Monday, August 24 on 4

A new series of the ever-popular game show. Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley host the show in which contestants race against the clock to pit their wits against vowels, consonants and numbers. This week’s Dictionary Corner guest is Alastair Stewart.

Channel 4 staple, Countdown, has been through some upheavals since the death of Richard Whitely, never seeming able to sit still and stick to presenters and format. Of the old-guard, Carol Vorderman, who left the show a year ago in less than amicable terms. Now, with Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley, the show seems to be more stable than ever before. However, here comes Carol to rock the boat again.

Reports say that Vorderman is “outraged” after Countdown producers admitted that the show’s presenters are given tips through earpieces. The bosses at the show recently confirmed that Dictionary Corner experts wear the devices in order to be fed answers.

Vorderman is now angry because she feels that fans of the show could now bring her mathematical prowess into question. A source close to the star told The Mirror: “Carol is outraged people might think she wore an earpiece and was told answers through it.

“Carol never wore an earpiece at all when she did the show and she fears she might get tarred by this. All her answers were all her own – she really is that clever!”

A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “As is common for studio recordings, all presenters, including Susie [Dent], are in touch via an earpiece to enable them to communicate with producers on matters ranging from camera directions to timings.

“The producer will sometimes supply extra ideas as there are often multiple options to ensure viewers are given the best possible answers. This has always been the case and we’ve always been transparent about that.”

What do you think of the news? Did you always think that this was the case and this is much ado about nothing? Do you feel cheated by the show and this is the latest example of TV fakery?


Countdown has been back on our screens over a month now, and with new presenters Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley added to the show, how is it doing?

Stelling, football commentator on Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports News has fit into the Countdown chair perfectly. His smooth old charmer looks, soothing voice, and lively, jokey chatter were missing from Countdown, with previous presenters Des Lynam and Des o’ Conner, both of whom were not quite comfortable in the role. Stelling’s puns and wit are easygoing for the Countdown audience, mostly consisting of the elderly, and cult-fan students. However, Stelling seems to have attracted a new audience group in football fans who otherwise follow him on his Saturday football commentating.

As we reported, the audience has increased on last year, with 11% more viewers tuning in at 15:25 on Channel 4.

And then there’s Rachel who has taken over from Carol Voderman. The 23-year-old, who graduated from Oxford with a MA degree in mathematics, seemed nervous at first, but being paired with Stelling seems to have worked well, as she’s now much more relaxed putting out the vowels and consonants. She is fancied by the fellas, and probably thought of as a lovely lass by the old ladies who’ll look at whatever she is wearing that afternoon, especially as she wore six inch heels on her debut show.

Their chemistry works well, and they genuinely seem to get along and be comfortable with each other, much like how the late Richard Whitely and Carol were for all those years from the show’s beginning.

The studio also had a revamp for the new series, and went from a bright hot pink and lilac to a cool blue, which is much easier to look at, and everything fits well.

Overhearing conversations about it, and reading opinions online, it seems Channel 4 are on a sure thing with Countdown now, and long may Stelling and Riley continue.






Viewing figures for Countdown have increased, since new presenters Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley started working on the show.

Ratings for the Channel 4 letters and numbers gameshow, now fronted by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling and newcomer Rachel Riley, have risen since the new series started almost two weeks ago. The first show attracted an audience of 1.3 million and an average of 1.1 million viewers have tuned-in to the following episodes, which is an increase of 11 percent on the 2008 ratings.

Channel 4 are pleased with the figures, and a spokesperson representing Countdown said: “Jeff and Rachel make a fantastic team.”

Critics were unsure about former Mathematics MA student Rachel, who took over from former presenter Carol Vorderman, who decided to leave the show following a big pay cut. Rachel had been nervous during the first few shows, but she soon relaxed and became confident in the position. A show insider told The Daily Mirror: “In Rachel’s first batch of filming she was a little nervous and camera-shy. But she has massively improved and has more confidence now so I am sure she will help to attract more male viewers to the show.

“She is beautiful and has the maths brains needed, so she is a big factor in the show’s new success.”

Jeff Stelling is best known for hosting Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports News. His sense of humour and personality have made him popular with viewers of the football show, and he has fitted into the role of Countdown presenter very well, attracting a new audience: “Jeff also seems to be helping get new viewers – possibly football fans – tune in for the first time and try the quiz.”

Monday 12 January 2009 at 3:25pm on C4

Afternoons on 4 are invigorated for the New Year as Countdown returns with a new series and a brand new presenting team. Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley host the show, and this week’s Dictionary Corner guest is Andrew Sachs. Plus Terry Wogan returns for a new series of Wogan’s Perfect Recall ; Celebrity Come Dine with Me features Rodney Marsh, Lesley Joseph, Paul Ross, Abi Titmuss and Linda Lusardi; and Noel Edmonds hosts Deal or No Deal .

Carol Vorderman has separated from her boyfriend Des Kelly, after five years. The Countdown British TV presenter has ended the realtionship with the journalist and has moved out with her two children, from previous marriage with Paddy King.

Read more.

Des is gone. Long live Des. It’s the beginning of a new era on Countdown as new presenter Des O’Connor steps into the Countdown chair this week when he joins Carol Vorderman to host the show in which contestants race against the clock to pit their wits with vowels, consonants and numbers. With Dictionary Corner guest Tom O’Connor.

Tuesday 2 January 2007 on Channel 4.

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