By | May 3, 2022

Well that didn’t last long.

Here’s what we wrote on February 21st 2021:

Anne Robinson’s the new permanent host of Countdown.

When Nick Hewer took over we thought “that is an interesting piece of stunt casting” – he went on to host it for almost a decade and is now retiring at 77. Clearly this is also an interesting piece of stunt casting, we’d be lying if we said this didn’t grab our attention and are quite intrigued by the prospect, but she’s only six months younger than Hewer so this can’t be a long term thing, surely?

According to The Mirror:

Over the past 12 months there’s been several reports of Robinson clashing with her co-star Rachel Riley, but this has been widely denied.

Robinson, who recorded 265 episodes of the show, said of her decision to quit: “I’ve had a blast hosting this wonderful show. And I stayed longer than I signed up for. Now it is time for an older woman to take the reins.

“I hope too I’ve encouraged TV bosses to realise that not all women at the wrong end of their seventies are in care homes playing bingo and watching conjuring tricks,” she continued.

Alright then, who’s next? The book probably says Colin Murray, but the book said Colin Murray last time. People have already suggested Jeff Stelling again, but he’s unretiring and staying on Sky Sports for a bit longer yet. Do they want a longer-term host or are they happy with regular bits of stunt casting? Perhaps they should beat Celebrity Lingo to the punch and hire RuPaul. If only Sir Trev wasn’t 82-ish.

11 thoughts on “ANNEROBISGONE

  1. David

    Would viewers take to a CGI Richard Witeley? You have to assume that ITV are thinking about it. An Audience Without Less Dawson was a few years ago now so they have the technology to do it.

    Maybe there are other factors that mean they won’t go down that route. I wonder how many current regular Countdown viewers were also regular viewers in the Richard Whiteley years? Maybe an artificial Dick is not the draw it once would have been 15 years ago.

    I don’t really watch Countdown now but I did watch a few bits of Robinson episodes where the guest was interesting. Her speaking to The Reverend Richard Coles and Janet Ellis about the lose of a partner were actually interesting interviews on a standalone basis. Maybe Channel 4 could give her a chat show without all the letters and numbers getting in the way.

  2. Steve Williams

    The stuff about Colin Murray reminds me a bit of when Richard and Judy left This Morning, and everyone expected Fern Britton and John Leslie to get it because they were their regular stand-ins, but they got in Colleen Nolan and Twiggy instead. Of course, they were bloody awful, but I wonder if the reason was because they thought if they went for Fern and John it would just seem like Richard and Judy were on holiday and Fern and John were still just the stand-ins, it wasn’t enough of a break with the past. But then they went for Fern and John after all.

    And it was the same with The One Show when Adrian Chiles left, everyone expected Uncle Matt Baker to get it and it turned out to be Jason Manford, and again when he had to, cough, go away, Uncle Matt did take over after all. But it’s the same idea I think. And similarly if Colin Murray had taken over last year, it might have just looked like Nick was off again – but now that probably isn’t a problem.

    I do remember when Richard died, Gyles Brandreth was linked with it and he said he didn’t want to do it because he thought every time he appeared people would just be disappointed he wasn’t Richard.

  3. SLJ

    Indeed it didn’t seem like a long-term thing when it was announced, but this is even swifter than I expected. Des Lynam stuck around for longer!

    I thought Anne was fine, certainly an improvement on Nick Hewer. Though it didn’t always work, I appreciated that she actually tried to involve the contestants (unlike Hewer) and the last set of finals in December meant a little more for her efforts. The Dictionary Corner guests have generally been much better, and her interview approach has meant I now listen to their segment more often than not.

    I found Colin Murray a bit full-on last time around; his frequent chipping in and trying to outdo everyone wore thin with me after a little while. Perhaps if he reigned it in he’d be good.

    Simon McCoy, Moira Stuart and Victoria Coren-Mitchell would be my suggestions, however unlikely.

  4. Thomas Sales

    Bring back Trevor McDonald. The producers obviously have no problem with presenters only staying for a short time.

  5. Des Elmes

    I see there are rumours of Vorders returning… and she hasn’t exactly squashed these rumours, tweeting that it would be an honour to return (I guess she has forgiven and forgotten, then).

    I still can’t see it happening – and without any disrespect intended, if it *did* happen it would be rather like an estranged parent coming back into one’s life. (Although, of course, she wouldn’t be taking her old job back from Rachel.)

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Yeah I think it would be a bit weird. However given she walked out apparently having a contract slashed from £1m to £100,000, I can well imagine looking at Anne’s reported £500,000 and wondering if she can get a piece. I think even Vorders can see where the show is now and discern that’s good value.

      There would certainly be a lot of initial intrigue if she did get the job – which seems to be the primary thinking when selecting hosts these days – would there be rivalry? No probably not, that well will probably run dry in days – then you’re limited to whether people want to watch Countdown or not to which the answer is: no more or less than usual to be honest.

  6. Brig Bother Post author

    Colin Murray filling in the remainder of the series, apparently.

    Stunt casting is just not going to do anything for the show going forward, I don’t get why you don’t just give someone with a track record who has a genuine enthusiasm for the show the job full time now.

    1. Des Elmes

      Hear hear.

      Are we to know at any point the true reason why Anne is leaving *during* a series, rather than at the end of it like with all her predecessors?

      1. SLJ

        Anne said in an interview that she did more than her contract “to help them out”. My guess is that she intended to leave after the current series final, but Colin Murray wasn’t available for those later recording dates, so she agreed to temporarily return.

        This does all seem a bit of a messm with potentially yet another new presenter in November.


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