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Brett Smitheram

From Countdown
Brett Smitheram

Brett Smitheram was a finalist in Series 37. He was a Law Student from Exeter. He is also a competitive Scrabble player.

Smitheram debuted on 21 October 1997 with victory over Scrabble player Kate Surtees who, despite losing her 8th game, held her position as No. 1 seed. All his wins were half-centuries. After losing his 7th game by one point, he returned for the quarter-finals in December as No. 3 seed but lost on a tie-break conundrum to Ruth Collier.

In 2003, he was invited back to Countdown for a special episode against fellow Scrabble great Harshan Lamabadusuriya, losing 87 – 101.

Smitheram is one of the world's most successful Scrabble Grandmasters, and has been playing competitive Scrabble since 1996. A former UK and World No. 1, he is the 2016 World Scrabble Champion, as well as the 2000 National Scrabble Champion and a four-time winner of the British Matchplay Scrabble Championship. He beat Mark Nyman 3 games to 0 in the final of the 2016 MSI World Championships, held in Lille, France. His second win came from 176 points behind, similar to one of Nyman's fight backs in the 1993 World Scrabble Championship final. Coincidentally, Nyman was the lexicographer at the time of Smitheram's quarter-final appearance as well as the show's producer. Smitheram was also a semi-finalist in the 2018 World Championships, losing to the eventual winner Nigel Richards. In 2020, Smitheram won the British Elimination Scrabble Tournament.

In 2017, Smitheram appeared on the Micky Flanagan show Thinking Aloud on Sky One.


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
2119 21/10/1997 P Kate Surtees 44 – 59 Brett Smitheram Geoffrey Durham Anna Eaton 81
2120 22/10/1997 P Brett Smitheram 50 – 28 Sylvia Bell Geoffrey Durham Anna Eaton 73
2121 23/10/1997 P Brett Smitheram 52 – 45 Colin Harwood Angela Rippon Anna Eaton 67
2122 24/10/1997 P Brett Smitheram 55 – 29 Betty Cunningham Angela Rippon Anna Eaton 85
2123 27/10/1997 P Brett Smitheram 53 – 31 Jonathan Goldstone Angela Rippon Anna Eaton 70
2124 28/10/1997 P Brett Smitheram 59 – 52 Jeff Schwartz Angela Rippon Anna Eaton 71
2125 29/10/1997 P Brett Smitheram 44 – 45 Alan Cameron Angela Rippon Anna Eaton 77
2158 15/12/1997 QF Brett Smitheram 44 – 54* Ruth Collier Gyles Brandreth Mark Nyman 84
S7 3/09/2003 S Brett Smitheram 87 – 101 Harshan Lamabadusuriya Richard Stilgoe Damian Eadie 118
* includes 10 points from a tie-break conundrum