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Wednesday, 25 October, 2000, 10:23 GMT
Vorderman's sponsorship conundrum
Carol Vorderman
Carol Vorderman: Countdown made her a star
Long-running daytime quiz show Countdown has found itself a 1.9m sponsor - but it means a conundrum for the programme's co-host Carol Vorderman.

Channel 4 has signed a one-year deal with Van den Bergh Foods for the show to carry plugs for cholesterol-lowering spread Flora pro.activ.

Richard Whiteley
Teatime favourite: Richard Whiteley
The 39-year-old, one of the highest-paid women on TV, already appears in advertisements for rival spread Benecol.

Van den Bergh denied the move was a deliberate strike against US-based Benecol.

Business group director Neil Kimberly said: "The fact the show features Carol Vorderman is not any reason why we have chosen to sponsor it.

"Obviously, we are aware she is on the programme, but we are not going to use her in any pro-active way."

He added the show's popularity with its mature viewers provided "the ideal environment" to promote the product.

No-one from Benecol was available to comment on whether it would affect the company's deal with Vorderman.

Under the deal, Flora pro.activ will be featured on the show's opening and closing credits, and it will have an extended commercial in each advertising break.

Vorderman has been with Countdown since it started in November 1982. It was the first programme to be seen on the new Channel 4.

She was an unknown Cambridge graduate, acting as the mathematically-minded assistant to host Richard Whiteley.

However, during the 1990s she moved on to present Tomorrow's World for the BBC, and her recent credits include shows such as What Will They Think Of Next?, Better Homes, and Stars And Their Lives for ITV.

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