Colin Murray named as permanent Countdown host

Colin Murray has been named as permanent Countdown host succeeding Anne Robinson in the famous chair at the heart of Channel 4’s longrunning gameshow.

The 45-year-old presenter from Northern Ireland had been the caretaker host of the teatime word and numbers game since July 2022 when Anne Robinson left the series, his second stint as presenter after filling in for previous host Nick Hewer who was unable to attend the studio for a period during the COVID pandemic lockdowns.

Murray, who has also enjoyed a successful radio career across a number of national stations, takes over the show at a good time with Countdown enjoying its best month of audience share in December 2022 for almost a decade.

Colin Murray confirmed the news today on Channel 4’s live daily show Steph’s Packed Lunch. 

Speaking of the new job, Murray said:  “It’s a career dream to be named as permanent anchor of one of television’s most iconic programmes. I have been a fan since day one, been part of the family for over a decade, appearing on Dictionary Corner, and now I get the honour of guiding it into a fifth decade.  However, I just don’t want Countdown to survive, I want it to thrive. During my caretaker stint we’ve seen more people tune back in, with close to a million [0.9m] watching the series final in December, and I want that to just be the beginning.

Rachel Riley congratulates the new presenter

“Countdown is a special show, and its 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 across the UK. Rachel, Susie and I are very excited for the year ahead. If you haven’t watched in a while, drop by and join us. Everyone is welcome.”

Channel 4’s Head of Daytime and Features, Jo Street, said:  “We have listened to the fans. Many have written in to let us know how much they love Colin on the show, and so I am delighted to be able to confirm that he is staying in the hotseat alongside lexicographer Susie Dent and maths whiz Rachel Riley MBE. “

Peter Gwyn, Executive Producer, Lifted Entertainment, added:   “We are thrilled that Colin is our new permanent host. His boundless energy, infectious humour and genuine love for the programme have really struck a chord with our viewers, and he, Rachel and Susie are the perfect team to take this iconic show into the future.”

Countdown is one of the longest running quiz shows in the world and was the first to be broadcast on Channel 4 when it launched in 1982. There have since been more than 7,000 episodes.

Countdown was for a long time hosted by Richard Whitely and made a household name of Carol Vorderman. Since Whitely, there have been a number of presenters on the show including Des Lynam, Des O’Connor and Jeff Stelling as well as Nick Hewer and Anne Robinson.