Richard Osman denies he will be the next Countdown host… as MailOnline looks at the top contenders


Bookmakers have tipped Carol Vorderman and Rachel Riley as favourites to replace Anne Robinson as the main presenter after number one favourite Richard Osman ruled himself out of the running.

Carol Vorderman, who was the show’s maths whizz for 26 years, this week told fans it ‘would be an honour’ to return to Countdown as host after calls for her to get the job.

It was revealed that Anne Robinson was leaving the show after just one year earlier this week by The Daily Mail’s Alison Boshoff, and Anne has since said she quit over a pay dispute.

Back again? Bookmakers have tipped Carol Vorderman and Rachel Riley as favourites to replace Anne Robinson as the main presenter after number one favourite Richard Osman ruled himself out of the running

Back again? Bookmakers have tipped Carol Vorderman and Rachel Riley as favourites to replace Anne Robinson as the main presenter after number one favourite Richard Osman ruled himself out of the running

It has been claimed the cast of Countdown are ‘relieved’ Anne is leaving after reports of an on-set feud with Rachel Riley – who Anne reportedly found ‘too noisy’ – and Susie Dent.

And as speculation circles about who will replace her, bookmakers have put Carol at the top of their lists, with Paddy Power giving her 4/1 odds, topped only by comedian Romesh Ranganathan with 2/1 odds.

After becoming a favourite to take the job as host and return to the show, after she departed as co-host in 2008, Carol took to Twitter on Wednesday to admit she would be ‘honoured’ to be offered the role.

She wrote: ‘Thank you to all of you saying such lovely things about a possibility of me returning to Countdown. 

Hope: Carol, who was the show's maths whizz for 26 years (pictured in 1984), this week told fans it 'would be an honour' to return to Countdown as host after calls for her to get the job

Hope: Carol, who was the show’s maths whizz for 26 years (pictured in 1984), this week told fans it ‘would be an honour’ to return to Countdown as host after calls for her to get the job

Honoured: Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, she sent her well wishes to the 'lucky human' who becomes the new host

Honoured: Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, she sent her well wishes to the ‘lucky human’ who becomes the new host

‘You’re very kind & it would be an honour but I want to wish whoever is the lucky human to be the new host all the love and 9 letter words in the world #CountWell#HappyDays.’

Speaking to The Sun, a TV insider previously revealed: ‘Carol is such a big part of Countdown and Channel 4 know how much everyone loves her.

‘Bosses would love her to come back as the main host, her Countdown journey would come full circle. It would be perfect.’ 

A source close to the star told the publication: ‘Countdown has always held a special place in Carol’s heart. And she continues to be a big fan of the show, nearly 40 years on.

Fingers crossed! Carol's fans were quick to take to Twitter to share their hopes that she would return to the game show, dubbing her an 'amazing' choice

Fingers crossed! Carol’s fans were quick to take to Twitter to share their hopes that she would return to the game show, dubbing her an ‘amazing’ choice

Promotion? Carol is not the only Countdown star who has been tipped to secure the hosting job on the Channel 4 game show, as existing co-host Rachel Riley is also in the running

Promotion? Carol is not the only Countdown star who has been tipped to secure the hosting job on the Channel 4 game show, as existing co-host Rachel Riley is also in the running 

FAVOURITES FOR NEXT COUNTDOWN HOST 

Ladbrokes  

  • Richard Osman – 3/1
  • Susan Calman – 4/1
  • Alex Horne – 4/1
  • Victoria Coren Mitchell – 9/2
  • Jon Richardson – 11/2
  • Moira Stuart – 7/1
  • Jane Garvey – 8/1
  • Jo Brand – 8/1
  • Paul O’Grady – 10/1
  • Shane Richie – 10/1
  • Matt Lucas – 10/1
  • Penny Smith – 10/1
  • Colin Murray – 12/1
  • Eamonn Holmes – 12/1
  • Katherine Ryan – 14/1
  • John Barrowman – 20/1

Star Sports Bookmakers

  • Richard Osman – 4/1
  • Colin Murray – 6/1
  • Joe Lycett – 16/1
  • Adam Hills – 20/1
  • Piers Morgan – 100/1

