Richard Whiteley kept hole in Countdown dressing room wall so Carol Vorderman could peek

Carol Vorderman recalls singing with Richard Whiteley

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Countdown’s regular guest Gyles Brandreth recalled a conversation he had with the late host of the show, speaking in an exclusive interview with The 73-year-old praised Richard Whiteley for his sense of humour and witty moments, as he shared his thoughts on the changing presenting line-up over the years.

One memory that has stayed in Gyles’ head is Richard’s response about a hole in his dressing room wall.

He said: “He was so proud of Countdown and I remember I went into his dressing room in the Countdown studios one day, it had all been done up, beautifully painted and he was very proud of it.

“But, I saw a hole in the wall just above on his dressing table, the size of an electric plug, that sort of size hole went straight through to the next door dressing room which was the dressing room of Carol Vorderman.

“I said to him, ‘Did you see that hole in the wall? It goes right the way through to Carol’s?'”

According to Gyles, Richard jokingly replied: “The moment I saw, I was going to phone maintenance and report it but then I thought what the hell, let her look.”

“He was very amusing,” the broadcaster added.

The former host died back in 2005 aged 61 after undergoing heart surgery.

Following his death, he was replaced by Des Lynam.

Other presenters have included Des O’Connor, Nick Hewer and most recently Anne Robinson

On how he thinks Anne is doing as the new host, he added: “I loved Des O’Connor because he was so funny and delightful and I loved Nick Hewer.

“But I think everything changes and evolves… Countdown is like the English language, it evolves.”

He added he thinks the 77-year-old presenter is doing a good job in the main seat.

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Carol left the show three years on from Richard’s death and was replaced by Rachel Riley.

Gyles is particularly close to the show’s lexicographer Susie Dent.

Back in 2019, the duo launched their own podcast Something Rhymes With Purple.

On the show, they delve into vocabulary and uncover the hidden origins of language.

Gyles said the duo were like a married couple and joked she had to keep him in check.

He spilled: “The real challenge with the podcast is it is about words and language, so Susie does have to keep me a little bit under control otherwise I’m telling too many of my name dropping stories instead of asking about the next word.”

Next month, they kick off their tour in Bath on November 20.

Tickets for Tilted’s Something Rhymes with Purple Live are available now.

For more information, head to

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