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Anorak | Countdown To Armageddon

Countdown To Armageddon

by | 10th, October 2006

WHEN Richard Whitely took one from the top and the big Countdown Clock called time on his career, Des Lynam slipped his feet into some Comfi Slippers and took over the slightly warm seat.

Des realised, correctly, that he did not have to shine or sparkle on the show, merely be a little more alive than the moribund, the students, the drugged, the journalists and the institutionalised who watch the show.

But now Des is leaving. And the Mirror uses its front page to ask: “Who will be Carol’s new Countdown conundrum?”

For those of you with lives, cable telly or no telly, the last round of the world puzzle show features a nine-letter conundrum. And it also features Carol Vorderman, 45, who when she’s not flogging debt consolidation packages does sums.

The Mirror has narrowed the choice down so it is now between any middle-aged man who has ever appeared on TV. But the clear favourite must be Gyles Brandreth, whose surname is nine letters long. For Countdown purists this is all.

With that solved, you might now be wondering why such a parochial event as selecting the next Countdown sandman should be deemed front-page news. The simple answer is that telly is all important; it is the yardstick by which we measure the world and ourselves.

Just look at the Sun’s front page, which brings the nuclear tests in North Korea into the telly fold. The paper’s headline asks: “How do you solve a problem like Korea?” This is a twist on the BBC’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, the show in which pretty-ish, talented-ish performers competed to be the star of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sound of Music.

(The clear answer to Maria’s problem was to hand her over to the Nazis and so give us and the hills soem peace.)

More telly references are provided by the Sun’s caricature of North Korea’s resident loon-in-chief Kim Jong-il as a puppet. The Sun tells us that the puppet is from the cult puppet movie Team America.

So you see how television is all things to all people. Indeed, if the United Nations and whoever else likes to pretend they are in charge of world affairs can shape questions into the form of nine-letter conundrums, Countdown can set about solving them.

How do you solve a problem like Korea? PODILMACY? Or how about with some LICEBRETY?



Posted: 10th, October 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink