Joe Branker on Countdown!

Posted on October 31, 2013 by

Second-year LEL student Joe Branker has appeared on the cult British game show Countdown!

Joe was pitted against Anne James, a retired academic (and we all know that those can be formidable). The fact that he’s a LEL student or at Manchester wasn’t mentioned – apparently his stint in a chip shop was considered more noteworthy. During November you can watch the episode for free on 4od. Alternatively, see below for details of how he got on…

Linguists have a strong record on Countdown: this year’s mFiL plenary speaker Chris Cummins is a former series champion. In this episode we were also treated to Susie Dent presenting some of the new words added to the OED this summer; Manchet approves of the fact that she emphasized that the dictionary is a descriptive, not prescriptive, tool.



Despite being more than four times his age, Joe’s opponent was quick off the starting block, leaving him with what seemed like an impossible task at the halfway point: at one stage he was down 20 points to 39. But Joe clawed his way back, with some impressive performances on the numbers rounds as well as spotting the words PEEING and MOSHED. Since neither contestant was able to solve the rather nasty conundrum at the end, when the smoke cleared Joe was one point ahead at 66 to 65. This means that he lives to fight another day, and will be appearing on the show again; watch this space!

Update, 4th Nov: Joe has been dethroned by a Scotsman, despite another solid performance. Manchet congratulates him on his brief but impressive run!

Featured image: The playing field. Above: Joe in action. Images are screenshots from 4od.