Rachel joined the afternoon show, which airs daily at 3.10pm on Channel 4, back in 2008. Alongside host Nick Hewer, Rachel is the resident Maths whizz but was unaware that she had reached the milestone:
I had no inkling that I had just filmed my 1000th episode when Nick announced it on the show, and I was touched that the Countdown team had surprised me with the news. As Nick continued, I thought they might have got me a bunch of flowers. But I nearly fell through the floor when Ryan Giggs suddenly appeared with some! – Rachel
As a dedicated Manchester United supporter, Rachel was visibly overwhelmed by the surprise visit. The footballer, who has recently reached the landmark of 1000 appearances for club and country, presented flowers and a signed shirt:
As a lifelong red, I’ve watched Giggsy rack up 1000 plus appearances since I was five so there couldn’t have been a more special way to celebrate mine. I’m really privileged to have a job that I love working on and on such an iconic show. I can’t thank the team and Ryan enough for such an amazing surprise. My signed ‘Riley 86’ shirt will be taking pride of place at home. – Rachel
Rachel replaced original co-host Carol Vorderman when she was ditched from the show after 26 years. The series relocated from its base in Leeds in 2009 when ITV cut back production at the Yorkshire Television studios – moving the programme to ITV Granada in Manchester, and more recently Salford.