Who is Countdown host Colin Murray? As it's confirmed he's permanently replacing Anne Robinson

All you need to know about the new host.

Countdown Host Colin Murray
(Image credit: Getty)

After Countdown had a shake up last summer with a new host, viewers will be delighted to know that Colin Murray is permanently taking over the reins of the popular word and number crunching show to become Countdown's full-time presenter.

The Channel 4 gameshow which has been running since the first episode aired back in 1982 is in its 84th season and six months after the change saw Colin Murray hold the fort, it's been confirmed that he will remain as permanent host of the daytime show.

Rachel Riley took some time out from Countdown when she went on maternity leave but since completing his own 'caretaker' stint, he will stay on as host when the new episodes of Countdown are filmed as we look at all you need to know...

Who is Countdown host Colin Murray?

Countdown host Colin Murray has been confirmed as the new permanent presenter of Countdown. The Northern Irish radio and television presenter reacted to the news which was revealed on Steph's Packed Lunch on Wednesday (11th Jan).

Speaking of his official appointment, he said, "It is pretty surreal, to have been in Dictionary Corner was amazing and then to be the 'caretaker' for the last six months. It's never stopped being surreal."

He went on to say he's been a fan of the show since he was a kid, "It was cheeky, it was irreverent, I loved it. I get to see it into its fifth decade, being honest I think it's like a football team that used to win trophies and I want it to win trophies again.

"We want it to really thrive, return it to the days when it used to win everything in daytime."

He added: "It doesn't have to be good every day, Countdown is not good every day but it's real and we love it."

Colin previously confirmed that was temporarily taking over as presenter of Countdown on Twitter when he tweeted, "I'm like the assistant manager, given the job until the end of the season. Earn respect of dressing room (@susie_dent @RachelRileyRR), get some points on the board, try to win a trophy! 75 games to get it right!  Absolute honour. Fav show ever. July 14 to start of Nov."

But he appears he's been a hit with both viewers and show bosses to land the permanent stint.

Channel 4’s Head of Daytime and Features, Jo Street, said: “We have listened to the fans. Many have written in to let us know how much they love Colin on the show, and so I am delighted to be able to confirm that he is staying in the hotseat alongside lexicographer Susie Dent and maths whiz Rachel Riley MBE."

And Peter Gwyn, Executive Producer, Lifted Entertainment, added: "We are thrilled that Colin is our new permanent host. His boundless energy, infectious humour and genuine love for the programme have really struck a chord with our viewers, and he, Rachel and Susie are the perfect team to take this iconic show into the future."

Colin became the host of BBC Television's Match of the Day 2 on BBC Two in 2010, while still anchoring shows on BBC Radio 5 Live, including 5 Live Sport and Fighting Talk and was still presenting on BBC Radio Ulster.

Countdown new presenter Colin Murray LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Quest Television presenter Colin Murray during the Carabao Cup Final match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Credit: Getty Images

Fans and former Countdown stars alike are delighted by the permanent appointment of Colin.

One fan put, "I caught it last week for the first time in ages and he is such a natural fit. Loves the show, loves the contestants, looks like he is living his best life. What a breath of fresh air!"

Another fan tweeted, "Good choice I really like Colin" 

And a third fan added, "Colin Murray being appointed the permanent host of Countdown when he clearly loves it so much is the pure and wholesome story I needed today."

Nick Hewer, former Countdown host tweeted earlier this week, "And I had a great time but here’s my bet - will be in that chair in 20 year’s time. Perfect host. @ColinMurray @C4Countdown."

Just 19.5 years to go then....no pressure Colin!

Is Colin Murray still married?

Colin Murray has reportedly split from his wife of over 10 years Carly Paradis. According to reports the presenter is said to have parted ways with his composer wife after struggling to juggle their busy work schedules.

According to The Sun, a source alleges the pair split last year, "Colin and Carly have been open with their friends and family about their break-up and are trying to move on as best they can."

Colin appeared to confirm that he was living alone during a chat with Radio Times magazine when he was asked who controls the TV remote in his house, to which he replied, "It’s just me, so me. I’m master of my domain."

The couple have been married since 2012. She is a BAFTA nominated Canadian-born British composer, songwriter and pianist. She composes soundtracks for movies, TV series and her own albums. 

She has written music for The Line of Duty and has composed music on the BBC's upcoming drama The Control Room.

Who is currently presenting Countdown?

Colin Murray is currently presenting Countdown. He took over from Anne Robinson on July 14th 2022 and will continue as permanent host of the show. Anne has hosted the show in 2021 to become the show’s sixth presenter and the first female to take on the role but after 265 episodes she is leaving.

Anne previously hosted alongside Susie Dent who is in Dictionary Corner, while Rachel Riley who returned to work after giving birth to her second daughter, hosts the numbers segment and picks the letters for the contestants.

Susie is known to tweet a word of the day to her followers, along with an explanation of its meaning but on hearing the announcement, she tweeted, "The news is out! And it’s wonderful. Congratulations on nabbing the best seat on TV (I may be biased) and becoming the permanent Countdown host. We are very lucky to have you. @ColinMurray"

Why was Anne Robinson replaced on Countdown?

Anne Robinson was replaced on Countdown because she announced that she was quitting the gameshow so she could spend more time with her family in New York.

At the time she issued a lengthy statement to announce her departure and it reads, “I’ve had a blast hosting this wonderful show. And I stayed longer than I signed up for. Now it is time for an older woman to take the reins. I hope too I’ve encouraged TV bosses to realise that not all women at the wrong end of their seventies are in care homes playing bingo and watching conjuring tricks.”

She added, “In fact the genius of Countdown is that it’s a brilliant way to keep the brain exercised. I run 5k most days of the week. And I can now do an anagram at twice the speed I could this time last year. But I have grandchildren, a large garden and a home in New York, all deserving more of my attention.”

You can watch Countdown weekdays on Channel 4 at 2.10pm with Colin Murray as host.

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Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)