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Anne Robinson revealed as Countdown’s first ever female host following Nick Hewer’s departure

Written by on 15 February 2021

Anne Robinson has said she is excited to work with the “formidable women” of Countdown after being announced as the show’s first ever female host.

Best known for presenting game show The Weakest Link, Robinson is now set to join mathematician Rachel Riley and lexicographer Susie Dent on the Channel 4 daytime series.

The 76-year-old will replace Nick Hewer, who announced in 2020 that he would be stepping down after almost 10 years in charge.

Anne Robinson has been announced as the new host of Countdown. Pic: Channel 4 Image: Robinson says she is a fan of the words, but the numbers not so much

“I am beyond thrilled to be joining Countdown,” Robinson said in a statement sent to Sky News. “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 facelift so I’ll have make do with this old one.

“Three Clever Girls Do Countdown! Don’t you love the sound of that?”

Countdown's Nick Hewer, pictured with Susie Dent and Rachel Riley in 2011, has announced he is leaving the show. Pics: Channel 4 Image: Nick Hewer, pictured with Susie Dent and Rachel Riley, is leaving the much loved show after almost 10 years

In her statement, Robinson added that she is a “crossword nut” so will be able to “make sense” of the show’s conundrums.

“But the adding up and taking away – I can’t go much further than working out the fee once my agent takes his cut,” she joked.

Countdown was the first programme to be broadcast on Channel 4 and has been on air since its launch in November 1982, making it one of the longest-running quiz shows in the world.

Robinson has appeared on the show before, as a guest in Dictionary Corner for a week in 1987, when the show was hosted by original presenter, the late Richard Whiteley.

She said: “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?”

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Robinson will be the show’s sixth host, following Whiteley, Des Lynam, Des O’Connor, Jeff Stelling and Hewer, and her first episode is set to be broadcast in late spring or early summer.

Countdown enjoyed its highest ratings since 2013 in 2020, averaging 449,000 viewers per episode, and its highest 16-34 share since 2015 – with the on-off COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK no doubt boosting numbers.

Peter Gwyn, the show’s executive producer, said viewers will “relish Anne’s unique style at the helm of this much-loved institution”, while Jo Street, head of daytime at Channel 4, described Robinson as “ferociously smart” and praised her quick wit.

Countdown is on weekdays at 2.10pm on Channel 4