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Series 41

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Scott Mearns, the series winner with his winning dictionaries.

Series 41 ran from 28 June to 25 December 1999. The forty-first of 53 series presented by Richard Whiteley, it was won by Scott Mearns. Richard Whiteley coined the word octochamp in this series, which had six of them — a record for all the series in the 9 round format.

This is known to be one of the best contested series in the 9 round era: an analysis provided by Eoin Jackson and published to c4countdown in 2020 suggested this was the third-best series of all time: between them, the eight finalists achieved a 79% raw score, which not only is the highest in the 9 round era, but the highest prior to the establishment of Apterous and other training aids. This is further indicated by Simon Cooper's octotal of 482 only being good enough for third seed: in almost every other series, this would have been high enough for the number one seeding position. Cooper, Lucy Roberts, and Mearns also made it into the 480 club: this being the only series where two people, let alone three, made it into that club. Sanjay Mazumder and Melvin Hetherington, with 479 and 478 points respectively, only just missed out.

In the first quarter-final, Mearns pulled out a big lead over Rory Dunlop to take a 21-point lead after round five, and therein Dunlop was able to match Mearns, before spotting TOMPIEMAN in 20 seconds to leave the winning margin of 11 points closer than the game suggested. A major shock took place in the second quarter-final when Gary "Carol's toyboy" Woodward defeated number two seed Lucy Roberts by 7 points, in a tight see-sawing match. Woodward started the stronger with EXPLOIT and AUDITED allowing him to pull out a 14-point lead at the break, before Roberts halved the deficit with ENIGMAS, before Woodward was able to win the game before the conundrum by spotting the final numbers game. Roberts was able to spot the conundrum in under three seconds, but Woodward had prevailed to knock out the number-two seed and then third-highest scoring octochamp of all time. In the third quarter-final, Simon Cooper was able to defeat Margaret Foster thanks mainly down to picking up 14 points off the numbers games to Foster's 0. Although Foster was able to beat Cooper on a letters round and take the game to a crucial conundrum, Cooper unravelled LASTMINUT in anything but the last minute to move into the semi-finals. The fourth quarter-final was a game of two halves, as starting with the nine IMPLANTED led to a half-time score of 41 – 35, with Mazumder having played a perfect first half. Hetherington, however, stole the lead immediately after the break with CHAPERONS and extending that lead with ENERGY to win the game without the need of a crucial conundrum.

This meant Mearns played Hetherington in the first semi-final. Mearns was able to take an early 7-point lead with BOATING, but therein each round was matched, and with the gap still at 7 points going into the conundrum, a major upset was potentially on the cards, but Mearns unscrambled HOTWARMER in two seconds to book his place in the Christmas Day final. In the other semi-final, between Cooper and Woodward, Woodward took an early lead with PATIO, but Cooper's nine-letter-word GELATINES suddenly gave him a 13-point lead, which he extended to 23 points following the first numbers game. The rest of the match was largely uneventful, allowing Cooper to take his place in the final.

A promising letters selection in the first round of the final prompted Mearns to risk MORTALISE ☓, thus giving Cooper an early 8-point lead in the 14-round final, but this deficit was almost instantly overturned when Mearns was able to score the first numbers game spot on. Mearns extended this lead with REMOTE in round four and spotting the first conundrum, PIESNMASH, to lead by 18 points at the halfway stage. Whilst the other four letters games were largely uneventful, Mearns took a further 7 points out of Cooper on the round 10 numbers game, and whilst Cooper mounted a late comeback with 7 points on the final numbers and spotting PARTYNITE, it was too little too late and Mearns won by 81 – 73. Both Mearns and Cooper would return for the Championship of Champions X the following week, but sadly no one from the series would return for the 30th Birthday Championship.

Contents

Seed table

Rank Name Wins Points
1 Scott Mearns 8 510
2 Lucy Roberts 8 504
3 Simon Cooper 8 482
4 Sanjay Mazumder 8 479
5 Melvin Hetherington 8 478
6 Margaret Foster 8 448
7 Gary Woodward 6 418
8 Rory Dunlop 6 408
Between Series 38 and Series 59, players are sorted by number of wins, then by number of points. Points from both wins and losses count. Points from sudden death conundrums are not counted, and players with the same number of wins and points are sorted by highest score.

