Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Vorderman clocks off from TV quiz

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Carol Vorderman's final appearance on Channel 4's Countdown

Carol Vorderman has made her last appearance on Countdown, after 26 years working on the Channel 4 show.

The 47-year-old has appeared on more than 4,500 editions of the popular words-and-numbers quiz.

Friday's programme was also the last time for Des O'Connor as host, having taken over two years ago.

He told viewers his stint on Countdown had been "wonderful" and described Vorderman as "a gem and a rock". "We'll all miss you," he added.

VORDERMAN'S VITALS
Des O'Connor and Carol Vorderman
1982 - First seen on Countdown
4,500 - Number of editions in which she has appeared
70,000 - Number of letters picked for contestants
154 - Her IQ
90% - The pay cut she was reportedly told to take

Vorderman began her last edition by saying she was surrounded by friends and relatives - a "proper Countdown family", as she put it.

She said a tearful farewell after being presented with a bouquet of flowers by dictionary corner guest Gyles Brandreth.

"I would just like to say thank you to all of my friends who are here in the audience," said Vorderman, as the show's credits rolled.

Her final letters round yielded the nine letters "JSQDUAOTT", from which both contestants formed the word "quotas".

After four large and two small numbers were picked in her last numbers round, both finalists managed to calculate the total of 297.

And "casserole" was the last nine-letter Countdown conundrum of Vorderman's 26-year run.

The show, which was the 59th final in Countdown's history, was preceded by a half-hour tribute to Vorderman, featuring her colleagues.

She had started as Countdown's maths "expert" who would check contestants' sums in the numbers rounds, but took on extra duties to become Whiteley's sidekick.

Carol Vorderman, her mother and Gyles Brandreth
Vorderman's mother Jean (left) appeared on the tribute show
The star announced in July she planned to step down from the programme. There were reports she felt forced to leave after being told to take a 90% pay cut.

Her successor will be maths graduate Rachel Riley, 22, who fought off competition from more than 1,000 others to appear on the new series in January.

O'Connor was brought in as a replacement for Des Lynam, who stepped in following the death of original presenter Richard Whiteley.

Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling will take over as host of the show in the New Year.

Countdown was the first programme to be broadcast on Channel 4 when the station launched in November 1982.

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SEE ALSO
Sky host Stelling joins Countdown
21 Nov 08 |  Entertainment
Vorderman records final Countdown
14 Nov 08 |  Entertainment
Countdown search for 'new Carol'
20 Aug 08 |  Entertainment
Anger over Vorderman's departure
28 Jul 08 |  Entertainment
New job please, Carol?
28 Jul 08 |  Entertainment
Carol Vorderman quits Countdown
25 Jul 08 |  Entertainment
Des O'Connor to leave Countdown
23 Jul 08 |  Entertainment

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