Anne Robinson quits Countdown after a year of presenting

Find out all the latest about the popular daytime game show, Countdown.


by Lorna White |

Did you know that Countdown has been a part of our lives now for 39-years? We take a look back at the popular game show over the years and find out all the latest news.

Anne Robinson leaves Countdown

We've really enjoyed seeing Anne present Countdown as the very first female presenter of the show, but after just a year of presenting the show, she has quit her Countdown presenting role.

She said: "I have had a blast - we have taken the ratings up and transformed the guests too. "We no longer have northern newsreaders in Dictionary Corner - we have had a raft of top celebrities.

"But I have made up my mind to quit the show. I only signed on for a year and I have helped them out by doing about 40 shows more than my contract.

"I am moving on because I’ve got a lot going on – grandchildren, a big garden, an apartment in New York - and I want to enjoy them. 'Countdown' has taken up more time than I thought it would."

It's hard to believe it's been around a year since she announced she'd be presenting the show.

She first shared the news on popular day time TV show, Steph's Packed Lunch, where Anne joked "The show is almost as old as I am and just as historic," she joked.

As the first ever female host of the quiz, she took over from Nick Hewer, who hosted the show now for a decade. He Tweeted that he would be stepping down from his role in 2020.

Nick said: 'Delighted to be back in the Countdown studio after another enforced lockdown, BUT this latest lockdown has given me an opportunity to consider my future life and I’ve decided it’s a good time to step down at the end of my contract in the New Year.'

Anne sounded like she was looking forward to working alongside Dictionary Corner's Susie Dent and maths expert Rachel Riley to make up the now all-female line-up.


"Three clever girls do Countdown! Don't you love the sound of that?" Robinson said. "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 to make do with this old one," Anne joked.

"I am a crossword nut so the Countdown's conundrums I can make sense of. But the adding up and taking away - I can't go much further than working out the fee once my agent takes his cut.

"I'm slightly scared of those brains but I think the three of us will transform things, it will be Countdown goes chic, won't it?"

Anne became a household name back in the 80s and 90s after hosting Watchdog and Points of View. She later went on to host The Weakest Link from 2000 until 2012.

Countdown hosts from the past

Before Anne and Nick, Richard Whiteley was the first host of Countdown. Richard hosted the show for a whopping 23-years from 1982-2005. During this time, he became a much-loved part of British TV thanks to his great sense of humour, intelligence and often bold wardrobe choices.

After a battle with pneumonia which led to heart problems, Richard passed away aged just 61 after unsuccessful surgery.

Following Richard's death, Des Lynam hosted from 2005-2006 but had to cut his hosting duties short after difficulties travelling to Leeds for filming. He was replaced by Des O'Connor who presented the show for two years before leaving to focus on other projects.

In 2009, Jeff Stelling became the new host. Jeff was appointed at the same time as Carol Vorderman was replaced by Rachel Riley. Jeff left in 2011 to focus on his career as a sports journalist and he was replaced by Nick Hewer.

Most of us knew Nick from being one of Alan Sugar's advisors in The Apprentice from 2005 to 2014. Although we're huge fans of Nick, and we'll be sad to see him go, we think it's about time Countdown had a female host, and we're looking forward to seeing how Anne settles into her new role.

Remembering Countdown creator Marcel Stellman

Countdown was first created in 1982 by Marcel Stellman who recently passed away aged 96.

The very sad news was shared by his nephew on Twitter who wrote: "It is with our deepest sorrow we share with you news of the death of our beloved Uncle - Marcel Stellman, 96, who passed away late last night. Marcel is survived by his beloved wife Jean."

His Tweet prompted outpourings of love from Countdown fans and the Countdown team, amongst them, former Countdown star Carol Vorderman and dictionary corner's Susie Dent.

Carol's Tweet read: 'I am so sorry to hear this news Mark....x Marcel and Jeanie and I had so many very happy decades together, forging a path for Countdown in the early days and working hard together to make it the juggernaut it then became....Happy days. A great life well lived. ❤️'

Susie said: 'Very sad news for the Countdown family today: with the death of Marcel Stellman we have lost our patriarch and most passionate advocate. He brought to the UK a format that almost everyone has played and loved. And we loved him. #RIPMarcel'

The Belgian wasn't just a game show creator - he was also a successful record producer and lyricist, famous for writing songs for stars including Cilla Black, Charles Aznavour and The Shadows. He also wrote the 1958 Max Bygraves hit Tulips From Amsterdam.

Countdown was Channel 4's first show at its 1982 launch and has become one of the world's most enduring game shows.

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