Countdown's Anne Robinson Dismisses ‘Nonsense’ Rachel Riley ‘Rift’ But They're Not Exactly Best Mates

“I’m not saying I would go on holiday with her."
(L-R) Rachel Riley, Anne Robinson and Suzi Dent.
(L-R) Rachel Riley, Anne Robinson and Suzi Dent.
Channel 4

Anne Robinson has dismissed persistent rumours of a rift between herself and Countdown’s resident maths expert Rachel Riley.

The veteran presenter, who has announced she is stepping down as host of the long-running Channel 4 show after just one year, described press reports that she doesn’t get on with Rachel as “nonsense” but admitted they’re not especially close.

“I’m not saying I would go on holiday with Rachel Riley, but she is brilliant,” Anne told the Daily Mail.

“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 continued.

“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.”

Anne Robinson
Anne Robinson
via PA Features Archive/Press Association Images

Anne went on to explain that she has had little opportunity to get to know Rachel and wordsmith Susie because there simply isn’t time.

“The way that it’s filmed is so tight that... we don’t have time to talk to each other,” Anne explained. “We shoot for an hour for a 45-minute show, it’s a well-oiled machine.

“Between shows we have a 10-minute turn-around to get changed. We can go for almost a whole run without doing more than waving to each other from the end of a corridor.”

Rachel has previously admitted that Anne was “not the cuddliest person in the world” amid reports of behind-the-scenes feuding, but played down rumours of any on-set tension.

“It’s just a different show now, she’s making it her own,” Rachel said last year.

“She’s getting some stuff out of the contestants – sometimes it’s barbed, sometimes it’s funny, it’s just got a different flavour.”

Anne joined the long-running letters and numbers quiz show last year, becoming its sixth presenter and the first woman to take on presenting duties.

She took over from The Apprentice’s Nick Hewer following his 10 year run at the helm.

Anne, who has fronted 265 episodes, revealed she had already “stayed longer than I signed up for.”

She will continue to appear in shows until the summer. Channel 4 confirmed a new host will be announced soon.

A spokesperson for the channel said: “Quick-witted Anne has been a brilliant host on this iconic show.”


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