Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Saturday, 26 July 2008 18:01 UK

Vorderman 'forced' to quit quiz

Carol Vorderman
Carol Vorderman's agent denied the presenter had demanded more money

Presenter Carol Vorderman felt forced to leave Channel 4 quiz show Countdown after she was told to take a 90% pay cut, her manager has said.

Agent John Miles said Vorderman, 47, had been told the series survived the death of host Richard Whiteley in 2005, and could "easily survive without you".

Vorderman, a co-host since its 1982 start, said she wanted everyone "to know the truth" about her departure.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: "We never comment on presenters' salaries."

Vorderman, who is reported to earn in the region of 900,000 a year from the show, announced she was leaving on Friday.

Mr Miles said his client had offered to accept a pay cut of one-third, in line with a 33% budget cut being imposed on the show by ITV Productions, which makes Countdown for Channel 4.

But he said she felt she was left with no alternative but to leave after she was told to take or leave an offer of 10% of her current salary, and given 48 hours to decide.

'Cavalier manner'

Carol Vorderman and Des O'Connor
Vorderman and O'Connor celebrated the show's 25th anniversary last year
After that period ended, he said one of the show's bosses - who he refused to name - said the programme could "easily survive" without her.

"I was stunned that my client's 26 loyal years were discarded in such a cavalier manner," he said.

"Having said that, Carol has never claimed she is indispensable."

Mr Miles refused to say how much Vorderman - who is also a newspaper columnist and a best-selling author of detox books - earned, but said it was less than 1m a year.

Vorderman said she was releasing a statement "so that the Countdown viewers and all the team know the truth".

She added: "I am devastated that my joyous time with one of the best programmes on TV has ended this way."

"I was happy to continue doing the numbers and letters for years to come," she said.

"I wish all of my friends and colleagues every success in the future. I'll miss them all."

Future in doubt

Carol Vorderman and Richard Whiteley
Vorderman launched the programme with Richard Whiteley in 1982

Mr Miles said he had released the statement because of "a series of 'off the record' media briefings that insinuated that Carol had exited the programme because she was demanding more money".

"This is not true," he added.

Initially, Vorderman had said that she did not want to go through the upheaval of working with a new main presenter after current host Des O'Connor announced his departure on Saturday.

Vorderman's decision to follow O'Connor in leaving the show - the first to be seen on Channel 4 - will put its future in doubt.

She became a household name after forging a famous partnership with Whiteley before his death.

Former sports presenter Des Lynam took on the role, but left a year later, complaining that the commute from his home in Worthing, West Sussex, to the show's base in Leeds was too tiring.

O'Connor, who replaced Lynam, announced on Thursday he was stepping down after two years with the show to concentrate on music and light entertainment projects.


SEE ALSO
Carol Vorderman quits Countdown
25 Jul 08 |  Entertainment
Des O'Connor to leave Countdown
23 Jul 08 |  Entertainment
MacKenzie claims TV quiz honours
04 Jul 08 |  Notts County
Brown wishes Countdown happy 25th
01 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Des Lynam quits TV Countdown quiz
30 Sep 06 |  Entertainment

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