A WRITER from Oxfordshire will put his little grey cells to the test in a ‘tense’ episode of Countdown this afternoon.

Nick Smith, 59, who has written the bridge column for the Oxford Times for 20 years, is pitting his wits against a contestant on his fifth round on the Channel 4 puzzle show.

The Fyfield resident took part in the show during its ‘glory days’ when it was presented by Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman.

He said: “It’s the best thing Channel 4 has ever done. It’s still extremely popular.

“Anybody who watches the show ends up trying to compete with the contestants, and if you’re good at it you think ‘Why not?’. It brings out the old competitive instinct.”

Individuals can appear on Countdown, which includes letter rounds, arithmetic and anagrams, every 10 years.

Mr Smith had a phone interview in November to test whether he had ‘still got it’.

Today’s episode airs in the usual 2.10pm slot. It filmed about two months ago at MediaCity UK in Salford.

He said: “It was really tense and exciting. I wasn’t actually as good as I was 13 years ago.

“I would apply again. I’d recommend it to anybody. What have you got to lose, apart from your dignity?”