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Harvey Freeman

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Harvey Freeman
Octochamp Statistics
Final positionChampion
Points total523
Conundrums solved8
Harvey Freeman

Harvey Freeman was an octochamp in and the champion of Series 10, Championship of Champions III and the Supreme Championship, earning him the reputation as one of the greatest Countdowners of all time. He is the only contestant ever to have won four titles: octochamp, series winner, champion of champions and all-time supreme champion. He has also been a top Scrabble player.

As a 21-year old Cambridge University undergraduate from Enfield, Middlesex, he made his debut on 31 October 1986 against David Whiting, prevailing with his solution to the crucial conundrum YUNIGNITE. Freeman won that game and seven more to achieve octochampdom with a then-record aggregate score of 523 points; a record that would stand for almost 14 years before it was beaten by David Williams in Series 43. In his second game, Freeman scored 82 points – not only the highest score of the series, but also then an all-time record. He is also the second octochamp, after Darryl Francis, to solve all 8 conundrums; he did this in a combined time of 26 seconds, a record which stood until 2015 when Thomas Carey clocked 17.75 seconds.

Freeman returned for the final rounds as the clear #1 seed, and dominated his opponents Elisabeth Jardine and Les Martin in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, before going on to face Mike Percik in the grand final. Despite having outtakes ☓; disallowed in the second round, Freeman would enter a commanding performance here too, running out the 96 – 52 winner.

In February 1987, Freeman appeared on the special episode to celebrate Countdown's 500th show. Later the same year, he returned for Championship of Champions III, and after beating Michael Stephenson and John Clarke, he found a tough opponent in the grand final in the shape of David Trace. Freeman lost out in the first conundrum to Trace, putting him ten points behind, but he scored in every other round, including the final, crucial conundrum, to win 115 – 107 — the highest ever score in a 14-round grand final and the only time anyone has ever scored over 110 under that format. Freeman became the first ever grand slam winner by claiming the titles of octochamp, series winner and champion of champions.

In 1996, Freeman returned to the Countdown studios one last time to participate in the Supreme Championship. Given a bye in the first round, Freeman defeated Ian Bebbington in the second round and Barry Grossman in a closely-fought group final to put himself into the series quarter-finals. There, he beat Andrew Perry before once again beating John Clarke in the semi-final. In the final, he faced Allan Saldanha in what promised to be a true battle of the greats. Critically, though, Freeman put the D on the end of Saldanha’s word CREOSOTE in the first round and was able to hold on to his lead to avoid a crucial conundrum and win 82 – 79, winning the title of 'All-time Supreme Champion' and maintaining his winning streak at an unprecedented 19 games (his only ever loss being against producer Mark Nyman in the separate Countdown Masters series in 1990). Notably, all but one of Freeman's Supreme Championship games were decided by crucial conundrums.

Notable achievements

  • Third highest total wins on Countdown (19). He was top of the pile for many years, until finally overtaken by Conor Travers in the final of the 30th Birthday Championship.
  • Highest score for a 14-round game (115).
  • Second highest score for a 9-round game (82). It was the highest score at the time he made it. It's also the highest score by a champion, neither the score by Allan Saldanha nor by Stephen Balment were made whilst they were the sitting champion.
  • Second highest 8-game total (523). It was the highest score at the time he made it.
  • Highest debut score of Series 10.
Preceded by
David Trace
Series winner
Series 10
Followed by
John Clarke
Preceded by
Clive Freedman
Champion of Champions
Championship of Champions III
Followed by
Nic Brown
Preceded by
Alan Sinclair
Series winner
Series 33
Followed by
Huw Morgan


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
459 31/10/1986 P Harvey Freeman 65 – 45 David Whiting Lee Peck Freda Thornton 86
460 3/11/1986 P Harvey Freeman 82 – 30 Rita Meston Lee Peck Freda Thornton 83
461 4/11/1986 P Harvey Freeman 60 – 29 Anilkumar Shah Lee Peck Freda Thornton 72
462 5/11/1986 P Harvey Freeman 57 – 33 Michael Sim Lee Peck Freda Thornton 71
463 6/11/1986 P Harvey Freeman 64 – 28 John Wesley Lee Peck Freda Thornton 73
464 7/11/1986 P Harvey Freeman 49 – 21 Frances Kitsall Lee Peck Freda Thornton 73
465 10/11/1986 P Harvey Freeman 71 – 17 Martin Reed Bill Tidy Freda Thornton 83
466 11/11/1986 P Harvey Freeman 75 – 10 Roy James Bill Tidy Freda Thornton 76
488 11/12/1986 QF Harvey Freeman 65 – 29 Elisabeth Jardine Bill Tidy Catherine Clarke 73
492 17/12/1986 SF Harvey Freeman 76 – 36 Les Martin Bill Tidy Catherine Clarke ??
494 19/12/1986 GF Harvey Freeman 96 – 52 Mike Percik Gyles Brandreth, Bill Tidy Della Thompson 117
495 2/02/1987 X Bill Tidy with
Mark Nyman,
Brian Hudson,
Peter Evans, and
Darryl Francis
41 – 32 Gyles Brandreth with
Clive Freedman,
Michael Wylie,
Joyce Cansfield, and
Harvey Freeman
none Della Thompson 67
595 22/06/1987 CQF Harvey Freeman 44 – 36 Michael Stephenson Sally James Della Thompson ??
599 26/06/1987 CSF Harvey Freeman 45 – 38 John Clarke Sally James Della Thompson 71
601 30/06/1987 CGF Harvey Freeman 115 – 107 David Trace Sally James Della Thompson 127
M45 5/02/1990-9/02/1990 M Mark Nyman 76 – 68 Harvey Freeman none Catherine Clarke 132
1872 1/11/1996 cSF Ian Bebbington 54 – 72 Harvey Freeman Geoffrey Durham Susie Dent 85
1874 5/11/1996 cF Barry Grossman 37 – 44 Harvey Freeman Geoffrey Durham Susie Dent 73
1902 13/12/1996 SQF Andrew Perry 44 – 54 Harvey Freeman Jenny Hanley Susie Dent 72
1905 18/12/1996 SSF John Clarke 48 – 65 Harvey Freeman Nigel Rees Catherine Clarke 72
1907 20/12/1996 SGF Allan Saldanha 79 – 82 Harvey Freeman Nigel Rees Catherine Clarke 127

Championship of Champions Winners

I : Mark Nyman | II : Clive Freedman | III : Harvey Freeman | IV : Nic Brown | V : Tim Morrissey | VI : Wayne Summers | VII : Don Reid | VIII : Chris Rogers | IX : Natascha Kearsey | X : Scott Mearns | XI : Graham Nash | XII : Paul Gallen | XIII : Steve Briers | XIV : Dylan Taylor | XV : Zarte Siempre

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