Hard Spell final. BBC ONE, Sunday 5 December at 8.00pm
Thirteen year old Gayathri Kumar from Ormskirk, near
Liverpool, has been named the first Hard Spell Champion.
Gayathri notched up an incredible list of correctly spelt words as
diverse and difficult as apocalypse, mezzanine, troglodyte, claustrophobia,
geisha and resuscitate to become Britain's best young speller on Sunday
Gayathri was delighted: "I'm extremely happy that I won the first
ever Hard Spell competition in the UK.
"When I arrived at Television Centre I was so tense, I was just
numb, and I didn't even think I'd be going through to the finals."
Eamonn Holmes presented Gayathri with the Hard Spell
"I've been truly amazed at the standard of spelling from these young
kids and the sheer enthusiasm for a subject which will be invaluable
to them in life.
"Congratulations to Gayathri and well done to all the kids who
The five finalists were whittled down from over 100,000 spellers who
took part in school competitions back in September.
Hard Spell Champion Gayathri went head-to-head with Nisha from Wolverhampton
who made it through to second place when she misspelt dachshund.
The first person to be knocked out was Sarah from Cornwall who misspelt
acquittal and riviera in the first spelling challenge, where contestants
had to spell ten words correctly.
Dominic from Bath was knocked out in the second challenge and Mark
from Cambridge made it through in third place.
Gayathri won a holiday of a lifetime, £5,000 worth of media equipment
for her school and the Hard Spell trophy.
Gayathri, who is passionate about reading and writing, said: "I
really wanted to win Hard Spell because I know it would make my dad
really proud and I'd like to go on holiday somewhere like Russia or
"And I've always been really jealous of people who get trophies,
and now I've won the Hard Spell trophy."
Gayathri's top tip for spellers and future Hard Spell contestants
is to "write down the words you get wrong and carry the list around
with you, looking at it when you have spare time."
Headmistress, Miss J Brandreth of Merchant Taylor School for Girls,
said: "We're hugely proud of her at school. Gayathri has displayed
her characteristic ability to cope under pressure with a natural determination
Her dad Suresh's advice on the night was: "Take your time and
think about the word, and most of all just enjoy the experience."
Hard Spell is developed with BBC Format Entertainment. The executive
producer is Karen Smith.
Notes to Editors
The other finalists:
Second place - Nisha Abraham Thomas aged 12 from Wolverhampton.
Misspelt word - Dachshund
Third place - Mark Jackson aged 13 from Cambridge.
Misspelt word - Toxophilite
Fourth place - Dominic Harvey aged 11 from Bath.
Dominic was eliminated second.
Misspelt word - Meerkat
Fifth place - Sarah Williams aged 12 from Penzance.
Sarah was eliminated first.
Misspelt words - Acquittal and Riviera
Gayathri's winning words: