage for the quarter-finals, to which the eight highest scorers of the series are invited."

Earlier this year, another former contestant on the popular Channel 4 programme spoke of their time on the show.

Jen Steadman – the highest-scoring woman of all time – saw a flurry of wild fan mail, however, not all of it was positive.

"There was hilariously explicit fan mail from middle-aged men, and women saying that I’d inspired them to apply for the show," she told Metro.

"But also a man threatening to stamp on my head because I was bobbing it in time to the music, and a woman criticising the bow I wore in my hair. 

"I definitely learned that you can’t please everyone and that some people have no taste in headwear."

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The Sun recently spoke to former contestant Gary Woodward, who has appeared on Countdown nine times.

Detailing his time on the Channel 4 hit, he revealed how the show often fakes scenes to disguise X-rated answers, presenter faux pas and technical errors.

Countdown airs weekdays from 2.15pm on Channel 4.


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