Countdown: how old is host Les Dennis, is he replacing Colin Murray - and was he married to Amanda Holden?

The former Family Fortunes presenter is set to take over from Countdown host Colin Murray this month

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Les Dennis is a television personality who has a career stretching back to the 1970s.

He has been involved in radio, TV dramas, game shows, film, and theatre, and his latest project is as the next temporary Countdown host on Channel 4.

The Scouse comic will take over from radio and television presenter Colin Murray and join numbers whizz Rachel Riley and Dictionary Corner’s Susie Dent.

Les Dennis and wife Claire NicholsonLes Dennis and wife Claire Nicholson
Les Dennis and wife Claire Nicholson

Who is Les Dennis?

Les Dennis is a 68-year-old presenter and comedian from Liverpool best known for presenting the quiz show Family Fortunes from 1987 until 2002.

His early television work included appearances on New Faces and  The Russ Abbot Show before he got his own series The Laughter Show which he appeared on alongside impressionist Dustin Gee.

In 19867 Dennis became the third host of survey-based game show Family Fortunes and was in the job for 15 years.

Following Family Fortunes, Dennis made several television appearances as a guest star - he was in episodes of Holby City, Casualty, The Bill, Hotel Babylon, and Extras.

In 2002, he took part in the second season of Celebrity Big Brother, placing second after Take That’s Mark Owen.

He has featured on many celebrity-based shows including House of Games, Pointless Celebrities, Celebrity MasterChef, Would I Lie to You?, and Celebrity Juice.

From 2014-2016, Dennis played Michael Rodwell on Coronation Street, appearing in 248 episodes.

Rodwell was a petty burglar and was killed off in the show after he had a heart attack and Pat Phelan, played by Connor McIntyre, left him to die.

After leaving Coronation Street, Dennis has been in the dark comedy film Sideshow, and the TV movie HMS Pinafore, and had guest roles in drama series Moving On and sitcom Birds of a Feather.

Is Less Dennis replacing Colin Murray on Countdown?

Les Dennis was chosen to replace Countdown’s current host Colin Murray for two weeks in August.

Murray is a Northern Irish presenter who took over from Anne Robinson in July this year after she left over a pay dispute.

Murray was set to host Countdown until at least November 2022, but tested positive for Covid-19 during filming and had to step aside for two weeks.

Dennis will therefore be Murray’s temporary replacement, fronting the show for ten episodes from 4-15 August.

Following the announcement that Dennis would step in, he said that it was “such an honour” to have been chosen.

Did Les Dennis marry Amanda Holden?

Dennis has been married three times - first to Lynne Webster from 1974 until their divorce in 1990. He has a son, Philip, with Webster.

He married actress and presenter Amanda Holden in 1995 - Holden starred in EastEnders back in 1993 but is best known as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent.​

The pair split in 2000 when Holden had an affair with Men Behaving Badly actor Neil Morrissey. They rekindled their relationship briefly but in 2002 announced a permanent split and divorced the following year.

Dennis married his third wife, lifestyle guru Claire Nicholson, in 2009 - the couple are still together and have two children together - a daughter, Eleanor and a son, Thomas.

When is Countdown on TV?

The first episode of Countdown hosted by Les Dennis will air on Channel 4 at 2.10pm on 4 August. Episodes will air at the same time on weekdays.

Previous episodes of the show will are available to watch on All 4.

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