Inside the life of Countdown’s Susie Dent from Dictionary Corner to split

Susie Dent reveals how she got onto Countdown

Susie Dent is best known for being in Dictionary Corner as Countdown’s resident lexicographer and adjudicator for the letters rounds of the iconic game show.

The 58-year-old is the longest-serving member of the Channel 4 show’s current team and has made more than 4,500 appearances since 1992.

But how did Susie secure the role on Countdown all those years ago and what is her life like away from the television programme? has taken a look into the wordsmith’s career, heartbreaking break-up and Surrey upbringing.

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Marriage ending after nearly two decades 

The breakdown of her marriage of almost 20 years to primary school teacher husband Paul Atkin happened last year.

It was reported Susie and Paul “did all they could” to make their marriage work.

While Susie has kept tight-lipped on her break-up, in the wake of her split she told You Magazine: “I just would not class myself as a dateable entity…

“I quite like that the pressure is off. I don’t need to prove anything. I don’t really feel like I need someone.”

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Opening up on motherhood 

Last year she gave fans a rare insight into her relationship with her children in her column for The Times.

Susie penned: “I’m an early bird, up at 6. Morning is mum-time. Lucy, 20, and Thea, 12, and I have breakfast – oats, Brazil nuts and seeds, soaked in apple juice and yoghurt – then I walk to school with Thea.

“We have some of our best chats watching the gossamer float across the fields. If I’m not filming, I spend a lot of time at home, living in my head.”

Close friendship with Countdown co-star 

Susie is also close to the Countdown co-star Rachel Riley who replaced Carol Vorderman in 2009.

She’s branded Rachel “utterly loyal” as she revealed her co-star even gives her underwear to borrow when needed.

Susie added: “For me, Rachel is also the very best of friends — strong, principled and utterly loyal.”

Life before Countdown 

The television star was born in Woking, Surrey, and spoke with Essential Surrey and SW London about her upbringing.

“I’d set off on all kinds of adventures on my bike, and would end up playing for hours by a ford near my home, gazing at the water watching the tadpoles by my feet,” Susie explained. “I think I was always a daydreamer, happy in my own thoughts and world.”

Susie attended school at the Marist Convent, near Ascot, before earning a BA in modern languages at Somerville College, Oxford. She completed a master’s in German at Princeton University in the States.

She was working at Oxford University Press creating dictionaries when she was asked by her manager if she wanted to audition for Countdown.

Due to “nerves” Susie turned down the offer twice before eventually being persuaded to give it a try – and the rest is history.

Countdown airs on weekdays at 2.10pm on Channel 4.  

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