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Anne’s ready to Countdown

Broadcasting

Anne’s ready to Countdown

Today the countdown ends to the start of a new era of a Channel 4 institution.

New host Anne Robinson – the first woman in the Countdown hotseat – joins numbers whizz Rachel Riley and leading lexicographer Susie Dent, as contestants race against the clock to pit their wits against vowels, consonants and numbers. Rory Bremner is in Dictionary Corner with Susie.

Anne, we’re told, will be introduced into the hotseat by original host Richard Whiteley, who died in 2005. Anne first appeared as a guest in the dictionary corner in 1987 and this sequence is likely to be the introduction to the Robison era. Other than that very little else has changed, the music, titles, set and famous clock is all the same.

“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 the first female host of Channel 4’s longest-running series, following names such as Des Lynam, Jeff Stelling, Des O’Connor and up until last week Nick Hewer.

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 earned her the nickname ‘Queen of Mean’.

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.

Countdown, which airs every weekday at 2.10pm, is filmed in Salford. It was the first programme to broadcast on Channel 4, when the channel launched 39 years ago, in November 1982, making it one of the longest-running quiz shows in the world. Originally produced by Yorkshire Television in Leeds it is now produced by Lifted Entertainment (a rebranded ITV Studios Entertainment label). The programme moved to Manchester from Leeds in 2009 and relocated to Salford in 2012.

The format sees a mix of letters rounds and a numbers rounds and a final “Conundrum” puzzle. With the exception of the Conundrum, the contestants swap control after every round so that each of them has control for five letters rounds and two numbers rounds. The one with the highest score at the end goes on to attempt to thrash another player.

Countdown, weekdays at 2.10pm on Channel 4

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