Finals progress

Scott Mearns (1) vs Rory Dunlop (8) Scott Mearns (1) vs Melvin Hetherington (5) Scott Mearns (1)
vs
Simon Cooper (3)
Melvin Hetherington (5) vs Sanjay Mazumder (4)
Simon Cooper (3) vs Margaret Foster (6) Simon Cooper (3) vs Gary Woodward (7)
Gary Woodward (7) vs Lucy Roberts (2)
The winner of each game is displayed in bold.

Episodes

# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
2553 28/06/1999 P Bobby Johnson 12 – 80 Scott Mearns Jan Harvey Damian Eadie 86
2554 29/06/1999 P Scott Mearns 67 – 35 Bill Rose Jan Harvey Damian Eadie 72
2555 30/06/1999 P Scott Mearns 76 – 39 Sarah Houchin Jan Harvey Damian Eadie 85
2556 1/07/1999 P Scott Mearns 74 – 32 Michael Forster Jan Harvey Damian Eadie 78
2557 2/07/1999 P Scott Mearns 55 – 43 Gareth Mort Jan Harvey Damian Eadie 72
2558 5/07/1999 P Scott Mearns 63 – 14 Tony Allen Barry Cryer Damian Eadie 84
2559 6/07/1999 P Scott Mearns 34 – 30 William Brewer Barry Cryer Damian Eadie 72
2560 7/07/1999 P Scott Mearns 61 – 27 Lesley Millar Barry Cryer Damian Eadie 83
2561 8/07/1999 P Andy Conner 40 – 50 Kevill Davies Barry Cryer Damian Eadie 71
2562 9/07/1999 P Kevill Davies 20 – 59 Kay Powick Barry Cryer Damian Eadie 86
2563 12/07/1999 P Kay Powick 71 – 53 Derek Harrison Barry Cryer Damian Eadie 83
2564 13/07/1999 P Kay Powick 55 – 44 Will Drever Don Black Susie Dent 73
2565 14/07/1999 P Kay Powick 52 – 18 Marjorie Turner Don Black Susie Dent 74
2566 15/07/1999 P Kay Powick 45 – 41 Alistair Macpherson Don Black Susie Dent 80
2567 16/07/1999 P Kay Powick 36 – 40 Jack Waley-Cohen Don Black Susie Dent 73
2568 19/07/1999 P Jack Waley-Cohen 50 – 46 Susan Priestley Don Black Susie Dent 75
2569 20/07/1999 P Jack Waley-Cohen 56 – 35 Malcolm Roberts Don Black Susie Dent 72
2570 21/07/1999 P Jack Waley-Cohen 45 – 49 Tricia Malone Philip Franks Susie Dent 82
2571 27/07/1999 P Tricia Malone 38 – 65 Steve Way Philip Franks Susie Dent 74
2572 29/07/1999 P Steve Way 43 – 60 Christopher Wade Philip Franks Susie Dent 74
2573 30/07/1999 P Christopher Wade 42 – 34 Jill Strangward Philip Franks Susie Dent 82
2574 2/08/1999 P Christopher Wade 44 – 49 Dennis Raishbrook Philip Franks Susie Dent 83
2575 3/08/1999 P Dennis Raishbrook 61 – 46 Caroline Andrews Philip Franks Susie Dent 92
2576 4/08/1999 P Dennis Raishbrook 39 – 69 Graham Bucknall Terry Wogan Mark Nyman 75
2577 10/08/1999 P Graham Bucknall 59 – 25 Yasmin Wells Terry Wogan Mark Nyman 76
2578 11/08/1999 P Graham Bucknall 60 – 39 Miles Hudson Terry Wogan Mark Nyman 74
2579 12/08/1999 P Graham Bucknall 65 – 29 Caroline Wheatley Terry Wogan Mark Nyman 73
2580 13/08/1999 P Graham Bucknall 37 – 60 Barrie Debbage Terry Wogan Mark Nyman 83
