Rachel Annabelle Riley (born 11 January 1986) is an English television presenter. Since 12 January 2009 she has been the co-host of Countdown, at which time she replaced Carol Vorderman. Nick Hewer is the chief presenter and Riley does the letters and numbers.
Early life and careerEdit
Born in Rochford, Essex, Riley was educated at Southend High School for Girls and went on to study mathematics at Oriel College, Oxford, gaining an upper second-class honours degree, having obtained four grade As at A-Level.
After graduating, Riley began work as a data analyst for a website company in London. She 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. Riley was chosen from more than a thousand applicants despite having no television experience. In an article for the BBC news, she stated, "There's only one cool maths job around and I was lucky enough to get it so I'm absolutely thrilled". She began presentingCountdown 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.
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.
Riley also appeared on an episode of series 4 of the Channel 4 sitcom The IT Crowd as herself.
Riley is a keen supporter of Manchester United and has been attending games at Old Trafford often with her Salford-born father since about the age of 10, and in October 2010 she presented a programme on MUTV featuring a tour of United's training ground at Carrington. On 4 January 2012 she took part in Celebrity Mastermind, with her topic of choice being Manchester United from 1999. On 16 March 2012 she won the celebrity edition of The Bank Job. Riley describes herself as a "non-religious Jew".
In 2009 Riley was ranked #95 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women poll, and again in 2012, ranked #84.
She met her husband, businessman Jamie Gilbert, while they were both studying at Oxford. The couple split after four and a half years together at the end of 2009. However, they later got back together and became engaged after he proposed to her on her 25th birthday on 11 January 2011. She told viewers about the engagement on the 25 February edition of Countdown and their wedding was on 11 August 2012. Their home is in Thorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea.