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Anne, the former Queen of Mean, made the point herself that she's the oldest woman on TV not judging cakes

Roisin Gorman's Open Letter... on Loving Countdown

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Anne Robinson is the new presenter of Channel 4’s Countdown.

Anne Robinson is the new presenter of Channel 4’s Countdown.

Anne Robinson is the new presenter of Channel 4’s Countdown.

It's back with new contestants, a new presenter and my summer has just got more interesting. Yes, Countdown has returned, Anne Robinson is behind the desk and the brainteasers start here.

It's almost as exciting as Laura Whitmore over on the new Love Island, where they're too busy being oiled up and beautiful to bother with anagrams of 'shallow'.

Robinson's first TV outing since The Weakest Link ended in 2012 was greeted with a 'woman gets job' reaction that she and everyone else thought we'd left behind.

That was clearly code for the fact that the woman getting the job is 76 and should be at home counting her grandchildren. She replaced Nick Hewer, who's 77, which wasn't mentioned. Or that David Attenborough is still knocking out TV shows at 95. If only Anne had spent decades in the wild slagging off hippos for their love handles.

The former Queen of Mean, whose Weakest Link persona makes Cruella de Vil look like Mother Teresa, made the point herself that she's the oldest woman on TV not judging cakes.

The return of Robbo was also met with the usual sniffy, 'Who cares about Countdown?', which sends me scurrying for the thesaurus and synonyms for 'patronising', 'angry' and 'geek'.

The words and numbers game is traditionally the territory of students, nerds and pensioners and I'm firmly in the nerd category.

I couldn't complete a crossword if my life depended on it, but put me in front of nine vowels and consonants and a big clock and I'll anagrammatise like a super geek who's just discovered that anagrammatise is a real word.

It's the gentlest of gentle TV where the only jeopardy is using the same number twice and the prize is a teapot.

Guests tell innocuous stories, Rachel Riley rocks heels, a maths brain the size of Belgium and a baby bump, and Suzie Dent explains the more obscure roots of everyday phrases.

The format has remained largely unchanged for decades and it's been name-checked on everything from Father Ted to Doctor Who, where a robot Robinson blew up contestants who didn't make the grade. The robot's face moved more than face-lifted Anne's.

The celebrity episodes expose the spelling weaknesses of the rich, famous and illiterate, and I've been known to be mean from the comfort of my sofa to anyone who can't muster more than a five-letter word - for the love of dictionaries why are they there? It's not exactly Love Island-level trolling, but I try.

Getting the extra points for a nine-letter word is nerd nirvana, solving the show-ending conundrum is a mental workout and getting the maths question - reach a target by using only six random numbers - is still a minor personal achievement. Although usually by the time I've worked out my 75 times tables the show's over, the team has gone home and Anne's picked out tomorrow's leather jacket.

One of the biggest compliments bestowed on Countdown, based on an original French format, is that it never worked in the US, where one pilot was filmed and then swiftly ditched because producers reckoned it was 'too brainy' for an American audience. And that was without the numbers. But the question is, does Robinson fit in on a show where Des Lynam was regarded as edgy, and that's only a four-letter word.

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Really, it doesn't matter. Countdown will still be going strong when all that's left of Anne is some Botox and a statement necklace.

  • Email roisin.gorman@sundayworld.com

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