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Eight Countdown wins see Belfast lad hailed an octochamp

By Amanda Ferguson and Harriet Crawford

Young Northern Ireland man Laurence Killen is an official Countdown "octochamp" after a tense finish on the Channel 4 programme yesterday.

The Belfast boy raced against the clock to pit his wits against vowels, consonants and numbers in the television competition.

The young competitor saw off stiff competition from Glasgow's Robert Collie, going on to win the game show with a score of 97 to 78 by successfully working out the crucial conundrum.

The nail-biting finish was the eighth time in a row that Laurence had beaten his opponent.

His accumulation of a remarkable eight wins makes him a Countdown octochamp.

Series host Nick Hewer - Lord Sugar's right-hand man on The Apprentice - told Laurence: "You are an octochamp and we will see you in the finals in mid December."

The young Belfast man has been keeping TV audiences entertained during his flawless run on the Channel 4 show. Viewers of the popular letters and numbers contest saw him win for the eighth time by working out the crucial Countdown conundrum at the end of the programme.

He had to rearrange the nine-letter anagram, R U D E C H A N T, in order to correctly identify the word. Laurence rearranged them in his head in just seconds to reveal the word that Nick was looking for - uncharted.

Before the rivals were set off on their first word, the Countdown host asked: "Will our Laurence Killen be recognised at the end of today as an octochamp? That's what we want to know."

He considered that Laurence's seven wins under his belt, and his frequent scores of over 100, made him "a worthy chap".

Tension rose as Laurence lost out to his rival on the first word. Laurence was trailing at seven points to his rival's 13 points after they came up tied after the second word.

But he took the match with the conundrum, beating his opponent in unravelling the anagram.

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