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Stu Harkness

From Countdown
Stu Harkness
Octochamp Statistics
Final positionSemi-finalist
Points total886
Conundrums solved5
Stu Harkness in Series 57...
...and again 14 years later in Series 84...
...and again in the Championship of Champions XVI!

Stu Harkness was a contestant in Series 57 and an octochamp in 84. He joined Apterous in 2020. He was a Maths Teacher from Tweedbank. He was also a participant in Championship of Champions XVI.

Harkness first appeared in 2007, losing his only game to Jason Cullen. On his tremendous return in 2021, he spotted three nine-letter words and scored in every round, helping him break the record for the highest ever score from a challenger against a carry-over champion with 148 points – the third-highest score in Countdown history – against five-time winner Jack Millard. He continued a strong run with seven centuries and one score in the 90s. His eighth game was not broadcast on 3 December 2021 as scheduled due to technical problems; however, it was made available initially on Virgin Media's catch up service before finally airing five days later on 8 December 2021 at 6:10 am.

Entering the finals as the No. 2 seed, Harkness – sporting an exclamation mark on his shirt – returned on 16 December 2021 for the second quarter-final against fellow Scotsman Roddie Bell. Despite Bell levelling the scoreline in the first numbers game, Harkness won several letters rounds to extend his lead – including a spot of LIONHEART for nine – and confirm his place in the semi-final. In the last impossible-to-score numbers game, Harkness pulled off a hilarious gag; making a paper aeroplane out of his sheet with the target 747 written on the side. Harkness then played against Florence Cappleman-Lynes in the semi-final. After Harkness had outaged ☓ disallowed in the second letters round, Florence held the lead, although Harkness kept up very closely and reduced the game to a seven point difference in the last letters round. Florence, however, solved a crucial conundrum to advance to the final, while Harkness bowed out with a second defeat. Harkness amassed an overall score of 1,095 points in his Series 84 run. With his Series 57 appearance, his overall total of points is 1,158 points.

Harkness returned to the programme for the third time in the Championship of Champions XVI on 5 January 2023, where his opponent was Series 81 champion James Haughton. Haughton established a good lead in the game by the second commercial break, although Harkness all but wiped it out by spotting VOCALISES for 9 to eventually take the match to a crucial conundrum. Haughton though buzzed in on 3 seconds with SYLPHLIKE, meaning that Harkness lost on a crucial with a score of 97 in consecutive games.

He is also a competitive Scrabble player and qualified for the National Scrabble Championship Finals in 2016.

He has also appeared on Pointless on BBC One.


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Presenters Guest Lex Max
4499 10/12/2007 P Jason Cullen 77 – 63 Stu Harkness Des O'Connor Carol Vorderman Henry Blofeld Alison Heard 122
7645 24/11/2021 P Jack Millard 53 – 148 Stu Harkness Anne Robinson Rachel Riley Shirley Ballas Susie Dent 153
7646 25/11/2021 P Stu Harkness 104 – 38 Matty Hurst Anne Robinson Rachel Riley Shirley Ballas Susie Dent 147
7647 26/11/2021 P Stu Harkness 96 – 46 Chris Bickley Anne Robinson Rachel Riley Shirley Ballas Susie Dent 133
7648 29/11/2021 P Stu Harkness 107 – 63 Olly Walker Anne Robinson Rachel Riley Clare Balding Susie Dent 133
7649 30/11/2021 P Stu Harkness 110 – 28 Kate Sewell Anne Robinson Rachel Riley Clare Balding Susie Dent 153
7650 01/12/2021 P Stu Harkness 105 – 60 Shane Corry Anne Robinson Rachel Riley Clare Balding Susie Dent 124
7651 02/12/2021 P Stu Harkness 116 – 45 David Danskin Anne Robinson Rachel Riley Clare Balding Susie Dent 136
7652 08/12/2021 P Stu Harkness 100 – 53 Sophie Wilcox Anne Robinson Rachel Riley Clare Balding Susie Dent 139
7661 16/12/2021 QF Stu Harkness 112 – 82 Roddie Bell Anne Robinson Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon Adrian Chiles 137
7665 22/12/2021 SF Stu Harkness 97 – 114 Florence Cappleman-Lynes Anne Robinson Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon Richard Coles Susie Dent 122
7925 05/01/2023 CP Stu Harkness 97 – 111 James Haughton Colin Murray Rachel Riley Richard Osman Susie Dent 134