Channel 4 has announced that Anne Robinson is to take over from Nick Hewer as the host of Countdown.
The news was revealed on Steph’s Packed Lunch today (15th February) after the show teased her name to viewers with a Countdown conundrum. She is the show’s sixth host and the first female to fill the hot seat on the long-running programme.
“I am beyond thrilled to be joining Countdown. The show is almost as old as I am and just as historic. I am particularly excited to be working alongside the Show’s two other formidable women. Worryingly, Susie and Rachel are not only very smart but younger, prettier and thinner than me. Sadly, there’s no time for another face lift so I’ll have make do with this old one.” – Anne Robinson
Anne is a journalist and broadcaster best known as the indomitable host of BBC quiz The Weakest Link which she presented both in the UK and in America. Her put downs to contestants on the show earnt her the nickname ‘Queen of Mean’.
Channel 4 note that she will make her on screen debut on Countdown this summer. She replaces Nick Hewer who earlier this year announced he would be stepping down after nearly ten years on the show.
Rachel Riley, Nick Hewer and Susie Dent
Anne previously appeared on the show in the late 1980s as one of the Dictionary Corner guests.
“I was so in awe of the great Richard Whiteley. I think I only said Good Afternoon and Goodbye. Who thought I’d have the chance to follow in his giant footsteps?”
Channel 4 Head of Daytime, Jo Street, said: “I am a huge fan of Anne and her quick wit. I am immensely proud that this ferociously smart woman will be joining the show as host alongside the brilliant Rachel Riley and Susie Dent.”
Carol Vorderman and Richard Whiteley
Carol Vorderman and Des Lynam
Countdown was the first programme to be broadcast on Channel 4 in 1982 hosted by Richard Whiteley. Following his death in 2005 the show has had a number of hosts including Des Lynam, Des O’Connor and Jeff Stelling.
Co-host Carol Vorderman, who also assisted from the beginning, left in 2008. She was replaced with Rachel Riley. The series was originally produced by ITV Yorkshire in Leeds, switching to ITV Granada in 2009. It more recently switched to the Media City Studios in Salford.
Des O’Connor and Carol Vorderman
Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley
The words and numbers game began on French television in 1965, Des chiffres et des lettres while Yorkshire Television experimented with the format locally in their ITV region as Calendar Countdown before pitching the idea to the soon to launch Channel 4. It became a staple part of the afternoon schedules, with its 30-minute slot extended to 45 minutes in 2001.
Nick is currently the second longest serving host after Richard Whiteley. He became a noted ‘television personality’ thanks to his advisor role on BBC One’s The Apprentice.
Countdown is produced by ITV Studios for Channel 4.