William Hill

  • Rachel Riley 3/1
  • Paul O’Grady 3/1
  • Moira Stuart 4/1
  • Colin Murray 4/1
  • Sir Trevor McDonald 6/1
  • Sandi Toksvig 7/1
  • Lorraine Kelly 7/1
  • Jon Snow 8/1
  • Claudia Winkelman 9/1
  • Rylan Clark 10/1
  • Kate Quilton 10/1
  • Sophie Raworth 12/1
  • Michelle Ackerley 12/1
  • Adrian Chiles 14/1
  • Melissa Nathoo 16/1

Paddy Power

  • 2/1 Romesh Ranganathan
  • 4/1 Carol Vorderman
  • 7/1 Fiona Bruce
  • 8/1 Jermaine Jenas
  • 10/1 Paul O’Grady
  • 10/1 Kate Garraway
  • 11/1 Colin Murray
  • 12/1 Jeff Stelling
  • 14/1 Dara O’Briain
  • 14/1 Dermot O’Leary
  • 14/1 Jimmy Carr
  • 16/1 Rachel Riley
  • 16/1 Victoria Derbyshire
  • 16/1 Rochelle Humes
  • 20/1 Phillip Schofield
  • 20/1 Ben Shephard
  • 20/1 Jon Richardson

‘It’s lovely to see that she’s had such great support from fans of the show online.’

And Carol’s fans were quick to take to Twitter to share their hopes that she would return to the game show, dubbing her an ‘amazing’ choice.

One person wrote: ‘I’m definitely team @carolvorders to replace @AnneRobinson.’

Another said: ‘As a huge fan and former contestant, please take the host job as I’m sure you will get offered it. it would be amazing.’

A third penned: ‘We all need our Carol back.’

And a fourth added: ‘@carolvorders gets my vote for the countdown job. Would be perfect.’

While a fifth commented: ‘Lets get @carolvorders back on #countdown.’

Carol is not the only Countdown star who has been tipped to secure the hosting job on the Channel 4 game show, as existing co-host Rachel Riley is also in the running.

William Hill put Rachel, 36, as their number one favourite, giving her the top odds of 3/1.

She was tied at the top with Paul O’Grady, who were both closely followed by Moira Stuart and Colin Murray, both with odds of 4/1.

Rachel replaced Carol as the show’s maths whizz on the long-running show and has been in the position for nearly 15 years.

Many bookmakers had put Richard Osman as their number one favourite to become the new host, but the author took himself out of the running on Wednesday.

Richard, 51, became the favourite to replace Anne with Ladbrokes saying he has 3/1 odds of nabbing the job, while Star Sports Bookmarkers placed him at 4/1.

But he took to Twitter to hit back at bookmakers marking him as the favourite for the job, as he joked he is ‘mortal enemies’ with Countdown’s Susie Dent.

Richard recently quit his show Pointless after 13 years but insisted he has ‘no time’ for the role and instead showed his support for radio presenter Colin Murray, 45, getting the job.

He tweeted: ‘I keep reading I’m the favourite to be the new Countdown host. But there are 3 problems. 

‘1. I just gave up a show I love because I have no time. 2. @susiedent and I are mortal enemies. 3. They should give the job to @ColinMurray.’

Richard said in his statement last month when he quit Pointless: ‘I will miss everyone so much, but I’m thrilled that I’ll still be presenting the celebrity shows. I can’t thank everyone enough for twelve amazing years.’ 

After Richard took himself out of the running, Sandi Toksvig has quickly become a new favourite for the job, being given odds of 7/1 by William Hill.

After her name began circulating for the role, Sandi, 64, addressed the speculation during an appearance on Good Morning Britain on Thursday.

The star, who recently quit as Great British Bake Off presenter and hosts QI, teased that she was available for hire and she said she likes to say ‘yes’ to new opportunities.

She said: ‘They’ve not asked me. It’s an iconic programme. The thing with life is, say yes to the thing you haven’t done yet. Who knows, watch this space, I am available for hire.’

In their other favourites, Ladbrokes deemed comedian Susan Calman and Taskmaster star Alex Horne as the strongest odds for replacements, both of whom have 4/1 odds.

Writer Victoria Coren Mitchell was next with 9/2 odds, while 8 Out Of 10 Cats star Jon Richardson follows with 11/2 odds.

