Why did Carol Vorderman leave Countdown and what was her salary?

She departed in 2008...

a split image showing Carol Vorderman with a Countdown cake and with former Countdown host Richard Whiteley
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

She rose to prominance as a numbers genius on the hit Channel 4 show, but why did Carol Vorderman leave Countdown?

Carol Vorderman is back on our screens this April, showing off her best survival skills as a member of the I'm a Celeb All Star line-up, alongside a few other famous faces. But whilst she made a splash in the jungle back in 2016, she's better known to audiences for the popular teatime show Countdown, where she flawlessly solved a number of mathematical head scratchers, alongside original host Richard Whiteley.

Carol spent over two decades on the show, and when news of her departure broke in July 2008, long-time fans of the show were devastated. Here's a refresher on why Carol Vorderman quit Countdown, plus details of her generous Countdown salary.

Why did Carol Vorderman leave Countdown?

It's claimed that Carol Vorderman left Countdown over a pay row. The now 62-year-old had a bitter dispute with the programme's producers who told her to take a 90 per cent pay cut or stand down.

According to reports by the Daily Mail.

Carol had worked on the show for 26 years where she selected letters and solved complicated mathematical problems but was allegedly just given 48 hours to make a decision but before she could consider the offer she was dispensed with.

Her manager at the time Mr Miles said, "On July 16 my office received the first offer of a new contract from ITV Productions. It was a harsh fait accompli – take a 90 per cent cut, you have 48 hours until noon on July 18 to make up your mind. It was a non-negotiable take-it-or-leave-it offer. I discussed the options with Carol but she expressed a desire to stay.

"On July 18 we were still considering the ITV Productions offer when they said,
'Countdown easily survived without Richard Whiteley. It can easily survive without you.' It was that callous."

Mr Miles said, his client was prepared to accept a one-third pay cut, in line with a 33 per cent budget cut imposed on the show.

Carol later revealed that she was absolutely distraught about the ultimatum. "After putting my heart and soul into the show for 26 years I was given just 48 hours to decide. Take it or leave it.

"I loved Countdown so much I was thinking of taking the cut. In fact in the right circumstances I'd have done it for free - but it is obvious they wanted me out."

Carol added that she doesn't regret her decision to leave when she did. Talking on Today FM back in 2018, she revealed: "I think, sometimes, to hang on to what was is not a good thing.

"I’m a great believer in new chapters. It was a good chapter, it was like a marriage. It was a massive part of my life. I don’t sort of want to be hanging around."

a black and white photo of Carol Vorderman next to the Countdown numbers board

(Image credit: Getty)

How much did Carol Vorderman get paid for Countdown?

Carol Vorderman confirmed that, at the peak of her Countdown career, her salary around £900,000 a year. According to Evoke, Carol was reportedly paid "£17,000 a day for 40 days filming a year for the Channel 4 programme, working out at £3,750 per show".

In 2013, Vordemann defended her wage, explaining that at the time Countdown was one of Channel 4's golden shows.

"Yes, I was earning £900,000 a year," she said. "But Countdown was the biggest show on the channel for 15 years and we were making 250 shows a year.

"It was by no means out of kilter with what other people were being paid; I don’t worry about being seen as greedy. It’s a commercial world out there and Channel 4 is not a charity. I had a great contract."

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.