- Nick Hewer, a man for whom the word ‘acerbic’ may well have been invented, was unveiled as the new host of Channel 4’s Countdown this week.
"I'm flattered to have been asked to present such an iconic programme, and will work hard to justify sitting in the same seat as such great talents as Jeff Stelling, Des O'Connor and of course the great Richard Whiteley," Hewer said in a statement that will see him dropped from Des Lynam’s Christmas card list.
Hewer beat a number of high-profile candidates to the Countdown job, including Sir Terry Wogan, Rory Bremner and Sue Barker, according to the Daily Mirror.
Soon after the official announcement was made, Hewer took to Twitter to say:
- He’s been on the social network for some time and has Tweeted over 1,000 times, so he’s no novice. But he clearly reckons there’s room for improvement. One Jo Morley posted this on Thursday:
- The general reaction was pretty positive. The Bother’s Bar blog (which is the place to go for ‘commentary, guesswork and idle speculation on gameshows from the UK and abroad’) was certainly happy.
“Interestingly, the main thing people seem to do when hearing this news is to raise an eyebrow, which is basically the thing he’s most famous for doing on The Apprentice. So perfect choice, really.”
Many shared that sentiment on Twitter.
- But you can’t please everyone. Some had their doubts; some were certain it would backfire on Channel 4.
- One commenter on Stewart Heritage’s guardian.co.uk piece was certainly unamused. He wrote: “After the unfortunate Richard Whiteley met his demise it was briefly mooted that Paul Merton might take his place and he was reportedly willing. I thought this a good idea then and still think so now; he would certainly have been better than either Des that followed. He would have livened it up and yet it could still have proceeded at its gentle pace. Ditto Sandi Toksvig. This bloke that they've signed up now seems all wrong.”
Back on Twitter, some other intriguing presenting options were suggested.
- If you don’t watch The Apprentice, you may be wondering what the fuss is about. This YouTube montage of Hewer's best quotes may help. You can’t argue with a line like “you’re all over it like a tramp on chips” - a phrase unlikely to be repeated on Countdown.
- But what of the man he’s replacing? Jeff Stelling made his name as a presenter of Sky Sports’ football coverage, a job now taking up more of his time following the departure of Richard Keys and Andy Gray. He may have had his detractors as Countdown presenter (our own Mr Heritage among them) but as frontman of Soccer Saturday he is surely peerless.
This rollicking rant was triggered by a survey which found Middlesbrough a less than salubrious place to live. You should watch the whole thing below, but this will wet your whistle: “The people who compile this tosh … are the sort of people who go north of Rickmansworth only when they go to the Edinburgh Festival fringe … and call their mushy peas guacamole … and have Babyshambles as their ringtone.”
- Maybe his talents were wasted on Countdown. Back to Twitter.
- Mention of Roy Walker provides the perfect opportunity to link to this. Yes, it’s schoolboy humour, yes, you’ve probably seen it before, but what the heck. It’s Friday, and we need to know: What IS Mr Chips doing? Naughty Mr Chips... Until next week.