February 8, 2023

Colin Murray has been named Countdown’s new regular presenter after spending the past six months as ‘janitor’ for the Channel 4 show.

The TV star, 45, has run the long-running game show since Anne Robinson stepped down last summer.

The news was announced on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Wednesday, with Colin admitting “it’s a career dream.”

Stay put: Colin Murray has been appointed Countdown’s new permanent presenter after acting as ‘janitor’ for the Channel 4 show for the past six months

Channel 4’s daytime and features head Jo Street said the broadcaster had “listened to the fans” and decided to keep him on as its “permanent host”.

Before joining Countdown full-time, the host appeared in the Dictionary Corner.

He then replaced Nick Hewer as host during England’s second coronavirus lockdown as Hewer, now 78, was unable to travel to the set.

Colin returned to Countdown as host in July 2022 following Robinson’s departure. Anne, 78, joined the show in 2021, becoming the first female lead presenter.

After the news was announced, Colin said, “It is a career dream to be named as the permanent anchor of one of television’s most iconic programs.

“I’ve been a fan since day one, been part of the family for over a decade, appeared on Dictionary Corner, and now I get the honor of leading it into a fifth decade. However, I don’t just want Countdown to survive, I want it to thrive.

Permanent: The TV star, 45, has run the long-running game show since Anne Robinson stepped down last summer

Permanent: The TV star, 45, has run the long-running game show since Anne Robinson stepped down last summer

“During my janitorship, we’ve seen more people tune in, with nearly a million (900,000) viewers watching the series finale in December, and I want this to be just the beginning.

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‘Countdown is a special show, and the stars will always be the letters and the numbers, but it’s more than that.

‘Great afternoon company for people of all ages from all over the UK.’

Colin said he, mathematician Rachel Riley and lexicographer Susie Dent are “very excited for the year ahead,” adding: “If you haven’t watched for a while, come over and join us.” Everyone is welcome.’

Welcome: Rachel shared an adorable selfie with her arm around Colin's shoulder, writing,

Welcome: Rachel shared an adorable selfie with her arm around Colin’s shoulder, writing, “Yes, it’s true! Due to popular demand, the County Down man has moved from agent to full-time official host

1673458922 523 Colin Murray is named the new permanent host of Countdown

Rachel and Susie soon sent congratulations after news that Colin’s appointment on the show had been made permanent.

Rachel shared an adorable selfie with her arm around Colin’s shoulder, writing, “Yes, it’s true! Due to popular demand, the County Down man has moved from agent to full-time official host.

Congratulations, welcome to the team! We couldn’t be happier with you.’

Rachel later poked fun at the new host by sharing a photo of him in the dressing room, wearing a brown wig with bangs.

She joked: “Claudia Winkleman looks very different before makeup…”

Ha!  She joked:

Ha! She joked: “Claudia Winkleman looks very different before makeup…”

Meanwhile, Susie wrote on her own socials: ‘The news is out! And it’s great. Congratulations Colin Murray on getting the best seat on TV (I may be biased) and becoming the permanent Countdown host. We’re very lucky to have you.’

Anne, 77, revealed she quit Countdown over a pay dispute, and admitted that despite a pay rise, she didn’t want to get on Channel 4’s payroll after being hired on a freelance basis.

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Alison Boshoff of The Daily Mail revealed that she would be leaving Countdown after just a year, and Anne added that she has since smoothed over the gap with her co-stars Rachel and Susie.

Meanwhile, Susie wrote on her own socials: 'The news is out!  And it's great.  Congratulations Colin Murray on getting the best seat on TV (I may be biased)…”

Meanwhile, Susie wrote on her own socials: ‘The news is out! And it’s great. Congratulations Colin Murray on getting the best seat on TV (I may be biased)…”

Departure: Anne, 78, joined the show in 2021 and became the first female lead presenter before stepping down in July 2022

Departure: Anne, 78, joined the show in 2021 and became the first female lead presenter before stepping down in July 2022

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

“Based on that, I wasn’t interested in making an offer. Even if it included financial parity. I will be missing out on Channel 4 meal vouchers though, which is a real shame.’

Speaking to Emma Barnett on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, she admitted she was annoyed by their timekeeping and boisterousness over the breakup with her co-stars Rachel and Susie.

But later said, “They are both brilliant at what they do. I mean, they really, really are. Channel 4 is incredibly lucky to have them. And there is no break.

“I wanted everyone to be quiet in the studio. I like that everyone comes on time and quiet, quiet, quiet. So we had to iron that out. But that’s it.’

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

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Describing Rachel, she said, “She’s brilliant at those numbers, what more can I say.”

Dream team: Colin said he, mathematician Rachel Riley and lexicographer Susie Dent are 'really excited about the year ahead'

Dream team: Colin said he, mathematician Rachel Riley and lexicographer Susie Dent are ‘really excited about the year ahead’