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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

SBS Is Bringing Back Beloved Game Show 'Letters and Numbers' — This Time with Celebrities

Michael Hing is on hosting duties, and guests include Hamish Blake, Matt Okine, Merrick Watts, Jennifer Wong, Aaron Chen and Susie Youssef.
By Sarah Ward
September 03, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
September 03, 2021
  shares

Whether you watched along during its original 2010–12 run, or you've been hooked to repeats of old episodes over the past nine years, there's no denying the joys of SBS game show Letters and Numbers. It celebrates clever contestants doing word and number puzzles, each episode has an engagingly low-key vibe — all while still remaining tense as competitors try to work out the right answers, of course — and it's very easy and immensely enjoyable to play along with from home.

The show didn't use a new format, though, with the Aussie series taking its cues from both French TV's Des chiffres et des lettres, which dates back to 1965, and also from Britain's Countdown, which has been on the air since 1982. So, now that Letters and Numbers is coming back — which is obviously fantastic news — it's doing so with a twist that also takes inspiration from overseas.

Get ready to spend your time watching Celebrity Letters and Numbers. Yes, the change of focus is right there in the title, with famous folks rather than everyday people battling it out — to make words out of nine randomly selected letters, to use six also randomly chosen numbers in equations to reach a set figure, and to rearrange a jumble of nine more letters into one lengthty word in the final round. There's a big emphasis on comedians this time around, too, so this is basically SBS's Aussie version of the great 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (which SBS also airs, so it clearly knows that it's ace).

Celebrity Letters and Numbers will start airing from 7.30pm on Saturday, October 2, with its twelve-episode first season dropping new instalments weekly on both SBS on TV and via SBS On Demand. You'll be getting twice as much puzzling this time, with eps running for an hour. Also, the series will air at least two seasons, with the second set to land in 2022.

There is one other significant change, too, with comedian Michael Hing taking over hosting duties from Richard Morecroft. That said, Lily Serna will return to flip numbers and show off her maths skills, and David Astle will again tell contestants whether they've found real words or just made them up, all with his trusty dictionary in hand.

And, if you're wondering who'll be competing, guests include Hamish Blake, Matt Okine, Merrick Watts, Jennifer Wong, Aaron Chen and Susie Youssef. They'll each be vying for a single book per episode, which is being sourced from a vintage 80s encyclopaedia collection that's been gifted by Michael Hing's parents (after they cleaned out their garage).

Check out the trailer below:

Celebrity Letters and Numbers will start airing on SBS and SBS On Demand from Saturday, October 2, with new episodes dropping weekly.

Published on September 03, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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