2581 16/08/1999 P Barrie Debbage 46* – 36 Iain Cadogan Terry Wogan Mark Nyman 73
2582 17/08/1999 P Barrie Debbage 29 – 51 Angus Walker Siân Lloyd Mark Nyman 73
2583 18/08/1999 P Angus Walker 36 – 59 Rory Dunlop Siân Lloyd Mark Nyman 75
2584 24/08/1999 P Rory Dunlop 59 – 50 Alix Lee Siân Lloyd Mark Nyman 74
2585 25/08/1999 P Rory Dunlop 57 – 33 Corryne Robertson Siân Lloyd Mark Nyman 74
2586 26/08/1999 P Rory Dunlop 62 – 38 Gillian Wild Siân Lloyd Mark Nyman 84
2587 27/08/1999 P Rory Dunlop 56 – 51 Kristian Saether Siân Lloyd Mark Nyman 72
2588 30/08/1999 P Rory Dunlop 60 – 38 John Fairhurst Barbara Taylor Bradford Mark Nyman 75
2589 31/08/1999 P Rory Dunlop 55 – 66 Mickie O'Neill Barbara Taylor Bradford Mark Nyman 73
2590 1/09/1999 P Mickie O'Neill 62 – 23 Alistair Miller Barbara Taylor Bradford Mark Nyman 74
2591 2/09/1999 P Mickie O'Neill 41 – 53 Geraldine Curran Barbara Taylor Bradford Mark Nyman 69
2592 3/09/1999 P Geraldine Curran 51 – 39 Hilary Lawrence Barbara Taylor Bradford Mark Nyman 74
2593 6/09/1999 P Geraldine Curran 54 – 35 Denise Smith Barbara Taylor Bradford Mark Nyman 73
2594 7/09/1999 P Geraldine Curran 45 – 53 Susan Eardley Rick Wakeman Mark Nyman 94
2595 8/09/1999 P Susan Eardley 27 – 40 John Bolton Rick Wakeman Mark Nyman 72
2596 9/09/1999 P John Bolton 43 – 54 Angela Sheffield Rick Wakeman Mark Nyman 86
2597 10/09/1999 P Angela Sheffield 39 – 27 Bill Leslie Rick Wakeman Mark Nyman 73
2598 13/09/1999 P Angela Sheffield 49 – 51 Steve Clark Rick Wakeman Mark Nyman 75
2599 14/09/1999 P Steve Clark 40 – 47 Simon Cooper Rick Wakeman Mark Nyman 69
2600 15/09/1999 P Simon Cooper 51 – 28 Lisa Eyers Tom O'Connor Damian Eadie 84
2601 16/09/1999 P Simon Cooper 69 – 55 Niall Spooner-Harvey Tom O'Connor Damian Eadie 85
2602 17/09/1999 P Simon Cooper 72 – 14 Raymond Ogilvie Tom O'Connor Damian Eadie 73
2603 20/09/1999 P Simon Cooper 65 – 43 Ola Odutola Tom O'Connor Damian Eadie 73
2604 21/09/1999 P Simon Cooper 61 – 37 Lynne Savin-Smith Tom O'Connor Damian Eadie 73
2605 22/09/1999 P Simon Cooper 55 – 31 John Grisdale Tom O'Connor Damian Eadie 74
2606 23/09/1999 P Simon Cooper 62 – 51 Andrew Fenton Angela Rippon Damian Eadie 84
2607 24/09/1999 P Jean O'Neill 47 – 54 Christine Silverwood Angela Rippon Damian Eadie 73
2608 27/09/1999 P Christine Silverwood 44 – 56 Billy Davidson Angela Rippon Damian Eadie 84
2609 28/09/1999 P Billy Davidson 68 – 48 Jacqui Darby Angela Rippon Damian Eadie 75
2610 29/09/1999 P Billy Davidson 47 – 54 Tony Manwani Angela Rippon Damian Eadie 72
2611 30/09/1999 P Tony Manwani 56 – 43 Julie Smithies Angela Rippon Damian Eadie 74
