Rachel Riley has opened up about her experience working with Anne Robinson after she replaced Nick Hewer as the host of Countdown.
Robinson joined Riley and Susie Dent on the long-running Channel 4 show in June, with Riley saying at the time it was ‘really fun’ to see the new host ‘quickly find her feet in the Countdown studio.’
Despite seemingly getting off to a good start, rumours of tensions between Robinson and Riley later emerged, with the latter reportedly threatening to ‘quit’ after Robinson muted her microphone on set.
An insider cited by The Sun last week claimed the pair had ‘clashed for some time’, until Riley felt ‘enough is enough’. They added: ‘She has moaned about Anne a number of times and even said she would consider walking away from Countdown if the issues weren’t sorted.’
Riley shared her own experience with Robinson during an interview with OK! this week, where she said Robinson ‘found her feet very quickly and soon made the show her own.’
The mum-of-two described the new host as being ‘comfortable bantering with the contestants’, noting she ‘asks them a lot of questions and we get to hear from them a lot more’, though added she has also ‘called out some comedians’ on the show.
Riley continued: ‘You can tell they’re up for a fight. They come in with their lines prepared. She’s not known for suffering fools gladly.’
When asked if Robinson is ‘more cuddly’ off-screen, the maths whizz responded: ‘I don’t think anyone would describe Anne as cuddly. She’s very matter-of-fact.’
The pair get ready for the show in different rooms, according to Riley, and she noted that ‘due to the pandemic’ they haven’t been able to ‘socialise like [they] normally would’.
Riley made similar comments while speaking to Press Association last month, where she explained the Countdown cast ‘used to all be in the same room together but because of coronavirus everyone’s off separately having their make-up done so we don’t see each other as much.’
She added: ‘We’ve not really done much team bonding.’
Riley was away from the show last month as she took maternity leave, with The Sun‘s source saying the break ‘couldn’t have come at a better time’.
The source alleged Dent has ‘similar gripes’ about Robinson, and stressed Riley ‘just want to be treated with more respect’. They added: ‘No one wants to lose Rachel because she brings glamour and fun to the show, as well as being an absolute whizz at maths.’
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