I’ve recently got into watching the odd re-run of Channel Four’s 8/10 Cats Does Countdown. Admittedly, it may not feature the existential ponderings of Damon Lindelof, the slow-burn excitement of Vince Gilligan nor the jeremiad warnings of Noah Hawley but its hella funny.
If you don’t know the show, Countdown is based on the French show Des chiffres et des lettres (“Letters and Numbers”) which has been running continuously since 1965.
The British version was Channel 4’s very first show at 4:45pm on November 2nd, 1982 and has 6,500 episodes under its belt. Anyways, the cast of late-night show 8/10 Cats hijacked Countdown for Comic Relief or some charity night or somefink and the rest, as they say, is histoire.
In addition to regulars Jimmy Carr, Sean Lock and Jon Richardson, this early episode from 2014 features Miles Jubb, Aisling Bea and Nick Helm, who had previously serenaded (and been rejected by) Dictionary Corner’s Susie Dent.
Jon is sponsored by a local curry house, Sean chooses his letters after inhaling helium and but its when Joe Wilkinson arrives dressed as a stuntman and looking more like that the show becomes a madhouse. If The Great Gonzo were made flesh, it would be Joe Wilkinson.
And if that’s not enough, Nick Helm serenades poor Susie again, this time with a rock ballad. Brilliant, brilliant entertainment, as evidenced by Miles properly crying with laughter. It may not quite top this moment:
but seriously folks whether you’re from The Outback, ABQ or snowy Minnesota, this show needs to be seen to be believed.
8/10 Cats Does Countdown is on Channel Four in the U.K. but don’t ask me which day… I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue.