Rachel Riley has shut down claims of a feud between herself and Countdown host Anne Robinson.
It has been reported new host Anne, 77, is at loggerheads with maths whizz Rachel, 35, and lexicographer Susie Dent, 56, with an uncomfortable atmosphere’ erupting since she took on the role.
However, Rachel has now played down reports and states that ‘tensions in the studio’ have been made up, though she admits the show has ‘a different vibe’ since Anne arrived.
Nothing to report: Rachel Riley has shut down claims of a feud between herself and Countdown host Anne Robinson
Of Nick Hewer’s successor, Rachel told Saga magazine: ‘It’s true that Anne Robinson’s arrival has given the show a slightly different vibe. Admittedly, she doesn’t mind giving the contestants a bit of a bruising.
‘If some guy is trying to be a comedian, she soon puts him in his place – but I think Anne has softened her ‘Queen of Mean’ image since she took over from Nick Hewer.’
However, despite noting that rift rumours don’t add up, Rachel insisted that she hadn’t changed her style to accommodate the former Weakest Link star.
She added: ‘Someone asked me if I’m going to stop being “naughty” now that Anne’s in charge. Sorry, but this is me. What you see is what you get.’
Changes: However, Rachel has now played down reports and states that ‘tensions in the studio’ have been made up, though she admits the show has ‘a different vibe’ since Anne arrived
It was previously reported that tensions on the set of previously soothing Channel 4 quiz show were said to have reached such heights since acerbic Anne arrived that Rachel was considering leaving.
However, she’s made it clear that she will be the last woman standing.
Remarking that this will be her ’13th year’, Rachel commented on the fact that she’s apparently been boasting that she wants to ‘beat’ Carol Vorderman’s impressive 26-year record on the show.
She noted that she doesn’t ‘remember saying that’ but added ‘why wouldn’t I want to beat it?’.
Staying the same: However, despite noting that rift rumours don’t add up, Rachel insisted that she hadn’t changed her style to accommodate the former Weakest Link star
She continued to say that being on Countdown is ‘the best job in the world’ and that she hopes ‘I’m there forever.’
The beauty recently gave birth to her second daughter Noa, with former Strictly star husband Pasha Kovalev, and Rachel shared her excitement at returning to the show from maternity leave in January.
She told how she’s really ‘looking forward’ to getting back to the studio ‘with a live audience’, remarking that they are ‘part of the family’ and ‘take pride’ in being fans of the long-running Channel 4 series.
Rachel explained how when she welcomed eldest daughter Maven, audience member brought in toys and knitted hats for her, joking that it was like her having ‘hundreds of grandmas and grandpas.’
It comes after staff at Media City studios in Salford claim that off-camera, there’s tension over Anne’s ‘rather grand ways’, which have earned her the nickname ‘Queen Anne’.
Determination: Rachel, 35, has, however, made it clear that she will be the last woman standing (Anne Robinson pictured on Countdown)
It was reported that The Countdown host, 77, was at loggerheads with maths grad Rachel, and lexicographer Susie Dent, 56, with an uncomfortable atmosphere’ erupting since she took on the role.
Yet the former face of The Weakest Link was nothing but complimentary of her colleagues during a recent interview with journalist and sister of the Prime Minister, Rachel Johnson.
Asked directly about the feud, Anne, who took over from Nick Hewer on the Channel 4 game show in June, said: ‘They’re brilliant – both of them actually. Every time I’m astonished how she [Rachel] does that adding up and subtracting – just seconds, absolutely seconds, amazing.’
Anne also said during the chat: ‘I hope I’m always described as difficult, awkward, tricky, impatient, menopausal, any sort of pejorative, grumpy.’ When asked about bitchy, she said ‘not particularly – hard to please.’
Rachel broke her silence on the Countdown ‘feud’ during a recent episode of Lorraine where she also chatted about life as a new mum.
Rachel said: ‘This will be my 13th year — and I’ve apparently been telling everyone that I want to beat Carol Vorderman’s record of 26 years. I don’t remember saying that, but why wouldn’t I want to beat it?’ (Carol pictured with Des Lynam in 2008)
‘She’s getting some stuff out of the contestants – sometimes it’s barbed, sometimes it’s funny, it’s just got a different flavour.’
It was previously reported that Anne turned off Rachel’s microphone on set in October after becoming irritated by the host’s small talk.
According to The Sun, Anne became fed up of listening to Rachel chatting to contestants ahead of going on air, turning up at the last minute and being on her phone too much.
Rachel then reportedly told crew that she ‘completely disagreed’ with being silenced after the incident.
Awkward: Rachel broke her silence on the Countdown ‘feud’ during a recent episode of Lorraine
A source told the publication: ‘It’s safe to say there’s no love lost. Anne is famously known for two things: her dislike of noise and time-keeping. She’ll tolerate neither.
‘Anne also has tinnitus and cannot bear excess sound. Rachel, with her big heels and even bigger personality, can be quite loud on set. Rachel used to chat to contestants before every show, and Anne found it hugely distracting.
‘She felt she couldn’t do her job properly, or bond with the contestants to help them to relax, before the cameras started rolling.
‘The tension was palpable. Anne finds the whole thing hilarious.’
Representatives for Anne, Rachel and Channel 4 were contacted for a comment at the time.
Oh dear: It has been reported that The Countdown host is at loggerheads with maths grad Rachel and lexicographer Susie Dent, 56, with an uncomfortable atmosphere’ erupting since she took on the role