Rachel Riley

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Rachel Riley
Rachel Riley 2011.JPG
BornRachel Annabelle Riley
(1986-01-11) 11 January 1986 (age 27)
Rochford, Essex, England[1]
ResidenceThorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea
Alma materOriel College, Oxford
OccupationTelevision presenter
Spouse(s)Jamie Gilbert (2012-13)
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Rachel Riley
Rachel Riley 2011.JPG
BornRachel Annabelle Riley
(1986-01-11) 11 January 1986 (age 27)
Rochford, Essex, England[1]
ResidenceThorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea
Alma materOriel College, Oxford
OccupationTelevision presenter
Spouse(s)Jamie Gilbert (2012-13)

Rachel Annabelle Riley[2] (born 11 January 1986[3]) is an English television presenter best known for co-presenting Countdown on Channel 4 and The Gadget Show on Channel 5.

In January 2009, she replaced Carol Vorderman as the co-host of Countdown doing the letters and numbers selection and mathematics solutions. She hosts the show alongside Nick Hewer.[4] Riley has co-presented over 1,000 episodes of Countdown.

She was also a participant in the eleventh series of Strictly Come Dancing, but she was the 5th contestant to be eliminated from the show on 3 November 2013.

Early life[edit]

Born in Rochford, Essex, Riley was raised in the Thorpe Bay area of Southend-on-Sea and educated at the independent Thorpe Hall School and Southend High School for Girls, a grammar school, where she obtained four As at A-Level. She then read mathematics at Oriel College, Oxford, gaining an upper second-class honours degree.[5][6]



Riley was encouraged to apply for the Countdown position by her mother. She did not have an ambition to be a television presenter, but decided to apply because she was interested in the numbers part of the game.[7] Riley was chosen from more than a thousand applicants despite having no television experience. In an article for BBC News, she said, "There's only one cool maths job around and I was lucky enough to get it so I'm absolutely thrilled".[8] She began presenting Countdown alongside Jeff Stelling from 12 January 2009. In an interview in August 2009 she revealed that it had been difficult for her to step into Vorderman's shoes, and that she had even been criticised by certain Countdown viewers for getting some of the maths puzzles wrong.[7] Since January 2012, she has presented the programme alongside Nick Hewer, with whom she has reportedly had problems in getting on with.[9] Her 1,000th episode was shown on Tuesday 25 June 2013, where she was presented with a signed shirt and a bunch of flowers by Manchester United player Ryan Giggs[10][11] who had celebrated his 1,000th football pitch appearance the same year.

Riley also does the letters and numbers rounds on the 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown series.

The Gadget Show[edit]

Since June 2013, Riley has been a presenter on the Channel 5 programme The Gadget Show. She co-hosts the programme with Jason Bradbury.[12] Her first series (series 19), was shown for nine episodes from 3 June 2013. Her second series (series 20) began on 14 October 2013 and will continue for 22 episodes.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

From September 2013, Riley appeared in the eleventh series of the BBC One ballroom dancing programme Strictly Come Dancing with professional dancing partner Pasha Kovalev. She was eventually eliminated on 3 November, after losing out in the dance-off against Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Skorjanec.

Week #Dance/SongJudges' scoresResult
Craig Revel HorwoodDarcey BussellLen GoodmanBruno TonioliTotal
1Waltz / "When I Need You"677727Safe
2Salsa / "Get Lucky"456520Safe
3Cha Cha Cha / "When Love Takes Over"677727Safe
4Quickstep / "Johnny Got a Boom Boom"577726Bottom two
5Paso Doble / "Maneater"466622Safe
6American Smooth / "I Put a Spell on You"778830Eliminated

Guest appearances[edit]

She has also made brief appearances in such shows as The IT Crowd, Dispatches, Britain's Brightest and 1001 Things You Should Know.


On 26 June 2009, it was reported that Riley had been recruited by the Post Office to employ her mathematical skills to help advise holidaymakers on how to make the most of their holiday currency, after a report by the Post Office revealed that a significant number of holidaymakers fail to calculate the actual cost of goods and services when travelling abroad and often overspend their holiday budgets.[13]

In October 2010, she presented a programme on MUTV featuring a tour of Manchester United's training ground at Carrington. She has also hosted episodes of An Audience with... on MUTV.

Personal life[edit]

Riley is a keen supporter of Manchester United.[10]

Riley describes herself as a "non-religious Jew".[14]

She met her husband, Jamie Gilbert, while they were both studying at Oxford University. The couple split up at the end of 2009 after four and a half years together.[15] They later got back together and became engaged after he proposed to her on her 25th birthday on 11 January 2011.[16] She told viewers about the engagement on the 25 February edition of Countdown and their wedding was on 11 August 2012.[17] It was announced on November 29th 2013 that she was splitting with her husband after 16 months of marriage.[18][19][20]

Riley was ranked #95 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women poll in 2009, #84 in 2012 and #90 in 2013.[21]


  1. ^ I really love Countdown...trust me,it is not being axed, Evening Echo, 27 July 2001 accessdate=31 July 2011
  2. ^ "Names Database". Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  3. ^ The 11 January 2011 edition of the show mentioned that that day was her 25th birthday.
  4. ^ "Essex girl (and fresh Oxford graduate), 22, replaced Carol Vorderman on Countdown". Mail Online. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2008. 
  5. ^ "I really love Countdown... trust me, it is not being axed". Southend Echo. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "New hosts Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley Debut on Countdown". The Tart. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Hardy, Rebecca (29 August 2009). "I didn't count on this abuse: Rachel Riley on why being Carol Vorderman's replacement adds up to a whole lot of grief". Mail Online. Retrieved 11 September 2009. 
  8. ^ "Sky host Stelling joins Countdown". BBC News (BBC). 21 November 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2008. 
  9. ^ Countdown presenter Rachel Riley's conundrum: How can I get on with Nick Hewer? Daily Telegraph, 24 June 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  10. ^ a b Media Monkey (24 June 2013). "Countdown: Rachel Riley red-faced over Ryan Giggs". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Ryan Giggs to appear on Rachel Riley's 1,000th 'Countdown' episode - TV News - Digital Spy
  12. ^ "The Gadget Show | Meet The Gadget Show’s new presenter: Rachel Riley! by The Gadget Show". Gadgetshow.channel5.com. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Lander, Sebastian (26 June 2009). "Rachel Riley's currency countdown as Britons lose £288m a year over poor maths". Mail Online. Retrieved 11 July 2009. 
  14. ^ Kay, Richard (21 March 2012). "RICHARD KAY: Countdown queen Rachel's wedding conundrum". Mail Online. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Todd, Ben (1 January 2010). "Countdown's Rachel Riley is single after splitting with boyfriend of four years". Mail Online. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  16. ^ "Rachel Riley begins the Countdown to her big day after getting engaged to millionaire boyfriend". Mail Online (Associated Newspapers Ltd). 25 January 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  17. ^ Emily Sheridan (20 August 2012). "Countdown star Rachel Riley weds her university sweetheart". Mail Online. Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Carter, Claire (29 November 2013). "Rachel Riley in split from husband". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "'Countdown' And 'Strictly' Star Rachel Riley 'Splits From Husband Jamie Gilbert After 16 Months Of Marriage'". Huffington Post. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  20. ^ Davison, Rebecca (29 November 2013). "Countdown brainbox Rachel Riley splits from husband Jamie Gilbert after 16 months of marriage". Daily Mail (Daily Mail and General Trust). Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "Rachel Riley at". Fhm.com. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Carol Vorderman
Co-host of Countdown
Succeeded by