Anne Robinson seemed uncharacteristically nervous as she made her Countdown debut today after being announced as the new host of the popular Channel 4 show
She may be the world-renowned Queen of Mean but Anne Robinson seemed uncharacteristically nervous as she took to the Countdown chair today.
In fairness, she had already confessed to feeling anxious as she took over the helm of the iconic Channel 4 game show.
But it won’t last long…
The audience learned she had first appeared on the programme in 1987, alongside late host Richard Whiteley, when she was sporting a Bay City Rollers haircut.
She worked out that numbers whizz Rachel Riley would have been aged just one when that was filmed 34 years ago.
“You have been practising your maths, haven’t you?” Rachel quipped.
This was followed by a slightly shaky chat in which Anne, 76, wondered whether the pregnant maths whizz would still be good at sums when she was Anne’s age.
Rachel Joseph/ Channel 4)
(Yes, it was agreed, she probably would.) Once some letters and numbers had been chosen by the contestants and guest Rory Bremner had done a turn, things were off to a solid start.
Following years of pointed sarcasm, it was refreshing to see Anne gasp “astonishing” – with genuine admiration – as Rachel performed her speedy arithmatic, and then “brilliant” as Susie Dent showed off her linguistic knowledge with an explanation of ablaut reduplication (me neither).
In today’s show, Dictionary Corner’s Susie tries to help new girl Anne by revealing she was far shakier when she started on the show in 1992 – having repeatedly turned down the offer from her boss at Oxford University Press.
“I was terrified and, unfortunately, the evidence is still there on YouTube,” Susie laughs. “I look like an ice cube. I just didn’t move.”
In a funny moment, Anne wonders why she has got a new chair and is told by Rachel it is because former host Nick Hewer, 77, stole the old one. “I think he took it with him. He nicked loads of stuff,” she says, deadpan.
So no acid tongue, no sharp suits, and even a few laughs.
Only one thing remains from Anne’s Weakest Link days – the farewell wink.
And she only started that because some bloke at the BBC once told her not to do it.
All in all, a nice moment of afternoon girl power. The Spice Girls will be pleased.