TV presenter Anne Robinson will be the new host of Countdown, Channel 4 has confirmed.
She will be the first female host in the show in its 39-year history when she replaces Nick Hewer later in this year.
Robinson, 76, well known for her acerbic wit on BBC quiz show The Weakest Link, said she was “beyond thrilled” to be joining Countdown.
“The show is almost as old as I am and just as historic,” she joked.
Anne’s appointment was announced in Monday’s episode of Steph’s Packed Lunch.
Nick Hewer’s Departure
The announcement comes after Nick Hewer confirmed in December that he would be leaving Countdown after ten years in the hot seat.
In a series of tweets, Hewer said the coronavirus lockdown had made him reconsider his career path.
Robinson said he was “very excited” to work with two other “formidable” women in the show, Dictionary Corner’s Susie Dent and maths expert Rachel Riley.
“Three Clever Girls Do Countdown! Don’t you love the sound of that?” Robinson asked. “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,” she joked in response to previous speculation over her plastic surgery.
“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 a little scared of those brains but I think the three of us are going to change things, it’s going to be a good Countdown, aren’t we?”
Responding to the news, Dent sent a congratulatory message on Twitter.
‘Tone Down My Nastiness’
Robinson has strengthened her presence on TV screens by showcasing the BBC Watchdog and Points Of View shows in the 1980s, 90s and 00s.
But she became perhaps most famous for her put-downs to contestants on The Weakest Link, which she hosted from 2000 until 2012.
This included the catchphrase “You are the weakest link, goodbye” said to each contestant as they were voted off after each round.
“The catchphrase just came about on the pilot when I got really cheesed off with a contestant and I added the goodbye,” she told host Steph McGovern.
“These things are being developed the way they are.”
Robinson appeared at Countdown’s Dictionary Corner all week in 1987, when the program was led by the late Richard Whiteley.
She recalled: “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?”