Belfast Telegraph

Countdown learning curve for Riley

Rachel Riley has admitted she was so green she didn't even know where the cameras were when she first started working on Countdown.

The maths whizz took over the slot from Carol Vorderman in 2009 and confessed it took her a while to adjust to being on television.

She said: "We do 15 shows in three days when we record, so I didn't even know which camera to look at for the first lot, never mind which sums I was doing.

"But very quickly you get used to it. To start with it was, 'Where am I? What am I doing? What are these things? Oh, they're numbers'."

Rachel thinks the long-running programme is "part of the national psyche".

She said: "I don't think it translates to the US or anything like that; I've explained to Americans before what I do: 'It's the only game show with maths where you win a teapot'.

"It's something you can play along with. For me, it was something I enjoyed when I was a kid; it's not like a quiz show with questions, where you accrue knowledge and you're going to be better the older you are; you can play however old you are. You can play kids against grandparents... it passes through the generations. We love crossword puzzles and Sudoku as a nation, and it's that kind of mental agility that keeps Countdown going."

But if the chance did arise, Rachel said she would be up for taking it across the pond to America.

"If the job was there I wouldn't mind," said the 28-year-old. "I'll do Countdown here then fly to the States and do Countdown over there. Wouldn't be bad would it?"

:: This winter, npower has £65 million available to warm those who need it most. Rachel Riley will join npower's Acts of Warmness 'snug' tour of Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham and Sheffield. For more information on staying warm, visit or call 0800 022 220.


From Belfast Telegraph