2612 1/10/1999 P Tony Manwani 28 – 44 Rob Watson Richard Stilgoe Susie Dent 72
2613 4/10/1999 P Rob Watson 56 – 33 Frances Dewar Richard Stilgoe Susie Dent 82
2614 5/10/1999 P Rob Watson 37 – 67 Gary Woodward Richard Stilgoe Susie Dent 74
2615 6/10/1999 P Gary Woodward 60 – 44 Debbie Jones Richard Stilgoe Susie Dent 72
2616 7/10/1999 P Gary Woodward 60 – 22 Brian Scobie Richard Stilgoe Susie Dent 74
2617 8/10/1999 P Gary Woodward 67 – 34 Patricia Corrigan Richard Stilgoe Susie Dent 83
2618 11/10/1999 P Gary Woodward 65 – 47 Jonathan Mearns Geoffrey Durham Susie Dent 73
2619 12/10/1999 P Gary Woodward 48 – 42 John Lawes Geoffrey Durham Susie Dent 73
2620 13/10/1999 P Gary Woodward 51 – 55 Edward Mundell Geoffrey Durham Susie Dent 71
2621 14/10/1999 P Edward Mundell 42 – 54 Alix Anderson Geoffrey Durham Susie Dent 70
2622 15/10/1999 P Alix Anderson 56 – 46 Mick Hoare Geoffrey Durham Susie Dent 74
2623 18/10/1999 P Alix Anderson 52 – 59 Dee Voce Geoffrey Durham Susie Dent 73
2624 19/10/1999 P Dee Voce 60 – 39 Chris Phipps Toyah Willcox Mark Nyman 84
2625 20/10/1999 P Dee Voce 59 – 20 Lewis Mackay Toyah Willcox Mark Nyman 71
2626 21/10/1999 P Dee Voce 58 – 35 Duncan Bloomfield Toyah Willcox Mark Nyman 81
2627 22/10/1999 P Dee Voce 62 – 34 Liz Ireland Toyah Willcox Mark Nyman 75
2628 25/10/1999 P Dee Voce 58 – 62 Sanjay Mazumder Toyah Willcox Mark Nyman 72
2629 26/10/1999 P Sanjay Mazumder 58 – 40 Jennie Booth Toyah Willcox Mark Nyman 85
2630 27/10/1999 P Sanjay Mazumder 65 – 25 Mark Murray Marc Freden Mark Nyman 73
2631 28/10/1999 P Sanjay Mazumder 67 – 35 John Blaker Marc Freden Mark Nyman 84
2632 29/10/1999 P Sanjay Mazumder 62 – 40 Lesley Sutton Marc Freden Mark Nyman 75
2633 1/11/1999 P Sanjay Mazumder 56 – 28 Ian Scott Marc Freden Mark Nyman 72
2634 2/11/1999 P Sanjay Mazumder 49 – 24 Andrea Bates Marc Freden Mark Nyman 67
2635 3/11/1999 P Sanjay Mazumder 60 – 42 Alan Hill Marc Freden Mark Nyman 83
2636 4/11/1999 P Anthony Moorhouse 53 – 52 Olive Martin Lionel Blair Damian Eadie 72
2637 5/11/1999 P Anthony Moorhouse 51 – 55 Lucy Roberts Lionel Blair Damian Eadie 73
2638 8/11/1999 P Lucy Roberts 66 – 23 Michael West Lionel Blair Damian Eadie 73
2639 9/11/1999 P Lucy Roberts 69 – 43 Barry Soden Lionel Blair Damian Eadie 73
2640 10/11/1999 P Lucy Roberts 67 – 24 Alison Mooney Lionel Blair Damian Eadie 75
2641 11/11/1999 P Lucy Roberts 82 – 46 Derek Taylor Alastair Stewart Damian Eadie 88
2642 12/11/1999 P Lucy Roberts 55 – 35 Stanley Melrose Alastair Stewart Damian Eadie 75
2643 15/11/1999 P Lucy Roberts 49 – 35 Andrew Playle Alastair Stewart Damian Eadie 71
