Countdown presenter Rachel Riley has expressed her excitement to see “old viewers coming back” to the Channel 4 show after Colin Murray took the reigns from former host Anne Robinson.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, the 37-year-old former Strictly Come Dancing star discussed the change in a wider chat about KAYAK’s handy Vacay Valuator tool, which may prove to be a lifesaver for holidaymakers struggling with the cost of living crisis.
In previous interviews, Rachel has said it’s “no secret” she prefers working with new host Colin, 46, over his 78-year-old predecessor Anne Robinson, who once hosted BBC game show The Weakest Link.
Asked how she was finding working with Colin, Rachel confirmed: “Yeah, it’s great.
“I mean, viewers absolutely love him, the contestants love him, the crew, the atmosphere in the studios is brilliant.
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“And the viewing figures are really really high,” she continued. “We’re getting loads and loads of new viewers. Loads of old viewers are coming back.
“And he’s a massive countdown geek,” she gushed. “He just loves it. I mean, he’s just like the Energizer bunny in terms of Countdown and he just wants to analyse every round. It’s lots of fun.
“Each time we’ve had a new presenter, it’s got a slightly different vibe to it. And it’s just fun because we’re all mates and we all like the show, which I think is really important.”
Rachel then revealed: “He does things like – he decided to put it out there to the viewers, ‘If anyone wants to knit a jumper…’ thinking nobody would.
“And then all these people knitted stuff for us and sent in lovely letters with it, which was just really nice. It’s just been having a nice response and I think people can pick up that we all get on,” she concluded.
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While Rachel appears to be getting on swimmingly with Colin, she appeared to clash with Anne during her 13-month tenure on the long-running Channel 4 series.
Anne became the show’s first female host when she took over from Nick Hewer in June 2021, but she departed Countdown last July to spend more time with her grandchildren.
Speaking to MailOnline, Rachel previously explained: “The viewers have noticed that it’s a different type of show now.
“Anne was a lot more headmistress style and that suits some people, and some people enjoyed it. I don’t think it’s any secret that I am enjoying working with Colin a lot more.”
Discussing KAYAK’s fantastic new Vacay Valuator tool, Rachel said: “Even though times are tough, people still want to get on a holiday because we value that time away.
“So people are willing to give up takeaways or nights out or alcohol or subscription services.
“You can click and say, ‘Actually, I want to go away in August. I’m willing to save up for two months and I’m willing to give up Netflix, coffee and takeaways.’
“Then it calculates exactly how much that will save you on average, and then it will show you where you can get to with flights all around Europe and beyond. It’s quite a cool tool and it’s giving you the best deals.”
Rachel is working with travel search engine KAYAK for its Vacay Valuator campaign to help people save and find the best holidays for their budget this summer. Find out more at kayak.co.uk/vacay-valuator.
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