Countdown host Colin Murray says ‘atmosphere changed’ on set after Anne Robinson departure

Countdown host Colin Murray says ‘atmosphere changed’ on set after Anne Robinson departure

Colin Murray has opened up about taking over as host of the long-running Channel 4 series Countdown.

The former Match of the Day 2 host took over from Anne Robinson in July 2022 on a temporary basis, and was made permanent presenter in January.

Robinson’s tenure on the show lasted just one year, with the ex-Weakest Link star having joined the series back in July 2021.

In November 2021, Countdown co-star Rachel Riley dismissed reports of a “feud” between her and Robinson, telling ITV’s Lorraine: “You know not to believe tabloids. I think it is just you have got some women there now so they want to make something up.”

Speaking to The Mirror, Murray admitted that he had never met Robinson, but said: “The atmosphere has changed and that’s huge.”

The Northern Irish presenter also opened up about being given the permanent presenter slot, revealing that the uncertainty had left him feeling “so down” at one point.

Murray had initially stepped in as host when previous Countdown presenter Nick Hewer contracted Covid. However Hewer’s replacement was soon confirmed to be Robinson.

After Robinson announced her departure one year later, Murray was then approached with the offer of another stop-gap role. “I said, no,” he recalled to the publication. “I couldn’t bear the thought of just being a one-night stand again. It would have been professionally heartbreaking.

Riley and Robinson on ‘Countdown’ (Channel 4)
Riley and Robinson on ‘Countdown’ (Channel 4)

“I think my words were, ‘You’ve got to give me a run of three months’.”

The show’s producers consented, but it wasn’t until much later that he was hired on a permanent basis.

“I was so down when we recorded the first episodes of series 87,” he added. “I thought, if they haven’t given it to me now, they’re not going to.”

Countdown airs daily on Channel 4 at 2.10pm.