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.


 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit]Edit

Born in RochfordEssex, 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]



Main article: 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.[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]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.[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]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/Song Judges' scores Result
Craig Revel Horwood Darcey Bussell Len Goodman Bruno Tonioli Total
1 Waltz / "When I Need You" 6 7 7 7 27 Safe
2 Salsa / "Get Lucky" 4 5 6 5 20 Safe
3 Cha Cha Cha / "When Love Takes Over" 6 7 7 7 27 Safe
4 Quickstep / "Johnny Got a Boom Boom" 5 7 7 7 26 Bottom two
5 Paso Doble / "Maneater" 4 6 6 6 22 Safe
6 American Smooth / "I Put a Spell on You" 7 7 8 8 30 Eliminated

Guest appearances[edit]Edit

She has also made brief appearances in such shows as The IT CrowdDispatchesBritain'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]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.

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