Anne Robinson talks about becoming one of the most senior women in television, having an all-female Countdown team, and spending lockdown with her grandkids.

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Anne Robinson talks about becoming one of the most senior women in television, having an all-female Countdown team, and spending lockdown with her grandkids.

Anne Robinson’s role on The Weakest Link was memorable, with the goodbye wink, several cutting remarks, and an unforgiving quizmaster style.

“I can’t think of a single show that I didn’t completely and utterly enjoy,” says the Merseyside-born journalist and presenter. “It was fantastic. I consider myself extremely fortunate that the BBC allowed me to be myself.

“In the letter requesting me to do it, they stated they wanted me because I’d appear to know the answers to the questions and I’d sympathize with the applicants if they were eliminated. But after we did some rehearsals with real participants, I realized how fierce and competitive they were, and it was a lot more fun to play me than to play some clichéd game-show host.”

However, the no-nonsense, quick-witted 76-year-old – who has one daughter, Emma, from her previous marriage to Charles Wilson – has no intention of reprising the role. She says matter-of-factly, “You must never go back.”

She’d “definitely propose somebody completely different, with a new style” as the host if the much-loved series, which broadcast on BBC Two for 12 years, was rebooted.

“It’s also worth noting that I graduated in 2011, and a lot has transpired since then – I’m sure there are a lot of things I said that you can’t say now!”

Indeed, early this year, an old clip of the TV personality making some contentious comments during the taping of an episode of The Weakest Link resurfaced, prompting several Twitter users to express their outrage. But that hasn’t stopped Robinson from making her newest professional move: she’ll be taking over the Countdown reins this month, replacing Nick Hewer.

She is the first female host of Channel 4’s longest-running series, a brainy game show.

“I’d been lined up with Channel 5 to film The Kings And Queens Of England,” she muses when asked what made her say yes. It was their most costly commission and as soon as the pandemic started, they cancelled it. They basically assumed – correctly – that they wouldn’t be able to maintain the budget with advertising.

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