Record-breaking Durham student wins Countdown series


A Maths and Computer Science student at Durham University has won Series 82 of Countdown, breaking several records in the process.

Luke Johnson-Davies, a fourth-year student at St. John’s College, won the series convincingly on Friday afternoon on Channel 4. He first appeared on the words and number-themed show in December 2019, where he won against the series’ other top seed with the highest ever score for a debutant.

After going unbeaten in Series 81, Luke, from Cambridge, continued his winning streak throughout 2020. He consistently scored highly on the show, becoming the first player ever to score over 125 in four consecutive games.  

“I’m super happy with the win, it’s brought a bit of joy in an otherwise bleak year”

Luke Johnson-Davies

Declared an “octochamp” after winning all his heat games, the student declared a nine-letter word in every show before the series finals. The record of 11 words included “parvitude”, “eutopians” and “monticule”.

The win continues Durham’s tradition of student quiz show appearances. This year’s University Challenge team have so far won both of their matches, beating Leicester and Edinburgh University. In July, six Durham students and professors faced off in Radio 4’s “The 3rd Degree”.

Luke told Palatinate: “I’m super happy with the win, it’s brought a bit of joy in an otherwise bleak year for me. It’s not every day you get to use a skill as pointless as anagramming on TV! The proudest thing for me was being able to play at my absolute best despite the intensity of the finals.

“While it is of course very cool to be Countdown series champion, the even nicer thing has been receiving lots of supportive comments from friends and strangers alike! I’ll be invited back in a couple years’ time for Countdown’s Championship of Champions, and in the meantime word games will continue to be a fun hobby for me.”

Image: Channel 4

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