Rachel Riley

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Rachel Riley
Rachel Riley 2011.JPG
BornRachel Annabelle Riley
(1986-01-11) 11 January 1986 (age 28)
Rochford, Essex, England[1]
ResidenceThorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea
Alma materOriel College, Oxford
OccupationTelevision presenter
Spouse(s)Jamie Gilbert (m. 2012-13)
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This article is about the British television presenter. For the American reality show contestant, see Rachel Reilly.
Rachel Riley
Rachel Riley 2011.JPG
BornRachel Annabelle Riley
(1986-01-11) 11 January 1986 (age 28)
Rochford, Essex, England[1]
ResidenceThorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea
Alma materOriel College, Oxford
OccupationTelevision presenter
Spouse(s)Jamie Gilbert (m. 2012-13)

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

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,[4] to an accountant father Christopher [5] (who was originally from Salford, Lancashire) [6] and his wife Celia (she also has a younger brother, Alex),[7] Riley was brought up in the Thorpe Bay area of Southend-on-Sea and was 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.[8][9] Before she appeared on Countdown, she did an internship in The City during a university vacation, but did not apparently like the experience,[10] and after university worked as an analyst for a price-comparison website.[11]



Main article: Countdown

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.[12] Riley has co-presented over 1,000 episodes of Countdown.

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.[13] 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".[14] 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.[13] Since January 2012, she has presented the programme alongside Nick Hewer, with whom she has reportedly had problems in getting on,[15] stating on one occasion that they were "chalk and cheese".[16] Her 1,000th episode was shown on 25 June 2013, where she was presented with a signed shirt and a bunch of flowers by Manchester United player Ryan Giggs[17][18] 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]

Main article: The Gadget Show

Since June 2013, Riley has been a presenter on the Channel 5 programme The Gadget Show. She co-hosts the programme with Jason Bradbury.[19] 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 continued for 22 episodes. Her third and final series (series 21) began on 24 February 2014 for 9 episodes.

It was reported on 25 April 2014 that Rachel will be leaving The Gadget Show after presenting three series of the show, to be replaced by ex-Olympic gold medal winner Amy Williams.[20]

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

Main article: Strictly Come Dancing

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 Royal Mail 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.[21]

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.[17]

Riley describes herself as a "non-religious" Jew and an atheist.[22]

Rachel is a self-proclaimed vegetarian after being questioned on the matter by Nick Hewer on Countdown, Monday 24 March 2014.

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.[23] They later got back together and became engaged after he proposed to her on her 25th birthday on 11 January 2011.[24] She told viewers about the engagement on the 25 February edition of Countdown and their wedding was on 11 August 2012.[25] It was announced on 29 November 2013 that she was splitting with her husband after 16 months of marriage.[26][27][28]


  1. ^ I really love Countdown...trust me,it is not being axed, Evening Echo, 27 July 2011 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. ^ Campaign can count on Rachel Riley's support Evening Echo, 5 August 2009, accessdate=31 December 2013
  5. ^ Countdown queen Rachel's wedding conundrum Daily Mail, 21 March 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  6. ^ Me a sex symbol? It just doesn’t add up, says Rachel Riley Southend Echo, 22 January 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  7. ^ Rachel Riley grapples with crocs Tick and Tock Southend Standard, 30 January 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  8. ^ "I really love Countdown... trust me, it is not being axed". Southend Echo. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "New hosts Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley Debut on Countdown". The Tart. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  10. ^ Vowel Play The Guardian, 3 January 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  11. ^ Telegraph numeracy campaign: Remove the stigma around maths Daily Telegraph, 4 February 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Essex girl (and fresh Oxford graduate), 22, replaced Carol Vorderman on Countdown". Mail Online. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2008. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ "Sky host Stelling joins Countdown". BBC News (BBC). 21 November 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2008. 
  15. ^ Countdown presenter Rachel Riley's conundrum: How can I get on with Nick Hewer? Daily Telegraph, 24 June 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  16. ^ It all adds up for Rachel Riley Daily Mail, 3 April 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  17. ^ a b Media Monkey (24 June 2013). "Countdown: Rachel Riley red-faced over Ryan Giggs". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Ryan Giggs to appear on Rachel Riley's 1,000th 'Countdown' episode - TV News - Digital Spy
  19. ^ "The Gadget Show | Meet The Gadget Show’s new presenter: Rachel Riley! by The Gadget Show". Gadgetshow.channel5.com. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  20. ^ The Gadget Show’s new presenter is an Olympic champion!
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ Kay, Richard (21 March 2012). "RICHARD KAY: Countdown queen Rachel's wedding conundrum". Mail Online. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  23. ^ Todd, Ben (1 January 2010). "Countdown's Rachel Riley is single after splitting with boyfriend of four years". Mail Online. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  24. ^ "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. 
  25. ^ Emily Sheridan (20 August 2012). "Countdown star Rachel Riley weds her university sweetheart". Mail Online. Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  26. ^ Carter, Claire (29 November 2013). "Rachel Riley in split from husband". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  27. ^ "'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. 
  28. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Carol Vorderman
Co-host of Countdown
Succeeded by