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Mark Nyman

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Mark Nyman.jpg
First appearance 22 August 1990
Last appearance 26 May 2000
Appearances 308
Episodes with Mark Nyman
Guest appearances of Mark Nyman
First appearance 29 May 1984
Last appearance 14 October 1986
Appearances 4
Episodes with Mark Nyman
Mark Nyman
Octochamp Statistics
Final positionRunner-up
Points total427
Conundrums solved7

Mark Nyman was an octochamp in and the runner-up of Series 3, as well as the inaugural Countdown Champion of Champions. He is also a former producer of the show.

He debuted at the age of 16, running off eight consecutive wins to qualify for the Series finals as No. 1 seed. In the quarter-final he faced Ted Wiles and racked up a then record 79 points, in the semi-final he faced Esther Byers, sister of Series 2 runner-up Russell Byers and beat her by 5 points. The final was a tense, close affair rather than a high scoring one, Nyman was ahead going into the conundrum against Andrew Guy, but it was Guy that solved RREEALOTC in three seconds, relegating Nyman to the runner-up's spot.

A few months later, Nyman was asked to stand in as an emergency Dictionary Corner guest for 3 episodes when the booked guest, Ned Sherrin got his dates confused and didn't turn up. Later in 1984, Nyman returned at 17 to compete in the Championship of Champions I where he beat octochamp William Bradford and Series 2 champion Ash Haji on the way to a final against Series 1 champion Joyce Cansfield. It turned out not to be a close game as Nyman took the game 65 – 34, nearly double Cansfield's score, and making him the first number one seed to win a Countdown final. Nyman returned after the Championship of Champions II to face the event's winner Clive Freedman and beat him. The game was close, but Nyman avoided a crucial conundrum and eventually won the game by 9 points. Nyman also appeared on the special episode to celebrate Countdown's 500th show on 2 February 1987. He made one further appearance as contestant in the Countdown Masters and beat Harvey Freeman, the only time that Freeman has lost a game of Countdown, although it was not part of a standard series.

Later in 1990, Nyman took on the role of lexicographer, making 308 appearances in this capacity, the last being in Series 42.

Nyman served as the show's producer from 1992 until 2002, and because the Supreme Championship was organised in 1996, he was forbidden from inviting himself.

Nyman's father Les also appeared on Countdown, on Series 14, in 1987.

Nyman married in 2004 and has two children, Max and Kizzy. However in 2017, he has since divorced and his quote about it infamously appeared in an episode in "Have I Got News For You" hosted by Victoria Coren Mitchell on 13 November 2017, saying "I got married and my game fell apart, then divorced and I was back on it."[1]

Preceded by
Russell Byers
Series runner-up
Series 3
Followed by
Christine Hunt

Champion of Champions
Championship of Champions I
Followed by
Clive Freedman


Leeds-based Nyman also excels as a Scrabble player. He is most widely known as the first British player to win the World Scrabble Championship, which he accomplished in 1993. He was the only Briton to achieve this feat, until Series 57 champion Craig Beevers matched it in 2014. Nyman played Canadian Joel Wapnick in the 1993 WSC final, in which he came back from 2 – 1 behind to win 3 – 2, including winning one game having been 174 behind. The two met again in the 1999 WSC final, and this time Wapnick was victorious, winning a nail-biting decider by just a single point; 403 to 402. Nyman finished runner-up again, at the 2016 MSI WSC, after losing 3 – 0 to Brett Smitheram. He has won 21 British 'major' championships, considerably more than any other player.


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
113 14/11/1983 P David Lawton 23 – 59 Mark Nyman Gyles Brandreth Yvonne Warburton 71
114 15/11/1983 P Mark Nyman 54 – 44 Alan Morris William Rushton Yvonne Warburton 71
115 16/11/1983 P Mark Nyman 57 – 4 Fred Jean William Rushton Yvonne Warburton 69
116 17/11/1983 P David Hughes 33 – 57 Mark Nyman William Rushton Yvonne Warburton 68
117 21/11/1983 P Roy Davenport 36 – 43 Mark Nyman William Rushton Yvonne Warburton 73
118 22/11/1983 P Heather Twidle 22 – 62 Mark Nyman Ned Sherrin Julia Swannell 66
119 23/11/1983 P Mark Nyman 40 – 35 Myra Mayor Ned Sherrin Julia Swannell 70
120 24/11/1983 P Peter Richardson 46 – 55 Mark Nyman Ned Sherrin Julia Swannell 69
126 6/12/1983 QF Mark Nyman 79 – 18 Ted Wiles Ned Sherrin Julia Swannell 83
130 13/12/1983 SF Mark Nyman 56 – 51 Esther Byers Ned Sherrin Julia Swannell 72
132 15/12/1983 GF Andrew Guy 92 – 85 Mark Nyman Ned Sherrin,
Gyles Brandreth
Julia Swannell 114
185 15/10/1984 CQF William Bradford 28 – 54 Mark Nyman Ned Sherrin Yvonne Warburton 68
189 19/10/1984 CSF Ash Haji 34 – 61 Mark Nyman Ned Sherrin Yvonne Warburton 67
191 23/10/1984 CGF Joyce Cansfield 34 – 65 Mark Nyman Ned Sherrin,
Nigel Rees
Yvonne Warburton 69
445 13/10/1986 CCC Clive Freedman 67 – 76 Mark Nyman Gyles Brandreth,
Bill Tidy
Catherine Clarke 114
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
M45 5/02/1990-9/02/1990 M Mark Nyman 76 – 68 Harvey Freeman none Catherine Clarke 132
2874 2/11/2000 X Gyles Brandreth and
Mark Nyman
50 – 46 Jo Brand and
Damian Eadie
none Susie Dent 74

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

External Links

Knutsford Guardian, 11th September 2009: Mark Nyman wins Scrabble championship

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