Maria Boyes was the runner-up of Series 36. She was a 41-year-old School Secretary from York.
She beat Ian Brunton in her first game, and won a further seven to become an octochamp and #2 seed for the series. In the heats, she faced only one crucial conundrum, in her fifth game against Andrew Auger, which she won after neither player was able to unscramble the conundrum HAILSTONE.
Returning in the quarter-finals as #2 seed, she saw off #7 seed Malcolm Fairy by 61 – 43 after spotting the Crucial Conundrum fractionally ahead of her opponent, and then faced #3 seed Simon Pryde in the semi-final, which proved a low-scoring but closely-fought affair that saw the lead change hands several times - however, when the smoke cleared, Boyes held on to win by 43 – 40 after neither player was able to unscramble the crucial conundrum, RUSTPROOF, in the 30 seconds; thus it was Boyes who advanced to the final against #4 seed Tony Baylis. The final was nip and tuck up until the penultimate round, when a botched numbers game solution from Boyes sealed her defeat.
Boyes returned for Championship of Champions IX a few months later, and convincingly beat Amy Godel 54 – 37 in the first round to set up a rematch of her Series 36 semi-final before against Simon Pryde in the quarter-finals; unfortunately for Boyes, this time, Simon would emerge as the winner by 41 – 33.
Boyes is famous for making one of the most famous letters games spots in Countdown history – picking the nine JAPONICAS out of a seemingly terrible selection in the very first round of her Countdown career.
|#||Date||Type||Contestant 1||Score||Contestant 2||Guest||Lex||Max|
|2050||16/07/1997||P||Ian Brunton||29 – 56||Maria Boyes||Richard Digance||Susie Dent||83|
|2051||17/07/1997||P||Arthur Singleton||46 – 52||Maria Boyes||Richard Digance||Susie Dent||71|
|2052||18/07/1997||P||Ray Millar||40 – 68||Maria Boyes||Richard Digance||Susie Dent||82|
|2053||21/07/1997||P||Gwenda Sacks||11 – 49||Maria Boyes||Richard Digance||Susie Dent||70|
|2054||22/07/1997||P||Andrew Auger||45 – 53||Maria Boyes||Richard Digance||Susie Dent||71|
|2055||23/07/1997||P||Keith Berrett||34 – 65||Maria Boyes||Richard Digance||Susie Dent||73|
|2056||24/07/1997||P||Diane Sells||35 – 49||Maria Boyes||Geoffrey Durham||Susie Dent||93|
|2057||25/07/1997||P||Brad Driver||28 – 47||Maria Boyes||Geoffrey Durham||Susie Dent||76|
|2097||19/09/1997||QF||Maria Boyes||61 – 43||Malcolm Fairy||Richard Stilgoe||Hannah Robertson||73|
|2101||25/09/1997||SF||Maria Boyes||43 – 40||Simon Pryde||Nicholas Parsons||Hannah Robertson||73|
|2102||26/09/1997||GF||Maria Boyes||52 – 66||Tony Baylis||Nicholas Parsons||Hannah Robertson||115|
|2166||1/01/1998||CP||Maria Boyes||54 – 37||Amy Godel||Denis Norden||Mark Nyman||74|
|2171||8/01/1998||CQF||Simon Pryde||41 – 33||Maria Boyes||Gloria Hunniford||Mark Nyman||76|