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Hilary Hopper

From Countdown
Hilary Hopper

Hilary Hopper was the champion of Series 13, a participant in Championship of Champions IV, a quarter-finalist in the Supreme Championship and the runner-up of the Ladies' Championship. She was a drama teacher from St. John's near Woking.

Hopper first appeared as a contestant, defeating Cath Powell, in the third heat game of the series on 3 July 1987. Hopper won three more games and drew one before falling at the hands of Robert Randall. She returned for the finals as No. 4 seed, defeating John Clark in the quarter-finals and Nita Marr in the semi-finals. In the Grand Final, despite making a mistake in the first round by declaring RATION when there was no A in the selection, she put in a commanding performance against Kevin Nelson. She led 84 – 79 going into the final conundrum which read BLINDBRIG, and Nelson buzzed in first but said he had got it wrong, after which Hopper correctly buzzed in with DRIBBLING to become only the second ever female series champion, with a 94 – 79 scoreline.

Hopper returned for Championship of Champions IV in 1989, but was beaten in the first round by Steve Williams on the crucial conundrum TRANSCEND.

Hopper later appeared once again in the Supreme Championship, heavily beating Anthony Butcher 56 – 23 in her first-round game. Hopper next played Wayne Summers, a CoC winner who had received a bye into the semi-finals, and was on similarly good form, offering the impressive words AXIOMS and COPIOUS. In the group final, she beat Damian Eadie 59 – 40 to take her into the Supreme final stages, but was ultimately beaten by Tim Morrissey after neither player solved the crucial conundrum, DOWNGRADE.

Hopper returned to the show for one final time in 2003 for a 3-day Ladies' Championship series against fellow female series champions. She beat Liz Barber in the first game, before losing to Kate Ogilvie in the final.

With a Countdown career spanning over a decade and a half, Hopper is considered one of the all-time greats of the show. Her numbers skill were particularly strong; she maintained an impressive streak of scoring 7 or 10 points in every numbers round up until her first match in the Ladies' Championship, where she failed to score in the second numbers round.

Preceded by
Stephen Balment
Series winner
Series 13
Followed by
Nic Brown


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
604 3/07/1987 P Hilary Hopper 60 - 23 Cath Powell Gyles Brandreth Catherine Clarke 72
605 6/07/1987 P Hilary Hopper 43 - 22 Dennis Davies Gyles Brandreth Catherine Clarke 71
606 7/07/1987 P Hilary Hopper 54 - 41 Hilary Jones Russell Harty Catherine Clarke 85
607 8/07/1987 P Hilary Hopper 44 - 44 Boz Osberg Russell Harty Catherine Clarke 83
608 9/07/1987 P Hilary Hopper 53 - 43 Boz Osberg Russell Harty Catherine Clarke 71
609 10/07/1987 P Hilary Hopper 50 - 60 Robert Randall Russell Harty Catherine Clarke 72
641 25/08/1987 QF Hilary Hopper 58 - 54 John Clark Derek Nimmo Catherine Clarke 75
642 26/08/1987 SF Nita Marr 34 - 54 Hilary Hopper Derek Nimmo Catherine Clarke 69
644 28/08/1987 GF Hilary Hopper 94 - 79 Kevin Nelson Gyles Brandreth, Derek Nimmo Catherine Clarke 118
816 5/01/1989 CQF Hilary Hopper 41 - 56 Steve Williams Tim Rice Catherine Clarke 68
M44 29/01/1990-2/02/1990 M Hilary Hopper 77 – 110 Mike Percik none Catherine Clarke 136
1888 25/11/1996 fQF Hilary Hopper 56 - 23 Anthony Butcher Tom O'Connor Catherine Stokes 70
1891 28/11/1996 fSF Hilary Hopper 59 - 39 Wayne Summers Richard Digance David Swarbrick 71
1893 2/12/1996 fF Hilary Hopper 59 - 40 Damian Eadie Richard Digance David Swarbrick 73
1904 17/12/1996 SQF Hilary Hopper 49 - 56 Tim Morrissey Nigel Rees Catherine Clarke 75
3436 11/03/2003 LSF Hilary Hopper 45 - 35 Liz Barber Rick Wakeman Alison Heard 85
3438 13/03/2003 LF Hilary Hopper 32 - 54 Kate Ogilvie Rick Wakeman Alison Heard 83