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Carol Vorderman

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Episode 1 numbers game.jpg
First appearance 2 November 1982
Last appearance 12 December 2008
Appearances 4,832
Episodes with Carol Vorderman
Vorderman reprises her "birthday suit" in the 25th anniversary special.

Carol Vorderman MBE, also Carol Mather and Carol King, (b. 24 December 1960) was Countdown's co-presenter for an astonishing 26 years in a row. She was born in Bedford, grew up in North Wales, and studied engineering at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

She was the second named woman to appear on Channel 4, behind lexicographer Mary, (who was seen when Ted Moult introduced his assistant). In early episodes she was only called upon to provide the occasional numbers solution, alternating with Dr Linda Barrett. When Barrett left at the end of Series 2, Vorderman took on the role of solving unsolved numbers games full-time. After the departure of Lucy Summers in 1989, she began putting up the letters and numbers as well. Over the years she became known for her repartee with Richard Whiteley. After Des Lynam took over as presenter, she gave the celebrity introductions at the start of each show and was credited equally with Lynam and Des O'Connor, rather than as co-presenter.

Vorderman had more appearances than anyone else on Countdown, with 4,832 appearances as arithmetician, as well as one as a contestant, before being overtaken by Susie Dent in April 2021.

During her marriage in the mid-1980s she was billed on Countdown for a while as "Carol Mather", a gift of a name – considering her maths expertise – which was probably not lost on Whiteley. In 1997, she appeared as a contestant in a Christmas special, under another married name, "Carol King", and was crowned the winner after defeating Richard Whiteley on a crucial conundrum.

As Vorderman's role on Countdown grew, so did her popularity with television producers. She was the host of Grand Slam, a television show pitting quiz show champions against each other on general knowledge and mathematical puzzles. Outside of the quiz sphere, she's hosted Tomorrow's World, How 2, and has appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and Stars in Their Eyes. She also appeared on Have I Got News for You which featured a farcical Countdown numbers game.

As a journalist, she's written for the Daily Mirror and The Daily Telegraph about her detox diets, and has published books and DVDs on the subject. She's also a big fan of sudoku and has written two books on how to solve them. She promotes numeracy amongst children and adults and is known for her charity work. She was the winner of ITV's Gameshow Marathon which allowed her to raise £60,000 for charity.


On 23 July 2008, Des O'Connor announced that he would be leaving the show, which prompted Channel 4 to announce that Vorderman would also be leaving. Vorderman later revealed via the press that she had been willing to take a 33% pay cut in line with Countdown's budget being cut by 33%, but when Channel 4 offered her a 90% pay cut, she refused and opted to leave the show at the end of Series 59. The Series 59 grand final on 12 December 2008 was her final episode, which was preceded by One Last Consonant Please, Carol, a 30 minute farewell to Vorderman, hosted by Gyles Brandreth which included other Dictionary Corner favourites such as Keith Barron, Barry Norman, Rick Wakeman, Paul Zenon and Kathryn Apanowicz. The series final followed, won by Junaid Mubeen, which featured Susie Dent giving flowers to O'Connor, and Brandreth giving flowers to Vorderman. Vorderman made a small speech before shedding tears, which was the last time she was ever seen on Countdown. She was replaced by Rachel Riley.


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Presenters Guest Lex Max
CS1997 25/12/1997 X Richard Whiteley 30 – 43 Carol King William G Stewart Susie Dent Magnus Magnusson Mark Nyman 59

Videos and published writings

  • Carol Vorderman's Pop Music Times Tables, 1990
  • Carol Vorderman's How to Write a Perfect Letter, 1991
  • How Mathematics Works, 1996
  • Carol Vorderman's Guide to the Internet (written with Rob Young), 1998
  • Carol Vorderman's How To Do Sudoku, 2005
  • Carol Vorderman's Massive Book Of Sudoku, 2005
  • Eat Yourself Clever, 2008
  • Carol Vorderman's Guide to Maths
  • Carol Vorderman's Detox Diet
  • It all Counts, 2010

External Links