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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 September 2006, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Profile: Des Lynam
Carol Vorderman and Des Lynam
Countdown was "intelligent" and "friendly", Lynam said last year

Former sports presenter Des Lynam has announced he is stepping down as host of Channel 4's daytime quiz show Countdown, which he took over last October following the death of Richard Whiteley.

Des Lynam, 64, fronted sports programmes such as Match of the Day and Grandstand on the BBC for more than 20 years until he defected to ITV in 1999.

He began as a radio presenter in Sussex in the 1970s after quitting a job selling insurance.

He left ITV in 2004, and since then he has hosted The World's Greatest Sporting Legend for Sky One and BBC One's coverage of the 60th annivesary of VE Day.

He has also hosted a talk show on BBC Radio Five Live.

Three years ago the Royal Television Society gave Lynam its lifetime achievement award and he has twice won Bafta's Richard Dimbleby Award for his contribution to factual television.

And he named his autobiography after an endearing remark he made while introducing an important daytime football match during the World Cup in 1998.

"Good afternoon," he said, raising an eyebrow slightly.

Des Lynam in 1997
Lynam was one of the faces of sport on the BBC for two decades
"Shouldn't you be at work?"

Countdown was the first show to air on Channel 4 when it launched in 1982.

Together with co-star Carol Vorderman, Whiteley had been the face of the words and numbers game for 23 years.

Lynam said last year that Channel 4 had approached him "out of the blue".

"I was flattered and surprised to be asked to present Countdown - a show of which I have always been a fan," he said.

It was going to be "a hugely difficult task to replace Richard Whiteley", he predicted.

Vorderman promised to help him settle in, saying at the time: "Des and I have known each other for nearly 10 years and we've always got on really well.

"Des has always been a Countdown viewer and had a huge respect for Richard. In that we find great comfort."

He will leave the show at Christmas, and said his time on the show would "do nicely".

"I'm going to withdraw and save the wear and tear," he told the Daily Mirror.

Des Lynam quits Countdown hotseat
30 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Lynam Countdown debut draws 1.8m
01 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
Lynam reveals Countdown anxiety
24 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
Vorderman honours 'Mr Countdown'
27 Jun 05 |  Entertainment
Presenter Richard Whiteley dies
26 Jun 05 |  Entertainment
Lynam 'too old' to front TV sport
16 Aug 04 |  Entertainment

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