Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling has been named as the new host of Channel 4 quiz Countdown.

The veteran host, renowned for his excitable presiding over Gillette Soccer Saturday, replaces Des O'Connor who announced he was to leave the long-running show in July.

And replacing Carol Vorderman as Stelling's co-host will be Oxford mathematics graduate Rachel Riley.

Vorderman recently recorded her final edition of Countdown, after an alleged pay dispute with Channel 4 producers.

Stelling and Riley will begin hosting Countdown in January, when the new series begins on Channel 4.

"I am delighted to be hosting Countdown and follow in the footsteps of such great broadcasters as Richard Whiteley, Des Lynam and Des O'Connor," said Stelling, who has been named awarded sports broadcaster of the year by the Sports Journalists' Association for the last three years.

Riley, 22, said she felt she had landed "the best graduate job in the world".

"There's only one cool maths job around and I was lucky enough to get it so I'm absolutely thrilled," she added.

She beat 1,000 other applicants to the co-hosting role.

Helen Warner, head of Channel 4 daytime, said the new lineup would help Countdown "go from strength to strength".


21/11/2008 15:04:01