Denial: Richard Osman has denied that he will be the next Countdown host after he became a favourite at the bookmakers

Denial: Richard Osman has denied that he will be the next Countdown host after he became a favourite at the bookmakers 

Amusing: The presenter, 51, took to Twitter to hit back at bookmakers marking him as the top favourite for the job, as he joked that he is 'mortal enemies' with Countdown's Susie Dent

Amusing: The presenter, 51, took to Twitter to hit back at bookmakers marking him as the top favourite for the job, as he joked that he is ‘mortal enemies’ with Countdown’s Susie Dent

Host: Richard recently quit his show Pointless after 13 years but insisted that he has 'no time' for the job and instead said radio presenter Colin Murray, 45, should get the job

Host: Richard recently quit his show Pointless after 13 years but insisted that he has ‘no time’ for the job and instead said radio presenter Colin Murray, 45, should get the job

Meanwhile, Star Sports Bookmakers placed Richard in first place followed by Colin Murray, who Richard showed his support for, with odds of 6/1.

The BBC Radio 5 Live host, 45, has previously appeared on Countdown as a guest and has also stood-in as presenter before, temporarily replacing Nick Hewer.

Colin was followed by comedian Joe Lycett with 16/1 odds, The Last Leg’s Adam Hills, who was given 20/1 odds, while Piers Morgan also made the list with unlikely 100/1 odds.

Also thrown into the running were Sir Trevor McDonald, with odds of 6/1, and Lorraine Kelly with 7/1 odds. 

Hinting? Sandi Toksvig, who recently quit as Great British Bake Off presenter and hosts QI, teased that she was available for hire and she said she likes to say 'yes' to new opportunities as her name entering the running for Countdown host

Hinting? Sandi Toksvig, who recently quit as Great British Bake Off presenter and hosts QI, teased that she was available for hire and she said she likes to say ‘yes’ to new opportunities as her name entering the running for Countdown host 

A comedic touch: Bookmakers have put Carol Vorderman at the top of their lists, with Paddy Power giving her 4/1 odds, topped only by comedian Romesh Ranganathan with 2/1 odds

A comedic touch: Bookmakers have put Carol Vorderman at the top of their lists, with Paddy Power giving her 4/1 odds, topped only by comedian Romesh Ranganathan with 2/1 odds

Odds: Star Sports Bookmakers put Richard in first place followed by Colin Murray (pictured), who has appeared on Countdown as a guest and presenter, with odds of 6/1

Odds: Star Sports Bookmakers put Richard in first place followed by Colin Murray (pictured), who has appeared on Countdown as a guest and presenter, with odds of 6/1

Elsewhere, excited Twitter users also put Stephen Fry’s name in the running, as they insisted he would be ‘perfect’ for the role.

One eager fan said: ‘What are the chances of @Channel4 giving the #Countdown job to @stephenfry? I think he’d be perfect for the job.’

Another wrote: ‘@stephenfry would be the perfect #countdown host now Anne Robinson is leaving.’

A third commented: ‘I would like to suggest Stephen Fry as host.’

Job: Elsewhere, writer Victoria Coren Mitchell (pictured) was tipped with 9/2 odds, while 8 Out Of 10 Cats star Jon Richardson followed with 11/2 odds

Job: Elsewhere, writer Victoria Coren Mitchell (pictured) was tipped with 9/2 odds, while 8 Out Of 10 Cats star Jon Richardson followed with 11/2 odds

In the running: Comedian Joe Lycett is also a possibility 16/1 odds, The Last Leg's Adam Hills, who was given 20/1 odds, while Piers Morgan also made the list with unlikely 100/1 odds

In the running: Comedian Joe Lycett is also a possibility 16/1 odds, The Last Leg’s Adam Hills, who was given 20/1 odds, while Piers Morgan also made the list with unlikely 100/1 odds

Responding to a post from Stephen, a fourth tweeted: ‘I would love to see you as the new presenter of #countdown.’

While a fifth added: ‘I think @stephenfry should be the next host of @C4Countdown.’ 

Stephen, 64, is no stranger to hosting game shows as he previously fronted BBC series QI for 13 years from 2003-2016.

Speculation about the next Countdown host comes after Anne revealed she quit the Channel 4 show after just one year following a pay dispute and addressed reports of a ‘rift’ between her and co-stars Rachel and Susie.

