Who is the new Countdown host? When will Les Dennis replace Colin Murray, and why Anne Robinson left quiz show

Anne Robinson stepped down as host of Countdown this month after a year in the role

Anne Robinson replaced Nick Hewer as the next permanent Countdown host on 28 June last year, but left the Channel 4 quiz show after just over a year in the role.

Robinson, who is known for her role as the ‘nasty’ presenter on The Weakest Link from 2000-2012 quit Countdown following a pay dispute with producers.

Her last appearance as host was 13 July this year after 263 episodes - she had previously appeared on Dictionary Corner for six episodes in 1987.

There had been rumours of a feud between Anne and co-presenter Rachel Riley - Anne denied this but admitted that she asked for Rachel’s mic to be turned off at times.

Anne Robinson

Anne said:  “I hope too I’ve encouraged TV bosses to realise that not all women at the wrong end of their seventies are in care homes playing bingo and watching conjuring tricks.”


Following the announcement of her departure Riley posted a cryptic message on her Instagram page. She wrote: “Drinking a toast to the next chapter in Countdown’s history… I think you’re going to like it!”

Who is the new Countdown host?

Colin Murray has stepped in to replace Anne on the show and will continue in the role until at least the end of the current season in November.

Murray is a Northern Irish radio and television presenter. In 2010, he became host of BBC Television’s Match of the Day 2, while still anchoring shows on BBC Radio 5 Live, and presenting on BBC Radio Ulster.

He joined Talksport in 2013 but left in 2016 after it was taken over by News Corp, which also owns The Sun - he said that as a Liverpool fan his position would be untenable.

Colin Murray will host Countdown until at least November


Murray is also a sports journalist and writes pieces for and regularly writes for Metro online.

Murray has previously appeared on Countdown as the guest on Dictionary Corner and filled in for Nick Hewer in November 2021 when lockdown rules prevented Hewer from travelling to the set.

He returned to Countdown as a temporary host on 14 July 2022.

Will Les Dennis host Countdown?

Les Dennis will step in for a limited time this August as a guest host on Countdown.

Les, 68, is best known for presenting the game show Family Fortunes from 1987-2002.


He also played Michael Rodwell in Coronation Street from 2014-2016, appearing in more than 200 episodes, and also appeared in Extras alongside Ricky Gervais.

Les Dennis will be a guest host on Countdown in August

The Scouse comedian has also appeared on Celebrity MasterChef, Pointless Celebrities, House of Games, Would I Lie to You?, and Celebrity Juice.

Les will host the show from 4-15 August while Colin Murray has two weeks off.

He took to Twitter to share the news, writing: "It is such an honour. Hope you enjoy."


Who else has presented Countdown?

Richard Whiteley was the first host of the show, which was the first programme to be launched on Channel 4. He hosted from 1982 until his death in 2005.

Des Lynam took over in 2005 and was replaced by Des O’Connor in 2007. Jeff Stelling was host from January 2009 until January 2012 at which point Nick Hewer took over until 2021.

Anne Robinson has had the shortest tenure of any permanent host, lasting just one year and 15 days.

Susie Dent has appeared on Countdown more than anyone else, co-presenting the show for more than 30 years, and Rachel Riley has been the numbers whizz for more than 13 years, taking over from Carol Vorderman.