In January 2009, Rachel Riley replaced Carol Vorderman as the co-host of Countdown doing the letters and numbers selection and mathematics solutions. She hosts the show alongside Nick Hewer. Rachel Riley has co-presented over 1,000 episodes of Countdown.
Rachel Riley was encouraged to apply for the Countdown position by her mother. She did not have an ambition to be a television presenter, but decided to apply because she was interested in the numbers part of the game. Rachel Riley was chosen from more than a thousand applicants despite having no television experience. In an article for BBC News, she said, “There’s only one cool maths job around and I was lucky enough to get it so I’m absolutely thrilled”.
In an interview in August 2009, Rachel Riley revealed that it had been difficult for her to step into Vorderman’s shoes, and that she had even been criticised by certain Countdown viewers for getting some of the maths puzzles wrong. Since January 2012, she has presented the programme alongside Nick Hewer, with whom she has reportedly had problems in getting on, stating on one occasion that they were “chalk and cheese”. Her 1,000th episode was shown on 25 June 2013, where she was presented with a signed shirt and a bunch of flowers by Manchester United player Ryan Giggs who had celebrated his 1,000th football pitch appearance the same year.
Rachel Riley also does the letters and numbers rounds on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.