And on Wednesday, Rachel, 36, seemingly made a swipe at her former co-star, 77, as she took to Instagram on Wednesday to share a cryptic post.

Game shows: Stephen (pictured with Alan Davies), 64, is no stranger to hosting game shows as he previously fronted BBC series QI for 13 years from 2003-2016

Game shows: Stephen (pictured with Alan Davies), 64, is no stranger to hosting game shows as he previously fronted BBC series QI for 13 years from 2003-2016

New name: Excited Twitter users also put Stephen Fry's name in the running, as they insisted he would be 'perfect' for the role

New name: Excited Twitter users also put Stephen Fry’s name in the running, as they insisted he would be ‘perfect’ for the role

The TV presenter shared a selfie of herself sporting a strawberry-print dress and flashing a huge grin as she enjoyed a glass of wine at home.

Alongside the photograph, she made a thinly veiled swipe at Anne as she wrote that she was ‘toasting’ the ‘next chapter in Countdown’s history’.

She penned: ‘Drinking a toast to the next chapter in Countdown’s history… I think you’re going to like it!’

Rachel’s apparent jibe comes after Anne admitted that Rachel is ‘noisy’ and that she ‘wouldn’t go on holiday’ with her, but dismissed claims of a feud after she quit Countdown.

It was revealed that Anne was leaving the show earlier this week by The Daily Mail’s Alison Boshoff, and Anne has since said she quit over a pay dispute.

Exit: It comes after Anne Robinson revealed she quit Countdown over a pay dispute and said she did insist on 'noisy' Susie Dent and Rachel Riley's mics being switched off

Exit: It comes after Anne Robinson revealed she quit Countdown over a pay dispute and said she did insist on ‘noisy’ Susie Dent and Rachel Riley’s mics being switched off

Criticism: And Rachel has now seemingly made a swipe at Anne as she took to Instagram on Wednesday to share a cryptic post

Criticism: And Rachel has now seemingly made a swipe at Anne as she took to Instagram on Wednesday to share a cryptic post

The presenter, who was employed on a freelance basis, admitted that despite being offered a pay rise, she did not want to join Channel 4‘s payroll and so decided to walk away from her role as host.

Speaking to The Sun, she confessed: ‘I come from a long line of alcoholic, Irish bandits so to suggest I go PAYE is a bit like asking Philip Green or Richard Branson to join the company payroll.

‘I wasn’t interested in any offer on that basis. Even if it included financial parity. I will, however, miss out on the Channel 4 luncheon vouchers, which is a big regret.’

Speaking with Emma Barnett on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, she added: ‘I marched so that your generation would be really clever at negotiating your salaries and your pay, and you’re all absolutely hopeless at it. Why? It’s so easy. There’s about six steps to getting the money you want.’

Jibe: Alongside a snap of herself drinking wine, Rachel, 36. made a thinly veiled swipe at Anne, 77, as she wrote that she was 'toasting' to the 'next chapter in Countdown's history'

Jibe: Alongside a snap of herself drinking wine, Rachel, 36. made a thinly veiled swipe at Anne, 77, as she wrote that she was ‘toasting’ to the ‘next chapter in Countdown’s history’

Anne continued: ‘What happens is some bloke comes in with his friend, gives you the interview and says ‘we’re going to pay you this’, you say ‘thank you very much’. 

‘What you have to realise, they go outside and they do high fives because you’ve accepted the first offer.’

Of the rift with her co-stars Rachel and Susie Dent, she admitted that she had been annoyed by their time-keeping and noisiness.

But she later said: ‘They’re both brilliant at what they do. I mean they really, really are. Channel 4 are incredibly lucky to have them. And there isn’t a rift.

‘It was me wanting everyone to be quiet in the studio. I like everyone turning up on time and quiet, quiet, quiet. So we did have to iron that out. But that’s it.’

Anne continued: ‘I think we all came to an agreement that we would have mics off before we went into a record, which gave me time to have a chat with the contestants – that’s all – and remind them what their hobbies are.’

