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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June, 2005, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Vorderman mourns beloved Whiteley
Carol Vorderman, Countdown contestant Tanmay Dixit and Richard Whiteley
Whiteley presented Countdown with Carol Vorderman (left) for 23 years
TV presenter Richard Whiteley, who has died aged 61, is remembered by his friend and Countdown co-host of 23 years, Carol Vorderman.

He was loved by millions as every day he filled the screen and made us laugh. Every time we were in studio he made us roll around with laughter.

The Countdown crew loved him, the contestants loved him, the viewers loved him and I loved him.

He was one of life's big, open, funny characters. He was colourful in all ways.

I remember when I first made a comment about his jacket and tie, he was mortified that anyone would think he had bad taste, and that was Richard.

He did wear the finest cloth - just in the wrong colours!

I worked out this morning - and I knew he would have wanted me to - that 250,000 have been in our studio audiences - and they all fell in love with him.

Richard Whiteley
Richard Whiteley died aged 61, after undergoing heart surgery

Countdown is 23 years old and we often had whole audiences that were younger than the programme itself. Richard revelled in it.

The girls would come in and they'd have Richard Whiteley t-shirts printed up with his photo on, and he loved that and loved signing those in particular.

And the boys would raid their dads' wardrobes for their worst jackets and worst ties and there would be rows of them, all with their hair brushed like Richard on one side. That was hysterically funny.

They loved him. He was the best company you could ever have. He got us all into trouble.

He charmed our older viewers. They travelled at their own expense from Cornwall, Kent, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to see him and he never let them down.

He never let us down. He never disappointed. He loved Countdown. He was Countdown and Countdown was him.

I'm privileged to have known him, to have been so close to him and to have been supported and loved by him.

I adored him and I always will.

Gyles Brandreth fondly remembers a good friend

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