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Countdown is a British game show, presented by Richard Whiteley[?] with the assistance of Carol Vorderman[?], and shown on Channel 4. It was the very first programme aired by that station when it was launched on 2nd November 1982.

At the time of writing (December 2002), the programme is broadcast from 16:15 to 17:00 every weekday, with each programme repeated in the early hours of the morning about two and a half days later.

Countdown is based on the French game show Des Chiffres et Des Lettres[?] (Digits and Letters). It was originally broadcast in the Yorkshire Television[?] ITV region as Calendar Countdown - Calendar[?] being that region's local news magazine show which was, at the time, fronted by Whiteley. Yorkshire Television, now part of the Granada Television group, still makes Countdown for Channel Four.

Countdown, like most of the "old guard" of British game shows is never so much about winning prizes as simply competing (and possibly showing off to the nation how smart you are). The current prize fund tends to be a board game and other assorted items for every contestant and a full Oxford English Dictionary for the series winner, which is still a lot more than it used to be.

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