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Countdown gets new bird and Jeff Stelling.

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Posted on ... 208967.ece

Countdown has a new double-act. Channel 4 has picked one from the bottom and one from the top to host their famous game show based on anagrams and maths puzzles.

Rachel Riley, a 22-year-old Oxford graduate will join Jeff Stelling, 55, a veteran sports journalist and presenter at Sky to front Channel 4’s flagship show.

The young blonde maths genius fought off stiff competition from 1,000 applicants to land the job after Carol Vorderman – who had been on the show for 26 years - quit because of a 90 per cent pay cut.

Miss Riley said: “This is the best graduate job in the world.

“There’s only one cool maths job around and I was lucky enough to get it so I’m absolutely thrilled.”

A spokesman for Sky said Mr Stelling’s new role would not interfere with his current TV commitments.

Countdown is Channel 4’s longest running show and was the first programme to be broadcast when the station was launched in November 1982. Cambridge graduate Vorderman is the show’s longest running presenter.

Miss Vorderman and previous presenter Des O’Connor recorded their final programme earlier this month which is due to air in December.

Des O’Connor, announced he was to step down in July. He joined the words and numbers quiz in January 2007 and helped the series celebrate its 25th birthday in November last year.

He replaced Des Lynam as the anchor, who stepped in following the death of the much-loved Richard Whiteley in 2005.

Helen Warner, Head of Channel 4 Daytime, said: “I’m very excited that Jeff and Rachel will be picking up the Countdown baton from 2009.

“They make a great team and I feel certain that our much-loved words and numbers game will go from strength to strength with them at the helm.”



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I shall miss occasionally tuning into Countdown hoping voluptuous carol would be clad in sexy tight clothing only to be predictably disappointed with the hideous wardrobe she has to wear. Carol is pure MILF and has improved greatly with age, despite the botox. She looked horrible for the first decade of countdown.

Richard whitely was brilliant. Des Lynham was a rubbish and a cardboard cutout would have had more charisma. De O'Connor is sort of OK I guess

End of an era. They should rename it Countout.

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