Countdown’s Anne-Marie admits replacing Rachel Riley isn’t what she expected: ‘It’s a lot’

Countdown: Anne-Marie Imafidon discusses filming the show

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Anne-Marie, 31, took over from Rachel Riley’s iconic role as the maths expert of the show only recently, but the role is different to what she’d had in mind. Speaking to Steph McGovern on Channel 4’s lunchtime chat show Steph’s Packed Lunch, the mathematician opened up on her experience on Countdown so far. She explained it was “a lot” to handle.

“Are you enjoying it, then?” Steph, 39, asked the newest recruit to the quiz show.

“It was fun in a way, but it’s still a job,” Anne-Marie confessed.

“Like, it’s six things at the same time, I’m having to check their answers, I’m having to write it legibly, I’m also having to move.

“I’ve got bigger hair than Rachel does so I’m having to stand and not cover Anne’s camera or the numbers or the letters.

“I also have to stand and smile. And you’ll know this, they’re in your ear!”

She added: “So, it’s a lot. It’s fine now, looking back – that’s pretty cool.”

“Was it what you thought it would be like?” Steph probed.

Anne-Marie revealed the role defied her expectations as she answered candidly: “No, no. I don’t know what I thought it would be, but I think those six things. But also just the response has been really cool.

“Because people are like, ‘how did it feel?’ But I’m not watching me, I’m just doing it, it’s only now [I can see it].”

After watching a clip of Anne-Marie working out a sum on the show, Steph commented: “And you work that out in your head, don’t you?”

“I do,” the MBE laughed. “But you can see that I’m kind of losing it a bit – my handwriting.

“Someone sent this to me yesterday, they were like, ‘can you make the numbers a bit bigger’?

“I was like, ‘I’m trying, love, there’s so much I’m trying to do at the same time’.”

She explained: “The numbers are good, it’s everything else that’s hard.”

Steph reflected: “That’s what I found fascinating what I went on, you actually do it all yourselves.

“I just assumed someone was going to be saying it in your ear, but they’re not.

“How do you get your brain to work that way?”

“Practice,” Anne-Marie replied, adding: “Memorising your 75 times tables, that was one of the things Rachel was like, ‘just get that done and you’ll be fine’.

“But I think you just get into a rhythm. That [clip] was probably the second or the first episode on day one of the block of three, and we do five every day.

“So by the end of it, the numbers actually just start talking to you.”

Countdown airs weekdays at 2.10pm on Channel 4, while Steph’s Packed Lunch airs weekdays at 12pm on Channel 4.

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