2644 16/11/1999 P Lucy Roberts 61 – 44 Elizabeth Evans Alastair Stewart Damian Eadie 71
2645 17/11/1999 P Margaret Foster 47 – 37 Jeremy Barton Alastair Stewart Damian Eadie 74
2646 18/11/1999 P Margaret Foster 62 – 20 Harry Driver Alastair Stewart Damian Eadie 72
2647 19/11/1999 P Margaret Foster 69 – 31 Steven Shepherd Vijay Amritraj Susie Dent 85
2648 22/11/1999 P Margaret Foster 50 – 46 Jackie Stevenson Vijay Amritraj Susie Dent 72
2649 23/11/1999 P Margaret Foster 58 – 27 Bill Malloy Vijay Amritraj Susie Dent 74
2650 24/11/1999 P Margaret Foster 57 – 38 Joan Tranter Vijay Amritraj Susie Dent 72
2651 25/11/1999 P Margaret Foster 60 – 43 Sheila Bailey Vijay Amritraj Susie Dent 74
2652 26/11/1999 P Margaret Foster 45 – 44 Neil Bird Vijay Amritraj Susie Dent 72
2653 29/11/1999 P Mandy Brazier 50 – 56 Perry Poole Jo Brand Damian Eadie 74
2654 30/11/1999 P Perry Poole 48 – 69 Melvin Hetherington Jo Brand Damian Eadie 72
2655 1/12/1999 P Melvin Hetherington 61 – 31 William Cussen Jo Brand Damian Eadie 82
2656 2/12/1999 P Melvin Hetherington 58 – 36 Steve Dannell Jo Brand Damian Eadie 83
2657 3/12/1999 P Melvin Hetherington 45 – 34 Richard Egerton Jo Brand Damian Eadie 72
2658 6/12/1999 P Melvin Hetherington 62 – 40 Derek Willan Jo Brand Damian Eadie 73
2659 7/12/1999 P Melvin Hetherington 64 – 47 Deborah Weddell Keith Barron Damian Eadie 77
2660 8/12/1999 P Melvin Hetherington 61 – 37 Arthur Cote Keith Barron Damian Eadie 84
2661 9/12/1999 P Melvin Hetherington 58 – 48 Carole Dunlop Keith Barron Damian Eadie 73
2662 10/12/1999 P Peter Goodwin 43 – 52 Muslim Salamat Keith Barron Damian Eadie 83
2663 13/12/1999 P Muslim Salamat 37 – 39 Lorraine Behrens Keith Barron Damian Eadie 83
2664 14/12/1999 P Lorraine Behrens 31 – 38 Duncan Kay Carol Barnes Damian Eadie 72
2665 15/12/1999 P Duncan Kay 31 – 57 Howard Parker Carol Barnes Damian Eadie 71
2666 16/12/1999 P Howard Parker 30 – 42 Helen Wrigglesworth Carol Barnes Damian Eadie 83
2667 17/12/1999 QF Scott Mearns 59 – 48 Rory Dunlop Carol Barnes Damian Eadie 73
2668 20/12/1999 QF Lucy Roberts 46 – 53 Gary Woodward Carol Barnes Damian Eadie 74
2669 21/12/1999 QF Simon Cooper 57 – 40 Margaret Foster Carol Barnes Damian Eadie 83
2670 22/12/1999 QF Sanjay Mazumder 58 – 69 Melvin Hetherington Rick Wakeman Catherine Clarke 94
2671 23/12/1999 SF Scott Mearns 68 – 51 Melvin Hetherington Rick Wakeman Catherine Clarke 72
2672 24/12/1999 SF Gary Woodward 41 – 64 Simon Cooper Rick Wakeman Catherine Clarke 84
2673 25/12/1999 GF Scott Mearns 81 – 73 Simon Cooper Rick Wakeman Catherine Clarke 116
* includes 10 points from a tie-break conundrum

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