Falling out: Of the rift with her co-stars Rachel and Susie Dent she admitted that she had been annoyed by their time-keeping and noisiness (Rachel and Susie pictured)

Falling out: Of the rift with her co-stars Rachel and Susie Dent she admitted that she had been annoyed by their time-keeping and noisiness (Rachel and Susie pictured) 

Describing Rachel, she said: ‘She is brilliant at those numbers, what else can I say.’

On the prospect of retirement, the former Weakest Link host said: ‘I haven’t got any practice at it. Maybe I’ll start doing social media.

‘You know what the Queen says, mostly to women, she says ‘what’s keeping you busy?’ And that’s because they might not have a job so they can say ‘I’m playing the piano, I’m doing my garden’. So I’m going to practice how I explain I don’t have a job.’

Anne continued: ‘It’s the first time I’ve never had a job. It’s also the first time I haven’t seen a job on the horizon. I’ve given myself a really big talking to and I’m 78 this year and I’ve really got to learn about retirement.

‘I’ve encouraged television bosses to realise that not all women at the wrong end of their 70s are in care homes playing bingo and watching conjuring tricks.’

Meanwhile, former Countdown host Nick Hewer did not hold back when recently taking a swipe at his ex-colleague Susie after she wished Anne well on Twitter.

It came amid claims that the cast are ‘relieved’ she is leaving after reports of an on-set feud with Rachel and Susie.

Hard bargain: She confessed: 'I come from a long line of alcoholic, Irish bandits so to suggest I go PAYE is a bit like asking Philip Green or Richard Branson to join the company payroll'

Hard bargain: She confessed: ‘I come from a long line of alcoholic, Irish bandits so to suggest I go PAYE is a bit like asking Philip Green or Richard Branson to join the company payroll’

But Susie appeared to dismiss any feud claims by sending a congratulatory message to ‘wish her the best’ as she moved on to pastures new.

The lexicographer, who has appeared in Countdown’s Dictionary Corner since 1992, wrote on Twitter: ‘Some Countdown news.

‘Wishing Anne all the very best in her new adventures with her grandchildren and beyond.’

However, Nick, 78, accused her of ‘sucking up’ to her former colleague and told her she would be a prime candidate for a ‘brown nosing’ award. 

He responded to her tweet, writing: ‘Well that’s a sure fire certainty for Private Eye’s OBN [Order of the Brown Nose] award. Bravo Susie!’

Opening up to Alison Boshoff for the Daily Mail, Anne admitted that Rachel is noisy and that she ‘wouldn’t go on holiday’ with her – but dismissed claims of a feud.

Awks! It comes as former Countdown host Nick Hewer (centre) didn't hold back when taking a swipe at his ex-colleague Susie (left) after she wished Anne well on Twitter

Awks! It comes as former Countdown host Nick Hewer (centre) didn’t hold back when taking a swipe at his ex-colleague Susie (left) after she wished Anne well on Twitter

The Weakest Link host explained: ‘I’m not saying I would go on holiday with Rachel Riley, but she is brilliant,’ she said. ‘Absolutely honestly, I do admire her – she is really, really good at what she does, as is Susie Dent. 

‘Look, Rachel has just come back from having a baby and she is standing throughout and faultless, whereas I get to sit down. She is noisy, yes she and Susie both are – they are a formidable pair those two. But there isn’t a question of my going because of a rift, that’s nonsense.’ 

She also explained that the three women ‘barely talk’ during the show, detailing: ‘The way that it’s filmed is so tight that… we don’t have time to talk to each other.’

Representatives for Rachel Riley declined to comment at the time.

Anne told Alison that she is leaving the show as her contract was only one year long, and she ‘didn’t realise how much time it would take up’. 

Explaining that she’s swapping the ‘intense’ filming schedule for some downtime at home, Anne said: ‘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 of time than I thought it would.’

‘It is great fun but it is intense. I go up [to Media City in Salford] and we do 15 shows in three 11-hour days. I’m built to last so I don’t really mind, but it does take up quite a chunk of my time,’ she added.

A spokesperson for the Channel 4 daytime show gushed over Anne after the announcement of her leaving, saying: ‘Quick-witted Anne has been a brilliant host on this iconic show.’

Pastures new: Anne said that she was leaving the show as her contract was only one year long, and she 'didn't realise how much time it would take up'

Pastures new: Anne said that she was leaving the show as her contract was only one year long, and she ‘didn’t realise how much time it would take up’

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