Galway man Liam Moloney is excited about his appearance in the quarter final of Countdown on Channel 4 next week. Mr Moloney is a huge fan of the show and his initial appearances on the programme earlier this year saw him fulfill a lifelong dream.
For those who are unfamiliar with Countdown, it is one of the longest running gameshows in the world, being the first programme to be aired on Channel 4, and 72 series have been broadcast since 1982. Two contestants are pitted against each other, and the clock, testing literacy and numerical agility.
Participants compete in three disciplines, firstly there are 10 letters rounds, in which the contestants attempt to make the longest word possible from nine randomly chosen letters. Next up on the show are four numbers rounds, in which arithmetic is used to reach a random target number from six other numbers. Finally comes the conundrum, a buzzer round in which the contestants compete to solve a nine-letter word puzzle. During the series heats, the winning contestant returns the next day until he or she loses or has accumulated eight wins, at which point participation is capped until the final.
Renmore native Liam Moloney first appeared on the show in July and won six games. He racked up a very high score which secured his place in the quarter finals. His score seeded him seventh of the eight remaining contestants, and he has his work cut out for him next week as he is up against the number 2 seed.
The 37-year-old, who works in Lake Region Medical in Parkmore, is well known around town having spent a number of years working as a barman in Taaffes and The King’s Head. Since his initial appearance in July he still has people talking to him about the show. “I get the bus in from Renmore and I see people pointing at me, saying that’s the guy from Countdown! I now have a taste of what it’s like to be famous - even if only for a short time!”
Over the past few months, he has been practicing religiously for the quarter finals. “It has been really intense. I have been doing conundrums and learning new words. Most days I could spend three to four hours at it.”
It has been obvious from the outset that presenters Nick Hewes and Rachel Riley took to Mr Moloney’s Irish charm. He says next week’s episode is very funny. “It will be a treat to watch it. Let’s just say I really brought the Irish sense of humour on to the set. At one stage, Nick had to take ofF his glasses and wipe his eyes he was laughing so much.”
Since his initial appearances over the summer, he has discovered people have a huge affinity with the programme. “It has a bigger fan base then you would think. So many people come up to me and ask me about it. I love chatting about it. It has been a phenomenal experience. I would recommend anyone who has an interest in the show to apply to get on it. Just bite the bullet. For somebody like me, who’s been a lifelong fan of Countdown, it’s great to experience it all and meet the cast. Rachel is a doll and Nick is just such a lovely man. It costs you nothing because Channel 4 pay for your flights and accommodation. There are no extravagant prizes bar the famous Countdown teapot and the prestige of appearing on the show, but the whole crew treat you so well over there. It has been a brilliant journey so far and I want to thank everyone for the positive feedback and the great support.”