Insert HeadlineBy: Joanne Shone8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Channel 4 Friday 9pm
by Jo Shone

On paper it must have seemed a huge risk. The archetypal Countdown viewer, one would imagine, has a penchant for beige, comfortable shoes and a nice cup of tea.Then we have the 8 Out of 10 Cats audience who enjoy edgy humour and bawdy banter littered with a smattering of swear words.
One lot is very proper and definitely pre-watershed, and the other just about clinging onto the periphery of good taste and acceptability.
The twain. you’d think should never meet and certainly never mingle, but they have and the result is 8 Out of Cats Does Countdown, and against all odds it appears to be a marriage made in comedy heaven.
Regular team leaders, Sean Lock and Jon Richardson have both perfected individual persona with Lock playing the dimwit and Richardson playing the geek.
Every week they’re teamed up with guest celebrity players as is Susie Dent keeper of the Countdown dictionary for the past 22 years. The show is now so popular in the ratings that top comedians are lining up for the privilege of taking part in Cats does Countdown.
The familiar format of unscrambling letters to form words and crunching numbers to reach a target is still intact. Numbers queen Rachel Riley is still there baffling everyone with her brilliance at sums, and the end of show conundrum still brings the show to a brain busting conclusion, but that’s where the similarity ends.
The 8 Out of 10 Cats element has brought a glorious pandemonium to the quiet serenity of the Countdown studio with host Jimmy Carr larking about like a naughty schoolboy while the revered clock is ticking. Proceedings can get smutty in its language and inuenndo especially in the throws to the ad breaks, but somehow it works.
This show would have outraged Mary Whitehouse, but these days with so much choice of programmes if you share her views you can opt to run to safer ground via Freeview and watch a re-run of Ever Decreasing Circles or Last of the Summer Wine instead.
This is not comfortable Countdown, be prepared to be shocked and maybe dumbfounded especially tonight because Joey Essex is the guest on dictionary corner, and on previous performance there won’t be any nine letter words, only a four letter one Reem!