Friday, 12 December 2008

OverRated: The Wind of Change

This wasn't the post that I was going to make today.

No. That was about something entirely different and much more risque.

But I couldn't let this day go by without marking the end of an era that is Carol Vorderman on Countdown.

For 26 years, since November 1982, Countdown has bestrode the C4 ratings like a Colossus, much to the surprise of Carol and her co-host, the late Richard Whiteley. She was the first female face to be seen on Channel 4 on their opening day. In 1994, they were regularly getting 25 million viewers per week - that's 5 million each day - for a programme where the ethos was to be nice... and kind.

For over two decades, 4 o'clock on a weekday afternoon was, for many people, set in stone. A cup of tea and the opportunity to tone up the brain cells. As a stay-at-home Mum, I would walk the kids back from school and encourage them to sit with me for the programme. They were two of the thousands of children who learned their vowels, consonants and numbers from Carol in those 30 minute sessions. We also had several of her maths books aimed at the different school years as well as the Countdown boardgame.

With the death of Richard 'Twice Nightly' Whiteley, we all wondered who on earth could take his place. Des Lynham filled the void for a while but it wasn't the same, until the advent of Des O'Connor and his affectionate relationship with Carol returned the show to its previous footing.

Media gossip has it that, after Des O'Connor announced that he was to leave, Carol was faced with the threat of a pay cut from £1m per year to just £100,000 as C4 bosses tried to rein in costs. These two blows made her decide that the time had come to move on to pastures new.

Giles Brandreth, who is the most regular participant in Dictionary Corner with nearly 300 appearances, hosted a special show this afternoon, prior to her last appearance in the 59th Grand Final of Countdown. He listed the statistics: Carol has appeared on 4,750 shows, put up 320,000 letters, tackled approximately 11,200 numbers games and heard the Countdown clock tick down from 30 seconds more than 57,000 times.

I cried along with her as she made her final tearful farewell after a montage of some of the worst haircuts and ill-advised outfits in the history of television.

Male and female replacement hosts have been announced but it's going to take two very special individuals to fill the extremely large holes that these departures will leave in the Countdown family.

So, that's Carol off. And, on Christmas Day, we will see the beginning of the end for David Tennant, who has become the quintessential Dr Who, even to a Patrick Troughton/Jon Pertwee girl like me.

What is the world coming to?



scarlet-blue said...

I think the David Tennant situation is bothering me..

Dazza said...

Well they do say change is the only constant. But, hey, they brought Wispas back, so who knows...


Kevin Musgrove said...

Is David Tennant taking over from Carol then?

Anonymous said...

I'm crushed.

I knew about David Tennant, and was morose enough about that.

But i had no idea of the imminent departure of Carol Vorderman.

If ever a post was guaranteed to throw me headfirst and sniffling into the holiday javascript:void(0)blues, this is it, Cakey. Although, that said, i thank you for your caring provision of said information.


having my cake said...

Scarlet - Apparently we have him for most of next year but David Morrissey will make an interesting replacement.

Dazza - I luuurrrrrve Wispas

Kevin - Now Im liking that idea :)

Sapphire - I know. I only found out last week and then saw that her final episode was Friday so I had to watch (even if only on C4OD). I was gutted.

Brian said...

"for many people, set in stone" and for those of us on college, it quite literally was! Not me though...... ([color=#CCCCCC]I was too poor[/color]!)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.