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Chris Philpot

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"...and he's a student at Oathall Community College in Haywards Heath!"

Chris Philpot was a contestant in Series 51. He was a secondary school pupil from West Sussex. Aged fourteen at the time of his appearance, Philpot lost by 60 points to 91 in his very first game against television scriptwriter Ariane Sherine, now notable for her work as a Guardian columnist and creator of the Atheist Bus Campaign.

The game was initially closely fought with Sherine holding a slight lead, but COLLATE in Round 7 helped Philpot gain a three point advantage going into the third half at 54 – 51. However, the words PUMICE and RELISTED saw Sherine regain her lead and she saw out the game in style, with Philpot only managing to score six further points in the contest.

Cue card moment

A montage of Philpot's facial expressions.

Philpot made a mildly notable use of his short Countdown career by becoming the first - and thus far only - contestant to read out his own cue card. A typographical error on the card lead to Richard Whiteley mispronouncing the name of Philpot's secondary school Oathall Community College as O'Toole Community College. As Whiteley asked the audience to give the school a cheer, Philpot pointed out the error - to which Whiteley replied, "you read it out!"

Philpot accumulated minor acknowledgement for an uncomfortable moment with Whiteley after declaring PUBIC in Round 11, as well as for his animated expressions and gestures. Furthermore, at the end of the programme following his defeat Philpot told Whiteley that he had particularly wanted a Countdown teapot. Sherine, who doesn't drink tea, altruistically gave him her teapot after her final game.

After Countdown

Following his appearance on the show, Philpot became an intermittently active member of the online Countdown community. In Autumn 2004, he participated in the first ever online tournament COLT, wherein he defeated Series 8 champion Clive Spate by a single point on his way to the quarter-finals, where he lost to Jim Bentley 36 – 46. Philpot also makes occasional appearances on Apterous, including reaching the semi-finals of Division B in the Autumn 2009 Numbers Attack Tournament.


On March 17, 2009, the now nineteen-year-old Philpot challenged Sherine to a rematch on his student radio programme, The Echo Midweek Sandwich. This was played over a shortened game featuring just one letters round, one numbers round and a conundrum. Special radio-themed conundrums were submitted by several members of c4countdown. In the game itself, both contestants spotted SPAYING in the letters round and, after a relatively easy numbers round, Sherine once again prevailed by unravelling Damian Eadie's conundrum HEARRADIO after 13 seconds to win by 27 points to 17.


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
3636 3/02/2004 P Ariane Sherine 91 – 60 Chris Philpot Keith Barron Susie Dent 131

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