Still ill 

4 June 2005

Whiteley set to miss Countdown [BBC News]

Few people under the age of 60 actually like Richard Whiteley as a presenter. Too easily mocked, too easily getting on your nerves. His past life as a Calendar presenter, famous ferret-biting incident aside, was one where he presented a news and features programme in a decidely hesitant, bumbling and awkward manner.

Much like how he presents Countdown.

But in a world where everything must change every year or so – especially on television – his solid presence of an afternoon on Channel Four will be much missed.

Let’s not forget that Whiteley was the first presenter seen and heard on the new channel on launch day (Paul Coia et al notwithstanding) – something of an unlikely choice, but also something distinctly Four.

That he, and his programme, has survived roughly 23 years on a channel that went from fascinating to banal; from provoking to purile; from challenging to just challenged in the same time is a testament to the strength of the Franco-Belgian quiz and to his own unique niche in the television firmament.

One can only hope he gets better and gets better soon, before we lose the last true link to the true Channel Four.

Carol “Ubiquitous” Vorderman also notwithstanding.

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